Pan de Manila Now Uses
Limited-Edition Christmas Bags

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas at Pan de Manila, with its Christmas paper bags featuring the artwork of Antipolo-based artist Noel Mahilum

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at Pan de Manila, with its Christmas paper bags featuring the artwork of Antipolo-based artist Noel Mahilum

YOU know that the Christmas season is already here when Pan de Manila starts packing its freshly baked breads, pastries and other delicious bites and goodies in colorful Christmas-themed paper bags and gift boxes.

Every year, Pan de Manila gives the spotlight to a talented Filipino artist, whom it commissions to create a beautiful work of art that reflects a Christmas scene in the Philippines. This year, it is the turn of Antipolo-based artist Noel Mahilum’s colorful and attractive painting to grace the cover of Pan de Manila’s limited-edition paper bags and Christmas gift packs.

The son of renowned painter Tony Mahilum, who is a Contemporary master, Noel Mahilum followed in his father’s footsteps along with his other siblings. They all took up Painting at the University of the Philippines’ College of Fine Arts. From Manila, the family moved to Antipolo, which proved to be more beneficial for the young Mahilums’ creative pursuits, as the quiet provincial environment of Antipolo, in particular, and Rizal Province’s rich heritage, in general, fired up their creativity even more. Eventually, Noel Mahilum developed his own style and became famous for his Batu-Bato series.

The artist, Noel Mahilum, at work

The artist, Noel Mahilum, at work

Noel Mahilum 4“I remember when, during fiestas and Christmas, the higantes of Angono would parade right in front of our house. Antipolo is about the mix of traditional and modern during Christmas, and, because we are located on high ground, the cool, clean air adds to that holiday feel,” says Mahilum.

For his Christmas-themed painting for Pan de Manila’s limited-edition paper bags and gift boxes, Mahilum uses colorful circular strokes to reflect Paskong Pinoy scenes, including images of parols or lanterns, gifts and children.

“I drew my inspiration from the beaming smiles and excited faces of children during Christmas season, when they prepare by decorating their houses with Christmas trees and parols, wrapping and opening gifts and eating together as a family,” explains Mahilum.

He adds: “The colors in the painting showcase the tradition of gift-giving and dressing the house with ornaments. I remember when we were young, my father would give us aguinaldo money, and we would get to buy the toy we wanted. I ended up buying a set of color toy square blocks. Little did I know I was already preparing myself for an art career that early. I also remember that my siblings and I would visit our father in his studio as he finished his paintings, and we would imitate whatever he’s doing. He noticed that, and so when Christmas time came, we got our own sets of paints and easels as gifts.”

Pan de Manila's donut box

Pan de Manila’s donut box

Christmas gift boxes for Spanish sardines and other goodies

Christmas gift boxes for Spanish sardines, spreads and other goodies

PDM Christmas paperbag featuring Noel Mahilum's artwork 2Mahilum is happy to be the featured artist in Pan de Manila’s Christmas bags and boxes for 2017. He also thinks that the bakery chain’s yearly tradition of incorporating Christmas Pinoy traditions is commendable, as it reminds us to go back to our roots.

“Wherever we go, we carry our tradition and culture. It’s nice to have piping hot pan de sal, especially after coming from Simbang Gabi at Antipolo Cathedral. May this artwork of mine remind us that despite the cool surroundings, we can surround ourselves with warmth, not only from Pan de Manila’s freshly baked breads but also with the love and unity of our own family, which is at the heart of Paskong Pinoy,” he ends.

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Calcheese Truffles for the Holidays

Calcheese Truffles

Calcheese Truffles

CALCHEESE, the newest cheese wafer that is made with real Cheddar cheese and milk, is a convenient and healthy snack to munch on when you are hungry because it is packed with Vitamins A, B1, B2, B6 and B12. More than this, however, it is also a great ingredient to use for dessert, such as these Calcheese Truffles, which are easy to prepare and nice to share with family and friends.

The newest cheese wafers in town!

The newest cheese wafers in town!


3-5 packs CalCheese Wafers (53.5 grams per pack)
200 grams softened cream cheese
170 grams white chocolate chips
candy sprinkles for topping (optional)

1. Using a food processor, crush Calcheese wafers until finely crumbed. In the absence of a food processor, manually crush the wafers by putting them in a Ziploc plastic bag and running a rolling pin over them. Set aside 1/2 cup crushed wafers for use as topping.
2. In a mixing bowl, combine softened cream cheese and crushed wafers. Mix with a spatula or spoon until completely mixed.
3. Form into 1-inch balls. Arrange on a small baking tray or food container and place in freezer for at least 1 hour.
4. Place white chocolate chips in a small heatproof bowl and melt in a double boiler (*bowl over a saucepan filled with boiling water) over low heat. The water in the saucepan should be at least 1-1/2 inches below the bowl so the water does not make it into the bowl. Let the water boil first, then turn off heat, and stir the chocolate chips in the bowl above the saucepan. Constantly stir until chocolate melts completely. Set aside for 10 to 20 minutes to let the chocolate cool down properly.
5. Once the white chocolate is cooled, dip truffle balls in the melted white chocolate using a fork. Then roll chocolate coated truffles in the 1/2 cup Calcheese wafers that have been set aside for use as topping. The truffle balls may also be rolled in candy sprinkles for color.
6. Freeze for at least 2 hours until the truffles harden.Calcheese Truffles 1


