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December 18-January 7, 2017 Vol. XXXV No. 3



Color Manila recently capped 2016 with the Color Manila Blacklight Run at CSI The City Mall in Dagupan City, Pangasinan. More than a thousand participants joined the night run. Color Manila Run – Year 5 will be held on Jan. 8 at the Mall of Asia Grounds. If you want to register and join in on the fun, visit

2016 – What a time to be alive By TIMOTHY JAY IBAY

A glimpse back at the eventful year, and the many questions its events have rung in for the coming ones


hristmas and the holiday season have a magical way of inspiring unity across the globe in the spirit of spreading cheer. But after the trees and the glittery, glitzy décor are put away, the world will be facing a number of questions once 2017 rolls around. In the US, the popular rhetoric fed to outsiders following the recent presidential elections was that the global superpower's citizens have never been more divided. While some may question the emotion and propaganda behind such a narrative, there is undoubtedly some truth to the issue of divisiveness brought about by the making the phrase “President-elect Donald Trump” a real thing.

In the Philippines, a similar divisive cloud was cast when President Rodrigo Duterte was elected into power. Much of it has stemmed from the number of lives taken by Duterte’s “war on drugs,” which, depending on your preferred news source, have reached a number as high as 6,095 as of Dec. 14—not even six months since the former Davao City mayor was sworn in as President. The Philippines, which has been suffering from a deep-seated culture of corruption and political impunity for decades, has been plagued by a number of issues that have plummeted its citizens’ overall quality of life. Basic services still doesn’t seem basic at all; traffic in its major metropolises are at an all-

time worst; and politicking, as opposed to actual public service, is still the prevailing code of misconduct embedded in most government officials. As the war on drugs’ death toll continues to rise, and as Duterte’s schizophrenic comments continue to give fodder to the media and public opinion, the issue of “extrajudicial killings” will continue to dominate the country’s discourse. But, be it directly or indirectly resulting from having perhaps the most impassioned Philippine President in recent history, decisions and developments in other key issues will be shaping Philippine life far beyond the “drug problem.” page 5

Cebu wows Hong Kong diplomats, bizmen By RICHARD RAMOS


round 20 Hong Kong-based envoys and businessmen were quite charmed and enamored with their recent threeday visit to Cebu as they got to experience a fun-filled itinerary consisting of shopping, island hopping and dining at the various tourism landmarks situated in and around the city. The delegates who came from Singapore, Angola, Taiwan, Djibouti and Mozambique went along the tour to explore various business and leisure options and to examine Cebu’s potentials in investment and trade opportunities. This was bared in an exclusive interview with Hon. Bernardita Catalla, Consul General of the Philippines in Hong Kong SAR (Special Administrative Region) who has led various diplomatic tours within the Philippines for the third year in a row to showcase the best of the Philippines to her fellow diplomats. “Cebu has always been modern and dynamic. They all loved it in Cebu, as well as their stay in a posh Mactan resort. It page 5 was fortunate that I met Mela-




Sarangani, Indonesia strengthen cultural ties

Cebu realty firm heads two urban projects




ebu Landmasters leads a joint venture with four other realty firms to form El Camino Developers Cebu, Inc., a 1.17-hectare mixed-use urban park concept that includes a high-rise residential condo, an office tower, and a retail boulevard with a central park strategically situated at the Cebu IT Park. The four other realty firms are Gothong Southern Properties headed by its CEO and chair Bob Gothong, Acrissor Development Corp. headed by Darren Deen, RKD Property Holdings headed by Ricaredo King, and 12 Sika led by Hector Almario. Joe Soberano, chair and chief executive officer of Cebu Landmasters, declared that over PhP5 billion has been allotted for the total project cost which is scheduled to start construction by early 2017. “Over 70 percent of the entire area will be allotted for retail and open spaces. Phase One consists of the 40-storey residential condominium with nearly 600 residential units inclusive of an urban garden and underground parking,” he stated in a press gathering held at the Cebu City Marriott Hotel. Phase Two will feature the office tower with commercial and retail amenities. Estimated date of completion is 2021. The El Camino project marks the third such building headed by Cebu Landmasters. The two others are the Park Centrale and the Asia Premier Residences. In another related project, Cebu Landmasters has partnered with the Borromeo Bros. Estate Inc. under BL CBP Ventures, Inc. for the construction of the Latitude Corpo-


rate Center, an upscale office building situated at the Cebu Business Park, or CBP. As a Grade A office building, the 24-storey Latitude Corporate Center stands to become the tallest office building within the entire park. Among its amenities are eight high-speed elevators, a sky lounge, garden deck, five-level podium parking, and a twolevel retail area. The office spaces are divided as follows: Executive (small, 51 to 105 square meters), Enterprise (medium, 150 to 320 square meters) and the BPO (large, 2,000 square meters.) An important highlight is the eco-friendly design that is registered with BERDE (Building for Ecologically Responsive Design Excellence) green building rating system, a Philippine version of LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.) Soberano stated that businesses would benefit from its green features while caring for the environment. The building’s assets and its prestigious location at the CBP together with over 150 local and foreign companies assure the investor of a stellar advantage. The Ayala Center Cebu mall is easily the most well-known entity at the CBP with over 500 outlets. Other nearby neighbors is the Cebu City Marriott Hotel, Cebu Sports Club, Keppel Building, Ayala- FGU, Apple One Towers, among others. He added that the building will be registered with the Philippine Export Zone Authority (PEZA) and will be fully equipped with Property Management Services closely monitored by Cebu Landmasters itself.


or several generations now, the peo- how to play the angklung, a traditional Indoneples of southern Mindanao and the In- sian bamboo musical instrument. donesian province of North Sulawesi Sealing the event was the exchange of tohave been trading goods and fishing in the po- kens between Sarangani Gov. Steve Chiongrous international waters of Celebes Sea. bian Solon and the visiting diplomat who was Once part of the ancient Sri-Vijayan and gifted with an exquisite portrait painted on Majapahit Empires, the two island groups a Tnalak textile made by Ronald Tamfalan, a share many cultural practices, as if rooted from Tboli artist from Kiamba. one big family tree in the Southeast Asian subThe cultural exchange is part of the 14th continent. MunaTo Festival to celebrate the province’s Thousands of Indonesian Sangir families 24th founding anniversary. The festivity is dehave made the islands and coastal towns of rived from the Blaan phrase Muna Toh or “first Sarangani Bay and Davao Gulf their home and people” which settled in the caves of Maitum have become embedded into the Filipino com- town during the Metal Age based on excavated munities due to inter-marriage. anthromorphic burial jars. Now on display at Of late, Mindanao and the Sulawesi prov- the National Museum, the jars are described inces form part of the Brunei-Indonesia-Ma- as “exceptional archaeological assemblage and laysia-Philippines East Asean Growth Area unparalleled in Southeast Asia”. (BIMP-EAGA), which aims to link the fringes The event also showcased the intricate of the four countries into a growth region. hand-weaving tradition of the lumad tribes So when the Province of Sarangani invited such as Blaan, Tagakaolo, Tboli, Manobo, Indonesia to showcase their culture in the Mu- Ubo, and Kalagan, as well as Moro communinato International Music and Arts Festival, it ties such as the Maguindanaon, Maranao and was like a homecoming of a long-lost brother. Taosug groups. The contingent, led by Consul Berlian Napitupulu and 80 students in Davao City, motored to the capital town of Alabel for a cultural exchange with local musicians through music and dance performances. “We are not different because even our dialects are almost the same and similar,” the consul said in an orienta- Cultural exchange with Indonesia at tion and demonstration on Munato Festival


Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) recently held its culmination ceremonies of the ProGED Project (Promotion of Green Economic Development) which aims to support Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to adopt greening and climate change resilience initiatives. Some of the project highlights are the replication of the approach to 28 new provinces from two pilot provinces of Cebu and Bohol in 2003; implementation of 60 environment friendly projects by different enablers; creation of six roadmaps (plastic, pulp and paper, furniture, automotive, housing and copper) of the Board of Investments priority industries; and passage of 40 resolutions by GED networks to endorse environment friendly policies and ordinances. Head agency is the GIZ (Deutsche Gessellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit). European Union (EU) delegation to the Philippines and the EU member states’ embassies and cultural institutes recently conducted a networking and matchmaking session for the first time between European higher education institutions and their local counterparts at the Cebu Normal University. Foreign participants included education representatives from the Czech Republic, Spain, France, and

the Erasmus+Programme. Speakers included Dr. Freddy Bernad – CHED Regional Director; Mattias Lens—Minister Counsellor of EU Delegation to the Philippines; and Philippe Ruffio – Head of Sector, DG EACEA European Commission. Prior to this event was the holding of the European Higher Education Fair hosted by Fairmont Hotel Makati with the theme “Sustaining Innovation and Excellence.” Casa Gorordo Museum recently opened its doors to the public after a lengthy three-year renovation program. The place is widely popular among tourists and locals, having been a favorite stop for many city tours. Guests will be literally drawn into the past through widescreen walkthroughs of different periods in Cebu’s history and sound-integrating dioramas of early 19th century scenes, while being regaled by elegant interiors and decors. Restoration work includes the restructuring of the souvenir shop and cafe located at an adjacent outhouse. Located along Lopez Jaena St. in Cebu’s culture-rich Parian District, Casa Gorordo is managed by the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Inc. The museum is open Tuesdays to Sundays, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call (032) 411-1700 loc. 24536 or

visit Ayala Corporation (AC) revealed the “unified brand identity” of its five new businesses – transportation, infrastructure, power generation, health, and education as a reaffirmation of its primed position to attend to some of the country’s urgent developmental challenges. Jaime Zobel de Ayala, chair and CEO of Ayala Corp., spoke of a need to touch the basic needs of the Filipino for a more deliberate and integrative approach. Rene Almendras, Ayala Corp. Infra president and CEO, dwelt on corporate principles such as seeing potentials, making business better, and improving lives as essential to accelerating corporate success. Meanwhile, AC’s core businesses in telecommunications, water, banking, electronics, and real estate are now tagged “pioneers of the future.” Miss Asia Pacific International 2016 held an intimate press gathering at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel & Casino to introduce its winners to the Cebuano community. The winners were led by Miss Netherlands Tessa Le Conge – Miss Asia Pacific; Miss Thailand Chawanya Thanomwong – first runner up; Miss Cook Islands Felicia George - third runner-up;

and Miss Korea Soyeon Kim – fourth runner up. Absent was Miss Philippines Ganiel Akrisha Krishnan due to educational commitments. All four contestants expressed delight and excitement with their experiences in Cebu and Palawan and vowed to promote the Philippines in their home country. They were amazed with the peaceful scenery, delicious food and warm hospitality of the locals. Pageant setting was the Sheridan Resort based in Palawan. Globe Telecom has partnered with Molave Development Foundation in launching App Challenge Cebu 2016, a contest to encourage the creation of educational Android apps that will teach K-3 pupils about literacy in the Cebuano language. Winner is Team Magtutudlo (to teach) Bisaya from Iligan City which developed “Magbisaya,” a mobile game to help younger children learn about the Cebuano language. The app, expected to be fully completed by April 30, 2017, will be published in the Google App Store and will be disseminated to schools and libraries nationwide. The Department of Education has identified Cebuano as the second most widely used language in the country with over 21 million speakers.





May your days be merry and bright By ANGIE DUARTE


o, ho, ho… or Bah, Humbug? Which one is it to you? Twelve days before Christmas at the time of this writing, and holiday madness is on. Preparations, now fever-pitch; roads bear the weight of countless cars kissing each other’s bumpers as if underneath a sprig of mistletoe; and just when you thought it was safe to go back into the mall, you find yourself caught in a shopping frenzy more ferocious than hungry sharks feeding on fresh kill in the water. Ah, Christmas. I’ve had forty-something of them – and I’ve come to realize that the more things have changed, the more they have stayed the same. Tinsel and treasure My earliest holiday memories are rooted in groovy 70s Christmases: sparkly silver tinsel trees strung with more silver icicle foil strips, technicolored balls and funky teardrop-shaped ornaments, colorful plastic garlands, a felt Christmas tree skirt. Everything was glitzy and kitschy bordering on tacky and fake. Genuine love, however, was strewn all over the artificial flair of the era, and that made Christmas more real and alive than I could have ever imagined. Night after night, when everyone else was off to dreamland, I would creep out of bed to sit under the shiny tree in the dimly-lit living room. In the shadows, I would quietly count my presents and gingerly shake each to try and figure out its contents. When Christmas morn FINALLY rolled around, my brother and I – all warm and fuzzy in the tummy – would burst out of our shared room at the crack

of dawn and barrel down the seemingly endless stretch of hall. The comforting smell of hot cocoa filled the living room, while John Denver’s “Rocky Mountain Christmas” vinyl played on the turntable. We would eyeball the treasure trove under the tree – never minding the inevitable glare from all that silvery sheen – and gleefully rip open present after present. The year I got a Bedazzler, everything but the family dogs ended up bedazzled in shiny, shimmery resplendence. “Ca-ching”mas? When the teenage years rolled around, I became slightly less interested in wrapped presents under the tree, and more interested in the contents of envelopes. Cash was the new Bedazzler, able to add sparkle to my holiday world. I eagerly opened each envelope I received in wideeyed wonder; wideness in proportion to the color and number of bills in the envelope. Christmas became more about parties, out-of-town trips, and nights in the town. We danced ‘til we just about dropped, and – occasionally – drank ‘til we did drop. Noche Buena at home was eagerly anticipated, as well, with all sorts of imported goodies flown in by a visiting aunt. John Denver still played in the background, but this time from a cassette tape deck. Santa’s helpers Marriage and motherhood were the next milestones, and Christmas was viewed primarily through the eyes of our daughter, Andie. An avid Santa-fan, her

dad and I always went the extra mile to weave the fantasy ever so tightly. A little too tightly, perhaps. She held out belief in the jolly, bearded, red-suited champion of Christmas way longer than most of her peers; and defended his existence to the foot-stomping, balled-up-fist-waving end. Santa was the sparkle to her Christmas, and Andie was to ours. On Christmas Eve, we would leave notes from the North Pole, carefully penned in writing she would not recognize as anyone else’s but “Santa’s.” Little bits of hay (reindeer fodder) and soil (from Santa’s boots, of course) strewn on the floor completed the illusion. Presents from the “North Pole” were strategically positioned near the tree (which was nowhere near as glittery as the one from my childhood, but shined brightly with the joy that had imbued its trimming), and by the empty plate of cookies and threequarters finished cup of milk. John Denver and the Muppets’ “A Christmas Together” played from the CD changer. Sparkle lost, sparkle found I reckon that Christmas endures more than its fair share of beatings in most lives. As you get older – and older still – much of the sparkle fades. All that glitters is now a memory of a bygone, funky but precious era from our childhood days. And, for those of us who are parents, from our children’s childhood days. Families, sadly, sometimes grow apart. And occasionally, you find that this is beyond your control. Pragmatism steps in. Commercialism dulls the sparkle and turns Christmas into a chore, almost. IF YOU LET IT.

