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PHP 199 | USD 5.25 | GBP 3.25 | EUR 3.75

YOUR LOCAL GUIDE. Get to know the country you’re in from the people who know it best, where to eat, where to go, who to meet right at your fingertips.

expat travel and lifestyle magazine

What’s On


18 Grub Hub

Meat Depot Find out why Meat Depot is the go-to place for meat that’s a cut above the rest

Calendar A listing of exhibits, shows and events to keep your calendar filled



The Brewery Some of the best local brews with great grub set to the awesome live music – all that and more at hippest brew house in the metro

42 33 Prince Albert Experience authentic French cuisine in one of Manila’s most iconic restaurants

On the cover: Expat MasrterChef Asia judges Bruno Menard, Audra Morrice and Susur Lee

36 Cebu Lechon Anthony Bourdain’s endorsement fueled the hype, but the Cebu lechon has long been one of the southern Philippines’ worst kept secrets 38 Adobo Get to know the history, heritage and culture behind this renowned local dish

Local Shores

Maribago Amuma: The art of pampering, Filipino style.  There is one resort on the island of Mactan in Cebu that has mastered the art of Amuma, and its name is Maribago Bluewater



62 The Ultimate Sop Buntut Guide Expat Associate Publisher Vernon Prieto tells you all you need to know about Java’s famed dish

GLOBAL VIEW Haarlem Discover what’s considered one of Europe’s best-kept secret travel destination



66 Kuching Here, Expat contributor Bernard Supetran makes you privy to the off beaten travel gem that is Kuching



On the cover

Get acquainted with the MasterChef Asia judges Susur Lee, Bruno Ménard and Audra Morrice as they guide 15 home cooks from the region to becoming the master of their culinary craft


Stilts Calatagan “Finding your bliss can be as easy as driving to Calatagan” 50 Siargao Expat contributor Elaine Lirio pens about living the surreal tropical dream that is Siargao

Booky Download the offline app that’s sure to be on your lock screen shortcut 82 BLE “Say ‘Opa!’ to authentic, homecooked Greek fare at Ble!”

SUBSCRIBE NOW! Each issue of Expat Travel & Lifestyle magazine guides and inspires for unforgettable experiences here in the Philippines, from travel to dining, perspectives to culture, and everything exciting in between.

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Lifestyle & Culture Food Blogs Get to know a few of the food blogs that have become authorities on all things Philippine gastronomy

Global Pinoy A young and dynamic FilipinaCanadian discovers her Flip side through her passion for food, and strives to take others along on this exciting culinary adventure. 84 The Accidental Sommelier Expat columnist, restaurateur and sommelier Paolo Nesi shares his insight on the science behing food and wine pairing


Bento Momma A new meaning to thinking inside the box


Tune-Up Get fit with the healthy gourmet concoctions of The Sexy Chef


94 Tours Take a trip with some of the people who know the country you’re in best 95 Food Communities A few dining destinations you ought to try

Culture Clash Expat contributor Henry Bateman writes a discourse on the longstanding relationship between art and food



A Taste of Canada in Manila Text by Mikki D. Crisostomo Photos courtesy of Triple O‘s Philippines

For Canadian nationals and those who have spent time in the Great White North, Triple O’s by White Spot will be instantly recognizable, perhaps even triggering an involuntary watering of their mouths. Indeed, as Canada’s very first drive-in restaurant (established by their founder Nat Bailey in 1928), its place in history has already been assured; but it is their legendary Triple O’s burger that has made an indelible mark in countless hearts and stomach.

Triple O’s offers their inimitable burger combination in a delightful array of styles and variations, which can come a la carte or in combo meals of fries and a drink. Enthusiastic customers can even overload their burgers with extra toppings, from a grand selection of cheeses, bacon, and grilled mushrooms. Triple O’s also caters to the popular local preference for fish or chicken burgers, perfectly grilling these patties to a crunchy, juicy, and flavorful delight.

It is said that the name “Triple O” came from the shorthand language of the drivein service attendants otherwise known as “carhops” manning the immensely popular Canadian restaurant. When guests at the drive-in chose from mayonnaise and relish, their order slips were printed with X’s and O’s. Three O’s on the slip meant plenty of everything, and that’s exactly what Triple O’s by White Spot serves on their menu.

For those who have a hankering for something other than a fantastic burger, Triple O’s provides a selection of other mains, such as chicken, pasta, and fish dishes.

Triple O’s claim to have the “sauciest, juiciest, tastiest, bestest burgers around” may sound like a catchy tagline, but it is definitely rooted in fact. Numerous gourmands agree that Canadian beef is a few notches superior to its American counterpart, due to Canada’s strict screening systems on beef standards and food safety. Triple O’s uses only premium grade, 100% Canadian beef patties, and grills them using a meticulous technique.

Triple O’s has also become known as the

place that serves the best milkshakes in town. Made with premium vanilla ice cream in the classic flavors, their milkshake and sundaes have developed a cult-like following, ending your Triple O’s experience on a sweet note. In a market that is somewhat saturated with American fast food brands, it is definitely a delicious experience to see what their Northern neighbor brings to the (dining) table. Triple O’s has three locations at present: 3rd Floor, SM Megamall Mega Atrium (6252404), Level 4, Food on Four at SM Aura Premier (958-5197), and at the Ground Level of the UP Town Center (621-3122). To learn more about the Triple O’s in the Philippines, please visit

f o unding P ublis h e r

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Expat Travel & Lifestyle Vol. 9 No. 3 Opinions expressed in this magazine are solely those of the writers and not necessarily endorsed by Expat Communications. Reproduction in whole or in part, whether articles, photos, advertisement features and such, are strictly prohibited in any way without the written consent from the publishers and editors. Expat Communications cannot be held responsible for unsolicited material or photographs. Although the editors and writers ascertain to the veracity of all information published, they are not responsible for its possible changes. Subscriptions > Advertising > Inquiries T. (02) 840 2996 or 812 0987 F. (02) 840 2988 E.


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Expat Travel & Lifestyle Philippines is published quarterly by Expat Communications, Inc. Main Headquarters Unit 207, Cattleya Condominium, 235 Salcedo St., Legaspi Village, Makati City, Philippines Cebu Satellite Office M.J. Cuenco Ave. cor C. Mina St., Mabolo, Cebu City, Philippines Telfax: (032) 412 8000 Expat Travel & Lifestyle is a registered trademark of the Philippines. Copyright 2015. All rights reserved.

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Of Living The Life and Gustatory Pursuits: The Expat Food Issue

In this Expat first, we take you on a gustatory journey that spans what you need to know about local gastronomy. In time with the arrival of the world’s most popular culinary competition to the region, we have on the cover the judges of MasterChef Asia – Toronto-based restaurateur and celebrity chef Susur Lee, Tokyo-based Chef Bruno Ménard of L’Osier in the upscale Ginza district; and former MasterChef Australia finalist Audra Morrice. Get to know the personalities behind the faces of MasterChef Asia, and find out why you need to keep tuning in to every mystery box challenge prepared this season for 15 Asian home cooks.

Laconically dubbed “The Food Issue,” Expat also gathers the things you should know about eating, drinking, living and loving life in Manila. From where to score the best meats and brews to understanding the fanfare behind renowned local dishes adobo and Cebu lechon, we keep you up to speed on how to be your own Pinoy gourmand. They say “kain tayo!” (let’s eat!) is the Filipino way of saying “hello” – in these pages, we say hello over and over again. - The Expat team

Photo by Viktor Hanacek

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If you were to take a friend out to dinner in the Philippines, where would you take that person and what would you guys have? 3

1 Ralph Walker British

It really depends on the friend. Most are foodies. If it’s a caucasian client from out of town, my default is always Sala Bistro because it is flawless. If it’s an Asian client, I’d take them to People’s Palace. Any place by Colin Mackay is excellent, has proper service, easy location and with a decent wine list. For anyone more adventurous, it’s Corner Tree Café in Makati or Blackwood in Greenfield District of Ortigas. 2 Sandy Toplis British

My Austrian friend often asks me where he can find good and affordable authentic

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Filipino food. For his next visit, I will take him to Antojos in Little Baguio to try their cheesy kaldereta and turon with ice cream. Simple in name, delicious in taste and served in style. I know he will be impressed. 3 Benedict Roa Filipino

My go-to would be Yabu. I’d order the seafood Set 2 for that person, and have him feast on salmon oyster, creamy crab, shrimp, eggplant, katsu, unlimited japanese rice, shredded cabbage, miso soup, and their trademark teriyaki, wasabi, and goma sauces. Not that I’m being cheap, but that’s an awesome tradeoff for just PhP495.


Experience Modern Oriental Hospitality in the Heart of Manila

Discover the seamless blend of business and leisure made more inviting with a spectacular view of the Manila Bay sunset, delightful hospitality, and all the capital's major cultural attractions close by.

For enquiries and reservations, please call + 63 2 252 6888 or e-mail

1588 Pedro Gil corner M.H. Del Pilar, Manila 1004, Philippines tel +63 2 252 6888 fax +63 2 252 6777



PH welcomes world’s most revered whisky The Dalmore The Dalmore Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky, a contemporary British luxury brand considered one of the most revered single malt whiskies in the world, finally arrives on Philippine shores. Rooted in its brand heritage of bravery, The Dalmore’s history goes back to 1263 when Colin of Kintail, Chief of the Clan Mackenzie, saved the life of King Alexander III of Scotland. To show his appreciation and gratitude, the King bestowed lands and gave the Mackenzie clan the right to bear a 12-pointed Royal Stag as its crest. When clan descendants Andrew and Charles Mackenzie acquired a distillery in 1867, they adopted the silver Royal Stag as the official emblem of The Dalmore. The country’s business elite experienced The Dalmore through an exclusive night of tasting and paired it with a luxurious dinner prepared by Executive Chef Cyrille Soenen at Maxim’s Hotel, Resorts World Manila in Newport City. The Dalmore Master Distiller Richard Paterson guided the audience to the exquisite taste of The Dalmore whisky collection. The Dalmore has now become an icon in the world of fine luxury whisky since the time the Mackenzie brothers took over the distillery. The brand’s Principal Collection comprises six different expressions, varying in maturation and type of wooden casks used, resulting in different flavor profiles. The Dalmore 12 Years, cited as “Andrew Mackenzie’s masterpiece,” started out as a bold move. Doubling the average maturation period of whisky, the end product has a citrus flavor profile with a roasted coffee and chocolate finish. The whisky is initially aged in American white 18 | expat

oak barrels for the first half of maturation. Half of the mix is then poured into Matusalem oloroso sherry casks, while the other half remains in the original barrels. The end product is a bottled union of this intricate blend. Touted as The Dalmore House Style, the Dalmore 15 Years is a merry mix of liquor aged in American oak barrels, marrying with the flavors emanating from Matusalem oloroso, Apostles, and Amoroso sherry. The whisky comes out smooth and well-rounded, the flavor profiles touting hints of citrus, vanilla, ginger and crushed apples. The Dalmore 18 Years is a bolder take on the Dalmore House Style. The expression showcases the robust flavors of extended maturation with only the use of two types of wood barrels, similar to the The Dalmore 12. The whisky produces a distinct taste forged by the sherry butts from Gonzales Bypass, one of Spain’s most well-known sherry bodegas, exclusively produced for The Dalmore. A marriage of various complex flavor profiles comes together in the Dalmore 25 Years. The whisky is a product of Richard Paterson’s pursuit of impeccable casks for The Dalmore, producing a multi-faceted fruity essence with a sweet chocolate,

gingerbread and maple finish. The Dalmore 25 Years is also one of the more expensive expressions of the collection. The line is rounded up with two special concoctions, The Dalmore Cigar Malt Reserve and the King Alexander III. A fine whisky with a spicy sweet aroma, The Dalmore Cigar Malt Reserve is a one-of-akind mix made for cigar lovers. The in-depth flavors of three kinds of oak barrels produce the perfect mix to accompany a fine cigar. The Dalmore King Alexander III might be the most revered of the whole Principal Collection, showcasing expressions aged in six different casks, resulting in a complex yet smooth single malt. With decades of producing fine whiskies under its helm, The Dalmore is happy to introduce its opulent products into the Asian market. The growing number of whisky consumers and aficionados in Asia may be an indication that it is only a matter of time before the British Luxury brand takes its rightful place as a revered name in the country. The Dalmore is now available at World’s Finest Liquor in Resorts World Manila Newport Mall.



ON From artistic exhibitions, to dance, music and theater performances, to bazaars and other happenings in the metro, let Expat’s calendar of events guide your plans for the next few months.

Photo by Daria Nepriakhina

CALENDAR OF EVENTS Compiled by Carmencita H. Acosta and Via Baroma

Noli at Fili, Decada Dos Mil (Noli and Fili, 2000ndth Decade) Sept 10,13

Sept. 10 to 13, PETA Theater Center; Rodriguez, Quezon City, Metro Manila; call (02) 725-6244 The stage production is a modern retelling of Jose Rizal’s masterpieces written by acclaimed writer and academic, Dr. Nicanor Tiongson. Together with the visual expertise of stalwart Soxie Topacio, a powerful and moving theater piece is to regale audiences.

PPO 33rd Concert Season – Reveries Sept 11 oct 9 nov 6 at 8 p.m.

Sept. 11, Oct. 9, Nov. 6, starting at 8 p.m. Cultural Center of the Philippines, Roxas Boulevard, Metro Manila; call (02) 8321125 Sept. 11, Concert 1 Claudia Yang, piano; Olivier Ochanine, conductor Chopin: Piano Concerto No. 1 Shostakovich: Symphony No. 10 Oct. 9, Concert 2 Henrick Schafer, conductor Emilie Mayer: Overture to Faust, op. 46 Mozart: Symphony No. 40 Schumann: Symphony No. 3

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Nov. 6, Concert 3 Davide Formisano, flute; Olivier Ochanine, conductor Ibert: Flute Concerto Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 3, “Scottish”

Touch Me, Touch Me Not sept 19

Ongoing until Sept. 19, Silverlens Galleries, 25 YMC Building 2, 2320 Chio Roces Extension, Makati City, Metro Manila; call (02) 816-0044 Jon and Tessy Pettyjohn are at the forefront of ceramic arts in the Philippines. Their pottery school has educated countless devotees to this type of Art.

The Hunters Enter the Woods until sept 19

Ongoing until Sept. 19, Silverlens Galleries, 25 YMC Building 2, 2320 Chio Roces Extension, Makati City, Metro Manila; call (02) 816-0044 Artist Patricia Perez Eustaquio gives viewers the feeling of what it is to be hunted, instead of being the hunter. In human society, there will always be the persecutor and the persecuted. qlllustration by Eustaquio

The amazing bubble man sept 23-27

ready to trend in Glorietta 4 on Oct. 2 to 4; and Oct. 9 to 11. The event, organized by 8:28 Events and NEW (Network for Enterprising Women), will gather IG sellers in one intimate venue unveiling offers on unique, quality items at affordable prices.

Louis Pearl: The Amazing Bubble Man in Manila will be happening at RCBC Theatre, RCBC Plaza, H.V. Dela Costa, Makati, Philippines

For inquiries about IGpreneurs Hashtag Sale, please visit or call at (0917) 794-7178 or (0917) 540-8697. Follow them on Facebook www.facebook. com/newphils and @newphils on Twitter and Instagram for updates.

Circuit, your city and theater guide, has an exciting news for the young and the youngat-heart theatre patrons in Manila — Louis Pearl, The Amazing Bubble Man, is bringing his bigger and bubblier than ever show in the country! This is Louis Pearl’s, The Amazing Bubble Man, first ever visit to Manila and he is bringing his Helium bubbles, Rocket bubbles, Volcano bubbles, Tornado bubbles, Foggy Laser bubbles, and even Spaceship-inUniverse bubbles! The Amazing Bubble Man is set to enchant adults and children alike with his unique blend of skill and humor.

Opera “Tosca” oct 2, 3 At 8pm

Oct. 2 to 3 starting at 8 p.m. at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, Roxas Boulevard, Metro Manila; call (02) 832-1125 local 1115 to 1117 Watch the Italian opera “Tosca” by Giacomo Puccini featuring Korean and Filipino artists. Playing the title role of Florina Tosca is Korean soprano YaeJin Han, with tenor Ji-ho Kim as Mario Cavaradossi and baritone Daesan No as Baron Scarpia. Portraying the supporting roles are tenor Lemuel de la Cruz as Spoletta, Noel Azcona as the Sacristan, and Byeong-In Park as Angelotti. The Philippine

Sept. 29 to 30: De La Salle University, Manila Oct. 1: De La Salle University Science and Technology Complex, Laguna

For more information:

At the SMX Convention Center, SM Aura Premier, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig Now on its 7th year, ManilArt 2015 remains the single most-important international venue for the exhibition and promotion of Philippine contemporary art with this year’s theme “Raising the Filipino Colors on the World Stage.” Dubbed as Asia’s Hottest Contemporary Art Fair, ManilArt 2015 is the largest and most comprehensive visual arts fair in the Philippines and is presented by the Bonafide Art Galleries Organization (BAGO) and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA). Over 30 art galleries, including those from Malaysia, Singapore and France, will be taking part in the ManilArt 2015. Among this year’s exhibitors are Archivo, Arte Pintura, Artery Manila, Artes Orientes, Art for Space, Art Galileia, Artologist, Asian Prime Contemporary, Big and Small, Bruno, Galerie Anna, Galerie Artes, Galerie Francesca, Galerie Nicolas, Galerie Raphael, Galerie Y, Gallery Big, Gallery Nine, L’Arc en Ciel, Quattrocento, Renaissance, Vmeme, 1335 Mabini, and 371 Art Space.


Mark you calendars for Project Einstein 2015, it is an International Conference Celebrating the Centennial of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. The conference will hold paper presentations, performances, light and sound show, and an art exhibit. It is meant to promote the De La Salle University‘s educational system as holistic, blending theory and praxis in artistic and critical engagements, providing new and exciting research and creative avenues for the youth.

ManilArt 2015 Oct 8-11

For more information, visit their official website; For inquiries, please call (63) 998-977-0068 or email them at

Ji-ho Tenor

IGpreneurs Hashtag Sale Oct 2-4 Oct 9-11

At Glorietta 4 in Makati. After a successful Instagram Entrepreneur Fair last year, IGpreneurs Hashtag Sale is

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Dear Boss, I Quit…xoxo Oct 8-24 Oct. 8 to 24, Nova Gallery, Nova Warehouse 12-A, Chino Roces (Pasong Tamo Extension); call (02) 559-3697 <>

Newcomer to the local art scene is artist Reuel Rendon. Letting go from the corporate workspace, Reuel has now dedicated his entire career to the arts as he embarks on his first solo show with Nova Gallery. Ambiguous and ambitious as it may seem, Reuel sparks a fresh take into the contemporary/pop genre on the new breed of art-forms that have been recently developing.

Hands,” “Yesterday,” “She Loves You,” “Twist and Shout,” “Hello Goodbye,” “Sgt. Pepper’s,” “Something,” and “Hey Jude,” Britain’s Finest will make you feel that you are watching the real Beatles. Show starts at 8p.m. Tickets are available at all TicketWorld outlets and at www. or call (02) 891-9999. Tickets are priced at PhP4,172.40 for Price Zone 1 (VIP), and PhP3,074.40 for Price Zone 2 (GOLD)

Budapest Operetta and Musical Theater oct 16

On Oct. 16 the internationally acclaimed Hungarian theater company Budapest Operetta and Musical Theatre is set to perform starting at 8 p.m. at The Theatre, Solaire Resort and Casino, Parañaque 1 Asean Avenue, Entertainment City Parañaque City; Metro Manila. Call (02) 884-8060 local 275 The Budapest Operetta and Musical Theatre is led by its conductor, Maestro László Makláry, winner of Artisjus Prize and the Honored Artist of Hungary. Key singers include Anita Lukács and Zsolt Vadász Gerge. This is presented by Toyota Classics, the automotive manufacturer’s signature corporate social responsibility (CSR) program in arts and culture. The 26th Toyota Classics is to perform in seven Asian countries including the Philippines.

qPaintings by Rendon

qPoster for the Manila presentation


The Al McKay All-Stars treat The Ballroom of Solaire Resort and Casino with what promises to be a nigh of pelvic ostentation with the Earth Wind and Fire Experience, where they will be performing the music icon’s hits like “September,” “Reasons” and “Let’s Groove.” Tickets are available at For ticket inquiries, call (02) 891-9999

Britain’s Finest – The Complete Beatles Experience Oct 14

At the Midas Hotel and Casino, 2702 Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City Relive the Beatles fever as Britain’s Finest performs in Manila on Oct.14 at Midas Hotel and Casino. Britain’s Finest is one of the most authentic Beatles tribute band to emerge in the last 20 years and has rapidly gained both national and international attention due to their precise attention to detail. With live renditions of Beatle’s classics such as “I Want To Hold Your

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One Night of Queen Oct 24-25

At The Theatre at Solaire Resort and Casino 1 Asean Avenue, Entertainment City Parañaque City. The music of Queen, arguably the greatest rock band of all time, comes alive as One Night of Queen performed by Gary Mullen & The Works renders a show-stopping tribute concert to Queen. After successful shows in Europe, New Zealand and the USA, Solaire Resort & Casino together with MKFAE Productions, Inc. and Royale Chimes Concerts and Events Inc. brings One Night of Queen to the Manila stage for the first time.

In two music-filled hours, relive your iconic 80s and 90s Queen favorites such as “Radio Gaga,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “We Are the Champions,” “I Want To Break Free” and ” “We Will Rock You.” Show starts at 8 p.m. For tickets, head to any TicketWorld outlet or call at (02) 891-9999. For more information, visit Tickets are priced at PhP8,336 for Price Zone 1, PhP6,773 for Price Zone 2, PhP5,731 for Price Zone 3, PhP3,647 for Price Zone 4, and PhP2,084 for Price Zone 5.

Pastrana, Ikoy Ricio, and Maria Taniguchi. The Weather Bureau also participates.

