Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Paradise Dynasty: Home of the World-Famous Xiao Long Bao

FYI, foodies! A Chinese inspired cuisine dining haven that offers not just the best Chinese food but some of Asia’s delectable popular dishes is now in the Philippines! Paradise Dynasty is a Singapore original brand that serves quality Asian dishes in surprisingly very affordable prices. 

Visiting Paradise Dynasty at S Maison at Conrad Manila the other week was just the right time before I started to be in training mode for the NatGeo Earth Day Run 2017, where I will be running my second marathon for this year. I was amazed that the prices in the menu were lower than I expected given the location and the posh interior of the place. Certainly, diners will be tempted to order extras for their affordability.

One special dish in the menu is the Xiao Long Bao -- a dimsum with a special treat inside. However, one signature version of this that you can only find at Paradise Dynasty is the eight colored Xiao Long Bao. This dish is served inside a steam basket in different colors that represent flavorful fillings such as garlic, Ginseng, crab roe, cheese, truffle, Szechuan, and foie grass. 

Paradise Dynasty serves a variety of Asian fusion cuisine where something familiar is given a twist to make a new and flavorful dish. One appetizer, for instance, that makes a simple radish taste so delicious is the Radish Pastry. This cocktail delight is nothing but radish and fused with Asian spice. Even the wrap is made out of radish, which until now, makes me puzzled how they make them. 

Another choice of appetizer is the Steamed Glutinous Rice Stuffed in Red Dates. Personally, I’m not a fan of the fruit, but this dish is certainly an exception. I’m really quite curious how they mixed the rice and the fruit together. It’s a little bit sweet but it’s so nutritious and delicious as well. 

At first glance, the Steamed Egg White with Fish and Conpoy looks like porridge with raw egg on top. But, the white stuff is actually (dried) scallops which are full of protein. I think this is best as an post run meal to make the leg muscles heal and recover faster. This dish is also very filling and heavy on the belly. 

The next on the menu is the Spicy Szechuan Crispy Chicken. If you still crave for rice, this one goes well with it because for Pinoys, hot and spicy food is best taken with rice. The chicken is not so spicy but if you’re up to a more hotness, you can eat the chillies mixed with it. If you're not a fan of spicy food, go for the Stir Fried Beef with Kai Lan or Scallion made with thin slices of striploin beef that's stir fried with green scallion stalks. This one goes well with rice, too.  

Another delicacy that every Asian country seem to have its own version of are noodle dishes. Paradise Dynasty's Stir-fried La Mian with shredded pork and black fungus is really delicious. It’s a Chinese original added with a Singaporean touch. 

For dessert, there's Glutinous Rice Balls top with Grated Nuts, which is a close version to the Pinoy Buchi. But, instead of sesame seeds, these are rolled in grated peanuts. They are good in wrapping up a very gastronomical dinning experience. As to beverages, Paradise Dynasty offers a variety of fruit juices and soda drinks, but I highly recommend their Water Chestnut Drink. This is ideal in balancing all the hotness of the chili and the spiciness of the meal we ate. It also has a detoxifying ingredient that equalizes the digestive system.

Experience the nice ambiance and good food of Paradise Dynasty located at the 2nd floor of S Maison at the new Conrad Manila. Watch out for their upcoming exciting dishes and promos by liking their Facebook page. 

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Converse Chuck Taylor Face-off

One of the most iconic shoe brands that has withstood the test of time is the Converse Chuck Taylor or simply “Chucks”. Designed by an All American Basketball League star player, Mr. Charles “Chuck” Taylor, these sneakers have pioneered the foundation of athletic shoes, worn not only for basketball but also for almost all sports disciplines in the Olympics during his time. Through the years, the immortal brand that would soon celebrate its centennial birthday in 2032 has expanded its use from outside sports right into the everyday lives of people all over the world.

