Manila Marriott’s West Wing

Enjoy a luxurious getaway at the heart of the city.


Not the oval office or the Beast’s forbidden chambers from the recent Disney movie hit, this piece refers to the newly opened and well appointed wing of Marriott Hotel Manila.  Conveniently located in front of NAIA Terminal 3, the grand structure unveils two contemporary culinary destinations (Gourmet Express which caters pizza and chicken delivery within the hotel plus the entire Resorts World Complex and Man Ho, a 140 seater Chinese restaurant with industry veteran Chef Law Wing Wui at its helm), a state-of-the-art executive lounge, a rooftop infinity pool and 228 new guestroom configurations that bring Marriott Hotel’s total room count to 570.

Manila Marriott Hotel Manila. Where luxury and comfort are the norm.

Manila Marriott Hotel Manila. Where luxury and comfort are the norm.


Warm Welcome

My family of four arrived at the hotel’s premises at 11:30 am, took the lift to the second floor, made ourselves comfortable at the executive lounge and within five minutes of giving my credit card info, we were checked-in. Express indeed! After the kids had their fill of fruits and pastries (they had seconds of the almond butter cookie) from the snack buffet, we made our way to our room. The premier room (or standard) is two times bigger at 55 sqm than any we’ve been to in the metro.  The sight of two double beds, a sofa, a round work table and a spacious bath brought big smiles to my kids. “We like,” they said in unison as they found their comfortable spots.  Then the doorbell rang and a girl brought in a tray full of treats, three flavors of milk with a hand written message and pink stuffed bunny to boot! It was going to be a lovely weekend I could tell.

Sweet welcome tray. My daughter is all smiles upon seeing this tray filled with goodies and a pink bunny.

Sweet welcome tray. My daughter is all smiles upon seeing this tray filled with goodies and a pink bunny.


Family Feast

Then we headed downstairs to the main building to have lunch. Awarded best restaurant for two years running by Philippine Tatler Magazine, Marriott Café is a culinary coup. It boasts of healthy greens at the salad table, fresh seafood offerings, on-the-spot cooking, Japanese sushi and tempura bar (my favorite!), Chinese food and more.  Guests will also satisfy their sweet cravings at the dessert section. From local favorites like halo-halo, sapin-sapin and maja blanca to French mango crepes and pastries to Italian gelato ice cream, the Café has it all.

Marriott's mjlti-awarded Cafe boasts of a wide selection of local and continental food. Cru Steakhouse offers premium cuts the whole family will enjoy.

Marriott’s multii-awarded Cafe boasts of a wide selection of local,asian, and continental food. Cru Steakhouse offers premium cuts the whole family will enjoy.


To our delight, there was a cross-over option that particular Saturday to Cru Steakhouse.  The carnivore counter lay out included beef ribs, lamb, beef brisket, turkey, baby back ribs and steamship beef.  We treated ourselves to generous portions of hand cut, well-seasoned, and perfectly grilled tenderloin and rib eye cuts smothered in mushroom sauce. Soft, succulent and flavorful, the steaks were well worth the calories.


Relax and Unwind

In the course of our stay, we were able to watch a movie at the nearby Newport Mall at Resorts World, have a couple’s massage at the Quan Spa before sleeping and enjoy a fun morning swim with the kids at the lap pool by The Deck the following day. Our  breakfast back at the Executive Lounge was most enjoyable, too. The Franke coffee machine allowed guests to make both hot and cold caffeine drinks in different flavors. Ristretto, espresso, chococcino or iced latte, just press the button and voilà, your beverage is served. People can also choose to dine in tables, lounge in clustered sofas while watching tv or sit by the windows overlooking the Villamor golfcourse.

Breakfast spread at Marriott Hotel Manila's Executive Lounge.

Breakfast spread at Marriott Hotel Manila’s Executive Lounge.


As we were about to finish our meal, the kids asked when our next stay will be. They apparently enjoyed our urban getaway, even more so than we adults did. “Don’t worry. We’ll be back here sooner than you think,” I said and meant every word of it.

Blissful retreat for two at the Quan Spa.

Blissful retreat for two at the Quan Spa.


Marriott Hotel Manila is located at 2 Resorts Drive, Pasay  City. For inquiries and reservations call 988 9999 or visit .





Good Vibes, Great Food at Providore


This all-in-one coffee shop, patisserie and bistro serves your favorite comfort food just the way you want it. And at all times of the day, too!


