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Filipinas ‘Dutch’ it up Getting into the sari-sari store business Wet and wild at La Tomatina The return of Bohol

In the heart of Europe: Our best tips on travel and living in Belgium








On the cover Bernadette de Leener Model Photography by Robin Kuijs Makeup by June Obligado

ISSUE 12 Summer 2015 7 Editor’s Note

9 Events 11 News

BUSINESS 12 Column:

Managing Risks

13 Starting a sari-sari

store in the Philippines

FEATURES 18 Filipina expats show

how they ‘Dutch’ it up in the Netherlands

21 Filipino artists in the



26 Belgium is more than a transit point





← TRAVEL 34 ←

Publisher and Managing Editor Dheza Marie Aguilar Editor-in-chief Diana Uy

Getting wet and wild at the Tomato Festival in Spain

38 ←

Things to do on Guernsey island

42 ←

Bohol gets back to its feet

48 ←

Creative Director Robin Kuijs Art Director Alden Joshua Cedo


Contributing Writers: Michael Ibanez, Cristina Ilao, Glaiza Lee, Cherry Mae Mulingtapang, Maan Pamaran, Rica Unico Santos, Dolly Dy-Zulueta Contributing Photographers: Pranz Kaeno Billones, Rafael Zulueta The Filipino Expat Magazine Published 4 times a year

Check in: Amelie Hotel brings back the bohemian vibe of old Manila


The opinions expressed in The Filipino Expat magazine do not represent the views of The Filipino Expat company. While we have exhausted every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, neither The Filipino Expat nor its editors, contributors and staff will accept any responsibility for any omission, typographical or printing errors, inaccuracies or changes however caused. Our editorial and creative teams reserve the right to edit any material submitted at our discretion. All texts, photos and graphics have been used with the permission of the author or artists. All rights are reserved. No part of this publication may be duplicated or reproduced in a whole in any form or by any means without the publisher’s prior written permission. Comments and complaints should be addressed to:

← TASTE 51 ← 56 ←

The Publisher The Filipino Expat Magazine Lorentzlaan 74 3112KP Schiedam The Netherlands Telephone +31 (0) 39311392 Email Website

Madrid Fusion comes to Manila

Viverra cafe serves artisanal Filipino coffee




GET YOUR FREE COPIES FROM THE FOLLOWING OUTLETS: Amsterdam Sunro Remittance Rotterdam Pinoy Village Sari-sari store Carried by LVM and Pinoy Balikbayan Box to clients in Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands Madrid Pinoy Central Remittance - Cosmo Cash and Carry Barcelona Cosmo Cash and Carry - Centro Filipino Philippine Consulate - BPI - Mitch Salon Mona Salon London Pinoy Supermarket - Lakwatsa Bubble Tea Lounge Kalesa Restaurant - BPI Europe - The Filipino Channel (TFC) - Manila Supermarket - Tindahang Pinoy Lutong Pinoy restaurant Birmingham Click2Market Filipino store - Fiesta Salon Belfast TEN Foundations CafĂŠ I just recently got hold of the Filipino Expat magazine. One afternoon, my boss had a handful of magazines. The Filipino Expat magazine caught my eye. It was the 1st anniversary issue. With no second thoughts, I borrowed it and with much excitement, read it from cover to cover. As a newcomer here in Spain, I had no idea that there was a magazine like this. Nobody told me. I was so happy reading the magazine page by page. I believe that it links all Filipinos here in Europe --the stories, ideas and content as a whole are very inspiring. The magazine serves as a platform for sharing and exchanging our unforgettable experiences, memories, triumphs, failures and challenges as we journey through Europe. I love reading it. It eases the stress during the long trips going to work. Merely holding a copy of it makes me proud to be a Pinoy. Thank you, Filipino Expat magazine for connecting all Filipinos especially here in Europe, creating one culture and promoting unity and excellent reputation for Filipinos here. Mabuhay! - Liza Lagrimas Barcelona, Spain




Brussels Small World Remittance - FilBelge Titres-Services Philippine Embassy Oostende Asia Trade store Rome RCBC Rome - BPI Rome - Megaworld IRemit Remittance - Philippine Embassy Jeepney Travel Rome Sardinia Philippine Consulate Paris Arbilo Gallery, Amihan Travel Odense Asian Store and Balikbayan Box Berlin Philippine Embassy - MA Transworld Remittance Oslo Asean World Travel The Filipino Expat Magazine also sends complimentary copies to all Filipino embassies and consulates in Europe. We also have an increasing number of subscribers.

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Be one our partner distributors and enjoy free advertising placements. Email




When I think of summer, I think of the beach. I remember one summer spent in Madrid, and the city was like a ghost town. Later, I found out that most Madrilenos are usually out of town during summer, spending their days near bodies of water. I felt a pang of jealousy, wondering what I was doing in the city. One time, I went with friends for a day trip to El Escorial. On our way back to the town proper where we would catch our bus going back to the city, we passed by a stream. I will never forget my surprise and fascination at seeing so many people, in their bathing suits, hanging around a stream like that, enjoying themselves. My initial thought then was to join them. What stopped me was the realization that I didn't bring any swimming attire with me. The dusty shorts and shirt I was wearing that day were all I had. That memory happened many years ago. But the lessons I learned that day from the Spanish people is something that I carry with me to this day: 1) Summers should be spent by the beach and, 2) Always bring a swimsuit with you. Now, I don't follow these advice religiously. And I agree that there are still many other ways to spend summer especially for those who are not particularly fond of the beach. This issue, we feature a few getaways for those who are still thinking where to spend the hot summer days. Publisher Dheza Kuijs, together with her husband and creative director Robin, travel to

Belgium to give us some tips on what to do and where to go in this beautiful country. During their trip, they meet with Filipino expats who share with them the advantages and disadvantages of living in the land of beer and chocolates and the home of the famous Pissing Boy. New contributor Cristina Ilao shares the perfect day spent on Guernsey island, Europe's offshore financial centre located off the south coast of the UK. Almost two years ago, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck Bohol, a popular Philippine tourist destination. Maan Pamaran revisits the province and examines the progress that's been made by the locals. The people of Bohol have since rebuilt its natural and historical landmarks like the tarsier sanctuary and century-old churches, respectively. Maan reports, “All's going along well.” Glaiza Lee checks out the newly opened Amelie Hotel in Malate, Manila to give us a glimpse of its interiors hinting of art deco and modern minimalist designs. The hotel aims to bring back the once bohemian vibe of Manila. Of course, don't miss our other stories including those of Filipinas who are “Dutching” it up in Holland, our coverage on the much-celebrated Madrid Fusion Manila, and the opening of the Viverra coffee shop, among others. Have an enjoyable and fun summer! All the best,




Maan Pamaran

Glaiza Lee

Rica Santos

Maan writes freelance for several publications, focusing on travel, food, and entertainment. Her unofficial advocacy is to promote Filipino culture to the rest of the world. She loves the company of people and animals, who seem to love her back. Bohol is one of her travel recommendations to anyone who asks.

Glaiza Lee became a writer because she loves being able to escape into imaginary worlds she created through words. But her travels are not limited to make-believe places. In reality, she can rough it up. She loves backpacking around different destinations, eating exotic food and experiencing life to the fullest.

Rica Unico Santos is a proud homosexual who advocates LGBT rights in the Netherlands through her radio program on Pinoy Radio Netherlands. She has a bachelor’s degree in languages and culture from the University of Utrecht. She did minor courses on international law, political development and migration in Melbourne, Australia.

Cristina Ilao



Rafael Zulueta

Cristina Ilao is a Filipina expat currently residing on Guernsey island. Despite her busy schedule, she loves travelling around Europe, sampling different cuisines and taking photographs of scenic landscapes. She also blogg about her adventures on www.

Dolly Dy-Zulueta is the writer and recipe developer behind She studied culinary and baking courses at the Center for Asian Culinary Studies in the Philippines, on top of the other cooking classes she took in other cooking institutes. She has been editor of Flavors magazine for 14 years. She also handles the Weekend Chef column of TV5's She is a resident foodie of www.herword. com. She writes for Asian Dragon magazine, too. As chief photographer of Flavors Magazine for 14 years, Rafael R. Zulueta has mastered the art of food photography. He also does a lot of travel photography these days, but his training in lifestyle publications also includes fashion, beauty, news, personalities, product shots, event coverage and creative photography. Among his special projects are recipe books for the U.S. Potato Board, California Raisins and California Grapes as well as cover photography for a number of cookbooks under Anvil Publishing. He takes photographs for his wife’s website,, and now contributes regularly to Asian Dragon Magazine and TV5’s, among others.

Cherry Mae Mulingtapang Cherry Mae Mulingtapang is a freelance journalist and Milan correspondent for ABS-CBN’s Balitang Global. 8




P-NOISE 2015 Aug 25-30 Copenhagen, Denmark

P-Noise is a platform for artists from the Philippines to showcase their contemporary works in Scandinavia. The festival aims to present Filipino cultures and identity in its broadest and most genuine form. Live performances and art exhibition in Dansehallerne await guests on Aug. 29. Among the featured guests and artists are Carlos Celdran, a cultural activist; popular band Sinosikat?, and Lilibeth Cuenca Rasmussen, a Danish-Filipina artist. A Filipino Film Festival will be held at Cinemateket. There is also Queer Night, which will be curated by Mix Copenhagen.




July 31- Aug 2 Valetta, Malta

With the president of Malta as guest speaker, ENFiD hosts the 2nd European Regional Overseas Filipino Conference with the theme Overseas Filipinos Make a Self-Assessment (Ako ay Overseas Filipino, Ganito Ako Ngayon, Paano Ako Bukas). The project aims to strengthen the Filipino-European identity to harness the development impact of the socio-cultural and psychoemotional remittance of overseas Filipinos in Europe. Venue is in San Antonio Hotel, Triq it-Turisti, Qawra, St. Paul’s Bay, Malta. Contact +356 2350 2302 or visit


Appellation of Origin: The Philippines is a celebration of Filipino artistry and imagination in the form of crafts unique to Philippine Culture. This year focuses on Philippine fabrics and the fascinating tradition of weaving and design that bring them to life. Visit their Facebook page for more information.



Sep 6 Paris



This year’s charity ball features acclaimed Swedish composer and saxophonist Anders Paulsson as its guest performer. Filipino Actor and singer John Arcilla will also perform. Email vangierebot@ or visit www.

The first of its kind, this annual event features a team of hair and makeup artists, professional fashion designers, international models, photographers and videographers showcasing their talents in freestyle makeup and modeling, mixing traditional and neoteric fashion designs. Proceeds of the event will go to areas in the Philippines struck by calamities. For more information, visit their Facebook page.




