Experience Travel and Living Volume 4 Number 4

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Dr. Cenia Lucas-Acevedo






Living Well 10

Java Jive

West Town Coffee gives guests a chance to make their own brew


Surfing Days, Wine Nights

La Union is enjoying the flavors of French and Italian wines at Artek Wine Yacht


Green Gold

Pampanga celebrates harvests with the Duman Festival


Pretty Healthy

Local ingredients get the star treatment at this British resto


Fusion Power

East and West come together on your plate at this hip dining place

Balancing Hormones for Optimal Health

Dr. Cenia Lucas-Acevedo brings wellness by correcting hormonal imbalance |

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De-stress from a busy day at Flow Spa


Your Best Face Forward with


Bask in a youthful you at Vine Holistic Medical Aesthetics


Your 2018 Journey




Ultimate Relaxation

A beautiful mind is key to a healthy well-being

Beauty & Wellness




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Real Beauty Is Within Reach

Beauty Empire guarantees everyone a chance at optimum beauty


Renaissance Man

Blogger and businessman Gus Villa shares the secrets to his success


Medical City, Maxicare Partner for TMC Partner Care

Sanctuaries 32

Lakeside Getaways at Hamptons Caliraya

Enjoy the rich and famous lifestyle in Laguna


67 35

54 46 35

Close Encounters

Enjoy a weekend at the savannah at Safari Hotel


Villas with a View

Waves Beach Club and Residences offers your dream home in La Union


Celebrity Travel 54

Frequent Flyer

Rachel Alejandro has traveled the world from a young age

Travel Luxe 58

Exploring the City of Angels There’s a memorable weekend for everyone in Thailand

A Museum Without Walls


Have Baby, Will Travel

Vacations with your kids need not be a hassle with adequate planning


Travel Lite 46

Where the Whale Sharks Swim

Enjoy nature’s bounties in Oslob’s pristine waters and lush landscape


Bewitched in Siquijor

Soak under the sun at the island’s quiet beaches

Immerse in Korean history in Gyeongju City

Portfolio 67

Picture Perfect

Fashion designer and international equestrian judge Vittorio Barba gives a peek at his travels around the world


The Good Life


Postings 3



Where are you going this summer? In just a few weeks, the summer months would be upon us. It would be time to go on our annual vacations for a much needed break. In this issue of EXPERIENCE TRAVEL + LIVING, we suggest a number of destinations that might help you plan your trip. The beach is an obvious choice for many holidayers. While a number of locations are perennially on the radar, some are not. For example, the Visayan isle of Siquijor might just be attractive for those who want to be far away from tourist traps. This small island barely registers in most people’s itineraries, serving merely as a stopover on a hop from Cebu to the island of Negros. Its reputation as a land of enchantment surely should make it attractive to sun worshippers.

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

On the cover

On the other hand, Oslob in Cebu is quite famous for its whale sharks, one of the few places in the country where you can get into the water and see these gentle creatures up close. And no, that’s not all this town has. It has enough natural attractions to offer, from waterfalls to hills that are suitable for trekking. Vigan, which many might consider a heritage town, now has a themed resort that is the closest we could get to Africa in this side of Asia. Safari Hotel and Villas is located within the same property as same Baluarte Mini Zoo, and guests could have a close encounter with animals at almost any given time.

ibis Bangkok Riverside offers a modern look with quality service.

If a trip abroad is part of your plans, Bangkok never loses its charm. Whether you want to meditate at a temple, wander at some of the royal palaces, or simply stock up on goodies from its many emporiums, you will never run out of choices. Gyeongju in South Korea might be out of the way from either Seoul or Busan, but it was the center of the Silla Kingdom from 57 BC to 935 AD. Walking around the city and its many parks is like being at a museum, as remnants from the past co-exist with present-day structures. No matter your choice of destination, it would surely be an experience that you will look back on in the future. 4



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Dr. Cenia Lucas-Acevedo

Dr Cenia Lucas-Acevedo helps you attain good health through HOMe therapy.



Ana M. Manansala

Editor in Chief:

Joseph Cortes

Graphic Artist:

Neil Mariano

Editorial Assistant:

Rhea Villareal

Contributing Writers: Eric Cabahug, Mitch Arceo-Cruz, Jun Ebias, Suzette Jessica, Ma. Glaiza Lee, Carmie de Leon, Karen Pacia, Carlo Suerte Felipe, Stephanie Tumampos, and Dolly Dy-Zulueta Contributing Photographers: Vittorio Barba, Donald Tapan, Renjie Tolentino, Raffy Zulueta, Channel Hue, and Aphrodite Cruz Administrative and Circulation Manager: Administrative and Finance Assistant: Marketing Director: Sales Executive: Creative Director:

Joanne Vera Cruz-Felix Reziel Ann Total Ruby Asoy-Lebajo Jun Escuadro Olivia Repotente

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.




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1 1) VITTORIO BARBA is one of five Asian Grand Prix Dressage judges in the world, the only one from the Philippines. It was his passion for equestrian sports that gave him the opportunity to travel at a young age. It was because of these experiences that he discovered the world of fashion, prompting him to become a fashion designer. As a designer and sportsman, he has always been interested in the balance of movement and symmetry, which are details he captures in his photographs. 2) ERIC CABAHUG is a screenwriter, author, songwriter, and photographer. Among his works are the Palanca Award-winning “Deadma Walking,” “Princess Maryam,” the screenplay of the film adaptation of the Bob Ong bestseller “Lumayo Ka Nga Sa Akin,” and a photo published in Lonely Planet’s “Blue List 2008.” He is currently the creative manager for films at Viva Films, marketing manager at Viva Artists Agency, and editorial director of VRJ Books. 3) MITCH ARCEO-CRUZ is keen on learning and experiencing all sorts of knowledge from different cultures. She is especially fascinated with Japanese and Korean culture, from its history to the modern and contemporary age. She dreams of traveling and writing about interesting topics that will entice readers to go out and explore what the world has to offer. 4) JUN EBIAS likes to drink beer on the beach and watch the sunset. He wants to live beside the beach someday. 5) SUZETTE JESSICA is a veteran public relations practitioner. 6) MA. GLAIZA LEE is a self-proclaimed 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. 7) CARMIE DE LEON is the vice president for sales and marketing at Healthway Medical. An active member of MAP, PMAP and ECCP Women in Business, with an advocacy on wellness, healthy lifestyles and women empowerment, she brings Seed Lifestyle and Wellness on Wheels wherever she goes. Some of her best anti-aging regimens are forgoing strategic alliances, making new friends, belly dancing, yoga and pole dancing, and cooking. Her passion and purpose is to inspire others to love life and live it to the fullest.

develop, implement, track, and optimize digital marketing campaigns across all digital channels for various global brands and institutions. She also mentors and is invited regularly as keynote speaker by international corporations and government institutions. 9) CARLO SUERTE FELIPE worked with a major daily before deciding to go full time as a freelance writer. A Filipino who admires Asia, he hopes to fully experience traditional and modern cultures, particularly of Japan and South Korea. He also loves gadgets, hiking and the arts. 10) DONALD C. TAPAN has a career in photography dating back to premartial law years. He serves in various capacities as staff and chief photographer to publications like Woman Today, Women’s Journal, Family Today, Mod, Mod International, Free Press, Career Girl Magazines, Sports Weekly, Agriculture Times, Graphic Magazine, Philippine Tribune, Times Journal, Grand Life and Mabuhay, to name a few. After working abroad as and advertising photographer, he put up his own studio Don Tapan Photography to tell a story beyond just words can communicate. He was comissioned by the Department of Trade and Industry, through its agency CITEM, to shoot and put up its Duratrans photo exhibit for APEC, which was held in Manila.

13) DOLLY DY-ZULUETA , former editor of 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

8) KAREN PACIA is a digital marketing guru. She is one of the founders of “We Engage.” She manages projects that

14) RAFFY ZULUETA As chief 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.





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11) 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. 12) 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.



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Java Jive West Town’s Coffee offers personalized cups of joe By Carlo S. Suerte Fe l ipe P ho to s b y Renjie T o l e n t in o

Third-wave coffee is slowly catching up in the Philippines,

forced to register it in 1993,” Anzures said. A few years

and yet it has to be understood by the millions of Filipino

after, his relatives had to close the shop simply because

coffee drinkers. It’s premium quality coffee, or “lifestyle”

they got too old to operate it and decided to come home

coffee, that you don’t usually get from coffee chains.

to the Philippines.

Such a shop is West Town’s Coffee, owned and operated

He originally planned to put up a laundromat when saw

by entrepreneur Sohayb “Hayb” Anzures, which pays

the self-service laundry market growing in Metro Manila.

tribute to the small coffee business operated by his

When doing one’s laundry, you need to wait for it to finish.

relatives in West Town, Chicago a few decades ago.

That’s when coffee came into the picture.

“They were running the shop for many years, but were

“I thought of putting a waiting area with a coffee vending

Enjoy freshly backed pastries with a personalized coffee drink at West Town’s Coffee.




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machine, even just 3-in-1 coffee to offer something,” he

Coffee Profile

said. “After doing research, feasibility studies and going to

So where’s the “lifestyle” in coffee?

suppliers, I had a new idea of separating the waiting area or lounge with a glass divider, and maybe have one or two

He explains that it’s achieved by making the coffee profile

persons there to sell coffee, soda and other drinks.”

or the signature drink that customers want. And this is done with the help of a La Cimbali coffee machine that

Time came when the laundromat business concept was

personalizes the coffee through four stages of pressure

completely replaced by a coffee shop. The problem,

profiling. Customers can describe the coffee flavor that

though, was Anzures was not a coffee drinker, and he had

they want, and the barista will adjust the four stages of

to teach himself to appreciate coffee. Thankfully, he met

pre-infusion, ramp-up, delivery, ramp-down to highlight

his mentor, coffee guru Henry Magalona, whose passion

this desired profile.

for coffee fueled his interest in entering the local coffee industry.

Premium Brew Third-wave coffee shops aim to serve premium, quality coffee using premium ingredients and machinery. The end result is not just your usual cup of brew you get from major coffee chains. West Town’s Coffee, as most third-wave shops, offers specialty coffee made from single-origin beans, or beans sourced from a single country, region or location. Its signature blend, or premium ground blend, is made of

West Town’s Coffee’s Sohayb Anzures

beans sourced from Latin America and Asia-Pacific; this is what is use for all orders or espresso and espresso-based

Raising the pre-infusion will highlight the coffee’s citrus


flavor, while the ramp-up raises the lime or dry orange zest flavor. The dark chocolate to roasted nuts-kind of

For pour-over coffee, or for handcrafted brewing, Anzures

flavor is extracted through the delivery, and body or the

uses beans sourced from local coffee farmers in Benguet

intensity of the coffee is highlighted in the ramp-down.

and Mt. Apo in Davao. West Town’s Coffee serves only 100 percent Arabica coffee.

“This is why we can produce many flavors or tastes from the same coffee beans,” he said. “Here at West Town’s,

“Arabica is grown in high-altitude areas, making it more

we usually ask if you want it light, medium or full. Tell us a

premium and has less caffeine than Robusta. Robusta

more specific flavor, and we will profile it for you. We can

has three to four times more caffeine than Arabica,” he

save that for you, so that when you come back, we can


serve it to you.”




Artek Wine Yacht is the first wine bar and restaurant in San Juan, La Union.