Mr. Charles "Chuck" H. Taylor, Converse brand ambassador and Sales man
The classic design -- hard canvas body on zero-drop heel to toe differential of tough rubber sole with white toe-cap -- has never gone out of fashion and had been embraced by multiple cultures of people worldwide for almost 100 years. It is simply the most acceptable fashion statement that can be matched with practically any apparel for almost all occasions. The Chucks will always look cool and awesome with any clothes you can think of. 

1917 Converse Athletic shoes - The first of its kind

1921 Converse All Star Basketball Shoes
1936 Converse All Star Basketball Shoes. The first Converse that bares the name Chuck Taylor on the side patch logo

Recently, Inquirer Lifestyle partnered with Converse Philippines to showcase some of the country’s top fashion designers at a fashion show event held at the Atrium of Shangri-La Mall. Dubbed Face/Off OOTD, the event featured clothing designs from all ends of the spectrum, ranging from formal gowns to the most casual attire worn by everyday people.

Many of the designs were matched with various styles and colors of Chucks worn by top models and a few celebrities like Julie Ann San Jose, Benjamin Alves, beauty queen Maxine Medina, and the always vibrant Tessa Prieto-Valdes. Also present were popular personalities who have made significant contributions to our society like Reese Fernandez-Ruiz of Rags-to-Riches. 

Ms. Reese Fernandez-Ruiz of Rags-to-Riches
Apart from featuring versatile fashion that matches with Converse Chuck Taylor, the show also highlighted how these sneakers are bridging gaps in all social classes. Imagine, the Chucks worn by a CEO in a suit and the Chucks worn by an ordinary college student in worn-out jeans, both have the same price tag! How cool is that?!

All Black (low-cut) Converse Chucks redefines elegance

I remember buying my first Converse Chucks using my first paycheck while working in McDonald’s as a service crew back in the 80’s. While everyone went crazy getting the hottest Topsider shoes, I wore Chucks, not just because it’s the only brand of sneakers I can afford under my meager income as a fast food busboy, but because it had a stronger traction to my taste and style.

Another day at school or in the office, Chucks blends in whatever attire

Converse Chucks, for me, is a footwear befitting a character that signifies humility and simplicity. People who wear Chucks offer a statement that says, “I may not have a lot of money but I have more to offer in my heart and in my head” kind of thing.

Converse One-Star Pro-leather (white)
Over the years, with more than a dozens chucks that have already come and gone, my sense of sneaker fashion was somehow passed on to my sons, who are now also Converse sneakerheads. I don't recall telling them to like what I like but, somehow, they found their own way in liking and wearing the brand – it's a self discovery, I guess.

Converse All Star Chucks in black Canvas and brown gum-sole...

My Chucks and I have definitely come a long way. If only they could speak, some pairs will have a lot stories to tell about places I’ve been to such as during the Yolanda typhoon in the streets of Tacloban during relief operations, strolling the flooded alleys of Manila during monsoon season, and even those times I went to posh places where I was denied entry because I was wearing sneakers. All of these experiences of wearing Chucks taught me valuable life lessons and maybe that’s the kind of legacy I want to leave my kids with: that wearing a pair of Chucks is more of an expression than an impression.

Me on Converse Jack Purcell Leather. Taken at Converse PH Office...
And as we walk to whatever life’s journey we are still destined to tread, I know Chucks would continue to provide foot comfort and, at the same time, remind us to keep ourselves closer to Earth and keep our feet grounded. After all, that’s what Converse Chucks is all about -- it’s an expression of one's humility, simplicity, and freedom.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

The URGe Store is now open at Greenbelt 1, Makati…

The URGe store is a men’s “brand-store” haven particularly catering to the “brand” needs of the metro-sexuals, who live on nothing but premium commodities, from bags to tech gadgets. Another URGe store opens at the second level of Greenbelt 1. 

