Experience Travel and Living Volume 4 Number 1

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Living Well A state-of-the-art plant tour Gardenia’s Jun Umali transforms a bread

factory into a foodie destination


Beauty & Wellness





Where the family stays and plays together Quest Hotel Clark has resort facilities and a 36-hole championship golf course


Profile The business of travel

For Jaime Bautista of Philippine Airlines,

the comfort and safety of passengers is top priority


Celebity Travel Fearless explorer


For model and actor Jose Sarasola, travel can help build character

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Travel Luxe Santorini of the North P48

Enjoy sunrise and sunset views at Vitalis Villas

48 Wanda Woman Tourism Secretary Wanda Corazon T. Teo sees


Mindanao as key to promoting the country

The artistry of Mindanao fabrics

Local textiles from the South are reimagined

for today’s fashion


Of t’nalak and tilapia Natural wonders and culture abound in

Lake Sebu


Not just a surfing haven Enjoy the sea’s natural bounties at

Siargao Island



More than just the tuna capital General Santos City boasts eco-tourism and historical attractions


The Good Life



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EXPERIENCETRAVEL.PH // Vol. 4 No. 1 // 2017



Presenting the country’s singular fabrics Many will remember 2017 for the 65th Miss Universe beauty pageant, which was held in Manila. It was a great opportunity to showcase what the Philippines has to offer as a destination. With the candidates seeing and discovering what we as a nation and people are proud of, it placed the country front and center, with beauties from all over the world experiencing our unique sights, sounds and tastes. One aspect that was highlighted during the contestants’ trips around the country was the distinct fashion that was unique for each region. In Mindanao, esteemed fashion designer Renee Salud and Davao-based couturiers highlighted local fabrics in a colorful showcase. It was a dazzling display of how indigenous textiles, such as t’nalak, Mindanao silk and embroidery, could be fashioned into contemporary apparel. We pay tribute to Mindanao’s weavers in this issue of EXPERIENCE Travel and Living, providing a background to enjoy the culture

A three meter long t’ na lak fabric ta kes fou r hou rs to we av e Photo b y Gi ngga y H ontiv e ros

of southern Philippines. We also handpicked a number of destinations that deserve as much attention as some of the popular centers in the region. We also honor the effort of Tourism Secretary Wanda Corazon T. Teo, who has singularly overseen not just the preparations of the Miss Universe pageant, but also activated local tourism organizations and businesses in a united effort to enhance the product that is the Philippines. On the other hand, Gardenia’s Jun Umali and model and chef Jose Sarasola share their stories about their journeys, and how these experiences have affected them in their business endeavors. Open the pages of EXPERIENCE Travel and Living and read about the many destinations the Miss Universe beauties discovered during their short stay in the Philippines.

J osep h C ortes E di tor-i n-chi ef

EXPERIENCETRAVEL.PH // Vol. 4 No. 1 // 2017



EXPERIENCETRAVEL.PH // Vol. 4 No. 1 // 2017

Publisher: Editor-in-Chief: Graphic Artist: Editorial Assistant:

Ana M. Manansala Joseph Cortes Dave M. Panopio Angela M. Denilla

Contributing Writers: Ruby Asoy-Lebajo, Mitch Arceo-Cruz, Ma. Glaiza Lee, Suzette Jessica, Maan D’Asis Pamaran, Bernard Supetran, Henrylito Tacio, Rory Visco, Anson Yu and Dolly Dy-Zulueta Contributing Photographers: Champy Cachola, Ginggay Hontiveros, Jake Nartea, Teddy Pelaez, Cocoy Sexcion, Renjie Tolentino, Stephanie Tumampos and Rafael Zulueta Administrative and Circulation Manager: Administrative and Finance Assistant: Marketing Director: Account Manager: Sales Executive: Creatives Director: Online Content Manager:

Joanne Vera Cruz-Felix Cathy Mapua-Cortez Ruby Asoy-Lebajo Kristina Cassandra Ishikawa Jun Escuadro Olive Repotente Lalah Varias

Experience Travel and Living is published bi-monthly by

MODE DEVI PUBLISHING, INC. Unit 909 One Capitol Condominium, 2nd St. Brgy. Kapitolyo, Pasig City, Philippines DENNIS SIA, Vice President LILIAN SENGIA, Chief Finance Officer

Visit www.experiencetravelph.com

Email: experiencetravelandliving@gmail.com Like us at www.facebook.com/ExperienceTravel.Ph Instagram: ExperienceTravel.ph Twitter: @xptravel.ph The magazine and its editors assume no responsibility for all manuscripts and photographs submitted. While every reasonable effort is made to verify information, facts and figures, the magazine and its editors assume no responsibility for errors or misrepresentations that may appear in the publication. Opinions expressed in Experience are solely those of the writers and not necessarily endorsed by the company and its editors. Printed in the Philippines. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED No part of the magazine may be reproduced in full or in part without prior written permission from the editors.

EXPERIENCETRAVEL.PH // Vol. 4 No. 1 // 2017



EXPERIENCETRAVEL.PH // Vol. 4 No. 1 // 2017











10 11 14 13 12

(1) ANSON YU loves to walk for long

hours on end, loves to write freelance and is, as he says, an “occasional photography junkie.” He loves everything about Manila, a fascination born out of the very place where he grew up and worked in. This fascination with the glorious past of the city made him a renowned name when it comes to writing (storytelling, if you want) everything about Manila and its rich history. In 2008, he became part of an organization that regularly holds walking tours in famous Manila spots, like Intramuros, Binondo in Chinatown, and Divisoria, to name a few.

(2) TEDDY PELAEZ worked at Business

World for 14 years as a photojournalist. He was the photographer of Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson and Senator Mar Roxas when they ran for president and senator, respectively. He has done voluntary work with various non-governmental organizations when calamities hit the country. He loves traveling and nature photography

(3) RUBY ASOY-LEBAJO started work

in media as editorial assistant and lifestyle writer. She shifted to advertising work and handled a magazine group, an online portal, and a morning TV and culinary shows

(4) SUZETTE JESSICA is a veteran

public relations practitioner.

(5) MA. GLAIZA LEE is a selfproclaimed traveler. Every person she meets, every adventure she does, and every little experience shapes her perception of the world around her. She looks forward to devouring sumptuous dishes, meeting interesting people, and enjoying life to the fullest.


(6) HENRYLITO D. TACIO is a Davao based journalist who specializes on reporting science, technology, environment, medicine, agriculture and travel. He has received numerous journalism awards, including Journalist of the Year from the Rotary Club of Manila (1999) and Hall of Fame in Science Reporting from the Philippine Press Institute (1998). His most recent recognitions were from the Bright Leaf Agriculture Journalism Awards. He writes for various publications, including Reader’s Digest.

9) Dolly Dy-Zulueta former editor of

(7) RORY VISCO is a devoted father

and husband and a passionate servant of the Lord and His church. His curious mind led him to discover a writing career that took him to many parts of the country and in some other places he never knew he would see in his lifetime. He looks forward to writing more stories that will help more people discover the grandeur of country and beauty of life.

mission to explore the Philippines and show its beauty to the rest of the world through her published travel stories and with her social media accounts. She believes that there is so much that the country and its people can offer by way of experiential tourism.

Flavors Magazine, runs her own food, travel and lifestyle weblog (www. flavorsoflife. com.ph). She handles the Weekend Chef column on TV5’s www. interaksyon.com/ lifestyle and regularly writes for Asian Dragon Magazine, Business Mirror, and Manila Bulletin, among others.

10) BeRnard Supetran

“Mindanaoan” at heart, and has been going around Mindanao for the past 25 years from the highlands to the islands, and everything in between. In this issue, he writes about his favorite “playgrounds” Sarangani and Siargao.

11) Stephanie Tumampos is a

freelance photojournalist based in the Philippines. She has contributed in national publications such as Business Mirror. She is also a physicist-engineer and an advocate of science education, especially astronomy in the country.

12) RENJIE TOLENTINO started his

career in 1998 as a media relations officer in one of the biggest public relations firms in the country. In 2010, he shifted to freelance PR consulting while following his passion for photography. As a lifestyle and entertainment photographer, he has handled some of the country’s top brands and had worked with top PR and advertising agencies across the metro.

13) CHAMPY CACHOLA is a member

of a web development team in Quezon City. He is a photography enthusiast since 2010. He loves travelling, taking portraits and landscapes. He is currently one of the fashion photographers of House of Mode Elle. He mostly spent his weekend doing photo shoots or going to cafeterias, exploring food and taking photos of it. During his spare time, he watches movies and tv series while thinking how a scene was lit, captured, planned, etc., and somehow apply it to his photography works.


photographer of Flavors Magazine for 14 years, he has mastered the art of food photography. Breathtaking views are also a favorite subject of his. He regularly contributes to a number of publications and online portals, and among his clients are the United States Potato Board, the California Milk Advisory Board, and the Raisin Administrative Committee.

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EXPERIENCETRAVEL.PH // Vol. 4 No. 1 // 2017



All we knead

is love! Singapore’s Peperoni Pizzeria brings its mouthwatering pizzas to the Philippines

B y M itc h Arc eo -Cr u z

Imagine yourself biting into a thin-crust pizza, oozing with all kinds of cheese, meat, greens or any other topping that you like. Doesn’t that instantly make you feel better? In any survey around the world, pizza always appears on the list of favorite comfort food. In the Philippines, pizzas have become a staple in parties and even during those I-want-to-be-by-myself times at home. No wonder, many people just can’t get enough of it. Fortunately for pizza lovers in Quezon City, a second branch of Peperoni Pizzeria is ready to serve you with rustic Italian goodness, with its signature wood-fire brick oven baked pizzas.

Casual dining experience This pizzeria is a franchise from Singapore, started by the Les Amis Group. Peperoni Pizzeria provides a casual, laid-back dining experience, which is why it opted to open in a quiet neighborhood as opposed to Singapore’s busy streets. To date, there are seven branches in Singapore, with the first opening in 2004. The chain is starting to grow internationally, with one opening recently in Myanmar. And now, it has come to Philippine shores. Andrew Chan, merchandising director of CMG Retail Inc., decided to expand business (outside retail) and explore the food and beverage industry by franchising and bringing Peperoni Pizzeria here. The first branch in the country opened in Uptown Mall in Bonifacio Global City last December 2015, while the second branch opened in UP Town Center in Quezon City in September 2016.

Although both are located in commercial centers, both branches exude the casual vibe and same style of interior as the branches in Singapore. Chan confessed that prior to franchising the brand, he worked in Singapore for a while and frequented this pizza place. Incidentally, an opportunity to franchise came knocking on his door in 2013. Even though he had qualms at first, since he had no experience in handling an F&B business, he was eventually enticed to put his hands in it as he learned more about the restaurant.

So many pizzas to choose from For starters, Chan recommends the Fungi Portobello con Pollo. Savor the rich taste of deep-fried Portobello mushrooms with chicken strips and greens that are cooked to perfection with red wine sauce. It can surely whet your appetite and make you look forward to what is coming next—pizza! This is where things get to be difficult since all its pizza offerings look mouthwatering with its generous toppings. Whether you want something classic or gourmet, you’ll find it here. Try the Bacon Miele if you just can’t get enough of bacon. The perfect combination of the creamy goodness of cheese and the sweet, smoky flavor of bacon makes this a favorite. If you want something gourmet, opt for the Prosciutto Cruto di Parma, which is topped with Parma ham and arugula. The bitter taste of arugula blends perfectly with the fresh tomato sauce and chewy mozzarella. The Diavola (pepperoni), on the other hand, is a classic that diners all over the world enjoy. The pizzas come in different sizes: nine, 12, and 21 inches. You can even watch as the staff makes your order, kneading dough, putting toppings and cooking your pizza in the brick oven. EXPERIENCETRAVEL.PH // Vol. 4 No. 1 // 2017


Peperonni Pizzeria’s Andrew Chan

Generous servings of pasta For pasta cravings, Chan recommends the Carbonara and Aglio Olio e Peperoncino. Peperoni Pizzeria’s Carbonara is creamy and rich with the strong smoky flavor of bacon, and the restaurant is generous when it comes to bacon. The Aglio Olio is perfect for those who like their pasta extra spicy and garlicky. After enjoying these filling dishes, the perfect way to cap your dinner is to indulge in desserts. The star of the dessert menu is the Tortino al Cioccolato, a molten chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream, strawberry and

Peperoni Pizzeria’s Bacon Miele combines cheese and bacon

walnuts. Another must-try is the Tiramisu, a moist cake with the warming hint of rum. Everything on the menu is just so easy to love. As its tagline says, “All we knead is love.” This may be true because a taste of Peperoni Pizzeria’s dishes is simply not enough. One bite and you will want to come back for more. Peperoni Pizzeria branches are located at the ground floor, UP Town Center Phase 2, Diliman, Quezon City, and at the third floor, Uptown Mall, 36th St. corner 9th Ave., Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. The carbonara pasta doesn’t skimp on the bacon


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Explore the city after dark with Night Light Hotel Jen, part of the Shangri-La International Hotel management, unveiled recently its first experiential program, Night Light, which will run across all its properties in Asia-Pacific. Designed to help guests who wish immersed in a destination and explore safely after dark with a carefree mind, Night Light is anchored

Manila Cathedral

around a “living” interactive map and invigorating weekly activities organized by the hotels. “Hotel Jen caters to urban adventurers who are passionate about discovering new places, cultures and experiences,” said Marisa Aranha, vice president of sales and marketing for Hotel Jen. “Through this new Night Light program, we are encouraging our guests to head out and explore the thriving activities that each destination has to offer between sunset and sunrise. There’s more to a city after dark than what is featured in conventional guide books and we want to provide a new perspective for busy business travelers, unabashed night owls and curious families through curated insider insights.”

Night Light Map

Cultural Center of the Philippines

Each Hotel Jen property on the hoteljen.com website features an interactive and “living” map that

Every week, each Hotel Jen offers activities at the hotel

continuously aggregates data from social check-ins

or around the city allowing guests to observe local

and selected hashtags. The map in each city presents

pastimes first-hand or discover the destination from an

noteworthy and interesting hotspots after dark with

alternative angle as they get their adrenaline going.

filters, such as Touristy Things, Local Hangouts and Jen’s Picks, that viewers can use to remove the noise of cliché

For example, at Hotel Jen Manila, early birds can borrow

activities and uncover experiences off the beaten tourist

a sports kit from the hotel for a group run at sunrise


around the Cultural Center of the Philippines, while songbirds can sing their hearts out in the evening with a

The online map lights up every night after sunset and

live band at Lobby Lounge.

is powered by the city’s inhabitants, including a select group of local influencers, Jensetters who share their

To see the city in a different light, visit www.hoteljen.

insider knowledge with a focus on the home-grown art,

com/night-light-map or follow social conversations using

local flavors and native rituals.

the hashtags #LeaveBoringBehind and #NightLight.

