To celebrate its 20th anniversary, Pinoycare Visa Center, Inc. will hold a free orientation on immigrant visa processing for Canada, Australia, and New Zealand from 1-5 p.m. this November 23 at SM City Cebu.
Prisca Niña Mabatid, Pinoycare founder, invites Cebuanos to come and listen to experts discuss the different pathways to becoming permanent residents in any of the three countries.
She said school representatives from Canada, Australia, and New Zealand will also be around to entertain questions of those who wish to use the student visa as their mode of entry. Mabatid is also a Cebu City councilor.
Lack of transparency in some government agencies and the practice of informal payments to move business transactions forward pose the biggest threats to Cebu’s competitiveness.
A good number of Cebu enterprises that were the respondents of a survey conducted by Isla Lipana & Co. in collaboration with the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) admitted they were asked for gifts and tokens in the course of their dealings with government officials and agencies.
At least 20 percent of those surveyed said they made informal payments within the last 12 months, according to CCCI Trustee Aldie Garcia who revealed the survey results in a press conference shortly before the CCCI General Membership Meeting yesterday, October 29, 2019.
Raquel Choa’s favorite childhood tales of Maria Cacao shape not only the artisan chocolates that she creates but the spaces where one gets to appreciate them.
At a gathering to launch the second phase of the partnership between Choa’s The Chocolate Chamber and Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort and Spa, she explained that she imagines Maria Cacao with dainty ceramic pieces for her banquets while the chandelier represents the fireflies that provide the dazzling glow to her palace.
Through the collaboration with the resort, Choa gets to show guests the local way of tablea production as a precursor to TCC’s artisan cocoa drinks (locally known as sikwate) and chocolate products.
Talks on cacao and its history and experiential activities will be regular features at The Chocolate Chamber.
Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort and Spa General Manager Rene Egle said he was looking for a local product that can be brought from farm to table in 2015.
To promote European culture and celebrate the link between Europe and the Philippines that started almost 500 years ago, Cine Europa 22 will visit 8 cities in the country up to November 2019 with 12 films for free screening.
The Cebu leg of the film festival started last Thursday, October 3, and will run up to Sunday, October 6 at Cinema 1 in SM City Cebu.
Spanish Ambassador to the Philippines Jorge Moragas said the event becomes more important in light of the upcoming celebration of the first circumnavigation of the world where Cebu, in particular the island of Mactan, played a crucial role.
“It was a multinational expedition with sailors from almost all European countries—Spanish, German, Polish, French, Greek, and of course, Portuguese—that left Seville in Spain 500 years ago,” he added.
EU Delegation First Counsellor Rafael de Bustamante said Cebu is the first city visited by Cine Europa 22 outside of Manila. The group’s next stop is Iloilo City with the Dutch ambassador as key person.
He revealed that they have a system where an EU ambassador travels to a city where the film festival would be held and the opening movie would be from his country.
CINE EUROPA 22. EU Delegation First Counsellor Rafael de Bustamante, Spanish Ambassador to the Philippines Jorge Moragas, SM Prime Holdings Inc. Vice President Marissa Fernan, a member of the delegation, Information Officer Robert Leon during the opening of Cine Europa 22 in SM City Cebu.
Ambassador Moragas said Spain picked Cebu, where they showed the multi-awarded Spanish movie 10,000 Kilometros and translated for English-language viewing as “Long Distance.”
While the movie doesn’t have a direct connection to the circumnavigation, it makes sense in the context of Spain and the Philippines because it touches on human relations and bridging the distance between peoples. The distance 10,000 kilometers is also more or less the distance between Spain and the Philippines, he added.
Cine Europa 22 films
For today, Saturday, Cinema One in SM City Cebu will show three European films, starting with Belgium’s Achter De Wolken (Behind the Clouds) at 2 p.m., Hungary’s Béúk (Happy New Year) at 4:30 pm, and De Marathon (The Marathon) by The Netherlands at 7 pm.
Behind the Clouds, with a PG rating, is a story about two lovers whose lives took different paths but met and fell in love again after 40 years.
Happy New Year, on the other hand, is R-13 and tells of a group of friends that has been celebrating New Year’s Eve together for years. They agreed to play a game that started out playfully enough but quickly turned serious when secrets, lies, and betrayals that were kept secret came to light.
The Marathon (R-13) is about four out-of-shape men who trained for a marathon hoping to win money to pay off a tax debt.
Sunday’s screenings include: Teorie Tygra (The Tiger Theory, PG rating) of the Czech Republic at 2 pm, Tour de France (R-13) of France at 4:30 pm, and Mary Shelley (R-13) of the United Kingdom at 7:00 pm.
Two things made my Hong Kong trip in early February 2016 unforgettable: the cold surge and ultra plush accommodations in one of the Marco Polo Hong Kong-Hotels.
As a Marco Polo Hong Kong-Hotels team led by General Manager Dalip Singh provided updates on new offerings in the three properties during a recent dinner in Cebu, I remembered our amazing stay at Gateway Hotel as below normal temperatures swept through Hong Kong.
