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April 9-29, 2017 Vol. XXXV No. 10


Blaan children having a laugh at the Lamlifew School of Living Tradition in Malungon, Sarangani. Here, tourists can get a glimpse of the wondrous simplicity hanging over the daily lives of this southern Mindanao tribe. Expat Travel & Lifestyle’s coming issue puts the spotlight on the Blaan tribe, among others, as we go beyond the mists of misconception in Mindanao. Photo by Macjanry Imperio

The antics of semantics Attempting to understand the drug war for what it is and isn’t By TIMOTHY JAY IBAY


s was the case with virtually every administration this country has had, there are many things left wanting in President Rodrigo Duterte’s regime, but for as long as the rhetoric regarding illegal drugs stays the same, the opposition, human rights groups and foreign leaders will continue to point to the number of killings, and the cultivation of a culture of impunity as the foremost concerns. The President’s supporters often argue with numbers and semantics – questioning the 7,000-plus figure the “biased media” maintains is the growing number of deaths resulting from the drug war. For his part, Philippine National Police Chief Ronald dela Rosa made it clear he is not a fan of the term “extrajudicial killings (EJK),” widely used by the local media to describe the deaths. “You’re ramming the term EJK down our throats because that’s what you like,” the police

chief said. As pointed out by a Philippine Star report, the Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management showed 6,011 homicide cases. At the time the report came out, a total of 1,398 were confirmed to be drug-related, while 3,785 were supposedly being investigated. Pardon me? But more disconcerting is the President’s refusal to step away from his rhetoric of pardoning erring cops who “follow his orders.” This is troubling because the PNP has, historically, been one of the most corrupt organizations in the country—something the President should have taken into consideration before he wielded them with the power they have now. Add to that the President’s pronouncements, then you end up with cases like murdered South Korean businessman Jee ick-Joo, whose case has still not reached anything re-

sembling a conclusion. Then, there’s the case of murdered Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa – the accused police officers for the murder of whom were not only promised Presidential pardon, but quite brazenly, a promotion. The President argues that Espinosa ruined half of Visayas with his drug trade. Considering all hyperbolic tendencies, you can almost see where Duterte is coming from. “The [President] is a good communicator so sometimes he uses hyperbole to communicate [but] he did not intervene [in the case],” then Interior Secretary Ismael Sueno was quoted saying, when he defended Duterte’s comments about pardoning and promoting the accused cops. “So, what he is saying there is, ‘Don’t become drug lords because I will side with my policemen who can catch you, page 3 arrest you.’”

March relives Filipino WWII valor


elive the uncommon valor of the Filipino freedom fighters during World War II as the country observes the 75th anniversary of the infamous Death March on Apr. 11. Dubbed Capas Freedom March, the event retraces the last miles of the fateful day where more than 76,000 Filipino and American troops where forced by the Japanese Imperial Army to walk from Mariveles, Bataan to San Fernando, Pampanga. From there, they were hauled into train coaches to Camp O’Donell in Capas, Tarlac. Only 54,000 reached the camp, as some 10,000 people died along the road in the 106-kilometer ordeal. Thousands more died until 1945 due to famine, diseases and poor sanitation. Feting freedom fighters Themed “March For A Veteran,” the event is now on its third year and is co-organized by the Automobile Association Philippines (AAP) and the Department of page 3

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Lady bosses weigh in on BSP Governor: Asia to remain stable if... workplace cultural differences W




mong the more important issues the CEO should address in the company would be the monitoring of any cultural misimpressions the management and staff may harbor toward their own counterparts, since this can lead to communication problems and negative feelings that may affect company morale as a whole. More than anything else, these sensitive matters should be dealt with utmost tact and care so as promote better camaraderie in the workplace instead of ignoring discrimination with regard to such issues as nationality, gender, religious or sexual orientation, educational background, and age. This was the consensus of no less than eight top-ranked female executives, as each one of them discussed their personal and corporate life en route to their C-suite positions during the Asia CEO Forum held recently at Harold’s Hotel Cebu.

Cultural understanding According to Karen Batungbacal, executive general manager of QBE Group Shared Services, there is nothing like education to erase any preconceived biases and prejudices on the part of the individual in order to better understand the cultural background and quirks of the person. “Better yet, we should also conduct trainings to introduce the Filipino culture to them to ease their transition with the local populace,” she added, referring to foreign coworkers. “They should also try to understand certain traits and qualities of the Filipino psyche to promote better cross-cultural ties.” This two-way process would also promote better understanding and clarity on both parties so as to minimize and be less distracted from culture shock on the job, and instead, work for the common good and welfare of the company. Carmie de Leon, vice president of sales and marketing at Healthway Medical, batted

for objectivity in addressing the issue. She also urged the executives to explain in a pleasant and tactful manner in order to get the message across more effectively to the parties concerned. Almira Absin, chief operations officer of Azpired, an upstart Business Process Outsourcing company based in the Visayas, spoke of face-to-face discussions to air out the issues and eventually being heard and understood in the process. Anny Hefti, a foremost advocate of Filipinas in Switzerland, focused on knowing stereotypes, knowledge of own and other party’s culture, expectations, and fruitful communication in order to deal with the situation with a minimum of error. Both parties should also reveal their own culture to each other and listen intently for feedback. Sheila Lobien, regional director of JLL, a top real estate company, was quite at home with the issue since she has dealt with multiple nationalities nearly throughout her career. She recommends an open mind when dealing with people, the guidance of mentors, and knowledge sharing for a more fruitful twoway approach. Sam Melchor Santos, an educator and a UN awardee, dwelt on respect from birth, self-worth, and empowerment. Cora Ballard, chair and president of Rider Levett Bucknail Phil, an independent construction firm, has worked in many countries and with many nationalities. At one time, she was the only Filipina architect among 11 top Japanese counterparts. “I had to tell them in a very tactful and nice manner that I wanted to be treated as an equal. I had to carefully consider the external circumstances before I talked to them. It took a while, but I eventually earned their nod. People have to respect cultures worldwide and I’m glad they took my side,” she told the audience. Grace Decena, Asia-Pacific AVP for

hile Asia remains economically strong compared to the rest of the world, its resiliency will continue to be tested by a host of external and internal factors that have continued to hinder Western economies over the past decade. Such global phenomena—growing protection of intra-Asean trade where Asia may be limiting its growth potential, financial spillovers which may result to capital flow reversals and large currency depreciation, the middle income trap where sustained rapid growth is difficult to maintain, and the demographics factor—can challenge Asia’s mettle in the next few years. Demographics is taken to mean the prevalence and absence of an aged population among certain Asian nations. Prudent policies here are needed to counter the adverse effects of such demographic trends since the presence of a growing aged sector may lead to lowered productivity and less consumer activity.

Avoiding the trap According to Bangko ng Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Gov. Amando Tetangco Jr., the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has observed that growth among emerging Asian economies was down around two percent from the period 2008-14. While far from stagnant, certain steps need to be taken in order to avoid falling into the middle-income trap or ’’the new mediocre.“ These include the implementation of sound macroeconomic polices that counter boom-bust cycles, along with policies that promote education and infrastructure and build strong governance and institutions. Tetangco was the keynote speaker during human resources of Wipro, recommends taking note of the internal culture in certain company departments, and the entire company culture as well, since there is always something unique in the sub-cultures. “One should listen, communicate, and provide feedback in the process. This will teach you to be more accepting and tolerant

the 3rd Asean Finance Ministers’and Central Bank Governors‘ Joint Meeting and Related Meetings held at the Shangri-La Mactan Resort and Spa held earlier this month. Luckily, Asia’s undoing during the 1997 Asian financial crisis has provided the impetus and basis to shape its key financial, structural, and institutional reforms that have defined the Asian economies following the crisis. Policymakers also adapted a more rigorous and proactive approach to banking supervision. Macroprudential policies likewise became staples in the arsenal of Asian central banks in addressing systemic emerging risks in the financial sector. These banks also accumulated large foreign reserves to serve as buffers against a sudden reversal of capital flows. “Better yet, reforms were also implemented at the regional level. Following the Asian financial crisis, the Asean and Asean+3 countries have adapted four key regional initiatives aimed at strengthening the region’s capability to prevent and manage future financial crises. These are the Asean Surveillance Process, Asean+3 Economic Review and Policy Dialogue, and Chiang Mai Initiative, and Asian Bond Market Initiative,” Tetangco added. Cebu and Lapu-Lapu City also hosted the 12th Asean Finance Ministers Investors Forum (AFMIS) held later during the week with Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III of the Philippines and Asean Deputy Secretary General Lim Hong Lin delivering the welcome remarks. As host of the 50th anniversary of Asean, the Philippines will host several regional meetings in the cities and provinces of Bohol, Cebu Davao, Iloilo, Palawan, Manila, and others in the next several months.

