Friday, August 28, 2015

Kinabuchs: Food-tripping in Puerto Princesa (Part 2)

Second stop for this series: Kinabuchs Grill and Bar.

Also located along Rizal Avenue, and almost across KaLui, is Kinabuchs Grill and Bar. Kinabuchs is also one of the highly recommended restaurants in Puerto Princesa, especially for late night gimmicks or for those who would want to try exotic dishes like tamilok and crocodile.

And for our first night in Puerto Princesa, my friends and I went to Kinabuchs to try tamilok. Tamilok are woodworms found inside trunks of mangroves. Although they look like slimy gray worms, they are actually mollusks. It is usually served raw with vinegar. Unfortunately, (or fortunately for me! haha) the staff warned us that tamilok cannot be eaten on an empty stomach (we just came from our flight, hungry), so no tamilok experience for us!

Instead, we tried another popular exotic dish in Palawan, the crocodile sisig. So how does a crocodile tastes like? Well, it tastes like pork, but I think crocodile meat is leaner and more tender. Like the usual sisig, it has egg, bell pepper, onion, and calamansi. Well, you can’t go wrong with a sisig and it really goes well with hot steamed white rice!

We also ordered gising-gising. Kinabuchs’ version is made with water spinach, ground pork and some shrimp and chilli. My first time to eat gising-gising, and I find the spiciness moderate (I dont like spicy food!). We also had another popular Kinabuchs dish, the bulalo. Although the soup is comforting, there’s not much meat in the bone marrows. We also tried their fresh lumpia and it was okay. We all had iced tea slush. It was interesting because it is frozen iced tea or like an iced tea shake, refreshing and not that sweet.

Kinabuchs is a Filipino-themed open-air restaurant-cum-sports bar. It has a big and spacious area. Some of tables are “inside nipa huts” while other tables are sprawled along the “parking lot”, al fresco, under lit trees. They also have a big projector screen showing sports events (although you can’t hear what was being shown on screen!) They have bars and I heard they also have billiard tables and dart boards, but I wasn’t able see it.

Even though service is kinda slow, Kinabuchs is ideal for that laid back night in Puerto Princesa, not to mention, it is affordable too!

For more information:
Tel Nos: (048) 4345194 or (48) 4332580

Soon to be posted as part of this Food-tripping in Puerto Princesa series are reviews on Balinsasayaw, The Gypsy’s Lair Art Cafe and K’na Boyet sa Baywalk.

For the meantime, read previous posts on my Puerto Princesa adventure:
Coming soon: Puerto Princesa Underground River Tour and Ysabelle Mansion 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Vikings bags top awards at World Food Expo 2015

Vikings Group Chefs Jonathan Jota, Anton Abad, Mark Wilhelm Ragudos, Jennifer Gumboc, Don Aries Jerome Duenas, Joel Mondelo, Mark Reyes, Charles Andrei Santos and Raphael De Jesus won top honors for the country and their restaurants Vikings, Niu by Vikings and Four Seasons Hotpot City.

The chefs spent four days battling the best of the best at the Philippine Culinary Cup (PCC) of the World Food Expo 2015 (WOFEX) which is the only World Association of Chef’s Society (WACS) endorsed competition in the country.

The internationally renowned chefs received a total of 13 medals across different categories. Chef Jonathan Jota won a gold medal for the Quick Fire Salad Category, winning silver medal is Chef Anton Abad for the US Beef Category, Chef Mark Wilhelm Ragudos for the US Poultry Category and Chef Don Aries Jerome Duenas for the Creative Breakfast Challenge Category.

"The Vikings Team placed 3rd on overall performance for the Professional Category at the PCC 2015, beating international competitors from Korea, Malaysia, Hong Kong and other local hotels and de luxe restaurants,” said Over-all Coach Chef Jonathan Jota.

The Vikings chefs after the awarding at WOFEX 2015

The prestigious competition is an avenue for Filipino chefs to gauge their skills against chefs from other countries, and gain international recognition for their culinary expertise.

This year’s PCC had 1,200 competitors from more than 15 countries and is still the number one culinary food event to watch out for.

Also organized by WOFEX, Blogging and Social Media Expo (BLOSOMEX) was held at SMX Convention Center where Vikings took home the “People’s Choice Award for Favorite Buffet”

“The Choice” had 2,075 respondents from Our Awesome Planet, K.T.G. Collective Food Blogs, and Zomato. They voted to settle foodie debates of favorite buffet, favorite ramen, favorite specialty restaurants and favorites in 45 other categories.