Cebu’s filmmaking industry is young and fragmented and the Cebu International Film Festival (Cebu.IFF) is working to become the platform for showcasing and reviving love for local films.
Festival Director Peachy Fajatin said the Cebu film scene is growing but it’s in the early stages and divided into several small groups.
And while there are promising Cebuano filmmakers, many of them leave for Manila so they can practice their craft, added Cebu.IFF President Mel Allego.
FILM FESTIVAL IN CEBU. Organizers of the Cebu International Film Festival (Cebu.IFF) hold a press conference on the event that will run from September 25 to 27. From left are Cebu.IFF President Mel Allego, Festival Director Peachy Fajatin, and Board Members Christelle Dychangco and Lilu Aliño.
One of the objectives of Cebu.IFF will be to encourage the creation of films with global reach, according to Board Member Lilu Aliño. She added that they continue to hold the festival to raise enthusiasm for filmmaking and improve the status of the industry.
The Cebu International Film Festival 2019, which is the event’s 8th edition, will run from September 25-27 and takes on the theme “Celebrating 100 years of Philippine Cinema.”
Fajatin said they will be screening over 100 films that are competing under the full length and short feature categories for international and Philippine focus, animation, and student group.
This year, Cebu.IFF will introduce for the first time a pitching event that includes a workshop and pitch market where local filmmakers can find co-producers or funding for their films.
The workshops scheduled for September 25 are another festival highlight. These include the talk on “Setting up Your Animation Studio with No Capital” by Emot Amodia and “Film Storytelling and Animation Workshops: Ideas Into Action” by Crispo Mojica.
Festival organizers urged Cebuanos to take advantage of free screenings of films submitted by filmmakers from 17 countries in the following venues: USC-SAFAD Theatre, St. Theresa’s College, and USC South Campus.
Aliño said one of the challenges of the local filmmaking industry is the lack of interest from the audience. She hoped that Cebuanos would make time to watch the full length, short feature, and animation film submissions by filmmakers from the US, Australia, Turkey, Russia, Japan, India, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Argentine, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine, France, Germany, and the Philippines.
A special screening of Japanese Director Takuya Fukushima’s film “FLOATING” is also scheduled on September 25, 9 am-12 pm, at the USC-SAFAD Theatre.
Designed like two overlapping pearls with interiors that take inspiration from the surrounding greenery, Marco Polo Parkplace will soon rise within exclusive Nivel Hills as the fifth and final tower in the Federal Land development Marco Polo Residences.
The latest condominium building, which has just began construction, will have 350 residential units covering a selection of studio, 1-bedroom, and 2-bedroom with living spaces ranging from 30 to 79 square meters.
CEBU AS INVESTMENT DESTINATION. John Cabato, Senior Vice President and Head of Sales and Marketing for Federal Land, Inc., said Marco Polo Parkplace will start accepting reservations for condo units within September.
Get ready for out-of-this-world deals on such popular attractions as Universal Studios Japan and Hong Kong Disnyland or activities like the Crazy Rich Asians tour in Singapore at the upcoming Klook Travel Fest 2019 on September 7-8, 2019 at SM City Cebu.
TRAVEL FESTIVAL. Klook market lead for the Philippines Michelle Cruz says the Klook Travel Fest 2019 on September 7-8 at SM City Cebu will be an exceptional two-day community-powered festival of music, food, and travel offers that include airfare promos through event partner Cebu Pacific and bookable activities in over 300 major destinations across the world.
Klook promises an exceptional two-day community-powered festival of music, food, and travel offers that include airfare promos through event partner Cebu Pacific and bookable activities in over 300 major destinations across the world, said Michelle Cruz, the company’s market lead in the Philippines.
Cruz said they strive to bring travel experiences to customers through offline events, and the Klook Travel Fest 2019 will be held simultaneously in Manila and Cebu during the company’s anniversary month in September.
Exclusive Cebu Pacific sale
Cebuanos can also enjoy low fares through the Cebu Pacific sale happening exclusively during the Klook Travel Fest.
“We have always been a firm believer in making travel more accessible and affordable to every Juan,” said Cebu Pacific Corporate Communications Specialist Michelle Lim.
Cebu Pacific’s partnership with Klook allows the airline to go not only provide affordable flights to customers but provide them access as well to budget-friendly activities and attractions in their chosen destinations, she added.
EXCLUSIVE SALE. Cebu Pacific Corporate Communications Specialist Michelle Lim says the airline will be holding an exclusive sale during the event.
Klook Travel Fest 2019
Klook is able to offer amazing deals on tours, attractions, and activities through its good relationship with its partners.
By making available a range of services, from airport transfers and wifi services to bookable activities, it has allowed tourists to go on hassle-free vacations.
Order your favorite caffeine fix from Bo’s Coffee even when you’re still on your way so that it’s ready for you when you arrive.
