FEASTS for the eyes and palate filled the February calendar. From the Summer Capital to the Queen City of the South, from the globally renowned beach and back to the “mythical city”, there was no shortage of art designed by man and Mother Nature, and art on the plate.
Day 1 on the calendar took me to a high altitude ground. It was a trip to tour a friend’s guest around the city and I was invited to come along. Why not? It’s been a while since I’ve visited the place and it was a chance to see the changes in the cityscape and try what I’ve missed.
There was the usual touristy route and its sights—the lion’s head along the road, the cathedral, Mine’s View Park, the summer palace. PMA grounds, weaving center, the fruit and vegetable market, and of course, the BenCab Museum—which were all indulging.
As this was a group more interested in food, the three important meals of the day (and everything in between) were taken in different restaurants. My food highlights were the Duck Flakes on Laing and Mountain Rice at Hill Station and the ensaymada and homemade pasta dishes at Café by the Ruins in upper Session Road.
I came home in time for Obrigada, Havaiana’s annual “thank you” gathering for its partners and friends, where we were taught the art of calligraphy. The task was to design our own reusable canvas shopping bags and the prize for the effort was Havaianas slipping in its first content—a pair of flipflops. Very timely, I should say, as I was off to my next destination- the island of Boracay.
It’s been two years since I stepped foot on the island. I gasped at the changes. Buildings have sprouted like mushrooms with more rising. No matter, I came here to reacquaint myself with the island life, catch sunsets, catch up with friends and try what’s new on the culinary front. Taking the Davao tuna to the island, Hoy, Panga! opened its first restaurant along the main road with another beachfront branch opening soon, both in Station 2.
Now, the islanders and tourists can have their tuna fix served straight from the grill, the frying pan, or the stew pot.
What was recently served though was more interesting—and funny. Rex Navarette, Fil-Am comedian, took center stage and gave everyone present a good laugh.
While in the island, must try: Steam Punk’s gargantuan sandwiches and calorie-packed milkshakes. I will say it’s worth every calorie taken in; and the homemade goodies at the Saturday Community Market - the Laing with Tuna, the empandas and more!
Cebu may have been a quick stop twice but it made sure it made its mark—around my belly, to be precise.
I was “welcomed home” at Waterfront Mactan by no less than the dashing General Manager, BenHur Caballes, and his team before I was lead to Café Uno where the new dining concept was presented, themed buffets all week long.
Luckily, I caught the tail end of the Chinese New Year and got several shots of my favorite freshly cooked buchi.
The welcome treats—two trio samplers: vegetable and fruit shots by Executive Chef Bien and desserts by Pastry Chef Ryan, were the best by far I’ve received from all the hotels I’ve stayed in.
Movenpick, also in Mactan, knew just how to seduce me. Sure, there’s the chic modern interior design, the Ibiza Club and its famous churrasco and Ibiza Sour, the magnificent view of the Cebu peninsula seen from its high floors, the exciting daily themed offerings at Sails restaurant, and the pool and the white beach, but there’s this other thing that will titillate your senses more than what Mr. Grey can do—the Movenpick ice cream.
It’s been eight months since the creamy and tasty flavors of the ice cream touched my lips. It was orgasmic.
Who would not fall in love with the new General Manager, Harold Rainfroy, who was not only charming, funny and easy to get along with, but was also very supportive of satisfying my craving. He had me at “more, more, more”, and this was referring to the ice cream, of course.
So, I had three scoops on the first meal, another on the next. If I had my way I would have a couple more at breakfast before I departed for home.
Then there’s Abaca. Did you know it’s not just a restaurant but also a resort as well?
The place is quite exclusive with the restaurant serving fantastic food and the resort with nine chic rooms only.
Once you enter, you don’t want to leave (a feeling aside from making every minute worth the price you’re paying, which is worth every centavo you’re shelling out).
Must try: the pizza with its super thin and crispy crust with generous toppings. The Lobster Linguini and the Crispy Skinned Salmon Fillet were fabulous.
I was told the meat dishes were great but I’m afraid I won’t find out- yet.
Back in “mythical” land.
Meet Crystal Sea Handwoven’s new baby, TFTP- The Field Trip Project, the new line of the bag exporter catering to the travelers using locally hand-woven fabrics in all its designs. The Yakan is used for the product launching.
TFTP does not only support the local weaving industry but children as well. Fifty percent of each product sold will fund the field trips of selected kids from different schools in the country.
Art on the street is what CBTL is supporting this time. It’s the coffee company’s way of saying “express yourself” by enabling everyone to unleash their inner creativity thru its first interactive mural painting at MTS.
Sharing their talents were four graffiti artists-Troy Bascon, Kim Valle, Ghamar Kanda and Franco.
After the lessons in history of the art form and tour of the existing street art, guests were made to collaborate with the guest artists in designing a mural on the walls of the venue.