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THE PHILIPPINES’ FORUM FOR INTERNATIONAL READERS SINCE 1981

SEPTEMBER 2017 / VOL. 35 NO.15

STILL in stores

YOUR LOCAL GUIDE

Paradise as Usual 15

Since the declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao, the burgeoning tourism industry in Siargao has taken a significant hit. We went to the stunning tropical haven to experience firsthand how Martial Law has affected life on the island, and found that life in Siargao is paradise as usual.

FEATURES

TRAVEL

in focus

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Marco Polo Plaza Cebu

Faith, Farm, and Eco-tourism

Surf’s Up

Read up on how the iconic hotel in the Queen City of the South is staying on top of the hospitality game.

Discover the many charms of Baybay City, which feature a unique confluence of three tourism sectors.

One’s a six-day surf trip, the other’s a weekend of rejuvenation – both are in the same renowned island, both are waiting for you.

WHICH

WHY

WHERE

WHAT

airline bridges the gap in inter-island travel?

are Filipinos head over heels about American pop act LANY?

are the best art exhibits this September?

other destinations should you check out in Albay apart from the majestic Mayon Volcano?

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SEPTEMBER 2017 GRUB HUB 9 www.expatphilippines.ph

APRIL 12-25, 2015

2 NEWS

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Air Juan to enhance inter-island travel By RICHARD RAMOS

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xhausting and bumpy land trips may soon be minimized with the introduction of a new airline company that promises utmost passenger comfort, and accessibility to secondary destinations and tourism access points via water and air travel. As the premier seaplane operator in the country, Air Juan increases provision of fast and hassle-free transport services for interisland travel, where larger aircraft companies have no capacity of landing. According to Air Juan Marketing Head Paolo Misa, Cebu became the airline’s third hub with the seaplane servicing the Mactan airport route to the northern municipality of Daan Bantayan – ferrying a maximum number of nine passengers to and from the luxurious Kandaya Resort. Travel time is a mere 30 minutes, a far cry from the usual four-hour bus ride. “The seaplane leaves the Mactan airport hangar every Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 11 a.m. From Kandaya, the plane leaves the resort at 12 noon for Mactan airport. We fly even if only one passenger is onboard,” Misa

declared at a press conference with other industry stakeholders. Air Juan uses a modern Cessna Grand Caravan amphibian model for its seaplanes and the landplane model for its standard airborne flights. Air Juan President John Gutierrez said that they do not intend to compete with the bigger airlines, and instead seek to complement the secondary destinations by connecting islands and resorts to travelers. He also expressed gratitude to the Mactan airport management for facilitating their entry into Cebu, and for organizing a water cannon reception for their inaugural Maasin-Cebu flight. Tourism impetus Ravi Savaru of GMR-Cebu Airport Corporation (CAC), stated that Air Juan serves as an impetus to tourism as the airline cuts travel time, eases the plight of domestic travelers, and contributes to the local economies of the destinations. “Air Juan is a big contribution to the avia-

Phl lags in latest Tholons ratings By RICHARD RAMOS

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or the first time ever, the Philippines has started to lose in the global outsourcing ratings as the Tholons surveys indicated negative growth for all the country’s leading outsourcing cities after almost a decade of positive growth. The 2016 Tholons Survey saw Metro Manila moving to fourth place from second, Cebu dropping from eighth to 12th, Davao from 69th to 85th, Bacolod from 85th to 97th, and Santa Rosa from 82nd to 100th. This was revealed by Jonathan Arvin Adolfo, executive secretary of the National Information and Communications Technology Confederation of the Philippines (NICP) during the Slingshot Cebu Conference spearheaded by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) at an uptown hotel. The Tholons Survey ranks the top outsourcing cities in the world on an annual basis. The company recently fused its two categories of emerging and fully-emerged cities into one overall survey. Shifting tech landscape In his presentation on the “Tholons Report: Challenges and Opportunities,” Adolfo cited that the present workplace has changed with the introduction of automation, robot-

ics, artificial intelligence, and cognitive computing, thus drastically affecting the ICT landscape and capabilities of the country. “Traditional business has become technological business. Big data and analytics will be the ‘new oil’ or driving force,” he told the audience during the conference, which bannered the theme “Accelerating the Innovation Economy through Digital Transformation.” The Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry has remained quite dependent on voice-operated systems, improving only slightly in Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO), the latter of emerging as a strong global trend. Adolfo added that the wake-up call refocuses efforts to develop startup systems in Manila and the countryside, especially Mindanao. According to him, also needed is an effective and sustainable support mechanisms for the success and growth of start-ups. Regarding the plight of startups, the speaker cited several factors that have led to a high failure rate of 95 percent. Among them were the lack of business skills, capital, reluctance to take risks, failure to be relevant, and hesitation to blow one’s horn when successful.

tion industry. People now will have to propensity to travel also due to the eventual upgrading of airports and ease of travel,” he added. Air Juan head pilot Mark Griffin emphasized that safety and maintenance are their utmost concerns, as evidenced by the company’s zero accident ratio. Landplane services from Cebu include flights to Bantayan, Tagbilaran, Biliran, Maasin, Siquijor, and Sipalay. Upcoming Cebu seaplane destinations cover Lakawon Resort, Concepcion, Sicogon, Gigantes, Kalanggaman, Malapascua, Camotes, Panglao, and Anda. From Manila, seaplane destinations include thrice weekly trips to and within Bu-

Air Juan flights leave as scheduled even if you're the only one onboard

suanga, Subic, Marinduque, Boracay, and Puerto Galera. For the Palawan hub, there are also several landplane flights within Palawan, as well as other places such as Iloilo, San Vicente, Caticlan, Sipalay, Cuyo, and Busuanga. Passengers may also choose from four price categories: Special, Earlybird, Savers, and Fullfare. For more information, visit www.airjuan.com.

5 priority industries eyed for climate change makeover By RICHARD RAMOS

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n order to narrow down the broad industrial sector for better focus en route to supporting climate change, the Climate Change Commission (CCC) has chosen five leading industries to be integrated to the Comprehensive National Industrial Strategy. According to Sec. Emmanuel de Guzman, acting CCC vice chair, these five industries are manufacturing, tourism, infrastructure and logistics, agribusiness, and Information Technology-Business Process Management (IT-BPM). “Along with Sen. Loren Legarda and concerned stakeholders, we will adapt a bottomsup approach to strengthen the partnership with the private sector towards attaining a fruitful green economy,” he declared during the Business and Climate Summit in Cebu. The overall goal of the thrust is to create globally competitive and innovative industries with growth oriented action to move up the value chain, attract more investments, and deepen participation in regional production networks/global value chains. De Guzman said the Local Climate Change Act of the Philippines would handle

plans on the local level. This includes 39 Memorandum of Agreements with state colleges and universities, mentoring local government units, pursuing local climate change action plans, and preparing proposals for funding. “The role of government is to act as enabler and facilitator to address coordination failures, while addressing the most binding constraints that prevent industries from growing and creating the proper environment for private sector development,” he added. Green shift requisites The New Industrial Policy and transition to a low carbon economy will involve skills, materials, capital, and digital technology manufacturing, which requires a reliable supply of energy at affordable prices. In support, the gradual shift to green manufacturing will require improvements in the energy efficiency of manufacturing processes, and the replacement of fossil fuels with renewable energy sources. There is also the enabling of the environment for the adoption of energy efficiency measures: laws, regulations, incentives, finance, education, and training. “So far, the CCC is developing the accreditation and certification system for the compliance of enterprises with the Green Jobs Act. The Department of Labor and Incentives are also being readied to support the greening and capacity building of the workforce, reaching as high as 50 percent tax rebate,” de Guzman said. All in all, with the use of renewable energy, he forecasts savings of PhP10 billion a year. The Philippines is one of the participating countries in the Low Emission Capacity Building Programme (LECB), a global initiative to support national climate change, mitigation efforts, and enhanced measuring, reporting and verification systems, among others. Locally, the program is undertaken through the LECB Phl Project implemented by the United Nations Development Programme Philippine Country Office together with the CCC.


