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A piece of Chef Tatung’s home: Talisay the Garden Café

Chef Tatung brings his childhood, his travels, and his many other experiences to his home-away-from-home in Maginhawa. Chef Myke “Tatung” Sarthou probably summed up Talisay the Garden Café best: it reflects “our family’s memories of...

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Dashing Spot

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Peace and quiet on private island, North Cay

Found: A place in the far end of Busuanga to rest when you feel like other islands are too crowded. North Cay Nature Island is one of the lesser-known private islands. Located about an hour away from the town of Concepcion in Busuanga,...

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Hot Spot

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Hidden stash of rum, found

Go to the Buccaneers Rum & Cocktails in Poblacion on a weeknight and enjoy a full range of the best tasting rums There’s an odd tale going around Poblacion that goes something like this: a ship with barrels of rum crashed in Poblacion...

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Parties & Fairs

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Events to see in February 2020

We’ve got a long-running travel expo, a school fair-turned-music fest, and the country’s premier art fair all in one month. 
PTAA Travel Tour Expo February 7 to 9 The biggest annual travel showcase in the country is back with deals that...

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Sand, sun, sea: 5 reasons why we love Pass Island in Coron

Waves, nature and more: The Dash Store mural by Jappy Agoncillo

Recipe: Kermit’s signature mojito

4 days in Camiguin

4 days in Camiguin

Half-Filipina, half-Aussie travel influencer Zowie Palliaer shows us how to navigate the Island Born of Fire, her style

Camiguin, nicknamed the Island Born of Fire, is one of the few places in the country where you can experience all that the Philippines offers without having to leave the municipality. It has challenging mountain trails, powdery white-sand beaches, colorful underwater scenes, delicious food, and amazing people—all within an island that’s smaller than Malta.

Camiguin-based model and travel influencer, Zowie Palliaer, tells us the best route to take to fully experience the adventure-packed island. Here’s her take on spending four days and three nights in this gem North of Mindanao.

Day 1: Explore nearby sights

Her favourite resort in Camiguin: Bintana sa Paraiso. Photo from Zowie Palliaer

Flying into Camiguin, you’ll get in around lunch time. First thing’s first, food! Straight across from the airport is La Dolce Vita, so grab a delicious wood fire pizza before the adventure starts. From there, check into Bintana sa Paraiso Naasag and then continue a few kilometres down the road to the Old Volcano. Transformed into the stations of the cross, it’s about 30 minutes of easy walk to the summit where you’ll be rewarded with incredible views of the island.

Or you can swing by the Sunken Cemetery later in the day and get the same colors as this photo. Photo by Carson Moody

Next up, the Sunken Cemetery. Here, you can either take photos from the view deck, ride a boat to the Cross platform for a closer look, or the adventurous type can even snorkel among the marine life and coral that have now taken over the cemetery. Past the Sunken Cemetery lies the Old Spanish Church Ruins. Aside from the cross, this historical site is one of the last standing reminders of the destructive volcanic eruption in 1871, making it an integral part of Camiguin’s history.

Finish the day off at Ardent Hot Springs. These cascading springs are flowing with warm water from the active Mt. Hibok Hibok volcano, so it’s a perfect spot to settle in and relax during the early evening.

Day 2: Swimsuit day!

Zowie’s advice for White Island: GET. HERE. EARLY. Photo from Zowie Palliaer

The early bird catches the worm, or in this case, less brutal sun rays on White Island. Arguably the most visited destination in Camiguin, Zowie recommends heading out there early as the only shade on offer are beach umbrellas for hire. Swim, relax and enjoy the view looking back at Camiguin from this ever-changing sandbar.

Katibawasan Falls. It’s not that far from the White Island boat terminal. Photo by Andrew Del Rosario

Since you started early, there’s plenty of time left for adventure, so make your way to Katibawasan Falls. Found in the middle of dense jungle, the 250-foot waterfall is a sight to behold, and the pool surrounding it provides a refreshing place to swim and take photos.

