Sabado, Mayo 13, 2017


Enjoy the beauty and majesty of Region V as Albay culminates its yearly month-long celebration of the Magayon Festival.  Founded by Governor Al Francis C. Bichara, this month-long celebration aims to not only emphasize the beauty of the province but also the majesty of one declared wonder of the world, the Mayon Volcano.

The Magayon Festival started last 1999 from its original festivity Karangahan Festival in 1997.  This was a move by the governor not only to highlight the majestic volcano but also the legend behind it; the Legend of Daragang Magayon – a story that is so beautiful to read and heart touching to all romantic in nature.

Daragang or Daraga means young girl or maiden and Magayon means beautiful.  It is a story of a young maiden, child of a datu, whose beauty is beyond compare.  She has a lot of suitors but none was able to catch her eye or fancy until a young man named Ulap from a far land came into her life.  They fell in love and her father gave his blessing.  A wedding was prepared but was thwarted when another suitor, Pagtuga of Iraga, kidnapped Magayon’s father. To save her father’s life, she agreed to wed him instead of UlapUlap went home to his land and prepared an army to defend his love.  On the wedding day of Magayon, a war took place as the army of Ulap and Pagtuga met.  Pagtuga was killed and it was supposedly a happy ending when an arrow hit Magayon at the back.  In the arms of her love, she died and Ulap was stabbed by a spear by a guardsman of Pagtugo.  They were then laid together, Magayon and Ulap, and on their ground it slowly rose to great heights showing the love between the maiden and the warrior.  It was said that whenever the volcano is hidden by clouds, it is the lover kissing one another.

This year, the culmination will happen on May 29 to the 31st of May with various activities covering beauty, sports, talent and thanksgiving.  On the 29th of May, the 57th Sikaran National Tournament will take place on 9:00AM at the Ayala Mall with a singing contest (Grand Finals) on 6:00pm at the Penaranda Park. The search for Mutyang Magayon will happen the next day on 7:00PM at the Albay Astrodome. The last day, May 31, will be a day of Summer Dance Camp from 8:00AM till 5:00PM. Intersecting is a street competition at 2:00PM.  Closing the event will be a Firework display and a street party at the Penaranda Park.  A musical treat is also set in the Astrodome at 7:00PM, simultaneously happening with the street party.

True to his vision, Gov. Al Francis C. Bichara aims to make Albay a true tourist destination place in Southern Luzon.  This month long celebration is but a taste of what Albay has to offer in terms of sights, sounds and hospitality, something that the governor has visualized and only a true Bicolano will understand and see the vision he has drawn for the province.  With the fanfare from far North to Quezon Province during their festivities, Albay is never far behind in showcasing why it is a must place to be.  Let Albay enchant you with its beauty, story and culture.

**All images used were taken from the web and from site

Lunes, Mayo 1, 2017

Cherry Burwell, Outstanding Woman of the Year 2017

Last April 22 (my birthday also), Woman’s Journal held their yearly recognition of women who has made a mark in their field of expertise or service.  Held at Teatrino Promenade Greenhills, the awarding featured women of various fields and their contribution to the society.

With women in the field of politics, business, philanthropy, medicine and such, one stands out as she was the only one recognized by the organization in the field of Public Relations.  This is no other than Ms. Cherry Burwell of the Big Difference Communications.

A licensed interior designer also, Cherry, as she is commonly called in and out of the industry of PR (don’t ask for her full name – trust me), has been doing PR works for some years now.  Her greatest PR challenge was when she aided a group in their promotions and when she handled two political themed campaigns last 2016 national elections.  She has handled the social media campaign of former Congressman Roman Romulo and Melchora – a political group aimed for women’s advancement; and is currently managing the social media of Ozamis City in Misamis Occidental.  She also handled several campaigns of some companies/groups such as Tinapayan Festival, Ducati Philippines, Hattendo, Samwon, to name a few.  A mother of two teen aged boys, Cherry manages to balance her life and work demands by giving time to her family and herself.  A workaholic by nature, she also manages to play at the right time and place.

Recognized as one of the female movers of 2017 along with Megan Young, Josephine Canonizado, Patricia Javier, Vice Mayor Ina Alegre and the likes, Cherry Burwel was amply recognized for all the things she has done in her field of expertise – PR control and marketing.  Please note that she is the only PR practitioner recognized this year by Woman's Journal deciding party headed by Mr. Richard Hinola.

The event also featured various designers. You have to see the designs of Jhong Sudlon, they were beautiful and functional also!

With this recognition as one of the 45 Outstanding Women of the Year, Cherry truly showed people that she knows what she is doing! Congratulations Cherry Burwell!