SEPTEMBER 2017 GRUB HUB 9 www.expatphilippines.ph

APRIL 12-25, 2015

4 IN FOCUS

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Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Reigns Supreme in the South’s Queen City The well-loved hotel shows us how it stays on top of the fiercely competitive hospitality game By ANGIE DUARTE Photos by ANDIE DUARTE SYYAP

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uietly ensconced amidst the lush greenery and gently sloping terrain of the Nivel Hills district, 600 meters above sea level, sits a jewel in the crown of the Queen City: the Marco Polo Plaza Cebu. This renowned hotel is as iconic to the southern island paradise as its famed beach getaways, warm hospitality, and internationally acclaimed cuisine. Known as Cebu City’s finest in the industry, the 329-bedroom affair that is the Marco Polo Plaza received its Deluxe Class Hotel accreditation in 2008, for its unwavering commitment to excellence. It has long been a favorite of Cebu’s denizens and tourists alike, for its world-class facilities and amenities, delectable gastronomic offerings, well-appointed guestrooms, and idyllic location. Along with a generous dose of warm and welcoming hospitality, the hotel serves up the best of both worlds: an idyllic setting that is far away from, yet close enough to bustling, cosmopolitan downtown Cebu. We recently experienced the graciousness of the Queen City, Marco Polo Plazastyle. As any host bent on impressing its guests, the hotel treated us to a vacation like no other and showed us how – years after it first opened its doors – it continues to reign supreme, in seemingly effortless manner. Eat, drink, and be merry! I have fond memories of Cebu Plaza (the hotel’s original brand) – memories that date back to my teen years and summers spent in Cebu. So, it was with more than a touch of curiosity that I headed to the hills, along with my daughter, for what would prove to be three days of blissful contentment at the old-school hotel’s present-day incarnation.

Having been acquired by the Marco Polo Hotels Group many years ago, the hotel continues to hold a special place in the hearts of all who call Cebu home – and all who have the privilege of staying within the establishment’s first-rate premises. We enjoyed every moment; whether it was hanging out at the Continental Club’s exclusive rooftop lounge (once among my favorite night spots; back in the Cebu Plaza days), with its sweeping, panoramic views of the hills on one side and the city on the other, or lounging and kicking back in the comfort of our cozy Junior Suite. Nights were restful, and days were never boring – between the spa, pool, and gym, there was hardly a shortage of activities. Mealtime, on the other hand, was always scrumptious. From me to you, when at the Marco Polo Plaza, do one thing with your diet – forget it! Café Marco is the go-to place for flavors that tickle the palate and satisfy hungry appetites, oh-so-deliciously. Enjoy hearty snacks, delightful desserts (the cheesecake is a must-try!), cold drinks, and hot, live music at the Lobby Lounge. For al fresco dining and molto delizioso Italian fare (including wood-fired brick oven pizzas), there’s the El Viento Restaurant and Pool Bar. Continental dining (and an array of drinks) is to be had at the BLU Bar & Grill, right beside the Continental Club Lounge. Service with a smile – and then some! Perhaps, however, what truly sets the hotel apart from the rest is its service philosophy that not only offers up the sincerest of smiles but also the utmost in caring. “All hotels have rooms, beds, restaurants – the usual things one might expect to find

The hotel lobby's grand staircase

in a hotel; however, what makes a hotel different are the people,” shares international hotelier Brian Connelly, Marco Polo Plaza’s GM. “Our associates in the hotel are what makes us Marco Polo Plaza – they are genuinely hardworking and sincerely hospitable. Service is second nature to us and I believe that is what sets us apart.” “It is not just about getting the job done; it is being passionate and dedicated in making sure every detail is looked after,” Connelly adds. And, sure enough, we were greeted with a warm, welcoming spirit and honestto-goodness, seamless service throughout our stay – and that is not something we will soon forget. Steadfast, yet-ever-evolving While remaining true to its heartfelt

Well-appointed Junior Suite

The pool area, by day

Eats and treats at the Lobby Lounge

Sweeping views from the hotel's Continental Club Lounge

hospitality, Marco Polo Plaza continues to cook-up new and exciting ways to entice its guests and to stay relevant in the field. “So many great things are happening at the hotel,” Connelly reveals. “We have upcoming Culinary Journeys at our award-winning Café Marco. This August we have the Swissness from A to Z, and Sabores de Espana. In October, we’ll be having Oktoberfest, and Khana, celebrating Indian Food. As the Festive Season approaches in November, we will keep with our timeless traditions with the lighting of the Tree of Hope to be followed by other Festive Season activities. In addition, our suites and premium rooms will also be undergoing renovation, so we are excited for that, as well.” As for my daughter and I, well, we are already dreaming of a return trip.

A meat-lover's dream at Cafe Marco

Breakfast waffle overload at Cafe Marco


FEATURES GRUB HUB 95

APRIL 12-25, 2015 SEPTEMBER 2017

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By RICHARD RAMOS

Bai Hotel Cebu will be holding its soft opening late September 2017. Located along Ouano Ave., North Reclamation Area, Mandaue City, this 668-room, 23-storey edifice is the biggest hotel in the Visayas and Mindanao region. Facilities include 12 conference and event venues, along with eight dining options. Take your pick from Japanese, all-buffet format, coffeehouse with pastries, pool bar, and a fine dining restaurant, among others. Its slew of amenities and recreational facilities include a spa, an infinity outdoor lap pool, fitness center with sauna and steam rooms, limousine services, valet parking, express check-in, shuttle services, beauty salon, etc. Bai Hotel is a member of Worldhotels. Cebu Parklane International Hotel presents “Love is the Answer” featuring John Ford Coley in a benefit concert for the Cancer Warriors Foundation, Inc. Cebu chapter to be held on Sept. 17 at 7 p.m. Coley is best known as half of the duo with England Dan, famous for such hits as “I’d Really Love to See You Tonight,” “Soldier in the Rain,” and “It’s Sad to Belong.” Tickets re priced at PhP1,000. For ticket inquiries, contact (032) 234-7000. In the meantime, why not also avail of the hotel’s “Weekend Asia Buffet?” For only PhP750 net, you can feast on a luscious spread at Manuel’s Restaurant,

featuring the best dishes from Japan, Korea, Malaysia, China, and Singapore on all Friday and Saturday evenings of September. Summit Galleria Cebu, Cebu’s newest boutique hotel, recently opened next to Robinson’s Galleria Cebu mall along General Maxilom Ave. across Pier 4. The 220room, eight-storey hotel features an indoor pool, all-day dining restaurant, game and leisure areas, breakout rooms, and many more. The Grand Ballroom, which can sit 600 guests, comes with a pre-function area ideal for cocktail events. Rooms are equipped with a 43-inch flat screen TV, dedicated Wi-Fi, writing desk, among others. Avail of the special rate of PhP2,777 per night in a Super Room inclusive of VAT and breakfast until Sept. 30, 2017. Sister hotels include Summit Ridge Tagaytay, Summit Hotel Magnolia, and Summit Circle Cebu. Our Mother of Perpetual Succour Specialty Center, a new 12-storey medical building located in the Perpetual Succour Hospital (PSH) grounds, was recently inaugurated last August. Among the Center’s new facilities are a skin and laser surgicentre, rehab solutions inc., birthing center, 14 operating theaters, an eye surgicentre, two rooms for Integrated Minimally Invasive Surgery, a gastro intestinal unit, roof gar-

To BE or not to BE, there is no question The posh Bohol resort makes its case as a dining destination By RICHARD RAMOS

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t certainly isn’t everyday that one gets to sample and rate an absolutely luscious array of food, from appetizers to main courses to desserts. Mind you, this was not a lavish buffet offering a gamut of culinary treats, but rather an intimate food tasting event presenting dishes designed to spruce up the menu of BE Grand Resort in Bohol. While I have partaken of hundreds of buffets, food fests, wine-and-dine events, and cocktail spreads in my (burp) 25 years as a writer, BE provided a series of firsts for me – first time to write down actual food scores, first time to attend such an event outside Cebu, and first time in a new (but heavenly!) venue. Our BE Grand Bohol hosts were no other than Pearl Yang, the resort manager; and Karen Ello, the assistant communications manager. They both proved to be very lively and amiable, relating their amusing experiences in their job. They also introduced the chefs, Chef Clifford Lee from China, and Chef Mike Mandigma, the executive chef. The scores BE’s food tasting event was set at BE’s The Boathouse, where a total of 10 dishes (four appetizers, four main courses, one soup, and one dessert) were presented for our sense to feast on. Among the four appetizers, the Mango Kani merited my highest score, with all of its garden greens, fresh mango cubes, shredded crabstick and shrimp, with roasted sesame in Japanese mayo dressing, combining for a tasty kickoff to my gastronomic journey. Another appetizer was a novel form of Ngohiong Roll (marinated pork slathered in five spices, wrapped with bean curd sheets, and deep fried to perfection), which I thought to myself tasted a lot like the local street fare kikiam.

