Chas­ing Cherry Blos­soms...

Philippine Tatler Traveller - - Editor's Note -

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.

Happy trav­els,

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

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