Wake Up, Philippines!

Dimsum, Champagne Bliss at Renaissance this May

Posted in Hotel, Hotels/Restaurants/Bars, Tourism, Travel by Erineus on April 30, 2009

Updated May 01, 2009 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines – Throughout the month of May, the Renaissance Makati City Hotel Manila’s newly bloomed fine Cantonese restaurant Jasmine gives cause for celebration as it offers the Dimsum and Champagne Bliss promotion.

Enjoy the divine dimsum preparations of Chef par excellence Choi Wing Ki for lunch or dinner with family and friends, partnered with a glass of Nicolas Feuillatte Champagne.

Heavenly preparations include signature dimsum such as Barbecue Pork Puff, Har Gao, Bean Curd Sheet Roll with Shrimp and Scallop Dumpling, among others.

The Dimsum and Champagne Bliss promo is offered at the celebratory price of P900 per person, and includes a basket of six different types of dimsum plus a glass of champagne.

Moreover, a minimum group of five diners gets a complimentary bottle of champagne.

The price is inclusive of VAT and local taxes, and is subject to 10 percent service charge.

For more information or reservations, call the Renaissance Makati City Hotel at 811-6888.

Imperial Palace offers suite treats on Mother’s Day

Posted in Hotel, Hotels/Restaurants/Bars, Leisure, Tourism, Travel by Erineus on April 30, 2009

Updated May 01, 2009 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines – Quezon City’s largest hotel, the Imperial Palace Suites, is offering sweet treats for moms on Mother’s Day.

Dubbed “Suite Treats,” this unique delight offers luxury suite accommodations, including special dinner for two, unlimited Wi-Fi access, gift pack from Finesse and Fluocaril, free use of the gym and swimming pool, and a raffle stub for exciting prizes.

All these come with a night’s stay at the Imperial Palace Suites — P3,750 for the Classic Studio Suite, P4,350 for the one-bedroom suite, and P5,100 for the two-bedroom suite.

This preferred hotel in Quezon City also offers “Special Dinner at the Peak” for only P660++ per person. The menu includes Cream of Asparagus Soup, Greek a la Athens Salad, Chicken Veronic or Shrimp Provencale, Glazed Vanilla Ice Cream, and Mumtini Cocktail.

“Each mom also gets a long-stemmed rose from Imperial Palace Suites,” said sales and marketing director Yvonne Villacorte.

For every minimum purchase of P1,000, she said diners are entitled to a raffle stub for a chance to win an overnight accommodation for two at Caylabne Bay Resort.

The promo rates are valid only from May 4 to 10.

For inquiries or reservations, call 927-8001 to 05, e-mail at reservations@imperial.ph, or log on to www.imperial.ph or www.accorhotels.com/3603.

Associated with Mercure Hotels under Accor and located at the corner of Tomas Morato and Timog avenues, this Wi-Fi-ready hotel has 207 well-appointed guest rooms with living, dining and kitchen facilities, keycard locking system, multilingual cable TV, mini-bar, and in-room safety deposit box.

The hotel features many other amenities, including a fully equipped business center, six meeting rooms with state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment for corporate and social events and a seating capacity of up to 500 guests, foreign currency exchange, an outdoor rooftop swimming pool, poolside bar, four food and beverage outlets, fitness and health facilities, massage center, basement parking, and CCTV security monitors.


What’s Nyonya? Find out at Makati Shangri-La

Posted in Food/Drinks, Hotel, Hotels/Restaurants/Bars by Erineus on March 23, 2009

Updated March 19, 2009 12:00 AM

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Makati Shangri-la executive chef Karl Heinz Krautler, general manager Reto Klauser, Ambassador of Malaysia to the Philippines Dato Ahmad Rasidi Hazizi, and F&B manager Steve Tai at the opening of the Nyonya food festival at Makati Shangri-La Hotel. The festival runs until March 29.

MANILA, Philippines – Circles Event Café recently launched its Nyonya food festival, which is ongoing until March 29.