There were also three varieties of Buffalo Wings; blue cheese, spicy barbecue, and creamy mustard sauce, plus the King Prawn with chilimango salsa consisting of crispy wonton cups topped with herbed spices. All of which were a definite four out of five stars. The soup Chicken Binakol in coconut was a surprisingly delightful ginger-sautéed chicken stewed in fresh coconut water, coconut meat, and lemongrass with papaya and native chili leaves. Though I definitely am no chef, I was pleasantly surprised that coconut water and meat went so well with such unlikely ingredients! Going to the main courses, the Paella Cubana earned my lowest score due to a seeming lack of flavor of its ingredients. On the contrary, the Spicy Beef Hofan was a winner in my book. The dish was made of beef tenderloin strips stir-fried with garlic, ginger, kutchay leaves, sesame seeds, egg and chili bean paste. The other main dishes were the Spicy Arrabiatta Pasta—Italian pasta in arrabiatta sauce from garlic, tomatoes, and dried chili peppers in olive oil, plus the Bohol Seafood Bouillabaisse with sautéed squid, shrimp and crab in peanut butter, topped with vegetable garden and homemade shrimp paste. The latter is locally known as “bagoong,” and may just be the best I have sampled in my life. Dessert was the all-time favorite DIY Halohalo, with 10 assorted preserved fruits topped with caramel and ube (purple yam) stuffed in a BE branded coconut. All of the dishes’ servings were just enough for one person, plated and served expertly by the kitchen crew. At the end of the hearty meal, I came up with no other conclusion that while BE Grand Resort in Bohol may be renowned for the luxurious resort lifestyle it affords, when it comes to offering a quality dining experience in Bohol, the resort is the place to BE.

den, and many others, including a brandnew five-storey parking building. The center also accepts charity cases and foreigners with their own insurance policies. The PSH currently awaits its 500-bed capacity clearance from the Department of Health before the yearend. Simply Share Foundation Inc., a nonprofit organization primarily devoted to fighting hunger and nutrition-related causes, introduces Champinoy – a champorado drink designed to raise funds to feed the hungry. The cereal drink is made from real rice, milk, cocoa, and sugar, needing just hot water before being enjoyed. You can also eat the contents straight from the sachet ala “chocolate-flavored crispy/crunchy puffed rice” snack. Champinoy comes in packages of 12 sachets, and is ideal for schools, call centers, cooperatives, cereal drink consumers, on-the-go travelers, and others. Simply Share intends to form a food bank in Cebu and expand its services to other vulnerable sectors. Above the Line Productions recently held a special screening of the Cebuano film “Patay na si Hesus” ( Jesus is Dead) at the Robinson’s Galleria Movieworld Cebu. Directed by Victor Villanueva, the movie stars international award-winning actress Jaclyn

Jose as the single mother, along with Chai Fonacier, Melde Montanez, and Vincent Viado as her kids. The plot is about a family traveling all the way from Cebu to Dumaguete via land trip to attend the funeral of their long-lost father. Although billed as a drama, the numerous comedic quips and scenes unexpectedly proved quite effective to the local audience who roared in amusement. The movie has emerged as a local masterpiece that highlights Cebuano mastery and talent. Globe myBusiness partnered with Coast Pacific, a Cebu-based furniture manufacturer, by offering digital solutions to enhance its day-to-day business operations through technology and communications. This covers their cloud-based system and paperwork to optimize business operations; RFID, and CCTV systems to monitor the workplace and maintain productivity; and chat apps to coordinate with international clients and in-house designers. Tina Lo, Coast Pacific owner, saw the need to evolve in order to cope with the changing tastes of the market, as well as the demands of businesses when it comes to long-distance communication channels, and security issues. Coast Pacific now supplies furniture to five-star hotels and luxury residences.


SEPTEMBER 2017 GRUB HUB 9 www.expatphilippines.ph

APRIL 12-25, 2015

6 FEATURES

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Matters of Mortality

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; You can also reach us at: expatmag@gmail.com and for sales and advertising: expatcomsales@gmail.com 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.

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t is with a heavy heart that I sit here and ponder on this installation of Manic in Manila. I want to write about something lighthearted, something inspiring, something humorous; heck, even about something cheesy. But I find that I cannot. The hour is late and my cat desperately tries to catch my attention with an array of antics and a miscellany of mischievous misdeeds. But I cannot move past this heaviness I feel. My thoughts keep drifting back to current events – the recent, ever-rising body count of indiscriminate killings by trigger-happy, power-crazed policemen in the name of Digong and Drugs. I am particularly troubled by the death of a 17-year-old boy, who, by eyewitness accounts and community consensus, was a good boy who was, perchance, in the wrong place at the wrong time. Has life really become THAT meaningless on these islands? When people drop faster than flies at the mercy of the mindless machinations of madmen, you have to wonder. Does life even mean anything, anymore? It is saddening, sickening, and way more than slightly infuriating – but all these sentiments are for another discussion. This commentary is not a political one – it is more encompassing than that. For, if I dwell on the oft-opportunistic and self-serving nature of police, politics, and politicians, I fear I will end up a basket case. My cat continues to brat it up to the hilt, clawing at my ankles, tugging at my bedroom slippers – my mind remains on serious matters, nonetheless: matters of mortality, because mortality matters. Or, at least it should. Otherwise, we waste or lives away. Death and taxes “Nothing is certain but death and taxes.” We all know how the adage goes. Many a writer and poet have uttered the line declaring – decrying? – the certainty of these grim realities, in a world in which everything else seems so horribly uncertain. This rather fatalistic and more than slightly pessimistic maxim draws on the inevitability of death to point out the futility of avoiding the burden of taxes. The statement, or a variation thereof, was first attributed to Daniel Defoe, in The Political History of the Devil, 1726, in which he said: “Things as certain as death and taxes, can be more firmly believed.” The most popular version, perhaps, is credited to Benjamin Franklin, who used the phrase in a letter to Jean-Baptiste

Text by ANGIE DUARTE / Art by MACJANRY IMPERIO

Leroy in 1789, which was reprinted in The Works of Benjamin Franklin in 1817: “’In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” By a stretch of parallelism, then, can we liken the Tax Collector to the Grim Reaper? Hmmm…fodder for thought, tell you…fodder for thought. Selah. Then there is that famous line from Margaret Mitchell’s well-loved 1936 classic, Gone with the Wind: “Death, taxes and childbirth! There’s never any convenient time for any of them.” Whatever your religion (or lack thereof), political leaning, upbringing, social standing, educational attainment, echelon in life, etcetera: death will certainly come. And it will most likely be inconvenient; if not for you, for those left to deal with the repercussions of your demise. This is not an exercise in the morose, mind you – despite my current state of Melancholy in Manila. Perhaps, it is simply a reality check. Skulls and bones Here is where things get interesting – and ironically where they all tie in and take a turn for the less melancholic. Hang in there; there is a lesson here, I promise! True; you and I never know when we will be knocking on Heaven’s Door, after all. Hopefully, most likely, not at the hands of evil “enforcers” of the “law.” But the fact remains factual: somehow, somewhere, we will look our own finiteness right in the eyes. And there is no looking away. The reality of our mortality is something of which I remind myself daily. Why? Beyond

the reason of “’coz I’m a Goth-girl, like that,” it helps me live each day to the fullest. Ironic that the reality of death and its certainty is what propels me to live life to the best that I can. For this reason, I am fascinated with skulls and bones – I have to have this design on most everything I own; from fashion to furniture, and everything in between. These bits of dark art serve to remind me that I won’t be around forever – so while I am, I better make it count for something. The point being… I said all that to say this: LIVE YOUR LIFE, BECAUSE ONE DAY, YOU WILL NO LONGER BE ABLE TO. Plain in simple, in a nutshell – mortality defined. I hope that 17-year-old Kian lived out his short life to the fullest. I hope he had many days of laughter, and that heartache was not his friend. I hope that he was surrounded by those dearest to his heart, and that those moments were often. I hope he got to live out even a fraction – albeit, a small fraction – of his dreams. You see, in my opinion, there is nothing more tragic than those who are of the “living dead” – those who are alive, but not truly living. This, to my mind, is a fate worse than death, and a terrible waste of the gift of life. We all have reasons to be apathetic, unfeeling, indifferent; some more than others. But by that same token, we also all have reasons to care and feel; to be exuberant and joyful. It really all boils down to which side we allow to rule over us in greater measure. I’d like to think I allow the latter to rule over me more than the former; although I would be a liar to say I do not have more than my fair share of “living dead; theworld-is-dead-and-I would-rather-be-too” moments. Hence, I do not watch the news, daily. It’s all too much, as the events of weeks past have proven. But I do what I can to shift focus back to the good and the worthwhile. Easy? Nope. Necessary? Yes! A resounding YES. After all, as that little ditty about Jack and Diane goes, “Oh yeah, life goes on, long after the thrill of living is gone.” And when that thrill wanes, it’s really up to you and me to re-ignite it somehow. Cheers! To living while we can, to the best that we can!


