Saturday, May 24, 2014

15-Course Degustation Experience at the Mega Food Tour

The Mercato Centrale Group recently hosted a food tour at the premier shopping and dining destination, Mega Fashion Hall at SM Megamall last May 20. And none other than Anton Diaz of Our Awesome Planet himself led the Mega Food Tour in 15 restaurants from ground level up.

Our first stop was at Tim Ho Wan, which opened at 12NN on the same day. According to entrepreneur Mr. Rikki Dee, Tim Ho Wan is a Hong Kong restaurant best known for their “Baked Bun with BBQ Pork”.


Dumpling Teochew Style (P 120 for 3 pcs)
We were served the traditional Ma-Chang, Hakao and Dumpling Teochew Style. The Ma-Chang was savory! Love the way its glutinous rice and pork stuffing tasted. The shrimp dumplings or Hakao tasted divine. The soft dough of the Hakao and Teochew (vegetables) complemented its moist fillings.
Baked Bun with BBQ Pork (P145 for 3 pcs)
Next, we were served Pork buns to try. Baked fresh daily, these crunchy, airy and well-flavored buns were packed barbecued pork that gives a good balance of its salty and sweet ingredients.

Bono Artisanal Gelato - makes authentic gelato with no shortcuts, no substitute mixes nor artificial flavorings. They even make their fresh cones and wafers right in the store. For those who love Cookie Butter, Speculoos flavor is the one for you. There are bits of little cookies in a cup. My favorite was Brownie Fudge. I love anything that has chocolate in it especially when it has brownie bits.

Custaroonery - I never thought that custard and macaroons would really make a good mix until I got to taste Gigi Gaerlan's Custaroons.  It was such a sweet treat!  I  love their Chocolate-covered custaroons as well.

The French Baker Salon de The - served this double-tier tea set.

Lugang - We got a taste of their famous Xiao Long Bao. There is so many flavors in this great-tasting dumpling just that one bite will make you realize why it is so. Though thin, its dimsum skin is strong enough to keep the flavorful soup in.

Kyochon - Its flagship product is the Korean double-fried chicken that comes in original, garlic, and spicy flavors. The box of crispy Kyochon's Original Wings we were given tasted great.

Boqueria - served us its savory Paella Queso Hamonado paired with Sangria. We even had Churros for take out.

8CUTS - offered burger patties based on the eight different meat cut it was taken from. These are: Chuck, Rib Eye, Short Rib, Sirloin, Brisket, Hanger, Flank and Ox Tail.

Vikings - offer luxury buffet (see my review HERE). It was good to be back and this time for a more sophisticated food sampling prepared by their Chef.

Vikings plate has lumpia fish caviar om blinis,  steamed red lapu lapu fillet, mini tornado,  spinash mushroom en croute consomme, spicy ika sushi and more 

Lucca Bakery - Its Banana Walnut reminds me of a delicious cinnamon roll treat. They serve good tea and coffee blends such as Bianca Mocha.
You too can be part of the #MegaFoodTour with #MercatoCentraleGroup and @ourawesomeplanet on May 30 and June 6!

Simply post your best dining selfie in any of the participating restaurants tag @SMMegamall with the hashtag #MegaFoodTour.

Looming Workshops at SM City Bicutan

My daughter and I love DIY projects. We have seen a lot of people going into loom bracelets recently and so we were excited to try it out for ourselves at SM City Bicutan’s Loom Summer Craft-Craze activity.
The DIY Loom Bands Kit has the following inclusions:
- looming board
- hook or loom tool
- S Clips
- 600 looming bands

As beginners, we were excited choosing which rubber band colors to put together on the loom. The single bracelet loom was the easiest one to do. The fishtail loom was a little harder as it requires finer motor skills to hook the bands together. We congratulated ourselves as it only took one attempt to get the hang of it.
Visualization helps in making the right combination of colors and pretty patterns in a loom art. We tried tackling something new by mixing in more color patterns this time and created this colorful fishtail bracelet pattern without a problem.
Looming is a good way to develop your child’s creativity. Create team bracelets as giveaways or make ones to coordinate with your outfits!
Get your wild side on and have fun at Bicutan! Don't miss out on learning loom bracelets craft! Register and reserve a slot for a fun-filled afternoon!

Visit for more details.