We can confirm that it is, indeed, close to freezing cold water. Photo by Daniel Soriano

Last stop on the day’s agenda is Sto. Niño Cold Springs. Take a winding road up the mountain in Catarman and you’ll find yourself at the biggest natural spring on the island. The water here verges on freezing, so Zowie suggests jumping in without hesitation. There are picnic sheds around the edge of the pool for you to hang out in when you’re not swimming. Complete the chill time and have fish spa.

Day 3: Adventure time

Switch it up and head to Sagay and Guinsiliban on the other side of the island on day three. Put on your hiking shoes for a trek to the lesser known Binangawan Falls in Sagay. An intermediate climb, the jungle covered path leading to the falls is steep but rewarding once you reach the oasis at the bottom. You’re almost guaranteed to have the place to yourself, so it’s a perfect place to swim and explore this untouched area.

Head back on the road and keep making your way around the island to the Moro Watchtower in Guinsiliban. Located behind the elementary school, this centuries-old tower was used in the Spanish era to guard against Moro attacks from mainland Mindanao.

Travel a further 10 minutes to the Kibila Giant Clam Sanctuary in Cantaan, Guinsiliban. This small stretch of white sand is home to hundreds of giant clams just off shore, part of a breeding program. Snorkel among incredible coral formations, plentiful marine life and get up close and personal with the clams.

Day 4: Bittersweet last day in Camiguin

Here’s a piece of the action beneath the waves off of Mantigue Island. Photo by Daniel Soriano

Cap your Camiguin trip with some of my personal favorite destinations, starting with the gem of Mahinog—Mantigue Island. Accessible by a 10 minute pump boat ride, Mantigue is a marine sanctuary absolutely teeming with underwater life, and you might even spot a turtle or two. The island is shaded by a thick canopy of trees and is home to a small fishing community so be sure to walk around the island and meet the locals. There’splenty of picnic sheds and tables, and there’s a small restaurant where you can order grilled meat and seafood.

One of the many delicacies you can get at J&R Fishpen: local clams raised right at the fishpen. Photo by Daniel Soriano

J&R Fishpen at the lagoon is Zowie’s favorite place to enjoy freshly caught and cooked seafood as well as classic Filipino dishes. With a full belly, you’re ready to make the drive to Tuasan Falls about 45 minutes away in Catarman. Aside from the road leading in, this area has remained practically untouched making it the perfect place to swim and take photos of the beautiful surroundings.

Last but not least is the popular Bura Soda Swimming Pool, a natural spring with carbonated water located down the road from Tuasan Falls. If you’re game to give it a taste, there are taps where you can try this entirely natural, slightly fizzy water.

Get there. SkyJet Airlines flies to Camiguin four times weekly. Island transportation includes motorbikes, multicabs, and motorelas.

Words: Zowie Palliaer

The grand escape: 5 private islands in the Philippines

The grand escape: 5 private islands in the Philippines

Here’s a list of islands in the country you can rent to yourself, or share with other holiday makers but don’t feel like it.

Private islands have an aura of luxury and exclusivity that most destinations find hard to match. As an archipelago, we have a lot of them already unlocked by some of the country’s rich and famous.

In fact, some of our islands have become known throughout the world as some of the best, like one of the entries in this list. If you’re looking at satisfying that “luxury travel” item on your list, check out these private islands you can book for a truly luxurious experience.

Amanpulo, Cuyo, Palawan

Perhaps the most well-known of the islands on this list is the most luxurious of luxurious, Amanpulo. Located in the middle of the Sulu Sea, Amanpulo is actually situated on Pamalican Island, one of the islands in the Cuyo archipelago. You can do pretty much everything you’d like to do on a private island here: swim in the sea with waters so clear they glisten in the sunlight at high noon, snorkel, have a bit of water sports like kite surfing, and embark on sunset cruise.

You may encounter other guests on the island but the resort management has a way of making you feel you and your party are the only ones there.

Starts at Php73,407/night (USD1,405) | Aman.com

Banwa Private Island, Roxas, Palawan

One of the newer private islands the country has seen, Banwa is a place where you can find a luxurious and very private escape. You charter the whole island, meaning you can have it all to yourself. It’s about 500km from Manila, with San Vicente as its main entry point.

