Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Oishi Snacktacular 2017 is Happening this July!

I was at Oishi's Snacktacular event last year (read all about it here) with my son who gamely joined the activities with me (read his writeup, here). This year, we're looking forward to visiting the exciting booths once again. Plus, the venue is in our part of the Metro! 

Press Release:

We’ve witnessed Panya, Hippy, Pilyo, Waifu, and the rest of the Oishi Friends in their slightly dark but humorous mishap adventures in Oishi’s famous webcomic strip series. With the friends’ varying appearances and personalities inspired by Oishi snacks, who can resist these adorable characters? And now, see them come to life in this years Oishi Snacktacular 2017 at Festival Mall, Alabang this coming July 28-30. Meet and eat the yummiest gang as Oishi’s innovative and interactive booths make their comeback with a twist!


We all know that Make Your Own Snack allows us to be inventive by choosing and mixing your chips and flavors of choice. This year, you choose a dip (or two) that you want to try with your favorite Oishi snack! Ridges dipped in chocolate? Why not! How about your favorite Fishda dipped in cheese and honey mustard? Trust us, it’s worth trying! 

O-Twirl is also offering something new to Oishi’s soft served ice cream with another flavor for you to try! Choose between Oishi Choco Chug and Oishi’s newest tetra drink, Tea Matchi Matcha milk tea! Don’t forget to top it off with 2 Oishi toppings!


This year’s Cuckoo Blaster is double the fun because you get to pair up with your friend (or stranger) in matchy Cuckoo geared suits to catch as many balls you can. The more balls you catch as a team, the more Oishi drinks each player wins. Two Cuckoo Birds are better than one!

Crowd favorite Oishi Snack Catcher is back! Dive into an enormous pool of Oishi snacks and grab all the treats you can take with your own hands! And of course, the Snack Shack booth will be there where you can fill up your 2-foot Giant Pack with your favorite Oishi Snacks in 60 seconds.

Don’t miss your chance to try out all these with your favorite Team O members, Alex Gonzaga, Maine Mendoza, Daniel Padilla, and Kathryn Bernardo! Drop by Oishi Snacktacular, the most O,Wow event of 2017!

#OishiOWow #OishiSnacktacular


Sunday, July 16, 2017

Ketchup Mayo Fries is Back at Freezer Burn!

Love French fries? This one is a must-try!

Press Release:

This July, an old favorite is making its way back to our ice cream shop.

The Ketchup Mayo Fries à la Mode — the oddball flavor Freezer Burn debuted last year — is officially back.


It’s as weird as it’s enjoyable, with salt and pepper fries accompanying your Ketchup Mayo ice cream, which then turns into a milky dip as it melts. If you so desire, you can also have it now with twister fries! 

It doesn’t stop there. If you drop by Freezer Burn from July 10 to July 31, you can treat yourself to a solo serving of Ketchup Mayo Fries for just P95 or you can invite your family and friends and get a bigger carton (for sharing) at only P195!


Get the Ketchup Mayo Fries at Freezer Burn, Q3 (Ground Floor), Bonifacio High Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City.


Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Workshop: A Pastry Chef’s Space to Create and Innovate

I've been to Le Petit recently to attend a product launch and they serve quaint, delicious snacks. I'm coming back soon to try that mouthwatering guava cheese tart!

Press Release:

Never ones to be satisfied by trends or convention, rising culinary stars Chef Miko Aspiras and Chef Kristine Lotilla have made it their mission to elevate the Filipino dessert experience. Located within the Le Petit Soufflé restaurant in the Mega Fashion Hall is their latest offering to the Metro Manila food scene—the Workshop Bespoke Bakery


A workshop is a space brimming with possibilities. It is a place where people hunker down to create, experiment, and labor with much dedication and love. This is what this new bespoke bakery is for the two young chefs. Chef Miko confides, “As pastry chefs, we wanted a space where we could create. If we ever got inspired, there would be a space for us to do it. This is our working shed.”


Each one armed with a background in hotels, the two wanted to go beyond the usual cupcakes, brownies, and cakes and prove that Filipino talent is capable of so much more than your run-of-the-mill desserts. “All of our offerings are made of the finest ingredients, crafted with technique and precision. We give painstaking attention to detail, flavors, and quality. Each creation speaks of our team’s dedication to the art of desserts,” explains Chef Kristine. 


The chefs are committed to educating and training each member of their staff, sharing their knowledge of the technique required to produce high quality pastries. “Many of our staff have no culinary background, and we strive to train them to become skilled patissiers and bakers,” she emphasizes.