Sunday is devoutly sacred to my family. It’s a day for church, eating and bonding. After mass, my husband asks the all too familiar question, “Where do you want to eat?” Sometimes there’s a ready answer from the kids, but lately (after we’ve made regular rounds of all our preferred restaurants), we decided that Sunday should be a gastronomic adventure time as well.

Our latest dining discovery is Providore. Located at the Ground level of SM Aura, (right next to some of my favorite retail shops!) , this fun concept restaurant has been attracting diners since its opening late last year. Not a surprise at all, since its  façade with a bakery on the one side, coffee tables and tiffany blue iron chairs in the middle and mini store which sells local goods on the right, makes for one inviting mishmash. But wait there’s more. Take twenty steps inside and you enter the main dining hall which will give you cozy country club “feels.”  Just recently, the establishment also opened their al fresco dining cum beer garden (the wooden benches amidst green hedges inspired my words). Don’t be overwhelmed though. The main attraction of Providore is , rightfully so, its food.

Enjoy your favorite comfort food at Providore!

Enjoy your favorite comfort food at Providore!


A common dilemma when it comes to deciding where to dine is the individual members’ different taste preferences.  One is a vegan, another is a sworn carnivore while the kids will eat anything that’s battered and fried. Make that chicken and the young ones are guaranteed to have smiles on their faces. What I like most about Providore is that it lives up to its name.  It has everything from salads to steaks and everything in between.  Serving up authentic American and homestyle Filipino cuisine, its extensive menu is divided into 9 classifications. Choose from noshes and bites (cheese, dips and fries), freshly baked (soup, breads and pies), eggs and things (breakfast all day long), the greenhouse (salads), the deli (sandwiches), bistro plates (mains), the Filipino table (Pinoy cuisine elevated plus merienda plates), dessert plates and drinks (including wine and beer).


Our Favorites

You better have a good appetite as portions are hefty and good for sharing.  We liked the Providore Salad (P350) which has arugula, market greens, fresh avocado, bacon, walnuts, bleu cheese served with buttermilk ranch dressing. The Zuchinni Pecorino Fries (195) and  Winner, Winner Chicken Dinner (P350) which is  crispy fried chicken served with beans, sausage gravy on mashed potatoes and cheddar biscuit were both gone in minutes. I was very happy with my Salmon Grill Plate (595) which was accompanied with greek salad, mountain raice and dill lemon yogurt. The most sinful and delicious fare, however, was the Steel Plate Cooked Garlic Butter Salpicao Steak (P395). Quite a mouthful to say and even more so to eat! Imagine slices of tender US beef cooked in olive oil but swimming in butter. Delicious! It should be served with rice but is not so remember to ask for two cups when you order it.

Start your meal with these zucchini pecorino fries. Kids and adults will surely love this appetizer.

Start your meal with these zucchini pecorino fries. Kids and adults will surely love this appetizer.


Rich and creamy. The clam chowder will please any hungry customer!

Rich and creamy. The clam chowder will please any hungry customer!



Family Favorite! Winner Winner chicken dinner lives up to its name ... delicious and filling!

Family Favorite! Winner Winner chicken dinner lives up to its name … delicious and filling!


Looks good, tastes even better! Slices of beef swimming in butter... what more can you ask for?

Looks good, tastes even better! Slices of beef swimming in butter… what more can you ask for?




We were all satisfied customers after our big meal. The staff was helpful and courteous and the meals were served fast and hot.  So if you’re looking to eat healthy, feed your big appetite or just to have coffee with some cookies, cakes or pastries, make Providore your next stop.  Happy eating!


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Mad over Mighty Quinn’s!

New York’s most popular barbecue has found a new home in Manila.

Dining choices are becoming more varied and numerous by the day.  Filipinos are hearty eaters and are always looking for something new to try. Enter Mighty Quinn’s (MQ)! From its humble beginnings as a small stall at Smorgasburg, a popular weekend market by the Williamsburg waterfront in Brooklyn, Hugh Mangnum  took his barbecue recipe to great heights after word of his slow-cooked masterpiece spread like wildfire among New Yorkers. With his partners Micha Magid and Christos Gourmos, Hugh set up shop in the East Village in 2012.  The flagship store soon started serving 500 barbecues daily and its success did not stop there. The New York Times gave it 2 and a half stars, effectively bestowing MQ the highest rank among its competitors.  The dining establishment was also awarded as one of the Top 10 Best Restaurants in 2013. Now,  Manila foodies can now have a taste of this famous wood-smoked feast.