Banwaprivateisland.com to know more and to inquire about renting the island

Bamboo Private Islands, Coron, Palawan

This is one of those places that you definitely do not expect. Bamboo Private Islands is actually split into two: the Big Bamboo Island and the Small Bamboo Island. Both can be rented out, though the Small Bamboo Island is more popular, thanks to its location: you’re smack dab in the middle of Culion Bay, close to popular gems like Ditaytayan, Malcapuya, and Two Seasons Coron Island.

Starts at Php75,923/night for Small Bamboo Island
Bambooislands.ph. To get to Bamboo Island, take a SkyJet Airlines flight from Manila to Busuanga.

Brother Island, El Nido, Palawan

They’ve been called the Robinson Crusoe Island of the Philippines. Brother Island, located in the northern shores of El Nido, is one of the most popular islands that you can rent on Airbnb. It’s the only exclusive private island retreat in El Nido that offers snorkeling (a coral reef surrounds the island), a jungle and bamboo forest, and you’ll be staying in an ancestral house that was put up in 1991.

Starts at Php23,000/night, includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, airport pick-up and drop-off (El Nido), snorkeling gear, kayaks
Brotherisland.ph

Ariara, Linapacan, Palawan

Talk about luxury and privacy. Ariara Island, located about 256km southwest of Manila, is probably the must-visit on this list. You can rent out the whole island for two nights and have the utmost in privacy. Imagine having a 125-acre island to yourself, with your own white sand beach, your own coral reef to snorkel in, all of your meals prepared by a personal chef, a bevy of watersports equipment, and roundtrip transfers between El Nido or Coron, whichever airport you’re flying into.

Starts at Php93,600/night for the whole island, minimum of 2 nights
Ariaraisland.com. Take a SkyJet Airlines flight from Manila to Coron.

Featured photo of Inaladelan Island shown for context, taken by Harvey Tapan

Date night ideas for V-Day and any other day in 2020

Date night ideas for V-Day and any other day in 2020

These spots from bag designer Lally Dizon and her businessman husband Chris are sure to heighten the romance in your night out.

Great food, good wine, a romantic ambience, and impeccable service. These are the things that luxury bag designer Lally Dizon (@lallydizon_mla) and her husband, Chris, look for whenever they go out on a date.

What Lally does is this: “I actually research first to check the new restaurants we can try for our next date night.” She often checks spots in BGC and Poblacion in Makati City for unique concepts that she and her husband can explore.

Taste art at degustacion restos

Degustacion restaurants or menus are basically tasting menus, except that the chef takes over the whole process of creating it: from the theme down to deciding on which dishes get served. Servings will be tiny, but think of it this way: it’s the chef showing you how good he is in the kitchen.

For places like this, Lally recommends:

Gallery by Chele

From esteemed chef Chele Gonzales, Gallery by Chele was once the hit degustacion-only Gallery VASK. It’s been revamped to include a casual dining set-up, but get a spot in their DINING ROOM and you can enjoy their tasting menus.

Gallery by Chele is located at 5F Clipp Center, 11th Ave corner 39th St, Bonifacio Global City. For reservations, visit gallerybychele.com or call +63 917 5461673.

Mecha Uma

Omakase is a practice usually seen in Japanese restaurants: you let the chef decide what he wants to serve you. That’s basically a degustacion menu, if you ask us, and Chef Bruce Rickett’s Mecha Uma falls into the category of “one of the best places” to get it.

Mecha Uma is at GF, RCBC Savings Bank Corporate Center, 25th and 26th Street, Bonifacio Global City. For reservations, call 02 8801 2770.

12/10

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One of the best ways to enjoy how good the food is at 12/10 in Saguijo is to get their omakase or prix fixe menu. It gives you a full experience of what their chefs AND mixologists are capable of, as 12/10 is, after all, a non-traditional izakaya. <insert what prix fixe menu. readers need to understand.>

12/10 is at 7635 Guijo Street, San Antonio Village, Makati City. For reservations, call +63 915 6632823 or email [email protected]

Telenovela feels in Spanish restos

This would be more of a preference that anything, but Spanish restaurants are practically made for good date nights. Wine? Check. Food? Check. Ambiance? Check. Service? Check.

