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Saturday, April 29, 2017

LCUP Fetes Malolos Culinary Pride Nanay Mercy Antonio

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Six Students Prepare Six-Course Molecular Gastronomy Dinner

La Consolacion University Philippines (LCUP), in cooperation with Malolos Vice-Mayor Gilbert “Bebong” T GATCHALIAN, made local history by awarding 80-year-old Nanay Mercy ANTONIO — heir to the secret heirloom recipe of the famous empanada de kaliskis de Malolos, named at the suggestion of late food historian and family friend Mila ENRIQUEZ—a Certificate of Recognition for being a proud and living Maloleño culinary artist and heritage standard-bearer.

The family has been serving the crispy paper-thin clad pies since 1820 to guests like Dr Jose Rizal and Gat Andres Bonifacio and Presidents Manuel L Quezon, Sergio S Osmeña, Carlos P Garcia, Elpidio R Quirino, Ferdinand E Marcos, and Joseph E Estrada coming to Malolos all the way from Manila. “May nag-alok na sa akin na gumawa nito sa Maynila, pero pinili ko na manatili dito sa Malolos.”

Lola Mercy, who came in light blue short-sleeved barong and slacks—“Ganito talaga ako noon pa” referring to her manly mien and manners—with grandchildren and great-grandchildren, has been making the paper-thin crusted (so delicate they crumble noisily with every bite) meat pies since she was 7 years old.  Now that she’s gradually losing her sight, she has passed on the trade secret to two granddaughters who help her out every day.  

Vice-Mayor Gatchalian with the support of LCUP through Chef Jeremy MALCAMPO—Assistant Dean of the College of International Tourism and Management and Manager of Café Barcelo Malolos and Food Services and a good friend since our student days—promised not only to continue to seek out, recognize, support, and preserve Maloleño heritage by awarding recognition to its heritage artists.

Vice-Mayor Bebong also promised to further help out the family by “securing a patent for the recipe of the empanada de kaliskis de Malolos, so that the family can receive royalties whenever the recipe is produced elsewhere.”

Kudos to Cultural Heritage Preservation, Vice-Mayor Bebong! Long live Philippine Arts and Culture!

UPLB SJDC Proudly Presents Verve 5: Devitrify

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On its 18th year anniversary, the UPLB Street Jazz Dance Company launched the BREAKOUT campaign. Carrying the tag line “All Set, All Out”, the group had the vision of surpassing their limits and being the best they can be all throughout the Academic Year 2016-2017. With this concrete goal in mind, the group rived boundaries to achieve things they have never done before.

UPLB SJDC kicked off their 2016 competition season at the Luzon elimination leg of Crissa Campus Dance Synergy 11 and Ego Supreme Crew Wars 3, where their all-female team Fatale ranked 1st place and all-boy assemblage Beaux successfully made it to the finals out of 40 participating colleges in Luzon.

The group gave a heartwarming routine at the debut of VIBE Dance Competition in the Philippine shores. Emerging as one of the 20 finalists out of 75 applicants, SJDC brought to Manila stage something they have been keeping at the confines of Los Baños. Their “Make You Feel My Love” piece left the Ateneo Henry Irwin Lee Theatre audience in awe, with some even shedding a tear.

SJDC also conquered the first ever Isuzu Danz Max Championship, with Fatale bringing home the championship title for the college division and Beaux finishing at 4th place in the open division. The ladies of SJDC competed against familiar faces in the collegiate dance scene, beating PUP Power Impact Dancers at 2nd and FEU FEUsion at 3rd place. The all boys team, on the other hand, battled with crews from all over Metro Manila.

Oyayi Is Gawad Tanglaw’s Best Children’s Show for 2016

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Oyayi, CBN Asia and National Council for Children’s Television’s newest program for TV, was awarded Best Children’s Show at the 15th Gawad Tanglaw Awards held Tuesday, April 25, 2017.

Oyayi, a Filipino word meaning “lullaby,” is based on a children’s storybook written by Fernando Rosal Gonzalez. Oyayi features a bunch of cute and perky endangered-species-friends who are on a mission to protect their island home. Oyayi teaches timeless lessons such as love for family, appreciation for culture and arts, and preservation and love for the environment. Oyayi also seeks to ignite the younger Filipino generation’s passion and love for country and to encourage them to become responsible citizens.

“We come alongside the parents in teaching values to their children,” shared CBN Asia’s Executive Vice President-COO,
Robert John Tan. “We want to influence them in a positive way,” he added.

