With her flamboyant outfits and dramatic entrances, Filipino socialite Tessa Prieto-Valdez has been dubbed the “Lady Gaga of Asia.” But she’s originally the “Sea Princess,” the name of her newspaper column which she got after her dive buddies jokingly offered her as a ransom to pirates in Palawan. Here are some of her most unforgettable trips and outfits.
Have you found yourself traveling in one of your colorful outfits?
All the time. From entering the airport to going through customs and waiting for my luggage, people ask for a photo. My only problem is when I have to go through a security check. I have to remove all my accessories and the rest of my fashion gear and that takes a long time. I normally cause a queue behind me!
What are your most memorable trips so far?
Hands down, it’s our South Africa safari trip and our Russian holiday. South Africa and Botswana are God’s creation at its finest… the Circle of Life before your very eyes. For the Russia trip, it’s opulence to the max! So my taste! From the museums to jewelry to palaces.
How many pieces of luggage do you usually carry?
Two large Rimowa suitcases and a floral hand carry.
You always seem to have fun wearing your outfits, even in a marathon in Paris. Any memorable remark?
At the Paris marathon, people were shouting, “Regarde, de danceur!” (“Look at the dancer!”) I ran with a multicolored tutu and flowers on my hair. I stopped for photos with the cute French firemen and a marching band.
What are your travel essentials?
I can’t travel without my mobile phone, credit cards, lipstick, false eyelashes, dangling earrings, necklaces, power band, my rosary and prayer book, wigs, hair pieces, running gear, water bottle, camera, laptop, reading glasses (I secretly use them) and all my vitamins and supplements. Haha! I am always over-weight even before I leave!
If you were to meet the first alien, what would you wear and tell him?
I would wear my Rajo Laurel voluminous ball gown with a bejeweled tiara and gigantic metallic wings and say, ‘I come in peace and want to bear your offspring!’
The first things I check in my hotel room are…
The toiletries and Wi-Fi.
I am very picky with…
Bed sheets, pillows, and towels.
But not with…
The mini bar.
What are your top 5 shopping finds?
Silver fox coat from Russia (won’t mention the price! Haha!), Zebra skin rug from South Africa, leather carpet from Argentina, silk carpet from Agra, India, and hand-painted Venetian silk chandelier from Italy.
A good night out would start in…
A Michelin-star restaurant with excellent food and superb wine then heading to a club after.Read Tessa’s column every Sunday at the Philippine Daily Inquirer. She is also a very popular host for events. Support her forthcoming Charity Ball with Michael Cincois on October 16 for the benefit of the Philippine Red Cross. For tickets, please contact Maggie Gineta at (+63917) 832 5570. To book Tessa for events, email her at sea.princess888@ gmail.com.