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EXPERIENCETRAVEL.PH // Vol. 4 No. 1 // 2017



NOT JUST HOT JAVA Coffee comes in many flavors at the biggest Filipino coffee chain by Mitc h Arc eo -C r u z

Coffee is very much like love: once you make it a part of your life, you must be in it for the long haul. When you get addicted to it, you cannot function without it. It may sound exaggerated, but look at coffee shops and see for yourself. People line up to get coffee any time of the day. With so many flavors to choose from, people are becoming more obsessed with this beverage. In 1993, a group of friends who were mad about coffee saw great potential in the coffee industry and, so, decided to set up a humble kiosk at the second floor of Glorietta. With the increasing demand for coffee, this business opportunity turned into a successful venture. Thus, Figaro was born. After more than two decades, the coffee chain has expanded not only in the Philippines, but also in other countries, like China, Papua New Guinea, Qatar, Guam, the United States, Saudi Arabia and more. “To date, we have 88 stores and are set to open more stores in the near future. Figaro is the biggest Filipino coffee chain in the world,” said Justin Liu, executive director of Figaro Coffee Systems Inc. Truly a Philippine brand, Figaro continues to be one of the local brands that serve as inspiration to many entrepreneurs who want to gain international success. Today, the coffee chain has moved one step further in providing customers more choices when it comes to their favorite beverage by launching a new set of flavors, carefully planned and crafted to titillate your taste buds.

Get cozy with your favorites This selection will give you the much-needed energy to pump up your day. Start your day with Flat White, an Arabica-based coffee with the velvety texture of steamed milk, or get your body moving with Café Mocha, an espresso-based coffee with chocolate syrup and steamed milk. But if chocolate is what you are craving for, the Hot Chocolate will ignite your senses, bringing you the energy you need to last the day.

Get nutty Some like their coffee black, while some like to blend it with cream. If you want to take your experience a notch higher, adding nuts is the way to go. The Get Nutty flavors are Almond Latte, Iced Macadamia Latte and Almond Frappe. You can adjust the sweetness of your Almond Latte, a mix of Arabica coffee beans and almond. Just ask the barista to add more sugar if you want a sweeter blend. The Iced Macadamia Latte, an Arabica-based coffee with a hint of macadamia and blended with chilled milk, is perfect for those who like cold caffeinated beverages. Completing this collection is the Almond Frappe, an Arabica-based coffee with vanilla and almond flavors, blended ice and whipped cream.

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Sweet caramel craze Craving for a bittersweet drink? Figaro has exactly what you need, whether hot or cold is your choice. Choose from Caramel Macchiato, an Arabica-based coffee mixed with caramel syrup and steamed milk; Iced Caramel Macchiato, with the same ingredients as the Caramel Macchiato, but blended with chilled milk; and Caramel Frappe, coffee with plain caramel and vanilla flavors, blended ice and topped with whipped cream.

Delight for more Make your coffee experience much sweeter with a selection of White Chocolate Mocha, White Chocolate Mocha Frappe, Butterscotch Vanilla Frappe with Coffee Jelly and Butterscotch Vanilla Latte, all blended with Figaro’s special signature espresso.

Matcha madness collection Matcha is increasingly becoming a favorite flavor in both tea and pastries. With the Japanese green tea craze sweeping the country, Figaro has crafted its own beverages infused with matcha. Select from Iced Matcha Green Tea Latte, Matcha Green Tea Latte (hot) and Matcha Frappe.

Fruitfully fantastic Figaro may be a coffee shop, but it does not cater exclusively to caffeine lovers. To cater to non-coffee drinkers, it has introduced its fruity flavors that are perfect for kids and adults who want refreshing drinks. These beverages use blended fresh fruits and do not have artificial flavors. If banana and caramel are your favorite flavors, be sure not to miss the Banana Caramel Blast, a mix of banana, cream and caramel, topped with whipped cream and drizzled with crushed peanut brittle. Liu proudly declared it was his idea to add the crushed peanut brittle to the drink to make it unique—and it works! If it is fresh berries you want, then you are in for a treat. Gulp on the sweet and tangy taste of freshly pureed strawberries (Wild Strawberry) and blueberries (Forest Blueberry). But if you cannot decide which berry you want for your drink, try the Mixed Berries that contains both strawberries and blueberries. All these flavors are available in Figaro branches nationwide.


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Harvard Uy de Baron, Malou Chan and chef Raymar Reyes

Spring roll with vanilla ice cream

A taste of home cooking at Sangkap Sangkap Filipino Restaurant offers Filipino comfort food that will remind you of home. No matter what part of the country you hail from—Batanes, Pampanga, Zambales, Cebu, Iloilo or the Ilocos region—you will surely find the country’s varied and unique tastes here. Chef Raymar Reyes serves up Pinoy cooking with a modern touch. Whether it’s kare-kare, kilawin or kaldereta, there

Tinumok, seafood wrapped in taro leaves and soaked in coconut milk

is something familiar yet original about the dishes he prepares. “People who like classic and experimental dishes will enjoy what we have to offer,” he says. One of Sangkap’s specialty is Cebu Lechon Sinigang, which combines two all-time favorites: the tang of tamarind soup and the savory taste of lechon. The Menu Group (TMG), established in 2015, is behind Sangkap and specialty restaurants Sasa, Splice and Sobremesa, with their exciting cooking that caters to a broad market of diners. It has branches at up-and-coming spots in Ortigas and Mandaluyong. Sangkap Filipino Restaurant is located in Portico, Capt. Javier Street, Oranbo, Pasig City. Follow SangkapPH on Facebook and Instagram.

Sangkap’s specialty dish, Cebu Lechon Sinigang

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EXPERIENCETRAVEL.PH // Vol. 4 No. 1 // 2017




Up close with bread making He rattled off some other places he went to for his

Gardenia’s Jun Umali transforms a bread factory into a foodie destination

corporate and personal travels. More importantly, he

By Rory Vis c o P hotos b y Tedd y P e l a e z

state-of-the-art Gardenia plant located at the Laguna

recounted how he was inspired by these trips and looked back on how they were able to make the marvellous and International Industrial Park in Mamplasan, Biñan, Laguna be a travel destination as well.

For someone who loves to travel, it’s a wonder that Mr. Simplicio “Jun” Umali Jr. is not really keen on flying.

“During my travels abroad several years back, I saw

He’d love to take train tours or the long, ocean-going

some factories and was inspired how they made their

cruises instead, travel modes that he finds more relaxing

products and many people visit these plants. So I said

regardless of the number of hours spent on the winding

to myself ‘why can’t we do it here?’ Then we started

tracks or expansive oceans.

organizing trips to the Gardenia plant and came up with concepts on how to make going to a bread factory an

“I hate the waiting time and delayed flights in airports

enjoyable and unique learning experience and make it a

compared to cruises that are very organized. I enjoy

tour destination.”

train tours as well,” recounts Umali, who is the President and General Manager of Gardenia Bakeries Philippines,

It was around 14 years ago that the Gardenia plant tour

Inc. (GBPI), the country’s top bread maker. The Gardenia

started, with visitors in the thousands (from 1,500 to as

brand is known for its wafting aroma, deliciously soft

high as 10,000 a day) arriving daily in several busloads,

and nutrient-packed bread products.

majority grade schoolers with parents in tow, except on Saturdays and during the holiday season where there are

Umali vividly remembers his most enjoyable trips,

no tours.

notably his first cruise in Europe, from Italy and ended in Greece. “It was quite interesting. I saw new cities every

Not your ordinary tour

day, various castles and vineyards. We even went to

Visiting the Gardenia plant is an experience that can

places where they shot scenes of the popular TV series

really qualify it as a tourist destination. The perimeter

‘Game of Thrones.’”

of the plant is surrounded by a glass-enclosed catwalk that’s air-conditioned so visitors can see what’s

He also recalls a train tour in Germany, a great trip,

happening inside the factory minus the heat. There is

he said, where he saw convents and monasteries, plus

also a 3D photo booth where visitors can have fun taking

places that have its own beer, each with its own distinct

selfies with the popular Gardenia “bread tower” in the



When asked about the farthest place he had been to, he

“We show to our visitors, mostly children, how modern

mentioned Batanes. Though Batanes is only about 658

bread baking is done through Gardenia’s automated

kilometers away from Manila, he still considers it far.

manufacturing facility. We even teach them about

“Technically, it’s (Batanes) not the farthest, but I felt

proper hygiene, sanitation, values enhancement through

like I was in a different world, like I traveled through

Rotary’s Four-Way Test and, of course, healthy

time. The place was really fascinating.”

eating,” explains Umali.

EXPERIENCETRAVEL.PH // Vol. 4 No. 1 // 2017


Batanes is the farthest place in the

Gardenia accommodates up to 10,000

Philippines that Gardenia’s Jun Umali

visitors, mostly students, every day

has been to.

during peak season of its plant tours.

Gardenia’s spiral cooling tower is one of the most popular spots among tour visitors.


EXPERIENCETRAVEL.PH // Vol. 4 No. 1 // 2017

Students watch how flour is turned into bread.

Jun Umali takes pride in the company’s many bread varieties.

So it’s not really just information about the world-class We sourced our advanced breadmaking technology from plant that Gardenia shares to its visitors but also about the best suppliers from all over the world. All these they its products. “We have our Baking Technology Group,

will learn whenever they visit the Gardenia plant, the

our own R&D team that makes sure that our products

country’s world-class baking facility and top field trip

are aligned to the product mission, plus the Nutrition

destination,” Umali explained.

and Wellness Group that scientifically determines the level of nutrition in our products. This group also work

A light traveler

in disseminating information about the value of eating

A light traveler (one suitcase, one bag) who almost

healthy, proper nutrition and active lifestyle. The group always does his packing at the last minute, Umali is also do sandwich recipe demonstrations where you can looking at probably a winter tour in Canada (his first create innovative sandwiches like maki, dessert-type or “snow” experience was only 2 years ago where he did even a shake.”

his first “angel’s wings”) or more Caribbean cruises. Japan is also in the itinerary in the summer with the

He said that Gardenia is not just about the factory and family or even visit Korea. “I will consult with friends and the breads but more of a story on why we should eat

officemates where they took their holidays then plan

healthy and choose only the best breads to keep one’s from there.” self healthy and well. “We take pride in the Gardenia quality. We use finest ingredients like premium wheat

But a longer trip is in the works, he said. “I hope

and flour milled to our specifications, milk from the

someday, I can take a one-month holiday, US or Canada,

best sources in the US, New Zealand, genuine California but that’s probably when I retire so it’s more meaningful. raisins and chocolates from the US and Belgium.

But then again, that’s when I retire.”

EXPERIENCETRAVEL.PH // Vol. 4 No. 1 // 2017




No expense too great for the environment Euro-Swiss Food Inc. Opens a food production facility with key green features

Euro-Swiss Food plant in Carmona Cavite.

By Anson Yu

Operating a food production facility and protecting the environment are two goals that don’t seem to belong on the same page. This is because factories are usually blamed for polluting and degrading the environment. However, Swiss-born chef Werner Berger doesn’t believe this has to be so. The man behind the popular Santi’s Deli, as well as famous restaurants as Chesa Bianca and Carpaccio, many don’t know that he also runs and manages

Euro-Swiss Food plant produces deli meet products.

Euro-Swiss Food Inc., the company that produces and supplies processed meat requirements, including sausages and cold cuts, to his growing food enterprise. Its production facility on Yakal Street in Makati City was able to produce daily two to three tons of various meat products. As demand for the company’s products grew, Berger and his business partners Othmar Frei and Hubert Weber decided it was time to expand. That’s why they purchased a 7,000-square meter property in Carmona, Cavite. With a bigger plant, as much as six tons of meat products can be produced daily. Though the partners want a profitable business, they are also conscious of the factory’s possible effect on its surroundings. With careful study, they were able to reconcile their interests and those of the environment. An example of Euro-Swiss’s waste-not-want-not policy is the factory’s efficient refrigeration units. To keep products fresh, insulating panels out were specifically imported from Austria to keep the warehouse-sized walk-in freezers running at a constant 15-16 degrees centigrade. This way, the company saves money on electricity bills.


EXPERIENCETRAVEL.PH // Vol. 4 No. 1 // 2017

This strict policy has necessitated capital-intensive investments. Euro-Swiss developed its own water treatment facility to prevent the plant’s biological waste from polluting the local water supply. The factory also has provisions for rainwater collection as a way of cutting down on water requirements when cleaning the plant, saving the company on its water bills. As a power-saving measure, Euro-Swiss installed more than 500 solar panels, reducing its power supply needs by up to 30 percent. And should a typhoon or natural calamity strike, a backup diesel generator can generate 600 kilowatts of electricity for up to two weeks. This new production facility might be a big gamble for Berger and his partners, but they have taken it upon themselves to set up a factory that is aligned with present environmental concerns. Their success in this undertaking can encourage local businesses to follow their lead. In the end, this will benefit both consumers and the environment.



Harvard Uy de Baron, Malou Chan and chef Raymar Reyes

Asian fusion dishes at Sasa

A Sasa must-try, mango sticky rice

Take a food trip to Japan, Korea, Singapore and Malaysia at Sasa Asian Cuisine, Chef Raymar Reyes and his team blends the different flavors of Asia with a dash of Pinoy cooking for a bold and original take on dishes that are unique yet refreshingly familiar. The crispy pork belly in tamarind glaze combines crunchy pork with the zest of tamarind, while the braised beef with cheddar is an interesting take on the Asian favorite combined with rich American cheese. Japanese favorites also get an update. Prawns tempura is served with savory mapo tofu sauce, while in the Asahi Prawns, prawns are soaked in Asahi beer before being

Crispy pork belly in tamarind glaze

sautéed with a clam sauce. More traditional recipes are used for staples, such as hainanese chicken, Sasa fried chicken, honey spareribs, braised pork noodles and stir-fried noodles. The Menu Group (TMG), established in 2015, is behind Sangkap and specialty restaurants Sasa, Splice and Sobremesa, with their exciting cooking that caters to a broad market of diners. It has branches at up-and-coming spots in Ortigas and Mandaluyong. Sasa Asian Cuisine is at the lower ground floor, South Wing, Estancia Mall, Capitol Commons, Pasig City. Follow SasaCuisine on Facebook and Instagram.

Crispy lamb pata tim, an extra special serving for the whole family

EXPERIENCETRAVEL.PH // Vol. 4 No. 1 // 2017



EXPERIENCETRAVEL.PH // Vol. 4 No. 1 // 2017



Eco-friendly, stylish and practical

Uashmama’s washable paper bag is the next big thing

Washable paper? It may sound like an oxymoron, but it does exist and it is now available in the Philippines. The Uashmama brand carries a signature line of washable items that are 100 percent made by Italian artisans. From its signature paper bag, it now offers home, table and fashion collections made from 100 percent virgin cellulose fiber. Distributed in the trendiest stores worldwide, this brand now boasts a strong following in Italy, Australia, Scandinavia, the US and in other parts of the globe. The unique paper bags are used to store home items, as plant pot covers, bread bags, containers for fruits and vegetables, kitchen utensils, bathroom accessories, make-up brushes, towels, magazines, blankets and so many more. Its function is limited only by your need and imagination. It also has a chic line of handbags and backpacks that are great for work, school or travel. To maintain its quality, Uashmama products can be handwashed. For the paperbag, simply unroll, wash in warm water using a mild soap or detergent, then dry flat. Uashmama products with brighter colors should be washed separately. In fact, its bags can last for up to 10 years with the right care. However, while they are washable, they are not waterproof. When exposed to rain, watermarks may form, especially on those of lighter colors. These can be easily cleaned with a sponge and a bit of mild soap and water. Uashmama products are available online through www.uash-it.com. It is exclusively distributed in the Philippines by INEXPH Inc.

EXPERIENCETRAVEL.PH // Vol. 4 No. 1 // 2017


Uashmama’s paper bags may be used for a variety of functions, depending on your imagination and use.