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FILIPINOEXPAT The Filipino Expat Magazine is redefining Filipino publications in Europe. Combining quality journalism with visually engaging design, The Filipino Expat is the first travel and living magazine that highlights the lives of Filipinos in Europe and the most beautiful destinations in their home countries. Our stories inspire readers to travel and discover the world and uplift the image of Filipinos as global citizens. Veering away from politics, show business and sensational stories, The Filipino Expat provides discerning readers with wanderlust and a renewed sense of pride as a Filipino. Never miss an issue again. Subscribe to The Filipino Expat via or email your name and address to and have the magazine delivered straight to your doorsteps. Our magazine is free and you only have to pay a minimal postage fee of â‚Ź12 for The Netherlands and â‚Ź20 for the rest of Europe. #11 2015 | FILIPINO EXPAT MAGAZINE




CALL TO DIGITAL ACTION PLDT and Smart Communications (Smart) Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan urged top executives from leading companies in the Philippines and Southeast Asia to work together in accelerating the shift of of Filipino consumers to the digital life. “Filipino history, to this point, has been defined by physical movements. We have migrated from the Philippines and into other countries in search of temporary work or permanent settlement. The next period of our history is being defined by this digital movement. It’s our role to get more and more Filipinos online and give them the best technologies available on it,” he said during the first Digital Disruptors’ Ball held in Shangri-la Makati, Philippines. According to Pangilinan, consumers the world over experience dramatically different kinds of digital life. He wants to fast track to the

rich world of digital life, which includes apps, content, and the internet. Pangilinan feels that this transition is of historical importance and that it will ultimately benefit the Filipino consumer. “Extending these technologies to the Filipino consumer is a form of empowerment. It makes their digital lives richer, more convenient, and infinitely more enjoyable,” Pangilinan said. Pangilinan challenged the executives in attendance to take the lead on this digital migration by striking partnerships and developing synergies with one another. The event had a short program outside of Pangilinan’s keynote and short audiovisual presentations from free internet platform SafeZone and Smart e-Money Inc., which is soon launching a fin-tech platform, so that the leaders present could freely network and socialize.

Manny V. Pangilinan, chairman, PLDT and Smart.

STYLISH MOBILE POWER SUPPLY The idea for SunnyBAG came in 2000s when aid agencies like Doctors Without Borders needed a power supply for their medical devices in conflict areas around the world. In case of emergencies, solar bags can save lives by charging laptops and defibrillators in areas without connection to power supplies. SunnyBAG develops fashionable shoulder bags and backpacks with flexible, water- and scratchproof solar panels. This panels produce electricity with the help of sunlight – even when the weather is bad. Smartphones, MP3 players, navigation systems, tablets, etc. can be charged anytime. It’s mobile and environment- friendly. The panel absorbs sunlight and converts it into power. You can also save the energy in a power stick and use the power later as needed. The charging time for a full smartphone load is two to three hours. In cloudy weather or low light conditions the charging time for the SunnyBAG increases accordingly but the SunnyBAG power stick still gets charged. SunnyBAGs are sold in Austria, Germany, and Silicon Valley, USA.




by Francisco Colayco ne of the fundamental rules in investing is to focus on managing risks. The reason for this lies in the need to weigh certainty versus uncertainty in any situation. Managing risks takes on many forms depending on the type/s of risk an investment carries. The challenge is to recognize which ones apply to a particular investment and then take action to mitigate the same. Mitigating risk may not guarantee achieving the expected returns, but, not addressing attendant risks is a sure guarantee of failure. The one true and effective tool to reduce risk is free. It’s time. The longer the time we keep our money invested, the lower the risk. The longer the investment period, the more powerful compounding works, the higher the return. Time coupled with smart investing strategy further reduces risks and increases effective return, at times to exponential proportions. “Do not put your eggs in one basket” is a rule we are told all the time. Spread your risks, diversify, allocate your investments in different asset classes. These are all sound advice. But if your investible fund is limited, can you really achieve true diversification? Most likely not. If your plan is to directly invest in the stock market and build you own portfolio, you would more likely want to be invested in at least 10 to 20 issues. This plan would require that you put up at least P1 million to get started. And you have to be prepared to keep this money invested for at least five years. It must therefore be with money you do not and will not need. Never, never should you use borrowed money! At our “Pera Mo, Palaguin Mo!” radio program in the Philippines,we advise the general public of current investment opportunities as well as warn them on questionable offerings. One of these is Emgoldex, a networking operation involving “mini gold bars.” The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) just announced that Emgoldex is not duly registered and therefore illegal and most probably, a scam. Buying physical gold is an accepted investment and buying by the gram is not new. Generally, unit prices are much higher than the prevailing prices of gold. This is understandable as clearly retail or “tingi” prices have to be higher than wholesale prices. The cost of the product packaging alone already drives the unit prices higher. There are actually quite a number of such companies in the U.S and Europe. Buying and selling of rare gold coins is a subset of this industry. They are legitimate as a trading endeavor. However, one cannot expect exponential returns overnight. The “bet” here is that over time, prices of gold will beat inflation by a mile! Again, the critical variable is time. You cannot expect to substantially grow your investment here short term –certainly not in the magnitude of five times your


money in a few months. Why then do people want to invest in something like Emgoldex? In the case of Emgoldex and other similar companies, networking has been adopted as the marketing and distribution system. Creative incentive schemes based on binary system for rewards are being touted to provide investors extremely high yields. A net working structure is being used to push this precious metal in “micro” scale. A lot of hype is created that attracts investors because of the promise of high returns with small amount of money. The cost of joining is so affordable. These are all red flags because the underlying asset (gold) cannot provide such returns on short term. Because the product (though micro) is gold, people tend to assume that it is easily tradeable, i.e., that it is really a liquid investment as it is easy to sell. Is it really? The company that was introduced to me was giving a buy back guarantee. The only issue was that their buy back price was always lower than the buying price. There was also the added concern of the cost of logistics. There are still many other concerns that for lack of space, I cannot take up in this article. Suffice it to say that in these types of offerings, you have to be guided by the following questions: a) What product will the investor get when he joins the marketing network? Is the amount he is paying commensurate to the actual value of the product he is getting? Or, is he just getting the promise of profit by recruiting new members as his downline? b) How is profit generated by the proposed method of doing business? The business model must clearly define the method and source of the profit that is paid out to the investor. c) Is there really good margin in the cost and selling price of the product? Is this margin sufficient to fund the high return offered to the investor? d) What is the distribution structure? Is this direct uni-level selling? Multi-level? e) What is the system base of the rewards program i.e. binary? Is the method realistic and practical? f) Who is the end buyer and user of the product? In networking, which is a sound marketing and distribution system (networking per se is not an investment), creative programs can mask the true source of cash payouts. In the case of scams or pyramiding, the source of returns is really the cash flow generated from recruitment of new members. Visit Our books and e-books are also available in various websites: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Flipreads, Kobo, Google Play, Buqo, and Apple ibooks. For your relatives and friends in the Philippines, encourage them to listen to Pera Mo, Palaguin Mo! at 11am every Monday on DZXL 558AM radio. Watch Pisobilitties RealiTV every Tuesday 830pm on Light Network Channel 33 and every Saturday GMA News TV11 at 630am. ←


SARI-SARI STORE: THE FILIPINO CONVENIENCE STORE Text by Miguel Ibanez Photos by Pranz Kaeno Billones Convenience stores are located almost everywhere. Each country has its own version since it is established by enterprising individuals based on the necessity of the community or area. It is also influenced by the local culture where it is operated. Compared to groceries and supermarkets, convenience stores carry a limited variety of merchandise. In

terms of size, it is smaller because fewer products means small selling area. In the Philippines, its version of a convenience store is called a "sari-sari" (variety) store. And like most convenience stores, a sari-sari store always sells in retail, or tingi in Filipino. It may sound like an ordinary concept to consumers but here lies the difference. For instance, convenience stores abroad will sell say,

a 50ml bottle of shampoo in retail. But in the Philippines, you can buy shampoo in 5ml or 10ml sachets. Here's another twist in the Pinoy sarisari store compared to the conventional convenience store: even if customers will buy several pieces of the same item, it still won't be offered in wholesale price. In fact, even supermarkets in the Philippines also sell items in retail that can be sold in #12 2015 | FILIPINO EXPAT MAGAZINE



sari-sari stores. In an article on, Rey Calooy revealed how he started his business empire, RNC Marketing, through the tingi concept in the early 90s. According to him, he used one sealer and rolls of plastic to manually repack certain products that were sold on retail. This micro-packing business drew many clients which grew Calooy's business. He discovered that there are three reasons why the tingi or retail concept became widely accepted by his clients. First of all, retail products are more affordable than those purchased in bigger quantities. Also, most customers who patronize retail products are those "who live by the day" and consume only what they can based on their daily budget. These types of patrons are the target market of sari-sari stores. Since repacked or retail items come in small packages, consumers can easily store it or carry it with them. People on-thego would rather bring with them small portions of toothpaste, hand soaps, or other toiletries rather than those bought in big portions. Similarly, condiments like soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and salt can easily be carried compared to those that come in bottles. The same goes for coffee. Perhaps one factor that Calooy realized


in micro-repacking items that many overlooked was its hygienic purpose. He says that creamer and sugar that are packed in small items would be more hygienic than those placed in jars when served in hotels. ADVANTAGES The advantage of a sari-sari store is that they open earlier than most supermarkets in the Philippines. It is also located almost everywhere. Majority are operated by families, and the store itself is built within their own houses. It could be a former garage space or an unoccupied room that has a window facing the street. In some cases, it is operated 24 hours a day and items are still priced lower than corporate-owned 24-hour convenience stores. It is very rarely that someone would rent a space just to operate a sarisari store. But it is possible and allowed. Since the store is small, customers can only view the products from the outside. Also, it can be manned by one person or a few individuals. With this kind of business setup, the earnings of a sari-sari store almost always go directly to the owner, especially if he or she doesn't employ helpers. Most of the expenses go to the purchase of stocks and payment of utilities and transport fares

if the products are purchased from the nearest supermarket. The norm in sari-sari stores when it comes to sources can be made through direct manufacturers, dealers and subdealers. If a store-owner can purchase their goods directly from manufacturers, he/she would usually get the lowest price by buying in bulk. But they will have to go to where the manufacturer is. Dealers will usually step in to bring the products closer to a sari-sari store simply by placing orders. However, dealers would also place their markups on the products. In some situations, store owners would get their stocks from nearby supermarkets. It's currently becoming a trend for sari-sari stores because supermarkets, sometimes get their products at dealer price. A good practice for sari-sari store-owners is to keep a list of prices and expenses to see whether the right markup is given for a particular item. Markup would usually be around 1.2 percent of the price of the product when it was purchased. So to really earn from a sari-sari store, the operator should always know the current prices of goods, know where the goods can be sourced at a cheaper price, and limit their expenses. CULTURAL One of the reasons why many Filipinos



