It’s a White Christmas at Diamond Hotel

During the Christmas tree lighting at Diamond Hotel Philippines, general manager Vanessa Suatengco (extreme left) is joined by Manila Mayor Francisco ‘Ishko Moreno’ Domagoso and his family

THE Christmas season started early at Diamond Hotel Philippines. As soon as All Saints’ Day was over, the hotel officially rolled in the holidays via a grand Christmas Tree Lighting.

Guests, led by Manila Mayor Francisco Domagoso (better known by his screen name Ishko Moreno) and his family, came to witness the glorious lighting of the white, whimsical 25-foot Christmas tree at the hotel lobby. Ever the gracious host, Diamond Hotel’s general manager Vanessa Suatengco excitedly welcomed everyone to the momentous occasion—an annual event which regular guests, business and industry partners, clients and friends looked forward to every year. Kids from the Remedios Training Center, accompanied by their parents and guardians, joined the festivities.

The Pansol Choir filled the air with Christmas carols, while The Bayanihan Philippine National Folk Dance Company transformed the lobby into a stage of motion and color with their zestful performances.

Over lavish cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, guests marveled at the magnificent yuletide garb of the hotel, with the interiors festooned with snowy, rustic leaves, stylish ornaments of silver and gold, and reindeer reminiscent of glittering ice sculptures.

The tree, in its splendor, was strung in white and gold finery, adorned with crystals and pearled ornaments. This year’s classic color palette bears a symbolic desire for harmony and peace in the modern world, as well as value for inner lightness in a season that celebrates giving, reflection and selflessness.

True to the spirit of generosity, Diamond Hotel carries on its tradition of choosing a charitable institution to support through Christmastime every year. This year, the hotel has chosen Kanlungan ni Maria, a nonstock, non-profit organization dedicated to aiding abandoned, sick and impoverished elderly, as its beneficiary. Guests are therefore encouraged to donate Php300 to their cause by “buying” a Christmas ornament that would bear their name and be hung at the Charity Trees displayed at the hotel lobby.


(Diamond Hotel Philippines is located at Roxas Blvd. corner Dr. J. Quintos St., Manila; with telephone number (632) 8528-3000.)

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Authentic Filipino Dining in Tagaytay

Benedictino (Aligue and Alimasag Fried Rice)

DESTINATION dining. It is one of the things that people drive up to Tagaytay for. Cool breeze, breathtaking view of Taal Lake with the curious-looking world’s smallest volcano as highlight, and a refreshing overall feeling as you drive down rows upon rows of cafés and restaurants that line the major thoroughfares. Quite a number of them are locally developed establishments, with some really special destination dining places preferring to stay hidden in the suburbs of the city.

Dekada, located within the Royale Parc Hotel, is along Emilio Aguinaldo Highway in Tagaytay

Cozy interiors

The tranquil vibe of Royale Parc Hotel Tagaytay gives Dekada an even more distinctive dining ambiance

Talk about Philippine history, and our National Hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, will always be there

Just recently, a new restaurant has opened in Tagaytay and, this early, is starting to make its presence felt among food lovers driving up to the city. It is called Dekada. Located within the Royale Parc Hotel, whose tranquil vibe adds an even more distinctive dining ambiance to the restaurant, Dekada takes diners on a culinary journey down Philippine history. It elevates authentic Filipino dining to a whole new level with its interpretation of well-loved local dishes that it has named after heroes and historical events.

The restaurant’s walk down Philippine history starts with the Lumpiang Palabok, which are bite-sized amounts of palabok noodles wrapped in rice paper with grilled mahi-mahi fish. This is inspired by Antonio Pigafetta’s first account of the Spaniards’ visit to the Philippines, when they served roast mahi-mahi with rice wrapped in leaves.

Another starter on the menu is the Duweto ng Kinilaw, a serving of tanigue ceviche in coconut milk and a serving of shrimps ‘cooked’ in vinegar with mango served together. Kinilaw has long been a method of preparing food endemic to pre-colonial Philippines, especially in the Visayan region.

