How a Singapore Girl flies (Vault)

You can’t take the girl out of the world’s most awarded airline. VAULT takes an exclusive, behind-the-scenes tour of what it takes to be a Singapore Girl

Writer: Niña Terol-Zialcita | Photographer: Pat Mateo

VAULT – How a Singapore Girl flies (June 2012) | Feature by Nina Terol-Zialcita * Photo by Pat Mateo
VAULT – How a Singapore Girl flies (June 2012) | Feature by Nina Terol-Zialcita * Photo by Pat Mateo

 

Being a Singapore Girl is a dream come true for many women. The name given to the flight attendants of Singapore Airlines was coined by French designer Pierre Balmain in 1972, when he was commissioned to update the airline’s Malay Sarong Kebaya uniform. Since then, the name has come to stand for Asian charm and hospitality and, in 1993, the Singapore Girl became the first “commercial” representation to be unveiled at Madame Tussauds wax museum in London.

The blue uniform is now recognized the world over, and everything about the Singapore Girl–from the way her hair is arranged in a classic French twist to the way her Sarong Kebaya hugs her well-kept figure–evokes sophistication.

Patricia Mah, who has been flying with Singapore Airlines for eight years now, has become a recognizable face in the airline’s ad campaigns. “It’s a glamorous lifestyle,” she admits. “You get to see different countries, experience different cultures, try different kinds of food, do a lot of shopping.”

Now in her early 30s, Mah looks every bit as fresh and as toned as her younger counterparts. She credits her training with Singapore Airlines for helping her acquire the discipline needed to maintain her health and lifestyle. “The training was very challenging–it was a lot more extensive and a lot more detailed than in other airlines,” she recounts. “You have to learn to pace yourself and adapt to all kinds of situations. Each flight will be a different experience.”

VAULT - From Girl-Next-Door to Singapore Girl (June-July 2012) | Photos by Pat Mateo, layout by Karl Castro
VAULT – From Girl-Next-Door to Singapore Girl (June-July 2012) | Photos by Pat Mateo, layout by Karl Castro

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This is an excerpt only. The full article is featured in the Travel Issue of Vault Magazine, (June-July 2012). Vault Magazine is available in the Philippines at all Fully Booked, Powerbooks, and National Bookstore branches. For more details, visit Vault‘s Facebook page HERE.

From femme fatale to security frontliner (Vault)

Vault takes a closer  look at the evolution of the women who once dominated the skies

VAULT - From femme fatale to security frontliner (June-July 2012)
VAULT – From femme fatale to security frontliner (June-July 2012)

The so-called Golden age of flying coincided with the packaging of female flight attendants as sex symbols. Then called stewardesses, they were meant to coax and predominantly male passengers at that time into flying the airline they represented.

This was evident as early as 1955, when United Airlines stewardess Barbara Cameron posed as Playboy magazine’s Miss December. She re-appeared in 1958 as “The Girl Next Door” and was named one of the magazine’s most popular “playmates.”

A 1965 article in the Des Moines Register said that male passengers expected stewardesses “to look like a Las Vegas showgirl, and are angry when she doesn’t.”

And in 1967, the bestseller Coffee, Tea or Me? The Uninhibited Memoirs of Two Flight Stewardesses revealed the in-flight exploits of stewardesses and their “bad boy” passengers, and listed the celebrities with whom the girls allegedly had had romantic dalliances. The veracity of the accounts has since been challenged and the book is now listed as “adult fiction.”

The in-flight innuendo reached its peak in the 1970s, when National Airlines put out an ad showing a pixie-faced flight attendant with the copy, “I’m Cheryl. Fly me.” Other Mad Men-type gimmicks included Braniff’s “Air Strip,” where “air hostesses” peeled off layers of clothing during the flight; paper dresses for TWA stewardesses (soon junked when male passengers made a habit of burning cigarette holes in them for “fun”—yes, smoking on board was allowed back then); and Eastern Airlines’ little black book giveaway, which was meant to encourage male passengers to get the phone numbers of flight attendants.

VAULT Magazine, June 2012 issue, p. 59: Samples of some risque airline advertising materials (Courtesy of VAULT Magazine)
VAULT Magazine, June 2012 issue, p. 59: Samples of some risque airline advertising materials (Courtesy of VAULT Magazine)

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This is an excerpt only. The full article is featured in the Travel Issue of Vault Magazine, (June-July 2012). Vault Magazine is available in the Philippines at all Fully Booked, Powerbooks, and National Bookstore branches. For more details, visit Vault‘s Facebook page HERE.