Andie is now a teener, and I often feel like I’ve just about seen all that there is to make my eyes wide with wonder. But, as it turns out, Christmas still holds its magical surprises. I remember a couple of years back, shortly before Christmas, Andie – eager as 10 beavers about presents she had been working on for nearly as many days – handed us each a largish parcel, neatly and simply wrapped in purple paper. “Open, open!!!” she anxiously prompted. I looked at the handmade, oversized greeting card, covered in my favorite cat-printed paper, and filled with photos of Andie and I; of our family, through the years. Each photo left me awash with memories that can never be taken away. Two cutout paper snowflakes scribbled with endearments, a bible verse written on memo pad, and a heartfelt letter were tucked into the card. We relived and relished wonderful memories as though they were yesterday. And, in our daughter’s truly special gesture, Christmas regained its sparkle. What puts the sparkle, in your Christmas? Look unto the things that truly matter –the ones that have ALWAYS mattered – and not the blinding sheen of the season. Hold out hope for the real glimmer and shimmer; the kind that radiates from the heart. Be proactive and shine your Christmas up, if you have to: give love, spread cheer, hug a friend (furry or otherwise), pay it forward, give it back, make memories, relive special ones. You’ll see what a difference a little soul-shimmer can make. Heck, I think I may just give John Denver another spin on the player this year.

Throw away the throwaway culture with the 30 Year Sweatshirt By ANGIE DUARTE


or many, Christmas – with its fun-filled festivity and timeless traditions – is truly the most wonderful time of the year. But it is (gasp!) also perhaps the single-most wasteful time of the year. The figures are shocking. Estimates have it, for example, that the UK disposes of a whopping 230,000 tons of food every Christmas. In 2014, 4.2 million Christmas dinners went to waste; that’s roughly 263,000 turkeys; 7.5 million mince pies; 740,000 slices of Christmas pudding; 17.2 million Brussels sprouts; 11.9 million carrots and 11.3 million roast potatoes, according to the UK news source, The Independent. The Guardian reports that if you would line-up from end-to-end all the natural Christmas trees purchased by Britons each year, the line would stretch the same distance as a return trip from London to New York City. Pile up on top of that the garbage from all the decorative items and gift-wrapping materials – 4,500 tons of tin foil, 13,350 tons of glass, and a incredible stretch of wrapping paper, long enough to go around the equator NINE TIMES!!! – and you have one horrific

holiday mess. Ho, ho, OH! And that’s in the UK, alone. One Briton, however, is determined to do his part to turn the tide of Yuletide trash around – one tacky holiday sweater at a time. The 30 Year Christmas Sweatshirt In defiance of the culture of waste and of yet another Christmas tradition – the buying, giving, exchanging, and wearing of the tackiest holiday sweatshirt one can possibly find – British designer Tom Cridland has created a sweater (or jumper, as the Brits would have it), designed to last not one, not two, not even three, but 30 years! “As Christmas approaches, many people are going to be heading to their closest fast fashion retailer to purchase a cheap, unethically produced Christmas jumper,” Cridland says in an email to Expat. “By the end of the month, there is a good chance the same jumper will end up in landfill to be replaced the next year. This is symbolic of today’s throwaway culture,” he adds.

Out with the throwaway culture Cridland, who has developed a following of fashion fiends for his fabulous men’s chinos, came up with the idea shortly after Hollywood A-lister and environmental activist, Leonardo DiCaprio, ordered some of the trousers in 2015. The 26-year-old designer, inspired by DiCaprio’s staunch eco-advocacy, “decided to try to lead an industry trend towards protecting our natural resources by making truly durable clothing,” he relates. The 30 Year Christmas Sweatshirt is not only poised to become a smart sartorial sensation, but also a sensible solution to a serious situation. “As fashion has now become the second most polluting industry after oil, I want this Christmas to be the year we as consumers try to be more sustainable in our choices,” Cridland states. Built to last…and last...and last So what’s so special about Cridland’s sweatshirt? Well, as the name implies, it is – most importantly – the fact that it can go for three

decades. Possibly, even longer. “This is the first ever Christmas jumper to come with a 30-year guarantee. It’s so well made that if anything happens to it over the next three decades, we will repair or replace it for free,” Cridland explains. “In contrast to the needless cycle of consumption and waste that exists all over the world at Christmas, this is a garment built to last. Its lifespan makes it cheaper than any alternative from an unsustainable fast fashion retailer and it is handcrafted out of Italian cotton, so it will look smarter too.” Take your cue from Cridland – resist that tacky holiday sweater, for reasons far weightier than the obvious it-is-simply-too-ugly-forwords-anyways. Let one man’s efforts inspire you to wake up from the bad dream that is mindless holiday consumption. Throw out the throwaway culture and help make Christmas a whole lot greener. And while you’re at it, keep passing that fruitcake right along. Check out to learn more about The 30-Year Christmas Sweatshirt





2016 – What a time...from page 1

Cebu wows Hong Kong diplomats...from page 1

South China Sea Last week, reports surfaced that China appeared to have installed weapons on all artificial islands it has made in the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea, if that’s the way you roll). Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative at the Center for Strategic and International Studies released satellite imagery that appears to show weapons like antiaircraft and antimissile systems present in the islands. Shortly after, a separate report said that the US is ready to confront China for its “overreaching maritime claims” in the disputed waters. Initially, Duterte’s poker play between the US and China momentarily appeared to ease the rising tensions – bringing home economic pledges from a highly publicized trip to Beijing, while also having Filipino fishermen allowed back to practice their trade at Panatag Shoal. It appears, though, that with the Trump regime set to kick off, the situation could take a hostile turn.

nie Ng, Cebu Chamber president, in President Rodrigo Duterte’s trip to China. She then invited me to bring my group to Cebu, to which I gladly obliged,” she told Expat at a dinner event held at the Golden Prince Hotel & Suites. Speakers during the dinner included Benjamin Yap, head of the Cebu Investment Promotion Office based at the Provincial Capitol, who pointed out that Cebu is largely serviceoriented with 55 percent of the workforce belonging in the service industry, 39 percent in the industrial front, and only six percent in agriculture. Its 11 ecozones, 28 IT centers, and 250-strong workforce has produced a total of US$4.8 billion in total exports in 2015.

US relations Another issue that marked 2016 was Duterte’s rhetoric when it came to its longtime ally. The curse words and insults stemming from US officials voicing concerns on his war on drugs have been well documented. And now, the repercussions have become more tangible. Last week, word came out that the US did not include the Philippines in its list of country’s eligible to receive a new Millennium Challenge Corp. (MCC) Grant, citing “significant concerns over the rule of law and civil liberties in the Philippines.” The US setup the MCC. aimed at pro-

moting economic growth as well as reducing poverty across the globe. The previous fiveyear grant received by the Philippines was word US$433.9 million. It expired May of this year. “MCC will continue to monitor unfolding events in the Philippines and underscores that all country partners are expected to maintain eligibility, which includes not just a passing scorecard but also a demonstrated commitment to the rule of law, due process and respect of human rights,” US embassy spokesperson Molly Koscina said in a released statement. Quick-trigger Congress But Duterte is not completely all about eradicating drug personalities, as other initiatives such as the tax reform, the passing of the death penalty bill, and the push for “emergency powers” to solve the traffic crisis have also come under his watch. This Congress has been uncharacteristically speedy with its resolutions, rapidly approving bills like the proposed “Death Penalty Law” and House Bill 4144—which restores a multi-tier tax system for tobacco products. It’s still unclear exactly what the executive branch will do to the traffic emergency powers it has been asking for. These are interesting times in the Philippines, whose citizens’ disenfranchisement from the rule of traditional politicians has led to it surrendering power to an unorthodox leader who will be shaping the country’s foreseeable future. As the kids these days are wont to say – “What a time to be alive.”

