Food and Leisure

LIST: Eats and treats to try during the 2019 holidays

Ratziel San Juan - Philstar.com
LIST: Eats and treats to try during the 2019 holidays
Holiday spread

MANILA, Philippines — Nothing screams holidays like food-tripping with the people you love most.

You might have been too busy lately to spend time with your family and friends, but what better way to catch up than by feasting to your heart’s content?

Fortunately, we’ve put together a definitive list of delectables which foodie friends can feast on no matter what the occasion. Happy eating!

Scenic snacking in Hong Kong

Canton Lounge

Located on the 4th floor of Marco Polo Hongkong Hotel, Canton Lounge overlooks the historic 1881 Heritage gardens. Blessed with refreshing natural sunlight, it affords serene views of the lush greenery in the heart of the city.

Until December 31 for stays in Deluxe Harbour View Room, the lounge offers complimentary benefits for guests throughout the day and evening, including breakfast, afternoon tea, all-day coffee and tea, plus evening refreshments featuring fine wines and chef-crafted canapés. 

A piece of paradise

The Garden

Like a slice of paradise nestled within the steel and concrete arms of the resort, Okada Manila’s latest attraction, The Garden, blooms in the shadow of the massive Cove Manila dome.

This lush open space offers guests breathtaking views of the Manila bay sunset. This 30,000-square-meter manicured greenery has been designed around five reflective ponds, making it an ideal setting for up to 1,300 guests.

The Garden is where one can celebrate life's milestones, toast to new business partnerships, or simply choose to have a great time in the company of friends and loved ones. It can house 920 persons for sit-down events and buffet, while up to 1,300 persons for cocktails. It boasts of a softscape area of 30,094.14 sqm, a five-segment reflective pond of 3,291.00 sqm and a hardscape area of 2,500.00 sqm. Live music is courtesy of a resident disk jockey and band.

New Poblacion watering hole  


Joining the local nightlife scene is Verde, a concept bar and creative space smack in the middle of Poblacion’s palpable energetic soul. More than a drinking destination, the bar aims to fuse the best in local creative culture, and the spirit of Heineken; an impressive convergence of world-class experiences. 

In the past decade alone, Poblacion has steadily evolved into the vibrant, artistic and foodie hub it is known for today—and it’s only getting better. Formerly notorious as a red-light district among sleepy neighborhoods, Poblacion is now home to a slew of unique, independent establishments, drawing in hundreds of locals and tourists all-year.  

Avant-garde art galleries set next to quaint eateries, hipster cafes partnered with innovative retail spaces, upscale restaurants mingling with karaoke bars, all come together to form the epitome of Manila nightlife. Its unique charm and grit have often been compared to the hipster neighborhoods such as Williamsburg and Greenwich Village in New York. 

“Poblacion has always served as the hippest backdrop for some of the coolest events in Manila, so when we were presented with the opportunity to partner with Nicole and Jonathan Thorp to co-brand a bar, we knew that this was also a great chance to bring Heineken’s world class experiences to Filipinos. This is where cultural trends are being birthed, and this is where we want to strengthen our community,” said Christian Aguilar, group marketing manager of Heineken Philippines. 

Geographically, Poblacion has everything on its side. It’s situated west of the Makati business district, adjacent to one of the metro’s biggest shopping malls, and offering a wide view of the city skyline. Vibrant, restless, dynamic, with busy streets pulsing with traffic and people; all these elements are in sync to celebrate the energy, diversity and spirit of the beer brand.

“Beaming with green lights—from its façade to the interior light fixtures, Verde is a standout in a seemingly uniformed look of most bars in Poblacion,” said Nicole Thorp, co-owner of Verde. 

“The ethos of Verde is to seamlessly merge culture, music, and creativity, without losing any important elements of a contemporary bar. On that note, Verde truly represents what Heineken is known for: curator of world-class experiences,” she added. 

Poblacion’s evolution can be attributed to the successful gentrification, but one cannot ignore the vital role of young entrepreneurs, innovative restaurateurs, and passionate artists in forming this iconic community. It’s this same cross-pollination synergy that has inspired the beer brand, Nicole and Jonathan Thorp, the creative trifecta behind the bar, to take the best of Manila’s creative scene to greater heights; setting it up for the rest of the world to experience. 

Ice cream bonding from Maginhawa to Poblacion

Turon and Rice ice cream flavors, infused with goat's milk.

If you want ice cream to be part of your family Christmas bonding, Papa Diddi's Handcrafted Ice Cream is now no longer just available for deliveries and monthyly subscriptions. The brand has a newly opened kiosk at the Upper Ground floor of SM North Edsa Annex.