10 Ways Bohol Feeds Your Body and Soul (ClicktheCity.com Travel)

A year-ender trip to Bohol with my “writing sisters”, thanks to Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay Miles, re-introduced me to the island’s many charms, as well as to the benefits of being almost obsessive-compulsive about tracking one’s miles. There, I found the perfect place to let my hair down, catch up with friends old and new, and ground myself for the year ahead. As we begin another year of travel planning, I’d like to share my list of personal favorites from this island getaway—but don’t take my word for it. Head out there to explore Bohol the way you want to, and make sure to bring along your favorite people for a truly soulful ride.

Bluewater Panglao's pool makes you want to lounge the whole day
Bluewater Panglao’s pool makes you want to lounge the whole day

1. Bluewater Panglao: The perfect backdrop for detoxing from city stress.For three girls who had been working and beating writing deadlines all year ‘round (including weekends!), the accommodations and the ambience at Bluewater Panglao provided a fitting backdrop for stress-free mornings and all-night girl talk over wine and juicy morsels of gossip and life stories. A 30-to-45-minute ride from bustling Tagbilaran City, the resort is practically hidden from prying eyes and makes the perfect tropical retreat for couples, families, and intimate groups in search of some quiet time. The resort’s pool welcomes guests with its strategically situated lounge chairs, but what I enjoyed the most was waking up early in the morning to take a “Zen meditation” walk around Bluewater Panglao’s manicured garden. If I were to go back, I’d definitely try Amuma Spa’s Signature Hilot (Massage).

 

The author (center) with her writing sisters Nikka Sarthou and Ana Santos from Writer's Block Philippines
The author (center) with her writing sisters Nikka Sarthou and Ana Santos from Writer’s Block Philippines
Taking a Zen meditation walk at Bluewater Panglao's lush sprawling garden
Taking a Zen meditation walk at Bluewater Panglao’s lush sprawling garden

Bluewater Panglao Beach Resort
Address: Barangay Danao, Panglao Island, Bohol, Philippines
Website: www.bluewater.com.ph/panglao
Phone: (+63 38) 416 06 95 to 96

2. Aplaya Restaurant: Gustatory indulgence, Bluewater-style. From its honest-to-goodness smorgasbord of breakfast treats to its vegetarian-friendly dishes for the health-conscious, Aplaya Restaurant at Bluewater Panglao gives everyone a good reason to indulge and feed the tummy well. My healthy favorites were the Mixed green salad in guava vinaigrette and fresh fruitsand the Native fresh lumpia, while the meat-eater in me enjoyed the Minute steak in herb red wine sauce and the Pork roulade in cranberry sauce. For breakfast, I indulged in Cinnamon-sprinkled French toast; rich, darkSikwate (Filipino hot chocolate); deep-fried danggit and dilis; and all the other sinangag (fried rice)-based goodies that Pinoys love to pile on their plate. For those with sweet teeth, you have to try (and bring home) some of the Double-chocolate peppermint or the White Chocolate with pecan cookies. Since we were going on tour for the rest of the day, we didn’t mind piling on the carbs. The dishes and goodies were worth the calories!

Aplaya's Mixed green salad in guava vinaigrette and fresh fruits
Aplaya’s Mixed green salad in guava vinaigrette and fresh fruits
Desserts at Aplaya make you want to indulge and forget your diet
Desserts at Aplaya make you want to indulge and forget your diet

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This is an excerpt only. To read the full article, visit ClicktheCity.com’s website HERE.

A Witness to Vietnam’s Charmed Life (asianTraveler)

Article By: Jim Sullivan and Niña Terol-Zialcita
Images By: 
Courtesy of Life Heritage Resort Hoi An

Image courtesy of Jim Sullivan / Life Heritage Resort Hoi An
Image courtesy of Jim Sullivan / Life Heritage Resort Hoi An

Inside the resort gate, just minutes from the whirl of downtown, the pace instantly goes languid amid tropical garden paths and riverside vistas. Each individual accommodation in the 94-room compound is a sanctuary unto itself, spacious and split-level with sleeping quarters above, lounge area below, and private veranda just outside the door. The bathrooms provide still another level of retreat with sunken terrazzo tubs and discreetly positioned windows for maximum natural lighting.