of people and discover on which approaches or methodologies work and which do not,” Decena said. The event was headed by Richard Ellis and his wife Rebecca Bustamante. The couple have also organized several like events, mostly in Marriott Manila


Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) recently hosted a Business Matching Activity for selected Belgian companies at an uptown hotel. Areas of concern discussed were retail, food service, food manufacturing, meat processes, design and engineering, consultancy firms, port operators, and real estate. The event envisioned to narrow the business gap and to fuel the fire of possibilities in elevating business a notch or two higher for both countries. In doing so, both parties have established strong ties in strengthening business industry growth and development. As a result, Cebu further hones itself as an even more attractive investment destination due to multiple trade linkages with foreign delegations coming from over 25 countries. Tim Ho Wan, the most affordable Michelin-starred dim sum restaurant in the world, opened its first branch in Cebu, and the seventh in the Philippines. Located at the upper ground floor of SM Seaside

City, the restaurant was packed with dozens of eager writers and bloggers who were all given the “open bar” treatment of the menu. We all had our taste of the “Four Heavenly Kings” consisting of the fabulous “Baked Bun with BBQ Pork,” the “Steamed Egg Cake,” “Pan Fried Radish Cake” and the “Beancurd Skin with Pork & Shrimp,” among many others. We were all surprised to discover that despite global acclaim, not a single dish costs over PhP200! But to no surprise, the Cebuano community was very much drawn to the “new kid in town.” Foressa Mountain Town, a 250-hectare spread nestled in the mountains of Balamban, will soon welcome interested clients and brokers to its midst. Just 33 kilometers away from Cebu City via the Transcentral Highway, the route offers eco-tourism attractions, panoramic views, and fresh produce along the way, which also allows you to savor the traffic-free zone and relish the cool mountain breeze. Better yet, one can

actually have an onsite experience via virtual reality at the Aboitiz Corporate Center situated in Banilad. Explore the forest which hosts 800 species of trees, the stars for its ethereal luminescence, the campsite for quality time, and the bike trails for communing with nature. Get a life, ride a bike, and buy a home. See the true outdoors, only at Foressa. Velmiro Heights is the newest modern mid-range housing development in the south. As a property of Cebu Landmasters Inc., the 8.8-hectare development is home to 428 house and lot units situated in a rolling terrain at Tunghaan, Minglanilla. Sizes range from 60-200 square meters to maximize abundant space and natural light for an expansive atmosphere. Houses and lots are designed in contemporary architecture to maximize the natural view and cool breeze. The clubhouse includes useful features such as a fitness gym, two swimming pools, landscaped gardens, function rooms,

and more. While the property itself offers two guardhouses, 10 to 12-meter wide main road, perimeter fence, overhead water tank, waste disposal system, etc. AXA Philippines recently held a press gathering to feature its three top company executives. Marie Raymundo, chief distribution officer, proudly declared that the company has been the no. 1 global insurance brand for the last eight years and plans to increase investments in its distribution network. J F Salazar, zone head for Visayas, vowed to raise the number of branches in the region from eight to 10— to include Roxas City and Mactan Island. He also expressed gratitude to Cebu since it holds 87 percent of the total number of premiums in Visayas. Geoff Tan, chief agency officer, dwelt on the company’s new PhP100,000,000 policy of health benefits for their well-traveled clients. He also spoke of AXA buying Charter Ping, the fifth largest life co. in the Philippines.


APRIL 12-25, 2015 APRIL 9-29, 2017

Italian Chamber hosts first L'Aperitivo for 2017!

Coralee Tan of Fidenza Village Chic Outlet Shopping; EU Ambassador Franz Jessen; and Jean Lugan of Fidenza Village Chic Outlet Shopping

Our acclaimed networking event, L'Aperitivo Italiano gets bigger and better to start off its 2017 series. Guests had the chance to explore Italy as we presented L'Aperitivo Networking Night: The Night of the Pastas. It was a sparkling night where we delighted our guests, among other dishes, and appetizers, with 20 different kinds of original pasta - one for each region of Italy. The event was organized in cooperation with the Italian Embassy and the Dante Alighieri Institute Manila, and was held

on Mar. 30 at Seda Hotel BGC, where over 120 guests from various sectors and organizations joined this very successful and lively networking night. We are also honored to have had the presence of Ambassador Franz Jessen, Delegation Head of the European Union to the Philippines, who gave a message on the EU and the Philippines’ strong relationship, especially when it comes to business and trade. Philippine Competition Commission Chairman, Mr. Arsenio Balisacan, for his part, shared a brief introduction

The antics of... from page 1 Ironically, about a week later, Sueno was fired by Duterte, citing “loss of trust.” But what is extremely curious is why Duterte, who used to carry around drug matrices to present to the media, refuses to look further into the case – when Espinosa, prior to his death, submitted an affidavit naming 226 personalities allegedly involved in the drug trade. As a note, the list included 19 politicians, 38 policemen and four members of the judiciary. Why is there no effort to look into Espinosa’s claims, when the testimonies of other drug traffickers have been used to jail a senator? If this really is a war on drugs and not the poor – shouldn’t the same resolve and intensity have been applied to probing the case; a case that could uncover something far more substantial than street level users and peddlers? Weeded out streets Meanwhile, administration supporters point to the fact that the much maligned war on drugs IS indeed working, as supply of drugs on the streets has been the lowest in recent

memory; price points are at its highest; and a prevalent air of fear hangs over even recreational users. As pointed out by veteran media practitioner and Philippine Daily Inquirer columnist Ramon Tulfo, people who come to his radio show seeking assistance for various injustices, have expressed belief that they are benefiting from the “war on drugs.” The general feeling is that the streets have gotten safer. They say the drug addicts who regularly disturb peace in the neighborhoods are gone. A student said that there have been no cases of robberies outside their campus since the crackdown began. This writer has seen it firsthand as well. The streets do seem safer, with people more wary of police presence. Say what you will about the President’s preference for creating a climate of fear to combat drugs and criminality, but on the ground, there is a difference to be felt. The question is, when you merely crop the weeds of the problem, what happens when you step down five years from now?

March relives Filipino...from page 1 National Defense - Philippine Veterans Affairs Office, and co-presented by the Department of Tourism and the Tourisms Promotion Board in partnership with the Province of Tarlac and the Municipality of Capas. Former president Fidel Ramos will again be the keynote speaker and will lead the 10-kilometer march set on Apr. 11 from the People’s Park to the Capas National Shrine at 4 a.m. Joining him as guests of honor are PVAO administrator Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Ernesto Carolina, Tarlac governor Susan Yap-Sulit, and Capas mayor Reynaldo Catacutan. According to AAP Travel president Mina Gabor, war veterans, their families and friends, socio-civic groups, government employees, military personnel, AAP members and volunteers will join the march to immortalize the sacrifice of the freedom fighters. She said that this year’s edition is unique as it integrates CFM with two other PVAO-sanctioned events—the Bataan Freedom Run and

the Padyak para sa Kagitingan. Now collectively known as the Mariveles San Fernando Capas Freedom Trail, it is the biggest Death March commemorative activity that seeks to promote freedom, world peace and international goodwill. The former tourism secretary added that the March is the country’s national auto club’s way of promoting domestic tourism through motoring by visiting historic spots to help Filipinos learn from the lessons of the past. Activities include Recognition ceremony for veterans, World War II memorial gallery, exhibits of military vehicles, and awarding for biggest delegations per category. Registration fee is PhP200 for schools and local government units, PhP250 for individuals and PhP300 for corporate participants. Proceeds will go to the restoration of the Capas Train Station. For more information, call (02) 705-3333, (0928) 507-4288 or email

Over 120 guests from different sectors partook in the event for a nght of good food and better company

on what the commission is doing to improve the business environment of the country. Other VIPs and special guests include Mr. Lorens Ziller, Vice President and Executive Director of the Chamber, Mr. Luca Vezzaro, Vice President of the Chamber, Mr. Gabriel Dayre of the European Delegation, Mr. Andrea Mastellone. Group General Manager of Seda Hotels, Mr. Tony Abad of Abad and Alcantara Associates and Bloomberg TV Host, and Mr. Fidel Macauyag, among others. Aside from being able to network, meet

friends, make new connections and enjoy a gastronomic buffet of Italian delicacies paired with fine wines, all guests who dropped their business cards at the registration booth were given the chance to participate to the raffle courtesy of Aloha Boracay Hotel and Siglo Suites. We invite everyone to come and join this exciting event and experience a networking event like no other. Our next L'Aperitivo Networking Night will be on Apr. 27 themed with special dishes. Stay tuned!