Brisket, Brontosaurus and Banana Bread

 The words “Cooked the old school way with wood and time” painted on a brick white wall greeted us as we entered MQ. Wooden long tables paired with metal chairs complement the industrial look of the place. Menus will only be handed to you if you ask for it. As a first time customer, that’s just what I did because there were no pictures in the menu board. The head waiter was very patient in explaining to me what the cuts were and which are the bestsellers. Then off we went to the counter to order our food.  For our mains we ordered the Brisket, the Brontosaurus and a half serving of the BBQ chicken.  Our mouths watered as the slabs of meat were taken out and cut before our eyes. The meat was literally falling off the bones! (The brontosaurus ribs can serve a party of three to four).  We also ordered fries and tall glasses of iced tea. Do get the bottomless beverage because you can ask for a different flavor upon refill.

MIghty Quinn's Beef Brisket

Slow cooked and D!licious! the beef brisket is a crowd drawer!

FullSizeRender (60)

Mouthwatering choices! Meet the Brontosaurus and BBQ Chicken of Mighty Quinn’s.


My carnivorous boys went through the brisket and brontosaurus ribs with gusto! The resident manager told me that all the meat are imported and slow cooked on wood for a good 16 to 24 hours. I liked the brisket best. It’s a tough part of the beef but because of the unhurried process and secret spices used, the end result is a dish that’s oh-so-delicious.  The chicken, although tasty, was not in the same category as the beef platters. To finish off our meal, we each had banana pudding with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. My kids loved it!

FullSizeRender (59)

Dessert time. Hefty servings of banana pudding topped with vanilla ice cream to finish your big meal.


MQ is also a  great place for  family gatherings and celebrations. Be sure to come early because they do not accept reservations. You’ll spend an average of P500 -700 per head but the serving is big and the food is good for sharing.  Everything is made to order and served quick. I also appreciate the very attentive and friendly restaurant crew.

Looking forward to our next big meal this weekend at Mighty Quinn’s!

Try authentic NYC barbecue at Mighty Quinn's!

Try authentic NYC barbecue at Mighty Quinn’s!


MQ opened its first branch in Manila December of last year at the 3rd level of the Mega Fashion Hall.


LIKE the BQP FB Page, SHARE this post and TAG 2 friends! Lastly, TELL ME why you want to try Mighty Quinn’s BBQ here on the comment section of the blog and get the chance to win P500 !!!


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Choose Healthy for the Holidays


Everybody is busy, busy, busy! Our social calendars are filled with Christmas parties, reunions and annual meet-ups with friends and family. For the ladies who are hosting festive soireés in their homes, the challenge is to come up with a menu that guests will enjoy. Unfortunately, this is the time of the year when indulging in sweets, meats and all kinds of treats is encouraged and calorie counting is frowned upon. The new year (as years that came before) is the time to make that all too familiar resolution to lose the weight gained over the holidays. But you don’t have to tip the scale unnecessarily because healthy dishes can be made without having to sacrifice taste.


The Outstanding Olive Tree


The olive tree traces back its roots way back in 3500 BC.  It’s fruit, which grows abundantly in the Mediterranean region, has high levels of naturally occurring anti oxidants and vitamins. Research shows that oil extracted from this fruit is the healthiest of all.

Locally, homemakers can avail of Dońa Elena olive oil from Fly Ace Corporation which is made from a combination of two kinds of olives, hojiblanca and piqual.  Since each of the bottle is made from 80% monounsaturated oleic acids, the powerful olive duo makes each bottle a powerful and healthy concoction. Moreover, these fruits are grown in the Andalucia region which is known worldwide as a superior olive producer assuring the consumers of the highest quality and taste.

Choose healthy oils for everyday cooking.

Choose healthy oils for everyday cooking.


Recently, members of the media were invited to 49-B Heirloom to sample delightful dishes especially  created by  Executive Chef Erica Aquino. The hearty five course meal were all cooked using Doña Elena olive oil and will be served as part of the restaurant’s holiday menu.  But before we started eating, Doña Elena senior product manager, Zen Prudentino, candidly shared with us the many uses of olive oil. I was amused to learn that olive oil can be used to add lustre to the hair, clear pimples and is quite a handy make-up remover, too! “We want to impart t our discerning customers that food cooked with our healthy oil is just as pleasing to the palette. Taste is never compromised,” Zen added.


Cuban Beef Stew

Surprise your guests with this savory Cuban beef stew with yellow rice.


For cooking, one has to know the three different kinds of olive oil to make the recipes come out at its most flavorful. There’s Extra Virgin olive oil for salad dressing, bread dips and drizzle for food; Pure olive oil for sauté and frying and Pomace for deep frying.