Customers can expect unusual menu items such as the Matcha Canelé, the Guava Cheese Tart, artisanal Valrhona chocolate bars, and decadent Entremets — treats you would be hard pressed to find in just any restaurant. And the best part is that the chefs are more than willing to customize desserts for hopeful customers, using all of the flavors, techniques, and inspirations they have gathered from their travels. The Workshop is where fancy meets fun and avant garde. Your potluck dessert contribution will never be the same. 


“We try to be risky with our desserts. We want to introduce new flavors and techniques. We owe this to our fellow Filipinos!” Chef Kristine says. With that in mind, customers must visit the workshop with a hungry stomach, a craving sweet tooth, and most importantly, an open mind and heart. 

“Be adventurous! It will be worth it,” Chef Miko promises. “This is our invitation: take a bite out of our joy!”


For more information on the Workshop, LIKE  Workshop_ph on Facebook and FOLLOW @workshop_ph on Instagram.

The Workshop is a bespoke bakery by Chefs Miko Aspiras and Kristine Lotilla located inside Le Petit Soufflé in Mega Fashion Hall. A bakery par excellence, Workshop’s creations are made fresh daily, with the finest ingredients and crafted by skilled patissiers and bakers.


Monday, July 10, 2017

Low-Cost Remittances and More Made Easy via TrueMoney's Large Network

Financial services have just become more accessible to "underbanked" or "unbanked" Filipinos who prefer face-to-face transactions over online-based business models. Read this to know why TrueMoney is breaking the mold of a typical FinTech startup company and how it is building its large network all over the Philippines ...  

Press Release:

FinTech” (short for Financial Technology) is an extremely hot industry sector in business today. Talk to any tech investor or Venture Capitalist out there and they will tell you how investment into FinTech companies and start-ups has soared in the past two years. In 2016 alone, according to data accumulated by investment bank Financial Technology Partners, FinTech companies globally raised a total of US$36 billion in funding.

Xavier Marzan
FinTech is especially attractive in emerging markets like the Philippines because of the massive opportunity to serve those without access to efficient payments and banking services today. And according to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), this number of “underbanked” or “unbanked” Filipinos is still around 70% of working adults today. 

However, skim through these FinTech companies and you’ll find that most, if not all, existing FinTech players have a skew towards an app-based service or digital-first business model. 

Enter TrueMoney, the latest mobile financial services provider in the market. The company started out with a totally different view of how to provide FinTech services— its focus on face-to-face transactions. 

TrueMoney POS terminal
TRUE ACCESSIBILITY
“Our mission is to provide affordable and innovative financial services to those who are underbanked and underserved today,” says TrueMoney Philippines CEO Xavier Marzan. “That means going beyond a purely digital UI (user interface) and being present in the physical world where these segments are transacting today.”

The strategy seems to be working. The company has only been in operations in the Philippines for less than a year and yet has achieved a level of size and scale that some of these FinTech start-ups are still aspiring for. In a matter of months, the company has grown from nothing into an organization with hundreds of employees across the country and with a distribution network comprised of 5,000 TrueMoney Centers which they manage with a high standard. These Centers are currently capable of performing remittance transactions, bills payment, gaming credits, and even payments for e-commerce purchases. 

a TrueMoney center in Pasig
“We need to bring underserved customers who don’t even use banking services today along a customer journey. This requires us to be pervasive across the country and be able to serve customers even in farther-flung areas,” Marzan adds. 

“Getting to this point, however, has not been easy,” says Mr. Marzan. “We had to contend with all kinds of challenges that are inherent in a ‘last mile’ business.” 

True enough, access to financial services has been hard to come by in majority of places in the Philippines, with nearly 40% of municipalities in the country not having any banking presence, according to a study by the BSP. 

TrueMoney in Bataan
Currently, TrueMoney Centers in the Philippines already provide convenient payments and financial services to provinces and far flung areas including Albay, Bataan, Benguet, Bohol, Bukidnon, Cagayan de Oro, Camarines Sur, Cavite, Cebu, Davao, Ilocos, Isabela, Laguna, La Union, Metro Manila, Misamis Oriental, Nueva Ecija, Nueva Vizcaya, Pampanga, Pangasinan, Quezon, Rizal, Tarlac, and Zambales and more!

“Where we are today is just the starting point,” Marzan says. “We are constantly growing our network of partner centers to cover more greenfield areas.” 

TrueMoney in Pangasinan
TRUE AFFORDABILITY

Given its large network today, TrueMoney has also started to offer domestic money remittance services. And true to its mission of providing affordable services, it has come out with one of the lowest sending rates in the country for cash-to-cash remittance services. 

