Taste Travel and Trends - Issue 04

  • A Haven for the Faithful

    An amazing religious complex, two hours from Cebu City, is visited by scores of pilgrims attracted by reports of miracles and divine intervention

    Magnificent and colossal are two words that aptly describe the Simala shrine in Sibonga, Cebu.  Established in 1998, it was built by the congregation of Marian Monks of Eucharistic Adoration. They brought the Marian image from Pampanga, which was believed to have wrought miracles during the height of an epidemic that snatched the lives of many in the community.   
    A bronze marker on the site reads: “This crown structure is memorial of the victorious and powerful intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mother through the Penitential Rosary Walk in 1998, against the killer epidemic that struck the place, where several lives of poor children and infants had died (sic).

  • All in the Technique

    It is a dinner that has the makings of a fine dining in a classy restaurant. Everything is perfect: a foreign-sounding menu I had difficulty pronouncing; food that looks good (and tastes even better) with high- quality ingredients served in small, artfully presented portions; and near impeccable service in clockwork precision. Except that I was not dressed for the part and that it was a dinner workshop for students at the training restaurant of the International Culinary Arts Academy Cebu (ICAAC).

  • Around the EU in a Day

    Travel provides an education like no other.

    The Museo Pambata recently partnered with European Union (EU) member countries to prove just that in the“Lakbayin Natin ang EU” program.

    For the seventh year running, children from various Metro Manila barangays “visited the EU” through storytelling, art workshops, games and other fun activities.

  • Cebu: Upward and Forward

    A  slew of trophy projects is expected to cement Cebu’s reputation as a metropolis worthy of rivaling Manila as an investment magnet.

    Joel Binamira, a banker-turned-food entrepreneur, observes: “Cebu is not just the Philippines’ second major city. It’s now a commercial and lifestyle hub in its own right.”

    Taking Cebu to a whole new development level is South Road Properties (SRP), the 300-hectare reclaimed site along the city’s east coast and a short distance from the central business district.

  • Fascinating Depths

    Discover  friendly behemoths and marine life as small as a fingernail in the world-class dive hubs of Moalboal and Oslob

    Cebu is home to a number of world-class destinations that figure high on the list of passionate scuba divers. Among these dive hubs, Moalboal and Oslob.

    In 2011, when I was managing the luxury live aboard yacht S/Y Philippine Siren, I discovered somewhat by accident a small municipality right in the middle of the Tañon Straight.

  • Finding Heaven Within

    In Bhutan, Gross National Happiness supercedes GNP, cigarettes are illegal, murder is unheard of and no one smashes a bug because it could be their grandmother

    My stomach turns to soft Jell-O as I catch a glimpse of earth’s highest peaks through the cloud cover. I quickly take a photo from my window seat hoping it doesn’t disappear just yet. The clouds are fluid this February morning. A soft voice on the PA announces our descent into Paro Airport. The pilot maneuvers the Airbus along a deep, narrow valley, banking crazily near precipices close enough to touch. I hold my breath. The landing strip is nowhere in sight.

  • Kitchen with a Cause

    Farm-to-fork restaurants are fast becoming the norm in Metro Manila’s dining scene, but one establishment has advanced the concept further by creating ways to help less fortunate Filipinos build a better life for themselves.

    Earth Kitchen, in White Plains, Quezon City and at Bonifacio Global City, is an offshoot of the Got Heart Foundation, which, says its website www.gotheartfoundation.org, is “a non-stock, non-profit organization, promoting the values of love and gratitude, which open possibilities for shared blessings that are used in creating real, lasting change among marginalized communities”.

  • Lechon, Just Like Lolas

    Joel Binamira, owner of Zubuchon, believes his version of lechon – pronounced by celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain as the “best pig (lechon) ever” – was probably the same one Magellan sampled when he landed in Cebu in 1521. Those meals with the locals, according to historian Antonio Pigafetta, also included servings of millet, fish, vegetables and turtle eggs.

    Zubuchon serves what he describes as the traditional Cebuano lechon. There are no shortcuts, no MSG. “We don’t do anything funny to it to make it look better than it should.”

  • No to Secret Gardens

    Combining lush landscapes and breathtaking views of the Hudson River, these lovely, historic estates exude a sense of calm and other worldliness

    Just a Metro North train away from Manhattan are many little towns along the Hudson River that offer breathtaking views of nature and an array of wildlife, as well as provide a peek at the rich culture and history of New York State.

    One such place is Locust Grove (pictured).  I learned of this place from the manager of a local seafood restaurant in Poughkeepsie that I visit annually.

  • Pig Tales

    Cebu’s lechoneros share their secrets in preparing the country’s tastiest roast pig

    At the risk of being fiercely regionalistic, the best inasal nga baboy or lechon (roasted pig) still comes from Cebu. Cebuanos seem to have perfected, if not advanced, the art of lechon-making, placing their version of the Filipino food icon a notch higher than those of other provinces.


  • Simply the Best

    An enterprising couple in Cebu takes dried mangoes to a whole new level, dipping them in premium Belgian chocolate and creating an irresistible snack

    When entrepreneurs Angel and Elizabeth Ong set up in 1992 AEO International Food Corporation – producers of Cebu Best chocolate mangoes –  their aim was merely to enhance a family legacy and not to compete with it.

  • Whimsical and Quirky Lodgings

    An out-of-box hospitality experience, The Henry Hotel Cebu has
    attracted positive interest and good reviews

    The Henry Hotel, Metro Cebu’s first boutique hotel, can certainly lay claim to the tagline: “like no other”. With its quirky décor and design, it radiates an out-of-the-box hospitality experience that has piqued public interest and gained some international attention.