Eat and sip Ilocos in Makati at Agimat Foraging Bar

Eat and sip Ilocos in Makati at Agimat Foraging Bar

Beginning this sunny month of April, Agimat Foraging Bar and Kitchen will take us all the way to the bountiful northern province of Ilocos for a tasteand sipof its wonderful exotic flavors.

If you live and/or work in Makati yet have never been to Agimat Foraging Bar and Kitchen, then you need to get to this place pronto. They’ve been a hit with Poblacion’s regulars thanks to the way they present flavors from Chefs Kalel Demetrio’s and Niño Laus’s foraging trips across the country.

Sit under this tree in Poblacion and you might just get the most interesting drink you’ve ever had.

Agimat carried the flavors of Batangas from the day they opened late in 2018, but we’ve got news for you: some of those are out starting this April. Where are they taking us? Ilocos. That’s where.

For the uninitiated, Agimat’s menu is nowhere near traditional. What Chef Kalel and Chef Niño do is present ingredients they foraged from a certain province (or, in this case, provinces) in a way that you will certainly remember.

Here’s a sneak peek of what’s in store for your tummy for the next four or five months at Agimat:

Start your meal with this. Or let it BE your meal. We won’t judge.

For your appetizer (and yes, it qualifies as an appetizer), a plate of savory alimasag (blue swimmer crab) with Alavar sauce from Zamboanga (yes, it’s not Ilocos, but it goes so well with crab), Patani hummus (see what we said about the menu not being traditional), Caramay foam, and rice wrapped in a Gamet (seaweed grown in Ilocos Norte) crust.

A duck leg on top of some delicious and healthy adlai and kinuday sausages. Good eats. Good eats.

A serving of itik (duck) a la pianggang (a Tausug classic, but not an exact recreation) on a bed of adlai (healthier rice substitute) with inuday (the Ibaloi version of smoked meat) sausages as your main dish.

There’s a short rib underneath all that beef floss and green, squiggly (yet delicious) alokon.

Alternatively, you can get their tender kitayama short ribs buried deep-ish beneath a pile of beef floss and alokon or Birch flower (though it’s not even related to the birch tree).

The drinks (the part menu that Agimat is well-known for) still follow their theme of “five elements:” fire, water, earth, air, and life, with a couple of mainstays making it over from the Batangas menu.

Diegong Bagsik. It lives up to its name if the ingredients are anything to go by.

Take this northern-inspired drink aptly called Diegong Bagsik. Imagine drinking something from inside a candle (no, you’re not using the candle as a glass) that has gin AND a cold brew liqueur.

Then there’s this beauty: Laban ni Gabriela.

The Laban ni Gabriela looks like something straight out of a fairy tale, making full use of everything local: blue pea gin from Liquido Maestro’s own distillery in Aklan, basi (a drink from Ilocos made with fermented sugarcane), and some good old mountain tea.

Yes, Agimat is tucked away in one of Poblacion’s hard-to-park streets, but a trip to this unique bar and kitchen (since we’re not willing to call it a restaurant) is a risk worth taking.

Verdict: 10/10

The Basics
About Php1,000 (USD 20) per person
Alfonso corner Fermina Streets, Poblacion, Makati
Fb.com/agimatbar

Words: Andronico Del Rosario
Photos: Daniel Soriano

Unique Holy Week holidays for 2019

Unique Holy Week holidays for 2019

Make your Holy Week vacation more interesting by actually engaging in Holy Week activities. *wink wink*

Going on a social media purge as your penitensya (penance) or beach bumming in places like Boracay or Palawan for the Semana Santa is well and good, but don’t you ever get tired of the same trend every single year? Why not go on a simple summer holiday where you can enjoy your vacation AND still experience something relevant to Holy Week festivities? We have rounded up ideas for your Semana Santa escape.

Barotac Viejo, Iloilo

Iloilo isn’t the first place that pops into people’s heads when it comes to answering the question “Where should I be this Holy Week?” It’s not as popular a destination especially that crowd favorite Boracay is merely on the northwest part of the island. But the sleep town of Barotac Viejo may just give you something new.