Pictured above is Mr. Robert John Tan and Oyayi lead actor, Icko Gonzalez, with the Gawad Tanglaw Award for Best Children’s Show.

For more updates and information, follow Oyayi on Facebook! Visit!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Yokocho Japanese Food Court at Victory Food Market in Baclaran

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Ever since I turned into a blogger, my shirt size grew from a Medium to an Extra Large and my waistline probably turned double since I couldn't fit in my old, but still fine jeans, anymore. In my line of work, food is everywhere, and I just couldn't help but eat everything that's new for me or devour the tried and tested culinary greats.

All events would always have something served to its guests and thus the buffet spread has kept on calling me to please myself with all that they can offer. Even the pika-pika or finger foods would always have something tasty, and for the a la carte which I adore because of the creative plating, I couldn't resist trying everything on the menu.

May it be Chinese, American, Vietnamese, etc, or the local delicacies from the different provinces and regions of the Philippines, we Filipinos could not help ourselves taking pride of how we all love to eat. Adobo, Sisig, Sinigang, Litson, or whatever, we do think about what should be our national dish but why pick one when all of them are so yummy.

This is why we welcome all new and incoming restaurateurs or chefs who invest in the Philippines to tickle the fancy of Filipinos. Regardless if there are so many competitors, what is important is you have amazing recipe to come up with fabulous dishes that will surely impress the masses, or even the most critically-discerning foodies.

We definitely turned Japanese that one fine day at the Yokocho Japanese Food Court located at the 4th floor of Victory Food Market in Baclaran which is just opposite the National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help also known as Redemptorist Church but we all love and know colloquially as the Baclaran Church.

NAITAS Travel & Trade Show 2017

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Since the travel season is already upon us, and school is on summer break, we expect many to be making various plans for their travels. Itineraries will be set to their preferred destinations for both local and foreign trips. There's going to be another huge demand for transportation services, hotel and resort accommodations, souvenirs, theme park and tourist spot visits, tour guide requests, and a lot more that would boost our country's tourism effort to the max.

It is such a great thing that many travel expositions, trade shows and fairs are being organized to gather many travel and tour providers for the convenience of consumers, both local and foreign tourists.

Among them is the NAITAS Travel & Trade Show for 2017 which offered up to 80% discount on outbound and inbound travels as well as on tourism allied products and services when we make bookings and purchases onsite. 

The event is organized by the National Association of Independent Travel Agencies, Inc. (NAITAS), one of the country's biggest travel and tourism association, in partnership with the Department of Tourism and Tourism Promotions Board Philippines.

A Family Staycation Weekend at Taal Vista Hotel

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Aside from the cold weather, Tagaytay city is famous for the picturesque sight of the Taal Lake. This is the in demand view that everyone looks forward to. This is also why most establishments offering a great view of the Taal Lake are benefiting a lot from the influx of tourists who want to take a gander of the magnificent postcard-like view of this amazing wonder of nature.

Everyone could not say that they have been truly to Tagaytay without that epic view of Taal Lake among their photos included in their selfies, groupfies and other photo ops may it be with their DSLRs, point and shoot or smartphone cameras. It is just an enigma that Tagaytay, a part of Cavite, is the city raking in tourism interest even though the place is part of Batangas.

But as they say, this is a beauty that is best seen from afar, and where we can marvel at the wonderful creation of nature bringing joy and fascination to everyone who sees it. Just be also sure that you are pointing at the correct Taal volcano as many are making mistakes on this particular fact. It becomes a laughing matter when even Filipinos themselves do not know the real one.

As mentioned earlier, the cold climate in Tagaytay is also a reason why people are coming there for vacation either during summer breaks or weekends. It is the next best choice of reaching a colder temperature compared to Baguio city.

This is why we were thrilled with our family weekend staycation scheduled on April 8 and 9, because we get to temporarily leave the hot and humid weather in Metro Manila, and experience a more bearable one in Tagaytay city. The best part of all is we get to stay at the Taal Vista Hotel which flaunts the best view of the Taal Lake. Besides that, the Sky Ranch is just right beside the hotel offering the Sky Eye and other park attractions that would surely entertain us during the weekend staycation.

An added bonus is the transportation service provided by the hotel where they got the Avis transports service  for our pick-up and drop-off from our residence in Pasig to the hotel and vice versa. The driver picked us up on the early morning of Saturday for an almost three hour travel to Tagaytay.

