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HONGKONG RENDEZVOUS


It has been 3 months since the DBF and I last saw each other. (After the engagement, I went back to Manila and have not been back to Zurich since.) This was the longest time we were apart so we decided to meet-up in HongKong even only for one weekend.

I decided to fly to HongKong a few days before him. I had 2 things on my agenda:

1) Order a custom-made wedding band
2) Look for the most comfortable pair of wedding shoes

I knew that I would get a good deal for both in HongKong.

The DBF was a little bit worried about me travelling alone in HongKong. And that’s coz he wasn’t present in my life yet when I would go there alone to bargain hunt!

My parents were not even worried a bit about me travelling alone there coz they knew that the place is practically my second home in Asia. When we were last there as a family, they even flew back to Manila ahead of me because I needed at least a day to shop around by myself. Nobody in my family dares to accompany me when I’m shopping because they know that I would rummage all the stores first before I decide to buy something.

I’m the type of shopper who has to know all the merchandise in all of my favorite stores first before I decide on spending my money on something. I don’t care if at the end of the day, I couldn’t feel my feet anymore. :)

Anyway, I got to check both items on my list.

I got to order my wedding band from a friend’s trusted Chinese jeweller. I will be able to get it before I fly back to Zurich in November. Shoutout to Aimee C., Angelica C., and Cholo C. for accompanying me to the jeweller and for facilitating for the payment and pick-up of the item! Thank you for the kindness!

I had a bit of a problem with what I wanted at first coz almost all of the stores in HongKong only produced rings in 18k gold. I was afraid our contact would also be limited to that metal. I wanted platinum setting. It’s hypoallergenic and it matches the ring that the DBF gave me.

Good thing the private jeweller accepts custom-made platinum jewellery! I was sooo relieved!

Here’s a similar ring to what I ordered. It looks nice next to my engagement ring coz it picks up the shape and color of the main stone.

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I had 2 days to roam around HongKong Central, Mongkok and TST. I spent at least half a day looking for a pair of wedding shoes. Unlike most girls, I’m really not into shoes because I have wide feet. I am all for comfort when I buy a pair of shoes. I also only have at least 3 pairs to last me more than a year. I only stick to mostly beige as well because I can pair it with anything.

That being said, I knew that for my wedding day, comfort is the primary priority. And because comfortable shoes for big feet are so hard to find nowadays, I went to all of the trusted shoe brands I could find. From Christian Louboutin to Manolo Blahnik, Jimmy Choo to Valentino, Roger Vivier to Saint Laurent.

I ended up with these top 2 options:

Valentino in Monaco Blue and Beige

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and Low-heel (3in) YSL Tribute in hard-to-find Beige

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I also considered the pale pink version.

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I posted the shoes on my Instagram and my friends voted for the beige Tributes. Thanks to my good friend Amelie B. for finally convincing me to buy it! She says she’s “not French for nothing!” ;) Thanks also to my benefactor cousins Kaye and Bea C.!!! <3

I didn't really shop for anything else after that! Gone were the days when just the words "sale sale sale" were enough to make me go all Tazmanian devil at the shops! :) I've matured significantly already!

I didn't spend a lot on hotels in HongKong because my dear couple friends C and A adopted me at their pad in TungChung!

Look at my room! The view was spectacular!

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This is me with A roaming around the CityGate outlet mall just a few minutes away from their condo. Thank you for listening to my non-stop stories! I miss you already! :)

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I also stayed at my dear French friend’s pad at the Mid-level Towers in Central. We met at Central, ate at my favorite Xiao long bao place Din Tai Fung at Silvercord Mall, and had drinks at Cafe Havana in Lan Kwai Fong.

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I stayed the longest at the IFC Mall, Alexandria House, and the Landmark!

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The weekend came and it was time to meet my hot fiancé at the airport!

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I thought of creating this sign last minute. I stole a used bond paper at the travel and tours counter of the arrival area. :)

This weekend was really intended to be a double date with C and M.

We spent the weekend gorging on dimsum and HongKong style meals. We also went bar hopping. We lounged at a rooftop bar called Sevva. Then we got drenched in the rain looking for what was dubbed as the “best party bar in HongKong”, Play. Then we capped the night at Dusk til Dawn where a Filipino band was playing.

The DBF almost didn’t make it to HongKong but God is good and He gave us the much-needed time together.