The little town is known for having a community that is takes their Holy Week seriously by mimicking the Passion of Christ. The townspeople themselves have been performing the Passion play, with “passion” Hiligaynon every Good Friday for almost half a century in their annual Taltal sa Barotac Viejoand it’s a delight to watch.

Places to see: Bucas Grande, Old Iloilo City, Miagao Church, River Esplanande, “Little Baguio” (Bucari)
Things to do: Party at Smallville, Walk along Iloilo River Esplanande, Island hopping at Concepcion

Bantayan Island, Cebu

Bantayan Island
This small island north of Cebu isn’t just a hit for its white sand beaches; it’s also a good place to be if you want to see lifesize replicas of religious images this Holy Week. Photo by Roderick Eime

It’s an island north of the Cebu mainland that’s become popular for its stretches of fine-sand beaches that is expected to see an influx of tourists this Holy Week. What people shouldn’t miss while in the island paradise is the annual Pasko sa Kasakit, a simple celebration of the stations of the cross, but with a twist where the images in the Station of the Cross are supersized and paraded around.

Places to see: Alice Beach, Camp Sawi, Kota Beach (all in Santa Fe), Malapascua Island, Virgin Island, Hilantagaan Island, Kota Park
Things to do: Biking, snorkel, freedive/scuba, beach bumming, tour the town of Bantayan for heritage houses

Siquijor

This island is starting to blow up more for the views you’ll get than what happens here during Semana Santa.

Siquijor, known across the country as a home to witchcraft and mysticism, but locals have since shed that image and now proudly celebrate their folk healing expertise with the annual Folk Healing Festival, taking place during the last few days of Holy Week. Get yourself treated by local healers or witness how they make various concoctions with the promise of curing almost anything you can think of—yes, including heartaches.

Places to see: Century-old balete tree, Salagdoong Beach, Paliton Beach, Kagusuan Beach (extremely hidden, possible that not even the locals know about it)
Things to do: Go around the island on a scooter, visit a ranch, hit the island’s peaks on a mountain bike, snorkeling, beach hopping

Marinduque

If there’s a Holy Week destination that’s never left off any list, it’s Marinduque. Known as the geographical heart of the Philippines, it’s basically an island that’s made itself known for a festival that celebrates a Roman soldier who became a believer in Jesus Christ: the Moriones Festival.

Moriones Festival
He’s not really angry, but he is the first thing you’ll see when you look up information on the Moriones Festival, the tale of a Roman soldier who became a believer in Jesus Christ. Photo by Richard Reynoso for travelingmorion.com.

Most of you will know what this festival centers on commemorating Roman soldier Longinus, who stabs Jesus on the side, witnesses His resurrection, tells the Romans about it, and (gruesomely) gets his head chopped off. This part is often depicted in their version of The Passion play, which talks about Christ’s last moments before He eventually passes on.

Places to see: Tres Reyes islands, Mt. Mataas, Boac, Palad Sandbar, Ungab Rock Formations, Bathala Python Cave
Things to do: Visita Iglesia, Beach hopping

Pampanga

It’s the piece de resistance of a list of Holy Week destinations, and something that’s also been a source of controversy as to whether or not it should be considered a tourist attraction. We’re talking, of course, about the Maleldo Festival in San Pedro Cutud, Pampanga.

struck
Yes. This is a very REAL crucifixion. In San Pedro Cutud. And it happens nearly every year. Photo by istolethetv on Flickr.

The Maleldo Festival is the full (and very real) re-enactment of Christ’s crucifixion. Yes, it’s the whole 10 miles: the garb, the Crown of Thorns, crying depiction of Mary Magdalene, people marching on the streets whacking their backs with things that make them bleed, and someone actually getting nailed to a cross that they’ve been carrying for several miles.

Places to see: Mt. Pinatubo, Subic Bay, Sandbox at Porac, El Kabayo, Skyranch Pampanga, Nayong Pilipino
Things to do: go on a food trip, adventure activities, Visita Iglesia

Poblacion, Makati

Yes, you read that right. It’s an option for those who don’t want to go out of the city yet still want to witness something that only happens once a year. The citizens of Makati, particularly those who live in the restaurant-and-bar hub that is Poblacion, stage a parade commemorating Lent.

