MANILA, JUNE 11, 2007
(STAR) WORDS WORTH By Mons Romulo- Tantoco - Traveling is one of the best ways to relax and unwind. Seeing new sights, exploring new finds, enjoying food different from what we normally have is always something to look forward to, an experience that’s always welcome for everyone all the time. There is always a place you would love to visit or revisit — because of its beauty, or for your own sentimental reasons. Given the chance to take a trip to visit any place in the world, where would you choose to go?

RICKY TOLEDO, proprietor, Firma and Felicity: The Nakasendo in Japan where you have to hike (no cars allowed) to see the preserved atmospheric towns dating to the 8th century. Between Tokyo and Kyoto, this road was once traversed in the 1600s by Princess Kazunomiya and her 10,000-strong entourage which was so long it supposedly took three days to pass through town. Aside from the grandeur and romance of it all, this trip would be a welcome break for Chito Vijandre and me to enjoy nature and an ancient culture by foot since all the hiking we have been doing lately has been limited to smog-ridden cities of consumption.

TWEETIE DE LEON-GONZALEZ, general manager, SLN Enterprises: Just one place? I’d be hard-pressed to choose only one from a long list. I dream of seeing Nepal and Tibet, Greece, Morocco, Istanbul, Africa, Mexico, Jamaica. And the list goes on and on. Their culture, lifestyle and rich history fascinate me no end so I wish to visit even a few before I’ll need a wheelchair to enjoy such places. But sometimes, we decide where to go based on the company we’re traveling with. I’d like to go to the US with my family, to visit family. Bangkok and Boracay with girlfriends and gay friends for great fun and non-stop laughs. And lastly, Palawan and Europe with my husband, Mon, over and over again, for wonderful, romantic holidays.

VANNA CALALANG-SEVERINO, chef: I’d like to go on an African safari to escape the clutches of urban life; to see the wild animals run free in an untouched landscape and commune with nature. That adventure would bring me back home with a renewed perspective of daily life.

ABNER MERCADO, TV journalist of ABS-CBN Correspondents: I’m dreaming to go to Bhutan — that little quaint country between India and Bangladesh. That’s the place I have to visit before I die and I intend to go there soon. It’s like a dream of exploring the Lost Shangri-la of our planet.

TINTIN BERSOLA BABAO, TV personality: The places in the world where I desire to go or visit once again depends on my state of mind (and the travel budget, too — ha, ha). This year we made plans to revisit Padova, Italy, a pilgrimage once more to the Basilica de San Antonio (with our daughter, Antonia, named in honor of St. Anthony) which we visited for the first time in the year 2000. Our prayer wishes were all answered beautifully! We will go back to give thanks for all the blessings.

TINA NAVARRO, designer/owner of Ilaya: Whether it be a local or a foreign destination, the important thing is that my husband, two kids and my folks will be with me. I’ve never traveled with both my parents around and since they’re not getting any younger, we’ll have a grand vacation with their grandchildren. I’d have a great time just watching the most important people in my life having a good time together.

YAKI AGANA, lawyer: I’d like to go anywhere here in the Philippines I haven’t been to yet, like Batanes and Cebu. I think I’d rather travel around here first. There are a lot of beautiful areas here that we haven’t really seen, places that are out of the way, not even tourist spots like Mindanao. I would rather spend time and money here in our country.

TONETTE MARTEL, writer: I would really love to visit India to explore the many and diverse aspects of this rich culture. The cultural heritage of India has found its way into much of Southeast Asia. It is also the birthplace of the world’s oldest religions, which has left their mark on many parts of Asia. I’ve heard it’s a great shopping destination for all kinds of arts and crafts. I think when you can combine cultural tourism with a fantastic shopping experience — a girl can hardly ask for more!

FORMER AMB. HENRIETTA TAMBUNTING DE VILLA: I’d fly to Rome. Fiumicino Airport would still be the same. Huge, but not impersonal or cold. Off to autostrada del sol towards Via Aurelia. Midas Hotel looms large in the baby-blue Roman skies tinged with pinkish hues. I stayed there for the consistory of Ricardo Cardinal Vidal in the spring of 1985. Going down some 500 meters is Pontificio Collegio Filippino where I leave my heart each time I visit Rome. And then there is St. Peter’s Square with the massive Bernini columns hugging all the joys and hopes, pain and anguish of the Church imaged in the loveliness of Basilica San Pietro. Some steps away is the Augustinian compound with Savelli, a religious artifact high-end shop with the ever-smiling Bettina always ready with her discounts. Go one floor higher and the Philippine Embassy to the Holy See is there to welcome Filipino pilgrims and all interested visitors, “Philamsee” I use to call this place during my five years, eight months in Rome. The Apostolic Palace, Sistine Chapel, the Vatican Gardens and Museum… the Vatican City State is for another journey of the memory and the heart.

Outside the Vatican walls, there’s Cola di Rienzo. For grocery items, there’s Castroni’s and Frankie’s next door with Italian sausages, prosciutto ham, salami, cheeses of all shapes, smells and colors. Nearby Via Paolo Emilio brings you to G. Giuliani, the specialty home of marroni glassati, the best chocolate sweets with chestnut filling this side of the world.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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