The famous ice cream store in Maginhawa Quezon City has now arrived at the biggest mall in the North area. It also offers homegrown flavors in Pobstacion, Valdez Street, Poblacion, Makati City.

Lechon Cubano

 Lechon Cubano

For carnivores, Gringo made its name for their BBQ Ribs and Southern Spice Chicken. The restaurant, located at the Mall of Asia (MOA) Complex in Pasay City, offers its new Lechon Cubano, slow-roast, Cuban-style lechon belly drizzled with a special Chimichurri sauce for an explosion of aroma and flavor. The Lechon Cubano boasts of a tender meat and crispy exterior.

'Dreamy' delights

New holiday desserts

Satiate your sweet tooth with McDonald’s new holiday desserts including Rich Chocolate Pie, a crisp cocoa-flavored pie crust containing dark chocolate that flows like lava. The chocolate filling is made of real cocoa beans sourced from Ivory Coast, Ecuador and Ghana.

There is also the Coffee McFlurry with Oreo, a new variation of the brand's ice cream concoction. The stark contrast of the cool vanilla soft serve sundae and the mild roast coffee syrup and crushed Oreos is inventive and inviting. 

Milk tea enthusiasts would also want to try out the Milk Tea McFloat with Brown Sugar Pearls, which comes in two flavors: classic black tea or dreamy wintermelon tea full of chewy pearls made from brown sugar and topped with a vanilla soft serve crown.

Feast on Japanese favorites

Japanese Feast Trays

For family gatherings, potlucks are just a click or call away as Teriyaki Boy introduces its Japanese Feast Trays that include chicken, sushi, gyoza and rolls. 

For your crew, make sure you bring your own feast. Let everyone feast on the restaurant chain's Japanese favorites by ordering through online or hotline.

Rhian and Bianca's chocolate, coffee fix

Rhian Ramos and Bianca King

In the Philippines, coffee is not just a beverage. It is a way of life. With today’s fast-paced lifestyle, coffee is close to the hearts of Filipinos as it enables them to have the energy to balance work and life.

Filipinos have developed a penchant for meeting up with people over coffee. Recognizing Filipinos’ affinity with coffee, Mondelez Philippines encourages everyone to share good stories with the new limited-edition and first of its kind in the chocolate tablet format, Cadbury Dairy Milk Coffee.
Cadbury Philippines recently welcomed its new flavor, Dairy Milk Coffee with Rhian Ramos and Bianca King. A blend of dairy milk chocolate and delectable coffee flavor, the new Dairy Milk Coffee is available at all leading supermarkets nationwide.

“It has chocolate and coffee, my two favourites, combined," mused by Rhian. “It is two of the best things in one bite, without the caffeine” added Bianca.

Just add cheese

This Christmas, celebrate every moment with love and make those moments last forever.

Whip your favorite pasta dish and top it with the goodness of Eden cheese for a creamier and richer taste. This month, as Bacolod celebrates its famed Masskara Festival, make mussels cheesier by adding Eden to this Bacolod favorite.

Limited-edition red velvet variant

Kyle Echarri (center)

For a limited time only, everyone’s favorite cookie is turning red with the new Oreo Red Velvet. Launched recently at the Glorietta Activity Grounds in Makati City, the new Red Velvet cookie is a sweet way to express your love.

Attended by singer and YouTuber Kyle Echarri, the event had a lot of cool games, as well as a styling booth. The brand also announced that it has partnered with Lazada for the Compliment Music Box, a special music box that records music and compliments using an actual Oreo. This makes for an amazing Christmas gift for your loved ones. 

This Compliment Machine is the world’s first compliment-powered treat-giver, running on all the lovely things said by people. 

Charcoal chicken 

Charcoal chicken

If the gang loves grilled chicken, it’s wise to try Peri Peri Charcoal Chicken & Sauce Bar’s galore of flavors.

The charcoal chicken packs a powerhouse of flavor and zest in filling servings. For an added kick of spiciness, you can try any of the following twists on the classic chicken dish to warm up your holidays: Poulet Vous Cajun Remoulade, Hen Dynasty’s Hoisin Sesame, Tokyo Tori’s Sweet Soy, Count Cluckula’s Garlic Brew, Peri Spiced Vinegar, Apachee’kn Mesquite BBQ, Fowl-Mouthed Chili Peppa’, and Sheik Chic’s Harissa Exotica.