FEATURES GRUB HUB 97

APRIL 12-25, 2015 SEPTEMBER 2017

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They Came, They Sang, They Conquered: LANY Live in Manila The alternative indie-pop US trio captures hearts across the metro – again and again

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By ANGIE DUARTE Photos by ANDIE DUARTE SYYAP

here can be no doubt about it: LANY (pronounced “Lay-Nee” and an acronym for Los Angeles-New York) has captured the hearts and imaginations of music lovers the world over – the largest cross-section of which, perhaps, is right here in the Philippines. The band members themselves, frontman and vocalist Paul Klein, Les Priest (guitarist), and Jake Goss (drummer), admit that their Philippine fans are the wildest, most appreciative crowd they have ever played for. But hey, the proof of the pudding is in the screaming – LANY’s sold out shows across Ayala Malls on Aug. 8-9 were a deafening cacophony of screams and cheers, which seemed to emanate from the collective, electrified soul of the throng. Each Ayala Mall at which the band performed was packed to the rafters – but no one appeared to mind the body-on-body squeeze. The crowd moved, swayed, sang, jumped, danced, and enjoyed as one frenzied organism, as LANY belted out hit after hit. This was the band’s second time in Manila – the first time they performed here was in 2016, at Wanderland – and the crowd just could not get enough of the three talented artists. Songs like “ILYSB,” “Good Girls,” “Dumb Stuff,” “4Ever,” and more, incited the audience to sky-high levels of enjoyment and appreciation.

But what makes the trio that is LANY so insanely popular and well-loved? Maybe it’s their catchy riffs and melodic tunes. Perhaps it’s their sincere, heartfelt, totally relatable lyrics – a reflection, undoubtedly, of their own genuine nature as individuals. “All our songs mean a lot to us. We take a lot of pride in pulling from real life, our inspirations and stories; we write about things that mean something to us,” Klein recounted at the pre-show press conference. Or, it’s likely the way they connect with their fans (so much so that rose-throwing, roses having become the band’s signature thing, is a ritual at each show, as fans fill the stage with flowers). It could also be the fact that each member is easy – VERY easy – on the eyes. Definitely, it’s a combination of all those factors, plus a good measure of the band’s passion for their craft. “This is what I was born to do – what we were born to do. It’s cool to find that lane in life and know that it’s yours and nobody else’s – and you stick to it,” Klein shared. “We’re super lucky to have families that were supportive of us from the very beginning; like my

LANY members Paul Klein, Les Priest, and Jake Gross

mom got me into piano lessons at the age of five. I think we all kinda have that story,” he added. While on their downtime, in between their shows at the Ayala Malls, the band took to the city streets. They ducked into popular bars and restaurants, to the sheer delight of fans. At one bar, Klein apparently showed up as the watering hole’s singer was playing a

cover of “ILYSB.” Needles to say, the crowd went crazy and belted out the song – along with LANY frontman – at the top of their lungs. With this kind of down-to-earth meets dreamy yet authentic vibe, it’s no wonder that LANY fever has swept Manila and the rest of the globe. And, in all likelihood, it’s only going to burn even hotter.

From LA to NY, and back to Manila, LANY has captured the hearts of its fans

Reach International School

Reaching out to students with learning disabilities By VIA BAROMA

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teven Spielberg, Whoopi Goldberg, Tim Tebow, and Anderson Cooper are celebrities with dyslexia; while Michael Phelps and Justin Timberlake both have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) – all of whom are well-known celebrities who have managed to not only cope with their learning disabilities, but also excel in their respective fields. Cynthia Tinsay-Gonzales, owner and school administrator of Reach International School, saw the need for a school catering to people with special needs, particularly those who find difficulty in coping with the academic rigors regular schools, and didn’t have a place to go. “Reach International School refers to my way of reaching out to all these people who had problems but didn’t know where to go, what to do,” Tinsay-Gonzales shared with Expat. “Eventually, parents with children with special needs began to approach us, so we had to develop our own special education program and incorporate it with what we were already using.” Learning support for all Described by Tinsay-Gonzales as an inclusive academic institution for Kinder to Level 12 students, Reach accepts all kinds of learners. It even has its own testing center, Reach Educational Assessment Division (READ) that can determine a child’s educa-

tional performance level, ensuring that every student is assessed accordingly. According to Tinsay-Gonzales, students with special needs are also likely to struggle with the activities of daily life, while some may have social challenges and intellectual disabilities as well. She furthers that despite a number children with learning disabilities having an above average IQ, they often have a problem processing information to a degree that leads to an inability to learn at the same pace as their peers – making the matter of providing learning support of paramount importance. “It is important to note that the children with learning disability need to know about their condition. The responsibility of the school is to find ways for them to work around it,” Tinsay-Gonzales explained. The Reach difference Reach International School follows an academic program adapted from the ACE (Accelerated Christian Education) School of Tomorrow (SOT) Curriculum—an innovative educational system developed in the US currently being used in thousands of schools in over 130 countries worldwide. Like the traditional system, the ACE program has 12 levels, but unlike the traditional system, the ACE program is individualized, meaning that every student progresses independently at their own level of achievement, which can vary through different subjects.

“Chronologically, a student could be Grade 5, but what is the performance level? He can be performing in Grade 3 math, but in all other subjects he is in Grade 5. With Reach, there’s a flexibility in the curriculum to address the gaps,” explained Tinsay-Gon-

zales of Reach’s student-centric program. Reach International School is located at Paseo de Magallanes Commerial Center, Makati. For more information, visit www.reachinternatonalschool.edu.ph or call (02) 715-9950.


SEPTEMBER 2017 GRUB HUB 9 www.expatphilippines.ph

APRIL 12-25, 2015

8 TRAVEL

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Where the Woods Meet the Waves T

hat August morning, the breeze came with a playfulness to it, tickling the back of my neck as I sat on one of the heavy wooden chairs. The room known as Anahaw glinted merrily from the early rays; its burnished wooden furniture smooth and shiny. Behind me, a row of windows looked out into a stretch of green, both garden and forest. It was quiet save for the dull methodical chopping sounds from the kitchen to my left. The three ladies manning it were all smiling. I mouthed an invite for them to come and join us. They merely nodded, insisting that I go ahead.

A place where the water whispers, reminding friends of things important Words by CELINE REYES Photos by TOPHEE MARQUEZ

All things proper From across the table with beautiful dark swirling grains, my best friend Tophee was busy snapping photos of our breakfast: homemade tocino, a goodlooking omelet, crispy anchovies, and a fragrant bowl of fried rice. The sight of such a hearty meal made me salivate. But like all things proper, I knew how to be patient. The wait was worth it, it turned out. Everything was delicious. The omelet especially. My taste buds were swooning from the butter while the bell peppers brought them back to sense. "Mmmmmm." I couldn't help it. Tophee stared at me like I'd gone mad. "Tastes like pizza," I told him pointedly. "Try it." He did. And he agreed. So much so that, between the two of us, the omelet was gone in just a few heartbeats. That omelet was the best I ever had. Full from the hearty breakfast, we decided to go for a walk, to see more of the place with an onomatopoeia for a name: Mirisbiris. In the thick of nature Mirisbiris Garden and Nature Center, or simply Mirisbiris, is a 10-hectare property tucked in the deeper folds of the town of Sto. Domingo in Albay. It's a not-for-profit events place that doubles as a quaint bed-and-breakfast. The main house has a total of four rooms ample for up to 30 people, while the villa by the beach could house eight. Here in Mirisbiris, Tophee and I found, it was easy to be in the thick of nature. The surroundings of the main house were made into half a botanical garden,

The entrance to the path in the woods

Best friends of more than a decade

Mayon as seen from Mirisbiris

half an organic farm, with the kitchen getting most of the inventory. The fragrance of herbs and flowers was soothing. Our favorite feature, however, was the trail through the forest.

