5 can’t-miss Christmas events for 2018

5 can’t-miss Christmas events for 2018

For most Filipinos, December is synonymous with one big thing that started three months ago: Christmas. It’s a time when families and friends would go out and bond either at a restaurant, their family retreat, or even a theme park. 

If you are one who’d want to surprise your loved one with new of ideas, then this list is for you. Here are five Christmas events you should not miss:

Lights and Shadow Play at CCP

The light and shadow play at the CCP Facade is on daily from 6 pm. Photo by Kiko Cabuenas

The Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) has always been know for Christmas plays and concerts, along with an over-the-top Christmas installation at the CCP lawn. This year, they’re changing the game a bit with a Light and Shadow Play featuring three storyboards: The Christmas Story (Joseph and Mary’s journey to Bethlehem), Paskong Pinoy Traditions (Misa de Gallo, Aguinaldo, and pagmamano, among others), and The Promise of A New Year (different New Year traditions such as paputok, bumbong or bamboo cannon, and Media Noche).
Show is every night with three intervals: 6pm, 7:30pm, and 9pm, at the CCP facade. The time schedule might change, or the show may be canceled in case of inclement weather.

Concert IV: PPO’s 36th Concert Season (2018 – 2019)

After watching the night’s Lights and Shadow Play, complete your CCP experience with a Christmas-themed concert by the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra.

Concert IV gives audiences a Christmas treat with the following pieces: Hans Pfitzner’s The Christmas Elf Overture, Mozart’s Violin Concerto, Engelbert Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel Prelude to Act One, Tchaikovsky’s ever-popular The Nutcracker Suite, and a collection of Christmas hymns, carols and songs familiar to most Filipinos.
PPO’s Concert IV is on December 14, 8pm at the CCP Main Theater. Tickets are available at the CCP Box Office or online on TicketWorld.

Jose Mari Chan: Going Home To Christmas at Solaire

No Philippine Christmas is complete without hearing a Jose Mari Chan song. But instead of hearing the legend’s songs blaring on mall speakers, why not listen to the man dubbed The Father of Philippine Christmas Music sing live for a change?

Chan will perform his greatest Christmas hits—the ones you’re going to hear at the mall—along with other holiday favorites live at The Theater at Solaire on December 22.
Jose Mari Chan: Going Home To Christmas is at 8pm on December 22. Tickets are available on TicketWorld.

Nuvali’s Magical Field of Lights

It’s THE perfect way to end your day, especially if you’re in the south: a relaxing set of Disney tunes. Photo by Andronico Del Rosario

There is a “new kid on the block” that’s looking to knock off the Ayala Triangle Gardens from being the go-to Christmas spectacle: Nuvali’s Magical Field of Lights.

It’s all the way in Santa Rosa, Laguna, but it’s worth the journey. Nuvali has something Makati will never have: a ton of space. Nuvali gets turned into a literal field of lights as spheres of varying colors cover the open space usually inhabited by nothing but grass. This year, they’ve upped the ante through their “sister’s” (read: Ayala Triangle Gardens) Disney celebration.
The Magical Field of Lights at Nuvali lights up every day until January 13. It’s at 30-minute intervals from 6pm to 10pm. 

Sweet Illusions at Estancia Mall

Most malls have Christmas displays that consist of a big Christmas tree and a couple of large gift boxes. Estancia Mall, however, takes their Christmas decorations seriously.

Case in point: their annual Christmas display. What they’ve got this year is a completely different take from past years: four “secret” rooms that’ll make your inner child scream and give your IG feed a boost. They’re called Sweet Illusion Chamber rooms and they’re scattered across the mall. You’ll be greeted by the candy-themed Rainbow Prism Room at the entrance of Estancia Mall, the trippy laser light at the Laser Room, shadow displays at the Shadow Light Room, and probably the biggest IG hit: the candy-colored neon paintings of the Dark Light Room.

All four rooms are open to the public and will run until January 6.