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APRIL 12-25, 2015


Chicken Soup for the Sole By ANGIE DUARTE

Stressed? Sick? In need of some ‘sole’-searching? Reflexology soothes and satisfies, to the very core of one’s being – try it for yourself, at Foot Zone

Foot Zone’s warm and welcoming reception area


t’s true, most people (myself included) do not consider their feet as things of beauty. While my lowly opinion of my feet is nowhere akin to podophobia, it is such that I am rather self-conscious about showing them off – I blame this on the aftermath of years of ballet. However, I am not averse to showering my feet with some tender loving care, every now and then. Plus, I am wellaware that the significance and importance of these bottom-most extremities are undeniable and irrefutable. From foot washing ceremonies of Middle-Eastern Biblical times, to the ancient Chinese technique of reflexology, cultures across the world have long upheld the value of keeping one’s feet in tip-top shape. As it turns out, the benefits of a little foot conditioning are far-reaching. No one knows this better than the good folk at Foot Zone Makati, a year-old reflexology center and sanctuary for frazzled feet, located in the midst of the central business district’s hectic hubbub. I (admittedly, with a bit of trepidation) set aside my own misgivings about my not-too-pretty and far from perfect podo-pair to experience, firsthand, the joys of reflexology – and I am so glad that I did. Matters of the sole The 3,000-year-old method of reflexology is simply defined as the application of pressure and massage to the feet, with each section of the sole mapped out to correspond to organs and systems of the entire body. Many historians chronicle that it was first established in China, as a practice to bring about healing and balance, through the spiritual tenets of Taoism and Buddhism (these same tenets gave rise to acupuncture, as well). The four main benefits of reflexology are said to be relaxation, the reduction of stress, improved circulation, and a re-established state of homeostasis or balance within the body. While it is not a massage, per se, reflexology does incorporate aspects of massage. “At Foot Zone, we preserve the authentic Xiamen-style Foot Reflexology by having Master-trained local therapists, while at the same time innovating our practice to suit the taste of different clients,” shares Elisa Tapuro, PTRP, MBA, the establishment’s operations manager. “We are proud to say that our local massage therapists, apart from being licensed by the Department of Health (DOH), are

trained by a Reflexology Master from China. This is to ensure that the quality is maintained. From the chairs, tools, to the towels – all these reflect the origin of what we are offering, giving clients a great experience,” she adds. Happy feet, happy heart While I would have once thought it a stretch to say that happy feet could mean a happy heart, I am now convinced that there is a link between the two states. Studies point to the possibility that, among its many benefits, reflexology can lead to a more efficient heart. Not to mention, the uplifting and invigorating effect that the procedure has one one’s entire being. I walked into one of several wellappointed treatment rooms and, as my eyes adjusted to the subdued lighting, prepped myself for what was to come. I soon realized that I had nothing to worry about (unattractive feet, and all), and I quickly yielded to the expert touch of therapist Madel. Aside from momentary surprise at my lower legs being lightly paddled, I felt nothing but rejuvenation, as I enjoyed the 90-minute signature Foot Reflexology and Back Massage. “Our signature treatment is Foot Reflexology and Back Massage, frequently referred to as ‘Foot and Back.’ A variation of this signature service is the Foot Reflexology and Head Massage, made for those who may not lie down for a back massage for medical reasons (hypertensive or with vertigo). We also have a twin massage for these signature services where two therapists massage the client at the same time,” shares Tapuro, in reference to a couple of Foot Zone’s best-selling services. Customers may also choose from a roster of other treatments, including Shiatsu, Stone, and Swedish Body Massages, Foot Scrub (Chinese and local style), Ventosa (Cupping Therapy), and Ear Candling with Head Massage. Heavy foot traffic Since its opening in April 2016, the Makati branch of Foot Zone has already garnered a strong following of clients, from an age range as diverse as seven to 85 (with the bulk of customers coming from the 30-something group). With the center’s skilled staff, as well as its highly-competitive prices, it’s no wonder that foot traffic (pun most definitely intended) has been heavy. “We have more women than men as cli-

Well-appointed understatedly cozy treatment rooms

A relaxing head massage

Reflexology mallets provide a variety of benefits

ents. We have clients addicted to us; they come at least twice a week. Our regular clients, who come at least once a week, incorporate foot reflexology as part of their health maintenance. Most come as couples. Groups of four to six are seen to come more often on weekends as families and friends come to relax together and celebrate specific occasions,” Tapuro elaborates. After my initiation into the joys of reflex-

Foot soak

ology, would I come back for seconds? Most definitely. And minus the cold feet, this time around. Foot Zone is located at the 3rd Floor Sunshine Place St, 56 Jupiter St., Makati. They are open daily from 12 p.m. to 1 a.m. Last call for signature services is 11:30 p.m. Please call (02) 542-7709, for details.


APRIL 12-25, 2015 APRIL 9-29, 2017

Madrid Fusión Manila: It came, it saw, it conquered Text by CHING DEE

A glimpse at Asia’s biggest culinary event


t was the most delicious three days of 2017. Madrid Fusión Manila (MFM), the biggest culinary event in Asia, returned for its third year packed with the best chefs from around the world, who showcased the most sumptuous and Instagram-worthy dishes this side of the globe. In partnership with the Philippine Department of Tourism (DOT) and Department of Agriculture (DA), Madrid Fusión Manila 2017 offered foodies an array of events that filled up both the tummies and senses of those in attendance. Here are the highlights of the three-day food congress. Learning from the best of the best Just like the first two installments of MFM, world-renowned chefs flew to the Philippines to share their stories, techniques, and advocacies revolving around this year’s theme “Towards a Sustainable Gastronomic Planet.” The impressive line of chef speakers included Michelin-starred chefs like Magnus Ek from Sweden, Pedro Subijana from Spain, Paco Pérez from Catalan, who owns five Michelin stars, and Julien Royer from Singapore. From the Philippines, chefs Gene Gonzalez from the iconic Café Ysabel, Josh Boutwood of The Test Kitchen, Jordy Navarra of Toyo Eatery, and Robby Goco of Cyma pre-

Photo courtesy of Madrid Fusion Manila

sented their take in the role of sustainability in our country’s unique flavors. On the third day of the congress, “Seasons of Salt” — a documentary by chef Myke ‘Tatung’ Sarthou about the Philippines’ salt industry — had its first public viewing. Mouthwatering regional lunches The DOT and the DA, with some of the country’s most celebrated chefs, curated two glorious sets of lunches enjoyed by all MFM attendees. Day one’s regional lunch was all about rice and its ever-tasty adaptability from appetizers

to main courses to desserts. Chefs like Nicco Santos of Hey Handsome and Your Local fame and Miko Aspiras of Le Petit Souffle were just some of the chefs that prepared their own interpretation of rice dishes in the Philippines. Chef ‘Tatung’ — who represented the Philippines in Madrid Fusión in Spain early this year — also served his own rice dish for the regional lunch. Day two’s regional lunch was about the art and science of cooking without wasting anything from nose to tail. Chefs JP Anglo of Sarsa, Mikel Zaguirre of Locavore, and Patrick Go of Black Sheep were just some of the chefs

who prepared one of the most exciting and adventurous lunches in Madrid Fusión history. For the third and last regional lunch, chef Claude Tayag of Bale Dutung and MFM alumna Margarita Forés of Cibo were part of the group of chefs who created dishes around corn and seafood. Local Artisan Food Booths Aside from the gourmet lunches, various food booths were present for more things to munch on and even take home. There were different booths every day, like Pepita’s Kitchen, El Union, Machiavelli Chocolatier, and Liquido Maestro on day one; MNL Creamery, artisan Risa Chocolates, ABV Bar, and Hiraya Bakery on day two; and Malagos, Fresh Start, Destileria Limtuaco, and Homegrown Organics on the last day. Nationwide food festivals In partnership with SM Supermalls, the rest of the country can experience MFM through the two-month-long food festival called “Flavors of the Philippines” in selected SM malls nationwide. Mall-goers will be treated to fun and delicious cooking demonstrations by chefs and gourmands, food fairs, and amazing food tastings. All events are open to the public and will run until May 30, 2017 so make sure to catch the MFM madness.

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Newspaper The Philippines’ forum for international readers since 1981

Murray Hertz Founding Publisher (1928-2014) Butch C. Bonsol President & Managing Director Suzette Defensor Managing Consultant Timothy Jay Araneta Ibay Editor-in-Chief Richard A. Ramos (Cebu) Via Baroma Staff Writers Angie Duarte Ching Dee Writers-at-Large Leah Egamino-Palaña Sales & Advertising Officer Jennifer Codera Finance & Admin Officer Fevelyn Bucio Accounting Staff Nikki Joy Habana Macjanry Imperio Design & Layout Our Headquarters: Unit 305 Cristina Condominium, 143 Legaspi cor. V.A. Rufino Sts., Legaspi Village, Makati City Our telephone numbers: (+632) 840-2996 or (+632) 812-0987; Fax (+632) 840-2988 You can also reach us at: and for sales and advertising: Cebu Mailing Address: MJ. Cuenco Avenue cor. C. Mina St., Mabolo, Cebu City Telefax: (032) 412-8000 Statements, views and opinions expressed by the writers, contributors, and advertisers are their own and do not necessarily represent those of the publisher or the management. The publisher assumes no responsibility for unsolicited material.