Catalla stated that Cebu’s prized assets in Business Process Outsourcing (BPOs) and manufacturing would go a long way with the Singapore and Taiwanese businessmen who expressed interest in establishing links with local counterparts. The past couple of years has witnessed Catalla leading different diplomatic groups to Boracay and Manila in April 2015; Makati, Bohol, Dumaguete, and Oslob, Cebu in Oct. 2015; Tagaytay, CALABARZON (Calamba, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon) a year ago; and other places such as Bonifacio Global City, Tagaytay, and Palawan.

The British Chamber of Commerce Philippines (BCCP) held a business lunch meeting with the Platinum Members of the Chamber to welcome Alok Sharma MP, Parliamentary Undersecretary of State of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Minister for Asia and the Pacific). The meeting served as an avenue to discuss industry challenges and market opportunities, highlighting high potential sectors in the country for British businesses.

L to R: Ed Sunico (Unilever), Lynette Ortiz (Standard Chartered Bank), Yek Laifatt (YLF Contracts and Solutions), Lynn Baxter; (GSK), Ed Wenceslao (BDO), BCCP Executive Chairman Chris Nelson, Philip Malone, Alok Sharma MP, Wick Veloso (HSBC), British Ambassador to the Philippines Asif Ahmad, Juan Torres of Etihad Airways, Lorelie Quiambao-Osial of Shell, Antonio De Rosas of Pru Life UK, David Beddow of Britpart, Richard Barclay of Manila North Port Harbour, and DIT Manila Director Mike Moon, 6th December, Fairmont Hotel, Makati.



G RU B H U B Newspaper

The Philippines’ forum for international readers since 1981

Murray Hertz Founding Publisher (1928-2014) Butch C. Bonsol President & Managing Director Timothy Jay Araneta Ibay Editor-in-Chief Suzette Defensor Consultant Richard A. Ramos (Cebu) Via Baroma Staff Writers Angie Duarte Ching Dee Writers-at-Large Leah Egamino-Palaña Advertising Coordinator Jennifer Codera Billing, Credit and Collection Supervisor Nikki Joy Habana Macjanry Imperio Design & Layout Our Headquarters: Unit 305 Cristina Condominium, 143 Legaspi cor. V.A. Rufino St., 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.


Throw an affordable holiday party at The Round Table Kapitolyo’s hidden nook is filled with great food and even better prices Text and photos by CHING DEE

The bustling village of Kapitolyo, Pasig City is a foodie haven. There's always something to satisfy every craving — whether you're on a payday high or one of those I-gotta-survive-til-next-payday kind of day. And thanks to The Round Table by Q Provisions, even a great buffet craving can be satisfied –without breaking the bank. For only PhP295 on weekdays and PhP350 on weekends, you get to enjoy a selection of finely curated dishes by Chef Mia Capay and her team. We recently joined them at their "Superstar Weekend" buffet, where they had all the bestsellers from their daily spreads — Exclusively Yours Monday, Italian Tuesday, Asian Invasion Wednesday, Filipino Twist Thursday, and Roast Carving Friday — all in one day. What's on the menu Cream of Roasted Squash The smoothest way to ease yourself into eat-all-you-can mood. Q Salad with Q Dressing They say a colorful plate is a healthy plate. This vibrant salad is tangy and refreshing. Chicken Tocino Maki with Garlic Chips Pinoy flavors served Japanese style. Adobo Sa Mangga Just when you thought the Philippines’ humble adobo couldn't get more Pinoy, The Round Table comes up with this soy sauce-free and vinegar-less Adobo sa Mangga (chicken adobo with mangoes). Their homemade bagoong (shrimp/fish paste) takes care of the saltiness, while the mangoes provide that tanginess. This is culinary innovation at its finest. The Amazing Roast Beef Carvery Marinated overnight, slow-cooked for four to six hours, and eaten in minutes. Chef Mia's über tender and tasty roast beef is perfect for the holidays. But it doesn't have to be a special occasion to experience this piece of culinary perfection. Their roast beef is available everyday at the buffet. Pasta Aglio Olio This simple-looking dish is quite a delightful surprise. If you don't like

white rice, this is a great carb substitute without overpowering the taste of other dishes. Inihaw na Manok sa Saha Chef Mia recreated one of Andres Bonifacio's favorite dishes: Inihaw na Manok sa Saha (roasted chicken on a banana trunk) and revolutionized it by serving it with Cerveza Gravy. Nothing but robust, strong flavors worthy of a national hero — a real hero. Carrot Cake The cake is moist yet fluffy, the cream cheese frosting decadent. The crushed walnuts provide that added texture, making this dessert even better. The Round Table, as quaint as it is, is also perfect for intimate gatherings with friends and family, especially this holiday season (although with its friendly rate, you can afford to enjoy their buffet anytime of the year). The entire restaurant can be booked with just a minimum of ten paying guests. Q Provisions also caters events and parties, so make sure you call for ‘em this season. The Round Table is located at 56 C&D East Capitol Drive, Brgy. Kapitolyo, Pasig

City. They are open from Monday to Sunday. Lunch Service: 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; dinner service: 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. For reservations and inquiries, call (02) 706-1668.

Roast Beef

Adobo sa Mangga

The Great Aussie Eats


This holiday season, feast on Outback Steakhouse’s limited time offer delights


hemed after the Australian Outback, Outback Steakhouse continues to embody the spirit Down Under with their blend of dishes bursting with flavor, excellent service, competitive pricing and a warm, welcoming vibe. And keeping with its promise to bring only the best Aussome treats this holiday season, Outback Steakhouse recently launched a limited time offering dubbed “The Great Aussie Eats” – four new dishes each with unique and bold flavors and made with only the freshest produce and ingredients designed to jolt the most discerning of palates. Expat recommends Start with something fresh and light with the Tomato and Mozzarella Bruschetta made of grilled, crusty French bread topped with oven roasted tomatoes, mozzarella and basil pesto. It was simple,

refreshing and delicious. The hint of sweetness marries all the vibrant flavors together For mains, sample the Chile Marinated Ribeye—a must-try for any meat lover. The dish is seasoned and chargrilled to perfec-

tion topped with avocado pico de gallo and served with traditional Mexican corn on the cob, crispy tortilla strips, grilled tomato, chili sauce and drizzled with sour cream. For fans of seafood fare, Heart of Gold Cod delights with its perfectly cooked flaky, white meat topped with artichoke hearts and sundried tomatoes, with a light lemon sauce finish. To cap off a sumptuous meal, indulge yourself with the Tropical Fruits Cheesecake – a New Yorkstyle cheesecake generously topped with seasonal fruits, whipped cream and lime zest. The Great Aussie Eats is available at all Outback Steakhouse branches until January 2017. Outback Steakhouse is located at Glorietta 4, Makati; ATC Corporate Center, Muntinlupa; Eastwood City Walk 1, Quezon City; and Blue Bay Walk, Pasay City. Chile Marinated Ribeye





