How reporter & restaurateur found their sweet spot

!hola - MJ Marfori - The Philippine Star
How reporter & restaurateur found their sweet spot
Kapuso senior showbiz reporter Nelson Canlas and Zambasulta cuisine crusader Miguel Moreno with their beautiful toy poodle Winter at restaurant Palm Grill.
STAR / File

Nelson Canlas and Miguel Moreno:

Partnership with a purpose deeper than one’s own. This comes to mind as I came across Kapuso senior showbiz correspondent and 24 Oras Weekend anchor Nelson Canlas and the dashing Zambasulta cuisine crusader Miguel “Miggy” Moreno’s tie-in.

With eight years of togetherness that started online, thanks to Facebook’s algorithm, and ended up as a lifetime partnership, Nelson and Miggy recalled how they both met.

Clockwise from left photo: Dishes from the Zamboanga-Sulu-Tawi-Tawi or Zambasulta region are being offered at Palm Grill in Tomas Morato, Manila’s only authentic Tausug restaurant. Nelson and Miguel are pictured with their good friend, GMA host Kara David, and their families.

Nelson: “I think it would be the 2010 elections. Not personally ha. (laughs)”

Miggy: “Ah, yes! I was living in Zamboanga back then. I’m always out, but during that specific day, since it was the day of the elections, we were made to stay in the house. I don’t watch TV all that much but that specific time, since I don’t have anything to do, I tuned in to GMA and there he was — doing his live report. Then, I thought to myself, ‘Bagong reporter?’”

Nelson: “Hoy! Hindi ako bagong reporter nun (laughs).”

Miggy: “So, later that day, when I opened my FB, he was there in ‘people you might know.’ So, I added him.”

Nelson: “We were FB friends for years and since our birthdays are four days apart in August, we’d send each other ‘automatic happy birthday greetings.’ That continued for a couple of years. Then, he went to work in Abu Dhabi.”

Miggy: “As an OFW, it was fun but it gets to be lonely. So, I’m heavy on social media at that time.”

Nelson: “That’s when we started messaging each other more than ‘happy birthdays.’ Kwento, kwento lang. He would ask me about current events, showbiz, etc. And later ko na lang nalaman na nasa Abu Dhabi siya. Parang after a few months na.”

Miggy: “For three years, we’d message each other almost every day. We would share stories. Confide. Ask each other’s opinions on personal stuff. He became a trusted friend. He would meet my mom for pasalubong and fetch her from the airport in Manila.”

Nelson: “And when he came home in 2014, the friendship grew. Until now, we still ask each other’s advice on certain things. Well, almost everything. He’s a lot younger than me, pero he thinks older than me sometimes.”

*  *  *

A not-so-secret recipe for their success is despite their very busy schedules, Miguel and Nelson help each other flourish in their respective careers. Both work Mondays to Sundays but in between, their quality time is never compromised.

Miguel and Nelson found the sweet spot of being present in each one’s success without a morsel of hindrance. They are each other’s cheerleaders. Nelson was there holding Miguel’s hand as he started Manila’s only authentic Tausug restaurant, Palm Grill in Tomas Morato, five years ago as he came to Manila from his native Zamboanga with the advocacy to spread awareness about the delicious Zamboanga-Sulu-Tawi-Tawi or Zambasulta region. The successful restaurant has recipes developed by his mother Melissa Cabel and late grandmother Oswalda Alcantara-Cabel.

“The cuisine I always enjoy are those of the Tausugs. The Pianggang Manok and the Tiyula Itum, among others. Since then, I always knew that someday I would want to share these experiences in a restaurant I’d put up. To cater to the best of my childhood culinary experience,” Miguel shared.

“I knew that Metro Manila needed to know that there is far more to Filipino cuisine than just our usual adobo or kare-kare. This dream has been my fuel to drive the restaurant further to serve the best of our specialties, one plate at a time.”

Palm Grill’s new authentic offerings Dulang, Sambal, Belachan Manuk just go to show the success of Miguel’s efforts in widening Luzon’s palate for Mindanaoan cuisine.

Nelson, on the other hand, is seen every weekend as host in the Chika Minute segment of GMA’s 24 Oras Weekend, and as reporter on weekdays. He is also up for the very first entertainment podcast.

“I’m just very proud of this endeavor,” said he. “It’s called UPDATED with Nelson Canlas. It’s the very first showbiz podcast in GMA News and Public Affairs. I have a lot of hardworking and very intelligent men and women in the digital group. Sobrang hinihimay bawat part ng podcast and who to guest. For our pilot episode, we had Derek and Ellen Ramsay as guests. The second episode featured Asia’s Multimedia Star Alden Richards. It’s a place where artistas can be candid and mas mahaba ang kwentuhan, parang aabot ng 30 minutes minimum. So, ang sarap mag-Marites kasi unguarded moments ng celebrities ito. We can get to know more about them talaga. Talk show, pero walang layer ng camera kaya parang hindi interview (laughs). And they really open  up. Kasi sa Chika Minute sa 24 Oras, because of time limitation, parang a minute and a half lang ang mapapanood sa artista. So, piling-pili talaga ang ma-include na soundbytes. Pero with UPDATED, mahabaan ito. Wala halos natatapon.” Nelson’s podcast is available now on Spotify, Apple and Google podcast.

In 2021, Nelson and Miguel adopted a beautiful toy poodle which they named Winter. It came after a challenging battle with COVID and the lockdowns. Miguel recalled, “He’s (Nelson) not really a dog person. I have always asked him if we can adopt one. Parating no. Kasi extra responsibility ‘yan. We cannot travel masyado if we have a dog in tow. Then when we had COVID last August 2021, yes, two days after my birthday, and six days after his.”

Nelson continued, “I told him, if we survive this, kasi yung symptoms ko (his are not) medyo pa-severe na, let’s get ourselves a reward. You know, for braving this COVID through.” Thankfully, they battled COVID well and coincidentally a few weeks after, their good friend GMA host Kara David’s dog Lemon gave birth and asked them if they wanted to adopt a puppy. This converted Nelson to become a dog lover.

“As for me, from a not-a-dog-person to fur parent, sobrang clingy namin ni Winter sa isa’t isa. For the record, he’s the only fur baby I kiss or have ever kissed (laughs).”

When asked who the bad cop and good cop to Winter is, Miguel expounded, “When he’s around, Nelson, he is very quiet, well-trained, clingy doggy. They can even sit on the couch together to binge watch movies. Walang galawan. Pero when I’m home, parang wala na siyang self-control. He barks, runs around, scatters all his toys and play. Sabi nila, ang tingin niya kasi sa akin parang playmate and tingin niya kay Nelson, Alpha.”


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