All you need to do is look up Bo’s Coffee Advance Ordering BOTTY on Facebook Messenger and follow the instructions for getting your preferred hot or cold drinks. After picking your drink and choosing your payment option, you will be informed how many minutes it would take to get your order ready and again when it is.
The system has been rolled out in 47 mostly company-owned Bo’s Coffee outlets across the Philippines, including 19 in Cebu.
SKIP THE COFFEE ORDER LINE. Bo’s Coffee allows you to order in advance via Facebook Messenger and pick it up at the store.
Bo’s Coffee founder Steve Benitez said during the launch of the Advance Ordering BOTTY in Cebu that the move is intended to enhance the customer experience and a means by which he intended to bring his homegrown coffee chain to the future.
Bo’s Coffee tech innovations
“As we reach our 25-year mark, we want to cater to the fast-paced lifestyle of our customers. We want to make your daily coffee runs simpler, faster, and more accessible so you have more time for more important things in life – your passions, your advocacies, and your relationships,” added Benitez, who is President and CEO of WS & Landin, Inc., the corporation behind Bo’s Coffee.
The Bo’s Coffee Advance Ordering BOTTY is just the first of several technology innovations that are on the pipeline for Benetiz’s coffee shop chain.
BETTER EXPERIENCE. Bo’s Coffee founder Steve Benitez says they deployed Facebook Messenger chatbot to enhance the experience of their customers.
According to Benitez, the goal is to integrate Bo’s Coffee rewards and even delivery services to Messenger-based system through Grab Express.
Digital payment options
While the Advance Ordering BOTTY allows customers to pay cash, its secure and cashless digital payment options through PayMaya as well as credit and debit cards (Visa and Mastercard) allow customers to really skip the line, according to Bo’s Coffee COO Rachel Fallarme.
“In a developing world like ours, we have to do all we can to optimize our efforts and save time,” she added.
CHATBOT LAUNCH. Speaking during the press conference to launch the Bo’s Coffee Facebook Messenger chatbot are (from left) Bo’s Coffee COO Rachel Fallarme, founder Steve Benitez, and developer Cary Gee.
By paying via the system, customers can park curbside in strategic stand alone branches, get their coffee, and continue on with their day. Payment options like Grabpay and GCash will also be available soon.
Some of the Bo’s Coffee branches with the Advance Ordering BOTTY include Capitol, Banilad Town Center, Filinvest Cyberzone, Ayala Center branches, SM City Cebu branches, SM Seaside, and Mactan Domestic and International Airports.
CHAT TO ORDER. Look up Bo’s Coffee Advance Ordering BOTTY on Facebook Messenger and follow the instructions for getting your preferred hot or cold drinks.
Consumer market patterns
System developer Cary Gee, who was also present during the launch in Bo’s Coffee Capitol Branch last July 25, 2019, said the Advance Ordering BOTTY was initially developed for the Singaporean market.
He decided to bring the system to the Philippines when he saw similar patterns in the two consumer markets, both of which are fast-paced, in need of personalization while skipping the queue, and has a good percentage using Messenger instead of downloaded apps.
TRYING IT OUT. Ka Bino Guerrero tries out the Bo’s Coffee chatbot to order drinks.
The system keeps a record of orders and helps the coffee shop push the right promotions to customers. It can also be used to engage customers for rewards purposes.
While it was created with customers in mind, the system will also free up some tasks for coffee shop employees.
After a successful first run last year, the Big Bad Wolf Book Sale 2019 will happen in Cebu this month with over a million brand-new English books priced down by 50 to 90 percent.
Book lovers and new readers will have time to search for their favorite titles and authors as the BBW Book Sale will be open 24 hours daily from Aug. 16-26, 2019 at the IEC Convention Center (IC3) in Cebu City and entrance is free.
The Big Bad Wolf is not just a book sale but an organization that advocates reading and English literacy, its founder Jacqueline Ng told media and bloggers during a press conference yesterday, August 2.
BACK TO CEBU. (From left) Gawad Kalinga representative Toby Florendo, Big Bad Wolf Books founder Jacqueline Ng, and Philippines Country Manager Narisa dela Peña discuss the upcoming return of the book sale to Cebu in a recent press conference.
“The Filipinos are readers and know the value and importance of books. There are other people out there who don’t. The Big Bad Wolf creates the market for books—the desire to know more, learn more—and aims to convert the non-reader,” she added.
VIP Day passes
Ng said the Cebu leg of the BBW Book Sale in 2018 welcomed over 200,000 visitors. She added there had been many requests for the Book Sale to return to Cebu since then and they were more than happy to oblige.
The BBW Book Sale 2019 in Cebu will carry various genres, including fiction, non-fiction, children’s books, and rare titles. It will be adding eight more titles to interactive books with augmented reality technology that range from fairy tales to educational, bringing the total to 12.
“We’ve been to many places in the Philippines these past two years from Manila, Cebu, Davao, and Pampanga. It has been amazing to see droves of people, young and old, come together for the love of books. It surely affirms that reading is a beloved hobby, very much alive, and an effective tool for learning,” Ng added.