Of the healthy spread served that day, my favorites are the Cuban Beef Stew with Yellow Rice and that decadent dessert Cheese Panna Cotta, both of which I finished with much gusto! The other dishes were also quite impressive like the grilled shrimp on patacones which is  a South-American appetizer served with chilled cucumber yogurt soup. I also tried considerable portions of the olive and chorizo stuffed roast chicken as well as the tilapia fillet with red onions and relish. Recipes for all featured dishes are available at the @donaelenacuiseneraclub both on instagram and facebook.

Cheese panna cotta with lemon infused olive oil is the perfect dessert to any meal!

Cheese panna cotta with lemon infused olive oil is the perfect dessert to any meal!


Is olive oil expensive? Not at all! For all the health benefits it gives, the price is quite reasonable. Doña Elena also offers the most comprehensive sizes. It comes in 250 ml, 500ml, 1L and 5 L bottles so you have all the options for every need and purpose.


So go ahead and indulge your cravings this Christmas with meals that are delicious but healthy as well.  Do check out those healthy recipes. Happy cooking!


With a pocketful of glitter,

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Take Me Back to Mario’s

An old favorite attracts a new generation of diners.

I remember Mario’s back in the 80’s.  Situated at the very heart of Tomas Morato, it was the citadel of all celebrations.  My most unforgettable memory, however, was waiting for almost an hour for a table on Valentine’s Day.  My boyfriend then (husband now)I agreed it was worth the wait.

Fast forward to 2016.  I return with my family of four in tow. Live music from an electric organ greeted us as we were ushered to our table in the main dining hall. Right next to our seats was the carving station for the roast beef and the cochinillo (slow roasted crispy pig).  The kids immediately scouted the rectangular Sunday buffet. My daughter R made a beeline for the dessert corner. She stared at the two cascading chocolate (dark and white) fountains surrounded by bowls of marshamallows and fruits on sticks and with an impish grin promptly asked, “Mom, can I have dessert first ?”  On the other side of the set-up, my son M was already busy filling his plate. Hungry guests, mostly families, started arriving.  It was a full house.

Mario's chocolate fountains

Mario’s chocolate fountains


I loved the Paella Valenciana (Seafood, rice, shicken, bacon slab and chorizo cooked in saffron)! Everything else tasted better with it. And the Baked Salmon (fresh salmon baked with maple bourbon sauce) was heavenly! With crispy skin  on the outside and tender, melt-in-your-mouth flesh on the inside, the fish was cooked to perfection. Of course, I had to have a taste of the cochinillo!  It was amusing to see the diners ask for their preferred portions of the suckling pig. I, however, just requested for “more skin” which the server readily obliged. Very, very flavorful, indeed! Please pardon my overuse of exclamation points.  A good meal (and its memory) gets me all excited.

Oh so delicious!

Oh so delicious! Cochiillo


Aside from the usual Spanish dishes of  Mario’s, the Sunday spreads also offers a wide variety of sushi rolls, Pinoy fare (my husband A had two servings of pancit bihon) and fresh greens with a selection of sauces at the salad bar.  They still serve the iconic “Mario’s Famous Caesar Salad “ (fresh romaine lettuce, crunchy croutons, tossed in a secret sauce and topped with parmesan cheese and bacon bits) which is prepared table side. Don’t forget to ask for bread before you start your meal.  Mario’s serves freshly baked bread straight from the oven.

Caesar's Salad prepared table side.

Caesar’s Salad prepared table side.


Still the best paella in the metro!

Still the best paella in the metro!

“Mario’s restaurant stands for classic, sustainable and flavorful food.  From the very first branch my parents put up along Session Road, Baguio in 1971 to the establishment that it is today, we aim to serve dishes only of the highest quality.  Every plate that comes out of our kitchen is subjected to quality control,” said Anton Benitez, operations manager.  “My 82 year old mother ConsueloNenuca” Benitez is still very much at the helm of the kitchen.  Her recipes remain to be the cornerstones of this place.”   How does it compete with the myriad of new concept restaurants? “We have been around for 45 years! People know our food. We have to innovate to keep up with the times but we always serve the classics that our diners have come to love.  Our bestsellers from the regular menu are Salpicado (tenderloin cubes sautéed in olive oil and served on a bed of garlic rice), Callos Madrilena (Spanish casserole of ox meat. chorizo, bacon, chickpeas, bellpepper ikn rich tomato sauce) and Bacalao ala Vizcania (salted codfish werved with rice or bread). But who can forget our steaks? Once tried, always liked!”