Surfing Days, Wine Nights Artek Wine Yacht brings French and Italian vintages to La Union B y Jun E bia s P h otos B y C hannel H ue

Picture yourself on the beach, the coarse sand tickling

Sounds too good to be real?

your feet, and the cool wind kissing and soothing your suntanned skin, as the sunset burns the blue skies with

Then, you probably haven’t been to Artek Wine Yacht in

flaming red and orange hues, while relaxing jazz music

Urbiztondo, San Juan, La Union, the first wine bar and

played softly to lull you into a reverie rhymes with the

restaurant in the undisputed surfing capital of Northern

murmurs of the rushing of waves to the shore. While

Luzon. The cozy place with its tables fronting the beach

enjoying these sights and sounds, you sip the wine of

offers an array of French and Italian wines, as well as

your choice, cooling your palate and heightening your

a menu of dishes that will go well with your wine of

enjoyment of tapas.





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Changing Drinking Habits

French-Filipino restaurant—Le Point—with her then

Artek only opened in September last year, yet it is

affair with the province and its laidback lifestyle stayed.

French boyfriend. The relationship ended, but her love

already changing the drinking habits of residents of La Union, as well as transients and weekend visitors.

“Normally, on Tuesdays, all the stores and shops are closed,” she shares. “So, we have time to do other things, like surf. Business is on weekends. It’s laidback in a sense that people don’t rush things… people here have more time for themselves. Over a sampler of pizza, gambas and a cheese platter with a selection of wines, she shared that the restaurant’s name is a result of cute wordplay. Artek is “bartek” in Ilocano, meaning drunk, while Wine Yacht is a pun for “Why not?” “The directors chose the name and made it a little artsy,” she explains. “So we say, let’s get drunk. Why not?

A Healthy Drink Since it opened, Artek has slowly attracted the winedrinking crowd in the area. Flores acts as sommelier, tapping on her familiarity with wine in making recommendations to guests. She has worked in a French restaurant in the past, and has attended several Some of Artek’s tapas that go well with your glass of red wine.

oenology classes. She also counts the exposure she got from her wine aficionado friends to be of great help.

“Manila is a red ocean. Here, the ocean is blue,” says Julia Flores, general manager of Artek Wine Yacht.

“People here are starting to appreciate wine,” she said.

“People are tired of Manila, especially its traffic and

“The best thing to do is educate them about wine and

pollution. So, they come here to break away from it.

how to pair it with food, that it is healthier than most

Others fall in love and decide to stay.”

alcoholic drinks.” Part of the effort of educating locals includes the wine-

Flores is among those who decided to trade life in

all-you-can nights held regularly. Wine tastings are on

Manila with La Union. Two years ago, she opened a

the drawing board, while wine pairing nights are also


The town of San Juan, La Union is considered to be the surfing capital of Northern Luzon.

being planned. This will draw on the different specialties served at other places in the area, so guests can bring alone their wine of choice. “We will have chicken-and-wine nights, and steak-andwine nights. We will also have chocolate pairings,” she explains. “Every Wednesday is salsa night, with free salsa lessons and free sangria for the ladies. We also have wine and tails, that is, wine and cocktails every day.” Presently, Artek supplies the wine needs of a number of resorts in La Union and even faraway Manila. However, they have a selection of vintages that connoisseurs can only taste at the restaurant. Since it opened, guests have been asking for the house wine, a Chilean brand, Santa Conchita. Although they have a generous selection of wines, including French and Italian, only a sampling is being served at the moment. When the market grows further, more vintages will be made available. Artek general manager Julia Flores




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Green Gold Pampanga’s Duman Festival celebrates bountiful harvests T ext and Ph oto s B y C AR L O S U ER TE FEL IPE

Before Pampanga showcases its giant lanterns for the

for about 30 minutes, then drained and pounded again,

Christmas holiday, the culinary capital of the Philippines

before it is finally toasted on a clay oven.

holds an annual festival dedicated to the green glutinous rice that is now almost exclusively produced

Families involved in producing duman are called

in the Municipality of Sta. Rita. The Duman Festival is

“magdurumans” and are keeping the traditional process

held every first Saturday of December, a celebration

of making duman alive by passing it on to succeeding

that combines food and the arts.

generations. It is the men who usually do the pounding, while the women are tasked to

The festival, which was started

remove the husks and cook the

in 2002, was originally celebrated

duman, all of which are done

at Pigulut, Santa Monica, and was


organized by the Arti.Sta Rita Foundation. The entertainment

Savory and sweet treats

came in the staging of a

Duman is not exclusively used in

Kapampangan sarswela (musical),

making rice cakes, like kalamay

while the main star of the whole

and suman. Even though it is a

event continues to be the duman.

variety of rice, it can be eaten like popcorn or as a cereal with a splash

Duman, sometimes called “green

of carabao’s milk. Sometimes,

gold” because of its color, is one of

Kapampangans would toast it and

the most expensive types of rice in

sprinkle over other rice cakes or

the country. It sells for somewhere

on halo-halo. It can also be added

between P1,000 to P1,500 per

in homemade ice candies or in hot

kilo, depending on its quality. The


usual price would be about P40 per glass. This seemingly ridiculous price might be due to its rarity, since it’s a seasonal produce, its

The glutinous rice known as “duman” is the star of the festival in Sta. Rita, Pampanga.

versatility as an ingredient, and it’s processing, which is still done by the locals by hand.

On its 16th year, the Duman Festival brought Kapampangans from all over the province to the Sta. Rita Eco-Park in Barangay

San Isidro to celebrate the bountiful harvest. The celebration was moved from Santa Monica to Santa

Processed by hand

Rita in 2015. A series of stalls are put up in the area

Unlike regular rice, duman is only harvested in

where enterprising individuals and families sell not only

November and is gathered unripe. It is then pounded on

duman and dishes made with it. It also showcases other

a wooden mortar and pestle to separate the grain from

Kapampangan dishes and sweets, as well as bibingka

its husks. Afterwards, it is soaked and cooked in water

and puto bumbong, to match the Christmas season.




Mews, the British-French restaurant in Salcedo Village, Makati City, is an original place. The clean, white surroundings, generously decorated with contemporary artworks, serve as a backdrop for beautiful platings of what might be considered standard continental fare: fish and chips, Guinness steak pie, truffle risotto, osso bucco, beef Wellington, grilled Caesar and tuna Niçoise salads, a selection of flatbreads and pasta, chicken liver mousse pate, and even Eton mess. But the emphasis here is on the use of locally sourced ingredients in creating these offerings. Chef Demar Regresado, who grew up in the United Kingdom, is intent on serving the best of what he knows how to cook for local diners. “Filipinos are quite fussy about food,” shares Regresado. “Many of them now go for healthier organic fare.” This combo is very East meets West, a formula followed Chef Demar Regresado

in many fusion restaurants. But Mews isn’t a fusion place. What the chef has done was use local ingredients

Pretty Healthy

in preparing standard British and popular fare using French techniques. There are no shortcuts here.

Chef Demar Regresado hopes to give Manila its first Michelin star B y J o s ep h Cortes P ho to s b y Step h an ie Tu ma m po s Mews Restaurant serves British fare using locally sourced ingredients and made with French techniques.




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tentacles seal this dish. Chewy and sweet from the char, it

Healthy Tastes

makes you forget that this was part of an octopus’ leg.

And that is the first thing you would notice about his dishes. They are all lightly seasoned. Palates used to burgers and fries or hearty tapsilog meals will complain

A Michelin-Star Restaurant

about the seeming lack of flavor. But it is there. If you give

The second thing you must know about Mews is that

your tongue a chance to settle down, you will discover a

its chef worked with celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay.

whole new world of taste.

Regresado took culinary studies at Glasgow University and has worked in restaurants in England and Napa Valley.

Take, for instance, the 12-hour braised pork belly served with braised red cabbage, star anise jus and signature

This exposure to a number of highly praised places,

croquettes. One look and the hefty chunks of pork look

including Ramsay’s Michelin-starred Aubergine, has

like humba. A bite into the soft and juicy morsel and your

inspired him to try and create an international food

mouth is suffused with the salty-sweet taste of soy sauce.

destination. Along the way, he hopes to train as many

The croquettes, too, are not like the usual ones made of

budding local chefs to the knowledge and techniques he

potato. These are made of purple yam (ube) and stuffed

gained from his experience working abroad.

with mashed red mung beans (munggo). The deep-fried balls have a savory taste—it is after all paired with the

“I think it’s time Manila has its own Michelin-star

pork belly—while the mung bean mash yields another

restaurant,” he says.

layer of surprise. This early, he is already conceptualizing a real gastronomic A personal favorite is the baby octopus salad with

treat for the country’s food aficionados: a chef’s table

marinated cucumber, bell peppers, and cilantro fusion

with as many as 27 courses paired with an extensive wine

dressing with anchovies. The salad is crisp, the cilantro

selection. Surely, this will be an offering Pinoy diners will

giving it lightness and freshness. But the octopus

not be able to resist.

House service of toasted foccacia and bread sticks

12-hour braised pork belly with braised red cabbage, star anise jus and croquettes

Classic fish and chips with hand-cut chips, pee puree and tartar sauce

Baby octopus salad with marinated cucumber, bell peppers, and cilantro fusion dressing with anchovies

Rolls Royce panizza with mozzarella cheese, salami, shrimp, scallops and sundried tomatoes

Grilled Caesar’s sald with soft breaded eggs, garlic croutons, red onions and Parmesan




Fusion power Alter Ego serves happy blends of Eastern and Western flavors T e x t a nd Ph otos b y S t e ph a n ie Tu m a m po s

The chefs of Alter Ego: Joy Tan, Benedict Bernardo and Ronald Lim

“One dish, two personalities”: True to what it envisions,

into their creative lab to reinvent food with a European-

Alter Ego is the restaurant where the untrained tongue

Asian soul. Take, for example, their salted egg shrimp

can taste the food of the West and the familiar flavors of

pasta. It is a beautiful marriage of noodles with a rich

the East, fused together to create dishes that satisfy the

and creamy salted egg sauce topped with crunchy fried

appetite of Filipinos.

shrimps. The taste of it is familiar to many Filipinos, but served over Europe’s traditional linguini.

Owned by chefs Joy Tan, Benedict Bernardo and Ronald Lim, it took them 14 years after graduating from a culinary

For starters, Alter Ego’s gorgonzola salad is a must-try. The

school to finally build a restaurant that they transformed

mix of lettuce and candied walnuts, dressed with an Asian

Chiken Pandan on Paella

Coconut Mango Gateau




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Twice-cooked Pork Belly

French Onion Soup Gyoza

dressing, and topped with gorgonzola cheese has made this

one that stands out is the coconut mango gateau. Tan’s

dish something to look forward to at the start of a meal.

creation catches the eye of those who comes in and checks Ater Ego’s dessert section. She considers coconut to be an

Definitely not to be missed is the chicken pandan on paella.

Asian staple, but nobody uses it on its own.

This is a hearty, homey and groovy twist on Thailand’s chicken pandan and Spain’s chorizo-flavored paella

Of course, both flavors stand out in this delicious

seasoned with spicy aioli and pickled green mango. This

concoction. The cake itself is not moussy or too creamy.

dish was initially Lim’s brainchild. Both Tan and Bernardo

It is not even too sweet the way Filipino tongues are

revealed that their colleague has a special gift of concocting

used, too. It is just the right combination that makes both

flavors and tastes all in his mind, and it just simply worked

coconut and mango stand out. It is the perfect example of

in this original combination. The pandan-wrapped chicken

transforming a classic dish into something modern.

inasal, with its sweet-savory taste, complements the Spanish favorite.