We come bearing logs, frogs,and beer tubs Let’s get to the roots of housewarming parties – we’ll throw in some nifty “how-to’s” and tips, while we’re at it! By ANGIE DUARTE


aah, the joys of a housewarming party: A chance to show-off your new digs, to appreciative – and appreciated – oooh’s and aaah’s of eager guests; the perfect opportunity for some quality time with family and friends, and maybe even an enemy or two (you may want to turn them green with envy, after all. *Insert mischievous laugh here*); and a good excuse to eat and drink (unless, of course, you are the designated driver) a little too much despite the lack of a major holiday. Oh, and let’s not forget: The presents! Yippee for presents! Cold weather and evil spirits: the unwanted guests Looking back at its origins, the tradition of housewarming had rather humble – and literal – beginnings. It started many moons ago, back in the days when heat in the home was as much a necessity as it is today, but less of a convenience. In the absence of central heating, each neighbor and guest to a new house would bring wood for the pot-bellied stove or fireplace, to literally “warm the house” - the birth of the much-loved housewarming tradition. Aside from warding away the cold, the warmth of the fire was believed to create an atmosphere to ward-off evil spirits. Uninhabited houses were perceived a dwelling place for vagrant spirits; as such, the house was thoroughly cleaned prior to moving in. A warm atmosphere was considered vital in repelling these spirits, preventing them from

returning. Hanging the chimney hook In France, housewarming is rooted in the tradition of Pendaison de crémaillère, or “hanging the chimney hook.” During the medieval times, it was common practice to invite all the workers involved in the building of the house for a meal when the construction was completed, as a way of thanking them. An interesting social experiment, I would think, if it were to be applied today. The meal was prepared in a big pot over the fireplace; the heat of which was regulated by a chimney hook, to set the pot nearer to or further away from the heat. This hook, which was the last item to be installed in the course of moving in, heralded the “thank you” meal, and symbolized the move into the new home. Housewarming “How-To’s” Though housewarming parties are generally loose and free-flowing, like most other occasions, it is always best to invite your guests in advance (proper etiquette for this would be anywhere from two weeks to five days prior). It is always fun to keep the guest list interesting, but also intimate. Go for a diverse yet still closely-acquainted group whenever possible. Although any date after moving in works for a housewarming party, the first three months are usually devoted to settling in. Most people throw one shortly after the third

month, but within the sixth month of moving in. Some people, especially in religious parts of the world where “blessing” a new home is part of tradition, choose to hold the housewarming on the same date as the house blessing; usually done by a priest, pastor, guru, or other leader of a religious sect or order. Aside from moving into a new home, renovating or remodeling an old one may also warrant a housewarming party. After all, any excuse for bites, booze, and banter will do. Potluck parties are acceptable, these days (especially among close friends and family), but you may want to coordinate the menu to some extent. Gifts are not obligatory, but are part-andparcel of the housewarming tradition. Fire logs, though no longer advisable and may very well draw the most curious of looks, may still be welcome in some bitingly-cold parts of Canada (half-meant joke). Bearers of (traditional) gifts Next to fire logs, frog figurines rank among the traditionally given gifts. Frogs are believed to symbolize good luck and fertility, and the semblance of these animals is usually given at weddings or housewarmings. Unless, of course, the recipient is Batrachophobic. Then you may want to skip the frogs – and any other reptile, for that matter – and stick with bluebird gifts, which are also considered lucky. Then again, there is Ornithophobia to consider…

Barring logs, frogs, and bluebirds, there are a few other traditional gift items that may be appreciated for their symbolism (and usefulness):

On a less traditional note, here are some gift suggestions that are fun to give, and even more fun to receive:

BREAD To ensure the tenants will never go hungry. A nice basketful

PERSONALIZED GIFTS Stationery; monogrammed towels; decora-

of assorted gourmet breads (accompanied, perhaps, with a bottle of jam or two) will prove to be a welcome gift.

WINE For a cup that will always run over with prosperity. A bottle

tive storage boxes; your imagination’s the limit, as almost anything can be personalized, in this day and age of hightechnology.

of nice Merlot, Pinot Noir, or a crisp white wine is always wellreceived. Among my personal favorites are the wines by Cassilero del Diablo; which are not only well-balanced, with a nice depth and body, they are relatively easy on the purse, with an interesting legend to boot.

QUIRKY KEY HANGER I adore – and still use – the one I received

SALT To give new life a touch of savor. Think nice, pink Himalayan


Sea Salt; Kosher Salt, other fancy salts re-packed in glass jars. Perfect!

CANDLE To spread light and wisdom. Scented, decorative candles

are a tried-and-tested favorite. A variation to this would be a nice oil-burner, with tea lights and scented oils.

HONEY For a sweet life in a new home. There are many, gourmet variants: Truffle honey; wild or raw honey; flavored honey; among others. RICE A symbol of fertility. Package in a nice jar, canister, ceramic container for that special touch.

BROOM To sweep away evil. Functional, too. OLIVE OIL Brings health and vitality. You don’t have to be a chef to appreciate a nice bottle of extra virgin olive oil.

LIVE PLANT Symbolizes long life or residency. Small, hardy plants are best.

years ago.

CHEESE KNIVES AND CUTTERS Throw in an oddly-shaped cheese board, and this will be a gift that will receive much gratitude. nitely highly-functional.

BEER TUB For nice, cold brews served stylishly. Need I say more?

A VINTAGE/ONE-OF-A-KIND CONVERSATION PIECE A friend gave me a mirror sourced at a vintage shop; it is unique, interesting, has a small chip, and I absolutely love it. DECORATIVE OR UNUSUAL TABLE LAMP, OR LIGHT ACCENT Easy to find, these days. Stick with a piece that is neither too large, nor too outlandish.

A CLASSIC BOARD GAME, party game, puzzle, card game all make wonderful gifts.

Food items such as apple pie, a side of bacon, and a sack of flour are also among traditional, historical gifts. You can bring a side of bacon over to my house any time. Just so we’re clear. Whatever gift you settle for, remember that the best present to warm any new home is the joy and love that can only come straight from the heart. And that is definitely cheesy enough to slice with the new cheese cutter and oddly-shaped board.


APRIL 12-25, 2015 APRIL 9-29, 2017

Feast on the flavors of China at Man Ho Marriott Hotel Manila opens its signature restaurant, featuring authentic Cantonese cuisine Text and photos by CHING DEE


ou don't have to go to Hong Kong to enjoy the authentic Cantonese cuisine that has captivated the world. Savor the flavors of China at Man Ho Chinese Restaurant at Marriott Hotel Manila, led by veteran chef Law Wing Wui. Chef Law, a Hong Kong native, has launched Man Ho restaurants at JW Marriott Hotels in Shangai, China and Seoul, South Korea. He’s been cooking for over 35 years and joined Marriott Hotel Manila in 2015 to conceptualize and run Man Ho. Man Ho Chinese Restaurant is located on the ground floor of the elegant yet modern West Wing, the newest addition to Marriott Hotel Manila. The restaurant, which opened in November 2016, is not your typical Chinese resto. Devoid of bright reds and proverbial Chinese lanterns, Man Ho features earthy tones with a simple yet sophisticated design. The restaurant can comfortably seat up to 140 diners, but for those who are looking for a more exclusive dining setting, they have six private dining rooms. The fare The food at Man Ho is only exceeded by the quality of their ingredients, most of which are flown in all the way from Hong Kong, to maintain the cuisine’s authenticity. But some seafood dishes use some of the Philippines’ best seafood — sustainably

sourced from responsible local suppliers. Chef Law’s dedication to having the best ingredients regularly brings him to Binondo, always on the lookout for the finest seasonal and most interesting ingredients. Man Ho is best known for its Roasted Goose (the first of its kind in Manila) and live wild Garoupa (Chef Law’s personal favorite), but there are dozens of other great stuff waiting to be explored. With an extensive menu to boot — thanks to Chef Law and his team — dining at Man Ho might seem overwhelming. Aside from their signature dishes mentioned above, here are our recommendations: HA KAU Honestly, this writer came to Man Ho for their much talked about Ha Kau – crystal shrimp dumplings that is best enjoyed with some light soy sauce and chili oil to contrast the almost sweet and delicate flavor of the shrimp. GONG BAO CHICKEN Familiar robust flavors of Cantonese cuisine come alive with Chef Law's Gong Bao Chicken with chili and asparagus. It’s savory with a hint of sweetness and a bit of a kick. This writer was looking for something spicier, but diners are welcome to request their level of spiciness when ordering this