Our hearty breakfast

Tune of the blue Across the street from the main house was a trail that anyone could visit for free. A nondescript arch marked the trailhead, leading to a narrow paved path that meandered through a lush rainforest. The trail was well-maintained, the wildness held at bay so as not to intimidate. It was cool in here. The towering trees formed an awning overhead, and the sunlight barely poured through. At one point, the path forked: continue on to the forest, said the left; head out to the beach, said the other. Tophee and

"It's the Mayon," I announced, awed by the different vantage of this ubiquitous form. Albay's cityline marched along its periphery, and before it, was a stretch of sea. Tophee appeared beside me. "Beautiful," he intoned. I couldn't agree more. We proceeded to take some photos, not missing the chance to capture Mayon in all its glory. We were even more delighted by how great mobile reception was in there. Millennials through and through, both of us. The place of us We've been friends – best friends – for more than half of our lives. I met him in sixth grade. I was 11. He was a year older. We were seatmates. Bonding over a mutual cheekiness, we immediately hit it off. Since then, we've been inseparable. "We're each other's constants," he told me once. And it's true. Through the years, we've featured prominently in each other's lives. Some things and people come and go, but not my Tophee. Tophee and I, we're like that phenomenal omelet we had for breakfast. We pack our own individual flavors, so strong and poignant on their own that some would think they would never come together, but they do – and then we prove them wrong by becoming one helluva dish. Just like that omelet, Tophee was the best I ever had. Mirisbiris, too, reminded me of my friendship with Tophee – its quiet wildness and all. It was raw in a sense, not too much to be abrasive, just enough to make it interesting. This rawness comes with the comforts of a cherished home and a serenity all of us are seeking. Tophee, to me, is like that. Our friendship could be tough sometimes, utterly confusing and wild and frustrating. Our untamed cores would clash, would attempt to take over the path we've maintained lovingly over the years. But, in the end, we'd come around and we'd find ourselves here, in this cluster of rocks, where the ocean meets the forest – where our own brands of wildness would coexist, creating something beautiful and worthy of envy. "This place is us," I told Tophee as he set up the timer. He smiled knowingly. He was thinking the same thing.

A fork in the road

I opted for the latter, and it wasn't long until we heard the whispers. Indeed, we heard it before we saw it. The babbling of the stream, gregarious and eloquent. A base tone from which all of the forest takes heed. It was everywhere. It followed us even when the trees cleared out. Getting louder and persistent as the green gave way to an unimpeded blue, abbreviated by absolutely nothing. Mirisbiris, the Bicolanos called this sound. A proper name for this place. Where the path ended, the shore began. And we stood on a cluster of dark boulders. To my left was a cove of crushed corals and rocks: our own cozy patch of beach. I picked a spot and stood there, comforted in the familiar scent of brine. The breeze still playful and eager. I looked to my right and cried out in delight.

The kitchen in Anahaw


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APRIL 12-25, 2015 SEPTEMBER 2017

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BAYBAY CITY:

Where faith, farm and eco-tourism commune Text and photos by BERNARD L SUPETRAN

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sk any seasoned traveler about his favorite destinations, and chances are they have a religious, countryside or close-to-nature component. The City of Baybay in Leyte, by providence, happens to have these three elements, thus making it the emerging hub for faith, farm and eco-tourism in Eastern Visayas. Dubbed “The City of Beauty, Serenity and Discovery,” it may not be the usual recreational sight-seeing journey for travel bugs, but it boasts of a unique blend of the three new sectors in the industry the Department of Tourism (DOT) is developing because of their growing markets. Proclaimed a component city of Leyte in 2007, Baybay has been quietly making a name as an under-the-radar destination because of the unique confluence of these three tourism sectors. Faith Tourism Baybay is the home to the Diocesan Shrine of San Antonio de Padua, which draws hordes of pilgrims venerating the century-old image of the saint, which is believed to be miraculous. Located in the coastal barangay of Pomponan, Catholic faithful from all over the country pay tribute to the saint every 13th of the month, in an act of devotion. A traditional religious dance called “sirong” is performed during the saint’s patronal feast on June 13, which incidentally falls two days before Baybay’s cityhood day. The church, which attracts over 300,000 devotees a year, constantly ranks as the top cultural attraction in Region 8. This number is part of the more than 647,045 visitors who swing by Baybay annually – the highest in the region based on data from DOT-8. Another religious attraction is the Baybay parish church, a baroque structure started in 1852 by Spanish friar Vicente Cronado, and continued by Maestro Proceso. The town became a parish on Sept. 8, 1835 with the invocation of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception as patron. Gutted by fire in 1866 (except for the Holy Cross Chapel), the church was completed in 1870 as renowned sculptor and painter Capitan Mateo Espinoso applied the finishing touches, lending magnificence to the house of worship. The church is in the heart of the “heritage lane,” dubbed so owing to the well preserved Spanish and American-era ancestral houses, which transport visitors back in time as they visit these living museums. The parish celebrates its patronal feast on Dec. 27, while the city government has incepted the Binaybayon Festival to showcase the city’s rich cultural heritage. Farm Tourism Baybay has been showcasing its agriculture potentials, long before Republic Act 10816 (Farm Tourism Development Act 2016) was signed into law. Thanks to the presence of the Visayas State University (VSU), a prominent institution of higher learning at the forefront of agricultural education and research and development. Formerly known as the Visayas State College of Agriculture (Visca), this sprawling school has been quietly sowing the seeds of farm tourism for decades in this part of the archipelago with its vast gardens, demo farms and fertile plots. Sandwiched between the undulating Pangasugan mountain ranges and the scenic Camotes Sea, this resort university is 1,479 hectares of greeneries, and houses the National

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line in Leyte. As such, it goes without saying that among its top tourist draws are its cozy coasts, dissected by rivers and streams emanating from the Pangasugan ranges, which has remarkable flora and fauna. The wind-swept Lintaon Peak, the city’s highest point, affords guests a commanding view of the city, Camotes Sea, and islands across the channel. As part of its 10th cityhood day, Baybay recently opened the 16,000 Blossoms Park – an attraction adorned by 16,000 LED lights, which illuminate the mountain at night. The park is comprised of white and red roses embedded in the grassy meadow forming the phrase “I Love Baybay.” According to Mayor Carmen Cari, the park is part of the city’s tourism development plan designed to transform the area into the Lintaon Ecotourism Zone, which will have an information center, view deck, pavilion, picnic areas, and other tourist facilities. A tall image of the city’s patron saint, Immaculate Conception, will also be erected to make it a pilgrimage site due to its proximity to the San Antonio de Padua Shrine. She said the project will be endorsed to the Regional Development Council (to make the site as a regional attraction) to boost its tourism potential. For a consummate experience, the more adventurous can explore the nearby Lintaon Cave, scale Mt. Pangasugan, and go for dips at the rejuvenating waters of Bakwitan River and Falls. Getting there: Baybay is two hours away by van from Tacloban City, and 45 minutes from Ormoc City. From Cebu City, it is five hours away by roll-on, roll-off ferry boats CAPTIONS

7 Abaca Research Center, National Coconut Research Center-Visayas, and the Philippine Root Crops Research and Training Center, and other regional agency centers of agriculture and environment. The expansive campus’ lush environs make it conducive to agricultural learning, bringing out the proverbial green thumb in every student or visitor. Baybay also boasts of its 13,820-hectare coconut plantation, the biggest in Eastern Visayas, which has lured big agro-industries, SC Global Coco Products Inc., and SC Global Food Products Inc., the world’s largest producer of organic coconut oil. The city is also host to Ching Bee Trading Corp., the world’s biggest traders of abaca fiber, and Specialty Pulp Manufacturing, Inc., Asia’s biggest abaca pulp mill. These factories form the core of a specialized industrial tourism circuit for benchmarking some of the industry’s best practices and technologies. Eco-Tourism Baybay owes its name (which literally means “beach”) to having the longest coast-