And don’t forget to sample Alter Ego’s signature drinks as you enjoy your dinner. Both the cranberry orange

From Southeast Asian tastes, the chefs of Alter Ego take

raspberry, and blueberry lemonade refresh.

on Japanese cuisine with its French onion soup dumpling. Pouring the onion soup over the gyoza brings a surprise, so

In the world of fusion cuisine, the resulting food is often

much that when you start eating it, you can’t stop thinking

a product of confusion, and Alter Ego does not intend to

about how this dish was made to accommodate the

go there. Its chefs have made the decision to keep the

Filipinos craving for both Japanese and French food.

dishes familiar and tasty enough. The compliments they have received have inspired them to explore more flavor

The chefs’ creative collaboration have made the

combinations that will not only satisfy the Filipino palate,

restaurant’s menu unique with its signature creations. And

but also be recognizably original.

Salted Egg Shrimp Pasta

Alter Ego Salad




Balancing hormones for optimal health By M itch Arce o-Cr uz

Just when you think you have full control over your life,

Lucas-Acevedo, European Double Board certified in Anti-

your hormones decide to rain on your parade. Hormones

Aging and Nutritional Medicine (both with Distinction),

play a significant role in every part of your life as it

when hormones are not optimal, symptoms may start

directs your whole being, so having hormonal imbalance

to appear at an early stage.

is not something you can just ignore. Are you easily angered? Do you always have food Hormonal imbalance is, more often than not, brushed

cravings? Do you easily give up when under pressure

aside as a reason when one is feeling a little off. When

and stress? Is it hard to recall past events, people,

you tell someone that hormonal imbalance is what’s

places and such? Do you sleep too late/early or wake

making you cranky, gain weight and why you have acne

up too late or too early? Are you too emotional? Are

among other things, chances are, they will tell you to

you losing muscle mass despite lifting weights and

stop acting up.

consuming protein shakes? Or if you are a man, do you notice your chest (man boobs) getting bigger? If

That is a situation most pregnant women experience,

you said yes to many of these symptoms, there is a

but hormonal imbalance can also happen to anyone,

high probability that you are experiencing hormonal

regardless of age and gender. According to Dr. Cenia





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“The human body operates at different levels of performance depending on what degree of hormone imbalance you have. Akin to a European car, which was designed to run on premium fuel, if you use the most ordinary fuel on it, the car will not be run as smoothly,” said Acevedo. Both the young and the old may suffer from hormonal imbalance. Your hormonal balance may be disrupted with bad eating habits, psychological stress, lack of sleep, environmental toxins, sedentary lifestyle and sun avoidance. Note that as early as 30 years old, hormone levels start declining

Dr. Cenia Lucas-Acevedo


and not in middle age as we commonly know.

flabby and saggy (unattractive). One of the first to respond to this wish is the aesthetic industry. With

To confirm if you have hormonal imbalance, Health

hormonal and nutritional balancing however, you nourish

Optimization Medicine (HOMe) doctors will have you

each of your cells, not just the superficial skin.”

undergo tests that measure all major hormones. “The reason for this is because hormones are meant to work

With balanced hormones, your health is at its best,

together to maintain equilibrium in the body. Measuring

letting you live life to the fullest. However, Acevedo

just two or three hormones will only give you part of

clarified that hormonal balancing is not a cure-all and

the picture,” explained Acevedo.

it is not for people who are looking for an instant fix for chronic diseases. In reality, there are still no cures

The good news is that because of today’s technology

for most chronic diseases. Prevention is still the best

and research, there are now ways to re-balance the

option, and one way of doing this is through hormone



According to Acevedo’s mentor and creator of HOMe, Dr. Theodore Achacoso, our body clock is closely linked

“Unlike conventional medicine, HOMe does not

to the sun. Our body produces certain hormones when

prescribe/ascribe to a few magic bullets in the form of

the sun is up, and likewise when the sun sets. So if the

single, double or triple medications. HOMe recognizes

timing is disturbed, the body’s metabolism ceases to

the body’s complexity and simplicity at the same time.

function properly. This may lead to conditions such as

The human body functions at its best when you provide

obesity and hypertension which are usual problems

it the basic requirements that evolution designed it to

among those who work on graveyard shifts. This

be-to sleep when the sun goes down, to wake up when

is supported by the findings of 2017’s Nobel prize

the sun goes up, to eat a variety of unprocessed food,

winners for Physiology and Medicine. These scientists

to be a member of a caring community, and to walk or

discovered the molecular mechanisms of the circadian

move a lot,” she said.

rhythm, explaining how important the sun is in controlling our body’s normal metabolism.

She pointed out that HOMe does not compete with conventional treatments, and can even be applied

Aside from that, hormonal imbalances may predispose


you to other illnesses and conditions such as diabetes, and cancer. To avoid this, Acevedo stressed that it is

Acevedo does home/office visits, and will continue

imperative to detect subtle hormonal imbalances early

to offer this option (even when her Vivacite’ clinic

before real damage has been done to the body.

opens by March 2018). Personal assessment is done by appointment, which would run for at least an hour.

Acevedo continued, “The point of hormonal balancing is

Interested parties may call 425-7302, (0920) 823-

to improve quality of life, especially since lifespans are

8976, (0917) 894-4910, and (02) 968-4980; or email

getting longer. What is the point of living long, and yet

clacevedovivacite@gmail.com. Contact details may

you are weak, sickly, forgetful and may I add, wrinkly,

change anytime and will be advised.




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Ultimate Relaxation Flow Spa offers treatments to beat after-work stress

A tranquil garden of serenity and relaxation, Marco Polo

experience, it promises the highest standards of

Ortigas Manila’s Flow Spa offers a variety of treatments

hospitality, tranquility, and luxury.

from foot reflexology, whole-body massages and rejuvenating facials by the brand Algotherm, a marine

It boasts and highlights its Flow Signature Massage,

based line from France that utilizes seaweed extracts

which is a fusion of Eastern and Western techniques

and other marine ingredients.

using a special blend of essential oils. This stressrelief massage, which is perfect as an after-work treat,

Flow Spa is located at the heart of the hotel’s Flow

also features Thai stretching and Hawaiian Lomi-Lomi

Wellness and Recreation Center, which also includes

strokes. Treatments start at P1,800.

a fitness center and an infinity pool. The spa features a welcoming reception and a relaxing lounge, two

Located at the 22nd floor, Flow Spa is open daily from 8

double rooms and one single room. Its interiors bring

a.m. to midnight, or until 2 a.m. for in-room treatments.

a feeling of repose as it is painted in soft neutral

It is not exclusive to the in-house guests.

colors and accessorized with butterfly statementpieces.

For reservations and inquiries, call 720-7777 or email manila@marcopolohotels.com. Book online

All treatments start with a relaxing foot therapy with

at www.marcopolohotels.com. Visit facebook.com/

scrubs made from the most refreshing ingredients.

MarcoPoloOrtigasManila or follow @MarcoPoloManila on

With therapists trained to deliver the ultimate spa

Twitter or Instagram.




Thermage Face Procedures help smoothen, tighten and contour skin on the face and neck in a short span of time without having to undergo any form of surgery or numerous injections. Patients benefit from the treatment by getting smoother and tighter skin, contouring along the jaw line and under the chin, softening of wrinkles around mouth, eyes and forehead, and lasting rejuvenated skin from simulated collagen production. Furthermore, treatments are comfortable with the new Thermage CPTTM System, which incorporates the Comfort Pulse Technology, and includes an improved treatment tip with a vibrating hand-piece.

Your Best Face Forward With Thermage

Thermage makes use of patented radiofrequency (RF) technology to safely heat the deeper layers of your skin to stimulate existing collagen to promote new growth for younger looking skin. The effects from a single treatment continue to improve up to six months. Results can last for years, depending on your skin condition and the natural aging process.

Let’s face it: repeated facial movements and expressions,

In addition, there is no special care or effort required to

such as squinting, frowning or smiling, leads to fine

maintain after the procedure. Most patients are able to

lines and wrinkles. The repeated use and strain on facial

return to their regular daily activities immediately after

muscles form grooves beneath the surface of the skin,

undergoing treatment.

and, as skin ages, it loses its flexibility and capacity to spring back in place. As a result, grooves and lines

See yourself with a new and youthful visage by availing

become permanent on your face.

of this treatment at Vine Holistic Medical Aesthetics, located at the mezzanine of The Grand Hamptons in

Don’t add more lines on your forehead by worrying how

Bonifacio Global City. Visit the newest Vine Holistic

to remove the years and experiences on your skin. Aside

Medical Aesthetics Clinic at Suite 2019, Phoenix Wellness

from proper skin care and a healthy diet, Vine Holistic

Lounge, Golden Phoenix Hotel Manila.

Medical Aesthetics offers another approach to regaining your youthful and alluring image through Thermage Face

Like Vine Holistic Medical Aesthetics at facebook.com/




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Your 2018 Journey

Fit and Fab, Healthy & Happy By Carmie d e L e o n

Carmie de Leon

Most are aware that health is wealth. But, who cares? YOLO, so eat whatever you like!

are coming from; if you don’t understand this, it’s fine. Some are blessings. Others are lessons.

Nope, there’s more to life than that. You are what you eat, and you are what you repeatedly do. Health is a personal commitment. It’s about the time you commit yourself.

Guard your circle

Fit doesn’t only mean a trim waistline, toned muscles or a curvaceous body. Health isn’t merely the absence of disease, but overall well being, that ability to live life to the fullest. This includes mental wellness, your relationship with yourself and with others. This year, do not start with very tall orders or ambitious to-dos that are bound to fail after a month. Just be more realistic. It’s as easy as having a beautiful mind.

Ever yone is a gif t Start with a clean slate, and forgive those who have hurt, offended, and disappointed you. Setbacks are set-ups. You’re being prepared for bigger and bolder breakthroughs. Forget about negative things from the past and obnoxious personalities who are still around you. Share your blessings by understanding where they

Stay away from people who belittle your ambitions. Small people do that, but the great ones make you feel that you are special and are capable of becoming greater. Make friends with people who are fun to be with, who believe that you can soar higher. When you find them, cherish and grow with them. Seek wisdom and learn from their successes and failures.

Embrace selflessness Be more generous in paying forward, extending yourself to others unselfishly. Whenever possible, throw people your sweetest smile, say thanks and excuse me, hear them out, cook for others, and share time, talent and energy. Recharge by reaching out. Times are difficult, so spend it by helping, sharing and inspiring others.

Care to commit to good health Choose to live a SEED life: Sleep; Eat right; Exercise;


De-stress. The preventive health cycle starts with SEED, followed by self-check (Be sensitive to what your body is saying.) and HealthcheQ (an annual physical examination, so you would know your numbers). Take charge of your health. What’s the use of dreaming big, if you don’t have a sound mind and body?

FAN is fun Flexible, Agile, No fear: as long as you have them, you will continue to shine and go forward, upward, and nonstop. Thrive on a fast-paced life by keeping yourself busy. No matter where you are in your journey or what you are into, move with fun. Don’t stop adapting, learning, and dreaming. Excite yourself by leveling up.

Demonstrate and declare Winners advertise themselves, not for the sake of boasting or bossing anyone around, but to demonstrate what God’s faithful servant can do to humanity. Encourage and enlighten by sharing exemplary experiences. Explore new things, overcome hurdles, and show them how you did it. Be an advocate. There’s more to an 8-to-5 job and your family. Serve the community by revealing your success story.

Balance out Make rules, modify rules, follow rules, and break some rules. Take time to assess and apply different strokes and situational leadership without compromising virtues and values. Balance self-improvement: work–family– society. Know when to be logical and irrational; it’s more like learning, un-learning and re-learning, and listening to the inner voice on a day-to-day basis.