We also got to dine at their Veranda buffet restaurant for lunch on our first day and breakfast the following morning, and our first night a la carte dinner at their Taza Fresh Table, but we'll tell you all the details of our dining experience at both Veranda and Taza Fresh Table on a different blog post. It deserves their own separate stories so we could give you the magnificent and yummy details about our meals.

The game room had a billiard table and an air hockey table. We were also informed we could use an Xbox that they could put out if we want to play with it; however, we were informed that the games are also old ones. So they may be referring to the old Xbox version.

Aside from the two restaurant and the lounge where you can also order, the hotel also has a swimming pool, gym, game room, spa, business center and plenty of rooms of different sizes at both their Lake View and Mountain View hotels. They have a small section beside the Taza Fresh Table restaurant where you can buy souvenirs from a few stalls there. Not too many choices but there's bound to be something interesting among those items being sold there.

The Lake View part is the newer hotel that is right beside the Sky Ranch area. There's practically a gate between the two properties so I could imagine just walking through there. But I guess that gate is only used for special occasions as we don't see anybody entering or exiting via that way.

We had two rooms at the 4th floor of the Lake View part of Taal Vista Hotel. One for me and my wife, and another one for our three kids. This overjoyed my kids since they could have one room all for their own privacy. My wife and I can say the same thing and with smiles from ear to ear.

Both rooms have two beds, but we got the room with the grand view of the Taal Lake, while they got the one with a view of the Sky Ranch. The rooms were moderately decorated. It is not similar to the newer or top hotels way back in Metro Manila, but they are comfy and spacious enough to accommodate conveniently more than two people.

Our room had something extra - sweet treats compliments of the hotel. Our kids quickly devoured them even before we got all settled in.

The only difference from the Mountain View part of the hotel is that there is no bathtub on our rooms. The swimming pool, gym, entertainment center and spa are also located at the Mountain View part. But its a short walk from both ends of the hotel so there's no problem at all. But maybe they could build another pool at the Lake View portion since it the pool was already a bit crowded when we visited it before lunch time.

The gym had nobody there when we dropped by so it gave us an opportunity to try the equipment out. However, most were only on manual control and a bit outdated already.

At the game room, we tried both billiard and air hockey table where I won in billiards while my youngest kid emerged triumphant in air hockey.

The second day was a bit more relaxed as we enjoyed the comfy beds of the hotel. We went out of our rooms early in the morning to have breakfast at Veranda. When we were roaming around the hotel,  we discovered a mass ongoing at a ground floor function room that the hotel turned into a mini chapel. It was Palm Sunday so we always make it a point to attend church during that particular event where "palaspas" could be distinctively seen carried by church-goers.

The hotel allowed us to extend our check-out time until 4 pm so we could start traveling back home in better weather late in the afternoon. A different driver drove us back home, but we managed to go have some snacks first at Balay Dako where we had some Bibingka, Pancit Antonio and Lumpiang Sariwa. Afterwards, we stopped by The Pink Sisters church nearby to say a short prayer and explore the place in a quick tour, before going back to the van and finally returning home.

It was undoubtedly one of the most memorable moments since it was our first time staying at Taal Vista Hotel. I have visited the hotel several times in the past but only to attend events there organized by the Department of Tourism so that kept me only seeing the lobby and grounds.

That weekend allowed us to explore every corner of the hotel and be amazed of how beautiful this property really is. If you are not aware yet, it is owned by the SM group of companies just as like the Sky Ranch. For me, this is very precious real estate property that many would want to own it just in case SM sells it, but I'm sure that would never happen since Taal Vista Hotel has become almost iconic in Tagaytay already.

Travel, Work and Play with Targus Seoul 2017 Collection

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Targus Inc., a leading brand in laptop cases and accessories, recently unveiled their Seoul 2017 Collection, the all-rounded solution to travel, work and play.

Embedded with new and advanced features, the Seoul 2017 Collection is multi-functional, making it suitable for all sorts of activities for both men and women. Reliable and highly compact, the Seoul 2017 Collection features two sizes: 15.6” and 14”. The newly launched Seoul 2017 Collection comes in four different colours that exude warmth and vibrancy.

Warm and Refreshing Colours
To showcase that unique personality

With an array of colours lined up in the Seoul 2017 Collection, both men and women can expect to find one that showcases their unique personality. Inspired by urban lights, the backpacks come in two varying tones – one reminiscent of the night, giving off a trusty and matured vibe while the other a reminder of warm city lights.