Celebrate nostalgic Filipino dishes at Pan Pacific Manila

Chef Tatung’s cooks up a can’t-miss week-long lunch special at the Pacific Lounge Text and photos by CHING DEE


hink about the most memorable meal you’ve ever had in the Philippines. Most Filipinos will say it was during a family gathering where family members got together over a hearty and bountiful feast prepared by lola (grandmother), the family matriarch who never fails to amaze everyone with simple yet flavorful dishes. It’s those dishes that are ingrained in many memories and are often passed on to the next generation. With this in mind, Pan Pacific Manila has joined the festivities of Madrid Fusion Manila 2017 — the biggest culinary event in Asia — and the “Flavors of the Philippines” campaign with a special lunch buffet called “Cusina ni Lola” (Grandmother’s Kitchen) featuring dishes created by celebrity chef, author, and purveyor of Filipino cuisine Myke ‘Tatung’ Sarthou. Chef Tatung has created a buffet menu inspired by the dishes of his own grandmothers who were both prolific culinarians. These heirloom recipes — rich in tradition and culture — will be served for a one-week-only buffet at Pan Pacific Manila’s Pacific Lounge, which also offers a stunning view of the picturesque Manila Bay. Diners will be treated to an array of

authentic Filipino gastronomic creations, like party favorites Lumpiang Shanghai (fried pastry stuffed with ground pork and vegetables), Chicken Embotido (a local version of meatloaf made from chicken, hardboiled eggs, and assorted vegetables), Pancit Palabok (glass noodles with anato sauce topped with shrimp, squid, eggs, and chicharon), and Oxtail Kare-Kare (oxtail and vegetable stew in peanut sauce); as well as regional twists to local favorites like Adobong Ilonggo Chicken (chicken adobo cooked in anato), Bringhe Rice (a local version of paella with coconut milk), Stuffed Lechon Belly, Crispy Pata, Bulalo (cow knuckle stew), Sinigang (assorted meat and vegetables in tamarind broth), and grilled seafood and meats. Chef Tatung’s sweet delicacies should also be tried, so make sure to try the Suman sa Ibus (steamed sticky rice) with coconut milk and muscovado caramel, Halo-Halo, Leche Flan, and Cassava Cake. Pacific Lounge is at the 21st floor of Pan Pacific Manila, M. Adriatico cor, Gen. Malvar Sts., Malate, Manila. Lunch buffet is offered from Monday to Friday, 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. For inquiries and reservations, email or call (02) 318-0788.

dish. SHRIM P-STUFFED FRIED SQUID WITH SPICY SALT The Shrimp-stuffed Fried Squid with Spicy Salt tastes as good as it looks. Imagine fresh squid stuffed with a mixture of shrimp and Chinese spices, then fried to a golden crisp. The spicy salt adds more flavor to the already savory dish. This dish could easily be your newest favorite Chinese treat. STEAMED CUSTARD BUNS WITH EGG YOLK Man Ho's Custard Buns are like golden pillows filled with sunny yellow custard that's just the right amount of sweet and a hint of savory (thanks to the egg yolk). No wonder it easily became a crowd favorite. BARBECUE PORK BUNS Man Ho’s Barbecue Pork Buns with a crispy and slightly sweet exterior could easily rival any other pork buns in the metro. Believe it or not, this is considered as a dessert at Man Ho and once you’ve tried it, you will find out why.

Man Ho Feast

You’ll be glad to know that Man Ho currently offers an awesome six-course Dim Sum Set Lunch for PhP888 from Monday to Thursday (11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.). The best part: It’s customizable! You get to select your own soup, steamed dim sum, rice roll, and rice or noodles from a carefully curated menu. Man Ho Chinese Restaurant is located at the ground floor of the Marriott West Wing, Marriott Hotel Manila, 2 Resorts Drive, Pasay City. For inquiries and reservations, call (02) 988-9999. Open daily, 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. (lunch), 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. (dinner). For more information, visit

APRIL 9-29, 2017 GRUB HUB 9

APRIL 12-25, 2015



Somerset Alabang Manila gets you acquainted with your new neighborhood through their gastronomic tours

Food Crawl Text and photos by TIMOTHY JAY IBAY


omerset Alabang Manila (SAM) – The Ascott Limited’s first international serviced residence in the south of Metro Manila – apart from being a dream executive living space (and making you permanently rethink that hotel booking), now gives you more palatable reasons to explore the south of the metro with its Southern Food Crawl. Designed to help you get acclimated to your living environment, the Southern Food Crawl is a list of SAM-recommended dining destinations around the area – which beyond whetting your appetite, gets you acquainted with the lifestyle options in your home in the south. Recently, SAM took Expat along for the crawl in an afternoon inundated with welcome gustatory discoveries and fond memories.

A taste of Spain The Southern Food Crawl’s first stop was authentic Spanish restaurant Alba in Westgate Alabang. Through their 65 years of serving the best of Spanish cuisine, they’ve perfected their utterly flavorful menu that includes a wealth of paella selections, lengua, callos, and conchinillo. Expat recommends Albas’ Paella Valenciana (Valencian rice dish with chicken, pork, seafood and vegetables), Paella Negra (Black paella with stuffed squid and shrimps), Chorizo Fritos (Alba’s homemade Spanish sausage – every bite, bursting with flavors), and Gambas con tocino ala parilla (Grilled bacon wrapped shrimps). Although every choice, is a good one at Alba. Alba also has branches Tomas Morato, Quezon City and Prism Plaza in Pasay City. For more information, visit

Filling station Following the Spanish feast, we headed over to Schmidt’s x Llucia to sample their soft serve churros. If you haven’t yet, it’s basically a soft serve ice cream cup with two hulking churros splashed in for good measure. Expat recommends Marco (Banana Nutella) and Lorenzo (Unbaked Oreao Cheesecake) – certain to satisfy any dessert/ snack hankering. Apart from soft serve churros, Schmidt’s x Llucia’s also offers a selection of hotdogs and pasta. Schmidt’s x Llucia is located at Madison Galleries, 398 Don Jesus Blvd., Cupang, Muntinlupa

Merlion’s Cuisine The afternoon found us at the Evia Lifestyle Center, where we sampled Merlion’s Cuisine's Singaporean fare. The relaxed dining outfit has quickly gained a throng of followers for its classic Singaporean dishes that include Hainanese and Soy Chicken, Crispy Sweet and Sour Pork, Dumplings, Cereal Prawns, as well as their refreshing signature beverages. If you’ve been missing your Singapore grub fix, this is the perfect spot for you.

Merlion’s Cuisine is located at the 2nd Floor, Evia Lfiestyle Center, Daang Hari Rd., Las Pinas


APRIL 12-25, 2015 APRIL 9-29, 2017

Another Story Just a few steps away from Merlion’s Cuisine is Another Story – a unique concept restaurant whose every corner was designed with Instagram in mind. While they have a full menu that includes breakfast favorites, soups, salads, pasta, seafood, grill and oven beef, pork, and steaks; it quite possibly could be their range of sinfully good cakes that… well, takes the cake.

Southern nightcap The Southern Food Crawl halted at the chill environ of TAS Roofdeck – which, with its cozy rooftop setting, was the perfect spot to end a Saturday of indulgence. Expat recommends everything about TAS – from their signature wraps, pizza and skewers, to their house blend sangria, wide selection of beers, liquors and spirits. Make sure you order their BBQ Platter with Pizza and/or nachos, and if you can, nick their entire musical playlist. Absolutely chill AF. TAS Roofdeck is located at 31 Aguirre Ave., BF Homes, Paranaque

SAM Somerset Alabang Manila offers a selection of prime apartment choices—studios, one-, two- and three-bedroom serviced residences. As is their trademark, Ascott did not skimp on space in any of them. Studios go up to 27 square meters; Studio Premier units are 43 sqm; 1-Bedroom Deluxe apartments are up to 65 sqm; the biggest 2-Bedroom Deluxe’s are 95 sqm; while 3-Bedroom Deluxe units are up to 128 sqm. Apart from residential spaces, SAM also has 11 serviced offices for lease that are ready for operation from day one; two function rooms (collapsible into two and three smaller function or meeting rooms, respectively, which can be booked for corporate and social events; and two boardrooms. Price-wise, SAM falls in the middle of Airbnb and hotel accommodations with Studio daily rates starting at just PhP4,000 nett (for all weekends of April). But on practically all other fronts—service, amenities and luxury, Somerset Alabang exponentially ups the ante. All units go well beyond the conveniences of home with wellequipped kitchens, separate working and living areas, home entertainment systems, stylish bathrooms and broadband internet connection.

And, to allow you to take in the charming quiet and spacious feel of the southern metro, SAM apartments have balconies that showcase the cityscape and its soothing pockets of green. But, should you choose to stay indoors, there’s an inviting lap pool, a fully-equipped fitness center, a premier restaurant, and the Cubbies Room— the company’s trademark paly area for children. And for good measure, SAM also affords its guests what they call the Ascott Host—a service that provides expats and international travelers the heads up on everything they would need to know even before getting to the country. When they check-in to their apartments, the host gives tours of different places guests would need to know, like the nearest banks, convenience stores, embassies, and all else that would help afford acclimating with utmost comfort and ease. So if you’re an expat working in the southern part of the metro, the choice of your living space has been made for you. Somerset is located at 3409 Spectrum Midway Filinvest City Alabang, Muntinlupa City. For inquiries and bookings, send an email to enquiry. or contact (632) 550 3200.