Spread the Sparkle N Cheer with Novotel Manila New World Makati Hotel welcomes Araneta Center Christmastime Discover why the holidays are so much better when spent with loved ones at the Novotel Manila Araneta Center. Located in Quezon City’s lifestyle and entertainment hub, the 401room hotel has plenty to be thankful for with the success of its first anniversary themed “Better At One.” This Christmas and New Year’s Eve, Novotel Manila spreads the warm holiday spirit with its fantastic promotions. Treat family and friends to a holiday delight with a special promotion, which brings together the ultimate Christmas family getaway. Beginning PhP7,000, stay at Novotel Manila and dine at the Food Exchange Manila during the fantastic festive dinner buffet. Young guests under the age of 15 who will be staying with their families with this package are entitled to enjoy one-time entry for two hours of playtime at the Kids Club. Guests will also enjoy 15 percent savings on available InBalance Spa treatments. Complimentary breakfast the next day is also included in this package. Surcharge applies to stays on Dec. 24, 25 and 31. Drop by The Christmas Shop at the Lobby to bring home the taste of the holidays. Take home classic Christmas treats such as the gingerbread house (available starting PhP1,100), fruit cakes and stollen bread or share the love with those closest to your hears. What better gift is there than a set of macarons expertly created by the hotel’s globally experienced chefs. Guests can also choose to pick up their bulk orders at a later date. This season also welcomes a new spec-

tacle to the Araneta Center—the Le Grand Cirque! Witness the awe-inspiring performances of experienced acrobats from all over the world. Beginning at PhP6,000, enjoy overnight accommodations at Novotel Manila, as well as buffet breakfast (for two adults and two children 15 years old and younger. This package also includes two Patron B tickets to the show. Surcharge applies to stays scheduled on Dec. 25 and 30 and from Jan. 1 to 3. Finally, cap off 2016 with a bang as Novotel Manila presents “Revel N Delight Countdown to 2017” at The 6th Pool Bar and Lounge. The party, beginning 10 p.m., features REVERSE Band as they lead guests and other merrymakers in dancing 2016 away. Tickets are available at PhP1,000 inclusive of one round of sparkling wine. For inquiries, call (02) 990-7888 or email H7090 For more information, visit or

Festive Indulgences at City of Dreams Manila On Christmas Day, The Tasting Room will be offering a festive dinner buffet spread worthy of an unforgettable celebration with family and friends – including one of the restaurant’s noteworthy signature dishes, 52°C Egg with potato mousse, onions, confetti ceps powder, and summer truffle; a Christmas carving station of whole roast turkey, roast pork, slow roast beef rib eye, suckling pig lechon and trimmings; holiday sweet treats such as whiskey pralines at an interactive dessert station, paired with Macalan 12 Years, Glen Morangie 12 Years, Laphroig 10 Years, and Highland Park 12 Years; various cakes such as Hazelnut Ginger Spiced Pecan Tart, Malibu and Mango Christmas Log, Yule Log and imported Italian panettonne; Christmas Pudding with bandy custard and vanilla ice cream; and a premium chocolate fountain with Christmas Dry Fruit Cake topped with marshmallows, fresh fruits and an assortment of meringue. Complementing the range of sumptuous offerings are premium appetizer, salad, bread and soup stations; as well as a whole tuna station with sashimi in torched Miso Emulsion and Shisho Cress, Tuna Tartar Togarashi with Apple Poki and Wasabi Espuma, and QuickSeared Tuna with Xeres Vinaigrette And Heirloom Tomatoes. The Tasting Room will likewise offer an exuberant way to welcome the New Year through an exclusive tasting menu which starts with Duck Liver Confit with Corn, velouté, chestnuts, rock lobster, caviar berry, onions, soft jelly, tomato, and Greek yogurt followed by

Saint-Brieux dive scallops in epazote consommé, cauliflower cream, shrimp powder, water cress salad, and sea urchin. The evening’s entrée is the Hunted 65°c Wild Doe Filet with onions, Fuji apple, ceps of the century and acid mango concluded by Chocolate in Hot and Cold with cappuccino ice cream. The Christmas Buffet is priced at PhP3,288++ per cover while the five-course New Year’s Eve feast is PhP3,999++ per cover. Guests can upgrade their dining experience with an exclusive offering of champagne which will be available until Dec. 31 at City of Dreams Manila’s three signature restaurants – The Tasting Room, Nobu Manila, and Crystal Dragon. Premium champagne brands Moet et Chandon Brut, Veuve Clicquot Rose, Ruinart Blanc de Blancs, and Dom Perignon are offered at rates of PhP3,500++, PhP4,600++, PhP6,200++, and PhP11,900++ per bottle, respectively. For inquiries and reservations, contact (02) 800-8080 or email guestservices@cod-manila. com.

New World Makati Hotel welcomes Christmastime with a dash of sparkle and shine. Guests are invited to start a Christmas staycation tradition and spend the brightest time of the year in the company of family and friends with exclusive holiday season rates and special benefits. Stay for a minimum stay of two nights are available from Dec. 15 until Jan. 10, starting at PhP5,400 per night in a modern and spacious Superior room. The Christmas Holiday Room Package includes breakfast buffet for two, a Gingerbread tree, movie access for two at Ayala cinemas, and a bottle of wine for the guests to toast the season. For a more glamorous holiday getaway, guests are invited to indulge in a sweet retreat in one of the hotel’s suites starting at PhP14,000 per night in a Director’s Suite. Guests enjoy access to the Residence Club Living Room, buffet breakfast for two and Christmas gifts and surprises topped off with dinner served in the guestroom by a private chef. New Year’s Eve rates start at PhP1,500 higher for all room types and include complimentary entrance to the New Year’s Eve party

at The Lounge. With a range of festive fare and treats offered in the hotel’s restaurants and bars throughout December, guests will find many opportunities to enjoy the Christmas celebrations to enjoy with those who matter most. All room rates are subject to taxes and service charge. For more information and reservations, call (02) 811-6888 or visit



ith the poetic backdrop of breathtaking sunrises and sunsets; the mix of the cool ocean breeze and the gorgeous bay area where sun, sand and sea blend beautifully, Club Punta Fuego is a luxurious getaway that soothes the soul and sates the senses. And, being just two and a half hours away from Metro Manila, it is paradise within reach. Located in the gorgeous coast of Nasugbu, Batangas, Club Punta Fuego is easily accessible via two major routes: the new Ternate-Nasugbu Highway in Cavite and via the South Luzon Expressway traversing Tagaytay. Whichever route you choose, what awaits is an exclusive 88-hectare Spanish-Mediterranean style luxury seaside community inspired by Miami’s Fisher Island that marries natural beauty and modern luxury. Tripartite delight Club Punta Fuego’s extensive lineup of top-notch facilities and amenities are divvied up between the Main Club at Peninsula de Punta Fuego, the Beach Club at Terrazas de Punta Fuego and the Punta Fuego Yacht Club. If you’re a fan of beach combing/lounging, days are best spent at the Terrazas Beach Club, which is home to an 800-meter stretch of white sand beach that nestles 28 cabanas




Paradise within reach Discover Club Punta Fuego – a picturesque luxury seaside community Text by VIA BAROMA Photos by KLARA FERNANDEZ

where one can indulge in the utter beauty of nature or enjoy a relaxing massage. Also, from the sizzle of grilled dishes, the aroma of toasty paellas and cooling effect of colorful fruit shakes, Cafe Sol in Terrazas entices all senses with the aroma of classic fare coupled with a breezy ambiance. Just 15 minutes away from Terrazas is Peninsula de Punta Fuego, where the Main Club is located. It features a full range of services and facilities that one would expect from an upscale community. It is a home to

The Terrazas de Punta Fuego Cabanas

world-class amenities including 33 casitas, 16 suites, a double infinity pool, spa, a nine-hole executive golf course and an international full-service marina with commanding view of the West Philippine Sea. This is where we spent the night. Our fully air-conditioned casita had two queensized beds and a bathroom big enough to include a pocket garden. The bedroom opens to a private balcony overlooking a secluded cove caressed by the rhythmic waves from the open sea—a perfect scene to wake up to.

