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OCTOBER 2017 / VOL. 35 NO.16



the rebirth of Cuyambay 9

The Dumagat Tribe from Cuyambay in Tanay, Rizal recently launched an ecotourism plan to stray away from unsustainable practices that denuded their mountains. This welcome turnaround has provided the upland community with a sustainable livelihood, and opened up great hiking destinations for outdoor enthusiasts.







Seda Vertis North

Where Two Worlds Meet

October Libation

The local hotel brand comes into its own with the biggest hotel in Quezon City, and a stylish sophistication that exceeds your every expectation.

With the unique blend of its glorious bygone era and the allure of modern living, Iloilo gives tourists the best of both worlds.

Signature cocktails, wine for days, and some of the best coffee in the world – who says October Fest needs to be all about beer?



can you watch more than 20 of the best Spanish and Latin American films this October?

should a first-time visitor do in Coron?




APRIL 12-25, 2015


Chief Justice highlights judicial reforms By RICHARD RAMOS


ften criticized for its turtle-paced rate of case dissolution and clandestine practices, the justice system recently claimed that it has finally adapted new technological innovations and hired additional personnel aimed at speeding up court processes, decongesting the backlog of unsolved cases, and gaining the confidence of the public. Embattled Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno announced the utmost importance for the implementation of such judicial reforms since “the rule of law is synonymous with economic development as it provides the proper environment and security for the long-term.” She reiterated that the reforms are essential for economic prosperity in order for the rule of law to be implemented for the citizens to follow and for the government to be held accountable for its actions. Court decongestion Among the programs the Chief Justice is overseeing is “Hustisyeah” ( Justice yeah), which is aimed at unclogging the decongestion of the cases in the courts wherein judges have a staggering average of 2,000 cases yet to

be resolved. As the keynote speaker during the Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry Business Summit, Sereno relayed that the program was first implemented in Quezon City to make an inventory of the files and implement a management plan for the judges. “Result is a 30 percent reduction in case dockets,” she claimed. “This was through the deployment of 635 Court Decongestion Officers (CDOs) in the person of various law graduates and contractuals throughout the country to assist the courts and their personnel. And they have performed admirably,” she announced proudly. A total of 81 CDOs have been assigned to the 175 courts based in Central Visayas covering the cities and provinces of Cebu, Bohol, Negros Oriental, and Siquijor. According to Sereno, the result has been a 22.13 percent reduction of cases in the month of August 2017 alone. In Cebu City and province, a total of 32,560 out of 51,825 cases were disposed of. For Cebu City alone, the speaker pointed out that 11,716 out of 40,231 were declared as priority cases, of which 5,767 (49.2 percent) were solved.

Experience Guam shopping via CEB By RICHARD RAMOS


ntil December 2017, passengers flying between Manila and Guam, who pre-purchase a baggage allowance of 40 kilograms, will get a free additional 25 kilograms. Guam is set to hold the Shop Guam Festival (SGF) this November, one of the biggest shopping events in the Pacific region. The event showcases Guam’s tax-free shopping, with incentives and other activities from the wide array of retail outlets on the island. “We are pleased to partner with Cebu Pacific again to showcase our island. The hospitality of our Chamorro people with the Hafa Adai spirit is one of its unique qualities,” said Tony Muana, Jr., vice president of Guam Visitors Bureau. “Not only does Guam have great sightseeing and beaches, we also have many of the world’s best retailers amidst a wholesome family environment.” “Guam offers one of the best shopping experiences in the region with its luxury brands, American heritage labels, and heavily-discounted shops. There is less reason to worry about excess luggage and more reason to enjoy holiday shopping,” said Candice Iyog, vice president for marketing and distribution of Cebu Pacific. Cebu Pacific started the Manila-Guam

route last March 2016. Eighteen months later, tourism arrivals to Guam has surged with a total of 144,758 arrivals in August 2017 alone, and a total of over a million tourists from January to August 2017.

Pleasure Island Photo courtesy of Cebu Pacific

There are also assisting courts and assisting judges wherein the plantilla of one court helps another. An example here is how the staff of a court in Cebu helps the staff of a court in Mandaue City, resulting in the movement of 2,957 cases nationwide, which was formerly left idle. Other programs Sereno also spoke of the systems realignment and improved setup where speedy trials are held on a continuous basis minus the usual six-month gaps between court appearances. A total of 58 volunteer judges head this arrangement. “It is quite wrong for suspects to undergo undue and prolonged detention with regard to their cases. Many innocent parties have undergone unnecessary detention and have turned out worse due to bad company. Decisions are promulgated from case submission within 90 days or less,” she affirmed. Another program is the E-JOP or the Electronic Justice on Wheels Program where trials are conducted on makeshift courtrooms inside large buses to maximize efficiency and accessibility instead of having the parties travel for long hours.

“The mediation process has also played a part in the reduction of cases,” explained the Chief Justice. “A total of 8,300 cases have undergone the process since 2014, resulting in 2,138 decisions and the release of 9,217 prisoners.” Licensed mediators who do not require a law background have also played a large part in the unclogging of court dockets where opposing parties try to reach an amicable settlement instead of slugging it out through prolonged and expensive court hearings. Another innovation is the Enterprise Information System Plan (EISP). This five-year master plan aims to e-connect over 2,000 courts nationwide. Features include the eCourts for Public Confidence and Transparency, which has already conducted 24 trainings, and 159 automated hearings in 274 courts. The Mandaue Business Summit is the highlight of the Mandaue Business Month (MBM), which is held every August. The MBM is composed of a series of events and projects geared towards promoting sustainable and socially responsible entrepreneurship positioning Mandaue City to be an attractive destination for business and investments.

DOE vows adequate energy supply through 2040 By RICHARD RAMOS


s the country’s energy demand is expected to triple by 2040 in face of dwindling energy reserves, the Department of Energy (DOE) has adopted an active stance and has promised to embark on taking giant steps to ensure that the demand would be met. To ensure energy security, DOE Assistant Secretary Redentor Delola explained that this would necessitate the construction of an LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) Terminal for “Clean Energy City,” inviting audit and assessment for power generation and transmission, and accelerating the total privatization of PSALM (Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management) assets. “Energy access will also have to be expanded to ensure affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy for all,” Delola said. “This can be done through the 100 percent electrification of targeted identified households nationwide by 2022. We will also have to connect the Mindanao grid with the interconnected Visayas and Luzon grids by 2020 to increase

power supply reliability.” The DOE projected that the country would need an additional 43,765 megawatts by 2040 to meet the projected peak demand. Road to 2040 Speaking before the Energy Investment Forum and Stakeholders Conference held at an uptown Cebu hotel, the assistant secretary also batted for the promotion of a low carbon future by promoting technology innovation through research, development, demonstration, and deployment. The conference enabled the DOE to bring the E-Power Mo Campaign to Cebu, which is designed to empower energy consumers and stakeholders by educating them on their energy options, so they can make informed choices. Another strategic direction en route to the 2040 goal is the strengthening of collaborative efforts among all government agencies involved in energy and energy-related issues. This will entail, among others, the capacity and competency building of human resources of the “Energy Family” in the organizational, administrative, financial and legal areas. “We will also need to collate sectoral and technological roadmaps and action plans involving all energy sources and varieties,” Delolo added. “This, plus the advocacy of the passage of the department’s legislative agenda and issuance of rules and regulations on natural gas, LPG, and Petroleum Upstream Regulation.” The event served as the President’s energy policy agenda with the following objectives: Develop and utilize the energy resources available for wealth creation and global competition; undertake safety and savings measures through energy efficiency; secure the delivery of quality and reliable energy services; and empower consumers through a wide variety of options in using varied energy sources.