10 nightspots to be spotted in in the Metro

10 nightspots to be spotted in in the Metro

From grungy dive bars to secret speakeasies, to a flamboyant nightspot especially made for the LGBT community—not that it’s not open to all—here’s the it list for Manila’s party-loving species

Agimat Foraging Bar and Kitchen

It’s a bar that will definitely take you to places you didn’t think you’d go.

With Agimat’s dim, forest-inspired interiors, delicious food, and creative cocktails, you’ll be transported to a mythical place every time you go. Their menu is seasonal and highlights
a certain part of the Philippines each time. Every item on their menu is carefully plated and presented, and comes with a unique story. To make your visit extra memorable, order the Ritwal ng Agimat cocktail, which is served with a special method of pouring the liquor.
Average cost per person: Php500 for food and drinks; Facebook.com/Agimatbar

Today x Future

Located in Cubao, this bar would be hard to miss if not for the crowds of people that pool by its nondescript entrance at peak hours. The bar’s not big, and its interiors have an unpolished quality about them, but that’s only part of its charm. With music that ranges from 90s to dance pop, this is one bar where the dance floor will be hard to resist.
Average cost per person: Php300 for drinks; Facebook.com/todayxfuture

Nectar

This nightclub in BGC has become a safe haven for Metro Manila’s LGBT community—though anyone can come. With high ceilings, delicious cocktails, and great music, anyone
can have a fun time here. If you can, head there on the last Wednesday of the month, which is when Nectar hosts a drag competition called the Drag Cartel, with drag performers
battling it out with lip-synch performances of popular songs.
Average cost per person: Php500 for drinks; Facebook.com/nectarofmanila

Lan Kwai Speakeasy

Inspired by Hong Kong nightlife, Lan Kwai Speakeasy is hidden behind a Chinese restaurant. The bar itself is like a Wong Kar Wai film come to life, with red neon lights and murals. The
Hong Kong inspiration goes all the way to the cocktails, many of which are colorful creations by mixologist Carlos Munarriz. Try the Designated Survivor, a refreshing, citrusy cocktail
that’s served in a fishbowl and comes with an extra shot, perfect for sharing.
Average cost per person: Php500 for food and drinks; Facebook.com/lankwaispeakeasy

Nokal

Craft beer, cocktails, classic bar chow, and an overall energetic vibe are what make NoKal a must in the Poblacion nightlife tour. With three levels offering something different, NoKal caters to any kind of night-out mood. If you’re up for some comfort food, you can stay on the first floor; and if you’re ready to dance, mingle, and party, you can head up to the second level. If it’s a chill drinking session you’re looking for, go to the breezy rooftop beer garden
where you can knock back some craft beers over good conversation.
Average cost per person: Php400 for food and drinks; Facebook.com/nokal.mnl

Coconut Club

It would have been a seaside bar if BGC had a beach.

With the Coconut Club’s tropical interiors and a bit of imagination, you can easily pretend that the ocean is right outside the bar’s door. The bar serves up fruity cocktails to go with the
tropical theme like the Mai Tais and Piña Coladas with the Coconut Club twist. Even better are the liquor-laced slushies at only Php120. Head there from 2pm to 7pm to catch their Happy Hour, where the slushies are available for only Php95.
Average cost per person: Php300 for drinks; Facebook.com/raintreecoconutclubph

78-53-86

This secret vinyl bar in White Plains, Katipunan is meant for sitting down and listening to only the owner’s massive vinyl collection. The owner curates playlists with his vinyls everyday, so you can count on discovering a lot of new (old) music. It’s the perfect place to go to if you simply want to enjoy your alone time. The bar doesn’t serve food, though they do serve truffle popcorn.
Php300 for drinks; Facebook. com/785386whiteplainswest

Route 196

Route 196 is the ultimate go-to if you want to sample the sounds of some of the best local artists in the industry today, from the underground independent musicians, to the more
established ones. With live music and affordable drinks, this is one place where you can kick back, drink in your surroundings—and perhaps befriend fellow music-lovers.
Average cost per person: Php400 for food and drinks; Facebook.com/Route196Rocks

