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OUT in stores

JULY 2017 / VOL. 35 NO.13


Conservation and tourism commingle at Masungi Georeserve The popular tourist destination in Baras, Rizal introduces four new installations to its famed Discovery Trail, strengthening its hold on its philosophy of conservation.








Drink Magic!

Bluewater Touch

Discover how this new Makati fitness center helps you discover, achieve, redefine your personal fitness pinnacle, and get started on the road to a better you.

Engkanto Brewery enters the craft beer scene fueled by the vision to transmogrify the perception of what local beers could and should be.

With its roster of luxurious hotels and resorts, Mactan, Cebu has been dubbed as a “resort city.” So why should you choose Bluewater Maribago? We give you 6 reasons why.





do you strengthen your state of inner peace? We give you 10 tips to get from A to Zen.

can you do in the Philippines’ art capital? Here’s a hint: it’s not limited to art appreciation.

events should you book in your calendars this July?

can you get a historical feast for the senses, where everything blooms into a bouquet of nostalgia?






APRIL 12-25, 2015


Cebu investments continue to soar


espite the recent wave of negative events affecting the entire country, Cebu continues to rake in more largescale investments from the nation’s leading conglomerates, most of which were firmly in place way before the Bohol and Marawi incidents took place. Leading the way is Megaworld Corporation, which has earmarked over PhP30 billion for the next five to seven years to develop more residential condos, office towers, and three hotels at Mactan Newtown. Ayala Land Inc. has allotted PhP8 billion for their mixed-use development at the Cebu IT Park. Dubbed “Central Bloc,” the development will include office towers, a Seda Hotel, and a new Ayala Mall. Filinvest Land, Inc. will be spending PhP5 billion for the new Filinvest Cebu Cyberzone. Located beside the Cebu IT Park, the first office tower is already completed, while three more buildings are due to rise in the next five years. Robinson’s Land Corporation has added

9,000 square meters of office space to its Robinson’s Galleria Cebu development. Aside from the mall, the company recently held its soft opening of the Summit Galleria Hotel last June. According to Claro DG Cordero Jr., Head of Research, Consulting & Valuation of the Jones Lang LaSalle Phil., there are approximately 26,000 condo units completed for the first quarter of 2017. Around 10,400 units are expected to be added in Metro Cebu until 2020. Majority of the units are primarily geared for the mid-end market. Investment trends Cordero named Ayala Land Inc. (10 percent), Robinson’s Land Corp.(9), and local developer Primary Homes Inc. (6) as the leading developers in Cebu for the past 20 years. In terms of existing and future shopping mall gross floor area in Metro Cebu for the past 20 years, SM leads the way with a whopping 47

percent of developer share of existing supply. Leading the way are SM City Cebu, SM Consolacion, and the newly opened SM Seaside City. “Regarding key real estate and investment trends in 2017, the uncertainty leading to portfolio optimization may lead to rise of ‘build-tosuit’ projects and corporate occupiers rationalizing respective space strategies,” Cordero stated. On experiential real estate, the speaker foresees marketing innovations such as virtual reality marketing and hands-on authentic


hile the Philippines has made impressive strides in the global economic outlook, much more still needs to be accomplished in order to propel the country into firmer footing for the longterm period. Among the country’s biggest economic pluses has been its reliance on the Asean region as its biggest trading partner, thereby spurring more economic activity within the region. This was according to statements released by the Philippine Statistics Authority, and the Bangko Sentral ng Philippines, which outlined six other powerful entities, including Russia. According to Dr. Cielito Habito, chief of party, USAID TRADE, trading relationships within the Asean/AEC region are increasingly complementary rather than competitive since trade protection can be self-penalizing. This is so since zero tariff rates are quite common nowadays among many countries to encourage free-flowing trade minus the rigid restrictions that inhibit the process. “Trade in the region is likewise intra-industry in nature in the sense that the member nations trade in products within the same industries such as electronics, vehicles, and chemicals,” he added during the BSP Competitiveness Seminar held at an uptown hotel in Cebu. Habito also pointed out certain processes that have somewhat succeeded to facilitate

the free flow of trade in the region. First is trade and investment liberalization, which builds inherent competitiveness, widens scope for growth, and increased competition makes all consumers better off. “The ‘Open Skies’ policy fosters tourism jobs and earnings with strong inter-industry linkages and multiplier effects,” said Habito However, in the Philippine setting,” pocket open skies seem more applicable since many foreign airline companies refuse to grant equal access to the Philippines for one reason or another. The Competition Law also curbs monopolistic and oligopolistic behavior, leveling the field for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) toward more inclusive growth. The speaker likewise enumerated imperatives that would pave the groundwork for imperative growth as he batted for coordinated Micro and SMEs promotion and support by way of invigorating and improving the MSME Development Councils. Habito also suggested the Philippine Competitive Commission do its job in promoting wider competition and market contestability. “We also need to foster inclusive business by way of encouraging inclusive value chains vs. vertical integration—aside from investing in the Filipino so he would perform better against his regional counterparts for a truly level playing field,” he added.

experience to marry traditional with e-commerce. When it comes to automation and digital disruption, Cordero foresees technological evolution impacting real estate demand through digital mobility services impact on city planning and growth of sharing economy/ culture. Cordero was one of the speakers during the Cebu Annual Economic Briefing and Investment Forum hosted by the Cebu Business Club and Mega Cebu held at the City Sports Club.

Cebu continues to benefit from IT-BPM By RICHARD RAMOS

Economist highlights T keys to Phl growth By RICHARD RAMOS


he financial rewards from the Information Technology-Business Process Management industry (IT-BPM) have soared immensely in the past decade, as over 450 companies employed over 130,000 workers earning over PhP7.6 billion in monthly salaries through direct employment. Such a phenomena has also brought about surging demand in housing, transportation, gadgets, travel, retail, among others, as migrants from nearby cities and provinces have clinched employment in Cebu and made the city their second home. Joel Mari Yu, consultant for the Cebu Economic and Business Unit (CEBU), related that they never expected such unprecedented growth, from just 20 companies in 2000 to 456 firms occupying over 1 million square meters at 2016’s yearend in Metro Cebu alone. “This does not count the other Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) companies based in Mandaue City and Lapu-lapu City. If we include this, numbers would easily surpass 150,000 and nearly 500 companies,” Yu declared in his talk on “Gearing for More

Growth” during the 2017 Transformation Summit held at a Cebu uptown hotel. He further added that if PhP30,000 were to be the average monthly salary, new and indirect monthly earnings would hit PhP9.6 billion monthly due to the huge multiplier effect on several sectors that have benefited greatly. “Presently, Cebu places second in the country in no less than eight sectors; medical, banking, education, transportation, aviation, shipping, and others,” he continued, offering no figures. Regarding aggravating issues affecting the IT-BPM industry, Yu said the transportation and traffic problem was already addressed by providing Ceres buses to the employees residing in the northern and southern towns. Security and safety concerns are handled by increased police visibility at the Cebu IT Park and Cebu Business Park for the well being of the workers. Already in the offing are housing and residential units for an expected increased workforce in the coming years due to the continuous expansion of the BPO companies and software firms. Skywaterpark Cebu, located atop J Centre Mall in Mandaue City, introduces “Pasundayag”(celebrate), a weekly cultural extravaganza held every Friday. Buffet dinner starts at 6 p.m., followed by a cultural show. Entrance fee is PhP1,500 for local residents and domestic tourists. Pool users only are charged PhP1,000. For more information, contact Geallan at (0977) 801-5009 or email rsvn.skywaterparkcebu@

ERRATUM In the Expat Newspaper article “Filipina wins global conservation award” published in our June 2017 Issue, it was mistakenly stated that Indira Lacerna-Widmann graduated magna cum laude at the University of San Carlos in Cebu. Widmann graduated from the University of San Jose – Recoletos.


