January 19 is such a special and memorable day for our family. First, it is the birthday of our eldest daughter Annika, who is a freshman at Chapman University taking up film. Over the Christmas holidays, she enjoyed internship sessions at Inquirer Radyo, ABS-CBN and Star Studio.
There must be something dynamic about January 19 for our family. It’s also the date of the helicopter crash of my hubby Dennis, with his fellow Print Town executives, in India 12 years ago. Luckily, they all survived.
On the same day last year, I was on the way home from the 2nd Wilcon Cup in Tagaytay Highlands when we had a car accident. But, again, miraculously, nothing grave happened. Although it took a while, I was able to go home and attend Annika’s 18th birthday dinner in our home, although I missed the Mass officiated by visiting priest, Fr. Baltazar Obico, OFM.
To celebrate Annika’s birthday this year before she heads back to California next week, we had a wonderful vegetarian dinner at Corner Tree Café owned by Chiqui Mabanta. Now that Annika is vegan, there are limited places for her to eat.
We were all impressed that Corner Tree Café is such a super place to eat at, whether you’re vegetarian or not.
Just when we thought Jan. 19 would pass uneventfully, Dennis got a text from Rick Santos, president of the newly launched real estate services giant Santos Knight Frank, to let him know that his name had just been picked as the grand prize winner during the launch event earlier that evening. Unfortunately he had left early to get to Annika’s dinner and, as with most raffle prizes, presence was required.
It was all good, anyway. Dennis congratulated Rick and his team on a superbly attended event, which packed the Rigodon Ballroom of the Peninsula Manila with the who’s who of Manila’s business elite.
This year, Jan. 19 has been filled with lots of magical moments. In the birthday party of Tropafrica buddy Tim Yap in the latest chic club, Manila Home, he proposed to his partner Javi Martinez in front of a full audience of their closest friends, who were all there in their national costumes to celebrate Tim’s birthday.
Unfortunately, I didn’t win the grand prize of the costume contest, perhaps due to some unfavorably aligned asteroid that affected my stars that night. Among the standout costumes were those of Tropafrica partners Rajo Laurel and Nix Alanon, who came as a Pharaoh and Egyptian Goddess.
I also loved Isabelle Daza who came as her mom, Gloria Diaz, reliving that incredible Miss Universe moment from 1969.
The Year of the Rooster starts on Jan. 28, and with the Victory Star in the center of the chart, we are all going to be more prosperous and victorious. To celebrate the coming of the Chinese New Year, feng shui queen Marites Allen shared her forecast and tips to welcome the good chi energy at a Rooster Party at our home.
Marites noted the following tips and cures for each individual animal sign. The Rooster must appease the Tai Sui so it must carry the Tai Sui or Majushi Amulet. The Dog should wear the Wu Lou Health Amulet or the auspicious symbols. The Boar should wear the Wolu, Ruyi or the eight auspicious symbols. The Rat should wear auspicious symbols, prints or mantra ring.
The Ox should harness good earth luck by wearing Infinity bangles. The Tiger should wear elephant necklace or Ruyi Keychain. The Rabbit should counter the Natural Disaster Star by wearing the Kegdok Amulet or display the Kalachakra Painting. The Dragon should wear the Victory Medallion with Hum to overcome the affliction of the 3 Killings Star.
The Snake should wear the dragon-inspired charm or Tree of Life. The Horse could counter the Misfortune Star with the five-element pagoda pendant or peace and harmony accessories. The Sheep has the Auspicious Star, so wear the infinity mantra bangle or accessories. The Monkey should wear the Tibetan Health amulet or the Ruyi accessories.
Apart from the Chinese lauriat, Bakers Maison served delicious breads and pastries to the delight of the guests who also took home giveaways. Bakers Maison is from the same company as Gardenia Bread, so it really knows how to create yummy bread products. Owners Carlo and Digzy Umali just had another son, Caleb, so there is much to celebrate and be grateful for.
We had a China adventure over the holidays when AirAsia invited Tim Yap, Rosan Cruz, Javi Martinez, Alvin and Klay Tan, and me to visit Shanghai. We all had a super chance to check out AirAsia’s new Manila-Shanghai direct flight, which started just six months ago with fares as low as P2,888.
In Shanghai, we headed immediately to Shanghai Disneyland, possibly one of the best reasons to hop on the flight. Disney invested $5.5 billion to create a park that’s double the size of the original Disneyland in California. I am already thinking of a summer schedule when our youngest Athena might be able to head over with me.
Shanghai has so many things to offer Pinoys. Foodies have the Xintiandi dining and entertainment area, shopaholics have the Nanjing Road shopping paradise, art enthusiasts have the Shanghai Art Museum with its thousand-year-old ceramics, jades, calligraphy and more, and, of course, biz people have The Bund as the city’s main business district.
AirAsia flies the route thrice weekly—from Shanghai on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday; and from Manila on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday. Check www.airasia.com for details.