Book buying behavior
Big Bad Wolf Books Philippines Country Manager Narisa dela Peña said one of her realizations in the Book Sale is that Filipinos prefer fiction books.
She said she noticed from the book sales held in Manila, Pampanga, Davao, and Cebu that people buy more works of fiction over other genres.
The Filipinos are readers and know the value and importance of books. There are other people out there who don’t. The Big Bad Wolf creates the market for books—the desire to know more, learn more—and aims to convert the non-reader
Jacqueline Ng, Big Bad Wolf founder
Ng said book buying behavior is different in the Philippines compared to other countries where BBW Books also hold sales. In Taiwan, a country with high disposable income but with limited English proficiency, parents invest on their kids and around 90 percent of titles sold are children’s books. It’s the same situation in the Book Sale’s biggest market, Indonesia, where 75-80 percent of books bought are for kids.
The ratio for adult and children’s books is 60-40 percent in the Philippines, according to Ng, who added that Filipinos love fiction and are also into such range of categories as history, religion, music, health and wellness.
As a way of giving back to the community, BBW Books continues its Red Readerhood Programme partnership with Gawad Kalinga through a donation of 500 books to the group. They also appeal to customers to take part in the advocacy by doing their own donation.
Gawad Kalinga (GK) representative Toby Florendo said they believe that everyone, regardless of status and age, has a right to learn. His group has the same goal as BBW Books and that is to unleash an individual’s potential.
“Big Bad Wolf Books always makes sure to give back and help make a difference in every place they visit. We share in their advocacy and are grateful to have worked with them since their very first sale in the country. Dozens of partner communities around the country have benefitted in their work to promote literacy and education with both children and adults discovering the joys and benefits of reading as we believe reading is meant for all, regardless of their status,” Florendo added in a statement released during the press conference.
BBW Books is now on its 10th hear and has held book sales in such countries as Taiwan, United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. It held its first event in the Philippines in 2018, specifically in Manila in February, followed by Cebu in July, and Davao in November.
Big Bad Wolf Book Sale Cebu press conference
OVER A MILLION BOOKS. Big Bad Wolf Books Philippines Country Manager Narisa dela Peña, founder Jacqueline Ng, and Gawad Kalinga representative Toby Florendo.
Homegrown real estate developer Priland Development Corporation brings the resort concept to home and office with the launch of Vertex Coast in Punta Engaño.
The two-tower residential development will rise alongside Cebu’s most premier beach resorts and prime real estate in Mactan.
With a combined 738 units for residential and small office-home office (SOHO) use, Vertex Coast incorporates the 360 living concept that capitalizes on the spectacular views of the Mactan Channel, said Priland Sales Manager Irvin Paul Pastoriza.
Priland President Ramon Carlo Yap said they plan to break ground for the project by first quarter of 2021 and complete it three years after or in 2024.
Home office units
The mid-range development will offer customizable studio, one-bedroom, two-bedroom, and penthouse units, making them the ideal investment for home, retirement, or source of rental income.
According to Pastoriza, three floors or 54 units in each tower will be set aside for small office-home office or SOHO use. SOHO units measure around 26 square meters for studio and 50 square meters for one-bedroom.
VERTEX COAST PRESS CONFERENCE. Priland President Ramon Carlo Yap (center) talks to reporters about Vertex Coast in Punta Engaño in Mactan. With him are Priland Sales Manager Irvin Paul Pastoriza (left) and Priland Chief Operating Officer Marcelino Relampagos.
Yap added that the company decided to set aside a considerable number of SOHO units in its Punta Engaño development after observing a growing demand for office space, especially among small businesses.
Another Priland development, Paseo Grove Mactan, has been modified to incorporate two towers solely made up of spaces that can double as small offices.
Purely residential units in Vertex Coast measure around 24-26 square meters for studio, 39-45 square meters for one-bedroom, and 53-67 for two-bedroom. Unit cost ranges from P3.1 to P15 million.
Encompassing a total area of 2,700 square meters, Priland’s mid-range development will feature exceptional amenities, according to company executives.
An amenity deck with a spacious lobby will allow residents to move between two towers with ease. Shared amenities include an infinity pool, kiddie pool, garden deck, gym, and game room. There will be multi-purpose rooms in both towers for functions.
Vertex Coast will also have commercial spaces open to establishments that will provide modern conveniences to homeowners.
The Vertex Coast launch follows another successful Priland development administered under a similar group, Vertex Central in Cebu City. Pastoriza said Vertex Central is already 80 percent sold, with only the bigger and penthouse units still available.
In line with its goal to support a modern lifestyle, the company brings the Priland Advantage to every development.
Provisions for air-conditioning unit, telephone line, cable line, induction stove, and range hood are standard in all Priland Residences project, including Vertex Coast.
Located in Mactan’s prestigious barangay of Punta Engaño, the Vertex Coast neighborhood includes such top resorts as Mövenpick Hotel, Seagrove, Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort & Spa, Mactan Newtown, Emerald Bay, Sheraton, Dusit Thani Mactan Cebu Resort, Arterra Discovery Bay, The Reef, and Crimson Resort & Spa Mactan.