They hold a grand procession every Holy Wednesday (closed roads, of course) and put up booths with life-size depictions of The Passion of Christ. Another plus: some establishments stay open even during Holy Week!

Places to see: Sts. Peter and Paul Parish (one of the oldest churches in the country), Circuit Makati (but hold off on that after Holy Wednesday), art galleries in Poblacion
Things to do: staycation at one of the many hotels in the area, food trip, pub crawl

Festivals, jumps, and travel: your guide to April 2019

Festivals, jumps, and travel: your guide to April 2019

There’s a solemn week ahead for most Filipinos, but there’s also something for everyone else looking to have a good time or learn something new.

Summer is in full swing this April, and it’s only starting to reach its peak. While most people will try and get past the many pranks pulled during April Fools, most of us will want to settle down and rest. After all, April also signals the end of another school year.

April is known for its summer events and festivals, but it’s also known for workshops. Here are a couple of things you can’t miss this April:

World Travel Expo Lifestyle Edition 2019

Scenes from last year’s World Travel Expo 3, held at the SMX Convention Center – MOA in Pasay City. Photo from Ad Asia Events

It may be midway through summer, but that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the best travel deals for the upcoming seasons! On its first year, the World Travel Lifestyle Expo will become the first of two travel expos held every year by Ad Asia Events and features some of the biggest travel deals you’ve ever seen. Head on over to the SMX Convention Center from April 5 to 7 to score some fantastic deals for the rest of the year, be it local or international travel!

April 5 – 7, 2019
SMX Convention Center – MOA, Pasay City
Worldtravelexpo.com.ph

Parkour Workshop @ Ninja Academy Powered by Milo

There are a lot of skills that can be learned online, but some are better acquired in person, usually through a workshop. One such skill is the ability to move over, under, through, and around obstacles with ease like modern day ninjas or Jackie Chan. From April onwards, Ninja Academy, the country’s first gym dedicated to the practice of parkour, will hold workshops for six straight weekends where you’ll learn all the basics of this fast-growing sport.

April and May 2019
Ninja Academy – PH, Circulo Verde, Pasig City
bit.ly/MILOParkour

Siquijor Healing Festival

Healing Festival 2014 - Siquijor Island
A Japanese lady experiences folk healing in Siquijor last 2014. Photo by Soichi Yokoyama

Whenever you hear about the province of Siquijor, two things come to mind: an unspoiled island with spectacular vistas in Central Visayas… and witchcraft, though nowadays is on folk healing. The island now prides itself on its folk healers or mananambal and celebrate them via a Healing festival held during Holy Week. Festivities start on Holy Thursday and last until Black Saturday, and is mainly held in the town of San Antonio.

April 18 – 20, 2019
San Antonio, Siquijor

Centurion Festival in General Luna, Quezon

Centurion Masks
A mask maker from San Narciso, Quezon holds one of the many wooden masks they make for the annual Centurion Festival. Photo by Allan Barredo

Said to be the predecessor to the widely popular Moriones Festival, the Centurion Festival in the province of Quezon recounts the conversion of Longinus, a Roman centurion said to have stabbed the side of Jesus Christ, had His blood go into his blind eye and restored his vision. It’s just as colorful as Moriones and is even celebrated in other places like Pinamalayan, Mindoro.

April 15 – 21, 2019
Quezon Province and Pinamalayan, Mindoro

Capiztahan in Roxas City, Capiz

It’s a seafood spread for the ages, and it only happens in Roxas City, Capiz. Photo from the Capiz Tourism and Cultural Affairs Office

Roxas City is known across the country as the Seafood Capital of the Philippines, and you’d be hard-pressed to not give us a reason why we should change it to a different city. You can enjoy the freshest catch every single day from the waters surrounding Roxas City, and there’s no better time to do so than during Capiztahan. The festival is a seafood lover’s dream come true: streets lined with all kinds of seafood caught and cooked the same day!