Come on over and enjoy the sumptuous feast at MARIO'S!

Come on over and enjoy the sumptuous feast at MARIO’S!


Mario’s continues to be a neighborhood gem.  It’s still a popular choice for celebrations like birthdays, engagements, wedding and baptismal receptions. It has six function rooms upstairs for small or big parties.  Not too shabby for a restaurant that has been around for almost half a century. Judging from the weekend crowd, it looks like it has gained second and third generation customers, too. Now that’s what you call a success story.


Happy 45th Anniversary, Mario’s! We’ll be back soon!


Mario’s is located at 191 Tomas Morato corner Scout Gandia, QC with tel nos. 372 0360 and 415 3887.

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A Feast of the Islands’ Flavors


If there’s one thing that majority of Pinoys can’t live without –it’s Filipino food.  It’s a common practice for our kababayans to stuff their luggage with tuyo (dried fish), bagoong (shrimp paste) and taba ng talangka (crab fat) when they visit their relatives abroad.  Some hand carry polvoron, chocnut, dried mangoes and other delicacies which have been specifically ordered by (again) relatives and friends who pray that their all-time favorite goodies from home won’t be confiscated by immigration authorities.  Similarly, balikbayans look forward to returning to the country to eat Filipino food.  And no celebration or reunion is ever complete without the main fare — the mighty lechon!

Every year, we are treated by The Manila Hotel to a culinary showcase of the best of the Philippine Islands. This month at Café Ilang-ilang, the spread at the Filipino station (there are seven other stations serving  different international cuisines which are open to be enjoyed by guests) takes center stage.  From August 25 to September 16, 2016, the Café will host the much anticipated Filipino Food Festival.  Those who were able to experience last year’s sumptuous offerings will be glad to know that Dedet Dela Fuente Santos, more popularly known as “Lechon Diva”,  is once again at the helm of the festivities. True to her moniker, kitchen sensation Dedet brings to the forefront her unparalleled lechon truffle along with her modern and unexpected rendition of local dishes.

MH-w Dedet

Lechon Diva with The Busy Queen P

Mouthwatering dishes you should not miss

Top right (clockwise) – Enjoy these mouthwatering dishes at the Filipino Food Festival in Café Ilang-ilang! HIPLOG, a shrimp dish with salted egg sauce, LECHON stuffed with truffle rice, PEPITA’s FILIPINO PAELLA, a Spanish specialty done with a Pinoy twist, CRAB CLAWS with GULONG- GULONG SAUCE.


At the media launch last August 2, guests were treated to a feast of sights, sounds and, of course, Filipino food!  The Manila Hotel’s Resident Manager Gerhard Doll was present to welcome the select crowd.  To the delight of everyone, Mr. Doll gamely hit the palayok (clay pot) to signal the start of the festival.  Philippine flags adorned the dining tables alongside a serving of local appetizers which consisted of manggang hilaw, singkamas and bagoong dip (green mangoes, turnip and shrimp paste dip).  The San Sebastian Manila Rondalla provided the music for the afternoon affair while various folk and ethnic dances were performed by the Children of Mother Earth dance troupe.

MH- FilFood Fest

(L-R) Gerhard Doll, Resident Manager, Dedet Dele Fuente Santos, Nian Rigor, AVP for PR and Corporate Communications, Christoph Kuch, Food and Beverage Director

“The positive response from our diners last year made us decide to invite the “Lechon Diva” again as our featured culinary personality.   Her dishes  are familiar but innovative.  Rich but tempered with flavors.  Our mouthwatering spread is guaranteed to satisfy,”  said Nian Liwanag-Rigor, AVP for Public Relations and Corporate Communications.  For her part, Dedet shared, “I always try to bring something new to the table. An unexpected twist to the old recipes.  You should try the adobo or palabok pizza. However, I can’t do without the winning staples which people have come to love.  The bestseller truffle rice stuffed lechon must be the star of the show.  There’s also the hiplog (shrimp swimming in salted egg sauce) and the super suman (a heapful serving of sticky rice combined with different local treats).”

Having tried the lechon truffle before, I made it my business to be one of the first to line up for it.  Think of melt-in-your-mouth crispy skin.  Only those who have tasted  this sinful delight will understand  my oxymoron.  It’s simply the best I’ve ever tasted.  The dessert table also never fails to impress.  The hotel’s french macarons are simply divine! For the Filipino Festival, however, I tried the various servings of local sweets.  I love the sapin-sapin (multilayer, multicolored rice delicacy)! Ang sarap (It’s delicious) !