Part of a well-established and diversified group of companies that has excelled for over 20 years, Priland Development Corporation channels decades of business expertise into providing families and investors with quality real estate properties.
Rico’s Lechon will open its biggest restaurant this Friday, June 28, in Cebu, bringing back the particular taste of its roasted pigs that has become popular with diners.
Meat Concepts Corporation President George N. Pua said in yesterday’s media preview for the Mandaue branch that Rico’s Lechon has changed ownership but the quality and taste of its roasted pigs remain the same. Pua heads the company that now owns the lechon chain.
NOT JUST LECHON. Rico’s Lechon will serve Filipino favorites on top of its renowned lechon.
The 500-square meter branch, which is the brand’s flagship outlet and newest restaurant, is located at Unit F1 Jamestown, Mantawi International Drive, Mandaue City.
Pua added they will soon work double time to have the branch in Axis Entertainment Avenue along Escario St. in Cebu City reopened by July.
Rico’s Lechon menu
Rico’s will continue to serve its famous lechon in two flavors, original and spicy. It will also offer such Filipino favorites like special boneless bangus, sizzling lechon sisig, monggos, Bicol express, kinilaw na tangigue, calamares, camaron rebosado, garlicky squid balls, sinigang, pinakbet, chopsuey, and pancit canton.
NEW OWNER, SAME LECHON QUALITY, TASTE. Meat Concepts Corporation President George N. Pua said in yesterday’s media preview that Rico’s Lechon has changed ownership but the quality and taste of its roasted pigs remain the same.
When it opens, the Mandaue branch will introduce as well new dishes like the grilled pork belly, grilled daing na bangus, ginataang laing, chicken binakol, beef ampalaya, sizzling adobong pusit, buttered mixed seafoods, seaweed salad, sisig fried rice, chorizo fried rice, sinigang na boneless bangus, sinigang na baka at baboy, and seafood sotanghon.
Pua said all their pigs are sourced from local suppliers, adding that they’ve hired the services of an abattoir and outsourced the roasting to another group.
Rico’s flagship outlet in Mandaue is the second in Cebu, the other being in Mactan Promenade, and the seventh overall.
There are currently five Rico’s Lechon branches in Manila but two more — along Balintawak and in SM North Edsa — will be added soon, according to Pua.
Rico’s Lechon Mandaue has a seating capacity of 300, with four VIP rooms for meetings, gatherings, and special functions with family and friends. The largest room can seat up to 80 guests while the other three can fit up to 20 persons each.
Pua said they wanted to achieve a fiesta ambience, hence the colorful restaurant interior. The chandeliers are made from lechon plates and are manufactured in Cebu together with the furniture.
Traditional Cebu lechon
Founded in 1997 by Enrico Dionson, Rico’s Lechon will turn 22 in August 2019. It serves traditional Cebu lechon roasted to perfection and mixed with garlic and leeks.
Some years back, Pua said he came to Cebu, which is known for having the best lechon, and tried the products of different outlets. He came to the conclusion that Rico’s Lechon has the best roasted pig and proposed a partnership deal.
He added that Dionson wasn’t interested then but later changed his mind and sold the restaurant chain six years after that initial proposal.
Simple and authentic, the Humba Cebuana of Golden Prince Hotel and Suites exemplifies the Filipino dishes that it has made available in its ala carte menu beginning in May to highlight the celebration of National Heritage Month.
The dish is the typical humba that can be found in Cebuano homes: cooked slow to make the meat tender and prepared with boiled egg and saba (a banana variety), said Aaron Que, Vice President for Corporate Communications.
Humba Cebuana and other Filipino dishes like pochero and sinuglaw can now be ordered for lunch or dinner from 12 noon to 10 p.m. at Golden Prince’s Kabilin Heritage Lounge.
Golden Prince’s Pochero Cebuano uses uses beef shank since Cebuanos love to feast on the marrow in the bones. To bring out the flavor of the beef, it’s simmered for no less than an hour. Corn, banana, string beans, and cabbage are added to the mix.
The vegetables in Cebu’s pochero differentiates it from a similar dish in Luzon called bulalo, according to Louella Alix, the hotel’s heritage ambassador.
Other items in the menu include the sinuglaw, a dish originating from Mindanao that combines grilled pork with fish ceviche, shrimp halanghalang, and Pescador, which takes inspiration from escabeche. Golden Prince’s main fish dish is deep fried grouper with sweet and sour sauce on the side.
Sinuglaw combines grilled pork with fish ceviche
Cebuano cooking is based on the freshness of the ingredients and this is one thing that Kabilin can guarantee for its newly launched ala carte dishes.
Alix likened dining at Kabilin as being a dinner guest of a Cebuano home as the food items are family favorites,
With the launch of its ala carte menu, Kabilin also introduced a new line of iced and hot tea drinks by Signature Estate. The tea varieties are of single origin from the Assam Estate in India.