APRIL 12-25, OCTOBER 20172015

Walled City revival wows 23k visitors


nspired by Wow Philippines’ revival program, the Department of Tourism (DOT) recently opened the gates of Intramuros as part of World Tourism Week, attracting more than 23,000 visitors at the Walled City’s iconic landmarks. “The impressive turnout of visitors during the Intramuros Open House shows how Senator Dick Gordon’s brainchild effectively worked in unravelling the government’s revitalization efforts on the country’s icons of history,” said DOT Secretary Wanda TulfoTeo. The 23,274 international and domestic visitors were treated to free of charge to rediscovery of enduring landmarks in Intramuros, which included Fort Santiago, Baluarte de San Diego and Casa Manila. DOT’s attached agency, the Intramuros

Administration (IA) and Viva Manila, showcased garden parties, open bazaars, and other activities like a botanical photo/art walk in the morning; bike tours courtesy of Bambike Ecotours in the afternoon; and open-air concerts in the evening at the Baluarte de San Diego. “This also highlights the wholesome and family-oriented entertainment we offer at our cultural sites,” Teo noted. IA administrator Guiller Asido said the open houses will again be held this coming Oct. 14-15, and Nov. 18-19. Aside from being one of the Open Platform satellite expositions leading up to the Manila Biennale in February 2018, the open house program is also part of the overall activities leading up to the regional Fairs scheduled for March 2018.

OPENSTAGE: Performances of DJ Bing Austria and open jamming session with Aldous Castro, Hansome, Silence & the Lambs at the Baluarte de San Diego

New department to ramp up Phl disaster resilence


n late August, Albay Representative Joey Salceda filed a bill proposing the creation of an independent Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR), which is intended to strengthen the Philippines’ calamity defense program, and help ensure the country’s development and inclusive growth. According to Salceda, the proposed DDR should ideally take in at least four existing government agencies, which he identified as critical to effective disaster planning and operation – the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical Astronomical Services Administration, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (under the Department of Science and Technology [DOST]), the Geoscience Bureau, and the Bureau of Fire Protection. As noted by a Philippine Canadian Inquirer report, the idea of the proposed department is modeled after the US Department of Homeland Security, which has under its operational control major federal agencies to effectively manage security threats in various areas. Salceda pointed out that the creation of the DDR would “put an end to ‘policy drifts’ and disagreements in the program of reducing the impacts of climate change that can lead to more serious consequences and expensive damages in terms of loss of lives and properties.” If passed, Salceda said that the DDR would have the necessary resources competency and structure to manage broader climate-disaster governance arrangements, and will lead the development of large-scale strategic and systematic approaches to disaster prevention, mitigation, preparedness, re-

sponse, recovery, and rehabilitation. Proposed department lauded DOST Undersecretary Renato Solidum Jr., an expert on disaster management, lauded the DDR proposal, saying that such a body would go a long way in monitoring potential disasters, and give ample warnings to the affected residents. Solidum expressed his optimism on the DDR during the press conference for the firstever Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Disaster Response Conference held at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino. The two-day event aims to raise awareness in reducing the effects of disasters through a showcase of different ICT solutions to serve as instruments in improving communication and response in the country. Highlights of the conference included technical presentations and demonstrations from important speakers from Japan, Australia, Singapore, Thailand, and the United States. Topics ranged on available ICT solutions, applications and programs, best practices in disaster resilience, and future mitigation trends. In November 2013, Super Typhoon Yolanda ravaged parts of the country, claiming close to 10,000 lives, and billions of pesos in livelihood and economic assets. The massive disaster highlighted serious problems in the country’s handling of disaster risk reduction efforts. The Philippines easily ranks as one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world, having been constantly battered by typhoons, earthquakes, floods, and the like in practically all parts of the archipelago.

OPENACTIVIDAD: Visitors of the open house were treated to hula hoop basics, slim workshop & kid's coloring, stone painting workshop, name calligraphy, botanical photo walk, and bike tours


APRIL 12-25, 2015


British Amb. Daniel Pruce meets British Chamber


Binibining Cebu (Ms. Cebu) Pageant and Coronation Night 2017, made up of 54 lovely candidates representing all 54 cities and towns of Cebu City and province, takes place on Saturday, Oct. 28, at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino. This is easily Cebu’s largest and most expensive beauty pageant ever with over PhP1.5 million in cash and prizes going to the top five placers and their respective locales. Four pre-pageant events were held, featuring the terno (at Argao), swimsuit (Grand Convention), evening gown (SM Seaside City), and pre-pageant (Oakridge Pavilion) categories. The event is presented by Bb. Sugbo Charity Foundation, Inc. along with Sacred Heart School for Boys Batch 1985. Visit for more details. The British Chamber of Commerce Philippines (BCCP) recently introduced its Board of Trustees and Platinum Members to new British Ambassador Daniel Pruce. The gathering aimed to strengthen collaborative partnerships with various stakholders in promoting UK-Philippine economic ties. Among the salient points discussed during the meeting were the current business environment, opportunities for UK companies keen to do business in the Philippines, BCCP’s current initiatives and plans, and members’ interests.

Swedish Amb. Harald Fries visits Iloilo

Swedish Ambassador Harald Fries (Middle) and Giselle Yap, Senior Trade Promotion Officer of the Embassy of Sweden, with Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor (Right). The Swedish Ambassador was in Iloilo last month as a guest in the Department of Agriculture-led Making Expo 2017. Amb. Fries and Gov. Defensor discussed possible future partnerships and development projects.

Graduating class of Escuella Taller ready to restore damaged heritage structures

A total of 48 young men and women recently completed a one-year training program in traditional construction and conservation techniques for masonry, carpentry, and wall finishing. The group is now part of a unique pool of specialists and skilled workers in conservation called Heritage Protectors. Spanish Ambassador Luis Antonio Calvo was among the special guests during the commencement exercises.

The Chocolate Chamber (TCC), located at 3349 Topaz St., Casal’s Village in Mabolo, highlights its “Chocolate Journey,” which details the tales and trails of Maria Cacao, aka Raquel Choa. Specifically geared towards small groups and friends, the “trip” traces the beginnings of the establishment and its founder, starting with a simple cacao bean along with its varieties and processes. Witness the pounding and grinding of beans, the symbolisms of the ManilaAcapulco galleon trade in consonance with Choa’s daily childhood treks over several mountain rivers, colorful live demos and visuals, and the sampling of the different cacao products via chocolates, sikwate, and tablea cakes sans sugar and enhancers. Call (0917) 628-7661 for more information. Waterfront Cebu City Hotel & Casino presents its multi-faceted bridal fair dubbed “Walk me Down to the Waterfront” this Oct. 6 to 7. Following the expo opening at the Grand Ballroom is a fashion show entitled “La Voilette” featuring the creations of 10 members of the Cebu Circle of Fashion Creatives. Next is a table setup competition for students, and capping the first night is another fashion show dubbed “Clair de Lune,” this time by eight members of the Fashion Designers Association of the Phil. Cebu chapter. The second day features workshops on basic wedding planning, events styling, bridal talk, and makeup. Capping the entire expo is another fashion show dubbed “La Relance” showcasing the works of art in bridal gowns from acclaimed designers. Havaianas hired multi-awarded furniture and industrial designer Vito Selma to design a Cebu-inspired playground to lure the kids away from electronic gadgets. Situated at the back of Cebu City Marriott Hotel, the permanent playground comprises Waves (of the sea) ala colorful monkey bars and see-saws; Peaks (highlands) ala quirky climbing bars, nets, and a tire swings; and Skyline (the nearby buildings) via its strategic location in the mall. Entrance is free

