#MissUniverse2015 winners : Paulina Vega of Colombia is it!

22-year old business administration student Paulina Vega has just been crowned Miss Universe 2015 in Doral, Miami Florida. She is the daughter of a cardiologist and comes from a family of seven siblings. Her body is a wonder and we also wonder at the trivia written in her bio: that she sleeps with her eyes open (!!) Haha. We all had fun watching Miss Universe 2015 here in Manila. It’s just sad that Miss Philippines Mary Jean Lastimosa just managed a spot in the Top 10.

Pauline Vega’s photo from miss universe.com:

Paulina Vega missuniverse.com

Here’s how the Miss Universe Top 5 Question and Answer went. I thought Miss Jamaica had a chance but she didn’t answer what was asked. Ugh. To the question ‘what can women learn from men,’ Pauline Vega replied: “I believe that there are still men out there who believe in equality and I believe that this is what women should learn from men.”

Here’s the rest of the Miss Universe 2015 winners:

First runner-up: Miss USA – Nia Sanchez
2nd runner-up: Miss Ukraine Diana Harkusha
3rd runner up: Miss Netherlands Yasmin Verheijen
4th runner-up: Miss Jamaica Kaci Fennell

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Baked chicken sinigang recipe with Knorr #LutongNanay

Happy New Year everyone!

The holidays came by in a whirl. It was all about shopping, attending parties, gift-giving, tinkering in the kitchen and of course, precious family bonding time!

Knorr goods

Anyway, one of the nicest gifts I received over Christmas was this large native bag filled with kitchen goodies from Knorr. About half of the contents were already stashed away by the time I took this photo. It was just very timely because I was wishing for a new non-stick pan and utensils. Of course, Knorr ready-made mixes like the ones used for sinigang, adobo, and menudo really are handy especially when it is just the trusty maid cooking for the household on busy weekdays. I have no issue with using flavored seasonings because they are are ultra-convenient and adds a kick to everyday dishes.

Here’s a precious cooking tip I’d like to share to busy moms out there. Intensify the flavor of your baked chicken by rubbing it all over with sinigang mix prior to putting in the oven. The packet also comes in handy when you don’t have lemon or herbs needed in the recipe. Over the holidays, I made our family recipe of baked chicken with garlic. It called for fresh thyme but I couldn’t seem to find any that day, so I made up for it by infusing the dish with Knorr sinigang mix.

Baked chicken

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Potluck recipe: hardinera

Hardinera is a Filipino meatloaf dish originating in Quezon province. I fell in love with this dish the first time I saw it coz it looks so festive, and of course I like meatloaf. Will definitely make one for the holidays! If you’re looking for a dish to bring to your potluck, reunion, Christmas and New Year celebrations, here’s a hardinera recipe to try. Thanks to our friends from the Maya kitchen for the photo and the step-by-step instructions:



4 tablespoons margarine or butter
4 segments garlic, minced
1 piece large onion, diced
½ teaspoon pepper
1 kilo pork, boiled and cubed
¼ kilo chicken liver, cooked and cubed (canned liver spread will also do)
4 pieces hotdog, cubed (or canned meatloaf)
1 piece chorizo de bilbao , cubed
1 cup tomato sauce
1 cup grated cheese
½ cup raisins
2 cups drained pineapple tidbits
1 cup diced sweet pickles
2 cups broth
1 cup breadcrumbs
1 cup All-Purpose Flour (Maya brand preferred)
1 piece hard-boiled egg, sliced
1 piece medium red bell pepper, cut into strips

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Eight Forbes Town Road & NailGanic Lounge

Skyscrapers are rising in the metro! One that has been unveiled to the public recently is Eight Forbes Town Road, a 53-storey finished condominium project by Megaworld Corp., the country’s leading real estate developer. The building is adjacent to Burgos Circle in the Fort and is part of the five-hectare township that’s called Forbes Town Center (where the Bellagio Towers, Forbeswood Heights and Forbeswood Parklane are located). Megaworld says the inspiration for the whole strip is Bugis, Singapore but with how things are shaping up, Forbes Town Center is destined to become even better.