EXPERIENCETRAVEL.PH // Vol. 4 No. 1 // 2017



SvelT’i brand ambassadors Jannie Alipo-on and Jerome Tan

Thermogenic can lessen CVD risk among young adults A sedentary lifestyle and fatty acids make one prone to heart illnesses Gladys, a twentysomething supervisor at a call center,

This condition can be caused by unhealthy habits such

was facing health issues. Her blood pressure tended to

as diets rich in fat and a sedentary lifestyle that excludes

rise during her graveyard shift. Her doctor warned that

exercise. A Philippine study shows that 46.9 percent of

her cholesterol levels were high, and that she should

Filipinos from the age of 20 onward have borderline or

spend 30 minutes daily in some form of physical activity.

high cholesterol due to poor lifestyle choices.

A healthy diet with less fat and carbohydrates and more proteins was also recommended.

“We see the signs in some of our younger patients,” says Dr. Lalaine Salazar, the medical director of SvelT’i

Gladys found it tough, if not impossible, to implement

Health and Beauty Centre. “They stay awake late at night

such changes. She had no time for the gym, let alone

because they either work or play online games up to the

three days a week. She enjoyed her few spare hours

wee hours of the morning. Almost every activity they

going online, while video and TV binges distracted her

enjoy is related to the computer, like social media or

from doing exercises at home.

video games. What adds to their condition is they eat a pile of junk food while playing for hours.”

Recent studies have shown that Gladys is not alone. Young adults are becoming susceptible to cardiovascular

Many young adults cite lack of time as a reason for not

illnesses. Many of them are not even aware of their

doing exercises or other physical activities. Others are

condition until they experience shortness of breath

discouraged by the apparent slow results: one month of

and fatigue, and finally physical collapse because of a

burning those calories by lifting weights or running the

weakened heart.

treadmill removes only a couple of pounds, at best.

EXPERIENCETRAVEL.PH // Vol. 4 No. 1 // 2017


Thermogenic machine can remove 600 to 800 calories

Fortunately, Thermogenic is a state-of-the-art treatment

“Our solutions use the latest advances in science,

that can help a patient address issues with cholesterol,

research, and technology to tap into the body’s intrinsic

along with excess body weight. It uses Far Infrared Rays

design to restore health and eliminate possible triggers

to speed up slow metabolism, literally sweating out body

for illness,” says Dr. Salazar. “That’s why we get optimal

fat. The body is also detoxified as fat cells, cellulite,

results. We will always encourage a healthy diet and a

waste, and other toxic substances are purged.

more physically active lifestyle. Thermogenic is a useful treatment that can jumpstart a healthy lifestyle and help

“One relaxing session in Thermogenic removes 600 to

you sustain it.”

800 calories that would have taken our patient several hours to burn in the gym,” says Dr. Salazar. “It only takes

And to the young adults out there, like Gladys, it can

30 minutes and has no downtime. You can go back to

help you attain a longer and healthier life.

work immediately. It might take a few sessions to shrink down to your ideal dress size, but the result of the first

To know more about SvelT’i’s treatments, contact (02)

session can definitely encourage you.”

332-7546 / 09188-SVELTI (783584) or visit its clinic at the fifth floor, South Insula

Added health advantages are improvement in blood

Condominium, 61 Timog Avenue, Quezon City,

circulation and fresh bursts of energy replacing the

Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and

lethargy brought about by too many lazy hours in front

Saturday, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Visit the SvelT’i Facebook

of the computer.

page at www.facebook.com/sveltiph and IG account @ SVELTI_PH.


EXPERIENCETRAVEL.PH // Vol. 4 No. 1 // 2017



Australia’s healthy ‘Buzz’ The buzz that has kept Australia healthy is finally reaching Philippine shores. A Buzz from the Bees and its therapeutic honey-based product may just be the sweetest news from Western Australia for local health buffs. Kim Cheeseman of A Buzz from the bees

A Buzz from the Bees is a family-owned business that has been producing natural products for generations. Kim Cheeseman of A Buzz from the Bees recently introduced the brand and its products that are 100 percent pure and natural and made with just three natural ingredients—Jarrah honey, olive oil and beeswax.

Skin solutions The products of A Buzz from the Bees have health benefits, offering solutions to many skin-related issues. They include: healing balm, which can be used for all skin conditions to provide a soothing, antibacterial barrier for flaky, extremely dry and friction-damaged skin; Moisturizing Balm, which provides silky smooth skin, is a highly moisturizing and

A variety of West Australian honey

protective balm, moisturizing dry areas, such as on the feet, elbows and knees, and offering soothing relief; and, lip balm that provides antioxidants and beneficial properties to soothe the driest lips.

Your daily companion Using the products of A Buzz from the Bees provides the skin an abundance of natural antioxidant and healing properties. In fact, the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods has designated its healing and lip balms as Class 1 medical devices. The recent product launch attracted and wowed many of the high society social set, comments indicated the personal skincare items may well be the hot item in the handbag as the hotter months approaches because of their unique product quality and therapeutic benefit. Now that the buzz has reached the Philippines, these

A Buzz from the Bees products include healing balm, moisturizing balm and lip balm.

A Buzz from the Bees products will soon be available

products are perfect partners for any complaints brought

at favorite health stores around the country. To know

about by the humid weather. They make for a perfect daily

more about its products and their health benefits,

companion in the Filipino handbag and kikay kit.

Visit its website www.abuzzfromthebees.com.au.

EXPERIENCETRAVEL.PH // Vol. 4 No. 1 // 2017



EXPERIENCETRAVEL.PH // Vol. 4 No. 1 // 2017



Coffee detox for a healthy body By M itc h Arc eo -C r u z

Advancements in technology have brought many advantages that enable us to live fast-paced lives. This includes the consumption of instant or fast-food meals, which may be convenient, but will cause health issues in the future. Fast-food meals contain more fat than fiber and nutrients that the body needs. Constipation is a common effect, trapping toxins within the body. Unhealthy eating habits and lifestyles lead to illnesses that prevent us from living normal lives. To have a healthier body, it is important to detoxify. When the body gets rid of toxins, the organs are able to function properly. With all the detoxifying procedures available in the market, it may be confusing to choose the procedure

Dr. Emehly Sevilla - Castillo, M.D.

that suits your needs. to the surface of the tissue. The caffeine is therefore Vine Holistic Medical Aesthetics has the solution for

absorbed more quickly (and in higher concentration)

you: coffee enema. “The use of coffee in enemas for

than it is in when coffee is drunk,” she relates.

detoxification purposes is well-known. It is a common herbal remedy that has been suggested by holistic and

With coffee enema, the effects are evident as soon

alternative medicine professionals for many years,” says

as the procedure is done, though some effects will

Dr. Emehly Sevilla-Castillo, medical director and founder of

set in after 24 hours. For first timers, the treatment

Vine Holistic Medical Aesthetics.

can be done every other day or as the need arises. Sessions will decrease gradually from once a week to

Coffee enema works by injecting coffee to flush out

twice a month and to once a month, depending on the

impurities in the rectum and large intestines. It stimulates

physician’s evaluation.

bile and hepatic glutathione-SH production, both of which are claimed to help detoxify the body of cancer patients

For those who want to avail of this service, remember

undergoing Gerson therapy, an unconventional form of

to eat light meals (not fasting) before the procedure.

cancer treatment.

After treatment, take your daily vitamins or maintenance medications if needed, and avoid eating

Enemas and colonics (high enema) have been used for

heavy meals.

centuries, and are proven safe and effective. The procedure can result in temporary weight loss, relieves constipation,

Vine Holistic Medical Aesthetics is located at Unit

chronic pain, depression, fatigue and insomnia, boosts mood

2H, mezzanine level, The Grand Hamptons Tower II,

and energy levels and reduces stress.

1st Ave. cor. 31st St., Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.

Some may argue that drinking coffee could also produce

For inquiries, call 0917-8590642, 0917-6315883,

some of these effects, but Dr. Sevilla said otherwise.

(02)217-2687, (02)843-3023, or (02)805 2678,

“The effects of having a coffee enema are not the same

email vineaesthetics@gmail.com, or visit www.

as drinking coffee. The veins of the anus are very close


EXPERIENCETRAVEL.PH // Vol. 4 No. 1 // 2017




Cabanatuan City’s favorite home

Harvest Hotel’s outdoor pool.

By R ub y As oy-Leb a j o P ho tos By Renjie To l e n t in o

For travel to be a delight, one looks for a good place to stay where you can return to time and again. My go-to staycation destination has always been Harvest Hotel, the only modern four-star property right at the center of Cabanatuan City. Whether you’re going on a family vacation, a short getaway or a business trip, you can definitely have a pleasant stay here for many reasons. Recent reviews from guests and visitors support this encouraging feedback. Harvest Hotel has now become the hotel of choice in Cabanatuan City for business and leisure travelers. Harvest Hotel general manager Lou Bermejo Gorospe feels thankful and inspired to hear positive reviews from hotel guests: “The reviews range from being satisfied with how the hotel staff attended to them, having comfortable rooms, beds and pillows, room interiors, bathroom fixtures and personal care sets, to good food and being value-for-money. Guests remarked that Harvest is stunning for its price. They are immediately impressed with just about everything!”


One of the hotel’s well-appointed rooms.

You will surely appreciate its well-appointed rooms, now totaling 81. Each room feature beds of good quality mattresses and beddings for a restful sleep.

One reason for the delightful experience is the Harvest Hotel team. “We make sure we carry out our corporate core values in our daily work,” says Gorospe.

The best room at Harvest Hotel is the Loft on the topmost floor. This 67 square-meter space consists of two floors with a separate living area, dining space, a king-sized bed, and a bathroom. These are best for honeymooners, couples and family travelers.

Upholding values on innovation, integrity, service, passion and teamwork make them a cut above the rest when it comes to hotels in Cabanatuan City. “Our hotel standard is no less than to provide our valued guests with exceptional care and top-notch products and facilities.”

Even if you are on vacation, you should not miss out on your daily workout. The fitness gym offers complete and the latest equipment. Guests looking for a venue for their events and meetings can opt for the ballroom that can be converted into two separate function rooms.

EXPERIENCETRAVEL.PH // Vol. 4 No. 1 // 2017

Harvest adobong pusit Harvest general manager Lou Bermejo Gorospe

Satisfying dining experience

Aside from its comfortable rooms, Harvest Hotel takes pride in its restaurant. Café Ecija Restaurant and Bar at the lobby serves buffet for breakfast and an all-day a la carte menu of Filipino and international dishes. It can seat 76 and is open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Just beside it is the hotel’s outdoor swimming pool. Chef Lester Bergado, the hotel’s affable chef, shared that more Pinoy comfort food has been added to the menu. Besides hipon sa kamatis, dishes available include pininyahang manok and Harvest sinigang beef buko. On the day we visited, the buffet featured Feast of the World buffet. Choices included seafood shabu-shabu, slow roasted beef short plate with wild mushroom sauce for carving, beef, pork, chicken, fish and sausage for grills, Asian beef kofta, Hainanese chicken, phad thai, pork escalope with peppercorn sauce, seafood gnocchi, vegetable polonaise and mushroom risotto rice. Dessert was a choice among crème brûlée shots, panna cotta shots, and a chocolate fountain with marshmallows, breadsticks and wafer sticks.

Harvest sinigang beef buko

But chef Bergado gave us more dishes to try. We had BBQ baby back ribs served with buttered corn, coleslaw and French fries. For drinks, we were served Harvest Potion and Winty Citrus Dew. I had my fill of adobong pusit, which is seldom prepared at home. Sliced squid pieces are cooked in vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, onion and tomatoes. It was highly recommended by the chef. For the evening’s finale, we had a choice of Choco Cream Cake, a Black Forest cake filled with chocolate ganache and Sans Rival. For inquiries about Harvest Hotel, contact (044) 950-8888, (+63) 917-5396125 or e-mail info@theharvesthotel.com. Visit its website www.theharvesthotel.com. Like it on Facebook. Harvest chef Lester Bergado EXPERIENCETRAVEL.PH // Vol. 4 No. 1 // 2017


DR. JOAN CLARENCE MORALLO Aesthetic Dermatology Dr. Clarence is one of the owners and Medical Director of Clarence Slimming and Dermatology Center. A graduate of Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, she took up postgraduate internship at Medical Center Manila and underwent trainings with the country’s leading dermatologist and aesthetic medicine specialist, in the Philippine Association of Primary Skin Health Physicians, the training arm of The Medical Skin Health Foundation. Dr. Clarence had her training in Aesthetic Dermatology in major aesthetic institutes both here in the Philippines and in nearby countries in Asia. Here in the Philippines her Clinic is equipped with the latest technology in non-invasive slimming and laser therapy for skin rejuvenation. She specializes in aesthetic / cosmetic dermatology procedures, pigment, hair removal, acne, scar laser technology, minimally invasive facial contouring, body sculpting and weight loss programs.

The effective underarm whitening treatment + Hair Removal = Perfect Underarms

One of the best selling ad most effective treatments by Dr. Clarence is the Perfect underarms. This is treatment combines a special whitening treatment suited for each and every case, may it be just to even out the skin tone, or totally lighten the area. Plus the combination of a pain less hair removal system that will surely shout out. Perfect underarms! For more information you may visit us at Clarence Slimming and Dermatology Centre 2nd Floor Mila Holdings Bldg. 28 Jupiter St., Bel Air Makati City or call 8972348 / 09065459628/ 09985733348. And experience for yourself the beauty of Attainability with Clarence!


EXPERIENCETRAVEL.PH // Vol. 4 No. 1 // 2017



Quest Hotel Clark’s pool area is an oasis for guests needing quality me-time.

Where the family stays and plays together Quest Clark Hotel has resort facilities and a 36-hole championship golf course. By Jos ep h Cort e s P hotos b y Step h a n ie Tu ma m po s

With summer vacation just a few weeks away, families

Mimosa Golf Course has two courses to challenge both

have definitely started planning where they will be hieing

beginners and experienced players. As Mom enjoys a bit

off for a holiday. Finding a destination that will appeal to

of retail therapy at the variety of shopping centers within

both adults and kids might be a bit of a challenge.

the former US airbase, the kids can just relax and have fun at the hotel’s pool and play area.

But there is an option that is not only near Metro Manila, but also within easy reach of popular attractions that

Quest Hotel Clark has 303 guest rooms with marvelous

everyone will enjoy.

views of trees and greens from all its windows. Aside from a grand ballroom and meeting rooms that are quite

Quest Hotel and Conference Center, Clark has amenities

popular for grand celebrations and corporate events,

that will satisfy the whole family. Located inside Clark

the hotel also has Café Mequeni, an all-day café and

Freeport Zone, it combines the value of premium

Charley’s Tapas Bar.

budget hotels with warm, friendly service, comfortable surroundings and food to satisfy dining whims. Here’s a trip that will not cost you an arm and a leg.

EXPERIENCETRAVEL.PH // Vol. 4 No. 1 // 2017


Charley’s Tapas Bar serves popular drinks and original cocktails.

Quest Hotel Clark has a ballroom and function room for events and meetings.


EXPERIENCETRAVEL.PH // Vol. 4 No. 1 // 2017

Quest Hotel Clark offers well-appointed spacious value-for-money rooms.

The all-day Cafe Mequeni serves Filipino and continental favorites.

A number of manmade lakes adds challenge to a game on the Acacia Lakeview Course.