Friday, August 14, 2015

KaLui: Food-tripping in Puerto Princesa (Part 1)

Puerto Princesa in Palawan is among the popular tourist destinations in the Philippines. But this “city in a forest” is not just about the Underground River or Dos Palmas, Puerto Princesa is also a must-visit for food adventurers. And about seven months ago (this is a super late post!), my friends and I were able to try some of the restaurants that make Puerto Princesa City a gastronomic tourist destination. First stop for this series: KaLui.

The top-of-mind restaurant in Puerto Princesa City is KaLui, located along Rizal Avenue in Puerto Princesa City’s town proper.  Although KaLui accepts walk-in customers, reservation is highly encouraged as this restaurant always gets filled up fast.

Staff will greet you at the entrance, then lead you towards a big, native "house". But first you will be asked to remove your footwear before entering the restaurant, just like the traditional Filipino custom when visiting a house. Don't worry because your footwear will be placed in shoe lockers. It gave me a strange feeling to be walking barefoot in a restaurant, but hey, it adds to the experience. Plus, their wooden floor is well-polished, so no problem!

The dim lighting and table set-up make KaLui a perfect venue for a romantic dinner date. The place is decorated with various paintings, artwork and indigenous materials. KaLui also has a sort of mini art gallery at the far end of the restaurant. Another amazing thing is that KaLui’s restrooms are just like the hotel lounge restrooms with a native artistic twist!

KaLui has only limited items on the menu. Just look at the photo below, that’s the entire food and beverage they offer.

We ordered their bestseller, Tubbataha Salad. This is composed of fresh tuna strips, cashew nuts (which is aplenty in Palawan), lato seaweed, bits of fruits in season (this time, ripe mangoes, pomelo, papaya) in Palawan dressing (sweet vinegar-lime). I’m not a fan of sashimi and lato so I just tasted a little but my friends liked it.

We also got Choice Catch Fish Cordon Bleu meal. It is served with veggies of the day, lato and rice. The KaLui Veggie Plate meanwhile, consists of vegetables in season. It had okra, squash, string beans with lato , fried bananas, and mashed sweet potato. I’m not a veggie-eater but I loved the fried saba and the mashed kamote (better than mashed potato!).

For the drinks we had Bukoconut (coconut water served in coconut fruit) and fresh fruit shakes. KaLui also gives complimentary soup and fruit platter. The fresh fruit cuts (pineapple, watermelon, etc) was nicely presented in a halved coconut and sprinkled with muscovado sugar.

The food wasn’t that extraordinary but the price is affordable and the serving size, decent. Service was also okay. But I guess what really makes KaLui popular is because of the total experience one will get when dining here.

For more information, visit:

Soon to be posted as part of this Food-tripping in Puerto Princesa series are reviews on Kinabuchs, Balinsasayaw, The Gypsy’s Lair Art Cafe and K’na Boyet sa Baywalk.

For the meantime, read previous posts on my Puerto Princesa adventure:
Coming soon: Puerto Princesa Underground River Tour and Ysabelle Mansion Review

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Japanese comfort food at Yaku

About two months ago, I was able to dine at Yaku Japanese Grill (“yaku” means “grill’ in Japanese). Yaku has been at the Podium Mall for how many years already and it has been a favorite Japanese restaurant for some.

Although the entrance of Yaku is quite hidden because of the huge pillar blocking its view, the interior of the restaurant has this “zen” vibe. Yaku has this homey ambiance because of its warm lighting and mostly wooden fixtures.

My companions chose the area wherein low-lying tables with wooden benches cushioned with pillows make it look like you’re dining seated on the floor, Japanese-style! I also noticed that Yaku has this “service button” on tables which you can use if you want to call their staff. They also have this cute paper placemats with chopstick holder.

We were all famished so we ordered from the donburi (rice toppings) section and of course their specialty, yakitori (skewered or grilled). While waiting for our orders, they gave us complimentary fried anchovies (dilis). It was sweet, spicy and crunchy but bitin! (it was just a small serving).

