09 Sep2007


I purchased the premiere issue of Town & Country (Philippine Edition) about a week ago, and have been leafing through it, and actually reading several of the articles… Brava!!! to the editorial team and congratulations on the launch issue, it is really rather good! Mrs. MM and I don’t normally purchase what some might simply label “society” or “sosyal” magazines. In fact, I find most of the local society magazines incredibly boring and feature the same faces in different clothing, and if I can be catty, the bigger and older the waistline, the larger the rocks or pseudo-rocks as well… if you know what I mean. But when Mrs. MM and I had unlimited access to U.S.-based magazines when a previous employer provided us with a weekly mail pouch, Town & Country was one of two dozen magazines that we received every month. An “ancient” title by U.S. standards, at 150+ years old, it was always considered a more “genteel” magazine that was good for discreet society watching, great ads for all those non-essentials in life, and a good travel story or two. So when I heard that the Philippines would be publishing the first foreign edition, I was more than a bit curious…

Fascination with movie stars or society figures is something I think most people will rarely admit to in public, but I suspect 97% of all folks in a dentist’s waiting room, faced with a Tatler or People magazine, will most likely leaf through either or both of them… I have never really MET a star, but I have been in close proximity more than a few times, mostly when they didn’t have their STAR wattage on… I once sat back to back against Christie Brinkley, when she was with Billy Joel, while they enjoyed an Italian meal in Easthampton, and again a few months later, she pulled a chair up and sat on our row at a Billy Joel concert in Boston. I got stuck with John F. Kennedy, Jr. in a Seoul hotel elevator (together with one wickedly serious looking Secret Service Agent), because JFK, Jr. didn’t know how to use his room/elevator key (how MANY times did he take the Bar exam???) and since he looked familiar and I thought he might be an old college classmate, I said hello and he warmly greeted me back, at which point I looked down and realized I didn’t know him from Adam, only to notice he was wearing the most humongous shoes ever! I used to run into a reclusive and neurotic Woody Allen in the lobby of my niece’s primary school, where he waited with all the other parents famous, infamous and anonymous. I also ran into Brooke Shields on the sidewalk when she lived a block away from my sister, and Yul Bryner lived in a townhouse a stone’s throw away when he starred in The King and I on Broadway many eons ago. And I also ended up directly behind Kim Basinger (gee, she is utterly STUNNING in person) and Alec Baldwin waiting in line at a west-side NYC sushi restaurant. But in all these cases, I applied the NY unspoken rule for celebrities, which is to never acknowledge who they are, they are just like any other citizen…

Anyways, back to the local Town & Country. For me, the mark of a good magazine about the finer things in life is if I can relate to the topics covered or feel a kinship with some of the writers or destinations or foods featured within. On this front, the Premiere Issue hit a lot of common marks…The cover and feature article is on Lizzie Eder Zobel, who usually doesn’t seek cover publicity, and who I apparently went to college with, though I didn’t know it at the time. If the article is correct, we were at university together and came from the same graduating class though she was taking Philosophy and I was across the campus getting a Finance degree. She supports several causes such as literacy and education that are likewise important to me. Teddy Montelibano (a reader of this blog), writes about food finds as well as the Chelsea Market & Café, which I also featured a few weeks back. A gorgeous photo of the Lizares ancestral home in Talisay, Negros Occidental is a part of the country I would definitely like to visit, preferably guided by insiders with access to the finest kitchens. Little blurbs about guava jelly by trappist monks, flowers by Fiori di M (Margarita Fores) and Abaca restaurant in Cebu are all things I would gladly consume. Arts & Culture blurbs on a Filipino conductor at Carnegie Hall and a Filipina Soprano in Vienna were interesting as well. An article on Amanpuri, one of the few “original” Amans that Mrs. MM and I have not had the opportunity to visit (two planned trips cancelled), and a blurb on Bulgari’s supposedly STUNNING property in Bali which just seems a bit out of reach at the moment… And finally a feature on Guimaras, an island I have written about before, after it was struck by that horrific oil spill last year. This magazine has class… and it doesn’t have to scream it. Frankly, I thought the PHP150 cover price was well worth it.



  1. Jacob's Mom says:

    MM, could you tell me the name of the soprano in Vienna? Thanks.

    Sep 9, 2007 | 10:53 am


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  3. Marketman says:

    Jacob’s Mom, it is Rachelle Gerodias, who was cast in a leading role for Puccini’s Turandot by the Vienna People’s Opera, according to the Town & Country Magazine…

    Sep 9, 2007 | 10:59 am

  4. Tara Santos says:

    Thank you very much for the entry on Town&Country. I was delighted reading it as we worked very hard in producing the first issue and I assure you that the next issues will be better.