SAMmer Lovin’ Promo Jump on Somerset Alabang Manila’s special rates for all weekends of April! PhP4,000 nett/night for Studio PhP5,000 nett/night for 1-bedroom Deluxe Inclusive of breakfast for two and complimentary use of recreational facilities

Holy Week Rates PhP4,500 nett/night for Studio PhP5,000 nett/night for 1-bedroom Deluxe Same inclusions as above

APRIL 9-29, 2017 GRUB HUB 9

APRIL 12-25, 2015


Orchestra Concert for a Cause at SEDA BGC


eda BGC, in cooperation with MasterCard and Qatar Airways, presented an orchestra concert featuring worldrenowned Italian maestro Ruggero Barbieri and the Filipinas Chamber Orchestra with special guest, Hail Mary the Queen Children’s Choir. Maestro Barbieri was Music Director and Principal Conductor of the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra from 1996 to 2004. Having been mentored by the most prestigious conductors in Europe, he has worked with the world’s best orchestras and was awarded by His Majesty King Juan Carlos of Spain, the

Cruz de Isabel la Catolica, the highest honor given to artists. Maestro Barbieri formed the Filipinas Chamber Orchestra in 2005. He has been coming back to the Philippines for special performances, and at Seda BGC, he enthralled the audience with a repertoire of light classical music, Filipino favorites and world-loved Christmas carols. TV host Jean de Castro emceed the event. As a surprise to guests, Qatar Airways auctioned off a roundtrip Business Class ticket. A portion of the proceeds benefitted the Hero Foundation.

Seda's Andrea Mastellone and Genny Puno, Jean de Castro and Maestro Ruggero Barbieri

Seda's Melissa Carlos and Genny Puno with Mastercard's Mike Miranda

Seda's Andrea Mastellone, Maestro Ruggero Barbieri, Qatar Airways Country Manager Paolo Pausini and Italian Consul Antonio Gallo

Mike and Cathy Turvill and Genny Puno (center)

Maestro Ruggero Barbieri and the Filipinas Chamber Orchestra

Olivia Limpe-Aw and Seda Group General Manager Andrea Mastellone

Mia Borromeo, Hon. Consul to Monaco Patricia Zobel de Ayala, Alex Floro, Andrea Tan, and Arthur Tan

Maestro Ruggero Barbieri with Hail Mary the Queen Children's Choir


APRIL 12-25, 2015 APRIL 9-29, 2017

A Woman of Excellence In celebration of their 26th anniversary, the Best of the Philippines Publishing Co. led by publisher and author Menchu Palanca recently recognized distinguished Filipino men and women who are trailblazers in their respective fields of industry. At the awards ceremony held at Palm Grove in Rockwell, Makati City, the publishing company awarded top insurance pioneer Rosario “Inday” Castaños-Salientes, co-founder of Salientes, Gonzalez and Associates (SGA). A multi-awarded personality in the insurance industry, Inday started her career 29 years ago and has made huge strides in the field. Through the years, SGA has produced some of the country’s best financial solutions advisors while promoting and showcasing the greatness of the Filipino talents in the global life insurance arena. Congratulations, Inday!

Orlando Salientes with wife Inday and daughter Abby

(From left) FWD Life Insurance Corporation chief finance officer and treasurer Manish Jain, Salientes, Gonzalez and Associates (SGA) co-founder Rosario “Inday” Castaños-Salientes, Best of the Philippines Publishing Co. publisher and author Menchu Palanca, SGA co-founder Bonnie Gonzalez and FWD Life Insurance Corporation chief distribution officer John Johnson

(From left) Don Ado Escudero, Arch. Ivy Almario and senator Cynthia Villar

Dr. Elton See Tan, Dominican Republic consul general George Litton and Joey Lumanlan

(From left) Chit Panopio, Tetchie Hernandez, ambassador Jose Cuisia, Jr., Marie Lumanlan, Bonnie Gonzalez and Inday Salientes

FWD Life Insurance Corporation territory head Jek Hernandez, Bonnie Gonzalez, Inday Salientes and FWD Life (From left) Evelyn Elliott, Carlos Lopez, Nelia Gonzalez and Bessy Escalona Insurance Corporation’s Jundy Escartin

(From left) Abby Salientes, Lory Cua, senator Cynthia Villar and Inday Salientes with Nancy and Diana Sy

John Johnson, FWD Life Insurance Corporation marketing head Rochelle Vandenberghe, (From left) Dr. Rosalina Ora’a-Fuentes, Jayelles’ Roselle Rebano Vivian Palanca and John Sion and Arch. Ivy Almario

APRIL 9-29, 2017 GRUB HUB 9

APRIL 12-25, 2015

















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•cityLOVE by Renowned Czech Photographer Jiří Turek Ongoing until Apr. 14; Alliance Française de Manille, 209 Nicanor Garcia St., Bel-Air II, Makati; for more information, visit www.mzv. cz/manila, or Jiří Turek, renowned Czech photographer, opens his cityLOVE exhibition for the first time in Manila with the Czech Embassy, in partnership with Alliance Française, bringing the public a glimpse of Czech photography and style at its finest. As the previous editor of MF Dnes magazine, Turek started to gain the spotlight specializing in reportage, portraiture and fashion photography. His works have been featured in the top magazines in Europe, with the list including fashion editorials for Elle, Maxim and Harper’s Bazaar, as well as dozens of front covers for Forbes Czech Republic and exclusive work for Forbes Slovakia and Forbes Austria. Turek has also worked on numerous album covers and major advertising campaigns for T-mobile, Finlandia Vodka, Aegon, Vodafone, Oriflame, Škoda Auto, Raiffeisen Bank and many more. With all his commercial and fashion work, Turek revisited his “forgotten techniques,” thus giving birth to the cityLOVE series of documenting the world’s most-iconic and vibrant cities of London, New York, Paris, Berlin, Venice and Prague. According to Czech Ambassador Jaroslav Olša Jr, “The show is the continuation of the Embassy photography program, which already included an exhibition of Postmodern Czech Photography and a lecture on history of Czech photography, both in Camera Club in the Philippines, and planned retrospective of leading Czech war photographer Jan Šibík and the exhibition of the winning photos of yearly Czech Press Photo exhibitions.”

•SinEaster by Olan Ventura Apr. 12 to Jun. 11; Gallery Indigo, BenCab Museum, Km. 6 Asin Rd., Tuba, Metro Baguio; for more information, call (074) 442-7165, (0920) 530-1954, (0915) 128-6393; email bencabartfoundation@gmail. com or visit Inspired by this annual event of people reenacting the Passion of Christ in his hometown of Malabon and Navotas, Olan Ventura gathers old photographs he took to document the spectacle and appropriates them for his solo exhibition SinEaster. Featuring new works on canvas, SinEaster combines the words “sin” and “Easter” as direct references to the beliefs and practices surrounding the Catholic observance of the Holy Week. At the same time, it works as a pun suggesting hidden evil, harm, or danger, expressed in the rendering of the works as film negatives which obscure the macabre imagery that the practice is known for. Through such intervention, Ventura highlights the performance of faith and offers a timely reflection on the true meaning of repentance and sacrifice. The exhibition is curated by Ruel Caasi.


•Discovery Opera! Apr. 20; Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino (Little Theater); Cultural Center of the Philippines, CCP Complex, Roxas Blvd., Pasay City; for more information, call (02) 832-3704. Tickets are available at all TicketWorld outlets or call (02) 891-9999 Discover Opera! An Evening of Arias and Ensemble will showcase selections from well-loved operas, which include: Cosi fan tutte (Mozart), Die Fledermaus (Strauss), La Traviata (Verdi), Marriage of Figaro (Mozart), Der Rosenkavalier (Strauss), Candide (Bernstein), Le Perichole (Offenbach), Romeo and Juliette (Gounod), Don Giovanni (Mozart), L’elisir d’amore (Donizetti), La Boheme (Puccini), La Fille du Regiment (Donizetti), Werther (Massenet), Barber of Seville (Rossini), Edgar (Puccini) and Le Roi d’Ys (Lalo). The performers include: Bianca Camille Lopez, Blanca Krystl Buesa, Stephanie Aguilar, Nerissa De Juan, Ma. Krissan Manikan, Jhom-erita Chua-So, Malvin Macasaet, Lorenz Lapresca, Leo Angelo Lanuza, Belford Mabunga Nil’s Flores and Renz Cruz. Tickets are priced at PhP200 with 50 percent discount for students and 20 percent for senior citizens.