HERITAGE DISHES. Louella Alix, Golden Prince Hotel and Suites heritage ambassador, and Aaron Que, vice president for corporate communications, with two of the hotel’s chefs during the presentation of their Filipino dishes.
The tea selections, blended with such spices as cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, and pepper, are said to be good pairing for the heavy Filipino cuisine.
Kabilin, described as the “first heritage home in a hotel,” was awarded early this year with the Best Merienda Buffet in Cebu. The merienda or snack buffet is served daily from 2p.m. to 6 p.m.
The Kabilin Heritage Lounge is located at the ground floor of Golden Prince Hotel in Acacia Street corner Archbishop Reyes Avenue, Cebu City.
A Cebu school that cultivates a strengths-based culture will hold two summer workshops between May and July to spread educational innovations geared towards the development of children and the youth.
The Children’s Paradise Montessori School (CMPS) plans to undertake the Youth Empowerment and Strengths (YES) camp and the Integrated Boot Camp (IBC).
CMPS President Marivic Bathan said the two activities are geared towards helping participants identify and hone their strengths and at the same time find a way through their weaknesses.
She added that at this period in time, when there are countless upheavals brought about by environmental changes and the digital revolution, education is still the vehicle that will prepare children for the future that is just around the corner.
According to Bathan, the roadmap in a strengths-based school is to start with talent and develop it into strength.
Talent becomes strength when it produces a consistent, positive outcome and this is the philosophy they want to teach those who will be joining YES and IBC.
The first ever YES camp, which will run from May 30 to June 1, will be held at the Rafi-Kool Adventure Camp and open to those who are from 12-18 years old.
By the end of the camp, which will focus on the individual and collective strengths of the youth, participants should already have a concrete grasp of their talents, been coached on how they can develop these into strengths, and a support group made up of their parents and other relatives as well as their YES camp family.
Internationally awarded Life executive and Gallup Strengths coach May Soriano and Fr. Loretto Jaque, who has been trained in Play Expressive Arts Therapy in France and Switzerland will help facilitate the activity. Bathan and RAFI-KAC staff will also help out as facilitators.
Integrated Boot Camp
Scheduled from May 29 to July 6, IBC will delve on theater arts and creative ecology. Participants are expected to mount a full scale production at the end of the camp and this will be performed at the USP Theater for Performing Arts.
A competent pool of professional artists will serve as trainers and facilitators, including Rudy Aviles who will serve as creative director, Emman Mante as assistant creative director, and professional songwriter Jude Gitamondoc as musical director. Other trainers are Nino Banares for percussion and rhythmic instruments, Alfie Mosqueda as choreographer, Crisanto Etorma as visual artist, and Rosabelle Daculan as camp facilitator.
White said emphasis will not only be on output but the process as well so that participants will become not only performers but creators as well.
Aviles added that the camp will use an integrated arts approach so that participants l will learn a range of creative skills set, from script writing and acting to photography and video production.
To register for any of the camps, all you need to do is call CPMS at 0920-9522509 or 422-3446. Those who register get an early bird discount.
The Children’s Paradise Montessori School was founded by Bathan, who has been its president since its inception in 2005, with the mission of providing children with an education for life.
It has created a learning environment based on Dr. Maria Montessori’s philosophy and principles. CPMS has been awarded as Montessori School of the Year in the Business Achievement and Recognition Awards for 10 straight years since 2010.
The school is located along H. Abellana St. in Canduman, Mandaue City.
They strap you to your seats, turn the lights off so the whole theater turns pitch black, and—just as you start to wonder what comes next—your seats begin to rise.
All around you, dark and menacing Gotham City comes to life in the 4D flight simulation ride Batman Dark Flight in Studio City Macau.
You hear Gotham hero Batman telling you things both worrisome and reassuring as he takes you on a hair-raising ride through the streets and above or between buildings—sometimes narrowly missing objects, flying up and plunging down while the city burns and explodes, to battle villains and bring you to safety.
Fontaine de Mers
A replica of this iconic fountain greets guests at the cavernous Parisian lobby. Above it is a dome with classical paintings.
Roller coaster rides scare me so I avoid them at all cost and I went into the Batman Dark Flight ride thinking it would be similar to my previous 4D theater experiences. Boy, was I wrong.
My first time in Macau some years back was through a ferry ride out of Hong Kong, but it’s now easier to travel to this special administrative region of China with Cebu Pacific Air direct flights from Cebu.
Since my first visit was just a day trip added to our Hong Kong itinerary, our must-go list consisted only of The Venetian Macau and Senado Square. We had to rush both.
Macau’s many casinos, currently over 40, have earned it the nickname “Las Vegas of Asia.” The biggest ones along the Cotai Strip are equalled only by the fancy hotels and plush clubs.
Our recent travel to this vibrant city, courtesy of Cebu Pacific Air and Klook, showed there is so much more to Macau than gambling and glitz
#BookItKlookIt. With Klook, not only do you get discounts to attractions and experiences like the Batman Dark Flight and Golden Reel Ferris Wheel in Studio City Macau but you also get to skip lines.