Pause and positive-ize



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Fire and loosen up There are so many things in life that we can’t control, so just do your best and let it flow. De-stress. Step out for eco-therapy or digital detox once in a while, preferably thrice a week. Walk with faith, and entrust the rest. Work confidently and secure, claiming that God has designed and predestined everything. Start your day right with a prayer. Nothing beats a thankful and grateful heart. Gratitude is the best attitude.

Take charge Own it. Say, “To be fit and fab, happy and healthy is up to me.” Believe in yourself and your limitless potential to do greater things. It starts and ends with you, and what you choose to be the new you. Strive to stretch out and outdo past achievements. Be more mindful and responsible with your health—physically, socially, mentally, financially, and spiritually. Be at peace and live in harmony with one another. Start with self-management. Make the complex simple. Just be the better version of yourself. As God lifts you up, humble down. Never assume to be right all the time, and never insist on fighting back. Learn to endure and mature with trials and lessons. Life is too short to be too stiff and unreasonably tough. Spend time gladdening the hearts of those you journey with. Health is being in the moment, mindfully choosing the best options, keeping in mind that we are all here to huddle and love one another. Enjoy the ride to your fit and fab, healthy and happy life.

Refrain from immediate reactions and negative interpretations. Stop complaining and making excuses. It weakens your brain. While everyone’s


rushing and everything’s getting urgent, sometimes it is better to play it cool. It’s OK to pause. It’s OK to wait for the right timing. It’s not just about hearing, but listening wholeheartedly, understanding others’ perspectives, and uncovering God’s message. In most cases, life is telling us to let go, and not getting into it is healthier.

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Real Beauty Is Within Reach The Beauty Empire, a skincare and aesthetic center in Quezon City, offers beauty treatments, enhancement procedures and organic products that guarantee optimum results. Beauty Empire is the brainchild of Dorothy Joy Matulac who, as a young girl, wanted to become a flight attendant for an international carrier. She instead pursued a degree in hotel and restaurant management. She would later meet the man who would eventually help her discover a career that she was passionate about. “I’ve always loved beauty—not just physical beauty, but beauty in everything. Beauty relaxes the mind, but also inspires the imagination. So, I am drawn to anything and everything that is beautiful. When I met my husband, Dr. Alvin, who is a dermatologist, I was instantly drawn to his line of work,” says Maglutac. “My husband manufactures his own skin care and beauty products—soaps that address specific skin problems, serums, supplements, solutions for cleansing skin, toners, moisturizers and makeup—under the brand Professional Skin Care by Dr. Alvin. Although these products are already available nationwide, I thought of putting up a beauty and aesthetic center that uses only this brand. That was how Beauty Empire came about. Now, Dr. Alvin is already creating an exclusive line of products under the Beauty Empire brand,” she relates. “Beauty Empire is a business, but it is not just a business. My husband and I have made it our advocacy to give people of all ages and of all social backgrounds access to treatments that are normally not within easy reach of everyone without sacrificing quality of products, services and results. Making people happy makes us happy,” she explains.

Dorothy Joy Matulac

Some of the center’s signature treatments include an array of facials, like the popular celebrity facial, which includes cleansing, facial massage, steaming, and blackheads and whiteheads removal; oxygen infusion facial; Empire signature facial; and gold bio-collagen facial mask. For a clearer and cleaner complexion, also offered are warts removal and IPL hair removal. Non-invasive fat-burning therapies include cavitation and radio frequency procedures. The CC glow treatment gives the skin a semi-permanent foundation through an advanced skin pigmentation procedure using organic pigments. Those seeking healthier skin from the inside out can avail of the different intravenous procedures, such as the glutathione and vitamin C drips. Medical procedures offered include fillers (nasolabial, nose, chin augmentation, cheek augmentation, and lip augmentation), Botox treatments and Meso procedures. Likewise, Beauty Empire is making available the best quality glutathione and Garcinia cambogia. “Beauty Empire is dedicated to give the best treatments at the lowest possible prices, because we want to give everyone a fair chance to be the best versions of themselves. We at Beauty Empire, through our services and products, hope to develop confidence and a stronger sense of self-worth in everyone who comes to our doors,” she concludes. The Beauty Empire is at 35A Timog Ave., Quezon City. For inquiries, call 373-8800 and 0956-3888825.




Renaissance Man

Blogger and influencer Gus Villa shares the secrets of his success by Ca rl o S. Suerte F el ip e P h otos by E rik E s p erat

“I sing, I’m into business, I blog, I travel...”

was even nominated as one of the country’s breakout bloggers in the 2017 E! Bloggers Ball. But he initially

These are the things that you need to know about Gus

made his mark on cyberspace through his Instagram

Villa, who is making a name for himself in the local

account. “Back then, having 10,000 followers was already

showbiz industry. You could say being blessed with good

considered a big following,” he explained. “This got me

looks is one factor that helped him gain celebrity status.

invited to some events, met people, and from there, I

But he’s not just sitting around doing nothing. He finds

started building my network of clients.”

that hard work plays a huge factor in achieving this status, especially since he didn’t grow up in the Philippines

In addition to this, he recorded most of his trips abroad,

despite being born here.

alone or with the whole family, as entries in his Facebook account. Even when he travels with his family, he would

He spent several years of his childhood in Australia, but

find the moment to go and do some exploring on his own.

eventually returned to Manila. “It’s cheaper to study here,” he admitted, even giving up his dual-citizenship status he

Most of his travels have been to countries in Southeast

once had so that he could work here. And even though he

Asia. And the reason? Culture.

is already based in Manila, he still travels, either alone or with his family.

“It’s fun to travel around the world, but culture plays a big role when you travel,” he explained. I don’t really enjoy

Villa has been blogging for about a year and half now and




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travelling to non-Asian countries, because you’ll really

feel the difference of culture. You immerse yourself in

with intermittent fasting three days a week. Gus only

one culture, and there you find yourself. There’s really no

gets to eat two meals a day, which he takes every eight

place like home.”

hours. He is allowed to drink lots of water. “The idea there is to teach your body to consume whatever you’ve eaten

Villa prefers the urban scene and enjoys celebrating with

and, at the same time, increase your metabolism,” he

friends at bars. This is why he considers Singapore as


closest to home. “I’m really not into nature or greens, but I love the beach. And in most of my travels in the Philippines, I’m always at the beach.”

Doing Business, Too Villa is also involved in the family business of managing

Some of his travel goals include a trip to Albay to see the

two resorts, a few driving schools and a bar. With all the

majestic Mayon Volcano, and to explore the historical

things he is doing right now, being a celebrity, blogger/

charm of Vigan, Ilocos Sur. Anywhere he goes, he always

influencer, and entrepreneur, you might think that he

carries his smartphone, a camera and three pairs of board

already has everything.


Fitness Is A Must Even with the slew of foreign acts conquering the local entertainment industry, Villa is not intimidated by them. He is currently a talent of Viva Entertaiment as an actor, and that requires him to be physically fit. This is where he sources his health and wellness entries in his blog. He said that even before he became part of the boy band BoySync, he has been working out. He joined and won Mr. Philippines in 2011, and represented the country in Mr. Southeast Asia that same year where he finished as first runner-up.

He knows that his career as a celebrity will not last forever, and he still has to work hard at the things he is

“I used to be super thin. Then, I got buffed up that even

doing right now. He admits that he hasn’t proven anything

[the late] Kuya Germs [Moreno], when I was part of

yet, and strives to do more.

‘Walang Tulugan’, was scolding me to trim down. And I’m still trimming down, because Viva says I still look big on

“Nothing happens by chance. Nothing is just given to you

TV,” he said.

on a silver platter. Even where I am right now, I still have to prove myself everyday in everything I do—in the gym,

His regular workout is accompanied by a low-carb diet

in singing, blogging, and in running a business,” he says.




The Medical City, Maxicare Partner for TMC Partner Care

partnership between a hospital and a health maintenance organization. TMC Partner Care powered by Maxicare seeks to provide Filipinos a better option in terms of the delivery of quality, efficient medical services, and value for money that only TMC and Maxicare can provide. This full-risk, clinic-based healthcare plan covers both outpatient and inpatient services. It carries an Annual Benefit Limit (ABL) of P100,000 where pre-existing conditions, illnesses, and injuries that a member has experienced before the commencement of his HMO plan are covered. Sean Argos, Maxicare’s president and Chief Executive Officer, said “The goal of Maxicare is to provide convenient ways for members to access healthcare services.” A TMC Partner Care principal and his dependents and now bona fide Maxicare members could access various services in TMC hospitals and clinics, including all Maxicare Primary Care Centers (PCC) nationwide. Members are guaranteed superior quality and wider healthcare coverage through this plan. TMC Clinics and Maxicare PCCs are equipped with modern facilities and manned by skilled medical personnel capable of addressing a patient’s needs as in a hospital but at a lower cost. As for needed diagnostic, laboratory procedures or inpatient care in a TMC hospital, members simply need a referral from a TMC Clinic or Maxicare PCC physician prior to availing of the procedure.

The Medical City (TMC) and Maxicare Healthcare Corporation (Maxicare), both recognized leaders in the medical services industry, recently introduced a healthcare plan for TMC patients and Maxicare members that will revolutionize the delivery of medical services. Dubbed TMC Partner Care, it marks an exclusive




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Another feature of the TMC Partner Care plan is the 24/7 TeleConsult Service, an unlimited, all-day, all-week consultation service where members can talk to an actual physician for any medical advice needed. This service is exclusive to all Maxicare members, and could be reached via (02) 582-1900, 0917-8190840, and 0998-8430754.

Lakeside living in

THE Hamptons Caliraya

Amid the chaotic beat of the city, one can’t help but look

retail shops and restaurants will be located, two 18-hole

for spaces where adventures and tranquility blend in

golf courses, a public clubhouse for all residents and

symphonic balance.

guests called The Club, a marina club for guests who would like to dock their boats, and a resort hotel district

Inspired by the Hamptons of New York, dubbed the

adding to the convenience of living in a community where

summer playground of USA’s rich and famous, Megaworld,

everything one needs is easily accessible.

through its subsidiary Global-Estate Resorts, Inc. (GERI), is bringing forth to adventurers and water lovers its second

An outdoor restaurant by the lake overlooking the sea of

integrated lifestyle community in Laguna, the Hamptons

blues and greens and a cruising restaurant will also cater


to the contemplative.

Within the 300-hectare development is The Hamptons

With Lake Caliraya as the centerpoint of the community,

Village, a lakeside residential village that puts prime

the entire development of The Hamptons Caliraya is set

importance on exclusivity, top-notch amenities, and

to become a premiere tourist destination offering a vast

gorgeous architectural designs.

array of water adventures from kayaking to parasailing to wakeboarding.

With laidback, water-centered activities like yachting and fishing available to the community, The Hamptons Village

Other activities like summer festivals and summer camps,

will have a high-end clubhouse and a private marina where

American-themed events like the celebration of the 4th

residents can dock their boats. For more privacy, several

of July, and boating adventures with added refreshing

lakeside lots allow residents to construct their own docks.

sceneries make the community a home away from home. Truly one can live luxuriously everyday by living The

Residents can choose from lots ranging from 500 square

Hamptons way.

meters to 1,800 square meters where they will also have the privilege to choose the design of their homes from the

To know more about Hamptons Caliraya, call 0917-799-

soft-hue and inviting wide spaces of a Modern Country

0123 or email thehamptonscaliraya@global-estate.ph.

home to the tall columns and symmetrical shape of a Greek Revival.

Visit https://www.facebook.com/thehamptonscalirayaph/

A leisurely walk from the village is a town center where

for more details.