APRIL 12-25, 2015 JULY 2017


The International Travel Festival (ITF), scheduled this July 14 to 16 at the Ayala Center Cebu, highlights no less than three outstanding events—the 4th ITF, the 3rd Cebu Travel Exchange (CTX) scheduled for July 12, and the 2nd Travelogue, The Holiday Travel Sale. While the ITF caters to travelers during the off-season from July to December, the CTX serves as a networking component for industry professionals with hosted foreign buyer programs. The Travelogue, meanwhile, is poised to jumpstart vacations for January to June 2018. Event theme is: Take me There from Here. Event organizer is My Eventology, composed of industry professionals. For more information, call Thannya at (0917) 8426692 or Sheramie (0915) 915-6701. Waterfront Cebu City Hotel & Casino feted the fourth of July with a series of funfilled activities and gustatory treats. This started off with an American Food Fest alongside native favorites at Uno held last June 24. Inaugural rites kicked off last June 30 with a Gourmet Walk, while the next day featured a motorcade, a talent show by American Chamber-Cebu chapter members, and a dazzling fireworks display. July 2 highlighted a delightful barbecue picnic poolside party, followed by hamburger making demo by Chef Tristan Encarna-

cion held at the pool gazebo the next day. Capping off the weekend was a Harley Davidson motorbike display. One can also catch up on the native food fest headed by Chefs Roland and Jackie Laudico. GAOC, Gan Advanced Osseointegration Center, opened its first state-of-theart dental clinic in Cebu, and its sixth overall. Located at the third level of SM Seaside City, the clinic offers an extensive range of services from general dentistry, to oral surgery and periodontics, orthodontics, pediatric dentistry, among other services. At the helm is Dr. Steve Mark G. Gan, a world-renowned dental surgeon who has made a name for himself in the United States and Italy. All staffers are composed of caring dentists who regularly undergo training programs both here and abroad and handle the dental concerns of several dozen showbiz celebrities. Contact GAOC now at or book an appointment at (0917) 840-4262. Rico’s Lechon has received the prestigious Silver Award for Asia Pacific Stevies’ Innovation in Media Relations for their nationwide campaign “Da Best Gyud.” No less than CEO Enrico Dionson and Sales and Marketing Head Jeff Oyas flew to Japan last June to receive the award. They vowed

Mindset shift key in amending gov’t problems Cebu water security forum tackles government bureaucracy issues By RICHARD RAMOS


hile the government remains a favorite target for the public to blame for the many deep-rooted problems such as red tape, inefficiency, and corruption, one needs to take a closer look at the root causes in order to better handle such negative practices. With this in mind, one needs to have the right attitude and a different mindset in order to solve majority of government problems that have long plagued the bureaucracy for the past several decades and administrations. This means that one cannot use the same mindset to solve problems that created these problems in the first place. One needs to see things in a different perspective, adopt a more proactive stand, and approach the problem with public interest in mind in order to handle the situation properly. Status quo and privatization According to Joel Mari Yu, chair of the Metro Cebu Water District (MCWD), one also needs to interact better with the different government agencies to make for better coordination and awareness of the issue at hand among the employees concerned. He hinted that the more the government employees know about the issue, the bigger and better the involvement of the offices concerned, and not just a few people in a certain office division. Another issue of the government is that they are always prone to maintain the status quo and remain hesitant to change due to decades-old habits that have permeated throughout its line agencies nationwide. “Take note that the government is scared of privatization. There will always be strong

resistance whenever the word privatization is mentioned,” Yu declared in a Cebu Water Challenge Forum held in a posh hotel. He vowed to fully privatize the MCWD in order to maximize efficiency, cope with rigid water demand, and cut down on red tape since there remain too many requirements for the agency to expand its operations. Other issues Aside from these, there also exist other problems such as flooding during rainy season, drought during the dry season, polluted water from various sources, under-utilized surface water, and others. There is also the inability of the coastal aquifer in MCWD to supply the requirements of its population due to over-pumping which results in saline intrusion, nitrate contamination, and water depletion. Yu pointed out several strategies that may cut down on such problems. These are reliance on Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) for additional water supply that will facilitate rehabilitation of two dams, bid out desalinated water, and explore barged water. “There are also programs in place to expand the distribution system by an additional 100 kilometers of pipeline by 2020. We may also rely on PPP for the provision of storage facilities by building a business model for usage of the private sector,” Yu added. The forum highlighted the theme “Innovative Solutions to Promote Water Security in Cebu.” Organizing bodies are the European Union, European Chamber of the Philippines, and the EU-Philippine Business Network.

to continue strengthening their brand and broadening their scope of services. The company flies 60 to 100 lechons daily to Manila and other cities via their three branches situated in Panagdait, Mabolo; Vibo, Capitol area; and in Mactan Island. Stevie Awards receives over 10,000 entries annually from firms based in over 60 countries. Log in to for more information. Philam Life, an AIA Group Company, quietly feted its 70th year of fruitful existence in the Philippines. The company introduces “Live Ready,” its mother campaign that advocates for financial literacy along Filipino families, mainly since only four percent of the Filipinos are insured, with majority of these still under-insured. Raymund Abarquez, premier financial adviser and unit manager, advises the public to cut off unnecessary spending and debts, help OFWs come home for good, and save and invest before spending. He targeted millennials who lacked knowledge on proper spending and saving methods. Payoneer recently held the free Payoneer Forum Cebu at the Cebu City Marriott Hotel with over 300 online sellers, freelance professionals, tech entrepreneurs, and SME operators in attendance. Speak-

ers included Michael Cubos, founder and CEO of 360 Solutions, Purple Click Philippines CEO and President Piccina Alvarez, Kinder Fluff CEO Yasi Herbich, Jason Dulay, and Payoneer Philippines Country Manager Miguel Warren. They shared many global opportunities for going online and explained the ease of receiving crossborder payments to help their businesses on the global front. Warren saw the need for such an event due to the fact that the Philippines is one of the top five online outsourcing countries globally. EC2 Excellence Academy, located at E-Park, and Tigbaw, Talamban, is a nonstock, non-profit educational institution that caters initially to grade school kids aged 6 to 12, through the individualized educational program (IEP). They especially target the assessment, education, and intervention of gifted kids whether they have learning disabilities or not. Parents also play an active role since they are exposed to the methodologies and experiences that challenge them to think and enjoy the process of learning. At the helm is Teacher Ray Nobleza, equipped with a degree in Bachelor in Secondary Education, Major in Math, from the Far Eastern University. For more information,


APRIL 12-25, 2015


Discover your Pinnacle for a better you Pinnacle Performance enters Manila’s fitness scene By TIMOTHY JAY IBAY


ith the fitness wave only getting stronger, the wealth of fitness options has made it easier for anyone who sets out a goal to live a healthier lifestyle to get their fix. But there’s a difference between regularly sweating it out, bulking up, and losing fat, and seeing real, quantifiable results. And that’s exactly what Pinnacle Performance promises – no promos, no gimmicks, just scientific training that will give you results. Pinnacle relativity It all starts with understanding where you currently are physically. Pinnacle claims to be the only gym in Manila offering full physical profiling that measures strength, power, speed, agility, and body composition – ensuring a scientifically accurate and measurable fitness status profile necessary to guide your goals. So how exactly do they go about charting where you currently are? First off, the trainers behind Pinnacle have identified 10 valid tests of athletic ability used by pro athletes around the world. By undergoing the tests that include sprints, broad jumps, pullups, deadlifts, rows, and cycling (among others), they’re able to show you where you sit on that scale, which they call the Pinnacle Global Rating (PGR). According to Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Tom Summers, among all the athletes they’ve tested in Asia, the highest PGR score was a 7+. Though it has to be made clear, the scale isn’t designed to discourage if you score somewhere around 2-3—it’s meant to inspire you. And that’s exactly what happened to me as I underwent the PGR testing. I knew that in my mid-30s, I was still quick enough and agile enough (perhaps in the upper percentile of my age group). But I also knew that my cardio needed a ton of work. So as I saw my scores being dragged from the low

5s to somewhere in the 3s, as I moved from being tested for speed and agility to aerobic and anaerobic exercises, I had discovered a goal. Whether it was having a higher PGR score, or just ultimately being able to perform those exercises better, I’d been made aware of where I stood physically. Getting to where I needed to be was up to the program Pinnacle would subscribe, and how I committed to it. Personalized fitness journey “We write periodized programs – so if we know your goal in four months is to get stronger, we want to take your squats from 100 kilograms to 150. We increase the weight in the right manner,” explains Summers, who is an internationally accredited coach, and

Nike Performance Network Trainer, with a vast experience in working with professional and elite performance athletes. “Even if the goal is the same, exercises would be different for individuals with different PGR levels.” Personally, I found that whether the goal is to perform better in your recreational leagues, sort out a chronic injury, or look like that celebrity on Instagram, understanding where you currently are, and allowing Pinnacle to design a personalized path for getting there, will lead to a better PGR score, and ultimately, a better you. “The reason we get such good results is because we keep telling you how they’re getting on,” says Summers. “We’re the only gym that calls you when we don’t see you enough. We’re the only one where every

SIMPLIFY. More is not always better! Cut out that which is unnecessary from your life; these are mere burdens that weigh you down. Keep your daily “To Do” lists as short and essential as you possibly can; schedule your plans and activities as efficiently as you possibly can.