Back to Eight Forbes Town Road: this condominium is a mixed-use complex combining food, retail, office and residential spaces. The apartment owners here must be so lucky as everything is in one place. At present, only a few shops are open like this Starbucks on the ground floor….


There’s a branch of Robinsons Selections here and it’s really good. I think it’s a new supermarket segment of Robinsons offering gourmet and deli products.

Robinsons Selections

What to love: the extensive array of ready-cooked, take-out food!

Robinsons Selections

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PAL & Cebu Pacific cancelled flights due to typhoon Ruby

PAL poster

Photo from PAL Facebook page at facebook.com/flypal
Cebu Pacific hotline is +(632)7020888 or +(6332)2308888

Close to 70 flights of Cebu Pacific, all going to and from the Visayas and the Bicol region, were cancelled for December 7 due to bad weather posed by Typhoon Ruby (international name: Hagupit). Passengers were given the option of free rebooking, full refund or deposit in travel fund. (all data via cebupacificair.com)

5J 333 / 334 Manila – Kalibo – Manila
5J 339 / 340 Manila – Kalibo – Manila
5J 345 / 346 Manila – Kalibo – Manila
5J 355 Manila – Kalibo

5J 893 / 894 Manila – Caticlan – Manila
5J 891 / 892 Manila – Caticlan – Manila
5J 895 / 896 Manila – Caticlan – Manila
5J 905 / 906 Manila – Caticlan – Manila
5J 899 / 900 Manila – Caticlan – Manila
5J 898 / 899 Manila – Caticlan – Manila
5J 901 / 902 Manila – Caticlan – Manila

5J 907 Manila – Caticlan

5J 625 / 626 Manila – Dumaguete – Manila
5J 629 / 630 Manila – Dumaguete – Manila

5J 521 / 522 Manila – Naga – Manila

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25 years of French Baker and a Visit Paris promotion!

We recently attended The French Baker 25th year anniversary at the SM Mega Fashion Hall which was filled with luminaries from Manila’s society. It was a grand celebration full of good food, chocolates, sweets, wine, coffee and everything you’d ask for. The milestone was really worth celebrating as it takes a certain degree of awesomeness to last 25 years in the business.

Credit it to the vision of CEO Johnlu Koa, a former UP business professor who decided to apply what he taught in school by founding The French Baker.


“It was in 1985 when I travelled to Europe for the first time that I fell in love with Paris and her baked goodies. Since then I’ve dreamt of doing the same so that I can impart a similar experience to our countrymen in the Philippines,” Koa noted.

And soon, one lucky French Baker patron will get to enjoy Paris for real with three chosen companions as part of the chain’s 25th anniversary promo.

It will be an all-expense paid vacation made possible by the promotion’s partners Insight Vacations,Rajah Travel Corporation, and Etihad Airways as the official airline. The winner and his companions will spend at least three days in each of France’ key cities,including Paris, the old Roman City of Nimes; and finally Monte Carlo.

Aside from the grand prize, 25 pieces The French Baker gift certificates worth P5,000 each are also up for grabs.

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Early Thanksgiving dinner from US Potato Board

Though Thanksgiving 2014 is still a few days away, the US Potato Board fulfilled its annual tradition to host a Thanksgiving dinner in the Philippines with prominent chefs and media guests in attendance. This time around, the venue was the One Rockwell East Tower Ballroom.

Chef for the celebration was Sau del Rosario who was a sight to behold carrying this much-awaited Roasted US Turkey which was the night’s main event.


It was a seven-course affair that had guests feasting on potato-inspired dishes with a French touch ingeniously prepared by Chef Sau. Like this Lapu-Lapu Rilette Fried Potato Cake (note: rilette is similar to pâté).