Inviting pool area

Lobby of the hotel

Close Encounters Safari Hotel brings the savannah to Vigan


Thinking of going on a safari this year? You don’t have to go far. The heritage city of Vigan in Ilocos Sur is now home to the newly opened themed luxury hotel and resort called Safari Hotel managed by AURA Hotels and Resorts. This is the first of its kind with close encounters with safari animals alongside the hotel’s five-star accommodation in the North. Safari Hotel is the brainchild of former Ilocos Sur Governor Luis “Chavit” Singson, who also owns the

B y R u by As oy-Leb a j o P ho to s By Donald Ta pa n


Facade of Safari Hotel

famous Baluarte Mini Zoo and Safari Gallery. The soft opening was last December 2017. |

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Room with jacuzzi

Two-bedroom hotel room


Baluarte Zoo and Resort complex lies within hectares of land.

“It was more or less five years ago that he envisioned to build this property. He started building it two years ago,” shared Victor Marc N. Montesa, the resort manager. The resort’s design came from the suggestion of its Korean architect-partner Shaun Kim and his group. It presently has 21 rooms, while another 49 villas and room clusters are being constructed at the back of the 10-hectare property. The entire estate covers 300 hectares, which also serves as an animal sanctuary. It is now home to a number of animals, including giraffes, ponies, zebras, lions, kangaroos and tigers. Definitely,

Taming the tiger

hotel guests will have an enjoyable encounter with these

their common sense, and the gut-feel of doing what is

lovely creatures.

right and what is wrong. I have a lot of young staff now. We have been doing a lot of training for them.”

“We just let the animals roam freely around the grasslands right beside the hotel. And yes they would make a great backdrop for your selfie photos.” said

A Unique Place


What makes the resort different from other properties in Vigan? Montesa cites three distinct offerings of Safari Hotel.

Only two months at his post, the Resort Manager shares his leadership style: “I want people to think and to use




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Foremost is the serenity of the place: “Once you’re here,

Delicious Italian food at Dario Ristorante Italiano

you will feel relaxed communing with nature. It will be

and the quality standard of food preparation.”

worth the long drive. Children will be happy here also, because of the animals that they will see and can have a

Of the dishes we tried, our favorites were the carpaccio,

close encounter with.”

assorted Italian cold cuts, toasted fresh bread with mushroom sauce, Calabrese pizza, homemade tagliolini

Second the service, which comes from the heart:

with fresh salmon and caviar, homemade garganeli with

“Passion comes in when you do things from the heart. It’s

shrimp in tomato sauce, homemade tagliatelle with

like enjoying and loving what you do.”

truffle cream and parma ham, and lamb chop grill with herbs. They were truly appetizing and satisfying.

Italian Home Cooking

A variety of developments is now in the pipeline for

Third is the delicious food. Safari Hotel has an in-house

Safari Hotel. These include room expansions, providing an

Italian restaurant called Dario Ristorante Italiano, named

entertainment area for guests, exclusive transportation

after Dario Gardini, the restaurant’s owner and the

options via Partas Transit, chartered flights to the resort,

hotel’s food and beverage.

and the development in the next two to three years of religious tourism that will once again put Vigan on the

“It’s traditional Italian home cooking,” said Montesa. “We

world map for the second time, after being hailed as one

also have an open kitchen to showcase the cleanliness

of the world’s New 7 Wonders Cities.




Villas with a View Waves Beach Club and Residences in La Union offers the house of your dreams B y Jun E bia s Photos B y Ap hrodite C ruz

Imagine waking up to the sound of rushing waves as they hit the shore, as the warmth of the sun and the

Relaxing Sur fing Town

scent of the sea mix well with the smell of brewing

A five-hour drive from Manila takes you to the province

coffee, freshly baked bread and sizzling bacon in the

of La Union, where the vibe is easy, gentle and warm.

kitchen. Then, you open your doors to greet the new

Best known as the surfing capital of Northern Luzon, La

day, the gentle rays touching your face softly, while

Union, or LU to millennials who have fallen in love with

the vista of blue water beckons. As you enjoy the early

its surf even when it’s no longer summer, is already

morning, coffee mug in hand, beachcombers with their

home to some of the finest hotels, restaurants and

suntanned skin and toned bodies pass by, carrying their

coffee shops, and bars that cater to the whims of any

surfboards, hurrying up to the shore to catch the next

traveler, diner and drinker.

big wave. RCL Realty and Consulting Services, Inc. is set to raise Only in my dreams, you say.

the bar even higher as far as luxury is concerned. The fledgling firm is set to open Waves Beach Club and

The reality is, it’s here.

Residences—or just Waves—a seven-hectare mixed-


used property in San Juan, La Union, that will feature

“Everybody dreams of owning a dream house, a second

an eight-story hotel with approximately 200 rooms,

home where the whole family can escape the pressures

100 residential villas, three condominium towers, and

of city living,” says Fausto Liriano, chairman and CEO

40 beachfront apartments. There will also be world-

of RCL. “What we are offering is a completely different

class amenities, such as an Olympic-sized swimming

lifestyle away from the city, where you can just relax,

pool, a mini cinema, bars, a library, and a function room

stroll, swim or surf.”

that can sit up to 1,000 people for those who want to celebrate special occasions, such as birthdays and

RCL has forged a partnership with Brightbeam


Corporation and Dusit International to develop




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the property, which will have Dusit D2 Hotel as its

Even before its opening, Waves has already spurred the

anchor hotel. Dusit D2 Hotel will be San Juan’s first

province’s economy, especially its property and tourism sectors.

international brand resort that will be located inside Waves.

“A lot of new businesses started emerging when news about the construction of a Dusit hotel at Waves broke

Taking inspiration from Malibu style and architecture,

out in La Union,” says Francisco Rojas, vice president

Waves, set to open in 2019, will certainly redesign,

for investor relations at RCL. “It’s all happening here

redefine and refine luxurious living in La Union and in

at Waves. This is not the next big thing to happen in La

the rest of Northern Luzon.

Union travel and tourism: this is the big thing now.”


A Cornucopia of Choices

hills to reach it is a plus.

The beach and water sports and activities, such as

Poro Point in San Fernando town is home to Thunderbird

surfing, particularly yoga surfing where you execute

Resorts & Casinos where you can play nine-holes The

yoga moves atop a surf board while floating on sea,

Cliffs Golf and Beach Club, or try your luck at the casino.

are not all Waves can offer, because La Union’s nearby towns and cities have interesting activities everyone will

Interestingly, Thunderbird, with its Greek-inspired design,


was Liriano’s baby. He helped develop the luxury property in 2006. After Thunderbird was completed, he and his

“You will not run out of things to do here,” says Liriano.

partners David Chong and Rojas founded RCL in 2012.

“La Union has plenty of things and activities on the

Waves is the five-year old company’s biggest project to


date, with the hotel alone costing P1 billion to construct.

Nearby Bauang boasts grape farms where visitors can

If you want to enjoy cool weather, Baguio City is just

pick fruits from the vine. In San Gabriel town, Tangadan

an hour’s drive away from Bauang, while those who

Falls a freshwater alternative for those who want a

are artistically inclined can drive to Vigan, Ilocos Sur’s

change from the sea. The trek up rock formations and

capital town, which is teeming with culture and history.

Make Money from Your Proper ty Villas at Waves are ideal as second homes, especially for those who live abroad or in Manila. If they won’t be using their villas all-year round, the homeowners can enroll their property to be leased to tourists and visitors while they are away. They can lease their villas for up to 11 months in a year, freeing them from the cost of monthly maintenance, its upkeep, and security. “What is beautiful about the structure here is that you own your dream house and, at the same time, you can make money from it,” says the RCL chairman. “Dusit will take care of everything. You only need to think of receiving your share of the profit or rental revenue every month. Then, you can come and stay here for 30 days and enjoy the place. And if you decide to come home for good and live here, you have your dream house ready and waiting for you.”




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Have Baby, WILL Travel Plan ahead for hassle-free vacations with your kids Te x t a nd Photos by K aren Pa c ia One of the resort’s outdoor pools that add to the romantic ambience.

The best things in life are the people we love, the places we’ve been with them, and the experiences we’ve shared with them along the way. Don’t you agree? My husband and I love to travel, and having a child didn’t stop us from doing what we love; in fact, it encouraged us to travel smarter. However, we do know that traveling with babies or toddlers could become chaotic and overwhelming. That’s why we made to sure to plan ahead—and as a project manager, this is my area of expertise: thinking about all possible scenarios, and how to deal with them. Why travel with a toddler, though? Children below 2

The beautifully designed, two-bedroom apartment offers a kitchen, a washer/dryer and a private balcony or terrace, as well as a master suite with a large soaking tub in the bathroom

years old receive a 90 percent discount on airfares. You get to board the plane, and settle first. (No queues!) You

bassinet, so your baby (Maximum weight is

get bulkhead seats, if you want them. That means extra

16 kilos.) can sleep comfortably. Checking in car seats and

legroom at no additional cost. You can also request for a

strollers are free. Your food gets served first.


Let me share with you the secrets to having a fun-tastic

give them a heads-up that you are traveling with a toddler,

family getaway.

so they could arrange for a car seat. All this for just 3,000 baht.

Choose a Family-Friendly Destination

TIP: Do not assume that the hotel will know you need a

We chose the JW Marriott Phuket Beach Club, because

as some people bring their own. Also, research on car seat

they literally have everything within walking distance, and

requirements in your destination country, and, if you are

they have 24/7 shuttle service in case you get too tired

hiring a car, booking an airport transfer or a taxi, make sure

from a stroll. The resort has outstanding amenities and

that you let them know what you will require when it comes

extraordinary services.

to this matter.

cot, even if they know you are bringing a baby or toddler,

There are several pools, all with beautiful views of the beach. The resort also has daily and hourly activities

Pack Smar t

scheduled for kids and adults of all ages. You can also have

I love packing cubes. They make it so easy to organize and

your baby stay at the daycare center if you wish. You are

label things. Make sure to take with you only the essentials.

also allowed to cook your own meals. You can just take the

Bring travel-sized kits and appropriate clothes for the

free shuttle service to the grocery store outside the hotel

weather. (This goes without saying that you need to check

to get the goodies you need.

on the weather at your destination.) Don’t forget to bring a quiet book or busy bag for your tot.

If you want to do some shopping or go on a food trip, you can rent a van, which will take you to Patong Beach, the

Moreover, invest in portable baby items and gadgets that

shopping hub of Phuket, or to Banzaan Night Market. The

won’t take up so much space in your luggage. We have

van will even wait for you for up to three hours, but you

the UV Care deluxe germ exterminator, which we use

can always tell the driver if you want to stay longer. Also,

for sterilizing Kara’s plates, feeding bottles and other

The author, with her daughter Kara, created lasting memories at a beautiful resort in Thailand.




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Kara indulges in some quality time playing on the beach.

This majestic view greeted the resort’s guests while having their breakfast.

stuff. We also brought along the Tiny Buds baby bottle

After several hours of walking around, I didn’t get any

travel cleanser, which is a perfect partner for our Oxo Tot

shoulder nor back pain at all. It is so convenient, because

portable drying rack and cleaning brush.

not all places you go to are stroller-friendly. When you are traveling with a baby or toddler, you can’t afford to wait

TIP: Expect delays, and bring extra snacks, diapers,

for a long time to get into an elevator, because they’ll get

clothes, medication (plus a doctor’s prescription, if

bored and cranky. Plus, I was able to use my hands freely to

necessary) and essentials in your hand-carry luggage.

help fill up forms or carry other stuff because of this carrier.