The Chocolate Chamber in action

and kids can play as long as they wish. As an outdoor staple, the Havaianas flip-flops are a bestselling product that encourages children to engage in physical activities away from indoor electronic games. Both Ayala Center Cebu and Havaianas aim to evoke the spirit of fun in all three playground districts. SilkAir and Singapore Airlines recently held “The Great Singapore Airlines Getaway” via the SilkAir and Mastercard Travel Fair hosted by the Ayala Center Cebu last Sept. 16-17. All-in round trip fares range from US$160-970 to eight different international destinations in economy class. These are Singapore, Southeast Asia, Australia, India, Maldives, Europe, New Zealand, and the US. Rates for premium economy are from US$160 up - US$1,850 up while business classes charge US$690 up – US$3,005 up. Travel rewards are inclusive of free one-night Singapore Stopover holiday with one-time access to 15 great attractions, double KrisFlyer miles with and Agoda hotel bookings, and SG$10 KrisShop eVouchers for every round trip ticket. Globe Telecom hosted the 6th annual Globe Media Excellence Awards, honoring the top reporters and bloggers in the Visayas. Cebu won majority of the awards as Cris Evert Ruffolo copped the Print Reporter of the Year, while Atty. Gloria Estenzo Ramos won the Columnist of the Year with her article on “Wrangling on Waste.” Both write for the Cebu Daily News. Amper Campana topped the Photojournalist of the Year, while Cherry Ann Lim won the Investigative Story of the Year (print and online) with her article on “After the Tokhang.” Nickolas Tubo was crowned Reporter of the Year for Online News Portal. All three are with SunStar Cebu. Alan Domingo won as TV Reporter of the Year while Reyn Nikko Sereno won for Investigative Story of the Year for TV. Both work for GMA-7 Cebu. Micab, a homegrown taxi-hailing app, has launched its partnership with the Metro Cebu Taxi Operators Association (MCTOA). The app (also operational in Iloilo) allows commuters to hail cabs conveniently with their mobile devices. MCTOA has combined fleets of 5,000 white cabs and also operates the KMKK bus franchise and the yellow airport taxicabs. Micab is unlike other service providers since the company is not under the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Transport Network Service Vehicle (TVNS) by following a business model of partnering with franchising rules-compliant taxi companies rather than servicing private vehicles. The company aims to expand in Manila before the yearend.


APRIL 12-25, 2015


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 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;

Romulo Café rolls out signature cocktails for Happy Hour


nown for its popular main courses, such as Lola Virginia’s Chicken Relleno, Adobo Romulo Style, and Tito Greg’s Kare-Kare, Romulo Café now introduces a surprising lineup of cocktails and Filipino-style tapas. “Tapas are considered strictly Spanish; associated only with Spanish food,” says Sandie Romulo Squillantini, owner of Romulo Café and granddaughter of Iconic Filipino staesman Carlos P. Romulo. “We wanted to tweak that idea because Filipino finger foods also go nicely with wine, Cava and other drinks. Basically, we’ve taken the tried and tested combination of beer and pulutan (bar chow), and we’ve made it a little friendlier to an international clientele.” Signature cocktails Romulo Café’s signature cocktails are inspired by the multifaceted life of Carlos P. Romulo, each reflecting an aspect of the late general’s life. Included in the drinks list are Old General, denoting Romulo as the quintessential diplomat and soldier; A Foreign Affair, which hints at an insiders’ joke from the early 70s, when his friends and colleagues teased Romulo about dating an American while serving as the minister of Foreign Affairs (Beth Day married him in 1979); Spritzer Pulitzer, signifying the 1942 Pulitzer Prize in Journalism; and Dirty White Dove, which makes reference to two facts: that he loved white doves and

kept them as pets, and that he patronized the Sign of the Dove restaurant in New York City. Imelda’s High Heels and Amor de Familia are also part of the lineup. Moreover, Wine Warehouse Corporation surely added doses of 'Happy' during Romulo Café’s Happy Hour, serving excellent drinks exclusively for the occasion such as Candidato Tempranillo and Viura from Spain, and Undurraga U Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay from Chile. The majestic Mancino Vermouth Cocktails and Rinomato Aperitivo that hail from the “Wine Country” Italy are likewise featured, along with Martin Miller's Gin from the UK / Iceland. Philippine Wine Merchant Ralph’s Stoli Vodka also provided a splendid taste for the signature drink Dirty White Dove, while Don Papa Rum is mixed with the A Foreign Affair and Amor de Familia. Experience Romulo Café’s Happy Hour starting on October, 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., in all its four branches: Scout Tuazon, Tomas Morato, Quezon City; Jupiter Street, Makati; Azumi Hotel in Ayala Alabang; and Kensington, London, UK.

Dirty White Dove

Cheese and Vigan Longganisa Dumpling

Amor de Familia

Wine Days at Sofitel

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.

Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila celebrates Wine Days 2017 in a series of events that are a truly sensory experience. Keep reading to eye events you fancy, and book your slot in advance. Exquisite Sunday Brunch Every Sunday Brunch until Oct. 29, Spiral will be featuring vintage wine from renowned wine regions including Argentina, Loire Valley, Burgundy, California and Australia. Guests can delight their taste buds with a variety of artisanal wine and champagne jam by artisan Pierre Marmonier. Top-shelf bubbly The most discerning connoisseurs can also taste the world’s most expensive champagnes on the Oct.. 17 as Spiral presents The Bubbly: Exclusive Champagne Tasting featuring top-tiered vintages Moët & Chandon, Krug and Dom Pérignon exclusive for only 10 guests. French journey Sofitel’s wine someliers take guests on a journey through the rich wine regions of France with The Art of Wine, a wine appreciation class. An afternoon of surprising discoveries and excellent wine pairings awaits on the Oct. 19 at Spiral. This is 40 On Oct. 22, Spiral presents Vendange Brunch featuring wine tasting of 40 different wines produced in regions that harvest in the month of October. Guests may also get a special glimpse of old-style grape stomping – a traditional winemaking method where grapes

are crushed to release its juices and begin fermentation. Wine and cheese Gastronomes may learn the intricate art of wine and cheese pairing in a Private Wine and Cheese Class held every Sunday at Spiral’s L’Epicerie. Various combinations of artisanal cheese and the finest vintage from renowned wine regions are highlighted in an enriching and exclusive engagement ideal for a maximum of 10 gourmands and connoisseurs. Best of both worlds Le Bar presents Voyage du Vin (Voyage of Wine) featuring a selection of New World and Old World wines every Friday and Saturday until Oct. 28. A selection of wine-based cocktails are also offered including Kir Cassis, Rosé Pamplemousse and Soupe de Champagne. Music takes center stage as Le Bar’s resident wine experts curate a premium wine list paired with a soothing playlist. Meanwhile, Snaps Sports Bar tickles the palate with delightfully flavorful and colorful sangrias. Featuring red, white, sparkling and rosé wines, this fruity punch with a twist is available by the glass or may shared with friends by the pitcher.

