Neo – Singaporean Cuisine

Last week, we had the good fortune to grab the last two seats at the Neo – Singaporean Cuisine dinner of Chef Han Li-Guang at the Makati Diamond Residences Alfred Restaurant. Chef Han runs Singapore’s Labyrinth Restaurant which was awarded as one of Singapore’s Top 20 Restaurants of 2014 in addition to many other accolades.

The dinner featured Singaporean dishes re-interpreted and using Philippine ingredients.


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Global Mala Project: Yoga is Love

One of the things I look forward to every time the -ber months roll around is the annual Global Mala Project. Founded back in 2007 by yoga teacher and energy activist Shiva Rea, this world-wide event brings together yoga and wellness enthusiasts during the Fall Equinox for a whole day of collective practice aimed at fostering positive change.  In Manila, we have Teresa Herrera (model, host, and yoga student of Shiva Rea) to thank for bringing this international experiment to our shores.


This year’s event was held last Saturday, September 24, at Whitespace Manila, in support of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women – Asia Pacific (CATW-AP). It was a successful collaboration of several local yoga studios, wellness organisations, music and fitness enthusiasts, and generous sponsors such as Certified Calm and The Wholesome Table.

Certified Calm booth.

Certified Calm booth

Thank you, Certified Calm, for the water refilling station.  And for having the sport cap 3.0 in stock!

Thank you, Certified Calm, for the water refilling station. And for having the sport cap 3.0 in stock!

Yummy eats from The Wholesome Table

Yummy healthy eats from The Wholesome Table

There were various classes and workshops scheduled throughout the day, so many that, as always, choosing among all the offerings proved very difficult for me.  I ended up participating in three yoga classes, quite a feat since I hadn’t really been practicing regularly this past year.

Since Global Mala is based on the sacred cycle of 108 as represented by the traditional mala beads, I felt it apt to kick the day off with 108 sun salutations.  It was a highly energised class; despite the early hour, the room was packed.


108 sun salutations

An hour later, I went back on the mat for Pio Baquiran’s Vinyasa class. It was one of the more popular classes, and we really had to squeeze in to accommodate all the participants.


Vinyasa with Pio Baquiran

My last class was the Living Yin session led by Donna Tumacder-Esteban. Her series of poses really helped open up and stretch out the joints and muscles that took quite a beating during my earlier classes. By the end of the hour,  I felt relaxed and rejuvenated, a perfect way to wrap up my practice that day.

Living Yin with Donna Tumacder-Esteban.  Photo by Cookie Pido.

Living Yin with Donna Tumacder-Esteban. Photo by Cookie Pido.

A well-deserved post-yoga treat: Chai Chocolate from Toby's Estate :D

A well-deserved post-yoga treat: Chai Chocolate from Toby’s Estate :D Because chocolate is love, too!

There were so many other classes I would love to have taken — drumming! capoeira! more yoga! — if only time and energy had allowed.  Here are a few snaps of the other activities that day, taken by my good friend, yogini and martial arts enthusiast Cookie Pido:

Kundalini with Rosan Cruz

Kundalini with Rosan Cruz. Photo by Cookie Pido.

Capoeira by Coach Joseph Pagulayan

Capoeira by Coach Joseph Pagulayan. Photo by Cookie Pido.

Donna Tumacder-Esteban dancing to the drums!

Donna Tumacder-Esteban dancing to the drums! Photo by Cookie Pido.

I heard some rumors that next year’s Mala will be a multi-day affair.  I think that’s a fabulous idea :D








Oktoberfest at the Sofitel

For the 78th time in the Philippines, the quintessential German (or should I say Bavarian) party will be celebrated in Manila in grand style at the Sofitel. This will be the 7th installment of the celebration at the Sofitel and, incidentally, the 110th anniversary as well of the German Club of Manila, which works with Sofitel to make this unique celebration as authentic as possible.

At the press briefing for this event, some facts from the 2015 edition were shared:

Over 7500 one liter mugs of beer were consumed in 2 days.

3350 people attended the party.

1300 kg of sausage were consumed.

500 kg of pork knuckles were consumed (No you can’t have toyo and suka with this German version of Crispy Pata).

700 kg of chicken were consumed.

600 kg of sauerkraut were consumed (More sauerekraut was eaten than pork knuckles?!).