Friday, May 23, 2014


Qaldi Coffee Bar and Cyber Café opened in November 2013. Joon Tianzon and his partners love coffee and hence they decided to open up a coffee shop. Qaldi gets its name from the Ethiopian, Kaldi, who discovered the coffee beans.

I like the Qaldi ambience---a warm, elegant, medium place that can seat a lot of people. Whether you are looking for a quick meal, a romantic dinner a relaxed environment to chum with friends or just in the mood for some coffee, Qaldi is the best place to go.
Aside from wide array of coffee and frappes, Qaldi also offers a varied selection of imported premium teas from Sri Lanka, India etc.

The mild-flavored Berry Sensation Tea  (P 95) is one of its best selling drink 

And for a start-up café, I have to say that their menu is quite extensive. They have sandwiches, pasta, and desserts to pair up with tea, coffee or fruit concoctions. If you’re a sandwich lover, you’ll love to know that Qaldi clubhouse servings are hefty and good for sharing. They even serve rice meals that are perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Ham and Cheese Wheat bread with Potato chips (P 95)
Served hot from the grill, the ham and cheese filling inside the wheat bread comes out perfectly well. It comes with homemade potato chips on the side.

Tuna Sandwich (P 165)
The classic tuna spread comes with cucumbers and fresh lettuce leaves. The potato chips adds flavor to the creamy mayo filling.

Reuben Clubhouse Sandwich (P 165)
Qaldi alternates cheese, cornbeef , lettuce leaves, ham and egg in its Reuben Clubhouse Sandwich offering.

Chicken Clubhouse Sandwich (P 165)
Chicken clubhouse sandwich comes in a fairly large serving of wheat bread, chicken breast bits with mayonnaise, scrambled egg , ham, lettuce and cucumber. I love its classic flavor.

Seafood Marinara Pasta (P 170)
I highly recommend Seafood Marinara Pasta. This pasta dish is amazing! I couldn't stop eating it! I so love the flavors coming from prawns , bell pepper , tomatoes, meat and Parmesan cheese! The garlic wheat bread slices comes in perfectly as well.
Classic Pesto
Classic pesto is pretty appealing and delicious as well. . The pesto is not overpowering and not that oily. This is exactly the pesto I am looking for! Super fresh and flavorful!

Carbonara Pesto (P 170)
The carbonara pesto is very tasty. Its creamy and thick sauce makes it great. There are sliced button mushrooms, ham and tomato bits spread on top to further enhance flavors.

Sweet Tomato Pasta (P 170)
The Sweet style tomato pasta tastes like the Filipino spaghetti which kids would love to indulge in. Its sweet tomato sauce, cheese and hotdogs will surely appeal to those who prefer sweet pasta.

Spicy chicken with special Qaldi sauceGrilled chicken breast, Five Spice Beef (P 150) and  Fish fillet meal

Greek pork with oregano and special herbs
This Greek-seasoned pork meat is tender and juicy. Greek oregano, garlic, and black pepper on the boneless pork sirloin chops gives it a distinct aroma.

Qaldi ‘s blueberry cheesecake, black forest and  lava cakes are simply divine

Go visit Qaldi for a hefty meal and a refreshing drink!

Qaldi Coffee Bar and Cyber Cafe
105 National Road, Bgy. Putatan , Muntinlupa City 1772
+63-915 -472 -2126
Open Daily from 10AM to 2AM

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Alice Dixson is General Nutrition Center's (GNC) Brand Ambassador

At 44, actress and General Nutrition Center's (GNC) brand ambassador Alice Dixson is in the best shape of her life. She is back in the showbiz world. Aside from being a certified realtor and commercial model, her acting resume is definitely not that of a lightweight. AIice's dedication and desire to lead a healthy, happy lifestyle makes her fit to be the brand ambassador of the leader in the supplements industry.

On its 20th anniversary in the Philippines, GNC partners with Alice to promote living well and aging gracefully among the Filipinos. General Nutrition Corporation (GNC) is a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based American company that specializes in nutritional supplement industry. GNC stores sell a diverse range of vitamins, protein, supplements, minerals, natural remedies, healthcare, sports nutrition, diet, energy products, herbal and cleansing products, plus a host of health and fitness magazines.

 “I've always wanted to encourage women — even men — that whatever your age, you know, you can be motivated to stay fit, be healthy, make your life more active and fun. I noticed, really and honestly, when I started doing not just yoga but a regular fitness regimen, you get those endorphins that make you happy”, Alice related.

