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My 2009 was a whirlwind of exciting activities

January 10, 2010

TESSA:  Philippine Daily Inquirer
Jan 10, 2010

WELCOME 2010! A NEW DECADE AND A new life await us all. January is always a wonderful time, not only to look forward to an exciting future but also to reflect with gratefulness on all the bountiful blessings of the past year.

Last year was so incredibly busy for me that I failed to fulfill my 2009 New Year’s resolution of renovating our house. With the Year of the Golden Tiger arriving next month, I am still unable to work on the repairs as World of Feng Shui Philippines owner Marites Allen has advised me to start on an auspicious day and time to assure a swift completion.

Marites will have her annual forecast at the “Riding The Golden Tiger” Spectacular on Jan. 23 at Center Stage, Mall of Asia. Co-hosting with her is the King of Talk, Boy Abunda, and several other surprise celebrity guests. One of the highlights of the event is Face Fortune 2010.

The event also aims to raise funds to be donated to the ongoing education of World Vision kids and for building Gawad Kalinga homes. For more information, check out her website, www.marites allen.com, or e-mail wofsphilippines@ gmail.com.

My past year was a whirlwind, filled with such diverse activities as scuba diving in Tubbataha with a favorite aunt, Mary de Leon, onboard the Oceana Maria Scuba, to traipsing through Thailand with Tim Yap and a bevy of beauties, to filming my QTV program, “House Life,” and to guest judging on GMA’s “Celebrity Duets.”

Scuba diving has always been one of my favorite sports, especially because that’s the way my husband Dennis and I met. He was too busy to dive last year, but thanks to Tita Mary, I was able to dive with someone even better.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo joined our group for a day and we enjoyed some much-needed underwater R&R with our hard-working president. Like everyone else who hovers around the president, our group successfully lobbied her for funds, in our case toward rehabilitating the lighthouse in Tubbataha.

Indochina seemed to be a focal point of my 2009. Apart from my Thailand trip through the kindness of the Thailand Tourism Board and Thai Airways’ GM Nivat Chantarachoti, I was able to enjoy a trip to Angkor Wat for the first time, together with my closest Assumption batchmates. It was great posing for photos a la Lara Croft in “Tomb Raider.”

Last glorious season

On the show biz side of life, I will remember 2009 as our last glorious season for “House Life.” Through the brilliant interior-design show packed with tips, makeovers and house tours, we were able to feature some of the best-designed homes of very interesting personalities. Aside from homes, we also covered various hotels like Hotel Elizabeth in Baguio City, Hotel Celeste in Makati City and the amazing Shangri-La Resort and Spa in Boracay Island.

Looking back into 2009, of course also high on my list are the various charities I had the privilege to work with, especially the Makati Red Cross, for which I helped orchestrate a fabulous fundraiser starring designer Dennis Lustico. My co-producer, Kaye Tinga, was exceptional in bringing in so many sponsors. For that, I would once again like to thank Rustan’s, Audi, HSBC, Megaworld, Makati Shangri-La Hotel and PLDT/Smart. Special mention goes to Rustan’s Rhoda Campos Aldanese and top PR man Edd Fuentes for all their support for this charity.

It was also at the Lustico event that I was introduced as the Audi Philippines brand ambassador. As its new spokesperson, I hope to be an effective promoter of the brand and position Audi as a company that has a huge investment in corporate social responsibility. In this regard, Audi was one of the generous sponsors that helped raise a sizable amount for the typhoon victims throughout our country.

My personal highlight for the year is finishing the Ironman 70.3 Triathlon in CamSur, which entailed a 1.9k swim, 90k bike and 21k run in under eight hours. I finished with just minutes to spare and still garnered third place in my age category. At the awarding ceremonies, I stole the mic from the American host to thank my numerous sponsors—Audi, Speedo, Oakley, Timex, Nike, Bike Town, Goody and all my coaches. I almost had more sponsors than the race itself.

Mother-and-son run

Dennis says it is scary to think what I will do to top my 2009. After watching my eldest son Bryan complete his first marathon, I’m thinking we might plan a mother-and-son run. Bryan works for Societe Generale in Singapore and completed the Singapore 42K marathon in just over five hours.

Speaking of Dennis, the other highlight of the year was our 15th wedding anniversary, which we celebrated at Manila Ocean Park. It was an underwater spectacular with mermaids, mermen, sharks, stingrays and our closest “Under the Sea” friends. Each guest brought home a special Nokia phone, including a lucky few who got the brand-new Nokia N97.

We continued the “Under the Sea” theme all year it seems, as even our Christmas Party followed the motif. It was a great way to cap off the year surrounded by family and friends, and somehow merited the attention of blogger Rica Lopez de Jesus, whom I have to thank for posting fab photos and layouts about our party on heart-2-heart.com.

One person I will truly miss this year is US Ambassador Kristie Kenney, who will be returning to Washington, DC. We had the chance to say goodbye to her at a small dinner hosted by my mom, Marixi Prieto, and sister, Sandy Romualdez. Ambassador Kenney is probably the most-loved US diplomat to ever hit our shores, and all because she was so open and accommodating toward everyone she met. Those are good qualities to look for in a leader, as we head toward our own May elections.

Indeed, welcoming 2010 is exciting, what with the coming elections. Instead of feeling tense about the exercise, I prefer to focus on the positive. One good way to do this is to watch the highly acclaimed show of Jon Santos, “Kuring, Gluring, Sherrap at Dyuning—Eleksyon in Nearing, for Voter or for Worse,” on Jan. 20 at Teatrino in Greenhills. Our Assumption HS ’81 batch is sponsoring the show to raise funds for our coming Pearl Jubilee. E-mail assump tionhs81@yahoo.com or text 0908-1903929 for tickets.

E-mail the author at seaprincess@inquirer.com.p

Episode 12 - Marites Allen and the Eight Aspirations
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Episode 11 - Marites Allen talks about being pretty
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Episode 10 - Marites Allen explores luck and scents
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Episode 9 - Marites Allen tours London and Iceland
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Episode 8 - Teresita Ang-See Sits down with Marites Allen
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Episode 7 - Businessman Samie Lim joins Marites Allen
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Episode 6 - Tim Yap on Fun Feng Shui moments on Marites Allen
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Episode 5 - Rita shows her heart on Marites Allen
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Episode 4 - Take a Peek of Gloria’s home with Marites
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Episode 3 - Tessa and Her Lucky Side on Marites Allen
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Episode 2 - The Annual Star Chart Revealed
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Episode 1 - Marites Allen Is on Air!
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Episode 13 - Ruffa on Marites Allen
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Taping with Boy Abunda for Jan. 12 episode of Bottomline
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Taping with Boy Abunda for Jan. 12 episode of Bottomline
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Taping with Boy Abunda for Jan. 12 episode of Bottomline
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