Ruins of St. Paul
Another facet of this vibrant city, one that traces back 300 years of Portuguese rule and influence, we discovered through the Macau Sightseeing Day Tour booked through Klook. Discounted down to a little over P3,000, the tour came with transport and buffet lunch and allowed us to cover most of Macau’s top attractions.
Our outing took us through the taste, sounds, and sights of old Macau with its mix of Chinese and Portuguese culture. Our guide regaled us with the idiosyncrasies of its rich and famous, pointed out the best souvenir shops, and enumerated delicacies that had us looking for soup, egg tarts, dim sum, and pork chop buns even late at night.
We didn’t just check out the Ruins of St. Paul, once a 16th century Portuguese church, we learned how the colonizers made it acceptable to the Macanese by building it with steps that summed up to the Chinese lucky number of 68.
Within Senado Square, which is on the UNESCO World Heritage List as it forms part of the Historic Centre of Macau, our guide led us along ancient cobbled streets with their names inscribed on Portuguese tiles, through buildings with European features, and to the other 16th-century St. Dominic’s Church.
Through the Macau Sightseeing Day Tour, we had time for The Venetian with its replicas of Venice’s top sights: St. Mark’s Square, the Grand Canal, and ornate Venetian architecture. Of course, The Venetian also hosts Macau’s biggest casino.
A brief stop at the Macau Tower was also included in our itinerary. We had time to go up the tower and even bungee jump if we so wished.
The Macau Sightseeing Day Tour also brought us to the 14th century A-Ma Temple, one of three famous Buddha halls in Macau. It was along a sea promontory near this temple that the Portuguese landed in Macau over 400 years ago.
We took our lunch at a local restaurant that provides a buffet menu of Macanese and Portuguese food. It was there that I had my first taste of the popular Portuguese soup caldo verde.
Day 2 of our short trip was reserved for two top Macau activities: the 4D flight simulation ride Batman Dark Flight and Golden Reel Ferris Wheel.
The ferris wheel is shaped like a figure 8 suspended 130 meters high up Studio City’s facade. Make sure to schedule your ride on a clear day to make the most of the views from the glass cabins.
Flying with Batman was a different kind of experience. They don’t just rush you into the activity, they prep you first by herding you into a holding room where you get a primer from Batman on the situation you’re in. For a moment, you get this crazy idea that whatever was going to happen will take place in that room and that made it even more scary.
Photos of our Macau trip
On our second day in Macau, we had lunch at Studio City’s premium restaurant Spotlight. With a cinema theme and Art Deco style, Spotlight serves a wide range of international cuisine and seafood in the buffet menu. Lunch came with unlimited coffee and drinks.
Availed through Klook, our sumptuous buffet lunch came at a great discount.
Booking our activities through Klook also made things easier. There was no need to line up for tickets; we simply had to present our Klook vouchers at the entrance for scanning.
More Macau experiences
This gave us time for a quick visit to the Parisian Macao with its replicas of the Eiffel Tower and Champs-Elysees as well as hotel concierge made out like a gallery of the Louvre and a room in Château de Versailles.
A copy of the Fontaine de Mers under a painted domed ceiling decorates the Parisian’s spacious lobby.
We had time to look for pork chop buns at Taipa food street because we heard that one of the stalls there offers the tastiest servings.
Macau is definitely more than a day-trip destination, but we made the most of our two days by flying direct from Cebu via Cebu Pacific Air and booking experiences through Klook.
As a way of evolving dentistry by incorporating it with other fields of medicine and including it among its wellness brands, the Cebu Doctors University Hospital opened the CebuDoc Dental Institute with state-of-the-art facilities.
Aside from general dentistry, it also offers preventive and cosmetic dentistry, dental diagnostic laboratory services, orthodontics, endodontics, prosthodontics, pediatric dentistry, TMD management, periodontics, dental implants, and oral maxillofacial surgery.
Dr. Potenciano “Yong” Larrazabal III, CebuDoc Group President and Chairman, said their newest facility seeks to change the perception exclusively associating dentists with teeth and cavity.
We are known to innovate. Whatever is new in the industry, we provide. Our center has a CBCT, digitized x-ray system, three dental chairs, and one operating room.
Dr. Potenciano “Yong” Larrazabal III, CebuDoc Group President and Chairman
The newly-built CebuDoc Dental Institute becomes part of the developing Wellness Complex situated in the Medical Arts Building 2 of Cebu Doctors University Hospital. It is the second facility that will comprise the Wellness Complex since it was introduced last year with the opening of the Center for Aesthetics and Laser.
Larrazabal added that the healthcare system in the CebuDoc Group has been continuously upgrading so it could provide holistic care and the dental healthcare system is part of this.
CebuDoc’s latest wellness brand is made up of the most reputable and top-caliber dentists, starting with CebuDoc Dental Institute Chair and College of Dentistry Dean Dr. Imelda P. Montuerto.