Enjoy taking a dip in the pool with an arresting and breathtaking view, not only of the sea, but also of the mountains and the surrounding grand villas perched atop the cliff side. The unobstructed view of the sunset from its double infinity pool – the iconic image of Club Punta Fuego – will keep you coming back for more. A whole slew of recreational activities also await guests – which include squash, tennis and volleyball courts, a golf and minigolf course, pool tables and even a cozy little movie theater. And that’s just the stuff you can do on land. The resort also boasts a plethora of beaches and coves blessed with the most captivating views where members can enjoy numerous water sports such as jet skiing, kayaking and banana boat rides, among others. Punta Fuego is perhaps the only club in the Philippines that not only has a golf course but an international full-service marina as well. With their sails unfurling every January, set sail amid the backdrop of the majestic Nasugbu Bay sunset or sunrise while cruising through the bay area. “There are many things going on in the club, many developments, but our main target or goal is to improve our marina. We want to really professionalize our marina. Punta Fuego is very nice to see from the sea. It is an important and different perspective. And

Club Punta Fuego's casitas provides a breathtaking view of the beachfront


members go to Punta Fuego to do what? To play golf? No, they come here to use their boats and go out to the sea. The marina is the most popular [attraction] of this place.” Punta Fuego General Manager Mikel Arriet Arruiz told Expat. Apart from all these, the exclusivity and intimacy is another allure in Punta Fuego’s holster, making it a perfect haven for those seeking sanctuary and those that have a taste for the finer things in life.

Sip and savor the best Spanish wines at Club Punta Fuego

One of the most striking dishes you’ll find here is their Black Shrimp Tempura




Gustatory treats A vacation is not a vacation without some good food in the equation. And Club Punta Fuego understands that providing sumptuous dining options are a huge part of the overall experience. During our stay at Peninsula, we had dinner at the Member’s Lounge, a cocktail bar marked by subdued lighting, ambient music and a view overlooking their signature double infinity pool. One of the most striking dishes you’ll find here is their Black Shrimp Tempura. Fried crispy with traditional Japanese rice

flour batter, Black Shrimp Tempura is a toothsome treat. Add their Seafood Paella to the fray and its utter gustatory bliss. We also got to sample fare of the San Diego Restaurant and Il Jardineto. The former serves cosmopolitan lineup of tempting dishes, while the latter specializes in Italian cuisine. In Il Jardineto, we began the meal with Tomato Mozzarella and Caesar Salad, followed by Cudaiola and Pesto. An additional highlight was the Spaghetti Gambaretto, a tasty shrimp and tomato pasta. For pizza lovers, indulge in their many types of pizzas like Diabola Pizza, Napolitana Pizza, Margherita Pizza, and Amatricciana Pizza. I suggest capping the meal with the luscious Brownie dessert. Relax. Breathe deeply. Embrace the moment. Paradise is within reach at Club Punta Fuego, where a vacation of peak perfection awaits. Club Punta Fuego is located at Brgy. Balaytigue, Nasugbu, Batangas. For more information, visit or call (02) 553-8888.

The scenic Punta Fuego Golf Club, a nine-hole executive golf course

Punta Fuego's Yacht Club allows you to admire the beauty of Nasugbu, Batangas from the sea

Amatricciana pizza at Il Jardineto

Indulge your sweet tooth with the Members Lounge's selection of desserts

Cool morning breeze and magnificent views mark Punta Fuego mornings

Terrazas de Punta Fuego 800-meter stretch of fine sand





Open Spaces: New Zealand through the lens of a Filipino Text and Photos by ANGIE DUARTE


n 2016, the New Zealand Embassy in Manila – under the vibrant leadership of Ambassador David Strachan and his team – marked its Golden Anniversary: 50 years of fruitful bilateral relations with the Philippines. As part of the commemoration, the embassy presented an exhibit entitled Open Spaces: New Zealand through the Lens of a Filipino, which showcased the work of accomplished artist and lensman, Jose Mari “Mayie” Delgado. The exhibit was held in the last quarter of 2016 at the Yuchengco Museum in Makati. The event was a well-attended flurry of activity, as guests waited with eager excitement to view Delgado’s skillfully captured images: 42 prints of New Zealand landscapes, photographed over three of the artists personal visits. “New Zealand has everything a photographer would dream about, with regard to nature. The country has lakes, mountains, changing elevations,” Delgado shared. “I also find that the best time to photograph New

Zealand is in the winter time, for its special kind of diffused light in that season.” Delgado drove hundreds of kilometers from Auckland to Wellington, and from Christchurch to Queenstown. With the use of 35mm and medium format digital cameras, he captured New Zealand’s ethereal beauty with the trained eye that one can expect of a seasoned artist. Yet each image is imbued with a fresh perspective: through the eyes of a Filipino. “Open Spaces, open hearts, open minds is what New Zealand is all about. Mayie Delgado’s pictures capture this spirit,” Ambassador Strachan said. “We are pleased to show another side of New Zealand's scenery to Filipinos. Mayie’s photographs beautifully capture New Zealand’s extraordinary landscape in a unique way.” “We warmly welcome Filipinos to experience New Zealand through their own eyes,” the Ambassador added, as he noted that tourism to the country is on the rise, with approximately 20,000 Filipinos having visited New Zealand in 2015.

Margaret Morgan, ANZCHAM Director; Cherrie Atilano, AGREA President

Fausto R. Preysler Jr. Consulate General of the Republic of Costa Rica; Lester Harvey, Zen Asia Managing Director; Hernando Banal II, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise Commissioner

Michel R. Belanger, Embassy of Canada Senior Trade Commissioner; Keisuke Oba, Itochu Corp. GM; Hernando Banal II

Ben Burrowes, Education NZ Regional Communications Mgr.; Chrisel and Marty de Leon, Fortrust; Joel Angon, Golden Summit

Victoria Boness; Garth Asher, Fonterra Business Development Manager

Jose Mari Delgado, Southern Cross Distr. Chairman; David Strachan, New Zealand Ambassador

Matthew De Wit, NZ Embassy Deputy Head of Mission; Robbie Ferguson, Don Revy

Robert Hayden; Alex Mantiza; Catherine Castanares

Anna Sutiyono, Australian Embassy; LtCol Timothy Lopsik, Australian Embassy Asst. Defence Attache

Susana Delgado; Mayie Delgado, Artist; Mercedes Laurel Marquez, Canadian Chamber of Commerce

Jeff Tarayao, Meralco CSR Officer; Matthew De Wit; Paco Magsaysay of Carmen’s Best





A dream is a wish your heart makes Local fragrance tycoon Joel Cruz recently hosted a grand Disney-themed birthday bash for his second set of twins, Prince Harvey and Prince Harry. Dubbed the Philippines’ Lord of Scents, Joel pulled out all the stops for the first birthday of his adorable twin sons. The majestic Grand Ballroom of Solaire Hotel and Casino in Parañaque City was transformed into a Disneyland-like amusement park filled with all sorts of enjoyable activities – a magic booth, play pens that were built to resemble different castles and settings from Disney animated films, free flowing snacks, and actors dressed up as everybody’s well-loved Disney characters. Also charming the guests with their accurate Disney costumes were Joel’s ever delightful first set of twins, Prince Sean and Princess Synne. For one magical afternoon, Joel reminded all the guests of their childhood whimsies, and that the dreams of the heart can always come true. Congratulations on the successful party, Joel!

