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.

Hidden stash of rum, found

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

That’s Cap’n Jouanneaud (@ulysse_sober) behind the bar. He moves kind of fast, hence the blur.

There’s an odd tale going around Poblacion that goes something like this: a ship with barrels of rum crashed in Poblacion centuries ago that no one ever bothered looking for… until a team of buccaneers found the loot and decided to open the country’s first rum bar.

Okay, the tale’s not true, but Buccaneers Rum & Cocktails is basically that. They are the district’s (if not the country’s) first rum bar that specializes in rum and its many applications to cocktails. It’s right along trendy Don Pedro Street in Poblacion, Makati.

It’s like your below the deck of a pirate ship.

Walk through its doors and you’ll feel like you’ve been taken aboard a pirate ship: anchors, wooden barrels, ropes, and all. There’s even a parrot that’ll greet you if she’s out and about! It’s a ship helmed by Ulysse Jouanneaud (Shang at the Fort’s High Street Lounge), which means everything on the menu will be in tip-top shape.

Food

Rum bars (and bars in general) aren’t too focused on food because you’re not supposed to have dinner there. However, if you are looking for some satisfying galley grub, Buccaneers has some.

Pulled Pork Quesadilla

Start with their pulled pork quesadilla. Small bites of pulled pork, kesong puti, and barbecue sauce with a guacamole salsa dip on the side. Nice and appetizing for what should be in the running for the best hot dog in Metro Manila: their sisig hot dog. This little tasty treat looks deceptively simple—and that’s because it is. It’s a delicious sausage trapped in between a bun that’s topped with chili con carne and a crispy, savory helping of pork sisig.

The sisig hot dog. That’s our EIC, Monica De Leon, feasting on one.

Drink

The Captain Old Fashioned. Spirit forward, will wake you up.

Go for The Captain Old Fashioned when you swing by. It’s a twist on the classic Old Fashioned using a Venezuelan (Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva) rum, coffee extract, banana, and chocolate. Pro tip: let the smoke sit in the small bottle for a while before you pour it out for a second swig.

That is legitimately the name of this drink: Let’s party in your mouth.

Looking for a party in your mouth? Just tell the bartender those exact words and he’ll give you a drink that both your eyes and mouth will enjoy. It’s a sweet mix of Ocho Blanco tequila, Plantation dark rum, spicy mango, mint, passion fruit, and citrus that’s as refreshing as it sounds.

The Sexy Colada

Coming with a lady friend? She’ll like the look of the sexy colada, a twist on the classic piña colada that uses two Plantation rums: 3 Stars and OFTD Overproof. Coconut and pineapple juice rounds out the drink, but not without a drop of sexiness. What that is is something only the crew at Buccaneers know.

Verdict: 9/10

If you’re into rum (or want to learn more about it), this is the best place in Poblacion to do it. I mean, it’s a pirate’s ship that serves good food, a mean old fashioned, and a hot dog that might just put your favorite hot dog stand to shame.

The basics
Php1,000 (about USD19) for two cocktails and food
5668 Don Pedro Street, Poblacion, Makati City
Fb.com/buccaneersph, @buccaneers_ph on IG

Events to see in February 2020

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 are bigger and better than before. From airfare to hotels and tours, you are bound to be lured with deals so prepare your vacation leaves and long weekend calendars!

SMX Convention Center, Pasay City | Traveltourexpo.ptaa.org.ph

UP Fair 2020

February 10 to 15

School fairs are fun and all, but we are willing to bet you’ve never seen anything quite as massive as the school fair held at the University of the Philippines Diliman. We are talking about quite possibly the largest (and most affordable) music festival in the country outside of Feté dela Musiqué: the week-long UP Fair. It’s music, events, and a whole lot of support for local artists on a scale and theme unlike any you’ve seen.

UP Sunken Garden, UP Diliman, Quezon City | fb.com/upfair

Art Fair Philippines 2020

Scenes form Art Fair Philippines 2019. Video from Art Fair Philippines

February 21 to 23

Gear up for the country’s largest celebration of art as Art Fair Philippines returns for its eighth year! Hit The Link Carpark and see the best of the country’s modern and contemporary art. It’s a combination of exhibits both at The Link Carpark and the 48 participating galleries along with its primer, 10 Days of Art, that makes this the art fair to clear out your schedule for.

The Link Carpark, Ayala Center, Makati City | artfairphilippines.com

Japan Film Week

February 26 to 29

Photo from FDCP. (c) 2019 “Weathering With You” Film Partners.

We know how much you love Japanese films, especially some of the more recent hits like Weathering With You. Well, you’re in luck! The Film Development Council of the Philippines has partnered with the Japan Foundation to bring you Japan Film Week, a showcase of critically-acclaimed and award-winning Japanese animated and feature films like the aforementioned hit and the Panay-set feature film Tears of Malumpati.

Cinematheque Manila, Ermita, Manila | bit.ly/JapanFilmWeek


Panagbenga Flower Festival

February 29 to March 1

Panagbenga 2012. Photo by Christian Sangoyo

February may be known as the month of love, but the people of Baguio see it as their way of celebrating the many blooms their city has in the form of the annual Panagbenga Festival. See the streets of Baguio filled with street dancers on the 29th and watch colorful floats filled with beautiful flower arrangements pass by on March 1. Be sure you don’t bring your car during the parades, lest you’ll be stuck in traffick for the rest of the festival.

Baguio City

Any other events we missed (apart from every single Valentines Day-related event)? Leave us a comment and we might just do a part 2!

Featured photo by Wendy Wei from Pexels

SkyJet Airlines is back in Siargao

SkyJet Airlines is back in Siargao

The fastest direct flights to the country’s surf capital are back!

The summer of 2020 has a promise of sun shinier skies as boutique carrier SkyJet Airlines brings back its direct flights from Manila to Siargao on March 29, 2020.

The selling of seats on SkyJetAirlines.com kicks off today, January 11, 2020, with one-way base fares starting at Php3,500.

Did you miss Cloud 9’s boardwalk? Photo by Daniel Soriano

“SkyJet’s Siargao flights resumption will enable us at SkyJet to help sustain the momentum of the island’s market growth and demand,” says SkyJet commercial head Joseph Alvarico. “SkyJet’s the first airline to fly directly to Siargao, and we are looking at fulfilling our aim at allowing everyone, including millennials, to experience the culture of the island by providing competitive fares.”

Stand-up paddling around Guyam Island. Photo by Daniel Soriano

“We are also working with the local tourism department in Siargao to bring Siargao’s culture across through the Dash Store, a boutique travel lifestyle shop in Salcedo Village, Makati, as well as give travelers a faster and more reliable experience of flying from Manila to Siargao,” he added.

Ride waves like this once more in Siargao. Stock photo from SkyJet Airlines

SkyJet has been known in the industry to offer the fastest flights to Siargao at about 70 minutes per way. This means the flights are among the most convenient for Manilans off to Siargao for a break, or for foreigners traveling to the country’s surf capital with Manila as jump off point.

Jumping off a rock in Magpupungko. Photo by Daniel Soriano

Siargao has long attracted travelers with its relaxed atmosphere and unique natural wonders such as the rock pools in Magpupungko, the stingless jellyfish in nearby Sohoton, and the world class surf breaks of Cloud 9. It’s been dubbed the Best Island in Asia in 2018 by popular online travel magazine Condé Nast Traveler and, more recently, one of its best holiday destinations for 2020. It’s also a growing favorite among celebrities as a quick island getaway.

Words by Andrew del Rosario
Featured photo by Gaps Sabuero

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