Tag Archives: Philippines

World Street Food Congress celebrates the year of Pinoy street food

Some of the Philippines most loved comfort street food will be taking center stage, but will be served with fun twists and new interpretations, at the World’s Street Food Congress 2017 (WSFC17). 

A brain child of foodie and TV personality K.F. Seetoh of Makansutra fame and presented by the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB), the five-day gastronomic adventure, happening at SM MOA Concert Grounds on 31 May – 04 June 2017, will unearth Filipino specialties from six provinces across the country.

 

Kare-Kare Palabok
Sisig Paella

 

You will get to taste a rare fusion of Kare-kare and Palabok from Pampanga, Grilled Chicken with Black Grated Coconut from Davao, as well as discover the delicious pork monggo from Pres. Duterte’s favorite karinderia in Davao.

Each major region will also have its signature street food showcased. From Luzon are Sisig Paella, three (3) types of pizza: Pinakbet, Longganisa, and Bagnet, Cheese Empanada, Bicol Express Risotto and Pinangat Burger.

Beef Tongue or Lengua Con Setas Olivias Gua Bao

Representing the Visayas are Beef Tongue or Lengua con setas oliva gua bao, Piaya, and Chicken Inasal served with soft shell coconut tacos. Pyanggang, a grilled chicken with black grated coconut and Junay, a steamed, spicy rice wrapped in a leaf with boiled egg will represent Mindanao.

 

Chicken Inasal served with soft shell coconut tacos

If you are a foodie then, you are in for a treat as more than 40 different international street food dishes from Germany, Mexico, USA, Thailand, Japan, India, China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Singapore will also be sharing the limelight. Must-tries are Marmite chicken burger from Singapore, Kushikatsu Daruma from Japan and Claypot Apom Manis from Malaysia, to name a few.

WSFC is now in its fourth edition and will once again be hosted in Manila, which is one of the most dynamic and fastest growing gastro cities in Asia. It annually celebrates and addresses inherent opportunities of global heritage street food culture. Through this event, the Philippines once again takes the spotlight for being a premier destination for gastronomy and culture.

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I wonder if the rock star of the foodie world (and my personal hero) will be back for this year’s Food Congress

For more information about WSFC17 visit, http://www.wsfcongress.com

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Traveling soon? Pay your Travel Tax easy and hassle-free online

Like any budget traveler, I’ve always wished that our airport is better. Better facilities, better services, more food choices. While any amount of change usually takes time, my yearly sojourn in and out the country has made me aware that indeed, things are changing. It usually starts with cleaner, well maintained rest rooms, brighter lounge areas and more food stalls opening in the airport.

And now, comes the great news that Travel Taxes can now be paid online. We all know the agony of standing in line just to pay the travel tax – it’s cumbersome and tedious and takes a lot of time. Thanks to the efforts of TIEZA, you can remove this chore from your To Do’s while at the airport.

travetax

TIEZA, the government arm tasked with the collection and allocation of Travel Taxes, has now rolled out the Travel Tax Online Payment System.  No more falling in line at the airport just to pay your travel taxes, now it can be done via this simple procedure:

Go to the TIEZA website at http://tieza.gov.ph/  (or: http://www.phtraveltax.com/cgi-bin/tieza.cgi) , from there you can open an account via a short registration procedure.  The default home screen is the Travel Tax Online Payment System, to begin the process, simply click “click here”.

travetax2

  • The TIEZA home screen is not static, and the main image changes, should the main image cycle to different image, you won’t need to wait for it to cycle back, just click the “Travel Tax” tab, and select “Pay Travel Tax” in the dropdown, this should bring you to the login screen.
  • First timers should click on “Don’t have an account? Click here”, this will bring up the registration screen.  The registration screen will ask for very basic information, including your email address.  Be sure to fill in an address you have access to at the moment you register, as you will need to confirm your registration via email.  Finally, you will get a pop-up summary of the information you provided, and be asked to click “OK” to confirm.
  • Once registered, you will see a new screen and you can pay your travel taxes by just clicking a button that says “Click here to fill up Travel Tax Payment Form”, this will lead you to a very straightforward form that will ask for some basic information about your flight, as well as the type of ticket you have.  Once you have filled out the initial form and submitted it, you will need to provide your credit card information along with some pertinent flight details.
  • At the end of the process, you will be given an electronic receipt to print out, this you can then present at the airport on the day of your flight as proof that you have paid your travel taxes.  This will save you the hassle of having to fall in line at the airport to pay your travel taxes, or to make an extra trip to a TIEZA office.