    Thank you very much for supporting Town & Country.

    All the Best,

    Tara Y. Santos
    Associate Publisher
    Town&Country Philippines

    Sep 9, 2007 | 2:35 pm

  5. Jade186 says:

    I think Summitmedia publications has more ‘user-friendly’ magazines than others in circulation in the Philippines.
    I also like the balance of the topics and themes that they feature in general.
    But alas, sometimes they also ‘recycle’ a lot, in terms of models (same old showbusiness celebrities on the cover, why not other known women with other professions – making them more glamourous) and articles (rephrased and rewritten).
    I hope T&C will not just be another sister magazine specifically targeted exclusively for one group at the extent of completely ignoring or forgetting others.
    By the way, time ago I brought some copies of Cosmo and Good Housekeeping (Summitmedia) to Europe and showed them to my University colleagues and friends, and got very good reviews about them.
    Having read your review (MM), I am now more keen at getting my paws on T&C!

    Sep 9, 2007 | 11:11 pm

  6. Jacob's Mom says:

    Thanks, MM. :)

    Sep 10, 2007 | 5:57 am

  7. sylvia says:

    I guess this is another thing I am going to ask my family to put on the pasalubong list from home. Thanks!

    Sep 10, 2007 | 6:59 am

  8. Apicio says:

    Setting aside its immediate appeal to aspiring minds, would not a publication such as this (all too seemingly smug in a country with a flagrantly unfair distribution of resources) provide accessible targets for kidnappers and anarchist assasins, assuming of course the unlikely scenario that they can cobble together P150 for a copy? There is a wise and practical reason why they pull together the curtains shielding the first class from the rest at meal-serving times in airplanes you know.

    Sep 10, 2007 | 7:12 am

  9. Chinachix says:

    Thanks for the preview MM! Now you’ve piqued my curiousity regarding T & C Philippines. Lizzie looks so fresh in the cover (or, maybe, I’ve been away too long). My friend was offered a senior editorial position in this publication, but has accepted a job elsewhere instead.

    Sep 10, 2007 | 8:14 am

  10. Marketman says:

    Apicio, you are completely correct, the ones who truly have it, presumably stay out of the limelight. But oddly, there are a bunch of folks who relish appearing in nearly every issue of every society magazine locally… risks be damned. In fact, I understand they have PR specialists PAY to get them in the magazines! Thankfully, this T&C magazine issue in particular, pays a lot of attention to well-known individuals or families, but puts the charitable twist on things…focusing on what they do good…not just fancy parties, expensive meals, etc. Of course a cynic can always raise the valid point that doing good is a little easier when you have bijillions in the bank… but then again Bill Gates and Warren Buffet aren’t exactly society page material and they combined have given over $50 billion to charitable causes…

    Sep 10, 2007 | 8:18 am

  11. lisa says:

    Marketman, your last entry brings up an interesting point about the nature of genuine charity. Where Lizzie is concerned, I believe it is the time and intellect she pours into Sa Aklat Sisikat and the Friendly Care Foundation that matters, more than any financial support she gives. I’ve seen her at work and she is truly committed to her causes. That she is from an influential clan and has billions actually should not be taken against her or anyone. In this town (and everywhere in the world), these certainly can help raise more funds for important causes like literacy and family planning. Meanwhile kudos on your blog. It’s a joy to read.

    Sep 10, 2007 | 9:26 am

  12. sometime_lurker says:

    MM, u meant a stone’s throw away, right?

    thanks for the post.

    Sep 10, 2007 | 10:39 am

  13. Marketman says:

    sometime_lurker, good catch, thanks, I have edited the post… :)

    Sep 10, 2007 | 11:00 am

  14. eatit1s says:

    The Bill Gates Foundation may dole out millions in charitable causes BUT….

    Sep 10, 2007 | 11:22 am

  15. MasPinaSarap says:

    Interesting choice for the first issue cover.

    Also I think you raised some good points, Apicio.

    Sep 11, 2007 | 8:46 am

  16. suzette says:

    looking forward to the issue where mm will be on the cover!!!

    Sep 12, 2007 | 5:45 pm

  17. chris says:

    its a great read.its quite consistent with its older sister but nevertheless has relaxed,simple and accessible appeal without screaming an “it bag”.

    Sep 12, 2007 | 5:59 pm


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