As someone who waged the battle of the bulge and came out triumphant, Alice has two pieces of simple advice to share with those who are looking to lose weight and getting back in shape. First, she says, “You really start with small steps. For me, when I wanted to get in shape and lose weight, what was more important was getting in shape—just building up my cardio resistance. I started walking until I learned how to do a walk-run, until I could run 1K, then 2K. Second is to make it a daily—or at least a regular habit. “I had a motivational recording. It’s something I picked up at the point when I was a little overweight, I wasn't feeling good about myself, and I just wanted to live a healthier, happier life," she shares. It's a good way to feed your mind and inspire yourself.

Alice is a big fan of GNC Total Lean™ Burn 60™ , a thermogenic supplement formula proven to increase energy expenditure by 60% during a physical activity. GNC Burn 60™ helps enhance cellular metabolism, burn calories and boost energy levels. Its powerful ingredients are great for those who want to jumpstart fat loss.

For her skin, she regularly takes Resvitale Collagen Enhance which combines French Resveratrol to boost cellular energy and restores youthful DNA, and BioCell Collagen, a powerful infusion of collagen and hyaluronic acid to help hydrate and plump the visible layer of skin for youthfullytoned and radiant skin. Due to her daily hectic schedule, she keeps her natural energy up with Women's Ultra Mega; a premium women’s vegetarian and timed-release multivitamin that provide her with essential woman-specific nutrients missing in our daily diet with 46 ingredients for advanced complete nutrition needs, bone health, antioxidant protection and hormonal support.

Alice has GNC to back her up in her fitness goals and to make sure that she stays at the best shape of her life.

GNC aims to make available the very best nutritional supplements only in the field. It guarantees to provide only the best, strictly adhering to the philosophy that every person can improve their overall quality of life. It ensures that each supplement undergoes rigorous 150 quality checks before finding its way to the shelves of their 6,000 stores worldwide.

Whether you have just began your adventure of toning down and keeping fit, or have already reached the middle of yourjourney, you can be assured that 20-year-old GNC will be living well and aging gracefully with you for many more years to come.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Join in The Entrepreneur and Franchise Expo (EFE) and the Entrepreneur Success Summit (ESS)

The country’s biggest integrated expo dedicated to empower innovative entrepreneurs and growing franchise businesses The Entrepreneur and Franchise Expo (EFE) “Your Step to Success”, as well as the Entrepreneur Success Summit (ESS) 2014 were officially launched on May 20, 2014 at the Privato Hotel in Pasig City.

The ENTREPRENEUR SUCCESS SUMMIT 2014 (ESS) - #Step2Success is a series of comprehensive talks in the fields of Start Up, Food, Fashion, Money Management and New Media Marketing by 20 successful international and local entrepreneurs and industry experts who will share their insights on how to build a successful business.

“Our vision is to provide business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs an environment with activities and programs where they can network with other business stakeholders, introduce their businesses, learn the latest industry trends and to assist them in growing their business to achieve their step to success” says MEDIACOM SOLUTIONS INC. president and expo founder, David Abrenilla.
The press conference was hosted by Vince Golangco.  Local and international entrepreneurs and business executives from various industry sectors participated in the event gave a short introduction of what to expect when visiting the expo and what attendees will learn at the summit. Among the invited guests were RUDOLF KOTIK, founder of Filipino International Franchise Association (FIFA); RANDELL TIONGSON, director of the Registered Financial Planners Institute Philippines; JANETTE TORAL, founder of, KIAN KAZEMI, president of Persia Grill; JORGE AZURIN, regional director of; MITCH MALLI, co-founder of Draft Gastropub, Imperial Ice Bar & Beso Cusina Vinoteka; CHRISTOPHER TAN, founder of; KAREN BORDADOR, president of; Navin Uttamchandani, president and COO of Esquire Financing;  together with guest of honor Mandaluyong City Councilor and Vice Chair for MSME Development Council, the honorable CHARISSE ABALOS.

The 3-day exhibition will feature the latest products and services of 100 innovative businesses from various industry sectors, like food, technology, tourism, business solutions, fashion, retail, entertainment and many more with over 10,000 expected visitors and business professionals. Across the three days, visitors will have the opportunity to connect with inspiring local and international business leaders, find great investment opportunities, indulge in delicious food tastings, avail of exclusive discounts and promotions, win great raffle prizes, as well as learn the latest trends in business and entrepreneurship through various activities.