Should you require additional information, call the TIEZA office at (02) 551 – 9533, or visit http://tieza.gov.ph/travel-tax/ .

In a perfect world, we would want to spend our Holidays abroad and NOT pay a travel tax. But I’ll take any improvement that I can get. It shows the organization is interested in improving the system. That’s something to look forward to and be proud of anytime.

Have you tried paying your travel tax online? Let me know what you think!

 

Put your words into action: Run for Integrity set on December 12

It’s easy to say that we love our country: a few keystrokes and a well hash tagged campaign can easily build steam. But how do you show it? 

In spite of what other people say about the traffic, the pollution, the natural chaos of things – I always believed that the Philippines is one hell of a beautiful country, with people and resources available to bring it to greatness. Our country has so much potential, so much to give but the sad part is that it is often unrealized — often times, because of the corruption, the lack of discipline and the lack of empathy towards other by us, it’s own people. 


Integrity Initiative – spearheaded by the Makati Business Club, the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP), the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (AMCHAM), the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) and the Financial Executives of the Philippines (Finex) –  with its aim to push Integrity and it’s importance in every Filipino is staging the historic Integrity Rub in December 12, 2015 at the CCP Complex in Pasay City. 

But, how do you even define Integrity? 

 

 To put it simply, integrity means honesty and being guided by doing what is right. Obviously, it’s easy to say that this is what the government needs, but my opinion is – integrity is something that every Filipino should practice and take into heart. 
This is the same purpose of the event. Dubbed “I Run for Integrity: I Am Part of the Solution” the event calls on all sectors of society to participate in this important step towards building a culture of integrity in the Philippnes. It is expected to bring together 5,000 representatives and runners from the government, business, youth, civil society, the academe, church and media towards the common goal of being part of the solution in fighting corruption. 

Now on its third year, the event comes in the heels of the highly successful 2011 and 2012 runs, which unites a total of 12,000 runners. ECCP organized this year’s run in support of the Integrity Initiative, a private sector-led campaign that aims to promote common ethical standards among all sectors. 

Runners can choose to participate in 3K, 5K and 10K categories. Registration can be made at Chris’ Sports branches in Glorietta 3, Mall of Asia, Market! Market! and SM Megamall until December 4 only. Late registration is until December 7 or until race kits lasts at the ECCP office in Makati. Registration fee is at PHP550, while a group of 10 participants can avail of the 10+1 package. Accomplished runners get to bring home a “I Run for Integrity” shirt, baller band and tokens from event sponsors. Special prizes await top finishers. 

Proceeds from the run will fund programs being conducted by Integrity Initiative for nation building and to fight corruption. 

The Integrity Initiative was established in 2009 by the Makati Business Club and the ECCP . It operates on the principle of inclusion and collective action, and works on making the Philippines a leader in promoting an ethical business environment while eliminating negative practices. Since its inception, a good progress has been made against corruption and unethical business practices, with 2,000 company chief executives, 1,500 DPWH contractors, 42 high government officials and 140 business organizations have already signified support to the Integrity Initiative and signed the Integrity Pledge. 

  

ToyCon 2015: The Geeks are Alright

Note: Photo-heavy post

Geek girls and boys: If you ever found the girl or the guy who will brave a sweaty, antsy throng of likeminded souls just to attend ToyCon or ComiCon with you: do yourself a favor — MARRY THE GUY OR GIRL! (I got wise and married one!)

It takes a different kind of understanding, acceptance,  patience and love to fall in love with the nerdy kid in school. 

