Friday, January 30, 2015

TRAVEL: Where the Hundreds of Islands Seem to Kiss Each Other

Long weekend holiday meant road trips and family adventure.  So this was what happened to us during the Pope's visit.  We bought Island tour packages for a day of adventure at Hundred Islands, Alaminos, Pangasinan.  This was really not in the plan yet, but sometimes, it pays to not plan your tour and see whatever it brings to you for the sake of excitement.  Yes, sometimes.  But planning your tours months ahead is still essential.

The product of some spur of the moment back-packing with the kids!  Rewarding and no amount of money can buy.  However, it was a long five-hour drive from Pasay City to this part of Pangasinan.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

RWM and Viva Set Stage for Bituing Walang Ningning: The Musical

Growing up, I would watch Sharon Cuneta movies, while reading classic novels during TV commercials.  One of her epic movie that probably many adored was Bituing Walang Ningning.
Having found out from the event hosted by Resorts World Manila yesterday that a new musical will be bringing into life one of Sharon's movie, I know without skipping a heartbeat that it would be the aforementioned movie.

Premier lifestyle destination Resorts World Manila (RWM), Full House Theater Company in cooperation with Viva Communications, Inc. (Viva) collaborated to stage a story that has transcended Philippine entertainment. This blockbuster is set to produce a theater adaptation of the classic drama Bituing Walang Ningning.

A World of Luck awaits at Resorts World Manila

Resorts World Manila (RWM), the country’s pioneering integrated resort, had just launched their programs for the coming months as they invite everyone to enter a World of Luck starting today and throughout the whole month of February as it offers a chance for everyone to get lucky by bringing good fortune to its loyal patrons.

At the media event yesterday,held at Taps, Genting Club, they have shown a sneak peak into the exciting ways Resort world patrons will be indulged with surprises.  Whether it’s through the real fortune cookie where the lucky winner literally goes home with a cool fortune or one of the many surprises, RWM will be offering special prizes and promos for everyone the entire month of February.

Being in the event I was glad to have seen first this video from You Tube about how they have surprised diners of Passion Restaurant.

Nicole Scherzinger Sizzles as Proactiv's New Endorser

Remember the times when the dolls dominated MTV and You Tube with hit dance songs such as Don't Yah, Buttons and When I Grow Up?  These songs were made hit with a pop girl group who sings and dances amazingly envying.  We'll they actually made wearing lingeries, two-pieces and really skimpy clothes quite normal, which made some girls imagining to have their "purrfect" curves! They are the Pussy Cat Dolls!  

However, the group eventually broke up singling Nicole Scherzinger, who happened to be the leader of the group. 

So let me just pop the big news... Nicole is Proactiv's new celebrity endorser.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Crystal Jade Dining IN's New Chef's Recommendations and Yu Sheng

What is it about Cantonese cuisine that sets it apart from China's other regional cooking styles?  I've never truly answered that till I had my first visit here at Crstal Jade Dining IN.  Thoughit is a known fact that Cantonese cuisine is distinguished as China's "haute cuisine."

Located at Bonifacio High Street, Crystal Jade is a regular purveyor for foodies after good quality Chinese food.  Like many Chinese restaurants, they are now getting ready for this year's Chinese New Year.  Aside from the introduction of new menu dishes, they have launched the Prosperity Toss meal known as Yu Sheng or Lo Hei. 

Yusheng, yee sang or yuu sahng (Chinese: 鱼生; pinyin: yúshēng; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: hî-seⁿ or hû-siⁿ), or Prosperity Toss, also known as lo hei (Cantonese for 撈起 or 捞起) is a Teochew-style raw fish salad. It usually consists of strips of raw fish (most commonly salmon), mixed with shredded vegetables and a variety of sauces and condiments, among other ingredients. Yusheng literally means "raw fish" but since "fish (鱼)" is commonly conflated with its homophone "abundance (余)", Yúshēng (鱼生) is interpreted as a homophone for Yúshēng (余升) meaning an increase in abundance. Therefore, yusheng is considered a symbol of abundance, prosperity and vigor.

Here. you can see that one of the restaurant staff had led by preparing the salad for us.  All diners at the table then stand up and on cue, proceed to toss the shredded ingredients into the air with chopsticks while saying various "auspicious wishes" out loud, or simply "撈起, 撈起". It is believed that the height of the toss reflects the height of the diner's growth in fortunes, thus diners are expected to toss enthusiastically.

Traditionally, every ingredient meant something thus the ingredients essentially have to be complete.

The fish symbolizes abundance and excess through the year, which is something we all want right! 
年年有余 (Nian Nian You Yu) meaning “Abundance through the year”, as the word "fish" in Mandarin also sounds like "Abundance".