'Pulutan' platter, award-winning 'sisig'

Krispy Sisig and other signature dishes

Dencio’s dishes with a homemade charm make it ideal for family gatherings and celebration blowouts. The restaurant is fast becoming a "barkada" spot thanks to its signature Pulutan Platter that combines special appetizers Ukoy, Lumpiang Shanghai, Hot and Spicy “Tofulutan,” and Krispy Kwek Kwek.

Beer is also complemented by the diner's Krispy Sisig, recognized as the “People’s Choice for Best Sisig” for two consecutive years at The Choice 2019 by the World Food Expo, Our Awesome Planet and Kain Tulog Gang.

Tea Tap Bar

Thai milk tea series

Chatime’s Tea Tap Bar is less of a dish or drink to try than a glimpse of how its signature Thai milk tea can bring groups closer together.

Designed like a usual bar with the same social gathering function over alcohol, the twist reimagines tea kegs placed under the counter with the tap around eye level, immersing long-time fans of the iconic beverage in the tea-making process.

Maris Racal, Iñigo Pascual share how they refresh their lifestyles


One thing that defines today’s generation of young Filipinos is that they have their own interests and passions that they strongly advocate. Some want to travel and see the world, pursue the highest possible educational degree, and even participate in volunteer programs. 

Then, there are individuals like Maris Racal and Iñigo Pascual, who work hard to share their talents, entertain and inspire others. Popularly known as MarNigo, these two stars are not only passionate about their artistic careers but also in promoting a clean lifestyle and responsible living among the youth. 

Drinking eight bottles of water every day is the principle that Iñigo has been living by since he was a student. He shared, “Growing up in the States, I was the guy that would bring eight water bottles to class because it was so expensive there. Personally, I believe that drinking water is the best way to cleanse so I make sure to always have a bottle with me.” 

Like Iñigo, Maris also opens up about being a fan of drinking water. She also shares a habit that she recently developed to help her work towards a better lifestyle: going to the gym. Maris said, “It was only last year that I got into working out. I make sure to keep active and fit by going to the gym thrice a week. And even there, I always bring water to keep me refreshed.” 

The two young celebrities agree that it is important to be aware and take care of one’s self, not just through hydration, but also in having a positive approach in life. “Better lifestyle starts on the inside. Have a positive approach on the way you go about in life, as well as surround yourself with people who will push you to take care of yourself,” Iñigo said.

Helping MarNigo continue their journey to a better and cleaner lifestyle is Refresh Mineral Water. Bottled straight from its source, it has a natural-tasting goodness that makes it their ideal partner in refreshing with the original taste of pure mineral water, anytime, anywhere. 

Sharing the same beliefs in living clean, Maris and Iñigo join the brand as “Refreshies” to encourage the youth to move towards responsible living. 

“We were very happy when we found out that we are part of the Refresh family. Advocating a clean lifestyle is a big responsibility but it’s natural for us because that’s already the way we live - healthy and clean,” shared Maris. 

The refreshing everyday drink also comes in eco-friendly bottles that are made of 100% recyclable plastic which can be reused to help minimize waste in the community. Together with the Refreshies, the brand will show ways to put used bottles to good use with its new campaign. 

Iñigo says, “It’s a blessing for both of us to be able to endorse something that we believe in. It’s also nice to see that the brand is supportive of recycling because it addresses the waste problem that we are facing today.” 

A special whisky blend


Johnnie Walker puts the spotlight on the Johnnie Highball, a new way to enjoy whisky that’s making waves across the globe and in some of the world’s most influential hotspots, including the Philippines.

The Highball aims to break old notions that whisky should only be consumed neat or on-the-rocks. The highball serve has been enjoying a surge in popularity all over the world because people are now looking for longer drinks with lower ABV that look great and taste amazing. The Highball hits this sweet spot, and is a bold, big-flavored take on the classic cocktail serve.

“What’s so great about the highball is that there are virtually unlimited ways to prepare one. By simply adjusting the measurements, or maybe switching up a mixer or the blend, people can unlock different kinds of taste experiences – ideal for people who think they don’t like the liquid, or have yet to discover it,” Diageo Reserve Brand Ambassador Rian Asiddao said.

A warm welcome to a new finish

This one-off expression is smoky and velvety to taste.

Aged in Oloroso sherry and Andalusian vino de Naranja casks, the new Don Papa Sevilliana Cask Finish bursts with fragrant orange rind flavors, nutty aromas and subtle dried fruits alongside Don Papa’s signature vanilla notes. This one-off expression is smoky and velvety to taste.




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