Acceptance – because trying to relate to a girl whose life mission is to learn to speak Klingon or a guy who takes care of his BJD (ball-jointed doll) daughter and spends a fortune to buy her dresses and wigs is not easy. It will never be easy. Your friends may laugh at you; or your cousins will find him weird — but stick around. I assure you, we nerdy boys and girls have a vivid imagination and our creativity knows no bounds. So do not be surprised to receive poetry written in Elvish or a BDJ with a face-up similar to your feature. 

  

jampacked crowd
  
Understanding – because there will be cancelled dates due to Friday Night Magic tournaments; cosplay photo shoots where you have to carry her enormous wings and fans boys/fan girls crushing on your hot nerd especially if he is wearing a passable “L” cosplay. 

And a long supply of patience for days when they seem to prefer living in the alternate world which White Walkers seemed to inhibit. 

Judging from the number of lovers and non-lovers prowling the crowded of ToyCon, seems to be that the geeky girls are alright. And with so many little geeks running around, dressed in full cosplay, I am assured that our future (and the quest for the geeks’ world domination) is assured 🙂 

third generation geeks and little GoKous

I have no idea what the total turn out for this year was — but I am sure that organizers must be having a field day for the influx of people which seemed to be never-ending. With lots of people coming out of Megatrade Hall carrying large bags of boxed toys, you would think that Christmas came early. Meanwhile, Cosplayers have occupied the surrounding areas near Megatrade as they are asked to pose and preen from a multitude of cameras in front: 

  
   
 

If there’s one thing I wished I did when I was younger — it was to cosplay (costume play). Cosplaying allows you to pursue an identity that is different from yours, to inhibit a character that is entirely different from who you are. Seeing these guys and girls get on with the spirit of their characters is very entertaining and inspiring. Of course, my personal favorites are these guys: 

 

true love

In the end, I didn’t get to buy anything — well except for a Funko Harley Quinn key change. One, because I purposely did not bring enough to buy a large toy and second, because the sheer amount of sweaty bodies occupying the space jostling against each other deterred me and the hubby from lingering too long on one booth. I was able to take a lot of photos though: 
  

the hubby and my other hubby with his chainsaw

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  
There’s a post-script to this story: 

While we were jostling our way against the crowd, two high-pitched girls behind me were talking in their fake valley-girl twang: 

Girl 1: wow so many beautiful people! 

Girl 2: yeah, I wish we’re one of them… 

Girl 1: hmmmnnn… We need to start a new plague 

Girl 2: yeah. A nerd-centric plague 

Me (in my head): A curse of misery, death and dismemberment on both your valley-girl houses! Next time don’t bother coming inside this place! 

Stand up!

falling

Life goes on.
While I am currently based in Metro Manila, hundreds and hundreds of miles away from the devastation in Tacloban, you can’t help but feel a certain level of sadness and a cloud of gloom hanging all over the country.

People are getting catty and snippy on Facebook, denouncing the government and casting a wary eye on any politician presence during the relief operations (couldn’t blame them, Philippine politicians are worse than pond scum and are greedy little douches). While others, in their haste to be bitchy, little buggers o the social network fell for the satirical news that Anderson Cooper was named Ambassador to the Philippines. You might have heard that AC and CNN got into a little “argument” with a local newsreader, Korina Sanchez who called on air one of the reports of CNN about the lack of government aid in Tacloban. The news anchor happened to be the wife of the Interior Minister so she is quick to denounce CNN’s report a false.

Well, Korina Sanchez got served #majorBurn #majorShade

The wrath of the typhoon as well as its devastating effects also made people here in Manila take stock on what they have. People are foregoing Christmas parties and would rather divert the funds to Yolanda. Everyone wanted to help and are scheduling “relief operations nights” instead of the usual Friday night gimmicks.

I really believe that this country is capable of standing up again. After all, with the support of the worldwide community, it is possible. People will eventually go back to their usual routine, will start picking up the pieces — especially in harder hit communities. And why not? Everyone deserves a second chance at life. Everyone deserves to have normalcy. Everyone deserves a better life.

