Audition for MasterChef Asia until March 5!

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Calling all amateur cooks. Now’s your time to shine and be part of MasterChef Asia, a 15-episode reality cooking show which will film in Singapore under the stewardship of Endemol Southeast Asia and debut in the Lifetime Channel later this year.

Who are eligible: individuals at least 18 years old with a passion for cooking, with no prior culinary professional or teaching experience. Applicants are encouraged to submit a five minute audition video and upload this in public mode on Youtube. Just log on to masterchefasia.com for the full details or email masterchefasia@aenetworks.com

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Ajinomoto Umami Culinary Challenge on January 30

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Now on its 6th year, the Ajinomoto® Umami Culinary Challenge (UCC) 2015 will be held this Friday, January 30, 2015 at the Hall 2 of the SMX Convention Hall from 6am to 6:00 pm. It is the biggest, intercollegiate, multi-category culinary competition that focuses on the delicious potential of umami, the 5th basic taste. HRM and Nutrition students coming from 54 schools all over the country will come together to witness the cooking showdown of the best culinary teams from Luzon and Mindanao.

Aside from the interschool competition, Umami Culinary Challenge (UCC) 2015 will also feature three other categories: Best Filipino Umami Dish, My Own Umami Creation and My Eat Well, Live Well® Plate. The competing teams will be judged based on intensity of their dish’s umami taste, culinary technique and creativity, dish preparation and plate presentation. One of the major criteria is the Eat Well, Live Well.® Cooking, which refers to culinary nutrition or the integration of culinary skills and nutrition knowledge to create a delicious and nourishing umami dish.

Winners will receive the following cash prizes: first place – P10,000; second place – P8,000; third place -P5,000. National Showdown winners will receive PhP 15,000. Major prizes also include gifts from UCC 2015 sponsors: La Germania, Solane, Fujidenzo and Masflex.

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All set for Bakers Cup & Bakery Fair 2015!

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Are you a baker, a professional chef or working in the food or baking industry? Showcase your skills at the Bakery Fair 2015’s Bakers Cup competition happening from January 20-23 at the FCBAI Baking Center, 1967 Rizal Avenue, Sta. Cruz, Manila.

But first, you have to register and sign up at bakerscup.org before 2 pm of January 15, Thursday to reserve your slot in the competition. An orientation for the participants will happen on Jan. 17 from 10 am to 5 pm.

The annual Bakers Cup contest features two main categories, namely the Angel Yeast Steamed Bun Competition and the Puratos Bake-Off.Eliminations for the S500 Bread Baking Battle will be on January 20 from 9 am to 4 pm while the Carat Chocolate Showpiece Challenge will happen on Jan. 21 at 8 am to 4 pm. The Angel Yeast Steamed Bun eliminations will be held on Jan. 22 at 7 am to 12 pm and 1 pm to 5 pm, while the Carat Chocolate Decoration Challenge will be on Jan. 13 at 1 pm to 4 pm. Finals for all categories will happen from January 30 to February 1 at the Bakery Fair trade show.

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The goal of #1MCleanToilets with Domex!

Per UN statistics, one billion people around the world do not have access to a toilet and 2.5 billion more suffer from not having improved sanitation.This is the reason why the UN designated November 19 as World Toilet Day to mobilize global action to end the problem. This year’s theme is ‘Equality and Dignity’ in recognition of the rights of priority groups like women and those with special needs, like the disabled, to have a proper toilet for their own space and privacy.

In the Philippines, Unilever – through its brand Domex, has initiated the One Million Clean Toilets Movement. They’ve made this heartwarming video entitled ‘Fiesta’ and I love its message of how “the clean toilet we take for granted means the world to others.” Do watch this:

In the words of Dennis Chua, Domex Brand Manager, every unique view of the ‘Fiesta’ video translates to a pledge. And for every pledge received, Domex will donate P5 to UNICEF’s program towards improving access to basic sanitation in deprived areas around the world, including the Philippines.

Alternatively, one can like the page, https://www.facebook.com/DomexPhilippines, access the One Million Clean Toilets app and click on ‘Pledge Here’ to join other online denizens who have contributed to the good cause.

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A Toothless #MerrySM Christmas at SM BF Parañaque

2014 was the year of the box office success of How to Train Your Dragon 2. And our friendly neighborhood mall in the South, SM City BF Parañaque, continues the tradition by reenacting the Viking village of Berk for its holiday theme. Shoppers, and most especially the kids, can play with Toothless or have photo ops in the magical Viking ship.

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We were there during the opening where Parañaque Mayor Edwin Olivares and top officials lit up the giant 24-feet Christmas tree which now adorns the lobby.

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I even posed with these young guys in their full Viking regalia, hehe.

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The enduring musical group, The Company, rendered timeless Christmas songs that warmed the hearts and reminded us that yes, another holiday season is here!