In that vein, here are some of Lally and Chris’s picks:

La Picara

They serve food that plays around with traditional flavors of Spanish cuisine, throwing in a bit of Asian flair and panache. Dining here feels like you’re in one of those family restaurants in Barcelona. Try the xx.

Head for the 2F of One Bonifacio High Street Mall to experience a very playful Spanish meal at La Picara.

Rambla

Nothing says Spanish quite like a pan of paella and a glass of Sangria, and you get all of that (plus more) at Rambla.

Rambla has spots in Rockwell and Salcedo Village. For reservations, visit bit.ly/ramblaph

Las Flores

It’s been called “an institution” by its patrons, and it’s not hard to see why: Las Flores serves a mean paella negra next to their seafood paella. There’s also the idea of drinking sangria in a mason jar, which some people find odd.

Las Flores is at One McKinley Place in BGC and The Podium in Ortigas, Pasig City.

Donosti

It’s no secret why Donosti made it to Philippine Tatler’s 20 Best Restaurants of 2019. They tick off all the checkboxes of what a Spanish restaurant ought to be with their mix of on-point flavors from San Sebastian (probably the best place to eat in Spain for Basque cooking) and creative interpretations of classic Spanish dishes. Must try: xx

Donosti is located at NAC Tower, 32nd Ave, Bonifacio Global City. For reservations, call 02 8856 0206.

Go full fancy at a steakhouse

Nothing says a fancy date like having wine with a delicious piece of steak. There’s a lot of steakhouses to choose from in Metro Manila, but here are the ones Lally and Chris like:

Raging Bull Chophouse & Bar

Shangri-La at The Fort’s in-house steakhouse serves a hefty-yet-delicious Tomahawk Wagyu from Jack’s Creek in New South Wales that deserves to be shared between two people, though you might want to dial it back to The Chopping Block if a tomahawk is a bit too big.

Raging Bull is at L3, Shangri-La at the Fort, Manila 30th Street corner 5th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City.

Wolfgang’s Steakhouse

Wolfgang’s is a New York staple for steaks. They only have 21 branches worldwide, and we’re lucky to have three of them: one in Resorts World Manila, one at The Podium, and another at One Bonifacio High Street. Doesn’t get any fancier than that, really.

For reservations, call 02 8511 7009 (Resorts World Manila), 02 7586 4892 (BGC), and 02 7505 6272 (Ortigas).

Ruby Jack’s Steakhouse and Bar

When people talk about steaks and City of Dreams Manila, they’re usually talking about Ruby Jack’s Steakhouse and Bar. The steaks taste great; they have a good selection of wines and spirits; but it’s the ambiance really takes the cake.

Ruby Jack’s is at UGF, City of Dreams, Aseana Ave corner Roxas Blvd, Parañaque City.

I Am Angus Steakhouse

This spot is a bit under the radar as far as steak lovers are concerned, but it is genuinely a good place to get steak. Tucked away at Dining at Yakal, a row of specialty restaurants next to Santi’s Delicatessen, they give you about as bare of a steakhouse experience as can be: good meat, good wine, and a quiet place to enjoy it all.

I Am Angus Steakhouse is at 7431 Yakal Street, San Antonio Village, Makati. For reservations, call 02 8892 5852 or +63956 135 4213.

Who are Lally and Chris Dizon

Photo from Lally Dizon

Lally Cruz-Dizon is the creative mind behind luxury brand LD, and creative director of Vintage Restore, the country’s pioneer in repair and restoration of luxury leather goods. She is happily married to businessman Chris Dizon, a partner of The Brewery and Draft.

Featured photo created by prostooleh – www.freepik.com

A piece of Chef Tatung’s home: Talisay the Garden Café

A piece of Chef Tatung’s home: Talisay the Garden Café

Chef Tatung brings his childhood, his travels, and his many other experiences to his home-away-from-home in Maginhawa.

Chef Myke “Tatung” Sarthou probably summed up Talisay the Garden Café best: it reflects “our family’s memories of growing up in Talisay, Cebu.” He spoke of Sunday feasts made from scratch, and is something different from what everyone else in Talisay was having when he lived there.

