Archive for Philippine Lifestyle

Philippine Lifestyle: Manila’s Best Kept Restaurant Secrets Awards Night

Posted in All About The Philippines, Duke420 Articles, Philippine Events, Philippine Lifestyle, Philippine News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 4, 2008 by South Arts Festival

Ines Cabarrus and Elian Habayeb

Ines Cabarrus and Elian Habayeb

Ines Cabarrus and Elian Habayeb shared their passion for good food through a coffee-table book called Manila’s Best Kept Restaurant Secrets. The book, of course, was a hit among food-lovers all over. But then the question that most readers kept asking was – “So, what is your favorite restaurant?”

Elian Habayeb and Ines Cabarrus had a difficult time answering the question, and eventually they left the decision to around 80 capable judges that consisted of restaurant owners, top chefs, educators in the hospitality industry, columnists, food critics, magazine editors and food lovers to hand out points on whom they believed were the best restaurants in Manila.

There were 22 award categories all in all with around 4 top restaurants in each category, and all the winners were presented and awarded just recently at the Enderun College campus in Fort Bonifacio with an event aptly titled – the First Annual Manila’s Best Kept Restaurant Secretes Awards. The MBKRS Awards was billed by Ines Cabarrus as “the Oscars” of Manila’s restaurant industry in terms of the prestige a restaurant would gain from the votes cast by the 80 very capable judges.

Of course, the award itself is a boost to Manila’s restaurant industry, but I personally wouldn’t go so far as calling it “the Oscars.” While it may have been a star-studded cast among the restaurant industry’s finest, there could have been a lot of improvements with the presentation of the awards, which could’ve used a healthy adrenalin boost in the visual area, maybe showing pictures of the restaurants and the concoctions that have made them famous.

Nevertheless, the event had a glorious red carpet that led to a buffet tent that was catered by 10 awesome restaurants, covering every imaginable taste for your palate from Italian, Spanish, Japanese, Asian Fusion, Persian, Filipino and Thai food. There was also an overflow of awesome wines from 3 major wine distributors, and even an after party at the very trendy NUVO right after.

But, of course, the MKBRS Awards are all about the nominees and the awards, and the winners include the following:

  • Best Italian Restaurant – L’Opera
  • Best French Restaurant – Je Suis Gourmand
  • Best Spanish Restaurant – Terry’s Selection
  • Best Continental Cuisine – Lolo Dad’s
  • Best Steak House – Elbert’s Steak Room
  • Best Japanese Restaurant – Sugi
  • Best Filipino Restaurant – Abe
  • Best Thai Restaurant – People’s Palace
  • Best Chinese Restaurant – Zong
  • Best Central European Restaurant – Old Swiss Inn
  • Best Specialty Restaurant – Hussein’s Persian Kebab
  • Best Bistro – Sala Bistro
  • Best Enoteca – Barcino Gourmet
  • Best Fusion Cuisine – M Cafe
  • Best Newcomer – Aubergine
  • Best Restaurant/Bar – NUVO
  • Best Wine List – Cav
  • Best Hotel Restaurant (International Buffet) – Spirals (Sofitel)
  • Best Hotel Restaurant (Fine Dining) – (will update once Ines reminds me who won)
  • Best Hotel Restaurant (Specialty) – (will update once Ines reminds me who won)
  • Best Chef – Ariel Manuel
  • Lifetime Achievement Award – Larry Cruz (posthumous)

Philippines Fun Wall will have an exclusive interview with Ines Cabarrus in the very very near future, and we will talk more about the book Manila’s Best Kept Restaurant Secrets and other things, so keep a watch for that.

In the meantime, of course you are more than welcome to try out the restaurants that were awarded and see for yourself if these restos do live up to their reputation as being the best. You can also view the other nominees of each category at the Manila’s Best Kept Restaurant Secrets Multiply site.

To make an online purchase of the coffee-table book Manila’s Best Kept Restaurant Secrets, then go here.

Philippine Lifestyle: Rogue Magazine’s Art Issue Is Just Awesome!