1 Bakwitan River 2 Baybay's 16,000 Blossoms LED lights photo courtesy of Rodel Balierbarre 3 Visayas State University 4 Binaybayon Festival street dancing 5 Baybay Church 6 San Antonio de Padua Church 7 Baybay's scenic diversion road


SEPTEMBER 2017 GRUB HUB 9 www.expatphilippines.ph

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10 WHAT'S ON

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Compiled by VIA BAROMA

TRAVEL

•28th Philippine Travel Mart

•Surfista Siargao Surf Camp

Sept. 1 to 3; SMX Convention Center, Seashell Lane, Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City; for more information, visit www.facebook.com/Philtravelmart or call (02) 8226964

Sept. 14 to 19; Arka Hayahay, General Luna, Siargao Island; for more information, visit www.surfistatravels.com or email surfistatravels@gmail.com

One of the biggest travel expos in the country, Philippine Travel Mart is back for its 28th edition! In this three-day event, Philippine Travel Mart will offer their best travel packages, promotional deals, and other tourism-related services. For its main feature, there will be a “Sale ng Bayan,” which allows consumers to book and buy travel packages both domestic and international trips. Another highlight of the event is the Visit ASEAN @ 50 Golden Anniversary celebration which will present more than 50 tour offerings across the Philippines. Tickets are priced at PhP50 and PhP40 for Students/Senior/PWD

Experience the ultimate surf and island lifestyle with Surfista Siargao Surf Camp 2017! Join the six-day surfing program, and Surfista Island Hopping tour, which includes a more holistic experience of the gorgeous island of Siargao. Apart from the surfing and island adventures, expect to meet kindred souls and make bonds that last for life. Registration fee is priced at PhP30,000 inclusive of airport transfers, 6D/5N accommodation, private instructions for 5 surf lessons, rental of surfing equipment, Magpupungko Rock Pools entrance, Island Hopping (Naked, Guyam and Dako Islands, including island lunch, Surfing101 Theory by Elaine Abonal, surfing photos and certificate of attendance from Surfista Travels

•Acro, Yoga, Surf Weekend at Siargao

•Camp Kawayan: Bamboo Planting Event

Sept. 15 to 18; Greenhouse Resort, Siargao; for more information, visit www.flowretreats.com or email yogasurgsiargao@gmail.com

Sept. 23; Dulongbayan 1, San Mateo, Rizal; for more information, visit www.facebook.com/alcfoundationph; to register, visit bitly.com/KawayanihanRegForm

Flow Retreats brings a weekend of surf, sun, acro, yoga and fun in beautiful Siargao Island this September. Enjoy daily morning vinyasa and meditation sessions to reinvigorate your being; spend your afternoons by the sea and join acro yoga classes, plus a trip to the famous Magpupungko Tidal Pools. The evenings bring detoxifying and de-stressing yin yoga sessions, with the sounds of waves as the backdrop. Registration fee is priced at PhP12,500 for regular rate inclusive of airport transfers, 6 yoga classes (vinyasa, yin, acro) + additional Acro Jams, 1 organic vegan dinner at Greenhouse Resort, 1 Surf Instructor + Board rental, tour at Magpupungko Tide Pools with Walking Meditation, and cacao ceremony

MUSIC

•The Chainsmokers: Memories Do Not Open Tour Sept. 13; Mall of Asia Arena, Pasay City; Tickets are available at all SM Tickets outlets. Visit www.smtickets. com or call (02) 470-2222 for ticket inquiries The Mall of Asia Arena is set to be off the chain on Sept. 13 as American DJ duo, The Chainsmokers returns to Manila for what promises to be another millennial hysteria-inducing show. If you missed the pop sensation’s first show in the country, this is your chance to witness Alex Pall and Drew Taggart perform their hits like “Don’t Let Me Down,” “Selfie,” “Closer,” “Roses” and “All We Know,” among a slew of other hits, live. Tickets are priced at PhP6,300 for VIP Standing; PhP5,250 for Lower Box A; PhP3,675 for Lower Box B; PhP2,625 for Upper Box; and PhP1,312.50 for General Admission

Are you looking for a different kind of weekend adventure? Join Kawayanihan 2017: Camp Kawayan and be a bamboo warrior! In celebration of World Bamboo Day 2017, ALC Foundation is organizing a bamboo-planting trail dubbed as “Camp Kawayan.” The half-day event hopes to gather around 2,000 volunteers from Metro Manila, Central Luzon, and South Luzon along the riverbanks of San Mateo, Rizal (starting from Dulongbayan 1) on Sept. 23 at 6 a.m. onwards. It is hoped that this unique and worthwhile initiative will become a yearly event, as part of the World Bamboo Day celebration. Camp Kawayan aims to raise awareness about the benefits and potentials of bamboo, as well as to encourage community bamboo planting and growing as a way of climate change mitigation and adaptation. Registration fee is priced at PhP300 inclusive of bamboo sapling, event shirt and certificate of participation

•San Holo Sept. 15; Black Market Manila, Warehouse 5, La Fuerza Compound, Sabio St., Makati; for more information, visit www. moonbeats.asia Moonbeats Asia x Bitbird, together with Black Market, are back at it once more, bringing one of the fastest growing talents in the electronic music scene— future beats to trap connoisseur, San Holo. Debuting in late 2014 with the COSMOS EP on Heroic, he quickly garnered the attention of major tastemakers and curators alike. His single “We Rise” came out on NestHQ (OWSLA) garnering Skrillex and Diplo’s support. In early 2015, the Victory EP came out on the Canadian label Monstercat, renowned for having one of the most engaged and digitally oriented audiences. The release was paired with an intense visual campaign produced by San’s own creative company and label bitbird, which he founded as a platform for showcasing and developing art. Tickets are priced at PhP1,500 for Standard Presale; PhP3,000 for Standard Presale Bundle for 2 persons; and PhP2,000 for on-site

FOOD

•Pasta Through the Ages Sept. 23; The Last Chukker, Manila Polo Club, McKinley Rd., Forbes Park, Makati; for more information, visit www.facebook.com/philippineitalianassociation or www.philippineitalianassociarion.org Learn the history and recipes on the most well-known Italian pasta dishes served around the world! In partnership with The Last Chukker and Slow Food Manila, the Philippine-Italian Association presents the first edition of Pasta Through the Ages that will highlight the history, regional differences, iconic recipes and of course tasting of the pastas. Lead by Chef Salvatore Arria, Italian regional cuisine consultant, this gathering will take place at Italian restaurant The Last Chukker, at the Manila Polo Club. Chef Salvatore Arria gained his culinary experience from living, working and cooking in Italy for more than 40 years. In 2012-2013 he attended culinary classes at Coquis-Ateneo della Cucina in Rome where he was certified in the art of Italian Regional Cooking. He turned his passion for Italian cooking into a quest to preserve authenticity of Italian dishes by teaching students original Italian recipes and how to prepare them as well as explaining the origin of and myths behind the dishes. Participation fee is priced at PhP900. For reservations, email philippineitalianassociation@gmail.com or call (02) 815-1310.


WHAT'S ON 11 GRUB HUB 9

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EXHIBITS

•Despite my being _____; Life does not end in a period “.” Ongoing until Sept. 12; Sining Kamalig, Upper Ground Floor, Ali Mall, Araneta Center, Quezon City; for more information, call (02) 912-3771 or email art@worldexperience.ph In a society that is increasingly becoming insensitive to the plight of people with mental illness, World Experience Philippines has taken the cudgels to promote the advocacy of eliminating all shame and stigma, and creating a support group for artists with mental illness and their caregivers – Boxless Society. Now on its second year, Sining Kamalig will be presenting an exhibit that affords the public a peek into the inner world of mental illness, challenging people to rethink your concepts and attitudes towards those coping with the condition. The exhibit will run until Sept. 12 and will also offer public workshops on managing mental illness, as well as talks from prominent experts in the field.