Sari-sari stores isn't just a micro business. It also serves as a landmark for a small community. In some villages or barangays, a typical sari-sari store has a bench outside and it becomes a venue for a few residents to gather around and talk about current events or gossip in their area.

venture into sari-sari stores is because the cost of investment or the capital needed to start it is not that big. One can open his or her sari-sari store with a capital of P10,000 or about ₏210, or even less. It will depend on how big the store will be, how many products will be offered. Sari-sari stores are not just a form of micro business. It also serves as a community landmark of sorts. In some subdivisions or barangays, a typical sari-sari store has a bench set up outside the store and it becomes a venue for a few residents to gather around and talk about current events or gossip in their area. Inevitably, store owners either get to eavesdrop or get involved in the conversation. If the store is ran by a family, the children are then taught the basics on handling money and stocks. �

To put up your own sari-sari store, the factors to be considered are manpower, capital, and the items you are going to offer to the community. Most sari-sari stores sell food and beverage items, while others would add a small selection of toiletries (soaps, shampoos, toothpaste) or laundry supplies. Do your research. Try to ask neighbours or at least observe what they usually buy from nearby groceries and supermarkets. You can also check the items offered in other sari-sari stores. It's normal to offer some of the items that other stores have. If they ran out of say, a particular brand of soda, customers will surely buy from you if you have it on stock. You should also consider the price of the products. Most sarisari stores in a barangay or subdivision usually have the same price for similar products. Just make sure you'll be able to get products from a source that will give you the right markup to gain enough profit. In some cases, supermarkets will be offering discounts on some of their items. This gives sari-sari stores the opportunity to stock up on products without having to go to and buy from a factory or warehouse. If you are going to operate it on your own, a small store is ideal. This will also help you gauge how many items you can handle. If you'll employ help, that means additional expense. To avoid this, you can ask a relative to help out in exchange for an incentive (free drinks or food from the store, perhaps). Once you're settled on what to sell in your store, the next step is to make it a legal business. In most cases, some would say a barangay or subdivision permit is the first one you should get especially if you are just starting. However, people from the city hall will roam around to check on new stores in their jurisdiction and they would usually give a list of the necessary requirements. A store-owner should register his store's name at the Department of Trade and Industry. Once you have the name registered, it will be part of the business registration to be applied at the Business Permit and Licensing Office (BPLO). The trend in local government units nowadays is that the BPLO is already a one-stop shop for business permit applications. For those who plan to sell liquor, a separate permit is needed from the Liquour License and Regulatory Board (LLRB). In some cases, the fees for securing the permits may be different as well as the annual tax rate depending on which city, the location, and size of the store. These can be paid in quarterly or annual basis. Once you've paid the necessary fees, your permits will be released, including a plate (similar to a vehicle plate) which should be displayed in the store at all times. From there, the store can start selling products and owners can use their creativity to make it look appealing to consumers. Many start out by reusing plastic or glass jars as containers for the food items, cigarettes, etc. Laundry detergents, shampoos, toothpaste, and other items in sachets are usually hung along a steel wire like a curtain. Some items are just placed on top of shelves. Beverages, of course, should always be cold or chilled. Sometimes, beverage manufacturers will let you borrow an upright chiller as long as it contains their products. �






by Rica Unico


There are sure ly a lot of blog gers out there today. But on ly a lucky few get to turn thei blogs into a bo r ok. Among th em are three Filipina expat s: Deepa Pau l, Lana Jelenje and Rina Mae v Acosta. Entitl ed Dutched U Rocking the C p! logs Expat Sty le, the book compiles the d ifferent experie nces, thoughts and observatio , ns of 27 expat/m ommy bloggers on D utch society. 18 FILIPINO EXPAT MAGAZINE | #12 2015

s g o l c e h t g n i k c . e l Ro y t s t a p x e Deepa an d Lana a re both fr Mae, on om the P the other hilippine h and, is an roots. Ea s. Rina American ch of thes w e it authors h h Filipino expertise ave their , allowing o w n t hem to sh areas of the book are uniqu 's central e insights theme. about


CURRY STRUMPET BY DEEPA PAUL Deepa Paul is a writer by profession. Back in the Philippines, giant television network GMA hired her as a copywriter right after she graduated from Ateneo de Manila University with a degree in mass communication. Together with her colleagues, she created advertisement campaigns to promote the network’s new programs. “I was very happy with my career back then because I love working with creative and talented people,” says Deepa. According to her, she enjoyed contributing to the book Dutched Up, because like in GMA 7, writing and editing the book provided her an opportunity to work with equally brilliant and creative bloggers. Deepa wrote “Small talk: Tall tales about being short in the Netherlands.” She cleverly describes her height as a metaphor to how expatriates or immigrants are grasping the daily challenges of fitting in and adjusting to their adoptive countries. The author possesses a natural literary talent combined with impeccable sense of humour, allowing readers to fully understand the complex issues of social exclusion and othering. The article makes you laugh and sad at the same time, somehow changing your views in the most fundamental way. Before Deepa and her husband moved to the Netherlands –her husband got a job at Philips Netherlands –they were first stationed in Singapore due to her husband’s work in Procter and Gamble. Adjusting to new cultures and traditions is not exactly new to her. “In Singapore, I was able to pursue the same career as a I had in the Philippines –a copywriter. Career-wise, I could say that we were very successful. However, I do not actually measure success based on how many digits you have on your paycheck. The Netherlands does not serve me career opportunities on a silver platter like in the Philippines and Singapore. Be that as it may, we are still strategically situated here to travel and see much of Europe,” says Deepa. “When I travel, I discover and learn a lot of things. I get overwhelmed by joy and

excitement for these discoveries that I am compelled to document them through my blog. I am a writer by profession so words and narratives are my great tools not only to capture and freeze those extraordinary moments of my travelling experiences, but also to continue those experiences by reproducing them through finding the right words that would grasp those magical moments of my life,” says Deepa. Deepa refuses to live her life based on a very strict linear genealogy in a sense that there is past, present, and future. She is living her future with her family now, while still being very connected with her past. The operative word is NOW. There are so many of us who are so worried about what the future would bring that we are missing so many beautiful things that our happening in our present lives. By worrying so much about the future, we forget the fact that we are making our past today. Deepa lives her future now and documents her past through her blog. #12 2015 | FILIPINO EXPAT MAGAZINE


SMART TINKER BY LANA JELENJEV Reading Lana Jelenjev’s blogs and article in the book, one does not miss the sense of order and authority in her tone. She will not make you laugh and giggle. But she will make you sit, be still, and reflect on what she has to say. They say you can take the teacher out of a classroom, but you cannot take the classroom out of a teacher. Lana however is more than a teacher who teaches within the four walls of a classroom. She

is an educator who transgresses the boundaries of learning environments and institutions. Lana does justice to the title of the book. In her article, “How high do parents raise the bar?,” she really “Dutched Up!” She was very forthright in addressing and unravelling the teaching and learning mentality in the Netherlands. The Dutch term is “zesje-

“It is of course very difficult for me to adjust and adapt to my new country, but I think that applies to everyone else. In the beginning, my mind was filled with doubts whether I could ever call the Netherlands as my own. To begin with, I am an educator which is a vocational call. Can you imagine how it feels to be in a foreign country where you cannot fulfill that vocation so important to you?


Rina Mae Acosta wrote “Parenting the happiest kids in the world.” Rina Mae was raised and educated in an Anglo-American setting, providing readers a different perspective on what it means to be a foreigner. In her article, she compares and reconciles the normative standards of child rearing in a Dutch and an Anglo-American home setting.


cultuur” wherein parents, teachers and students are simply satisfied by a passing grade. Lana believes that we should train our children to be more ambitious, to push their limits and boundaries, and to be more passionate in learning. After all, the success of the future generation depends on them. Her blog,, provides insightful, thorough and well-researched articles on family and child nurturing in homes, classrooms and playgrounds. The blog she keeps is a virtual classroom where parents and teachers could profit from her expertise. And Lana knows what she is talking about. In the Philippines, she completed her bachelor’s program on family life and child development at the University of the Philippines Diliman. Before she moved to Indonesia to train preschool teachers there, she gave lectures to Psychology students at the Holy Angel University in Angeles, Pampanga. Like so many successful career women who moved abroad and gave it all up, Lana had to face challenges and deal with frustrations when she arrived in the Netherlands. “In the Philippines and Indonesia, I was part of something big and important. I was active in contributing my expertise in the architecture of the society through the educational system. My talents and contributions are highly appreciated and generously compensated. I had to give them all up when I moved here in the Netherlands.” She adds, “It is of course very difficult for me to adjust and adapt to my new country, but I think that applies to everyone else. In the beginning, my mind was filled with doubts whether I could ever call the Netherlands as my own. To begin with, I am an educator which is a vocational call. Can you imagine how it feels to be in a foreign country where you cannot fulfill that vocation so important to you? Secondly, it is difficult [to be living in a foreign country] because I am not with people whom I could truly say belong to my own tribe, with whom I can connect with.” It was only fairly recently that Lana started to feel at home in the Netherlands. “You are home when you are in a place where you can make yourself useful. That sense of home and belongingness should be earned. You have to give something first – big or small. Last year, I started my own small business where I provide consultancy services to parents. I help my clients establish an environment that is conducive for learning at home. The scope might not be as big as what I used to do in the Philippines and Indonesia, but it does not make it less fulfilling,” says Lana. ←

IN THE SPOTLIGHT Philippine art and design conquer the international scene By Cherry Mae Mulingtapang

Filipino artists have gained recognition and accolades from all over the world. This year, a lot of the best works of Filipino designers, artists and sculptors have been showcased in the art capital of Venice and the historical metropolis of Milan. They have been increasingly participating in global exhibitions and raising the bar for art and design in the international art scene.