The biggest attraction of the hotel is Mimosa Golf Course. Designed by Nelson and Haworth, it has two courses to choose from: Acacia Lakeview Course is a rolling terrain circling a number of manmade lakes within the property, while Mountainview Course takes you across a challenging game that will have you literally going up and down hills and expansive greens. But, there is more in store during a visit to Quest Hotel Clark. Air Force City Park and Clark Museum will introduce kids to the Philippine Air Force and the history of this former American airbase. El Kabayo has horseback-riding facilities, while Dinosaurs Island Clark has animatronic dinosaurs for a little natural history. For a little lesson in geography, Nayong Pilipino replicates the whole

Mimosa Golf Course has two greens to challenge both newbie and professional players.

Philippines within a six-hectare park, while Paradise Ranch is designed to educate children on conservation. Quest Hotel and Conference Center, Clark is along On the other hand, if the family wants to bond over some

Mimosa Drive, Mimosa Leisure Estate, Clark Freeport

sports and adventure, Deca Wake Park is a top destination

Zone, Pampanga.

for water sports enthusiasts, while special hiking trips to Mount Pinatubo are also available. And don’t forget

For details and inquiries,

nearby Angeles City has a number of foodie destinations

Call (02) 845-1888 or email clarkinfo@quest-hotels.com

that are at par with restaurants in the metro.

Visit its website at questhotels.com.

EXPERIENCETRAVEL.PH // Vol. 4 No. 1 // 2017




HIS BUSINESS IS YOUR PLEASURE For PAL’s Jimmy Bautista, the comfort and safety of passengers is top priority By M a . Glaiza Lee

For Philippine Airlines (PAL) president and chief operating officer Jaime J. Bautista, work hours start even before he steps into his office. He gets up at about 6

Jaime J. Bautista’s humility and unassuming personality has endeared him to passengers and employees of Philippine Airlines.

a.m., sometimes even earlier, and immediately checks his smartphone whether there has been an incident or an important thing needing his attention while he was asleep. He would pause for some breakfast and spend time with his wife before going to his office. He would resume his duties as CEO duty while on the road to the PAL head office on D. Macapagal Avenue in Pasay City. His assistant would report to him of any flight delays and their reason. He would check if the maintenance schedule has been followed, whether there are computer glitches and delivery delays. Once, there were delays in their morning flights, Jimmy, as he is fondly known in the industry, negotiated with airport authorities to divert the arrival of PAL flights from the US to NAIA 1 instead.


EXPERIENCETRAVEL.PH // Vol. 4 No. 1 // 2017

“Most of the delays happening nowadays are caused by traffic congestion at the airports or bad weather condition. We really don’t like delays the same way our passengers hate it. For us, delays mean additional expenses for jet fuel, maintenance and labor. For every minute we stay up in the air due to airport congestion, we spend about $60,” he shared. Every Monday, he makes it a point to attend the flag raising ceremony. It is his personal rule to always start every working day with a prayer. When he arrives at his table, work continues. There are papers to sign, reports to read and calls to make. Throughout the morning, Bautista meets with different people to make strategic decisions regarding the company, check on the aviation situation, manage complaints from passengers, and give his full attention even to the minute details.

PAL chairman Dr. Lucio C. Tan and Bautista cut the ceremonial cake at Vancouver airport during the stop over of PAL’s inaugural flight to New York in 2015.

A Jack-of-all-trades

customer satisfaction and airline services, thinking

As a CEO, Bautista has to be a Jack-of-all-trades.

about what they can introduce to make flights more

Aside from managing operations, he also has to be an

comfortable for passengers, so that they would choose

accountant to check if the financial reports are correct.

PAL for their next trip.

He should also be a marketing person and create

“Our passengers, their comfort and safety, are our top

strategies to market the brand, a human resource

priorities. In recent yeas, we made significant changes,

manager who could oversee the employees and a tourism

including reconfiguring the seats in both business and

person who will get the pulse of the travelers and predict

economy classes to make them more comfortable and

what the next big thing in the travel industry will be.

have wider legroom. We also embedded on-demand in-flight entertainment on each seat. Now, we equip all

On not-so-busy days, lunch can be a relaxing time.

our planes with Wi-Fi. Approximately, 95 percent of our

But most often, it would always be a working lunch, a

passengers bring their gadgets—phones, tablets and

meeting with various stakeholders. Work continues in

laptop—while traveling. People nowadays want to always

the afternoon. He would conduct a careful review of their

be connected, sharing their photos on social media apps.

fleet, destinations, customer experience and reservation

Internet connection is very important,” he said.

system. He would contemplate on ways to improve

EXPERIENCETRAVEL.PH // Vol. 4 No. 1 // 2017


Family life His weekends are often spent with his family. His greatest investment is in his wife Joji: “I’m really in love with my wife. I would spend every free time I have with her. Until now, we do things together. We play golf. We travel together. We take care of our grandchildren,” shared Bautista, who is a grandfather of two—Joseph and Maria Elena—who were born to his only daughter Jaymee. He shared that he met his wife Joji while working as an accountant at SyCip Gorres Velayo & Co. (SGV), one of the largest multidisciplinary professional services company in the Philippines. At that time, he had just passed the accountancy board exam. “Joji, my wife, was my classmate in training at SGV. I first saw her in a van, and I became attracted to her even before our training started. One time, since we were newbies, we were ordered to get some supplies in the stockroom. I was ahead of her in the queue, so I told her to go first. I did it so I would know her name when she signed the logbook,” he fondly recalled. That day when he saw her, Jimmy knew that she was a fine woman, and promised to

PAL president Jaime Bautista does the ‘hongi’, the traditional greeting of the native Maoris of New Zealand, upon arrival during PAL’s inaugural flight to Auckland in 2015.

himself that she would become his wife some day. But before something could blossom, the two lost communication when he left SGV to join the Lucio Tan Group. However, fate has a way of intervening. He accidentally saw her. He greeted her and asked for her number. After that, he would frequently call her. He fondly remembered the days he was courting her. “Whenever I would visit her at their home in Cavite, her father would sit not far from us, cleaning his .45-caliber gun.” Eventually, his pure intentions and love won Joji over. Two years into their relationship, Jimmy proposed. The couple exchanged vows on January 9, 1982 at San Agustin Church in Intramuros, Manila.

An asset to the company A CEO’s job is quite challenging in that it requires spending long hours slaving behind a desk and attending


meetings. But for Bautista, his family will always come

PAL president and chief operating officer Jaime J. Bautista (right) with

first, just next to career: “When I was in my 20s, my

one of his most trusted lieutenants Ismael Augusto S. Gozon, PAL senior

primary goal was not to become a good businessman.

vice president for airline operations, during a stop-over in Vancouver.

EXPERIENCETRAVEL.PH // Vol. 4 No. 1 // 2017

At the press conference, announcing PAL’s non-stop flights from Los Angeles to Cebu (from left,) Ismael Augusto Gozon, PAL senior vice president for airline operations; Rolando Canizal, Tourism Undersecretary; PAL president Jaime J. Bautista; David A. Lim, PAL senior vice president for commercial group; and Ria Domingo, PAL vice president for marketing.

Yes, I wanted to be successful, but in my heart, to have

and went public as majority shareholder. After two

a good family was my goal. My family will always be my

years, he was promoted as COO, and eventually served

priority. Now that I have reached the top, I can enjoy my

as president in 2004.

family even more. I always tell young people that they have to value their family more than their career. What

Business and leisure

will you do with your success, with your money, if you

After eight years, he ventured out and explored other

don’t have a good family to celebrate with?”

opportunities. But when Tan’s call came, he decided to come home to the flag carrier: “I believe that Mr. Tan

While the self-confessed family guy puts a premium on

trusts me because I live by the principles of honesty,

family, he is not one to slack off in his work. Tan, one

integrity and efficiency. My personal interests don’t clash

of the country’s top honchos, personally asked the PAL

with my interest for the company.”

concurrent president to return to the flag carrier after his graceful exit from San Miguel Corporation. And that

Working at PAL, Bautista gets to travel, but mostly for

says a lot about his work ethics.

work. One day, he would be in Europe attending a forum on aviation, and the next day he could be back in the

Bautista has had a long history working with the Tan

Philippines managing the company, or be in other parts

conglomerate. He first joined the company when he was

of the world meeting stakeholders.

just 23, and rose through the ranks as an assistant to the vice president of the corporate planning during the

“I travel for business and pleasure. When I need to attend

time when El Kapitan was busy expanding his business

a convention abroad, I would extend my trip, bringing

interests, from banking to tobacco, brewery, agriculture,

my wife with me, and have some vacation time. When I

construction and hotel, among others.

travel, it is always with my wife. When I retire, I want to travel the world with my wife. I want to play golf with my

Because of his dedication and integrity, the taipan

wife in different parts of the world. I do have a bucket

saw him to be an asset. After getting involved with

list of places I want to explore. I want to explore Machu

diversification and acquisition of new companies, he

Picchu, see the aurora borealis. I’ve never been to South

joined PAL in 1992, after Tan invested in the flag carrier

Africa and Galapagos. I want to experience Antarctica.”

EXPERIENCETRAVEL.PH // Vol. 4 No. 1 // 2017




Fearless explorer For model and actor Jose Sarasola, travel can help build character B y M a an D’As is Pa m a r a n P ho to b y Ch amp y Ca ch o l a

Believe it or not, Jose Sarasola traveled all the way to Argentina to eat… eyeballs, cockroaches, and sundry other things that will make your skin crawl! While the South American country is known for its high quality beef, Sarasola and his fellow competitors for the reality show Pinoy Fear Factor tasted things that were a lot less palatable as only one of the many taxing challenges that they had to face. These were not Madagascar roaches either, he smiles; they were much like the cockroaches that we have in the Philippines. Still, despite the trepidation, he and the other competitors trucked on, especially after friend and fellow contestant LJ Moreno consumed 20 of the critters without gagging. “We thought, if she could do it, so should we,” he laughs. Of course he did get to sample the beef that Argentina is famous for, as after his elimination, he was able to sneak a short tour of the country.


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Flavors in fusion While he works as an actor and model, food is foremost on his mind these days, as he also owns Avenue 75 Sports Bar, a popular watering hole along Aguirre Avenue in Parañaque. Here, he serves up fusions of the fare that he has tried while on his travels, combined with the culinary techniques that he has learned from his Hotel, Restaurant and Institution Management course at De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde. “I was a fan of cooking shows even back then. It fascinated me to watch chefs prepare different kinds of dishes. My own creation was far from Cordon Bleu, though. It was spaghetti made with canned tomato sauce and hotdogs and cheese,” he grins. Of course, he has come a long way since then, and, together with his mother who loves to cook, they have come up with a menu for the sports bar that their

Avenue 75 Sports Bar serves fusion comfort food.

patrons keep coming back for. His fusion is of a familiar sort, nothing too far reaching, which makes it ideal for those who are there to simply enjoy good food in a nonintimidating ambience: “Unlike most of the other bars in the area, I really pay close attention to the food I serve. I want my guests to enjoy a meal instead of just having something to match their drinks with.”

Work and play He has admittedly traveled a lot, going around the country for work as a celebrity. Gigs range from basketball games with the Star Magic team and with

Avenue 75 Platter

Salted Caramel Pork

another team of friends: “Because of my work, I have been able to visit a lot of Philippine cities—Davao, GenSan, Cebu, Bacolod, Boracay, Palawan, Antique and Legaspi. I usually extend my stay whenever I can so I could explore more. I love trying out local food, and I am so into seafood, so I enjoyed my stay in Capiz. In Bacolod, I discovered a chicken place called Aida’s, which I would highly recommend to anyone who travels there.” Eating is one of the high points of his travels, he says. Katz’s Delicatessen on the Lower East Side in New York is a place that is a must whenever he flies out with his grandfather, not only for their amazing sandwich creations, but because it is a way for him to bond with his lolo who studied there in his youth. From there, they proceed to San Francisco to visit relatives, and he does not miss out on an outing to Chinatown for its delicious dishes. Fish and Chips

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Other memorable travels include bustling Tokyo, and a six-month stint in Salamanca, Spain where he was sent to study the language. He grins sheepishly and admits that what he remembers most are the parties. “We also regularly travel to Bangkok, because my mom’s brother is based there. I would say Bangkok is my next favorite city after New York,” he adds. He was also able to visit Korea to accept an award for being a male role model in 2013: “It wasn’t just for being an actor, but also because of my involvement in advocacies, such as the Red Cross and Gawad Kalinga.” While there, he was able to appreciate a culture that he already thought he was familiar with. “I thought that since we already had so many Koreans here, I was already well-versed with their culture. I realized that it was still different when you are in their country,” he explains.

Learning about the world He says that this quest to know more about the world and about how other people live is what drives him to travel. “Travel takes you out of this box, and lets you experience the diversity of the world. You get to meet new people and understand their culture. It is the same way when you travel even within the country. The Philippines is so diverse that you get many different experiences just from hopping from island to island.” Even though he has already been to so many places, there are still so many things that he wants to try. Sarasola is aiming to travel to places like Norway and other Scandinavian countries, to go on an African safari, and he is yet to try traveling solo. His advice to those who are going on trips: “Try everything, open yourself up to new experiences, and don’t scrimp on your trip. You are already in a new place, so you might as well splurge while you are there. Then, just go back to saving money when you get back to Manila.” Avenue 75 Sports Bar is at 75 Aguirre corner Gonzalez streets, BF Homes, Parañaque City. For reservations and inquiries, call 836-7359.


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Where in the world is Jose Sarasola?



THE Santorini of the North Enjoy sunrise and sunset views at Vitalis Villas Word s b y Dolly D y -Z u l u e t a P h otos b y Raffy Z u l u e t a

Santorini. That famous crescent-shaped island in the

Entertainment complex

southern Aegean Sea, southeast of the Greek mainland,

The resort is a multi-level complex of 68 one-bedroom

perched high up on the edge of its cliffs with its white

and two-bedroom villas that follow the natural terrain

concrete houses fashioned after traditional Greek

of the area. These private villas are very spacious,

architecture. is undeniably one of the most romantic

cozy and comfortable and come equipped with modern

getaways in the world today. However, there is no

conveniences: luxury orthopedic king-or queen-sized

need to go all the way to Greece to experience what

beds, wall-mounted 40-inch LED TVs, twin-sized sofas,

Santorini has to offer. A new luxury resort development

and a toilet and bath with heated toilet seat.

in Santiago, Ilocos Sur simulates the look and feel of Santorini.

They also come with mini kitchen and dining areas complete with cooktop oven with range hood,

Vitalis Villas sits on a terrain much like Santorini’s, and it

microwave oven, refrigerator, coffee and tea station,

boasts the most exclusive of luxury accommodations in

and a full rectangular dining table with chairs. All units

the northern Philippines. Its dove-white concrete houses

have a veranda, with sloping stairs that lead down to

with wave-like details and accents in blue are perched

the picturesque infinity pool framed by The Clubhouse

on the mountain cliffs overlooking the South China Sea,

Snack Bar which, since the resort’s soft opening last

well protected by the calm waters of Santiago Cove in

year, has been serving as the main dining facility. When

Sabangan, Santiago, Ilocos Sur.

construction on the resort is completed a, full service restaurant and coffee shop will add variety.

