Ciao! It’s another beautiful day in South of France and I’m so excited to share my tiramisu experience with one of the most popular Filipino artists last weekend.
When I was still living in the Philippines over a decade ago, I never missed a single episode of Yna and Angelo’s love story in Pangako Sa’yo. It’s the phenomenal soap opera that ran for 2 years in the Philippines, had a rerun at The Filipino Channel last 2007 (and still available at IPTV) and is currently showing in Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Kenya, Ghana, Cameroon, Tanzania, Namibia, Zambia, China, Botswana and Uganda. This teleserye have billions of viewers worldwide since 2000.
And yes (saying this with *kilig), I had the privilege of spending my weekend at Rome with Angelo Buenavista of Pangako Sa’yo, Oliver Falcon at Dahil sa Pag-ibig, singer, songwriter, breakthrough artist and the Kapamilya Superhunk – Jericho Rosales! Oh, that was part of my script when I introduced Echo on stage during our event last Sunday – yes, I hosted it (*wink). But prior to the show, I shared this tiramisu with Echo over lunch -
Kilig much! The show was part of TFC Fiesta Caravan as we sponsored the 115th Philippine Independence Day Celebration in Rome last June 9. I left home the day before (Saturday). Mark and I left home at 5:20am to catch my 6:33 train from Ventigmilia station (Italian town next to the border of France).
That means waking up super early! It wasn’t my first time travelling via train from France to Italy. I used to do this quite a lot when I was still at my previous job but the furthest I’d been that time was from Monaco to Florence. And this time, it was longer. Sorry to say but Italian trains (except the Eurostar Italia) are not the nicest. The First Class carriages were OKAY na sana basta palitan lang nila yung seat covers - that’s me politely saying that – sorry maarte lang! I just want to set your expectations in case you do that same journey.
Since Mark didn’t come with me due to his work commitments and we’re not driving this time, I made sure I packed lightly. I was carrying a white Longchamp travel bag, my favourite Prada handbag and of course, the thing that kept me sane during the looooong train hours – my iPad.
Since I was bored to death at some point, I decided to take pics of what’s inside my handbag, maybe you’d find it useful too. So I had my Avene Thermal Spring Water Spray (I keep spraying this on my face for a fresher feeling); Bath & Body Works hand sanitizer (thanks to Helen); wet wipes and tissues; foldable bag; mints and bonbons; my passport, pen and train ticket of course; iPad and iPhone charger with the headset from the Lotus F1 bag I received from Marlon’s dad; Mac pressed powder (not that I use the powder whilst travelling, I just use the mirror) and my good o’l Vaseline lipbalm; some businesscards (you’ll never know) and my Gucci sunglasses.
Scared to starve-to-death, I also brought some baon (packed food). I had chopped carrots and cherry tomatoes perfect for hummus; I also had chopped mangoes; organic apple; oreo (which I haven’t opened yet until now); I made chicken sandwich )using the leftover chicken breast from the pansit I cooked the night before) partnered with Helen’s homemade cheese pimiento (oh, this is soooooo good); nuts; french macaroons and water.
As you’ve noticed, I usually wear (well it is advisable to wear) comfy clothes esp during long travels. No heels/wedge or super tight non-stretched jeans por favor. I was wearing a soft cotton white tshirt from Zara over soft jeggings from Primark and soft flat canvass shoes from Zara too. I brought my Levis demin jacket in case it gets cold which it did later on due to aircon.
After 7.5 hours, there I arrived at Roma Termini where my colleague, Eric, picked me up. Echo and Tita Ines (his manager) just arrived as well from Norway and they were having lunch at the trattoria across the hotel. For a split second I realised I was speaking face-to-face with one of the stars I looked up to since I was in high school but Echo was just so nice and straightaway, you’ll feel comfortable talking with him. We all checked in at the Starshotel Metropole after trattoria, freshen up, and spent the afternoon checking out some spots in Rome. I’d been to Rome couple of times but this time, I was with Echo. So how about coffee overlooking Rome and Vatican City?!
After quick pasyal around this marvelous city, we went back to the hotel to rest for a bit and get ready for dinner. I wasn’t able to take as much photos of the hotel unlike my previous trips in Lake Garda and Milano a week ago but I took some photos of the lobby:
I think the hotel is quite pricey compared to the quality of Starshotel ECHO in Milan where we stayed (both were €180 per night but the one in Milan is more chic). On the lower right, I took a photo of my ballerinas from Zara – stylish, light to carry and perfect for the cobbled streets in Rome!