Inner Peace How-to’s By ANGIE DUARTE

Unless you live in an impenetrable bubble, you should be sold on the idea and necessity of having or strengthening your state of inner peace. But how to get from wanting it, to actually having it? The ways and tips from getting to “A” to “Zen” are as numerous as the benefits. I have narrowed them down to 10 of the more essential ones. I learned these at self-help classes I used to attend, dealing with anxiety and depression; so you can probably say I learned these “the hard way.” Still, I am ever so grateful that I have learned these:

ACCEPT AND LOVE YOURSELF. Realize that you ARE worthy! Worth is something you ARE, and not something you HAVE or ACQUIRE. Worth is your state of being, as a unique and special individual! You cannot work for worth; it is already IN you, waiting to be released, realized, expressed and activated. Sadly, many fail to see this; even sadder, others neglect or throw it away. You ARE worthy! FORGIVE. For your own sake. Begin with yourself. The most deep-seated issues of bitterness often stem from un-forgiveness of self. This creates a root of bitterness that eventually chokes out the very life of your soul. Forgiveness is the ax that cuts down the bitter root. BE STILL. Take time for time out. Seek out an environment that allows for moments of stillness. Turn the noise off! Break the vicious hustle-and-bustle, seemingly endless cycle of DOING. In today’s world, there always seems to be “too much to do, and never enough time to do it.” This is the antithesis to nurturing inner peace. Tune the busy-ness out, and tune yourself in. Meditate, listen to soothing music, lie down in a quiet space, practice yoga, indulge in relaxing downtime, go to the spa. The time you make for time out will eventually pay off and translate into more energy and productivity for you. As we learn the art of stillness, we will be able to find that stillness within us, and draw from this deep well when things around us grow crazy.

month, we tell you that you’re on target – keep going, keep improving – we even send you your monthly report.” Don’t take my word for it, give it a go For all prospective members, Pinnacle Performance offers free unlimited gym access for a week. Get yourself tested to find out where you stand, get an individual program, join Group Development Sessions, and define what your personal Pinnacle is. Pinnacle Performance is located at the 28th Floor, Centuria Medical Makati, Kalayaan Ave. cor Salamanca St., Poblacion, Makati. For more information, contact (02) 7938763, email, or visit

VISUALIZE AND AFFIRM. Think of your favorite place, or memory; any positive mental image that you can see in your mind’s eye when the you-knowwhat hits the fan. Close your eyes and visualize the good and positive! Along with your visualizations, activate your affirmations. Write down some positive thoughts and phrases, and repeat them to yourself – out loud, if you have to – until they become like a mantra. TAKE GOOD CARE OF YOURSELF. Be mindful of your health. Exercise, and set those endorphins free. Eat right! The more junk you take in, the more junk you put out in the forms of health and weight problems, mood problems, etcetera. Get adequate amounts of sleep. BREATHE! Don’t forget to breathe, and to do it properly: in through the diaphragm, out through the nose. When things start to get stressful, pause and take three deep, cleansing breaths. Keep your positive visualizations going while you breathe. GET IN TOUCH WITH YOUR SPIRITUAL SELF. You are more than just your flesh. Get in touch with your spirit, and its unique expressions: art, music, compassion, love, poetry, God; just some of the many. DO WHAT YOU ENJOY. Life’s too short to be miserable. This is not mere hedonistic enjoyment, mind you; but the kind that brings true gratification. Nurture the relationships that matter. Connect with loved ones, friends, family. GUARD YOUR INNER PEACE. Once you’ve found it – guard it! Keep it! Take care of it! As a precious gem amongst fool’s gold, so is your inner peace in the world.


APRIL 12-25, 2015 JULY 2017

We all need a Little Shelter By ANGIE DUARTE


have always said, half-jokingly, that the Philippine government should earmark a portion of its budget for hazard pay for each of its residents. Life in this country is tough, and only the toughest of us go beyond the state of surviving to the elusive ideal of thriving. Think: traffic, pollution, meager pay, noise, violence, corruption, disorder, inefficiency, dirty politics, Machiavellian politicians, the list stretches on. Need I say more? This is a sentiment, however, that I have been careful about expressing in public – being a foreigner, by citizenship, I do not wish to be perceived as “that white person” with anti-nationalistic sentiments. Then again, you see, I AM a fake white chick in this country, having been born and raised in Manila. I have paid my dues, many times over, so I suppose I am entitled to express this opinion – as long as, that is, I do not make myself part of the problem and try my darndnest to be part of the ever-elusive solution. Besides, all that leaves a bad taste in your mouth is somehow balanced out by the good that so clearly remains on these islands. But that is fodder for another column. Then, I stop and realize that the chaos is not limited – no longer is; perhaps, never was – to life on these islands: it is a global phenomenon, these days. No matter where you run, it is there – the unrest, the strife, the lack of peace. Where do you go for peace? I’m glad you asked. The long and the short of it is: we must create it within. A little shelter Growing up in the 80s and 90s, I adored Cinderella. Not the one-glass-slippered prin-

cess (although she’s pretty cool, herself.) The band. The big-haired, leather-clad, skinnylegged demi-gods of glam. Among my top picks from these gurus of glitz and glitter rock is a screechy, gritty, catchy little ditty called, Shelter Me. I could go ahead and type every single lyric, and end this piece, really, but I will leave that between you and Google, and give you the just a snippet: Everybody needs a little place they can hide / Somewhere to call their own / Don't let nobody inside / Every now and then we all need to let go… We all need a little shelter / Just a little helper to get us by / We all need a little shelter / Just a little helper (ooo) and it'll be alright. Inner peace is that shelter. It is a respite from life’s harsh conditions: from the body counts you hear about on the morning news from last night’s skirmish/bombing/terror attack/TOKHANG operation/what-have-you, from life’s daily stressors which come at you like heat-seeking missiles, from your endlessly frustrating job that you hang onto, tooth and nail, for fear of endlessly frustrating poverty, for instance. Your inner safe place is a flourishing, pleasant oasis and refuge, in the midst of a barren and arid area of lack. Strong, in the face of stress Inner peace, often also referred to, as peace of mind, is the state of being mentally and spiritually at peace. The person in possession of inner peace has what it takes and is equipped with sufficient understanding to stay strong in the face of stress. To borrow a highly-overused marketing tag line these days, this is the ability to ‘KEEP CALM AND…” You fill in the rest of the line. The state of being “at peace” is the oppo-