Pinocchio Nov 27,28 DEC 4,5 NOV 29 DEC 6

The stage is set for the world premiere of the well-loved story of Gepetto and his wooden puppet, as choreographed by Ballet Manila Co-Artistic Director Osias Barroso. It goes onstage on Nov 27 and 28, Dec. 4 and 5 at 8 p.m. and on Nov 29 and Dec. 6 at 3 p.m., at the Aliw Theater, Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City, Metro Manila; call (02) 552-7502 “Pinocchio” was initially a one-act piece, and was a regular fixture in Ballet Manila’s repertoire list. This year the full-length production is made more colorful and exciting with more characters, interesting twists and a magical dream brought to life.

Cine Europa 18 Coming of Age until Nov 29

New Life by Impy Pilapil until feb 28, 2016

Until Feb. 28, 2016 this public sculpture exhibition is ongoing at the Greenbelt Park Area, Makati City, Metro Manila. Call (02) 757-7117 Imelda “Impy” Pilapil is a Philippine sculptor who is known and admired for her graceful works in glass, metal, and stone. She enrolled in the College of Fine Arts of the University of the Philippines. After her first year, she received a scholarship from the Accademia Italiana in Rome, Italy, where she studied art from 1970-1973. She also studied printmaking at the Pratt Graphics Center, New York in 1977-1978. She began working in graphic arts, but incorporated sculptural elements such as origami and glass etching in her works. Eventually she shifted to mixed media, including such link building service materials as paper, glass and steel. Sculpture became her main focus starting in 1985. qAn Impy Pilapil creation

Catch a showcase of the European culture, experiences and traditions as Cine Europa turns 18 years old. 23 movies from 18 European countries will be shown for this year’s film festival themed “Coming of Age.”

The Vexed Contemporary until nov 21

Until Nov. 21 at the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design (MCAD), GF De La Salle College of Saint Benilde, School of Design and Arts Campus, Dominga Street, Malate, Manila; call (02) 230-5100 loc. 3897 This exhibit includes 16 Filipino artists whose practices lend themselves to a global compass, operating using an artistic language that aims to challenge a perennial characterization when represented on local and global platforms. The exhibit asks questions regarding how contemporary art processes produced a multifaceted paradigm and how the artist treads the precarious balance of a global practice. It shares work put together to create an environment of participation and mediation, of visual and spatial challenges. Participating artists include Pio Abad, Poklong Anading, Victor Balanon,Yason Banal, Lena Cobangbang, Louie Cordero, Kiri Dalena, Leslie De Chavez, Kawayan De Guia, Patricia Perez Eustaquio, Cocoy Lumbao, Gina Osterloh, Gary-Ross

The films will be shown in Iloilo City Cinematheque (Sept. 29 to Oct. 4); Ayala Center Cebu, Cebu City (Oct. 9 to 11); Zamboanga Cinematheque (Oct. 13 to 18); University of the Philippines, Tacloban City (Oct. 21 to 25); Film Development Council of the Philippines, Davao City (Nov. 3 to 8); Visayas State University, Leyte (Nov. 10 to 15); Liceo De Cagayan University, Cagayan De Oro (Nov. 18 to 22) and back to Manila at the Metro Manila Development Authority, Makati City (Nov. 24 to 29).

Art InterruptedOpen Ends dec 23

Aug. 21 to Dec. 23, Lopez Museum and Library. Ground Floor, Benpress Building, Exchange Road corner Meralco Avenue, Ortigas Center, Pasig City, Metro Manila; call (02) 631-2417 Open Ends. the second exhibit offering of the Lopex Museum and Library for 2015, highlights a collection of rarely seen studies, sketches and unfinished paintings by Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo. These masterful renditions are complemented by those of Juan Luna, Unfinished correspondences captured in Jose Rizal’s careful handwriting, and by beautifully bound and printed prayer booklets common during Spanish times. Select sculptured and mixed media installations by guest artists Ling Quisumbing Ramilo, Toym Imao and Raul Hilario complete the set.

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Dusit Thani GM Bruno Cristol, Executive Chef Nick Essel and the rest of The Pantry team.

From Farm to Fork Text by Timothy Jay Ibay Photos by Macjanry Imperio Additional photos courtesy of The Pantry

Dusit Thani Manila’s The Pantry births a commitment to fresh fare.

In line with Dusit Thani Manila’s multi-phase renovation, The Pantry emerges as the freshest player in the metro’s ballooning dining scene. With an all-day buffet-dining restaurant featuring nine live cooking stations, an all-day bar smack in the middle of The Pantry’s homey sophistication, as well as a deli called Grab & Go, Dusit ups the ante with this modern dining destination that showcases the best products from local sources in the country. If you haven’t been to Dusit Thani Manila for a while, it’s hard to miss the sweeping changes environed in the Makati five-star hotel. From the prevalent lines of gold that illuminate the hotel’s vibrant renaissance, to the overall fresh vibe that encompasses

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the hotel, Dusit may not have reinvented the proverbial wheel, but they’ve certainly made it all the more inviting. Capable of seating 266 diners in a cool, fresh and colorful ambiance that stretches out to Dusit’s soothing Japanese garden, The Pantry offers a spectrum of cuisines and flavors that promises to more than ably satisfy all discriminating palates. The star of the show is the two-barbecue pit Lechon (roast pig) station. Fresh from their own pig farms in Tagaytay and Laguna and expertly roast and flavored with their special marinade, The Pantry promises to offer some of the best lechon you can have in Metro Manila.

(Above right) Dusit Thani Manila F&B Director Danish Khan and GM Bruno Cristol head the brand new team behind The Pantry and its plethora of fresh, vibrant flavors.

An entirely new food and beverage team also brings flavors from around the globe with Thai, Malay, Indian, Chinese and Middle Eastern fares available in the different stations of The Pantry. There’s also a seafood station and a ramen station adding to the breadth of dining choices that you can enjoy all day, every day. Sure, eat-all-you-can buffets are a dime a dozen these days, but not many of them can claim the freshest, healthiest, organically grown produce as The Pantry does. Dusit Thani Manila General Manager Bruno Cristol shares with Expat that if they’re not growing them in their own farms (or even their own organic garden within the hotel), they’re sourced from thoughtfully picked suppliers, guaranteeing a selection that is fresh as it is extensive. Cristol calls the concept “farm to fork”—a commitment that should surface as what sets The Pantry apart from its peers before long. Presently, The Pantry serves its buffet at 6:30 a.m. to 1030 a.m. for breakfast; 12 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. for lunch; and 6:30 to 10:30 for dinner, while the bar is open

until 2:30 a.m. (with wheels already set in motion to make it operational 24 hours). And with barmen recruited from the country’s most exclusive hotels and clubs serving refreshing signature cocktails, an extensive wine list, along with craft beers from all over the world, what The Pantry calls its “beverage studio” is a destination in itself. “We’d like to have our guests enjoy their time from breakfast to dinner,” says Cristol. The Pantry is a place to socialize. They can have parties at our bar, or follow up a big dinner with drinks. The al fresco section of the pantry is also good for families.” While people can expect a plethora of exciting offerings stemming from Dusit Thani Manila’s makeover, The Pantry undoubtedly sits front and center of the hotel’s transmogrification. The Pantry is located at the lobby of Dusit Thani Manila, Ayala Center, 1223 Makati City. For more information, contact (02) 238-8888.

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Travel, Immigration Regulations Guide - Philippines

Request for Travel Records, New Office for Special Task Force, Advisory from Alien Registration Program Text by Carmencita H. Acosta

It is good to be reminded every now and then of our duties as travelers or immigrants even as we rush through our busy itineraries.

* Submit the accomplished application form with the required attachments and attach original Official Receipts.

except Special Work Permit (SWP) Artists & Athletes and Special Study Permit (SSP);

Many times people request for travel records because of various reasons such as proof of presence in a certain country or of a direct business or some other transaction elsewhere.

* Present claim stub on the appointed date and time of return for releasing of Original Certification and Receipts.

3. Evaluation of visa applications at the Central Receiving Unit;

A Travel History Report is a record of a traveler’s entry into a certain country. Traveler exit information is also available but in a limited capacity. Information collected for Travel History Reports, which means the records for both Entries and Exits include name, date of birth, date of entry, location of the port of entry, and any document numbers associated with that travel, such as a passport number. Applying for Travel Records Who can apply? An individual requesting for a document indicating the travel information Where to apply? Bureau of Immigration Main Office, Magallanes Drive, Intramuros, Manila What to bring? 1. Checklist with complete documentary requirements 2. Application Form How to apply? * Secure and fill out application form. * Submit duly accomplished form and attach the other supporting documents. * Wait for the issuance of Order of Payment Slip (OPS). * Pay the corresponding fees.

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* Acknowledge receipt by signing the duplicate copy of the Certification before releasing the original Certification and Official Receipt. How much does it cost? Certificate Fee PhP500 Legal Research Fee (LRF) (for each immigration fee except Head Tax and Fines) PhP10 Express Fee PhP500. 00 TOTAL PhP1, 010 * Fees may change without prior notice. Visa and Special Permits Task Force Effective June 1, 2015, the Visa and Special Permits Task Force (VSP TF) shall operate with office address at Room 415, BI Main Office. Please be guided by the following documentary and procedural innovations: 1. Revised checklists of documentary requirements and Consolidated General Application Forms (CGAFs) for all visa applications except 9(f) Student Visa, Temporary Visitor’s Visa (TVV) and Visa Upon Arrival (VUA); 2. Revised checklists of documentary requirements of all applications for Permits

4. Raffle of visa applications filed in the Main Office and requiring hearing to three (3) Hearing/Interviewing Officers; 5. Interview of visa applicants and petitioners at Room 415 for applications filed on June 1, 2015 onwards; and 6. Fingerprinting and data-capturing at Counter 4, Room 415 immediately after hearing or interview. Advisory – Alien Registration Program The Alien Registration Program (ARP), a Bureau of Immigration (BI) - Department of Justice (DOJ) initiative, aims to: (i) Account; (ii) Register and re-register; (iii) Capture information; (iv) Update BI’s alien database and (iv) Provide assistance for visa-related problems. The ARP shall be held from October 1, 2014 until September 30, 2015. Aliens may apply at any authorized BI Regional Office 1. Bring a duly filled-out ARP form (form and additional information is available at ph) and any valid identification (e.g. passport, driver’s license). Registered aliens under this program may be primary beneficiaries of future social integration/legalization programs of the government. For inquiries, you may contact the following numbers: (02) 465-2400 locals 208, 444 and 447.

GRUB HUB Here at the Grub Hub, we bring you some of the country’s finest when it comes to gustatory pursuits. From the latest hotspot that combines good beers, great food and fantastic live entertainment, to a repository of the best meat you can stick your fork in, and on to the metro’s iconic restaurant offering magnificent French fare, to the Anthony Bourdain certified Cebu lechon, to a closer look into the Philippines’ renowned local dish adobo, the next pages have taken the liberty to create your next dining itinerary. Thank us later.

Photo by Todd Quackenbush


The Brewery: Purveyors of “Hoppiness” Text by Angie Duarte Photos courtesy of The Brewery and Angie Duarte

Beer lovers, rejoice! There’s a new place to get your hoppy fill of delicious craft brews (plus great food and entertainment, to boot.) The brewhouse – the heart of the brewery glistened in the afternoon sunlight streaming in from windowpanes overhead. It was a sight to behold, in its copper-and-steel glory, that shiny piece of micro-brewing machinery, which seemed an oracle of sorts; a herald of good times ahead. Okay, okay; maybe it was this dramatic only in my own imagination - blame it on my passion for a nice, cold mug (or four) of good ale. I grew up in a beer-drinking home, you see, surrounded by fellowborderline lushes. For us, the quest for the perfectly balanced brew was seemingly endless; on purpose, perhaps. 28 | expat

Imagine then my delight to learn that a new and nifty microbrewery had opened its doors in July of this year, in the area burgeoning with all things posh, trendy and happening – Bonifacio Global City, at 10th Avenue and 38th Street. Welcome The Distillery Group’s newest gastro-pub: The Brewery; home to the freshest, finest craft beers, most delectable pub grub, and uber-cool brewing machines.

Hip-Hops Hurray

The Brewery, located within on-trend clubbing Mecca, The Palace, is definitely the hip place for hops. Its edgy, industrial design aesthetic exudes a Steampunk vibe which is visually appealing and exciting, without sacrificing the inviting warmth of your favorite pub, created by rustic décor, old-school wall art, and wooden furniture. Exposed steel tanks and various other machines used in the brewing process add to the overall artistry and high-design grit of the place.

Raj Sadhwani, dynamic entrepreneur and CEO of this new watering hole and dining destination, wanted to create a place where people could come to have a good time, with exceptional food, an energized atmosphere, and excellent beer. And create that, he did. “The Brewery is far from your ordinary pub in that we’ve put together the top three things customers look for when they want to have a good time - great food, great live entertainment, and of course, excellent beers to round out the whole experience. No need to hop from one place to another because you can have all these here at The Brewery,” he said. With a seating capacity of 250 to 300 people, spread out over two floors with a total floor area of 840-square meters, space is definitely not an issue. Except on opening night, when, I was told, it was wall-to- wall people (an open bar and a performance by a popular band will

GRUBHUB (Opposite page) Known as the “heart of the brewery,” the brewhouse is where the magic of the brewing process takes place; (Clockwise) Ample dining and entertainment space, in a warm industrial aesthetic, is a definite plus for The Brewery’s guests; six fine, handcrafted beers are brewed to delicious perfection right within The Brewery; tangy and light Modern Kilawin is a good starter dish, even yummier with a glass of Wheat Beer.

Brewing (and preaching) quality and freshness A visit to The Brewery can prove as educational and inspirational, as it is enjoyable; especially if brew expert and consultant, Michal Perner is on hand to give you a guided tour of the behind-thebeer-scenes. From malt grinding, to heating and fermenting, to cooling and settling, to pouring out the perfect brew, Michal knows his craft. The young Czechoslovakian is as passionate about ale as a zealot is about religion, minus the annoying selfrighteousness, and can preach beautiful beer sermons to anyone willing to listen. Of course, in my case, Michal was preaching to the choir. “Our beer is absolutely different compared to factory beers. We are a microbrewery, which means are beers are non-pasteurized,

do that) The ample floor area makes The Brewery ideal for all sorts of private functions and celebrations. Popular bands perform once or twice a week; in general, the ambient music is a nice mix of well-curated songs across several genres. After all, no less than multi-talented co-owner singer-musician-songwriterproducer Rico Blanco is on top of that. The Gospel of Good Beer But what makes me “hoppiest” about The Brewery is the superbly balanced selection of six fine hand crafted, artisanal beers. The craft beer craze has gripped many parts of the globe, and the Philippines is just about ready to hear – and taste – the gospel of good beer. I say, preach it! “We launched with four varieties – the India Pale Ale (IPA), Wheat Beer, Pilsner, and the Stout,” Kate de Castro – Marketing Head, Distillery Group, shared. “After the launch, we added our latest variants, Honey Beer and Ginger Beer. We have a lot in the pipeline, waiting to be released.” I sampled each of the variants, and – being primarily a lover of full-bodied, more bitter, dark brews – delighted in the rich and malty coffee undertones (on account of using roasted malt) of the Stout. The Honey Beer, with its delicate balance of sweetness and ever-so-subtle bitterness came in a close second. Although each variety proved a pleasure in its own right, I “hoppily” admit. This is the true artistry of beer brewing, and a far cry, indeed, from mass-produced commercial beers. expat | 29


non-filtered. They are full of live proteins which are very healthy for the body,” he detailed. “We use only four raw materials – water, malt, hops and yeast – and nothing more. We only add natural local flavors like Palawan honey, or ginger for our flavored beers. No preservatives, no artificial additives,” Michal added. The folk at The Brewery have initiated a “Fresh is Best!” campaign, to this end: to inform people about the many health benefits – as well as the obvious taste advantages – of freshly brewed handcrafted beer. At The Brewery, the ales flow from the dispensing tanks straight to the bar’s taps. It just doesn’t get any fresher than that. Michal noted that their best-selling beers are the Wheat (which is crisp and refreshing) and Pilsner (a Czech light lager) Beers. More sophisticated palates opt for the IPA (American style), which has greater hops content, and a distinct, malty, bitter flavor. While most of the brews have an alcohol content within the 4.0 to 5.0 percent range, the Ginger Beer sneakily (and deliciously) packs a 7.0 percent punch! Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Pub Grub Levels Up Aside from the allure of the ales, The Brewery offers gorgeous grub, as well. This is not your ordinary pub grub, mind you; this is pub grub’s decidedly more attractive and appealing cousin. This is pub grub leveling up. None other than Chef Carlo Miguel, co-owner and Corporate Chef of The Brewery, conceptualized the menu. The discriminating chef chose dishes, which are perfectly paired with the brews, and many of the menu offerings contain beer as an ingredient. Foodies however, will be

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pleased to know that The Brewery’s food is definitely deserving of its own merit and need not necessarily be consumed with ale to be fully relished. I particularly enjoyed the Fisherman’s Basket (wheat beer-battered sole fillet, lightly breaded New Zealand mussels, calamari, white shrimps and soft shell crab, with steak cut fries, tomato salsa, caper aioli, and sweet chili sauce), which was cooked to juicy, crisp perfection. Not surprising, since Chef Carlo is widely regarded as THE fishand-chips guru. I found this dish was nicely complemented by the stronger bite of the IPA. With its subdued tangy and tart flavor, the Modern Kilawin (the restaurant’s delicious take on ceviche; made of fresh Tanigue fillets, spiced vinegar, coconut cream, onions, ginger, chili, crushed fried pork rinds, and lemon foam) is best enjoyed with the crispness of Pilsner. Pizzas are a best-selling dish, as well, and you can’t go wrong pairing this dough-ey treat with Wheat Beer or Pilsner. This lager provides a spot-on balance of sweetness and bitterness to complement your pizza’s flavors, without overpowering these. The All-Meat Pizza (topped with bacon, beef sausage, pork sausage, pepperoni, onions, mozzarella and parmesan) is also especially delightful with a mug of Stout. On the subject of pizza, The Brewery makes all its dough (and its cookies and flat breads, as well) with the wheat and grains used in the brewing process. No wastage here: after extraction for the beer, the spent grains get baked into yummy treats! Save some space for dessert, because The Brewer’s cheesecake (cappuccino Stout Cheesecake, with spent grain crust) is wellworth the additional calories. Savor this

(top left)Chef Carlo Miguel’s mouthwatering Fisherman’s basket; (top right)The Brewery’s distinctly hoppy India Pale Ale; (above) Brewer’s Cheesecake is a must-try for dessert.

with Honey Beer, which does not kill the sweetness of the dessert, and you have for yourself a real winner. Eat, drink, be merry; then do it all again “The Brewery is the perfect mix of a relaxing and kick-up-your-heels kind of night. It’s a different kind of gastro pub experience. We are also open for lunch daily…those who come here, any time of the day, will not be disappointed,” said Mitch Malli, Operations Director, pointed out. This just about sums up The Brewery experience: eat, drink, be merry; then do it all again. And again, and again in your own personal (unending, by choice) pursuit of “hoppiness.” The Brewery at the Palace is located The Palace 10th avenue cor 38th in Uptown Fort, Bonifacio Global City and is open Mondays to Sundays, 11 a.m. until 2 a.m.


Meat Depot: Cuts Above The Rest Text by Timothy Jay Ibay Photos by April Rose Reyes and Meat Depot

Read up on how an unassuming meat showroom became a premier dining destination south of Metro Manila

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The frenetic boom in the local dining scene has brought about a landscape with a melting pot of flavors, options, and vibe. And as a country that finds any and every reason to share a feast, this boom has certainly been a welcome development for both yearning and discriminating palates. Meat Depot in Aguirre Avenue did not aspire

to be a player in this burgeoning scene, but because patrons have come to get a good grasp of quality when they come across it, Meat Depot has not escaped their demands to morph into a dining destination. And when you couple the undeniable quality of the meat they serve with the value for money they offer, you find a meat haven thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s utterly a cut above the rest.


From the fridge to the grill, to your table, your home, and even to your own restaurant, Meat Depot is a one stop shop for all your meaty needs.

Meat Exhibit

“The initial concept was on the supply side,” shares fourth generation meat supplier Paul Alcoreza. “I wanted it to be a showroom for our products, and have a place where we can cater to hotels and restaurants.” “I recognized that clients always wanted to see the products, so instead of always having to bring samples to them, we just invite them here. Not only do they get to see the meat, but we can also cut them to their own specifications.” That was back in July 2014. But if you stumble upon Meat Depot in just a little over a year since, you’d find a much different scene if you came in expecting a quiet showroom, as it has become a dining destination with throngs of people making

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GRUBHUB the troop south of Metro Manila to BF Paranaque to sink their teeth into what is succinctly, “better meat, at better prices.” “We have much lower prices than other known meat shops. And despite being more affordable, I can proudly say our beef is top notch,” says Alcoreza who personally purchases local live cattle from places like Batangas and Pangasinan (while also importing them from the US, Australia, Brazil, New Zealand and Japan); picking mostly heifers (cows that have yet to give birth), translating into a selection that’s thoughtfully picked and cut. “Another advantage that we have is our ability to customize the beef according to the specs of our customers,” Alcoreza shares. “We can do portion cuts that most meat shops cannot do,” something that, apart from being in the business of meat for decades, can be attributed to the fact the Meat Depot employees are all expert butchers doubling as waiters, kitchen staff and grillers to cater to demands of diners.