For inquiries and reservations, call F&B Reservations at (02) 832-6988 or email


APRIL 12-25, OCTOBER 20172015

Nespresso’s brewtiful enchantments The famed brand delights coffee-lovers, this side of Switzerland By ANGIE DUARTE


here are two main things that get me into gear in the morning: the thought of a productive day and the promise of a good cup of coffee. Yes, I have always enjoyed a fresh brew: from the aroma that teases and tantalizes my nose to the flavor that washes over my palate, good coffee is at once a cup of comfort and a perky pickme-up. But GREAT coffee is capable of even more than that – it creates magical moments that leave you wondering, “what sorcery is this???” Coffee fiends know where I am coming from, and so does acclaimed brand Nespresso. The company, which recently opened its doors to the retail sector in the Philippines, firmly believes that every cup should be a most pleasurable experience; that the “Nespresso Moment” should always be one to cherish. Coffee goes Grand Cru Nespresso wants you to do more than crave your caffeine fix: it wants you to SAVOR it. As such, the brand has created its Grand Cru line; rare coffees from the world’s most well-renowned coffee-growing regions. Here’s an eye-opening fact: only 1-2 percent of the world’s coffee harvest makes the Nespresso cut. These choicest beans are carefully crafted into blends and single origin coffees to bring you a range of flavors and bodies that best-suit your unique coffee profile. Each hermetically sealed aluminum capsule, though small in size, is big on flavor and the promise of magic in a mug. The Grand Crus offers 24 distinct blends to satisfy your many moods and modes of coffee love.

,a ocha ut M e infused n o c o ip e rec ted C Toas ial coffe vor. c a e sp local fl with

Nespresso mobile bar samples various types of Grand Crus

opened its doors to the commercial sector. What was once a business-to-business setup has expanded to include the retail market, both online and at the Nespresso showroom in Bonifacio Global City. This is welcome news to Nespresso lovers who once had to resort to black market purchases (at exorbitant amounts!) of their favorite capsules, or wait for the opportunity to travel (or order from online stores) overseas. What’s more, the brand provides a highly personalized level of service, connecting its global community of customers. It has also built a unique route-to-market system, encompassing e-commerce, call centers, and physical stores. Plus, the online shopping experience is convenient and hassle-free; and, Nespresso customers can register to become Nespresso Club Members, giving them access to exclusive perks and privileges

A variety of Nespresso machine styles for every design aesthetic

State of the art machinery But, Nespresso’s commitment to your coffee enjoyment goes beyond its topnotch line of blends. Its careful, down-to-earth coffee curation is complemented by the cutting-edge technology it employs to deliver state-of-the-art coffee machinery. Nespresso machines showcase a cuttingedge technology that sets the stage for your perfect cup: the right water temperature, quantity and speed, along with the optimal extraction pressure. And, while I might not comprehend exactly how this all works, my taste buds are well pleased with the endproduct of this advanced tech. A bonus for

One of the hi-tech Nespresso machines

Novateur Coffee Concepts Managing Director Patrick Pesengco, Chef Sunshine Puey, Novateur Coffee Concepts Marketing Manager Mia Silva and Novateur Coffee Concepts Marketing Head Melissa Valdez

those of us who are keen on aesthetics? The machines come in a variety of styles, sizes, and colors, so there’s one to match most every design sensibility. I chose the red vintage-inspired one, by the way. B2B goes B2C While Nespresso has been around for several years this side of Lausanne, Switzerland (the brand’s base of operations), it was only in recent months that the company

Sleep, wake, Nespresso, repeat Yes, there’s nothing quite like waking up to a dose of enchantment, in a cup. Then again, we could all use a little enchantment throughput the day – after all, who says coffee is best enjoyed only before noon? In the Philippines, Nespresso is exclusively distributed by Novateur Coffee Concepts Inc. For more information, contact Melissa R. Valdez, marketing head, at ,or Mia Silva, marketing manager, at


APRIL 12-25, 2015


Iloilo Iloilo Where two worlds meet

With the unique blend of a glorious bygone era and the allure of modern living, Iloilo gives you the best of both worlds By BERNARD L SUPETRAN Photos courtesy of ROBBIE ROBLES



ention Iloilo City to most Filipinos in the know, and its succulent cuisine and heritage structures are likely the first come to mind. And while Cebu has long been renowned as the “Queen City of the South,” there is an often overlooked fact in Iloilo’s checkered history—and that it is the first “queen city” because of its political and economic prominence during the Spanish era. According to historians, Queen Regent Maria Cristina gave Iloilo the titles “La Muy Leal Y Noble Ciudad” (The Most Loyal and Noble City) and later “Queen Regent’s City in the South.” Heritage touring Iloilo takes pride in its array of postcardperfect heritage homes of its ilustrado class, which are remarkably well-preserved. With the slogan “The Past is Always Present,” the city government has passed an ordinance providing tax incentives to restore these antiquarian gems and give them a new lease in life. As such, a number of ancestral homes have retained their grandeur, and have undergone adaptive reuse as tourist establishments. Some of the must-visit structures of the ilk are the 1865 Camiña Balay nga Bato, an antique shop, sinamay and hablon weaving room, and café for Ilonggo heirloom cuisine; and the Molo Mansion, which hosts SM’s Kultura retail shop. The stately circa-1920s Nelly Garden – Iloilo’s “Queen of Heritage Houses” built in the tradition of Beaux Art of French chateaus – is a noteworthy mansion that served as the colonial era’s social events center, a role it continues to perform up to the present. J.M. Basa St. (or Calle Real) downtown underwent an urban facelift to bring back its glory days. Aside from being a visual treat with its spruced-up facades, visitors can enter and marvel at the old buildings’ well-preserved state. Tourists can also hop around the historic churches such as the Cathedral of the Our Lady of Purification, the Gothic-style Church of St. Anne in Molo, the San Jose de Placer at the city center, and the Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage Church in La Paz. Thriving modernization But far from being a museum city frozen in time, this urban hub at the center of the archipelago is a bustling metropolis and a preferred location for business and leisure by the industry’s big players. Being the capital of Iloilo province and the regional center of Western Visayas, the city is a virtual melting pot of people who work, play and live there. Its modern facet is represented by the Iloilo Business Park, a master-planned enclave at the old airport site where major real estate firms have established a foothold. The new central business district teems with lifestyle retail shops, dining outlets, star-rated hotels, and other vertical mixed-use development. The heart of this new township is the two-

year old Iloilo Convention Center or Icon, which aims at making the city a new hub for MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions). The state-of-the-art facility is at par with the country’s best, and has hosted prestigious national and global gatherings, including the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation and the Asean 50 Summit. In anticipation of a boom in the MICE sector, the Ayala conglomerate has positioned itself strategically around the convention center with its Atria Park District, Avida Village, and Seda, a leading local hotel brand. Courtyard by Marriott, an international lodging chain, is also set to open by yearend. Moreover, an old guard in the hotel industry—The Mansion, the rebranded Sarabia Manor Hotel is undergoing a major facelift to blend its Old World charm with the comforts of modern lodging. An interesting variety in the city’s go-to places is the newly-opened Waterworld Iloilo – a two-hectare waterpark, which is reputed to be first of its kind in the world to be powered by solar energy. It boasts of 17 slides, a 222-meter long lazy river, play area for toddlers, and a host of family-oriented amenities. A new source of pride for the city is the Iloilo River Esplanade, rejuvenated by a program which saw the rehabilitation of the once-polluted waterway. The best of its kind in the country, the nine-phase program covers river desilting, mangrove reforestation, landscaping of path for walking, biking, jogging, and public recreation, with a combined length of more than nine kilometers. Designed by the famed urban planner Paulo Alcazaren, the Esplanade was given the GantimPALA Excellence Award for Leisure by the Philippine Association of Landscape Architects (PALA) in the recent 2017 Landscape Architecture Festival. And while shuttling between Iloilo’s old and modern worlds, you can feast on renowned local cuisine such as batchoy, chicken inasal and binakol, pansit molo and laswa – cooked both in the traditional and contemporary manner by home-grown brands, specialty restaurants, and dining colonies. Alternatively (or as a post-meal plan), you can laze around in the breadth of cozy coffee shops, music lounges and watering holes found in Iloilo.