Biyernes, Abril 28, 2017

John Raspado, All Set For Mr. Gay World 2017 This May

Just this week, Mr. Gay World PH (MGWP) prepares to send off Philippines representative John Raspado for the yearly competition this time to be held at Madrid, Spain in May 2017.

With host venue, Club 690, the invitational send off event was attended by pageant and showbiz media personalities making it colorful and fun. MGWP Organization Head Wilbert Tolentino is making sure that all bases are covered as John Rapado leaves for Madrid next week.  As of this writing, John is leading in the social media polls for popularity but it doesn’t mean that we have to slack off.  As of now, they are campaigning for all supporters to continue giving support and have others support our candidate too. You may go to the online address provided or the actual site of MGW to vote for your favorite and of course to Philippines’ candidate John Raspado.

You can only vote ONCE for every 24 hours.  You still have 5 days to show your support as the competition is on May 5, 2017.  Show your support; I had!

*All images used where from the files of MGWP facebook site

Miyerkules, Abril 12, 2017

He Is More Than A Chef, He is A Man of Passion

 I am not a chef. I am a passionate cook.
-Thomas Murillo

Such were the words delivered by Chef Thomas Murillo during my time with him at the last day of Madrid Fusion 2017.  After the earth shake and when everyone got settled, I took my time to look for this “elusive” chef for that short interview about him and his project – Wild Juan.  Despite the shake, people were still on the go and Chef Thomas was bubbly as ever during my short interview; even his interaction with his dad was notable because of the banter that I have witnessed.

My kitchen is my playground.  My love I give with the food that I serve to everyone.

His love for food started young and he took his first step towards it during his sophomore year as a Consular and Diplomatic Affairs student at the College of Saint Benilde.  He decided to take commercial cooking and culinary arts at First Gourmet Academy and had his apprenticeship at 2nds after.  This lead him further by becoming one of the pioneering member behind Paprika PH and years later his own restaurant at a family-owned place at Tagaytay Ridge.  Wild Juan is born.

Wild Juan bears the concept of East meets West and is delivered with the hospitality of Filipinos in the Southern part of Luzon.   His food creations are something that we are all familiar with but are delivered with a twist and flair.  Perfect sample are the Sisig Paksiw, Krispy Kasoy Kare-Kare (KKK) and Gumbulalo.  Three common dishes but comes with a new level of flavor and goodness due to techniques and passion.

When asked as to what is his favorite, he shared his story about his grandmother’s dish which his mom now serves them and something that he will share to his future family.  Not to be gone from his favorites are Adobo sa Gata and Sinigang na Baka; two of his favorites that gives him enjoyment and comfort all at the same time.


His passion in creating dishes that gives him comfort started with his kitchen experience with his mother;  dishes that his mother have learned from her own mother and so forth.  Even if he grew up in the States, he still remembers his Filipino side.  The spices that he has enjoyed get to be blended into some Filipino dishes elevating it further in flavor.  The techniques that he learned in culinary school made him a stickler to discipline and quality.

I want to build an empire in 5 years time.

Wild Juan will not just be “definitely not your ordinary food find among the rising places at Tagaytay Ridge” in 5 years time.  He is expanding into a cafĂ© and a camping ground.  His aim is to capture the millennial market and be part of the dynamic pace of this age.  His wildness will still continue with the food that he serves along with the discipline that he has earned in time.  At age 25, he dreams to be big in the industry by undergoing further apprenticeship with known chefs and learning the traditional way of preparing some local dishes.  For him, earning a chef’s title doesn’t stop with a degree from culinary school but shall be made true with the experiences earned through time and exposure.  He being part of the Calabarzon team during Madrid Fusion 2017 is part of the learning experience he yearns.

He is a bundle of positive energy!
                              -Arnold “Arnie” Alesna

Despite the numerous activities during Madrid Fusion 2017, Chef Thomas was still full of energy during my short talk with him.  He is a man full of passion in what he does and dreams feasible big things for his business.  He also has plans to settle down and be a father who will share his love for food to his children’s children.  He is mature in thinking but maintains a youthful outlook in life in general.  His banter with his dad showed respect and understanding of each other.  Chef Thomas has a number of plans to help create a standard outlook in the kitchen and with his patience and increasing knowledge, he is set to share it to all and be a distinct mover in the industry.  I just can’t wait to try out some of his creations in Tagaytay.

Wild Juan  is located at KM 68 Tagaytay-Nasugbu Highway and is also a bed and breakfast place.