While the average rates for domestic remittances today range from 3 percent to more than 10 percent for some providers, TrueMoney rates go as low as only 2 percent of the transaction amount—without any additional charges to the recipient. So say for remittances of P1,000, the total cost of sending is only P20. The recipient also gets the entire amount without any additional charges. 


“We are also constantly innovating our services and plan to offer more services in the future,” says Marzan.

To know more about TrueMoney and how to become a TrueMoney partner agent, visit www.truemoney.com.ph or call (02) 7189999. You may even text them at 09778063775 (Globe) or 0998565999 (Smart).

==

About CP group:
The CP (Charoen Pokphand) Group is one of the largest conglomerates in the world. It is Thailand's largest private company and operates in several industries—agribusiness and food, retail and distribution, and communications. Founded in 1921, the CP Group employs over 300,000 employees, with investments in over 20 countries.

About  Ascend Group: 
Ascend Group is a digital commerce company headquartered in Thailand operating several businesses across Southeast Asia. It aims to be a regional player in several industries. Its mission is to create opportunities for all, through world-class digital platforms and services. With the company’s position as the leader of e-Commerce in Thailand, it has entered into several partnerships, including with Alipay and Google, to grow and become the leader in eCommerce and digital services in Southeast Asia by 2017.

Ascend Group provides cost-effective end-to-end e-Commerce services, with fulfillment solutions that enhance delivery efficiency for both online and offline sales channels, e-Payment and lending, e-Service business providing comprehensive digital marketing solutions, world-class data centers and cloud services, as well as venture capital.

About Alibaba Group:
Alibaba Group is a Chinese ecommerce company that provides consumer-to-consumer, business-to consumer and business-to-business sales services. It also provides electronic payment services, a shopping search engine and data-centric cloud computing services. In 2012, two of Alibaba's portals handled $170 billion in sales. As of December 2015, the company’s market cap value was about $212 billion. Alibaba has been the most dominant retailer in the world, generating more gross merchandise volume than Amazon.com and eBay combined. Its online sales & profits surpassed all US retailers combined in 2015

About Ant Financial Services Group 
Formerly known as Alipay, Ant Financial Services Group is an affiliate company of the Chinese Alibaba Group. It operates the Alipay payment platform.  Alipay.com is a third-party online payment platform. It was launched in China in 2004 by Alibaba Group and its founder Jack Ma.  As of October 2016, Alipay has around 400 million users and controls just under half of China's online payment market. Alipay is the world's largest mobile and online payments platform since 2014.


Friday, July 7, 2017

HOOQ Joins Spider-Man Homecoming World Premiere

Hey, Marvel fans! Did you know that you can watch all the past Spider-Man movies on HOOQ? Start your FREE trial now! 

Press Release:

PHILIPPINES, 05 July 2017 

HOOQ, the largest video-on-demand service in Southeast Asia recently brought Filipino social media superstars Donnalyn Bartolome and Wil Dasovich to the world premiere of Spider-Man Homecoming last June 28, 2017 at the TCL Chinese Theaters in Hollywood, U.S.A. for a once in a lifetime experience. 

from left: Alodia, Wil, Donnalyn, Sheila, and Jako
Joining them were Sheila Paul, Head of Marketing for HOOQ PhilippinesYouTube producer/manager Jako de Leon, and cosplayer Alodia Gosiengfiao.

The Philippine entourage was able to meet Spider-Man cast members Laura Harrier who plays Spider-Man's love interest Liz, as well as Filipino-American actor Jacob Batalon in a breakthrough role as Spider-Man's best friend Ned.

Donalyn and Wil with Laura Harrier
They were also able to meet internet superstar Zach King, Orange is the New Black star Selenis Leyva, US Champion ice dancers Alex and Maia Shibutani among others. Spider-Man Homecoming will be released in the Philippines on July 6, 2017.  

The film stars Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Jon Favreau, Donald Glover, Zendaya, Jacob Batalon, Laura Harrier, Tyne Daly, Marisa Tomei, and Robert Downey Jr. 

Donalyn with Jacob Batalon
In Spider-Man: Homecoming, Peter Parker tries to balance high school life with being a superhero. Thrilled by his experience with the Avengers, young Peter Parker returns home to live with his Aunt May. Under the watchful eye of mentor Tony Stark, Parker starts to embrace his newfound identity as Spider-Man. He also tries to return to his normal daily routine -- distracted by thoughts of proving himself to be more than just a friendly neighborhood superhero. Peter must soon put his powers to the test when the evil Vulture emerges to threaten everything that he holds dear.