2 3



---------Getting There From Manila Air Asia, Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific have daily flights to Iloilo. It can also be reached by air from key Philippine cities such as Cebu, Cagayan de Oro and Davao. 1 Molo Mansion 2 Iloilo Convention Center at Iloilo Business Park 3 Waterworld Iloilo 4 Iloilo River Esplanade Photo courtesy of Robbie Robles 5 Pedal Boat at River Esplanade 6 Seda Hotel Atria



APRIL 12-25, OCTOBER 20172015


The Mountains of Cuyambay

n a parcel of the mountainous lands that surround Tanay is Cuyambay. This upland village is home to a community of the indigenous Dumagat tribe. Learned in the ways of the wild, the Dumagat call the mountains their home, and the peaks that ring the village is, in fact, their ancestral domain. Like many indigenous tribes in the Philippines, the Dumagat live off the land. They have memorized the paths to the forests and know which plant would quench your hunger or render you paralyzed. Unfortunately, the Dumagat, too, practice a pair of destructive traditions: kaingin (slashand-burn farming) and paguuling (charcoal harvesting). For many years, the Dumagat made their living through this couple of unsustainable practices. Only very recently did they decide to turn things around. Realizing that their once thriving mountains are now getting denuded, some of the members of the tribe decided to launch an ecotourism plan to provide the community with alternative means of livelihood. Taking heed from nearby barangays (villages), Cuyambay decided to offer three of its mountains to hikers. Learn more about these summits, consider visiting them, and you will not only get to see amazing natural landscapes, but get to protect it and help provide a community with a more sustainable way of living. Dynamic duo Mt. Sapari and Mt. Binutusan, collectively known as the Maysawa Circuit, is popular for its famed "sea of clouds." This hard to come by view often graces the summits of these mountains, delighting hikers with wispy clouds and cool drafts. Maysawa’s trail goes through an upland community before passing through the woods. It then ascends into mostly grassland well unto the peaks, offering a 360-degree view of undulating hills. The circuit can be traversed completely in about six hours, which includes a quick stop at the spring and waterfalls on the way down. You may, however, opt to visit just one mountain for half the trekking time. Not for the faint of heart (and knees) Of all the mountains in Cuyambay, Mt. Paliparan took the most hits from being a “favorite” of illegal charcoal harvesters. A great part of it used to be barren, dry brown and perpetually covered in smoke and ash. When it was finally decided to have it converted into a hiking destination, the mountain was able to recover slowly and is now regaining most of its vegetation. The once sad brown of this peak is now transforming into bright, fresh hues of green. If we were to rank Cuyambay’s mountains by difficulty, Paliparan would be at the top. Its mostly open trail is composed of abrupt inclines and unforgiving slopes, making it sheer torture for the legs. However, the limestone outcrops that serve as view decks dotting the trails make the assaults absolutely worth it. These decks all afford a panorama of Tanay's mountainous terrain and a sweeping view of all of Cuyambay. Furthermore, a traverse also leads to Sitio Tuoy – a more intact Dumagat community – and a watercourse that leads to the tiered Tungtong Falls. A rock icon With a name that means “jagged” or “uneven,” Mt. Masungki (from this writer’s humble opinion) has the most beautiful trail of the trio of Cuyambay mountains. The scenic path wounds through a thick forest of tall hardwoods that managed to escape the illegal logging that used to plague the village. Because of the towering trees, most of the trail has an awning of foliage. The lush vegetation

Discover these four great hiking destinations within the land of the Dumagat in Tanay, Rizal Text by CELINE REYES Photos by DENNIS MURILLO




also makes for a cool, and not so exhausting hike. While not as difficult as Paliparan’s, Masungki still offers a bit of a challenge. Dotting the trail are limestone outcrops that require a little scrambling and careful maneuvering around sharp rocks. The most interesting part, of course, is the summit where a billboard-like structure can be found. This incongruous feature was speculated to be some kind of radar installation. The view from here is also breathtaking – 360-degree and ripe with waves of hills and valleys. In addition to the scenic trail, the highlight of the trek is perhaps the “side trip.” On the way down, there is an option to visit the Nagpatong Rock – a massive, distinct butte towering over the forest. It’s one of the most photographed features of Masungki, and the primary reason why hikers go here. In fact, the rock formation featured prominently in a recent local blockbuster: Antoinette Jadaones’ “Love You to the Stars and Back” starring teen heartthrobs Joshua Garcia and Julia Baretto.







Getting there: There are jeepneys and commuter vans in Starmall Mandaluyong, Megamall, Robinsons Galleria, and Farmer's Cubao bound for Tanay. At the town proper, head over to the PUV (public utility vehicle) terminal and take a jeepney to Sampaloc. Get off at the junction where you can either take a jeepney bound for Cogeo or charter a tricycle. Your destination is Brgy. Cuyambay. Here, there are motorcycles that will take you to the jump-off. Alternatively, you may take a jeep or van to Cogeo and alight at Gate 2. From tahere, walk towards the jeepney terminal where you may get on one bound for Sampaloc. Alight at Brgy. Cuyambay.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Nagpatang Rock at Mt. Masungki A portion of the Tungtong Falls The view from Mt. Ngusong Kabayo Mt. Ngusong Kabayo Mt. Binutasan Mt. Paliparan A quick stop to this brook is part of the Maysawa Circuit 8 On top of the billboard-like structure on the summit of Mt. Masungki


APRIL 12-25, 2015


Compiled by VIA BAROMA



•Harry Potter and the Great Hogwarts Halloween

•Flow In The City: Wholesome Halloween

Oct. 28 and 29; 2 p.m. onwards, Pineapple Lab, 6071 Palma Street, Barangay Poblacion, Makati; for more information, visit or call (0917) 580-5883

Oct. 14-15, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Burgos Park, Forbes Town Rd., Bonifacio Global City, Taguig; For more information, visit

Wands at the ready, house robes out! Experience Harry Potter’s world of wizardry as Privatus, Plato PH, Pineapple Lab, and Portkey Events, Inc. come together to bring you an unprecedented magical dining experience. Indulge in a Hogwarts-inspired four-course dinner with potion cocktails, as well as Butterbeer for adults and Magical Butterbeer Float for kids. Treat your taste buds to a peculiar yet indulgent menu consisting of Chocolate Frog Legs, Gillyweed Salad, Kreacher’s Onion Soup, Molly’s Meat Pie, Hagrid’s Roasted Vegetables, Ron Weasley Roast Chicken, Hogwart’s Roast Suckling Pig, and desserts like Cauldron Brownies, Snitch Cream Puff and Hogwarts House Cake. With a dinner setting just like Hogwarts, enter the Great Hall and immerse yourself in an interactive experience complete with magical activities for all (potion concocting, wand tutorial, Hogwarts classes, and more!) Registration fee is priced at PhP600 (Day 1) and PhP1,000 (Day 1 and 2) without dinner; PhP2,100 (Day 1 or 2 entrance with dinner) and PhP2,500 (entrance both days and Day 1 or 2 dinner) for Great Hall Package; and PhP4,000 for entrance and dinner both days. For Potions (Mixology) Class, PhP1,200 limited to 20 students.