Posted in All About The Philippines, Duke420 Articles, Philippine Events, Philippine Lifestyle with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 17, 2008 by South Arts Festival
Christina Bartges on Cover of Rogue November Issue

Christina Bartges on Cover of Rogue November Issue

I had my misgivings about the October issue of Rogue Magazine, and felt that the guys at Rogue didn’t really come up with the meat-y, rogue-ish articles I had been accustomed to since the beginning of Rogue.
However, the November 08 issue of Rogue – The Art Issue – has got me back to giving raves and praises with what they put out. Of course, anything with regards to art is already very rogue to begin with, but then the perennial tug-of-war between the definition and bounds of art will always be a tricky subject, and one that won’t be a very easy pill to swallow. There’s just so much going on with art and its many expressions that make it difficult to conclude a sense of finality on the subject matter, but then it’s also a great reason to go nuts in pushing it to the limit, threshing out everything that can be said about it without having to exhaust oneself by saying too much.
I sincerely believe that Rogue has done well in tackling the subject of art, providing many substantial elements about Philippine art and artists and then some. The articles were well-conceived and the artists they featured give a fresh look to the Philippine art scene. Just when you thought the art scene was fading, Rogue gives a refresher on its vitality, and manages to capture the essence of the scene – well, at least Rogue has gone beyond the surface.

I read the magazine from cover to cover, and from the start of the issue with The Editor’s Letter of Jose Mari Ugarte, I was already grabbed by the balls. In a nice way. Jose Mari Ugarte did a fantastic job in explaining the process of piecing together the November issue of Rogue Magazine, and his insight to the orchestration of the process of magazine-making is a great story on its own.

I also enjoyed the piece on Kawayan De Guia written by Jay Abastillas. While I still think the transcription of interviews doesn’t really come up as an article, and looks like a style bludgeoned to death by FHM, there are times when it can work. I believe Jay Abastillas was lucky to have found such an awesome subject as Kawayan De Guia and he managed to string together great questions which really brought out the person and artist in Kawayan De Guia.
I also enjoyed the article on recyclable trash being turned into art, written by Audrey Carpio. Well, I might be a bit bias to favor Audrey Carpio since she’s been my Scrabble-mate before Scrabulous was taken away from Facebook, but she really does well in putting the piece together, giving the readers a sense of importance to how garbage and art contribute to our lives in the world. She gives that connection instead of just being subjective about the topic, and allows the readers to be connected to the subject because, at one point or another, we too are responsible for garbage. It’s really nice how Audrey Carpio fits it all in for her readers to understand what’s going on at a very personal level, and leaves the challenge to the reader to take part in the problem-solving of recyclable garbage and art without being too preachy about it. Very well-crafted words there.
I also got hooked on the awesome collage of Filipina artists – Nikki Luna, Lara De Los Reyes, Hanna Pettyjohn, Bea Valdes, Isa Lorenzo, Yasmin Sison, MM Yu, Bea Camacho et al, and at the very awesome piece on Rogue’s November cover girl Christina Bartges by Paolo Lorenzana. Of course, the pictures of Christina Bartges were just mind-blowing – just like what I would expect of Rogue.
Lastly, the best part of the November issue is the inclusion of my picture at The Wire section of Rogue. The picture was taken during the September wrap-party and birthday party of Rogue magazine’s marketing director Katrina Tuason. It was an unflattering picture, but I guess it’s my own fault for stinging out my tongue like that for the picture. After all, I should take full responsibility for my own actions (tongue-sticking and all) in front of any camera. At least, my kids thought it was really cool that everyone else was smiling and looking pretty, and I had my tongue stuck out.
“Dada looks like a rockstar!”
I can’t argue with that.
Anyway, grab the November issue of Rogue Magazine – out on stands now. For subscriptions, you may call M-Express at 852-0000.