Calorie counting is strictly not allowed.  An openness to taste the wonderful local flavors is all you need to enjoy this season’s Filipino Food Festival.  See you all at Café Ilang-ilang!


For more information, call The Manila Hotel’s Food and Beverage Team at 527 0011 local1260 and 1261

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Novel Delights at Mabuhay Palace

In search of  new flavors to try?  Mabuhay Palace at the Grande Dame currently has a month long offering of novel gustatory delights that are guaranteed to  whet your appetite.  Sharing their culinary innovations, the people behind the famous Chefs Gallery of Sydney are now in town as  Manila Hotel’s featured guest chefs.  Gourmet masters Executive Chef Wing who specializes in Szechuan, Yangtse and Shandong cuisine and Head Chef Sam Du, known for his native Chinese and Pan-Asian dishes will head the team.


At the media launch,  select diners were treated to a masterful display of noodle making.  I’ve seen noodles made from scratch and pasta guitars (known as chitarra in Italy) from random cooking shows at the Lifestyle Network.  It was, however, the first time I’ve watched dough transformed by the chef’s bare hands to thin pasta strings.  The whole process took barely  five minutes!  He even  set fire to a few strands to prove how thin they really were.  Patrons of the Mabuhay Palace should expect just a bit of waiting time when they order the handmade noodles from the promotional menu.  “Our noodles are à la minute.  All noodles are freshly prepared, being twisted, pulled, split, and folded in minute and cooked specifically to your order.  The flour dough is transformed to the finished twists of delicate noodles, in a blur of ambidextrous hand movements by the master noodle chef”  shared  Nian Liwanag-Rigor, Asst. Vice President for PR & Corporate Communication.

Chef Wing demonstrates how to make noodles.

Chef Wing demonstrates how to make noodles.


In my previous dining reviews and recommendations, I always give points to places where I can bring the whole family.  The minute I sank my teeth into the juicy Macanese style mini burgers, I knew my kids would love it!  The mini buns had a creamy crunchy taste to it that reminded me of  slightly overdone french toasts.  Filled with  pork fillet, pork floss, lettuce and a sweet chili mayo dressing, these burgers are delicious!  I also liked the Tataki Wagyu Beef with Sichuan style spicy dressing, Prawn and Pork wonton and the Shredded Pecking Duck served with cucumber, hoisin sauce rolled inside  flu-y Chinese Roti. Moutwatering! You have to park your diet-obsessed twin self by the door before partaking of the sumptuous fare.  Enjoy the spread as you appreciate the imperial Neo-classical interior and handcrafted panels made of jade and precious stones.

Must-try mini burgers

Must-try mini burgers


Spinach Seafood Pasta

Spinach Seafood Pasta

Shredded Peking duck that tastes even better than it looks.

Shredded Peking duck that tastes even better than it looks.


There’s always something new to try at the good ole Grande Dame.

This promotion will run  at the Mabuhay Palace until April 17, 2016. For more information, please call the Food and Beverage Team at  527 0011 local 1260 to 1261.

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Come Visit the Colonial Christmas Village

A different kind of Christmas awaits those who visit Manila Hotel this December.   Travel backwards to an era  where people receive posts and gifts through mail and cooking and baking hearty meals are as much a part of everyday life as well as holiday tradition.  Can you imagine a time and where books and storytelling kept kids entertained for hours?  These scenes are brought to life in a modern and updated Colonial Christmas Village at the Grande Dame.


Walk this way! There's something special for everybody at the Colonial Christmas Village.

Walk this way! There’s something special for everybody at the Colonial Christmas Village.

For the Kids and the Kids-at-heart

Get you cameras ready as every single nook and cranny  of the village is Instagram worthy!  Through  a partmership with Hamley’s London Limited (the oldest toy shop in the world) , Adarna  House ( a publishing company known for its story telling sessions) and Epson (which provided the decorative wallpapers that made the display come to life),  Manila Hotel offers a magical holiday experience for the entire family.

Streetlamps light your way as you stroll down Parsons Street.  Make your first stop at the Mayor’s office to get your passes.  Christmas  village golden tickets cost P1,500  and entitles you to visit all the shops, get a free stuffed bear and a movie ticket.  Companion tickets , on the other hand are at P800.    Don’t forget to exchange your money with the Christmas village paper currency so you can do all the shopping you want.

The Town Mayor

Manila Hotel’s General Manager Gerhard Doll is dressed up as the Town Mayor.