•Pieces of the Heart: Artvocacy for Two Causes Apr. 22; Sining Kamalig, Art Gallery, Upper Ground Floor, Ali Mall, Quezon City; for more information, call (02) 921-0124 or email This April, a fund-raising collaboration of two NGOs – SATRE Technology Resource Development Association Inc. and Smokey Tours (part of World Experience Philippines) – presents Pieces of the Heart: Artvocacy for Two Causes. A PhP5,000 ticket will entitle the holder to an artwork from any one of the 20 participating artists. Delicious hors d’ oeuvres and lively music by the inimitable Hot Club of Manila Acoustic Jazz Band promise a great evening to one and all. SATRE is engaged in environmental conservation and protection, highlighting the need for each one of us to be engaged in mangrove and coastal forests conservation and protection. The funds raised will help to fund communications and public awareness campaigns, and to encourage new members, corporate and private sponsors and project volunteers. Smokey Tours trains and helps people from the slums to run safe and eye-opening tours for guests who are interested to see the other side of Manila. It aims to raise awareness about social issues, bridge the gap between people from different backgrounds, and inspire individuals to bring about positive societal change in their communities. The funds raised will be used to build a health center in BASECO.

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APRIL 12-25, 2015


The will to be weird By ANGIE DUARTE


am no stranger to weird. In fact, weird and I are quite well-acquainted. Having – for as long as I can remember – lived my life more than a little off kilter, weird has become my state of being. I am one with the weirdness. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. Left off-center The word “weird” is defined by MerriamWebster Dictionary as unusual or strange; of, relating to, or caused by witchcraft or the supernatural; magical; and, of strange or extraordinary character; odd, fantastic. I am all of the above. Maybe not so much the witchcraft part – at least, not anymore; admittedly having dabbled ever so slightly with white witchcraft back in my college days. Weirdness is a way of seeing the world a little bit off its axis of normal thought. It is a left off-center way of viewing things. To illustrate: as a child, I enjoyed looking at everything upside down. I would hang my head between my legs for as long as I could and take in the view; fascinated with how strange and curious everything looked from another, less conventional vantage point. I wished I could stay in that position for longer, but the blood rushing to my head had other ideas, unfortunately. I wondered if “normal folk” ever saw the world as I did, with head hanging down, or if they were just too satisfied with the same old-same old. I loved Dr. Seuss, and his offbeat way of seeing the world and its inhabitants. Maybe he hung his head upside down, too, and the rush of blood caused him to be a tad more creative and imaginative. Maybe. I loved dressing up, and had many favorite costumes; most of which were not your typical princess or superhero (I had a knack of mixing-and-matching pieces to come up with

my own costume line, like Barbie-meets-cowboy-meets G.I. Joe, with a tiara to top off the look. The songs I especially delighted in were no better: The Worm Song, The Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly, There’s a Hole in the Bottom of the Sea, Dunderbeck’s Sausage Machine; some of the shiniest gems in the treasure trove of weird ditties. Oh, and I once (well into my young adulthood) owned a pet goat, and sad was the day that she was “banished” to a farm for eating my mother’s prized ferns. As an adult, I still enjoy wearing costumes; I turn the music up – the louder, the better – and dance around in my undies, oblivious to the disinterested-bordering-onconfused looks on my cats’ feline faces. Sometimes, I break into song and dance when I am out running. Blame it on an exceptionally catchy playlist of music fed into my brain as I run, or, blame it on my intrinsic weirdness; it’s your choice. I snort when I laugh, wait ‘til four steps have passed before stepping onto the escalator, eat the food on my plate in sections, must scratch my chest and my back at the same time or the itch doesn’t go away, talk to myself regardless of who’s listening, read the newspaper backwards (in this day and age, I could have stopped at “read the newspaper” and that may have been weird enough)… the list goes on and on. What makes you weird? Maybe you eat only the red Skittles, or the green M&M’s? Or perhaps prefer the Oreos WITHOUT the stuffing? Do you refuse to write with a blue pen, adamantly sticking by black ink? Have a fashion sense all your own? Are obsessed with Nick Cage? Whatever your quirks may be, this one’s for you; and for all weird ones at large.

Hello, weird inner child; we meet again! I, the champion of weird, must admit that traits generally associated with weirdness are more accepted in children than they are in adults. When a child acts weird, it is often deemed acceptable by society; and is sometimes even seen as cute and amusing. But woe the adult who acts such, as he or she is simply dismissed as the oddball of the bunch. As such, we tend to suppress our weirdness, for fear of being judged. Sadly, though, when you suppress what makes you unique or odd, you are usually also suppressing your imaginative side, creative nature, and spark. Case in point, a child’s imagination is far greater than your average adult’s. Simply put, when you see the world from a different vantage point, you see things that are hidden from most “normal” people. The characteristics that make you weird or odd – that is to say, the unique traits that make YOU – are not childish at all. They are the part of you that will, perhaps, enable you to bring something different to humanity’s table. Most innovators in their field were considered weird: Einstein, Edison, Tesla, Van Gogh, Hemingway, to name just a few. Author E.A. Bucchianeri states the link between weirdness and creativity so well, in the book Brushstrokes of a Gadfly: “Weirdism is definitely the cornerstone of many an artist’s career.” So say hello to your inner-weird child, and give your uniqueness full reign. It may be just what the world needs – without their even knowing it. Snowflakes and eccentricities In the 1900s, there lived a man who was considered very odd. His name was Wilson “Snowflake” Bentley. He was not your usual child In Snowflake Bentley, a book written

about his life, Wilson is described as someone who didn't care much for playing with other kids, never got married, and was obsessed with the weather. He was obsessed with snowflakes. Weird, huh? So hung up on nature’s delicate works of art was he that he spent his entire life to photographing these cold, crystalline charmers. In his lifetime (he lived from 1865-1931), he photographed 5,000 differently-patterned snowflakes! Using a camera he managed to get his parents to purchase for him, Bentley painstakingly perfected the process of freezing in images these frozen gems over a period of two years. The book tells us that Bentley had a scientist’s mind and persistence, and that he was passionate about the wonders of nature. It also reveals that his efforts and enthusiasm for photographing snowflakes was often misunderstood in those days, but his stalwart determination brought to light two truths that have contributed to the realms of science and soul: no two snowflakes are alike; and each one is disarmingly beautiful. Imagine what the world would be without these discoveries: children would have no paper cutouts to craft and hang, come Christmas-time; paintings and art would be a tad more dull (for we would never know the intricacies of a snowflake); why, everything snowflake-related would be virtually nonexistent. Would the world come to a grinding halt, sans Bentley’s weird, imaginative work? Perhaps not. But it certainly would be all the more banal. This is just one among many examples of oddballs, making an often unexpected difference.

Benefits of being weird Aside from the connection between the weird and the creative, there are other pluses to yielding to your strangeness: • Spices up a mundane life. Your uniqueness brings flavor to an otherwise potentially “blah” and routine existence. If you are honest enough to admit it, you will realize that this is inarguably so. Without a few quirks and idiosyncrasies, here and there, we merely go through the motions of life; alive, but not really living. • Weird produces weird. The Law of Similarity in Sympathetic Magic dictates that “like produces like.” Bet you think I’m weird, just for knowing that. In the same vein, weird produces weird. And I doubt I’d have it any other way. I attract weird friends, thankfully. My daughter is – by her own proud admission – weird, and certainly destined for greatness. Your weirdness will encourage other weirdos to come out of their closet of “normalcy” and get their own uniqueness going. What an exciting thought, if we had more creative minds, thinking out of the box! Imagine what can be achieved.

Weirdness weeds out the worthless. How do I mean? Your weird traits will generally be your litmus test of your friend’s sincerity. Your true friends are the ones who will stick by you no matter how offbeat you are or can be. They are the ones who don’t give a rat’s behind that you are strange. They are the ones that will stand by you, when needed. They are the friends worth having in your life. •

• You will be happier, giving in to your weirdness. Pretending to be someone you are not can lead to one thing and one thing alone: misery. Do yourself a favor and be who you are! When you are old and gray, you’ll be glad you did! No I must clarify, and I will do so in big, bold letters: WEIRDNESS IS NOT A LICENSE FOR RUDENESS OR FOR TREATING PEOPLE BADLY. “Weird” does not mean ”ass;” let’s get that straight!

I leave you with a quote and a challenge from the late, great musician, singer-songwriter and poet, Jim Morrison: “Where's your will to be weird?”