Philippine Lifestyle: Ruffa Mae Quinto Is Rogue Magazine’s Latest Cover Girl

Posted in Duke420 Articles, Philippine Lifestyle with tags , , , , , , on November 5, 2008 by South Arts Festival
Ruffa Mae Quinto on Rogue's October Cover

Ruffa Mae Quinto on Rogue

Ever since the first Rogue Magazine came out, I was floored. I found Rogue Magazine so awesome that I read everything from cover to cover, and really took in the well-researched and well-written articles. The people behind Rogue Magazine, I must say, have been doing a very wonderful job at coming up with a great magazine that really differentiates and stands out among other men’s lifestyle magazines. However…

I must confess that I am pretty disappointed with the latest issue. No offense to Chad Rialp (you are a cool guy), but the piece on Gary Lising was very “on the surface.” In fact, I don’t even think it’s an article because it ended up just being a question and answer article. Where the hell is the creativity in that? I mean – that’s not an article – That’s just transcription! I’m sure Gary Lising had all these fantastic things to tell about people he met and the stories behind it, but to just put it out verbatim from the tape recorder is just not my cup of tea when it comes to writing. I’m sorry to say this to the guys at Rogue Magazine, but for a moment there you went down to the level of FHM.

Also, I didn’t learn anything new at all about Ruffa Mae Quinto except her long list of involvements, which just made Rogue Magazine look like a showbiz tabloid. Great actress blah-blah-blah, but that’s all been said and done even in other magazines. Earl Ignacio made a decent attempt at making a funny story out of it, but it ends up being all about him and nothing at all about Ruffa Mae Quinto, who just happens to be the cover girl. I mean – you should write something that focuses on the cover girl, no? Some high school essays are even better than that. Once again, I hate to say it, but it went down to the level of FHM.

Even the dudes who wrote on Filipino humor and whatever – nothing new. That’s something we already know, and in fact has been written about several times over. Argh. I don’t want to complain anymore.

When I purchase an issue of Rogue Magazine, I’m always hoping to find something that stands out – pictures and especially the articles. I don’t even mind that the articles go for 8 pages because I love the fact that everything is talked about and nothing is missed. Refer back to the articles on Rene Knecht, BongBong Marcos, Mar Roxas, Shawn Yao, The Boracay Establishment and so many more. That’s the kind of writing I hope to find each time.

And of course the pictures! I love the fact that the pictures in Rogue Magazine give that edgy BOOM! Well, the ape stole the show, and I’m sure there are a lot of other pictures you could’ve considered, but I guess you decided to play safe.

Anyway, I hope you guys over at Rogue Magazine are not going soft! And I certainly hope the November issue of Rogue Magazine will be a lot better. With the stuff that I know it’s capable of churning out – edgy, meaty, gritty, controversial and notorious – you know, Rogue-ish!

PS- The midgets versus the gays – that was hilarious!

Philippine Events: The Carewell Star Night at Manila Polo Club

Posted in All About The Philippines, Duke420 Articles, Philippine Events, Philippine Lifestyle, Philippine News with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 10, 2008 by South Arts Festival
Carewell Community Foundation

Carewell Community Foundation (photo borrowed from Carewell website)

On October 2, 2008, the Carewell Community Foundation will proudly present: The Carewell Star Night. This first-of-its-kind event in the Philippines will honor persons with cancer and, most especially, their “stars” – the family members, friends, and other loved ones who have enabled them to not only survive, but even thrive, amidst the challenges of their illness.

Over time, these “stars” steadfastly stood by and faithfully walked alongside their loved ones with cancer through every twist and turn of their cancer journeys. These amazing caregivers have done, and continue to do, so very much: running errands, helping out at work, and, most important, providing emotional support. Thus, it is only fitting that we honor and thank them by giving them nothing less than the starring role during our Star Night benefit concert.

A benefit concert featuring Ryan Cayabyab and the Ryan Cayabyab Singers will be also a highlight entertainment for the evening.

Tickets to the Star Night are available now for only P2000(regular) and P5000 (donor). The price of the tickets includes cocktails, admission to the performance of Ryan Cayabyab and the Ryan Cayabyab Singers, and to our very, very special multimedia presentation of the Carewell survivors and their stars! Please contact Abelle Sipin at 0917-538-2096, or call Carewell at 751-0242 and 815-1294 for tickets sales or for more information.

Team Yap Is One Of The Top Contenders During San Mig Pub Quiz Night

Posted in All About The Philippines, Duke420 Articles, Philippine Events, Philippine Lifestyle with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 8, 2008 by South Arts Festival

If you’ve lived in the Alabang area, you know very much that San Mig Pub is an institution, being one of the oldest watering holes in the area. At one point, you must’ve at least been to San Mig for lunch or for a few drinks, or maybe a lot of drinks. Well, at least, you know where it is, and you can’t not see it when you go malling at Alabang Town Center.

