Still on a high with my African vibe


I can’t seem to shake off my African vibe, even a month after our African-inspired 25thwedding anniversary and my visit to Durban, South Africa a week after. It’s not surprising, because fresh from the South Africa Embassy-planned famtour, I went all out Africa again for the advanced special screening of Disney’s “The Lion King.” 

Adorable and super bright Scarlet Snow Belo planned the movie premiere and delivered her memorized welcome speech next to her celebrity doctor parents Vicki Belo-Kho and Hayden Kho. Scarlet even corrected her mom for saying a wrong word in the only line Dr. Vicki delivered. Scarlet wore a fluffy Simba costume, and she said my costume looked like Rafiki! All guests at the special screening at Central Square Cinema, Bonifacio High Street, went home with Disney Philippines goodies and Belo Baby Wipes.   

The next day, I was reunited with #Durbanhasmore travel buddy Pepper Teehankee at the launch of Pinot, the newest restaurant in Bonifacio Global City. Chef Markus Gfeller, Pinot General Manager and Head of Culinary Functions, welcomed all his guests and presented us with his classic European cuisine and premium wines.

Pinot has a menu that combines premium roasts along with new items from Prix Fixe sets that are well curated and crafted. Chef Markus’ restaurant is set to bring a refreshed concept of relaxed fine dining wherein diners get the upscale yet laid-back ambience while enjoying a gourmet set menu created with premium ingredients that can be shared with a group at accessible price points. 

Also on the menu are popular starters such as lobster and crabmeat salad, duck liver & truffle pate, lobster sago, and seared foie gras. Some of the exquisite mains include Wine-Braised Beef Cheeks, Rack of Bobby Veal and Kurobuta pork belly. As a sweet ending to a satisfying meal, Pinot’s dessert selections include Pineapple Colada, White Chocolate Flan, Praline Chocolate, Raspberry Semi Freddo, and Tart au Chocolate. Visit Pinot at The Spa Building, Lane P, Bonifacio High Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, open Mondays to Saturday from 5:00 PM onwards. For reservations, call tel. 0-998-586-4230.

Over dinner, my tablemate Franco Laurel shared his photos from our #DandTLove25 anniversary celebration. As part of the reception dance, Franco gamely rehearsed and performed the African dance number, and I remembered that he was also a member at our Game of Thrones dance at the #DandTLove20 wedding anniversary. Franco and I got a kick checking out what we might look like at #DandTLove50 using FaceApp to mature ourselves. 

Wedding anniversaries are really special. My Red Charity Gala partner Kaye Tinga and her hubby Freddie celebrated their 25thwedding anniversary in a very special and intimate way. With just their four children, Freddie and Kaye renewed their vows in a remote church in Peru with just their priest and witnessed by a handful of strangers! It was meaningful and solemn, and filled with so much love. Congrats to Freddie and Kaye. 

Freddie And Kaye Tinga with kids kylie, Kerry , Kristian and Kody

For their 20thwedding anniversary last June 24, the same day as ours, business entrepreneurs Franklin and Jo Lim celebrated their milestone at the grand opening of their Toyota Valenzuela dealership – the automotive giant’s 70th branch in the country. Located at 457 MacArthur Highway in Barangay Dalandanan, Toyota Valenzuela is the first 3S (sales, service, and spare parts) dealership in the city. Now Valenzuela has a one-stop shop where customers can pick out a vehicle, make financing and insurance arrangements, and have their vehicles serviced and customized.  

The four-storey building stands on a 5,300-square meter property, with a showroom that can display up to ten vehicles, and a new vehicle stockyard that can hold up to 120 units. For servicing, there are 65 bays: seven for express maintenance, 18 for general work, 36 for body and paint, and four for periodic maintenance. Meanwhile the service support bays can hold up to 144 units. Toyota Valenzuela is also poised to be a go-to for spare parts accessibility, with three of its four storeys comprising the expansive parts warehouse. 

It’s all a fantastic investment by the entrepreneurial couple, and I wish them well on their venture. Franklin told me, “With Toyota Valenzuela, our goal is to streamline the customer experience.” It’s a great and simple goal, yet truly what defines the car brand. If Franklin can make everything as convenient and efficient for his clients as he envisions, his customers will truly have a valuable partner in Toyota Valenzuela.

 Let me also express my best wishes to Choloy David and Raeanna Cranbourne, who tied the knot last July 6. Rae is one of our Girls Run For Breakfast gals and an avid triathlete as well. I was in Durban and couldn’t make the event, but our GFRB group told me what an elegant, intimate and joyous gathering the event was at Anya Resort Tagaytay, the same place where Choloy proposed to Rae two years ago.

Choloy and Rae’s family and friends flew in from the U.S., Australia and other countries. Rae’s maid of honor was her New York-based younger sister Cheryle, while Choloy’s best men were his two sons, Matteo and Pio, who love Rae like she was their own mom.  

Raeanna Cranbourne and Choloy David

It was all so romantic and there wasn’t a dry eye in the reception, when Pio, the younger of the two boys, gave his best man speech. His brother Matteo was the perfect foil, turning tears into cheers when he led the guests in a rousing toast for their parents. Their sons are so smart and articulate! I wish you all the best, Choloy and Rae, may you reach many milestones like #CandRLove50 and more! 

To permanently seal my love for Africa, Binky and Tracy Dizon just appointed me as the brand ambassador of A2A Safaris. As ambassador, I get to visit their destination packages in Africa and South America. I am so thrilled and grateful to the universe! I can’t wait to travel and talk more about to Africa!

More pics on Instagram @seaprincess888.

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