The Entrepreneur and Franchise Expo (EFE) and the Entrepreneur Success Summit (ESS) is organized by the MEDIACOM SOLUTIONS INC., a leading business community building and exhibition and convention organizing company that is dedicated to uplift the Philippine economy in the fields of entrepreneurship, SME development, franchising, property investment, fitness & wellness and baby & family care.

The EFE and ESS is supported by the Filipino International Franchise Association and the Young Entrepreneurs Society Philippines. The EFE will be held from June 27-29, 2014 at Megatrade Hall while the ESS will be held on June 28, 2014 at the Megatrade Function Rooms of the SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City.

Get your VIP SUCCESS PRIORITY ACCESS for the expo and avail of the 30% early bird discount to access the summit at For updates, join the community at or follow in Twitter and Instagram @EFEphils.

For inquiries, call +632.509.4792 or email

Monday, May 19, 2014

Magnolia Residences City Food Picks

Coming home to a place that warms your heart and feeds your soul is something that we all look forward to. And residents of the Magnolia Residences surely know what it feels like with all the urban comforts that the project provides plus the enthralling experience that the adjacent Robinsons Magnolia Mall offers.
When the mall opened to the public barely a couple of years ago, immediate interest on the lifestyle afforded by The Magnolia Residences grew. While Robinsons Residences affords world-class standards for living spaces, everybody was looking forward to fun and excitement that the unique city lifestyle offers. The main crown-drawer proved to be the satisfying variety of food picks that Robinsons Magnolia Mall gives. People take delight in the restaurants that are a virtual smorgasbord of food for daily nourishment and sustenance.

“We all know that part of the concerns of today’s busy and active homemakers and individuals is where and what to eat,” says May Precilla, VP for Sales and Marketing of Robinsons Residences and Robinsons Luxuria “With a world of flavors literally just a walk beyond one’s doorstep, it wouldn’t be difficult to find food to fit one’s fancy at any time of the day.”

From hearty home-cooked meals to gourmet creations, and healthy fare as well, the choices at Robinsons Magnolia mall would surely satisfy any craving or preference.

“This experience is what we intend to share to the public, that is why we have prepared a tour to showcase the variety of food picks in the mall,“ adds Precilla.

And there is no better way of staging this concept by partnering with two of the most knowledgeable food connoisseurs in the country who are the brains behind Mercato Centrale Group and Awesome Planet, RJ Ledesma and Anton Diaz respectively.

The Magnolia Residences CITY FOOD PICKS was able to provide an insight of the best food choices that Robinsons Magnolia Mall has to offer through the help of Ledesma and Diaz.

The chosen food establishments highlighted the most unique finds within Robinsons Magnolia and gave an insight on varied dining experiences that one can experience within the mall as well. From hearty home-cooked meals to gourmet creations, and healthy fare as well, the choices at Robinsons Magnolia mall would surely satisfy any craving.


C’VERDE by BIG CHILL – C’Verde by Big Chill is an off-shoot from Cafeteria Verde, Manila's first vegetarian quick-service restaurant. Combined with Big Chill's blended beverages, C'Verde By Big Chill offers a wide range of healthy meat-free meal options. The uniqueness of C'verde by Big Chill lies in the fresh vegetable ingredients that are used to make its appetizers, rice meals, sandwiches, pizza, pasta, and other recipes.

The CITY FOOD PICK for this station is Zucchini Sticks and Bean and Cheese Taquitos. Zucchini Sticks are herb crusted delicacies that are served with rich tomato sauce. Bean and Cheese Taquitos are beans and sharp cheddar cheese wrapped in flour tortilla, servided with homemade salsa or sour cream.

ZIGLA! – Eating healthy and correctly is Zigla’s main motto. It offers 3 pre-set food categories: Rice, Pasta, and Classic, which all come in 300 calories or less. Zigla! also takes pride in preparing food freshly cooked just after you place your order.

The Magnolia Residences’ CITY FOOD PICKS for Zigla is its Tuna and Cheese Sandwhich which is made of Tuna, high-fiber whole wheat loaf, onions, celery and egg pimiento spread. PAD THAI and more! – If you’re looking for authentic Thai dishes that are easy on the pocket, Pad Thai and more! offers just that. Serving up Thai noodles, salad, bagoong rice and a variety of other food options inspired from Thailand’s spicy and savoury dishes, Pad Thai gives you access to gourmet food that are ripe with with taste and flavor. It comes as a no-brainer that the CITY FOOD PICKS for this spot is the Pad Thai Chicken!