Lost charm, found

The rest of the resort exudes Old World elegance that is far from contrived and, quite frankly, difficult to manufacture. Although the resort had undergone a massive renovation in 2008, the rework of the interiors, undertaken by top hospitality designer Pisani Designs, only sought to recast the property in a more authentic light and allow for more space in the rooms, more light in the baths, bespoke furnishings, and an upgrade that transports the Life Resorts visitor to a more genteel era.

Life Resorts Hoi An’s Heritage Bar celebrates the history of the most exquisitely preserved 19th century trading port in Southeast Asia and provides an outdoor perch on one of the town’s most quaint streets. A series of archival prints explores the town’s past, and cigar aficionados hold court in segregated spaces, seasoned by the finest imports and Life’s commitment to a wine list that does justice to the finest New York hotels.

“Life is what you make of it, and we’re making the most of it on the Thu Bon River,” declared Chris Duffy, general director of the Life Resorts.

Image courtesy of Jim Sullivan / Life Heritage Resort Hoi An
Image courtesy of Jim Sullivan / Life Heritage Resort Hoi An

This is an excerpt only. To read the full article, visit the asianTraveler website HERE.

Mati: Davao’s Next Big Thing (asianTraveler)

Words by Niña Terol-Zialcita

Images by Ena Terol

A boy awaits his turn at skim boarding at Dahican Beach, Mati, Davao Oriental | Photo by Ena Terol
A boy awaits his turn at skim boarding at Dahican Beach, Mati, Davao Oriental | Photo by Ena Terol

It was around six o’clock in the morning on a Sunday when I found myself staring at a vast expanse of blues and greens, enveloping waves that were crashing a little too loudly and strongly for this hour of the day. I removed my slippers and dug my feet into the cool, soft sand and then decided to just leave the slippers behind and take a short walk while taking in the pristine beauty that surrounded me. To the left side of the beach was a mountain range that was a deep and healthy green, covered entirely in lush foliage that is now rare in the city where I come from. In front of me, toward the horizon, were various shades of sea-green and blue—the sea seeming to merge with the sky. The only sound that I could hear was the crashing of the waves and the little voice inside my head telling me that maybe this was a place I could visit more often—perhaps even build a home in for my retirement.

I was in an understated sense of serenity, but I was also about 1,300 miles away from home—in a place called Dahican Beach in Mati, Davao Oriental, at the easternmost tip of southern Philippines.

Nature’s hidden gems

Although Mati is generally perceived to be a “sleepy town,” what first-time visitors here don’t realize is that three days will not be enough to experience the best that this city has to offer. Aside from an abundance of lush greens and coconut trees (the city is also dubbed “The Coconut Capital”), Mati is blessed with beautiful bays and beaches, diverse marine life, the freshest seafood that one will find, and people that are very warm, hospitable, and—contrary to how media project the southern island of Mindanao—living side by side in peace.

On the three-hour road trip from Davao City International Airport to Davao Oriental, the first natural sign that will welcome visitors to Mati is “The Sleeping Dinosaur”, a forest-covered hill that is named such because it supposedly resembles a sleeping brontosaurus (or, to some, a sleeping lizard, turtle, or even dragon). Its mystical quality seemed to be the perfect sight to greet passersby, as if signaling the many other natural wonders that guests will experience in this unassuming but progressive city.

The "Sleeping Dinosaur" seems to be a mystical creature guarding Mati | Photo by Ena Terol
The “Sleeping Dinosaur” seems to be a mystical creature guarding Mati | Photo by Ena Terol

A series of chats with our guides, Juvy Tanio, Jude Taraya, and Gretchen Navalta, revealed other must-see spots in Mati for nature lovers. One is Pujada Island across Pujada Bay, a 156-hectare island surrounded by white beaches that is accessible through a 45-minute boat ride. Although the island has not yet been developed and does not have facilities for the luxury traveler, it is deemed ideal for swimming, sunbathing, snorkeling, and diving. Locals and visitors typically head there for a day trip and also bring food along for an island picnic. Another is the Pygmy Forest in Mount Hamiguitan, a great site for trekking and mountain-climbing which, incidentally, is also a contender for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage list because of the natural bonsai plants that grow in the forest, as well as its rich biodiversity.

This is an excerpt only. To read the full article, visit the asianTraveler website HERE.