PHILIPPINE ART VENICE BIENNALE Venice After 51 years of absence, the Philippines returns to the Venice Biennale with an exhibit highlighting conquerors as well as political and territorial disputes in the West Philippine Sea. Senator Loren Legarda and National Commission for Culture and the Arts chairman Felipe de Leon Jr. made the Philippine participation possible. It was the second time for the country to join the 56th Venice Biennale. The Philippine exhibition became an early favorite among the 89 pavilions in the Biennale. The curatorial concept of Dr. Patrick Flores entitled, “Tie A String Around The World,” brings together the works of four Filipino artists. The exhibit features the newly restored 1950s film, Genghis Khan, by National Artists Manuel Conde and Carlos Francisco; a multi-channel video titled “A Dashed State,” by film maker Manny Montelibano; and the “Shoal Installation,” by inter-media artist Jose Tence Ruiz. The vernissage of the Philippine pavilion was attended by an international audience of curators, artists and commisioners of different pavilions and consular offices in Europe. Christie’s and A-N The Artists Information Company both chose the Philippine pavilion as one of the must-see pavilions in the festival. “The return of the Philippines is already a great achievement for Filipinos even if we did not win the Golden Lion for best national participation,” said Legarda. The Venice Biennale is until Nov. 22. ←

Shoal installation by Jose Tence Ruiz Unstilled Life 2 by Olan Ventura


A Dashed State by Manny Montelibano


Internationally acclaimed artist Ronald Ventura returned to Milan for a third solo exhibit. Ranked as the most renowned contemporary artist in Southeast Asia, Ventura once again wowed Italian art collectors and enthusiasts with his surreal and radical sculptures and paintings. He brought a new series of works to the Primo Marella Gallery. The 41-year old artist depicted some sort of a chaotic reality and religious imagery. The exhibit, titled “The Hunting Ground,” presented black and white sculptures representing how faith, tradition and the Catholic way affected not just how Filipinos live but also how they think. His masterful series of works evoked hyperrealism. ←


International furniture designer Kenneth Cobonpue, together with other Filipino designers, showcased their furniture pieces at the Salone del Mobile furniture and trade fair in Milan. Cobonpue’s acrobatic chandeliers and Vito Selma’s geo-table and 3D lamps caught the attention of visitors. These two, alongside Schema, Industria and atelier-a, creatively demonstrated Filipino artisanship and craftsmanship. Salone Internazionale del Mobile is one of the most important trade events when it comes to furniture and lighting design and home fashion in the world. The main exhibition was held at the Fiera Milano with more than 2,000 exhibitors from different countries around the world. Through the Philippine Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM), the country once again participated in the prestigious trade fair. The Philippines has created a brand that the Italians and other countries are beginning to appreciate. Multi-awarded furniture designer Kenneth Cobonpue said that international trade fairs and exhibits like Salone del Mobile is a great opportunity for Filipinos to showcase their talent in furniture and lighting designs. He feels very proud that he is able to join such exhibition. “It is a challenge to always develop unique and new things from our country,” he said. ←

The Philippine pavilion features the restored film, ‘Genghis Khan,’ by Manuel Conde and Carlos Francisco.



VORTEX MANILA IN SWITZERLAND Artists Igan D' Bayan, Olan Ventura, Ej Cabangon, and Ruel Caasi recently mounted an exhibit titled Vortex Manila at Primae Noctis Art Gallery in Lugano, Switzerland. The reviews were ultimately positive, piquing the curiosity of some critics about Philippine art, dubbing the art works from the exhibit as fresh. The four artists were unapologetic in showcasing their different styles and backgrounds while presenting Manila as a source of both inspiration and damnation to their European audiences. “Our goal was just to paint something related to our city,” said D' Bayan. “If you're going to have a show in Europe and you'll paint like the European masters –their usual style and strategy –it's just going to be just an ordinary exhibit. [We thought] If the paintings had that Manila sensibility, there will be more interest from people that side of the world.” Vortex Manila was also meant to explore the status of Filipino and Asian contemporary art in relation to the paradigm-setters of Western thought, taste and aesthetics. D'Bayan said that it was an opportunity to showcase the Asian, Filipino tradition when it comes to art. “For the longest time, we've been looking at Europe as the center of the art scene, the determining factor when it comes to the aesthetics in art. But we can't really say that painting started in Europe because [historically] we've been doing something in the Philippines, too. We also have an Asian, Philippine tradition, aside from the European tradition. And [Vortex Manila] is our visual expression that doesn't necessarily adhere to the European thinking,” he said. D'Bayan is one of the popular Filipino artists whose images lean toward the grotesque, shocking and the stuff of nightmares. His art is inspired by pop culture icon H.R. Griger, creator of Ridley Scott's 1979 movie Alien, and European masters like Caravaggio, Rembrandt, and Diego Velazquez, among others. “I want to create images that are both scary and beautiful at the same time.” In Vortex Manila, D' Bayan presented his obsession with old, weird Filipinas –how historical events, pop culture, Internet hoaxes, current events and Pinoy horror movies converge on a Twilight Zone-like, Black Mirror-ish


tropical gothic area. For instance, in “Iluminacion,” personal mythology blends with monsters from old Filipino folklore, Illuminati symbols, prog rock album covers, Picasso’s harlequin, basketball mascots, and the specter of terrorism haunting Europe. The “Filipinas” portraits are deconstructions of old works by Filipino masters into a sari-sari (convenience) store of doom. Olan reconfigured the traditional still life painting (a staple in Philippine art) by recasting image as “image-of-animage” — things are in flux, in motion; printing errors alter the captured images; and colors and shadows run amuck in his frenzied vision. Thus, “still life” becomes the contradiction-in-terms as it truly is: unstable, cropped, unsteady and unpredictable. Cabangon took on cartoonish images and morphed them into “abducted” pieces of liquifying constructs that can be viewed as metaphors for loss of innocence or a world turning into a playground of misfit melting toys. The strategy of “abducting” could be seen as something politically charged (the perils of living in a third world country) or something entirely existential and universal. Caasi investigated the non-physical in his untitled abstracts — meditating on form within form, strange shapes interacting with even stranger shapes, and space that intrudes upon other spaces. The artist has always been drawn to how forms and forces affect each other: a dance of geometry, gestures and textures. D'Bayan said that there are plans for future exhibitions. This time, the artists will have their solo shows. -DU

From top: Illuminacion by Igan D’ Bayan; Abducted Smurf by EJ Cabangon; 4x4 by Ruel Caasi

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By Dheza Marie Aguilar Photos by Robin Kuijs and Grace Poblador For a country that is just as big as Wales in the United Kingdom, Belgium’s history of wars, conquest and power is just as long and rich as its neighbouring countries France, Germany and the Netherlands. The city of Antwerp was the richest city in Europe in the 16th century and its ports were more profitable than that of Amsterdam. Two centuries ago in Waterloo, Napoleon Bonaparte was defeated, ending the Napoleonic era in France. Belgium celebrates the historic event each year. Philippine National Hero Jose Rizal lived in Belgium for a short period of time. He was perhaps among the first Filipinos who set foot here. One of his greatest novels, El Filibusterismo, was published in Ghent in 1891. Like many conquering countries during the Golden Age of Europe, Belgium’s history is tainted with slavery and exploitation, particularly from the reign of King Leopold II. It is bitterly remembered by the Congolese nation which only got their independence 55 years ago. Expat living Today, Belgium is more popularly known for its beer, chocolates, the city of Brussels and the tiny statue of the Manneken Pis (The Pissing Boy). The country is also home to more than 12,000 Filipinos working in various sectors. Brussels, the capital of Belgium, is also considered as the European Union's de facto capital. As the base of many international government institutions, Brussels enjoy a vibrant mix of cultures from different countries. Jerick Parrone is one of the many Filipino expats who now calls Belgium home, working in the country’s capital.


IN THE HEART OF Belgium is considered Europe’s capital and home to almost 12,000 Filipino expats. The country has a rich and culture and history that can remind one of home in the Philippines.






“The presence of the main European institutions makes the city inherently international. And this makes it easier for me to sample food, music and drinks from different parts of the world. I find it relatively easy to settle in and adapt into the society. There is a big community of expats in Belgium so it's easier to obtain the basics like getting an apartment, meeting other expats and making friends,” says Parrone. Grace “Perpie” Poblador moved from Switzerland to the small city of Mechelen this year. Despite her initial amusement of the country, she couldn’t help but compare both countries. “The cost of living is much lower in Belgium than it is in Switzerland. But taxes are indeed higher here, from about 32 percent for married couples with children to 43 percent for those who are single with no children. Belgians are dubbed as the true Burgundians as they really know how to live the good life. And I find this true. Gastronomy and entertainment are always good quality, if not above par. I enjoy dining and going out in Belgium more. You enjoy comfortable and more affordable housing and reliable medical and social services. Hands down, Switzerland boasts of beautiful landscapes. Unlike in Belgium, Switzerland has more temperate and predictable climate,” says Poblador. Challenges are always present when an individual transitions from being a visitor to becoming a resident. Belgium is no different. The Belgian bureaucratic system is one of the least efficient in Western Europe. Some Filipino expats compare it to the Philippines particularly when it comes to public transportation and processing of documents. “Now that I'm in Belgium, I've had to get used to travel delays, traffic congestion and transport strikes again," says Poblador.

Parrone agrees, “It takes a lot of time and loads of processes to do most transactions both in the private and public sectors. For example, it took me months before I got my residence ID and driving license. A testament to this complexity and inefficiency, Belgium holds the world record for the longest period without a government - 589 days!" Despite all these, both agree that Belgium still offers Filipino expats a high quality of living that is still better than the one they left at home particularly when it comes to health care and social benefits. "They have programs in place for the underprivileged, the disabled and the poor. They don’t just let you suffer because you don’t have any money in your bank account. Every person living here has the right to medical care and it’s a crime to refuse medical assistance to someone who needs it. It’s something that we still need to work on in the Philippines. The Belgians tend to be very keen on making sure that health is actually one's wealth," says Clouie Boleche, a resident of Antwerp. THE DUTCH AND THE FRENCH DIVIDE While Belgium projects an international vibe for outsiders, in its core is a complicated history that seems to divide the country up to this today (except in the 2014 World Cup when the Belgian national football team gave a stellar of course performance). The collapsed of the Belgian government in 2010 actually sparked a debate over the separation of its two regions. The northern part of what is now Belgium used to belong to what was collectively referred to as the Low Countries, or the regions located at the coastal area of Western Europe. Belgian regions that used to belong to the Low Countries now comprise of the Flanders (Flemish) where Dutch is the official spoken language.

"Belgium has been through a lot of wars and conflicts so it tries to keep the country intact despite the big cultural differences between the north and the south. People in Belgium are very modern and they tend to care less about traditions. Most of the educated Belgians are happy to meet people from all over the world and they love to learn new ideas and different perspectives. I find it very refreshing that people in this part of the world are quite open-minded when it comes to important social issues and sensitive topics," says Boleche. Wallonia comprises the Frenchspeaking southern region of Belgium particularly the areas around the Ardennes. The culture of Walloons is more associated with France than its Lowland neighbors. At different times in history, both regions enjoyed economic prosperity, power and cultural development. And despite their differences, they collaborated against the Dutch Kingdom during the Belgian revolution which led to the establishment of the constitutional monarchy of independent Belgium in 1830.

