This is a continuation of my Italian escapade. After my birthday treat at Lake Garda as seen on my previous post, Mark and I left the lago (Italian term for lake) and headed to the fashion capital of the world – Milan. It’s my nth time in Milan (seriously, been here couple of times). I remember few years back, my usual business route was London-Monaco-Milan-then-off-somewhere else. Hence, I became familiar with the biz and buzz of this Italian city.
We left Verona at 11am and arrived in Milan by noon time (it’s only an hour drive). We checked in straight to our lovely eco-friendly hotel - Starhotels Echo, just few minutes walk from Centrale Station (booked by ABS-CBN Regional Network Group (RNG), grazie mille!),
This hotel is just fab! Minimalist yet stylish furniture and amazingly pleasant smell welcoming every guest. Two of my colleagues based in Milan were also checking in by the time we got there and we quickly dropped our things to our rooms so we can proceed immediately to our lunch meeting with the TFCKat grand finalists.
I love our room, most particularly the bathroom with black tiles, wooden furnishings and of course, the glam mirror (I got an idea for our condo unit in Makati). The hotel also offers exclusively made eco-friendly toiletries. They call this the Green Room – well that kinda explains everything in the room – from the lights to the furnishings to the overall design. The hotel also has a fitness centre (as seen on the lower left photo) located on the 7th floor overlooking the Centrale Station infront and Duomo on your left.
From the hotel room, we met some of the TFCKat candidates who just arrived in the city from different parts of Italy. My colleague, Eric, took us all to Spontini, where they serve huge pizza slices and drinks in Heineken pint mugs. Lasagna is also available but it’s the pizza that people were queuing for (yes, we waited for few minutes in the queue to get a table – it’s a popular place). Normale is one HUGE slice of pizza for only €5.00 and Abundante is one and a half HUGE slice of pizza for only €5.50 (bundat ka talaga after). Good price, eh?!
After the suuuuper heavy lunch, Mark and I quickly grabbed a scoop each at the famous GROM (gelateria) whilst my colleagues walked the TFCKat candidates back to their hotel to get their material for the competition. GROM is a must! I had a scoop of Crema di Grom and Mark had Pistacchio for €2.50 each cup.
Hello happy tummy! I’m glad I was wearing my husband’s t-shirt over a pair of stretched skinny jeans!
We took the metro to the event’s venue (Piazza Primo Maggio, Sesto San Giovani) for our pre-production meeting with RNG. It’s nice to see them again since our last event in Nice on September last year. After hours of pre-prod, Mark and I jumped into the metro and went to Duomo.
I’m sorry to say this but there’s nothing much to see in Milan except for Duomo unlike other Italian cities such as Rome, Florence and Venice to name a few.
There was a jazz concert on Duomo’s piazza when we got there. We also did what tourists mostly do – take pictures.
Oh, that was Mark doing that circular thing on the floor. Been here several times and we saw lots of people doing it, so Mark did it but I don’t really know it’s significance. Anyhow, we’re tourists, lol. After dinner at Burger King (pardon me, we don’t have BK in France so we were kinda craving for it), we then went to Rinascente, one of my favourite spots in Milan. It’s a posh shopping mall (like Selfridges in London but smaller) that houses most of the top brands such as Gucci, LV, Celine, Versace, Balenciaga, YSL, Dior, Marni and a lot more. My favourite part of it was food court at the top floor and look at these artisan chocolates (on the right)! I also saw a juicebar just across the chocolate shop with a cute Green Tea jug as seen on the right photo. Oh, thank God for this! I had a Raw Spirulina Super Juice for €5.50. It’s another saved-by-the-juice-bar-moment after that fastfood dinner :-)
Mark and I headed back to the hotel and went to the gym at around half past 9. Just in time when I was going to sleep, my boss just arrived as well and brought me these – -
Fresh from London! Awwwww, thanks Luis, Helen, Trizzie and Quinito for the birthday pressies! Helen just made divine mini cakes (pandan and ube flavour). She also prepared homemade cheese pimiento (I just had some today and it was soooooo good). Along with the chocolates, caremilised biscuit spread, I also can’t get over this:
Awwwww…. it was the cutest birthday card ever! Thanks again guys! Bisous x
Sunday’s the day of the event: One Kapamilya Go – Milan.
I woke up at 7am and we had breakfast at around 7:30. The hotel served cooked breakfast, different types of cereals, hams, cheese, salad and fruits. I just had a huge fruit flatter with slices of melon, pineapple and kiwis plus orange juice. We went to the venue at around 9:30 as we started the rehearsals with the TFCKat Candidates (by the way, I hosted it) and the pre-artist show segment.
The rehearsals finished off at around 11:40 and we immediately drove back to the hotel (20-min drive from the venue) so I can quickly change, fix my hair and make-up and be back at the venue by 1pm. Hectic. Hectic. No time for lunch, thank God for the mini cakes. I think I’m excused as I needed sugary energy anyways.
Okay. We arrived at the venue at 1pm. I was wearing a yolk yellow dress from Zara (new – €69.00 only) and light peach to almost skin-coloured heels from Guess (from my closet – €170).
