Wake Up, Philippines!

Pacquiao-Hatton fight live at Hyatt

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

Updated May 01, 2009 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines – Witness the super fight between the number one pound-for-pound boxer, Manny “The Pacman” Pacquiao, and Ring Magazine light welterweight champion, Ricky “The Hitman” Hatton.

Watch the most awaited, and considered the biggest, boxing match of the year as two hard hitters try to knock each other down, broadcast live from the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, at the ballroom of the Hyatt Hotel and Casino Manila on Sunday, beginning at 8 a.m.

For just P1,000 net, enjoy a larger-than-life experience and watch this unforgettable event on a large projector screen while enjoying appetizing snacks, free-flowing softdrinks and local beer.

Also receive 15 percent off your bill should you dine in any of the hotel’s innovative restaurants and bars on the same day.

You can also watch this anticipated boxing fest exclusively with family and friends in the stylish private pods of the newly opened Music Bar.

For inquiries on ticket sales, call the hotel’s Concierge at 245-1234.

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.


Affordable veggie meals

Posted in Food/Drinks, Hotels/Restaurants/Bars by Erineus on April 22, 2009
April 22, 2009, 2:11pm
Spicy Garbanzos Menudo. (Photo by PINGGOT ZULUETA)
Spicy Garbanzos Menudo. (Photo by PINGGOT ZULUETA)

Think hospital food and you will think twice about ordering. But at the Manila Adventist Medical Center and Colleges Inc. (formerly the Manila Sanitarium and Hospital) cafeteria, you are in for a nice surprise. This purely vegetarian eatery goes beyond the usual pinakbet and lettuce-and-tomato salads. The nutritionists and dietitians manning its kitchen and counters have found innovative ways to cook their greens.

The food offered behind the sanitized glass counters is really quite imaginative. You can choose from among unusual items such as the slightly spicy Garbanzos Menudo, just-right-to-the-bite Tofu Kilawin, and the filling Kidney Beans Guisado. The Mushroom Rebosado can stand to be a little crispier, but the veggie burgers and pizzas are guilt-free ways to have your “meat” and eat it too. The cafeteria also carries soups and desserts that are light and right. The great thing about these healthy items is that they are msg-free.

Another impressive thing about this cafeteria is their emphasis on wholistic health. According to the hospital’s director for marketing, Dr. Ian Kenneth C. Bermeo, the caf does not serve sodas, coffee, or artificial juices. At the end of the food queue, you will be greeted by a container of buko pandan or a fruity gulaman juice. Hot tarragon tea is also available for those who want to warm up. Then, as you pay for your order, another surprise is in order. The prices are so affordable, that a two-viand and one-cup-of-rice combo will set you back by only P75.

There are also wholesome breads that you can take home for the kiddies. The wheatgerm cookies make the perfect pasalubong, because they deliver the right amount for crunch without the cloying sweetness and the excess calories. The cinnamon bread is their best-seller, according to Bermeo, and with good reason. This cinnamon loaf is wheat-bread based, less sweet but more flavorful — because it is not smothered in sticky syrup, you get more of the cinnamon taste.

A taste of history

The cafeteria itself is a refreshing sight. It came as a surprise when Bermeo revealed that the eatery has been around since the 1920’s, making it probably the oldest existing vegetarian restaurant in the country. The venue is brightly-lit, modern, and very conducive for light, leisurely meals. You will forget the fact that you are right smack at the lower ground of a high-traffic hospital in Pasay City.

“This restaurant has been open to the public, and we get a lot of people here who are not just Adventists or vegetarians. The focus here is on good and healthy food. Many of the customers are not only from the hospitals, some come from the nearby bus stations, and those who just want to enjoy a wholesome meal,” says Bermeo.

The cafeteria has become so popular, that there are plans of building another restaurant within the same complex to accommodate the students of their nearby college.


Have a ‘cocktale’

Posted in Food/Drinks, Hotels/Restaurants/Bars by Erineus on April 22, 2009
April 22, 2009, 2:17pm
Peach Mango Smoothie
Peach Mango Smoothie

When the weather gets too hot and the heat becomes too unbearable, even burning sweat-drenched bodies, we start to find ways to beat the summer heat.

For most Filipinos, summer is synonymous with beaches and immersing in cool waters. But for those who can’t afford to travel outside Manila, the summer scene means stalls selling halo-halo in every street corner, hawkers with fresh buko and other tropical fruits, and every home starts to retail cool treats such as ice candy, samalamig, and what have you.

Through the years, the people’s palate and taste preferences have become more sophisticated. They start to wander into ice cream parlors that offer numerous flavors: from the simple and traditional vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry, they now have more complicated flavors which can be a combination of two flavors or more. And they now come in different types: soft ice cream, gelato, and sorbets, among others.

Dessert places are also sprouting in the metro, people can now have frozen treats such as frozen yogurts, shakes, and smoothies; some even specialize in fruits and fruit juices. Just reading their menu is enough to whet the taste buds of the consumers. But nothing beats fruits as the ultimate summer treat.

As always, summer is the season to load up on fruits. Aside from the tasty possibilities, study shows that fruits have vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals that can control blood pressure, prevent diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, stroke and hypertension, and cancer, and maintain overall body health.

One of the cool places where Filipinos can simmer the heat down this summer is Cocktales, a dessert parlor by the Fruitas group. Lester Yu, Fruitas and Cocktales founder/CEO, originally wanted to provide an alternative dessert place for sweet-toothed individuals who want something light and healthy after a heavy meal, but the place is slowly gaining a reputation as a summer haven.