YOI

This bar is a new addition to the famous Poblacion nightlife district. By day, it’s a restaurant where you can sample an interesting fusion of Japanese and Scandinavian food, but by night it turns into a slick bar that serves Suntory and all kinds of sake. If you really love your sake, they serve unli-sake for Php700/head every Tuesday and Wednesday nights—but another great time to go there would be on a Friday, when local indie artists have live performances.
Average cost per person: Php500 for food and drinks; Facebook.com/yoipblcn

20:20

With flickering lights, a high ceiling, and wall to wall windows, this bar on Chino Roces in Makati is inviting from the start. Once you settle in, you’ll be drawn to their food, interesting drinks, the relaxed and intimate atmosphere, and of course, the music (sometimes it’s an indie band, other times, it’s an underground DJ). Their menu is mostly comfort food with a gourmet twist, filling bar chow that will help you keep drinking all those cocktails throughout the night. Their Pork Belly Tacos in particular, are a must try, and go well with pretty much any of the bar’s signature drinks. A bonus: right next to the bar is a spot where you can head to when you’re done chilling and find yourself in the mood to bust a move to some serious techno.
Average cost per person: Php1,000 for food and drinks; Facebook.com/2020bar

Dash insiders
Who is Tabitha Rice?

Tabitha is a bartender, occasional club promoter, and model.

Who is Joshua Gonzales?
Joshua is an art director at a top ad agency by day, and occasionally DJs in several party hotspots.

Who is Andrew Florentino?
Andrew Florentino, also known by his stage name The Bgnr, is a music producer and songwriter who has performed in various venues all over Metro Manila

Words by Amelie Llaga

Insane and intense city explorations

Insane and intense city explorations

We spoke with the man who built a reputation scaling towering structures no seemingly sane man ever would: urban explorer Benjo Cabarro.

 

 

Urban Exploration, for me, is to find and share the beauty in things that are uncommon to the common man. I was in a dark place before and a crazy friend of mine invited me to my first mission. I saw the light and the rest is history.

A mission is our own version of a road trip. We prepare for it just like you would on any other road trip: charge our cameras, pack food, water, extra clothes, and extra batteries. We also make sure we have movies to watch and music to listen to while we shoot.

I like watching the city from above and at night. It’s peaceful and the perspective change is really life-enhancing; you get to see that your problems are not so big after all.

Three things to expect from doing urban exploration: Dirt, Dust and Death. There is nothing else in play at that moment except your life. It’s beautiful really; in these moments, you again have a life-enhancing realization, that living is truly wonderful. The sooner you accept this, the better the experience will become.

Urban explorers for inspiration: James Kingston (@thejameskingston); Lam Yock (@yock7). These guys are legends!

My most memorable mission was when I finally climbed the tallest building in the Philippines! Photo by Benjo Cabarro

My go-to gadget for my missions: GoPro. I tried bringing a DSLR once, but it was too bulky.

I love the Makati Skyline so much! The street and city colors at night are perfect especially when you’re shooting the Poblacion area. The purples and magentas that illuminate the buildings around it are sooo pretty.

On of my most memorable missions was… when a massive mist engulfed my on a rooftop in Ortigas. I was taking photos and videos of the storm clouds and lightning play in the Antipolo Side, when from down south, a massive body of mist came rolling in. Everything turned white. It was eerie and magical at the same time. I was very blessed to have captured it on video because you don’t see that everyday in Manila.

Would you dare walk this plank?

My most daring mission was in another Ortigas mission where I “walked the plank.” It took me two years to prepare for it. It was utterly mental and required a lot of willpower.

My 5 best missions in the Philippines: Climbing a TV station transmitter tower; climbing the tallest building in at Century City; climbing the tallest building in Makati City; climbing the tallest building in the Philippines, and walking the scariest “plank.” 