To get ready for his new adventures, revisit all of the past movies of the webcrawler including Spider-Man 1, 2 and 3 as well as The Amazing Spider-Man 1 and 2 all exclusively on HOOQ. 

from left: Sheila, Wil, and Donalyn
HOW TO GET HOOQ
It’s easy to get HOOQ’d.  Customers can simply download the HOOQ app from Apple Store or Google Play, sign up or log in, to access HOOQ’s library of top Hollywood and Asian hits anytime, anywhere and on any device including computers, smartphones, tablets, set-top boxes, and smart TVs via Google Chromecast and all Apple devices.  Globe At Home customers can get to try HOOQ for free with plans P1,299 and up, while Globe mobile customers can also get a trial of up to 6 months on selected prepaid and postpaid plans. You may also sign up for a 7-day trial at www.hooq.tv


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

It’s Raining Deals in F1 Hotel Manila

Don't let the rains get you down! Here are some ideas of activities we can engage to banish those rainy season blues ...

Press Release:

Seems like rain can’t stop from falling, so why not embrace it and visit F1 Hotel Manila this July until August for their rainy day promotions? Make yourself feel at home with F1 Hotel’s suite rooms and appetizing selection of food to offer.


Cuddle up and keep yourself comfy and warm by availing an overnight stay in a City Suite with “Make It Rain” Room Package. This comes with buffet breakfast and complimentary in-room massage for two (2) persons, for the special rate of Php 6,388 nett per night. This staycation is perfect for couples, or for the whole family to enjoy!


Grab your festive hats when visiting F1 Hotel’s F All-Day Dining for the American Feast which is available every Friday & Saturday. Bountiful buffet spread awaits you for lunch or dinner at only Php 1,699 nett per person. Alongside the American Feast, F1 Hotel also offers Sausage Festival at the Canary Lounge, wherein a variety of great a la carte sausage dishes is served.  


What is good food without drinks? Celebrate with friends with 2+1 Beer Plunge, by getting your third bottle of beer for free, for every three beer bottles purchased. 


Turn this rainy season into a bright staycation by visiting F1 Hotel Manila Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. To place reservation or inquiries, call 908-7888, send an e-mail to inquiry@f1hotelsandresorts.com or visit their website at www.f1hotelmanila.com


Monday, July 3, 2017

Happiness By Way of Ramen is Found at Hanamaruken

Aren't the names of the dishes at Hanamaruken so creative?! Do visit one of their branches located in Trinoma, Alabang Town Center, or Rockwell and try their various offerings!

Press Release:

In the Manila food scene, a trend picks up, catches fire, and eventually fizzles out. Thus, when the ramen trend hit several years ago, numerous ramen restaurants sprouted around Metro Manila faster than you could slurp up a bowl of miso soup. Today, ramen restaurants are a dime a dozen, challenging the remaining competitors to set themselves apart. How? By meeting three criteria—quality, authenticity, and (for the bolder chefs), innovation—and that's exactly what Hanamaruken seems to be so good at.

Hana Champion
Hanamaruken Ramen found its beginnings in no less than the mecca of Japanese cuisineOsaka, Japan. It was founded by Takaku Arakawa, a man whose family was in the piggery business. As the one whose job was to sell pork wholesale, he developed a passion for it, and wanted to find a way to integrate his favorite cut into ramen, the Japanese national food. 

Signature Happiness Ramen
He discovered “Tonkotsu” which is stewed pork cartilage—a cut that was not only delicious and flavorful, but one that could easily broken by chopsticks. This is what set his ramen apart from the numerous ramen restaurants in Osaka, and is what birthed what many like to call his masterpiece ramen: The Signature Happiness Ramen. This joyful bowl includes a shoyu tonkotsu broth ramen topped with a tender, slow-braised custom cut soft bone rib. Over 40 restaurants later, Hanamaruken has found its new home in Manila, thanks to ramen enthusiast, technopreneur, and restaurateur Charles Paw. He frequented the restaurant so often during his travels that he decided to bring it here as a franchise. Why keep this joy to himself, after all?

Hana Abura
The Signature Happiness Ramen is one among 7 options to choose from, on a menu that is simple and straightforward, but nonetheless appetizing. The Sparerib Ramen and the Potbelly Ramen are certainly menu stars, but the other selections—the Curry Tan Tan Mien, the Spicy Tobanjan Ramen, the Salary Man Ramen, and the Chasyu Ramen can certainly hold their own as well. And for a small fee of Php50, you can add an Aji Tamago, a traditional marinated soft boiled egg.

