Travelling In Pairs: Society Duos Share Their Most Cherished Travel Memories
Dr Aivee and Keli Teo
The most striking memory that I had with my daughter Keli was our winter adventure to the beautiful country of Finland. We had the privilege of witnessing the aurora borealis dancing in front of us like a magical troupe of graceful dancers amid a stunning backdrop of the Finnish sky. We stood there mesmerised, hand in hand and in awe of God’s amazing creation. Time stood still for those 10 to 15 minutes, but that memory remained etched like a beautiful postcard in our minds. Keli and I also had wonderful memories sleeping in our quaint transparent glass igloos and watching the countless stars as we did girly talk before drifting off to sleep in our pyjamas. Another memorable moment was when we went ice fishing together in a frozen lake. Drilling a hole in the middle of the lake and throwing our fishing lines into the icy-cold water, our hot cocoas steaming out of our thermos flask by our side was just picture perfect. After fishing and taking lots of selfies and photos, we walked back to our campsite where we sat around a warm wood fire, toasted marshmallow on sticks and drank hot chocolate. It was like a scene from a National Geographic episode and something we will never forget. Exploring the Finnish culture together and trying out new food like reindeer meat will be memories that Keli and I will keep in our hearts for the rest of our lives. We can’t wait for this global pandemic to be over so that we can explore the world again and enjoy new experiences together.
Secretary Karlo and Marga Nograles
Even if we have visited many beautiful places these last few years, we always go back to when we celebrated our 10th year anniversary in Zermatt, Switzerland.
Karlo had to be in Geneva every year for work at one point—and I would always join him to spend time with my aunt and cousins who live there. But one of our most memorable trips to Switzerland happened in the winter. From Geneva, Karlo and I took the trains to Zermatt but when we arrived, it wasn’t snowing yet. I remember being so disappointed. While on the train, I was secretly hoping that Zermatt would be covered in white when we got there. It wasn’t. It felt just like the usual lovely quaint town with horse-drawn carriages—but no snow. I recall having a delightful dinner in the 2-star Michelin restaurant After Seven at our hotel, Backstage Boutique Spa Hotel. And I super loved it… but I kept checking the weather, hoping and praying that it will snow. The next day after breakfast, God decided to surprise me. When we stepped out of our hotel, it was drizzling white flurries… We couldn’t believe it. It was SNOWING!!! Like for real. Karlo and I will never forget that. One hour later, the little quaint town transformed into a winter wonderland and suddenly the horses seemed like they had come out of a fairy tale. Every day thereafter, every breakfast, lunch and dinner we had was magical. The Matterhorn, the lamb, the octopus, the tunnels, the slopes, the most amazing spa where we had to go from one room to another under the snow, the outdoor sauna with our champagne… and just sharing this magical experience together. We will never forget Zermatt.
Natalia Peña and Apollo Lara
Our favourite travel memory is when we visited Bangkok and Pattaya in Thailand last December 2019, to explore these cities and attend the Wonderfruit Festival. Thailand amazed us with its delicious food, heritage sites, and amazingly rich culture. Apollo had never been to Thailand before, so we were so incredibly excited!
We started our trip in Bangkok, where we focused on temple hopping and restaurant searching! We love using Luxe City Guides to find the best places! We thoroughly explored the magical temples around the Chao Phraya River, spending days seeing the Wat Pho and Wat Arun, and even exploring the Grand Palace nearby. Seeing the largest reclining Buddha and the intricate designs of each temple were remarkable moments. Each corner of every site we visited held a story, and with Apollo’s main hobby being photography, we really enjoyed capturing all the different scenes Bangkok had to offer.
Our favourite restaurant in Bangkok is the Michelin-starred restaurant Raan Jay Fai run by Supinya Junsuta. One of the most exciting things we were looking forward to was eating Jay Fai’s crab omelet. Ever since we saw her street food episode on Netflix, we knew we just had to try it. It is what crab dreams are made of! The egg was cooked to golden brown perfection and it was split open to reveal very generous chunks of sweet juicy crab.
After Bangkok, we made our way to Pattaya to spend the weekend at the Wonderfruit Festival of which the amazing Katrina Razon is the director. More than just a music festival, Wonderfruit focuses on wellness, health, food and sustainability. What impressed us most were the fantastically huge art installations around the whole site area, which, with the stages, were only made using recycled or eco-friendly materials. Everything on site was eco-friendly, which was amazing! No single-use plastics were allowed–leaving everyone to carry around their special Wonderfruit cup or other sustainable options. We even drank out of some dragon fruits converted into cups! We were also able to attend a couple of workshops and listen to a few talks revolving around sustainability and mindfulness. It was such a unique and fun experience for us. We were so excited to return this year but ah, I guess we will wait!
Overall, Thailand was amazing and the trip was such an incredible experience to share with one another! We cannot wait for the world to open up again to experience more adventures.
Ricky Toledo and Chito Vijandre
Right before leaving for Egypt, we bumped into Imelda Marcos who was having dinner with Teyet Pascual and Lulu Tinio at Damaso. We informed her about our holiday destination and she got all excited, reminiscing about her meeting Egypt’s President Anwar Sadat in the ‘70s and how she had given him a donation for the construction of a museum. Although we were impressed by how our government actually had a hand in the creation of a cultural institution showcasing one of the world’s most ancient civilisations, we forgot about it when we arrived in Egypt and started our sightseeing, which included a cruise down the river Nile. Who would think that at one of our stops in Luxor, we would see the museum that the former First Lady was talking about? But there it was, a plaque that acknowledged the donation made by the Philippine government, a detail that our guide noticed and pointed out to us and naturally made us feel proud of our country’s contribution to this venerable institution halfway round the world. The pride and joy of this discovery, however, would turn to melancholy and reflection at our next stop—the temple of the pharaoh, Ramesses II, whose Greek name is Ozymandias, the subject of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s sonnet. Walking among the ruins, his words reverberated, “And on the pedestal, these words appear: ‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: Look on my works, ye Mighty and despair!’ Nothing beside remains. Round the decay of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare, the lone and level sands stretch far away.” It was such a poignant reminder of the fleeting nature of power, the transience and fragility of life—lessons that revisit us again today and resonate during this time of the pandemic.
This story was originally published in Tatler Traveller Philippines Vol. 18. Download it on your digital device via Zinio, Magzter, or Pressreader.