Monthly Archives

January 2010


Touring Fundacion Pacita Batanes!

Fundacion Pacita is one of the best boutique hotels in the Philippines. A Batanes experience is not complete without enjoying the “Wuthering Heights” ambiance of Fundacion Pacita — it is located on top of a cliff with a 270-degree view of the sea, mountains and the sky. Also, at this time of the year, this is one of the only places where you can feel it’s “winter” in a tropical paradise like the Philippines.

Let me give you a photo tour of the Terrace View Suites so you can visually experience Fundacion Pacita Batanes…

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Performance Arts

DUETS by Peter Quilter

We are fans of the theater scene in Manila, so, to kick off the 2010 theater season, we watched the first romantic comedy by Repertory Philippines called Duets. It forces you to reflect on your own relationships in life, especially those with “hang-ups” in different sets of relationships.

The coolest thing about it is watching respected theater veterans Joy Virata and Miguel Faustmann transform from one set of characters into the next — from lovers on a blind date, to a gay guy and his hopelessly-in-love assistant, to a divorcing couple on their last holiday together and, finally, a brother and his sister, who is getting married for the third time. The audience literally sees their physical transformation when they change costumes inside their see-through dressing room.

Most of the scenes were hilariously funny except for the first set of characters because they were a bit boring (or maybe we just couldn’t relate). Our favorite was the gay vignette where Miguel Faustmann was amazing. The most shocking scene was…I think I’ll leave that as a surprise. 🙂

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Tippi Tambunting’s Masseto

There’s a foodie buzz going around about Tippi Tambunting’s new restaurant, and Rajo, Heart2Heart and EyeOnWine were ahead of the pack. It is called Masseto, named after an Italian wine, and it’s a fine dining restaurant/wine bar. It has an extensive wine list much like Cav (without the wine dispensers), and is as elegant and hidden but more spacious than Elbert’s (without the steaks).

Masseto is owned by the same people behind Premium Wines and they did a very good job of integrating the wine cellar with the dining setup and gourmet food by Chef Tippi. It has a better execution than the Wine Museum setup of Ralph’s. Check out EyeOnWines‘ review of the wine selection there.

I’m excited about Masseto because it elevates the fine dining scene in Manila. If you like Lolo Dad’s and Aubergine, you’ll surely enjoy Masseto. Plus, it’s a great place for Valentine’s. 🙂

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#Restaurants, Food

Lu Moroccan/Mediterranean Restaurant

Yes, we now have a decent Moroccan restaurant in town. Most yuppies and business people are flocking to Lu (named after Luis, the owner) for a good meal of Moroccan/Mediterranean food. The place converts into a bar by 10pm — this is one of those restaurants where you won’t see any kids dining.

Some people mistakenly call it Lu Lu because of its logo, which represents a mirror reflection of LU. This was the perfect venue for us to meet one of our good old friends also named Lu (short for Luisa). 🙂 I like it because of the exotic taste of the different spices used. Plus, my favorite couscous is a staple on the menu. 🙂 Some people probably won’t like it because of its “Indian” taste, which some taste buds can’t seem to appreciate.

If you are looking for a new place to try in Rockwell, Lu is the place for you. 🙂

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#Restaurants, Food

Taqueria Mia: Taqueria Chilanga’s Reincarnation

Sasha asked me in the OAP Comments Section:
hi anton. happy new year! im reading your blog on a regular basis. i really like your features. im just curious if you know the mexican restaurant “taqueria chilanga”. it used to be in metropolitan avenue in makati (near shopwise) then it moved to greenbelt 3 and branched out in shangrila mall. i dont know where they are now but i really really love the food in that restaurant and im just wondering if they’re still around. hope you can help me find them.

Sasha, I’m happy to say that I finally found them. 🙂

Estella Blanco, the Mexican housewife who was cooking for Taqueria Chilanga, has been living in the Philippines for about 15 years already. She partnered with Lance to launch Taqueria Mia in the Saturday Salcedo Market, where they use all of Estella’s Mexican recipes.

They also have an “outpost” now in the Power Plant Cinema Snack Bar. They serve limited Mexican favorites on a to-go basis there. I prefer the Salcedo Market stall, which offers fresh and homemade Mexican favorites (ex. burritos, tacos, quesadillas, etc.) vs the Rockwell outlet, where the food tastes frozen.



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Manila’s Essential Guide to Rent The Musical

(ANNOUNCEMENT: Congratulations to Edward Capacillo for winning the What’s your favorite Rent Song and Why? contest, and to Silver Surfer for winning the Your “La Vie Boheme” Moment contest! Please email or text me to claim your prize before January 31, 2009)

Seasons of LOVE, Another Day and Finale by Manila Rent Cast 2010!

Here is everything you need to know about Rent The Musical with the 2010 Cast:

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Brasserie Boheme by The Gustavian

I’ve heard a lot about The Gustavian, especially from foodies who were raving about it when they visited Cebu. They have branches in Banilad, Marina Mall, and Ayala Mall in Cebu. Now, they plan to win over the foodies in Manila by opening a branch in Eastwood Mall and another in the heart of Salcedo Village, Makati (it’s called Brasserie Boheme — I originally thought it was Bohemian Brasserie).

The Gustavian is the restaurant partner of The Picasso, which is the latest Boutique Serviced Residences in Manila. The Picasso is entering the Serviced Apartments category, currently dominated by Ascott (formerly Oakwood) and Fraser Place in Makati. It offers a very interesting artsy concept, plus a gourmet restaurant.

I personally like Brasserie Boheme for its homey but formal ambiance, and gourmet food. It is perfect for business meetings and get-togethers with friends. But for the first month of The Gustavian’s operations in Manila, it got mixed reviews, particularly the Eastwood Mall outlet. (Have you tried this branch? Please leave a comment.)

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Awesome Festivals

Dingdong Dantes on Food, Travel and Book Run

Recently, my wife and I had the chance to meet one of the most popular personalities in the local entertainment industry — Dingdong Dantes. After the interview, we concluded that although he’s a big celebrity, he’s still simple and down-to-earth. We had fun chatting with him about his favorite Japanese, Filipino and Mediterranean restaurants. He even shared with us his favorite comfort food and the secret behind the new Steakhouse restaurant in Makati. I invite you to eavesdrop on our conversation.

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A Gustavus Anniversary

We celebrated our 7th Wedding Anniversary last January 11 in Gustavus.

Gustavus is a recently opened steakhouse in Legaspi Village that proudly serves only USDA Prime Beef. The restaurant is challenging Elbert’s Steak supremacy in Manila with the help of Hongkong-based Scottish chef David Griffith and Chef Aya Dantes.

The restaurant is named after Gustavus, supposedly the Inventor of Steaks, according to Mike Gayoso (one of the many partners). Although I’ve searched the net, I can’t find any information about Gustavus. Can you help?

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Family, Family Escapades

Spending the Night at The Imperial Suite, Sofitel

The Imperial Suite at Sofitel is probably the best presidential suite among the hotels here in Manila because of its awesome view of the Manila Bay Sunset. It is located on the top floor of Sofitel and offers a 180-degree view of Manila Bay. We’re so blessed to experience staying for one night in this Presidential Suite. It was part of the prize package for the Siete Pecados contest my brother and I joined last December.

Here is the photo essay of our Imperial Suite experience in Sofitel at the start of 2010:

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