PHNO SOL VANZI's  TRAVEL & LIFESTYLE
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

SOL VANZI's TIMPLA'T  TIKIM THIS PAST WEEKS...     
  

EAST MEETS WEST IN PASIG
This restaurant in Kapitolyo, Pasig specializes in Chinese and French cuisines  Despite traffic snarls, I ventured out of my Malate-Ermita comfort zone last week and braved the streets of Metro Manila. I was rewarded with a most memorable meal in Barrio Kapitolyo, Pasig. Red Panda has a very unassuming façade, with a simple sign that’s easy to miss if not for the number of high-end cars parked at all hours in front of the well-lit restaurant that looks like a neighborhood café/wine bar. Hardwood tables and upholstered chairs contribute to the friendly atmosphere inside. CONTINUE READING...

ALSO: The Red Panda Bistro

Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called present. Everything then, from the French inspired interior, bamboo adorned walls, greens planted around with sliding glass doors welcoming guests and impressionable world class kitchen, gourmet dishes and dining service, it is hard not to be enthralled by Red Panda Bistro�s east meets west feel, truly a place of fine dining celebrating both sides of the world. READ MORE...

ALSO: The graduate’s guide to celebrating in style
Eat, drink, and be merry, because summer (and the real world) is upon you
Because one of the best ways to say goodbye is chugging down beer at the deck bar of a beautiful hotel while listening to Vitamin C’s Friends Forever song. Or not. At Crimson Hotel, you and your buds can enjoy an overnight stay at a deluxe or premium room with a buffet breakfast for two, six bottles of beer or one standard round of five party drinks, pica-pica at the deck bar or lobby lounge, and the use of the hotel facilities for R5,800 a night. So whether you’re in the mood for an all-nighter gossip session, a Wii gaming party, or a 12-hour straight movie marathon session, this is a night you’ll never forget.

ALSO: Bohol summer sole-stice

Bohol has fully recovered from the devastating magnitude 7 earthquake that rocked, and greatly damaged, the heart-shaped island in 2013. The (few) Chocolate Hills that eroded during the quake is now getting a lot of attention as it is now called “Chocolate Crinkles” because of its white-smudged surface.
Geographically, high summer in the northern hemisphere doesn’t begin until June 21. But we tropical people do things differently here in our islands in the year-round sun. As soon as temperatures rise, regardless if it’s February or March, Filipinos begin dreaming up beach escapades or cool mountain treks, so much so that weeks before Holy Week (aka everybody’s favorite looong weekend for travel, much to the chagrin of the Catholic church) flights, buses, hotels, resorts, and on-site tours are all nearly, if not already, fully booked. And with all the breathtakingly beautiful destinations scattered around our 7,000+++ islands, who can blame us for being a bit overexcited? READ  MORE...

ALSO: PAL’S New York adventure
I’ll be honest: The last time I flew Philippine Airlines, the flight was delayed coming and going, the food was mediocre, and I swore to myself, never again. The majestic New York skyline shortly before the 7AM landing  Well, never say never, as the adage goes. Because two weeks ago, I was invited to join PAL’s inaugural flight to New York. It was a historic flight for many reasons. The date of the flight – March 15th – marked the 74th anniversary of the airline’s founding. It also marked the resumption of flights to the Big Apple afteacr a very long absence. Before service to New York City was discontinued, PAL used to fly into Newark (EWR) International Airport. The inaugural flight landed at PAL’s new home, JFK International Airport, Terminal 1. “Deep in our hearts, we knew that one day, PAL would be back in New York. After 18 years, that day has come,” said PAL President Jaime J. Bautista right before takeoff. READ MORE..


READ FULL REPORT HERE:

East Meets West in Pasig


Red Panda president Chester Go manages the family's expanding venture

MANILA, MARCH 30, 2015 (MANILA BULLETIN) by Sol Vanzi March 26, 2015 - This restaurant in Kapitolyo, Pasig specializes in Chinese and French cuisines

Despite traffic snarls, I ventured out of my Malate-Ermita comfort zone last week and braved the streets of Metro Manila. I was rewarded with a most memorable meal in Barrio Kapitolyo, Pasig.

Red Panda has a very unassuming façade, with a simple sign that’s easy to miss if not for the number of high-end cars parked at all hours in front of the well-lit restaurant that looks like a neighborhood café/wine bar. Hardwood tables and upholstered chairs contribute to the friendly atmosphere inside.

CONTINUE READING...