Niche Focus

Among the favorites that have emerged are Meat Depot’s 21 days age Angus beef (imported from the US), their marinated pork chops (made from local young pork), and their Prime Tapa (beef strips cooked as tapa steak, which is also something Expat strongly advices you purchase raw to take home). But that’s just a glimpse of their massive breadth of offerings as everything from hog carcass, pork belly, pork baby back to beef carcass, beef tenderloin, steaks, to ground pork and beef, to a slew of other processed meats are available at Meat Depot. Despite the staggering success of the dining side of Meat Depot, Alcoreza is wise enough to understand the importance of remaining focused on their niche, which is the supply side. And that niche focus has produced results, exhibited by their clientele growing from under 30 restaurants serviced pre-Meat Depot, to nearly a hundred today. “There are no burgers, no pastas, no sandwiches, because since these surrounding restaurants [in Aguirre Avenue] are our customers, we have no plans of competing with them in that regard,” Alcoreza says. But while that may be the case, they have already staked their claim on being one of the more popular dining destinations in a thoroughfare peppered with them. Meat Depot is here to stay, and it’s high time you get acquainted with them. * Meat Depot is located at Unit 1 #283 Aguirre Avenue, BF Homes, Paranaque City. For sales inquiries, contact (0922) 8609315

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Dining Like Royalty at Prince Albert Rotisserie Boasting great food, excellent service, and value for money, Expat sat down with the management of Prince Albert Rotisserie and Intercontinental Hotel Group (IHG) to find out more about this classic establishment. Text and photos by Ching Dee

Dine like a French royalty without breaking the royal bank. That’s exactly how this metropolitan culinary icon wants diners to feel in every dining experience. Great Food, Great Service Prince Albert Rotisserie at The Intercontinental Manila has been open for 46 years—and for good reason. “There’s not a lot of restaurants that age,” executive chef and hotel manager Chef Jean-Marc Veron told Expat. “We are still here because we have great food and we stay consistent.”

Despite being in the business for over four decades, Prince Albert remains relevant and continues to be a favorite among Manila’s elite. “Doing a little bit of changes from time to time is nice, adding a few things is fine, but we cannot change the heart of classical French cuisine,” Chef Veron said. Prince Albert prides itself in having their very own recipes to make sure every signature dish is kept authentic and exactly the same as first day it was served. And what goes well with delectable fare (other than great French wine)? Impeccable

service, of course. Marketing Manager Joy Meneses highlights IHG’s professional staff, saying, “We have great food, but we also have great service. We go the extra mile to make sure everybody’s happy.” Authentic French Food; Real French Chef Chef Veron from Toulouse, France started his culinary career at the tender age of 16. For him, it was love at first bite. After working in France, he moved to Asia in 1994. In July 2013, he moved to Clark, Pampanga to fulfill his goals of working for IHG. He was the hotel manager and

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4 (1)Goose liver pate is part of the Menu Du Jour appetizer and salad buffet; (2)THE HEART OF PRINCE ALBERT: The Prime Rib served with yorkshire pudding, sauteed vegetables, and velvety gravy added to your liking; (3) Baked potato -- topped with sour cream, bacon bits, and chopped spring onion -- is served with the PrimeRib; (4) WATCH THOSE EYEBROWS: Marlo Reyes prepares his award-winning Crepe Suzette, one of Prince Albert’s signature gueridon desserts; (5) This delectable fruit tart is just one of the selections in the dessert cart buffet of Menu Du Jour.

executive chef at the Holiday Inn before he was transferred to the Intercontinental Manila in February 2015.

“proper wine, proper French vinegar, real butter, and real cream” in their dishes at Prince Albert.

“It’s a very different world, from the very beautiful countryside to the very busy city life,” he said, but adds he’s getting the hang of it.

“We maximize local ingredients, like fresh seafood and vegetables, the best way we can,” Chef Veron pointed out, adding that his presence in the restaurant ensures all their French dishes do not incorporate too much Filipino elements.

After spending 12 to 14 hours everyday in the hotel from Monday to Friday, Chef Veron—an avid outdoorsman—rides his bike to the countryside to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. Despite having developed a liking to local fare like Bicol express, pancit palabok, and sisig, Chef Veron stays true to his French roots—emphasizing that they only use

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Classics and New Offers at Prince Albert When it comes to food recommendations, Chef Veron goes straight to the point. “For first time diners, you have to try the Prime Rib,” he said. “It is the heart of Prince Albert. When you try the prime rib, you will


come back a second time, a third time, and so on… There’s nothing that can match it.” Meanwhile, for more adventurous diners, Chef Veron recommends a new addition to the menu from the ‘IHG Culinary Ambassadors:’ Wagyu beef tenderloin cooked in bone marrow broth. The ‘IHG Culinary Ambassadors’ is one of the hotel’s newest culinary campaigns, which features an international celebrity chef every month. All seven ambassador-chefs created signature dishes exclusively offered by over 3,000 Intercontinental Hotels around the world. Another new gastronomic experience from Prince Albert is their Menu Du Jouri, a semibuffet spread offering five-star quality French cuisine at a very reasonable price



Chef Jean-Marc Veron spends 12-14hrs a day at Prince Albert making sure each dish is authentic & perfect.

Cherry tomatoes with herbed cream cheese is just one of the many appetizers to tickle your palate at Prince Albert’s Menu Du Jour.

internationally trained sommelier, prepares Caesar’s Salad—from scratch—right next to your table and turns fresh ingredients into the best salad dressing you’ve ever tasted.

buffet dessert cart, which has four to five different French desserts made by award-winning IHG pastry chef Chef Darmo Guevarra. The classics at Prince Albert—including the Prime Rib—continue to be the star of the restaurant, setting it apart from other French establishments. of only PhP1,650++ per person. The Menu Du Jour offers a buffet spread of salad appetizers, a serving to soup du jour (soup of the day), a serving of any of the three main dishes (changed daily), and a

When you dine at Prince Albert, do not miss out on their guéridon or tableside service. An unforgettable experience in itself, the guéridon service has been a Prince Albert trademark for decades.

As a memorable finish to your meal, award-winning waiter and bartender Marlo Reyes can prepare their signature Crepe Suzette—flambéd right next to your table! Each bite of the perfectly cooked crepe bathing in citrus liqueur-flavored sauce will set your taste buds on fire with delight. But don’t worry; it’s served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. Each gueridon service comes with a seperate charge. Managing and running one of the biggest and finest hotels—and one of the best restaurants—in the country is no easy feat, but Chef Veron finds his job fulfilling. “What makes my job fulfilling is pleasing the guests,” Chef Veron said. “There is nothing better than that.”

Rod Malabrigo, IHG’s headwaiter and

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Pigging Out in the Pork Barrel of Fun Glistening oily exteriors, crispy crackling skin, juicy succulent ribs – the lechon will always be cherished by the Filipino, and not a few foreigners as well, as manna for the stomach, nourishment for the soul, and a highlight for the appetite. Text by Richard Ramos Photos courtesy of Zubuchon

Nationally acclaimed as a prized staple in every party or fiesta, the lechon (roasted pig) never fails to draw a crowd in no time. Even during hotel functions, people head towards the lechon first and go to the other fancy dishes later, even if they have already tasted lechon dozens of times in the past. Fats, cholesterol, and high blood aside, the pig is to die for among the locals. And nobody does lechon better than the people of Cebu. Even former President Joseph “Erap”

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Estrada was known to have ordered over a dozen of lechons at several instances from the same Cebuano dealer. It is said that the president chose the products of that certain dealer after sampling the goods from nearly ten competitors. Malacanang guards even waive the lechon workers inside the Malacanang Palace without inspecting the tempting cargo since the guards have long been acquainted with the workers.

traditional whole pig to many novel dishes and creations that have only added to its mystique. Thus, we have the lechon belly, spicy lechon, boneless lechon, lechon sisig, lechon baboy and many others that have resulted from the “reincarnation” of the dish. Branded lechon restaurants have sprouted, almost ala Starbucks, offering nearly everything from value meals to the entire pig.

The past several years have witnessed the evolution of the lechon from the

Among the more popular ones are CnT Lechon, Rico’s Lechon, Ayer’s, Zubuchon, Luz’s


(opposite page) Zubuchon’s pigs, roasting in a row; lechon platter; (above) sizzling squid stuffed with lechon; (left)boneless lechon, all from Zubuchon.

separated from the pig’s fat and placed atop the pork servings.

Lechon, and many others that also offer other native dishes to complement their main attraction. The market now has opted for branding, and not just generic lechon servings coming from native restaurants and sidewalk dealers. This writer decided to limit the article to just three outlets, owing to budget limitations (no freebies here) and dubious cholesterol levels. Easily the most creative was Zubuchon, tagged by Anthony Bourdain as the best pig in the world. The skin here is

Among its most notable offerings are fried pork ribs, boneless Zubuchon sandwich, pritchon (deep fried), Zubuchorizo, Zubuchon dinuguan, and others. One can also opt for other native servings or buy chicharon to compliment the meal. Ayer’s was a big disappointment. Their mall value meal was composed of tiny cold morsels that wasn’t even spicy, despite its claim. Methinks it wasn’t heated long enough. I was also taken by the overhead “value meal” pictures which contrasted with the actual servings in terms of size and quantity. Overall, a poor postcard effect. Rico’s Lechon is meant for groups, not solo diners. This I found out the hard

way when their minimum order for lechon was one-fourth kilo. I did manage to finish most of it and left some soft skin on the plate. Management has made it easy for both dine-in and take-out customers; servings in accordance to four weight levels are all laid out for easy picking. I also recall sampling from their whole lechon a few years back and it was great! Among the more popular cooking methods of the lechon are paksiw, kawali, carajay, and dinuguan. For picnics and beach outings, lechon servings come with puso (hanging rice), soy sauce, vinegar, and barbecue. Throw in also the lechon manok (roasted chicken) for added features. While Cebu makes the best lechon in the country due to secret herbs and spices, the lechon may need a family name due to its wide product range. A similar case may be made when ordering Coke in the US (light, dark, diet, etc.). But whatever the case, the lechon always reigns as king of the party. Or even as the party itself.

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Manam's Classic Adobo and its Overloaded Garlicky Chicken & Pork Belly Adobo. The Classic Adobo is made of soy-marinated chicken, braised then fired to perfection, served with Pork Adobo flakes. The second dish lends a twist to the classic recipe with the addition of lots of garlic goodness!

Loco About Adobo Text by Angie Duarte Photos courtesy of Manam, XO46 Heritage Bistro, TGIFriday’s and Vivere Hotel

It’s no secret: Filipinos loooove to eat. Forgive the use of multiple vowels for added emphasis, as would be the habit of many-an emphatic teener, but it is justified in this case. Filipinos don’t just love to eat: they loooove it. Eating is as necessary for physical survival as it is for social acceptance and endearment. I am also willing to hazard a well-informed guess that eating is one of the Filipino’s favorite pastimes and recreational activities. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are smattered with at least two meriendas (snacks) in between; with every mealtime an opportunity for bonding and pleasure. Favorite fare are too numerous to count and are dependent on from which part of the Philippines one hails. However, as far dishes go, perhaps nothing is more Filipino and well-loved than your mother’s adobo. Except maybe for your neighbor’s mother’s adobo. Indeed, there are as many variations to this delectable Pinoy dish as there are families named Santos in the Philippines. 40 | expat

We all love to eat it, whatever the variant: pula (red), puti (white), simple and straightforward, or with a variety of ingredients mixed in, saucy or dry (to mention just a few different kinds). With a plate of steaming hot white rice and maybe a glass of ice-cold soda with which to – rather guiltily – wash it down. But how did this dish originate? We are loco about adobo; let’s not be bobo (ignorant) about the same. Adobo 101 Adobo is an immensely popular Filipino dish and mode of cooking that – unlike many other fave dishes of mixed influence – originated within the Philippines. Adobo is the term which refers to both the dish, and the method of cooking which basically entails marinating meat or seafood - even veggies - in a mixture of soy sauce, vinegar and garlic. These are the three staple marinade ingredients to a dish that has countless varieties, interpretations, and methods of preparation.

Meats are marinated in the mixture, and are either boiled in the same (for a saucy adobo), or fried in oil (for a dry adobo). Chicken and/or pork are the meats of preference, but there are also many variations that involve beef, shrimp, vegetables or even more exotic ingredients (I have eaten a mouth-watering pork adobo cooked with fried dried squid added into the dish. OMG!) Don’t let the Spanish name fool you – adobo is 100 percent Pinoy, through and through. The cooking method is indigenous to the Philippines. In fact, it pre-dates Spanish colonial rule. When Magellan arrived, LapuLapu was already cooking up an adobo storm. Or something to that effect. At the time the Spanish colonized the Philippines in the late 16th century and early 17th century, they found that Filipinos had a thriving cultural, political, socioeconomic and religious structure in place. The high-bridged-nose conquistadores also

GRUBHUB (left)XO 46 Heritage Bistro's version, the Adobong different from the usual adobo because its made with beef, and Anatto oil, vinegar and local limes. The beef is boiled and braised for hours, so it falls right off the bone. Best eaten with hot rice!

travel around the Philippines sampling the many kinds of delectable adobo dishes. Adobo goes global So we’ve established that adobo is wellloved within the local context. But it is also receiving acclaim and a thumbs-up from foodies the world over. Heartthrob singer-actor Zac Efron’s (of High School Musical fame) reported love for the dish made news in the last couple of years in the Lifestyle sections of local dailies. Sources have it that the star is not only crazy about adobo, but that he also knows how to whip it up for himself.

encountered an indigenous cooking process, which involved stewing with vinegar. In true conquering fashion, they gave the dish a Spanish name, referring to it as adobo, the word for seasoning or marinade. The name eventually came to refer to dishes prepared in this manner, as well as the cooking style. The rest is history. Sadly, the original term Filipinos used for the dish is not recorded in history; having been lost to the nether regions of forgetfulness and disuse. Hello, how do you aDObo? Though the number of variations to the adobo dish and way of cooking is seemingly endless, the most popular one remains the adobong itim (black adobo), which uses soy sauce along with the vinegar and garlic. However, it is interesting to note that the closest to the pre-Hispanic dish is the adobong puti (white or blond adobo, which is sans soy sauce. As for the vinegar used, most popular options are cane, rice or coconut vinegar, although some prefer to use cider

or white wine vinegar for that extra gourmet flair. Some common ingredients that go into the adobo are bay leaf and black pepper, in amounts according to taste. Variants may include other ingredients, such as saba bananas (sugar bananas) siling labuyo (bird’s eye chili), jalapeño pepper, red bell pepper, olive oil, onions, brown sugar, potatoes, hard-boiled egg, and pineapple. Although the main method of cooking is to let the meats slow cook or simmer in the marinade, some prefer to further brown the dish in the oven, pan-fry, deep-fry, or grill the meat to get it crispy on the outside. Regionally, adobos are also quite varied. The dish is commonly cooked with coconut milk, called adobo sa gata, in southern Luzon and Zamboanga, for instance. Mashed pork liver is added in Cavite, while turmeric gives Laguna’s adobong dilaw (yellow adobo) its yellowish colour. Methinks it would make for an interesting documentary food tour to

In 2002, producer Kevin J. Foxe (the man behind the successful indie movie “The Blair Witch Project”) was inspired by the popularity of the dish to make the comedydrama titled “American Adobo,” which chronicles the challenges faced by five Filipino-American friends residing in New York. Adobo’s international acclaim dawned on me as well when, on assignment to write a feature story on a luxury resort in the island of Mactan, the British Sous Chef of the resort presented me with his newest fine-dining creation: slow-cooked pork belly adobo with seared scallops. It was divine, and oh-soworthy of global culinary chic points. The Adobo Bill Ok, ok –it isn’t just an adobo Bill, I exaggerate. House Bill No. 3926 or the proposed National Symbols Act of 2014 filed by Bohol Rep. Rene Relampagos seeks to declare and recognize several other items as the country’s official national symbols. In the category of “National Food” of the Philippines, it is adobo that is being pushed. Shock of shocks! You mean it isn’t yet the national dish??? Relampagos cited the importance of passing the bill to boost national identity, and because of the 20 items often thought and taught to be national symbols, only 10 of these are, in fact, officially recognized in the Constitution, Republic Acts and Proclamations. The lawmaker noted that adobo should be recognized as the country’s national food, because of its versatility and variety.

(top)TGI Friday’s savory version of Filipino Pork Adobo. Choice cut of pork, marinated with spices and seasoning, then slow-cooked until it just about falls off the bone. Served with white rice and corn on the cob. (right) The Nest at Vivere Hotel Alabang serves up its version of Adobong Kangkong, Hipon at Chicharon. Water spinach leaves and stems braised in vinegar, soy sauce, and shrimps, topped with delicious crispy pork bits. Adobong kangkong like no other!

Pinoy fave, Pinoy food, Pinoy roots, Pinoy pride; from your home, across 7,107 islands, to the world: that’s a whole lotta adobo for you to go loco about. expat | 41

T EXPoA cus in f

Above and Beyond A glimpse into Malaysia Airlines’ Area Manager Flora Loh Lim as she continues to aim beyond expectations. Text and photo by Via Baroma

The lucky ones live an optimal life peppered with achievements, both targeted and as a byproduct of the work they put in. And Malaysia Airlines’ Flora Loh Lim can be considered part of that group as evidenced by her impressive 22-year run with the company. Less than three months into the job, Lim’s post as Philippine area manager was immediately met with the challenge of losing her sales manager. She took the task head on, managing, at the time, to get all marine travel agents to book directly with Malaysian Airlines. Lim’s journey with the aviation company began in 1993 as part of the agency sales department in the Malaysian head office. In 1997, she decided to further her studies at Edith Cowan University in Perth, Western Australia, graduating not only with a degree in Bachelor of Business with a double Major in Marketing and Tourism Management, but also being named Suma Cum Laude. She was given the Honorary Golden Key Scholar Award, a recognition given only to the top 10 percent of students in the university.

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From then on, all she has done was manage to seamlessly translate academic excellence into her profession. Apart from having a hand at enabling the company to maximize revenues, Lim also played a key role in shaping effective business strategies. She cultivated excellent relationships with travel agents, and even made her mark in other areas like airport operations, reservations and ticketing, as well as finance. Lim’s keen business sense also led to Malaysia Airlines Philippines’ participation in various travel consumer fairs. “I decided that we needed to be at the forefront, and since the Philippine Travel Agencies Association (PTAA), is one of the largest consumer travel expos here, I proposed that we should participate; and we have participated ever since. It’s important for an airline to be at the forefront, you should be visible,” shares Lim. And despite the devastating aviation accidents that saw the disappearance of MH370 and the unprecedented plane crash of MH17, Malaysia Airlines has managed to rise up again.

Through concerted marketing and communication efforts, Lim and her sales team managed to regain the trust of both travel agencies and passengers, and reconfigure the company image in a relatively short span of time. So much so, that for the first half of 2015, Lim proudly shares that based on revenue reports, her team exceeded their monthly targets for the months of July and August. The way Malaysia Airlines has overcome such daunting circumstances mirrors the leadership of Lim. She’s set to move on to new challenges in the last quarter of 2015 as a new company, Malaysia Airlines Berhad takes over from Malaysian Airline System Bhd. But Lim is confident the company will carry on with their efforts under the new leadership. “People should continue to support the new company, Malaysia Airlines Berhad,” says Lim. “Thank you to all the Filipino travel agent friends who have been supportive of me during my time here from January 2011 to August 2015. The airline industry is in my blood, so [even] after ending my term [with the company], I’m sure I’ll be back in the industry soon.”


While the rest of these pages are filled with gastronomic delights, Local Shores is a collection of destinations certain to fill your appetite for a slice of paradise. Expat takes you to Mactan for a taste of Maribago Bliss, Stilts at Calatagan, Batangas to look into a charming resort possessing soothing calm and Siargao for a glimpse at surreal island life.


The Bluewater Resorts Group puts its unique stamp on this island resort getaway in the heart of Mactan.

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Bluewater Maribago Bliss Text by Angie Duarte Photo spread courtesy of Bluewater Maribago; additional photos by Angie Duarte

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LOCALSHORES Since its opening in 1989, Bluewater Maribago resort in Mactan City, Cebu has offered travelers and guests the convenience of luxury facilities and amenities, without losing that irresistible magic cast only by a sun-drenched, sea-kissed tropical island in the Philippines. A short one hour trip by plane from Manila to the island city of Mactan transports you to a place where the blues are bluer, the air is fresher, food is yummier, and the sun seems to shine just a tad more brightly, on account of that special Bluewater touch .

The Best of Filipino Culture

With a total of 158 rooms (22 Premier Beachwing Rooms, five Royal Bungalows, 86 Deluxe Rooms, 50 Amuma Spa Suites) spread out over approximately six hectares of beachfront property, Bluewater Maribago is committed to promoting the best of Filipino culture: its creativity, warmth, hospitality and caring attention, in a relaxed and relaxing seaside setting. “Our Bluewater Brand is ‘Very Filipino;’ for instance, our building structures are made up of recycled wood, and designs are very Filipino. Our core values – Love, Care, Protect and Respect – also reflect Filipino culture,” shared Rhyz Buac, General Manager of the Bluewater Resorts. A quick stroll through the grounds is enough to put you in a tropical state of mind, with neo-Filipino, native-inspired bungalows and rooms highlighting the overall ambience. As sea winds rustle through leaves of stunning old-growth Balete trees (the intertwined sturdy roots of which stir the imagination, conjuring imagery reminiscent of enchanted woods and ancient folklore), it is not difficult to be lulled into that state of relaxation sought after by sojourners from near and far. “Bluewater Maribago provides a Filipino ambience and creates a beautiful Filipino experience for each of its guests; through its two-storey and single storey nipa thatched huts, themed dinners, children’s’ activities showcasing Filipino culture, white sand beach area and friendly and caring employees,” detailed Margie Munsayac, Bluewater Resort’s vice president for sales and marketing.

TLA: Tender Loving Amuma

Perhaps what makes the Bluewater Maribago experience a truly memorable one is the extra “TLA”: Tender Loving Amuma. Taken from the old Cebuano vernacular, the word amuma – which is at the core of the resort’s philosophy – defines the very essence of pampering, at its finest. Literally, it means “to indulge with every attention.” This indulgence with every attention is evident in just about every aspect of the resort: from delicious dining at one of five food outlets to bespoke themed dinners and events; from beach bumming by blue seas to customized water sports activities

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(Clockwise, from top) Fun in the sun, sand and sea are in store for Bluewater Maribago’s guests; rustic lounge area at the resort’s Oyster Bar at The Cove; themed special events make any celebration more memorable; food at the resort is always fresh and delicious; the exquisite Amuma Spa Suites and pool area.

(such as island hopping, jet skiing, snorkeling, and banana boating, to name a few); from leisurely lounging about by the resort’s two pools to going for the all-out in pampering at the spa, guests are assured that touch of extra care. Munsayac credits this to “Filipino hospitality from the heart.” “Our guests are assured of our ‘amuma’ from beginning till the end of their Bluewater experience,” she pointed out. Bluewater Maribago shows their amuma like no other not only in making everyday more memorable, but also in creating once-in-alifetime memories. Birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, special events: you name it, they have it covered. The resort has become a favorite celebration spot for locals and those from further away, alike; so much so that parties with fantastic, elaborate thematic set-ups are a common sight on the beach and on the resort’s unique sandbar.

