Max’s turns 70

THE PEPPER MILL - Pepper Teehankee - The Philippine Star

 For its 70th anniversary, Max’s Restaurant brought its family, friends, and loyal customers back to the place where it all began  the original branch at Scout Tuazon in Quezon City.

Guests took a walk down memory lane in a nostalgic outdoor display at Ruby Hall’s courtyard featuring historic photos of the five original founders, black and white photos of the original branch when it had just opened, and even a photo of the old Greenbelt branch in Makati.  They were welcomed into the hall by a screen showing Max’s Restaurant’s television commercials and by a mini-museum hosting various memorabilia. I was intrigued by the prices shown in the menu when Max’s first opened, with chicken being more expensive than steak!

Vintage uniforms, yellowing employee IDs, and  antique menus from previous decades proudly showcased Max’s apparent staying power in the food industry. The night was a joyful celebration of the restaurant’s 70-year success story as every Filipino’s place of comfort.

Few are aware that Max’s began as a bar and cafe that catered to American soldiers — a generous gesture from the sympathetic heart of the founder Maximo Gimenez and his talented niece, Ruby Trota, the secret behind the restaurant’s culinary success.  Seven decades later, the restaurant has expanded both locally and internationally, growing in partnerships through franchising and brand expansion.

President and CEO of Max’s Restaurant Carolyn Trota-Salud and director and chief marketing officer of Max’s Group Inc. Jim Fuentebella reminisced with the guests about the times they spent during their unforgettable childhood memories of waiting tables, working at the cashiers, and counting inventory for the restaurant. They grew up alongside the children of the restaurant’s employees, who, like them, are now part of the third generation of the restaurant. President and CEO of Max’s Group Inc. Robert Trota said, “We would not be here without you.”

The evening was a genuine and heartwarming expression of gratitude from Max’s Restaurant to all of those who were part of building “The House That Fried Chicken Built.”

(Visit www.maxschicken.com or www.facebook.com/maxsrestaurant.)

Make the best happen

“Make the best happen” is what the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) encourages us to do in its newest campaign. During its launch at the Enderun Tent in Taguig City, the bank introduced an animated reel that spoke about pursuing dreams. Together with the video, BPI also introduced the website makethebesthappen.ph to find practical tips on travel, health, parenting, shopping, dining and planning for the future.

Guests enjoyed the canapés and White Zinfandel wines at the dining booth; played tourists at the travel booth; engaged in pseudo-retail therapy at the shopping booth; did some cardio exercises and light weight training at the health booth; and engaged in a coloring activity at the parenting booth.

BPI president and CEO Cezar Consing said the campaign is a reflection of the bank’s commitment to empower people. Making the best happen means “helping them achieve anything they would love to happen, whether it’s for leisure, education, or broadening one’s horizons.”

Head of BPI’s strategic brand management Tricia Quiambao added, “As people become more and more aware of the world around them and the many possibilities and opportunities it offers, BPI would like to enable them to accomplish those aspirations better, faster and more efficiently.”

Harmony of the senses

An exclusive whisky tasting event dubbed “Hibiki: Harmony of the Senses” was held at the new Japanese spirits bar LIT Manila at Serendra in Taguig City.

The event launched two rare, limited bottlings of Suntory’s Hibiki line — the Deep Harmony and the Mellow Harmony — that were only released in Japan in 2013, along with full shots of Hibiki Japanese Harmony, Hibiki 12 and Hibiki 17.

LIT Manila opened a few months ago and has quickly built a reputation for exceptional service, quality product knowledge and the widest selection of Japanese booze. It has a collection of over 300 different Japanese whiskies, as well as Japanese rum, vodka, boutique spirits (green tea matcha liqueur and cherry blossom liqueur), beer, shochu and sake.

The bar’s Japanese whisky concierge Francis Hasegawa was our guide for the evening. Hailing from Tokyo, Hasegawa sourced the impressive collection of Japanese whisky at LIT.  After a welcome highball (whisky+soda water) of Hibiki Japanese Harmony, the event began by highlighting the background and brand concept of Hibiki, meaning resonance or harmony in Japanese. 

The Hibiki Deep Harmony was opened and served together with a well-paired truffled cheese. Francis explained that the Deep Harmony was a limited bottling of 3,000 bottles distributed only to Tokyo’s bar trade, comprising of Hakushu distillery malt double matured in 1996 Chateau Lagrange red wine casks followed by 1998 sherry casks. The Mellow Harmony, quite differently, had a light golden brown hue and was a limited bottling of 4,000 bottles. In contrast, it contained Yamazaki distillery malt blended with Chita distillery grain, aged for over 30 years.

Small plates by one of LIT’s partners, chef Katrina Alcantara, included a light and flavorful duck tataki paired with a shot of Hibiki 17, followed by a tenderloin topped with foie gras and ended with a shot of Hibiki 12 combined with a classic seafood chirashi bowl.

Hibiki is a blended whisky, yet its richness, deepness and mellowness resemble that of single malt. When different flavors and aromas are fused together, an ephemeral harmony in the drinker is created. The swoon felt by the participants made this event a truly memorable experience of the senses.

Strengthening business partnerships

Executives of some of the biggest companies in the country took a breather from their busy schedules to play at the Solane LPG 2nd Golf Tournament.

Organized by Isla Petroleum and Gas (IPG) Corp., the exclusive sporting event, held at the Manila Southwoods Golf and Country Club, was created as part of the company’s customer appreciation and nurturing activity.

Isla LPG Corp. (ILC) chief executive officer Ruben Domingo said, “We always go the extra mile to strengthen our partnership with clients. With many of our partners playing golf, this tournament will provide an avenue for us to relax, have fun and engage in a friendly sport competition.”

Joining the game were the big bosses of IPG Group of Companies, including chairman of the executive committee Ricky Delgado Jr. Also in attendance were IPG CEO Shoichi Watanabe, CFO Willie Sarmiento and ILC general manager for sales Tonito Gonzales.

Participating business partners came from Angel’s Burger, Chooks to Go, EMME, Gardenia, Isuzu, JG Summit, McDonald’s, Mister Donut, Monde M.Y. San, Nagano Seiko, Ortigas & Company, Puyat Steel, Royal Tern, Sofitel, SurTec, Swedish Match and Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp.

Kazuho Ushiyama of Nagano Seiko bagged the championship title. He also received the Nearest-to-the-Pin and the Best Flight awards. Other winners included Adam Laker of Sofitel for the Longest Drive award; and Ricky Sta. Ana of Chooks to Go, Sumio Tange of SurTec and Leo Obias of Swedish Match, who were recognized as the first, second and third runners-up, respectively. Delgado retained his title as the champion of the tournament in the staff division.

Prizes raffled off at the event included a TaylorMade R15 Driver Global Shaft, GoPro HERO+LCD, Samsung 32” HD Ready LED TV and a Nespresso machine.

Pacsports is the official partner of the Solane LPG Golf Tournament 2015.

(Follow me on Instagram @pepperteehankee.)


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