The Bavarian Sound Express will be flown in to provide the proper atmosphere and music. This will be the 13th time the band will be playing in the Philippines.

Oktoberfest actually starts at the end of September and ends in October.

But aside from giving us these facts, we also got a taste of some of the food.

Bread selection

Bread selection

Cold cuts and smoked fish

Cold cuts and smoked fish

Salad bar

Salad bar

Salads: Radish, potato, cucumber, cabbage, sausage

Salads: Radish, potato, cucumber, cabbage, sausage

The best wursts!

The best wursts!

Parsley filled roast chicken

Parsley filled roast chicken

Grilled pork knuckles

Grilled pork knuckles

Leberkäse (meatloaf)

Leberkäse (meatloaf)

Leg of ham with beer sauce

Leg of ham with beer sauce

Schwarzwalder Torte

Schwarzwalder Torte

Aside from the eating and drinking, there will also be lots of games and raffles with prizes such as business class tickets to Europe, vacations at some of country’s top resorts, gift certificates to restaurants, and many others.

Tickets to Oktoberfest can be reserved at the German Club Manila at tel 894-2899 or The Sofitel is also offering special room rates. For inquiries call 551-5555 or email















Export-worthy Pinoy Finds at MaArte Fair 2016

Time to go treasure hunting at the MaArte Fair this weekend! Happening this August 28-28 at the Penthouse of 8 Rockwell in Makati (a swanky upgrade from the Rockwell Tent, its home for the past 7 years), the MaArte fair presents over 70 handpicked retailers to showcase proudly Pinoy finds, many of which are usually only available to overseas buyers, or have no venue to showcase their work.

MaArte 2016 Logo


Organized by the Museum Foundation of the Philippines, this annual fundraiser provides a venue to support export-quality products, while raising funds to support the National Museum. “Our challenge is to ‘Evolve the Filipino Craftsman,” shared Maritess Pineda, Museum Foundation president. “Over the past years that Rockwell (Tent) has been our home, we have attracted a wider market of individuals who appreciate the indigenous work of the Filipino, for the modern lifestyle. Fabrics, baskets, jewelry, clothing, and a myriad of new accessories will be available to our buyers.” Oh, and delectable gastronomic discoveries, too!

Here’s a sneak peek at what’s in store for you this weekend:

Fine jewelry by Micki Olaguer

Fine jewelry by Micki Olaguer


Zarah Juan

Zarah Juan’s footwear inspired by Bagobo tribe prosperity symbolisms (“Except for the dragon, I was just being playful with that one”), featuring Binakol fabric from Ilocos, hand-embroidered by the T’boli tribe



Traditional tambourin necklaces and jewelry inspired by the islands of Guimaras by Kathy & Kathy Bespoke


Gabbie Sarenas

Gabbie Sarenas shows us her lovely apparel featuring callado embroidery inspired by Filipino mythical creatures (Tikbalang! Sirena! Si Malakas at Maganda!)



Hand-carved minaudières by Joanique


Pacific Traders

How elegant are these crustacean table accessories by Pacific Traders?


Filip + Inna

Apparel (Filip + Inna) and bags (Zarah Juan) featuring Filipino weaves by indigenous artisans. We’re also looking forward to the Zarah Juan + Rhett Eala collaboration to be presented at the Fair!


Ken Samudio

Wearable art: Coral-inspired accessories by Ken Samudio


MaArte Fair 2016 will be held at The Penthouse of 8 Rockwell in Makati this August 26-28, 9 AM-9 PM.



Rhone Classics at Flame

Continuing with its Wine Classics series, the Ordre Mondial des Gourmets Degustateurs (OMGD) presented a Rhone Classics dinner at Flame, Discovery Primea, last August 2. Wines from across the various Rhone appellations were paired with the food of Executive Chef Luis Chikiamco who did an excellent job of allowing the food to showcase the wines.


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It’s a bit off the beaten track, since the development in the area is still ongoing, but if you are after some hearty food, meat especially, Pampas is the place to go. Pampas is onwed by the same group that put up another Argentinean restaurant, Gaucho, at Robinsons Magnolia several years ago. Unfortunately, it seemed that the area was not the right location for the concept and so they closed it last year. We used to go there quite often as the food was great and very reasonably priced, so it was a big loss for us when it closed. Fortunately, they resurrected the concept with Pampas, although on a more modest scale.