Finally, our orders came. The Yaku Platter (PhP 229) is for those who want to have a sample of Yaku’s various yakitoris. It has gindara (cod fish), butabara (pork belly), asparamaki (asaparagus wrapped in bacon), uzura (quail eggs), okura (okra), and negima (chicken with onion leeks). I liked the uzura and asparamaki (because I love eggs and bacon!).

Yaku Platter

I’m not really a fan of Japanese cuisine, so I usually order the “safe” one—the katsudon (PhP 239), well you can never go wrong with a katsudon! The pork is tender and the breading is thin and the flavor is just right, not overpowering. The Japanese rice (short-grain) served with it was still steaming hot and quite plenty. I was able to finish the breaded pork off, but consumed only half of the rice. I also liked that it was topped with egg and a few strips of nori (seaweed).


My friends, on the other hand, had tendon and gyudon. Tendon (PhP 239) is breaded shrimp, siliago and crabstick on top of steamed Japanese rice. Gyudon (PhP 239) is beef strips with onions, raw egg and mirin sauce. I haven’t tasted it, but they too were satisfied with their orders.


Fried anchovies and Gyudon

Yaku’s servers were friendly and attentive although I find their service kinda slow to think that there were only a few of us dining at that time (weekday, late dinner). 

Yaku Japanese Grill is located at 3F, The Podium Mall in Ortigas Center, Madaluyong City.

Saturday, August 08, 2015

TGFI opens financial literacy hub in Makati, announces partnerships

The Global Filipino Investors (TGFI), a group whose advocacy is to spread financial literacy to Filipinos, opens their new office and Web Academy studio at Unit 2512 Cityland 10 Tower 1, 156 H.V. Dela Costa Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City. On the same day, August 6, 2015, TGFI and its partners sealed valuable partnerships driven by a common goal in helping Filipinos become financially literate.

TGFI was founded by Floi Wycoco—after finding himself bankrupt due to multiple credit card debts. Floi capitalized on this unfortunate experience and found inspiration to break the endless cycle of Filipinos mismanaging their wealth; preventing them from entering the wrong investments due to the lack of proper financial education programs in the country.

In 2012, Floi shared his experiences and ideas with entrepreneur Mario Jordan “Magellan” Fetalino III and Dr. Khristian Santos. United by a common advocacy, they started their own company and social media platform, TGFI, which initially had only around a thousand members.

Since then, the group has been advocating financial literacy through digital media and regular meet-ups among members in their respective country of residence. Communities have been formed in Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, Brunei, Greece, Australia, Manila, and Cebu.

TGFI’s methods and advocacy gained the recognition of multiple business and financial organizations like COL Financial, different Philippine Embassies, Association of Filipino Franchisers, Inc (AFFI), Money Summit, as well as media groups in the Philippines like ANC – On the Money and CNN Philippines. The group has now over 55,000 members (and growing) and has formed communities in more than ten countries.

TGFI Board and AFFI Officers

And now, TGFI and AFFI agreed to provide financial literacy to aspiring Filipino entrepreneurs. AFFI is the Philippines’ prime trade organization committed to promote responsible micro-small-medium enterprise businesses through franchising. It consists of Filipino corporate presidents, CEOs, and prominent businessmen who recognize the competitive potential of the local franchising industry in the global market.

TGFI’s Founder Floi Wycoco and 8990 Holdings, Inc.’s President JJ Atencio

TGFI also welcomes Januario Jesus "JJ" Atencio as its Board Member. JJ Atencio is the President of 8990 Housing Development Corporation, which principally aims to develop low-cost mass housing subdivisions particularly for Filipinos in the middle to lower income brackets.

Bro Bo. Sanchez during the event

The event was graced by members of the media and best-selling author and motivational speaker Bro. Bo Sanchez. “This is just the beginning for TGFI. We will stand strong until we’ve reached every Filipino in the world,” Mr. Wycoco said firmly.

For more information about TGFI, please visit:

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Poco Deli in Kapitolyo, Pasig

About two months ago, I was able to eat at Poco Deli, one of the hole-in-the-wall restaurants in Kapitolyo, Pasig City. It’s within a neighborhood, so parking (for those who have cars) and commuting (for those who don’t have cars) is difficult. 

As its name suggests, Poco Deli is a small delicatessen serving various deli meat, pizza, wine and other dishes. The warm lighting and wooden tables and chairs (unfortunately, with no backrest) give it a homey ambiance.