While the UNESCO World Heritage City of Vigan continues to be the most popular destination in the

The infinity pool, built on perhaps the most picturesque

province, Vitalis Villas is an idyllic paradise waiting to be

spot of the resort complex, offers a spectacular view of

discovered. This dream sanctuary combines the highland

the sea, where guests can take a relaxing dip and enjoy

charm of steep mountain cliffs with the cobalt-blue

delicious sips and bites while watching the breathtaking

sea and powder-like white sand of Santiago, a unique

sunrise and sunset. Not many resorts can boast having

combination like no other. The good thing about it is that

both amazing sunrise and sunset views, but Vitalis Villas

it is just a 45-minute drive from Vigan, and it is even

can proudly lay claim to that.

closer due to Santiago’s proximity to Manila.

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Pork belly with karimbuwaya

Sabangan shrimp pasta

Sticky wings with ranch dressing

Fresh uni or sea urchin

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Vitalis Villas brings Greek-style ambience to the Ilocos region

Yummy treats

library, zipline, cable chairlift and wakeboarding

While guests bask in the glorious view that The

facilities. For other water sports activities, such as

Clubhouse Snack Bar has, they can enjoy daylong

jetskiing, paddle boating and kayaking, guests can use

buffets, from breakfasts of Vigan longganisa and daing

the facilities of the adjacent Vitalis Resort & Spa, its

na bangus, among others, while lunch and dinner offer a

sister resort with 27 picturesque rooms and a 900-meter

combination of local flavors and international favorites.

stretch of fine sand beach that is surrounded by acres

The Bar with the kitchen manned by graduates of the

of natural woodlands. Sunset cruises with a service of

Center for Culinary Arts Manila, has international appeal

cocktails and cheese can also be arranged for guests

with its selection of pizza and pasta.

wishing a romantic sunset experience.

Recommendations include the katuray and anchovy

Named after Macario Vitalis, an Ilocano artist who made

pizza, all-meat pizza with bagnet and Sabangan shrimp

it big in Europe, Vitalis Villas is within easy reach of

pasta. The day’s catch also appear as uni pasta, seaweed

Ilocos Sur’s many points of interest: Bangui Windmills,

salad (fresh local seaweed and tomato slices), and pork

Bantay Bell Tower, Sta. Maria Church and Sta. Maria

belly with karimbuwaya, a local cactus-like herb added

Falls, Baluarte Zoo, Pagburnayan (where local folks

to the marinade. Boodle fight trays of Ilocano staples

make burnay or clay pots the traditional way), and,

are also offered for group dinners. They can enjoy aligue

of course, Vigan and its famous turn-of-the-century

rice, pinakbet, kamatis, mangga at sibuyas, inihaw na

architecture. Trips to abel weaving home-based cottage

pusit, manok at baboy and leche flan.

industries (where Abel Iloko fabrics are woven using traditional looms) and local fishing villages can also be

To complement the setting, the restaurant also has

easily arranged.

greek favorites such as pita bread with tzatziki (a Greek appetizer), a taste of the Greek-themed main restaurant

Accessible via the integrated North Luzon Expressway,

that is being set up. A seafood-themed restaurant is also

Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway and Tarlac-Pangasinan-

in the pipeline.

La Union Expressway, Vitalis Villas is just a six-hour drive from Manila. Promising a thousand and one thrills,

Leisure activities

the Santorini of the North is definitely worth taking the

There is much to enjoy here. The resort has an

trip. It’s like being in Greece without even leaving home.

entertainment room, a fully equipped fitness center,


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Wanda Woman

Tourism Secretary Wanda Corazon Teo sees Mindanao as key to promoting the country

By M a. Glaiza L e e

When President Rodrigo Duterte won in the 2016 elections, people kept a close watch on his appointees for various Cabinet posts. Wanda Corazon Teo was one of those keeping tabs on who will be given the Tourism portfolio, since she had an active role in the industry as president of the National Association of Independent Travel Agencies (NAITAS) and owner of the Davao-based Mt. Apo Travel and Tours. Little did she know that she was in for a surprise. Out of the blue, Teo, sister of Philippine media’s well-known Tulfo brothers, was surprised to receive a call from the newly elected president: “The President told me to take charge of the Department of Tourism (DOT). I wasn’t expecting the appointment. There were other popular names that were floated; I was even thinking whether I knew them and how I could connect with them since I have a stake in the tourism sector.”

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Southern roots Having been based in Davao, she revealed she has known Duterte back when he was still Mayor of Davao City. That time, working with the largest travel association in the country, on top of managing her own travel agency, saw her joining sales missions and travel fairs here and abroad to promote, not just the Philippines, but also Davao as a destination. Her passion and determination to promote Mindanao caught the eye of then Mayor Duterte. And maybe, this same drive and determination was the reason she was chosen to head the Tourism department. “When the President asked me to take charge of DOT, I was quite reluctant. I really thought about it a hundred times whether I should accept the appointment or not. I accepted it because I believe that he can make a difference, and I want to help him,” she enthused. Just weeks after her appointment, Experience Travel and Living sat down with Tourism Secretary Wanda Corazon Teo for a chat.

Rural tourism Teo, who has a degree in Business Administration from St. Theresa’s College, shared that she wanted to focus on Mindanao (“It has been left behind” is how she put it); revive Filipino cultural shows and bring them to international travel fairs to share our culture to the world; help people, especially women, have an alternative livelihood (“We have to create economic movement in all societal levels”); and push for rural tourism. Her short-term goals include improving and building infrastructure that would help Philippine tourism. “We have to improve our airports and seaports. These are the first things that tourists see when they arrive in our country. Then, we need to build roads and bridges to connect these tourists to their destinations,” she said Next on her agenda was putting the Philippines, especially Mindanao, on the world tourism map. She remembered that, some years back, it was very challenging for tour operators to promote the Philippines.


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“During travel fairs abroad, people would just pass by our booth because they didn’t know the Philippines. They would ask where the Philippines is, and I would have to show them a map and point where our country lies,” shared the Tourism chief. “After overcoming that, the next thing we had to face is tell them about Davao and Mindanao. They didn’t know where Davao is or where Mindanao is. For some who were familiar with the area, they only know it as a place of civil unrest, terrorism, war, and what they heard or watched on the news. I would hear people say, ‘Oh, not Davao,’ or ‘Don’t go to Mindanao.’ But for me, Mindanao is a very beautiful place that people should visit.” Teo believes Mindanao, and the Philippines in general, remains an untapped destination that has potentials. She intends to promote other destinations apart from popular ones, such as Boracay, Palawan, Bohol and Cebu, among others. “While these places attract huge crowds, we have to develop other destinations that are less traveled but have huge potential. I have to meet with the local government units to check what other places in their locality we could develop into tourist destinations. Personally, I want to visit these places and see for myself their potential as tourism products,” she said. She is open to working with other government agencies, such as the Departments of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Trade and Industry (DTI), and Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), among others, to reach tourism goals. “During the first Cabinet meeting, I was seated beside DPWH Secretary Mark Villar and DENR Secretary Gina Lopez. It was very fortunate. I was able to talk to Secretary Villar and tell him about road and infrastructure problems going to the different tourism sites. I asked for his help, and he asked me to identify the places that need improvement,” she shared. With Secretary Lopez, she discussed finding the right balance between tourism activities and the environment.

Experience Travel and Living publisher Ana Manansala, Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo and designer Renee Salud

Inter-agency effort

She was looking into tapping the domestic market,

She shared that she found inspiration in the success of

particularly balikbayans and millennials. “Our balikbayans

her predecessors at the agency. That’s why she decided

can be considered tourism ambassadors. With global

to retain the past dispensation’s “It’s More Fun in the

Filipinos everywhere in the world, they can be a catalyst for

Philippines” slogan as it has gained traction among tourists the Philippines to be recognized as a must-visit country. We invite them, especially those who have not been home in and encapsulates the country’s strength as a destination. the Philippines for the longest time to come and visit,” she She also had plans of coordinating with the DTI on a


One Town, One Product (OTOP) campaign, since, “It can help promote the different local towns by identifying,

Her years and experience as an independent tour operator

developing, and promoting a specific product or service,

come in handy at her post: “I used to be an outsider looking

providing them with a good competitive edge.”

in. From that perspective, I know the challenges that travel operators have. We talked about the accreditation process

Raising tourist arrivals

and requirements, the quality of accommodations in the

All these plans are in line with President Duterte’s directive country, the lack of infrastructure, and other problems. to raise tourist arrivals to the country. “With the President We understand each other because I have been there,” she efficiently doing his job to maintain peace and order, I


believe it makes our job of promoting and selling Philippine destinations to both local and foreign markets a little bit

With quite a big task ahead of her, Teo has geared up

easier. We intend to grow tourist arrivals, and perhaps

for the challenges that will be coming to her as Tourism

reach the target.”

secretary in the coming years.

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EXPERIENCETRAVEL.PH // Vol. 4 No. 1 // 2017



The artistry of Mindanao fabrics Local textiles from the South are reimagined for today’s fashion

By Ma. Glaiza L e e

What better way is there to promote and place Philippine

Creations by dreamweavers

textile on the world fashion map than to have the 65th

The second largest island in the Philippines, Mindanao

Miss Universe candidates sashaying in ensembles replete

is home to 18 indigenous groups, each with their own

with the rich cultures of Mindanao?

unique identity and culture, their own weaving traditions, anchored on the rich Mindanao creativity and artistry.

More than 25 beauty queens walked down the runway wearing outfits designed by Philippine fashion icon Renee

Just a few hours away from Lanang where the fashion

Salud and Mindanao-based designers in a show at the

show was held, there is a remote village near Lake Sebu

SMX Convention Center in Lanang, Davao City. Aside from

in South Cotabato where one can witness how T’nalak is

Salud, participating designers included Silverio Anglacer,


Egay Ayag, Aztec Barba, Dojie Batu, Edgar Buyan, Emi Englis, Alfonso “Boy” Guino-o, Kenny Ladaga, Wilson

A few years back, there lived an old T’boli woman who

Limon, and Benjie Panizales.

had spent almost her entire life preserving the culture of her people. Using abaca fiber as fine as human hair,

The Miss Universe Organization said the show gave the

Be Lang Dulay intertwined the cloth she was weaving

candidates a glimpse to the life of then reigning Miss

with the rich culture and traditions of the T’boli. With her

Universe Pia Wurtzbach, who hails from Cagayan de

frail yet agile hands, she kept their history alive through

Oro, and help them learn more about the country. It

the threads, conjuring images of butterflies and flowers,

was intended not just to show the Filipino creativity and

mountain and stream, and everything that reminded her

artistry of Filipino designers, but to highlight the region’s

of the misty sceneries of Lake Sebu, where she and her

tradition of weaving colorful, intricate tapestries.

ancestors have thrived through the years.

“By showcasing the best of Mindanao, the candidates

She first learned to weave when she was only 12 years

will learn about a peaceful Mindanao, imbued with rich

old, and, at the time of her death, Be Lang had made

culture, beauty and tradition. We want to change their

over a hundred designs including bulinglangit (clouds),

perception of a Mindanao that is ridden with strife and

kabangi (butterfly), and bankiring (hair bangs), to name a

conflict,” Salud enthused.

few. Each design has a different story. But all were gifts

For the fashion show, the Miss Universe candidates

from Fu Dalu, the spirit of abaca. They are often symbols,

donned creations made from Yakan weaves, t’nalak of

stories or persons that the weaver sees in her dream.

the T’Boli people, Mindanao silk from Northern Mindanao,

This is the reason why T’boli weavers are often called

needlework from the CARAGA region and Inaul Malong.


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Mylene, Tagakaulo master weaver, works the loom in Sarangani province (Photo by Jake Narten/ Sarangani Information Office)


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These Bogobo ensembles showcase weaving and beadwork traditions.

B’laan tabih weaver Fu Gusiye Buan of Sarangani

(Photo by Ma. Glaiza Lee)

shows how their fabric is made. (Photo by Bernard L. Supertran)

The weaving process is tedious, beginning with T’boli

color of the abaca remains. But if the design requires

men extracting and stripping the stem of a mature

another color, the dyeing process would start again. For

female abaca tree, praying to the god and coaxing the

yellow, they would turn turmeric. The T’boli weavers use

plant to give fine fibers. Using a serrated knife, they

organically sourced coloring from their surroundings.

cut the stalk and scrape the outer covering of the leaf sheaths to reveal the fibrous part.

A t’nalak cloth has three basic colors: black, red and white. Like everything in their life, the colors have

This is the just one of the two instances when men are

meanings in their culture. The black represents the earth

involved in the weaving process. The other instance is

where the abaca comes from, red symbolizes the bravery

when they return to add the finishing touch. All other

of the T’boli warriors, and white corresponds to the spirit

processes are done by women.

of the gods.

After extracting the fibers, these are hung to dry. The

And the weaving commences. The weaver sets the

fibers are never washed with soap to keep the purity

strands, delicately yet meticulously, on the bed-tying

of the abaca. After drying, the weavers would tie each

frame made of bamboo. They use a back-strap loom.

strand by hand to get the desired length. The threads

Before weaving, she would pass a single thread all over

would then be set taut for mebed, the process of

her body to keep her from becoming sick. The weaver

marking certain portions using beeswax to create a

usually weaves only during the cool evening or early

pattern. They have to have an eye to visualize where

morning because the abaca fibers get brittle during hot

each strand should be tied and marked according to the


design they would make. A three-meter-long T’nalak cloth usually takes at least Then, the dyeing process starts. The weaver would say

four months to finish. During that time, the weaver is

a short prayer to Fu Dalu before coloring the thread with

forbidden to have sexual intercourse with her husband.

black dye, made from natural coloring agent extracted

Stepping across the loom with the abaca thread is

from the kanalum tree. After it has dried, the weavers

forbidden because there is a belief that anyone who

would remove some of the markers on the thread and,

crosses the loom will get sick.

this time, dye them red, using natural coloring agents

When weaving is done, the men return to burnish the

from the roots of the loko tree. When it has dried again,

newly woven cloth using cowrie shell to give it some

the remaining markers will be stripped off. The natural


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Fashion icon Renee Salud graces the runway during the finale of Mindanao tapestry featuring creations using Mindanao fabrics. (Photo by Champy Cachola)

The variety of intricate fabrics from Mindanao transformed for costume wear. (Photo by Champy Cachola)


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A Yakan weaver demonstrates the making of the pis syabit fabric. (Photo by Ma. Glaiza Lee)

Malong weaving in Malapatan. (Photo by Cocoy Sexcion)

Other indigenous fabrics

malong? There is the malong landap, distinguished for

That finishing touch, that sheen, distinguishes the t’nalak

its nine plain-colored panels in alternating colors, sewn

cloth from its cousin, the Mabal Tabih of the B’laan.

together using langkit with intricate geometric designs.

The B’laan and T’boli textiles are strikingly similar; the

Other kinds are andon, a rare kind of malong, and kosta,

difference is in the coarse finish of B’laan fabrics. Mabal

with its plaid and checkered design.

is a B’laan term for the abaca-weaving process, while Tabih refers to the finished hand-woven cloth or the

Perhaps the most intricate of all Mindanao textiles is

B’laan tubular skirt. Their weaving tradition employs ikat

the pis syabit, the multi-colored cloth of the Tausug.

or reserve dyeing and plain weaving using abaca fiber.