(Calcheese is available in supermarkets and sari-sari stores nationwide. For more information, visit

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Doña Elena Olive Oil Launches
‘Chef Ambassador Series’

Chef Mikel Zaguirre of Locavore and Chef Kalel Chan of Raintree Restaurants

Chef Mikel Zaguirre of Locavore and Chef Kalel Chan of Raintree Restaurants

I HAVE been cooking for a long time. Since Raff and I got married and moved into our own house, I had taken charge of the kitchen and prepared all our meals. But since our work in media, specializing in food, often took us on coverages, food tastings, product launches and other media get-togethers for lunch and/or dinner most of the time, I did not have to cook all the time.

Raff, however, suffered a stroke last year (2016) and we had to stay with my sister for a year after he was released from the hospital because I needed a lot of help with his care. In July this year, I finally brought him home, and preparing three meals a day became part of my daily routine. Of course, I would run out of recipes and thus referred to cookbooks, magazines and the Internet for recipe ideas. That’s when I realized the importance of being able to prepare healthy and delicious home-cooked meals all the time.

To enable people like me constantly prepare freshly cooked meals at home without running out of recipes and creative cooking ideas, top olive oil brand Doña Elena put together its Chef Ambassador Series. Aiming to share recipes of great-tasting, easy-to-prepare dishes with Filipino homemakers, the Chef Ambassador Series constantly seeks out game-changing chefs who like to whip up such dishes and share them with others. The only requirement is that they work with olive oil, which is a healthy and high-quality ingredient, and the dishes have to be practical and delicious.

Chef Kalel Chan

Chef Kalel Chan

Chef Mikel Zaguirre

Chef Mikel Zaguirre

Finding two awesome chefs who fit the bill—Chef Kalel Chan, corporate chef of Raintree Restaurants; and Chef Mikel Zaguirre, executive chef of Locavore—Doña Elena recently debuted its Chef Ambassador Series campaign in a dinner presentation held at Lemuria Gourmet Restaurant in Quezon City.

The garden-themed events place was perfect for the launch, where Chef Kalel shared his recipe of Spanish Style Balsamic Bangus Belly, and Chef Mikel showcased his own Mojo Chicken. After officials of Fly Ace Corporation, which is the exclusive distributor of Doña Elena products in the Philippines, welcomed guests and briefly talked about the Chef Ambassador Series campaign, the two culinary masters formed their groups by picking some members of the audience. Then they went to work in their own cooking stations, cooking up their own healthy and easy-to-prepare dish with Chefs Kalel and Mikel as coaches. No, it was not a competition. It was a mere exercise that proved how easy it is to whip up dishes when fresh and healthy ingredients, such as olive oil, are available.

Chef Kalel Chan's Spanish Style Balsamic Bangus Belly

Chef Kalel Chan’s Spanish Style Balsamic Bangus Belly

Chef Mikel Zaguirre's Mojo Chicken

Chef Mikel Zaguirre’s Mojo Chicken

Chef Kalel's team working on their dish

Chef Kalel’s team working on their dish

Chef Mikel Zaguirre's team cooking up a storm

Chef Mikel Zaguirre’s team cooking up a storm

Highlight of the event was the buffet dinner, where the two featured recipes—Chef Kalel’s Spanish Style Balsamic Bangus Belly and Chef Mikel’s Mojo Chicken—served as the main dishes. I got to taste them both, and so did Raff. It was the first official media event which he attended after his stroke and he was happy to be among friends once again. Both dishes were flavorful and guilt-free because they made use of healthy ingredients, particularly olive oil and healthy meats, and they proved that light and healthy could be delicious.

“We are honored to have Chef Kalel and Chef Mikel for Doña Elena. We are proud of their accomplishments that marked the Philippines in the culinary map of the world. We are also confident that this initiative is a great way to connect with our consumers by introducing relateable dishes crafted by our very own local chefs. We hope that they’ll be inspired to create dishes with elevated flavors that the whole family will love,” says Fly Ace Corporation’s group category manager for oils Zen Prudentino.