The 15.6" Seoul Backpack comes in three different colours – black, turquoise and rust. On the other hand, 14” Seoul Backpack comes in two varying colours – black and plum. For a modern and low-key look, opt for the backpack in black and rust. Those seeking a refreshing and delightful burst of colours will fall in love with the turquoise and plum backpacks. Furthermore, the backpacks come in printed inner lining. 

DOE Pitches Energy Opportunities to ASEAN Investors

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Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Alfonso Cusi said Thursday that there is a big business opportunity in the Philippines' energy sector that investors from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) can take advantage of.

"We're inviting energy investors from ASEAN. The ASEAN summit is an opportunity for us to drum up to our neighbors that there is this development happening in the Philippines and they can participate," Cusi said after attending the closed door quarterly roundtable of the Wallace Business Forum at Shangri-la Hotel, Makati City.

Cusi said the potential business opportunity in energy is the result of the government's ambitious infrastructure program dubbed "Build Build Build."

"We're going to build the energy supply for the infrastructure," said Cusi.

"From 2016 to 2030, 17,300 megawatts is needed to support the Ambisyon 2040 development plan of the government for the Philippines. An additional power of 26,000 MW from 2030 to 2040 or a total of 43,000 MW from 2016 to 2040 is needed to support the infrastructure projects," Cusi said at the second round of Dutertenomics Forum on Wednesday, April 26, 2017. Cusi is optimistic that investors will come in.

4th Tour De Cebu Launch at Trans Sport Show 2017

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The Performance and Classic Enthusiasts Club (PACE), together with the Manila Sports Car Club (MSCC) and Tradeshow International Inc., (TSI), recently launched the 4th Tour De Cebu on April 21, 2017 amidst the many project show vehicles and car enthusiasts at the recent Trans Sport Show for 2017.

Tour De Cebu is a three-day "Mille Miglia-inspired" historic and touristic rally scheduled on October 20 to 22 with regularity race covering 1,000 km across the Visayas. It is open to sports cars manufactured from 1972 or older. All entrees are subject to technical scrutiny led by a committee headed by the Grand Marshall. A minimum pass rate is required in order of participation to be green-lighted. Major factors for passing include authenticity, period correctness, mechanical soundness and safety.

The official list for eligible sports cars shall be based on the official list as compiled by MSCC. Refer to PACE grants limited exception for the following:

Classic cars manufactured on or below the cut-off date of 1972 with high historic value or unique provenance in the Philippines. Classic period correct Race or Rally Cars manufactured on or below the cut-off ate of 1972, especially exhibiting high historical value or prestige. Run off sports car models beyond the manufacturing cut-off of 1972 are allowed pending technical consensus.

Culinary Samplers from Heaven at Madrid Fusion Manila 2017

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The 2017 Madrid Fusion Manila brings together once again the culinary expertise of many great chefs and restaurateurs from all over the world to the Philippines. It is such a great [pleasure to be among the officially accredited media to cover the event. I don't really know where to begin because there are so many stories to tell especially when the event happened for several days, and participated by so many of our best and brightest food experts. I am proud to say that we have constantly been outdoing our greatness from the previous years. The Philippines have enough talent to proudly showcase to the entire world.

As expected, the first day begins with many opening ceremonies from the formal launch to the ribbon cutting, and even before that was the press conference for media. The days I spent at the event was overwhelming for I got to taste so many awesome samplers from all over the country and the world. I am doubly excited to taste their full version someday. But it was better that they just gave away samplers because with so many giving them out, you won't have enough room in your tummy for everything.

Naturally, you will be tempted to try out everything, and take a second or third serving if the dish was really good. In my case, 90 percent of the dishes that I've tried were more than just satisfying. Was it me or I just love to eat? I am adventurous too in my preference so I welcome all kinds may they be spicy or uncommon. With so many chef being very creative with their masterpieces, there's no telling how many creations were served during those days, and I am proud to have been a part of this event.

So I met Chefs for the first time like Chef Tatung, and met again the likes of Chef Claude Tayag. Got to do a video selfie with the Department of Tourism -Tourism Promotions Board (DOT-TPB) Chief Operating Officer (COO) and celebrity Cesar Montano, also a photo ops selfie with the Secretary of Tourism, Wanda Tulfo-Teo, plus a lot more personalities involved with food and drinks. But the best of all is the opportunity to witness Filipinos emerging as top choices for food preference. Though the country is open to global cuisines, the Filipino dishes remain to be among our favorites.

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