I never thought the day would come when I would stand up in front of a crowd and pitch a city. Nonetheless, I am thankful to all the people and friends who encouraged me to do this and who came. And to the Lord, for giving all those people the spectacular minds and hands to create all those that was created centuries ago, for my lens to capture.
To the Philippine-Italian Association, the members of its Board for endorsing and gracing this event. It’s General Manager, Alessandro Milani for the campaign and the logistics.
To the Etihad Airways for safely flying me to/from Italy, with much love and attention. To Juan Torres and Yvette Ibarrientos, you were spectacular!
To the Fidenza Village Outlets, for welcoming your doors to me and my lens. And for making the experience very exciting, like no other. To Gianluca, for taking care of me and taking me to and from this place.
Grazie Mille. Maraming salamat po.
Below is the context of spill.
– BONA SERA! Tonight, I feel the love! Thank you all for coming. You honor me with your presence.
– Tonight, I will be sharing with you some of my best photographs taken when I visited Milan in early October last year. Some of these were taken using an iPhone while some were taken using my camera.
– But first, I want to thank the organisers of tonight’s intimate event. Alessandro Milani, GM of the PIA. The members of the board of PIA like James Freney, with my Mamita, Mrs Nellie Bengzon. And to you, Dr Becky Singson for believing and agreeing. This night was not in my plans – because I am shy.
– PIA, maraming salamat po. 🙏🏼
– Not to be outdone, the aperitif and the dinner tonight were exceptional. And the choice of wine, excellent! Grazie Mille, Emilio, owner and the man behind this restaurant, Caruso who is also, from Milan.
– “May kwento ako” is the title of my blog that I started after this trip to Italy. The BIG thrill and GRATITUDE of winning a trip to Milan, Rome. Very thankful for winning the Grand raffle prizes because who wins at raffle prizes, right?
– You see, to me, the trip started with the 55th Anniversary of the PIA. I had chosen a seat in the table with the sponsors that evening. When I told them that photography was a hobby, they asked me to take their photos while they were up on stage. So I stationed myself in front, Center.
– Dr Becky was the Emcee that night! And she had a funny way of announcing the winning ticket number.
– when I thought my number won, I asked for my ticket number to be checked because maybe … just maybe. I was feeling faint by then. And half embarrassed that Maybe I read it wrong. Well, the rest is a most pleasant history!
– moral of the Story : look for a seat with the sponsors!
– The Etihad Business Class experience and gift checks to experience Fidenza Village Outlets. Things tasted differently when they were free! They seem to be made in heaven, almost.
Choice of Milan and/or Rome. I chose both because I had not been
to Milan because this city had long scared me.
– Rome because I had found some great spots to photograph. And I wanted to discover more of the city.
– The second big experience was a visit to Fidenza Village Outlets where I went twice : once in a chauffer-driven Mercedes with Euro 600 in gift checks which seemed to have slipped my hands like it was P600! And a second time by train then in a colorum taxi.
Lots of top fashion brands. For the black belt in shopping.
– Historic Center. Since I live in Makati and i only had 6 full days in Milan, its ultra modern section was not on top of my list. I wanted centuries old, pre-Ferdinand Magellan experiences in architecture, churches, art, lifestyle. OLD, as in old. Except for the hotel, I like new, modern, complete.
– The food was always exceptional. But it is not easy to eat and enjoy a meal alone. You cannot order too many to try. At this age, I cannot eat so much anymore. But every bite was an experience. And I would chance upon restaurants that were recommended by friends or in Tripadvisor, my other travel BFF. You observe what Food and wine other people ordered. How they dressed.
– But the places themselves added more spice to the meal. One exceptional place was part of a Palazzo, being a grand home and the restaurants occupied a portion. And that i cannot imagine what that was like 500 years ago.
– I have always have been fond of going to Churches in the Old World. I discovered that I do not enjoy modern churches. My mind associates God to 2000 years ago so the older the church, the better it works for me. I like modern architectur:e but not in Churches. With very ornate cornices, thick, tall baseboards, sponge-painted walls with some of the walls featuring marble-cladding. More like heaven.
– One fine but very early morning, like 5am, I walked the streets leading towards the Duomo wanting to go hear mass in this world- famous church. But I was told by this man that I had to queue to buy a ticket. I thought it was absurd! Ridiculous, I thought. Eh tinopak ako! I lined up in the Vatican but no one told me that I had to queue for a ticket to pay to enter to hear mass, I thought. So I decided to take photographs of the exterior walls of the Duomo. This is how I ended up taking photos of the church doors. Which to me turned out to be a very special experience.
– So the Duomo was started in the late 1300s and completed in the late 1800s. The doors were made of bronze. Now, because of oxidation, it has turned blue-green. But I can imagine what the doors looked liked all shiny. Like gold. Must have been spectacular! But I don’t think there’s enough metal polish and manpower that can clean up all the doors, though. But that’s a delicious thought, I’d imagine.
– Then, I started to do what I would call as my version of Street Photography. Taking photos of people around the Duomo as I headed back to the hotel for a nice breakfast. But the walk took me over an hour. As you can imagine, I took lots of selfies to document that I was indeed in Milan. Hahahaha. And of the nearby buildings. Almost all of the buildings around the Duomo were grand. They were in different states of condition though. Some better looking than others. Mostly commercial establishments. In one corner was a grand looking building which turned out to a bank that I had not heard of before. Once upon a time, I imagined that it must have been the grand home of a very wealthy family because in the Philippines, only the wealthy and powerful lived closer to God’s home. Or so it seems.
– There were several tabacaleras. Or the Italian version of a Sari Sari store. Cellphone cards, coffee, breads, cookies, water, fruit juices, souvenir items. I did not enter because I had breakfast waiting in the hotel.
– The walk back was nice. A 1.1 kilometer away. A good,light, warm up for the rest of the day, I thought. Breakfast was ready.
By and large, it was a great week in Milan. The weather was beautiful. The energy of the city was powerful. Everything had a story. I look forward to visiting this magnificent city once again and maybe get to visit the other very interesting districts. Maybe with some of you here tonight. No, I have no Etihad ticket nor gift checks from Fidenza Village Outlet to raffle off.
But I pay forward for winning these grand raffle prizes with two humble photographs that I took while in Milan. May I call on our Game Master of the night. Alessandro Milani, GM of the PIA to do the honors.
On that note, I say, maraming salamat po. It’s been a wonderful evening of family, friends, wine, food and music. And photographs.
BONNA NOTTE! Grazie Mille!