Generally a French-speaking city, Brussels act as the great equalizer between the two conflicting regions. Belgium also has a big Germanspeaking community. Many Filipino expats find this divide advantageous because they are required to learn two major languages and are exposed to two major cultures. "Your children get to live in a multicultural community where everyone is treated the same regardless of religion, social status and/or nationality. Living in Belgium made my children realize the importance of understanding the cultures of others. One will somehow be forced to learn two languages namely, French and Dutch in order to survive," says Raquel Crisostomo, a business owner who has been living in Belgium for more than two decades. For those thinking of moving to Belgium, these Filipino expats all recommend that one should study the country’s official languages right away. Not only will it make it easier to live and assimilate in the society, there will also be more opportunities for work. ←


COVER STORY Tourists enjoy cruising Bruges’ canals.


BELGIUM While it can be considered that Belgium is simply a transit point to other more famous tourist spots in Western Europe, the country can definitely hold its own when it comes to unique places to visit which can be enjoyed all year round. "Belgium is a very small country so the list of choices to see are very limited but could still be very interesting and exciting. It really depends on what you want to see or do and how long you are planning to stay. Belgium is actually very diverse despite of its size. One can have a very relaxing trip in the hilly Ardennes, which is in the south bordering Germany and Luxemburg, or enjoy the North Sea along the coast. Koksijde, Blankenberge and Oostende, which is close to the French boarder, are some popular places when you want to enjoy the beach," says Clouie Boleche, a resident of Antwerp. Being blessed with both the mountain and the sea which can be travelled in less than two hours, Belgium is a terrific choice for a weekend getaway. Here are our tips for travelling in Belgium: Bruges Bruges can be compared to the likes of Amsterdam and Venice when it comes to picturesque canal cities. One of the most popular choices among day trippers, the city’s old town is among UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites because of its magnificently


Belgium is a very small country so the list of choices to see are very limited but could still be very interesting and exciting. It really depends on what you want to see or do and how long are you planning to stay. Belgium is actually very diverse despite of its size. One can have a very relaxing trip in the hilly Ardennes, which is in the South bordering Germany and Luxemburg, or enjoy the North Sea along the coast. Koksijde, Blankenberge and Oostende, which is close to the French boarder, are some popular places when you want to enjoy the beach.

preserved medieval structures like the Belfry, the Church of Our Lady, which houses Michelangelo’s Madonna and Child; and the rows of Dutch gabled houses in the Market Square. If you’re not a fan of walking, taking the cruise around the canals is recommended. The best view of the city can be experienced from the tower of the Belfry. Here, you will be rewarded with a 360-degree view of Bruges. Nevermind the 366 steps that you have to take to get to the top. Reward yourself with a box of chocolates, particularly the lovely truffles from the iconic shop of Chocolatier Dumon (Eiermarkt 6), or a big Belgian waffle topped with a thick, chocolate syrup and whipped cream at the Meridian 3 restaurant (15 Markt ) while enjoying the bustle of tourists in the Market Square. Brussels With the main airport located in the city of Brussels, it is usually a transit point for many travellers, particularly to those going to cities like Amsterdam, Paris and London. A day trip to Brussels would likely be on your itinerary. Brussels is a small city. Given your limited time, go straight to the city centre to visit the Royal Palace and the Grand Palace if you are into unique architecture.

Good to know Resident Clouie Boleche shares some practical tips on travelling to Belgium: 1. Travelling around Belgium is very simple since you can reach most of the places by public transport. Trains are very popular although they can be delayed at times and are only available until before midnight. In large cities like Brussels, Ghent or Antwerp, there are underground trains (metro system) and street cars (trams) available. I personally prefer travelling by metro or tram than by bus. 2. The monetary unit in Belgium is of course the Euro although, cards are accepted everywhere. So having no cash wouldn’t be a problem at all. 3. The most ideal time to visit is of course during the summer months of July and August. But it can be very nice during the spring as well. A short holiday in April or May could be enjoyable too. Just make sure to bring an umbrella since Belgium is quite famous for being very rainy.

Top: The magnificient architecture of Antwerp central station Bottom: The iconic Atomium in Brussels.

If you are into art, visit the Royal Museum of Fine Arts which displays the works of famous painters Pieter Bruegel and Anthony van Dyck. For lunch and beer, Moeder Lambic (Fontainasplein 8) comes highly recommended. That is if you can get a table because the restaurant always has a long line. Otherwise, head over to Fin de Siecle (Rue des Chartreux 9) for authentic Belgian fare. End your day by visiting the Atomium, located outside the city, for the obligatory picture taking. Relax in the park nearby before heading to your next destination. Antwerp While it may be less charming and sophisticated than Bruges and Brussels, Antwerp has one unique enterprise that tourists and locals alike come here for: diamonds. Antwerp is considered the Diamond Capital of the world with 84 percent of rough diamonds being processed here. While the Diamond Museum has permanently closed its doors, you can visit the Antwerp Diamond Pavilion housed

BEER BREWING TOURS Although it has recently been taken over by the Netherlands as Europe's beer brewing capital, Belgium still has some of the oldest breweries in the region, mostly found in monasteries. For hundreds of years and up until now, monks are brewing beers in their damp and often secret cellars. Most of their produce are still exclusive to the country and cannot be bought anywhere else. If you are spending more than a weekend in Belgium, one of the most unique experiences is visiting the abbey where exclusive Belgian beers are brewed, sporadically spread across the country. Trappist, one of Belgium's most famous brand of beer is brewed in Westmalle Abbey (Antwerpsesteenweg 496, Westmalle). It is a good place to start.

The official website of Belgium’s tourism office offers a variety of information about beer types, breweries and beer festivals in the country. Visit belgianbites/beer. Uniquely Brussels More than its beer and chocolates, one of the top reasons to visit Brussels is its comic strips. The city is home to popular characters like Tin Tin and Spirou, The Smurfs, Lucky Luke, among others. All around the city, walls are painted with colourful murals of comic strip characters. You can follow the Comic Book Route, a series of murals going all around the city. There is also the Comics Art Museum (Rue des Sables 20) where you can learn about the history and development of comics from Brussels and around the world. For more information, visit www. ←

Don’t leave without enjoying Belgium’s beer, waffle and Flemish stew.



COVER STORY The fine sand of Oostdunkirke is a popular choice for weekend getaways.

in the modern building of Museum Aan de Stroom (MAS) (Hanzestedenplaats 1) and learn why diamond is one of the most enchanting gems in the world. The Diamond Pavilion is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm. The fee is included in the museum entrance fee worth €10. Later, head to the Antwerp Central Station to admire the beautifully preserved Neo-Renaissance architecture designed by Louis Delacenserie. He designed the Provincial Court of Bruges and was greatly involved in the restoration of the Belfry in the same city. A stay in the The Glorious Inn (De Burburestraat 4) provides a unique and cozy accommodation and a delicious Michelin-star meal if you book a dinner at their restaurant. There are also good hotels and restaurants serving typical Belgian food in and around the Grote Markt. THE ARDENNES There is no better way to enjoy Ardennes than a trip filled with physical activities like mountain biking, hiking, trail running and camping. The landscape boasts hills, dense forests, valleys and rivers running through little, charming towns in southern Belgium. Some of the most picturesque towns in the Ardennes include Dinant, which lies in the banks of the River Meuse (Maas), Durbuy, the smallest town in the world, and Rochefort, also home to the Rochefort


Abbey which brews the famous Trappist beer of the same name. For lovers of speed, the town of Spa is home to the famous Circuit de SpaFrancorchamps, the venue of the Formula One Belgian Grand Prix. Ron Simons Racing (RSRS) (Route Du Circuit 16, 4970 Francorchamps) rents out cars for tourists who want to experience driving up to 266km/hr. If you are not into car racing, you can spend the day getting pampered in one of the indoor or outdoor spas in some of the city’s popular spa complexes like in Les Thermes de Spa (Colline d'Annette et Lubin). THE BELGIAN SEASIDE It might not be the prettiest, but the Belgian seaside also has a lot to offer to tourists especially during milder seasons like spring and summer. Seventy kilometers of sandy beaches and dunes make up the Belgian seaside which lies in the North Sea. Doing leisurely walks on the beach's fine sand and having an apple cake and coffee or tea afterwards are some of the most popular activities here. For something quite unique, you can go shrimp fishing on horseback, a 500-year old tradition that is practiced only in Oostduinkerke nowadays. The blogsite recommends the beaches of De Panne for sand yatching, De Haan for its beautiful cottages, and Knokke-Heist for shopping and cultural activities. Don’t forget to drop

by Zeebrugge and Oostende as well. A relaxing way to go around the beach is by taking the Kusttram or Coast Tram which is considered as the longest tramline in the world. It follows the tracks laid out in the entire Flanders coast. ←

Saxophones adorn a bridge in Dinant as a tribute to its inventor who was born here.





Battle of tomatoes

Island getaway

Visayan paradise





he clock strikes 11, the siren sounds off and the crowd goes wild. I can barely move. Thousands of bodies push themselves back against the wall giving way to the five giant dumper trucks filled with 125 tons of overripe tomatoes, slowly crawling in the middle of the narrow street of this small Valencian town of Buñol. The crowd turns rowdier


and restless. As the first truck gets closer and closer, I duck behind two tall men in front of me for protection. I try not to lose my balance as one hand lands on my face causing my goggles to dangle a bit. I hurriedly arrange my shower cap, ready my plastic-wrapped camera and brace myself for the battle! This is it! “Tomate! Tomate!” Shouts the crowd. And then…

Bam! La Batalla begins. Just right after the first truck dumps its load, thousands of tomatoes start to catapult in every direction. All hell breaks loose. Bedlam at full throttle! Men and women hurling tomatoes at each other, unmindful of who gets hit and smacked. A big one sails past my left ear and smacks against the wall. I grab it and throw it at nobody in particular. This is wicked. I grab some more and hurl with full abandon. I wipe my tomato-stained goggles to get a clear view of the whole pandemonium. One hits my mouth. The acidic and putrid taste makes me spit it out hard. Still, I get to steal some photos from my camera. Ouch! A large one slaps half of my face. “You sonofagun!!!” FROM BRAWL TO BERRY BATTLE Buñol is a sleepy town 38 km from Valencia. It only comes alive every last Wednesday of August as it celebrates the world-famous La Tomatina festival, also known as the