Many people put the bulk of these items in their suitcase, but luggage can go amiss, and you don’t

Overall, we really loved our five-day stay at the JW

want to find yourself onboard or in a foreign country

Marriott. It might be a bit far from the town proper, but

frantically looking for diapers or other essentials.

vans and tours could be arranged efficiently from the concierge, and, as I’ve mentioned, the rates are very

Suitable Babywear

decent. We didn’t mind the location, since it was closer to

Instead of lugging a stroller for shorter trips, or depending

it was peaceful and very clean. It was so convenient to

on your itinerary—but, yes, you can bring a stroller, just

go around the property, because of the efficient service

take note that it is one more thing for you to hold and

of the shuttles. The staff was very friendly, helpful and

carry—better have the Babyzen Yoyo because that could

accommodating. We loved the place so much that we hated

be hand-carried and fits in the overhead bin. We brought

to leave.

the airport, quiet and relaxing. We loved the beach, since

our i-Angel hip carrier with us, and this is one of the best decisions in my life.

Don’t be too quick to rule out experiences that you think

En route to Phuket, Kara just slept in it, while we were

your child might be too young to remember. The experience

running from one end of the airport to the other. It also

and memories you create with your child are priceless and

comes with a hoodie to shield your baby from the elements.

will never compare to things you can buy for them.




Where the Whale Sharks Swim

Oslob, a town located on the southeastern tip of Cebu, is best known for being the gateway to close encounters with whale sharks, known locally as butanding. The whale shark interaction area in Brgy, Tan-awan goes 50 meters out to sea, which is the butandings’ playground and where they interact with visitors who come to see them and, yes, swim with them, as well. No touching, though, as the visitors are specifically cautioned against when formally briefed before they set out from the shoreline for that incredible interaction with the sea creatures. The local government unit of Oslob municipality, in partnership with Tan-awan’s barangay officials and boatmen, have centralized butanding-related tourism activities to this part of Oslob’s shoreline in the past few years. There is a pavilion along the shore that houses a briefing area, where visitors pay the free, P300 for locals and P500 for foreigners, and are briefed about the do’s and don’ts of whale shark interaction. From there, visitors hop on to boats and taken out to sea. Encounters are only from 6 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.,

Oslob’s pristine waters and beaches are perfect for nature trippers B y D o lly Dy-Zuluet a P ho to s b y Rafael R. Z u l u e t a

The resort’s main lagoon-shaped infinity pool offers a panoramic view of the ocean




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Part of the shoreline of Sumilon Island

The sand bar at the western dock changes shape and shifts locations depending on the season


which is about the time that the whale sharks gather in the area to be fed with krill or alamang by the officials. Such an arrangement allows the Oslob to earn money from this unique attraction and, at the same time, keep the butandings free to swim away in the afternoons.

Hiking to Water falls While the butandings are its main attraction, Oslob has more attractions to offer. For one, it has a few breathtaking waterfalls, including Tumalog Falls and Aguinid Falls in nearby Brgy. Tangbo, Samboan town. Part of the appeal of Aguinid Falls is the trek going up the waterfalls itself. It is really an adventure. On the other hand, the trip to Tumalog Falls via habal-habal is sure to get your adrenaline going. Mushroom-shaped rock formations shield the falls, allowing sunshine to peak through. It gives the place a dreamy ambience. Just off Cebu mainland but still part of Oslob is the paradise of Sumilon, a 24-hectare coral island surrounded with long stretches of pristine white sand Tumalog Falls in Oslob is like straight out of the movie Avatar

beaches. Parts of it have a high elevation, clothed in verdant greens, and housing remains of historical structures, such as an old watchtower and Baluarte lighthouse.

Exclusive Sand Bar The island is home to Bluewater Sumilon Island Resort. Developed and managed by Bluewater Resorts, it offers exclusive resort amenities, since it is the only resort on the island. The approach to the island at the western dock is an elongated sand bar that changes shape and location depending on the season and the tide. During low tide, the white sand bar appears as an elongated

Aguinid Falls in Brgy Tangbo, Samboan, Cebu




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and wide stretch, serving as an expansive beach for

Accommodations consist mostly of villas and duplex

swimmers and holidayers. During high tide, the sand

cottages, all opening up to views of the sea, with

bar sinks under the water, and only a narrow stretch

hammocks and lounge chairs outside. Glamping is also

remains. The sand bar is open to the public, but only

possible for those who want to try it, as it has a small

guests of Bluewater Sumilon Island Resort get to climb

natural lagoon near its private white-sand beach and

up the wooden stairs to the island’s hilly entrance,

picnic area. Glampers can cover a lot of ground, since

where a grotto of Our Lady of Fatima stands.

the picnic is within easy access of the white-sand beach, and the small natural lagoon beside it is ideal for

Exclusivity means a lot to resort guests, because it also

boating, fishing and kayaking.

happens to be the first marine protected area in the Philippines and a fish sanctuary under the supervision

A close encounter with whale sharks, breathtaking

of the Silliman University marine reserve. The place

waterfalls, an island paradise that’s just waiting to be

is great for divers, because the island is embraced by

discovered: all these and more can be found in the quiet

an amazing collection of marine flora and fauna. Some

and peaceful environs of Oslob in Cebu.

of the country’s best diving points can be found here, including Julie’s Rock, Coral Landscape, Nikki’s Wall and The Garden Eel Plaza.

Special dinner set-up at the sand bar




Bewitched in Siquijor A motorcycle ride quickly brings you to the island’s many attractions Te x t a n d Photos by E ric C a bahug

“Mom, are we gonna see the witches?” a young girl

which is so far from anything even remotely Disneyland

excitedly intoned as the ferry boat docked at the

in this part of the world. It is, in fact, far from anything

Siquijor port.

urban even, in the first place.

Ah, the stuff elders tell their kids! Then again, the

Kiddo most probably got disappointed. The so-called

mother probably felt compelled to be extra colorful to

witches of Siquijor are not the type who don long and

get the young one stoked for their visit to the island,

loose black robes and pointy black hats, don’t have




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among the more exotic and incredible, bringing back to life fish that had already been made into readyto-eat food called ginamos. They converge in Siquijor from all over the country during Holy Week for a local government-sanctioned, Catholic church-supported healing festival to hawk their services and products. There is also a smattering of other alternative medicine practitioners serving up a variety of concoctions, such as potions for a wide array of “interests.” The festival is held for four consecutive days, from Holy Wednesday to Black Saturday, in Mt. Bandilaan, the tallest in the island and home to a national park. It continues to attract ever-increasing crowds of Filipino and foreign tourists every year. In fact, it has grown so big that it now includes a musical show featuring several local bands on the night of Good Friday at that. (No, it’s not called Healingpalooza. Not yet, anyway.) None of this sounds kid-friendly, so I’m guessing the furiously crumpled skin and pointy noses and long

young girl who wanted to see the “witches” had to find

fingers, and don’t ride flying broomsticks. (But then,

her fun somewhere else. My hunch is she found it at the

what kind of modern-day real witches do, if they even

beach, which Siquijor has plenty of, some of them with

actually exist?)

fine white sand and very clear blue water. And perhaps in one of the two waterfalls, both picturesque and safe

They are really mostly self-proclaimed faith healers

even for small children. And maybe at the famous huge

apparently “gifted” with all sorts of abilities—such as,

old balete tree that boasts a manmade fish spa at its




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foot. She may, if she’s the religious type, also have

The last ride was most memorable. We traversed a long

found it in any of the many imposing centuries-old

stretch of the coastal highway to get me back to my

Catholic churches scattered all over the island.

resort from Siquijor town proper. It was nighttime of Good Friday, and the moon was huge and a pale shade

I’d been to Siquijor once previously. Several years ago,

of orange. The scenery was beautiful and surreal. It

my friends and I went on a day trip from Bohol. Actually,

provided a perfect backdrop for the stories that my

it was only less than half a day trip. We got to the island

companion was telling me. Among them were myths

at around 10 a.m. and left about five hours later. It

and legends about Siquijor’s encantos, tales of travelers

wasn’t enough to cover all the popular tourist sites. And

getting bewitched on the island, and hearsay about

the sightseeing that we did had be done à la Amazing

locals who do actual witchcraft, one of whom is quite

Race. But it was enough to get me, uh, bewitched, pun

famous for her truly effective deadly curses that are

intended. I knew I wanted to go back.

available to everyone for a hefty fee.

This time around, we had more than a full day

I don’t suppose the mother would ever take her kid to

to explore the island, but we still failed to cover

see that witch.

everything. I did get to experience Siquijor riding a motorbike, not just once, not even twice, but three times on this trip. I was just a passenger, though, and I was the better for it. I got to chat with my drivers who were all locals and learned a bit more about the island.







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Frequent Flyer From a young age, Rachel Alejandro has been traveling the world by C a rl o S. Suerte F el ip e

Rachel Alejandro is one of those individuals whose life was changed by travel. Traveling is one of the perks of being a singer; she and her father, ’70s OPM legend Hajji Alejandro, had been to several countries for concerts and performances. These opportunities exposed her to the wonders of going abroad. If it weren’t for singing, she couldn’t have afforded to go to faraway places at a young age. Even when she entered the food industry in 2004, as coowner of the diet and healthy food delivery service The Sexy Chef, Alejandro never stopped traveling. “It’s the one thing that I don’t feel one tinge of guilt about spending on,” she admitted. Yes, she would spend on her travels, but she would not shop on her journeys. Her constant trips made her even less materialistic. That is what she noticed when comparing how she traveled during her 20s and now. Back then, she recalled

At Acropolis in Athens, Greece


Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

she and her manager would return home from each

(for comfort), a jacket (because she easily gets cold),

trip with a balikbayan box filled with different items.

her contacts and eyeglasses, and her cell phone with

“I guess when a person is still young, you tend to like

roaming service. “I have always been in touch with my

things, like clothes or accessories.”

work and business. So, if I left my phone, I would have to fly back just to get it.”

“Another reason why I became even less materialistic now is that I always lose stuff,” she added with a

The singer travels in comfort regardless if the trip

laugh. “Like, I would buy a decent pair of sunglasses

is for work or for leisure. This, she said, is perhaps

and that would only last me a couple of months,

what she learned in her line of work, and she believes

because I’d eventually lose them during a trip. So,

it benefits her health. She wouldn’t hesitate using

the more stuff you carry, the harder to keep track of

shopping money to either upgrade her plane seat,


book a hotel with a good location, or spend it on an experience available on that particular trip.

Traveling Light

“But when it’s a vacation where I’m traveling with my

That learning experience also taught her pack light

husband Carlos na sobrang matipid, there’s no choice

by bringing only the things she would really use. Her

but to travel in economy, as in coach,” she admitted.

travel essentials include a neck pillow and blanket

“You can’t make him travel in business class.”




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All Around the World Say the name of a place in Europe or Asia or in the

Rachel Alejandro with husband Carlos Santamaria at the Taj Mahal

Philippines, and chances are Alejandro might have been there either for work or leisure. She’s been around Spain, where her husband hails from. One of her recent trips with her aunt and a friend was to Santorini and Athens to see ancient relics and excavations. She loves going into the water, and has gone diving several times with her husband. When they were still dating, they went to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. On their honeymoon, they went to the Maldives. However, she still considers the beaches in the Philippines the best in the world.

Istanbul, Turkey

One of the experiences that she considers to be a major life event was the shark encounter during a trip to South Africa. “I was on the boat while my husband was inside a steel cage underwater, and the Great White shark was like a few feet away. I would recommend a trip to South Africa. It’s the best place for food and value for money. For me, the safari experience teaches you a lot, and the best time to go there is in wintertime. The animals won’t be hiding a lot,” she shared.