•PELÍCULA-PELIKULA 2017 Oct. 5 to 15; Greenbelt 3 Cinemas, Makati; for more information and for screening schedules, visit, or find them on Facebook @InstitutoCervantesManila This year, the Spanish Film Festival will showcase more than 20 of the best recent films from Spain and Latin America. On Oct. 6, at 4:30 p.m., Spanish director Sally Gutiérrez will present her non-fiction film Ta acorda ba Tu el Filipinas?, which was selected by several film festivals around the world like the Seminci (Valladolid, Spain) and the Los Angeles Philippine Film Festival. The Manila screening will be the world premiere of Gutiérrez’ work. The festival’s line-up of films includes genres ranging from romance and comedy (La noche en que mi madre mató a mi madre, El ciudadano ilustre) to documentaries (Frágil equilibrio), thriller (Al final del túnel, El hombre de las mil caras), animation (Psiconautas), and drama (Que Dios nos perdone, Tarde para la ira). On Oct. 10, in collaboration with the Embassy of Argentina, Película will focus on the Argentinean film industry with the showing of the documentary El auge del humano, the multi-awarded comedy El ciudadano ilustre, and the drama Kóblic, which will be played at 4:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m., and 9:30 p.m., respectively. Aside from the cultural exchange and entertainment in store at the festival, exciting prizes – including a round-trip ticket to Spain – are in store for lucky raffle winners. For every five movies viewed, members of the audience qualify to join the raffle by entering their vote for the Audience Choice Award; a highlight of every edition of PELÍCULA.


• L’Elisir d’Amore (The Elixir of Love) Oct. 7 and 8; Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo, CCP Main Theater, Cultural Center of the Philippines, Pasay City; for more information, call (02) 832-3704 or (02) 891-9999; or visit www. Experience a different kind of high as one of the greatest comic gems in opera, Gaetano Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore (The Elixir of Love) lights up the center stage this October, in time for the 70th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between Italy and the Philippines. The two-act comic opera will be performed with the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Ruggero Barbieri. First performed in Milan at the Teatro della Canobbiana in 1832, L’ Elisir d’Amore is the most performed of Donizetti’s compositions, and has continuously been part of the global opera repertoire. Headlining the international cast is acclaimed soprano Elena Monti as Adina; Tenor David Astorga, playing her paramour, Nemorino; and his nemesis, Belcore, performed by baritone Byeong In Park. The self-styled “Dr. Encyclopedia,” Dulcamara, is played by comic bass Francesco Vultaggio, while special guest Rachelle Gerodias-Park performs the gossiping Gianetta. Proceeds of the fundraiser are to benefit the construction of the San Pablo Apostol Parish Church in Tondo, Manila. For the Oct. 7 show, tickets are priced at PhP5,000 for Price Zone 1; PhP3,000 for Price Zone 2; PhP1,500 for Price Zone 3; and PhP1,000 for Price Zone 4. For the Oct. 8 show, tickets are priced at PhP2,500 for Price Zone 1; PhP1,500 for Price Zone 2; PhP800 for Price Zone 3; and PhP500 for Price Zone 4.

Take your family and friends for a weekend outdoors amidst a festive community gathering, where you can connect with kindred spirits in celebration of health and wellness. At the Halloween-themed outdoor weekend, explore handcrafted local weaves, and healthy food that may fall under vegetarian, vegan, paleo, and gluten-free. Shop handmade self-care home products, and meander through stalls of a plethora of interesting finds. The market will also feature workshops on movement, arts, and Halloween crafts for both kids and adults – making it an event for everyone in the family. Children in costume get a special healthy treat, while the first 30 early birds get a free caramel apple! To join the workshops, register at Sign up for three classes for PhP1,000.

• 5th Nutrilite Health Run Oct. 15 at the SM Mall of Asia Complex Grounds; Oct. 29 at the SM Davao City; and Nov. 5 at Centrio Mall, Cagayan de Oro; for more information, visit or www. This year, Nutrilite aims to gather more than 12,000 runners in Manila, Davao and Cagayan de Oro at the three-leg Nutrilite Health Run that will cover four categories—1K, 5K, 10K, and 21K respectively. All 21K Finishers will receive a Finisher’s Medal and Finisher’s Shirt. The 1st 21K runner to cross the finish line will also get a PhP20,000 cash prize, while the 1st 10K Finisher will get a PhP10,000. During the race proper, runners will likewise have the chance to win exciting raffle prizes and experience Amway Brands through the Race Ville Expo. The event will also feature a live performance from local alternative band Sponge Cola. The proceeds of the run will go to the Amway One By One Campaign for Children, a program initiated by the company in partnership with the Department of Education (DepEd). Registration fee is priced at PhP250, for the 1K, 5K, and 10K, and PhP850 for the 21K, respectively. All the participating runners will also get free Nutrilite Health Run shirt and race bib. Registration is open until Oct. 13 at all Amway Distribution Centers (Makati, Cagayan De Oro, Cebu, and Davao) or online at the websites above.

•Flow Retreats: Bali Escape (Nature Culture Wellness) Oct. 19 to 22; Jungleroom Bali, Indonesia; for more information, visit www.flowretreats. com or email Immerse yourself in Bali with this unique three-day escape that combines nature and culture. Discover the island’s mystical landscape and trek through a tropical rainforest that leads to a majestic waterfall. Let your taste buds indulge in exotic flavors and fresh, organic, vegetarian fare in a Balinese Cooking Class. Move through your breath in yoga sessions at a verdant open studio, and come out from this experience feeling alive, rejuvenate and inspired. The space is located in Canggu, a surf, yoga and cultural hotspot in the southern part of the island. Bali Escape: Nature Culture Wellness is inclusive of a three-night shared accommodation in a private villa at Jungleroom Bali, daily healthy breakfast, round trip airport transport, two yoga classes, traditional Balinese cooking class, waterfall hike, massage, entrance fees and transportation around the island, plus a shirt and goodie bag. Registration fee is priced at PhP31,880.


APRIL 12-25, OCTOBER 20172015

A Sparkling Evening I am always grateful for opportunities to pay tribute to those who have supported me through the years, and my recent birthday celebration at The Bellevue Manila was yet another one of those rare opportunities. Members of the diplomatic community, business and government leaders, and Manila’s brightest socialites gathered together for a sparkling evening of spectacular performances, wonderful music, friendship, laughter, and love. The evening would not have been possible without the hardworking team of The Bellevue Hotels & Resorts (BH&R) led by chairman Johnny Chan with his sons, BH&R managing director Patrick Chan, B Hotels managing director Ryan Chan and The Bellevue Resort managing director Dustin Chan. Special thanks to Tita Trillo for the sumptuous wines from Titania Wines, to Rustan’s, Aficionado-Perfumes and Personal Care, Beabi and Laneige for the giveaways, and to 2nd Avenue for being the event’s official TV partner. Thank you everyone for an unforgettable evening!