This is your welcome sign.

The cool thing about this Talisay is that it feels like home—or rather, a cross between a modern home with a garden and a fine dining restaurant in the city.

The main restaurant area with a view of…
… the garden.

Located in Diliman’s famous Maginhawa Street, Talisay the Garden Café was once a typical 60’s suburban Manila home: a simple one- or two-storey house with a garden that would be considered massive by today’s standards.

A more “private” area decorated with paintings

Taking this as their canvas, Chef Myke and his brother Jomi turned the rundown house into what I can only describe as a cross between a pseudo glasshouse with a garden and a modern fine-dining resto. Most of the restaurant has glass for walls, which lets you see their garden in its entirety.

White dominates the space, while paintings picked out by both Chef Tatung and Jomi accentuate the walls. The entrance is unassuming—like walking towards a friend’s house—though the cursive sign saying “Talisay” tells you you’ll be in for a treat.

Food

Paella Mixta. A classic Filipino paella

Food at Talisay is Filipino regional cuisine made simple. No gimmicks like wildcard ingredients or elaborate presentations; just clean plating of classic Filipino fares like their paella mixta, a Filipino-style paella made with organic tinawon rice with sofrito and seafood stock topped with chicken, seafood, and chorizo.

Lumpia Fresca. Fresh lumpia with peanut sauce in a tri-color presentation. Those are crepes, by the way, and not lumpia wrappers.

They also serve a mean chicken pianggang, a dish made by the Tausugs for special occasions. It’s grilled chicken in a black curry sauce with a blend of spices and char-burned coconut meat that we suggest you call ahead of time to order if you want a taste.

A classic comfort food from the region: molo soup.

The best thing about their menu, apart from its simplicity, is that you’re not restricted to specific pairings. You can mix and match dishes from their menu without fear of flavors clashing with each other. You’ll also be glad to know everything is made in-house, including their popular sourdough bread (yes, they bake their own bread).

Drink

You have a selection of fresh fruit shakes (ripe mango, green mango, or watermelon), a traditional sago’t gulaman, or freshly-made four seasons juice made with seasonal fruits. For me, I’d like another glass of their refreshing Talisay Lemonada (citrus juice with lemon, lime, and calamansi infused with fresh mint and basil).

The basics
About Php1,200 (USD24) for two
44 Maginhawa Street, UP Village, Diliman, Quezon City
(02) 8293-9077, 0919 877 6321
Fb.com/TalisayGardenQC
@TalisayQC on Instagram

Get there. Ride a bus bound for Commonwealth and asked to be dropped off at the National Housing Authority or Maharlika Street. Alternatively, you can take the MRT to Quezon Avenue Station and ride a jeep headed for UP Diliman before getting off at Maharlika Street. Walk along Maharlika until you see a shed where tricycles are parked. Hop on one and tell them to drop you off at 44 Maginhawa Street.

Peace and quiet on private island, North Cay

Peace and quiet on private island, North Cay

Found: A place in the far end of Busuanga to rest when you feel like other islands are too crowded.

It’s a tiny island you can get to know within an afternoon. Perfect for those people-free selfies! Photo by Daniel Soriano

North Cay Nature Island is one of the lesser-known private islands. Located about an hour away from the town of Concepcion in Busuanga, Palawan (two-and-a-half to three if you’re coming from Coron), this little island gives you unobstructed views of Busuanga Bay’s fiery sunsets from its own viewdeck, a tiny bar of sorts where you can enjoy simple cocktails, and huts you can rent for as low as Php3,000/night. If day tours are more of your thing, it’s only Php200 per person to get in.

It has a small white sand beach that doubles as the island’s docking area, a spot that you’ll usually have to yourself because of how far this island is from Coron. The waters around it are good for snorkeling, especially the north side of the island.

Get there. SkyJet Airlines has 21 flights to Busuanga weekly. Hire a boat from either Concepcion or Coron to take you to North Cay Nature Island. Boat rentals go from between Php2,000 to Php3,000 per boat.

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