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Signs of progress: Studioilse designs Cathay Pacific Lounge at NAIA Terminal 3
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Remember that Cathay Pacific Noodle Bar you always look forward to at the Hong Kong International Airport?
It just opened in Manila, at NAIA Terminal 3.
What’s more, the newly opened Cathay Pacific Lounge was designed by Studioilse, the London-based design studio led by Ilse Crawford.

Cathay Pacific Lounge, Haneda
Studioilse-designed entrance to Cathay Pacific Lounge in Haneda

Located at Level 4 near Gate 114, the new lounge adopts the new Studioilse design template—with the cherry wood walls and limestone floor, using warm, natural materials like wood and stone to soften acoustics where possible.
The design also features details such as glazed screens, green ceramic tiles at The Noodle Bar, bronze highlights at the main entrance, and brass in the Bar.

Cathay Pacific Lounge, Haneda
Studioilse design template in Haneda with green ceramic tiles at The Noodle Bar

The Manila lounge measures 650 square meters—almost twice the size of the previous lounge at NAIA Terminal 1—with a seating capacity of approximately 135 seats.
The overall feeling is more like a living room than an airline lounge, with natural sunlight coming through the windows.
Designer furniture and lighting, bespoke chairs and side tables with in-built lamps and sockets offer a comfortable environment and understated luxury for First and Business Class passengers before boarding.
Three individual workstations offer the use of iMacs and printers, and free Wi-Fi is available throughout the lounge.

Cathay Pacific lounge
Wish this guy came with the lounge

Finally, the dining area’s signature Noodle Bar will offer a selection of Asian noodles like dandan mien and wonton noodle soup, freshly prepared by a chef.

Wonton Noodles

From the morning hours until 11 AM, an authentic Philippine breakfast will also be offered, and the Bar is where passengers can enjoy a wide selection of tapas, desserts, freshly blended cocktails and a variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.
PS. Is there Haagen-Dazs?
Makes me wonder what the bathrooms look like.
Now there’s another reason to fly Cathay Pacific.

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Who’s afraid to fly to Hong Kong?
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One of our favourite couples—Darren and Kissa McDermott—recently moved to Hong Kong.

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When we found out they were leaving, Jeroen made a plan with his afam* friends to visit Darren.
Well, Hong Kong is on final sale, so I told Jeroen I am tagging along—with my friend Patrice.
I was really looking forward to this trip until planes started falling from the sky—starting with Malaysian Airlines (MH 17) on July 17th, followed by Taiwan’s TransAsia Airways on July 24, and Air Algerie on July 25.
To think Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 hasn’t even been found yet since March 8.

My fear of flying hit the roof two days before our trip. The night before I had no sleep.
It’s also my first time to try Cathay Pacific’s Premium Economy. I figured 1.5 hours won’t hurt. Only the food did—an adobo roll that looked kawawa. Not that I eat on the plane anyway.

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I kept my eyes on the screen watching the minutes count down and the altitude go up.
I prayed five rosaries and watched an afam next to me praying as well. I’m sure half the plane was scared to fly. I tried to play a few games of Maleficent but it made my heart beat faster.
I had deep conversations with God. Forty five minutes later, I started to think we are going to land safely. And we did!

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Hong Kong reunion (L-R): Darren McDermott, Joeri Timp, Joris Spanhoff, Jeroen van Straten, Jasper van den Borne

Also on our flight were my Carlo Tanseco and Chunchi Soler

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Victor Basa and Divine Lee—I keep seeing this couple in Hong Kong 🙂

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At the airport I kept seeing men in yellow shoes—a sign from God!!

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yellow shoes
yellow shoes

At least one of them was chic

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Actor Lee Min Ho is everywhere!!

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lee min ho
Lee Min Ho for Fila

And McDonald’s isn’t selling any patties due to the recent sanitation scandal

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I spotted a T-shirt that looks like Andre Chang

Andre Chang tee Andre Chang

Then ended with the best steak and frites in Hong Kong at La Vache with Fed Tan of Social/Capital (L) and JJ Acuña (The Wanderlister)

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*A foreigner assigned in Manila

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Hong Kong over the weekend
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Can you believe it’s only my second time to travel this year?
Last time was Singapore for Valentine’s Day. And then Asiana Airlines crashed, and I lost my desire to travel.
But after my lipo I was needing some new clothes, so I asked my husband to take me to Hong Kong.
The flight going there was pretty OK, but I was scared as a cat. I was really paranoid and curled up into a ball praying the Rosary.
Towards the end of the flight I relaxed a little and sat in front of the hubby.

