How Patty Ang Fell In Love With Paris, The City Of Lights
Famed designer Patty Ang describes herself a "born traveler," seeing the world is a means to renew her mind and spirit. "It's my dream to travel everywhere. Just the act of riding the plane, I enjoy it! Even the hassle of booking a place. I find it a challenge to know the place before I get there. I ask everyone about the best places to eat, places to go and see," she enthuses. Between raising her daughter and creating her collections, there are days when she starts to feel a little burned out, "so even just a day or two away, it makes me breathe and relax," she adds. On the average, she heads out of the country once a month, often on buying trips for new fabrics for her designs.
Even as a young girl, she would constantly ask her dad, respected businessman Felix Ang, to take her to see Europe, especially Paris. “I think anywhere in Europe is different. I love history and it’s amazing how they kept and preserved everything. I think to experience their culture is one thing. Their food is another,” she says excitedly. He had the same reply to her each time: “You have to go there with your special someone because you won’t appreciate it if you’re just with your family,” shares Ang. As fate would have it, she did find her way to Europe, traveling with her boyfriend of over two years. “So that was special.”
As Ang tells it, serendipity seemed to have a hand in how she met her boyfriend, who has become her constant travel partner. “We met on the plane. We were seated next to each other, but we didn’t talk there,” she says giddily. The two were en route to watch the Pacquiao fight in Macau. Call it six degrees of separation, but it turned out, “His sister knows my brother's friends. We got to know each other then. After that, we would always travel together,” she adds. Their shared passion for travel has also strengthened their bond as a couple. “You get to know more about each other. He likes to travel a lot. We work together to decide where to go, so we can see everything we want to see. It’s a partnership. He’s really great at finding good deals. We would spend on food and traveling instead of just buying stuff,” she explains. Their first trip together was to London, when she was getting ready to attend a course at Central Saint Martins. “I like London because it was my first European destination. It was a big thing for me.”
It was just over two months ago when her dream Parisian vacation came true and Ang set foot in the City of Lights. She found herself in awe… of everything.
Musée du Louvre
“Since it was my first time, it was really just about seeing everything. We definitely went to all the places that we needed to see. My favorites were Versailles and the Opera House. Again, I like history,” she relates. Not to be missed was a visit to the Musée du Louvre. “… because the Mona Lisa is there. You had to see it. But just walking around, you can see how people appreciate art. I just find it beautiful,” she adds.
Ang did tell us that one of her favorite moments during the trip was when she and her boyfriend stopped by the park one day. “I fed the birds! I enjoyed! That was the highlight of my trip! It went to my hands. Nakunan ng picture. I super enjoyed. I gave extra tip pa,” she says before bursting into laughter.
Enjoy a cup of coffee at a cafe, Image by Jacob Bøtter, Flickr
On the other hand, they also spent a bit of time just people watching. “We liked to just sit down and drink coffee and talk and suck in the place and everything,” Ang explains. Since they happened to be in Paris in the middle of the fashion frenzy that was Paris Fashion Week, there was the fashion to appreciate. “It was exciting for me! We saw a lot of people.” Comparing the Parisian’s love affair with fashion and how fashion is viewed here in Manila, Ang had this to say: “I just feel like when you’re there, whatever you wear, people appreciate fashion. They won’t judge you. Whatever your fashion is. Unlike here, if you go out like that, people look at you. When you’re there, you have the freedom to dress and look how you want to look.” She eschewed trying to see any of the shows in favor of just taking in all that Paris had to offer.
Apart from the fashion, Paris has also become a haven for foodies and gourmets from all over. The famed Le Cordon Bleu, after all, is one of the premier culinary schools in the world and is found in the city. Thus the couple already had French food on their minds almost as soon as their plane landed. “Honestly, I'm not a big fan of French food, but I really liked how fresh everything was. And the ambiance of the restaurants. How they serve you. How different they are. It was my boyfriend who picked the food, and he loves fresh seafood. The oysters and the fresh crabs. Cold seafood, mostly. And I loved it. It's so different from what we have and in other countries,” she shares excitedly. Not to be missed on her list was a visit to the renowned coffee shop Angelina’s. “Ooh, the hot chocolate!!! It was sweet and I like sweet. And perfect for the cold weather. But everywhere it was good,” she notes. Maybe it’s just the idea of being in a restaurant’s country of origin, if not the first of its shops, but Ang adds that the overall experience of it can be something else. “You have to try it in the home country. Even if you try it in another country, it's different. I don't know if it's the ambience or what… ” Another interesting observation? “Even the servers! They were in suits! They dress up so well.”
Unfortunately, the couple only had six days to take in the sights and sounds of the city before heading back home for work. “I wanted to go around some more because everything is so near, so we just went to Versailles apart from Paris,” says Ang. Even shopping took a backseat to just being in the moment and making their way thru the city. “I think this was the first time where I didn't get to buy much. It's weird... maybe because I really wanted to see the place first. And eat. It was the food, especially the famous places,” she adds. That said, Ang feels that, “Every part of the trip was memorable because it was my first. I still remember everything.”
Ang looks forward to traveling and seeing more of the world in the years ahead. She hopes to make it back to Paris soon with her daughter, sharing “… the history is so great and it’s beautiful. There will be a lot for her to see and do. I have to work hard first... do double time. Of course, when you're out, you don't want to be super tipid, because you're there already. Save up first. Work hard,” she enthuses. And work hard she does.