Potato ravioli with marinated prawns and micro sprouts Salad….


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Anzani New Mediterranean Restaurant, Cebu

And our potato adventure continues.

One of our stops was Anzani restaurant, perched atop Nivel Hills for dinner. It was a good thing that we dropped by here at night since the place is really elegant and romantic. You can stay indoors….

Anzani Cebu

….. or outdoors!


This VIP room has a separate enclosure for more intimate functions.


The underground wine cellar in this sprawling resto was a nice touch. I simply had to have a photo with Sophia Loren above me :)


The man behind the resto is Chef Marco Anzani who has worked with Alain Ducasse and has been hailed by the New York Times as a pioneer of ‘New Mediterranean Cuisine.’ Unfortunately, chef Marco wasn’t around during our visit but no problem since the very able sous chef Randell was there to take his place.We had a five-course dinner and it all began with the complimentary bread served in a pot. It was eyecatching, to say the least.


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SuperModelMe Sirens Season 5 premieres Nov. 24 on Diva

Writeup and coverage by Angelique Misa

This year’s roster of finalists for SupermodelME, The Original Asian Supermodel Series. includes 2 feisty Filipinas Irish Ong, 20, and Jasmine Ng, 21 along with the other 10 aspiring models of Asian heritage who are competing in a once in a life time chance to advance their career in the fashion industry. And last November 13, 2014, Ong, Ng and their fellow finalists, Brazilian-Japanese twins Rafaella and Gabriela Leonardo, made an appearance in BGC’s Cav Wine Shop and Café.

supermodel me

During the event, the gorgeous finalists answered questions that were asked by some members of the press. Most of the questions were about the experience they had during the duration of the season. The four sirens also shared some tips like – “Be Yourself”, “Know how to market yourself well”, and “Be a smart model” to all the young ladies who are aspiring to be part of the fashion industry.

Aside from that, guests and media partners were also lucky to have watched a sneak peak of the upcoming new season of SupermodelMe Sirens. And with its return, it assures its viewers that it’s by far the most daring, most explosive and most revealing season yet! The latest seasons promises to break new ground as the search for the ultimate siren is set against an exotic background of a brand new location: Kuala Lumpur Malaysia. Among the grueling, fashion-forward challenges faced by the finalists were crazy casting calls, photo shoots featuring exotic birds, catfights on moving vehicles, and many more.

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Dinner with bestie at Chef Jessie Rockwell Club + winners!

It’s almost Thanksgiving and I want to tell the world about this close friend of mine who I’ve known for more than 20 years. We’re godmother to each other’s kids, I introduced her to the man who would be her husband (toinks!) …. she knows my deepest secrets, helped me through the hard times (to the tune of ‘pay when able’, haha), even lived with her family after college. If I’m ever wanted in history for some kind of infamy, the FBI and the paparazzi should know who to look for. She’d know all the answers :)

Cecil is more than family to me and she’s leaving for the USA next week (saaad!) I simply had to squeeze in time in my uber-hectic week to treat her to dinner.

with Cecil

The elegant Chef Jessie restaurant at the Rockwell Club seemed a sensible choice. I’ve eaten at Chef Jessie several times in the past for press events but it was my first time to be here at night.

Chef Jessie

Now that the holidays are in the air, the place seems prettier now with the brightly-lit Christmas tree by the foyer.

Xmas tree

I love the high ceiling. The resto has a mezzanine level that can host intimate functions for 30-50 persons.

Chef Jessie

Now on to the food. There’s a long list of salads in the menu and our friendly waiter, Vince, recommended the Smoked Salmon, Grilled Prawns,and Sauteed Mushrooms Salad. We ordered this and decided to share. Price was P795 but this was so worth it since the house didn’t scrimp on the ingredients. The prawns were plump and fresh, there was an abundance of my fave salmon at the bottom and the creamy balsamic dressing was delish.This salad had everything I love!

Grilled prawn salad - Chef jessie's

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