The event was graced by Ambassador of Malaysia to the Philippines Dato Ahmad Rasidi Hazizi, Makati Shangri-La general manager Reto Klauser, executive chef Karl Heinz Krautler, and F&B manager Steve Tai, who is a descendant of the Nyonya line.

The authentic Nyonya delicacies are prepared by master chefs flown in from Golden Sands Resort in Penang, Malaysia, especially for the occasion.

A popular trend in Nyonya cuisine is the intermingling of Chinese ingredients with wok-cooking techniques and spices used by the Malaysian community such as coconut milk, galangal (a mustard-scented rhizome similar to ginger), candlenuts, laksa, pandan, tamarind, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, and cincaluk, a powerfully flavored sour and salty shrimp-based condiment mixed with lime juice, chilies and shallots. The cincaluk is often eaten with rice, fried fish, and other side dishes.

For reservations, call 840-0884, 813-8888 loc. 7588 or 7599.

Graduates get 50 percent off at Cabalen

Posted in Food/Drinks, Hotel, Hotels/Restaurants/Bars by Erineus on March 23, 2009

Updated March 19, 2009 12:00 AM

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MANILA, Philippines – Cabalen, the premier buffet restaurant, is giving a 50-percent discount to graduates who dine with a party of six.

Cabalen is an ideal family celebration venue as it offers the best Capampangan cuisine along with other Filipino gastronomic favorites at the most affordable price.

The wide array of festive dishes include bulalo, crispy crablets, kare-kare, lechon paksiw, pork humba, adobong pusit, pork barbecue, grilled hito with burong hipon, the famous dessert buffet of Cabalen which includes sampelot, minatamis na saguin, make–your–own halo halo, pitchi pitchi, leche flan, tibok tibok, tibok mais, fruit gelatin, and maja kalabasa.

Visit Cabalen restaurants at 67 West Avenue, Quezon City; third floor, Bridgeway, SM Megamall; ground floor, Robinsons Place Manila; ground floor, Glorietta 3; ground floor, Robinsons Starmills, San Fernando Pampanga; ground floor, Sta. Lucia East Grand Mall; ground floor, SM City Clark; second floor, TriNoma Mall, Quezon City; second floor, Chefs Ave Festival Mall, Alabang; ground floor, Paseo de Sta. Rosa, Laguna; and the newly opened SM Mall of Asia branch near IMAX cinema.

For inquiries, call 372 3515, 893 9884, or Cabalen’s catering services at 913-5522.

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Sophia’s gives graduates P300 Powerbooks GC

The flavors of Mediterranean cuisine come together at Sophia’s restaurant and deli at Westgate Center in Filicity, Alabang. Savor Sophia’s mezze appetizers such as the tiropita, dolmades and carpiaccio di manzo or beef carpiaccio served with capers and herbs drizzled with olive oil.

Try Sophia’s pizza selections like pizza keftedes topped with tomato, mozzarella, and ground beef; pizza kotopita with tomato, mozzarella, chicken pieces, and olives; pizza Romana with tomatoes, mozzarella, anchovies, and capers.

Cap the meal with baklava, layers of filo pastry filled with walnuts and honey; and Sophia’s special, a moist bread pudding in thick cold custard sauce. Sophia’s is giving away P300 Powerbooks gift certificates for a minimum of six people dining in with a graduate.

For reservations, call 771-7712.

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Graduates enjoy 10 percent off at Chili’s

Chili’s offers graduates a 10-percent discount ongoing until April 30. Feast on Chili’s steak and shrimp (flame-grilled 10 oz. rib eye steak paired with garlic and lime grilled shrimp), and baby back ribs.

For dessert, try the white chocolate molten cake topped with vanilla ice cream under a crunchy white chocolate shell.

Visit Chili’s at Greenbelt 5 in Makati (729-3022), Northeast Greenhills (727-2959), and Tomas Morato, Quezon City (372-5017).