For Saturday night dinner, Eric took us to the famous i Butteri and tried its best-selling steak. OMG – two HUGE-sized steaks fed 6 people and the bill was only €140. I really enjoyed it as much as Echo and Tita Ines and they also recommended to try Mamu when we visit Pinas.
We went to the Gelateria next to i Butteri but I had no room for anything else after our HUGE meal! We brought Echo and Tita back to the hotel but Eric and I went to see some friends at Trastevere – hanging out like the Romans!
We met them at the al fresco pizzeria across this funky clothes shop. Shame that I wasn’t able to try the pizza and just had sparkling water instead since I was really stuffed from our beefy dinner. Next time :-)
Arrived at the hotel at past 1am (that’s me being awake for over 21 hours!) and woke up at 8:30am on Sunday as I had to accompany Tita at the event’s venue for sound check at 10am.
Sunday was a busy day. After the sound check, Tita Ines and I returned to the hotel and had lunch with Echo at the resto nearby. I only had melon with parma ham since Megaworld served us the delicious caldereta, pinakbet and rice when we were at the venue. Over lunch, Echo was immediately recognised by the Filipinos passing by as we were sitting at the table on the sidestreet, and he gladly welcomed the numerous photo opt that took place. This was also the place where we shared the tiramisu (as seen on the first photo). Grabe, wala syang ka-arte arte! By the way, if you visit Rome, try the tiramisu at Coffee Time at Via del Viminale – it’s one of the best tiramisu’s I’ve ever tried!
Soon after lunch, we started to get ready for the show and I wore the salmonish-orange top that I got from Bershka for only €9.99 over my fave Zara demin shorts matched with the capiz bracelet Mark bought when he was in Cebu and my brown Guess strappy high heels. (I kinda looked short on this photo below but it was just the angling and I think the way my top was tacked in)…
I quickly curled my hair (like the usual) and apply a light make-up (I almost had no lipstick there as that was taken at the latter part of the show, most probably nakain ko na yata yung lipstick ko!).
Our segment started at 5pm and I co-hosted my idol in between his mini-concert for the ‘Dating Game’ with 5 selected ladies from the audience. It was good fun!
Thanks Kuya Manny for the photos! During the show, Echo melted the hearts of our kababayans in Rome.
Thanks to the talented Stefano Romano for the photos. Please click here for his FB page. Stefano also took this photo of Echo at the holding area -
Meet and greet photo opt took place after the show and we headed back to the hotel to get ready for the cast party dinner. The day was almost perfect until the unexpected incident just after the cast party. I wouldn’t want to go into details but it was just shocking how some people would be so insensitive of certain situation. But what I love most about Echo was his values (how grounded he is and how much he loves God), that he treated such incident with humility even it was totally not his fault. He was even the one who apologised and gave a smile back to some ‘insensitive and abusive’ people. This reminded me of Mother Theresa’s quote:
People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway. If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway. The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway. Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.
See, Echo’s not just a pretty face, uh? Seriously, this man is a living testimony how it is to live a life loving God and loving others. So sikat yet so humble and as he expressed in his email back to me, “God is good…I’m just a vessel”. Amen.
But in all honesty, that good day was kinda ruined by the unfortunate situation but instead of going back to our hotel rooms sad, Echo, Tita Ines and I went to the resto nearby the hotel after the party so satisfy our ‘cravings’. And guess what, we had another round of tiramisu! Perfect way to unwind…
We brought Echo and Tita to the airport for their Manila-bound flight on Monday morning after which Eric and I hanged out in Rome for abit to catch our train to Milan around mid-day. Grazie to Echo for giving me a copy of his latest album before he left -
Yes – France soon – I hope! x
From Milan, I took the train to Ventigmilia (under 4 hours) and grabbed these healthy snacks at Milano Centrale.
Arrived at Ventigmilia by 9sih and Mark’s waiting for me at the platform, we went quickly for sushi for dinner and he surprised me with this triple chocolate cake from the famous Mesiano (this patisier-chocolatier is the usual choice at Bono’s villa and the same place where Mark bought our anniv cake). Super sweet, mas kinilig ako sympre dun!
As I sit now on my working desk (kahit tambak ng backlogs and admin work), I would like to thank God for my job, for the people I meet (Joel Osteen called it “divine connection”) and for my husband na na-miss ko when I was in Rome.
Thanks for reading guys. God bless x