French Retreat (Manila Bulletin)

Sunset at Vieux Port (“Old Harbor”), one of La Rochelle’s main tourist destinations, falls at about 9 PM in the European summer. (Photo by Niña Terol-Zialcita)
Sunset at Vieux Port (“Old Harbor”), one of La Rochelle’s main tourist destinations, falls at about 9 PM in the European summer. (Photo by Niña Terol-Zialcita)

It was seven o’clock in the evening, and the sun was still shining as brightly as if it were three o’ clock back home. I was in a second-class coach on a train from Paris, but, luckily, I had the aisle all to myself and could stretch and take photos and contort as I pleased. In front of me, beyond the glass that reflected the blurred faces of a cute French guy reading a book and an old man with a white beard, were wide open spaces as far as my eyes could see. We had passed what seemed like endless fields of golden wheat, followed by sunflower fields, grass… and more grass under an infinite expanse of blue. It was so blue, in fact, that my eyes hurt just looking at it. There were long stretches where not a cloud could be seen in the sky.

Yet it was seven in the evening, and my day was just about to begin.

I left Paris at around five in the afternoon on a TGV train bound for La Rochelle, to visit one of my dearest girlfriends, Michelle Tandoc-Pichereau, and her husband, who prefers to be called just B. Before Paris, I had come from a grueling one-week journalism scholarship program in Prague, and then made an equally tiring 24-hour pit stop in the City of Lights to pay a courtesy call to the royalty of French landmarks. But my real destination, the real jewel of this European adventure, was La Rochelle, where I felt that I could finally hop, skip, jump, stretch, sleep, and just…breathe.

This is an excerpt only. To read the full article, visit the Manila Bulletin website HERE.

Paris in a Hurry (asianTraveler)

Words by Niña Terol-Zialcita

Images by Niña Terol-Zialcita

Photo by Nina Terol-Zialcita
Photo by Nina Terol-Zialcita

I have to admit: it was a rather foolish decision to make Paris only a short pit stop between my trip to Prague, Czech Republic, where I had spent a week on a scholarship program, and the French seaside town of La Rochelle, where I was set to make a long-awaited visit to friends. Divided into 20 arrondisements (administrative districts), Paris is certainly a city that takes days—even weeks—to fully explore and enjoy. Even with enough time and cash on your hands, you will never run out of new experiences to savor in the City of Lights.

Still, my itinerary specified that I had less than a full day to enjoy Paris, so with my (broken) luggage in tow and with my spirit resolute to make the most of my Parisian experience, I set off to explore the city like a soldier on a mission.

Photo by Nina Terol-Zialcita
Photo by Nina Terol-Zialcita

The must-sees: The Eiffel Tower, Champs Elysées and the Arc de Triomphe, the Basilique du Sacré-Coeur, the Paris Opera House, and the Musée Louvre

I planned my trip around courtesy calls to the royalty of Parisian monuments. From my hotel in rue Cambronne (on the light-green Nation-Charles de Gaulle Étoile metro line) I took a long, leisurely walk to the École Militaire, the military school whose walls still bear deep, visible scars from the Second World War. The école sits right across Champ de Mars, a large, expansive park from where you can get an unobstructed view of the Eiffel Tower. Although named after the Roman god of war, the park is tourist- and family- friendly and also boasts a large Wall of Peace.

After ogling at the Eiffel Tower and snapping away with my camera for about an hour or so, I found my way to the Invalides metro station to take the train to Avenue des Champs-Élysées (where I was lucky enough to catch the tail- end of the Tour de France). The strip is also the city’s shopping district, home to many of the world’s most famous brands such as Louis Vuitton, Maison Guerlain, Zara, Adidas, Benetton, Sephora, and even the Disney Store, among many others. during the summer months, almost all on sale-up to 70% off, during the summer months. Right at its end sits the tall and proud Arc de Triomphe, which Napoleon had commissioned in 1806 to celebrate the victories of his army. Completed in 1836, it had once been called by the French literary great Victor Hugo as “a heap of glory.”

Photo by Nina Terol-Zialcita | Special thanks to Pierre et Mimi Duhamel
Photo by Nina Terol-Zialcita | Special thanks to Pierre et Mimi Duhamel
Photo by Nina Terol-Zialcita
Photo by Nina Terol-Zialcita
Photo by Nina Terol-Zialcita
Photo by Nina Terol-Zialcita

This is an excerpt only. To read the full article, visit the asianTraveler website HERE.