The children will love Willy’s Emporium where they can get dolls,  trains and other unique items from the UK based toy store.  Not to be missed is  the Patisserie Bakeshop and Tea Hall.   White tables decked with festive decors and white wooden chairs provide the children an authentic colonial dining experience.   Servers who are appropriately dressed to fit the colonial theme will help the little guests fill up their tin canisters with all kind of treats like cookies, bars and delicious french macarons. YUM!  You can also enjoy a kiddie meal prepared by the hotel’s esteemed chefs.  Meanwhile,  Santa could just be the the storyteller of the day at  Page, Turner and Company.  Storytelling activities are held every Saturday and Sunday of December.

Dainty furnishings and Delicious deights await visitors at the Bakery.

Dainty furnishings and Delicious deights await visitors at the Bakery.  Guests get to fill up their own tin can with sweets and treats!


Santa serves up the treats!

Santa serves up the treats!

To cap your modern-day colonial experience, relax , unwind and watch Christmas movies at the Grand View Cinema with your own popcorn bucket, cotton candy swirl and ice cream bar.  How’s that for major fun?

Movie time!

Movie time!


Holiday Packages

The Christmas village is open until January2, 2016 from 1pm to 9pm.  Stay in one of the Suites and enjoy the hotel’s Christmas Village Room Package for only P13,845.00 NET.  Get one bear, one regular Christmas village ticket, a complimentary bibingka at the Lobby Lounge for two and a 20% discount at The Manila Hotel Spa.  For inquiries and reservations please call 527-0011 local 1175 to 1179.

Holiday toys from Hamley's.

Holiday toys from Hamley’s.


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A Polar Christmas at Manila Hotel


“P is for penguins, poinsettia and look Mom…. A giant polar bear!”  My daughter’s eyes lit up as she took in the festive decors of the Manila Hotel.  I brought  both my children to the annual Christmas Tree Lighting  Ceremony of the historic Grande Dame and both had big smiles on their faces as a multitude of lights turned on simultaneously at exactly  6:00 pm to herald the start of  the night’s festivities.

Meet Willy the Giant Polar Bear

Meet Willy the Giant Polar Bear


Take your photos with these "cool" penguins!

Take your photos with these “cool” penguins!

Minutes before,  the sight of a lifesize gingerbread house greeted us as we entered the Grand lobby.   Seated on a plush red armchair was the jolly old man himself.    A line of children from the House of Refuge , the hotel’s chosen beneficiary, made their way one by one to  Santa’s lap as each asked for a special Yuletide wish.   I saw my little one’s furtive glances to  the man in the red suit as she decided silently if she too wanted to make her own wish.  “Sweetie, why don’t we see what’s on the other side of the room and then come back when the line is shorter?  I’m sure Santa Claus will be waiting for you,” I told her reassuringly.

Kids from the chosen beneficiary get gifts from Santa.

Kids from the chosen beneficiary get gifts from Santa.


The  Las Piñas Boys Choir, San Sebastian  Chamber and Harmonia Pilipinas provided the evening’s entertainment.   Christmas carols filled the air as three hundred guests milled around and  took photos by the twenty foot Christmas tree as well as with “Willy the Polar Bear.”  The host told us that his year’s  huge Christmas mascot was actually named after the hotel’s landscape architect William Parsons.   “Do polar bears and penguins live in the same place,” I heard  R asking her older brother.  “Polar bears live in Antartica and most penguins can be found in the Arctic region,” M replied .  Hmmm… ok now both of us know.

The Grand Lobby was filled with Yuletide carols .

The Grand Lobby was filled with Yuletide carols .


Soon  it was time to partake of the sumptuous spread  prepared by the famed chefs of the Grande Dame.  Shrimp dumplings, turkey croquettes, chinese noodles and trays of dedadent pastries were all part of the menu.   Of course, a Filipino Christmas celebration would not be complete without lechon.  People lined up until the last morsel of the delicious crispy lechon truffle was served.  I particularly enjoyed the puto bumbomg and bibingka which were served for dessert.


Holiday Packages


“We pride ourselves in giving unforgettable memories to our guests.  This year is no different.  Both the kids and the kids at heart will surely enjoy the holiday marvels that we have prepared this season,” said Nian Rigor AVP for PR and Corporate Communcations.  “We invite everyone to visit and experience the Manila Hotel Christmas with our holiday promotions and exciting surprises.   Make the Grande Dame your ultimate Yuletide destination and I assure you that it will be one you’ll remember,” added Dr. Enrique Yap, EVP of Manila Hotel.


My little girl with Santa at the Christmas Village.

My little girl with Santa at the Christmas Village.