The pomelo or lime is added to the fish, adding luck and auspicious value. 大吉大利 Da Ji Da Li meaning “Good luck and smooth sailing”

Pepper is then dashed over in the hope of attracting more money and valuables. 招财进宝 Zhao Cai Jin Bao meaning “Attract wealth and treasures”

Then oil is poured out, circling the ingredients and encouraging money to flow in from all directions. 一本万利 Yi Ben Wan Li meaning “Make 10,000 times of profit with your capital” 财源广进 Cai Yuan Guang Jin meaning “Numerous sources of wealth”

Carrots are added indicating blessings of good luck. 鸿运当头 Hong Yun Dang Tou meaning “Good luck is approaching”. Carrot (红萝卜) is used as the first character 鸿 also sound like the Chinese character for red.

Then the shredded green radish is for eternal youth. 青春常驻 Qing Chun Chang Zhu meaning “Forever young”. Green radish is used as the first character 青 also sound like the Chinese character for green.

The shredded white radish is added - prosperity in business and promotion at work. 风生水起 Feng Sheng Shui Qi meaning “Progress at a fast pace” 步步高升 Bu Bu Gao Sheng meaning “Reaching higher level with each step”

The condiments are finally added.

First, peanut crumbs are dusted on the dish, symbolizing a household filled with gold and silver. 金银满屋 Jin Yin Man Wu meaning “Household filled with gold and silver”

Sesame seeds quickly follow symbolising a flourishing business. 生意兴隆 Sheng Yi Xing Long meaning “Prosperity for the business”

Yu Sheng sauce, usually plum sauce, is generously drizzled over everything. 甜甜蜜蜜 Tian Tian Mi Mi Meaning “May life always be sweet”.

Deep-fried flour crisps in the shape of golden pillows is then added with wishes that literally the whole floor would be filled with gold. 满地黄金 Man Di Huang Jin meaning “Floor full of gold”

For starters, make way for Xia Long Bao.

I had Four Season Shake, btw.

One of their best-seller, Peking Duck was served to us in two ways.  So when you order, the can give you the freedom to either eat it as it is or try the Chef's recommendation with it as a main ingredient.

One way to have it is with a wrap.  Dabbed with of Hoisin sauce, Spring Onion and Cucumber on the side of some slices of the duck meat, it is rolled with a soft wanton wrapper.  What you get is a savory, salty and sweet mix all in one bite.

The Double Boiled Fish with White Fungus and Papaya, one one hand, didn't really give much please.  It's like sipping Tinola Fish only with that unusual aroma and rancid taste, probably from the white fungus or the fish.

Next on their new dishes to try is the buchi!  Say what?  Ooops that's  joke!  These savor balls did really look like buchi.  These are Golden Sesame Balls Stuffed with Fresh Mushrooms. The sueteed mushroom filling is encased in a gelatinous shell and ending the bite with a crunch from the sesame seeds with a hint of salted egg seasoning. 

If you are read to be surprised then be it with this glorious helping of Crispy Prawns with sliced Apple and Sweet & Sour Sauce.  Oh yes,you read it right, it has apples, julienned most like.   As much as I like prawns in any was cooked, by far they've outdone all that I've tasted.  A mix of tartness, sweetness and freshness from all the ingredients burst in my palate.

Steamed Live Garoupa with Olive is another spectacle of a dish.  My foodie buddies with me on the table were debating the different taste that comes from the olives.  I was accustomed to Italian way of preserving olives so the way Chinese had it is a whole different take.  There is that licorice taste that fuses with the light sauce.

Sauteed Vegetables with Preserved Vegetables will be a delight to veggie lovers like me.

If your mind is still with the Peking duck, well another way it was served to us was with this, Braised Noodles with Shredded Duck and Mushrooms.  It's not that pleasing to the eye as the other dishes served to us, but as soon as you bite into, then you will know!     

An emphasis on preserving the natural flavor of the food is the hallmark of Cantonese cuisine. A Cantonese chef would consider it a culinary sin of the highest order to produce a dish that was overcooked or too heavily seasoned. I was reminded of this here at Crystal Jade.

Along with freshness and quality, artistic presentation of the food and garnishing are also very important in Cantonese cuisine.  More evident in the dessert below.                                                                                     

Japanese Glutinous Rice Dumpling with Mango Cream

Chilled Coffee Jelly

Taro Balls

Don't you think that was a great way to celebrate the turning of  new leaf, the Chinese way?  Well, at least with my experience here, it was.

