The family that travels together (has much more fun together)

FUNFARE - Ricky Lo - The Philippine Star

Traveling with friends is fun, all right, and traveling with your family is much more so.

Ask Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos and her husband, Sen. Ralph Recto, who have made it a tradition to take a break with immediate family members and close family friends out of the country. The group has done Asia (Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Bangkok, etc.) and yet, every time is like the first time even if their itinerary is almost always the same — dining out and ordinary activities that ordinary people usually do during a holiday.

Vilma and Ralph’s group flew back yesterday somewhat tired but extremely happy and recharged from an 18-day US holiday. They left on April 3 and missed by two days the 33rd birthday of son Luis Manzano who was kept home by work. Although left behind, Luis wasn’t really home alone because his girlfriend Angel Locsin kept him company and even surprised him with a mini-concert by Side A held right at Luis’ home on his birthday. Luis is in the transition of Aries and Taurus (April 21) and he shares a birthday with Iggy Boy Muhlach (Aga and Janice de Belen’s son), Rosemarie Sonora, Wilbros producer Winston Llamas, Queen Elizabeth and William Shakespeare. Nice company, isn’t it?

Probably the most excited in the group was Vilma and Ralph’s son Ryan Christian who, with Ralph and “the men in the group”(as Vilma’s Girl Friday/accountant Aida Fandialan put it), watched the Pacquiao-Bradley bout in Las Vegas, thanks to the 10 complimentary tcikets given to them by Manny Pacquiao. Did Ryan place a bet and win? Secret!

“We girls decided to watch the Michael Jackson show featuring impersonators,” said Aida. They spent four days (April 10 to 13) in Las Vegas just sight-seeing. Ryan graduated last March from La Salle Greenhills High School and they inquired from two schools (one of them UCLA) where he might study next year. This school year, Ryan will take a Business Course in Ateneo.

Back in L.A., the group visited the same places they have been to. Out there, Vilma enjoyed being just herself, unperturbed by the prying eyes of the public.

“We had an Easter Sunday reunion,” added Aida, “and it was Vi who did the grocery. Enjoy na enjoy siya sa pagpu-push ng cart.”

One of the “surprise” gifts that Vilma received during the trip was a compilation of footage of the group’s US holidays since 1991, done by Willie Herber (husband of Vilma’s sister Winnie Santos) who works at Paramount Pictures. Winnie has a son with Willie, aside from three by her ex-husband Bong Morales. Others in the group were Vilma’s sister Emelyn and daughter Carla Valeroso, Joel (the youngest Santos) with girlfriend Yvonne Feria (who joined the group from San Francisco where she’s based), and close friends.

Vilma didn’t forget to bring home Converse shoes for Luis as pasalubong and another item as birthday gift.

Effective today, it’s back to official work for Vilma and Ralph, and the rest of the group.

Until next year…in another part of the globe.

(E-mail reactions at [email protected]. You may also send your questions to [email protected]. For more updates, photos and videos visit www.philstar.com/funfare or follow me on www.twitter/therealrickylo.)

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