Travel and see the world! Waking up to a spectacular view of some exotic destination is something I look forward to with utmost excitement. Every year, we try discovering a new place or experiencing a new adventure to add to our family bucket list.

Japan is definitely one of my favorite places in the world. Just this year alone, I’ve been lucky to visit twice. With media friends Raul Manzano and Tim Yap, we toured Tokyo last January on the invitation of Tokyo Metro. A month later, the travel team went back to discover the beauty of Kyoto and Osaka on the invitation of JNTO of Japan. For this second trip, David Guison joined the gang and taught us some tricks of a lifestyle blogger.

PR ladies Rosary Ysmael and Ika Ysmael thoroughly arranged all the details of both trips. We were so happy we caught the exhibition of Yayoi Kusama, possibly the world’s most famous Japanese artist and writer. Her recently concluded show at the National Art Center in Tokyo was called “My Eternal Soul.” It’s a feast of polka dots, pumpkins, flowers, mirrors and so much more! The huge crowd in the souvenir area was a sure sign of a winner! Everyone wanted to take home a bit of Kusama-San.

The exhibit is so popular that Kusama has been a trendy theme for parties. In Manila at the Swatch Building, Virgie Ramos surprised her dear friend, art lover Sandy Uy with a Kusama-inspired birthday dinner.

For those that missed the exhibit in Japan, “Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors” will embark on the most significant North American tour of the artist’s work in nearly two decades. Following its Washington, DC, debut, the show will travel to five major museums in the United States and Canada.

From fast-paced Tokyo, we took the bullet train to Kyoto. The traditional vibe of this old-world city is so charming and relaxing. Top attractions include Fushimi Inari Shrine and Sagano Bamboo Forest. Every angle of these two places is picture-perfect.

We spent one night in a traditional ryokan hotel and had kaiseki cuisine. Other nights we had sukiyaki, kushikatsu and sashimi. In Osaka, aside from my fave activity shopping, we toured Legoland Discovery Center, and then went shopping again.

With so many travels, I’m glad that there is a global insurance and investment organization providing property and casualty insurance solutions to business and industry.

Starr Companies recently launched its stellar Starr Assist Card Travel Insurance in a glittering event, “Travel with the STARRs.” Guests of honor for the Manila launch were Ross Matthews, president and CEO of Starr International Insurance Asia, and Federico Tarling, Assist Card’s chief service officer in charge of worldwide business development.

Gracing the occasion were guest speakers and travel aficionados Marbee Shing Go, editor in chief of Travel Now magazine at One Mega Group, and Rovilson Fernandez, international TV host and Philippine ambassador for the World Wildlife Fund. Since I was traveling in Europe at the time of the launch, I was not able to attend so a special video message was prepared. I shared some insights on my favorite destinations as well as helpful tips on travel essentials.

Best suited for business and leisure travelers, Starr Assist Card Travel Insurance offers welcome relief from the rigors and challenges of modern travel like lost passports, missing luggage, missed connections as well as medical emergencies. It offers a choice of short term or annual travel insurance coverage. This is complemented by real-time support through the largest network of service providers built and contracted directly by Starr.

The Starr Assist Card is present in 197 countries and has a powerful network of 84 Assistance Centers around the world offering 24/7/365 service. Major services include Travel & Medical Assistance, Concierge Services, Emergency Medical Evacuation, Repatriation, Compassionate Visit and Burns Benefits.

For those too busy to travel this summer, head to Rustan’s and celebrate the wonders of Portugal with “Portugal Divino!” The festival is in partnership with the Consulate of Portugal in Manila. Rustan’s officially launched this spectacular festival that is ongoing until early June. Rustan’s transported special guests and patrons to the romantic land of Portugal through the vibrant imagery and sensual colors of the event.

The evening started off with a welcome by the host, David Celdran, who shared his stories about beautiful Portugal, and eventually called on stage Anton Huang, head of The SSI Group, who shed light on what the celebration is all about, as well as to formally thank those who helped made the festival possible. Anton was then followed by Tony Rufino, the Honorary Consul of Portugal, who gave an inspiring speech about the festival and what it means for the relationship of the two countries.

To commemorate the evening, Anton and Tony were joined by Marilen Tantoco, Rustan’s VP for Home Merchandising, Anna Feria, our ambassador-designate to Portugal, Arlinda Frota, the award-winning Portugese artist, and Portuguese designer Ricardo Preto. The festival was a super joyous occasion, what with the colorful art and home exhibit spotlighting it all.

Along with celebrating food and the arts, “Portugal Divino!” will shed light on the fashionable trends and styles with collections by Ricardo Preto and U by Ricardo Preto. The famed Portuguese designer will have meet and greet events at all Rustan’s stores during the month of May.

 

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