Connect with us


On board Philippine Airlines’ first-ever flight from Cebu to Los Angeles

Zee Lifestyle columnist Mayenne Carmona joins the exclusive media group invited to be among the first to try out Philippine Airlines’ newly launched Cebu to Los Angeles leg.

Philippine Airlines

On March 15, 2016, its 75th founding anniversary, Philippine Airlines marked another historical milestone: an Airbus A34-300, which seats 254 passengers, took its first flight to Los Angeles from the Mactan-Cebu International Airport.

At present, PAL has 11 weekly flights between Manila and Los Angeles, ten weekly flights between Manila and San Francisco, and four weekly flights between Manila and New York. The flight to Los Angeles from Cebu is an addition to their flight expansion routes.

During a press conference at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills, PAL President and COO Jaime Bautista said, “Customers in the Visayas and Mindanao have long clamored for direct flights between Cebu and the US due to the travel convenience this will bring. One can simply take a short hop to Cebu from any point in the Visayas and Mindanao, and connect to Los Angeles instead of flying all the way to Manila. Our goal is to make PAL the airline of choice in all the markets we serve, one that exceeds passenger expectations. We want PAL to be a source of pride for Filipinos.”

PAL VP for Marketing Ria Carrion Domingo said the Cebu-LAX service takes off with the “heart of the Filipino” and the “hospitality and waterproof spirit that the Filipino is known for.”

The PAL crew on flight PR103 were thrilled to pose with their President and COO, Jaime Bautista

The PAL crew on flight PR103 were thrilled to pose with their President and COO, Jaime Bautista

It was a treat for the members of Cebu media to experience PAL’s first flight to Los Angeles on March 15—they are now part of PAL’s history. Members of the media from Manila flew to Cebu and took the second flight on the 17th of March. I represented Zee Lifestyle, but flew with the Manila media because I am based in Manila. Other members of the media on the flight were JoAnne Rae Ramirez of People Asia and Philippine Star; Fil Sionil of Manila Bulletin; and Anna Sobrepeña of Lifestyle Asia. Also with us were PAL’s lovable ladies: Ria, Head of Marketing Activations Pinky Custodia, Marketing Activations Officer Terry Romilla, and External Communications Head and Spokesperson Terry Romilla. EIC of Philippine Star’s Lifestyle Section Millet Mananquil took the flight from Manila with PAL executives.

PR122 (CEB-LAX) departs Cebu every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 6:25PM and arrives in Los Angeles at 5:35PM local time. PR 123 (LAX-CEB) leaves Los Angeles on the same days at 8:40PM local time and arrives in Cebu at 4:40 AM, plus two days.

From personal observation, taking the flight from Cebu was stress-free. There were no long queues at immigration to reckon with. The airport was not crowded—we all felt so calm, like we just came out of a meditation session. Their Mabuhay Lounge serves the best coffee in the whole of Cebu. I have the tendency to speak in hyperboles when I like something, but their coffee was really delicious. Cielo Villaluna can attest to that!

A view of the SLS Beverly Hills from the street

A view of the SLS Beverly Hills from the street

Our brief stay in the City of Angels was truly memorable. For starters, our hotel was world-class. SLS Hotel at La Cienega Boulevard in Beverly Hills is a five-star boutique hotel with interiors designed by Philippe Starck. His designs never fail to dazzle me. His furniture pieces are sleek and on the edge of avant-garde. My room was spacious and minimalist, but with all the essentials intact. I just loved every second of our stay at the SLS Hotel.

The Gala Night was elegant and well organized. The menu of the seated dinner was well planned and delicious. Jaime led the speeches, followed by the other PAL executives. He announced the airline’s new mantra, “Heart of the Filipino,” with a new theme song performed during their Anniversary Dinner in Manila by stellar artists Lea Salonga, Sarah Geronimo and Bamboo Manalac. Versatile chanteuse Zsa Zsa Padilla was the entertainer of the evening.