I’m looking forward to experiencing the Hong Kong roofs! It’s a massive urban jungle and cannot wait to explore its highs and lows.

I prefer heights, but urban exploration can be done anywhere. We’ve even explored a war tunnel. It’s just easier for me to meditate when I’m up high because of the tranquil and serene atmosphere.

The TV Tower

If you want to try urban exploration, make sure you know what you’re doing and prepare for all the risks. I’ve never really gotten into trouble during missions because of that. 

A sound mind and a strong body are definitely required. I cannot count the number of times I was able to get out of a pretty life-threatening situation because my body and mind were strong enough. I work out my whole body at the gym every week. I practice parkour on weekends, though not as religiously as I once did, and I meditate when I can.

Who is Benjo Cabarro?
Notably the best urban explorer in the Philippines. He’s a professional photographer who’s known for his urbanscape photos among many things.  Benjocabarro.com.

Interview: Andrew Del Rosario   Photos: Benjo Cabarro

Who are the Ivatans?

Who are the Ivatans?

Batanes is an island of superlatives but its natural wonders are only a portion of what it has to offer for its people called the Ivatans are what make it even more beautiful, and the chance to immerse with them the one to give meaning to your Batanes holiday.

Our featured Ivatans with model Jayanne Aldanese in Uyugan, a village in Batanes that looks like it’s from a fairytale book.

We draw attention to three Ivatans who show us their way of life, their quirks, and why to them Batanes will always be their home. More so, they give us a glimpse of the Ivatan character—respectful and kindhearted, family-drawn, God-loving, holistic, creative. The list goes on. We follow each of them for a day.

Here’s our tale.

The faithful laborer

Tess Vargas Castillejos is a retiree who is now living the life that she’s always dreamed of

When Tess Vargas Castillejos retired from her post as Department of Trade and Industry Batanes provincial caretaker in 2012, she made the big leap, switching into a full organic lifestyle. She’s turned to organic farming and gardening, which makes her feel connected and happy.

Tess has been famous for cultivating clitoria ternatea—a perennial evergreen climber that produces blue flower—and being the first in Batanes to turn this blue flower into tea. She’s also making waves as a farm-to-table entrepreneur, cooking and serving meals right at her
centuries-old home. Her ingredients for cooking are straight from her farm.

Up at the crack of dawn

Tess looks exceptionally energetic for someone who only had 30 minutes of sleep—visiting friends came over for dinner and stayed until past midnight. She wakes up at 3am to prepare for her lector duties at the Sto. Domingo Parish of the Immaculate Conception Church, where daily masses start at 5am.

She gets up pretty early to start her day.

Like many Ivatans, Tess is a devout Catholic and one can tell by the religious items in her home. After the dawn mass, she heads back home for breakfast. Today, it’s chayi (local lychee) salad, lunyis (pork slowly cooked in salt and garlic and fried in its own fat), mashed
sweet potato and a mug of coffee.

Tess’s lack of sleep barely registers as she happily chats about her plants. It brings her joy knowing that whatever she cultivates will benefit the environment and her neighbors for she likes sharing her harvest.

Gather them blue flowers

Tess’s babies

Every day, Tess walks to her 897sqm farm, which she and her two staff tend. It’s where you’ll see rows and rows of bushes peppered with blue flowers. She’d pick the mature ones.

Tess and her flower pickers are able to collect seven to eight kilos of flowers a day, and such amount can be attributed to the growing demand for her tea.

Tess’s love affair with blue flowers started when her late husband, who used to gift her with blue orchids, passed away. In his passing, she found a way to cope with her loss through
gardening, and found the blue flowers most fascinating.

In no time, her organic blue tea became an instant hit especially for tourists, fetching at Php3,000 (USD60) per kilo of the tea-ready dried version.

Hearty noontime meal

Harvesting eight kilos of flowers is tedious so Tess usually finishes at noontime. There are days when she eats packed lunch at her farm when her early morning check requires more farm work like clearing pathways, pruning the shrubs or spreading organic fertilizer.

