November 30, 2007

Libre ang mangarap di ba?

Something Like Life
Nov. 30, 2007

BEGINNING tomorrow, December 1, we have exactly 23 days to get our Christmas lists in order, subtracting the friends we haven’t seen for ages or adding new ones to the list (including new bosses for the proverbial sipsip gifts), and getting all our shopping done before the clock strikes midnight to herald the Christ Lord’s birth.

I’m almost done, having eliminated most of my lovable and understanding friends from my list and pleading poverty again this year, but I still need to get in order the gifts for the godchildren (with a plus-one courtesy of Iris this year).

After having had a less-than-productive shopping expedition with Fil at the International Bazaar at the PICC, I’m looking forward to a three-day shopping extravaganza at the St. James Bazaar in Alabang beginning today. Hopefully by this Sunday, I would be all done with my gift-buying, allowing me to concentrate on my own needs next. After all, I’ve toiled, sweated and run around godknowswhere, just to earn honest decent wages from my writing, so it’s time I get some rewards in return.

And I do have a lot of dream gifts for this Christmas, not that I can afford them all. But perhaps I can take a cue from the wildly popular video/book The Secret and focus all my positive thoughts and energies on these gifts. I shall visualize receiving these wonderful goodies and, for sure, most of them will be handed to me effortlessly. And, nah, I’m not going to wish for any of that “peace and goodwill to all men” crap that everyone unabashedly says when the klieg lights and cameras are switched on in their direction. I’m all pure materialism this year.

My 10 dream gifts this Christmas are:

Ananda in the Himalayas

1. A 10-day free stay in all the best spas in the world, with complimentary massages, body treatments and yoga instruction. These should include Reethi Rah in the Maldives, Banyan Tree in Phuket, the Ananda in the Himalayas and, just for kicks, the Four Seasons Biltmore Resort in Santa Barbara, just because Vanity Fair columnist Christopher Hitchens stayed there and tried to get an extreme makeover.

2. A monthlong cooking, eating and drinking tour of Tuscany, Italy, preferably, of course, with some gorgeous hunka-hunka burning love I’ll probably meet over there. Who knows, I’ll probably move there permanently. Think Diane Lane in Under the Tuscan Sun, right Francine?

3. The freakin’ P3.2-million, 103-inch Panasonic plasma TV everyone’s been talking about. While I have no room in my mother’s townhouse to put it in, I can probably have it installed in the garage and watch all first-rate, still-to-be shown-in-local-theaters movies on DVD. Of course, I will have to charge my neighbors P200 each if they want watch the movies with me. That P3.2 million will be paid up for in no time. Uh-huh, I’m so smart, aren’t I? Don’t you wish we were friends?

4. Full-course lunch or dinner at French Laundry with chef-turned-TV host/book author Anthony Bourdain. I saw a long-ago episode of Bourdain’s TV show where he and his chef buddies dined at what has been called one of the best restaurants in the world, and everyone looked like they were having fun with the tasting menu alone and the wine just flowing. This time, I’ll do the eating and Bourdain will provide the laughs (along with the credit card to pay the bill). We will have fun roasting that perennially perky fake cook Rachel Ray! Ooof! What the hell was Oprah thinking?

French Laundry's Atlantic Halibut (Photo from

5. Majority ownership in at least one hugely profitable listed firm, like SM Investments, PLDT (yeah, even if Smart Communications is ever so slow to release my new phone under my retention policy) or Globe Telecommunications (just to get back at Smart), JG Summit Holdings and Metrobank. There are other companies that are attractive but I’m still too busy plotting the takeover of the other firms. Besides, I don’t want to appear too greedy…duh.

6. My own vineyard and winery in New Zealand, which produces some of the most exciting wines in the world these days. I had the good fortune of touring the Villa Maria Estate years before NZ wines were introduced in the local market and marveled at the modern processes used to produce its award-winning wines (large steel barrels in place of oak, and screwcaps instead of corks). I shall become the best world producer of award-winning Pinot Noirs, Shiraz and Sauvignon Blancs.

7. The Jodie Ankle Boot from Louis Vuitton, which, I swear, is the most fabulous ankle boot ever! Made of canvas and calf leather, the brown boot just looks oh-so-comfortable even with its four-inch heel. I like it also because the LV monogram detail is subtle, unlike the ones on those fake LV bags available at your friendly tindera in the Greenhills tiangges. I especially love the metal rivets and tiny buckle detail. I stumbled on the Jodie after dreaming about a pair of LV boots, which set me off googling photos of LV boots one entire day.

8. The untitled 1954 oil on canvas by HR Ocampo displayed in the function room of the Bank of the Philippine Islands named after the artist. Or perhaps Pablo Amorsolo’s portraits of the Women of Rizal hanging in the BPI chairman’s office? Yes, some art for Christmas may be good for the soul, and will undoubtedly also raise one’s market value in the eyes of envious friends. And you all thought I was shallow!

Lake Como, Italy (Photo from Student Brittanica)

9. A house in the Southhamptons or maybe in Lake Como in Italy where all my friends and I can play all day. There’s nothing like exchanging gossip over cocktails with Vera Wang, Renée Zellwegger, and George Soros at the Hamptons abode, or having dinner with gorgeous George Clooney and his Ocean 12 buddies at my lakeside retreat. Of course, my friends will have to pay for their own airfare and land transport to get there. Sorry, darlings, no such thing as a free lunch!

And last but not the least:

10. Tony Leung. Need I explain?

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