From Regions 10 - 12, MindaWow Indeed at Madrid Fusion

Madrid Fusion 2017, the biggest food event of the year, went into a spin as Region 10 brought in the best of the province in a variety of kakanin.  With Regional Director Marie Elaine S. Unchuan of the Department of Tourism (DOT) leading the way, Region 10 aimed to win the heart and stomach of all attendees of the event, local and foreigner alike.

With this year’s delivery of the best delicacies from the region, RD Unchuan aimed to let people knew that there is truly more than what is known about Region 10.  From point to point of the region, the whole Region 10 DOT was ready to wow those in the event with what they were presenting in the 3-days event.  From Bukidnon to Misamis Occidental, a good selection of delicacies was presented as part of the gastronomic wonder of the region.  The delegations are as follow:  RD Marie Elaine S. Unchuan - DOT10, Josephine H. Roque – DOT 10 Focal Person, Leonila S. Arguelles – Kitchen Focal Person, Chef Benzar Aradani , Camille Ambalario – Chef’s Assistant , Nelia B. Lee (Food Sponsor), Agnes Garcia Sue (Food Sponsor – Clarin, Misamis Occidental), Mayor Clive Quino and Mrs. Rina Quino (Food Sponsor -Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon) with other DOT 10 personnel.  

People were won over by the delicious suman from Clarin, Misamis Occidental, the crunchy peanut brittle, the delicate pastel by Vjandep from Camiguin, that grated young corn delicacy called binaki  and chicharon from CDO, and the peanut goodness of Cheding’s from Iligan City.  Other delicacies were also showcased such as the eggnog and pretzel from Northern Mindanao, the bottled milkfish goodness and calamansi juice.  The One Mindanao booth was buzzing with people coming in to see what is there from the whole island of Mindanao.

Not only are delicacies featured but also the Humba de Oro and Ostrich Salpicao; two dishes displayed during the regional lunch last April 8 under the careful hands of Chef Benzar Aradani. The pineapple goodness of Bukidnon was also highlighted during the lunch, courtesy of Mayor Clive Quino and wife Rina Quino - Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon.  Durian, a common fruit of the island, was ever present in various form - as a jam, flavored suman, candies and even part of a granola mix as featured by Wit.

A good number of gastronomic wonders are to be expected and seen at this year’s Madrid Fusion.  Region 10 to 12 were all set to give and serve their own tongue-wonder creations and win the hearts of people to come and explore and taste what they have to offer as a region, as a province and as Mindanao.


April 6-8, 2017 was a busy day for all foodies and food entrepreneur as Madrid Fusion 2017 took place at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City.  The whole place was like a hive, buzzing with activities and people.

Part of the Region 10 contingent was the product from Clarin, Misamis Occidental – the various sticky rice cakes or suman ng Clarin.  Nearly all 17 flavors were displayed for tasting and sold in the 3-day event.  ASEC Fredrick Alegre, along with some visitors, was wowed with the number of flavors that Clarin was able to showcase during Madrid Fusion, knowing that this is the first time that the said municipality has joined in this kind of event.  Who would have thought that sticky rice cakes can have a good number of variations?   Well that is what the House of Suman in Clarin, Misamis Occidental was able to prove during Madrid Fusion 2017.

The flavors of Clarin’s suman were as follow:

Mango – sticky rice with ripe mango slices, cooked in coconut milk and sugar.
Pinya – sticky rice with ripe pineapple slices, cooked in coconut milk and sugar.
Durian – sticky rice with durian slivers, cooked in coconut milk and sugar.  The durian’s strong scent is not present, making this a delightful way of enjoying the fruit.
Tsokalate – sticky rice with tablea made into a spread, cooked with coconut milk and sugar; making this rich in local flavors.
Tsokolate with Mani – similar to tsokolate with added with peanut flavor coming from processed peanut spread.  Also cooked in coconut milk and sugar.
Moron – a classic suman in the Visayan region. 
Balintawak – created in honor of a place where it was made, this sticky rice goodness is with coconut meat made sweet by cooked coconut milk/oil (latik).
Classic – this is your standard sticky rice, wrapped in leaves and cooked using coconut milk and sugar.
Carrot – with shredded carrots made into a slightly sweet paste, this is mixed into the sticky rice and then wrapped in leaves before being cooked in coconut milk and sugar.
Ube – another root crop common in the area, the purple yam is made into a semi-sweet paste that is mixed with the sticky rice before being wrapped in leaves.  Cooked with coconut milk and sugar.
Keso/Queso – slices of cheese are added into the sticky rice mix and then cooked with coconut milk and sugar.  The cheese melts into the sticky rice making it more creamier in each bite.
Choco Moron – the classic suman of the Visayas region with chocolate jame added into it.  Cooked in coconut milk and sugar mixture.
Buko –  sticky rice with strings of young coconut meat added into the mixture.  It is also cooked with coconut milk and sugar, making it slightly sweet and delicate.
Peanut – this is your locally processed peanuts, finely grounded and made into a near paste in texture then added into the sticky rice mixture before being wrapped in fresh banana leaves.  Cooked with coconut milk and sugar, this suman creation is both delicate and with a crunch.
Latik -  the sweetened form of the coconut milk, cooked till dark in color and then added into the sticky rice mixture before being cooked in coconut milk and sugar.
Adlai – two types of rice mixture was used in this suman.  One is your standard sticky rice and another is one that is high in fiber.  This suman creation can be considered  healthy because of the high fiber content that helps in the digestion of food.
Langka/Nangka – slivers of ripe langka (visayan: nangka), is place into the sticky rice and then wrapped in fresh banana leaves before being cook in their standard coconut milk-sugar mixture. 