Santorini, Greece

But even though she’s been to so many places, there are still travel destinations she hasn’t ticked off of her list. “My number one bucket-list destination of all time has always been Egypt,” she said. “For some reason, it’s a place I feel like I’m connected to, but I really can’t explain why. I’ve always been interested in Egyptian culture and art. I’d also love to visit Jordan, especially Petra. Another dream destination is to dive the Tubbataha Reefs in Palawan.”

Louvre Museum, Paris




ibis Bangkok Riverside is designed for value-conscious travellers.

Exploring the City of Angels Bangkok first-timers chart a memorable weekend experience By Ruby As oy- Leba jo

Creating an authentic travel experience in Bangkok is a must. Well-known for its vibrant street life and cultural landmarks, it isn’t surprising why Thailand’s capital is a favorite destination for many foreign tourists. Its attractions are endless: dazzling temples, thrilling tuk-tuk rides, boats to the floating market or just to cross the Chao Phraya River, shopping sprees at chic emporiums, and tasting culinary delights with their fresh and unforgettable flavors, savored at either fine dining restaurants or street-side stall. It is an amazing place with something for everyone. If you are a first-timer here, exploring the city without a guide is part of the challenge. How many charming and unforgettable locations will you find without losing your way? It’s fun to make your way around in a foreign country and return safely to the comfort of your hotel at the end of the day. That is truly an accomplishment. This is what we discovered on a trip to the City of Angels, in partnership with the Erawan Group, ibis, and Mercure Thailand. True enough, a fun-filled getaway here is accessible at almost every street corner.


Wat Pho is one of Bangkok’s oldest temples. (Photo By Stephanie Tumampos)

Conquering Chatuchak

Stunning Temples

A must for any shopaholic is Chatuchak weekend

Any tour of Bangkok’s temples should start at Wat Pho.

market. It has everything you can ever want from all

It’s one of the largest temple complexes in the city, and

over Thailand. And yes, you have to haggle to get a

is famous for its giant reclining Buddha that measures


46 meters long and is covered in gold leaf.

Easily accessible by BTS Skytrain, it is best to designate

The Grand Palace is one of the most visited places, and

a meeting place near the market’s entrance where you

is probably the most stunning attraction in the city. Built

can all gather after exploring the markets many alleys.

in 1782, it served as the home of Thai kings and the royal

For almost half a day, we discovered outstanding finds

court for 150 years. It now welcomes millions of visitors

that we all wanted to bring home.

each year coming from all parts of the world. Wat Phra Kaew, the temple inside the Grand Palace, is where you

If you are going there, wear light and comfortable

will find the Phra Kaew Morakot, or the Emerald Buddha,

clothing and shoes. Protect yourself against the sun

a sacred image carved from a single block of emerald.

by wearing sunglasses and a hat, and use sunscreen liberally. Bring enough cash. Most vendors do not accept

Since our hotel is located by the river, the trip would be

credit cards. Beware of pickpockets, and watch your

incomplete without experiencing the magnificent Chao


Phraya River at least once. We spent a relaxing evening there after touring the city.




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Outdoor buffet setup at ibis Bangkok Riverside.

Comfor t at the Best Price

access, refrigerator, tea and coffee making facilities,

Our home in Bangkok was the ibis Bangkok Riverside, one

hotel also has a revolutionary bedding concept called

of the economy brands of AccorHotels, which promises

Sweet Bed by ibis. It also has three spacious function

modernity, comfort and service at the best price.

rooms for up to 100 persons.

Located by the banks of the Chao Phraya River, it offers

Taste, its all-day dining venue, reinvents tapas with new

outstanding value and beautiful river views. Situated close

flavors and authentic local dishes. The Lobby Bar serves

to the BTS Sky Train, which will whisk you into the heart

a wide selection of snacks and refreshments, while

of the city in minutes, it is also a short ferry ride from the

room service is available 24 hours a day. A highlight of

riverfront lifestyle shopping and dining venue, Asiatique,

the hotel is a fabulous riverfront swimming pool set in

and close to many other cultural highlights including the

a beautiful garden, and a petanque field for fun with the

glittering Grand Palace.


ibis Bangkok Riverside has 266 cozy, contemporary

Created in 1974, the ibis hotel chain is now the European

rooms with double or twin beds, a desk, LCD TV with

leader in economy brands and the fourth largest chain in

international channels, complimentary Wi-Fi Internet

its category worldwide, with over 1,060 hotels and 135,000

Delectable mango sticky rice

personal safe and hairdryer for a comfortable stay. The

Fabulous riverfront al fresco dining

Cozy and contemporary room 61

rooms in 64 countries. The Mercure Bangkok Siam, the seventh midscale Mercure property in Thailand, and ibis Bangkok Siam, the ninth economy ibis in the country, two hotels located in the central Siam area, provide guests with convenient access to all of the city’s top shopping, dining and entertainment venues. Mercure Bangkok Siam has 189 rooms with a contemporary design, fully equipped facilities, complimentary Wi-Fi Internet access, three meeting rooms for up to 126 delegates, a swimming pool, fitness center, and the Sky Bar. Privilege rooms come with a coffee machine, a variety of local teas, additional

Mercure Bangkok Siam seafood buffet

bathrobes and amenities, and an iPod dock. Guests also enjoy exclusive access to the Executive Club with its all-day refreshments, business center facilities and an outdoor terrace. The Mercure’s signature restaurant, The Eight, is named after its location, and services guests from both hotels. This all-day dining outlet features an extensive menu of local and international cuisines with indoor and outdoor terrace dining. On the other hand, ibis Bangkok Siam has 189 modern rooms equipped with LCD TV, a fridge and complimentary Wi-Fi Internet access. All rooms also offer newly upgraded beds that are supremely comfortable. The hotel’s Quick

SO Sofitel, Sofitel, Fairmont, onefinestay, MGallery by

Bite restaurant is open day and night, offering round-

Sofitel, Pullman, and Swissôtel; the popular midscale

the clock light meals. Guests also have access to the

and boutique brands of 25hours, Novotel, Mercure, Mama

swimming pool and fitness center facilities at no extra

Shelter and Adagio; the much-prized economy brands


including JO&JOE, ibis, ibis Styles, ibis budget; and the regional brands Grand Mercure, The Sebel and hotelF1.

AccorHotels, the world’s leading hotel operator, is present in 95 countries with more than 4,000 hotels and

With so many places to see and so many hotels to stay in,

240,000 employees. Its portfolio comprises internationally

only one thing is certain: a return to Bangkok is needed to

acclaimed luxury brands including Raffles, Sofitel Legend,

discover more of its many attractions.




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A Museum Without Walls Gyeongju City is at the center of ancient Silla dynasty Text and photos by MA. GLAIZA LEE

One of the reconstructed buildings of the Donggung Palace

The tomb is part of the Gyeongju Historic Area, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that embodies the history and culture of Gyeongju. This southern Korean province is relatively small in terms of population and geographic size, compared to the other Korean provinces. However, its size doesn’t mean it is lacking. The small city has big treats to offer. Anapji is a gorgeous pond inside Donggung Palace, where the Crown Prince of United Silla Kingdom resided.

“Did he just say Kim Shin?” a female tourist asked her companion, referring to the fictional general who was turned into a goblin in the recent hit Korean drama. Shaking his head, her companion replied: “You’ve heard it wrong. The lady guide said General Kim Yushin, not Kim Shin. He was known as the hero of Silla Kingdom, which is one of the three ancient kingdoms of Korea.” The two friends were visiting the Tomb of Kim Yushin, a large tomb measuring roughly 30 meters in diameter. Surrounding the tomb are the relief carvings of the gods of the Oriental zodiac. The grandeur and elaborateness of the tomb underscore the great contributions of the late general in unifying the Three Kingdoms.




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Into the Silla Kingdom Touring this historic place is not as complicated as one would think. All you need is a means of going around and a sense of adventure. There are city buses that stop at major tourist sites. But the best way is by bicycle. Bike rental shops are everywhere in the downtown area. The fee ranges from 5,000 to 7,000 won for a whole day. The streets around the historic sites are sights to behold. Take, for instance, the street leading to General Kim Yushin’s tomb, called Heungmu-ro, which is considered one of the 100 Most Beautiful Streets in Korea. When spring comes, cherry blossoms give the street a scenic view: just imagine the beautiful, romantic scene of petals falling down when the breeze blows as you take a walk or go for a drive. Most structures and artifacts during the Silla Kingdom,

Cheonmachong or Heavenly Horse Tomb got its name from a pair of birch bark saddle flaps painted with a flying horse that were excavated inside the tomb.

the longest dynastic period in Korean history, with its 56 kings ruling over a span of 992 years, became important treasures, not only of Gyeongju, but of Korea. Gyeongju, which was the capital of Silla Kingdom, has 52 designated cultural assets. One of the enduring structures in Silla is the Cheomseongdae, which literally means Stargazing Tower. Measuring 9.17-meters high, with the base stone on each side at about 5.35-meters, it is the world’s oldest surviving astronomical observatory tower. Designated as National Treasure No. 31 in 1962, it was once used for observing the stars to forecast the weather. The pavilion stone was used to decide the directions, where north, south, east and west are, and determined when the vernal equinox, autumnal equinox, winter solstice and summer solstice they would be. The cylindrical-shaped structure made from granite blocks has 12 blocks at its lowest level, signifying the months of the year. There are 30 levels representing the number of days in a month. The whole structure has 362 blocks, symbolizing the total number of days in a lunar year, including the leap day. At night, this is a good spot to watch the stars. Unobscured by city lights and tall skyscrapers, the evening stars twinkle amid the autumn sky.

A Walk Down Historical Lanes A stone’s throw away is the Banwolseong, or Half-Moon Fortress, a crescent-shaped set of earthworks that marks the site of an old Silla royal palace. In spring, beautiful cherry blossoms give shade to the old palace site, while the surrounding is transformed into fields of bright yellow rape flowers. Turn east of Cheomseongdae to find one of the most beautiful ponds in Korea, Anapji Pond. Constructed during the reign of King Munmu in 674, this gorgeous manmade feature was once a favorite relaxation spot for Silla kings. During the day, you can closely observe the architectural details. But at night, the whole place transforms into a magical diorama. The pond and its surrounding structures make for one of Korea’s most photogenic night scenes. While touring around Gyeongju, notice the round burial mounds, locally called tumuli. There are about 200 tumuli in Gyeongju, but the best place to see them is at Daereungwon, a huge park complex housing 23 tumuli, which is probably the largest concentration of mounds from Silla Kingdom in one area. Only a few of the tombs are unidentified, including the


They say that you have to find the golden pig inside the temple and touch it to make your wish come true.

Seated gilt-bronze Amitabha Buddha from the Unified Silla period, designated as National Treasure No. 27

Michuwangneung Tomb, the final resting place of King Michu, the 13th ruler of the Silla dynasty. Then, there is the Cheonmachong, a burial site named after the Cheonmado (Heavenly Horse) painting that was excavated from the tomb in 1973. The burial site is believed to be the tomb of an unknown Silla king who reigned in the 5th century. When it was excavated, over 10,000 artifacts were found, including the Geumgwan, the largest and most magnificent of the Silla gold crowns found to date. The excavated artifacts from Cheonmachong, as well as those from Anapji Pond, are exhibited at Gyeongju National Museum. Housing the permanent collection of the Silla kingdom’s most expansive and valuable treasures, the museum’s regular exhibits are open to the public. At the museum, check out the Seongdeokdaewangsinjong (Divine Bell of King Seongdeok), a giant bronze temple bell made in the 8th century, as well as the Buddhist art from the Silla period and the intricate model of the nine-story wooden pagoda of Hwangnyongsa Temple.