What is important is that the lessons learned from this tragedy will be able to prevent future tragedies of this scale from happening again.

Yes, we will stand up. But more importantly, we will also look back, remember and learn.

Election Recap 2013: Playing the dance of fools

I don’t want to say it, but I’ll say it as it is: as much as we are a nation of grossly-talented, hardworking, fun-loving citizens, we are also a nation where majority gets grossly judgement-impaired when election time rolls around.

We elect idiots in public office, then wonder why our country usually wallow in poverty — this in spite the fact that we have the natural resources that’s just waiting to be tapped intelligently and resourcefully. We choose to elect convicted plunderers, convicted drug addicts, the progeny of the old rich and the political giants and fading actors and actresses into public office instead of intelligent, hard-working individuals who had solid experience in public service.

It’s a cruel cycle that’s almost funny, except you realize that the high taxes deducted from your salary gets to pad the fat pockets of these idiots in office. Sadly, we are to blame for our own miseries.

I voted yesterday, glad that 40 days of execrable campaign themes (variations of latest Top 40s butchered mercilessly by the candidates, the odd KPop song (guess which one) that turned more annoying than it was before when played in full volume, it’s lyrics turned to political mumbo-jumbo and if you are lucky, TVCs that show in full glory why should NOT vote for a particular candidate. My favorites were those of an aspiring senator showing him dancing with old movie stars — I always have the urge to throw the remote control to the flat screen each time it’s on air.

Here are some political ads which aired this year — some are so bad, I was tempted to shut off the TV for the whole duration of the campaign:


Remember the TVCs where I am tempted to end my misery? This is one of them.


This particular TVC was appealing when you first play it because of the presence of kids. The commercial was also light and refreshing to the eyes. The TVC promoted the candidacy of Nancy Binay, a member of a political clan and also one of this year’s most controversial candidates.


This is a better ad for this candidate compared to her other ad where she harps on her surname, “POE”. In the Philippines, “Poe” sounds like “po,” which is our way of showing respect to elders. In the other TVC, the candidate answers all questions about her politely, ending each and every sentence with “po” (pronounces as “Poe”) — it can get pretty annoying after sometime. The reason for the TVC is I think to solidify name recall for her surname since she is the only daughter of the Philippines’ well-loved movie star and considered “King of Filipino Movies”, Fernando Poe, Jr or FPJ. FPJ passed away after a heart-breaking campaign to the presidency where he lost due to alleged widespread cheating by his competitor, ex-president Gloria Arroyo.


This TVC is simple, direct and gets the message across.


The candidate uses the power of association — after all, he is part of the storied Aquino family where three of the country’s well-loved leaders came from (former Senator and Philippine martyr Benigno Aquino Jr., former President Cory Aquino and current President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.)

I personally voted for some of the candidates featured on the TVCs above, because I believe in their capacity to serve and that they are a new breed of leaders that can bring change in my country. I endured long lines, defective PCOS (voting) machines (in the case of my sister), the heat and the risk of dehydration just to exercise my right to vote. As a tax-paying citizen, it is my own way of pushing for my choice of candidates who I believe, are worthy of being called “public servants.” I took voting seriously because in my mind, I am responsible for whatever hellhole my country would be in should a smattering of some idiot candidates make it.

While there were a lot of information dissemination campaigns provided by the media and other NGOs on the candidates’ capability and background, I can assume that many of my brilliant countrymen were tempted by a little bit of song-and-dance, of flashy rhetoric and the illusions brought about by empty promises. The results of the polls proved this. (SEE ELECTION RESULTS HERE)

At the end of the day, we take it as it is. The elections are done and over with. What’s left is the morbid residue of this fascinating dance of fools. And somehow I can’t shake the feeling that we, the rest of the country, will be paying for the stupidity of the many who chose to don the jester’s hat and make a mockery of their electoral right.

Conde Nast Traveler names Philippines as one of the travel destinations to watch in 2013

Oh my! Conde Nast Traveler, one of the premiere travel magazines in the world today, has included good ol’ PH as one of the destinations to watch in 2013.