Don’t you love the cut of the dress at the back?! I do :-) There’s no much time for curling and all so I just did a clean pony tail and simple make-up.
Since Mark was also assisting us, he was able to take photos from one of the projected screens at the backstage area (the lower right photo was taken by Gil of Megaworld, thanks Gil!).
The event started with the Grand Finals of TFCkat Italy at 2:30pm til 4pm, followed by the sponsors’ segment after 15 minutes then the artists’ segment at around 5:10. RNG brought the cast of Apoy sa Dagat – Diether Ocampo, Angelica Panganiban and Piolo Pascual along with the comedian, Chokoleit. Thanks to Celle Caballero (Globe Telecom) for this Instagram photo:
Here are some photos I took from the backstage -
On the left was with Rolly Montoya, my cool co-host for TFCKat and sponsors segment; on the right was with Corn Tailor, the Pinoy designer in Milan (finally we’ve met!). Here are some photos I grabbed from my friends’ uploaded pics:
Top two photos are our Kapamilya from Megaworld International (Cesar Calangan, VP for EU; Marietta Sarmiento, CM for Italy; Gil Albarracin, Regional Admin Officer for EU). Lower left was the Megaworld team with the Apoy sa Dagat cast. Rolly and I were rehearsing our script on the lower right photo. Too bad I missed taking photos with Direk and other Kapamilya staff.
At the backstage, the VIP (very important person for me) was my husband who’s been my P.A., driver, wardrobe/make-up checker (y’know, he was the one I asked from time to time on how I looked on and off stage – just making sure my lipstick was still okay, my dress was still okay, and overall with me was okay). I’m so blessed to have a very supportive husband, thanks b!
The event was a success! Thanks to RNG, TFC, Sponsors, event staff, the support of our kababayans in Italy and to all those who made it possible. Of course, what’s next after work? Party!!!
We left the venue and arrived at the hotel at 8ish, dressed up quickly. Mga pagod na.. Mark was just wearing his top from Kooples (€95 – from our closet) over Levis jeans and I was wearing my military-gold-studded top from Zara (€69 – from our closet) over my favourite leggings and Tropizienne sandals (€45 – from our closet).
The team organised the cast party at the glamorous Ricci Milano located at Piazza della Repubblica. This place has a lounge bar and restaurant with chic minimalist design.
Sorry, my photos weren’t that good but this is the place to be. They served super delish appertizers and mains (like super sarap talaga!). Here are some photos I took whilst others were grabbed from my friends:
On the left, I was with Celle. The last time we saw each other was 2009 and it’s nice to catch up after all those years. Upper right was with my TFC family: Eric C, my husband, Luis (my cool boss / friend) and Eric B. Both Eric’s, based in Milan, posed side-by-side with Diether Ocampo on the lower right photo.
The photos above were grabbed from my friends’ FB /IG posts (upper left: RNG team with Luis and Piolo; upper right: Send off to Piolo and Diet at the airport with Ethnoex team the day after; lower left: Albert with Mikki and Diet; lower right: Paolo with Lloydie and Angelica).
We arrived at the hotel around 1ish and woke up gloriously at 9am on a Monday morning. Since we packed lightly for both Verona and Milan, I was wearing a top from Zara (€49 – from my closet), H&M shorts as seen on some of my earlier photos at Lake Garda (€9.99 – from my closet), accessorised with Hermes belt, Tory Burch flats and Prada bag. I should’ve worn my sandals but I don’t like my feet getting dirty from walking around the streets, lol.
After breakfast, Mark and I dropped by at the TFC Milan office for lunch with the two Eric’s then we went straight to Via Montenapoleone - Milan’s most fashionable shopping street. This is where you can say that Milan indeed is the fashion capital of the world. The street houses all big brands, name it, they have it (but I couldn’t find Louboutin’s). Mark wanted to buy me shoes but surprisingly, I thought of rather saving the money than splurging on branded items on this street which I did few years back. I bravely said NO this time :-)
Geeeeesh, the parking here was so bloody expensive and we spent €18 on parking for under 3 hours! We grabbed mirienda at one of the pizzerias in the area. We both had a pizza each and drinks for around €36.
We went back to the hotel and I had a brief meeting with Luis. We’re supposed to have our Sales and Marketing Summit but it didn’t push through as expected. Also, I was supposed to stay til Tuesday, meaning Mark’s driving back on his own and me taking the train from Milan to Ventimiglia the following day but Luis was so nice to let me go home with Mark. So along with the rest of the cast, Mark and I checked out that evening. Oh, let me not forget, here’s a photo taken with Piolo that sunny evening.
It took us about 3 hours to drive back home. Mark was feelin’ ala Marlon Stockinger for driving over 180km per hour thru the autostrada (motorway)! (He can only do that in Italy where he doesn’t get speed control penalty, lol).
Back here in Nice, I’m catching up with some work, household chores, unpacking and packing again for Rome this weekend. Please stay tuned for that…
Til next time. Ciao!