Next-level Indulgence

Bluewater Maribago’s focus on amuma is such that they named their spa and wellness facility - you guessed it – Amuma. Opened in 2007 and re-launched in July 2015, one can enjoy new spa treatments, which incorporate hilot (Filipino massage technique) and various other indigenous traditions. Among these, the use of heated banana fronds (in the Amuma Signature Hilot) for loosening muscular tension, gentle hair-tugging for bringing about calm and inducing sleep, and the use of a kawayan (bamboo) stick (Hilot sa Kawayan) to knead stress out of tired muscles. “Amuma radiates the idea of having just arrived at a place where the living is easy. It is a sanctuary where one can sit back, breathe deeply, and enjoy Filipino hospitality in a spa setting.” shared Razel Torres, Amuma Spa Manager. This, indeed, is indulgence taken to the next

level: an incredibly soothing pampering experience, the Filipino way, using only the best farm-to-spa natural products. The lovely Amuma Spa Suites are likewise an option for guests who wish to maximize their relaxing retreat and fully immerse themselves in the amuma moment.

Something for Everyone

With all that Bluewater Maribago has to offer, there is something for everyone to enjoy. It is no wonder that people flock to its shores to seek quality vacation time on the beach. There are those who arrive alone, desperate for quiet “me-time.” Some come with families in tow, in need of special bonding time. Others come in pairs, longing for romantic getaways. Others still, choose to share their important milestones, trusting Bluewater Maribago to make the difference. And then there are the travelers searching for adventure and finding more than what they had hoped to find. Indeed, most people come for the tropical island experience, but they return for that blissful Bluewater amuma.

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Follow Your Bliss at

Stilts Calatagan By Ching Dee Photos by Leovic Arceta

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LOCALSHORES Nestled within the sleepy municipality of Calatagan, Batangas is a patch of land like no other: Lush gardens with century-old Acacia trees on one side and an inviting stretch of beach on the other. Expat sat down with one of Stilts Calatagan Beach Resort’s general managers Atty. Mina Herrera and resort owner Vicky SyCipHerrera for the first ever media feature on Stilts.

Trust Your Instincts

Stilts is a 24-hectare property tucked between the sea and the trees. The family patriarch, Atty. Florentino Herrera III, chanced upon the resort in 2009. “My dad bought the place with the iWntention to resell the property,” Mina said. “One day, he brought us [to the property] to see it and we said, ‘We love it here! What if we don’t sell it?’” The Herreras found out that running Stilts ended up bringing them closer together. “It’s actually been a lot of fun,” Mina shared, all smiles. “Sometimes, everybody has different ideas, so we work together to fix things. It’s a fun challenge.” For Mina, working with family is both the best and most challenging part of their business. “There are times when a family breakfast turns into an impromptu business meeting,” she laughed. To stay on track, she said they share one goal when it comes to running their business: helping guests follow their bliss. “We purposely don’t have the ‘bling’ of Boracay, as we want to remain sweet and simple—hopefully with quiet charm and lots of time for reflection and bonding,” Vicky shared, adding that she also makes sure the resort is spotless at all times—each corner a perfect place for relaxation. Though the cottages by the water were already built when they found the place, they had to overhaul the entire resort, which includes renaming the cottages and adding more accommodations. “The cottages were already [on the property but] they were named after famous places in the Philippines,” Mina recalled, “We decided to change the names to tie it with our motto, which is ‘follow your bliss.’” In 2010, they officially opened Stilts Calatagan Beach Resort to the public. Today, the family finds fulfillment in following their instincts since that fateful day five years ago.

Follow Your Journey

Whether it’s peak season or not, you will never feel crowded at Stilts. In fact, they have three—yes, three—beaches on their property. expat | 49


Harmony Beach was the first area they opened to the public in 2010. It may not be as white as the sands in Boracay, but its fine and immaculate shores make it picture perfect all-year-round. Later on, they developed both ends of the property and created Destiny Beach and Serenity Beach.

traditional Filipino bahay kubo (nipa cottage), but with clean and chic interiors. All cottages are perfectly fitted with simple yet elegant furniture and small details that combine to add charm and make guests feel at home.

Serenity Beach is perfect for guests seeking solace and reflection. Just a few steps from the beach is an expanse of land shadowed by century-old Acacia trees. Vicky had the brilliant idea of hanging wind chimes on trees as well as adding tables and benches made from repurposed Molave wood (which took more than 10 people to carry). Also at Serenity Beach, guests can live out their dreams of staying in a tree house and have the beach to themselves with nothing but the soft clinking of the wind chimes and crashing waves to lull you to sleep.

Another unforgettable thing about Stilts is the constant reminder of inspiration around the resort. Pieces of wood painted with quotations, witty one-liners, and even song lyrics are found everywhere. Mina said they all contribute quotations and tell Aidol, the resort’s resident calligrapher, to make works of art.

Today, Stilts is home to eight spacious sea cottages on stilts and five beachfront rooms. A hammock and a dedicated ladder going straight into the crystal blue waters along the veranda that wraps around the cottage are thoughtful additions to the already stunning over-the-sea accommodations. Meanwhile, their beachfront cottages along Harmony Beach are modeled after the

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Aside from gorgeous accommodations and wonderful beaches, Stilts has an activity for every guest. Guests can try aqua sports like kayaking and snorkeling. Thrill seekers can try activities like driving all-terrain vehicles (ATV) and horseback riding. Adventurous souls can even go on ATV rides outside the resort with a trained Stilts guide to explore Calatagan’s picturesque landscape. Those looking for a more laid-back vacation can get various spa treatments

for the full pampering experience. Guests can also relax and play board games— including the iconic Filipino game sungka— with their family and friends. Stilts can also arrange tours to destinations outside the resort, like the Punta de Santiago lighthouse, Calatagan Mangrove Forest Conservation Park, and Museo de Enrique Zobel.

Embrace Your Passion

Vicky, a horticultural enthusiast, shared how she managed to plant and grow all the plants around the resort with the help of Mang Guiller, their resident gardening expert. “It was really a trial and error experience,” Vicky said, referring to the days when they were still trying to figure out what sort of plants would survive Calatagan’s soil and the sea air. The gardens surrounding the resort are a sight to behold with lush and vibrant colors


Facts about Calatagan, Batangas Calatagan is the southwesternmost municipality in the Province of Batangas. A large portion of the municipality is the Calatagan Peninsula between the West Philippine Sea and Balayan Bay. It used to be called the “Forbes Park of the South” due to the numerous estates owned by wealthy families in the area. As of 2010, it has a population of nearly 52,000 people. Quick History The word “Calatagan” is a derivative of the Tagalog word “latag” and is synonymous to “Kapatagan”. It means a vast portion of land lying between the hills and mountains. Thus, Calatagan means a large expanse of wide plain lands. The land occupied by the municipality of Calatagan was acquired by Don Domingo Roxas from the Spanish Crown in 1829 and was called Hacienda de Calatagan. (Source:

“From tree-laden landscapes to the gloriously inviting beach, Stilts Calatagan offers the best of both worlds to make each visit unforgettable.”

from dozens of different flora. Vicky sings high praises of their “magical” gumamela (Hibiscus), which starts out white early in the day and turns to shades of pink as the noonday sun climbs. Vicky is also an avid collector of wooden furniture. All of her pieces find a special place at Stilts, adding to its rustic charm and homey feel. One of Vicky’s most prized possessions is the huge Mangkono dining table in the restaurant. Mangkono is also known as the Philippine Ironwood—the hardest of all Philippine trees. Meanwhile, her daughters, Mina & Amor, are lawyers during weekdays and resort managers on weekends.

“Perhaps my lawyer twins were event coordinators in their past lives because they never seem to run out of creative ideas,” Vicky mused. Mina shared that seeing the happy couples and guests makes all their effort worth it when they work with their staff to turn ideas into reality.

Follow Your Bliss

With over a dozen other resorts in the Calatagan area alone, Mina recognizes that competition exists. But she takes pride in one of their strong suits: their staff.

“We exercise different parts of our brains when we’re here,” Mina beamed, talking about their creative side.

“Our staff [sets us apart,]” Mina pointed out. “Guests have consistently said Stilts feels like a second home since our staff are so friendly, warm, and accommodating. Some guests even say, ‘Nothing is impossible talaga at Stilts.’”

Both Mina and Amor enjoy organizing events in the resort—from weddings to family get-aways and corporate gatherings.

Their staff’s nothing-is-impossible attitude truly makes Stilts even more remarkable than it already is. Smiles abound

everywhere—from the very first staff you meet (the security guard at the gate) to the very last one you see (the crew handing your luggage as you pack your vehicle). The Stilts staff truly go beyond the call of duty. One can clearly see their genuine desire to provide excellent service—a desire that comes from the fulfillment of following one’s true bliss. Mina ends, “Our motto is ‘follow your bliss.’ We do our best to make sure that our guests are happy and have wonderful memories of their stay at Stilts.” Stilts Calatagan Beach Resort welcomes daytrip visitors and overnight guests. For more information about their rates and offers, visit

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“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

Naked Island

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9 d u o l C

Dreaming of

Text & Photos by Elaine Lirio

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Being stuck in the concrete jungle and having your world revolve around and about from city to city, sometimes you just don’t realize that there are still places of green, calm and the untouched; with just the sound of nature that entices pure bliss. That feeling of being in a new place with so many things to see is just plain priceless. I remember being in this state – with nothing but the ocean breeze and the smell of coconut trees. I need not worry, I was care-free. We all dream of far-away. You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy a plane ticket to Siargao Island and be in Cloud 9, literally and figuratively.

Raw Beauty

Dreams feel real while we’re in them, you can experience the island feel by hiring a boat to take you to the three islands of Naked, Daku and Guyam in Siargao. Enjoy nature at its best with fine white sand beaches, clear blue waters, coconut trees and the sun. Go snorkelling, explore the beach while swimming or practice your surfing skills; and if you get hungry, you can opt to bring raw ingredients to the market and ask the locals at Daku Island to prepare lunch for you. Boat rental starts at PhP1,500. Take a day or two and commune with nature. Swim in a stingless jellyfish filled lagoon, go spelunking at Bolitas Cave, jump into Kaob Lagoon, while a grand adventure awaits you at Bucas Grande Sohoton National Park. Hire a habalhabal (motorbike taxi) to take you to Magpupungko beach and rock pools located at Pilar. It is best to visit during low tide to fully enjoy the beautiful crystal clear natural pools. 54 | expat

Surfing Culture

Siargao is known as the surfing capital in the Philippines; Cloud 9 for its fast breaks and perfect swells to softer and mellow waves at Daku Island. Most resorts offer surf tutorial and board rental for PhP500 an hour. What I love about Siargao and its surf community, apart from Cloud 9 being the ultimate surf spot in the country, is that the people are mainly here to surf. And while they are serious about surfing, no one judges your surfing skills. Locals will support you all the way with the sport. The first time I went out in the water,

I didn’t feel intimidated by the pro surfers, but rather, I felt terrified by how big the waves are at Daku Island. It felt like a big challenge for a non-pro like me. It was no joke. I’m glad they are all there to help and support me even as I paddled out on my own. I was more stoked than scared after being comfortable with the crowd eventhough I had more reef cuts and wipeouts than rides.

Beyond the Waves

I must agree with George Shaw’s saying that “there is no love sincerer than the love of food.” And getting grub in the island, I must say, is one of the best parts of


(clockwise) Local girls having fun at Daku Island; Boardwalk at Cloud 9; Sushi Bar at Lux Siargao Boutique Resort; going out for a morning surf; boat ride for island hopping; The author and her girls at Magpupungko rock pools

exploring this island dream. One of my favorite go-to places to eat is La Luna Island Resort because everything is made fresh, prices are friendly, food serving is big, and the fare is downright yummy. And when I’m craving for some Japanese, I go to the sushi bar at Lux Siargao Resort. If you are the adventurous foodie sort, you can always get different varieties of grilled meat, seafood and veggies at the nearest barbecue place by the road. Or if you’re traveling with a larger group, you can go to the market and find that freshly caught Mahimahi (local fish) or whatever’s the catch expat | 55



Where to stay: Matanjak Guesthouse Sta. Ines, Catangnan, General Luna, Surigao del Norte. Contact (0905) 518-9330 Tips: The barbecue place to visit is the one by the road in General Luna. Ask a local, you can’t miss it. Hire a habal-habal (motorbike taxi) to take you to Mapupungko Beach and rock pools. It is best to visit during the low tide, so you can fully enjoy the crystal clear natural pools. You can also rent a motorbike, so you can explore the island based on your own whim.

(top photo) Boardwalk facing the Siargao Island (Bottom photos) Night out at Pagoda Beach bar

of the day, and have it cooked to your own liking and share it with your company. The latest craze in the island is the drunken Carabao ride. It is a native style ride on a water buffalo through the scenic countryside while enjoying rum coke and beer until sundown. Usually, it costs around PhP1,000 per person. The nightlife in Siargao is promoted by word of mouth. Locals usually just say where the best spot is for you to socialize and have couple of beers (preferably more) for the night. When in Siargao Island, I usually lose the sense of time. You often won’t even realize you went crazy and danced the night away at Pagoda Beach Bar on a Monday.

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Naturally High

The adrenaline rush of surfing and the adventures brought by life in Siargao is like no other. The thought of being immersed in the pristine waters of Siargao excites me. And it goes without saying that finding your very own surf spot is utter bliss. And there are loads more. I will never forget the memories made there. I may not meet again in my entire lifetime those people I’ve encountered in Siargao, but I definitely won’t forget them. The breakfast, lunch and dinner gettogethers, going to the market looking for a huge Mahi-mahi, the jokes, the lifestories, seeing everyone at the line-up, the crazy drunken motorcycle rides and most especially, the the bonds fostered with

them—to actually feel like you belong, like a family; it’s a communion of humanity, absent of regard for skin color. As a travel enthusiast, you can’t compare a country to another by its culture because everything is different. I have been to a lot places around the world, but there is something about Siargao Island that keeps me coming back for more. Every day has its own magical feeling that keeps me curious about the unknown, and that makes me fall in love with the island more. It is beyond true that as a Filipino, we are a foreigner in our own country. I guess this shows that there is more to life than what the Philippines has to offer. The world is simply amazing. Everything you can imagine is real.


Expatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Global View makes you privy to a couple of destination secrets in Malaysia and the Netherlands, while giving you the ultimate guide for finding a trademark Java dish.




Haarlemâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Spaarne Canal meanders through the city of Haarlem

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ARLEM Text and Photos by Vernon Prieto

It’s been included in the list of “Best European Secret Spots to Visit,” Expat associate publisher Vernon Prieto tells us why.

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After arriving in Amsterdam via a safe and comfortable Malaysia Airlines flight, I found myself void of any activity for the day. My solution to the dilemma was to visit the local Tourist Office located just outside the city’s impressive Centraal railway station. The very helpful Dutch lady in the tourist office recommended several nearby attractions, which all seemed interesting until she suggested that I might really enjoy a day in the city of Haarlem, which is a mere 15 minutes train ride from Amsterdam.   I already mentioned that I was in Amsterdam so I am obviously not referring to the more famous (or infamous)

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neighborhood in the borough of Manhattan in New York City. Remember that the island of Manhattan was once a Dutch colony and Harlem was originally a Dutch village named after the city of Haarlem in the Netherlands. From the literature handed to me I was able to gather that Haarlem is a medieval city located on the river Spaarne, and is the capital of the province of North Holland and is considered the county’s tulip center since the 1630’s. It was a very progressive city until its importance waned when overtaken by Amsterdam due to shipping. Before I continue recounting my visit to


(clockwise) Statue of Kenau Simonsdochter Hasselaer and Wigbold Ripperda, defenders of the city during the Spanish seige(1572-1573). It is located in the square in front of the Haarlem Central train station; Botermarket Square is lined with produce shops and chic cafes; bicycles abound and are preferred mode of transportation in Haarlem’s streets; Various cheeses are sold at the Grote Market; Paadenworst are delicious horse meat sausages; Javanese/Surinamese food is popular in the Netherlands.

Haarlem, let me explain the difference between Holland and the Netherlands. The Netherlands is the name of the entire country while Holland is an area within the Netherlands, which is composed of North and South Holland, two of the nation’s twelve provinces. After purchasing a roundtrip ticket I casually walked to the designated platform to catch the next train. I was in no hurry because trains to Haarlem from Amsterdam depart every 15 minutes.   Haarlem’s art noveau Centraal station is a good first impression of the city. From there I followed all the local and visitor pedestrians and bicyclists down the main road passing by quaint shops and cozy cafes. My walk ended at the lively Grote Markt (Big Market), which is the central market square

of the city. I was very lucky because it was a Saturday, one of two market days (the other market day is Monday). It was an exciting colorful scene with stalls selling local delicacies and crafts, flowers, fruits, animal hides, and the usual “Made in China” souvenirs. Of course there are other cuisines available like Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and East Asian. I sampled the various local cheeses and meats (including yummy horse sausages) and took note of what to buy before heading back to Amsterdam.   With some juicy strawberries to munch on, I strolled around the square, which is surrounded by spectacular buildings including the Stadthuis which functions as the town hall, the Vleeshal (former meat market which now houses two museums), and Sint-Bavokerk (former main Catholic

church converted to Protestant in 1578). In front of the church stands the statue of muchloved Haarlem citizen Laurens Jansz Koster who many believe is the actual inventor of printing. I then wandered along the maze of narrow cobble streets and scenic canals lined by heritage houses, museums and gardens that originate from the main square. Walking around Haarlem is easy because everyone is so friendly and speaks perfect English. But you might prefer moving around on bicycle like most locals do. This would be the suggested way to get to the Catholic Cathedral of Saint Bavo, which is a 15 to 20 minutes walk from the city center. The stunning edifice was built from 1895 to 1930 to replace the former cathedral. If you expect to find a Catholic cathedral in Amsterdam you won’t find any because the seat of the Archdiocese of Haarlem-Amsterdam is in Haarlem and the metropolitan cathedral is Saint Bavo’s.   By bike you can also visit the Amsterdamse Poort (Amsterdam Gate), which is the city’s

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Malaysia Airlines flies daily to Amsterdam from Manila via Kuala Lumpur. For more travel information contact your professional travel agency or Malaydia Airlines at: Phone: (02) 8873215 e-mail: Web:

only remaining town gate. It was built sometime in the 14th century and was named as such because it was the gate one passed when travelling to and from Amsterdam. The arts scene is very much alive in Haarlem. Among the many museums are the Frans Hals Museum, which displays an impressive collection of Dutch art spanning the 15th century to the present, Teylers Museum, which is considered the oldest museum in the Netherlands with an extensive collection of treasures including paintings and scientific instruments. Haarlem’s concert halls and theatres include the Patronaat where many famous local and international artists have performed; the striking Toneelschuur is a modern theatre with theatre halls and cinemas showing alternative and independent films, and the historic Philharmonie - Haarlem’s answer to Amsterdam’s renowned Paradiso. Another must-visit is the Corrie ten Boom House better known as “the hiding place”. The ten Boom family house was used to hide refugees hunted by the Nazis during the Second World War. In February 1944 the entire family was arrested and sent to prison. Corrie’s most famous book “The Hiding Place” describes their ordeal. It was time to get back to Amsterdam so I found my way back to the Grote Markt

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(above) The Roman Catholic cathedral of St. Bavo, (center) Interior of the Sint-Bavokerk in Grote Markt, (bottom) Some of Haarlem’s canal houses.

to purchase an assortment of delectable fruit, foodstuff, crafts and souvenirs. On the way back to the train station I visited a few boutiques and had a feast in a Javanese/ Surinamese restaurant. Because Indonesia and Suriname were Dutch colonies in the past, many Indonesians and Surinamese have migrated to the Netherlands and have made Haarlem their home.  As I got off the train in Amsterdam, I fully understood why the Huffington Post named Haarlem one of the “Ten Secret European Spots You’ll Want to Visit.”


The Ultimate Java Sop Buntut Guide Text by Vernon Prieto

Expat Associate Publisher Vernon Prieto loves him some sop buntut. Here, he offers the ultimate guide on all things sop buntut in Java.

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Bumi Surabaya City Resort’s delicious Sop Buntut.

Sop Buntut Goreng by Hotel Majapahit.

Indonesia is a food lover’s paradise. The various cuisines from the multitude of islands reflect the many cultures, traditions and tastes of this very diverse nation. My favorite dish hails from Java, Indonesia’s main island, and is available all over the vast archipelago from Sumatra to Bali to Papua. It is an oxtail soup called Sop Buntut. Traditional sop buntut is made of slices of oxtail boiled to perfect tenderness, served in a flavorful soup of vegetables laced with exotic spices. It is commonly eaten with rice and accompanied with spicy sambal (a chili sauce), kecap manis (sweet soy sauce) and lime. Also normally accompanying the dish is emping (bite-sized crackers made of the melinjo nut). Emping crackers have a distinct bitter taste and complement the savory and sweet tastes of the sop buntut and its condiments.    Variants of this dish include Sop Buntut Goreng (fried oxtail soup) and Sop Buntut Bakar (barbecued oxtail soup). The tender beef tail is deep fried or barbecued then served beside the bowl of soup instead of inside the bowl with the soup. I first tasted sop buntut almost two decades ago while touring East Java from Surabaya to Mount Bromo. It was past lunchtime and my companions Celia Atienza and Issa Esquivel, and I wanted to try some local food. Our lovely guide Yoni Astuti suggested that we stop at a warung (small family-owned road-side restaurant) and sample a typical Javanese dish. The sop buntut tasted great. It was a bit tough since it wasn’t boiled long enough, but the taste was so wonderful that I have become a sop buntut addict ever since. Since that time, I make it a point to try the sop buntut in the restaurants where I dine while in Indonesia. Although there are obvious similarities in the tastes because the main ingredients are the same, there are subtle and not so subtle differences as well, since each establishment has their own special added secret ingredient or method. Some of the best sop buntut may be enjoyed in the better hotels and restaurants in Central and East Java, which are the domains of the Javanese people. Aside from enjoying the majestic Borobudur Temple, Prambanan Temple complex and the Sultan’s Palace in and around Jogjakarta and Magelang, visitors should stop to savor Central Java’s version of sop buntut.