People can’t have enough of this sticky rice mixture that some even came back to buy more of it.  They can’t believe that you can have that many variations of sticky rice creations and still be delicious and true to the nature of suman.   Such were the feedback given especially during the 3rd-day Regional Lunch, which was attended by all the delegates present in the event.

As of the moment, this sticky rice cake creation can be bought in the House of Suman in Clarin, Misamis Occidental.  For further inquiries regarding the product, you can reach the PR/Social Media team of TBDC thru 09778400606 (Kezia Noblia – Account Director).

DREAMS ARE MADE BY LIQUID GOLD - The Man and his Bar Crawl Event

When a dream is driven by passion, there is no reason for it not to come into reality.  Such is the case of known liquid chef, Chef Kalel Demetrio – the man behind the name Liquido Maestro (Liquid Master).  From humble beginnings, he worked his way up and be where he is now.  From a simple restaurant staff, to a bartender, to a name and status he desired now, Chef Kalel Demetrio never forgets his humble beginning.

As a liquid chef, Kalel has never strapped himself down to simply creating cocktails – which is common to most mixologist, he pushed himself in creating innovative infusion and drinks suitable to all ages.  From simple juice or iced tea with a twist, to cleverly mixed smoothies and satiny smooth cocktails, Kalel will show you what he can do and what his mind can create.  An advocate of the farm-to-glass principle, he believes that nature has given us a lot of things to use and enjoy as a consumable item.  It is no wonder that companies such as Destileria Limtuaco and NutriStar (Locally Juice Drink) believed in him and made him as brand ambassador of their product.

Not only can he create drinks of wonder but also food of delights.  He has collaborated with other restaurants creating flavors that are tongue-talizing to one’s senses.  He also now have a restaurant where in shows his kitchen and bar skills.  Like any other chef’s, he believes in stimulating the senses of people to enjoy the bounty coming from Earth.  Not only are his drinks visually and taste bud-dancingly good but also has texture and scent delight.  He likes to explore the local market of a certain place to know the community and see what unknown goods he can harvest and try in his laboratory.  Some of the establishments that carry his creations are Green Pastures, Gorda, Big Bad Wolf and 2020/XXXX – hosts to the bar crawl that took place a few days before Madrid Fusion 2017.

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The Bar Crawl Event
The Big Difference Communications (TBDC) with Chef Ervincent “Kalel” Demetrio, has came up with a bar crawl tour this April 4, 2017 in line with the upcoming Madrid Fusion 2017.  Chef Kalel is one of the featured chef’s in the fore mentioned event and with this; he wishes to share some of his creations and the establishments who carries them.

Big Bad Wolf
A restaurant-bar located at Burgos Circle in BGC.  This establishment features international dishes prepared with local produce.  Opens from Monday to Saturday from 11:00 AM till 2:00 AM, Big Bad Wolf is your homey place to eat away from home.

Food Served:
Burrata – an Italian cheese made from mozzarella and cream.  With Big Bad Wolf, the cheese (mozzarella and cheddar) is made from carabao’s milk.  It is smoked with acacia wood giving it added flavor. Served with tomatoes and greens with salt toppings, this appetizer is a good way to start a meal.

Carbonara with Pork Cheeks – the cream is also from carabao’s milk.  The pork cheek is made crunchy giving it more flavor and texture far from the usual bacon.

Big Bad Wolf’s Chili Wings – there take on the classic buffalo wings.  The spice will definitely take your attention but the side cream dip (also made from carabao’s milk, added with herbs) will help you finish the wings served.  Served with local greens on the side.  The spice is from our very own siling labuyo.