Giant baked oysters


Red Panda iced tea, banana blueberry smoothie, Asian appetizers


Roasted Duck Breast In Dark Chocolate Sauce with Foie Gras

(Images by Pinggot Zulueta)

FREE SHUTTLE, DELIVERY

Many of the diners that night arrived aboard Red Panda’s special shuttle service, free for those working or residing in the Ortigas area. They get picked up and brought back. No driving. No waiting for Uber or GrabTaxi. No searching for parking space.

Young manager Chester Go credits his parents with the concept and success of the business. Red Panda branches will soon open in Sta. Rosa, Tagaytay, Greenhills, and Libis.

ONE OF THE FEW EXCEPTIONS

Aficionados know how difficult it is, outside of five-star hotels, to find good Chinese food and wine in the same restaurant. Red Panda is one of the few exceptions. It has an extensive selection of wines from several continents at reasonable prices.

From appetizers to desserts, the menu presents generations of favorites: baked oysters, chicken feet, scallop dumplings, prawns Thermidor, pata tim, osso buco, spareribs with shiitake, crab with sotanghon, and finally, salted caramel and sans rival Toblerone cakes.

The oysters are huge, twice as large as those offered in other restaurants. And they are so fresh they taste like the ocean, with creamy plump flesh that fills up each half-shell. Spooned atop each oyster is a rich mixture of minced garlic, herbs, fresh spinach, and grated Parmesan that’s been aged for 18 months. A brief trip under a broiler melts the cheese while keeping the oysters comfortably warm.

Another extra large serving is the osso buco, a very thick chunk of beef shank cut neatly across, leg bone and all. It is seared and braised for several hours in special soy sauce, sherry, and a secret blend of Chinese herbs and spices until the meat falls off the bone. Great for sharing, the osso buco’s gravy is good over rice, with noodles, or with bread.

Huge sugpo (black tiger prawns) are split in half for prawns Thermidor, a recipe originally meant for lobster. Red Panda selects the firmest, freshest prawns and drenches them with minced herbs, wine, cheese, butter, and homemade crumbs. Grilling turns the topping crunchy and gooey as the prawn flesh achieves the exact level of doneness.

A grand finish to the meal is the house gelato, made fresh daily in the premises using fresh fruit. My choice is flavored lightly with fresh basil leaves, harvested from the vertical garden built into the walls of the restaurant.

Red Panda opens at 7 a.m. for early birds who come in for waffles, Chinese congee, Filipino tapa, smoked salmon, benedict or steak and hash.


Red Panda Bistro



Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called present.

Everything then, from the French inspired interior, bamboo adorned walls, greens planted around with sliding glass doors welcoming guests and impressionable world class kitchen, gourmet dishes and dining service, it is hard not to be enthralled by Red Panda Bistro�s east meets west feel, truly a place of fine dining celebrating both sides of the world.

READ MORE...
RED PANDA Bistro offers Chinese and French cuisines right in the heart of Pasig city, bursting with distinctive flavors and fillings, marrying art and romance perfectly en suite in a saying, "an exquisite meal in a truly great restaurant like a sort of theatre you can eat". Fans of dim sums and pastas can add a new and exciting dining destination on their list with the opening of this bistro as they created 90 plus menus using freshly made noodles and baked breads loaded with deli meats, sprightly greens and to mention their marvelous variety of wines and teas. VISIT THEIR WEBSITE: @  http://www.redpanda.ph/


MANILA BULLETIN

The graduate’s guide to celebrating in style March 26, 2015 Share0 Tweet0 Share0 Email0 Share2

Eat, drink, and be merry, because summer (and the real world) is upon you



GATHER THE GANG FOR ONE LAST HURRAH
IMAGES BULLETIN FILE PHOTOS

Because one of the best ways to say goodbye is chugging down beer at the deck bar of a beautiful hotel while listening to Vitamin C’s Friends Forever song. Or not. At Crimson Hotel, you and your buds can enjoy an overnight stay at a deluxe or premium room with a buffet breakfast for two, six bottles of beer or one standard round of five party drinks, pica-pica at the deck bar or lobby lounge, and the use of the hotel facilities for R5,800 a night. So whether you’re in the mood for an all-nighter gossip session, a Wii gaming party, or a 12-hour straight movie marathon session, this is a night you’ll never forget. www.crimsonhotel.com/manila 


LEARN (OR EAT) SOMETHING NEW

CONTINUE READING...
Now’s the best time to shrug off the mantle of fast food bingeing or ho-hum Chinese takeouts.