PAL executives at the Gala Night

PAL executives at the Gala Night

On our third day, we were taken on a road trip to the Chino Canyon of Palm Springs. We took the aerial tramway, the world’s largest rotating tram car. The breathtaking journey began at the Valley Station, and we disembarked at the Mountain Station where we had lunch at the Pines Café. After climbing the rocks and having our fill of picture-taking, we took the aerial tram to bring us down. It was an unforgettable adventure, and was the highlight of our trip. Next stop: the Cabazon shopping outlets. They had all the name brands, both American and European, to the delight of everyone.

The aerial tramway that took us to the Chino Canyons

The aerial tramway that took us to the Chino Canyons

All good things must come to an end. On our fourth evening, we were on our way to Tom Bradley International Airport. As expected, Airport Manager Rex Aldanese and Duty Manager Anna Pesigan facilitated our check-in. We were onboard PAL’s flight 103 to Manila. Although the flight was long, the service was impeccable and the in-flight cuisine was a gastronomical experience. PAL had tapped some of Asia Pacific’s top chefs—Jessie Sincioco, Fernando Aracama, Wataru Hikawa, Ben Lam, Bruce Lim and Yoon Yun Sun—to coordinate with their corporate chef Noel Ramos, and the results were Michelin star-worthy dishes! Being catered to and pampered by the team of Flight Purser Vivienne Pineda, Flight Attendants Maggie Gumaru and Aica Baes. CSM Geb Inocencio, and Flight Steward Jun Jun Uy made the long flight so comfortable and enjoyable. True to PAL’s new philosophy, PAL is indeed the heart of the Filipino. PAL President and COO Jaime Bautista’s goal of making PAL a five-star airline will soon be achieved.


Find Your Summer Spirit in Shangri-La Mactan, Cebu

Breathe in the tropical atmosphere, as you find summer joys through sight, sound and taste at Shangri-La Mactan, Cebu. Poolside fun during the day, spent serenely and luxuriantly—a refreshment in hand. While the evenings are for outdoor family movie nights, with the ocean waves rippling in the background.

Summer is all of that, and more! Plan an extraordinary weekend with an array of exciting activities that await your arrival. Discover your #ShangriLaSummerSpirit from 15 July to 30 August.

Tiki Bar at Buko Bar

Epicurean Delights by the Pool

Keep yourself fueled up as you splish and splash with the whole crew. Take a quick break from all that summer jazz with Mediterranean and Polynesian-inspired bites exquisitely crafted for your palate. From rice balls and pastas, ice creams to sliders—indulge in tastes and aromas that transport you to a world of endless, golden summers.

Mediterranean Selections at Acqua

A Whimsical Touch

Make it a colourful summer for the kids! Let them explore their own version of paradise with whimsical floaties, sure to keep them happily afloat. Your little ones can now freely kick and play in the water with fun and fascinating, animal-shaped inflatables.

Pleasant Sundowner Tunes

Bid the sun adieu and embrace the sunset hues with live acoustics at the Main Pool from 4pm to 6:30pm.

Tiki Cocktails at Buko Bar

Champagne Bar at Acqua

A Toast to an Endless Summer!

Unwind and savour the tropical vibe as our expert mixologists craft refreshing Tiki cocktails and serve chilled bottles of exquisite champagne by the pool! With a backdrop of swaying palm trees and stunning ocean views, sip on delightful beverages and toast to unforgettable summer moments in paradise.

Family Outdoor Movie Night

Gather your nearest and dearest for an enchanting evening as we set up a large outdoor screen by the pool under the starry night sky. Cozy up as you enjoy a family-friendly movie that will delight both those who are young and young-at-heart at Treasure Island from 7pm to 9pm.

Surrounded by lush greens, let the experience bring you to a world of joy and laughter, creating cherished memories for you and the family. For more information on Shangri-La Mactan, Cebu, you may contact (032) 2310288. You may also follow them on Facebook and Instagram or visit #FindYourSummerSpirit #FindYourShangriLa

Continue Reading


LONDON IN FULL BLOOM: An Exclusive Look at the recent Chelsea Flower Show

Dame Judy Dench (center in white) with gallery owner, Jerry Sibal, Edwin Josue, writer Eva Gullas and artist James Doran-Webb.