Temple Run If you are planning to stay in Gyeongju for several days or even just a weekend, devote a day for a temple tour. From the bus stop across the Gyeongju Intercity Terminal,




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A huge bronze bell inside the temple

take Bus No. 10 or 11 and get off at Bulguksa Temple. On the slopes of Mt. Toham lies the Buddhist monastery of Bulguksa and the Seokguram Grotto, both of which are designated UNESCO World Cultural Heritage sites. Constructed in 774, Bulguksa, which means Temple of the Buddhist Country, is a large complex built with exquisite masonry, reflecting its role as the spiritual and cultural backbone of the Silla Kingdom. It sits upon a high stone platform, connected to the ground by a stone staircase, which was believed to be the link between the temporal world (ground floor) and the spiritual world (the raised area of the temple). If you visit the temple, look for the six National Treasures that can only be found here, such as the Dabotap and Seokgatap pagodas located in front of the Daeungjeon Hall in the main courtyard, the marvelous stone staircases leading to the main precinct, and the two Silla-era bronze Buddhas. From the Bulguksa, take Bus No. 12 to Seokguram Grotto. This site houses the 3.5-meter tall Seokgamoni Buddha that has been delicately carved of rough granite. A tour around Gyeongju will always be filled with history lessons, remembering the years gone by and experiencing what this Korean southern city has to offer.



Picture Perfect Photos by Vittorio B a rba

Cable Car, Lisbon, May 2015



”The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” ~ Marcel Proust

Biarritz, France, 2015



Rue de Rivoli, Paris, April 2015

Old Man and the Sea, Etretat, France

“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller




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La Tour, Paris, November 2015

Currimao, Ilocos Norte, Philippines, December 2013




One of the best

Jerome Santos presents the SME Company of the Year Finalist plaque of recognition to Nikki Tang.

B y Suzette Jes sica

What is the best recognition an entrepreneur could receive for his business endeavor? For DMark Corporation CEO and beauty-preneur Nikki Tang, being chosen as finalist in the SME Company of the Year Award in the 2017 Asia CEO Awards was definitely a dream come true. Tang and her team of elite trailblazers were recognized for their outstanding achievement in their organization and contribution in the industry. The citation placed her firm among the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that exemplified excellence and impressive growth in the

Former Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, AmCham Philippines Executive Director Ebb Hinchliffe, Belo Medical Group founder and medical director Dr. Vicki Belo, Nikki Tang and Marco Polo Davao Director of Sales and Marketing Pearl Peralta-Maclang

category in the past year.

AmCham Philippines President and Marriott Hotel Manila General Manager Bruce Winton and wife AmCham Philippines Consultant-Corporate Partnership Christina Winton

(Seated) Sterling Paper Group of Companies and SL Agritech Corp. (SLAC) Chairman and CEO Dr. Henry Lim Bon Liong, doctors Wilson Dy and Virginia Tang Dy, (standing) DermAsia Sales and Marketing Manager Charles Mandy, Johnny Litton, Nikki Tang, Katherine Kaw Tang, Constantine Tang, Imono Lovelink Collection Marketing Manager Valerine Tang Hing, and DMARK Corporation Finance Manager Christopher Tang




Truly woke-up-like-this pretty Wo rds By Suzette Je ssica

Eyebrowdery CEO Klarisse Tabao

The Eyebrowdery offers services on permanent yet natural looking makeup to better enhance what is already beautiful

Klarisse Tabao has always had a keen sense of beauty and fashion. Describing herself as naturally kikay, she studied makeup embroidery in Singapore, bringing to the country this unique method of making oneself pretty. In fact, the method is quite popular in fashion-forward Singapore, South Korea, Hong Kong and Japan, among others. Tabao’s The Embroidery uses the latest 3D technology for permanent beauty solutions. Services range from eyebrow tinting, waxing, threading, shaving, plucking, manicure, pedicure, eyelashes extension and many more. With materials that are sourced from natural plant extracts that are organic, environment-friendly and 100 percent safe, clients are assured of only the best.




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Jay Alvarez, Fr. Jefferson Agustin, Guatemala Consul Mellie Ablaza and husband Zambia Consul Louie Ablaza, and Joy Romero

Brazilian Ambassador Rodrigo do Amaral Souza and Panamanian Ambassador Rolando Guevara Alvarado

Mexican Ambassador Gerardo Lozano Arredondo and Maritza Arciniega

John Hill, US Consul General Russel Brown and French Consul General Christian Hué

A merry Mexican fiesta By Suzette Jessica

When we talk of celebrations, fiestas are top of mind. And what could be more festive than a Mexican-themed birthday party for Guatemala Consul Amelia “Mellie” Ablaza, held at the Ablaza’s grand hacienda in Alfonso, Cavite? With the support of her loving husband Zambia Consul Louie Ablaza and masterminded by her son avant-garde artist and fashion designer Jun Jun Ablaza, it was an evening of dance, music, fashion and art one associates with Latin America. To the delight of her guests, Mellie emerged in an antique gold tunic printed with a portrait of famous Mexican painter Frida Khalo, her head crowned with a garland of blush-colored blooms. Guests enjoyed the Hungarian Deputy Chief of Mission David Ambrus, Ablaza and Kata Kondar

feast of Guatamelan favorites and cocktails, true to her zest for life.




(Seated) Lizia Lu of Israel, Togo Consul Evie Costa, Veronica Jimenez, Angola Consul Helen Ong, Jhazmin Ang, Marissa Arciniega of Mexico, Belarus Consul Annette Ablan, Consular Ball Co-Chairperson Monaco Consul General Dr. Fortune Ledesma, Chairperson Gambia Consul Agnes Huibonhoa, (standing) Togo Deputy Consul Doy Kison, Timor Leste Consul General Lito Jimenez, Dr. Jimmy Laya, incoming Consular Corps of the Philippines Dean Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan Consul Michael Ang, Mexican Ambassador Gerardo Lozano, John Hill, Portugal Consul Tony Rufino, and Russian Ambassador Igor Khovaev

Diplomats party for charity By Suz ette Jes s ic a

Hungary Consul Balazs Ratkai and wife Edith



Veronica Foxley and Chilean Ambassador Jose Miguel Capdevila


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Philippine Hotel Owners Association Inc. president Arthur Lopez, Rotary Club of Manila president Jimmie Policarpio, and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo

Consul Helen Ong, Consular Ball Co-Chairperson Tanzania Consul Betty Chua, U.S. Ambassador Sung Y. Kim, Consul General Dr. Fortune Ledesma, and Consul Agnes Huibonhoa

The 42nd Annual Consular Ball gathered the distinguished men and women of the diplomatic community in the country for an evening of fellowship, goodwill and cooperation at the Rizal Ballroom of Makati Shangri-La Hotel. Spearheaded by Ball chairperson Gambia Consul Agnes Huibonhoa, with the assistance of co-chairs Monaco Consul General Dr. Fortune Ledesma and Tanzania Consul Betty Chua, it was more than just an occasion to party. Close friends and associates of the envoys gave generous contributions that will fund the organization’s fund for emergency relief, and educational and charitable projects. To liven up the night, dance performances and a raffle of luxurious prizes entertained guests.

Brazilian Ambassador Rodrigo do Amaral Souza, Danish Ambassador Jan Top Christensen, and Estonia Consul General Juan Peña

Allar and Lisa Terry with Maria and Michael Ranger

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Manila Field Office Director Thomas Curley and wife Mireille Zarife-Curley, and Johnny Litton




Marco Polo Hotels:

Your Destination in Hong Kong The three stunning waterfront hotels of Marco Polo Hotels

for all rooms; 20 percent savings at restaurants and bars

at Harbor City in Tsim Sha Tsui are ideal destinations for

operated by Marco Polo Hotels–Hong Kong; 20 percent

meetings and special events. Until March 31, booking

savings on laundry and dry cleaning services; one buffet

your event is made even better with an array of exclusive

lunch voucher for two guests at their hotel; group photo

benefits for every 10 rooms booked.

shoot with spectacular Hong Kong harbor view; 5 percent off for the next group stay within 12 months, confirmed

Simply make a confirmed room booking with meeting

before group departure; complimentary two-way Star

arrangement, and for every 10 rooms booked, organizers

Ferry ticket to Central or Wan Chai; executive corporate

can earn an additional benefit of their choosing. The

gift set for VIP; complimentary daily room drop services;

attractive list of benefits includes special offers at

morning Tai Chi master class with minimum two nights

restaurants and bars, complimentary room category

stay; and a one-hour pre-dinner cocktail reception with

upgrades, and professional group photo shoot in front

minimum 50 room nights in conjunction with a banquet

of the stunning Victoria Harbor. These special perks will


enrich the exceptional experience for meeting delegates staying at either Marco Polo Hong Kong Hotel, Gateway

Marco Polo Hong Kong Hotel, Gateway Hotel and Prince

Hotel or Prince Hotel.

Hotel are conveniently located at the transportation hub of Canton Road in Tsim Sha Tsui district. Equipped with

Extra benefits that could be selected include: two

more than 20 magnificent function rooms, the hotels are

complimentary room upgrades to the next room category;

ideal for all kinds of events and meetings supported by

60 minutes of free-flow soft drinks, in conjunction with a

seamless service. For group bookings, call (852) 2113-

banquet event; one themed coffee break, in conjunction

3239 or email mice.hkh@marcopolohotels.com. For more

with a meeting event; complimentary in-room mini bar

information, visit marcopolohotels.com.




A Grand Ball for Beauty Experts Solta Medical, the global leader in the medical

Solta Medical held recently the prestigious Black

aesthetics market providing innovative, safe, and

Diamond Gala Night for its clients at the Shangri-

effective solutions for patients that enhance and expand

La Hotel at The Fort. The event was attended by

the practice of medical aesthetics for physicians,

leading figures from the top aesthetic clinics in the

celebrates beauty and science using Liposonix.


Liposonix is a non-surgical treatment to reduce waist

Among those present at the event were (third, from

circumference with advanced high-intensity focused

left) Christopher Cachuela, senior sales & marketing

ultrasound (HIFU) technology to permanently destroy

manager, Solta Medical; with (from left) Dr. Jennie

targeted fat beneath the skin. It is a quick and easy non-

Francisco–Diaz, head doctor of Skin 101; Dr. Michelle

invasive fat reduction procedure that helps you reach

Nuñez from Oracle Korean Aesthetic Clinic; and Dr.

your personal shape goals without hampering your daily

Clarissa Cellona, founder, SkinCell clinics.

activities. For more information about Solta Medical, visit http:// In recognition of its partners in the Philippines,




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Articles inside


pages 82-86

A Museum Without Walls

pages 67-70

The Good Life

pages 77-81

Exploring the City of Angels

pages 62-66

Frequent Flyer

pages 58-61

Bewitched in Siquijor

pages 54-57

Where the Whale Sharks Swim

pages 50-53

Villas with a View

pages 43-46

Have Baby, Will Travel

pages 47-49

Close Encounters

pages 39-42

Lakeside Getaways at Hamptons Caliraya

pages 36-38

Medical City, Maxicare Partner for TMC Partner Care

pages 34-35

Renaissance Man

pages 32-33

Real Beauty Is Within Reach

page 31

Pretty Healthy

pages 20-21

Balancing Hormones for Optimal Health

pages 24-26

Ultimate Relaxation

page 27

Green Gold

page 19

Java Jive

pages 14-15

Fusion Power

pages 22-23

Your Best Face Forward with

page 28

Surfing Days, Wine Nights

pages 16-18
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