URGe offers the latest line up of lifestyle brands for people who never compromise quality, durability and style. It stands for URBAN RUGGED GEAR (URGe) and it is the official distributor of famous brands such as OTTER BOX, GOAL ZERO, YURBUDS, LIFE PROOF, GOPRO, LEEFIBRIDGE AND B&O PLAY. They also offer brands like MISSION WORKSHOP, WATERSHOT, ETHNOTEK and DRIFTER. 

Last week I had the opportunity to be invited to its store opening. Together with other members of the media, we had the first dibs to check these premium items on display. Sales staff were very much accommodating as they explain the product’s quality construction and features. I had the chance to check the Mission Workshop back packs with its balance weight distribution on my shoulders. 

Although these packs are not meant for wilderness type of adventure, it sure feels it can withstand the punishment. The outer-shell is tough and can repel rain water. Its has multiple pockets and smaller pouches that can easily be detached as needed. Some pouches can be carried independently to carry urban trip tools like a short umbrella or a tablet with some few valuables like a smart phone and a wallet or a small note pad. 

“Back by the latest technology and world class standards, URGe’s brings you innovative products to take your active lifestyle to greater heights, “ says Mr. Jay Tengo, president of TenkieBox. 

Summer is fast approaching and as part of URGe’s official launch, the specialty store is holding the URGe Summer Blast Promo. Get a chance to win any of the following:  (1) Mission Workshop Messenger Bag Monty, (1) Ethnotek Back Pack – Raja, (1) OtterBox Case – Defender Sereis, (1) YurBuds Earphones, (1) lifeproof Case, and (1) B&O Play Headphones for every purchase of any URGe store or website (1- receipt = 1 raffle entry). Promo runs from February 15 – March 15, 2017. 

isit URGe Store in branches: Greenbelt 1, Ayala Center and 2nd floor, Theater Mall, Greenhills Shopping Center or Check out their website at www.urge.ph.   

Sunday, March 5, 2017

National Geographic Partners with WWF to preserve Ipo Water Shed in the Earth Day Run 2017

Wow! It has been eight years already?!

I can still recall my first National Geographic Earth Day Run six years ago when I was just starting my running life style. I remember, that run was also my very first 10k race. From a few runners who ran that time now grew to multitudes of not just fitness enthusiasts but advocates of saving the environment as well.

Every year, Earth Day Run features an environmental issue which became a focus of where the proceeds of the run will go and World Wild Fund (WWF) has been its constant partner to spearhead the programs to address these environmental issues. 

This year, the thrust of the Earth Day Run will be in support to WWF’s efforts in preserving the Ipo water shed in Bulacan. Today, Ipo water shed provides 90% of the water source distributed in a big part of Metro Manila. But the water shed is now facing an impending problem of soil erosion because of the denuding trees that surrounds the shed. If this happens, soil will fill the water reservoir and the quality of water residence of Metro Manila will be greatly affected.

Presently, this problem is being experienced by people living in the southern part, particularly, cities of Muntinlupa, Las Pinas, Paranaque and some part of Cavite, where most of its water source is from Laguna lake. Currently, the lake is in a critical condition because of pollutant debris being dumped by people living around the area and the garbage carried by the Pasig River which is connected to the lake. At present, Maynilad, the distributing company covering the area is having difficulties maintaining a steady flow of water and they need to schedule water interruptions to this cities affected.

Laguna lake is a dying lake and it will take a huge concerted effort to revive and bring it back to its the vibrant life. However, Ipo water shed and Lamesa can still be saved by not just some “photo-op” tree planting activities by so-called cause oriented groups but wide scale and long range secondary reforestation programs. Thankfully, these programs are currently being implemented and everyone is encouraged to take part to fully restore the trees in Ipo, a life giving source of Metro Manila.

Bringing back the trees to ipo water shed and working towards a positive change is one effort, but an advocate can extend his or her support by taking part of the Nat Geo Earth Day Run 2017 this coming April 23, 2017. It will be held at the SM Mall of Asia grounds, where participants can join 5k, 10k, 21k, and 42k categories. As a special treat to all Eco-Warriors, organizers will provide LED shoelaces, serving as badge of pride and as safety precaution for runners during the night. 

