’Tis the season to be jolly and merry–and fat! | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

’Tis the season to be jolly and merry and nice! And who better to jumpstart the holiday festivities than the Swatch Queen herself, Virgie S. Ramos, who chose the auspiciously numbered date, 11-11-11, to get the party going.

Given the number of elevens floating around, I decided to arrive at the party at exactly 11:11:11 PM. I guess that deserves the award for the most repetitively numbered entrance to a party! And, of course, hopefully, it means a lot of good luck also!

Tita Virgie’s home is always the perfect party place. The ballroom-cum-basketball court was transformed into a club scene, complete with lights, DJ and sumptuous food. The bar was fully stocked with every drink from Moët & Chandon, to Sambuca with three coffee beans for good luck, to chilled Grey Goose Vodka, to Mimosas and even Kir Royales to keep the group in a jolly spirit.

A gigantic, glittering, silvery white Christmas tree rose toward the ceiling, and beside it was a multilayered birthday cake for golden boy Rowell Santiago. His youthful smile and thick, dark hair make Rowell look much younger than he really is.

Chronicling the party was instant blogger Girlie Rodis. She is one of the most web-connected people I know, able to upload to Facebook and share on Twitter as an event unfolds.

Anne Curtis, the phenom of the Philippines’ Twitter-verse, snapped a pic of the two of us, and instantly shared it with her almost two million followers. It’s scary to think that Anne has more readers than majority of our local newspapers. We both enjoyed a happy chat with wonderful friend Kara Alikpala, who arrived with her sweet daughter Ariana.

Swatch hunk Derek Ramsay asked me, “What’s on your ‘wristmas’ list?” and I was tempted to reply, “you,” but my Assumption upbringing got the better of me, and so I said, “I’m dying to get that new snow globe Swatch.” Derek is very sweet. He made sure I got one that night.

It was also a night of new things. The Swatch Touch is a true innovation, with no knobs to adjust time. Just touch the screen and voilà! You can adjust the time, and even have two time zones, an alarm and timer. It’s great for traveling.

New Swatch man

Sporting the Swatch Touch was Chris Tiu, the new Swatch man. I learned that this basketball star is also a piano man and a good golfer. Is this guy perfect or what?

I bumped into Chris again at the MVP Cup at Wack Wack Golf Club. This golf tourney is fantastic. Every golfer got a Samsung Galaxy mobile phone as a giveaway. That’s what makes it a classic.

Chris told me that he joined the Adidas King of the Road (KOTR) at The Fort last month. The successful KOTR had thousands of participants vying for the Adidas Southeast Asia KOTR 2011 crown. Even better, the race turned up a number of celebrities, with the likes of Robi Domingo, Rich Hardin and Karylle participating. Fast runner Rovilson Fernandez was also there, and so was Esquire magazine cover girl Iza Calzado.

The KOTR’s 16.8 category is the most distinctive, signature distance, with winners from all other Asian countries flown in to raise their flags. As always, the race management was Class A, with www.runrio.com in charge. Check www.adidaskingoftheroad.com for full details.

All the hard-core runners make me feel guilty about the lack of training I have for my next destination marathon, Rome. I should jumpstart my training, using the Adidas miCoach virtual training system. It’s the best way to leapfrog myself to a better run.

It is particularly difficult to adhere to a running regime when I seem to be doing so much eating. ’Tis the season to be jolly and merry and fat, it seems!

Winning dishes

And so it came to pass that I ended up at the Kartini Café Alfresco last week (www.kartiniasia.com, tel. 8074356). This new dining experience is found within the landscaped gardens of Alabang Town Center.

Kartini’s menu is a creative fusion of flavorful and delectable dishes from all around Australasia. Marbled, Australian Angus, rib-eye steaks as well as Roasted Iberian Chicken with herbs and spices were some of the winning dishes at the opening.

Kartini Café also offers Carmen’s Best ice cream, the creamiest ice cream with interesting flavors. Owner Paco Magsaysay told me it’s the only ice cream in town that is backed by its own dairy farm, so quantities are very limited. They can also deliver fresh milk.

Café owner Nina Malvar has transformed the garden courtyard into a dining space with an Asian theme, using Balinese furniture and artworks of National Artist Abdulmari Asia Imao. Nina’s menu showcases Kartini’s distinct offering of herbs and health-promoting plants grown from its on-site garden.

Dishes like organic basil, malunggay pesto pasta and puttanesca pasta are deliciously healthy. Power booster juices are also available. Kartini Café is a great addition to the dining choices in the Alabang area.

Newbie station

As a Makati girl, I don’t get around to Alabang too often, but when I do make the trip, my car radio is tuned to Radio High 105.9 FM. It’s a newbie station, set up by impresario Francis Lumen, the radio maven who was also behind the successful Citylite 88.3 and Joey 92.3.

I was pleasantly surprised when Francis invited me to the launch of Radio High 105.9 FM. The event was an exclusive, one-night-only performance by Grammy winner Chris Botti at the Greenbelt 5 Fashion Walk. Botti is the largest-selling American jazz artist, a master trumpeter of the last three decades. His performance at the launch was indicative of the quality that Francis brings to his ventures.

Radio High 105.9 FM has a unique tag line, “not for everyone.” Well, that may be so, but when I’m stuck in traffic and just want to relax, it is certainly for me.

Follow Tessa on Twitter @tessavaldes or e-mail her at [email protected].

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