Today, the task is only to pick blue flowers and produce to cook for lunch.

Back at home, Tess whips up a healthy homemade meal—beef broth with blue flowers, green rice, cucumber sesame salad and the leftover from breakfast. Dessert is boiled cardava topped with mango cream made from scratch. All these are served in beautiful plates—part of her chinaware collection. After the hearty meal, she serves us palek (Ivatan wine), which she concocts too.

Afternoon siesta, and more labor of love

Tess tends to her freshly-picked blue flowers

After lunch, Tess takes out her babies—the newly harvested blue flowers—and spreads them out on an improvised bed. This is her version of curing so that the flowers do not entirely lose their color once she places them under the sun. The process of drying blue flowers includes overnight curing, sun drying until the petals are crisp, and winnowing to remove small dirt and small particles.

In between, customers stop by to pick up their orders. A couple swings by to discuss with her their wedding’s catering arrangement as Tess also caters for intimate events. She opens her home to host private dinners but with three days’ notice.

Finally, Tess gets some shuteye.

At 4pm, she gets up, takes the sundried blue flowers back into the house, and spends the rest of the afternoon packing the winnowed flowers.

Capping the day’s work

She spends most of her afternoons picking flowers

At night, Tess’s routine includes saying a short novena prayer, preparing dinner, and watching TV or meditating in her garden. At dinner, she gives us a taste of her magic by serving us
slow-cooked beef, blue rice, green rice, crispy adobong pata (pork thigh cooked adobo-style then crisp-fried) and squash soup. Dessert is millet pudding topped with cream and orange slices and it’s the yummiest that you’d have.

The well-rooted adventurer

Carlotta Borromeo-Charbonney is a well-traveled Ivatan who now lives in Switzerland with her family. She never forgets home

When she was young, Carlotta Borromeo-Charbonney, Bing to family and friends, had learned to live independently especially when she went to college in Manila—hundreds of miles away from home. But when she got married, even her adventure-loving self still had to adjust to six years of traveling to different parts of the world due to her husband’s line of work. She met all kinds of people, experienced different cultures, and had a fair share of rough times that came with living from country to country. When they settled down in Switzerland was when she decided it’s time to come home to Batanes every year no matter what. Batanes is home and there’s not a single place quite as special as it.

No two days are alike

Bing loves spontaneity and does not want to confine herself to plans. Whenever she’s home in Batanes, there’s never a routine that she sticks to. There are days she wakes up late because of a previous night out or she’s up really early excited to explore the island.

Close to the summit of Mt. Matarem

Today, she’s off to an early start, waking up at 6am to prepare to hike Mt. Matarem. She boils saba banana, buys hot pandesal (local bun) and brews her coffee. On ordinary days, a steaming mug of coffee is enough for her morning fill but today is an exception for she’s set
to climb the second highest peak in the island albeit not her first time to do so. She’s already summited Mt. Matarem thrice in the past years but the promise of great views from the summit always calls for one more.

Quiet island life

Bing with the love of her life—her mom

On the road, Bing talks about why she would always come back home to Batanes every year. She says it’s the warmth of her fellow Ivatans, the joy of being able to decompress and relax, and the much, much simpler way of life—a stark contrast to her life in Switzerland.

She likes to refer to herself as an island girl who will always be captivated by beautiful sunrises and sunsets, rolling green hills, the crisp mountain air. As a child, she would spend her weekends on the beach with her friends or have picnics in their farm. They would cook
root crops, climb mabolo trees to eat fruits or pick alunot (local plum).

Growing up on an island, which was once isolated with no electric supply, means they rarely got to taste ice cream. She recalls how, as a student, she would travel by foot from one town to another because transportation was almost nonexistent.