As a special treat for those who have supported Earth Day Runs over the years, organizers will give loyalty perks. A priority placement will be given to regular Earth Day runners, offering spaces in the starting line and a VIP line is also given at the end of the race when they claim their loots and other freebies.

Earth Day Run 2017 aims to continue the tradition of being one of the biggest running events in the country, expecting scores of running enthusiasts and Eco warriors to register and run for the environment. This event will be held not only in Manila but simultaneously in the cities of Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore and Taichung, an initiative that was adopted last year and effectively spread the vision and advocacy of Earth Day Run across Asia.  

Wednesday, March 1, 2017


Star World, FOX Networks Group (FNG) Philippines’ number one female-oriented general            entertainment channel announced today the return of the well-loved and three-time Emmy      win-ning talent show, The Voice. The Voice Season 12 exclusively premieres in the Philippines on Febru-ary 28, 2017 (Tuesday) only on Star World with live telecasts every 2:00 PM and primetime replays at 7:00 PM and 10:00 PM respectively.

Exciting turn of events are in-store for the viewers on the latest season of The Voice as we continue on the search for the next best voice that will shake the music industry to the core. The season premiere of The Voice marks the sweet return of Gwen Stefani as she once again secures her judg-ing spot, rounding up the girl power action on the competition up against Adam Levine and once again reunited with her partner, Blake Shelton.

The latest season of The Voice boosts a bigger, better and more engaging experience than it has on its previous season by bringing in the biggest and most recognizable names in the music industry as adviser to the coaches, making everything a match made in heaven; Celine Dion joins Gwen Stefani as an adviser taking the femme fatal action to high roads. On the other corner of music, five-time winner of show, Blake Shelton is joined by Luke Bryan — a tandem easy on the eyes and easy on dynamics as the two have worked together before to co-host the Academy of Country Music Awards.

Adam Levine pairs up with a legend, John Legend that is. These swoon-worthy gents collaborate to take ordinary people to the next level while keeping their dapper in check. Running on her second season for The Voice, Alicia Keys, is all about winning as she teams up with award-winning hip hop artist DJ Khaled, and everyone sure knows, that all he does is win no matter what.

Posing with the band Johnnies. (Edwin Pastor on guitar, Russel on drums and Aze Pastor on bass)

With all these great additions to The Voice stage, the stakes get even higher and better as the sea-son presents extended Blind Auditions, making room for far more artists, far more voices and far more drama — leave it to host Carson Daly to make sure things don’t get out of hand. As the latest season steps up in more ways than one, Star World stays true to its promise of delivering only the best and premier content and immediately brings it fresh from the US!

About STAR World

STAR WORLD is the region’s No.1 general English entertainment channel guaranteeing exclusive first-runs of top-rated programming from the US and around the world. From all-time favorites to award-winning shows, STAR WORLD features a much more diverse choice of comedies, drama, reality & talent shows and live award events to appeal to entertainment lovers. Launched in 1997, STAR WORLD is currently available in 26 million homes across four services in                         In-dia/Pakistan, Southeast Asia/Greater China, the Philippines and the Middle East. 
For more information, please visit www.starworldasia.tv

About FOX Networks Group

FOX Networks Group (FNG) is a primary operating unit of 21st Century Fox (NASDAQ:FOXA). FNG consists of Fox Television Group, which includes Fox Broadcasting Company and 20th Century Fox Television; Fox Cable Networks, which includes FX Networks; Fox Sports Media Group, and National Geographic Partners. Together these units create, program and distribute on a worldwide basis much of America’s most popular entertainment, sports and nonfiction programming.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Nestle: Start Healthy, Stay Healthy Campaign

Last year, we celebrated the birthday of my great aunt, Mama Sefa (Josefa) who is already 103 years old! With her age she already out-lived all of her older siblings, several nieces and even nephews and some grand children. My mom, asked her what’s her secret to long life, and she said - “Healthy living.”