DESTINATION EUROPE `attack of rotten tomatoes’ festival. As early as January, I had planned to participate in this annual fiesta. Together with a friend, I took a very early bus from Valencia (where we spent the night after a 4-hour ride from Barcelona) to Buñol. La Tomatina festival started in 1945 as a local brawl, a fight among the youngsters of the town. Instead of stabbing or shooting each other, they hurled tomatoes at one another and soon it became a practice year after year. Without any religious significance and owing to its supposed violence, the festival was banned by the Franco government but only to be resurrected in the 70s, this time in honor of the town´s patron Saint, Luis Beltran and the Mare de Deus del Desemparats (Mother of God of the defenseless). HAMMING IT UP We arrived at the place at exactly 7 am and the town was already up to get ready for the main event. Locals were assembling and setting up their food stands and souvenir booths that are now dotting the streets of Buñol. Shop owners have already covered their storefronts with huge plastic covers. The party had already began the day before wherein merrymakers mostly coming from Australia, Japan and the United States drank the night away while watching live bands and shows. Nearing the main event, it seemed that the number of warm bodies had doubled. Last year, Buñol officials estimated around 40,000 people attended the festival. Will this year surpass the number of last year´s visitors? Aware of the wetness and wildness of the event, I knew that my good old camera would not be spared so I wrapped it with plastic. At the entrance of the main street revellers had to surrender bottles or any sharp objects at the checkpoint guards. We positioned ourselves in front of the palo-jabon or the 20-feet high greasy pole with a fat ham at the top. The objective of the game is to climb the pole and reach for the prized ham. Daring souls struggled to climb up only to find themselves sliding down. The crowd howled and hooted at each failed attempt. At last, somebody had reached the top and the ham finally found its rightful owner. The crowd went wild as water cannons were fired as the signal for the beginning of the fight. ...BACK TO THE BATTLEFIELD As I look up, a chopper roams above us like a hungry hawk waiting to attack its prey. Is it going to toss some more tomatoes at us? Everybody is totally red; running, gliding or jumping in shin-


You may think that an hour of hurling tomatoes at each other is childish and nonsensical. Wait till you get hold of those rotten pulps and start screaming and throwing that you will realize that yes, it´s indeed childish and nonsensical!

deep tomato-juice-flood. The siren sounds off again. 12 o´clock marks the end of the battle. Everyone grudgingly drops fistfuls of squashed tomato pulps and checks the “damage” caused by the fight. I take out my camera and true enough, bits of tomato tissues have entered the plastic cover. Just like in any battle, the aftermath is unspeakable. The street is a total mess. Broken flip-flops and goggles float pitifully in the sea of tomato juice. Now that nobody is allowed to hurl tomatoes at anyone anymore, we busy ourselves posing for photos. Time to clean up. I feel cold water surging from the rooftop above me. Some locals are hosing us down from their terrace. Fire trucks start trudging in with powerful water hoses to clean up the whole mess. My friend and I march down the end of the street up to the shower stations set up by the town council. Some tomatodrenched revellers walk straight to the nearby Buñol river for a quick splash. ULTIMATE TOMATO EXPERIENCE Totally cleaned up, we race down to the nearest food stand and grab a couple of grilled pork sandwiches. Halfway through my sandwich, I am still feeling high from my just concluded tomato experience that I start texting my friends about one of the craziest festivals I have ever attended. My tips for those who want to come and experience the battle? Well, now that the town council has limited the number of participants, secure an entrance ticket first. It costs 10 euros. Be there early. Ideally, before 7 am. You can take a bus or a train from Valencia to Buñol and it’s a 45-minute ride. As much as possible, don´t carry valuable stuff with you. I had my phone, wallet and camera wrapped in plastic and tucked in my small hip bag tied around my waist. Wearing goggles and shower caps is advisable. Old clothes and shoes too. The ones that you can throw away after the mayhem. I wore flip flops and they nearly gave in. And lastly, get dirty and have fun!!! You may think that an hour of hurling tomatoes at each other is childish and nonsensical. Wait till you get hold of those rotten pulps and start screaming and throwing that you will realize that yes, it´s indeed childish and nonsensical! Not to mention, total madness! After all, this is what it is all about, isn´t it? This is what you are here for. To be like a child and be silly for one hour. In real life, being thrown at with tomatoes would usually be a humiliating experience. But not in La Tomatina. It is always exhilarating. ←




A day in

GUERNS Text and photos by Cristina Ilao

ff the south coast of the United Kingdom but nearer to France are several islands, one of which I am very happy to call my home. Guernsey is more popularly known to be an offshore financial centre and a low tax jurisdiction in Europe. But it cannot be denied that it is also a perfect vacation destination for anyone who wants to forget about the big city life and just relax for a while. The bailiwick has a lot to offer visitors. But for


someone who can only spare a day, here is a suggested itinerary for a day of fun in the beautiful island of Guernsey. Start the day by visiting the Little Chapel in St Andrew Les Vauxbelets. Hop on bus 71 from the town terminus and get off the Boullion Road bus stop. The Little Chapel is meant to be Brother Deodat's miniature version of the basilica in Lourdes France and has an interesting story behind it. The first structure,

St Peter Port Marina at dusk.


Hauteville House is famous for being the residence of the French poet, novelist and dramatist Victor Hugo.

The fortress of Castle Cornet.

measuring roughly 9 feet long by 4.5 feet wide, was heavily criticised and was demolished shortly after its completion. The second structure of about 9 feet long and 6 feet wide was then built, lasting less than 10 years. It is believed to have been demolished because the Bishop of Portsmouth could not fit himself through the door. The third structure survived its critics and is still standing today. It is decorated with pieces of broken china, pebbles and shells from around the world which adds more colour to its history. There are no fees for entering the chapel though donations are always welcome, being its only source of funding for maintenance and preservation. Get to know a little more about the island's rich history by heading back to the capital, St Peter Port. Both the Hauteville House and Castle Cornet, some of the most popular historic attractions, are about 10 minutes walk from the town's bus terminus. Hauteville House is famous for being the residence of the French poet, novelist and dramatist Victor Hugo during



his exile in Guernsey. After Napoleon III's coup d'etat, Victor moved from France to Belgium then to Jersey and finally to Guernsey where he settled for 15 years. He had already earned a considerable amount of money from his work Les Contemplations, a collection of his poetry broken down into six books. He used that money to acquire Hauteville House which at the time was known as Liberty House. It is here where he wrote one of his great works, Les Miserables. To this day, the house has been preserved under management of the city of Paris and is open to the public. Any fan would enjoy visiting the Hauteville House where every piece of decoration and furniture is symbolic and was personally selected by Victor Hugo himself. The 800-year old Castle Cornet sits on a tidal island and is visible from throughout St Peter Port's marina. It boasts of five museums which tell the story of the castle and the history of Guernsey and its people. The castle grounds are also used for various activities throughout the year except during winter when the castle closes for a few months before reopening in spring. Something worth seeing is the firing of the noon-day gun which is carried out daily by castle guards wearing 19th century soldier costumes. Head over to St Peter Port's marina and find out why it is considered as one of the prettiest harbours in Europe. The town is especially pretty during springtime when tulips, daffodils and various other flowers burst into life and beautify the streets, bus stops and even the roundabouts. There is no fast-food chain in the whole island but there is definitely no shortage of choices in local restaurants


in St Peter Port. Local restaurants offering Indian, Italian, Chinese and other popular cuisines line the street facing the piers and proffer a lovely view of the marina with Castle Cornet sitting majestically in the background. After dining, shopping is just a few steps away in the High Street where local stores and a few big brands are located. Shopping can be tiring and what better way to relax after than by experiencing a well known British tradition at Guernsey's only fivestar hotel, the Old Government House or more popularly known as the OGH. Afternoon tea sessions at the OGH are very popular among tourists and locals alike, so reservation is recommended to ensure a spot. Specialty teas are served with a number of tea cakes, sandwiches and scones lavished

with the locally produced Guernsey cream. Afternoon tea sessions run for two hours with each session starting every 30 minutes from 2:30 to 5:30 pm. For those who can also find time to visit the OGH in the morning, there are options to try the Continental breakfast or the more traditional full English breakfast at the hotel's Brasserie. End the day by spending the afternoon and enjoying nature inside the Candie Gardens, a Victorian public flower garden around five minutes away by foot from the town centre. The garden doesn't just offer flowers of various kinds but also a library, a museum and a gallery for art lovers. Also inside the garden is a statue of Victor Hugo facing a lovely view of the marina and on clear days, Guernsey's sister islands Herm and Sark. The statue was gifted by the French government for Guernsey's kindness shown to Victor Hugo during his 15 years in exile on the island. �

Top: Some of Victor Hugo’s favourite pieces at the Hauteville House. Bottom: Tulips bloom in Candie Gardens.

End the day by spending the afternoon and enjoying nature inside the Candie Gardens, a Victorian public flower garden around five minutes away by foot from the town centre. The Little Chapel only measures 9 feet long and 6 foot wide.






The island paradise rebuilds and beckons once again with its innate beauty.

by Maan D’Asis Pamaran Photos by Robin Kuijs The 7.2 magnitude earthquake that struck Bohol on October 15, 2013 not only claimed the lives of more than 100 people, it also decimated several historical and natural landmarks, affecting the tourism industry of the province. The good news is that repairs are underway, and some of the marvels that Bohol is known for have already been restored. Concerted efforts from concerned citizens and helping hands linked across the globe have helped ensure that life goes on in the tourist destination. A recent trip to the island paradise reveals that it remains to be one of the best destinations in the country. The landscape may have changed but the innate beauty of the province cannot be denied. The media group was happy to see that the roads have been repaired -- it was one of the priorities of the local government once rebuilding began. This means smooth trips to the many places of interest that can be found on this slice of paradise. THE OLD CHURCHES True to the Filipino trait of looking for silver linings, many locals we met were saying they are glad that the earthquake did not happen on a Sunday, when the churches are packed with parishioners. If that was the case, they say, there would have been even more casualties. The centuries-old churches in the towns of Loboc, Baclayon, Dauis, and Maribojoc crumbled on the day that Atlas shrugged. What were once sources of solemnity and




solace for Boholanos are now, for the most part, unserviceable. Many Sunday Masses are held in temporary shelters made of galvanized iron and wooden posts. It would take years before the churches are restored to their former glory, but rock by rock, the tedious work is being done. Tourists now flock to these to see for themselves not only the wreckage, but also to hear miracle stories. Locals will eagerly share about how the image of Our Lady of Light in Loon was left standing unharmed in her place of honor, or how the well in Dauis church is still able to supply its healing waters even after the quake. THE TARSIER SANCTUARY Bohol is known as the home of the Philippine Tarsier. The small bug-eyed animal is said to be one of the smallest primates in existence. They made it through the quake quite unharmed, says Tarsier expert Carlito Pizarras. There was a crew filming the creatures shortly before the earthquake struck, and they noticed that the tarsiers seemed restless at the time. The animals are endangered, due to the fact that they were smuggled out to be sold as pets. These causes them to “commit suicide” by banging their heads against their cages in an effort to break free. Pizarras says that the efforts of conservation are doing well, and the population has already increased. The sanctuary allows visitors to come up close, but flash photography or disturbing them during their daytime sleep is a no-no. HABITAT BOHOL There are other butterfly gardens in the country, but this one has the added advantage of having really great guides. They intersperse their spiel with funny anecdotes and jokes to make it more interesting and have more recall long after you have left its gorgeous winged inhabitants behind. The photo opportunities that can be had here make sure there are keepers too: one can have a photo with a butterfly perched on your shoulder, and even a series of frames where you can stand just so and look as if you have sprouted fairy wings. LOBOC RIVER CRUISE Aside from its church ruins and the fact that almost anybody in this town can sing (it is considered as an honor to be part of the Loboc Childrens Choir), they also boast of a beautiful river where one can board floating restaurants for a leisurely cruise. As a group of musicians entertain the throng with both Visayan ditties and American Top 40 hits, tourists can partake of a buffet lunch consisting of Filipino dishes. A pitstop is made on a nipa hut raft where more singing and dancing is done – guests can join in with a lively session of the Tinikling. Bring extra money for tips, the talented performers on the raft and in the boat deserve it.