Traditionally worn by Tausug men as a headdress or as clothing accessory neatly folded and draped over the left

Yakan weavers are known for their saputangan. The

shoulder, the pis syabit makes an art of geometry. It is

Maguindanaos have their likos, while the Mandayas

usually in squares, measuring 100x100 centimeters, and

produce the Dagmay, and the Bagobos have their inabal.

has symmetrical designs. It is said that when you fold

There is the Maranao malong, and there is more to this

the pis syabit, you’d get a symmetrical design on both

tubular garment. The malong is essentially made up of


three panels of woven cloth in solid colors, such as gadog (green), pangelemen (black) and binaning (yellow), which

This tapestry weaving is a challenging art. Syabit, which

is the most sought after.

means to hook, refers to the process of inserting or hooking the disconnected weft across the warp threads,

These panels are sewn together to form a single piece

creating a beautiful design that is locked in a grid.

using a langkit, a narrow strip of tapestry-woven fabric

Like other weaving traditions, it is a tedious process.

created through a specialized loom. There are two kinds

Preparing the warp by stringing black and red threads

of langkit used in malong: the tobiran (the narrow kind)

across the bamboo frame to form the base of tapestry

and the lakban (the wider one). The tobiran is employed

takes time.

to connect the three panels of cloth, while the lakban joins the two ends to form a tubular garment.

There is truly no better time to learn and appreciate the

Did you know that there are several variations of the

rich Mindanao weaving traditions than now.

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T he fl oa ting res ta ura nt a t Punta I s l a La ke R e so r t s erves til a p ia fres hl y c a ught form the la k e

Of t’nalak and tilapia Natural wonders and culture abound in Lake Sebu

T e x t and p h otos b y H e n r y l it o Ta cio

If Baguio City is considered to be the summer capital of

time the sky can become gray and cloudy, and at times

the Philippines, then Lake Sebu in South Cotabato is its

we heard the place is covered with fog with limited

counterpart in Mindanao. It owes its cool climate to its

visibility of only a couple of feet or more.”

elevation of 1,000 meters (3,000 feet) above sea level. At night, the temperature gets colder and is pleasurable for

The bestselling travel guide Lonely Planet described

those who seek the feel of highlands.

Lake Sebu as a place located in a “bowl of forests and mountains.” The 42,450-hectare landscape is recognized


“I can attest to this as the air here is very cool,

by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural

especially at night when air-conditioning is no longer

Organization (UNESCO) as a cultural landscape in

needed,” commented a visiting journalist. “In fact, there

Mindanao. A cultural landscape refers to any distinctive

was a short brownout one night while we were sleeping,

geographical area that showcases a unique balance

but it didn’t matter since it was very cool anyway. Unlike

between the work of man, culture, and nature. Indeed,

its northern counterpart of Baguio City, the air here is

there is no other tourist destination in the country that

still fresh, and most of the structures are still the native

could represent “cultural landscape” better than Lake

huts and houses. And due to this elevation, most of the

Sebu does.

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Lake Sebu, lakes are dotted with fish cage of tilapia

Three lakes, seven waterfalls

driving down the road. It took our breath away as we

Lake Sebu doesn’t have just one lake, but three. Lake

were completely mesmerized by its beauty and imposing

Sebu, from which the name of the town got its name,

loftiness. Even from a distance, you will be awed by

occupies a total area of 354 hectares. The other two

its splendor. Its location is astounding as it looks like a

lakes are named Seloton, comprising 48 hectares, and

crater etched on the mountainside with different layers

Lahit, 24 hectares. Although there are 11 islands within

of rock representing geological times clearly lined up in

the lakes, only three are inhabited, while others are

the overhang.

owned privately. The largest among the islands is named Isla Grande, and its shape resembles that of a crocodile.

For those with a more adventurous spirit, you can ride

Until now, it is a mystery what body of water feeds the

the 700-meter zip line from the first waterfall that

lakes and its source, but the overflow flows down a flight

whooshes to the fifth. Another zip line takes you back

of seven waterfalls in Barangay Seloton.

to the second waterfall. Those who have tried it say the ride lets you see the awesome view from the tops of the

To get to the first waterfall, we hired a habal-habal,

five waterfalls.

a motorbike with an extended back seat that can accommodate five passengers, excluding the driver.

The other waterfalls, which can only be reached by hiking

Named Hikong Alo, it owes its huge cascade from the

through the mountain,are called Hikong B’Lebel, Hikong

biggest lake. The rapid gush from some 40 feet above

Lowig, Hikong Ukol, Hikong K’Fo-l, and Hikong Tonok, all

makes traversing the river a bit risky. So, be cautious

names given by the T’bolis. After all, 60 percent of the

when doing so.

area’s population belongs to the T’boli tribe. So, it’s not surprising that Lake Sebu has a very rich culture. Steve

But it’s the second waterfall that will enthrall you. About

Hyde, an American missionary, who once visited the

40 meters from the first waterfall, Hikong Bente—some

place, said he remembered the place well because of its

call it Dongon Falls—can be reached by going down a

people: “They are so kind and hospitable,” he said adding

staircase of 700 plus steps along the woodland or by

that the “beautiful location” added to the town’s charm.

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Hikong Bente Falls


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The T’boli people gather to welcome guests with the sweet sound of the kulintang.

There are many places to choose from if you want to stay here for a night or two. But we opted for Punta Isla Lake Resort as it is “the best place to stay.” The Rough Guide to Southeast Asia describes it to be, “…Sit(ting)

The T’bolis and their t’nalak The T’boli are well known for their highly esteemed t’nalak, a sacred cloth made from abaca, which is exchanged during marriages and used as a cover during births. “The T’boli t’nalak is distinctive for its overall tie-dyed design patterns laid on the entire surface of the cloth,” according to the National Commission for Culture and Arts. “The highly stylized repetitive patterns depicting amphibious forms and plant elements pulsate in rhythmic cadence in definite hues of rust red, deep brown and satin black against the light sepia hue of the abaca fiber.” Therefore, a visit to Lake Sebu is not complete without going to the T’boli Museum. Here, you can see colorful costumes, bead accessories, brass products and other souvenir items, as well as have the opportunity to see how their houses are built.

Tilapia paradise Aquaculture is the main economy in Lake Sebu. Most residents raise tilapia in large fish cages floating in the lake. In fact, most of those who visit the place remember the tilapia they had eaten.

on a hill with views of the lake and can be reached by tricycle in 15 minutes from where the buses stop.” What makes the resort unique is its floating restaurant, where the main course on the menu is tilapia that is freshly caught from the lake. Highly recommended is chicharong tilapia, a deep-fried delicacy of tilapia meat with thin breading. It is as crispy as pork chicharon, but healthier since it has less cholesterol. You can come to Lake Sebu anytime of the year. “We are fully committed to responsible and sustainable development guided by governance anchored on the will of our people,” said its mayor, Antonio B. Fungan. “Please visit our town, the only place where you can experience our wonderful culture, adventure and nature!”

How to get there? From the bus terminal in General Santos City, take the bus to Koronadal (often referred to by its old name Marbel), and tell the conductor to drop you at Koronadal bus station. The trip is about 45 minutes. Once in Koronadal, take another bus to Surallah, and then ride a van that will take you to Lake Sebu. Since the van often waits for passengers before leaving, you can out for a special trip via habal-habal to Lake Sebu.

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Cloud 9 Surfing wave in General Luna. Siargao is considered to be one of the best surfing sites in the world

Not just a surfing haven Enjoy the sea’s natural bounties at Siargao Island T ext and p h otos by B e r n a r d L . S u pe t r a n

If celebrated English clarinetist Acker Bilk, who

September in the annual Siargao International Surfing

performed the immortal “Stranger on the Shore,” had

Cup to wow the crowd and bring home handsome cash

only seen the idyllic island of Siargao during his heydays,

prizes in the process.

he would have titled it differently. Today, it is not so much of an apocryphal story to say But that’s going ahead of the story.

that surfers are walking on Cloud 9 when they ride the 16-foot waves during the monsoon season. Miss Universe

Located by the Pacific seaboard, Siargao is synonymous

delegates were swept up to Cloud 9 when they set foot

to surfing after being named the world’s eighth best

here, calling it “like paradise” with its vast expanse of

surfing site by the prestigious CNN Go travel portal.

crystalline water and talcum fine sand—and they weren’t

Its surfing mecca is the famed Cloud 9 in the municipality

even riding the waves yet.

of General Luna, acclaimed as a perfect barreling right-hand reef break, but with razor sharp coral on the

Beyond the surf, Siargao is a sprawling playground

ocean bed. Named after the chocolate candy bar with

sculpted by Mother Nature herself with a plethora

which foreign surfers subsisted on when it was yet an

of best-kept secrets minus the madding crowd of

obscure spot, it has been luring the world’s best every

commercialized vacation places. EXPERIENCETRAVEL.PH // Vol. 4 No. 1 // 2017


Island-hopping adventure Start your trip touring General Luna’s string of islets, Naked, Guyam and Daku, which are known for their fine sand beaches and crystalline water that never fail to captivate holidaymakers. Gazing idly at the sun as it dramatically fades in the horizon at dusk is a soothing sight to reward your journey. With the inviting waters, you can leisurely enjoy the flat waters of placid lagoons and coves aboard a kayak or a stand-up paddle, especially at Sugba Lagoon in Del

Magpupungko Rock in the town of Pilar

Carmen town, which seems to shut you off from the rest of the world. The town also takes pride in its 4,000-hectare mangrove forest, which has helped maintain the island’s ecological balance by providing a rich breeding ground for aquatic life. Magpupungko Rock in Pilar town is a postcard-perfect boulder, which sits perfectly beside a natural pool at low tide, making it ideal for rock diving and snorkeling. The beach beside it is a vast expanse of fine beige sand without the crowded beachfront. This quaint town is also a haven for gamefishing, a sport that lures elite anglers and big boys every summer for a

Enjoy the placid water of Sugba Lagoon. (Photo by Rachel Peters)

friendly international tournament. The grainy beach of Pacifico in San Isidro Municipality beckons to travelers to get their feet wet, quite literally, in skimboarding, a sport akin to surfing. If you can’t have enough of the beach, there is the long stretch of powdery shore in Brgy. Alegria, another secluded getaway in Sta. Monica Town. Hidden inside the town is Tak Tak Waterfall, the island’s only cascade, whose ice-cold natural pool is a refreshing respite after getting your tan from the sun’s scorching heat. Across the channel off Siargao Island is Bucas Grande Island, which is an equally breathtaking hideaway known for its stingless jellyfishes, Hagukan Cave, the Balinesethemed Club Tara Resort, and Sohoton Cove, the counterpart to El Nido’s Big Lagoon.


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The 65th Miss Universe candidates pose for a souvenir. (Photo by Mac Lubaczewski)

Siargao Bleu Resort and Spa offers the best vacation experience on the island.

A staycation in paradise If your idea of an island adventure is a staycation, you can pamper yourself in the tropical comfort of Siargao Bleu Resort & Spa, arguably the town’s best resort hotel, which became the stomping ground of the Miss Universe bets. It boasts opulent floating cottages with spacious bedrooms, outdoor showers, roomy Jacuzziequipped toilets, and scenic verandas facing the Pacific Ocean and a 1,600-square meter swimming pool area, where you can take lessons in kayaking and stand-up paddle board before going into open sea. Guests are kept occupied with in-house activities, such as water aerobics, yoga, Zumba, cooking

A specialty crab dish prepared by chef Jackie Santos of Siargao Bleu Resort and Spa.

classes, bartending sessions, and swimming tutorials for children. Health buffs who can’t stay

How to get there

away from a treadmill and weights can keep fit at

Siargao can be reached via daily flights from Cebu to Sayak

the fitness gym. Movie nights can help you catch up

Airport in Del Carmen town. From there you can hire a

on Hollywood hits you missed. If you want to rough

tricycle to General Luna where most lodging facilities are

it out, you can go glamping and pitch a tent, with a

located. Better yet, arrange an airport transfer with your

butler to boot.


With the infinite wonders the island has to offer

A cheaper alternative is to take the early morning flight

beyond crashing waves, Acker Bilk will undoubtedly

to Butuan City, take a van to Surigao City, and catch the

conclude that staying in Siargao is like being a

midday fast craft or RORO ferry to the municipality of Dapa.

stranger on the surf. EXPERIENCETRAVEL.PH // Vol. 4 No. 1 // 2017



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Gensan’s Tuna Festival features colorful floats in the shape of fish.

More than just the tuna capital General Santos City also boasts eco-tourism and historical attractions T ext and p h otos H e n r y l it o D . Ta cio

To locals, the highly urbanized first-class General Santos

mouthwatering foods—name it, the city has it.

City, called simply as Gensan, is known for many things.

The B’laan people were the original settlers of the

For businessmen, it is considered the Tuna Capital of the

area known as Dadiangas for years. In 1939, General

Philippines. To sports aficionados, it is the hometown of

Paulino Santos led the first and largest batch of

three boxing champions: Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao,

settlers organized under the National Land Settlement

Nonito Donaire and Rolando Navarette. For beauty fans,

Administration that took them to the shores of Sarangani

Miss Universe 2011 finalist Shamcey Supsup also hails

Bay. The 62 pioneers, mostly from Luzon, industriously


tilled Cotabato’s fertile expanse of land. After this first influx of pioneers, thousands more from Luzon

As a tourist destination, General Santos City beckons.

and Visayas migrated to the area. The area became a

That was what we discovered when we visited this

municipality in 1948 and was named Buayan. In 1954, it

gateway to Sarangani, Sultan Kudarat and South

was renamed General Santos as a tribute to its great

Cotabato. Historical sites, ecotourism destinations,

pioneer, and gained its status as a city in 1968. A park

beguiling festivals, captivating beaches and

near city hall stands in honor of this leader.

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Tuna capital As early as 1970, Gensan has been tagged as the tuna capital of the country, with its daily catch surpassing fish unloaded in other ports in the country. Over 22 metric tons of tuna are being dispatched every day from the General Santos Fish Port Complex, which lies along the shores of Sarangani Bay, about 17 kilometers south of the city proper. If you come early in the morning, you can catch people carrying those huge fishes with their arms. Gensan is known for the powerful yellow fin tuna, which rarely ventures into dirty and murky water, making it one of the safest fishes to eat. This species has a bright red flesh with meaty flavor. It is so versatile that you can grill, bake, broil, or sauté it. Sashimi-grade tuna is exported to Japan, Canada, United States, Hong Kong and Korea. These are also sold to leading hotels in Metro Manila, Cebu, Davao and other parts of the country. In the Philippines, tuna is the main ingredient of kinilaw.

B’laan chieftain shows how to cook meals by using bamboo and other plants.

As the fishing industry is the main engine of the city’s economy, Gensan celebrates Tuna Festival during its anniversary, which happens every first week of September. The weeklong celebration features different events and activities focusing on the tuna industry of the province. In February, Gensan becomes lively as it observes the Kalilangan Festival. Derived from the root word “kalilang,” the event means “celebration” in the Maguindanaoan dialect. The monthlong festivity features assorted sports tournaments, native Filipino games, cultural shows, barangay gatherings and other special interest events.

Dancers join the Tuna Festival street parade.


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Adventure trips However, there’s more to Gensan than just tuna and festivals. If you are an adrenaline junkie, a must-visit is 5th Mountain Adventure Park at mountainous Brgy. Olympog. It boasts a zipline that is 800 meters long, the third longest in the country, zipping from one point to another in just 27 seconds. Gensan also has its own eco-tourism destinations, such as the Kalaja Karsts Land—“kalaha” means “frying pan”—located at the northeast part of Brgy. Conel. The place is surrounded by karsts formation carved millions of years ago, producing caves and waterfalls. It is said that during World War II, the Japanese used the area for ground defense, which is why wartime artifacts were found in the area. A number of tunnels were open for spelunkers a long time ago, but they have been

Hikers travel for more than an hour to reach the 12 Waterfalls of Amiskong.

