Toyo Eatery



Toyo Eatery has been around for a couple of months now but somehow I never made it a point to try it out. In hindsight, it was a bit strange since I was a fan of Chef Jordy Navarra’s food when he was still with the old Black Sheep in BGC. I finally found my way to Toyo last Saturday and in order to get the full range of the chef’s vision, Jocel and I went for the tasting menu.


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Bar Pintxos BGC

I’ve been meaning to do a post on Bar Pintxos for some time now as I have enjoyed their pintxos and tapas several times at their original Alabang location. Fortunately or not, every time I go, I enjoy myself so much I forget to take photos.

Just before Christmas, Bar Pintxos opened their second branch at Fairways Tower, BGC and so those who find it difficult to make their way to the Alabang original can enjoy Bar Pintxos creations closer to home. I went three times during the Christmas break and so was finally able to get a few pictures. The last time time I went was with fellow wine aficionados who used to be Manila based but now make their homes abroad. So aside from the food, we also had some awesome wines.

We started with a few favorites. I never fail to order the orejas (crispy pig’s ears) and so that was one of our starters.



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Beaulieu Vineyard Wine Dinner

Happy New Year to all our readers!

I was pretty busy (with my regular job, not food and wine!) last December so I haven’t been able to update the blog as often as I would have liked. Things have eased up a bit, so I hope I’ll be able to post a bit more regularly.

Last November 29, I was fortunate enough to be invited to the launch of Beaulieu Vineyard in Manila. I’m not certain these wines were ever available in Manila as I cannot recall seeing them in the regular retail outlets and the last time I had one was an older vintage (80′s, I think), probably over 5 years ago. This is a bit surprising as Beaulieu (French for “beautiful place”) Vineyard is an immensely important winery and one of the pioneers of the Napa wine industry with a history going back over 100 years. It was the only Napa winery to have survived Prohibition as they were permitted to sell sacramental wine for the Church. They were also the first to produce a “cult” wine, the Georges de la Tour Private Reserve, named after the founder of Beaulieu Vineyard.

Gracing the dinner were JP Santamarina, President of Premier Wine and Spirits, and Jeffrey Stambor, Director of Winemaking for Beaulieu Vineyard.

Premier Wines and Spirits President JP Santamarina and Beaulieu Vineyard Director of Winemaking Jeffrey Stambor

Premier Wines and Spirits President JP Santamarina and Beaulieu Vineyard Director of Winemaking Jeffrey Stambor

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An Oregon Thanksgiving at Grind Bistro

The Ordre Mondial’s last event for this year was a dinner at Grind Bistro at the Netpark Building in BGC. The owner/chef, Steven Carl is from Oregon and so conceived an Oregon themed Thanksgiving dinner. Aside from the food, the wine would also come from Oregon with Steven’s wife Cristina, a trained sommelier, annotating the wines.


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Tahanan Bistro

Taking advantage of the holidays, we took a short out of town trip to Antipolo to try a new restaurant I had heard about from a friend of mine. The place is called Tahanan Bistro and is part of the home of furniture maker and sculptor Benji Reyes. It took us about 45 minutes to get there on a Sunday evening from Kapitolyo, Pasig. It’s fairly easy to get to, just use Waze and you should be fine.

There is no sign outside the restaurant but it’s fairly obvious that you’ve reached your destination. Here’s what the entrance looks like:



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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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