It was a short but sweet weekend. I got to know more about the guy I’m gonna marry in less than 48 hours and my conviction to stay with him for a lifetime was all the more solidified in that so short a time. I am grateful.

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Til my next getaway,
d.

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THE EPIC MARRIAGE PROPOSAL AT THE ZURICH FLUGHAFEN (AIRPORT)


ANNOUNCEMENT

The DBF and I are ENGAGED!!!!!!!!!

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And I couldn’t be any prouder of how he planned and executed his proposal. It was so well-thought of and so full of meaning for the both of us. He couldn’t have chosen a better way of doing it. The timing, the place, the surprise… I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way!

Well, that’s not exactly true. Hahahaha. I have imagined it to happen in Paris, with the view of the Eiffel Tower. I also thought he would do it in Greece when he surprised me with a booked ticket to Athens. When I got no proposal in Athens, I thought to myself, maybe he’s gonna pop the question in Italy, or in Cannes…or Provence…or Nice. Or maybe in Monaco–our 11th new country to go to together?! But he didn’t.

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So I gave up on the idea. In fact, on the day that he proposed, I was talking with my cousin on Viber and was telling her that maybe the DBF is taking his time. Maybe he’s gonna grant me that one year that I asked of him (so I may put my MBA to good use and work again in Manila).

MORNING OF THE PROPOSAL

That morning in Switzerland, while doing the second batch of laundry and hanging the first batch onto the clothesline, I was talking with my cousin K over the phone. She’s also engaged to be married in 2015. We were talking about how life would really change once we tie the knot. I was telling her that I’m dreading the idea of juggling household work with a full-time career. And that all hell will break loose when on top of those things, we would have to take care of babies! Hahaha! I even told her that I’m kind of excited to go back to work in Manila coz I was really getting tired of the household chores in Zurich! LOL.

Anyway, weeks before that morning, I already knew that we were gonna meet the DBF’s best friend C, a flight steward from Swiss Air, at the Zurich Flughafen for an “Airport Tour”. I was told that the Swiss Airport has a really nice observation deck and that the tour has been arranged by C way before I even flew to Zurich. I also knew that after the tour, the DBF and I will have dinner at Restaurant Die Waid which was on top of a hill and overlooking the city. Thereafter, we were scheduled to proceed to the bar to meet some friends for his post-birthday and my farewell party (since I was gonna be leaving for Manila in a few days).

I had NO CLUE that he was gonna propose that day because 1) It was a Friday and he had work 2) He had to drive his mom to the airport during lunch time which made him pretty stressed out that day already 3) He even offered a colleague to ride with us from the office to the airport because she was scheduled to fly to London 4) He even made me buy a tank top to wear underneath my sheer top when we were already at the airport! Hahahahaha He was clearly not trying to please me that day!!! :)

THE REVEAL

I met-up with him at the airport wearing a black and cream ensemble. I had already put on eye makeup but decided to skip the lipstick for later.

The DBF led me to Check-in 1 where we usually go when we #flySwiss. He said that was our meeting point with C.

C called him several times and I kinda figured that C will be late. So I was just there, patiently waiting with the DBF. He was kissing my forehead. We were talking about stuff. I even asked him to check-out the tall and pretty girl who passed us by.

 

And then I noticed something on the digital billboard in front of us. It was my face…our picture…taken at the 30th birthday party he secretly arranged for me! Then I realized that the other pictures were images of us taken from different countries! It was like my Facebook page flashing right in front of me…at the Zurich Airport… for EVERYONE to SEE!

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And then I read my name: Denise! And my heart started to beat really fast and I felt like my brain was losing oxygen as it couldn’t really process (or it did not want to process) what my eyes had just seen! Hahahaha! And then I read it slowly, will… you… marry…me? I took two steps back (and almost fell!) when I realized that it was indeed a marriage proposal happening right at that moment! Then I turned to him and saw him kneeling and all I could think of was “Thank God for this man!” and moments from the past year together kind of flashed back before I could hear myself say with full conviction “Yes, of course!” I think I already answered even before his knee could fully touch the floor! hahahhahahhaa

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I just saw a glimpse of the ring. And I didn’t even bother to check it until after I said Yes! Proof that when you are being asked by the right man and when you are sure of your love and commitment to one another, nothing else will matter!

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But he did buy me a nice ring. ;) The man I’m marrying really has good taste!