Address:  Bonifacio High Street Central,
                30th Avenue cor. 7th Avenue,
                Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City

Monday, January 26, 2015

Ryu Ramen and Curry with the Balikbayans

The whole month of November was a whirlwind of events, and it passed by so quickly.  It was the month when my parents came home to visit us from Milan, Italy.  Of course our excitements were uncontainable, how could we not get over giddy as we know we'd have loads of "pasalubong."

It was also a visit full of memorable dining experiences with them and for that I really had to say, my Papa's wallet was crying for all the expenses, nevertheless, it was an occasion deserving for such. After all, their time in Manila is short and keeping up with relatives and friends is way harder for their work-occupied lives.

Friday, January 23, 2015

TRAVEL: Hidden Escapes and a Trail of Adventure in Oslob, Cebu

Oh how time flies so excruciatingly fast. I never thought it had been more than two months since I said good bye to Oslob, Cebu.  I've never seen Cebu in its stark beauty!  Stripped off of urban life, which means communing with nature can be such a bliss.  

You know, nature can really talk to you and it will indeed tell you a lot things. It, however, doesn't talk like your noisy neighbor, it will whisper sweetly with mild blows lazing your weary soul or it may blow you away as if shouting at you and checking your focus. 

If nature does not envelop you with a certain purpose in mind, it will rock you! 

Believe me, for this is how I had encountered Oslob's natural beauty.

After, my short visit at Sumilon Island and the small town of Oslob, this came to mind while I was going down the steep staircase which leads to the other side of the beach.

“And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair” 
― Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Aracama Kicked It Up a Notch by Adding Boodle Fight Platters

It all began with a special request from one client who loves to host themed parties. Aracama is known to serve modern take on Filipino cuisine and have been one of the after-work party go-to place, but who knew that a word of mouth from a particular client would have boodle fight requests coming in haywire.  Thus, they are officially letting everyone know about it.  

Everyone can now partake in Aracama Filipino Cuisine's festive mood with two different boodle platters. Salo-Salo Boodle and Fiesta Boodle.  

But before I tell you deets about the boodle fight I had with new found foodies, let me share one of the appetizer they had on their menu.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Win GC's from Mercato Centrale When you Check-in at Swarm

Hey Foodies!  Anyone here who frequents Mercato Centrale? If so, then here is a treat for you. Whenever  you visit MM, check-in via Swarm and share it on Twitter and then you'll get a chance to win Mercato GC!

If you are unaware of Swarm, it is an app that helps you keep up and meet up with your friends. Like Foursquare, you can check in to your favorite places, keep up with your friends by seeing who’s close by, and meet up with your friends right in the app.

Tagum City is Palarong Pambansa 2015 Venue

Photo credit here
After careful deliberation, officials of the Department of Education (DepEd) have selected Tagum City, Davao del Norte to host the 2015 Palarong Pambansa. The city beat out five other bidders – Dipolog City, Pagadian City, Koronadal City, Lanao del Norte province, and CARAGA region.
Before announcing the results of the vote, Education Secretary Br Armin Luistro FSC asked for the support of the cities that were not selected. “This is a vote for Mindanao. This year we were surprised at the number of bidders. We hope that we still have your support.”

When asked what he expected from the host Luistro replied, “The only thing we need to expect is for Tagum to deliver.” He added, “Ang maganda sa Tagum ay mukhang handa na ang lahat. Hindi na kailangan pa ng dagdag na buwang preparasyon.” The Palarong Pambansa is held in May with hosting duties rotating yearly among the island groups.

Caution Hot! 警告辣 Spicy Noodle House

Just Last October of 2014, another restaurant that seemed to be a scanty place opened up to serve authentic Chinese spicy noodles.  But I was surprised at learning that this scanty place along Magiting St., in Diliman is actually substantial on truly hot menu.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Time to Do Some #Skinvesting at Luminisce

Have you ever wondered how it's like to be Alice Dixon, Dawn Zulueta or Eula Valdez even?  As far as looks went, they had been blessed with aging clocks that were set slower than the rest of us.  We do understand that they spent a fortune maintaining their youthful looks.  

I guess they are good examples among many others who went out their way to really invest in their skin's beauty and health.  

Just a week ago, I was able to meet with a wellness expert and a health advocate rolled into one personality, Dr. Kristina Cuevas Reyes, but she prefers to be addressed as Dr. Kaycee.  This beauty expert is the one behind the slowly becoming famed hashtag - #skinvesting. 

What great way to be educated on "skinvesting" or investing in your skin than with a skin check done at Doc Kaycee's posh clinic in BGC called Luminisce Holistic Skin Innovation.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Grand Kick-Off Treats at Century Park Hotel

Be fascinated with Century Park Hotel's grand treats that's sure to kick start a delightful 2015.

