Auspicious ‘Tikoy’ to Welcome
the Year of the Metal Ox

The signature Nian Gao of Marco Polo Ortigas Manila’s authentic Cantonese restaurant Lung Hin comes in gold bar and round shapes

CHINESE New Year, which follows the Lunar calendar, is not too far away. This 2021, it falls on February 12, which is just two days before yet another red-lettered day, Valentine’s Day on February 14. So tikoy time comes before chocolate day.

Over at Marco Polo Ortigas Manila, an auspicious celebration eagerly awaits as Chinese communities around the world gear up to welcome the Lunar New Year, which is the Year of the Metal Rat. The hotel’s signature Nian Gao (tikoy) series makes a comeback, thus making Nian Gao available for advanced and large-volume orders.

The Nian Gao, which is more popularly known as tikoy in the Philippines, is a traditional symbol of prosperity and good luck at the beginning of the Lunar New Year. Marco Polo Ortigas’ award-winning authentic Cantonese restaurant Lung Hin annually prepares these signature delights to signify optimism and well wishes for the New Year. These glutinous rice cakes represent a strong sense of community and personal financial growth, and are best enjoyed with friends and loved ones as part of an abundant feast.

For 2021, Lung Hin’s signature Nian Gao is available in the following variants—the Double Gold Bar Nian Gao in Red Dates Sugar flavor (800 grams), priced at Php2,118; the Red Dates Sugar Round Tikoy, and the Fortune Orange Round Tikoy, both at 600 grams and priced at Php1,558. All prices are inclusive of local taxes and applicable charges.

For inquiries or orders, visit Lung Hin on Level 44 of the hotel, call (+632) 7720-7777, send an email to, or reserve via

(Marco Polo Ortigas Manila is located at Meralco Ave. corner Sapphire St., Ortigas Center, Pasig City.)

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Doña Elena Olive Oil
Now in a New, Functional Bottle

All three Doña Elena Olive Oil variants now come in a new bottle design that is both elegant and functional

I MAKE my husband Raff’s tube feeding food in two batches every day—one batch in the morning for his morning and afternoon feedings; and another batch at around 6:00 p.m. for his evening and wee-hours-of-the-morning feedings. In each batch, I use two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil for the fat in his diet. I use the ‘extra virgin’ variant because it is pure, fresh and healthy. It is the kind that you use raw, drizzled on pasta as a finishing touch, whisked in a refreshing oil-based salad dressing, or made into a bread dip with herbs and cheeses.

Doña Elena Olive Oil is made from a blend of high-quality Hojiblanca and Picual olives

When it is time to replenish Raff’s extra virgin olive oil, I often grab Doña Elena off the supermarket shelf. Why? Because it is of good quality, tastes good, and is reasonably priced. Celebrated for its perfect combination of premium quality olives—Hojiblanca and Picual olives—directly sourced and harvested from the farms of Andalucia in Spain, Doña Elena Olive Oil is dominating the olive oil market and is the preferred brand for preparing home-cooked, restaurant-quality meals that are at the same time healthy and yummy.

This elegant wooden box arrived in the house with my name etched on it…

It contained a complete set of Doña Elena Olive Oil variants

Doña Elena Extra Virgin Olive Oil for salad dressings and dips, Pure Olive Oil for pasta and everyday cooking, and Pomace for roasting and frying


Extracted from the fruit of olive trees, olive oil defines the Mediterranean diet. It forms an intrinsic part of Spanish and Greek cuisines, which are considered as among the world’s healthiest. Doña Elena Olive Oil, in particular, is rich in good fats and oxidants through the combination of two types of olives, Hojiblanca and Picual olives. Each bottle contains 80% monounsaturated oleic acids, which is capable of regulating insulin and supporting weight management. The heart-friendly fat is also known to support heart health and enhance brain function. Studies show that the heart and the brain could be hit by Covid-19, so at this time of pandemic, olive oil should be a good weapon to have.

Doña Elena Olive Oil also comes loaded with high levels of antioxidants, such as polyphenols, and is packed with Vitamins A, E and K that are known to help lower bad cholesterol.


Doña Elena Olive Oil comes in three variations: Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Pure Olive Oil, and Pomace.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil is the first extract and is so pure and clean that it is used raw, mainly for salad dressings and dips.

Pure Olive Oil is used for light cooking, especially for pasta and sautéing.

Pomace is used for frying and roasting.

All three variants come in 250ml., 500ml., 1 liter, and 5-liter bottles.


Just recently, Doña Elena Olive Oil took on a new bottle design. The new bottle, which is befitting the premium quality product, was made by a renowned French designer. It has successfully created a strengthened brand identity that is at the same time recognizable to regular users and attractive to first-time users.

The new packaging includes two significant fine engravings on the bottle that are exclusive to the brand—the Doña Elena insignia near the top and the olive fruit near the base of the bottle. Another detail that customers can truly benefit for is the usage recommendation per variant that is printed on the label to make it easier to choose the proper variant of olive oil to buy for customers’ specific purposes.