Lawyer Rene Puno and wife Ann

Julie Carceller with Pete Villalon

The Bellevue Resort managing director Dustin Chan and B Hotels managing director Ryan Chan with The Bellevue Hotels & Resorts (BH&R) chairman Johnny Chan and managing director Patrick Chan

Henann Group of Resorts assistant VP for sales-Boracay area Isabel Garcia with BH&R marketing manager Jel Villarin and group director of sales and marketing Mavic Recio

Bert Basilio, Alice Samson and Nonie Basilio

Boling and husband Vic Reyes

Your columnist (middle) with EMotors Inc. president and CEO Beth Lee and founder Helen Lee

Tessie Amparo, Chit Salud, Monaco consul general Dr. Fortune Ledesma and Fanny Blanco

Dr. Cecilia Bernad, Mhel Pechera and Sheilla Tiongco

Connie Garcia, Roy Gonzales, Lolita Mirpuri and Natalya Bronzova


APRIL 12-25, 2015


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APRIL 12-25, OCTOBER 20172015

Falling for Autumn By ANGIE DUARTE


have always loved autumn – in fact, I am head-over-leaves in love with it. It is, in my opinion, perhaps the most picturesque of seasons – with spring coming in a close second. In this most stunning of seasons that starts in September (in many countries across the Northern Hemisphere, at least), leaves turn all shades of gold, russet, red: a riot of hues so intense and disarming. The delicately crisp chill in the air, akin to biting into the freshest of apples, exists in happy contrast with the rich warmth that fetes the eyes. It is among Natures’ most marvelous of multisensory miracles. Street sweepers might disagree and raise their brooms up in protest; but poets, writers, artists and everyday folk, alike, have long sung the praises of autumn. Or, should I say “Autumn,” capitalized “A” – pleading poetic license in reference to the seasonal Muse? Ok, ok; maybe that comes across too pretentious for comfort. This installment of Manic in Manila is going to wax philosophic enough, without capitalization issues. On a side note, you’ve been warned: this will test your gray matter. But, if you hang in there, it may also enrich your soul. Of course, those of us who live on the Philippine side of the Northern Hemisphere know that Fall Fashion is, perhaps, as close to autumn as we get. Around this time of year, the more fashion-forward of us break out the leather and layer on the fabric in an attempt to keep up with the dictates of style. I happen to love Fall Fashion; but I also happen to loathe sticky, sweat-infused clothing – the unavoidable fate of the fashion-foolish. Fashion horses smelling like actual horses is a thought I find rather unappealing. So, I keep the leather-and-lay-

ering, much as I adore these, down to a minimum and use them only when I am assured of crisp air-conditioned indoor temperatures. As a dear friend of mine says, in Manila, your jacket or coat are for use INDOORS. Truer words have never been spoken. Oh, and in Manila, also, leafriddled streets are less an indicator of the autumn equinox and more a marker of generally underpaid street sweepers. Sigh. Nonetheless, my love affair with autumn burns hotter, with the passing of time. Inspirations of Fall Autumn is as captivating to the eye as it is to the human spirit. It is as inspired, as it is inspiring. Something about the season lends itself to an introspection of an almost sublime nature; musings and meditations run deep, this time of year. It is a time of soul searching and taking pause, if you will. In fact, I would take this a step further and say that something about this season stirs up this introspection, as wind through leaves; swirling on the ground. Each leaf, at their life span’s end, falling from their life source; symbolic of the cycles of human life: the loss of innocence that generally accompanies maturity; the unavoidable cycle of aging; the laying to rest of dreams and ambitions, perchance. Maybe this is why I am more obsessed with autumn, with the passing of each year – as I get older, I realize that all is temporary; all is fleeting. I realize that I am pushing 50 – OMG! As such, I see the value of the everyday, even the mundane, all the more clearly. I see what matters and what are simply mere distractions – I don’t pretend to be

wiser, mind you, just more in tune with myself. Odes to Autumn Throughout time, there have been many men and women who have expressed their autumnal sentiments in the form of poetry: Percy Bysshe Shelley’s “Ode to the West Wind” (1820), Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s “The Autumn” (1833), Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s “Autumn Song” (1883); a few among many odes to Autumn. Then, of course, there is the wellloved poem by Robert Frost (one of my personal favorite poets) “Nothing Gold Can Stay,” the published version of which came out in 1923. While this poem alludes to spring, there is also a heavy allusion to fall (both the season of fall and the Edenic fall of humanity). Life is a cycle. And what better representation of the cycle of life than the cycles of nature? Take even just the first of the rhyme’s eight lines: “Nature’s first green is gold, her hardest hue to hold.” It is quite awesome to think that many green leaves – like those of the birch, for instance – first emerge in the most delicate shade of gold; almost as if in tribute to humanity’s fleeting innocence (as Johnny Cade would say, “Stay gold, Ponyboy! Stay gold…”) and in homage to the passing of the leaf before it. Without getting into its entirety (although I would love to chat about this with you over a cup of coffee!), the poem is packed with meaning, both symbolic and natural. It leaves (pun most definitely intended) the reader with nostalgic longing, despair, even, for times gone by – all too quickly, it would seem, given the fleeting essence of life. Yet, it also imparts a sense of hopeful yearning for new things to come.

When the Reds Bring on the Blues In all its gorgeous splendor, autumn is quite capable of inducing melancholia – if you let it. Yet in this melancholia lies a catharsis, waiting just beneath the surface, hidden beneath the thick of fallen leaves. The Divine, in infinite wisdom, tempers the season’s melancholic, melodramatic associations with its breathtaking beauty. Almost as if to say: “Whatever you feel has been lost, or is over, these are all able to produce something beautiful in your life; if they haven’t already.” Life, in all its complexity and often harsh reality, is a series of learning; growing; decaying; birthing… and it can be beautiful each step of the way. Bittersweet, perhaps, but still worthy and capable of beauty. Out with the Old Autumn is nature’s way of getting rid of the old, so new things can grow. In the cycle of perceived death, lies the promise of new life; for such is the way of the world: every beginning lies in something’s end. In the words of modern-day poets/one-hit-wonder- band Semisonic, “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end.” Now I’ll give you a few seconds to get the song “Closing Time” out of your head… Enjoy life’s fleeting, yet ethereal beauty. Find comfort in its infinitely intricate patterns; which herald the seasons, change, and the promise of renewal – both in the larger, natural order and within each one of us. And, as autumn rolls in somewhere in the world, let the season bring a rustling to your soul: we all need a little rustling, now and then. Definitely way more than we need that trendy new leather jacket

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APRIL 12-25, 2015


The Coron Lowdown

A glimpse into what to expect from the magical Philippine destination By VIA BAROMA


lot has been said and written about the natural tropical treasure that is Palawan – its ethereal limestone cliffs that open like pathways to a world of emerald and turquoise one only dreams about. And Coron, just one of the myriad of destinations in the peninsula, has always had a special place in the hearts of tourists who’ve been blessed enough to breathe in its majestic panoramas. I’ve seen the Instagram posts, read the blogs, and readily bought the hype. So it says a lot about Coron that when I was finally able to witness the island and sample its splendor, I found it to be all that, and more. The surreal blend of its seascapes, vistas, crystalline waters, and chalk-white sands afforded me a soothing respite from a life often bounded by a ticking clock. And now with Skyjet Airlines taking only 30 minutes to take you from the madding bustle of Manila to Busuanga – there’s little excuse left not too experience all that Coron has to offer.