Building your world

How Mundo Design + Build integrates design and construction with centralized service, efficiency and top-notch quality. By TIMOTHY JAY IBAY and VIA BAROMA


o an outsider, marrying efficiency and quality may seem like common sense in the world of design and construction. But if you’ve ever commissioned a development project, you’d know that having the two is almost akin to a privilege. But those are exactly the two main promises of Mundo Design + Build—one of the few local firms that integrate both design and construction, providing services ranging from construction management, commercial and industrial design, and real estate management. Having their own in-house personnel allows Mundo to deliver genuinely centralized service, cutting out third parties, and making every project that much easier to control. “That’s why we work fast, we get things done quickly without sacrificing the quality,” Mundo Design + Build CEO MJ Ringor tells Expat. “ And while past projects like past projects like Vikings, Café Veranda in Taal Vista, and Hotel 101 might serve as testaments to Mundo’s quality of work, it’s the way the company grew from a team comprised of three people, to their current workforce of 120, in just less than 10 years that is perhaps the best proof of the firm’s top-notch services. Custom fit design “The business was initially just about de-

sign, but my clients would always complain about the poor service from their contractors,” shares Ringor. “They saw my potential in project management and pushed me to get into construction.” But more than potential, it is Ringor’s passion for design and building (which made him decide to move back home from New York) that gives Mundo a unique touch when it comes to their client relationships. “It’s always a collaboration,” Ringor explains. “Our relationship with our clients is very personal, we listen to what the client wants, which allows us to tailor our design principles to their preferences and demands.” Presently, Mundo has taken on a wide array of projects such as offices, retail outlets, and restaurants, with costs ranging from PhP250,000 to PhP200 million. “The goal is to build your world,” says Ringor. “And not only do we build aesthetically and structurally, but I also want us to build the world for our staff and the people in our community.” Mundo Design + Build is located at 1477 Apolinario St. cor. Gen. Mascardo St., Bangkal, Makati. For inquiries, contact (02) 550-2488 loc. 103, (02) 551-1473, email or visit www.mundobuilders. com.

site of “being anxious” or “being stressed,” despite circumstances that would otherwise bring on a stress-reaction. Inner peace is often associated with bliss, happiness and contentment. If we can liken it to a flashlight, inner peace is the ability to shine or illuminate the positive things in your life, even in the presence of negative things and challenges. If all we ever do is beam our attention on the negative things; if we give in to the spirit of “doom and gloom” (think Glum from Gulliver’s Travels, and his constant lamentations of “We’ll neeeeeeveeeeer make it!” – this is pretty much all we will see in our lives. Eventually, this will consume, overwhelm and break us. To stay positive, FOCUS on the positive – make that choice, and let the positivity radiate within. Recharge your batteries Your shelter from the stress of daily life protects you form many undesirable effects. Cultivating a sense of inner peace provides numerous benefits; among them, the ability to revitalize and recharge your mind, body, and soul (including your emotions). Think of it as a way to recharge your batteries, so to speak. Inner peace revitalizes you from the inside out, and this helps you feel happier, be

healthier, and even look younger! And who does not want THAT? Plus, being in tune with your sense of inner peace or allowing your peace of mind to prevail enables you to be more in control of yourself and your reactions to situations. You may not have much control of events around you, but you will definitely have greater control of events within you, and of your reactions to external factors. Ultimately having a sense of inner peace allows you to take greater control over your life; to really be “in charge.” The ripple effect Yet another most awesome aspect inner peace is the ripple effect it creates. Like the ever-radiating and expanding ripples created when an object is dropped into water, the inner peace “dropped” into you ripples across your life incrementally. It touches your family. It touches your friends. It touches your community. Your city. Your nation. And if enough ripples are created from each individual across communities, cities, and nations, then who’s to say that our inner peace can’t touch the world? I, for one, say that it CAN.


APRIL 12-25, 2015


Bistro Manuel: The Maestro is back! Newspaper The Philippines’ forum for international readers since 1981

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

Like a beautiful symphony, Chef Ariel Manuel will have you from the first note – the perfect balance between the traditional and familiar, and the bold and personal Text and photos by VIA BAROMA


oblacion, Makati – one of the trendiest foodie destinations in the metro welcomed three new concept restaurants by Chef Ariel Manuel, multi-awarded chef of Lolo Dad’s fame. These three concepts is a wine bar called The Sippery, a tapas restaurant named Taperia Poblacion (both on the ground floor) and Bistro Manuel (located on the second floor). Finding Bistro Manuel tucked in the heart of Poblacion feels like uncovering a secret – one you know you couldn’t keep to yourself. And with the return of Chef Ariel after three years, Bistro Manuel is sure to please not only longtime fans, but also gain plenty of new ones. “I want to create a new image with the opening of the Bistro Manuel,” Chef Ariel shared with Expat. “It’s not just a revival of Lolo Dad’s because I want to introduce new dishes also, and not the typical Lolo Dad’s that will make a hole in your pocket.” Taste of nostalgia But those with a hankering for the taste of nostalgia brought by Lolo Dad’s need not fret, as Bistro Manuel included signature dishes from the renowned restaurant together with the new creations. Expect to see the Lolo Dad’s Cafe Baked Oyster with Foie gras and the Duck Leg Confit, as well as many other favorites to relive your sense of nostalgia, especially for those who celebrated their special occasions in Chef Ariel’s first restaurant. The former, which comes with delicate strands of angel hair pasta, with parmesan cheese tucked underneath the oysters, provide a mild foil for the buttery indulgence. The latter is served with Mediterranean duck foie gras rice, one of Chef Ariel’s signature dishes.

The Slippery

Chef Ariel Manuel

Herb de Provence crusted Rack of Lamb

Fresh creations But for those eager to sample Chef Ariel’s new creations, the more playful, bold flavors take center stage – most evident in Only for the Rich grilled Pizza, packed with a smorgasbord of ingredients that surprisingly go together perfectly. Lobster, duck liver, scallops, prosciutto, salami and smoked salmon with Bufala cheese and truffle tomato spread all gather for a shindig of flavorful explosions. For the playfully named Lamb and Lamb with Lamb, he uses meat from Australia prepared in three ways: roasted, stewed, and in the form of a sweetbread fritter, with creamy mashed potatoes on the side. “The signatures are actually expensive because 75 percent of my ingredients are im-

"Only for the Rich" Grilled Pizza

ported… these are premium cuts,” Chef Ariel explained. Apart from indulging in both the old and the new, guests can get a glimpse of how masterpieces are created with Bistro Manuel’s open kitchen, a nice touch to the relaxed, homey ambience marked by with table cloths and classic furniture. With the minimalist interiors, Bistro Manuel enables diners to focus more on the art crafted on their plates. Bistro Manuel, Taperia Poblacion and The Sippery Bar & Brew are located at Six Axis Center 4347 B. Valdez St., Poblacion, Makati. For reservations, call (02) 871-8566, (02) 734-1067, (0998) 342-3566.

Savor seasonal specialties at Marco Polo Manila’s Lung Hin The finest Cantonese flavors from Chef Lai Cheuk Kou Text by CHING DEE Photos courtesy of MARCO POLO MANILA


avor extraordinary and authentic Cantonese cuisine straight from the heart of the Red Dragon, as Lung Hin brings in new dishes from Hong Kong native Chef Lai Cheuk Kou. Chef Lai Cheuk Kou — also fondly known as Chef Terry — has worked exclusively in China and Hong Kong, making Marco Polo Manila the very first location he’s worked outside of China. Having over 36 years of experience under his belt, Chef Terry has mastered the art and science of cooking the most special Chinese dishes from different well-known restaurants and hotels around China and Hong Kong. Chef Terry specializes in hot and healthy dishes like herbal soups and exotic dishes — flavors everyone can now experience at Marco Polo Manila’s award-winning Cantonese restaurant, Lung Hin. Chef Terry’s flavourful and aromatic signature dishes include the irresistible Cheese-baked Tiger Prawns, sumptuous Panfried Diced Beef Cubes, vegetarian-friendly Steamed Diced Pumpkin, exotic yet welcoming Marinated Cucumber with Wasabi and Vinegar, Jellyfish, and Salt-baked Chicken, and a palate-cleansing treat called Dragon Fruit with Bird Nest.

Despite Chef Terry’s expertise in Chinese cookery, he does not limit his creativity to the confines of the cuisine. Since arriving to the Philippines, he has thought of transforming local produce like sweet Mangoes and fresh Abalone in the Lung Hin kitchen and giving them his very own Cantonese twist. This is definitely something we will look forward to in the near future. Lung Hin is located at the 44th level of Marco Polo Manila Hotel, Meralco Ave., Ortigas, Pasig City. For more information, visit www.

