Theater actors and singers Franco Laurel and Ayen Munji spent five weeks in Los Angeles, U.S.A., from June 12 to July 22, 2008, for some family bonding with their kids Mariella, Hasan, and Angia. The whole family visited the shopping districts Rodeo Drive and Melrose Place, and took a trip to Malibu's beaches and to Disneyland. They also made a long drive to the Danish community of Solvang to sample some smorgasbord.
"As much as possible, we try to have a trip every summer," Ayen says. "Ang summer vacation nina Mariella and Hasan is June, kasi they study in Brent. So si Angia ang absent." Brent is an international school in Biñan, Laguna, and follows the U.S. schoolyear. Angia is a prep at the Learning Child School in Ayala Alabang Village.
The couple have been busy in separate plays. Franco, who finished playing Jose Rizal in Dulaang UP's Isang Panaginip na Fili, has also done First Name for the Trumpets theater group. Ayen is scheduled to portray the late Honorata "Atang" de la Rama—National Artist for theater and music, known in her time as the Reyna ng Kundiman—in a play penned by Floy Quintos. "It's also for Dulaang UP, as part of UP's centennial celebration," says Ayen, an alumna of UP's official theater performing group.
Franco says of their U.S. trip, "We really savored iyong family time namin." And Ayen notes: "Next year, baka hindi kami makapagbakasyon nang mahaba, kasi Mariella's already going to college."