The multi-specialty institute, with its diagnostic laboratory services that include a dental cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) or what is commonly known as the CT scan for dentists, will have lower rates compared to other dental clinics, according to Montuerto.
“We are known to innovate. Whatever is new in the industry, we provide. Our center has a CBCT, digitized x-ray system, three dental chairs, and one operating room,” added Dr. Larrazabal.
He also intends the CebuDoc Dental Institute to further revolutionize the profession by offering a residency training program that will allow dentists to go into different specializations.
To help spread its wellness message in dental health, CebuDoc took in the Binibining Cebu 2018 queens as its wellness ambassadors. The partnership, said Dr. Larrazabal, is to reach out to more people and inspire them to take care not only of their dental health but total well-being.
The CebuDoc Dental Institute is committed to delivering high quality healthcare and working to ensure that its dental services will be available to everyone who needs them.
“Having healthy teeth can boost someone’s confidence especially in dealing with other people. It brings out the best of your personality and, for me, that is enough reason for people to take care of their teeth,” said Binibining Cebu 2018 Steffi Aberasturi.
Shared office spaces and more units for lifestyle outlets are just some of the new and exciting developments at Axis Entertainment Avenue on Vibo Place.
The Country Basket restaurant, which is known for its chicken dishes as well as breads and pastries, and an architectural showroom are set to open in May at a newly completed cluster expansion, said Axis General Manager Andre Allen Suarez.
Opening soon in another building cluster is a yoga studio and an eyelash extension facility.
Axis Entertainment Venue expansion plans
Axis General Manager Andre Allen Suarez says they plan to fill the new cluster building with a gym, spa or salon, convenience store or pharmacy and are currently looking for locators.
Suarez added that they will also add 11 units in a new two-storey building that’s currently being constructed after Burger King. This will increase the gross lease area of Axis by 28 percent.
The plan is to fill the new cluster building with a gym, spa or salon, convenience store or pharmacy and are currently looking for locators.
“We already have several restaurants. What we’re looking for now are activities for our customers. We’re listening to their needs,” Suarez explained.
He estimates the schedule of building completion to be around the end of 2019 or early 2020.
One other thing that is currently in development at Vibo Place is a shared office space that is intended for startups, entrepreneurs, and freelancers.
Suarez said they have converted what used to be a serviced apartment spanning 800 square meters into small office spaces that can fit a minimum of three to five people. An events space and a bar are two unique features of the new facility.
According to him, shared office locators will have the advantage of a strategic address in Cebu City.
Amid baking challenges and overcoming the perception of being expensive, The Abaca Group has managed to achieve healthy growth—starting out in 2006 with a boutique resort + restaurant and expanding to eight brands with over 20 outlets in Cebu today.
Several more will be added to the number this 2019, including Red Lizard branches in Manila that will be opened through a franchising agreement, said The Abaca Group Founder Jason Hyatt.
“The only requirement for expansion is that customers can’t notice,” he added, citing the need to maintain the group’s exceptional food and service.
Chef Patrick Corpuz, Director for Business, credited their consistent growth to a strengthened team. The company is set to open another Abaca Baking Company in Ayala Center Cebu and Luncheonette outlets in SM City Cebu and Ayala Center Cebu.
Filipino restaurant at The Reef
The Reef Mactan Hotel and Residences, where Abaca plans to put up a Filipino restaurant, is also scheduled for completion and opening this year.
Mr. Hyatt said their vision for the Filipino restaurant is it should replicate home cooking and showcase local ingredients.
“Isn’t it strange that we don’t have Filipino restaurants in our hotels?,” he asked, adding that tourists who come to the country usually ask for places where they can try local food.
The Abaca Group founder also announced he has been tapped to handle the food and beverage management of the upcoming “apart’hotel” Citadines in Cebu City and has created a separate business for this purpose.
According to him, what they wanted to do was create partnerships with developers that will allow them to open commissary kitchens in hotels to aid in their expansion.
To put up an Abaca Baking Company in other areas, added Mr. Hyatt, the challenge is to figure out how to make baked goods travel.
Since ABC prides itself in fresh breads and pastries, it needs to find a way to bake everyday and bring the products across great distances.
Partnerships with other businesses that will allow them to put up their own kitchens in hotels and similar developments will help solve this particular challenge, said Mr. Hyatt, adding that The Abaca Group will need such collaborations to grow nationwide.
Mr. Corpuz said they have several concepts in mind for additional brands that will probably be introduced in the next two years.
“We’re streamlining our product line and trying out different techniques,” he cited. The different Abaca outlets serve to cater to different business segments.
Challenges to growth
Through its growth years, The Abaca Group also had to contend with a reputation for being expensive.
While this has hounded them for a few years, Hyatt said they see it as working to their advantage now.
According to Corpuz, the typical business model of targeting a specific price point has worked well for their restaurants.
All through the years of serving quality and exceptional food, albeit at prices seen in the past as costly, the market is now finally ready for The Abaca Group.