Fly Ace Corporation AVP for marketing Abbie Ng-Reyes, VP Larry Cochanco, group category manager for oils Zen Prudentino, Chefs Mikel Zaguirre and Kalel Chan, president Jun Cochanco, and GM Ramon Daez

Fly Ace Corporation AVP for marketing Abbie Ng-Reyes, VP Larry Cochanco, group category manager for oils Zen Prudentino, Chefs Mikel Zaguirre and Kalel Chan, president Jun Cochanco, and GM Ramon Daez

Assistant vice president for marketing Abbie Ng-Reyes adds: “We are proud that Doña Elena continues to be the country’s most trusted brand for olive oil not just by our loyal consumers but even by today’s most renowned local chefs. The overwhelming response from our consumers remain to inspire us to bring the best of the Mediterranean cuisine’s ingredients to Filipino homes.”

After this initial salvo of the Chef Ambassadors Series, it will continue to feature techniques and personal recipes of highly respected chefs that show just how easy it is to prepare truly special home-cooked meals. These recipes are something I personally look forward to as I prepare healthy and delicious dishes for Raff, who is recovering nicely from the adverse effects of stroke. With a good, balanced diet, he should recover completely in no time at all.

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Enjoy Thanksgiving at Diamond Hotel

Thanksgiving Turkey with all the works!

Thanksgiving Turkey with all the works!

THANKSGIVING Day is a national holiday celebrated in the United States of America on the fourth Thursday of November. It began as a day of giving thanks for a year of good harvest. These days, it has become a day of giving thanks for all the blessings that one has received for the past year. Families gather together for the Thanksgiving celebration and share a feast at the table.

On November 23 (2017), which is the fourth Thursday of November this year, Diamond Hotel Philippines serves the ultimate Thanksgiving celebration of traditional feasts that’s just perfect for a family reunion or get-together with friends.

Available for lunch or dinner at the Corniche Buffet Restaurant for Php2,880 nett per person, the Thanksgiving feast includes classic favorites such as turkey with stuffing, pumpkin pie, mashed potatoes and other delectable side dishes. The luscious buffet spread lets diners embark on a gastronomic adventure like no other.

For those who are not up to a hefty feast, however, the Lobby Lounge offers a lighter take on the Thanksgiving celebration at Php1,280 nett per person. It particularly boasts of its turkey sandwich paired with a glass of Champagne cocktail, available for lunch or dinner.

For a refreshing twist on an old classic, Bar 27 showcases the fancier side of life with some of its specially prepared Champagne cocktails.

For restaurant reservations, call 528-3000 extension 1121.


(Diamond Hotel Philippines is located at Roxas Blvd. corner Dr. J. Quintos St., Manila.)


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Enjoy Classic Roast Goose
at Marco Polo Ortigas’ Lung Hin

The Hong Kong classic favorite, Roast Goose, is available at Marco Polo Ortigas for a limited time

The Hong Kong classic favorite, Roast Goose, is available at Marco Polo Ortigas Manila for a limited time

THE traditional Hong Kong favorite, premium Roast Goose, is available in all its golden and crispy splendor at Marco Polo Ortigas Manila’s authentic Cantonese restaurant, Lung Hin, from November 6 to 21, 2017.

Multi-awarded chef Billy Cheong is coming to Manila to share his famous roasted goose recipe. Backed by over 40 years of experience in the hospitality and culinary industry, Chef Billy was born in Macau to a family of connoisseurs in the culinary art from their home in Guangdong Province. He had his early training from his grandfather, who founded Macau’s Lin Heung Chinese Bakery, and his aunt, the chief chef who served Republic of China’s first president’s wife. He was awarded by the Commanderie des Cordons Bleus de France and the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs in 2001 and recognized by the China Hotel Awards in 2013.

The recipe of Chef Billy’s premium Roast Goose comes from the coastal Guangdong Province of China which borders Hong Kong and Macau. Roast Goose is a must-try delicacy in Hong Kong, being marinated in a charcoal furnace at high temperature to create crispy skin and divinely tender and flavorful meat. While almost every legitimate Chinese restaurant in Asia, including the Philippines, offers Roast Duck on the menu, the Roast Goose of Hong Kong is a delicacy that people keep going back to Hong Kong for.

So, now, for the duration of November 6 to 21, the authentic taste of this Hong Kong classic will be available at Marco Polo Ortigas’ Lung Hin, for a la carte orders. Diners can order it Half or Whole. The restaurant also offers Chef Billy’s premium Roast Goose in a set menu that includes other authentic dishes, such as Steamed Garoupa with Shredded Pork and Shredded Mushroom Ancient Style, Fried Shrimp and Vermicelli in XO Sauce, and Stir-fried Seasonal Hong Kong Vegetables with Garlic.


(Lung Hin is located at Level 44 of Marco Polo Ortigas Manila, which is a Forbes Travel Guide Five Star Award winner. Marco Polo Ortigas Manila can be found at the corner of Meralco Ave. and Sapphire St., Ortigas Center, Pasig City; with telephone number 720-7777.)

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