An ambassador. A member of retail royalty. A sometime-actress, artist, and senator’s spouse.
WORDS JOSEPH L. GARCIA
High Life spoke to three figures— one each from politics, business, and showbiz—to find out how they manage to step off the plane with personal panache.
Travel à la His Excellency
The French Ambassador to the Philippines and Micronesia, Nicolas Galey, has served many years in several offices in the French government, as well as many places around the world. His job has taken him, presumably, around several cities in his homeland, France, as well as having to adopt as his home countries as varied as Algeria, Egypt, and since 2017, the Philippines. Ambassadorial essentials include a mobile phone, computer, iPad (or tablet of choice), passport, and papers and a pen. With a nod to his country’s reputation as a style capital, he added: “Prudent ones, they also have razors and shaving foam.”
The life of an ambassador might be shrouded in the allure of mystery, but it’s a job just like everybody else’s (give or take). The diplomatic passport isn’t always as powerful as you might think it is. Sure, it might guarantee diplomatic immunity and all its frills in a country where one is assigned, but it’s just like everybody else’s passport in other countries. When asked how His Excellency passes through airports, Mr. Galey said, “Like everyone else. In some airports, there is a diplomatic passage, where usually you don’t have to queue up as long, but sometimes it takes more time.”
And as for his luggage? Mr. Galey waves off the diplomatic pouch—the magic purse of international relations— as mere myth, in his case at least.
Defined as “a container in which official mail is sent to or from an embassy without being subject to customs inspection,” the diplomatic pouch was how Winston Churchill, during the Second World War, had his thick Cuban cigars delivered. In crisis-prone areas, the pouch has been used to smuggle in contraband—everything from kidnap victims (see: the Dikko affair) to illegal drugs. This is because the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations forbids the opening of the diplomatic bag (which can take many forms: from envelopes to entire crates large enough to fit a human being). The package, so long as it has marks bearing its status, is also granted a form of immunity.
“The fantasy of the diplomatic pouch! That’s very much a fantasy. The diplomatic pouch does not go with the ambassador. It goes specifically in air freight,” Mr. Galey said. “It’s not the case for the luggage of an ambassador, which are usually not searched, but it’s not forbidden.”
If you take a swipe at Heart Evangelista’s Instagram, you’re probably looking at the closet of every fashion girl’s dream. The sometime-actress, artist, and senator’s spouse is known for her wide collection of bags from leading fashion house Hermès, her shoes from Christian Louboutin, and several outfits from Gucci, Pucci, and all the other Italian houses you can think of.
On trips, Ms. Evangelista (a screen name; she descends from the restaurateur Ongpauco family, and is married to Senator Francis Escudero) doesn’t go anywhere without a pair of her nude Louboutin pumps. Her travel outfits usually consist of neutrals. “It’s good to have in your luggage because you can mix and match your jacket,” she said of her color palette. “Sometimes, it’s hard to pack so much.” Surprise surprise, this jet-setter doesn’t have excess baggage: she only carries two suitcases. “My goal is to fill up one and have one empty. So when I come back, I fill up the other one.”
A favorite outfit that she has worn while traveling a fuchsia coat from Delpozo got the attention of several style lookouts while Ms. Evangelista was in Paris for Couture Week earlier in 2018. This isn’t the only reason why this particular outfit was memorable. “My shoe caught on one of the gowns of the models. I’ll never forget that outfit because of that.” When asked why she goes around the world in stylish outfits (when, really, she doesn’t have to), she replied: “I feel good. It’s important that you feel good about yourself when you wake up in the morning and when you dress up. The rest follows. I think you attract positivity when you feel good.”
Shopping for business
Dina Arroyo-Tantoco serves as Marketing and Communications Head for Rustan’s. The Tantoco family consolidated its retail empire through several fruitful meetings with world leaders in fashion: think Oleg Cassini, Yves Saint Laurent, and Christian Dior back in the 1950s and ’60s. Of course, the family still makes regular visits to possible suppliers abroad, to maintain relationships as well as to create new ones. Ms. Tantoco doesn’t go on these buying trips herself, but she says that the attire is always business, adding that comfortable shoes should always be in the mix. “It sounds so glamorous, but they’re actually back-to-back meetings all day.”
As for her own leisurely trips, the kids come first. “I have a family, so our top destinations are Disneyland, Legoland, Japan—places that are easy to bring kids to.” She plans her outfits for her trips. “Not because I have to dress up, but I’ve learned to really love it more—even more now that I got married to a stylish family,” she said. “It’s really fun to dress up. Why not, right?” Of course, on trips to Disneyland she just wears jeans, sneakers, T-shirts, maybe a baseball cap. She adds, “But—accessorize!”