Pan Fried Diced Beef Cubes

Dragon Fruit with Bird Nest

Cheese Baked Tiger Prawns


APRIL 12-25, 2015 JULY 2017

ENGKANTO Brewery: Crafting the local beer landscape Text by TIMOTHY JAY IBAY


ver the past five years, the Philippine craft beer scene has grown in step with the gradual sophistication of the local palate. From less than five microbreweries, the landscape has seen the number expand to over 30 brands today. For beer enthusiasts, that has been a welcome development, especially for a country that basically grew up with just a couple of brands to choose from. But an ambitious new player is positioning itself to elevate the industry further than anyone has every attempted to before. And it goes by the name of Engkanto Brewery. Game changer Brought in by the tandem of Filipino Ian Paradies, and Rhode Island-based brewmaster Josh Karten, Engkanto Brewery is founded on the latter’s expertise crafted through his wealth of experience in running Proclamation Ale Company – brewers of a diverse line of award-winning beers – and the former’s passion to provide his countrymen a truly local, affordable, and topnotch craft beer. And while many of the existing craft breweries in the Philippines share the love for the good brew, and the yearning to spread that love across these islands, no one has had the capital funding that Engkanto appears to have. With a brewery in Makati (already bigger than most in the country), and an even larger one in Carmona, Cavite (word on the street says that Paradies will be opening a bar in the continually evolving haunt that is Poblacion, Makati), Engkanto has a production capacity that’s unprecedented in the local craft beer industry. Together, the two breweries can produce up to seven million bottles annually, and 700 20-liter kegs daily. This also allows

them to start at a much lower price point than virtually everyone else, with their line of beers sold before it hits the market at an average of PhP53 a bottle (while a keg goes for PhP3,200). “A lot of Filipinos love beer – why just have small part of the market be able to enjoy and afford your beer,” Paradies said, emphasizing that affordability was one of his two conditions when they were shaping the company. Drink magic Engkanto is starting off with five flagship craft beers—a Lager (5% ABV), Blonde (5%), Pale (6), IPA (7), and a Double IPA (8.5) – all of which use modern hops (lie Cascade, El Dorado, and Amarillo), and were designed to be easy to drink. Apart from the basic craft brews, they also have Stout (made with coconut), and seasonal brews like the Dalandan Ale. As a seasoned beer enthusiast, and an avid supporter of local breweries, this writer found their Pale, IPA, and Double IPA – while lighter than their pine-heavy Western counterparts – manage to be fruity, yet dry, and a notch above their local brethren. While you will have to wait until the fourth quarter of 2017 (or at least until that still under wraps bar to open its doors) to see Engkanto bottles in stores, you can have a taste of the brewing magic at Cu Chi Bar in Poblacion, The Belle & Dragon in Legazpi Village, and The Bottle Shop in BGC and Magallanes. If Engkanto and its promise have piqued your interest, you’d be wise to follow them on Facebook and Instagram @ engkantobrewery as their kegs pop up at different events, and a growing number of bars across the metro.

Engkanto Founder & President - Ian Paradies

Engkanto Brewery’s logo is a moth – a reference of the transmogrification of a moth to a butterfly, and a symbolic representation of what they envision for the Philippine beer landscape.

Engkanto Partner & Brewmaster - Josh Karten

Bank Bar rolls out the trolleys Enjoy small batch premium cocktails, and exquisite gin and tonic concoctions every day of the week!


he Bank Bar Trolleys are at it again. In partnership with Hong Kong-based, globally recognized bartender Marek Vojcarcik, Bank’s trolleys are vibrant and more exciting than ever. Strong and speedy small batch crafted cocktails are prepared with care and precision before the evening rush. The result is premium cocktails poured on the fly. Drinks include the Negroni, Old Fashioned, Manhattan, Gin Martini, and Vodka Martini. Making tracks on the Bank Bar race

course is the G&T Trolley, which now houses our selection of tinctures to brighten each glass. Choose from the delicate and floral, yet rich Lavender and Cardamom, clean and crisp Grapefruit and Abbott, and pleasantly sour, but sugary at the sip Black Lemon and Strawberry. The house bitters are added to your choice gin, which includes a full range from Bombay Sapphire and Tanquerey, Plymouth, Boodles, Sipsmith, Bathtub and, Monkey 47. As an added treat, each guest toting their Bank Bar G&T will be given the

Gin and Tonic Trolley

Global bartender Marek Vojcarcik takes over the line at Bank Bar

Small Batch Crafted Cocktails

chance to let their cocktail creativity flourish. Each can build their own G&T through a garnish platter they’ll be receiving, filled with grapefruit and lemon slices, pink peppercorns, cinnamon bark, sibot, and fresh herbs. The Bank Bar Trolleys roll out every night, Mondays to Fridays from 5 p.m. to 2

a.m., and Saturdays from 8 p.m. to 3 a.m. Bank Bar is located at Ground Floor RCBC Savings Bank Corp. Center, 26th and 25th Sts., Bonifacio Global City (get in through 7-11). For inquiries and reservations, contact (02) 801-4862, or (0917) 857-0852


APRIL 12-25, 2015


Discovering the Philippines’ Art Capital Immerse yourself in Angono’s culture of artistry Text by CELINE REYES Photos by CELINE REYES and DENNIS MURILLO


wrote once, “Angono’s strength lies not in its topography, but in its culture.” Having lived all my life in this lakeside town in the province of Rizal, I know this to be true. While it lacks the mountains of its neighbors and, save for Laguna de Bay, there are no astonishing bodies of water, my hometown’s collective and enduring effort to nurture creativity and imagination more than makes up for it. Angono’s deep affinity for the arts can be first gleaned from the origins of its name. Celebrating imagination, the town’s name came from “Ang Nuno.” Nuno – a creature from Filipino folklore often depicted as an old man with a long beard, donning a salakot (traditional hat) and a walking stick, was said to be frequently seen in the former fishing village. At present, images of the nuno are plenty around town, with renditions ranging from statues to murals. But Angono’s status as the country’s Art Capital goes further, even further than the two National Artists – Lucio San Pedro for Music, and Carlos “Botong” Francisco for Visual Arts – it had produced. The culture of art is alive and persistent in this town, and here are some activities you can do to experience this first-hand.

Stroll the Street Gallery

Visit the country’s oldest artwork

In Brgy. Doña Aurora is a length of cobbled road, flanked by walls of sculptures lifted from the works of Botong. Dubbed the “Art Gallery on the Streets,” this free-for-all, open-24/7, permanent outdoor exhibit features some of Botong’s masterpieces brought to life in stone and cement by local sculptors led by Charlie Anorico. The gallery fittingly runs the span of the street where Botong used to live, beginning on Angono’s main roadway and ending just across Saint Clement Parish.

It’s best to begin a trip to the art capital with a visit to the Angono-Binangonan Petroglyphs – the oldest known work of art in the Philippines. The rock carvings were discovered by no less than Carlos “Botong” Francisco during a boy scout trip in 1965. Declared a National Cultural Treasure in 1973, this collection of 127 carvings are dated to the late Neolithic period – almost 12,000 years ago. The engravings are strewn across a shallow rock shelter and are said to be associated with sympathetic healing. The petroglyphs are also on the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The site is located within a private complex near the Thunderbird Resort in Brgy. Bilihiran, Binangonan, Rizal. It is open from Mondays to Fridays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and on weekends by appointment. Call the National Museum Office for schedules at (02) 527 4192.

Witness a lakeside sunset The Angono Lakeside Park, known to locals as “Wawa,” rests on the banks of Laguna de Bay where the sunset is almost always stunning. On top of that, Wawa has a playground, a zip line rig, and stalls of street food. 20-minute boat rides across Laguna Lake are also available for just PhP20 per person! This place, popular among families and teens, would be a fitting final stop after a daylong art-venturing.

