Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Isabel Preysler en Filipinas 2007

ISABEL with mom, Betty Preysler; cousin Rosanna Fores; sister Vicky Preysler and niece Christina Tuason; aunt Mercy Tuason; and good friend Ching Montinola

By Anton San Diego

Posted date: November 25, 2007

MANILA, Philippines - It was Isabel Preysler week when one of Europe’s most glamorous, beautiful and iconic women came to Manila. Isabel, who had not been home for more than eight years, took Manila by storm. She was here to attend the Inno Sotto and Bea Valdes gala fashion show and, of course, to visit friends and family.

As expected, everyone wanted to spend some time with this sorely missed Filipina, and a series of dinners were immediately planned for her. The first one was, naturally, given by her family at the home of her first cousin, Rosanna Tuason Fores. Another one was hosted by her Assumption classmates at the home of Mary de Leon. Then there was the fashion show. The next day, after the show, Sotto also hosted a dinner at Sala, and guests included Patxi and Sofia Elizalde, Maurice Arcache, Bea Valdes, Marietta Santos, Gina Roxas and Pilar Roxas. The Philippine Tatler, likewise, gave a dinner for her at the Mandarin Oriental Manila’s Tivoli Grill, which was attended by Ting Ting Cojuangco, Lyn Ilusorio Bildner, Doris Ho, Inno Sotto and her sister Vicky Preysler and niece Christina Tuason. Jaime and Bea Zobel also gave a dinner at their home before she left.

Preysler had to jet back to Europe in time to catch her son Enrique Iglesias’ concert in London. Her two daughters, Ana and Tamara, went with her to the concert, along with about 15 other friends.

To find out how iconic Preysler really is, she had barely arrived in Madrid when photos of her in Manila came out in Spain’s premiere society/lifestyle magazine Hola. The magazine has a circulation of more than a million readers.

I was privileged to get an exclusive interview with Preysler in Manila at the tail-end of her visit. Below is the one-on-one with this beautiful and gracious lady that the whole country is so proud of.

What is it like coming home after eight years? Seeing family, friends and classmates again? Seeing Manila as a city?
Coming back to Manila after so long was wonderful. I see my family often because we travel a lot and they come to Spain. But friends … I always love to see the ones from my childhood and teen years, they are part of my roots. Manila has changed so much in eight years—so many more buildings and remarkable improvements.

What do you miss most about the Philippines?
Family and friends, first of all. Then the food. I love Filipino food, although some I can get in Spain. And of course, Filipino hospitality, which is something that cannot be found anywhere but here.

How’s your visit? Hectic? Too short?
Both—definitely hectic and too short; but I am enjoying every minute of it.

What would you say are the highlights of your trip?
Spending time with family and friends. Of course the fashion show was a wonderful event. My classmates also made my stay in Manila memorable by hosting a get-together. It allowed us to catch up and share some laughs.

You get a lot of attention in Spain. Is it the same with people here in Manila who would like to meet you and ask to have photographs taken with you?
It’s a compliment and always a pleasure when people want to meet me or take a picture with me. To feel liked and appreciated is such a blessing, isn’t it?

Your trip was a time to catch up with your family. What was that like?
This trip gave me the opportunity to spend time with some of my cousins who I do not see often. Although I have said that I see many of my relatives frequently, it was nice to visit them in their homes for a change.

How was the fashion show? Your thoughts on Inno’s designs? Bea Valdes?
Fantastic! Beautiful colors, very original gowns and, as usual, Inno showed his creative talent and Filipino ingenuity. Bea Valdes? What can I say? So much talent in someone so young. I loved the beautiful bags.

What will you take with you from this trip?
So many fresh memories with my life-long friends. And food … mangoes, suman and ensaymada (which she took along with her back to Spain)

When do you think will you be back?
Because I have three children and a grandson in the United States, I take every opportunity I have to visit them. But when we are all able to, I definitely want to come back soon with all of my children. The last time I was here, my three girls came with me. Julio and Enrique have also been here, but we all must come back to Manila together.

Your message to your family, friends and the country as a whole?
I am so grateful for the warmth, the care and love I have felt on this trip and most especially over the years. Although I do not get the chance to come back to Manila often enough, I’m always so overwhelmed by the support I get from my family and friends.

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