Joel Cruz and Dr. Elenita Binay

Freddie and Ricardo Cruz, Marilou Regis, Prince Harry, Princess Synne, Aficionado Germany Perfume and Joel Cruz Signatures president and CEO Joel Cruz and his mother Milagros Cruz, Prince Sean, Prince Harvey, Tessie Santos, Letty Aquino, Avic and Michael Cruz

Ambassador Victor Garcia and wife Connie

Zandro Vasquez with fashion designers Amir Sali and Albert Andrada

(From left) TV producer Wilma Galvante, Niño Sangueza, and Joel Cruz

ABS-CBN costume designer Eric Pineda with fashion designers Noel Crisostomo and Roland Alzate

Angelo Lantaco, Arch. Richelle Singson-Michael with her son Lucas, and Shalee Vicencio

Aficionado Germany Perfume SVP and COO Remar De Leon (third from left) with family (from left) Lariesah, Rheema, Marla, and Myn De Leon

Anchor Land Holdings, Inc. president Beth Ventura and daughter Elyse Ryan and Sophie Maclang from The King’s School Manila

Designer Chito Delos Santos, Aficionado Germany Perfume VP for Operations Ernie Laurente, and radio DJ Nicole Hyala

















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Compiled by VIA BAROMA


•MET celebrate its 40th Anniversary

•Space Dust by Trek Valdizno Ongoing until Dec. 31; Galleria Duemila, 210 Loring St., Pasay City; for more information, visit

Ongoing until Jan. 8; Tall Galleries and Open Gallery, Metropolitan Museum of Manila, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Complex, Roxas Boulevard, Manila; for inquiries, call (02) 7087828 or email

Space Dust is Trek Valdizno’s homage to his artistic roots and an acknowledgment of his current state of mind. His works lead audiences back to his initial exploration of abstraction and their transformation to perfection. It is where his subconscious becomes conspicuous. Space Dust – a whiff and a puff on the canvas. The artist explores geometrical and biomorphic figures, a niche beyond his comfort zone of abstraction. The looseness and fluidity of colors are turned into shapes of imagined realities. The play on metallics is a muted method of elegance, a style that besets the artist’s works. Like sorcery, a belief of undetermined results highlights a being in conscious, present in a chaotic world yet ascending to a greater consciousness. Valdizno is a graduate of the University of the Philippines with a degree in Fine Arts major in Painting. The exhibit is curated by Sandra Palomar.

The MET continues its 40th anniversary celebration with exhibitions and activities that further the museum’s cohesive direction and strengthened position as the home of contemporary art. Last November, the MET formally opened three exhibits, collectively known as FORTY, which capture the museum’s 40-year journey, societal contributions and its subsequent ventures. The MET Collection and New Acquisitions: the highlight of FORTY, consists of more than 100 works by Filipino artists from the modern and contemporary period. Spread out across the MET’s Tall Galleries and Open Gallery, the collection goes beyond the meaning of individual works and examines how their collective significance emerges as the museum's reflections of the evolving art of today. The MET and BSP Print Collections: drawn from the complementary print collections of the MET and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, this exhibit at the BSP Gallery, collocates the works of Filipino and foreign artists in exploring the form and content of modern printmaking locally and in Western art. The Metropolitan Museum of Manila is open from Monday until Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

• Indy Paredes: Endings are Beginnings of Pendings Ongoing until Jan. 13; 1335MABINI, 1335 Mabini St., Ermita, Manila; for more information, call (02) 2548498, (0917) 704-2962 or email info@1335mabini. com From Indy Paredes’ continued interest in the negotiations between public and private spaces comes the artist’s probing of infrastructure expansion culture. Endings are Beginnings of Pendings particularly explores a peculiar architectural sensibility (or lack thereof) usually practiced in populous areas of the country, where rooftops – which are intuitively considered to be the finishings of a structure – are treated as beginnings of further upward floor level expansion due to the scarcity of space. Paredes takes on this muddled interplay between time and space as the subject of his second solo exhibition, seeking to uncover relevant cultural implications. A large installation made of structural detritus sourced from the aftermath of a typhoon sets the mood for the exhibition, whose suppositions are further driven by other works that include assemblages and video.

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Woven: Weaving a brighter, more colorful future for Visayan women Text by CHING DEE Photos courtesy of Trish Lim of Woven


t one point or another, most Filipinos have had the experience of sleeping on a banig – a colorful mat made of woven fibers, expertly intertwined by expert fingers. While the humble banig is definitely a more affordable alternative compared to foam or spring mattresses, today, the banig is more than just a place to lay down — thanks to Woven. Woven is the brainchild of NGO staff and Jesuit volunteer John Francia and marketing professional Trish Lim. In a nutshell, the social enterprise “sells banig handicrafts from Basey, Samar to help keep the weaving industry alive.” “The business was conceptualized after John spent a year as a volunteer in the town of Basey, post-Haiyan,” Lim told Expat. “The weavers in Basey make these beautiful banig mats but they get only about PhP150 (roughly USD $3) a week — that’s PhP600 (about USD $12) a month for something that’s so difficult to do. Through Woven, we want to expand their market, provide income for the craftsmen and women, and inspire a new generation to continue the tradition,” she explained. Weaving a banig the size of a single or double mattress could take weeks, even at

A sample of one of Woven's products

the pace of veteran weavers of Basey. “It is very difficult work… It is painful. And it pays very little. But I’ve been able to send my kids to college because of it,” Mana Clarita, the 60-year old auditor of the weavers’ association, shared. Francia and Lim decided to showcase these products by making it more relevant. With the help of ABS-CBN Lingkod

Kapamilya Foundation and Bayan Academy (the non-profit organization where Francia worked), Francia and Lim started Woven in 2014 by organizing weavers and artisans from 20 villages into what they call “community craft associations.” “Keeping the weavers in mind, it is Woven’s hope to keep the money flowing into Basey, and help artisans earn at least

PhP3,000 a month from weaving and embroidery… We maneuvered an increase in the price of banig and raised individual incomes by an average of 45 percent,” Francia and Lim explained. “Utilizing traditional methods and materials, we want to create new and innovative products that can breathe new life into Basey’s banig industry.” Today, Woven offers gadget covers for tablets and laptops, and stylish bags made of lovely woven banig. “As a social enterprise, we don’t just buy and sell; we design for the community. We don’t just provide employment and market access to Basey’s artisans; we rig the industry in their favor,” said Woven. “By doing all these, we hope to help the communities weave a new pattern for their craft – with greater market access comes more income for artisans, and with more income comes greater incentive for the young generation to take up the art of their parents.” The intricate designs and vibrant colors that go into each mat is more than just Tikog grass folded and laced by deft hands, it is native Filipino artistry at its finest. For more information on Woven and their products, visit their Facebook page @ WovenHandicrafts or visit any Kultura store.





Compiled by VIA BAROMA



•David Guetta: The Unity Tour 2017

•Yuchengco Museum Xmas Shop

Jan. 5; Araneta Coliseum, Cubao, Quezon City; tickets are available at all TickNet outlets; for ticket inquiries, call (02) 911-55555 or visit

Ongoing until Jan. 6; RCBC Plaza, Ayala cor. Sen. Gil Puyat Avenues, Makati; for more information, call (02) 889-1234 or visit

One of the world’s hottest DJs kicks off 2017 with a bang, as French DJ and producer David Guetta comes to Manila on Jan. 5. Guetta has played a pivotal role in turning dance music into the chart-topping juggernaut it is today. With worldwide smash hits like “Titanium (feat. Sia),” “Hey Mama (feat. Nicki Minaj, Bebe Rexha and Afrojack),” “Bang My Head (feat. Sia and Fetty Wap),” “Bad (feat. Vassy),” “Lovers On The Sun (feat. Sam Martin),” “Dangerous (feat. Sam Martin),” “Shot Me Down (feat. Skylar Grey),” “Without You (feat. Usher),” “I Can Only Imagine (feat. Chris Brown),” “Sexy Bitch (feat. Akon)” and “When Love Takes Over (feat. Kelly Rowland),” Guetta has established himself as a modern-day giant of this era. Tickets are priced at PhP5,780 for VIP Standing; PhP3,680 for Patron; and PhP2,630 for Box. For VIP Seated Tables and VIP Cocktails Standing.