Potato Skin with herbed Carabao's Milk Cream


Sir Ponch - owner of Big Bad Wolf

Carbonara with Pork Cheeks

Big Bad Wolf Spicy Wings

Chef Kalel’s Drink:

BASI SPRITZ – light drink with basi as based and some of his concocted syrups, giving it a kick but maintaining a light buzz.  The orange and cucumber that tops it gives additional refreshing effect making it a delightful drink during the middle of the day.

Located at the 2nd level at Uptown, BGC, this place offers you comfort food with a light but delightful twist.  The name gorda is Spanish in origination meaning fat lady (from the verbo gordar meaning to be big or fat) and it is in honor of their mother.  The food served are with Spanish-Mexican influence which we are familiar with but given added push in terms of flavor level.  This resto-pub/bar is open every Monday and Tuesday from 11:00 AM till 2:00AM and from Wednesday till Saturday up to 3:00AM.

Food Served
Two-Way Nachos – they have two types of nachos varying in color and served with cheese, tomatoes, ground meat and jalapenos.  Each layer of nachos has ample serving of toppings making sure that each nacho piece is delectable.  The lemon that comes with it, gives it a different flavor taste that makes it far from the normal nachos in the market.

Keso-Quesadillas – this is served like a pizza but the flavors are true to its name.  It is light, cheesy and with a bite due to the finely chopped spice that tops it along with the cheese sauce.

 Chef Kalel’s Drinks:

Horchatta Morena – a rice based drink with Old Captain rum.  This drink is light, sweet and quite refreshing for a hot day.  The half of the rim of the glass is edged off with finely grinded rice and moscuvado sugar.   Served with burned cinnamon bark, the drink gives off a light earthy aroma mixing well with the rice flavor of the drink.

Alice Mate and Epi Lim drinking El Equador de Margarita
El Equador de Margarita – this drink is good for sharing. Served using a hallowed out watermelon, this alcohol concoction is refreshingly fruity with a kick.  The watermelon flavor slowly blends into the drink making it seems light without decreasing the alcohol level and effect.

Green Pastures

The first organic restaurant in the city, this themed restaurant caters to those who wanted to have healthy food served in a delicious manner.  The serving is big enough to be shared thus family and groups come here to enjoy their food offerings.  Open every day from 8:00AM – 10:00PM, the place has both indoor and outside seating.

Food Served:

Carbonara with Goat meat – the lightest meat pasta in the market! The sauce is light in cream and the goat meat was handled well making it delicate and delightful to the palate.

Honey comb with Lemon Curd – this dessert treat is a creation by Chef Kalel for Green Pasture and was hailed as the best dessert in the industry last 2014.  The sweetness coming from the comb is balanced off with the light tartness from the curd giving it balance and contrast in texture.
Part of the team of Green Pastures

Honey Comb with Lemon Curd

Chef Kalel’s Drink:

Gayuma – cocktail that will definitely put you under its spell.  It is refreshing yet comes with a kick from the mixture that comes with it.  With cucumber as it’s garnish, it gives off sweetness that further enhances the drink.


This establishment is the child of the bohemian age in the 90’s in Malate,Manila.  The wall is decorated with paintings by various artists that are sold off.  The place is definitely cozy for an “underground” atmosphere.  Open from Wednesdays till Sunday, the place is worth your time to simply chill out and  be in the crowd. 2020 is the flagship establishment that carries Barik (pure) and Barik Ginger Sour.
Barik (pure lambanog)

Food Served:

3-way Soft Shell Taco – this food serving is a delight due to the way the meat are served (3-way) and then topped with aioli sauce and finely chopped chorizo.  The sauce is pimiento base making it creamy and adds a distinct flavor to it.

Chef Kalel’s Drink:

Querida – a name apt for thee drink because of the number of flavors and sense stimulation that it offers.  Served with a burning basil leave on top, this drink gives off an earthy aroma which complements the fruity flavor of the drink (passion fruit).   The liquor taste goes in smoothly making it more than your standard cocktail.

All this made possible also with his partners and companies that believes in his craft and advocacy namely Destileria Limtuaco and Locally Juice Drink.
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He is a man of duty and obligation. Kalel knows how to balance his personal life with that of this work demand; a caring individual to those who are close, important and of value to him.  Despite his tight work schedule, he still manages to give time and space to himself and those he love.  To know more of the Liquido Maestro / liquid chef, try out his personal bottled creations - Barik (pure lambanog), Barik Ginger Sour, Maharlika (syrups) and Agimat (flavored Kombucha).

Liquid may be his working craft but Kalel delivers with a punch to remind you of the experience you had with his creative concoction.