Fresh greens, which are abundant in Tagaytay, take center stage in Dekada’s Ensaladas de Alianza, or Salads of Alliance, which refers to the first alliances between the Filipinos and Spaniards. Inspired by the best regional flavors, Dekada introduces Legazpi, or Sinuglaw Salad, which originates from Cebu and Davao. It is a starter that marries raw fish and Davao, thus the combination of tanigue, smoked liempo, finished off with Davao’s pomelo and sinamak vinaigrette.

Then there’s Melchora, which is Dekada’s version of Chicken Binakol named after “the grand woman of the Revolution,” and another soup, hearty Bulalo, finds itself on the menu of the restaurant in the guise of La Solidaridad.

Homenajes Arroz, or Rice Tributes, refer to the practice of offering rice to God as a token of gratitude for a good harvest. So the rice options at Dekada are named Benedictino (aligue and alimasag fried rice), Dominicano (adobo rice), Franciscano (dilis rice), and Agustino (bagoong rice).

Del Pilar (Chicken Inasal)

Kare-Kareng Bagnet

Sizzling Pork Sisig

Main dishes are much more interesting, as they involve a short history lesson on “the Sons of the Revolution,” including Del Pilar (chicken inasal), Aguinaldo (twice-cooked adobo), and Ponce (Pinoy-style oven-roasted chicken). The piece-de-resistance, named after the National Hero Jose Rizal, is Sizzling Bulalo Steak made with Tagaytay’s freshest beef.

And who will be able to resist the call of the Dekada Crispy Pata, more so its garlic version, Malvar?

Murphy (Crispy Plapla with Eggplant)

Seafood is well-represented by personalities and historical milestones that occurred during the American colonial period, such as Roosevelt (garlic and butter prawns) and Murphy (crispy plapla with eggplant).

For vegetable dishes on the menu, Dekada turned to the period of Japanese occupation for names: Peralta (gising-gising), Taruc (laing) and Hukbalahap (pinakbet), plus soup dishes called Abcede (sinigang na sugpo), Ingeniero (sinigang na spareribs) and Gumbang Piang (sinigang na salmon head).

Lest millennials feel left out, the restaurant moves into pop culture territory with its Crazy Rich Asian Bowls, which are decadent rice bowls that offer sumptuous Asian-inspired flavors. These are Angus Beef Tapa, Chicken Inasal Satay, Gourmet Spicy Tuna, and Muscovado Beef Pares, among others.

Dessert is a choice among equally delightful sweet treats, such as Sweet Nostalgia (a medley of Chocolate Cake, Vanilla Ice Cream, and Banana Cue); Suman at Mangga Pandan Crepe Rolls; Chocnut Turon ala Mode; and Taho at Kesong Puti Cheesecake. Don’t forget the Buko Crumble Pie, Dekada’s version of Buko Pie filled with soft coconut meat with a warm pie crust topped with delectable crumble. It is a hit pasalubong treat!

For drinks, the Thirst for Freedom line includes fresh juices, shakes and dessert drinks like Ube Shake and Mango Sago.

Completing its menu are merienda favorites, such as Pancit Palabok, Pancit Bihon, Tokwa’t Baboy, Okoy and Palitaw.


(Dekada is located at Royale Parc Hotel Tagaytay, Emilio Aguinaldo Highway, Silang Junction West, Tagaytay City; with telephone numbers 0923-0889055, 0915-6959588, (02) 984-1297 and (046) 402-1980.)

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Marco Polo Ortigas Brings Back
The Golden Goose

The lovely, luscious Golden Goose is back!

AT Marco Polo Ortigas Manila’s Lung Hin, the Golden Goose, that Cantonese delicacy that defines every memorable Chinese celebration, has become a tradition.

Prepared using the renowned, century-old recipe of guest chef Billy Cheong, the Hong Kong classic is back to put the spotlight on fine Cantonese cuisine once again. Diners can have this premium roasted dish in Quarter, Half and Whole portion sizes to go with their lauriat of other delectable Chinese dishes.