Never leave Bohol without seeing the worldfamous chocolate hills.

The message they would like to extend is that it is time for visitors to flock back. Bohol is rising from the rubble and they are more than ready to entertain, amaze, and excite with all their natural and man-made wonders. Before the earthquake, tourists marvel at the well-preserved interiors of historical churches.

THE CHOCOLATE HILLS The world-famous hills are alive, thank goodness, and you can still view them from atop a deck. Parts of it have crumbled, but time has allowed greenery to grow back, and aside from one hill that practically split open, the mounds are still standing proud. The original viewdeck collapsed during the quake but it has already been replaced with a slightly smaller one. If the tourists would rather not take the steps going up, the view from the parking lot is good enough for a really cool selfie or two. That said, one must not leave the island without taking a trip to see this majestic spread of practically perfect landforms. Locals admit that tourism has been affected at the province, especially after the earthquake when there were fears of aftershocks. Electricity used to be a problem too, but the situation has since been under control. The message they would like to extend is that it is time for visitors to flock back. Bohol is rising from the rubble and they are more than ready to entertain, amaze, and excite with all their natural and man-made wonders. �


The deep Catholic faith of the townsfolk are evident in numerous Centuries-old churches

SOUVENIR SHOPPING IN BOHOL Here’s a bonus traveler tip: One place to shop for souvenirs is the Island City Mall. Everything you need is practically here, and there are T-shirts galore at lower prices than the ones found in souvenir shops outside. Tourists can also find the popular Peanut Kisses here, along with other delicacies to bring home to friends and family. If you are looking for something edgier, make a stop at Lo-ay en route to your Loboc River Cruise. You can watch as the Pandays craft their steel blades and score a sharp weapon with a cool Carabao horn handle. Do not worry about the airport customs people, as they allow these on the plane as long as they are checked-in and not hand-carried. WHERE TO STAY: Flushing Meadows in Panglao offers a place for a quiet respite after a day of touring the towns. The property is named after the New York tennis center, and its rooms are quirkily named after greats such as John McEnroe. The infinity pool invites one for a dip, and the waves lapping on the property’s beach front are perfect for a shoreline stroll. Kids are kept in mind at the resort, which boasts of a kiddie pool, playground, and an honest-to-goodness Dino Park. They are sure to be amazed at the large lizard statues scattered amongst the greenery. Fun for friends and family is available at the videoke center, or those looking for more strenuous activity can head out to the fitness center or the well-maintained tennis courts. Afterwards, one can cool down at the Spa. Complimentary breakfast buffet is available at the Aces and Champions Bar and Restaurant, and they can also cater for large groups down at the beach if guests so desire. For inquiries on Flushing Meadows Resort & Playground, call 501-9172/501-9303/411-5739. Air Asia, which offers surprisingly good airline food, now flies to Tagbilaran thrice a day. For more information, follow their Twitter and Facebook accounts.



BRINGING BACK THE MALATE VIBE by Ma. Glaiza Lee At a glance, Malate in Manila can be downright gritty and dirty, with glaring red lights from many bars and shops. But walking down its streets, its unique character shines through. A place that never sleeps, Malate draws people into its bosom with its perfect blend of artsy, bohemian and energetic vibe. After all, it is home to one of Manila’s famous nightlife. Located at the southern end of Manila, Malate is considered Amelie hotel boast of interiors inspired by the popular French movie, Amelie. an old district. Its history can be traced back to the Spanish colonial period, when it was still a small fishing village. That time, the economic and social activities centered on the Malate Church, which enshrined Our Lady of Remedies to whom pregnant women pray for easy and safe childbirth. It was the Americans who envisioned the development of to bring back the bohemian spirit of Malate as the trendiest exclusive Malate. He converted their ancestral house If you want to residential area for American into a boutique hotel. Named after his experience families. High-rise apartments and the old Manila, granddaughter, Amelie Hotel embraces bungalows began to mushroom, the illustrious past of the old Manila Amelie Hotel and old Spanish mestizo families district. From the hotel’s painstakingly will take you started to populate the area. there. Infused handpainted patterned floor to its art After World War II, the displaced deco-inspired furniture and antique accent with genuine wealthy families returned to the pieces, Amelie Hotel breathes the allure of warmth and area, re-building their homes and Manila's bygone era. sincerity that staying there until the 1970s. Rather than pursuing an out-andFilipinos are For a time, the place remained out Filipiniana theme, designer Anton known for an exclusive residential area until and the verve Barretto took inspiration from Manila's some homeowners converted their Art Deco period. He tried to capture the and spirit of homes and apartments into small distinct architectural style of the time and Bohemian hotels, restaurants and cafes. Malate, this will presented them in a subtle yet striking Slowly, artists began to flock the be a nostalgic manner. The idea was to bring Manila's area, having found Malate as a elegance back in an understated way. stay creative haven. The bohemian True enough, the hotel sports a modern vibe spread across its many minimalist look. The hotel's 70 rooms alleyways. feature a stylized, linear canopy that As the elite started to move on sets the bed apart, giving the space more to much quieter suburban areas, depth and dimension. Black, red and gray Malate transformed into the hues are used in the walls and ceilings to nightlife district of Manila, with evoke a sense of refinement and luxury. To restaurants, shops, bars, disco remind guests of Manila's famous sunset, pubs and other novelty stores which they can get a glimpse of from the opening their doors. Bordered roof deck of the hotel, the owners decided by the vibrant streets of Maria to paint the rooms red. Orosa, Julio Nakpil, Adriatico The rooms have modern amenities: and Remedios, Malate became comfortable queen-sized bed, sleek synonymous with street parties bathroom, flat screen LED TV, Wi-Fi and so-called creative pursuits. connection. But it is the details on the Having lived in Malate during walls that draw guests’ attention. On the its glory days, Chinese-Filipino walls are black-and-white photographs of businessman Roberto Uy wanted iconic Filipino buildings as well as framed


visual representations of Manila’s diverse cultures. There is also an oversized map of Metro Manila. More than a decorative element, the map serves as a guide for tourists in navigating the streets of Malate, leading them to Manila’s famous landmarks. Paying tribute to the Mabini Art Movement, the hallways leading to the rooms are transformed into mini museums, with niches framed in red and displaying paintings, mixed media artworks, photographic pieces and sculptures by Filipino artists. The artworks will be on display and rotated quarterly to give the guests a chance to be acquainted with the local art scene and Filipino culture. Likewise, the hotel provides independent and underground musicians the opportunity to showcase their work by playing their brand of music in all public spaces like the lobby. The hotel designer sectioned the lobby into three defined spaces that are distinct from each other, yet flowing smoothly to create a single cohesive look. The hotel has a multi-layered roof deck overlooking the Manila skyline, a multi-purpose hall, a gym and viewing deck, with swimming pool. If you want to experience old Manila’s bohemian vibe, Amelie Hotel will take you there. ←




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Yes, this 'bark, leaf and stone' by Chef Paco Torreblanca are edible

Rosas pralines by Chef Jackie Laudico featured in the Mindanao regional lunch




by Dolly Dy-Zulueta Photos by Rafael R. Zulueta NOBODY thought it could happen— that the Madrid Fusión, one of the most important annual conferences on gastronomy in Spain and in the whole of Europe, would ever take place in the Philippines. But it did. Through the joint efforts of the Philippines’ Department of Tourism (DOT) and Tourism Promotions Board (TPB), the Spanish Institute for Foreign Trade (ICEX), and Madrid Fusión organizers Foro de Debate and Arum Estrategias de Internacionalización, Madrid Fusión Manila 2015 debuted in the Philippines, taking center stage at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City from April 24 to 26, 2015. And, defying all skepticism, it turned out to be a resounding success, therefore strengthening the Philippines’ position as

the culinary center of Asia. Undeniably the biggest culinary event in Manila in 2015, Madrid Fusión Manila 2015 took everyone on a gastronomic journey around Spain and the Philippines in celebration of the two countries’ 300 years of shared history. It presented a unique opportunity for chefs and other culinary professionals, food and beverage industry players, culinary students and enthusiasts to come together, learn new things from the masters, both Spanish and Filipino, and hopefully be able to not just apply these new bits of knowledge in their own careers and cuisines but also get to share these with others who were not as privileged to have been able to experience Madrid Fusión Manila 2015. The event could be broken down into

three major components: the International Gastronomy Congress, the Trade Exhibition, and Flavors of the Philippines. INTERNATIONAL GASTRONOMY CONGRESS The International Gastronomy Congress was one of the major highlights of the global event, which had the world watching and waiting to see if the Philippines could pull it off. It brought in Michelin Star and Repsol Sun rated Spanish chefs to talk about the future of gastronomy and share the latest culinary trends and techniques that are now taking Europe by storm. The eight featured Spain-based chefs were Andoni Luis Aduriz of Mugaritz, Elena Arzak of Arzak, Quique Dacosta of Denia, Ramon Freixa of Ramon Freixa Madrid, Francis