Another must-visit place is the ancestral house of the

closed due to some developments.

Manilays, which stands at the secluded Purok Malakas in

For those who want some extreme fun, the 12 Waterfalls

center. This place is a sight to behold. Just like a museum,

Brgy. San Isidro, some four kilometers away from the city

of Amiskong is the place for you.

it has priceless collections, ranging from old typewriters,

Going there is challenging. We first drove 11 kilometers

various memorabilia, among others.

from the city to Brgy. Conel, and change to a truck that traveled through a dry river, which gets flooded during the rainy season. After 45 minutes, we arrived at our destination. The hike going to the waterfalls took about 30 minutes. Then, we had to climb rocks, going from one waterfall to another. It was fun, but risky. The longest fall measured 30 feet, while the shortest is just three

telephone, radio, bottles, cabinets, paintings, necklaces and

That’s not all. You can also find some vehicles from the past: a 1917 White Motor truck (with half of its body made of wood), 1965 red Mustang V8/ 289 engine, a Ford Falcon six-cylinder 1962 car, a 1972 Mini Cooper and a 1979 Mitsubishi Minica.

feet tall.

Feeling hungry? There are many places where you can eat

After hiking, swimming and rappelling, we went to the

Highlands in Tambler, which has an awesome view of

camp where a B’laan chieftain and his wife and children welcomed us. He showed us how they cooked rice and pork using freshly cut bamboo. When we tried the food, we found it to be delicious—and that was not because we were hungry.

The pleasures of the city If you are not the outdoorsy type, Plaza Heneral Santos offers simple rewards. A popular promenade and meeting place for family and friends, it has a wonderful fountain, a fish-filled lagoon and a garden. At the heart of the plaza is the monument to General Paulino Santos, in whose honor the city is named.

to your heart’s content. On top of the list is the Sarangani Sarangani Bay and downtown Gensan. On a clear day, you can see majestic Mt. Parker and Mt. Matutum. Whether you are looking for breakfast, lunch, dinner or just a snack, there is always something delectable to order here. Looking for a place to stay? Try Roadhaus Hotel, the stay-in accommodation owned by boxing champ Manny Pacquiao. Aside from being a cozy place, you can also see memorabilia about his career, such as photos and trophies from his boxing matches. There are flights to Gen. Santos City from Manila and Cebu. From Davao City, a trip by bus is about four hours long.

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bespoke luxury at Bicol island paradise

Allan Aguilera of LuxeRoom, Katsumasa Aikawa and Andrew Sparrow of Ugen, Venus Ngu of Cucina Mobili and Maynard Ngu of Cherry Mobile

by S uzette Jes s ic a

Dada and Armani/Dada, global leaders in kitchen design, bring a touch of luxury and sophistication to the bespoke villas of Ügen, the new island-wide integrated luxury private enclave that is set to rise in southern Bicol. “This new partnership ensures that every client and guest enjoy the full spectrum of luxury, from the modern amenities, world-class service, down to the food

Corrine Yenko, Francis Yenko, Trevor Chiang and Michelle Chiang

and kitchen details. We aim to elevate and enrich the experience of home with unique accommodations that will truly make your stay memorable,” shares Andrew Sparrow, Ügen director of development. Owners of Ügen luxury suites may choose between made-to-measure villas with pre-designed layouts, or bespoke villas that are fully customizable and tailored to the tastes of the owner. “Clients who choose the bespoke villas can enjoy having their dream kitchens built by Dada and Armani/Dada

Ana Bautista, Trisha Gabriel, Johnny Litton, Suzette Jessica and Marge Serrano

according to their exact wants and needs. Homeowners are assured of a true bespoke and luxury experience.” “Cucina Mobili, the exclusive distributor of the Gruppo Molteni’s Dada and Armani/Dada, is proud to be a partner of such a premier luxury community development,” shares Cucina Mobili CEO Venus Ngu. “Dada and Armani/Dada designs can be seen in many luxury developments in Dubai, Hong Kong, Milan and many other capitals. And so it’s very exciting to be part of a proudly Filipino development like UGEN.” Venus Ngu, Maynard Ngu and Italian Ambassador Massimo Roscigno


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20 years of happy memories at Plantation Bay B y Jos ep h Cor t e s P h otos b y Steph e n Mo r e l o s

It’s been 20 years since Plantation Bay first opened, and

Rather than baste it in oil as it roasts for almost a day,

it continues to be the ultimate resort destination in Cebu.

the lechon is basted with coconut milk to achieve that

With its massive freshwater and saltwater lagoons and

distinct crispy black skin.

beachfront, plus its well-appointed accommodation and world-class bars and restaurants, it isn’t surprising why

The occasion was capped by a dazzling fireworks show

it has become the choice for travelers bound for the

that lasted for about 15 minutes. As pyrotechnics filled

Queen City of the South.

the night sky, we toasted to Plantation Bay’s continuing success.

If the resort’s recent anniversary party were to be the barometer of its success, then it has been a truly

After that, what else were the guests to do but take to

memorable 20 years. Guests that came from all over

the dance floor and grooved to hits, from standards and

the country and abroad feasted on specialties from

disco to Top 40 favorites.

its different F&B outlets, but most especially its black lechon, its own unique take on the Cebuano favorite.

It was truly an anniversary party to remember.

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(standing from left) Anton Conejos, Manny Gonzalez, Rocky Conejos and Cowboy Santos, (seated from left) Beng Tesoro, Carmen Beaves, Nanette De Leon and Joben Jalandoni

( from left) Arthur Palou, Ramoncito Cruz with Plantation Bay General Manager Efren Belarmino


( from left) Rene Egle, Bobby Joseph with Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza

Plantation Bay resident shareholder Manny Gonzalez swings

(from left) Gerard Ramos, Plantation Bay Spa manager Sasha Belamia,

into the groove with Honey Loop

Suzette Jessica and Joseph Cortes

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Bench, DermAsia partner for SygmaLift

Ina Bugayong of Jayelles, DermAsia Corporation CEO Nikki Tang, Bench founder and Suyen Corp. chairman and CEO Ben Chan, Roselle Rebano of Jayelles, Suzette Jessica, and Janet Oria

by Suzette Jessica

Bench Skin Expert and DermAsia Corporation have partnered to offer SygmaLift, an innovative anti-aging procedure that uses a new generation of high-intensity fractional focused ultrasound with cold laser for non-invasive lifting and collagen formation for a stimulating, youthful look DermAsia CEO Nikki Tang and Bench founder and Suyen Corp.’s chairman and CEO Ben Chan welcomed guests at the launch held at Paul’s Boulangerie Café at Bench Tower, Bonifacio Global City. Bench Skin Expert brand ambassador actor Dennis Trillo

Bench Skin Expert brand ambassador actor Dennis Trillo, DermAsia Corporation CEO Nikki Tang and SygmaLift endorsers Maricar Reyes and Richard Poon

and SygmaLift endorsers celebrity couple Maricar Reyes and Richard Poon also graced the affair. Bench Skin Expert is a premier face and body center featuring advanced facials, dermatological treatments and the state-of-the-art European and US-made non-surgical and non-invasive technologies both for face and body treatments. DermAsia is a leader in the distribution of clinically proven dermatological skin care products, medical and aesthetic and body contouring systems and devices in the Philippines. SygmaLift is now available at Bench Skin Expert at its branches in Glorietta 4, SM Megamall and Trinoma Mall.

Bench and Suyen Corp. group brand manager Kristine Lim, Suyen Yap, DermAsia Corporation CEO Nikki Tang and Bench and Suyen Corp. VP for business development Bryan Lim EXPERIENCETRAVEL.PH // Vol. 4 No. 1 // 2017




The Sheraton lifestyle is coming to Cebu

Cyndy Tan Jarabata, president, TAJARA Leisure and Hospitality; Starwood Hotel and Resorts and Marriott International Regional VP Serena Lim and Alexandra Yao, head of Branded Residential Development; Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr.; AppleOne president Ray Go Manigsaca, director Venus Manigsaca and EVP Joy Veloso

by S u zette Jes s ic a

Cebu-based AppleOne Mactan Inc., the premier development of AppleOne Properties Inc., launched recently The Residences at the Sheraton Cebu Mactan Resort. Part of a 3.8-hectare beachfront development, it is located within the same complex as the Sheraton Cebu Mactan Resort. Upon completion in 2020, it will offer resort-style living in a sanctuary of tranquility on the beachfront of Hilutungan Channel. Located in Brgy. Punta Engaño, the 22-story premier lifestyle residential address will have 190 residential units, 154 of which are one-, two- or three-bedroom apartment units and 36 Courtyard Residences. Each apartment unit will have panoramic windows with breathtaking views of Hilutungan Channel, Magellan Bay or Courtyard pools, while the Courtyard

Samantha, Ray, Venus and Patrick Manigsaca

Residences will come with a private swimming pool. Residents will also be able to access the facilities at Sheraton Cebu Mactan Resort. “The Residences at the Sheraton Cebu Mactan Resort will be the first Sheraton branded residence in Southeast Asia. We are very excited to bring a new innovative way of living to the residents by offering them the Sheraton lifestyle to their daily living,” said Alexandra Yao, head, Branded Residential Development, Asia-Pacific, Starwood Hotels and Resorts. Ray Go Manigsaca, president of AppleOne Properties added, “This is the right time for this project. Filipinos and foreigners alike are seeking options for homes in tropical locations like Cebu in the Philippines.”


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Gary Teves, Cyndy Tan Jarabata, Teresa Teves and Sharon Alforque



Culinary consultant Judeline Murjani and Miss Cebu 2013 Neesha Murjani with the San Diego dancers

A celebration of

Indian cuisine by Suzette Jes sica

Julie Najar with Satish Naidu and Mila Demecillo

Cebuanos experienced an explosion of flavors as they feasted on popular Indian dishes at Marco Polo Plaza Cebu’s (MPPC) Khana: A Celebration of Indian Cuisine. With the guidance of Judeline Murjani, the hotel’s world-class chefs served up favorites such as chicken tandoori, lamb shish kebab, chili pakora, vegetable biryani and so much more. Murjani is the president of the Murjani Group of Companies that handle retail and franchise businesses. In 1993, when there were no Indian restaurants in Cebu, she cooked authentic Indian dishes in her kitchen and had

MPPC Sales manager Rudney Alforque, director of Sales Gemma Baz, Sol and Richard Tiansay and Reservations and Revenue manager Jude Pangan

these delivered to offices and homes of Indian nationals or vegetarians in the area. This passion to cook was an influence of her husband Devidas Murjani, who is the son of an Indian chef. She is also the mother of Miss Cebu 2013 Neesha Murjani. Khana promised an exciting culinary journey, and those who came up Nivel Hills for the celebration of Diwali, the Festival of Lights, sampled delicious Indian dishes.

Nelia Neri, MPPC director of Sales and Marketing Lara Constantino-Scarrow and director of Banquets and Catering Tess Catipay EXPERIENCETRAVEL.PH // Vol. 4 No. 1 // 2017



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Belo Medical Group’s Thermage specialists receive their certificates.

A string of Black Diamonds for Vicki Belo B y Rory Vis c o

For the 10th consecutive year, the Belo Medical Group received the rare Black Diamond Award, given annually by Valeant Pharmaceuticals and Solta Medical Group.

Atom Henares and Belo Medical Group’s Dr. Vicki Belo

The prize recognizes beauty treatment centers that use Thermage and Fraxel treatment systems to the most number of clients and is highlighted by the satisfaction level of clients and resounding results. Award for Thermage but to do it for both Thermage and Fraxel is one for the books, an achievement only Dr. Vicki Belo can pull off. “It is tough considering the amount of competition that we have for beauty right now. However, we were able to set ourselves apart from our competitors through genuine service and care for our clients, which is the hallmark of the Belo Medical Group,” said Belo in receiving the award. The Black Diamond Award ceremony served as the fitting moment to award certificates of recognition to the Belo Medical Group’s Thermage specialists for completing a rigorous training regimen.

On the other hand, Valeant Pharmaceuticals Regional Finance Manager Amy Chan, Solta Medical Asia Pacific clinical affairs director Corrinne Cheung and Solta Medical Sales and Marketing Manager Christopher Cachuela handed to Belo the two awards. “We are happy to present this award to Dr. Belo, who has been one of our more consistent partners and top performers around the world. She deserves this recognition and we are happy to have partnered with the Belo Medical Group for the past several years,” Chan said. The Shangri-La at The Fort Manila ballroom glittered with the presence of stars associated with the Belo Group, such as Alice Dixson, Ruffa Gutierrez and Zsa Zsa Padilla. And her family were there to witness the occasion, too: Belo Medical Group Managing Director Cristalle Henares-Pitt and her dad Atom Henares and Dr. Hayden Kho.

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The Linden Suites is located within the Ortigas business district


Shuttle service to major malls is available to guests.

Who doesn’t need a break every so often? The city has numerous places ideal for staycations because of their convenience and the myriad excitement the metro offers. Ortigas Center, the popular business district and financial center in Metro Manila that spans Pasig, Mandaluyong and Quezon City, is an excellent choice for a city getaway, because it boasts of huge shopping malls, famed skyscrapers and busy nightlife. The Linden Suites, located at the heart of Ortigas Center,

It’s business and pleasure at The Linden Suites.

is a four-star hotel that is a popular choice for business and family travelers. Its amenities include a business center, a well-equipped gym, temperature-controlled pool, Jacuzzi, sauna and spa.

comfortable van takes them to key malls in Ortigas,

However, a comfortable stay isn’t just about amenities

and Shangri-La Plaza, for a complete guest experience.

and services. A staycation involves going out of your cozy hotel room to grab essentials, catch a movie or check out a sale. It could be a hassle to go somewhere in an instant, especially in the city where traffic is a fact of life, not to mention costly cab rides. Because we value our guests, their safety and peace of mind is of utmost concern when venturing out of The Linden Suites.


Shuttle service is available for all in-house guests. A

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namely Robinsons Galleria, The Podium, SM Megamall

Shuttle service is available daily at 10:30 am and 2:30pm. Trips to drop-off and pick-up points are absolutely free to provide guests the convenient, relaxing urban staycation they deserve. A great hotel experience happens not only within the confines of its rooms, but also as guests go out and about to discover the city.

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Cleanse your body with FatOut There are many reasons why cleansing the colon is important and should be done regularly. Cleansing improves digestion and can prevent constipation, increasing energy and concentration, and aiding in weight loss. The process encourages the whole body to detoxify, making it a great way to ensure the overall health of the colon. To jumpstart your cleansing, why not take FatOut?

FatOut is the product of extensive collaborative research and development among top institutions, namely ATC Healthcare

FatOut can help the body in detoxifying through the Sweep

International Corporation, Philippine United Pharmaceutical

and Shred formula, which is made with a combination of:

Corp. (PUPC), and Bioscience and Technology Business Center

pu-erh tea extract to help eliminate fats that are hard to

(BTBC), together with KanPro Research Inc. at the University of

digest; aloe vera powder that helps detoxify and cleanse

Kansas.Take one capsule of FatOut, preferably with warm water

the colon; alfalfa that helps nourish the digestive system;

before a meal.

and oat fiber that helps control the appetite. Green tea extract is best known to effectively burn and shred fat by speeding up the metabolism, while psyllium husk helps sweeps away toxins and cholesterol.


