Every day, Udo Wittich is Makati Shangri-La’s very dedicated hotel manager.
But some days, Udo is scuba diving. Or mountain climbing. Or jumping from an airplane. Or motor gliding. And he feels he is still 28 years old.
“I celebrate my 28th birthday every day,” laughs Udo, a tall and charming guy who is as German as Volkswagen and Hugo Boss, but is a citizen of the world. One thing is sure, though: His sense of perfection is like those of things German that we like. “We Germans believe there is nothing we cannot do. For me, there is only Plan A. There is no Plan B.”
In New Zealand, he saw how a couple aged 70 and 78 celebrated their 35th anniversary by jumping from a plane with a parachute. He did the same, but he admits his knees were shaking then.
Before he turned 28, he did a lot of braver things. Like he would drive the VW Scirocco in Germany at full speed and turn on the sound system full blast. “You could hear my car hundreds of miles away.”
Udo is a music lover. “I have a very good playlist. My favorite right now? Dua Lipa. If you have a bad day, just listen to music. And watch TikTok and YouTube. There is a free university out there.”
This is how he made productive use of time during COVID when the world was put on hold. And he applied the mental exercises he learned to creative use in hotel work. He probably has earned an MBA from YouTube University and a PhD from TikTok University.
“I am looking for an investor so I can open a shop called Forever 28,” Udo jokes. “It will be strictly for men.”
And how about for women? “That will be Forever 21.”
It’s all about having a good mindset, he stresses. “You are never too old to learn new things. You have to try new things. You have to enjoy life. Or else regret that you never did.”
That’s how he started doing the sports he enjoys. “There are bigger risks in everyday life, like when driving a car daily on the road, or doing DIY home improvement projects where a ladder misstep can be fatal.”
He does drive himself around in his trusty Innova, except on color-coded days. He enjoys driving to places like Antipolo and Tagaytay. And yes, he enjoys his assorted sports with a local group, of which only one out of 10 is an expat. His Instagram account shows he also has a passion for keeping fit in the gym.
What fitness tips does he have for guys who would like to be forever 28?
“There is never an age when you can do things. Tom Cruise was not at his youngest when he learned to do stunts himself for his action movies. Harrison Ford was a not-too-young carpenter working on movie sets when he was discovered.”
You can do anything you enjoy as long as you don’t hurt anyone.
Well said by a hotelier in whose IG pages you can feel the heart of a father referring to “twins and a junior” with affection, and celebrating annivs with a beloved.
That’s how five-star managers are. They are caring; they are wise and old. But they are forever 28.