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Can you see my Candy Crush? It really helps pass time.
We stayed at the Park Lane Hotel due to its proximity to my favorite I.T store, Frabpois, Cabane Zucca (read: chic Japanese clothes for middle-aged women like me)

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Aesop is just around the corner

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I love the free sampling at the entrance

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At Wellcome I can get my favorite Kowloon Dairy bottled milk

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Across the street is Tonkichi

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There is a huge Muji not so far away

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And right underneath the hotel is Ikea

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and a Homeless store

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But Park Lane is really a borderline hotel for me because despite its great location:
1) The wifi is free for only two gadgets
2) The TV remote doesn’t work and I need my CNN
3) My pillows smelled like old man’s saliva
4) and the server on the Club floor refused to give me a glass of water because it wasn’t in our package. (what’s a freaking glass of water for a parched throat??)

Park Lane Hotel

The price was right. But next time we will stay in a better place and spend a little more.
Hong Kong was sweltering hot. I had to shower two to three times a day that I nearly ran out of clothes and bras.

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Luckily I caught the tail end of the sale season.
The sad thing is, I felt really old. The clothes I want to wear are hard to come by, for my age and body issues, so for the first time Jeroen and I traveled without fear of overweight luggage.

Jeroen and I in Hong Kong

My only real fear towards the end was coming home to a typhoon which was in between Manila and Hong Kong.
On the night before our flight I prayed many rosaries and tweeted incessantly to ask about the weather at home.
As expected I developed the runs at the Hong Kong airport in anticipation of a turbulent flight.
But as soon as I settled into my seat, I spotted Ben Chan and Miguel Pastor on board plus Mons Tantoco and friends, followed by Richard Gomez, so I quickly asked, “Where’s Lucy?”
Lo and behold, Lucy was on board too, looking like a vision in COS.

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Seeing Lucy made me less scared because I think Lucy is an angel and we can’t crash.
I settled into my seat and prayed many chaplets. The flight started out really smoothly but got shaky towards the middle. I prayed for mercy. Then it settled down.
I finished reading my printout of the Napoles exposé which is so juicy!!
And before I knew it, I could see the comforting Manila lights and we landed safely.

When we got out I was surprised to see Manila raining cats, dogs and the kitchen sink—considering the flight was not so bad! Cathay Pacific really rocks.
Earlier today, Cathay Pacific posted this notice on their website:

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So glad I missed that and made it home, I can’t tell you. God is good!

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What to do on a 14-hour flight to New York
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It’s been 17 years since I last saw New York.
I’ve dreamt of this moment for years. I’ve been wanting to come back but scared.
Mostly I was scared of the the 14-hour flight, but I got over my fear of flying recently when I flew Cathay Pacific with the kids to Amsterdam.
Going back to New York is like seeing an ex-boyfriend I haven’t seen in 17 years.
This was me in 1995.

My student ID

I’m happy my mom invited me, my sister and SIL, to New York.
The flight to Hong Kong was a breeze. I took a nap.
Then a three-hour layover in the airport. I had Saboten for lunch, and shopping at the Disney store before boarding again.

Saboten

To knock myself out, I wore the earplugs, took 1/2 Rivotril + 1 Stilnox, and prayed the Rosary.
The flight started out noisy and bumpy. I was really scared and held hands with my sister-in-law across the aisle.
Finally the turbulence calmed down and I had a light lunch before falling asleep.

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I slept like a baby. When I woke up, there were four hours to go.

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Then I did something I rarely do on planes. I ate more food, starting with pineapple slices

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Cornflakes

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and a dimsum breakfast

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One hour to go

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I treated myself to some in-flight shopping. I’m a sucker for L’Occitane shea butter

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Bobbi Brown ink pots

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and this agnés b. kikay kit

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Listen, don’t try to open any sealed makeup products in the plane because they will explode and spill out due to air pressure.
Oh, and it’s a good thing I noticed the guy seated behind my sister-in-law, only when we were nearly in New York

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because he looks like the Unabomber.

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So yes, I’m still a paranoid flyer. But I think I’m getting the hang of it.

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