Throughout the long history of the very famous San Mig Pub, it’s only now that they’ve had a quiz night. Every Wednesdays, San Mig Pub hosts a quiz night that is very different from all the rest of the other quiz nights/ trivia nights of places like Murphy’s or the old Blarneystone or something like that. While the other places give you a pen and paper to record your answers as an individual contestant, the San Mig Pub Quiz Night allows you to participate in the competition as a team along with your friends. And instead of submitting your answers on a piece of paper, you have to raise up your hands and beat out the rest of the other participating teams in being the first one to get the right question. In case of a tie, then there is the roll of the dice that will be the basis of breaking the tiebreaker.

Team Yap at San Mig Pub Quiz Night

Team Yap at San Mig Pub Quiz Night

San Mig Pub Quiz Night quizmaster Deeg Rodriguez started this just a few months back, and one of its consistent regulars is the group of Team Yap, who has the distinction of being the first ever winner of the San Mig Pub Quiz Night. In their first title defense, however, Team Yap had to settle for second place after quiz master Deeg Rodriguez skipped all questions pertaining to alcoholic beverages. Apparently, Team Yap is also discreetly(?) known as the S.S. Alcoholics, and just had a huge advantage in that category.

Team Yap went on a brief hiatus following the recent passing of the mother of a Team Yap member, but returned to earn another second place finish. In Team Yap‘s last outing, they had to settle for a third place finish.

Nonetheless, Team Yap is still noted among one of the top contenders during the San Mig Pub Quiz Night held every Wednesday nights at the San Mig Pub in Alabang Town Center. Members of Team Yap have included Brian Banta, Carlo Aguinaldo, Marge Camacho, Ysa Laurel, Tals Diaz, Ines Cabarrus, Yesu Cabarrus, Noel Orosa, Paolo Rosero and JJ Duque among other members.

This coming Wednesday night, Team Yap hopes to improve from its last disappointing outing and come away with a second victory – one that is long overdue. Apart from pride and recognition, the San Mig Pub Quiz Night winners get gift certificates from San Mig Pub. Team Yap is very well known for sharing the spoils with the other contestants when they win.

Double nipples for everyone!

Philippine Lifestyle: Wedding Belle Magazine Launches With A Bang!

Posted in All About The Philippines, Philippine Events, Philippine Lifestyle, Philippine News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 8, 2008 by South Arts Festival

A wedding gown fashion show highlights the Wedding Belle Magazine Launch

Birth, death and matrimony are life’s greatest transitions, but you only have control over one of them. You want only the best for your wedding day and beyond, but already preparations and worries have worn you down to a frazzle. How to deal with wedding prep blues? Get advice – loads of it, and from only the best sources. The hottest new source for bridal advice is now here with Wedding Belle magazine, which launched with a lavish party last August 28, 2008 at the Blue Leaf Pavilion in Bonifacio Global City.

The event was a foretaste of the magazine’s style: hip but with classic taste, and a showcase of event planning from the scrumptious food to the perfect venue and elegant décor. Beautiful flower arrangements adorned the venue courtesy of Scarlet Begonia Flowers. Guests were welcomed with wine and champagne courtesy of Rene Barbier and a truly flavorful and endless assortment of hors d’oeuvres and pasta by H Cuisine. The repast was rounded off with an overflowing open bar courtesy of Bailey’s, Artic Vodka and Belgian brews from Global Beer Exchange, while those with a sweet tooth indulged in confections from Marta’s Cakes.

The party was the model of a dream reception that it was. Nor were the brides missing, as designers Kristel Yulo, Louis Claparols, New Yorker and Jun Escario presented some stylish, contemporary gowns in a fashion show. Hosts Bianca Araneta-Elizalde and Miguel Rocha kept the appreciative crowd entertained and gave away nifty prize items.

The height of the evening was of course the unveiling of the magazine by Team Belle, the brilliant ladies behind the magazine. Wedding Belle is the newest magazine of Bella Luce Publications, already known for its highly regarded Digital Photographer Philippines magazine that won the Best Printing award in 2007. Publishers Marta Araneta and Pilar Tuason (herself a noted wedding photographer) along with the other Belles know very well the need for a comprehensive, stylish yet no-nonsense guide to marriage and married life for brides-to-be.

