Tuesday, August 16, 2016


A Summer Fling in the Big Apple

I visit the Big Apple yearly usually during the months of June and July.
The weather is just perfect for me.  Warm and sunny during the day and breezy at night.  I plan my activities with my friends, months before my visit.  I usually like to see some Broadway shows, try some new dining places or just hang out with my besties.

July 4th fireworks

St. Patrick's Cathedral

Columbus Circle at night

A leopard will never change his spots!

A photography exhibit by artist, Philip Dizon, Philippine Faces and Places
was held at the Philippine Consulate.  Jessica Dizon and I pose in front of
dancer Pinky Puno's portrait depicting the Walled City, Intramuros.

Justin Dizon, a budding photographer shows me
the merits of his father's artistic photographs.

The cell phone generation

This year, I watched the show of my favorite Dancing with the Stars dancers, Maks and Val Chmerkovskiy twice.  Maks and Val's Our Way Tour is a story of how two brothers made it in NYC through hard work.    I watched it at the beautiful gilded Beacon theater in Broadway with my Columbian brother Sergio Orozco and the 2nd time in Morristown theater in NJ with my dear friends Dr. Norman and Biba San Agustin.

My fave baseball team!

Enjoying the company of my Colombian brother Sergio Orozco at a dance show in Beacon Theater

Bumped into DWTS champ Tony Dovolani and
his lovely wife Lani at a restaurant in Morristown, NJ

My friends Dr. Norman and Biba San Agustin have a collection of sports cars.

Do you prefer me in a T Bird or a Porsche Carrera?

The life of songwriter/singer Carole King is what Beautiful is all about.  It is an entertaining musical and is a must-see.

Enjoying the company of our friend Jerry after watching Beautiful in Broadway.

Manus X Machina, an ongoing exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of haute couture from top.

Seeing my New York besties and bonding with them is what I love about my yearly visit to New York.  I am so privileged to stay at the fab 6 storey townhouse with a roof garden of Yue Sai Kan, China's Cosmetic Queen.  She gives me the best guest room among her four guest bedrooms! It is the red room on the 3rd floor, so tastefully done with Chinese antiques and a Baccarat chandelier. 

My designer room at Yue Sai Kan's residence.

Antique Chinese furniture pieces, red capped chandelier complete the room.

The 2,500 sqm garden that the residents of the Sutton Square share.
The corner house is occupied by UN Secretary General.

The 59th St. Bridge and the East River are the view from the garden.

Do I look like I am holding the rose?  Its camera trick by
my talented Brother Sergio.  The Rose by sculpture Isa Genzken

Is the Broken Obelisk by Newman Barnet piercing my palm?
The lady fainting by a small pond is by Aristide Maillol

Tricia Lee and I love to chill out at the lounge of Baccarat Hotel!

Surrounded by crystals and chandeliers

An advance birthday dinner hosted by lovely friends Lily O' Boyle and Yue Sai Kan was one of the highlights of my trip.

A birthday dinner with Yue Sai and Biba San Agustin

Such a good feeling to be with great friends

At the roof top garden with Lily O Boy'le, Dr. Norman, Maria and Biba

The view with the lights beyond

Blowing of my cake - with hosts Yue Sai and Lily and guests Sergio, Djiang,
Ijaz, Biba, Maria and Norman.  Tricia is peeping behind Maria

Friends make a city and this is what the Big Apple is all about for me.  I love my friends there and spending time with them exploring the city's new restaurants, new hotels, the museums, Broadway shows,  going to dinner parties, shopping, discovering new cafes- these are simple joys that beckon me to the  Big Apple. 

A bite of the Big Apple at the Apple Store on 5th Ave.

Fresh fruits and veggie juice carts like this are all over 5th and 6th Ave.
I get my daily dose of carrot and apple juice from this one.

Life is wonderful when you are with people you love and who love you back too!

Yue Sai Kan and I with long time friend Ijaz Malik in her garden.

With Woodstock co-founder Joel Rosenman

Reina de las Filipinas was my name card during a lunch at Luz Miriam Toro's Galleria apt.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

From Cebu to LA with Love

Philippine Airlines marked a historical flight on March 15, 2016, its 75th founding Anniversary.  An Airbus A34-300 which seats 254 passengers, took its first flight to Los Angeles from Cebu International Airport, another milestone in their ongoing route expansion program.
At present, PAL has 11 weekly flights between Manila and Los Angeles, 10 weekly flights between Manila and SF, and four weekly flights between Manila and New York.
During a press conference, PAL President and COO Jaime Bautista said "Customers in the Visayas and Mindanao have long clamored for direct flights between Cebu and the US due to the travel convenience this will bring. One can simply take a short hop to Cebu from any point in the Visayas and Mindanao, and connect to Los Angeles instead of flying all the way to Manila." 

members of Manila media, Pal Marketing and
communications ladies, Mactan Shangrila personnel,
and Cebuana friends during the lunch hosted by
Shangrila Mactan for us.