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Moet & Chandon at Crowne Plaza

Crowne Plaza Galleria Manila offers a champagne salute to the graduates of 2009.

For a minimum graduation party of six persons, graduates will receive a bottle of Moet & Chandon when they celebrate at either of the hotel’s two restaurants — Seven Corners or Xin Tian Di Chinese Restaurant. The promo is ongoing until April 30. A special graduation set menu is available for only P 1,400+ per person. For reservations, call 633-7222, 395-2690 or e-mail f&b.reservations@ihg.com.

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Changi butter-fried tilapia at Fish Out of Water

Try the crispy Changi butter-fried tilapia at Fish Out of Water. The restaurant offers a menu built around the New World of recipes, and the best of the Philippine seafood.

Fish Out of Water is at the third floor, Greenbelt 5, Makati City. For inquiries, call 729-3858.

* * *

Asian buffet at Dads

Dads Asian buffet offers a selection of traditional dishes from different Asian countries such as siomai and spareribs from Macau, Chinese cold cuts, Thai hot and sour soup, Kashmir curry chicken, Hong Kong hot chicken salad, Mumbai mixed greens, Korean chap chae, and more.

Dads ultimate buffet is priced at P580 and P480 during scheduled promo days, VAT inclusive. This includes both Kamayan and Saisaki buffets, available in all Dads branches at SM Megamall (636-3785), Glorietta 3 (892-8898), EDSA (722-8125), Padre Faura (528-1723), and West Avenue (372-8845.

Source: Philippine Star

Wine and dine, it’s the last Friday!

Posted in Food/Drinks, Hotel, Hotels/Restaurants/Bars by Erineus on March 12, 2009

PURPLE SHADES By Letty Jacinto-Lopez Updated March 12, 2009 12:00 AM

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The table is set: On March 27, the Tivoli at the Mandarin Oriental holds The Nights of Wines and Fine Dining, which features Australian cuisine and wine.

If the morning begins with Andrea Bocelli singing Somos Novios (We Are Lovers), it guarantees me a clear, good-hair day that stretches until the sun goes down. Recently, I had another reason to celebrate. I explored the wonders of Spain in its scores of food and wine as only a seasoned hotel can present it.

Charisse Chuidian, director of communications, told me that Tivoli, the premier dining restaurant of Mandarin Oriental, was featuring Spanish food and wine in their Night of Wine and Fine Dining. In short, it’s a “TGI-L-F” happening, my acronym for “Thank Goodness it’s (the) Last Friday (of the month)!” something that the hotel has been known to endorse for many years now. Charisse said, “We like to feature cuisines from different countries and pair them with wines that these respective countries have been known for.”

I like that. This new trend of food and wine pairing removes the guesswork and gives one the indulgence of enjoying the dining experience.

I sat back and was ready to be dazzled but first, Mirko de Giorgi, restaurant manager, brought in a basket of freshly baked (and still warm) bread from the hotel’s panadería. I broke a piece of brown pretzel and dipped it in the following order: fresh butter, olive oil and a dry herb mixture of salt, paprika, and pepper. The three condiments made my eyes roll apart from awakening my taste buds. After a dainty sampling of salmon mousse to kick off the seven-course dinner, we partook of the following:

Mariscos: A trio of fresh catch from the sea — mussels in tomato sauce, chunks of lobster meat in olive oil and clams with green sauce — served in a platter. It was appetizing. Vallformosa “Claudia,” vintage 2007, Parellada, Muscat, went well with the trio.

Gazpacho: A tomato-based soup served cold, dribbled with sherry vinegar, fresh herbs and cubes of blue cheese. The blue cheese gave this soup a biting sensation, yet it was pleasing to the palate. Altozano Verdejo Blanco complemented the dish.

Legumbres: Reminded me of the Spanish fabada (white beans with cured ham/pork) except this dish used clams. The beans were served warm making it a fine substitute for hot soup.

Citricos: Fresh chilled yoghurt flavored with orange; this was so refreshing and delicious that it could very well be served as the postre or dessert. It’s a welcome change from the usual fruit sherbet served in the middle of the meal and I give it a three-star rating.

