Everything Ilocos!

THE PEPPER MILL - Pepper Teehankee (The Philippine Star) - January 4, 2016 - 9:00am

That evening at Victorino’s restaurant in Quezon City felt like I was actually in Ilocos!

Destileria Limtuaco launched three new Ilocos-inspired products under its Philippine Craft Spirits line. Event host Carlos Celdran welcomed guests to an evening that celebrated the Ilocos region.

Ilocos Sur Vice Gov. DV Savellano introduced the “Vigan Philippine Sugarcane Wine” also known as basi.  Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos followed to introduce “Dragon Fire” (a dragon fruit wine) and “Imeldifique Cooking Wine” (a wonderful product with the essence of onions and garlic) while letting everyone know how these products aim to aid farmers in the region. Destileria Limtuaco president and CEO Olivia Limpe-Aw explained the collaboration with the country’s oldest distillery.

A grand Ilocano feast prepared by chef Heny Sison and Queenie Paras of Victorino’s featured classic Ilocano dishes like bagnet, pinakbet salad, poqui poqui, kabatiti and utong.

Sen. Bongbong Marcos treated the press to an impromptu cooking demo using Imeldifique Cooking Wine! Guests enjoyed the food as well as the two wines launched that night.

Chef Heny also launched her book called Naimas, co-written by Vice Gov. DV Savellano. The book is about the food heritage of Ilocos Sur and contains recipes and wonderful photographs by Neal Oshima. The book is available in both hardbound and soft cover editions.

(Discover more Philippine spirits at www.limtuaco.com. Victorino’s restaurant is located at 114 Scout Rallos corner 11th Jamboree, Quezon City. For inquiries, call 922-8558.)

Enjoying stellar tennis moments in Manila

PLDT HOME Fibr once again brought to Manila the world’s top tennis players for season two of the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL).

The IPTL’s three-day Manila leg thrilled spectators at the Mall of Asia Arena as part of a five-nation tour last month.

Headlining this year’s crop of tennis superstars for the newly-branded Philippine Mavericks team was the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) current No. 1 player Serena Williams, who has the most major singles, doubles and mixed doubles titles combined for active players, male or female. Williams is the fourth player in WTA history to reach 250 weeks as the world’s top seed. She surpassed Chris Evert, who was ranked No. 1 by a total of 260 weeks, by an additional week. The only players ahead of Williams are the retired greats Martina Navratilova (332 weeks) and Steffi Graf (377 weeks).

Accompanying Williams on the Philippine squad were Mixed Doubles Grand Slam titleholder Richard Gasquet, Wimbledon Championships WTA titleholder Sabine Lisicki, 2013 Australian Open Mixed Doubles titleholder Jarmila Gajdosova, the youngest member of the Association of Tennis Professionals Top 100 Borna Coric, ATP World Tour Doubles titleholder and Pinoy pride Treat Huey and World No. 8 in men’s singles and Mavericks team captain Mark Philippoussis.

PLDT VP and HOME marketing director Gary Dujali said that the season two of IPTL was definitely bigger and more extraordinary. The competition featured more than 30 international tennis superstars, with legend Serena Williams serving up our very own Philippine Mavericks.

PLDT HOME Fibr delivers powerful Internet of up to 1 Gbps, allowing high-speed browsing of multiple websites and the country’s first symmetrical speed service. Recently, it launched the new PLDT HOME Fibr Plan 2899, which offers 50 Mbps. Customers who apply before Jan. 31 will have their speed boosted to 100 Mbps for the first six months of their subscription.

(For more information, visit pldthome.com/fibr.)

Ending the year with a kingly feat

Art collectors and enthusiasts gathered at the Leon Gallery for its year-end Kingly Treasures Auction 2015. Works were put on auction and records were broken, a proof that fine art is highly in demand.

Contemporary artist Jigger Cruz’s Blares of the Opposite sold for P6.7 million while Andres Barrioquinto’s Into the Fray sold for P3.11 million. Both artworks are now the highest-selling pieces by the artists. Romulo Olazo’s Diaphanous B-LXXVII, the biggest Olazo to be sold at auction, went for P5.8 million, the highest-selling work by the late artist. Lao Lianben’s Wood Void hammered for P5.1 million.

The 19th-century Tinio-Gabaldon cabinet also broke the record at P15.8 million. This elegant work made of kamagong and lanite, which once belonged to the most landed family in the Philippines, is the highest-selling Philippine furniture to date.

The auction’s top sellers also included Anita Magsaysay-Ho’s Four Women (1964), sold for P23.9 million; Ronald Ventura’s In Memorial (2001) for P16.4 million; BenedictoBenCabCabrera’s Sabel (2003) at P11.7 million; and Jose Joya’s Torogan (1985) for P9.9 million and Blue Harbor (1966) for P9.3 million.  H.R. Ocampo’s Talking Birds, a very unique work by the modernist master, sold for P5.3 million; while Ang Kiukok’s Door, an excellent display of the artist’s skill, was acquired at P10.5 million.

In addition to its Kingly Treasures Auction, Leon Gallery also held four successful auctions this year: The Jim and Reed Pfeufer Collection, The Asian Cultural Council Philippines Art Auction, Spectacular Mid-Year 2015 and The Magnificent September Auction 2015. With four successful and very significant auctions and the record-breaking finale with Kingly Treasures Auction, it was indeed a banner year for Leon Gallery.

Soaring to new heights

The Adamson Soaring Falcons named multi-titled coach and seasoned basketball player Franz Pumaren as its new head coach. Welcoming him to the Adamson community were outgoing university president and chair Fr. Greg Bañaga Jr., CM, Adamson University (AdU) Office for Athletics and Recreation director Fr. Aldrin Suan and the AdU alumni sports executive group officials.

Fr. Bañaga said, “We are putting our full trust in Franz. While we do not expect an instant transformation nor do we expect the Falcons to land as champions in one year, we are optimistic that he will build us back into a competitive team.”

Adamson is drawing encouragement from the community, management and sponsors. Akari, one of the country’s top lighting and technology brands, has been a strong supporter and sponsor of the team for two years, including the women’s volleyball team. The brand’s solid support to the university is part of its youth development and sports program. Alvin Patrimonio, Asi Taulava, Jeron Teng and Kiefer Ravena are part of Akari’s roster of past and present brand ambassadors.

Akari Lighting and Technology sports director Russell Balbacal shared, “Akari is committed to back up Adamson Soaring Falcons in its bid to be a consistent UAAP title contender. The appointment of coach Pumaren will definitely pave the way for the Falcons’ dream of becoming legitimate challengers.”

(Follow me on Instagram@pepperteehankee.)

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