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

The revelation of coco brewed coffee

The revelation of coco brewed coffee

Yes, Latitude Bean+Bar in Malate, Manila cold brews coffee with coconut water… and then some.

The brew in question.

As weird as it sounds, yes, the idea does work. Let coarse-ground coffee brew in coconut water at least overnight and you’ll get a naturally sweet, little-to-no-acid coffee that even someone who isn’t a fan of coffee will like.

And it’s something you can enjoy in the middle of Malate at Latitude Bean+Bar. Why Latitude? “It’s a term used in navigation, and can mean to be in the middle of something,” says Natalie Ong, one of the owners of the specialty coffee shop.

Sit here with a glass of coco brew and a grilled cheese sandwich and you’re good.

The quaint coffee shop is located one lot away from the corner of Remedios and Pilar Hidalgo Lim in the City of Manila, and is oddly (yet satisfyingly) quiet despite being a city block away from Taft Avenue, one of the busiest streets in the metro.

You’ll find it hard to miss this blue wall… or that shelf.

It’s not one of those hidden coffee shops where it’s a “blink and you’ll miss it” sort of situation since it pops out from the greys of the city: the blue walls and the kaleidoscope logo are hard to miss. Even the simple, octagonal shelf stands out as you drive by, calling on to you for a stare or order a cup of coffee.

Food

A “simple” grilled cheese sandwich, with fries and a tomato sauce dip on the side.

They’re not big on food like most cafes, but their mushroom grilled cheese sandwich is quite a treat. The toasted slices of sourdough bread hold itself together as you bite into the savory mix of melted cheese (mozzarella and cheddar) and dried shiitake mushrooms. Take the flavors to the next level by dipping it in the complimentary tomato sauce (Natalie’s recipe) and you get a zing that cuts some of the savoriness, balancing out the flavors.

Munch on these as much as you like.

If you’re there for a quick pitstop, study session, or to simply relax for the afternoon, a bowl of their crispy nori chips will hit the spot. It’s a bowl of crispy potato chips generously dusted with their in-house nori powder blend that has just the right amount of umami to keep you digging for more.

Drink

Yes, that’s Natalie enjoying Latitude’s coco brew.

This is where Latitude shines. A sip of their coco brew is a welcome departure for people who have trouble finding that right balance between the bitterness of coffee and turning the drink into blackened sugar water. Cold brew coffee is already sweeter than black, but the coconut water adds a level of sweetness and you will never get that familiar finish with any sugar substitute.

Dusk at the top, dawn at the bottom; hence the name.

If you’re not feeling up for a cup/glass of coffee, their Dusk Till Dawn will surely perk you up. It’s a mix of strawberry lemonade (with the syrup done in-house) and blue tea (tea made with blue butterfly pea) that’s sweet, sour, and refreshing in all the right ways. Give it a stir and it changes color, or let it sit as it is and get a different flavor as you go deeper into the glass with your reusable straw.

The basics
Php350 (about USD7) per person for one drink and a snack
1851 Pilar Hidalgo Lim cor. Remedios Sts., Malate, Manila
11am to 8pm daily
@latitudebeanbar on Facebook and Instagram

Go artsy at this new hotel in Makati

Go artsy at this new hotel in Makati

Colorful walls, delicious food, and free premium Filipino coffee—all in one convenient Poblacion hotel.

U Hotels on the tailend of Burgos Street in Poblacion is quiet on the outside, but it will take your breath away once you step inside. It’s all of 62 rooms adorned with murals made by local artists. The lobby alone is a work of art, with “Hello” splayed on the beam in different languages. Greens and browns set the mood.

The Lobby Lounge of U Hotels Makati. Refreshing, minimalist, and with little creative and eco touches. Photo from U Hotels Makati.
If this isn’t a boutique art hotel, we don’t know what is. Photo from U Hotels Makati.

Most people might not consider it a boutique hotel, but its 62 rooms adorned with murals made by local artists beg to differ. The location is almost central to where you’d want to stay in Poblacion, with everything is not more than a 10-minute walk away.

Sleep

There’s one word to describe my room: simple but given life by murals. It checks the basics—a great bed, a place for your stuff, TV, coffee making facility, an arm chair, and a mini-fridge.

But there’s more to it qualifying as artsy than the murals, say, the wooden headboard with short messages on it.

With the room having the basics covered, it really lets you enjoy the little things. Photo by Andrew Del Rosario

Eat

They serve comfort food at The Lobby Lounge that’s familiar to Filipinos, like their smash hit beef pares (the beef is good enough for two to three people based on “classic” pares servings) and what they like to call Just Noodles, inspired by a Taiwanese dry noodle dish that you’d find on the streets of Taipei.

They call it Just Noodles, but it’s definitely not just noodles. Photo by Andrew Del Rosario

Just Noodles is a dry noodle dish that may seem like a hodgepodge of what you’ll find in a kitchen but is surprisingly good: medium thick egg noodles with minced beef, peanuts, and what we’re calling a Filipino-style sunny side-up egg (crispy sides that are on the edge of getting burnt).

That’s a big bowl of beef pares, arguably the most requested thing on the menu. Photo by Andrew Del Rosario

Drinks at The Lobby Lounge include sodas, lemon-infused water, tea (viand changes every day), and their trademark premium roast Filipino coffee barako, the local Liberica, served free to every hotel guest.

Do

Visit the oldest church in Makati, the Sts. Peter and Paul Parish; go on a food or pub crawl;  swing by Circuit Makati and while the time away in the skatepark or football pitch; or trek to the Ayala Triangle Gardens for a quick run. If you feel the itch to draw or paint, take an art class offered daily at the hotel at 4pm.

Show your room card to some of their partner establishments in Poblacion and get a discount.

Verdict: 8/10

The basics
Rooms start at Php6,000 (USD30) per night without breakfast
5091 P Burgos Street, Makati City
Uhotels.ph
Facebook.com/uhotelsmakati
Tel: +632 820 1000 to 02

Words: Andrew Del Rosario

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

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