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Halloween in Eastwood City!

This 2014, we’re targetting Eastwood City as the place to celebrate our Halloween holidays. I like its open spaces, specialty shops, assortment of restaurants, not to mention the fact that the whole place is pet- and family friendly!

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It’s particularly interesting that Eastwood is offering Halloween Food Bizarre, where restos offer limited edition Halloween dishes, from now until Nov. 2.

Spotted: Momo Café’s ‘deliciously devilish’ Eyeball Meatball in black ink cappellini pasta…

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Classic Halloween cupcakes from Jack’s Loft!

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On the other hand, Pho Hoa has Creepy Mango Crepe while Slappy Cakes has a yummy Pumpkin Batter Set,best paired with cream cheese frosting. Meanwhile Early Bird Breakfast Club is serving up their R.I.P. Pastries goes well with coffee.

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#TeenWeekPH2014 makes kids future-ready

Now on its second year, Teen Week PH 2014 had a fun launch recently and I do like the whole concept of empowering teens to be ‘future-ready.’ SM Aura’s SMX Convention Center Hall 2 was jampacked with students from different schools in Metro Manila who excitedly joined activity booths and hobnobbed with today’s most famous influencers.

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“Because we wanted to truly make the campaign for teens and by teens, this year’s activities were developed with the help of the teens through a crowd sourcing method done on the #TeenWeekPH Facebook page,” shared Mar Corazo, Project Head and Rexona Brand Manager. “Through this, we gave teens the opportunity to have a say and choose what activities they would like to happen in this year’s #TeenWeekPH.”

The booths had different topics for each day of the week such as #MoveUpMonday, #TransformTuesday, #WorkItWednesday, #TransformThursday and #FutureFriday.

There were oodles of celebrities at the TeenWeekPH launch and here were just some of those we spotted:

Unilever Teenfluencers Laureen Uy, Elmo Magalona, Slater Young, Nicole Andersson and Verniece Enciso

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PBB Teens Fourth Pagotan, Mariz Stella, Fifth Pagotan,Vickie Rushton and Axel Torres

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Search for Ten Outstanding Young Mathematicians is on!

The Philippines lags behind other Asian countries when it comes to the perceived quality of Math and Science Education. In the World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Competitiveness Report for 2013-2014, the Philippines was ranked 96th out of 142 countries. This is far behind the ranking of Indonesia (No. 35), Japan (No. 34), Malaysia (No. 27) and Taiwan (No. 11). Hong Kong and Singapore have better rankings too.

To motivate the new generation to seek excellence in math skills, Sharp Calculators has banded together with the Department of Education-National Capital Region (DepEd-NCR),Department of Science and Technology-Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI), Mathematics Trainers’ Guild Philippines (MTG), Mathematical Society of the Philippines (MSP), and Philippine Council of Mathematics Educators, Inc. (MathTEd) to launch the very first search for the Ten Outstanding Youth Mathematicians (TOYM) in the National Capital Region.

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Outstanding youth who will get the TOYM award will be the first batch of Sharp Calculators’ Youth Ambassadors who will spearhead school tours and math symposia Winners will receive plaques of excellence, cash prizes and gifts from Sharp Calculators.

Seen during the launch of the competition were: (from left) Lucero Ong, AVP of Sharp Calculators; Dr. Jose Balmaceda, president of the Math Society of the Philippines and Julie Lim, VP- Sharp Calculators.

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Glad PH Design Your Kid’s Baon promo

Preparing a child’s baon (or lunchbox in common parlance) is undoubtedly a part of parenthood. Sometimes we get up in the wee hours of the morning just to get things ready. It is a manifestation of love and a showcase of one’s creativity. What every mom wants in a lunchbox is of course healthy food, variety of choices and maybe a burst of colors to make the food more attractive for kids to eat.

And now, lunchbox preparation has entered the mainstream with Glad Kitchen’s Design Your Kid’s Baon – a creative competition that’s sure to elevate food preparation into an art. Just follow these simple rules in the poster, the official FB page is at http://www.facebook.com/GladKitchen/

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DYKB mechanics

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Art exhibit at Chef Jessie in Rockwell Club

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This whole month of September ‘Scattered Nebulae,’ an art exhibit by dermatologist cum artist Dr. Monina Macam is on show at Chef Jessie Rockwell Club, Amorsolo Square, Rockwell Center, Makati City.

This is the third exhibit by Macam whose first two series Flowers in Bloom Part 1 and Part 2 depicted flora not in their natural form but with distortions in vivid colors.

This time, in Scattered Nebulae, the form is completely removed with free, energetic strokes and drips running across the canvas drenched in bold dramatic shades.

Macam’s foray into art started in 1997 when she played the role of muse for masters Cesar Legaspi, Onib Olmedo, Solomon Safrid and Efren Samson.

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