Magnificent view of Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park . Steaming Mount Bromo (left), majestic Mount Semeru (center) and serene Mount Batok (right).

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In Magelang, head to the extremely luxurious MesaStila Resort, a spa retreat located inside a coffee plantation and encircled by eight magnificent volcanoes, for a sop buntut like no other. According to Sugeng Sugiantoro the premium cuts of oxtail is served with the soup and steamed white or red rice, emping crackers, sauces and lime wedges. And what makes their sop buntut so special? The vegetables, herbs and spices are grown and harvested from their own organic gardens.   Also in Magelang is the up-scale Plataran Borobudur Resort & Spa, which boasts stunning views of Borobudur Temple from its hilltop restaurant. Their signature Javanese dish is Sop Buntut Goreng. With a little twist, the tender oxtail is first marinated then fried before being served with a delicious clear soup. Arman Suparman intimates that their traditional oxtail soup is prepared with red beans, potatoes, carrots, celery and fried garlic. Many establishments serve sop buntut in tourist-friendly Jogjakarta. I recommend the Verandah Restaurant of the newly opened modern Eastparc Hotel. They present a delectable sop buntut served on a bowl over a warmer to keep the soup piping hot.   In East Java their food is a little less sweet than in Central Java but their sop buntut is just as good.  First stop in this culinary journey in East Java is the historic Hotel Majapahit in Surabaya. The hotel was built by the legendary Sarkies Brothers of Raffles Hotel fame. Complementing its elegant ambiance is their extremely tasty sop buntut creations. They serve two variations of sop buntut in their Indigo Restaurant - Traditional and Sop Buntut Goreng. The fried version is their alltime menu best seller. The stock is made with oxtail meat from Australia; fat removed, and boiled over low-heat for four hours. It is cooked with traditional ingredients such

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as nutmeg, cloves, ginger, garlic and many others. When tender, the meat is deep fried for ten minutes until ready to serve. Another wonderful place to enjoy sop buntut is at the enchanting Bumi Surabaya City Resort. The hotel features a charming kampong-style (village-style) restaurant amidst beautiful lush gardens and waterways, which showcase traditional Javanese and Indonesian cuisine and arts. Retno Indrawan explains that their sop buntut recipe consists of selected center cuts of oxtail meat, thick broth, fresh vegetables, and complete herbs. Their sop buntut stands out from the rest because of their chef’s ability to harmonize the various combinations of herbs and spices such as fried garlic, pepper, cloves, leeks, ginger, lime zest and a strong stomping of nutmeg. One of Surabaya’s must-visit attractions is the House of Sampoerna. The stately Dutch colonial-style compound is now a cigarette museum with an art gallery and art deco inspired café. House of Sampoerna’s A Café’s famous Sop Buntut Goreng is taken from an original Surabaya recipe. The oxtail meat is cooked for several hours to allow its distinctive flavor to emerge and to reach the right level of tenderness. Afterwards,

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it is taken out of the broth and sautéed with soy sauce. The broth is processed separately and is cooked with potatoes, carrots and celery. It is then served with tasty broth, steamed rice, garlic sauce and fried emping crackers as the obligatory condiment for Indonesians. The museum is part of the citywide tour on the Surabaya Heritage Track. In Surabaya Town Square and Grand City Mall are two Ria Indonesian Bistros. The restaurant group is known for hearty

SPOTTING >> Indonesia

The following airlines fly to Indonesia from Manila: Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, Malaysia Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Jetstar, Cathay Pacific, Royal Brunei Airlines and Thai Airways. Silk Air flies to Indonesia from Cebu and Davao. Contact your travel agent for more information.

with tender cooked oxtail. After all the vegetables are cooked, salt and sugar are added as needed. The soup is served piping hot with slices of tomato and celery and a sprinkling of fried shallot flakes. After a hearty sop buntut meal, a visit to the hotel’s Yhi Spa is recommended.

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Indonesian food and their two mall restaurants serve delightful sop buntut. Ingrid Nitihardjo says that the Ria group is proud to promote the best Indonesian cuisine and their sop buntut is one of the best, if not the best, anywhere. Presented local-style with the necessary condiments, Ria Bistro’s sop buntut is a welcome relief from overshopping in Surabaya’s well-stocked, wellpriced, family-friendly malls. Surabaya is the gateway to beautiful Mount Bromo and a much-desired stopover is at Malang, a lovely city approximately three hours away. Hilly apple and tea plantations surround this former colonial oasis. In the heart of the old town is the marvelous Hotel Tugu Malang, which houses a priceless collection of antiques influenced by the Javanese Babah Peranakan (the hundreds-years-old mixed culture between the Chinese migrants in Java and the native Javanese). Hotel Tugu’s “Sop Buntut Rempah Tugu” is specially prepared by their experienced chef and is served in a rich beef broth with carrots and potatoes and is flavored with onion, salt, peppers, and traditional spices such as nutmeg, galangal, ginger, anise, cardamom and lemon grass. This combination of ingredients is the reason

(1) Hotel Tugu Malang’s famous Sop Buntut. (2) Sun Island Hotel Kuta’s version of Sop Buntut. (3) Candi Prambanan is a 9th-century Hindu temple compound in Central Java, Indonesia. (4) Sop Buntut by Grand Royal Panghegar in Bandung. (5) Traditional Sop Buntut at Ria Indonesian Bistro. (6) Plataran Borobudur Resort & Spa’s Sop Buntut Goreng. (7) Sop Buntut ala Gran Melia Jakarta.(8) East Java style Sop Buntut Goreng at The House of Sampoena. (9) MesaStila Resort’s Sop Buntut

for its special aroma, which differentiates it from the other sop buntut served elsewhere. The western side of Java Island is the home of the Sundanese and the Betawi (in Jakarta).  Although they have their own distinct cuisine, sop buntut is as common here as all other Indonesian staples like satay, gado-gado, bakmi, soto ayam, and rendang. One of the best restaurants serving sop buntut in Jakarta is Dapur Babah Élite, the first culinary outing by Indonesia’s acclaimed Tugu Hotels & Restaurants Group and is housed in a pair of refurbished historic shop houses. Here one will not only enjoy the sop buntut but also the many fabulous treasures displayed inside the ornately decorated restaurant. Another place where sop buntut is delicious is in the café of the stunning Gran Melia Jakarta. This international five-star grand hotel in the elite consular area of Jakarta serves its sop buntut in a clear broth made with onions, carrots, potato, tomato, spring onion and celery. Some spices, such as pepper, cloves and nutmeg are crushed together with shallots and garlic into a paste. The paste is then added to the broth

From Jakarta, one should visit Bandung – West Java’s capital city. Bandung is a mecca for shoppers because most of Indonesia’s outlet shops are located here. In Bandung it’s all shopping and eating and sop buntut is on the menu. Bandung’s cool, fresh mountain climate is the perfect setting for sop buntut and the place to dine is the Grand Royal Panghegar Hotel. Hetty Sumantri states that the reason why sop buntut is a favorite dish in the Grand Royal Panghegar is because of the texture of the oxtail meat, the perfect mix of diced vegetables, and the freshness of the lemon squeezed into the rich and savory clear beef broth. In Bali, sop buntut is served alongside their more famous babi guling (roast pig) and bebek bengil (fried duck). I really like the sop buntut in the Pavoz Restaurant, in the well situated and comfortable Sun Island Hotel Kuta, which is located across the beach and walking distance to the shopping mall, Catholic church, art market, water park and restaurants and pubs. According to Ismullah Lahsin, General Manager of all five Sun Island Hotels in Bali, the hotel’s sop buntut is made using prime Australian oxtail. While their kitchen keeps their recipe of the broth confidential, they were happy to reveal a few of their secrets. The cooking process of the oxtail is between four to six hours on a slow fire, ensuring that the meat will turn soft and juicy and that all of the spices are absorbed in the meat evenly. The side condiments to their sop buntut include fried slices shallot, homemade sambal, and slices of kaffir lime. I hope you are licking your chops and considering an Indonesian culinary tour very soon. While in Indonesia, take time to try the different local delicacies but don’t forget the Sop Buntut!

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The Nine Lives of

Kuching Text by Bernard L Supetran Photos courtesy of Sarawak Tourism Board

Bako National Park

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A glimpse into one of Asiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s best-kept secrets

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Santubong, a national park, is steeped in legend and regarded as a hotspot of biodiversity because of its rare flora and fauna. Rainforest World Music Festival Oftentimes regarded as the “Woodstock of Asia”, this much-anticipated musical event pays tribute to indigenous and tribal music from the four corners of the globe through stylized and contemporary renditions. Despite the usual downpour that goes with it during the rainy months of the second half of the year, the concerts draw tens of thousands of musicians, artists, enthusiasts and viewers, the festival put Kuching in the world map of music. And there is no better way in celebrating global ethnicity than holding it at the Sarawak Cultural Village. Foreigners, mostly Europeans, frolic in the mud and rain and party as if there is no tomorrow. Rare birds occasionally fly across the performance area, making the rainforest a very unique concert area. According to superstitions and old wives' tales, a cat is believed to have nine lives. This age-old belief is very much alive in Kuching, the eclectic capital city of Sarawak state in Malaysian. Literally meeting “cat” in the Malay language, Kuching is one of Asia’s well-kept travel secrets tucked in the lush tropical rainforests of Borneo. If you are a trueblue traveler is to live the proverbial nine lives, you have to indulge in nine engaging reasons why the city is among the most pleasant surprises in this side of the globe. Cat Statues It is hard to imagine Kuching without the ubiquitous statues of the feline it was named after. While far from being venerated like

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religious images, cat monuments in varying sizes are a common sight in the city. Queer as it may seem, there is even a Cat Museum so guests can get a better understanding of the domestic pet’s role in the city’s history. Posing in one of the statues is an obligatory photo opportunity for the tourist. Sarawak Cultural Village Known locally as Kampung Budaya, this unique theme park is a microcosm of Sarawak’s cultural diversity. It contains replicas of the native houses of the state’s indigenous tribes such as the Iban, Melanau and Bidayuh tribes. This expansive complex by the foot of Mt. Santubong is the closest you can get to actually immersing yourself with the tribal Dayaks as the longhouses were actually designed with tourists in mind.

James Brooke Dubbed as the “White Rajah”, this British industrialist gained the distinction of being the sultan of Sarawak during its colonial era. With Kuching as his seat of government, his vast empire extended up to the eastern part of Borneo. Structures identified with him are well-preserved and you can walk back in time retracing his footsteps. There’s a restaurant named after him at the river boardwalk, James Brooke Bistro, dotted by his photographs during his heydays. High tea or dinner is the most ideal time because of its intimate ambiance. Sarawak River Ancient civilizations blossomed near bodies of water. In Kuching, it is the meandering Sarawak River, which is inextricably linked


(opposite page)An Iban tribesman with a blowgun; Artists performing at the Rainforest World Music Festival. (clockwise) Tourists taking in the culture at Orang Ulu Longhouse; The Sarawak River regatta; The Melanau Longhouse at Sarawak Cultural Village; Local antiques and souvenirs can be a treasure trove for tourists; A tourist getting acquainted with an orangutan at the Semenggoh Wildlife Center.

in its evolution as a city. Stretching hundreds of kilometers into the heartland western Borneo’s jungles, the river provides a charming boardwalk for a lazy stroll, an afternoon tea or a relaxed dinner. Most of the tourist establishments and historic landmarks such as the Astana and Fort Margherita are located near the river banks, and offer a front row seat to the city's riverine way of life. Take an afternoon river cruise aboard the wooden boats to get a throwback feel of the good old days when the waterway was the city’s main artery. Come September, the river roars to life with dragon boats from various parts of the world competing in the Sarawak Regatta. Main Bazaar If you’re shopping for the all-important souvenirs and what-have-yous, this is the place to be. Composed of quaint stalls, these Chinese-style shop houses

have been given a new lease in life as souvenir stores and kopi tiam (coffee shops), exuding an old world ambiance without the commercial feel of the massive mall that we know. Using “adaptive reuse” architecture, the run-down houses outpaced by modernization have become key elements in Kuching’s urban renewal. Bako National Park Situated some 40 northeast of Kuching, this is another biodiversity hotspot with its lush tropical rainforest, proboscis monkeys, sandstone formations and rare flora, which include varieties of pitcher plants. Opened in 1957, it is the state’s pioneer national park and most-visited by tourists and naturalists for its sheer beauty. Its trail is perhaps the longest 800-meter walk you will encounter because of its challenging terrain which will bring you to sniffing distance of its endemic flowers, including Rafflesia, one of the world’s biggest.

Sarawak State Museum What’s a foreign trip without a visit to a museum? For a closer glimpse of Sarawak’s heritage and culture, a swing to the stately Sarawak State Museum is a must. Guarded by totem poles, which used to bear the deceased tribal leaders during the olden days, it is a splendid compendium of the cultural identity of the Sarawakan. Semenggoh Rehabilitation Center This is one “monkey business” you will surely enjoy as it takes you up close and personal to orangutans and other primates, especially during feeding hours. It serves as a halfway house for wild animals, which have been found, injured in the forests, orphaned, or kept illegally as pets. Since 1975, it has rehabilitated more than 1,000 endangered mammals, birds and reptiles and later returned to their natural habitat.

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Picks If you were to take a friend out to dinner in the Philippines, where would you take that person and what would you guys have? 1Lullie H. Salcedo Filipino Advertising Agency Executive

freshest seafood we can lay our hands on. I’ll have him sample our lobsters, crab, lapu-lapu and tuna.

I would try something off beat like hiring a private chef to sample him an exotic yet delightful Filipino spread. To complete the off beat experience, I would hire a pianist to serenade him with neoclassical pieces.

3 April Rose Reyes Filipino Technology Consultant

2Laarni Mae Valdez Filipino Banker/Dancer

I’d definitely take him out to one of the popular destinations here like Batanes, El Nido, Coron and maybe Boracay when it’s not too crowded, and we’ll have the

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If the person isn’t from the Philippines, I’ll definitely have us go to a restaurant serving the best Filipino cuisines. I’d get kare-kare (ox tail stew in peanut sauce) as one of the main dishes, along with maybe some bulalo (bone marrow soup). And if the person is a bit adventurous, we’ll go to some hole-in-the wall type joint and have street fare like isaw (grilled and skewered intestines).


MasterChef Asia judges take center stage at Expatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s very first Food Issue

Photo by Michael Browning

Also, get to learn about an offline app that serves as a comprehensive guide to your dining options in the metro, as well as the brilliant mind behind it; a Greek couple that has brought their fare across the shores; a Global Pinoy and her championing of Filipino cuisine; and allow restaurateur and sommelier Paolo Nesi to give you a peek into the realities of food and wine pairing.


Master Chefs Asia A Gustatory Odyssey Text by Timothy Jay Ibay Photographer: Daniel Tan Make up and Grooming: Hanna Pechon for Shu Uemura Hair Stylist: Jacky Pante of Jacky Pante Salon

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(L-R) Bruno Ménard, Audra Morrice and Susur Lee are the faces of MasterChef Asia.

Popular TV franchise MasterChef may put the onus of providing drama and theater on its contestants, but anyone who’s seen the show understands that it wouldn’t be what it is without its judges’ personas. As the show finally comes to the region with MasterChef Asia, get to know the three chefs at the helm of the show, and the curious blend of passion, flavors and dreams that’ll keep you tuning in.

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Since its first episode premiered back in 2010, MasterChef has captured people’s imagination the world over to become the world’s most popular culinary competition. And after branching out from the US to areas like the UK, Australia and even Morocco, the thrilling culinary face-offs now reach Asia with Lifetime’s production of MasterChef Asia recently airing its first episode.

Following the highly successful format of MasterChef, the show pits 15 home cooks from China, India, Taiwan, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines against each other in a riveting test of kitchen skills, imagination, character and will. “MasterChef Asia is the biggest original production we’ve ever undertaken on Lifetime Asia,” says A+E Networks Asia senior vice president for programming and production Michele Schofield. “There is a wonderful range of culinary creations made by the amateur cooks and a lot of moments have moved me to the edge of my seat. With the passion for food we have in Asia, we believe audiences will 76 | expat

love the show and root for their favorite contestants.” Main Ingredients But as proven a format as MasterChef may have, there is no doubt that the soul of the show rests on the personas of its judges, and perhaps more importantly, how those individual personalities play off each other. To mentor and judge the contestants, Lifetime brings together what the network calls “some of best culinary wunderkinds in the region.” They are Susur Lee – hailed as one of the “Ten Chefs of the Millennium” in 2000 by Food & Wine magazine, well as being multi-awarded genius; Michelinstarred Bruno Ménard, and former Masterchef Australia finalist Audra Morrice.

Lee brings an unmistakable culinary pedigree to the table—having taken his gastronomic journey as a 16-year-old apprentice at Hong Kong’s elegant Peninsula Hotel, to becoming a media sensation when he triumphed over 20 competitors on Top Chef Masters, to establishing a personal global brand. How Ménard fits in the scheme of the show, perhaps, is in the way he understands a thing or two about challenges. Ten years ago, Ménard took over as head chef from Jacques Borie at L’Osier – a renowned French restaurant in Tokyo’s upscale Ginza district. “First, everybody was looking at me like,


“Part of the ride is the opportunity to give back and help these guys take that next step in fulfilling their culinary dreams. - Audra Morrice

(opposite page) The MasterChef Asia judges with the home cooks from the Philippines at a mall event in Glorietta; The MasterChef Asia contestants are set to showcase the vibrant flavors of the region. (left) The home cooks unveiling one of their Mystery Box Challenges; (above)The MasterChef Asia pantry.

hopefuls home cooks into the kitchen and giving them the opportunity to realize their culinary dream,” Morrice tells Expat of how the show’s mission ties with her own goals; a manifestation in her life she’s seen first hand, transitioning from a buoyant telecommunications career to being at the helm of a successful catering service in Australia.

‘Show me,’ because I was the new guy in town,” Ménard recalls. “My challenge was to make sure that the restaurant was going to be full.” And suffice to say, he has succeeded in doing so, leading L’Osier to a three-star Michelin Guide rating (the top rating) every year since Michelin started rating Tokyo restaurants.

Morrice, for her part, brings a unique perspective to the judges’ table, having been on the other side three years ago, showcasing her skills all the way to the finals of 2012’s MasterChef Australia. That exposure has led to her realizing her dreams—now running a successful catering outfit, whilst also becoming a celebrity chef. “MasterChef has always been about taking

“It’s all about creating delicious food, showing us who they are, where they come from and most importantly where they want to go.” Experience Amalgamation Morrice alludes to an interesting aspect in MasterChef Asia. While there will always be human interest in people’s backgrounds, this rendition of the show evokes a sense of national pride.

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“What’s really exciting is that we are seeing some of the best home cooks in Asia and they are competing not just for themselves, but also for their countries.” -Susur Lee

“What’s really exciting is that we are seeing some of the best home cooks in Asia and they are competing not just for themselves, but also for their countries,” says Lee, who runs three restaurants (Lee, Bent and Luckee) in his hometown of Toronto, while also overseeing his prestigious TungLok Heen in Singapore’s Hotel Michael.

home appliances, one week stay at Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, as well as a paid internship at one of Carlton Hotel Singapore’s restaurants for winning MasterChef Asia is an exciting prospect for the contestants, being part of the show is likewise a rousing experience for the three judges.

and his grandfather a patissier.

And while the US$50,000 cash prize, US$10,000 worth of leisure experiences in Singapore, US$15,000 worth of Panasonic

“This is a new step in my career,” shares Ménard who comes from a family with a culinary heritage; his father a chocolatier

Lee, already long established in his culinary career, and also a current judge on Food Network Canada’s Chopped Canada, came

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“I’m able to share my expertise and passion for cooking with these home cooks, and inspire them with my experiences. If I can inspire at least one person to dedicate his or her life to cooking, I consider that as mission accomplished.”


If I can inspire at least one person to dedicate his or her life to cooking, I consider that as mission accomplished.” -Bruno Menard

Some episodic from the maiden season of MasterChef Asia. Tune in to Lifetime to find out who among the 15 home cooks will be crowned the very first MasterChef Asia.

away from taping the season with renewed vigor. “I have always loved judging competitions,” he shares. “It brings me back to being a young chef and having this fire within me to succeed at all cost. Not only that, I have learned so much from the contestants. They’re so creative and fearless and actually really inspiring. In fact, I was so inspired, I came back from judging and re-designed all of my menus at my Toronto restaurants!” Morrice, of course, has a slightly different take on being a “judge,” leaning more toward the mentoring part of the gig. “It’s incredibly exciting to be one of the three esteemed judges on the show,” she says. “We each take this role seriously in just guiding and mentoring contestants, but challenging them to see if this is truly what they want to do.”

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It’ll also be interesting to tune in to the show to discover the interplay of personalities between the MasterChef Asia judges.

“Part of the ride is the opportunity to give back and help these guys take that next step in fulfilling their culinary dreams. For me, it’s a huge step up in mentoring, and exactly where I want to be.” Asian Flavors on Center Stage And the show, with all the vibrant cuisines and flavors in Asia, is finally where it needs to be. Apart from the thrilling made-for-TV mystery box and team challenges, as well as the nerve-wracking pressure tests, the show brings to the forefront the rich and exotic qualities of the Asian fare. MasterChef Asia serves as an excellent avenue to explore the different culinary traditions of the region as each contestant takes on both new and wellloved dishes that’s certain to lead to exciting and delicious gustatory discoveries. “Lots of exciting, joyous, tearful and memorable moments,” Ménard shares of what to expect from MasterChef Asia. The diversity and quality of these home cooks make the show unique.” “These home cooks are serious and 80 | expat

passionate about their cooking and we have seen and tasted some really delicious and fantastic dishes. You are going to enjoy watching MasterChef Asia.”

be a home cook,” says Lee. “While I’m on this MasterChef Asia journey with the contestants, I have been reminded to never stop and never give up.”