Realizing that “getting married” is a lifestyle in itself, Wedding Belle brings together top talents in fashion, beauty, photography, design, planning, health, wealth management, and sex to get you, the bride, ready for that biggest of big days. The magazine not only tackles the modern bride’s concerns around the event of the wedding but also prepares her for this transition with savvy and humor. The Wedding Belle reader is educated, independent-thinking, with a refined sense of style and open to exciting new ideas, a confident young woman planning her dream wedding who is prepared to spare no effort or expense on her wedding, honeymoon and future.

Moreover, Wedding Belle encourages brides-to-be to talk to each other and share over its community forum. In fact, is set to be the hottest online destination for brides with its panel of experts ready to answer any question quickly and candidly.

Wedding Belle is a quarterly publication, and will retail for PHP 295; the maiden issue hits the stalls on September 8. Team Belle would like to express their deepest thanks to all its sponsors, especially Henry Pascual, H Cuisine, Hizon’s, Scarlet Begonia Flowers, and Sensitivity for making the launch party such a grand and successful event.

Philippine Events: DANCE! at Embassy Fly Features Wendell Garcia, Kevin Ruiz and Elian Habayeb

Posted in All About The Philippines, Duke420 Articles, Philippine Dance, Philippine Events, Philippine Lifestyle, Philippine News with tags , , , , , , , , on August 27, 2008 by South Arts Festival
Dance! At Embassy FLY

Dance! At Embassy FLY

I received an invitation to an awesome party at Embassy Fly from my good friend Elian Habayeb, who is one of the coolest people when it comes to deejays, parties and events. Anyway, I’m posting the event invitation verbatim as was written.

All I can say about it is that DANCE! is an awesome concept, and is going to be a hit event. No social butterfly-ing here, just sweat it out and dance!!!


Even though Manila has a vibrant nightlife, this doesn’t necessarily mean it has much of a “dance” scene. Yes, people go out and drink and party, but people are seldom seen really dancing. In other cities, such as New York, San Francisco, London or Sydney, people sweat it on the dance floors of clubs for upwards of 5 hours, resting only long enough to go to the restroom and get a drink to cool them down. There was a time when such dancing existed in Manila, the age of ABG’s and seveneightorange from 1998 to 2003. Although today there are bigger and more posh clubs with louder sound systems and fancier VIP sections, the raw therapeutic dancing is all but nonexistent.

The mission of the organizers of DANCE! – DJs Wendell Garcia, Kevin Ruiz, and Elian Habayeb – is to basically “bring dance back” to Manila by holding a unique monthly party that focuses on the dancing and minimizes other distractions. Similar monthly parties are now being held in major cities all over the world but, aside from a select few great parties, there is nothing really like this in Manila. One look at the full dance floor on any night this event is held and it becomes clear what the organizers are trying to do.

It’s a simple formula really: bring people who enjoy dancing together, get them in a venue with a good dance floor and good sound system, and play the best dance music in the world. The person that isn’t dancing his heart out by the end of the night needs to check if he has a pulse.

DJs Wendell, Kevin and Elian have a rich background in performing at and organizing such dance events. With musical influences from New York and Chicago to Toronto and Berlin, the trio has rocked clubs before and are now ready to do it together in an epic monthly event that is expected to build a considerable cult following. But this won’t be about their efforts, this will all be about you and every member of the underground dance community coming together and leaving the stress of daily life on the dance floor.

DANCE! won’t be confined strictly to its venue at Embassy FLY, it will also reach a potential 12 million listeners on the radio through its live broadcasts on Manila’s #1 R&B radio station WAVE 89.1 FM, and will reach global audiences through its broadcasts on internet radio stations and through coverage on MTV.

Manila’s not gonna know what hit it!

You are invited to the launch party on Thursday August 28.

The time has finally come for the underground dance community to come together

DANCE! -The last Thursday of every month at Embassy FLY

No cover. Dress comfy.

(Live taped broadcast on WAVE 89.1’s “The Blue Room” Saturday 11pm to 3am)