All three variants of Doña Elena Olive Oil are available in groceries and supermarkets nationwide. They can also be bought online at

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Marks & Spencer Food
Is Now in MetroMart

IF you still prefer to stay home and have your essentials and other needs, including food for special celebrations or no occasion at all, delivered, no problem. The choices are endless, and they keep growing.

Just recently, Marks & Spencer added MetroMart, one of the top online groceries in the metro, to its growing list of online channels. So now you can have your favorite M&S food and drinks delivered right to your doorstep within two hours. This will save you from the burden of having to go out and gives you more time with your loved ones as you bond while waiting for your order to arrive.

Orders can be coursed through the MetroMart website or the mobile app to receive a contactless delivery. Simply register a free account and purchase a minimum order of Php1,000. Even a customer abroad with an active MetroMart account can order for their loved ones in the Philippines as long as the recipient is within MetroMart’s allowable delivery area, which is a distance radius of 7 kilometers per store.

The partnership between Marks & Spencer and MetroMart allows you to order from Marks & Spencer branches at Alabang Town Center, BGC Central Square, SM City North EDSA, Eastwood, SM Megamall, Rockwell Center-Powerplant Mall, Glorietta 4, and Robinsons Place.

Prices in the app are updated live. If an item you ordered has sold out during transit, MetroMart’s Personal Shopper will contact you to make replacement suggestions that you may approve or reject.

For the latest updates, follow Marks & Spencer at and Instagram @marksandspencerph.

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Chocolate Chip Walnut Banana Loaf
(The Maya Kitchen)

The Maya Kitchen’s Chocolate Chip Walnut Banana Loaf

BANANA Bread. A very versatile baked product, it can be a cake, a bread, a muffin, or even a bar cookie. Several variations can also be made with it, depending on what ingredients it is combined with, and it goes well with chocolate, carrots, pineapple, and different types of nuts.

Here’s a recipe that pairs banana perfectly with chocolate chips and chopped walnuts, as baked and shared by The Maya Kitchen—Chocolate Chip Walnut Banana Loaf. It is easy to make because it makes use of a prepared mix, Maya Oven Toaster Banana Cake Mix, and, as its name suggests, can be baked in an oven toaster.

3 Tbsps. oil
1 egg
1/4 cup water
2 pcs. ripe bananas, mashed
1 pack Maya Oven Toaster Banana Cake Mix, 230 grams
1/4 cup chocolate chips
¼ cup walnuts, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350˚F or 177˚C. Grease an 8×3-inch baking baking pan or muffin pan with oil.
2. Mix together oil, egg, water, mashed bananas and Maya Oven Toaster Banana Cake Mix until well-blended.
3. Pour banana cake batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle top with chocolate chips and chopped nuts.
4. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until done. Remove from oven, and allow to cool down. Slice and serve.

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Cravings Gets You Ready
for a Festive Media Noche

Cravings’ Roast Chicken with Chorizo Stuffing

IT’S one big last hurrah for a very challenging 2020 and one warm welcome for a hopefully better 2021 on New Year’s Eve, December31, 2020. It has been a generally difficult year, but there is still a lot to be thankful for, so a celebration, which can be small and intimate and done quietly at home, is still in order.

Give it a positive push with a festive Media Noche, without necessarily having to prepare a feast on your own and slaving it out in the kitchen. A good option: Order food from a trusted and reliable restaurant or caterer who whips up good food without much fuss.

Cravings, for one, has come up with a special menu that combines Cravings Classics and new creations. For starters, there is the Cravings Classic Caesar Salad or the Pomegranate Goat Cheese Salad, both good for 8 to 10 persons.

Cravings’ classic dishes, clockwise from top left: Chicken Galantina, Lengua con Champignon, Pasta, and Cravings Classic Caesar Salad

Complete the festive feast with Roast Chicken with Chorizo Stuffing and Pork Belly Roast

For main dishes, meat lovers would enjoy Roast Beef with Mushroom Sauce, Lengua con Champignon, Chicken Pastel, Roast Pork Belly, Chicken Galantina, Chicken Relleno, and Roast Chicken with Chorizo and Raisin Stuffing.

Options for seafood lovers are Prawns ala Thermidor, Roast Salmon with Parmesan Crust (served with Pasta Primavera), and Almond Crusted Fish Fillet with Tartare Sauce.

For pasta, there’s Chorizo Pasta, Meaty Bolognese, and Lasagna.

To make it easy for families who want convenience and a hassle-free celebration, they can opt for the Cravings Christmas Set Menu, which is perfect for 8 to 10 persons and includes some of the best dishes of Cravings, plus a Christmas Cake.

Cravings’ Christmas Party Boxes

For small groups, there are three sets of Cravings Christmas Party Boxes to choose from—the first one highlighting Roast Beef with Mushroom Sauce and Almond Crusted Fish Fillet, the second one featuring Chicken Cordon Bleu and American Baked Spareribs, and the third set showcasing Lechon Pork Belly and Fish Escabeche. All sets come with rice and a dessert.

For orders and inquiries, visit, follow @cravingsphils on IG and @cravings.philippines on FB, contact 0908-1693422 or 8277-2436, or visit Cravings at 287 Katipunan Ave., Quezon City.

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