APRIL 12-25, 2015 APRIL 9-29, 2017

Into the State of Flow A look into the 5th Philippine Flow Fest and the community of kindred spirits it breeds Text and photos by CELINE REYES


rom my place in the crowd, feet tucked under thighs, I watched a man be one with fire. He seemed wary and unsure in the beginning, then the music soared and the transformation was done. His arms grew indistinguishable from the flame-crowned chains that he twirled and spun. They blazed orange against the night as he moved with fluid elegance, leaving luminous traces that linger even after I blinked. His focus was infectious, hypnotizing even. A flow artist through and through. A month ago, the term “flow arts” wouldn’t have meant anything to me, but being in the middle of a three-day confluence of its enthusiasts has changed that. Over one weekend in early April, I was amongst the people from all over the globe who gathered for the 5th Philippine Flow Fest (PFF). Eclectic workshops Held on a beachside plat in San Felipe, Zambales, PFF was a showcase of the “intersection of a variety of movement-based disciplines including dance, juggling, fire-spinning, and object manipulation.” But PFF was more a summer camp than a festival. During the day, artists took on the role of instructors. They conducted workshops and skill-

Fire dance during the sunset jam

sharing activities. These workshops were neither mandatory nor formal. They were eclectic too. Along with the flow arts disciplines were sessions on yoga, beatboxing, and shibori – a Japanese tie-dye technique. Done under a talisay canopy or amid the shelter of agoho trees, the classes were as unorthodox as it gets. Some participants even opted to just grab one of the many props lying around and practice on their own. I couldn’t go far without bumping into an aspiring juggler or an emerging hooper. Add to this the pervasive thump, thump, thump of indigenous percussions and the entire affair begins to feel a little bit surreal. Flow state Then, there were the sunset jams. Come dusk, attendees flocked to the beach to form a circle. Over the sound of dabakan drums, they took turns showing off what they learned that day. Mostly, they “spun” fire. It didn’t take long for the briny breeze to carry with it the heady scent of kerosene; the warm golden sunlight replaced by blazing trails of orange. At night, came the performances. A proper show. Around a makeshift stage, the sandy floor as the seats, a crowd assembled. One by one, the artists dazzled and mesmer-

ized. And here, I came to understand the meaning of “flow.” One with fire. Or with whatever object the artist chose to wield. Even by being on the sidelines, the transportation that was occurring was very apparent to me. There was a trip to some plane where the artist and the implement were one and the same. A classic case of getting-lost-only-to-be-found. A beautiful thing to witness. I don’t know why I came to PFF thinking fire-spinning and juggling were lowly forms of entertainment. Perhaps the gamut of gaudy variety TV shows are to blame. In the Philippines, these performances are often treated as cheap attractions. No thought beyond laughter or awed gasps is given to the immense focus and discipline required for the acts. But over the course of the three days, it became clear to me why those who practice the flow arts liken it to therapy. Indeed, it required an elevated form of thinking, great control of limbs and impulses. Like yoga. The benefits are certainly comparable; both body and mind are improved. Kindred spirits The community resulting from the practice of flow arts could be the best proof of its benefits. Being “in tune” is the main theme,

Irish hooper Gail O' Brien sharing her skills to PFF attendees

it appeared, not just with one’s self but with others. All throughout the PFF, a bond that extends beyond mere familiarity was palpable. There was a feeling of being among friends and family. It was a culture anchored on trust, so strong that a misplaced iPhone gets returned to its owner in a matter of seconds. Great reverence was also afforded to the great outdoors. It was their stage after all. Although I remained an onlooker from start to end, there were several moments I felt connected to the flow. There was the performance of Filipino hooper Daniel “Astroboy” Darwin, the dancing to the dabakan music of the Adinkra Lumads Djembe Community, and, of course, the performance of world-renowned poi artist Yuta – the man who became one with fire. After the PFF, flow arts, to me, have come to mean traces of blazing orange, lingering even after a blink. It’s the ubiquitous sound of percussion during a golden summer day and the smoke-tinged scent of the ocean. It’s the focus, the oneness, that’s enough to transport and transform, alive and contagious in its power. For more information about the Philippine Flow Fest, visit, or find them on Facebook @planetzips.

Jay Firecat performing with a pair of LED buugeng on the first night of PFF

APRIL 9-29, 2017 GRUB HUB 9

APRIL 12-25, 2015


Compiled by VIA BAROMA


•Switchfoot at Walkway Apr. 16; Bonifacio High Street Amphitheater, BGC, Taguig; for more information, visit American rock group Switchfoot will be returning to Manila for a free Easter Sunday concert as part of Walkway Holy Week activities, which will be held this April at Bonifacio High Street. It’s a free event, but tickets will guarantee your entry to the concert grounds. Every purchase of one Walkway shirt at PhP500 each gets you one free ticket allowing you access to the main concert grounds or the Standing Only area. Free admission is available on first come-first serve basis on these areas: concrete sit walls, and the standing areas around the perimeter of the Amphitheater. Switchfoot first gained mainstream recognition with the inclusion of four of their songs in the 2002 movie A Walk to Remember. Watch them live as they perform their hit singles “Meant to Live,” “Dare You to Move,” and “Float” among others.

•Pool Club’s 2nd Anniversary: Yellow Claw Apr. 22; The Palace Pool Club, 9th Ave. cor. 36th St., Uptown Bonifacio, Taguig; for more information and table reservations, call (0917) 689-8888 or visit com The Palace Pool Club is about to turn up the heat this summer with an act so fierce you’ll be partying ‘till four in the morning. Get ready as international DJ duo Yellow Claw throws it down at The Palace Pool Club for an electrifying set to celebrate Pool Club’s 2nd anniversary party. Catch one of the hottest acts in EDM perform their hard-hitting hits such as “Shotgun,” “DJ Turn It Up,” “Till It Hurts” and “Catch Me.” Incorporating a unique mix of hardstyle, dubstep, hip-hop, big room and trap, Jim Taihuttu and Nils Rondhuis, better known as Dutch duo Yellow Claw’s singles landed them on a worldwide success.

•Nalu Music Festival 2017 Apr. 29 and 30; Nalu Surf Camp, Sabang Beach, Baler, Aurora; for more information, visit or call (02) 891-9999. To register for the longboard competition, you can contact Nalu Surf Camp at (0917) 817-2606 or (0917) 505-9604 Witness the best surfers ride the waves and enjoy good music at Nalu Musci Festival 2017. Nalu Surf Camp is holding a fourday summer event that promises to be an absolute can’t-miss. The Nalu Music Fest 2017 consists of a three-day longboard competition and a two-night music festival featuring some of the best local musical acts. Expect performances from Parokya ni Edgar, Franco, Callalily, Moonstar88, Gracenote, Glaiza De Castro, The Ransom Collective, Abby Asistio, and more. Tickets are priced at PhP3,657 for VIP and PhP1,567 for General Admission.


•Young Artists’ Studio’s Summer Art Workshop Ongoing until Apr. 29; RCBC Plaza, cor. Ayala and Gil Puyat Aves., Makati; for more information, visit www.youngartistsstudio. com or call (02) 238-4641, (02) 435-5971 and (0917) 579-9332 Hone your child's creativity and help them channel their inner artist through Young Artists' Studio's (YAS) Summer Workshops. There is a class to suit every interest, whether it's drawing, painting, art for beginners, or even comics and fashion illustration. Teens and grownups can join too! All classes will be held at Yuchengco Museum. Young Artists' Studio (YAS) is an art school that offers art classes in different cities in Metro Manila all year round. Since 2009, YAS has taught over 1,500 aspiring artists from different age groups, from toddlers and kids to teens and adults. Workshops are priced at PhP9,800 for Painting class; PhP8,800 for Art for Beginners, Drawing, and Comics Illustration classes.


•Manila FAME Apr. 21 to 23; World Trade Center Metro Manila, Gil Puyat Ave. Ext. cor. Diosdado Macapagal Blvd., Pasay City; for more information, visit The second longest-running trade show in the Asia-Pacific is back as the Philippines’ premier lifestyle and design event opens its doors to international and local trade buyers on Apr. 21 to 23. Manila FAME will showcase the country’s premium home, fashion, holiday, architectural, and interior products from the country’s top and emerging design talents. The 65th edition of Manila FAME will also be featuring an eight-show scenography and innovative manipulation techniques. The bi-annual event has expanded its market scope to the lucrative contract market across the Middle East and Asia. Manila FAME 2017 aims to promote the Philippines as a premier sourcing hub for home, lifestyle, and design products and services. Manila FAME is organized by the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), through the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM).

•Pulp Summer Slam XVII Redemption Apr. 29; Amoranto Stadium, Quezon City; for more information, email royalty@pulpliveworld. com or call (02) 727-4957 The longest running metal rock festival in Southeast Asia will be making its return this year for the 17th edition of Pulp Summer Slam. Feel the ground will shake as metal pioneers Megadeth headline the night along with five more international bands –The Devil Wears Prada, Dragonforce, Whitechapel, Crossfaith, Gods of Eden, along with local rock acts Slapshock, Greyhoundz, WilaBaliW, Razorback and Kjwan. Tickets are priced at PhP695.


Expat Newspaper Volume 35 NO. 10 Expat Newspaper April 9, 2017 - April 29, 2017


Expat Newspaper Volume 35 NO. 10 Expat Newspaper April 9, 2017 - April 29, 2017