For starters, we ordered the Quattro Formaggi Pizza (PhP 400). It is freshly made thin crust dough topped with four cheeses (mozzarella, pecorino, gorgonzola and grana padano). It was delicious in its simplicity.

We also tried Poco Deli’s pastas—Aglio Olio Pasta (olive oil and garlic) (PhP 270) and Pomodoro Pasta (rich, slow-cooked tomato sauce) (PhP 270). The spaghettini strands were cooked just right, the flavors not empowering.

Of course we wouldn’t leave Poco Deli without having their popular dish, the Bacon Steak (PhP 420). I was expecting the usual thin and crispy bacon but lo and behold, it was two thick chunks of bacon (hello cholesterol and calories!) that I cannot finish even if it was delectable. It comes with a sunny side up egg and steamed rice with bacon bits on top.

For dessert, we had the famous Blackout Chocolate Cake (PhP 220). It has caramel filling and topped with chocolate. It is moist and rich but not that sweet. The Red Velvet Cake (PhP 180) on the other hand was quite dry. Though Poco Deli's version is different because it is strawberry-flavored!

I also tried Poco Deli’s Blueberry Smoothie (PhP 205). I love blueberries and I’m so happy they have this!

Sorry for the quality of the photos. We were already eating when I remembered to take photos!

Poco Deli’s prices are a tad expensive but in my opinion, worth it. Service is commendable too. I’d definitely go back to try their other dishes, especially Poco Deli’s artisanal sausages (hey, it’s okay to indulge once-in-a-while!).

For more information, you can visit their website at:

Monday, August 03, 2015

Asia E- Commerce Expo this November 2015 at SMX Aura #AECoE

Asia E- Commerce Expo 2015 (#AECoE) will be held at SMX Aura, Taguig on November 25, 2015. This is organized by TAG Media and Public Relations.

#AECoE will give you a unique opportunity to learn from, and network with senior leaders from the biggest brands in the  Asia Pacific region. At #AECoE, the leading e-commerce experts from emerging markets, award winning e-commerce players and established e-retailers in APAC gather under one roof. Industry leaders will share independent experiences and insights for delegates from different countries. You can be a part of this inspiring event and benefit from the excellent networking opportunities it offers.

It features:
- Pre-conference sessions on ePayments, eLogistics and ePrivacy
- Opening reception
- Conference programme
- Over 15 local and international high level speakers
 - 30+ sponsors
- 1 hour of networking

What you will learn:
· Market Analysis
· Digital Marketing
· Strategy
· E Commerce
· Going Global

Why you should attend:
· To grow your business
· To meet investors
· 300 APAC Audience
· Maximizing cross border e-commerce

Speakers are leaders from different industries and engaged in momentous pursuits of significance to the ASEAN region. Attendees are senior business people, high-ranking government officials and media journalists. #AECoE is not just about learning but a potential future collaboration that’s why we allot time for networking.

Asia E Commerce Expo 2015 (#AECoE) is expecting 300 visitors and up to 30 companies to share their products and services in the expo. For more info please check For partnership/sponsorship, please contact the organizer at 09166299381 or at Registration Fee per delegate: Php 3,000.00 (Inclusion: Snacks and Lunch, Conference and Expo.)

K-Pop Sensations Asha and Fameus invade the Philippines this September!

Great news to all K-Pop Pinoy fans! Zoomanity Group of the Yupangco Group of Companies invited two of the famous K-Pop sensations--Asha and Fameus to perform at Ynares Sports Complex, Pasig City on September 18, 2015 and at the SMX Convention Center, Davao on October 2, 2015.

Zoomanity Group, the leading company in theme park industry, thru its affiliate Yupangco Exhibits and Shows (YES) has come together with Redstone Media Production to bring you the latest sensations in Korean Pop Music.
 Dubbed as the “YES KPOP CONCERT,” it features two new rising K-Pop groups ASHA (Girl Group) and FAMEUS (Boy Group). K-Pop has thousands of followers in the Philippines and still continues to grow in number. These fans of all ages (from kids, teens, to young adults) loyally support their favorite K-Pop group and this can easily be proven by the numerous K-Pop trending topics in the social media and music scene worldwide!
For those interested to become a sponsor or to promote your product or brand during these events, contact TAG Media and Public Relations at 09166299381 or email to
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