Steamed Seafood Dumplings with Caviar

Steamed Whole Japanese Fresh Scallops with Minced Garlic in XO Sauce

Diners can also choose to enjoy the Golden Goose via a specially crafted set menu that also includes Lung Hin’s signature dishes, such as Steamed Seafood Dumplings with Caviar, Steamed Whole Japanese Scallops with Minced Garlic in XO Sauce, and Poached Garoupa with Wild Mushroom in Fish Stock.

The Golden Goose is available until February 3, 2020, so if the family wants to indulge in it this coming Christmas season and actually make it the centerpiece of the Noche Buena table instead of ham, lechon or galantina for a change, yes, you may!


(Marco Polo Ortigas Manila is located at Meralco Ave. corner Sapphire Road, Ortigas Center, Pasig City; with telephone number +632 7720-7777.)

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It’s Afternoon Tea Time
at Marco Polo Ortigas

Asian Afternoon Tea Set available at Marco Polo Ortigas Manila

THERE’S nothing like spending a leisurely afternoon sipping a cup of freshly brewed coffee or refreshing tea with sweet and savory bites while enjoying the breathtaking view of the metro’s towering skyscrapers.

The Connect Lounge on Level 24 of Marco Polo Ortigas Manila makes this possible as it presents a refreshing new perspective on classic afternoon tea with its new selection of dessert samplers aside from the usual tea cakes and scones. Plus: Guests enjoying afternoon tea at the Connect Lounge may now choose to upgrade their choice of beverage from just tea or coffee to Champagne, wine or fresh juice.

Traditional Afternoon Tea Set

“At the Connect Lounge, afternoon tea takes on more meaning for our guests. What we celebrate with this tradition is how we come together to make time for themselves,” says Stuart Stancombe, director for restaurants, bars and events of Marco Polo Ortigas Manila.

Afternoon Tea Delights is available from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. Mondays to Fridays and from 2:00 to 6:00 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Afternoon Tea sets are priced at Php1,100 for two persons.


(Marco Polo Ortigas Manila is located at Meralco Ave. corner Sapphire Road, Ortigas Center, Pasig City; with telephone number +632 720-7777.)

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Tefal Stages Cooking Demo
Featuring Healthy Recipes

Chefmom Rosebud Benitez conducting a cooking demo featuring healthy recipes prepared using Tefal cookware

WHAT makes healthy cooking possible?

Well, you will need recipes for healthy dishes and healthy cookware and cooking implements to turn those recipes into actual dishes. Tefal recently put these together as a treat for customers via a cooking demonstration conducted by Chefmom Rosebud Benitez.

An expert at no-fuss, family-friendly, home-cooked meals, Chefmom Rosebud presented staple meals made healthier, such as Chicken Adobo with Lemongrass, Brown Rice Veggie Stir Fry, and Asian Noodles.

Chicken Adobo with Lemongrass, served with Brown Rice Veggie Stir Fry

Asian Noodles

In all of these dishes, she used Tefal’s Titanium Expertise cookware line, which lets home cooks prepare meals with the ease of an expert. Its pots and pans come with Thermo-Spot technology that turns full red when the pan has reached the ideal temperature to start cooking. The nonstick, universal cookware range has Titanium Excellence coating, which lasts up to three times longer than Titanium Force coating. The premium multilayer nonstick coating features a patented extra thick hard base, reinforced with titanium particles, making it ideal for intensive daily use for up to 12 years. What’s more: The Titanium Excellence coating is safe to use with metal utensils.

At the cooking demo, from left: Rustan Marketing Corp. division manager for homecare and lifestyle Ginger dela Fuente, Chefmom Rosebud Benitez, RMC GM Francesca Colayco, and Tefal Philippines brand manager Yovi Valenzuela

Tefal’s Titanium Expertise cookware helps home cooks prepare quick and healthy meals with ease

The Tefal Titanium Expertise cookware line includes a Fry Pan, Wok Pan, Sauce Pan, Shallow Pan, Stew Pot and Grill Pan in various sizes. They all come with Bakelite handles, which are ovenproof by up to 175˚C for up to one hour. They are also designed to be compatible with all hobs, including induction, and is dishwasher safe.

Tefal Cookware is exclusively distributed by Rustan Marketing Corporation and is available in all leading department stores nationwide.

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