In the last fifty years, it was very noticeable on how life span of man became shorter due to various illnesses. I remember when I was young, the news of a death of someone who died of cancer at a very young age was relatively rare and shocking. Today, the big – C has become a very common cause of death among many people of their younger years, and cancer has evolved in many forms as well. 

In the advancement of technology to keep up with the fast pace of living, the “fast food” industry has become the staple sustenance of many people of today. As modern research shows, many of the common illnesses are traced back to poor diet and lifestyle and many of these processed foods are the culprit in many life-threatening diseases such as diabetes, heart diseases and cancer. Even with the advancement of modern medicine, it seems that viruses and bacteria causing diseases are always one step ahead of the latest drugs available to combat them. 

Nestle, a leading food and beverage company that is noted for its brands in the field of health and nutrition advocates healthy living among new mothers and soon-to-be-mothers early on in their pregnancy. The first 1,000 days, according to medical experts is very critical in the life not just for the baby but also for the mother herself. This means that proper health and nutrition of a child expands from conception up to the baby’s second birthday, covering the first 1,000 days. 

A good nutrition in the first 1,000 days helps prevent Microcephaly, a condition where the brains of a child did not developed normally, thus having a smaller head. This and other health anomalies during the early stages of the child’s life can be controlled or prevented within the first 1,000 days of good nutrition. Mothers on the other hand will likewise have better chances of not getting illnesses but will have more reserve energy and be healthy in all aspect of her early stage of motherhood.

Nestle a keen advocate to this health philosophy launches a website that will help guide new moms and moms to be on how to sustain a good and healthy living during their first 1,000 days journey. The site covers all the semesters in child baring up to where the child celebrates his or her second birthday. With this campaign, Nestle pursue to spearhead a conscious and committed efforts in improving the health and quality of life of new breeds of Filipinos free from death causing illnesses and live fulfilling lives that perhaps may extends to more than a hundred years.

Visit and Register:

For more information on nurturing a generation of healthier and happier Filipinos, visit the website at www.starthealthy.nestle.com.ph and follow Nestle Start Healthy Stay Healthy – PH on Facebook.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Sun Life Foresees Continued Strength Growth of Philippine Economy

Less than a year in the Duterte administration, the Philippines experienced an unprecedented social divide that brought a phenomenal cultural revolution that expands to all social classes and sectors of the society. In the advent of internet technology and social media, all of us became witnesses on how perceptions of people determine the probable outcome of a state of a nation. 

So, here we are, after seven months under the new government, Filipino people are bearing the loads of realities on our backs such as an atmosphere of social unrest being felt by many brought about by the government’s unorthodox approach on its “war on drugs” campaign, wide spread corruptions in the executive office and legislative body, scandalous issues in the PNP ranks, and some fragile issues on diplomatic relationships with other countries, just to name a few. 

While all these are happening, peoples' confidence in our economy is put on a rigid test. Had the used-to-be “Sickly Man of Asia” truly recovered from his illness and indeed became the fastest growing economy in the region that's strong enough to support investments or have we just experienced a relapse and regressed to a state where our economy has gone from bad to worse?

Apparently, big players in the business are showing no signs of weariness despite the steady decline on stocks and weakening of the Philippine peso over the dollar. But, for small time investors like me, how should I react to these scenarios? Should I pullout everything and look at venturing into European markets? With my limited knowledge of how our domestic market will play in the next months or years, it is helpful to seek wisdom and hopefully find solace from the experts. 

Recently, the Sun Life Asset Management Company, Inc. (SLAMCI) organized an intimate gathering of members of the media to present the current financial “State-of-the-Nation”. Mr. Michael Enriquez, Sun Life Chief Investment Officer, explained that with a continuous increase in consumer and government spending, the outlook remains fundamentally positive. "Remittances from overseas Filipino workers, the BPO industry, and the large number of Filipinos who are of working age are among the factors boosting our economy from the consumer’s end. On the other hand, the rise on government spending is bringing more jobs and has also increased the demand for construction materials," he said.