The Chelsea Flower Show in London, one of the most prestigious horticultural events in the world, returned in full glory in May 2023, captivating visitors with its stunning displays and landscape designs. Held annually on the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea in London, this year’s show proved to be a true feast for the senses, showcasing an array of breathtaking gardens, vibrant floral arrangements, and innovative landscaping. The 3-day event showcased 36 outdoor gardens, including four balcony gardens for small spaces. Inside the giant pavilion, blooms compete with each other, exotic flowers, roses, and many more.

Princess Kate Middleton walking the booths at the Chelsea Flower Show.

Dame Judy Dench, who owns several of Webb’s pieces in her garden, with James Doran-Webb and Jerry Sibal discussing the works of James.

One of the flower arrangements competing at the show.

The 2023 Chelsea Flower Show embraced a Nature’s Harmony theme, with a strong focus on sustainability and mental health. The show’s organizers emphasized the importance of sustainable gardening practices and biodiversity conservation, inspiring attendees to create beautiful outdoor spaces while preserving and protecting the environment.

One of the floral gazebo displays recycled chairs and salvaged materials.

Shops at the Chelsea Flower Show are mostly from sustainable materials.

What’s Cebu got to do with the Chelsea Flower Show in London? One person. James Doran Webb (, an Englishman working with driftwood, has been displaying his artworks for several years. James collects cast-off driftwood and shapes them into beautiful animal shapes that find places in some of the most iconic gardens. Leaping horses, owls, reindeer, and the occasional dragon, James Webb’s creations are avidly collected by landscapers to add accent to gardens in all sizes, using cast-off wood, fitting perfectly with the sustainable element—something Mr. Webb has done quite well for the last decade.

The impressive dragon of James Doran-Webb


The Philippine International Flower Festival will be held at the PICC in Manila from January 14 to 18, 2024. Watch out for more info from our website!

Continue Reading


Club Serena: A ‘Serene Luxury’ Experience in the Heart of Cebu’s Diving Mecca

photography by GPA Art and Photography

A three-hour drive, or more, depending on traffic, the fishing town of Moalboal in the southwest of Cebu Island is an extremely popular destination for divers and weekenders who love the white sand and pink sunsets. It is also a favorite place to stay for expats looking for a laid-back life of endless coffees or cocktails.

Thankfully, the big chain resorts haven’t discovered it and places to stay are mostly small family-run resorts. But if pampering is what you are looking for, there is only one hotel to book in Moalboal. Club Serena Resort is a 1.7-hectare beachfront property perched above coral rocks, presenting a unique union of luxurious accommodations and a host of activities to be enjoyed. This hidden gem is reached through a dirt road away from the main highway. Fronting a wide swath of white sand beach, it is an easy walk past several smaller resorts to reach the main town.

Recently renovated by noted architect James Jao, the new Club Serena has 17 rooms, three swimming pools, a restaurant, and a beachfront event space, all designed with modern Filipino aesthetic. On the drawing board are more rooms to be added, an expansion of their modern dive shop, and their popular Kids’ Club program. Their food outlet, Mira, offers all-day dining, favorite among visitors and locals, as well as the growing expat community that has settled in Moalboal. 

Club Serena offers diving courses for adults and kids by their resident operator, Seven Seas Aquanauts Phil. Corp, a PADI 5 accredited diving facility operating since 1988. For a complete list of the courses and their rates, please call (+63) 917.872.6367 or (+63) 905.459.5307.

The resort encourages above-water activities as well, and they have several paddle boards and kayaks available for guests to use.

For rates and more information, visit or email or (+63) 917.872.6367 or (+63) 905.459.5307. You can also visit their Facebook page for updates.

Continue Reading