See here the amazing recommendation for the Philippines:

“For travellers willing to go the extra thousand miles for a deserted beach, the Philippines has around 7,000 of the most heavenly islands in the world. It’s still not the most obvious beach-holiday destination, but it soon will be.

It’s becoming particularly popular among serious divers, who come for the incredible underwater life, unspoilt coral gardens with rainbow-bright fish, green sea turtles and dugongs. In Bicol you can swim with the biggest fish in the world, the whale shark. While fish-fans of a different nature can go deep-sea fishing in one of the deepest trenches in the oceans, not far from the little-known island of Siargao.

The archipelago of Palawan ticks all the boxes: palm-fringed white-powder beaches, crystal-clear turquoise waters, natural lagoons for wild swimming on Miniloc Island – all of it protected by UNESCO. Its Bacuit Bay is something like Halong Bay in Vietnam, only without all the tourists – for the time being, at least. There are just a handful of resorts, which are tasteful and deliberately low-key. Two of the newest are Ariara Island and El Nido Pangulasian Island, a private-island resort with palm-thatched villas, a spa, its own dive centre, and sea views to melt the heart.

Another super-stylish new opening is Dedon Island, on Siargao; it’s owned and designed by contemporary furniture brand Dedon. And a perennial favourite is Amanpulo, yet another high-design private-island hotel on Pamalican Island. Or sail around them all on Alila’s new boat, the Phinsi.”

The current online issue also includes a guide to discovering the many facets of the Philippines.

That indeed is good news. Considering the hard work being put in by the Department of Tourism (DOT) which seemed to experience a resurgence following the appointment of Secretary Ramon Jimenez. A former ad man, Secretary Jimenez was able to bring interest back to this country of 7,000 islands. Maybe it’s the catchy campaign, “Its More Fun in the Philippines” or the fact that our best beaches are being discovered by the rest of the world just now. Truth is, the emergence of the Philippines as a top travel destination is something that this government should take seriously.

Here are the things that should be our top priority:

1. The Airport
On top of our obvious concerns would be that danged prehistoric building called, “The Ninoy Aquino Internal Airport, Terminal I.” The reputation of this terminal is lower than the Marianas Trench. It’s been called the worst by some of the world’s leading travel sites and yet still, it is still in operation (leaky faucets, unappetizing lounge food, stomach-churning arrivals waiting area and all.)

I really hope the government can do something about this airport, and not just be proud of the fact that “travelers are out of the NAIA in 25 minutes flat.” I don’t know what this tourism executive is smoking, but I can assure him that given the facilities in that airport, I’ll strive to be out of there too in 25 minutes flat, maybe 20 minutes if I am really desperate. If you have nothing to do inside the dimly-lit, aging building, would you want to stay there?

I can understand the hesitation to leave if there’s no available facility to use, but we have the humongous Terminal 3 gathering dust and sorely underutilized. I hope that this year, more international flights will get transferred to T3.

2. Reliable transportation system to get in and out of the airports
The few countries I’ve been to had one thing in common: an efficient transportation system that allows travelers to get in and out of the airport using their transpo of choice. Meaning, they are not stuck with cabs — and can opt to use the MRT (linked directly to the airport, like in HK and SG) or by bus with direct routes to the airport (in Seoul and Busan). Unfortunately, right now, all we can offer are “official” airport cabs that will charge you an arm and a leg just to be able to travel. Let’s not make it hard for the tourists. While we are at it, can we do something about dilapidated cabs that smelled like a forgotten public rest room.

3. Safety!
Every country has its security and safety problem. But, it gets really embarrassing whenever we hear tourists being mugged or taken for a ride by touts. I hope that the government will make tourists feel more secure traveling our country. After all, it’s the memories they make that will either keep them coming back or make them stay away for good.

These are the things that are on top of my mind. I know that they’re basic requirements for every traveler, something that can make or break a trip.

Originally posted at: www.dplacesyouwillgo.wordpress.com