Carnes, verdures y mas: A medley of rack of lamb flavored with honey allioli, steamed spinach with toasted pine nuts and sweetened apples and scrambled eggs with shallots and leeks. The rack of lamb was still too red for my taste so they brought it back to the kitchen to grill it for another minute; it came back just right and it was good paired with a 2001 Vallformosa Reserva, Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon.

Postre: Dessert was crème brulee plus chocolate con churros. This was a sugar fix, big-time, and one that I will need to burn for a few more minutes at the gym. The sweet wine paired with the pastries was Cava, Vallformosa, semi-sweet, Eric de Vallfomosa.

I know that the Spanish love to drink wine with their meals. They rarely drink to excess because they don’t need to drink alcohol to unwind and have fun, which comes naturally. Well, we couldn’t be far behind. This night sharpened our wine-pairing skills, aside from being treated to soothing music by Teresa Avila on the keyboard under the attentive but unobtrusive eye of the F&B executive assistant, Oliver Kreuzer.

Charisse noticed that I was nursing my glass of Verdejo Blanco. “It was a nice wine for the first long, warm night of the year to herald the arrival of another long, hot summer,” I sighed.

Charisse chuckled, “But Letty, you are entitled to a bottomless refill of any of the featured wines. It’s what oenophiles expect so we make sure it is part of our wine-dinner promotion.”

Unlimited “pourings” of your favorite wine? As in “bottomless” wine instead of bottomless iced tea?

Here’s to another “TGI-L-F” at the Tivoli — or as they say in Spanish, “Salud, pesetas, amor y tiempo para disfrutarlo” (health, wealth, love and time to enjoy them all). Their sumptuous feast delivers the message just as well, if not more.

* * *

On March 27, The Nights of Wines and Fine Dining at The Tivoli will feature Australian cuisine and wine; New Zealand on April 24, and Asparagus and German Wines on May 29. For inquiries and reservations, call 750-8888 local 2431 or 2432.

View previous articles of this column.


Visions of Vida

Posted in Hotel, Hotels/Restaurants/Bars, Tourism, Travel by Erineus on March 6, 2009

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MANILA, Philippines – Just seeing Pinoys travel around the country makes us proud. It used to be that when someone would go on tour, it would mean out of the country. That alone would spark envy among those who would not be able to do the same. It made us think, our attractions can single-handedly compete with the best of them!

Thankfully, times have changed. Locals now actually plan and save up for local travel. Read blogs and you will come across Filipinos who take pride in showing off the natural wonders and local colors of this country. Now, if that is not a good thing, then we don’t know what is.

What we do know is that local travelers and foreign guests have been doing domestic travel more often because accommodations are available, among other reasons. Provide a good place to stay and you attract visitors who want to explore the destination longer.

One such establishment that does that is Hotel Vida at the Clark Freeport in Pampanga. Those who prefer to go out of town without having to endure hours of driving (or riding) will consider the nearness of Hotel Vida. It is, after all, 90 minutes away from Metro Manila via the North Luzon Expressway and a 40-minute drive to Subic via the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway.

That means the short travel time can accommodate more activities and sights to see in the itinerary. Don’t you just hate it when you cannot visit enough attractions because “our hotel is too far”? Hotel Vida’s location is convenient for guests who are getting their tourist act together. In a place like Pampanga, not only are there places to visit but also glorious food to enjoy. You really cannot afford to miss out on them.

On the other hand, guests have enough time to take pleasure in the hotel’s accommodations and amenities. Indeed, we take to heart Hotel Vida owner Daesik Han’s declaration: “We have pretty much everything here, from the pool to the bar. We do take pride in our hotel’s features.”

Describing the rooms as “spacious,” Han shares that Hotel Vida has 125 rooms consisting of deluxe, junior suite, one-bedroom suite, and a presidential suite. He says, “Each room has complete amenities that will provide comfort and relaxation to any guest who is here for pleasure or for business.”