The Yuchengco Museum is expanding its book and gift corner at the lobby to create a special holiday gift shop this Yuletide season. The bigger and bolder museum store offers shoppers a festive destination to buy original, stylish, handmade gifts for friends, colleagues and family. The holiday shop features Filipino-made fashion accessories, homeware, books, stationery, and other gift items selected by the Yuchengco Museum. Browse the shop for witty notepads from A&S Publishing, handwoven textiles from Balay ni Atong, and plush toys from Great Women, among other delightful holiday treats. Christmas decor made from capiz shells and holiday-themed gift-wrapping cloths inspired by Furoshiki, the Japanese art of wrapping, are also available.

•Passenger Live in Manila Jan. 11; The Theatre, Solaire Resort & Casino, 1 Aseana Avenue, Entertainment City, Paranaque; Tickets are available at and all TicketWorld outlets; for ticket inquiries, call (02) 891-9999 English singer-songwriter Michael David Rosenberg, better known as Passenger, performs for the very first time in Manila for a solo concert. Passenger is best know for the global hit “Let Her Go,” which hit No. 1 in over 20 charts worldwide and was nominated at the Brit Awards for British Single of the Year and the Ivor Novello Award for Most Performed Work in 2014. Passenger’s other hits include “Heart’s on Fire,” “Somebody’s Love,” among others. Tickets are priced at PhP6,913 for Premium Gold; PhP5,849 for VIP 1; PhP4,786 for VIP 2A; PhP4,254 for VIP 2B-2C; PhP3,722 for VIP 3; PhP2,659 for Balcony A; PhP1,595 for Balcony B.


•Le Grand Cirque Dec. 25 to Jan. 3; Smart Araneta Coliseum, Cubao, Quezon City; for more information, visit or call (02) 911-5555 Catch the electrifying performances of Le Grand Cirque at the Big Dome this Christmas! Direct from Las Vegas and touted as the greatest show in town, Le Grand Cirque promises to give high-octane family entertainment with a largescale circus production featuring acrobatics, aerial tricks, white-knuckle stunts and precision skills. Witness the most magical show you’ll ever see this holiday season with world-class artists from Europe, Canada and the UK. Tickets are priced at PhP1,500 for VIP; PhP1,250 for Patron A; PhP1,000 for Patron B; PhP750 for Box Premium; PhP550 for Box Regular; PhP350 for Upper Box; and PhP150 for General Admission.


•Color Manila Run Year 5 Jan. 8; Mall of Asia Grounds, Pasay City; for more information, visit or email info@ The hippest, coolest and most colorful run will be back to start the coming year with a bang as Color Manila’s fifth year kicks off with its biggest annual event, Color Manila Run Year 5, which expects some 12,000 participants. Be there and experience the kaleidoscope of colors, music and fun on the first Sunday of 2017. Make sure to register for the Color Manila Run Year 5 before slots run out. Race fee is PhP1,700 for 21K; PhP1,500 for Rockstar (3K, 5K, 10K); and PhP950 for Deluxe (3K, 5K, 10K). Visit to register.


•Restaurants Against Hunger Ongoing until Jan. 15; to register and for more information about the campaign, visit; or follow them on Facebook and Instagram @RestaurantsAgainstHungerPH Did you know that the simple act of ordering a dish can help alleviate malnutrition in the Philippines? International nongovernment organization Action Against Hunger, together with partner restaurants and top chefs, are bringing to life the Restaurants Against Hunger campaign. This campaign aims to save the lives of malnourished children in the country through ‘Dishes That Feed More’ in participating restaurants. When ordered, proceeds from these dishes go to Action Against Hunger’s programs in alleviating extreme malnutrition across the country. Dine in these participating restaurants and order their ‘Dishes That Feed More’, and give children a healthier future: 8 Cuts, Beni’s Falafel, Chelsea Grand Cafe, Chotto Matte, Corazon, Crisostomo, Crying Tiger, Cyma, El Cabrito, El Chupacabra, El Corazon, Elias, Feast, Felix, Florabel, Green Pastures, Grilla Filipino Cuisine, Guevarra’s, Izakaya Sensu, Kabila, Manam, Melt Grilled Cheesery, Mexicali, Museum Cafe, OK Cafe, Ooma, Potts Point Cafe, Providore, Saboten, Senor Pollo, Simple lang, Stella and Rocketroom, Terraz Bistro & Meetings, Terry’s Bistro, The Cafe Mediterranean, The Corner Tree Cafe, The Old Spaghetti House, The Shrimp Shack, Wild Ginger.





Swiss ‘Singing Diplomat’ launches ‘Tribute to the Philippines’ By TIMOTHY JAY IBAY

“Tribute to the Philippines" is a present I want to offer to the Filipino people after spending three years as a diplomat and artist in this country,” Raoul Imbach, Deputy Head of Mission at the Swiss Embassy in Manila succinctly describes the album he recently launched with his group Raoul & The Wild Tortillas. The album contains 14 tracks, four of which are in Tagalog, five are a mix of Tagalog and English, while the rest are in English. All but one are original compositions, with half of the songs composed by Imbach, while the other half are from the band members and from guest artist DJ Grimm. “It was the opportunity for us to present this very unique USB-card, which includes what we believe to be the first ever interactive webpage for a musical album,” Imbach said of the album launch at Marco Polo Ortigas’ Vu’s Sky Bar and Lounge. “Since it is a high end album, we are mostly planning to sell the hard version through charities. We have already presold 100 albums in Vietnam [where Imbach still has a following] and given the proceeds to four charity organizations.” Some of the album sale beneficiaries include COFFI (an NGO for the mobility

of the handicapped), Rotary Pasay, the International Women’s Bazaar, the Carmelite Sisterhood, among others. Tribute to the Philippines will be part of the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the diplomatic relations the Philippines and Switzerland. A free public concert to launch the album will be held at the Rizal Park open-air auditorium on Jan. 7 at 6 p.m. Before that, there will also be a show on Dec. 19 at the Quezon City Memorial Circle from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Those interested in getting a physical copy of the truly unique album can purchase one at Imbach’s concerts, while it may also be downloaded at www.thesingingdiplomat. com and at the group’s Facebook page @RaoulandtheWildTortillas. About Raoul Imbach is a career diplomat who was worked for the Swiss Foreign Affair Ministry for over 30 years. That tenure is only exceeded by his career as an entertainer, which he has been passionate about for over 50 years. Tribute to the Philippines is Imbach’s 11th album of original compositions. He has released albums in English, French, Spanish, Vietnamese, Korean and Filipino. Raoul & The Wild Tortillas performing at the Tribute to the Philippines album launch

Tower 1

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HLURB TLS No. 0074 (Tower 1) Punta Engano, Lapu Lapu City, Cebu Project’s Completion Date: December 31, 2020

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Expat Newspaper Volume 35 No. 2 December 18, 2016 - January 7, 2017


Expat Newspaper Volume 35 No. 2 December 18, 2016 - January 7, 2017