FatOut is not a medicine and should not be used to treat the symptoms of any disease. For details about FatOut, visit www.facebook.com/ATCFatOut.

The works of Jose Glenn Blanco were featured recently in the solo art exhibit “Paglalayag sa Kulay ng Buhay” at the Galeria Sinag, UPOU Community Hub, Los Baños, Laguna. The exhibit was presented by the UP Open University (UPOU) Cultural Community.

Blanco is the eldest of seven siblings of the Blanco family of artists of Angono, Rizal. The family is known for folk realism that portrays the socalled Tagalog Pastorale. His works have become known for their realistic and detailed rendering of local flora, evoking the tranquility of nature. They are also products of his fascination for rural life and the social rituals of Angono.

Blanco has taken part in his families exhibits abroad. In 2012, he had his first solo exhibit at SM Taytay. He was awarded Outstanding Alumni of the University of Santo Tomas College of Arts and Letters in 2013 and the TOTAL 2014 Award, the highest award given to alumni of UST for his contribution to Philippine art. He was also awarded Angono, Rizal’s Sangguniang Bayan Award 2016 for his artistic excellence. He is one of the 12 Filipino artists whose works were featured in Art Dialogo held in Malaysia in July 2016.


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HSMA (Hotel Sales & Marketing Association) Board members with the winners of 2nd Virtus awards 2016

Glitter and glamor at 2nd Virtus Awards The crème de la crème of sales and marketing

The Virtus 2016 Outstanding Marketing Campaign award

professionals in the hospitality industry gathered to

was given to Radisson Blu Cebu for its “Something Blu,

witness the birth of exceptional and innovative hotel sales A Wedding of a Kind” campaign. For just two weeks, and marketing talent at the Second Virtus Awards held at Radisson Blu became the preferred venue of more the Novotel Hotel Manila in Cubao, Quezon City. than 30 weddings raising revenues close to P9 million. Radisson Blu Cebu’s signature concept was recognized The Hotel Sales and Marketing Association (HSMA),

for customized packages that fit clients’ styles for

organizer of the Virtus Awards, handed out four awards—

sophisticated, stress-free and flawless events from start

three individual and a team award—to deserving hotel

to finish.

sales and marketing people. The judges came from the academe, government and The winners were Ma. Trixie Ong, sales accounts and

private sector, namely Ma. Corazon Jorda-Apo, director,

events executive of Best Western Hotel La Corona

Market Development Group of the Department of

Manila, awarded as the Virtus 2016 Outstanding Sales

Tourism (DOT; Ma. Christina Aquino, executive director

and Marketing Associate; June Kelly Ichinomiya, assistant

for Planning and Development, Lyceum of the Philippines

director of Sales, Japanese Market, The Bellevue Hotels

University; Cesar Cruz, president of the Philippine Tour

and Resorts, Virtus 2016 Outstanding Sales and Marketing

Operators Association (PHILTOA); Millie Dizon, senior

Manager; and Marivic Recio, group director of Sales and

vice president for Marketing and Communications, SM

Marketing, The Bellevue Hotels and Resorts, Virtus 2016

Retail, Inc.; Leny Fabul, executive director,

Outstanding Sales and Marketing Leader.

EXPERIENCETRAVEL.PH // Vol. 4 No. 1 // 2017


June Kelly Ichinomiya, assistant director of sales, Japanese Market, The Bellevue

Marivic Recio, group director of Sales and Marketing, The Bellevue Hotels and

Hotels and Resorts, Virtus 2016 Outstanding Sales and Marketing Manager

Resorts, Virtus 2016 Outstanding Sales and Marketing Leader.

Philippine Hotel Owners Association, Inc.; Henrietta Ho, founder/principal, Break Thru Solutions in Marketing; Cesar Jose Jesena, head, Tenant Management Division, Shangri-La Plaza Corporation; Donald Patrick Lim, chief digital officer, ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corp.; Isabella Sy Palanca, Ph.D., president, The Mother Company; Lyn Gueco Tamparong, past president, HSMA; and Ma. Concepcion Yabut, city councilor, Makati City (1st district). Former Tourism Secretary Dr. Mina Gabor, current president of the International School of Sustainable Tourism and Honorary Consul of Maldives, provided updates and other developments with regard to sustainable tourism during her keynote address. “The Second Virtus Awards was truly such a resounding success. Everyone anticipated the announcement of winners. But more importantly, the focus of the awards was the tremendous hard work and efforts put in by these sales and marketing professionals to make the properties they serve stand out from the rest. We applaud their determination to succeed and we hope their success serve as inspiration to others in the hotel sales and marketing

Radisson Blu Cebu director of Sales and Marketing Anne Olalio receives The Virtus 2016 Outstanding Marketing Campaign award.

field,” said Margarita Munsayac, president of the Hotel Sales and Marketing Association, Inc. For more about the Hotel Sales and Marketing Association, Inc., visit hsmaph.com.


EXPERIENCETRAVEL.PH // Vol. 4 No. 1 // 2017



Sunjewel’s Raquel Gonzales and Roberto Mariano cut the ribbon at

Sunjewel offers artisan jewelry that are wearable treasures.

the opening of the Shangri-la Plaza Mall Branch.

SunJewel now at Shangri-La Plaza Mall Sunjewel opened its new store at Shangri-La Plaza Mall, the upscale shopping and lifestyle destination in Metro Manila, bringing its luxurious collection of fine jewelries. The launch was led by Sunjewel’s Raquel Gonzales, and was attended by the store’s discriminating clients and close friends. Sunjewel is a luxurious brand of artisan jewelry made from gold, silver, diamond, precious gems and pearls. The high level of craftsmanship, timeless designs and affordable prices make its pieces wearable treasures for occasion, Sunjewel is located at Level 2, Main Wing, Shangri-La Plaza Mall. It is open from 11 a.m. to 7p.m., Monday to Thursday; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday; and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sundays; or by appointment.

Some of Sunjewels’ exquisite collection of fine jewelry.

EXPERIENCETRAVEL.PH // Vol. 4 No. 1 // 2017




Afternoon tea at Marco Polo Ortigas’ Connect Lounge All orders are prepared at an open kitchen at the bar The Connect Lounge, one of Marco Polo Ortigas Manila’s

counter, so that guests can see their orders being

signature outlet at the 24th floor, now serves a new and

readied, as well as request for adjustments according

more sophisticated afternoon break with its Afternoon

to their preference.

Tea, available daily from 2 to 6 p.m. for P788, good for two diners.

The Connect Lounge is open daily from 11 a.m. to 11p.m. For reservations, call (02) 720-7720.

Served in a three-tier stand, guests can enjoy a

For inquiries, contact (632) 720-7777,

customized set of pastries from a wide selection, such

book online via www.marcopolohotels.com, or

as cakes and mini sandwiches, paired with their choice

email manila@marcopolohotels.com.

of coffee or tea. Drinks can be upgraded to a glass of

Visit Facebook.com/MarcoPoloOrtigasManila or

champagne, smoothie, or iced tea.

follow @MarcoPoloManila on Twitter or Instagram.

RCBC Bankard, Gawad Kalinga partner ON new card RCBC Bankard Services Corporation (RBSC) is reintroducing its RCBC Bankard Diamond Platinum Mastercard. This upgrade involves enhanced features, giving its cardholders greater value and a new beneficiary for the Diamond Cares Program, a significant component of this card. The relaunched RCBC Bankard Diamond Mastercard comes with Spend Monitor, which allows cardholders to set their own budget. It also provides complementary access to the Miascor Lounge, free travel insurance and purchase protection, plus a bonus travel limit that cardholders can request for during their travel period. It has EMV Chip technology, and a generous and flexible rewards program.

Through the Diamond Cares Program, cardholders lend a helping hand to


“As we relaunch the RCBC Bankard Diamond Mastercard we acknowledge that we, along with our cardholders can make a difference.” says Simon Calasanz, president and CEO of RBSC. “Lives will be better, both for our cardholders, and for the children who will have a better future because we have all cared.” he concludes.

those in need every time they use it. For every P100 spent using the card,

Present at the relaunch were RCBC chairperson Helen Y. Dee, RCBC

20 centavos is automatically donated to Kusina ng Kalinga (KNK), Gawad

president and CEO Gil A. Buenaventura and Calasanz, along with Gawad

Kalinga’s response to hunger and malnutrition among public school

Kalinga founder Tony Meloto and his team, Mastercard officers, and RCBC

students across the country.

Bankard Diamond Mastercard cardholders, and other Metrobank officials.

EXPERIENCETRAVEL.PH // Vol. 4 No. 1 // 2017



Sustainability campaign at Wilcon Depot Currently having over 230,000 square meters of retail

Among exclusive brands offering these items are Pozzi

space at its 38 branches nationwide, Wilcon Depot has

sanitarywares and bathroom fixtures; Ariston Aures Easy,

become during the last four decades the most trusted

Aures Luxury and Aures Velis water heaters; NovaBell

in home building and construction merchandise. Started

ceramic tiles; Rubi tile cutters; Grohe luxury sanitaryware

in 1977 by its founder and chairman William Belo, the

and bathroom accessories; Franke eco-friendly sinks and

small hardware store is now a force in the construction

ovens; and Kohler sanitaryware.

industry. Other products are Davies Paints’ water-based quick In celebration of its 40th anniversary, Wilcon Depot

enamel paints and premium interior paints; Finnwood’s

launched its Sustainability is the New Green campaign at

pressure treated wood planks; Konig’s eco-friendly

Desigño Atelier in Makati City.

interior wall and ceiling wallpapers; and Dr. Seal’s waterproofing tapes that are made from fiber membrane.

At all Wilcon stores, there is a showcase of sustainable products that conform to Leadership in Energy &

Wilcon follows the latest trends and innovative

Environmental Design (LEED) factors, such as durability,

technology, providing solutions that are eco-friendly and

easily recyclable or reusable, free of toxic materials,

make use of resources more responsibly. More than a

energy efficient, zero or low emissions of toxic

source of home building equipment, Wilcon wants to help

chemicals, manufactured in a low-pollution process,

consumers make better choices for their home with the

low maintenance, and more. These are the featured

use of sustainable products to benefit future generations.

sustainable products for the whole year. For more information, log on to www.wilcon.com.ph. Follow its social media accounts on Facebook and Instagram @wilcondepot.ph. EXPERIENCETRAVEL.PH // Vol. 4 No. 1 // 2017




Thai hospitality chain opens in Ermita Thailand-based Hop Inn Hotel officially opened its first branch in the Philippines in Ermita, Manila, offering high-quality budget accommodation for both business and leisure markets. The Erawan Group PLC president Kamonwan Wipulakorn said, “We believe that the Philippines will offer the fastest and highest economic growth in the Asean region, and through our analysis and market research on the ground, we see very good opportunities to expand in the Philippines.”

Hop Inn Ermita has 168 spacious and well-appointed rooms, equipped with basic amenities. “Our brand essence is for our rooms to be clean, convenient, comfortable and safe,” Wipulakorn added. Two other Hop Inn Hotels are in the pipeline, in Aseana in Pasay City and Alabang in Muntinlupa, both scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2018.

For more information about Hop Inn Hotel, visit www.hopinnhotel.com and follow its social media pages at www.facebook.com/hopinnhotelph and hopinnhotelph on Twitter and Instagram.

IRI, Marshall Islands Registry Manila office turns 1 International Registries, Inc. and its affiliates (IRI), who provide administrative and technical support to the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) Maritime and Corporate Registries, celebrated recently the first anniversary of the opening of their Manila office. The RMI Registry is the third largest registry in the world, surpassing 138 million gross tons and 3,956

Capt. Robert A. Fay, SVP, Maritime Operations of IRI-Reston; Leo Bolivar, IRI Manila country manager; Capt. John Hafner, VP, Seafarer Manning & Training of IRI-Reston; and Mark Van der Graaff, IRI Manila fleet operations/technical officer.

vessels at the end of October 2016. The Manila office processes around 700 seafarer documents every The newest seafarer documentation office allows Filipino seafarers to

week. It regularly services more than two dozen filing agents locally.

received their documents on time. Personnel in the office, who have

Coordination between IRI’s Manila, Hong Kong, and Mumbai offices

participated in seminars within Manila’s seafaring community, foster

ensures timely documentation production in Asia.

communication and addresses important industry issues directly to those concerned.


“We are thrilled at the progress and the productivity shown by our personnel in our newest office here in Manila in such a short

“As the founding member that started the office from scratch, it’s very

period of time,” said Captain Robert A. Fay, Senior Vice President,

rewarding to see how much we have grown and accomplished in the past

Maritime Operations, IRI Reston. “Leo Bolivar has done a terrific job

year,” said Leo Bolivar, IRI Manila country manager. “We are dedicated to our

of assembling a talented staff of knowledgeable professionals and

core policy of decentralization that allows us to provide tailor-made services

we look forward to providing quality services to our local agents and

to our customers in the Philippines.”

seafarers for many years to come.”

EXPERIENCETRAVEL.PH // Vol. 4 No. 1 // 2017



This creative sharing platform enables big ideas Word s b y Mone t t e At il a n o

Inspiration can be found anywhere, in this case, a cozy corner café in Makati where the third run of a series

Olivia Repotente, in behalf of Studio O, welcomes all the attendees.

of interactive gatherings called Potluck Sessions was recently organized. This non-profit collaborative event, a brainchild of design group Studio O (Studio Olivia Repotente Inc.), brought people together over tasty food, good coffee and an interesting lineup of speakers— industry experts and impassioned individuals willing to talk about their own creative journeys. “The only cost to participate is to bring a dish you’d like to share with the rest of the group,” says Olivia Repotente, founder of Potluck Sessions and art director of Studio O. “The idea was born out of an equal love of eating and learning. It started out as a studio exercise, then grew into a unique avenue of meeting new people in a stimulating yet laid-back atmosphere.

Jen and Olive of Studio O award the Most Badass Dish to Enzo and Jerro of Gourmanila.

The latest installment at Commune in Poblacion, Makati had presenters dabble on easily relatable themes that captivated the audience with their light-hearted deliveries. Internationally renowned furniture and interior designer Ito Kish narrated the humble beginnings of his colorful life as a visual storyteller. Sky Gavin of WheninManila.com spoke about what it’s like to work in one of the most influential blog sites in the metro. Repotente shared her knowledge in graphic design by using clichéd break-up lines to summarize basic visual concepts. Artist Reese Lansangan sang a different tune talking about making unconventional music and writing weird lyrics as a singer songwriter. Ending the afternoon on a bubbly note was a craft beer tasting workshop led by Claudine Lanzona of Craftpoint brewing company, which left everyone in high spirits.

When they’re not collaborating with partners to mount Potluck Sessions, the people at Studio O are hard at work on projects for both established and up-andcoming brands in the local and international scene. With the brand identities and visual design of establishments such as Century City, The Palace Pool Club, 71 Gramercy, Krazy Garlik and Newpark in Malaysia under its belt, the innovative design house revolutionizes imagery and experiences through its multidisciplinary and integrated approach. Event partners include Independent Minds, Abakada Foundation, Commune, Crumbslist, Manly Plastics, Central Corrugated, Event Specialists, Buffalo Wings and Things, Taters and Bath Origins.

EXPERIENCETRAVEL.PH // Vol. 4 No. 1 // 2017



EXPERIENCETRAVEL.PH // Vol. 4 No. 1 // 2017

EXPERIENCETRAVEL.PH // Vol. 4 No. 1 // 2017


Articles from Experience Travel and Living Volume 4 Number 1