Sample the local fanfare Angono’s creativity is displayed in media other than canvas and clay, as the town’s native delicacies and food scene also showcase the town’s artistry. There’s the balaw-balaw – a dish made from fermented shrimp and rice, similar to shrimp paste; the much sought after fried itik (duck); minaluto – a local take on the Spanish paella; and the delectable creamy coconut milk-based rice cake kumanoy, also known as inutak. Homegrown restaurants such as the 2017 Golden Globe Awardee for Best Affordable Restaurant in Rizal, Wings on the Go, and popular dessert place Kim Is Hungry are also perfect rest stops after a day of art appreciation. Wings on the Go 213 E. Rodriguez Street Brgy. Sto Nino Angono, Rizal Tuesdays to Sundays, 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. (02) 651-3051 and (0926) 533-2794 Kim is Hungry 2nd floor, Paulina Bldg. M. Diaz cor. A. Ibanez, Brgy. Sto. Nino, Angono, Rizal Tuesdays to Sundays, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. (0916) 271-7551 n


Go museum-hopping A visit to the many museums and art galleries should not be missed when in Angono. Blanco Family Museum houses a permanent collection of works by Jose “Pitok” Blanco and his family of artists. Also, check out the home of Botong, which is now a heritage museum maintained by his artist grandson Totong. For a different art experience, there’s the Tiamson Art Gallery where artist-musician Orville Tiamson conducts “Art Jams” – art lessons interspersed with music therapy. Blanco Family Museum 1312 Ibañez St., Brgy. San Vicente Angono, Rizal (02) 651-0042 Carlos “Botong” Francisco Second Art Gallery Doña Aurora, Poblacion Itaas, Angono, Rizal Tiamson Art Gallery 203 Doña Nieves St., Brgy. Sto. Niño, Angono, Rizal (02) 651-0066 n



BONUS: Party with the Giants Perhaps the best showcase of Angono’s creativity is during the annual Higantes Festival. A month-long celebration held in November, the celebration culminates into a grand parade featuring higantes or giant figures made of plastic resin. The festival also highlights the fluvial procession that involves the launching of a makeshift raft called pagoda, carrying images of the town’s patron St. Clement into the Laguna Lake. Basaan or splashing revelers with water is also an anticipated feature of the festival.


APRIL 12-25, 2015 JULY 2017

Make it Bluewater Mactan in the province of Cebu is dubbed as a “resort city,” and for good reason. This island, rimmed with beautiful beaches, plays hosts to a number of luxurious hotels and resorts that cater both to tourists and businessmen that frequent this side of Visayas. With all these choices, you ask,“why Bluewater Maribago?” Here are 6 reasons. Text and photos by CELINE REYES

Chic and stylish lodgings Bluewater Maribago Beach Resort is a seven-hectare property boasting a total of 170 rooms. Room amenities include a mini bar, a spacious bathroom with shower and bathtub, and your own private veranda. What sets Bluewater’s rooms apart, however, is the stylish cantilever beds. These beautiful pieces of furniture give the appearance of being suspended, making one feel like absolute royalty. Despite the ethnic themes of the designs, the ambient lighting makes it modern chic! Right at the heart of the city Perhaps the main reason you should make Bluewater Maribago your home in Mactan is its strategic location. Not only is it just a few minutes’ drive from the Mactan Airport, it also is near to a number of popular tourist destinations in Cebu. The resort also makes it easy for you to see the city. Bluewater Maribago also organizes tours to destinations such as Sirao Flower Garden, Temple of Leah, La Terraza, and Cebu Highlands. These tours come with an air-conditioned van and a driver, a tour guide, and snacks. You can also customize your tour depending on your (and your group’s) preferences. Bluewater Maribago Beach Resort is located in Buyong Maribago, Lapulapu City, Cebu. For more information, inquiries and reservations, contact (02) 492-0100 or visit

Themed dinner buffets Bluewater Maribago’s Allegro Restaurant hosts themed dinner buffets that always bring a huge crowd. From 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., and depending on the day of the week, you can either enjoy local Cebuano street food paired with puso (rice wrapped in banana leaf) or a whole spread of Cebu lechon (roasted pig) plus a bunch of other Filipino favorites. What’s more is that these themed dinners always come with live entertainment, including traditional Filipino dances such as tinikling, singkil, and cariñosa, or an acoustic band. At Bluewater, your eyes get treated to a feast, as well as your belly. Soothing signature massages Another way Bluewater Maribago keeps true to its theme is with their Amuma Spa. Amuma offers services inspired by traditional Filipino practices. The spa’s signature hilot (ancient Filipino method of massage), combined with natural and locally-sourced massage oils, is perhaps the resort’s best offering. Their therapists, well-trained and gracious, seem to know by instinct where exactly to give a good kneading. You’ll immediately feel revitalized after each session. In addition to this, Amuma Spa also features a sauna, a hot tub, a gym, a salon, and in-house restaurant.

Quantity and quality Bluewater Maribago has a number of dining options in the vicinity. If you’ve a hankering for Italian dishes, there’s Molto Italiano. There’s also the seafood bar at The Cove. And of course, the themed buffet dinners at Allegro. Don’t let the quantity fool you, however. Bluewater’s restaurants won’t leave you hanging with regards to quality. You’ll not only get to have the option of trying out the local flavors along with other savory offerings, you’ll also be assured of top-notch taste.


APRIL 12-25, 2015


Compiled by VIA BAROMA


•Sister Act

•Oh Wonder Live in Manila

Ongoing until July 9; The Theatre at Solaire, Solaire Resort & Casino, 1 Aseana Ave., Entertainment City, Paranaque; for more information, visit or call (02) 891-9999

July 21; Samsung Hall, AM Aura, Taguig City; for more information, call (02) 891-9999 or visit

Don’t miss this blissfully silly, heavenly hit show and much acclaimed Broadway musical comedy Sister Act. Touted as America’s new musical comedy classic, Sister Act brings to the musical theater scene a stage re-creation of the 1992 hit comedy of the same title, this time with an all-original score, script and spectacular production design. Tickets are priced at PhP6,883 for VIP; PhP5,824 for A Reserve; PhP4,765 for B Reserve; PhP3,706 for C Reserve; and PhP1,588 for D Reserve.

Precocious London-based alternative pop duo Oh Wonder has catapulted to international fame just a few short years after entering the music scene. As their singles began to trickle into the charts, band members, Anthony West and Josephine Vander Gucht blew up with tracks like “Livewire,” “Crazy in Love,” and “Body Gold” among others. Tickets are priced at PhP3,800 for VIP and PhP2,800 for Gold.


•Tour de Manille •Healing through Chakras Four-week Yoga Series Part 2 July 6, 13, 20 and 27; Yoga+Express Legazpi, 6/F Jose Cojuangco Bldg., 119 Dela Rosa cor. Castro St., Legaspi Village, Makati; for more information, call (0918) 888-9198 or email Enrich your life through Kundalini Yoga and Meditation with a four-week yoga series this July. The chakras are energy centers that have a direct, immediate, and profound effect on our daily lives. Each chakra represents various parts of the physical body, including our emotions and our perceptions and how we project ourselves out to the world. This second part of the series focuses on each upper energy center: Vishudda to create your world through your words; Ajna to develop reliable intuition, Sahasrara to learn universal understanding and the Aura to protect and shield from negative energy. Each class includes various elements such as breathing exercises (pranayama), kriyas (yoga poses), mudras (hand gestures) chanting, meditation and more. The four-week yoga series fee is priced at PhP2,100 for all four classes and PhP600 per class.


•Future’s Past Sven Marquardt Until Aug. 11, Yuchengco Museum, RCBC Plaza, Ayala cor. Sen. Gil PUyat Ave., Makati; for more information, contact (02) 840-5723, or email Sven Marquardt returns to the Philippines for his first solo photography exhibition in the country. Future’s Past is a collection of black and white portraits that present an examination of humanity with intense themes running through he timeless images, 30 years in the making. This will be the first time this exhibition is presented in Asia. The portraits were taken during the height of Marquardt’s involvement in Berlin’s underground music scene in the 80s. He is known in Germany’s clubbing circles as the doorman of the highly exclusive dance club Berghain, notorious for its rather subjective door policy and strict adherence to quality techno music.

July 9; SM By the Bay, SM Mall of Asia, Pasay City; for more information, visit www.ambafrance-ph. org or To coincide with the most famous cycling competition in the world, Tour de France, a criterion race will be bringing together cycling professionals, amateurs and enthusiasts in Manila. Tour de Manille is a bicycle fest in celebration of the 70 years of French-Philippine Friendship. Have a taste of Tour de France "ala Manille" along Seaside Blvd. at North Park SM by the Bay, Pasay City. Ride, race and help save the planet! Proceeds to benefit the advocacy work of the Firefly Brigade for Bicycling, Clean Air and Sustainable Transportation. Registration fee is priced at PhP1,500. Visit to register.

