Jazz, tequila, luxe flights–and family time for EasterBy Tessa Prieto-Valdes
Philippine Daily Inquirer
HAPPY EASTER to all from down under!
After much debate with myself on where to spend the Easter break, I finally made a decision. I decided to accompany my parents and youngest daughter Athena on a trip to the Gold Coast in Australia.
Easter is always a blessed time, all the more when one has time to reflect on what matters most, which for me is the love of family.
I just wish that we had flown down to Oz on the Singapore Airlines A380. The massive jet is a cruise ship in the sky, with luxury Suites to provide passengers with a personal haven of tranquility. I’m sure quite a few use the Suites as their own office or cinema or dining area—or to join the “mile-high club.”
Of course, the Suites are also only for those with cash to spare. For the more economy-minded—yes, like me—there is Economy Class. It doesn’t sound possible, but Singapore Airlines’ Economy has a personal monitor for each seat, and more legroom than most other airlines.
My last time to fly Singapore Airlines was with Philippine Tatler editor Anton San Diego, when we flew to the Lion City to board the luxurious Crystal Cruises. We were lucky to be in Business Class, with its enormous seats that unfold into full-flat beds. I was also thrilled that I could use my laptop throughout the flight, using the seat’s power supply and USB port.
I’ll feature the Crystal Cruise from Singapore to Bangkok in full next week. In Singapore, Anton and I had fun times with Swarovski head Chris Neff and his bubbly wife-to-be Maria Lopez. Swarovski is opening up a shop in The Fort this summer.
It’s wonderful to travel with Anton, who is such a gentleman especially with my excess luggage. He was extra careful with my new Tumi roll-on with the Anna Sui floral motif.
Earlier this month, we were both at the exclusive launch for the Tumi and Anna Sui travel and lifestyle accessories collection at the Presidential Suite of The Peninsula Hotel Manila. The Tumi collection is inspired by an original floral Anna Sui print, which graced the spring 2009 runway.
Combining Tumi’s smart detailing and lightweight designs with Anna Sui’s colorful statement, the collection delivers a diverse assortment of products that are both playful and practical.
For travel, options include the lightweight Voyageur Super Leger International Carry-On and the sleek, hard-sided Vapor cases. The classic Voyageur Weekender, equipped with an Add-a-Bag sleeve, provides the traveler an extra hand when navigating through the airport.
In between all my travels, I hosted the Crimson Southern Ball in celebration of the grand launch of Filinvest Hotel’s newest project, the Crimson Hotel in Filinvest City, Muntinlupa (call 8632222; visit www.crimsonhotel.com/manila). The Alabang skyline is ever developing and the Crimson has just added some pizzazz to the southern city.
Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez, the guest of honor, gave an upbeat message on our country’s tourism figures. After that, Filinvest group founder Andrew Gotianun Sr. and his wife Mercedes gave a ceremonial toast, joined by Joseph and Josephine Gotianun-Yap, president of Filinvest Development Corp. (FDC); Francis Gotianun, AVP of FDC Hotels; and Robert Bormes, GM of the Crimson Hotel.
As with all things touched by the Gotianun hand, entertainment was world-class, top-billed by Tony award-winning star Lea Salonga. At The Deck Bar outside, guests were treated to an impressive fireworks display along with the hip music by DJs Mia Ayesa and Sanya Smith. The event was handled by Ambiance by Pido and Signum Event Engineering.
Another celebration filled with jazz and artistry that I attended was the Jazz Gala at the Rockwell Tent. Jazz luminaries, including singer and songwriter Jennifer Blair-Bianco, all-girl jazz trio Baihana, female saxophonist Mindi Abair and legendary vocal/guitar jazz duo Tuck and Patti, treated jazz buffs to jaw-dropping performances.
Since 2009, the Philippine International Jazz and Arts Foundation has joined hands with ABS-CBN’s Cable & Print Media Group to deliver the biggest celebration of jazz in the country, bringing together the biggest jazz greats to deliver successful, sold-out shows.
Heightening the jazz party mood were premium tequila offerings from Casa Noble. Teddy de la Peña, country rep of Casa Noble, noted that their premium tequila is the perfect tandem to great jazz music, as it is one of the world’s finest silky smooth spirits.
Casa Noble is from a new breed of luxury tequilas, and is partly owned by music legend Carlos Santana. The tequila comes in three premium variants: Crystal is an un-aged silver tequila, contained in hand-blown glass decanters adorned with a pewter label; Reposado is smoother and full-bodied, aged for a year in French, white-oak barrels, and contained in cobalt-blue decanters; and finally, Añejo is a 14-year-old, limited-quantity tequila, aged to perfection and beautifully contained in artisan purple glass decanters.
Partygoers included ABS-CBN top honcho Gabby Lopez, Mari Lagdameo of Strumm’s, John Paul Calvo and Teddy de la Peña of the Calvo Group, Edwin Ong of Global Noble, Leeds Trompeta of Discovery Group and Russian beauty Nat Natalie.
Visit www.tessaprietovaldes.com; follow her on Twitter @tessavaldes.