Get ready for a new year full of fresh inspiration, and special journeys
IPEN THIS LETTER having just arrived from my holiday to Bangkok where I celebrated my 65th birthday. It was a quiet celebration, as am known to have, and one that I truly enjoyed. Anyone who knows me would know that I don’t need much— just great company and great food. It got me thinking how remarkable it is that packing a bag and jetting off come so naturally for me. And truly a blessing I cherish. Last year, I was able to travel a lot to new destinations, and was able to have inspiring experiences that nourished my soul and refreshed my mind—as I hope to repeat this year. I encourage you, dear readers, to do the same. Travel is my personal reset button, my favorite recharge. Whether it’s to somewhere already familiar, or a new place entirely, traveling gives a fresh dose of inspiration and energy, which this new year definitely calls for. This is why we chose to have our Travel and Food Issue at the beginning of 2020, a gorgeous two-cover special, that we hope will inspire you, as it inspired us. Our first cover star is none other than socialite, mother, and vlogger Small Laude, who effortlessly and easily charms all—those who already know her and those who have only begun to take notice. The recognition and attention that Small’s vlog gets comes as no surprise to those around her, for she is simply a natural, with an innate humor and a gift for storytelling. Her YouTube channel only began just last year, and to date, she now has over 33,000 subscribers with a viewing average of 100,000 per video! “We were in LA and I told Yaya, let’s try nga to make a vlog. Yaya took the video and just with the phone she followed me as I walked around the house. I just walked around and talked, it was just short! Dani (Barretto) helped me find an editor and we uploaded it. I just found it fun, and when so many viewed it, I was so surprised and happy,” she shared. I can attest to her natural talent for being in front of the camera in this way, telling a story. There is something about Small that is so authentic and so charming; I think she would be amazing as a TV host! Her energy and her enthusiasm during our cover shoot were palpable and magnetic. Just as I loved watching her vlogs, I found myself also just wanting to be around her. A true star in the making, Small has so much ahead with regard to her blog. One thing is for sure: the world is tuning in, as it should. On our second cover, Anne Curtis travels to the modern, buzzing city of Seoul. The actress, celebrity, and soon-to-be-mother has long loved South Korea, and returns this time with Louis Vuitton to attend the opening of the fashion giant’s newest maison, a beautiful collaboration by Frank Gehry and Peter Marino. The three-day affair was a lot to soak in, but ultimately an experience that Anne enjoyed immensely. She tells Metro Society: “It was really special to me because I got to experience a different world that I love very much— the world of fashion. It was a three-day event of meeting ambassadors or representatives from each country, across the globe. On the first night, we all had dinner together to get introduced to everyone, followed by historical tours and sightseeing across Seoul the next day, and the opening of Maison Louis Vuitton Seoul by night.” She added that the store truly stands out along the Gangnam district because of its unique roof design, which reminded her of sails and clouds. “When I stepped inside, I was blown away by all of the beautiful furniture pieces, art installations, and on the very top floor, they had an art exhibit. When I was there, there were some stunning Giacometti sculptures on display, which I shared in my social media. But really, from the paper trees and flowers and furniture, everything was just really so beautiful.” On this trip, Anne got to attend the Louis Vuitton Cruise 2020 fashion show. “The cruise collection was absolutely stunning! I wanted to own every single piece, I loved all the pieces. It’s hard to choose just one. That’s why I was happy I got to wear a few pieces for the Metro Society shoot. Sadly, some didn’t quite fit due to my growing baby bump, but thankfully, some still did, so I was happy about that.” Head over to Anne’s story and see magical Seoul from a fresh set of eyes. Following the cover are travel stories that I hope will entice you to book your next trip, stat! First, we travel to Lapland in Finland with doctors Aivee and Z Teo and take in the awesome sights of the Aurora Borealis and create some precious memories with their kids. Then, we go to picturesque Carmel-By-The-Sea and Monterey with seasoned traveler Mia Borromeo. Argentina and Brazil carry with them so much vibrant energy but father-daughter tandem Mano and Pilar Recto breathe new excitement into the South American wonders. After, Raphael Lao takes us to Osaka, proving that a journey worth the while is often a journey off the beaten path. Last but certainly not the least, we travel with Marco and Rosanna Rodriguez to captivating New Zealand, and take in sights and flavors unlike anywhere else in the world. Also in this issue, we raise a glass and toast to friendship in a delightful dinner party hosted by Sheila Romero, with delicious Thai cuisine from Nara Thai, the perfect way to start this year. Then, we round up some of Manila’s best restaurants with JJ Yulo, a bona fide foodie. He lists down his favorite restaurants that make for perfect settings to the most important celebrations, or for when you simply want to treat yourself. In this feature, read up and drool over Metronome, Wild Flour Italian, Elbert’s Pizzeria, Mecha Uma, Gallery By Chele, The Test Kitchen, Lampara, Hapag, Cangrejos Locos, and M Dining. Then, we tip a few at some of Manila’s best bars: The Back Room, OTO, Alamat Filipino Pub & Deli, Kondwi, Mandalay Whiskey and Cigar Bar, and Elbert’s Upstairs Bar. Finally, we spend a night at the opera with Rustan’s Group of Companies and the Italian Embassy for Lucia di Lammermoor, a compelling yet tragic tale. All that, and so much more, are in store in this issue. May you find inspiration inside these pages, as I surely have. Until the next issue—cheers!