Adds Morrice, “All I can say is the chemistry amongst the three judges is incredible. We bonded from day one and have become great friends.”

* MasterChef Asia airs on LIFETIME cable network, and is available on SKYCable Ch 65, Destiny Cable Ch 44 (Analog) and Ch 65 (Digital), and other select provincial channels. You can also catch up on full episodes online at at later dates.

“The contestants pushed themselves and pushed the boundaries of what it means to

Photo by Jan VaĹĄek


Booky creator Ben Wintle with Iza Calzado

No Connection? No Problem with Booky Text by Timothy Jay Ibay

For a country that fancies itself as the social media capital of the world, it’s absurd how the Philippines has one of the slowest Internet connections in Asia. And with upwards of 90 percent of mobile phone users being on prepaid plans, relying on mobile data for on-the-go information is almost out of the question for most people. Another thing the Philippines is known for is its affinity with dining out and trying the latest the culinary scene has to offer. These, coupled with the fore mentioned state of Internet connectivity, brings forth a very first world, albeit inconvenient problem: How are we supposed to scout for places to eat when data connection is so unreliable?

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Thankfully, Filipino-British Ben Wintle has, as popular parlance goes, an app for that. It’s called Booky—an offline phonebook of over 11,000 restaurants in Metro Manila (with a number in Tagaytay and Baguio also included). It’s straightforward, quick and easy to use. Just search for a restaurant (or even a general location) and Booky shows you the address, directions, phone number, menu and even Instagram photos that people have taken in that restaurant. It’s free to download. And did we mention it works offline? Wintle explains that the core concept was to model it after a phonebook of personal contacts, hence its user-friendly nature. A navigation feature brings up Waze or Google Maps, and if you’re stumped as to where to go, just type in something like “restaurants near Greenbelt” and Booky showers you with options. And to ensure that nothing new gets past you, whenever you’re connected to Wi-Fi, the app automatically updates its database in the background. It’s


All you need to know about the metro’s dining options, and you don’t even have to be online.

a godsend for foodies.

favor given that the app works offline.”

Expat got a chance to chat briefly with Wintle to talk about what’s next for Booky, and get to know a bit more about the man behind the app.

Wintle wasn’t always in the business of making the world a better place for foodies. The Hong Kong raised Fil-Brit moved to the UK for his university studies, then made another trek across the world to learn Mandarin in Beijing. He worked in the real estate sector of China until 2009 before deciding to take a break from it all.

“The first one and a half years of Booky was focused on growing the user base, which we succeeded in doing through word of mouth and a lot of hard work on our blog and social media,” Wintle shares of the project direction, also noting plans to expand Booky’s reach to restaurants in Cebu, Davao, Pampanga and even Jakarta by the end of 2016’s first quarter. “The restaurant industry is ballooning, so we feel that growth and monetization in this space should be our focus for the foreseeable future, Wintle says. “The next big milestone for us will be to launch Booky in Jakarta as the 3G there is worse than it is in Manila. Of course, this works in Booky’s

“I think my brother influenced me to get into tech,” Wintle shares of his career shift following his hiatus. “I liked the scalability and saw that the world was going mobile, so I thought it was a good move.” The move from Hong Kong to Manila was fueled by the need to find developers for his tech startup; the cost of labor and the vibe of the people convinced him to stay. “On a personal level, I enjoy the relaxed pace of life and checking out new parts of

the country,” says Wintle. On a career level, akin to my time focused on China between 2005-09, I feel there’s great opportunity to capitalize on the Philippine economy’s expansion. It certainly feels like the right place at the right time.” And while Wintle couldn’t recall an amusing anecdote from his stay in the Philippines, he does point out how particular quirks in Filipino’s use of the English language tickles him from time to time. “Filipinos still use a few English words that [I think] the American military left behind from the days of occupation. I don’t hear these words in the States or anywhere else any more. Words like ‘shucks,’ ‘ocular,’ ‘avail,’ and ‘pax’—the list goes on. I’d love to speak to anyone who can enlighten me on this topic! Meanwhile, I’m going to use Booky app to book a restaurant table for five pax and avail of the special discount. It almost sounds normal to me now.”

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Kali Orexi! Authentic Greek Food at Ble! Text by Ching Dee Photos courtesy by Yiannis Tryfillis

When Yiannis Tryfillis resigned from his job in 2013, he decided to stay in the Philippines with his wife Aysegul and kids Dimitra and Antonis. It was outside the highstakes environment of the corporate world that Yiannis had an epiphany. “In our years here, we noticed that there wasn’t any real Greek restaurant in Manila,” Yiannis shares with Expat. “With this in mind, armed with our love for food and our

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kitchen skills, we decided to open a Greek Restaurant.”

Avenue in BF Homes, Paranaque.

At first, the husband and wife combo started selling their Grecian creations in weekend markets and bazaars in order to test the crowd’s reception of their products.

“Ble was literally a hole in the wall with only three tables inside,” Yiannis recalls. “Thankfully, the place became popular and we felt that we should expand to satisfy the customers we could not accommodate.”

“The results were very encouraging,” says Yiannis, so they decided to open the first branch of Ble in May 2014 in Aguirre

Its expansion led to the opening of Ble+ on El Grande Avenue, the other main thoroughfare inside BF Homes.


“Authentic Greek fare so good -- it’s like being blessed by the gods.”

“Ble+ is the realization of our vision,” he says. “We converted a house to a Greek island house with its garden and all. Our restaurants offer authentic Greek cuisine. Most of our menu dishes are based on recipes [which have been] in my family for two or three generations. Everything is wholesome, made from scratch. We do not use any kind of enhancers, powders or MSG. We even make our own yogurt.” From their menu, Yiannis recommends the all-time classics like the Souvlaki, Moussaka, Ble’s Greek Salad, their Dip Platter, and lamb chops. With all this hard work being poured into Ble, the couple received overwhelming feedback from their guests. “People really appreciated the food and

the places became popular,” Yiannis says, with several accolades to back up his story. Aside from great food, people keep coming back for the family atmosphere and personalized yet professional service. “Me and my wife deal with everything,” Yiannis says. “We are completely hands on and you can see us cooking in the kitchen, waiting and cleaning up tables.” With the life of full-time and hands-on restaurateurs, Yiannis and his wife are thankful for having “a very good support team,” which lets them take a breather from their busy life from time to time. Despite the challenges of running an authentic Greek restaurant in the Philippines, Yiannis and Aysegul believe their efforts are worth it. “Ble is doing great,” Yiannis says. “We’ve

been awarded by Esquire magazine as one of the Best New Restaurants in 2015, our ratings on food critic sites like Looloo and Zomato are at least 4 out of 5 stars, famous food bloggers have written nice things for our food, [we’ve been] featured on TV shows.” With Ble doing so well, Yiannis hopes to enhance customer experience by organizing Greek-themed events. Another store—hopefully in Makati (Expat says YES!)—is also in their plans this year. Yiannis shares, “We look into enhancing the experience of our customers with events like Greek Symposium, where everyone—[at] a fixed price—can sit eat and drink as much as [they] can, ‘philosophizing with other customers.” And to all of Yiannis’ and Ble’s plans, we say “Opa!” and “Kali orexi!” (Bon appetit)

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The Perfect Match Expat columnist, restaurateur and “accidental sommelier” Paolo Nesi chows down on the elusiveness of the perfect food and wine pairing. Text by Paolo Nesi Photos by Jay Wennington, Viltor Hancek and Liz Grist

People these days are increasingly talking about the importance of food and wine pairing. Columnists write about it, bloggers show pictures of the best practice and wine connoisseurs organize events about it. Simply put, a perfect wine pairing is what makes the food and the wine taste better together than they would on their own. If we accept this argument, then why are restaurants not focusing more and more on the subject? How many times have you dined in a restaurant that have pre-selected suggestions of food and wine pairing on their menu; chances are, very few. Recently, I participated in a food and wine tasting for an upcoming event of a wine and food club. A young and very talented chef prepared a nine-course meal for five lucky 86 | expat

foodies disguised as the judging committee for the said event. The idea was that the chef wiould keep on feeding us with his creations and we would choose, from a wide range of wines available, the right match. As Justin (the talented chef) kept on dishing out decadent plates from the home kitchen of our host, we would try to remember why we were there and discuss the right pairing: “I think the light nature of the scallops are perfect for the Blanc de Blanc, but the creaminess of the sauce is better paired with the Napa Chardonnay that had a bit of sur-lie and wood ageing” says a colleague, “Paolo, what do you think”? I knew it was coming and I was trying to use the right words as to not be misunderstood. “I think we should just choose a couple of

SPECIALFEATURES wine of equal acidity. I tend to prefer the former, although it depends a lot on other ingredients in the dish that may have notes of umami or saltiness. Highly flavored – Food, such as Indian or Thai cuisine can have a quite complex and intense aroma and flavor. Just pair it with wines such as Gewurztraminer, or Auslese Riesling. Fatty – Fatty food goes well with acidic wines as the acidity tends to cut through the coating fattiness and refresh the palate, such as with Goat cheese and poached salmon. Hot (chili) – Spicy hot food pairs best with wines with low alcohol (although I know some colleagues actually enjoy it with high alcohol for a potent, burning effect), fruit forward and, possibly a bit of residual sugar.

Champagnes, a Blanc du Blancs and Vintage with generous dosage and predominantly Pinot Noir and cut to the chase!” My biggest problem with this statement is that you may sound as if the cuisine is not worthy of a more complex and diverse wine selection. Far from that, the dishes of Chef Justin all share a thing in common – they are never bold, they are never tiring and they are never simplistic or single minded; Chef Justin’s cuisine is elegant, multi-layered (Umami is almost always present in the dish), multi-ethnic, feminine and lusciously seductive. And I am convinced that we will hear positively of him in the near future. But lets face it, how much easier will it be to have just two wines to choose from rather than six, particularly when the dishes are very similar in aroma and flavor complexity, intensity and texture. Do not get me wrong, I am a believer of the perfect match and we all have some of the best pairings that we cherish, but let us also be fair, most wines go with most food and it is normally the food that affects the way the wine tastes rather than the other way around. I also organize one dinner a month where we taste six different wines with six different dishes, but I choose the wines first and then prepare a menu that will be the right companion to those wines. We also should remember that we all have different taste buds, sensitivities and tolerances that affect what we like and what we don’t. For example, somebody may like strong coffee without sugar, (tolerant taste buds, generally like bold, alcoholic and tannic wines) somebody else may prefer weak coffee with sugar and milk (very sensitive taste buds, generally like softer wines with

low tannins and low acidity). Emile Peynaud, one of the greatest French oenologists once said, “Every human taste buds are as unique as their fingerprints.” The Italian Sommelier Association, in line with the World Sommelier Association, pays a lot of attention to wine and food pairing. In fact, six months, or a third of the duration of the course, is about tasting food and wines in the classroom. And, while not discounting the method, I am keener to, generally, accept the easier approach of the WSET (Wines and Spirits Education Trust) as below:

Once again, this is based on general principle since any dish is normally composed of several of the above tastes, and the best match can only be made by knowing exactly what the dominant taste will be. Needless to say we would need to know the characteristics of the wine as well. How can you ever know what wine goes better with what food? Try, and then try again. Homework has never be so much fun! Cheers!

Sweet food – This is the simplest pairing; you just have to match with a wine that has the same amount of sweetness. Savory (Umami) food – Match with wines with low alcohol and low tannins. Salty – Salty food is the easiest to pair and goes with a wide array of wines from high tannins to high acidity and sparkle; a very simple and effective proof is Champagne and French fries! Acidic – Here, the two schools have different views. While the World Sommelier Association is suggesting to go with a wine with some residual sugar such as German Riesling, the WSET is suggesting to go with a

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It All Began with a Bowl of Laing Text by Angie Duarte Photos by Cathy Brown (2014 World Book Day), Matilda Johnson and Mandy Navasero

Meet multi-talented woman, Candice Macalino.Among her many passions is a stalwart dedication to journey down the road of Filipino food, and take others along for the ride.

Life has many avenues and paths (not to mention, more than a few junctions and crossroads) upon which we all travel: some of us journey down a tried and tested way; others choose to explore the road less traveled. Then there those who traverse a number of busy streets, wanting to take in the fullness of life. It is at a busy intersection – where a passion for performing arts, business, beauty and food converge – that you will find Candice Macalino. A bit random of a mix, you might say? Not for this dynamic, young Filipina-Canadian. Candice is an accomplished thespian, marketing professional at a Canadian cosmetology association, and self-confessed foodie-cum-chef and food blogger who is determined to take a big bite out of life, savoring every morsel along the way. Perhaps her strongest passion, however, lies in championing the joys of Filipino food to gastronomes the world over.

A hint of theatre, a touch of business, a dollop of culinary goodness

One of three siblings born in Singapore to parents of Filipino heritage, Candice called the Lion City ‘home” until the age of nine. At that point, a new job post took her father (who hails from Pampanga, a region in the Philippines steeped in culinary tradition) and the rest of the family to Vancouver, Canada. It was in Canada that Candice

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was exposed to the beauty of performing arts; specifically, piano, ballet and acting. Her love for these art forms propelled her to pursue a part-time career in acting, and she enjoyed a five-year stint appearing in movies, TV series and local theatre productions. Eventually, armed with her degree in Business Administration, majoring in Marketing and Communications from Simon Fraser University, Candice pursued a

career woman as a marketing professional at Beauty Council, Western Canada’s cosmetology association. Despite an already seemingly full plate, this go-getter chose to set out on yet another journey. Driven by her passion for life, a zeal for food, and a quest to make her heritage known, she maneuvered her way down the street of eats. And life, since then, has never been yummier.


(Opposite page) Candice Macalino, in the kitchen, doing one of the things she does best: cooking delicious Filipino dishes! This wok-full of healthy and fresh veggies is her Lean Green Stir Fry: kangkong (swamp cabbage or rover spInach), kale and broccoli; Candice and partner Jaeger (on left), enjoying some downtime with cousins in Sipocot, Camirines Sur.

The days of steamed rice and ice-cold calamansi juice

Candice’s love for all things food started at an early age. Like many other girls, she took her inspiration from her mom, who – despite her hectic work schedules – always found the time to whip up a delicious meal for the family. “My Mom has been and is one of my most revered self-taught cooks. After a long day at the office, she can whip up an amazing meal for a family of five, from leftovers and whatever is in the fridge and pantry. That takes skills!” Candice said. No stranger to the kitchen, the budding foodie would watch her mother at work and help out whenever she could. She recalled that in Singapore, she was tasked with “making the rice and the calamansi (a small tropical citrus fruit) juice from

scratch;” days long gone, but still looked upon with great fondness. “I remember every night having to cut 10 to 15 mini calamansi fruits in half, squeezing all I could out of them and trying my best to keep the seeds from falling into the pitcher, then adding cold water, maybe too much sugar and lots of ice. My Mom said I was the best at making it but think she just loved having a little helper in her kitchen,” she recollected.

Cutting the Apron Strings

Eventually, the calamansi-squeezing little girl grew to adulthood and found herself on Canadian soil, venturing out on her own. No longer tugging at Mommy’s apron strings, Candice had to fend for herself in the kitchen and she was determined to do so with culinary flair. She enrolled in classes at the Cookshop, Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts, The Dirty Apron and Northwest Culinary Academy in Vancouver, and, in 2009, took a threemonth culinary program in pastry arts at the

Institute of Culinary Education in NYC. “I loved it!” Candice enthused, when asked about her formal culinary training. “Apart from formal lessons, cooking does come naturally to me, perhaps because I enjoy the process and love entertaining family and friends with home cooked food,” she added When asked who she looks up to in the world of culinary greats, she cited Nigella Lawson and Ina Garten for their “relaxed and refreshing approach to cooking.”

The “Flip”-side of Food

Candice’s love for food has led her down a new road: one of self-discovery. Though born in Singapore and raised in Canada, her Filipino heritage is of great importance to her, and she constantly strives to learn more of it through discovering its delectable side. This passion has morphed into an advocacy of delicious proportions. Motivated by her desire to learn more about her heritage through food, she started “Candice’s Cusina,” a food blog, in 2010.

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A 2-week visit to the Philippines in 2014 gave Candice time to reconnect with her roots and culinary heritage. Here, she is seen exploring her dad’s coconut farm.

the process so I could later write out the recipe when I came home. We had so much fun cooking and she was so great on camera that I edited it and posted the videos on YouTube,” she shared, as she noted that the video has since garnered several thousand views. This legendary laing video fueled Candice’s longing to learn and share about the roots of her culinary ancestry. This enabled her to get in touch with her “natural affinity for cooking Filipino food.” Her dad’s sister likewise helped her learn more about the “Flip” (a colloquial term for Filipino) side of food, and catapulted her to a whole new avenue of food tripping. “Auntie Nas is also a self-taught cook who I admire. Some years ago when I visited her in Portland, Oregon, I asked if I could learn how to cook her famous Bicol Laing (a rich and creamy dish of dried taro leaves and coconut milk, usually with pork or shrimp) and Dinuguan (a savory stew of meat and offal) dishes. I ended up filming it on my iPhone as a way of quickly documenting

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“As I learn more about my heritage, I’m growing to love the Filipino culture and compare it to how Filipinos cook and entertain - friendly, festive, and colorful,” Candice pointed out.

Filipino food, anyone? Everyone?

Last year, this global Pinoy returned to the Philippines to revisit her roots, and continue her quest for Filipino eats: the well-loved, the unique, the exotic and indigenous. “I was in the Philippines in December 2014, for two weeks, and planning on going back again this December! I felt the trip needed to be at least one month to visit my relatives, tour around different places and of course try new dishes and eat, “ she enthused.

Candice reveals that her dream “is to bring more public awareness of the Philippines through a food lens.” To this end, she is currently working on an online Filipino cookbook, which she hopes to launch via her blog in the first half of 2016.

Delicious Drive and Dedication

With drive and dedication to the delicious side of her heritage, Candice continually strives for new ways to take her mission to the next level. “I look forward to someday producing and hosting a food a travel show to give viewers a rare and intimate look at Philippines’ unrivaled flavors, rich history, diverse culture and picturesque sites. Also, to continue to use my blog as an avenue of diplomacy and empowerment; raising not only an awareness of Filipino cuisine and culture, but also providing others the ability to cook Filipino food in their own homes.” As Candice travels down the highway of culinary exploits, she is determined to showcase the best of Filipino culture by way of its food; to bring all things Pinoy to the hearts of people through their stomachs, so to speak. It is a journey she is enjoying, and one she longs to take others on, as well; one lip-smacking bowl of laing at a time. (Follow Candice’s Filipino food adventures and learn some of her divine recipes on



The metro is inundated with places that invite you to get more than your fill with various “eat all you can” offerings. Read up on the company that pioneered what has now become a craze.

Also, take a gander at Expat’s short list of the top food blogs in the country, the most interesting food tours, a quirky mix of dining destinations and a group of moms and their artsy fun endeavors

Photo by Leon Ephraim


On Top of the Food Game Text by Angie Duarte Photos courtesy of FirstFoods

With a multitude of restaurants and dining establishments offering “eat all you can this,” and “eat all you can that,” get to know the food group that started it all.

was about. Most diners were already familiar with Villavicencio’s original brands, Kamayan and Saisaki – which had been around for some years before – and wanted to check out the newest addition to the food family. Plus, who doesn’t love a reward, by way of a good discount?

Have you ever wondered who started the buffet craze that has the nation in a seemingly unending state of hunger? Or, is that a perpetual state of gluttonous fullness? Perhaps we shouldn’t get caught up in this almost existential dilemma of gastronomic proportions.

Today, hundreds of thousands of clean plates and satisfied customers later, the Villavicencio family remains on top of the food game. What started out as the Triple-V Group has since been reincarnated as FirstFoods; with new brands and a new generation at the helm. This food-loving family continues to blaze a trail in the restaurant business, with no signs of ever slowing down.

Ask anyone who has been in Manila long enough, and they will quickly answer that it was Dads restaurant that birthed the buffet baby. That is, if they have their food facts straight. It’s true; the brand (now known as Dads World Buffet) opened in 1993 by entrepreneur, restaurateur, bonafide foodie, and King of the Clean Plate, Victor (Vic-Vic) Vargas Villavicencio, pioneered the “no leftovers, no sharing, reward for the buffet diner” phenomenon. With the introduction of that promotion, the craze kicked off: everyone and their neighbors, and their neighbors’ cousins twice removed, flocked to the nearest Dads to taste for themselves what the hullabaloo 92 | expat

Eruptions and Pioneers A passion for good food shared with good friends and family is perhaps what fueled the Villavicencios gusto for all things delicious. It began way back in 1977, with the eruption of Taal Volcano in Tagaytay. An unlikely origin story, you may say; but not for those with a pioneering spirit. The Villavicencio clan owned a resort (Villa Adelaida, which was near enough to the volcano) to which people flocked to watch the fallout of the eruption. The family served their guests Filipino favorites, best

enjoyed kamayan (eating with bare hands) style. Such was the reception to the yummy adventure, that Vic-Vic, together with his uncle Valentin (Tito) Eduque and his motherin-law Violeta Baltazar, opened the first Kamayan restaurant in 1979. They served delectable Filipino eats, in an Illustradohouse setting, with the gimmick of eating with bare hands, off banana fronds. It was an instant hit. Thus, the Triple V Group erupted onto the Manila dining scene. Saisaki, which sought to elevate the Japanese dining experience and bring the cuisine closer to the palates of Filipinos, came shortly after, in 1985. Dad said so! It was Dads restaurant, however, which most showcased the family’s knack for delicious innovation. “Our Dad, Vic-Vic, wanted to teach people


(Opposite page) Sambo Kojin’s theater kitchen and one of the spreads at Dads World Buffet; (this page, clockwise from top)Sushi to your heart’s content; Pajeon and Okonomiyaki; Takoyaki and Gyozai at Sambo Kojin; Saisaki Sushi Bar; Bokie Villavicencio and Pia V. Lago; twin siblings Cara V. Espinosa and Mara Villavicencio.

the value of money and not to waste food, so he introduced the concept of the clean plate, which gets you your buffet at half-price,” shared Mara B. Villavicencio, Managing Director and Brand Head of Dads World Buffet. “The main idea behind the name of Dads is that usually, your dad always tells you

Many others followed suit, after that; and this created a trend,” Pia V. Lago, Managing Director and EVP, said.