According to Mr. Enriquez, these so called positive developments are offsetting the impact of recent events in the market, including the weakening of the PH peso against the US Dollar and the drop in the Philippines Stock Exchange Index due to the shift of foreign funds to the US market. Further on, he encourages small-scale investors to stay the course, even boost their investments, and look further for a long-term season of investments. Since the stock prices are cheaper, it is the best time to buy to enjoy greater gains once the market goes up and recovers. 

One investment tool people should consider is investing in mutual funds such as the Sun Life Prosperity Funds, managed by SLAMCI. Historically, the Sun Life Prosperity Funds have been performing strongly despite the given scenarios in the market. The Sun Life Equity Fund for one, has gained a five-year return of 39% and a 10-year return of 119%, while Sun Life Prosperity Balanced Fund marked a 28% and 89% growth in the five and 10 year return respectively; the and the Sun Life Prosperity Bond Fund lodged a 12% and 44% return for the same duration. The said figures is as of December 31, 2016.

So what does all these percentages mean to a small scale investor? According to Sun Life finance experts, basing on their technical parameters, our economy is still holding strong and investors of these financial tools are reaping relatively promising gains still. These revenues are results of a sound economic growth, perhaps brought about by the infusion of reserves that was left by the previous administration and the locked in tenures of foreign investments in our country.  On the technical side, these factors would equate to a relatively good statistics in the next coming months.

However, numbers and statistics may tell us promising futures but realistically, many would still hold on to their resources and seek a lesser risk taking investments instead. Given the overall present state of our country today, financial and investment decisions should be made with thorough analysis. SLAMCI advises investors not to take drastic steps due to “fear of the unknown”. Instead, we are all encouraged everyone to invest long term because Sun Life believes and are confident that things would get better sooner than we expected. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

A really Good Time at Gringo…

“Gringo” is a Mexican term referred to a foreigner, particularly a “White American”. Having this in mind, one can have an idea of what Gringo (the resto) is quite famous for. They offer a wide range of Mexican/American dishes with its world’s famous Southern spices that comes in two sizzling hot and spicy variants. 

Last week, another branch was opened at the third level atrium of SM Mega Mall and I had the opportunity to be invited in their launch. A pleasant ambiance will be felt as the friendly staff greeted everyone – Hola! Gringo, despite its few branches, it has become a favorite hangout of the typical pinoy barkada and families who crave and enjoy delectable dishes.

According to restaurateur Mr. Reagan Tan, “Gringo is a friend we all wish to have. He host the best get togethers, along with his closest amigos and cooks up one mean Mexican-Latin feast”. Historically, the Philippines and Mexico has a long standing relationship, the food of Gringo is something that is very comfortable in the tastes of many Filipinos. Many of the dishes served were very similar to the ones we all enjoy as Filipinos."

These delicious foods are made extra special with the Southern Spices only Gringo can bring. The flavors also bring the old American-southern style of cooking which are evident in their grilled foods such as the Baby Back Ribs and grilled chicken. Many of its dishes are inspired by the Cajun Southern style smoky flavors with its original herbs and spices.

Sea foods are also something to try at Gringo. One dish that made a mark is the Crispy Catfish Salsa which is also deboned, and this one goes best with the Gringo spicy sauce, and Mexican Garlic Rice. So, what makes the garlic rice Mexican? It’s the tomato sauce that is added into it, of course! A side dish of Mushroom Garlic also very satisfying.

The food is made as you order and it will take a while before you enjoy it. While waiting, a recommended starters can be a Clam Chowder Soup with flaky pastry bread which is so delicious and a plate of Baked Mussels. Of course A Mexican restaurant would not be called to be one without Nachos with Salsa dressings. 


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