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Here’s the proposal video that was shot using the GoPro installed by our good friend A.

 

 

This wouldn’t have been possible without the blessing of our parents, the love and support of our family and friends, and most especially the cooperation of the Swiss Air and Zurich Flughafen officers (whom apparently the DBF approached and met with several times during the course of his proposal planning). The Swiss are very conservative so the DBF was told that this display will only be allowed this one last time.

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I can’t believe that he already bought the ring back in December when we haven’t even celebrated our first year together yet?! I can’t believe how sure he was all along. And I’m so grateful that he really tried to make this milestone a very special one.

I was thinking of all of these countries that he could have chosen. But why choose one country when you can propose at the airport– the gateway to all of those beautiful places!  I wanted someone to “hold hands and see the world with” and my dear boyfriend chose to propose at a place that was, is, and will be the starting point of all of our adventures together! It was truly perfect! It was so ME! It was so US! :)

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He really does his best in everything and All for Love.


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Extremely blessed,

d. ;)

 

 

 

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MONTE CARLO, MONACO


It’s another new country for me! Our road trip’s last destination: Monte Carlo, Monaco! I have never seen such an extravagant display and quite reckless dispersal of wealth! That small country was unbelievable! 

We went to Monaco specifically to party at Jimmy’z where DJ Bob Sinclar was playing. We got there and saw how rich the Russians and some French locals really were. No less than Bentleys, Maseratis, Lamborghinis, and Ferraris were taking turns at the club’s driveway. Chanel-clad women in sky-high Louboutins entered the place with their well-suited dates. Moëts and Dom Pérignons crowded the VIP tables. It was jaw-dropping.

I’m never going back to Monaco poor! Hahaha unless I have tickets to the Masters. (The Rolex Masters was ongoing when we went. Wawrinka beat Federer).

I have to thank the DBF and his friends for making this fun road trip happen!

d.

 

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PROVENCE, FRANCE


When I was a marketing manager for a retail company, we were about to launch a beauty line that was said to be manufactured in Provence, France. I thought to myself: that’s one place that I would like to visit! It seemed such a distant dream at that time. So when our friend C said that we were going to pass by the Provence region, to St. Paul de Vence (Vin) to be exact, I flashed a smile from ear to ear.

What greeted us when we got there was a charming hilltop with winding roads. Art boutiques and cafes were lined-up all the way to the top. There were vintage fountains and statues that were displayed on top of walls. Once we reached the top, the view of the mountains and the sea that welcomed us was truly breathtaking. The cobblestones looked like flowers and the walls were covered with vines. It was really such a pretty sight!

 

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COTE D’ AZUR: NICE & CANNES, FRANCE


The Côte d’ Azur (Azure Coast) is also known as the French Riviera. It’s at the southeast corner of France, along the mediterranean coastline. The 8 of us embarked on a road trip from Zurich to Italy to the Côte d’  Azur region, covering Nice, Cannes, Provence, and Monaco.

We thank the kindness of CT for providing us accommodation in Cannes. When we were there, it was Cannes Shopping Festival Season! There was a bazaar at the city center and shops were also on sale.

I’m pretty sure it won’t be my last time to visit these cities. I will be back…soon!

 

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Here’s our travel video:

And a whole lot of pictures!

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GENOVA, ITALY


Have you heard of the Genovese Pasta?

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So over the long weekend, we went on a road trip from Zurich to the town where this pasta sauce (and prosciutto!) was first made famous: Genova, Italy!

We stayed at Holiday Inn and the view from our window was a huge docking port.

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We explored the alleys of Genova with rows and rows of quaint shops by foot. We had good ol’ gelato at MuraMura. We saw how they made caramel waffles from scratch. We took hundreds of selfies. We bought leather goods and trinkets. We made fun of each other’s antics. Played limbo rock using the GoPro stick. Went inside churches. Had fun inside the abandoned container van displayed at the huge park. It was a good stopover leading to our real destination: The Cote D’ Azur region in France.

 

 

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BACK IN ZURICH


I spent the entire of April in Zurich again. I have so much to blog about coz that one month in Switzerland was totally packed and it made my life turn a complete 180-degrees! More on this “turn” later.

So before I get to the more exciting parts, I’d like to share one of my most favorite moments while I was in Zurich– basketball and jumping rope time!