‘Finish your food! Clean your plate!’ That’s how the idea and the name came about,” Cara V. Espinosa , Managing Director, detailed. “When we were kids, we couldn’t leave the table until we finished our food.”

Buffet Boom The siblings credit the buffet boom to three things, mainly: the Filipino’s love for festivity (loaded with fun and food), a desire for value for money, and the social-cultural aspect of eating in salu-salo (sharing food, eating together) fashion.

This concept not only introduced Filipinos to the joys of the buffet (which prior to Dads was generally only available at hotels), but also to the idea of responsibly enjoying the buffet, instead of leaving food to go to waste.

“People choose the buffet concept for larger, more special occasions, in general. They get more variety, more value for money,” Pia said, as Cara pointed out a new trend in enjoying the buffet; one that is reflective of the salu-salo.

“I would like to think we are the pioneers of the buffet concept in Manila, especially when we created the no leftovers buffet.

“We’ve noticed now that some people ‘strategize’ the way they serve from the buffet – someone gets main dishes, another

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SPECIALFEATURES serves appetizers, someone else gets dessert, and then they create their own minibuffet at their table,” Cara detailed. “Filipinos generally like to celebrate with a lot of people and a lot of food. When you are celebrating with other people, you don’t really want to wait for your food – you wanna eat, and eat a lot; like a fiesta, enjoy together and bond together,” Mara interjected. Global Gustatory Goodness In keeping with this buffet boom, FirstFoods has taken their now iconic brands – Dads, Kamayan, and Saisaki, added an international culinary cast, and seamlessly merged these under one scrumptious umbrella: Dads World Buffet. With over 500 dishes (including desserts) from which to choose, the Dads World buffet experience is a gustatory adventure around the world. At once a delectable and educational journey, it is certainly a good way to increase your multicultural food smarts, ever-so scrumptiously. The group has also opened a new buffet concept, Sambo Kojin. Named for the threeheaded, six-armed Japanese Kitchen God who bears fire, watches over the household, and preserves the brotherhood, this newest brand is a smokeless yakiniku grill, which offers a palate-pleasing, mind-blowing array of Japanese and Korean specialties. Items like Ebi Tempura, Sukiyaki, Kamameshi Rice, Fish Nagisa, Gyoza, Tonkatsu, Tori Kuwayaki, and Tofu Steak have become bestselling favorites, but with a whopping 70 variants of sushi and over 200 dishes, in all, one can certainly binge on the most deliciously authentic Japanese and Korean eats. And – along with plans of expansion, in the near future – the menu is still growing. “We want to maintain the authentic Japanese and Korean dishes, but we also want to add some of our own creations,” revealed Bokie B. Villavicencio, Managing Director and Brand Head of Sambo Kojin, as he shared the brand’s upcoming introduction of menu offerings ”with a twist.” Staying on Top of the Game With all the new players in the buffet market, how has the Villavicencio family managed to stay on top of the game, after all these years? Well, this can most likely be credited to an inimitable ability to innovate, a serious commitment to quality, and a winning work ethic. No slackers in this family, mind you. Pia, Cara, Mara, and Bokie, for instance, have been immersed in the family business since before they hit the double-digit age. “Our dad trained us to work. He taught us that the company would not just be handed down to us; we had to work for it,” Cara said. “If there was no school, we would not get an allowance. So we all really wanted to work at the restaurant. We had time cards; we had everything that an employee had. And we enjoyed it!”

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(Clockwise from bottom)Sambo Kojin’s Bibimbop and Kamameshi Rice; various Chinese dishes at Dads World Buffet; Dads Ham; Robatayaki at Sambo Kojin; Dads Kiddie Corner; Dads Roast Turkey; Sambo Kojin’s Korean Rolls.

And so it goes on: this baton is already being passed to the next generation; to their own sons and daughters, nieces and nephews. It is a common sight to see “employees” as young as five years old working two hour shifts at Sambo Kojin’s dessert counter, for instance. And diners love it; delighting in the cuteness of it all. These factors just about guarantee the staying power of the family that pioneered the belly-busting buffet bonanza. And generations of foodies to come will thank them for it. For store locations and more information on Dads World Buffet, please visit For store locations and more information on Sambo Kojin, please visit


Blogosphere: A World for Foodies Text by Timothy Jay Ibay and Via Baroma Photos by Tsinoy Foodies

In this country, a Google search for hole-in-the-walls, restaurants and just about any food joint will lead to search results comprised mostly of food blogs. In a little over a decade of their existence, they’ve become the digital authority on the matter. In this Food Issue of Expat, we list down some of the more prominent blogs on the Interwebs that’s sure to give you the low down on what you’re about to bite into next. Our Awesome Planet Electronic Communications Engineer Anton Diaz is the voice behind Our Awesome Planet, one of the premier food blogs in the country. Birthing the online space 10 years ago as a way to document his parenting history as well as his son’s childhood, Our Awesome Planet has progressed into one that has prophesized food crazes, and unearthed travel destinations and various other spots that, as they say, became #trending. Presently, is the No. 1 food and travel blog in the country with close to a million hits a month. Diaz aims to promote the Philippines’ food and travel secrets, as well as to instill pride in Filipinos for living in such an awesome place. For more information about Our Awesome Planet, visit or drop an email at

(clockwise) Sisig ni Cabesang Tales of Pia Y Damaso; Smoked BBQ Mango Pork of Pia Y Damaso; Pear-Glazed Ham of Cafe Ilangilang; Roasted Pork Rack with barbecue sauce “Mongolian Style” of Xin Tian Di

Pinas Muna Tsinoy Foodies A term for Chinese-Filipino, “Tsinoy” Foodies hope to serve as a guide to finding the best food discoveries and best dining spots around the country. Stacy, the main voice being the blog, brings to the blogosphere her cultural mix and translates that into posts that inspire the appreciation for different cuisines, flavors and tastes. “I would like to encourage our expat readers to explore more,” shares Stacy. “There are so many food places to uncover wherever you go. In the Philippines, each region has their own specialty dishes. And, to make it even more diverse, each household has their own heirloom rendition of those dishes.” For more information about Tsinoy Foodies, visit or drop an email at, follow them on Facebook tsinoyfoodies and @tsinoyfoodies on Twitter and Instagram.

“Pinas Muna” is an expression that roughly translates to “Philippines First,” which reflects the creators’ advocacy to urge Filipinos to put their love for the country above all else. What started as mainly a travel blog has grown to become one of the Philippines’’ most visited food blogs. “Last November, we finally visited all 81 Philippine provinces, a milestone that we are very proud of,” shares Pinas Muna editor and content manager Ramil Delos Reyes. “But we realized that there is really more to the Philippines than just visiting all its provinces, or even perhaps all its 7,107 islands.” And it is this realization that is reflected in Pinas Muna’s posts that feature the mash up of these islands’ beautiful landscapes, heritage, culture, festivals and delightful culinary treasures. For more information about Pinas Muna, visit or follow them on Facebook and @pinasmuna on Twitter and Instagram, or drop an email at expat | 95


Of Culture, Heritage, History and Downright Good Grub You can have a friend show you around, you can explore the streets on your own, you can even go on a Google trip to find out which spots to hit. There are many ways to get to know the city you’re in. But if you want a comprehensive tour peppered with information, these tours around the metro will surely take care of your fix. Text by Timothy Jay Ibay and Via Baroma

Be it culture, heritage and history, or the always eagerly-anticipated culinary trip Old Manila Walks, Culture Shock PH and Jeepney Tours promise to satisfy both your wanderer’s craving, as well as your palate. Old Manila Walks Created in 2005, Old Manila Walks was a result of Ivan Man Dy’s experience as a museum volunteer at Bahay Tsinoy Museum in Intramuros. His aim was to take it to the next level by conducting tours around what he considers the biggest museum of all— Manila. The people behind Old Manila Walks claim to be “an eclectic and fun loving bunch” who believe that the best way to experience Manila is on foot. To date, they claim to have led “thousands of happy and hungry stomping hordes” on a walk through the Philippine Capital’s most historic quarters that include the walled city of Intramuros, Chinatown (Binondo), Malacanang Palace, the Chinese Cemetery and Corregidor Island. “If you’re the type of traveler that fancies colonial ruins, hidden temples, wet markets, traditional shops, city walls, food alleys, unofficial history and witty humor, then we

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(clockwise) Old Manila walks’ Binondo food WOK; Pampanga’s local keeper generously shares and demonstrates how their family-handed down recipes are made during Culture Shock PH’s tour; Seafood kare-kare Bale Dutung as seen onJeepney Tour’s Pampanga culinary tour.

believe you’ll have fun walking with us,” says Old Manila Walks.

* To get in touch with Culture Shock PH and for more information, visit

* For more information, contact (02) 7113823 and look for Ivan or Cherry, or visit

Jeepney Tours You can’t say that you’ve been to the Philippines if you haven’t ridden the cultural paradox that is the jeepney. And while it may not be preferable to ride through the streets of Metro Manila aboard the former American military vehicle on a daily basis, discovering the many wonders of the city inside a custombuilt, air-conditioned jumbo jeepney makes for a wonderful exception.

Culture Shock PH They fancy themselves as a group that’s united by their love for travel and discovery, and passion for the Philippines. These have led them to design unique experiences that bring their stories and those of the country’s destinations to life. Unlike the Old Manila Walks, Culture Shock PH’s tours go outside and beyond Metro Manila, with organized tours spanning most of the archipelago. There’s a tour in the sunning Lake Sebu in South Cotabato, Mindanao; one in the mountain provinces of Banaue and Sagada north of Luzon; and a Taal Heritage Town Tour to choose from, among a slew of other inventive and exciting tours. And when it comes to food trips, Culture Shock PH does not disappoint as well. With tours plying the off beaten dining spots in places like Makati and San Juan City, the gastronomic urges are not left wanting.

They offer the standard Manila and Intramuros tours for a taste of culture, heritage and history, as well as adventure tours for the spirited souls in places and activities like Mt. Pinatubo (trekking), Lahar Safari Adventure, and the Taal Volcano Tour. But with this being a food issue, you’d be pleased to know that culinary tours of gastronome hotspots Binondo and Pampanga, as well as Filipino Cooking Tours at the Center for Culinary Arts where you get to witness cooking demos from renowned local chefs, which include culinary lessons as well. * For more information, contact (02) 9946636, email, or visit


Grub Band: A Sampling of Food Communities Text by Timothy Jay Ibay and Via Baroma Photos by Via Baroma and Santis Delicatessen

The country’s dining scene continues to balloon. Just about anywhere you go, you’re bound to be met by a plethora of flavors just waiting to be sampled. But in case you haven’t gotten acquainted with them yet, here are some food communities you ought to try. Capitol Commons 2013 saw Capitol Commons in Pasig City emerge as another major player in the Metro Manila dining scene, with a bevy of cuisines and ambiances to suit any preference. Combining an elegant and refined interior design with its modern Filipino cuisines, Sentro 1771 offers a culinary experience that, as they say, is at once familiar, yet exciting. Sample specials like their Sinigang na Corned Beef, Rated GG, Lam Caldereta, Keso Flan for a global perspective on local flavor. Nomama Artisanal Ramen’s subdued ambiance masks the vitality of their renowned Japanese-inspired fare. From tuna steaks, to ramen, to their Kitayama Wagyu Beef Cheek with Miso, there’s no going wrong when grubbing at Nomama. Tipsy Pig Gastropub has created a buzz with its signature brews, extensive liquor selection and downright good food. Among the favorite grub are the Boneless Crispy Pata, Flaming Wings Vineyard Pizza and Beer Can Chicken. There’s also Santis Delicatessen—a restaurant showcasing gourmet products from around the world, which include their best-selling European sausages, cold cuts, prime meats and a wide selection of wine brands. Capitol Commons is located along Shaw Boulevard, Pasig City Little Tokyo The environs of Little Tokyo in Pasong Tamo aren’t exactly what come to mind when you think of Makati. But once you step in, there’s an unmistakable sense of authenticity to the rustic compound of Japanese fare that make it an alluring dining destination.

(above) Santis Delicatessen Capital Common showcasing world class gourmet products; (left) Little Tokyo offers a taste of home for Japanese Community

Satisfy your sweet craving in this partgrocery store and part-restaurant, Choto Stop serves, among others, bento meals, flavored ice scones, ice creams, cold or hot soba and ramen choices. Experience Takoyaki (fried Japanese octopus dumplings) and Kakigori (equivalent to our halo-halo) at its best at Ha Na, while Okonomiyaki, a Japanese pancake is best served at Kagura. Seryna is popular for its sushi (some swear to be the best in Little Tokyo) and sashimi menu. Their Kaisen Gozen, a two-layer box of twelve kinds of sashimi served with rice is a definite must-try. Little Tokyo is located at 2277 Chino Roces Avenue cor. Amorsolo Street, Lesgazpi Village, Makati Ketchup A food community in Baguio, Ketchup has working for it the inviting vibe of being in the City of Pines coupled with truly affordable grub. Perhaps, the most popular of Ketchup’s five dining joints, Canto has been a go-to spot for comfort food with its BBQ lomo, ribs, burgers and pizza. Green Pepper offers intercontinental gourmet fare, and is best known for its sandwiches, salads, pastas and steaks. The vibrant flavors of Happy Tummy

boast of Thai-inspired treats like noodles, soups, veggies, pad thai, sate and chicken wrapped in pandan leaves. Exotic local fare can be found at Rancho Norte with their signature dishes like Tapang Usa (dried deer meat), Tapang Baboy Ramo (wild boar) and Tapang Kabayo (horse meat). For those looking for spicy Asian cuisine, Rumah Sate, an Indonesian-Malaysian restaurant, offers its take on skewers, sate and nasi goring. Ketchup is located along Romula Drive near Wright Park, Baguio City

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BentoMommas: Tasty Creativity In A Box Text by Ching Dee Photos courtesy of The Bento Mommas

Kids have a logic of their own, oftentimes beyond a mere mortal’s understanding. From playtime to study time, they have their own set of convictions they tend to share through tantrums. And don’t even get me started on mealtime. I know the struggle is real. But apparently, it doesn’t have to be a struggle. Just ask the women behind BentoMommas—the latest food sensation to sweep the metro. Mommas on A Mission The ladies of BentoMommas are April Lim, Kaye Sy-Catral, Mia Montalvan-Castrillo, Monet Aquino, and Olive Ignacio, “all of whom share a passion for bento-making,” said Monet. “We all met through a parenting e-group 10 years ago, and kept in touch through occasional meet-ups and social media updates,” Monet tells Expat. “What has kept us close even if our exchanges were few and far between was our common love for all things creative. Bento-making was a natural progression of our interest.” This shared passion gave birth to BentoMommas in August 2013, which started as a Facebook group where they share

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bento-making tips and ideas. Today, their official Facebook page has over 13,000 subscribers and they’re Instagram (@thebentomommas) followers are just a little shy of 10,000. They’ve also been featured on several magazines and TV programs. Real Life Mommas Aside from running BentoMommas, they are also full-time moms with full-time (office) jobs. April is a mother to two boys, Austin (17) and David (8). She’s a full-time human resources manager by day and a BentoMomma at night – and in


“Thinking inside the box -- or what’s going inside the box -- gave the Bento Mommas more reasons to encourage kids to eat healthier meals while fueling their imagination.”

the wee hours of the morning. Kaye, who has been making bentos the longest in the group, is a mom to two kids, Alexa (13) and Riley (6), along with six pets. She is a full-time marketing manager. All the way from Cagayan de Oro is Mia, a full-time mother of four (gasp!) girls: Nadine (13), Raya (11), Alyssa (6), and Cerise (4). She’s also a writer and a scrapbooking enthusiast. Monet is Nino’s (11) doting mom and a public relations practitioner. She tried out bento-making in 2010 as a temporary fix to her son’s poor appetite. Olive is a mother of two kids, Patricia (23) and Inigo (10). She works as a Home Health nurse in the United States. With such busy lives, how do they juggle their full-time work, their family, and BentoMommas?

April shares, “For my part, BentoMommas time comes during office break time and when I get home. My task is to process orders made online and make sure they are paid before I send them to Kaye for shipping. I also involve my husband and kids in this hobby so that makes it sort of family time for us, too.” “We usually wake up really early—around 4 or 5 a.m.—to prepare the bento of the day,” Monet says. “Each bento is based on a menu we plan and shop for at the beginning of the week. We also do some of the designing, cutting, and carving the night before.” Mommas > Challenges If there’s anyone who can surely find a way to make anything work, they’re our moms. And just like any endeavor, some things don’t usually go as planned. What kind of challenges do the BentoMommas encounter? “The biggest challenge is making sure it doesn’t interfere with our day jobs,” April

points out. Monet shares they consider themselves lucky because their respective roles in BentoMommas are very close to what they do for their day jobs. “April handles inventory management; Kaye develops our recipes and is our main teacher; Mia and Olive handle purchasing, and Monet handles communication and social media. Thus, the adjustment in tasks was very minimal.” Distance could also be tricky at times. With two of them working overseas, these mommas are thankful for the advent of technology, which makes communication as easy as simply clicking a button. Another challenge for the BentoMommas is encouraging kids to try different types of food. April shares her technique with her kids: “Our deal was he should try everything at least once just to know the taste.” This deal worked out so well that now; her eldest son is open to trying out different types of food, even exotic fare like fried insects and

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The ladies view challenges not as a setback, but as an opportunity to step up their game. In fact, they enjoy making bentos so much they find it almost therapeutic. “We have come to realize that if you really love what you are doing, you will always find enjoyment and fulfillment. While the task seems a bit overwhelming and timeconsuming, to us it’s actually a great way to de-stress,” Monet said. Bento Crafting Most of us have seen images of picture perfect bentos, but what does it take to make one? Monet and April share how their kids give them tons of ideas for bento-making—from their favorite cartoon characters to superheroes to even academic subjects. With their kids getting involved in their creative process, making bentos became a family activity as well. Their families also come to mind when thinking of ingredients for the next bento box. “First thing I consider is if I will be using something my son will actually eat,” April shares. “Bento meals need not be expensive, says the Bento Mommas. Some kitchen staples can easily be turned into bento meals with the help of your imagination.”

rare seafood. “Those who are new to bento-making may think this is an expensive and timeconsuming hobby. But bento-making need not be expensive nor overwhelming,” Monet said. “The most important tools come dirt cheap—free, in fact. They’re called imagination, creativity, and a sense of humor.” Monet explains one can make a good bento with things most people already have in their kitchen, like spill-proof containers, colorful food organizers, cookie cutters, a few knick-knacks, and even last night’s leftovers. Monet says, “We advocate food economics and usually just set aside a portion of our previous meals (a.k.a. leftovers) for our kids’ bento or baon. That [leftover] savory adobo can just be the star of your child’s lunchbox the next day!”

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Monet also explains each bento is planned carefully so it comes complete with the three food groups. This means each bento box contains a portion of “Go” foods like rice and bread; a portion of protein-rich “Grow” foods like egg, cheese, or white/red meat; and two portions of “Glow” foods like fruits and vegetables. With thoughtful planning and tedious prep work going into every bento box, the BentoMommas also draw inspiration from their followers. “What has also helped us sustain the steady stream of bento ideas is our weekly themed bento challenges for the Bento Mommas online community: Bento PH,” Monet said. Check out photos of their weekly themed bentos on Instagram by searching for the hashtags: #bentomommas, #bentoph, #inbentors. Fulfilling Lives by Filling Tummies Monet tells Expat, “We see this engagement not as an enterprise but as a “movement,” which aims to promote healthy and balanced food choices for kids in the Philippines.” “The most fulfilling part is seeing your child eating more nutritious food,” April said. “I’m happy when I see them pick veggies and fish over meat or fried food.” Monet ends, “The greatest incentive of this hobby is seeing our child’s empty lunchboxes at the end of each school day. Our hobby has also become a great opportunity for us to grow closer, to work well as a team, and to meet new people who share the same interest and passion as ours.”


Get fit while eating healthier with the tailored gourmet meals of Sexy Chef; read up on the historical relationship between art and food; and get the inside story behind the man and his venture in providing the metro with the best watering holes.

Photo by Markus Spiske


Sexy Chef sisters Rachel Alejandro and Barni Alehandro-Renneback.

The Fit, The Fab, and The Sexy Chef

Text by Ching Dee Photos courtesy of The Sexy Chef

Here’s the thing: If healthy food tasted great, everybody would be eating healthier meals everyday. Admit it, the real struggle when it comes to losing weight or staying fit is finding tasty food that’s actually good for your body too. Thanks to the thriving healthy food delivery industry, gone are the days of having to choose between a scrumptious dinner and a pile of flavorless goop. And who better to tell Expat about the humble beginnings of this food scene other than the pioneers: The Sexy Chef.

Where the yum began

Sisters Rachel Alejandro and Chef Barni Alejandro-Rennebeck started The Sexy Chef

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in 2004 in their grandmother’s kitchen as a way for Rachel to stay fit. “We began The Sexy Chef in 2004 to help me stay in shape,” Rachel recalled. “My sister Barni… started cooking my favorite meals made healthier. They were so good that I wanted everyone else to have a taste.” Barni adds, “Being a celebrity, [Rachel] always needs to look her best. I started cooking South Beach Diet meals for her… It was Rachel who came up with the idea to make it a business.” “I figured that if healthy eating was as easy as having nutritious and delicious meals delivered to you everyday, then sticking to a diet would be less of a hardship. That’s what really inspired us to make it into a business,” Rachel said.

With the desire to share Barni’s healthy and tasty food, they decided to venture into business together.

The rocky road to success

Just like any business -- especially with family members -- the sisters encountered a few speed bumps along the way. “One of the challenges is to create meals that are delivery-friendly,” Rachel tells Expat. “Not all ingredients can withstand the hot weather [in the Philippines.] Barni, who creates all the recipes, always has to do a lot of research.” “We also encountered problems with deliveries in the past. It’s very difficult to find reliable riders. We needed to come up with backup plans just in case one of our riders didn’t show up,” Barni shares.


“Healthy has never tasted this good.”