Going off grid

When she finally reaches the jump-off point, Bing gleefully walks along the first part of the trail that opens into a pastureland that leads to a section where you’ll think fairies may magically appear. She pauses to take in the view of wild trees. This part is dense with greenery, and flora and fauna. Aside from the surreal views, Mt. Matarem also gives her a chance to switch off from the world and immerse herself in the beauty of nature. As soon as she summits, she marvels at the island’s fragile beauty, making her fall in love with Batanes even more.

Ancient settlement, revisited

Sun’s up at Idjang

After a fulfilling hike, Bing grabs a quick lunch in preparation for her next activity: hiking up her favorite spot in idjang this afternoon. Bing’s grandparents own an idjang—her aunt inherited it later on— in the southeastern side of Basco, an ancient hilltop fortress once used by her ancestors to protect themselves from tribal wars and Japanese invaders. It’s one of the places where she has fond memories of growing up.

From up until where the van can manage, she takes a 10-minute hike on a trail leading to the mountain fortress. She reaches the base of the idjang—the spot they were allowed to go play and have a picnic as kids for the top of it were deemed sacred grounds.

Dinner for keeps

Bing caps her day with a nice dinner with her mother and sisters. Her mother, who is already in her nineties, regales with stories about their life during the Japanese occupation era.

One of Bing’s goals is to write her mother’s memoir thinking that it would be her way of paying tribute to how her mother gave so much to secure her future.

After dinner, Bing gets a text invite for a get-together As expected, she’s not one to pass.

Young at Art

John Lorenz ‘Vorz’ Portez is a quiet presence and one of the youngest in Batanes’ thriving art scene

John Lorenz “Vorz” Portez is a soft-spoken 20-year-old acrylic painter who dreams of following the footsteps of Austrian artist Voka and Ivatan artist Randalf Dilla. He likes exploring colors thoroughly, oftentimes resulting in dynamic, spontaneous and bold strokes
reflecting in his works. He calls his art spontaneous realism and is fond of showing the depth of human emotions through portraits of Ivatan elders.

A young artist’s mornings

Vorz in his element at his home studio

Vorz wakes up towards noon and he has his reasons. After having his morning cup and the light is better is when he picks up his brush and canvas.

The Portez’s family room is Vorz’s makeshift studio. Noontime is quietest so it’s when Vorz starts painting. But his creative energy peaks at night when everything comes to a standstill.
Solitude, to Vorz, is integral in his creative journey.

As a full-time painter, Vorz enjoys doing his artwork at a leisurely pace—one thing that he’s unable to do when he was in school. He went to college for two years and stopped given that the course he took—drafting—lured him away from painting.

His project for today is Mahatao lighthouse. The lighthouses in Batan Island are also among his favorite subjects because he sees them as a metaphor of hope, light and home. In his current collection are 15 paintings of lighthouses in different interpretations.

Pride and little big dreams

The work Vorz is most proud of is his winning piece entitled Abus Pandan A Saray (Walang Katumbas na Tiwala) that shows a young Ivatan taking off the blindfold of his elder in the hope of guiding the latter through the changes that are taking place in the island. This artwork is put on display at Galerie Du Tulaan at Fundacion Pacita.

Drawing inspiration from an old Uyugan house

Vorz dreams of opening his own exhibit one day at the Ayala Museum in Makati, like the other members of Yaru nu Artes Ivatan (Bayanihan of Ivatan Artists), a collective of local artists which he’s a part of.

Daily inspiration

Although a great part of his day is spent painting at their new home in Basco, Vorz still goes out in some afternoons for a breath of fresh air.

The Tayid Lighthouse—the subject of the day’s painting lessons

Back in the days when they were still renting a house in Mahatao, his break from painting would be to hang out with friends. And when he wanted a moment of solitude, he would go to the Mahatao lighthouse, White Beach, or trek Mahuruhon to gather his thoughts and conceptualize for his next piece.

His constant companions were a sketchbook and a pen. He would sketch movements, landscapes, life, ideas, and things that catch his attention in one of his many strolls.