They have extended Holiday Getaway room promo. Where the fun is continued with a celebration in their Classic Superior room for only at P4,500 net/room/night and deluxe room/Studio/One-Bedroom Park Tower suite/Junior Superior suite at P 5,500 net/room/night. These packages include complimentary buffet breakfast for two plus P500 credit in all Food and Beverage outlets. Promo is until January 15, 2015.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Neo-classical Romanticism at Vikings SM Jazz Mall

Milan, Italy is my parents and siblings' second home, thus it is mine too and I can't wait to come back.  Though only in my dreams, I would definitely barter for any tour, for me and my family to go back and see again the grandeur that is Italy.  In order for me to ease my yearning to coming to Italy is basking in Italian cuisine at home and when I'm called to indulge to dine out.

What made  me so in love in that romantic country is its renaissance art depicted in their architectural preeminence.  Bucolic monuments, neo-classical buildings to gothic palaces and everywhere you look seems to transport you in the era you only have read on novels.

Once you've been there, you will never leave without leaving aprt of your heart there.  So there, I really, really miss Italy, well also my relatives, hehe.

That being out in the open, I'm glad to tell you that I found a decent dose to cure my ailing heart, I found it in Vikings' newest branch, SM Jazz Mall.  Let my photos tell you why.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Visit Bohol Tourism Campaign for 2015 Launched

Because I am soo in love with my father's hometown, I can not excuse myself not promoting its natural beauty and wonder.  Even though I have been there a couple of times and have experienced the region in so many exciting ways, from the fun to the tragic stories it's history have shared, there is still that glorious aura that will not only invite you into its rich culture, kind people, scrumptious cuisine and ahhh magnificent scenic sights to behold.

Here is one proof that I'm forever drawn to Bohol:

Bohol Photo Journal 2014

Thursday, January 8, 2015

A Taste of KPOP's Soft-Ice Cream and Honey at Milk Cow

I've ended my blogging entry for 2014 with a sweet bang, though we rang 2015 with a semi-glorious feast at our home (which I'm hoping to blog), this experience remained to be one guilty pleasure to boot.  I'm ecstatic to report that this new dessert place in Eastwood City that rocked Korea and some Asian countries is now open to wow dessert lovers of the metro.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Restaurants I love that weren't properly blogged

Take a deep breath, sit down on your favorite chair or lie down on a hammock and think.  Have you thought of how 2014 was?  Has it been kind to you or has it brought a lot of challenges and gave you some demise? 

I don’t know about you but this year has simply flown by.  Perhaps I'm starting to feel the signs of getting old…..mmm.  Anyhow, as I was pondering over my 2014, I can say that it has been extremely rewarding, how could not trying out different cuisines - from newly opened restaurants and cafes, not made it awesome. 

Though the workload have been undeniably cumbersome and sometimes stressful, the pleasure of writing my blog has not diminished even if there were times when finding the time and head space for creative thinking proved very challenging, indeed!

Come to think of it, I also have tons of things to share here in my blog and my draft page is spitting pity on me for not being able to do so.

So, regrettably, let me just share some of this food establishments that I was able to visit and try but was not able to blog about.  If you have been a follower of my Instagram feed, you can see my where-abouts and yep, I was just mightily blessed of being able to discover a lot of new dishes, activities and whatnot.  I just wished that was gifted with more time and abilities (availability, that is) for me to be able to write about all of them.


Friday, January 2, 2015

A Closer Look at City Garden Suites Manila

The city of Manila is distinctively a melting pot of culture, arts and business.  Carlos Celdran have even described it as "a city of extreme contrasts."   "It’s easy to see how it can become an intense personal experience. Manila can be chaotic and spiritual, dirty and divine, gritty and gorgeous all at once. If you don’t find beauty and poetry here, you will never find it anywhere," as Celdran wrote of it more.

Many prefer to spend a little while in this city before seriously delving in to business or backpacking off the outskirts of the city and one hotel suite stood out from the rest when it comes to nesting awhile.  The three-star accommodation of City Garden Suites Manila have been a definite choice to many tourists, both foreign and local.  For reasons such as its proximity within Manila's commercial and business establishments.  It's near the US and Japanese Embassies, World Trade Center, CCP Complex, Baywalk area, the historical area of Intramuros, the entertainment district of Malate, and only 15 minutes away from the airport.

I'm feeling a bit void inside my gut for not trying out a staycation here before the year 2014 ended, however let me share you what other great treats you'll have once you'll try it to yourself.