•Search/Light Ongoing until Sept. 16; Silverlens, Lapanday Center, 2263 Don Chino Roces Ave. Ext., Makati; for more information, call (02) 8160044 or visit www.silverlensgalleries. com Silverlens is pleased to present Frank Callaghan’s exhibition, Search/Light, his fifth solo show with the gallery. His last show, 2014’s Dead Ends, won the prestigious Ateneo Art Awards. In this highly anticipated new series of 17 photographs, Callaghan continues his night shooting that has become his signature. Shot over a period of five successive nights, he makes use of the barest of elements beneath the night sky: an empty sea and a piercing beam of light. The sea is in constant motion, ever changing. It is without streets or back alleys, no dead ends or abandoned properties, and is for the most part uninhabited. The nearest architectural structure in each photograph is probably the searchlight itself and while it is kept outside the frame, it is somehow enlisted as a kind of incidental stage light, an unknowing collaborator.

•ALIENNATION Sept. 23 to Oct. 7; NOVA Gallery, Warehouse 12 A La Fuerza Plaza Compound, Don Chino Roces Ave., Makati; for more information, call (02) 659-3697 A printmaker and graphic designer by profession, Chitoy Zapata also dabbles in cultural work. Most of his works reference the left-wing democratic movement as a form of resistance against the logic of super abundance and the capitalist market system. His paintings bear strong political references (historically or socially) and the post colonial is a constant focal point. He uses a visual vocabulary that addresses many different social and political issues and the effects of global cultural interaction by which the system in which they normally function are exposed. In this new series of works, Zapata isolates the movement of humans and objects while transcending the coincidental through the conscious process of composition. By parodying mass media and the typical by-products of western culture, the build-up of tension is frozen to become as a vehicle of estrangement and distantiation. At other times, the works can also be seen as self-portraits, or introspections that echo our own vulnerabilities and as a metaphor for the ever-seeking man who experiences continuous loss over the latter half of the 20th century.

•The Past is a Foreign Country by Jill Paz Ongoing until Sept. 20; Archivo 1984, Pasillo 18 La Fuerza Compound (Gate 1), 2241 Chino Roces Ave., Makati; for more information, visit www.archivo1984 or call (02) 832-6191 Archivo 1984 proudly presents The Past is a Foreign Country, Jill Paz’s first solo exhibition in her home country, and also Archivo 1984’s inaugural exhibition in its new space. In this show, Paz focuses on images as object survivors of the past. The underlying theme of memory is re-interpreted by the artist as an exploration of renovation, embodied in her own experience of cultural loss. She explores this through homage paintings based on the work of her great granduncle, Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo. Among the largest works in the show are the eight-foot ‘Untitled (After Hidalgo, Libertatem)’ (2015), composed of cardboard panels etched with a phantasmic composition inspired by the artist’s ancestor and a personal childhood memory. Though painterly in appearance, these compositions were actually burned into the substrata by a laser cutter, a device that can translate a digital image into an etching. With such an unorthodox process, imperfections are rendered into an otherwise perfect production. The works stem from the artist’s fascination with how images traverse our visual and material culture, and fall within a longstanding artistic reconsideration of the idea of painting.


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Making waves at Henann Bohol Government officials, actors, businessmen, and professionals recently took time out of their busy schedules to relax and unwind in one of the country’s famed tourist destinations, Panglao Island in Bohol. An oasis outside of the city, it boasts of idyllic white beaches and unspoiled waters. Sitting on top of the island is the top-notch resort Henann Resort Alona Beach Bohol managed by Henann Group of Resorts under the leadership of chairman Dr. Henry Chusuey, executive vice president Alfonso Chusuey and vice president for marketing Karl Chusuey. The guests enjoyed deliciously superb cuisine, world-class amenities and excellent service from the hardworking staff. Kudos to Dr. Henry Chusuey and the entire Henann Group of Resorts team for giving vacationers a holiday to remember! For inquiries and reservations, call the Manila office at (02) 230-3000 to 03 and the Bohol office at (038) 502-9141 to 44 or visit the website www.henann.com/bohol/henannalonabeach.

Henann Resort Alona Beach Bohol guest relations assistant manager Crawford Asia country manager Air Asia head of ground operations Shell Tagbilaran depot support lead Jose Paulo Ore with Henann Resort Alona Beach Bohol front desk supervisor Catherine Pernia Sarah Fullido with Nikka and Patrick Garcia and daughters Belle and Ben Manaligod Frederick Arejola Michelle

Henann Group of Resorts chairman Dr. Henry Chusuey

ES Calma Designs and Associates Metro Pacific Hospital Holdings, Inc. Former Romblon Lone District representative Eleandro Jesus Madrona (From left) Janina Manipol, Verniece Enciso, Richard Ching Juan, Sarah Fullido, Vern Enciso and Franco Christian Santos with Sarah Fullido president Edgar Sambile Calma president Augie Palisoc

Of glamour and philanthropy The much-awaited evening of fashion and purpose is just around the corner as Philippine Cancer Society (PCS) presents the 2017 Best Dressed Women of the Philippines on September 27 at the Grand Ballroom of Shangri-La at the Fort, Manila in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. Led by the hardworking event chairperson Angola consul Helen Ong (fifth from left) together with selection and organizing committee members (from left) your columnist, Elaine Rojas Villar, Sandie Poblador, Tanzania consul Betty Chua, Gambia consul Agnes Huibonhoa, Marian Ong, Jayelles’ Roselle Rebano and Mario Katigbak (not in photo are Mabel Abaño and Roy Gonzales), the 14th Annual Awards Ball will feature this year’s Style Icons and Best Dressed Awardees, ladies who are making a difference in society with their kind hearts. Also to be recognized in the awards ball are the PCS’ 2017 Men of Extraordinary Influence. Since 2004, this glamorous charity ball has remained true to its mission in helping PCS in its aim to help the cancer-stricken Filipinos all over the country. For donations, sponsorships and inquiries, please call (02) 734-2127 or email resource@philcancer.org.ph.


SEPTEMBER 2017 GRUB HUB 9 www.expatphilippines.ph

APRIL 12-25, 2015

14 TRAVEL

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ACROSS ALBAY

6 destinations to check out in the Bicol province beyond Mayon Volcano Text by CELINE REYES Photos by CELINE REYES and DENNIS MURILLO

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lbay, a province in the Bicol Region, is best known as the home of what is dubbed as the “Perfect Cone” – Mayon Volcano. But this province offers so much more than just the Philippine icon. Below, we help you go beyond Mayon and get to discover more of Albay with these six underrated destinations.

1

VANISHING ISLAND

Located off the coast of Malilipot, this capricious shoal features crystal clear waters and white sands. As of this writing, Vanishing Island has several floating cottages that can be rented along its periphery. Swimming, snorkeling, and island hopping are some of its offerings. You can also have a picnic in one of the floating cottages there. Overnight stays in the island is, of course, not possible, but you can spend the night in nearby Pinamuntogan Island or in mainland Tabaco City.

3

SUMLANG LAKE

If you want a different perspective of the Mayon Volcano, Sumlang Lake in Camalig is the place to be. The lake, with its calm glittering surface, inspires a relaxing afternoon wading out on a bamboo raft outfitted with a stylish set of chairs made from abaca fiber. Cruise down the lake, or rent out a paddleboard or kayak, while marveling at the grandeur that is Mayon. Getting there: In Legazpi City, take a tricycle to Bañag. Once there, ride a jeepney with “Polangui” signage and alight before the Albay Agri Ethno Eco Village (AgriVillage). Then, ride a tricycle or walk to Sumlang Lake (about a 15-minute walk).

Getting there: At the Tabaco Port in Tabaco City, you can charter a boat to Vanishing Island for PhP1,500, which can accommodate up to 15 persons, and is good for a whole day trip (7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.). The island can also be accessed from the Bacacay Port.

2

QUITINDAY GREEN HILLS

About an hour from Legazpi City, Albay’s provincial capital, lies the sleepy town of Camalig. Here, you’ll find one of the province’s hidden gems: Quitinday Hills, a 400-hectare sweep of verdant terrain. Standing at about 127 meters above sea level, the main hill can be easily reached with a 15-minute trek along an established trail. Once you get to the top of the hill, you’ll have a choice of several viewing areas. Getting there: In Legazpi City, ride a jeepney to Polangui and alight at the Quitinday Junction. There, you can rent a tricycle for a roundtrip ride to the hills.

