For Donna Cruz, LA is heaven on earth
CITIZEN OF THE WORLD - CITIZEN OF THE WORLD By Edu Jarque () - November 11, 2001 - 12:00am
Donna Cruz Larrazabal is presently seriously pursuing a dream. Though she is an accomplished singer with nine solo album hits, an admired actress in film and theater and a veteran performer in concert tours that brought her around the Asian and Pacific countries, the United States and even as far as Oman and Romania, Donna happily admits that "my priority these days is to graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. This means so much to me. Everything else is on temporary hold, if you can call it that."

Donna confesses that she is most lucky as her husband of three years, eye surgeon Potenciano "Yong" Larrazabal III, whose family owns a chain of hospitals in Cebu, is fully supportive of her own vision and goal. "And what more can I ask for when I have our two-year-old daughter Ysabella Adriana for my inspiration," she says.

"But once in a while, I do a rare appearance in a show. How can I turn my back on raising the much-needed funds for charity?" she asks. "Oh yes," she continues "every student deserves a vacation and like so many of us, we go on holidays. I am no exception."

Let’s listen in to some of her travel stories.

PHILIPPINE STAR: What do you remember of your first trip abroad?

DONNA CRUZ LARRAZABAL:
I was only 12 years old was our only destination – it was more like a target– was Hiroshima, Japan to represent the Philippines in the Mermaid International Children’s Song Festival. Together with Timothy Paul Vallega I sang a duet. Guess what, we won!

What won’t you leave home without?


A beautiful picture of my beautiful baby in a beautiful frame. I never carry one of Yong since I always travel with him. I need to have my cell phone with me to be able to instantly communicate with loved ones left behind. And my complete makeup kit. I can’t imagine a lady traveling without the most important collection of tubes, bottles, brushes and what-have-you's.

How do you pass time at airports?


I don’t know why, but I get very restless at airports. It seems I go into active mode. I invade the newsstands for glossy women’s magazines such as Vogue and Cosmopolitan and other informative publications that deal with parenting and children. I study and admire the eye-catching window displays. I explore the many stores for educational toys for Belle. Then I go for a meal and even find the time to have coffee. I never just sit in peace and wait to board the aircraft.

What is the first thing you do upon checking in at a hotel?


I can never sleep on board, no matter how I try. So I opt for a rest – a complete rest upon reaching the hotel room. Once I am fully re-charged, it’s go, go, go. There’s no way to stop me.

What do you consider a must-do activity whenever you visit a foreign city?


I must admit I am not an ideal or shall we say the usual tourist that has to do all the sights or participate in activities the place is famous for. I am also not as adventurous as my husband Yong when it comes to trying the local food. What I do is play this personal game where I order from restaurants or bistros the same Italian dish and dessert in every destination I visit. You see, I adore Italian food and this is what brings me great joy. So it’s a must in every city I go to.

What is the best travel advice you can share?


Try to read all you can on the towns and cities included in your itinerary. It always helps to ask some good friends to share their travel experiences. There is nothing like research – official or otherwise.

Who is your most ideal traveling companion?


My husband Yong whose company I truly adore. In addition, he handles not only all the necessary travel arrangements but takes care of everything. And boy, I mean everything. On top of it all he knows the answers to my questions and he explains it like no one else. While I honestly feel I am on holiday – thanks to him for making it so – I often wonder if he really has the same level of satisfaction and degree of happiness.

What pasalubongs do you bring on your outbound journey? And on your return homeward bound?


Outbound – polvoron from Goldilocks, dried mangoes, Choc-Nut and CDs of my albums. Inbound – unique souvenir items, chocolates, clothes, colognes and perfumes.

Name your favorite city abroad.


Los Angeles. It was love at first sight and the fascination grows with every succeeding visit. Could it be because of the presence of relatives and friends who reside in the area? Or the no-cloud-in-the-sky weather most days of the year? Or could it be the mega malls and the shopping outlets? Or maybe, the magical theme parks? Or even perhaps the exciting nightlife? As they say, it’s all of the above and lots, lots more. Los Angeles is the closest thing to my idea of a modern Shangri-la.

If you could have a meal with three persons, who would they be?


Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo – she is an idol of mine. Julia Roberts – my favorite actress. Brad Pitt – for obvious reasons.

Name the dream singer you wish to perform with.


It would be a toss up between Barbra Streisand and Celine Dion.

Name an event you would like to participate in.


The Cannes Film Festival with all its glamour.

Any hobby that occupies your time? What do you collect?


I regularly surf the Net and I collect musical boxes and Precious Moments figurines.

Name the sport you enjoy doing? Watching?


I always try to do things with Yong. So we play ping-pong and watch basketball games.

What are you addicted to?


The Internet. I’d be bored to death without it.

Name a film you can watch over and over again and the title of a book you strongly recommend?


The Wedding Singer,
a cute romantic comedy and Notting Hill, which starred my favorite actress. I really love the Chicken Soup for the Soul collection. The books are so inspiring.

Name a city you have never been before and would like to visit?


Paris.

Name a country you wish to explore.


At the top of my list is France.

If you could reside anywhere in the world, where would you live?


Los Angeles – my kind of heaven.

What would you say is the best part of travel?


The rare opportunity to move freely such as shopping in peace where absolutely no one knows you. Oh, the sweet taste of privacy!

After all the travels you have done, describe your most memorable trip.


It has to be one of my trips to Los Angeles for yet another concert tour. At that time Yong was already my steady boyfriend. But I prayed to God for a sign that he was to be the man for me, the father of my children. True enough, out of nowhere with no plans whatsoever Yong followed me to the States. Hallelujah that was the signal I was looking and waiting for. The entire trip took up a new meaning and turned out to be full of beautiful memories I will never be able to tell you enough.

ASIAN AND PACIFIC BARBRA STREISAND AND CELINE DION BRAD PITT BUT I CANNES FILM FESTIVAL CHICKEN SOUP COMPUTER SCIENCE DONNA CRUZ LARRAZABAL LOS ANGELES YONG
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