The International Wine and Food Society (IWFS) Philippines Branch recently held its July event there with a menu showcasing the restaurant’s specialty dishes.

Before dinner proper, a barrage of small bites were presented. These included empanadas, small chorizo sandwiches, fugazetta (onion pizza), ceviche, and beetroot salad. There was so much of these starters that it you weren’t careful, you could end up too full to eat the mains.

Fugazetta, Chorizo Bocaditos, Emapanadas, Beetroot Salad

Fugazetta, Chorizo Bocaditos, Emapanadas, Beetroot Salad

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Flame at Discovery Primea

I finally had the chance to try Discovery Primea’s premier dining outlet, Flame, earlier this month.

Located at the 16th floor, the cuisine at Flame has touches of east and west. Pride of place is given to steaks prepared in their state of the art Josper oven, but they also have items which incorporate asian influences such as the Hainanese Chicken Rice, Asian Beef Carpaccio and Soft-Shell Crab Tempura. You are surrounded by great views of the city and the service is faultless.


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TOMS Anniversary Sale!



Who loves TOMS? (These pretty, super comfy T-strap flats are my favorite TOMS pair!) Get up to 70% off on select styles for men, women, and kids at the TOMS Anniversary Sale, which is ongoing until the end of the month (July 31)! TOMS Bags are up to 30% off and TOMS Eyewear up to 40% off as well.  The best part? For every pair of TOMS you purchase, another pair goes to a child in need–that’s the TOMS One-for-one philosophy.

TOMS stores are located at SM Mall of Asia, SM Megamall, SM Aura, Glorietta 1, Rockwell. Also available in all Nothing But H2O stores: Alabang Town Center, Glorietta Trinoma, Ayala Cebu, Robinsons Galleria, D’Mall Boracay, and SWIM Rockwell.

Common Room X Power Plant Mall

If you’ve always wanted to visit the magical happy place that is Common Room, but can’t seem to find the time or energy to trek to their shop in Katipunan, Quezon City, great news: they’ve just opened their new (pop-up) branch at Power Plant Mall in Makati! This charming arts & crafts treasure trove will be there for the next six months, hence their pop-up hashtag #180daysofmaking.  (Note to self: the perfect place to do some Christmas shopping!)

Junior Lab Rats Sari, Mikey, and Gita at Common Room x Power Plant Mall

Junior Lab Rats Sari, Mikey, and Gita at Common Room x Power Plant Mall

Arts & crafts

Drool over the handcrafted creations from over 60 local artists, crafters and makers (that’s double the amount of partners and concessionaires when they started just a year ago)


Craft supplies! Stationery! Paper flowers! Journals! Accessories! Horsies! Handmade dollies! And so much more...

Craft supplies! Stationery! Paper flowers! Journals! Accessories! Horsies! Handmade dollies! Dreamcatchers! But wait, there’s more…


Run by sisters Roma (of plushie brand Pop Junk Love) and Maan Agsalud (who runs the Type Kita collective) and a host of dedicated partners, Common Room provides a wonderful home for a growing family local crafters and makers, as well as a workshop space for artists, dreamers, and crafts enthusiasts.


Sandwiched between sisters Maan and Roma Agsalud, the fairy godmothers of the Common Room family, and cheerleaders of the local arts and crafts community

Sandwiched between sisters Maan and Roma Agsalud, the fairy godmothers of the Common Room family. I’m so thrilled that beyond lovely arts and crafts, they have a cool indie book section too, which includes my little poetry book The Heartbreak Diaries!


Don't forget to take a #shoefie by the succulents of The Greenhouse Project!

Don’t forget to take a #shoefie by the succulents of The Greenhouse Project!

Catch Commom Room at the Archaeology Section, Level 2 of Power Plant Mall till the end of the year. Just look for the paper cranes!

A Don Quixote Dinner

It has been a while since the International Wine and Food Society had a dinner by JC de Terry. Certainly one of the most creative (he says he’s crazy) spare-no-expense chefs you can find in Manila, I’ve certainly enjoyed my fair share of JC’s creations, some of which I have shared on this blog.

For the Society, JC proposed a dinner to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the publishing of Miguel de Cervantes’ masterpiece, Don Quixote. All the dishes for the dinner would be modern interpretations of food that appeared in the book, or dishes inspired by the book. These would be accompanied by Spanish wines, except for a Tokaji donated by the Society President, Bernie Sim.



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