Chasing Cherry Blossoms...
We arrived in Tokyo just as it was transitioning to spring. En route to Haneda aboard our PAL flight, images of cherry blossoms filled my mind— memories of that magnificent sight when Tokyo's trees bloom in one glorious explosion of pink. There is nothing quite like sakura season. It is no wonder that in Japan, an entire culture surrounds the age-old tradition of hanami (cherry blossom viewing) that welcomes spring and celebrates the ephemeral beauty of nature.
On this trip , I knew it was still too early in the year to catch that exquisite moment, but I was resolutely determined to find even just one spot of cherry trees in full bloom for our cover shoot.
What a delight it was to settle into the Peninsula Tokyo. With the well-loved GM Sonja Vodusek now posted there, along with other Manila Pen veterans like Stephanie Chong, we immediately felt right at home. The hotel is centrally located on Ginza and across the Imperial Palace. Upon stepping outside you immediately sense how in Tokyo—east and west, old and new, tradition and innovation— collide in one seamless, fascinating fusion. This seems to permeate every facet of city life: from art to architecture; from food to fashion.
On that first chilly morning, we set off at the crack of dawn for the ancient temple grounds of Asakusa (circa 645 AD). It was a pleasure to shoot Rissa Mananquil-Trillo whose ability to effortlessly change looks between takes, in the middle of city streets and parks (not to mention in the freezing cold!) was impressive.
Our morning's itinerary in search of the elusive cherry blossoms eventually led us to the small, quiet riverside Sumida Park. And just as the team was beginning to feel that the search might be futile, my eye caught a glimmer of pink in the far distance! I could not contain my excitement as I rushed to the end of the boardwalk. First one, then two, then three cherry trees merged in a sublime profusion of delicate pink blossoms! We had found our cover spot! Pure joy!!!
Speaking of sublime moments, in this issue, Curtis Chin, the former US Ambassador to the ADB shares his wonderful tale of a once-in-a-lifetime encounter with the Dalai Lama ( Discovering Dharamsala, p. 184) .
In this volume, also read about the recent journeys of some of our towns avid travellers. Stephanie KienleGonzales on a special family holiday in Sri Lanka ( Just the Three of Us, p. 128); Ginggay Joven-dela Merced on climbing Mt. Pulag ( Walk Above the Clouds, p. 176) and Cristalle Belo-Pitt on the slopes of Niseko ( Powder Bliss, p. 122).
As we move from spring, this special time of year with its promise of renewal and endless new beginnings, to full-blown summer, we prepare to celebrate Philippine Tatler Traveller's fifth year with our annual Art of Luxury Travel event. Heartfelt thanks go out to my hardworking team, our generous contributors, loyal industry partners, advertisers and you, our dear readers, who continue to make this journey an unforgettable one.
Mia Borromeo Editor, Philippine Tatler Traveller
Cover Credits: In Tokyo's Sumida Park: Rissa MananquilTrillo wears Randy Ortiz; cherry blossom earrings, stylist's own.
Photography: Sara Black Styling: Mia Borromeo