One of his favorite stops for inspiration today is White Beach. His attempt is to capture the tumbling of the waves in his sketchbook.

With his Yaru nu Artes co-artists

His next stop will be the old Ivatan house in Uyugan, which has always fascinated him. He revels in the traditional pattern of the house but points out that the now cemented facade was once made of stone. The house has always been his inspiration whenever he wants to artistically render Batanes’ old stone houses.

When the weather is good, he would go to the Basco lighthouse after feeding their pigs. From the lighthouse’s view deck, he’d watch the interplay of sunset colors, which he would later on translate into acrylic on canvas.

Life outside art

Vorz with his dogs in their Mahatao home

Life outside art means taking care of his eight dogs and tending the backyard pigs his family raises in Chanarian. He would go to their old house in Mahatao daily to feed and play with his dogs because he couldn’t bring them to their new home in Basco. At home, he helps out in chores as any son would. After dinner, as soon as everybody retires to bed, he’d go back to the company of his brush and canvas and paint the night away.

Words: Photos by Ferds Decena

Up close and personal with celebrated Manila bartender David Ong

Up close and personal with celebrated Manila bartender David Ong

David bartends at his very own Oto music bar. Photo by Locale Magazine

We spent some time chatting with the man behind the only Philippine bar to make it in Asia’s 50 Best Bars by William Reed Business Media, and Edsa Beverage Design Studio, this year, on things like stories on his hip Makati music-bar, Manila restaurants and chefs he adores, and his go-to comfort food places.

We wanted a space where we could hang out and listen to good music thus the concept of Oto came up.It’s designed for a great listening experience, complete with turntables, speakers, vinyl records, amplifiers and a curated playlist.

Poblacion in Makati is a young neighborhood, thriving with small businesses, and we wanted to add to its diversity by serving proper coffee, good cocktails and music.

The food and beverage at Oto are intended to be experience-driven and conversation-driven. We try to adjust to what our guests want so they’ll get the best drink possible.

Oto’s menu is made of things that reminded me of my childhood or family. We have this drink called #ReligionBlack named after my sister Tina’s Isntagram handle @religionblack. Our Hey Brian, a Wild Turkey bourbon infused with grapefruit juice and tamarind syrup, is named after a regular customer.

My rule of thumb for cocktails is to make it complex yet simple and relatable enough once you taste it.

I am a very easy drinker although I have my preferences and am open to trying new things. When I drink, I’m open to what the bartenders would want to serve me. I still go for classic cocktails whether it’s an old fashioned, mojito, or a whisky sour. I don’t like eating while drinking.

Resto-bars in Manila that I like:
Toyo Eatery
12/10
Rambla

Wildflour Cafe + Bakery’s Mac and Cheese


My go to restaurants in Manila:
Toyo Eatery
Mecha Uma
Wild our Cafe + Bakery
Cafe Juanita
Sarsa

On regular days, I eat at:
Tokyo Tokyo
Bacolod Chicken Inasal
KFC for their chicken with a full cup of gravy, my comfort food
Hen Lin for siomai
Food Channel for shawarma

Chefs I admire are Jordy Navarra of Toyo Eatery and Bruce Ricketts of Mecha Uma. Chef Jordy whips Filipino-inspired cuisine at Toyo Eatery, where his staff of chefs and cooks are Filipino. Chef Bruce is ingredient-focused—I always leave his restaurant mindblown as he always does things out of the box.

I never really liked clubbing but if I’m in that kind of situation, I always end up being the guy with a bottle making people drink, observing everyone, and caring for those who can’t manage.

If I weren’t a barista or entrepreneur, I would probably be a banker or a hotelier.

Who is David Ong?
David Ong is the co-owner of music lounge-cum-bar Oto, e Curator Co ee and Cocktails, the only Philippine bar to make it in the Asia’s 50 Best Bars by William Reed Business Media, and Edsa Beverage Design Studio.

Interview by Jonalyn Fortuno

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