September 14, 2006 the Podium

HMMM...the presidentita GMA must be traveling light as she makes her way across Europe, Latin America and the Pacific this week. Seen watching the fashion show of Victorinox's newest luggage line last night at the Podium were business leaders Donald Dee and Miguel Varela, who usually travel with other prominent CEOs of the country's top businesses whenever GMA feels ambassadorial.

Asked why they were not with their presidentita, Varela's wife, Michelle, quickly spoke up, "Sa mga misis muna sila noh?", making everyone laugh. Dee's wife, a very luminous and young-looking Ophie, nodded and smiled in agreement. Ophie (short for Ophelia), mom of the equally beautiful former model Apples Aberin-Sadhwani, was one of the lucky winners of a Victorinox travel bag. Apples emceed the show with her proud husband, businessman Rajan Sadhwani, watching at the sidelines. Good thing he didn't win any prizes that night too or it would have been mighty suspicious. Hehe.

Anyway, Varela told us that they were indeed invited by their presidentita to join her trip but many of them declined because there were no business meetings scheduled on the sidelines of the quite longish trip which began on Sept. 9. He said the roundabout journey wasn't too encouraging either as it would take the delegation through a five-nation stop in Europe, then to Cuba before ending in Honolulu on Sept. 15.

Told that the UK Embassy in Manila issued about 120 visas for those in the presidential delegation, the very amiable Varela said, "Oo, lahat gusto pumunta ng London." He added, "They'll pay for their trip daw," though he turned away after making this remark. Hmmm... Varela, by the way, is virtually a member of the media, being the president of the Manila Bulletin. Plenty of hats, this man wears. :-)

Victorinox, the famous manufacturer of Swiss Army knives, watches and cutlery, offered a 20% discount to participants of last night's event. But we balked at the prices of its colorful double-stitched luggage which were selling for at least P15,000. The brand is definitely more expensive than Samsonite, but at those prices, you are definitely getting good quality products which conform to the latest international travel restrictions. Lightweight yet made of good strong materials, and with various compartments to ensure hassle-free packing. It's really the must-have travel gear for all.

(Victorinox is located at the second floor of the Podium, Ortigas Center, Pasig City.)

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