    Shangrila Mactan gave us the Presidential    
 Suite while waiting to board flight PR 122 to LA
Mariquita Yeung, Mayenne Carmona, JoAnne Rae Ramirez and Eric Tan

It was a treat for the Cebu Media members to experience Pal's first flight to Los Angeles on      March 15, 2016 and back on March 21, 2016. They are now part of Pal's history.  Members of   the Media from Manila flew to Cebu and took the 2nd flight from Cebu to LA.  I represented ZeeLifestyle Magazine of Cebu but flew with the Manila Media because I am based in Manila.  From Manila were JoAnne Rae Ramirez of People Asia and Philippine Star, Fil Sionil of Manila Bulletin, Anna Sobrepena of LifeStyle Asia accompanied by Pal's lovable gals, Ria Dominguez, VP of Marketing and Comms, Pinky Custodio, Head of Marketing Activations, Terry Romilla, Marketing Activations Officer,  Cielo Villaluna, External Communications Head and Spokesperson.  Millet Mananquil, EIC of PhilStar's Lifestyle Section took the flight from Manila with PAL Executives.
PR 122 (CEB/LAX) departs Cebu every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday at 6.25 PM and arrives in Los Angeles at 5.35 PM local time.

                                                        At LA airport, Cielo Villaluna, JoAnne Rae Ramirez, 
                                                        Anna Sobrepeña and I posed with our flight 
                                                        Captain:  Capt. Victor Reyes,
                                                        First Officer: Juan Bustamente,
                                                        2nd Officers:  Peter Sandico and  Jonathan Lim


PR 123 (LAX/CEB) leaves Los Angeles on the same days at 8.40 PM local time and arrives 
in  Cebu at 4.40 AM. +2.

From a personal observation, taking the flight from Cebu was so stress free.  There were no long queues on immigration to reckon with.  The airport was not crowded, we all felt so calm like we just came out of a meditation session.  Their Mabuhay Lounge served us the best coffee in the whole of Cebu. I have the tendency to speak in hyperboles when I like something, but their Coffee was really delicious.  Cielo Villaluna can attest to that! 

Our 3-night stay in the City of Angels was truly memorable. For starters, our hotel was truly world class!  SLS Hotel located at La Cienega Blvd, Beverly Hills is a 5 -star boutique hotel with interiors deigned by Philippe Starck.  His designs never fail to dazzle the first-timer. His furniture pieces are sleek and on the edge of avant-garde.  But his haute - design elements sometimes get in the way of practicality and comfort.  For example, the rooms, although spacious are dimly lit with modern lighting effects.  The mirrors are tinted, not practical for beautifying purposes.  Honeymooners might find the dimness romantic, but non-honeymooners like the majority of us would prefer a better lighted room.  

     My Cozy, spacious bedroom at SLS Hotel, a 5 star hotel in Beverly Hills

 The fun view from my bedroom

 I truly liked the location of our hotel- walking distance to the 
  Beverly Hills Mall, Trader Joe's, Saks Fifth, TJ Max, Ross, etc. 

                                                                   The floral arrangement changed daily

   My favorite private room near the breakfast place. Take note of the crown Chandelier

                      SLS hotel's lobby library with an opaque head of a moose on top of a fireplace

                                                                           Yummy breakfast buffet

The Gala night was elegant and well organized.  PAL President Jimmy Bautista led the speeches followed by other Pal executives.  The speeches were not lengthy and hit the spot.

Prior to the Gala dinner, there was a press conference
  for the US media, Philippine media, government  officials and travel agents

The invited guests to the Gala dinner

  President and COO Jaime Bautista 
gave a heartwarming speech
 where he said that PAL is the ❤ of the Philippines

 Zsa Zsa Padilla was the sexy chanteuse of the evening


Cielo Villaluna, Bishop Oscar Solis, the only Filipino Bishop in the USA, Fil Sionil,
Anna Sobrepeña, Jaime Bautista, JoAnne Rae Ramirez, Mayenne Carmona, Ria Domingo

 Posing with the man of the hour - PAL President and COO Jaime Bautista ...
Ella Gozon, Anna Sobrepeña,myself, Jaime Bautista, JoAnne Rae, Millet Mananquil, Ria Domingo,
DOT Director JunJun Apo-Jorda and Cielo Villaluna

 With new found friend Pinky Custodio

It was great to see Acor Gonzaga again after all these years

So honored to pose with PAL's President and COO Jimmy Bautista;
 seated: PAL's SVP Airline Operations Ismael Augusto Gozon and Atty. Aster Torres

Our trip to the Chino Canyon of Palm Springs was a lot of fun. We took the aerial tramway, the world's largest rotating tram car.


On top of the world: Acor Gonzaga, Mayenne, Jim Bautista, JoAnne Rae Ramirez, Anna Sobrepeña

Enjoying the climb of Chino Canyon in Palm Springs: Jimmy Bautista and Lito Alvarez

 At last a bench! Ria Domingo seemed tired! Cielo Villaluna and Anna Sobrepena seemed cool!

We rode this aerial tramway, and started our breathtaking view of Chino Canyon

All good things must come to an end. 

                                                             Our last night in Bazaar, the bar of our hotel

                                                 Palm Sunday: Jimmy Bautista, Roy Bonghanoy, Lito Alvarez

                                                       Zsa Zsa Padilla and I enjoyed the Cherry Blossoms!

On our 4th evening we boarded PR 103 at Tom Bradley International Airport.  

Helping us Check in for our flight back to Manila: 
PAL LAX station Manager, Rex Aldanese and Duty Manager Anna Pesigàn 

                                                                                  The of the Philippines

The crew on board our flight PR 103: FP Vivienne Pineda,
 FA Maggie Gumaru,CSM Geb Inocencio, FS JunJun Uy, FS Aica Baes

After a 14 hour flight we landed at 4.40 AM at NAIA 1. Parting is such sweet sorrow!  But among good friends, it is never goodbye. It is always "au Revoir" -till we see each other again!  

Happy 75th Anniversary to Philippine Airlines, the Heart of the Philippines.