HOUSE OF SILVANAS – From something that started out as a home-based business, House of Silvanas has indeed come a long way. After their first official outlet was established in 1995, they enjoyed such a huge following that, soon after, it had opened several branches across different malls around Metro Manila.

The CITY FOOD PICKS for this dessert stop is of course the silvanas! The rich buttercream in between two thin meringue wafers is dusted with cookie crumbs in a variety of flavours such as pandan, strawberry, mango and ube.

PAD THAI and more! – If you’re looking for authentic Thai dishes that are easy on the pocket, Pad Thai and more! offers just that. Serving up Thai noodles, salad, bagoong rice and a variety of other food options inspired from Thailand’s spicy and savoury dishes, Pad Thai gives you access to gourmet food that are ripe with with taste and flavor. It comes as a no-brainer that the CITY FOOD PICKS for this spot is the Pad Thai Chicken!

THE CLUBHOUSE - Since opening its doors at the new Robinsons Magnolia mall last December 2012, The Clubhouse has gained a loyal following for serving simple yet deliciously memorable food that spans various cuisines. The owners, all passionate foodies, collectively call their fare “modern comfort food.” Discreetly located at Robinsons Mall’s upper ground floor along an area between two top fashion brands, The Clubhouse has quirky chic interiors that will immediately catch your eye and give you a feeling close to home—making it a perfect spot for reunions, Sunday dinners or a lazy afternoon lounge. The CITY FOOD PICKS for this stop are Tuyo Rice Bowl, Vigan Longganisa Hash, Hungarian Sausage and Eggs, and the Truffle Mushroom Scramble.

VILLA DEL CONTE – After an appetizing treat at the food court area, guests are now in for sweet serving of Villa Del Conte’s authentic Italian chocolates. This kiosk found at the upper ground floor offers artisanal chocolates that trace its roots back in Padova, Italy from Villa del Conte’s 81-year-old heritage of making fine chocolates. What makes this stop so memorable is that the assortment of chocolates served to every guest that is neatly contained in an enticing gift box.

GAUCHO – In planning CITY FOOD PICKS, top of the list that has to be in the tour is Gaucho. This two-level Argentinean inspired restaurant serves up tempting meats and roasts that are truly mouth-watering. Gaucho offers organic pork, US beef and Australian lamb roasted using the Argentinean style of cooking called “a la Cruz” and served with the Argentina’s version of chimchurri—a sauce made of herbs, garlic and vinegar but without the spice usually found in other versions.

For an authentic experience of Argentinean food, wine and tango, Gaucho is indeed the place to go to if you want to experience the best of this South American Country. The CITY FOOD PICKS for this stop are signature dishes “El Pozo de Fuego,” meaning “slow-roasted from the fire pit”; Falda a la Cruz which is a US beef shortplate; Cochino a la Cruz which is a native free-range Suckling Pig; and finally, Cordero Entero a la Cruz, which is Australian-raised young lamb.

THE MAGNOLIA ICE CREAM FLAVOR HOUSE - The final stop of  the tour would is the Magnolia Ice Cream Flavor house.  Located at the al fresco area of the mall, families frequently visit the area to spend time together with sumptious ice cream served in many varieties such as ube, chocolate, vanilla and more. I had the ice cream gratification that I was rooting for in this iconic place. Aside from ice cream, Magnolia Ice Cream Flavor House also serves various hot meals such as club house sandwiches, lasagnas and more.

All the establishments featured during the tour are perfect convergence points for social gatherings—-from large, family occasions to the most intimate of romantic dates. Living in the Robinsons Magnolia Residences gives unrivalled access to amenities. The priceless advantages of living in a development like The Magnolia Residences include access to a plethora of shopping malls on your doorstep plus a huge variety of restaurants, health and beauty services that makes life worry-free and pleasurable.

At present, finishing works for the first two towers of The Magnolia Residences are ongoing. Tower B residents can expect turnover by June 2014 while Tower A residents can expect delivery as early as September 2015. Meanwhile, those who wish to be part the charming Magnolia Town Center neighborhood can still choose from the units available in The Magnolia Residences Tower C.

For more information, call 636-0888 or (0925) 333-3333. You may also visit
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