Seasonal specialty hampers which include wines, authentic french macarons, christmas cookies and pralines are available at the Christmas village.  Family room packages for the entre month of December start at P7,999 NET per room.  In addition, you may also avail special set dinners at the different hotel restaurants .  For more inquiries please call 527-0011.


As the night ended, we made our final stop at the pastry counter.  We are massive fans of Chef Jerome Benda’s French macarons and ube ensyamadas.  With those packed in the hotel’s eponymous yuletide packages, the kids and I said our momentary adieu to our favorite hotel destination.  Christmas has indeed come to the great halls of the Grande Dame.

With a pocketful of glitter,

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Sit, Sip and Snack at Mrs. Fields Café in SM Makati


Mrs. Fields is a brand Pinoys know and have come to love over the years.  We all have our favorite cookie flavors – chocolate chip, semi-sweet , white macadamia to name a few.   

From being a world-renowned chippery (cookie place),  Mrs. Fields has now not only expanded its menu offerings but has opened café’s all around the metro.  The latest café  located on the second floor of SM Makati had its blessing and official public launch just recently.

MF Ribbon Cutting

Present in the Mrs. Fields Café opening in SM Makati are from left Sheryl See, Mrs. Aurora Genuino, SM Makati ABM Mary Grace Reyes, and Gerwyn See.


The 52 square meter snack bar, which can comfortably sit up to 35 guests, exudes a fresh, quaint, country atmosphere.   Diners can choose to lounge on four comfortable red upholstered arm chairs in the front or  sit on the  wooden bentwood-inspired chairs that are lined up on the sides of the inline store.  Complimentary colors of red and green (on the hedges) were used to give the store a young and alfresco vibe.

MF inside store

Enjoy a light snack with family and friends at the Café. 


“The café serves as a resting place or “pit stop”  to mallgoers.  We have free wifi here ,too, so the yuppies and the students can drop by, have a snack and some refreshments while they surf the net.  Good food for good value – that’s what we offer at the Mrs. Fields Café,” says Mrs. Fields President Gerwyn See.


New in the Menu


Sandwiches and  Cold Drinks

Aside from the well-loved desserts (cookies, nibblers and bars),  Mrs. Fields now serves light but filling snacks .   Try their selection of sandwiches (tuna , roast beef and chicken Sicilian) and paninis (pork, beef and cheese, spiced ham and cheese,  garden  pesto).  Adults and children will surely love the waffles which come in two variants – peanut butter and banana and bacon and cheese.  If you’re looking for something heavier, then the sliders trio is a good choice for you.  Enjoy your three mini-burgers (pork, ham and cheese, bologna) or share it with a friend.    For about P250, guests can even order the sandwiches, paninis, waffles and sliders with a cookie and a drink  (perfect pairing offer).

MF Waffle combo

Peanut butter and banana waffle


MF Sandwich

Roast Beef Sandwich on wheat bread


Filling bites!

Filling bites!


My kids love the breezers!   These cold refreshments  (P115 for 16oz)  are actually a cross between an ice cream and a shake.  I prefer the Cookie Crumble  variant which is made of Mrs. Fields  cookies blended with creamy vanilla and topped with cookie crumbs.   The children, however, like the Brownie Mocha flavor which has Mrs. Fields brownies, creamy vanilla , a hint of espresso and topped with brownie crumbs.  Delicious!




Cookie Tarts

If you’re an adventurous  foodie and love to discover flavors that delight the tastebuds, then you’re in for a treat!  The Mrs. Fields  kitchen has been very busy concocting , mixing and baking exciting flavors for its customers.  Are you ready for  savory spinach, ham & cheese and mushroom cookie tarts?  My personal favorite is the spinach variant.  I particularly enjoyed its salty-sweet taste.  Definitely a must-try!  The cookie tarts also come in sweet and familiar flavors such as ube , leche flan and pastillas.

Sweet cookie tarts

Sweet cookie tarts


(photo of tarts— Try these for P59/each or a box of 6 for P330.)


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Sweet Deals

MF store  facade panorama

Mrs. Fields SM Makati

Mrs. Fields marked its 38th anniversary last month. To celebrate almost four decades of treating the world with happiness through their famous cookies, various promos will run until the end of the year.   From 5pm onwards, every Wednesday and Thursday at the Makati Café,  all pastries (except cakes) will be sold at 30% off.    Gifting ideas such as Christmas jars, holiday boxes and  stuffed toys are also being readied for the coming  Yuletide season.   So  come on over and get your sweet fix at the Mrs Fields Café!

Gifting ideas

Gifting ideas


With a pocketful of glitter,

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