Edamame
At Hanamaruken, meat is taken quite seriously, and thus must be enjoyed in different forms and ways. The Hanamaruken Rice bowls capture the Filipino palate's fascination with rice, and topping a dining staple with meat so good you could cry about it. But happiness must come first! Customers are raving about the Happiness Rice Bowl, which includes the famous pork rib over steamed rice, as well as the Drunk Man Rice Bowl, which includes kukuni with two fried eggs on rice—because there's nothing quite like a bowl of carbs and protein for nursing a hangover. 

fried rice
Other must-tries include the classic Gyoza and the Ebi Tempura. One can never truly go wrong with Japanese comfort food, especially when assured of topnotch quality. “We strive to provide only the best quality ingredients to satisfy our customers. We settle for nothing less,” insists Arakawa, who speaks of his restaurants with as much tenderness as a father would of his son. “I put my soul and passion into making this ramen,” he boldly declares.

enjoy eating!
For more information on Hanamaruken LIKE Hanamaruken Ramen on Facebook and FOLLOW @hanamaruken_ph on Instagram.


Saturday, July 1, 2017

What Happens When Two Cuisines Make Amends: The Ping Pong Diplomacy

This restaurant has a very interesting story. I'm looking forward to visiting it, soon!

Press Release:

Does Pingpong Diplomacy serve fusion cuisine? “Not quite,” says Chef Noel Mauricio. Interpretation, he says, is definitely a better word to describe the Chinese-American inspired menu he and Chef Him Uy de Baron designed to leave each customer surprised, intrigued, and definitely wanting more.

Crunchy Eggplant
Techpreneur turned restaurateur Charles Paw explains that after the Cold War, the first formal communication between the United States and China was the exchange of table tennis players. This was their first act of diplomacy. It was their first attempt to thaw the ice, and the inspiration behind the theme and name of his new restaurant. When brainstorming menu items for Ping Pong Diplomacy, Paw’s vision was to take his customers back in time to the seventies—when Americans didn’t know much about China beyond stereotypes. The restaurant’s interiors are reminiscent of Chinatown in the decade of bellbottoms and disco, and one can expect to enjoy music from the likes of the Beegees, Gloria Gaynor, and Queen as they enjoy their meals. Even the servers sport retro graphic tees with the names of the streets found in the different Chinatowns in the US printed across the front.

Oriental Burgers
But all of these elements simply set the stage, because the spotlight stays on the menu. Chef Noel was trained in Paris and the South of France, and may be best known for his work at French Japanese fusion restaurant, Le Petit Souffle. Trusted by Charles Paw to produce no less than creativity and innovation in the kitchen, he was paired with another kitchen maverick, seasoned Chef Him Uy de Baron, who is most famous for changing the ramen game back in 2013. The two have put their heads together to redefine Chinese and American cuisines, and marry the two in ways that have never been done before. “‘No cookbooks!’ we were told,” shares Chef Noel. “Charles wanted this restaurant to be a literal melting pot of cultures, culinary training, and whatever ideas of Chinese and American cuisine we had.” 

Dan Dan Chicken Skin Rice
And so what does this progressive restaurant look, sound, and taste like? Their most popular dishes include a Wonton Cheeseburger, wagyu beef wrapped in a crispy wonton and served with a sharp cheddar as a starter. The Typhoon Shelter Grilled Prawns, one of Hong kong’s culinary legends, is done Ping Pong Diplomacy-style, covered in crispy garlic and charred pickled vegetables. The Caveman Beef Rib, a melt-in-your-mouth braised beef rib cooked in crispy shallots and zhenjang vinaigrette, is definitely not one to miss. And why not have the Fortune Balls for dessert? Mochi is done with a Ping Pong Diplomacy twist, made with taro, ginger, and black sesame, dusted with sesame crumble, and served with a pistachio cream.  

Mongo Buchi
Ping Pong Diplomacy also has a takeout menu for when you’re hungry in a hurry. There are buns, drinks, and other desserts you can grab through the grills. Their oriental burgers come in three variations, 5-spice Chicken, Cumin Pulled Lamb, and Szechuan Pork Belly—each one skillfully layered between toasted baos. As a takeout dessert, you may choose between Ping Pong Diplomacy’s own version of the original egg tarts and ice cream buns, which are comprised of peanut cake, vanilla ice cream, and toasted bao. Ping Pong Diplomacy also boasts of a drinks menu that includes Rose and Plum Iced Teas, a Cucumber Ginger Cooler, and even a Hong Kong Milk Tea

refreshing beverages
For a unique experience of progressive Chinese fare, visit the Ping Pong Diplomacy at the 3rd floor of SM Aura. For more information, LIKE Ping Pong Diplomacy on Facebook FOLLOW @pingpongdiplomacyph on Instagram.


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