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A little night music

HIS Excellency Wadee Batti Hanna Al-Batti, the ambassador of Iraq to the Philippines, and his lovely wife Nadia recently hosted a dinner in honor of visiting Iraqi musician Naseer Shamma, who is also one of the country’s top musicians and composers.

Shamma was in Manila as one of the awardees for 2012 of the Gusi Peace Prize.

The dinner was attended by the diplomatic corps and top government officials. I spotted the ambassadors of Austria, the European Union, Finland, Greece, Sri Lanka and Switzerland.

Dignitaries from abroad who were also in Manila for the Gusi Peace Prize were also present, including Deepika Priyadarshani, Sri Lanka’s most famous songstress; and H.R.H. Sheik Hissah Bint Saad Abdulad Salem Al-Sabah, princess of Kuwait. The princess of Kuwait, by the way, looked very distinguished in a simple black gown with her hair slicked back.

Madame Al-Batti, the perfect hostess, arranged large round tables in her lovely garden, with a buffet setup on her patio.

There was a delicious Middle Eastern spread, including an extensive mezze selection and a variety of roasted meats. Madame Al-Batti even made the hummus and tabbouleh herself—and these were truly fresh and tasty.

It was the perfect evening for an al fresco event in Forbes Park as the weather was fine and the stars were out.

After many of the guests had left, I decided to stay behind and finish the remnants of Madame Al-Batti’s hummus with some freshly baked pitta bread and strips of beef shawarma.

While I ate my second dinner, the Al-Batti’s young and extremely self-possessed son, Zaid Wadee Al-Batti, who is enrolled at the International School and enjoying his studies immensely, kept me company and entertained with stories about his classes and after-school football activities. “I love my school and I love living in Manila,” he told me.

My “partners in crime” in finishing up the last of the buffet were Madame Al-Batti herself, plus Joseph Assad, the honorary consul of Lebanon, and visiting Lebanese government officials. We all sat out in the garden, enjoying food that can only be described as so good and so good for you, and discussing the great things about travel and life. Basically, we talked about the joys of a Travelife.


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In Photo: Dr. Felipe Guhi, laureate Gusi Peace Prize 2012 from Colombo; Travelife Publisher Christine Cunanan; Ambassador Nawalage Bennet Cooray of Sri Lanka; Dr. Aleksandrovich Boris, laureate Gusi Peace Prize 2012 from Russia; Ambassador Wadee Hanna Al-Batti of Iraq; Naseer Shamma, laureate Gusi Peace Prize 2012 from Iraq; Deepika Priyadarshani, laureate Gusi Peace Prize 2012 from Sri Lanka; Kent Wong, laureate Gusi Peace Prize 2012 from China; Madame Nadia Al-Batti, wife of the ambassador of Iraq; and Ricardoe Di Done, laureate Gusi Peace Prize 2012 from Canada.







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