I know I can do those things whenever, wherever. But I really cherish such bonding moments with the DBF and his friends and cousin. It’s nice to know that even if I’m a girl, they still include me in such boyish activities. It’s so empowering! The best feeling is when the DBF and I win against the other team and we high five instead of kiss or hug! :) My papa and brother taught me how to shoot a basketball. The DBF taught me how to drive and do the lay-up. He’s also teaching me how to play “defense”.

 

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ATHENS, GREECE


Greece has always just been that uncrossed entry in my “places to see before I die list.” It was just too far and too expensive to go to that I’ve always just put it aside…for a honeymoon getaway or for when I’m older and well, richer. :)

That’s why when the DBF pulled-off another epic surprise and brought me to Greece, he kinda looked so much more handsome in my eyes! hahahaha! I believe he also raised the bar for boyfriends all over the world with his Athens extravaganza! He said even he couldn’t believe that we were just in Greece! Ha!

As usual, I made a video of the short but memorable trip to Athens.

 

If there’s one thing we’ll miss about Athens, it’s the FOOD!!! I think I will be dreaming of the lamb chops, yoghurt sauces, and Greek salad with cheese very often!

The city may have taken a blow when their economy took a downturn but their culinary expertise stayed very much on top! Graffiti can be seen in most of the walls and a lot of billboard spaces especially along the road from the airport to the city were empty. These were just some of the telltale signs that Athens really had a tough couple of years. But the culture was still very rich. The tourist sites like the Acropolis and the temple of Zeus can still make you go ooh and ahhhh.

The weather was kind to us that weekend. It wasn’t very chilly. I was just wearing a knitted top and the DBF was even in shorts and slippers. It drizzled for a bit though when we were about to leave.

p.s. We bumped into my friends at the Olympic Stadium! They are newlyweds D and M (same as our initials) and they are on a EuroTour for their honeymoon. What a small yet oh so beautiful world!!!

Here are photos from our trip–

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ZAMBALES, PHILIPPINES


My base for the meantime is Manila, Philippines.

I’ve been accepting makeup gigs since I got back last January.

Just recently, I was on a beach work trip for Nivea Sun. Together with featured surfers Noelle Hilario, Nicola Sebastian, and Bea Vega, the production team By The Sea and Nivea’s digital agency headed to Zambales for a two-day video shoot.

I personally use Nivea Sun products when I go to the beach. I like Nivea coz it doesn’t feel greasy on skin. So I was so happy to find out that they’re getting me to apply sun-kissed and barely there makeup on the three girls.

The girls already have golden brown skin so all I really had to do was put on cream foundation on them and make sure that the makeup won’t wash away when they hit the beach. For a natural glow, I used cream blush and highlight on the points that bounce off sunlight.

 

Here’s the video we created. Featured in this clip are fine surf beaches in the Philippines: Capones Island, Camara Island, and Crystal Beach. All of these places can be found north of Manila–in Zambales. It was a 3 hour-drive from the city but definitely worth our while.

 

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SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA


We only had 3 days to go out of the country together. We chose Siem Reap because it’s near-by and small enough to tour in a short period.

We were like Lara Croft and Indiana Jones searching for lost treasures in the many temples of Siem Reap.

Seeing the Angkor Wat was the highlight of our trip.

Travel Tips:

1) Cambodia accepts USD as currency so no need to exchange your money to Riel.

2) Instead of renting a car to go temple-hopping, ride a tuktuk(18USD/day) and hire a personal tour guide(45USD/day) for the entire day. The car will just get stuck in traffic.

3) Look for The Angkor Pottery Center (along the street going to the Floating Village, on the right). You may take pottery lessons for 5USD/30mins. Go on your first day in Siem Reap so you can have at least a day to wait for your ceramic vases or beads to be “cooked” and painted on.

4) Pub Street Finds: Khmer barbecue, Fish or Chicken Amok (with herbs, coconut milk and Khmer curry paste) and cheap Silver trinket finds! Always haggle. They don’t have fixed prices. Practice your haggling skills when buying carved treasure boxes, souvenirs, and other silver finds.

5) Aside from the tuktuk, you may hire an ATV or what they call a quadbike for a ride outside of the city center.

6) Always ask for a hotel room upgrade and airport pick-up and transfer. There are so many hotels in Cambodia competing with one another . They would definitely want to leave a good impression on you for your next visit.

Here’s our fun video:

Snaps from the trip–

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