•EIGASAI 2017 CCP Dream Theater, CCP Complex, Pasay City (July 1 and Aug. 5, 10 and 11), Shang Cineplex Cinema, ShangriLa Plaza, Mandaluyong City (July 6-16), UP Film Institute, UP-Diliman, Quezon City (Aug. 16-19), Abreeza Mall Cinema, Ayala, Davao City (July 21-23), FDCP CinemathequeDavao, Davao City (July 26-30), Ayala Center Cebu Cinema, Cebu City (Aug. 2-6), SM City Baguio Cinema, Baguio City (Aug. 10-13), SM City Bacolod Cinema, Bacolod City (Aug. 24-27), and FDCP Cinematheque-Iloilo, Iloilo City (Aug. 25-29); for more information, visit EIGASAI 2017 officially kicks off its 20th anniversary in grand style opening night on July 6 with the screening of “Her Love Boils Bathwater” at the Shang Cineplex to be graced by this year’s special guest director Ryota Nakano, who is also scheduled to hold talks for filmmakers and the general public during his stay in the Philippines. EIGASAI is part of the Japan Foundation Asia Center’s unified Japanese Film Festival held around Southeast Asia and Pacific region, and together with the Japan Foundation, Manila, different genres of films from animation, drama, comedy, documentary, to horror, were curated with a total of 20 titles – 17 of which are with English subtitles and three are dubbed in Tagalog, offering Japanese film lovers the chance to experience their favorite genre while discovering something new. Admission is free on a first-come, first-served basis, except screening at Shang Cineplex Cinema, which will be PhP100 per one film screening.


APRIL 12-25, 2015 JULY 2017

Conservation and tourism walk hand-in-hand at Masungi Georeserve This popular tourist destination brings together two themes often thought conflicting Text by CELINE REYES Photos courtesy of Masungi Georeserve


n the mountainous regions of Rizal, up in the town of Baras, lies a conservation stalwart—Masungi Georeserve. The georeserve features a mostly karst terrain with limestone formations dating to as far back as the Paleocene and Eocene period – that’s up to 66 million years! According to the National Institute of Geological Studies, Masungi is the only area in the entire Philippines where limestone outcrops from this period can be found. What’s interesting is that the area was once severely denuded due to logging and charcoal harvesting, but through more than two decades of dedicated reforestation and protection, it has been brought back to life. Now, this 1,500-hectare protected property is home to one of the country’s most diverse biological networks, with cloud rats, macaques, and several endemic species of reptiles as some of its residents. The past year brought several milestones for the georeserve. This includes being recognized in the World Conservation Congress in Hawaii as a model of eco-tourism, receiving a research grant from the National Geographic Young Explorers Program, and conducting the first Community Conference on Conservation, Livelihood, IP Rights and Agriculture. This year, Masungi introduces four new installations to its famed Discovery Trail: Bayawak, Barangay Duyan, Sawa, and Silayan. Masungi’s new features Bayawak, the Filipino term for the monitor lizard, is a steep rope course shaped like the creature it was named after. Barangay Dahon, on the other hand, is a collection of hammocks and swings inspired by the different leaves and fruits that can be found inside the georeserve. Then, there’s Sawa, a tunnel-like bridge in the shape of a snake that serves as quick exit for handicapped or elderly trail visitors. Last, but certainly not the least is Silayan. Silayan is a sustainable restaurant that aims to help local farmers and producers around Masungi Georeserve. One of the dishes served here is a special version of Sinigang, which uses the indigenous Katmon fruit. The restaurant sits on a spot that has a 360-degree backdrop of Laguna de Bay, the city, and the Sierra Madre mountains. As of now, Silayan is open for trail guests only. These four new features complement the other prominent installations in the georeserve like the giant hammock Duyan, and the massive spiderweb-like steel structure called Sapot. Philosophy of conservation A little over a year after opening to the public, the georeserve continues to be firmly committed to conservation of land, heritage and biodiversity through research, geotourism and the development of local communities. Masungi’s Discovery Trail is a successful model of eco-tourism, where the place does not only yield economic gains, but is also protected and conserved. By limiting the number of visitors, the georeserve maintains the biological integrity of its landscape and wildlife, and through employing residents of nearby communities – including members of the indigenous Dumagat tribe – Masungi has strengthened its hold on its philosophy of conservation. Through providing sustainable




Brgy. Dahon


By limiting the number of visitors, the georeserve maintains the biological integrity of its landscape and wildlife, and through employing residents of nearby communities – including members of the indigenous Dumagat tribe – Masungi has strengthened its hold on its philosophy of conservation.

livelihoods to the community, destructive practices, such as logging and charcoal harvesting are deterred. Visitors, too, contribute to the georeserve’s conservation efforts, by simply going on the Discovery Trail to enjoy the natural landscape with very little impact.

“People protect what they love,” is Masungi’s driving force. Now, who says conservation and tourism are opposing ideas? Masungi Georeseve is located in Km. 45, Marcos Highway, Baras, Rizal. For trail requests and availability, visit



APRIL 12-25, 2015













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APRIL 12-25, 2015 JULY 2017

Beauty at the Beach Known for being at the forefront of providing the best solutions to our dermatological woes, DMARK Corporation, under the leadership of CEO and beautypreneur Nikki Tang and sales and marketing manager Cookie Nadal, recently launched Heliocare 360°, a revolutionary sunscreen and the perfect companion during a beach trip. It has exceptional UVA and UVB protection and a new technology that protects our skin even from high-energy visible light and infrared radiation. It is also armed with SPF 50, which makes the sunscreen remarkably high in antioxidant properties to provide true protection from the sun, and keep the skin looking fresh, beautiful and young. The launch was attended by the country’s top dermatologists who enjoyed learning from Philippine Dermatological Society (PDS) dermatologist Dr. Ma. Teresita Gabriel. Some of them also took home exciting prices like gift certificates from resort partner The Bellevue Resort, Bohol’s top-notch 5-star resort. Congratulations to Nikki and to the DMARK Corporation team for a successful launch!

Dr. Abegael Villanueva wins a box of The Bellevue Manila’s famous ensaymada

Dr. Trixie Carpo with Nikki Tang

Manila’s best dermatologists (from left) Doctors Jay and Ellaine Galvez, Jana Manuel, Ma. Teresita Gabriel, Gina Pastorfide, Lucia Fores and Sharon Lim

Winner of luxury accommodations at The Bellevue Resort Dr. Gina Banate with Nikki Tang and Dr. Anna Rufino

Doctors Beverly Ong-Amoranto and Carmesita Salud

(From left) Doctors Yoga Waskito, Pauline Velasco, Ma. Teresita Gabriel, Carmelie Villespin and Lunardi Bintanjoyo

DMARK Corporation CEO and beautypreneur Nikki Tang with Philippine Dermatological Society (PDS) dermatologist and guest speaker Dr. Ma. Teresita Gabriel

Heliocare prize winner Dr. Gaile Robredo-Vitas

Doctors Claudine Javier, Carmela Lim, Mary Jane Arzadon and Zaza Limcangco

Dr. Anna Margarita Kho with DMARK Corporation sales and marketing manager Cookie Nadal