April 12 – 15, 2019
Roxas City, Capiz

Bounce like it’s your last in these trampoline parks

Bounce like it’s your last in these trampoline parks

If you’ve ever been a fan of Tigger (yes, that TIGGER) and you’ve always had a dream of bouncing around all day, then hit these places up!

In today’s world, you’ll really only see bouncing happen at nightclubs, and that mostly means leaving them, not bouncing around in one. Very unlike the kind of bounce that the kids in us are yearning to try.

You can try and buy a trampoline or go to a mall and hope to find one that’s set-up in the middle, but then only your kids can enjoy those—and that’s a big bummer. Gymnastics facilities have trampolines, but those are (usually) used for training.

We’ve found an answer to your bouncing dreams: trampoline parks. As the name implies, these places house dozens of trampolines in a set-up that lets you fully enjoy all of them at the same time. It’s quite common in other countries, but it’s a bit of a rarity in the Philippines, so much so that these are your three best bets:

Trampoline Park

Did we mention it’s purple? Photo from Trampoline Park
The Gladiator won’t be able to hold a candle to this: Bubble Ball Fights! Photo from Trampoline Park

It’s the park that started it all. Trampoline Park opened its doors in February 2016 and it hasn’t stopped sending people skyward with its many trampolines. They’ve got tramps that go wall-to-wall that you can use for a variety of activities: volleyball, dodgeball, parkour, basketball, and overall fitness. They even have fitness and dance classes on trampolines!

The best part: you’re having fun AND losing weight! Photo from Trampoline Park

The best part, though, has to be what happens when the sun goes down. The lights are turned off and the lasers are turned on—it’s a party venue

Mayflower St., Greenfield District, Mandaluyong City
Trampolinepark.ph, FB: Trampoline Park – Zero Gravity Zone

Jump Yard

Ever had dreams of being “Like Mike”? Grab your chance at Jump Yard. Photo from Jump Yard PH
The Jump Yard Obstacle Course. Live out your Ninja Warrior dreams here! Photo from Jump Yard PH

The second of the metro’s three trampoline parks, Jump Yard is often tagged as the “biggest and coolest“ trampoline park in the country. From what we’ve seen, there isn’t much to hold them back from saying so, mainly because of their own obstacle course and the many trampolines they have.

You can leave your kids at a local playground, but why stop there? Photo from Jump Yard PH

They also offer coaching for those who want to learn how to bounce, as well as a separate space for the little ones! Make sure you drop by on a Wednesday for Volleyball Day, where you can live your dreams of flying like the characters from the popular sports anime Haikyuu!

Road E, Frontera Verde, Ortigas Ave. cor. E. Rodriguez Jr. Ave (C-5), Pasig City
Jumpyard.ph, FB: Jump Yard

Bounce Philippines

Platforms, tramps, and a foam pit. All inside a mall. Photo from Bounce Philippines

Remember when we said you don’t want to head to malls to find trampolines? Well, we take that back. Bounce Philippines, the third trampoline park in the country, might be the easiest to get to thanks to its location.

Will you be joining this cutie on her climb? Photo from Bounce Philippines

Imagine bouncing around their trampolines, skying for dunks, playing dodgeball, knocking your buddies off a beam, climb, do parkour, or challenge their Ninja course—all while being in either SM North EDSA in Quezon City or SM Southmall in Las Piñas?

2/F, North Tower, SM City North EDSA, Quezon City
G/F, South Tower, SM Southmall, Almanza Uno, Las Piñas City
Bounce.ph, FB: Bounce Philippines

Eat the city with love

Eat the city with love

If you are looking for a unique date night, why not try resto-hopping and taste these 10 recommended bites from foodies JJ Yulo and Mark Del Rosario? The adventure may just stir something up!

Oyster Sisig from Locavore

The restaurant is known for putting a twist on classic Filipino dishes, and while they are known for their famous Sizzling Sinigang, their Oyster Sisig is an underrated must-try. At Locavore, it comes in two versions: the fried Oyster Sisig (Php370), which is exactly what the name suggests, and the Lechon Oyster Sisig (Php380), which is the same thing, except with crunchy lechon bits.