Paniego of Echaurren, Paco Roncero of La Terraza del Casino, Mario Sandoval of Coque, and Paco Torreblanca of Torreblanca Bombonerias y Pastelerias. Also coming in to share the culinary developments that are now taking place in the Asian region were Chef Alvin Leung of Bo Innovation in Hong Kong and Chef André Chang of Restaurant André in Singapore. Chef Alvin is the proud owner of three Michelin Stars, while Chef André’s restaurant has been named as one of the World’s Best 50 Restaurants. The featured Philippine-based chefs were Fernando Aracama of Aracama, Margarita ‘Gaita’ Fores of Grace Park, J Gamboa Talented Filipina chef Gaita Fores. of Cirkulo, Chele Gonzalez of Gallery Vask, Pepe Lopez of Rambla, Rob and Sunshine Pengson of The Goose Station, Bruce Ricketts of Mecha Uma, Myrna Segismundo of New Manila, Claude Tayag of Bale Dutung in Pampanga, and Juan Carlos de Terry of Terry’s Bistro. Over a period of three days, these featured chefs took turns owning the stage and making their own presentations, at the end of which seasoned host David Celdran joined them on stage to moderate a brief question-and-answer session with Multi-awarded chef Jessie Sincioco with Carmina del the audience. They chose their own topics Rosario and approached their presentations in the way each of them thought best. Chef Andoni Aduriz, whose session Chef Jordy Navarra was well-attended, spoke about Open Creativity via methods involving molecular gastronomy. Describing himself as halfchef, half-mad scientist, he endeared himself to his audience when he opened his session with a Tagalog greeting, saying “Isang malaking karangalan na nandito kami sa inyo.” (It’s a big honor that we are now with you.) Chef Elena Arzak, who had to fly back to Spain the day after her own congress session, also touched on Creativity, A Cuisine Open to the World. Chef Quique Dacosta centered on rice in his talk on A Thousand Faces of Rice. Chef Ramon Freixa drew everyone’s attention to Tapas Made in Spain—Cuisine in Miniature, since Spanish people have made it a habit to enjoy tapas (or little bites) after work, just a little before dinner. On the part of Chef Francis Paniego, he focused on Spanish Marinades and Offal of the 21st Century, while Chef Paco Roncero chose to talk about the Textures of Olive Oil, Traditional and Avant-Garde. Chef Mario Sandoval’s topic was The Science of Roasts, Modern Culinary Rituals, and Chef Paco Torreblanca, whom even his fellow chefs looked up to in the field of pastry arts,

Spanish chef Paco Torreblanca is a genius in pastry.

Philippine-based Spanish chef Juan Carlos de Terry and Chef Claude Tayag

The conference sessions were packed

happily talked about the new trends in desserts in his Sweet World, Happy Ending piece. As for the two Asian chefs, Chef Alvin Leung surprisingly chose to talk about It’s Fun to Cook Extreme Filipino, while Chef André Chang focused on Juices, Creativity and Fermentation. The topics of the Philippine-based chefs’ own presentations were Base Ingredient: Sour Fruits for Fernando Aracama, What Gives Life for Margarita Fores, Nose-toTail Eating in the Filipino-Spanish Menu for J Gamboa, Rediscovery and Reverence for Chele Gonzalez, Mom, I Want to be a Churrero When I Grow Up for Pepe Lopez, The New Filipiniana Cuisine for Rob and Sunshine Pengson, Local Seasonal Ingredients for Bruce Ricketts, Coconut, The Tree of Life for Myrna Segismundo, Philippine Adobo for Claude Tayag, and Spain: Center and Origin of Modern Occidental Cuisine for Juan Carlos de Terry.

Revered Spanish chef Andoni Aduriz had a full house .


TRADE EXHIBITION Another major component of Madrid Fusión Manila 2015 was the Trade Exhibition, which occupied one of the main halls on the second floor of the SMX Convention Center. It took visitors on a gastronomic journey, as some of the world’s leading food and beverage companies showcased their premium products in beautifully decorated booths. Chicken satti with adlai by chef Tippi Tambunting Highlights of the Trade Exhibition were Spanish and Filipino premium products, such as Spanish wines, cheeses, Filipino dishes, such as lechon, longganisa, sausages, hams and sweets, kinilaw, sinigang, adobo and other local as well as Philippine rice staples, some given contemporary twists (particularly heirloom rice that never failed to blow the minds of varieties), cacao, coffee, mango, those who tasted them. Local delicacies coconut, liqueurs and chocolates. and produce were also presented and Food tunnels were put together sampled off, including the Philippines’ very to allow visitors to participate own kapeng barako, artisanal cheeses, in food tastings and wine wines made with local fruits and nuts, pairings. The Trade Exhibition chocolates and alcoholic beverages. also gave visitors a good look at Responsible for the regional lunches various state-of-the-art kitchen was the Department of Agriculture, with equipment and world-class Undesecretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat restaurant accessories. as the chairperson for the Madrid Fusión The Trade Exhibition featured Manila 2015 Organizing Team. a Spanish Pavilion, where the Salchichas tortilla from the San Miguel booth Embassy of Spain conducted FLAVORS OF THE PHILIPPINES several tastings and seminars aimed at familiarizing not just Completing the Madrid Fusión Manila Filipinos but Madrid Fusión 2015 activities was Flavors of the Manila 2015 visitors of other Philippines. An essential part of the nationalities with Spanish food event but not held and limited to the products, such as wines, brandies three-day staging that took place at the and gins, cheeses, hams, even SMX Convention Center, Flavors of the caviar. Philippines was a month-long cultural and Dotting the International gastronomic festival that staked the claim Gastronomy Congress sessions for the Philippines as the center of culinary and the Trade Exhibition were excellence in Asia. It featured, for one, the regional lunches that featured the Tapas Festival, which showcased gourmet unique cuisines of the three main meals by celebrity chefs in restaurants, islands of the Philippines, namely gastronomy-related cultural events, food Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. A spread of awesome cheeses made by Davao-based Olive Puentespina tours and tastings, roving food trucks, and Each regional lunch had a lineup bar crawls, among others. of talented chefs preparing dishes Some of the country’s top restaurants, Dirty Rice' by chef Bruce Ricketts. that were either traditional dishes hotels, bars, malls and weekend markets from the region featured or made also featured their own line of succulent use of indigenous ingredients offerings related to the Madrid Fusión or produce found only in that Manila 2015 during the whole month of particular region. Carefully April. planned and curated, the regional lunches showcased a variety of



A RESOUNDING SUCCESS Held as part of the Visit the Philippines Year 2015 promotion, Madrid Fusión Manila 2015 turned out to be a resounding success, as it was able to gather together individuals, both chefs and participants, with a shared passion for food and committed to promote cuisines rooted in tradition, fueled by innovative ideas and aided by modern technology. Spain and the Philippines came together with other Asian countries to celebrate food and continue to explore what world food still had to offer—and from the way Madrid Fusión Manila 2015 turned out, the future of world gastronomy definitely looks bright and exciting. The next few years should see even more creative ideas emerging and giving birth to brand new tastes and experiences like never before. ←

Molten tablea chocolate cake by Chef Jackie Laudico




OF COFFEE AND ART A cup of Filipino coffee goodness in Geneva

Good coffee, food, books, and art await guests at Viverra.

A coffee shop exclusively selling artisanal Filipino coffee doubling as an art gallery and meeting place for artists in the bustling Swiss capital. This was but a dream for young entrepreneur John Sasuya a year ago. That dream is now a reality. Through a crowd-funding campaign that he launched a few months after The Filipino Expat wrote his story, Sasuya was able to generate a capital of more than €31.000 through which was enough to open his own café. Located on Rue du Mole, Viverra opened its doors last May. The cafe boasts a quiet ambiance, with books, photographs and unique jewelry from other countries. Sasuya is not only serving Filipino coffee from Sagada, Benguet and Batangas. He is also offering Filipino food favorites like lumpia, pancit and adobo to customers who are mostly Swiss including local politicians. Viverra is fast-becoming a favourite location for local artists to exhibit their work. “This is a jewel in the Paquis area of Geneva. The espresso is very, very good. I think it is because it is produced by a manual, traditional machine rather than automatic machine


used by other coffee shops. I think this is the best espresso in town. They have nice pastries, too. My favorite is ube cake. The ambiance of the coffee shop is very artistic with painting exhibitions. There is a small library full of good books, enough to read for couple of hours,” says Kenjs, a reviewer on the popular review site Trip Advisor. “What a great place! You can taste the tannins which starts your experience with the coffee, finishing with chocolate notes. As a Colombian, I really appreciated this combination. Then I got plenty of books that guided me on how to complement my coffee: Nietzsche, Malraux, Azimot, Ionesco. The customer service is very good in a central part of Geneva. I will pass by here every time I have some spare time around Paquis,” says Leonardo Rodriguez, another reviewer on Even local newspapers and websites like Tribune de Genève have picked up on Viverra’s success. Viverra Coffee and Arts is located at Rue du Môle 22 Geneva 1201. Visit or their Facebook page ViverraCoffee for their daily menu.

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Total Time : 1 hour Preparation time : 15 minutes Cooking Time : 45 minutes Ingredients: SARAP PINOYNL Young coconut strips (thawed) Half pack SARAP PINOYNL Malunggay (thawed) 1 liter chicken broth 300 grams chicken meat (cubed) 150ml coconut milk (about half a can) Fresh lemon grass (cut into Âź inch slices) 1 piece red chilli cut into thin slices 4-5 pieces crab sticks cut into 3 portions per stick Salt and pepper to taste Fresh cilantro for garnish Procedure: 1. In a pot, bring chicken broth to boil. 2. When the broth is ready, add the cubed chicken and let it cook for 5 minutes. 3. Add the lemon grass and coconut milk. Simmer for 5 minutes. 4. Add SARAP PINOYNL Young coconut strips. Mix it well and

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Sarap PinoyNL Binagoongan Total Time: 1 hour and 35 minutes Preparation Time : 30 minutes Cooking Time: 1 hour and 5 minutes Ingredients: 500 grams pork liempo cut into cubes 1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil 1 tablespoon minced garlic 1 cup chopped onion 4-6 dried bay leaves 6 tablespoon vinegar ½ cup SARAP PINOYNL Bagoong (original, sweet or spicy) 1 piece red chili pepper 500 ml water Salt and pepper to taste Fried onion and shallots to garnish (optional) Eggplant (optional) Procedure: 1. Bring water in a pot to a boil. 2. Add pork, dried bay leaves and vinegar. Let it cook for 40-45 minutes or until the meat is tender. 3. Drain and set aside. 4. In a separate pan, heat the oil and fry all the side of the pork then set aside. 5. Fry the eggplant then set aside. 6. In the same pan, saute garlic and onion.

Add SARAP PINOYNL BAGOONG and let it cook for 5 minutes. Add the fried pork cubes then let it simmer for 2 minutes. 8. Add the fried eggplant. Mix well until bagoong has fully blended in with the rest of the ingredients. Add the red chili, salt and pepper. 9. Cook and simmer for another 5 minutes. Garnish with shallots and fried onions. 10. Serve hot with a bowl of garlic or Java rice. 7.



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