Indoor fun can be had at the gym or at the Ylang Ylang Spa where various treatments and massages are offered. In-room massage is available, too. For those in an outdoorsy mood, Hotel Vida’s swimming pool is the place to be with its rolling slides, waterfalls, alcoves, and sunken bar.

The hotel has two food and beverage outlets: Salt Coffee Shop and Malt Bar. Salt boasts of a wide selection of local and international dishes and seats up to 110 diners. Its trellis area overlooks the pool and can accommodate 45 guests. Malt, meanwhile, is great for nightcaps and barkada gimmicks with its cool interiors and assortment of drinks. Catch a live acoustic set for a more relaxing evening.

Guests who do business in the area can turn to Vida’s business center and conference rooms. It even has an air-conditioned tent that is perfect for meetings and special events such as product launches and media presentations. Soon, a 700-seater convention center will rise in front of the hotel. It will house function rooms and a ballroom.

Han discloses that more is in store in the coming months. He says, “This hotel structure right now is the first of three phases. We are planning another asymmetrical tower just like this. We are going to build 20 villas and a water theme park.”

He shares that since Hotel Vida opened in July last year, the reception exceeded their expectations. He says, “The great thing about this is, we have regular guests who keep coming back. To be successful in this business, facilities should be really good. We also need variety and provide quality service. Those kinds of convenience are what guests are looking for, and we are only happy to give it to them.”

* * *

Hotel Vida is located at 5414 M.A. Roxas Highway, Clark Freeport Zone, Pampanga. For more information, call (632) 840-1430 (Manila office) or (045) 499-1000 (Clark office). Visit its website at www.hotelvidaclark.com or e-mail at reservations@hotelvidaclark.com.

View previous articles from this author.


Marco Polo Davao hailed for big role in Mindanao tourism

Posted in DOT, Hotel, Hotels/Restaurants/Bars, Tourism by Erineus on March 6, 2009

First-class international luxury hotel Marco Polo Davao has earned praises for its big role in promoting Davao City and the rest of Mindanao as a national and international tourism destination.

The accolades came during Marco Polo Davao’s celebration of its 10th anniversary recently.

Confirming and reaffirming the hotel’s role as a tourism icon in Southern Philippines, Halifax Davao Hotels Inc. (HDHI) president Carlos Dominguez said Marco Polo Davao would continue striving to give the city and the region a noteworthy reputation as a world-class destination.

With Dominguez at the celebration were HDHI directors and officers.

In a seeming state-of-the-business address, Dominguez said, “Our commitment to excellence certainly puts us at par with current global standards. Our global outlook and local approach allow us to harness homegrown talents to be exceptional performers in the world stage of hospitality. We really envisioned our hotel to be a major player in Davao tourism contributing to the growth of our city as a premier destination in Mindanao.”

“Our celebration tonight is a reminder to continue realizing that vision. We renew our commitment to take Davao closer to new markets as we work with the local government and the Department of Tourism. This is to uphold our image as an emerging regional and international city. Our leadership in the market shall continue to lift Davao as top-of-mind destination in the country,” he added.

Dominguez also paid tribute to the hotel’s loyal patrons and guests, suppliers, city officials and friends from the media for supporting and contributing to Marco Polo Davao’s success over the past 10 years.

Also at the affair were top executives of the hotel’s corporate clients, members of Davao City’s prominent families and Marco Polo Hotels vice president for operations Andre Scholl. Marco Polo Davao general manager Stanley Lau welcomed them in a brief speech.

Subsequently, Scholl presented video messages from Marco Polo Hotels president Steve Kleinschmidt, VP for sales and marketing Simon Pearson, VP for project development Ting Wah and VP for finance Francis Ling, congratulating Marco Polo Davao for its 10 years of exemplary service.

Spicing up the event were world-class performances by husband-and-wife team Isay Alvarez and Robert Seña and dance numbers by the Kaliwat Theater Collective, with TV anchor David Celdran as emcee.