Locavore.ph

Bibingka & Puto Bumbong from Via Mare

Something sticky and good for sharing like the bibingka of Via Mare, for sure, is a winner to dating couples. Photo by Jocas See

Filipinos love rice so much, they put it in every dish, including desserts. The bibingka and puto bumbong (Php80) are rice cakes that are particularly favored no matter what time of the year. At Via Mare, they are available all year round, and are best eaten as a snack. The bibingka comes in three versions: one with Laguna cheese and salted duck egg (Php130), one with Laguna cheese and edam cheese (Php160), and the last one made out of cassava (Php100).

Viamare.com.ph

Ube dirty ice cream from your friendly neighborhood ice cream man

It’s delicious, it’s cheap, and you can find them everywhere in Manila. Photo by Jocas See

It is not uncommon to see an ice cream vendor wheeling around a colorful ice cream cart on the streets of the metro. If you happen to encounter one, there is your golden opportunity to try the delicious cool purple treat flavored by purple yam and coconut milk. Most days, a scoop or two of ube ice cream is all you’ll need to cool down on a humid day. Don’t worry; it’s not really dirty.

Powerplant Mall in Rockwell, Makati

Halo-halo at Milky Way Cafe

It may still be cold, but you’ll be wishing for one of these soon enough. By Jocas See

Described by food writer JJ Yulo as “Manila in a bowl,” this dish is a hodgepodge of shaved ice, evaporated milk, sweet beans, tapioca pearls, coconut slices, flan—and yes, ube ice cream again. Many restaurants serve this dish, but the one at Milky Way Cafe is considered by many to be the best.

Cafe.milkywayrestaurant.com

Buko pie by Little Flour

The Filipino version of apple pie, Little Flour’s buko or coconut pie (Php220/slice), with its perfectly flaky crust, is a cult favorite.

Wildflour.com.ph/littleflour

Boneless Crispy Pata by Pamana

Sharing stories over ice-cold beer paired with the right food is distinctly Filipino. In most cases, it’s crispy pata–deep-fried pork knuckles served with soy sauce and vinegar. The one served at Pamana (Php650) is a favorite because it’s boneless and oh-so-tender.

Pamanarestaurant.com

Watermelon & beef short rib sinigang by Manam

Manam has managed to find a new way of giving this staple Filipino dish its signature sour flavor. This warm bowl is perfect to be shared by a loved up couple.

If you really want to get a handle on Filipino cuisine, sinigang is a dish you just have to try. To make the experience more memorable, try Manam’s unconventional take on the beloved Pinoy sour soup (Php245/small serving).

Facebook.com/ManamPh

Isaw by Sarsa Kitchen

Yes, those are chicken intestines; and they taste bloody brilliant.

Filipino street food is always intriguing, but very few visitors and even locals are willing to take the plunge and actually try them straight from the streets. That’s where Sarsa’s isaw (grilled intestines) comes in. This version is cleaned out and flavored to perfection. You can try the chicken or spicy chicken isaw (Php185), pork isaw (Php195), or beef isaw (Php210).

Sarsa.ph

Mutton adobo by Abe

Another unbeatable Filipino favorite, adobo, comes in as many versions as there are cooks. This dish from Abe (Php545) is particularly delectable, and unique in its use of mutton as the main meat.

Ljcrestaurants.com.ph/abe

Toyo Eatery’s tasting menu

There’s always something new at Toyo Eatery, but it’s not so new that it’s not familiar.

Toyo Eatery’s food has gotten much praise for its creativity in using local produce. Their food is not no-nonsense fare for people who just want to fill their bellies. Every dish comes with a complex story that is inspired by a facet of Filipino culture. Their tasting menu (Php2,900) includes dishes such as burnt squash soup, Aklan oysters, and garden vegetables served in unique way, and is the best way to sample what this exciting restaurant has to offer.

Facebook.com/toyoeatery

Who are JJ Yolo and Mark Del Rosario?

  • JJ Yulo, a popular food writer, published in the likes of Esquire and Spot.ph, and the founder of the blog Pinoy Eats World.
  • Mark Del Rosario, founder of Let’s Eat Pare, a top online food community.

Words by Amelie Llaga

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