Interesting mix – the lagoons are the meeting place of freshwater from the hills of Coron island and saltwater coming in from the bay

Kayangan Lake hides a cove with waters so clear the lakebed peers back like a greenish moonscape

Sunset peak For first-timers like I was, a climb up 721 steps to the peak of Mount Tapyas is a must – if only to be able to survey the panorama that holds the beauty you’re about to experience. I suggest making the trek right before sunset for one of the most incredible views you’ll ever get of Coron without a drone. After the leg day brought by climbing Mount Tapyas, Maquinit Hot Springs is a great way to cap your first day in paradise. Its natural hot springs (which is around 40 C) sits near a mangrove forest with a view of the sea – all coming together for a relaxing dip that rejuvenates you for the excitement that lies ahead. Requisite hopping Of course, a visit to Coron would be remiss without the requisite island hopping tour to Kayangan Lake, Twin Lagoon, Atuayan Beach, and Malwawey Reef. One of the cleanest lakes in the country, Kayangan Lake’s surrounding karst topography complements the pristine state of its waters for a perfect morning dip with an amazing backdrop. Just a short boat ride away is Twin Lagoon, where you can soak in more of the aquatic delights of Coron by kayaking, or diving through a

Kayangan Lake is surrounded by a karst scenery of limestone cliffs and guarded and maintained by Tagbanua tribesmen

small hole underwater to make your way to the Big Lagoon. The waters of Coron are so incredibly clear that you’ll often find yourself hypnotized by the schools of fish going about their daily existence right below you. And because of this ubiquitous trait of its waters, Coron plays host to a number of pearl farms, whiledwivers have also long enjoyed exploring the number of Japanese WWII ships around Coron. A gem in paradise Tucked away, in a rich green patch of Coron, Sophia’s Garden Resort is a an alluring choice for accommodations when visitng the island. Sophia’s Garden features the marriage

Sophia's Garden Resort, a charming garden resort that offers a private paradise right in the heart of Coron

Swim or float away in the stillness of Twin Lagoon's tranquil waters

of distinct Filipino elements to the romantic embellishments of an old Spanish home. As suggested by its name, the resort has a garden teeming with a variety of flora, which surrounds and an outdoor pool with Jacuzzi – perfect for lazing around after a whole day’s adventure in Busuanga. From its elegant, yet cozy rooms to a stand out menu of classic local fare, Sophia’s Garden Resort stood as the perfect base for all our Coron adventures. Sophia’s Garden Resort is located at Sitio Jolo, Brgy. Poblacion 5, Coron Palawan; for more information, call (0917) 543-5775 or (0939) 915-2074; email or visit


APRIL 12-25, OCTOBER 20172015

Seda Vertis North:

Exceeding Expectations The AyalaLand hospitality brand has come into its own, showcasing a stylish confidence and a penchant for pleasant surprises that make the difference between a good stay, and a memorable one By TIMOTHY JAY IBAY


uezon City, despite being the most populous in the metro, has always been underserved when it came to five-star hotels that could hold its own against global brands. When Seda Vertis North soft opened its doors last April, it put an end to that. The seventh property in AyalaLand Hotels and Resorts’ portfolio, Seda Vertis North doesn’t only come in as the biggest of the group’s properties – it’s the biggest hotel in Quezon City – a welcome departure from the brand’s previous boutique size and scale. With 438 contemporary guest rooms, Seda Vertis North nearly doubles the number of rooms in the inventories of Seda’s first generation hotels. “Seda is now more at home with its success and this is reflected in our scale,” understates Group General Manager Brett Hickey. “Understates” – because as we’d find during our weekend staycation, it is also reflected across every element of the guests’ stay. Coming of age The grandeur is exhibited as soon as you step into the hotel, with its lobby doubling the size of most Seda branches – a conscious effort designed to “heighten one’s sense of arrival.” But Seda’s evolution isn’t limited to


just size and scale – far from it. While its 700-square meter ballroom is envisioned as a venue for important conferences, and prominent social gatherings – the entirety of Seda Vertis North has been turned into a canvass for Philippine design and talent. The hotel doesn’t waste any time showcasing its stylish confidence, with the lobby being adorned by iconic pieces from renowned furniture designers Kenneth Cobonpue and Vito Selma, and sculptor Ann Pamintuan. At the expansive pool deck at the third floor, the artists’ works are again main features, with their unmistakable style prominent throughout the floor’s outdoor seating areas, sun deck, pool bar, and even in the dressing areas. Creative versatility It’s important to note that the sense of style pervading Seda Vertis North isn’t purely for panache either, as varying elements of the hotel’s features and service exhibit a multi-functional versatility that even more discriminating guests will give a nod to.



To cite an example, in the deluxe guest rooms, there is a triangular sofa with a round accent table that can either hold a meal or a laptop – and paired with an ottoman, the setting seamlessly transforms from dining to working area, depending on the guests’ needs. This versatility upon whim can also be found with how Seda Vertis North can cater to guests’ preferences. Hickey tells this writer that should you wish to, say, have a special romantic dinner, you can request to be seated in virtually any part of the hotel – as they did when a function for engineers was held at the building’s pump room, setting an otherwise rudimentary meal in a room that elicits conversations.


Pleasant surprises Another recurring theme at Seda Vertis North is their penchant for pleasant surprises – small touches that make the difference between a good stay and a memorable one. Like if you’re checking in, and your kid is impatiently tugging at your leg –

all of a sudden, the hotel would come out with a red wagon full of toys, allowing you to get the process done with, and your kid to swing his mood over to the happier side. Its all-day dining facility, Misto, is furnished with communal wooden tables that not only add warmth to the 250-seater restaurant, but an element of surprise to diners. The long tables are not just for groups, but for individuals who may wish to share meals in this age of ride, and space sharing. “It’s our way of promoting social interaction among individual business travelers who, because they spend a long time alone on the road, may want some company during meals,” explains Hickey. During our chef’s table, in the middle of a delectable eight-course meal, the melodic humming of a sous-chef suddenly diverted our attention from early onset food coma. Before any of us knew what was going on, another chef got in the act as the duo gave a beautiful a cappella rendition of Matisyahu’s “One Day” – all while preparing our next course. These recurring themes, in its aesthetics and service, clearly show that Seda, as a brand, is one that’s come into its own – upping the ante not just for the group’s portfolio of properties, but for the entire hospitality industry in Metro Manila. Seda Vertis North is located at Astra cor. Lux Drives, Vertis North, Quezon City. For more information contact (02) 739-8891, or visit



1 Seda Vertis North pioneers what is envisioned to be THE major commercial hub in Quezon City 2 Its marked functional style is evident in every room 3 Misto – Seda’s all-day dining outlet is but one of the many gems in the hotel’s holster 4 Kenneth Cobonpue’s renowned (and super expensive) bloom chair 5 Upon entering Seda Vertis North’s lobby, you’re given a hint of the grandiosity that awaits 6 Presidential rooms are packed with stylish pieces for the opulence you deserve


Expat Newspaper Volume 35 No. 16 Expat Newspaper October 1 - October 31, 2017


Expat Newspaper Volume 35 No. 16 Expat Newspaper October 1 - October 31, 2017