5

ORAS FALLS

Should you choose to pass through Tabaco City to get to Vanishing Island and Pinamuntugan Island, don’t miss out on visiting Oras Falls. The virtually unheard of falls is located in the upland barangay (village) of Oras in Tabaco. A quick trek would bring you to a tall waterfall enclosed within a patch of forest. Beneath the falls, there is a basin where the water gathers before spilling out into the runnel that flows along the barangay. Clear and cool, the pool is perfect for swimming. Getting there: From Tabaco City proper, take a jeepney to Barangay Oras. Once in Oras, take a tricycle to the jump-off to the falls. You may also rent a tricycle from the city proper to the jump-off.

4

PINAMUNTOGAN ISLAND

Along Tabaco Bay, in the town of Bacacay, is a little known paradise called Pinamuntogan Island. This inlet is lined with coconut trees and a shore with fine, cream sands opening to immaculate blue waters. It’s still relatively unknown to people outside of Albay, which makes it perfect for those looking to get away from the crowd. Swimming, snorkeling, and all around beach-bumming can all be done here. You can also make arrangements for you to stay the night. Bear in mind, though, that there’s no electricity as well as stores. You may, of course, bring your own food for a good ol’ beachside picnic. Getting there: At the Tabaco Port in Tabaco City, you can charter a boat to Pinamuntogan Island for PhP2,500 which can accommodate up to 15 persons, and is good for a whole day trip (7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.). The island can also be accessed from the Bacacay Port.

6

JOVELLAR UNDERGROUND RIVER

About 30 minutes from the Green Hills is the underground river in Jovellar. This pristine subterranean waterway may not be as long as that of Puerto Prinsesa, but is as majestic nevertheless. A bamboo raft will take you through the length of the cavern, glimmering stalactites jutting from the darkness, and an occasional bat zipping out of sight. At the other end is an underground falls where you can bathe. The water is raging, but cool, and extremely invigorating! You can also (very carefully) explore upstream where the water is less vehement but just as refreshing.


GRUBTRAVEL HUB 15 9

APRIL 12-25, 2015 SEPTEMBER 2017

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inety days—that’s more or less the amount of time the government’s battle in Marawi City against terrorists has waged on – an unfortunate and ongoing incident that led to the declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao. Many have questioned the administration’s decision put the entirety of Mindanao, all 104,530 square kilometers of it under Martial Law, pointing out that Marawi City is just .08 percent of the Philippines’ second largest island’s land area. And while the government has its reasons for doing so, some 280 kilometers away, life in Siargao Island has carried on, albeit bearing the economic effects of the significant hit to its tourism industry. Re-framing paradise According to the municipality of Del Carmen’s Mayor JR Coro, a crucial element, which led to Siargao’s tourism boom early in the decade, was a rebranding of the island – one that painted a more holistic picture of the Siargao well beyond the famous swells of Cloud 9. It may seem unthinkable now to those who’ve soaked in the plethora of Siargao’s natural gems, but back then, while surfing communities around the world knew of the barreling waves in General Luna, all the other attractions the island possessed were not quite as renowned. It took commitment, hard work, and perhaps more importantly, a mindset shift from the locals to realize Siargao’s tourism potential. This is perhaps evidenced best by how Del Carmen’s local officials dissuaded fishermen (who practiced dynamite fishing) from the shortsighted practices, and into growing the municipality’s mangrove forest. Today, Del Carmen’s 4,000+ hectares of continuous mangrove forest is the country’s largest. And apart from all the benefits it brings to the ecosystem (providing a healthy environment for the growth of marine life, shoreline protection by reducing erosion, protection from waves and water movement, among others), it provides a calming, scenic backdrop going to the utterly idyllic environs of Sugba Lagoon. Perfect afternoon playground Framed within thickly vegetated limestone hills, Sugba Lagoon in Del Carmen has inevitably emerged as one of the can’t-miss spots when in Siargao – and for good reason. The lagoon’s clear emerald waters and its forested backdrop of soothing shades of green, envelops you with a combination of childlike wonder, peace, and gratitude for being tucked away (if only momentarily) from the stressors of the world. Here, amid lucky, kindred souls, gratitude for this earth’s gorgeous playground is expressed through paddle boarding, swimming, soaking in the splendor, and hearty laughs. Sugba Lagoon makes for an afternoon you’d be fortunate to cherish, and a destination you’d love to keep coming back to. The two-storey pavilion gives you a beautiful vantage point of the panorama, and the aqueous frolicking below. It also serves as a refueling station where grilled fare, and cold drinks perfectly complement an afternoon that kids are wont to describe “Chill AF.”

The gorgeous aquatic playground that is Sugba Lagoon

Paradise as Usual

Since the declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao, the burgeoning tourism industry in Siargao Island has taken a significant hit. Recently, Expat flew to the stunning tropical haven to experience firsthand how Martial Law has affected life on the island. What we found is that, despite the unfortunate incidents in Marawi City, in Siargao… it’s PARADISE AS USUAL. By TIMOTHY JAY IBAY

Be it a quick dip, or a morning of introspection, the Mapupungko Tidal Pools make for a surreal scene

Expat tips: It’s best to go around the island by renting your own motorbike for as low as PhP300 for the whole day. There’s mobile reception in most parts of the island, but in the event that fails, Siargao is small enough that with the combination of the friendly folk and GPS, you won’t be lost for too long. Entrance to Mapupungko Beach is PhP50. Life’s not a race The gradual shift of the sea’s hue from navy to turquoise signaled that we were closing in on our first stop… although of course, I could’ve simply looked at where we were going, but where’s the art in that? Pristine waters, fine white sand – and apart from a few patches of grass, and a couple of weathered wooden benches – our sandbar destination, Naked Island, was as its name suggested. The overcast skies meant sunburn was not a concern, as evidenced by the lads who were playing a friendly game of two-a-side football when we got there. Naked Island is usually the first of three stops in the usual island hopping tours offered in the surfing town of General Luna. But if I was going to be honest, you could skip right to Daku Island to get one of the best beach fixes you can have in Siargao. The always Instagrammable combo of clear turquoise waters and white sand, a peppering of coconut trees, strategically located huts – all commingle into a place where the heart rate slows, and peace of mind seamlessly takes over. It took less than three days for me to realize the growing allure of Siargao. The locals hope it takes just as quick that for everyone else to understand that whatever craziness is going on around the country, in Siargao, it’s paradise as usual. For more information about how to get started on your Siargao adventure, you may contact Roxan at (0948) 4582461, or Donna at (0921) 718-2268. Skyjet Airlines flies daily from Manila to Siargao for as low as PhP3,277 (one way). With the 80-seater British Aerospace, Skyjet Airlines offers the fastest flights to some of the country’s top destinations that include Coron, Boracay, and Batanes.

Getting there: The takeoff going to the lagoon is at Del Carmen’s Mangrove Protection and Information Center. From there, you can rent a boat (PhP1,600 for 6 persons) for the 30-minute ride going to Sugba Lagoon. PhP50/person is charged once you get to the pavilion, with the tables also for rent, starting at PhP50. Momentary bliss The town of Pilar is home to another unique spot that’s a must-visit for any Siar-

gao noob. Unveiled when the tide retreats, the Mapupungko Tidal Pools don’t look like much as you step onto the beach. But as you close in on the collection of rock formations that bound the pools, you’re made privy to a surreal scene seemingly set straight out of mini Avatar. Carved by the relentlessly aweinspiring talents of nature, as the tide takes a respite from the shore, the pool’s gleaming emerald hue is as inviting as it is soothing. During our visit, people from different nations, speaking different languages, enjoyed the blessings of the pools – some having quiet chats, others sharing laughs, couples taking selfies, and others yet jumping off cliffs and into the water – everyone removed from any sort of prejudice from the “outside world.” There is a warmth in Siargao’s touristic gems that visitors cannot avoid but inevitably share – a vibe that both relaxes the mind, and reinvigorates the soul. As you go around the island, you’ll find this to be inescapable, regardless of what the government declares the law of the land to be.

“We’re not just selling seats, we are seling the experience,” said Skyjet Airlines President Dino Reyes-Chua. “Flying with Skyjet is a lifestyle!”

Beach bums are sure to find Daku Island perfect for all the right reasons


EXPAT NEWSPAPER SEPTEMBER 2017  
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