Aside from logistics, the sisters—just like many start-ups—encountered internal problems when it comes to running a business. “The most challenging part of the business is learning about the accounting side and computing food costs,” Barni starts. “Rachel and I are not numbers-oriented people… We are lucky that we were able to open The Sexy Chef without a proper business plan.” Barni adds, “We also learned the importance of having updated financial statements. Without it, you are running the business blind.” This epiphany moved the Alejandro duo to hire a reputable accounting firm to handle their finances to get a better picture of their business.

The sweet flattery of imitation

People say that imitation is the best form of flattery. Perhaps the same is even more true in the business world. “I guess the biggest challenge we have faced is the fact that more than 20 other companies have now followed and even copied our business model to some degree,” Rachel pointed out, saying that the rise in competition has affected their sales in the past two years.

True enough, all one has to do is log in to Facebook or Instagram to check out the numerous healthy food delivery providers available nowadays. From pre-packaged meals to juice diets, the market for healthy food services seems to be growing larger by the day. But this doesn’t faze the dynamic duo. The Sexy Chef continues to be Manila’s top diet and health food delivery service because we have never sacrificed quality nor our standards for what is truly healthy Rachel added.

With the exponential increase in competition, what sets The Sexy Chef apart? “We offer more diet programs and packages compared to other diet food delivery companies,” Barni said. “We believe that it’s not a ‘one size fits all’ [scenario] when it comes to losing weight. We are known for being able to cater to all of our clients’ different dietary needs.” Rachel adds that The Sexy Chef is “a one-stop shop for weight loss programs

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and nutritious meals” for people with various goals, whether it’s for losing weight, staying fit, or slimming down their tummies. “Other providers may claim that their meals only total 1,200 calories per day. While that could be true, all one has to do is check their ingredients to see the difference,” Rachel explains. “Calories are not created equal.” “Also, our food contains fat-fighting nutrients that help boost the metabolism and prevent the storage of fat. We also do not serve hotdogs and packaged food in our diet plans unlike most diet delivery companies out there,” adds Barni.

The Cream of the Crop

The Sexy Chef also takes pride in their reputable partners who are the cream of the crop when it comes to diet and nutrition. “We are the only health food company that delivers... a tummy-trimming juice that was created by Nadine Tengco, US-certified fitness nutritionist and resident food coach of ‘The Biggest Loser Philippines.’ The country’s biggest celebs

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trust her to keep them slim,” Rachel says. Both Rachel and Barni keep their eyes and ears peeled for the latest food and diet trends to make sure that The Sexy Chef has the latest offerings. “What is considered healthy keeps changing over the years. We align ourselves with the best, most knowledgeable people such as our long-time partner Nadine Tengco,” Rachel says. “We also have an in house nutritionist, Ms. Stephanie Dorosan, who reviews my menus and computes the nutritional values and calories of each item,” Barni shares. “We support other health food businesses and regularly get them to supply us with their products,” Rachel added, pointing out that The Sexy Chef food team—led by Barni—loves using locally produced ingredients.

Balancing Flavors

Most people will say do not go into business with family or good friends lest you want to lose them forever. But the Alejandro sisters prove that with hard work and communication, success is just like a good meal: the perfect balance of flavors.

“The best and worst part about the business is working with family,” Rachel tells Expat. “Barni and I are very different in personality and we don’t see eye to eye over many things. But at the end of the day, we share the same passion for good food.” For Chef Barni, using her culinary gift to make people’s lives better makes all the effort worth it. “The best part is being able to help people achieve their weight loss goals,” Barni says. “I love it when my clients write to me and tell me how much they enjoyed the food.” Rachel ends, “I invested in my sister’s talent and the biggest reward for me is to see her grow into the fantastic chef she has become… We are both working toward the same goals for our company.” The Sexy Chef has two cookbooks available in major bookstores, “The Sexy Chef Cookbook” and “Eat Clean Love.” They also have their own TV cooking show on the Colours channel on Cignal Digital TV. For more information about The Sexy Chef meal plans and packages, visit www.


Drinks on Me! Text by Raj Sadwhani

Meet the successful businessman who says that he does not really consider himself an expat, despite being East Indian by lineage, and having spent many years away from the Philippines. Rajan “Raj” Sadwhani calls these parts of the globe “home,” and has firmly established himself in the dynamic and ever-growing business of brewing.

First off, I don’t really consider myself an expat, as my parents and I grew up in the Philippines. When I moved back to the Philippines from Boston I handled the wines and spirits department in a Duty Free retail store. That’s what started my exposure into F&B. I have been involved in the selling of alcoholic beverages from the time I started working and I have never diversified from this core. I started drinking beer in my early teens but when I moved to the States for college, that’s when I really got exposed to different styles of beer from all over the world. After I moved back here and came up with the concept for The Distillery concept it was really intended to get consumers to try new products that they had never tasted before. The second floor was a tasting lounge that focused heavily on single malt whiskies. The ground floor was a retail area where you could also have a drink and we carried about 50 different brands of beer. The beer category really took off because of The Distillery. We could see our customers’ amazement to try such a wide and diverse beer selection. Because of the success of our beers in Distillery, I got the idea to do Draft Gastropub, which would be the first outlet to serve imported draft beer in the country. I met Chef Carlo Miguel thru Erik Cua and we quickly began the discussions about our menu. Carlo grew up in Australia and he completely understood the high-end gastropub food I was looking for. Other partners were selected and Draft was launched. It very quickly turned into a great success. Several concepts followed after like Imperial Ice Bar and Black Olive.  Our latest venture is The Brewery. So many

things fell into place in order to make this possible. Meeting the right people was probably the biggest part, as was securing a location where we could build the unit from the ground up. So much research on what is the best brewing equipment and finding the best ingredients. Since our company has been in the business of importing beer from Europe for several years we kind of knew where to start looking for the answers to these questions. We traveled so much to several microbreweries and went to visit all sorts of different suppliers. Our goal was really to brew the best beer and build something very impressive that had never before been done in the Philippines. When we started brewing our beers we wanted to start with some of the classics. So we decided to brew a Pilsner that would be very refreshing clean and crisp and a Hefeweizen that taste Bavarian in style with fruity and banana notes and flavours. Our brown ale would be very easy to drink and would be like an introduction for people to start getting acquainted with darker and fuller flavored beer.  All are extremely delicious and very drinkable. We also decided to brew an American style IPA. Which is robust in flavour and extremely floral and hoppy and is now one of the most popular craft beer styles sold in the United States. After we got the classics down we decided to incorporate some local ingredients and we came up with a Honey Beer using honey from Palawan and a ginger beer using local ginger.  With great beer we needed great food and Carlo came up with a menu that worked

extremely well the beer we created. The one thing so special about having your own brewery and you own kitchen is the ability you have to match, tweak and adjust both the beer and food to attain a perfect combination. Our Sisilog is made using a calamansi and toyo foam and the citrus notes go perfectly with our crisp Pilsner, for instance. Another perfect match is the Seafood Cioppino and Hefeweizenn – we actually use the beer as one of the ingredients in this dish. At the brewery we decided to use popular local artist that performed live on site as our entertainment. This type of music goes very well with the local craft beer drinking community and it also brings in people who have never tried high quality beers thru our doors. The bands are handpicked by Filipino rock legend Rico Blanco. The music is top notch and we are very impressed with the talent of our local bands.  All of these aspects work together to further my desire to share the knowledge of the intricacies and artistry involved in brewing beer, somehow elevating the beer drinking experience in the country. Cheers!

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The Adoration of Survivalâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Basic Ingredient Text by Henry Bateman

Lascaux Cave Paintings

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The clink of cutlery on crockery is a sound that has accompanied the nourishment of artists in both their physical well-being and the production of their work. From the shopping lists depicted upon cave walls to the flavor of the month cooking shows on television, food has been an inspiration for the visual arts and consequently a running commentary on its place, presentation and popularity within society. From the earliest of times, when our ancestors were clad in animal skins the depictions they carved and drew upon rock surfaces more often than not were of animals that were good to eat. From the bison, deer and goats form the southern French caves at Lascaux to the kangaroos and goannas of the Australian aborigine’s dreaming consumable animals feature heavily.

Expat contributor Henry Bateman provides a historical look into the relationship between food and art, and how it has persisted with the times.

As the University of Cantabria historian Cesar Gonzalez Sainz has remarked “Among the animals, the basis of Paleolithic art, bovines - bison and wild aurochs -, horses, deer and reindeer, goats and chamois are the principal figures. In other words, the animals which were most commonly hunted and consumed.” Whether the depictions were a plea for a bountiful hunt or just a shopping list of what’s available is difficult to distinguish 40,000 years later, but as technology increased, so too did the proliferation of the art and its subject matters. The ancient Greeks are generally credited with inventing the still life genre in art and within it they included food; a lush bounty often depicted with a high degree of sophistication. Like the fifth century BC artist Zeuxis who has been reported to have “painted grapes which were so realistically reproduced that birds would try to pilfer them.” The still life genre with food as its primary subject matter has been a constant over the centuries with its heyday being in the 15th to 17th centuries of Europe’s Baroque period. Many of the works produced were metaphors of religious and economic significance in general and the social status of the commissioning patron in particular; the more abundant the table’s fare the higher the reckoning of its owner. Amongst whom the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II could be counted. In 1590, he commissioned the Renaissance painter Giuseppe Arcimboldo, who several centuries later would be dubbed the grandfather of surrealism, to paint his portrait. Fortunately for Arcimboldo the Emperor had a sense of humor for rather than the usual flattering portrait of his patron the Emperor was depicted as a heap of fruits and vegetables.

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For the duration of his career Arcimboldo made many paintings featuring food stuffs rendered as portraits which included a series of self-portraits entitled “The Four Seasons.” These paintings restricted their content to the produce available during the season they represented. Arguably his best known paintings, they are among the most popular works on display at the world’s most visited museum – the Louvre in Paris. The popularity of food as subject matter in art for both artists and their audiences has continued unabated up to the present day with its attendant commentary on societal change. One of the best known and defining works of the 20th Century is Andy Warhol’s “Campbell’s Soup Cans” about which he is reported to have said “I used to drink it. I used to have the same lunch every day, for 20 years, I guess, the same thing over and over again.” Concurrent with pop art movement, of which Warhol was one of its best known exponents, conceptual art started to really gain traction. Introduced several decades earlier by the French/American artist Marcel Duchamp, conceptual art’s happenings and performance art pieces gained increasing popularity with artists in line with the increasing ease of documenting the events with video being particular favourite. With similarities between the kitchen and the artist’s studio far outweighing their differences, food quickly became the medium as well as the subject. And in so doing the boundaries between gallery and restaurant have become blurred with the visual impact of what arrives at the table being as important as its taste. The popularity of this marriage was recognized and soon picked up by the main stream media with a plethora of cooking shows gracing televisions around the world. From the competitive reality show franchise (Top) Giuseppe Arcimboldo - Portrait of Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II c 1590, photo courtesy of Louvre Museum, Paris. (Left) Andy Warhol - Campbells Soup Cans c 1962, photo courtesy of Museum of Modern Art, New York.

of Master Chef, which has been aired in over 40 countries, to Jamie Oliver’s Naked Chef series of cooking shows that encouraged men to enter the kitchen, food as both the medium and the subject has turned the kitchen and the artist’s studio into one entity. Whilst animals like people cannot survive without food they have no need of art. It is the luxurious indulgence of the naked ape and as such as technological advances improve our quality of life so too will we find new ways to cherish that most basic ingredient of survival.

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Photo by Anders Jilden


SG50: Singapore Celebrates Its Success and Independence Text and photos by Via Baroma


Singapore showcased its country’s achievements when its embassy in Manila held a cocktail party in celebration of the 50th National Day of Singapore. Dubbed #SG50 and held at the Raffles and Fairmont Hotel, it was a well-attended event with the embassy’s friends from the diplomatic, economic, political, and various other fields gathering for the auspicious event. The ceremonial toast was led by Singaporean Ambassador Kok Li Peng, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario and Apostolic Guiseppe Pinto. During the Ambassador’s address, she outlined Singapore’s economic progress and how it has transformed very quickly in a relatively short span of time. “Our GDP was under US$1 billion; unemployment stood at about 10 percent; life expectancy was about 64 years. As of 2014, our GDP stands US$3 billion; unemployment hovers at 1.90 percent; and Singaporeans can live until their 80s,” Ambassador Li Peng said. For 50 years, Singapore has defied odds by becoming one of the wealthiest countries in the world. Li Peng credited their economic success to their founding father, Lee Kuan 2

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Yew, who passed away last March 23. She added that her generation and generations after have benefited from the labor and discipline of Singapore’s finer generation.

becoming a regional powerhouse, as well as, a competitive and outstanding global citizen in the community of responsible nation.

During the celebration, Foreign Affairs Secretary del Rosario said unity, discipline and the pride enabled Singapore in

From the entire Expat team, Cheers to Singapore’s 50th!



4 5







1 Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario; Mme. Gretchen del Rosario; Singaporean Ambassador Kok Li Peng and former Philippine President Fidel V. Ramos. 2 Center of Excellence School with former Philippine President Fidel V. Ramos 3 AMCHAM Dir. Donald R. Felbaum, Ms. Sheila R. Arbulante, Odel Hernandez and Tres Lleander of Globe Telecom, Inc 4 Atty. Ira Paulo Pozon, Dir. Jack Arroyo Jr. and Francisco Eizmendi Jr., FICD

5 Bangladesh Ambassador John Gomes and UK Ambassador Asif Ahmad

Secretary Albert del Rosario; former President Fidel V. Ramos; and Mme. Gretchen del Rosario

6 Raffles Makati Managing Director David Batchelor and Mrs. Batchelor

10 Canadian Chamber Second VP Mercedes Laurel-Marquez; Mrs. Reeder; Canadian Ambassador Neil Reeder; Political and Public Affairs Adviser Elizabeth Baldwin-Jones of Canada; and Advantage Sports & Leisure General Manager Jeremy Rollin.

7 US Naval Attache Captain Victor Smith and US Air Attache Colonel Brian E. Bell 8 EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux and Chilean Ambassador Luis Lillo 9 Deputy Chief of Mission and Counsellor Scott Loh, Ambassador Kok Li Peng of Singapore, DFA

11 Jaime Ricohermoso and Malaysian Ambassador Mohd Zamri Mohd Kassim

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Have You Tasted Olive Oil? Text by Angie Duarte

Taste olive oil like you never have before, from the exclusive, limited edition 2015 Collection of renowned experts, Oliviers and Co. Expressions of happy contentment drifted through the air at Vask Modern Tapas in Taguig City, as guests enjoyed each dish specially prepared for the event. Chef J. Luis “Chele” Gonzales seemingly outdid himself in creating the fabulous five-course luncheon showcasing the finest olive oils from Oliviers & Co. (O&Co.). “For a chef, an olive oil is like a treasure, very much complex, and we use it in many ways. Not just for cooking, it can be a main ingredient in the dish,” Chef Chele enthused. Founded in 1996 in the South of France, O&CO. is known as the best in the industry, favored by over 20 Michelin-Star chefs worldwide. Ten distinct olive oils, fresh off the finest European mills, were “graded by taste,

by nose and by luminescence” by the company’s in-house sensory analyst, Eric Verdier and by O&Co.’s CEO, Albert Baussan. The selection, the 2015 Grand Crus, represents the harvest of the most beautiful Mediterranean terroirs. Exquisite and exclusive Created from only the best olive varieties handpicked by reputable growers, oils from O&Co. are exquisite and highly exclusive. From over 200 samples received after harvest, less than 20 oils make it into the collection. Plus, only 1,0003,000 liters maximum of each variety is produced for global distribution, making these extremely valued. “At Oliviers &Co., we select only the best olive oil…we represent all that is natural and simple,” shared Melanie Costaris, Co-Founder and Director of International Sales of O&Co.




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1 Oliviers&Co. welcomes the 2015 Grand Crus Collection Oils

7 Torrija with Oliviers&Co. Soler Romero Organic Olive Oil from Spain

2 Oliviers&Co. Singapore General Manager May Tan; Oliviers&Co. Co-founder and Director of International Sales, Melanie Costaris; and Oliviers&Co. Singapore Managing Director Michel Beaugier

8 VASK Modern Tapas & Gastronomic Cuisine’s culinary whiz, Chef José Luis (“Chel”) Gonzalez

3 The 2015 Grand Crus Collection Oils with their countries of origin indicated on a wall map.

10 Launch of the2015 Grand Crus Collection Oils, held at VASK Modern Tapas & Gastronomic Cuisine

4 Solomillo con Remolacha y Bacon with Oliviers&Co. Moulin La Cravenco Organic Olive Oil from France

11 Truffle Chocolate with Oliviers&Co. Azienda Agricola Perotti Olive Oil from Italy

5 Oliviers&Co. Co-founder and Director of International Sales, Melanie Costaris

9 The 2015 Grand Crus Collection Oils, Oliviers&Co.’s newest exclusive line of fine olive oils

12. Xandra Rocha, who hosted the afternoon’s activities

6 Pulpo a la Gallega with Oliviers&Co. Agrolaguna Olive Oil from Croatia

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Raise your glasses to amazing California wines! Photos by Via Baroma

From the widely-renowned vineyards of Napa Valley and Manteca, to the emergent wine makers of Livermore and Ripon, California’s terroir is acclaimed for producing high-quality vino. This is what Titania Wine Cellar, in partnership with the United States Department of Agriculture, recently showcased by way of an intimate wine dinner held on August 28 at the Glass House of the New World Hotel in Makati City.


Tita Trillo of Titania and Ralph Bean of the USDA warmly welcomed guests to an evening of festivity, delicious dishes using the freshest of US food products, and Amazing California wines. Three Wishes Offering quality and value for money, these wines are produced in Livermore, East Bay area of San Francisco and in Ripon, California, in San Joaquin County. Three Wishes Chardonnay and Merlot proved to be light and very easy to drink; a good way to start the evening, paired with light chit-chat and several helpings of toothsome canapés. Delicato These premium wines produced in Manteca are superior in quality, and are made from grapes harvested in Napa, Lodi, Monterey and Sonoma. The Delicato Chardonnay 2013, rich in flavor, yet with a clean crispness, was the seamless choice for the evening’s starter dish – a tasty Waldorf salad of fresh Granny Smith apples, candied walnuts, bleu cheese, watercress and celery. 4

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EVENTS The Delicato Old Vine Zinfadel 2012, with hints of black cherry, blackberry, bramble and roasted oak, proved an excellent wine pairing for the rich and creamy Traditional Boston Cheesecake.


Black Stallion In between salad and dessert, of course, there was the delectably hearty main course of braised daube of US Beef served on sautéed mushrooms, horseradish mash and bone marrow red wine sauce. This extremely tender, savory, and juicy beef dish was impeccable with the award-winning Black Stallion Cabernet Sauvignon. This deep, elegant and robust wine – with aromas of cherry and plum – is produced in the Napa Valley, and is handcrafted and precisely blended from small vineyard lots. Cheers, to amazing California wines – and to equally amazing Stateside eats! 7





1 Sherwin Choi, Tita Trillo, Wilfredo Baldonado, and Pia Francesca Ang 2 Waldorf salad of apples, walnuts, bleu cheese, watercress and celery, for starters. 3 Traditional Boston cheesecake for dessert. 4 Agricultural Counselor of the USDA, Ralph Bean 5 Carmen Olivares ; New World’s Executive Chef, Robert Davis; Tita Trillo; Bernadette Olivares; and (seated) Jullie Yap-Daza

7 Karl Mc Lean 8 New World Chefs, busy preparing the starter course for the night’s dinner featuring fresh products from the United States Department of Agriculture. 9 Becky Garcia and Dr. George Sarakinis 10 Jullie Yap-Daza and Frank Evaristo 11 Three Wishes wines from California’s Livermore area offer delicious value for money.

6 Tita Trillo, New World’s Executive Chef, Robert Davis and Agricultural Counselor of the USDA, Ralph Bean

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Sophisticate your beer palate at The Bottle Shop, where enjoying the best beers is the only thing that matters.

Taking Their Craft Seriously Text by By Ching Dee

Getting people to develop discriminating beer palates is no laughing matter—it’s a drinking matter. Obviously. So in 2008, when Jim Araneta of Global Beer Exchange, Inc. “got bored to tears with the mass-marketed products” in the Philippines, he started importing craft beers from countries like the United States, Canada, Belgium, Scotland, and Japan. “Four years after, I realized that we had so many brands without a single venue to either take out, sample, or learn about all the products that we brought in,” Jim shared with Expat. So in 2012, he opened a showroom where customers can sample, enjoy and purchase GBEI’s imported craft beers. After all, they were importing over 50 different brands at that time—including exclusive brands like Anderson Valley, Hitachino Nest, Rogue Ales, and Dry Fly Distillery—so quite

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naturally, it takes awhile before a client decides which ones to purchase. GBEI is also the exclusive distributor of local craft brews like Turning Wheels and The Cebruery. From a simple set-up of just two tables in their warehouse, more people started drinking and hanging out right then and there, so what’s Jim to do? “We added more tables, lots of (beer) taps, and food. So, from a showroom, it has evolved to a real bar,” Jim recalled, adding that clients are still welcome to purchase beers to-go and by bulk. The humble showroom from 2012 is now called The Bottle Shop, with branches in Magallanes and The Fort. Aside from craft beers, they also offer “small batch spirits, cocktails, and pintxos that go perfectly with [their] beer.” They also expanded their craft beer selection to over a hundred brands in each branch, including guest beers from

local and foreign breweries—all imported with proper permits and licenses. With their well-trained staff and infographics for curious beer drinkers, Jim claims “The Bottle Shop is the most serious place to enjoy craft beer in the country.” So when you’re hankering for something new and exciting in the world of brews, head down to The Bottle Shop. They’ll surely have the perfect bottle(s) waiting for you. The Bottle Shop has branches at Tritan Ventures Building, Paseo de Magallanes, Makati City and Net One Plaza, 26th Street, Bonifacio Global City. For more information on Global Beer Exchange’s craft beer selections and how to purchase, visit their website at www.

Contact us at (0918) 656-8482 | (0915) 988-8011 or email us at

You r own private p aradise.

Expat Travel & Lifestyle Magazine: FOOD ISSUE  
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