At Cocktales, dessert lovers can try their different concoctions that come in four categories: Desserts, Shaken, Stirred, and Hot Items.

Desserts are actually fruit bowls, with a bed of shaved ice and topped with a milky sauce. They have the Beauty Boost (a bowl of detoxifying papaya), Tropical Paradise (a mixture of various fruits), Caribbean Dream (a combination of banana and papaya), Coconut Paradise (a blend of various fruits with shredded coconut meat and topped with vanilla ice cream), and Mango Bananarama (a fusion of mangoes and banana, with tapioca and rice balls).

Then, there are the heavenly Cocktale drinks (of course, minus the hangover since they are just inspired by popular alcoholic drinks). They have the Chocolate Apple Martini, Vanilla Lychee Margarita (chilled lychee shake in margarita glass), Long Island Iced Tea (blend with the English breakfast tea), Watermelon Mojito with a touch of ginger and mint, Mango Daquiri with tapioca balls, and Piña Colada, a mocktail with pineapple and mint, among others.

Then “Stirred Up” the summer with these juices: OJ Booster (orange juice), Silk Skin (coconut juice with stripsof coconut meat and lychees), and Lemon Cola (cola with a kiss of lemon). Hot Items to watch out for are Nana Rosa’s Hot Cacao and Evening Calm.

Whatever you do to cool down, don‘t forget to drink lots of water to hydrate your body this summer!
Cocktales is located at the 5th level, Atrium of SM Megamall, with another one soon at Trinoma Mall.


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Taste the dream

Posted in Food/Drinks, Hotels/Restaurants/Bars by Erineus on April 22, 2009
April 22, 2009, 11:05am
O'sonho's Sea Bass. (Photo by PINGGOT ZULUETA)
O’sonho’s Sea Bass. (Photo by PINGGOT ZULUETA)

It has always been a dream for Cris and Nik Barancik to open a Portuguese restaurant so they could share their passion for the cuisine with everyone. With that, it’s only fitting to name their restaurant as such, o’sonho pronounced as “o-son-yo” which means “the dream” in Portuguese tongue.

“We chose that name because for us, opening this restaurant is a dream in so many ways. We have always aspired to open a Portuguese restaurant since we’re such big fans of their cuisine.

Whenever we travel, we’re constantly looking for the best Portuguese restos in the area and then when we come back here, we’re like, how come we don’t have Portuguese restaurants in the Philippines?” Cris tells.

Apart from that, the couple are big fans of eating out, all the qualities that they believe a good restaurant should have, they tried to put together in O’sonho; friendly service, reasonable prices, and good food.

“We wanted people to have a place where they can enjoy a nice atmosphere, very classy setting, and good gourmet food without spending too much. That’s also why we picked the name O’sonho, we want our customers to share the dream with us,” Cris quips.

Both Cris and Nik didn’t have formal training in culinary arts or restaurant management, but people would always see them hanging around the kitchen or serving and minding their guests.

“We believe that in the restaurant business, it’s good to talk to people and find out what they think about the food, their opinions, so we can always improve the dishes for them. If we don’t come here, we’ll never know. So we really make it a point to be here all the time,” Cris adds.

Consequently, all their hard work is paying off because since O’sonho opened two months ago, the feedbacks from their customers have been relatively good. A lot of foodies are even blogging about them, giving them praises and constructive criticisms.

But what makes Portuguese dishes distinct from other Mediterranean cuisines? According to Cris, Portuguese is closely similar with the Spanish cuisine in terms of being big in sea food, spices, garlic, and olive oil. However, Portuguese dishes are richer and more filling; its spices are more apparent and full-flavored.

Take for instance their Peri Peri Chicken marinated in peri, peri sauce; the crisp-skinned roast chicken is very tender while the herb, garlic, olive oil trio in their peri-peri sauce balances out the hotness of the chilies. As what Cris said, “It explodes in your mouth in a way that truly represents Portuguese cuisine.”

For fish lovers, their Bachalau de O’sonho is something to be reckoned with; it is made of salt cod fish – a fish that’s so salty, it needs to be soaked in water for a whole day to be edible – slow cooked with tomatoes, chickpeas, potatoes, carrots, herbs, and olive oil. It should be eaten with cheese and focaccia bread to temper the Bachalau’s overpowering flavor.

Although O’sonho specializes in traditional Portuguese cooking they also offer fusion dishes from different kinds of cuisine. Take for instance their Sisig Chorizo, they took the Filipino’s favorite sisig and added a Portuguese flair by adding chorizos and cooking it in olive oil. The crunchy sisig bits combined with the diced chorizos create a playful crunch in the mouth that’s surprisingly appetizing.
However, putting up a Portuguese restaurant was quite a challenge for the Barancik’s especially because Filipinos are not very aware of Portuguese cuisine.

“The biggest challenge is educating people about the cuisine because Filipinos, only like what they know. If you put up an Italian, Asian or, Spanish restaurant, sure ball na yan but with Portuguese you either have to be very adventurous or you have travelled in different countries to know what Portuguese cuisine is. There are people who come here and tell us, ‘you know I never realized Portuguese food is really good.’ So it’s all about getting people to know about it and getting them to at least try. I’m very confident that once they try it, they’d fall in love with it too,” Cris said smiling.

O’sonho is located at 20 Jupiter St., Bel Air, Makati City.


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.