APRIL 12-25, 2015


Passage to Calbayog City, Samar Island An expat’s account of the phenomenon that is local shipboard travel By NIC RICHARDS


t 6 p.m. we arrive at Pier One in Cebu City with our van load of suitcases, food, toys, hardware items and so many other things that you cannot buy in a small coastal city in the Philippines. My wife sends a text message to Rodolfo – our trusted porter, the one who can get us through smoothly and quickly onto the ship. He soon appears and takes charge. I stand by idly and take in the scene. Forklifts moving around like mechanical rats, sniffing here, picking there, transferring loads to ships. Buses ply people to the waiting ships, each person clutching stuffed plastic bags, bottled waters, swollen suitcases, children, and takeout food. Thank goodness hand-carry baggage limitations do not apply to ship travel. Not yet anyway. Reliable economy Our ship of the line is the MV Iloilo, a roll on, roll off (RORO) vessel. Not rollover as some would say referring to the shallow hull and flat bottom. She rides quietly to her moorings, with dirty black smoke belching rather frequently from her insides. Painted in the uninspiring custard yellow across all decks, with a pale blue water line marking, and the red letters of Cokaliong shipping line. She can carry officially 653 persons, mostly in economy class. And when they say ‘economy’ class they really do mean that. Steel framed double bunk beds, with fiberglass-like mattresses, flow through air conditioning (courtesy of nature), and a toilet to passenger ratio that is challenging. Tonight we are traveling with 18 others in the business class section. This is air conditioned, with doors that separate it from the tourist class section, also air conditioned and capable of accommodating 156 passengers. With a much better toilet to passenger ratio. On top of the official human cargo, from my observations, she can carry at least 100 roosters (which never stop crowing), several hundred week-old chicks, a few hardy cats, and probably a 1000 rats. She is 78 meters long, 15 meters wide and about 2770 tons, built in 1978. This is not my first trip with this ship, nor my first time to travel from Cebu to Calbayog. In the past 20 years, I have made the trip at least 50 times. And on much worse ships than the MV Iloilo. In fact, I have to say that over-

all, the MV Iloilo is a reasonably comfortable and clean ship, and safe and reliable. Cacophony of sound and light Soon we are underway and making way, as we leave Cebu harbor. Our thoughts and stomachs think of food and eating, and we find our way to the dining room. The room is a large cafeteria-style layout with about 50 diners and others inside. Not crowded at all, which is both surprising and pleasant. At one end, the galley and serving area is laid out ready to serve its extensive menu of boiled eggs, steamed rice, potato chips, chorizo sausages, cracker biscuits, soft drinks, and beer. And yes water as well: for drinking, for noodle soup, or for the exotic three-in-one, or five-in-one instant coffee blends. As in much of the Philippines, the food pyramid concept of nutrition is missing a couple of layers, especially the fruit and vegetable parts. At the other end of the cafeteria, two televisions are mounted to the wall, separated by about six feet. They are competing with each other for people’s attention it seems to me. Why else would they both be on full volume, on different channels and producing noise that is akin to the high pitched screaming of slaughtered pigs or an imminent invasion by aliens from outer space. Next to the two TVs sit two banks of games slot machines, with spinning symbols, flashing lights and over excited youths doing their best to murder as many people as they can (on screen of course) within 60 seconds. And last but definitely not least into this cacophony of sound and light comes the masterpiece—the Karaoke machine with its own sound proof or privacy chamber. Except it’s neither sound proof nor private, and the occupants are doing their best to let everyone else in the room know that they should be on the TV show Pilipinas Got Talent. I close my eyes and take in the sounds. Lots of hisses, squeaks, gongs, laughter, booming, smashing, and other really strange sounds. Bam bam, whoosh whoosh, rat tat tat. From the Karaoke chamber, a woman’s voice straining to reach the high notes of a love ballad floats over the top of it all for a brief moment, before the tinny, raucous shouting of a frantic TV reporter drowns her out. Behind me, kids screaming, noisy scraping doors

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Nicholas (Nic) Richards lives in Samar province with his family. He works in international development assistance, is an agriculture expert, and writes novels. He has written and published two novels to date. “Black Hearts, Gold Warriors” is his second novel and it tells the tale of the hunter and the hunted across the exotic and dangerous landscapes of Mindanao and Vietnam, from the close of WWII to the start of the new millennium. It is an action adventure spiced with historical fiction and romance, with wonderful and heady scents and sounds of life in the colorful and vibrant world of Southeast Asia. Nic’s first book called “Gold of the Generals,” is being revised and will be re-released early in June 2017 and it is a wonderful story of the hunt for war loot and treasures in the Philippines and Papua New Guinea. You can find out more about him at

Calbayog from above Photo courtesy of Pinas Muna

opening, TV adverts flashing video clips and making lots of undecipherable noise about hair products, laundry soap, minute noodles, magic pills and miracle financial plans. If you could taste this mixture of sounds, I would call it sweet, sour, savory, chunky, lumpy, tart, acidic frothy, and indigestible. It used to be hard for me to eat in this atmosphere. As if my stomach muscles were

cramped up. But now, I can as I am conditioned to it, able to eat and adapt to this cultural trait of shipboard travel. As I finish my meal, I close my eyes again briefly and this time pick up even more disturbing noises. Yep… sounds like the aliens have landed on our ship, and making their way now to the cafeteria. Time to head back to business class and close the doors.


APRIL 12-25, 2015 JULY 2017

The Dilemma of the Houses To ponder across the streets of Las Casas de Filipinas de Acuzar Text and photos by CELINE REYES


alking around Las Casas takes a little getting used to. The first few minutes could be a little disorienting, like the few delicate moments of waking up from a dream; instead here, it’s the other way around. You’re going into a dreamland, not out. It’s like being sucked into a wormhole and emerging into a long-gone past where streets were cobbled and houses were poetry of bricks and stones. It feels like an anachronism. And it is – at least for a few minutes. When you get settled in, everything blooms into a bouquet of nostalgia. The stonework, the carpentry, all the intricate details contribute to the blast-from-the-past experience. For a moment, you almost expect Jose Rizal to walk by. Historical feast for the senses With a collection of Spanish-era houses gathered from all over the Philippines, Las Casas de Filipinas de Acuzar envisions itself as a heritage park, preserving a portion of Filipino character through reconstructing pieces of architectural history. The houses are spread over 400 hectares of land, with manmade canals and other colonial structures adding to the periodic atmosphere. Each house is claimed to have been carefully transported and meticulously put back together as close to what it originally looked like. The number of restored houses is at 27, but it’s continuously growing, with properties coming from as far as Sorsogon in the Bicol region. The park started opening its gates to tourists in 2010 and continues to be one of Bataan’s most popular destinations. One reason for its popularity, aside from the picturesque scenes, is that Las Casas does everything it can to stay true to its promised experience. The staff wears periodic Filipiniana clothing, and the restaurants serve dishes fit for those bygone times. But it’s the guided heritage tour that ties everything together. Learning about the history of the houses and the people that used to live in them helps provide a larger albeit more relatable picture. Getting to see the houses up close also makes it more real, almost like you’re touching history – which, technically, you are. On top of that, most of the houses can be rented, allowing for a greater chance to understand what it’s like to live during the Spanish times. A question of conservation One day is not enough to cover the entirety of Las Casas, even when you choose to ride one of the kalesa (horse-drawn carriage). Just like the period it attempts to recreate, the park is vast and complex. No one could deny that the park is magnificent. It is like a time capsule the size of a small pueblo, one that’s impervious to the passage of time. It makes for stunning photographs, that’s for sure, but walking across its streets, seeing the reconstructed houses, merit difficult and sensitive questions pertaining to cultural conservation – of whether or not it is being done right, or at least if what’s being done is enough. Doesn’t removing a structure from its original location diminish the effort if not completely defeat the purpose? Is this as far as cultural conservation can go when it comes to authenticity? Perhaps having the houses all in one place makes it more economical, more convenient, and, yes, more aesthetically pleasing. Having them arranged like a settlement, like a theme park, has value – monetary value. And its popularity is proof of this.

The aesthetic beauty at Las Casas is undeniable; the question of authentic conservation, however, is a bit blurrier.


It’s like being sucked into a wormhole and emerging into a long-gone past where streets were cobbled and houses were poetry of bricks and stones. How is it any different from taking wild animals and stuffing them in a zoo? The master builder of Las Casas, Jose Acuzar, insists that the houses were in a state of neglect when they were found and would’ve been eventually destroyed if not for their efforts; that previous owners were either financially or physically incapable of maintaining the properties and needed little convincing to hand over the houses. If we were in his shoes, could we pass up on such an opportunity? Would we do the same? Authentic conservation tries to alter as little original conditions. It does what it can to preserve all aspects of the thing that is being conserved. Sometimes, the zoo is the best way to go. Sometimes, there’s simply no other way. But could this also be true for Las Casas? For more information on Las Casas de Filipinas de Acuzar, visit


Expat Newspaper Volume 35 No. 13 Expat Newspaper July 1 - July 31, 2017


Expat Newspaper Volume 35 No. 13 Expat Newspaper July 1 - July 31, 2017