Ask the parents to treat you like a grownup (minus you footing the bill, of course) and head to Tapella to get an introductory course on really good Spanish cuisine.

For just R2,999, good for five diners, get a taste of Ensalada Tapella, Paella Cocido (with chicken, asparagus, shrimp, and Manchego cheese) or Paella Valenciana (chicken and vegetables). Savor the Parillada de Carnes (if you’re in the mood for all-meat) or the Lapu Lapu Pil Pil (in olive oil and pepper).

Desserts come in threes: luscious arroz con leche, decadent tocino del cielo, and fanstastic flan de abuela. Consider this your 101 on conquering the world, one decadent cuisine at a time.

Tapella is at the ground level of Greenbelt 5, 02 757 2710


BOND WITH THE PARENTS OVER STEAK

Here’s an idea: Why don’t you treat the parents?

Sure, you’ve done the hard work, but they gave up 15 years worth of traveling, shopping, and eating out to see you through school. For just R895, you can give your parents the blow out they deserve at Restaurant 5’s buffet lunch featuring the best of Pan Asian cuisine at Discovery Suites.

The best part? You eat for free. (Don’t forget to bring your school ID). If you’re in the mood for steak, head up to the 22nd floor at 22 Prime, where you can share a mouthwatering 850-gram USDA Prime Angus Bone-in Ribeye steak, priced at R4,000++.

Graduates get a soup of the day and a special graduation cake. 02 719 8888


MAKE IT A TWO-DAY CELEBRATION

Exam week is hell week, so what’s two days out of 365 x years you’ve been slaving in school to properly celebrate graduating?

At Diamond Hotel, graduates can party for two days with a lavish commemorative feast and an overnight stay at the luxurious bayside hotel.

Choose the “Keeping it Simple” package: a lunch or dinner buffet for four persons at Corniche or Kaiseki set lunch or dinner at Yurakuen for four, and get a free gift certificate for an overnight stay in a deluxe room for only R12,000.

Want it grander?

The “Making it Big and Memorable” package goes for R19,999, where the graduate can stay at a deluxe room, indulge in a breakfast for two, and have eight people over for a lunch or dinner buffet.

Dining packages are valid until the end of April. 02 528 3000


MANILA BULLETIN

Bohol summer sole-stice by Jacky Lynne A. Oiga March 22, 2015 (updated) Share1 Tweet9 Share0 Email0 Share34


Travel is good for the sole, sorry, soul. So why not enjoy each moment of it, wherever you are, in utmost comfort and #OOTD-ready style?

Geographically, high summer in the northern hemisphere doesn’t begin until June 21. But we tropical people do things differently here in our islands in the year-round sun.

As soon as temperatures rise, regardless if it’s February or March, Filipinos begin dreaming up beach escapades or cool mountain treks, so much so that weeks before Holy Week (aka everybody’s favorite looong weekend for travel, much to the chagrin of the Catholic church) flights, buses, hotels, resorts, and on-site tours are all nearly, if not already, fully booked. And with all the breathtakingly beautiful destinations scattered around our 7,000+++ islands, who can blame us for being a bit overexcited?

READ MORE...
Recently, just when the days are getting a little longer and the nights a little less colder, members of the media were whisked away to the achingly romantic Amorita Resort in Panglao Island, Bohol for the launch of FitFlop’s spring/summer 2015 collection. Inspired by the Côte d’Azur or the French Riviera, the collection is biomechanically tailormade for those who seek la vie est belle, minus the achy feet.

This season, FitFlop concocts a wide range of capsule collections, which take inspiration from the essential things we love most about summer: comfort, indulgence, spontaneity, and style.


FitFlops' summer-ready SS15 collection FitFlops’ summer-ready SS15 collection

“We’ve been getting some feedback about our thick soles,” says Global Sourcing and Product Development director Jill Coglan. “Apparently, some consumers are upset about our trademark Microwobble board, until they actually try on a pair and walk in it.”

Jill calls this thick, deceivingly “upsetting” sole as magic. Science-magic developed by biomechanists just so you can go on walking, traveling, working, conquering the world properly and comfortably until your pair literally falls apart. But she does get the upsetting style concern.

 “As more and more women (and men) are getting hooked on our footwear we continue working on its aesthetic as much as we do with its quality,” she says.

So this summer, think comfy, kitschy cool ergonomic toe-thong, slides, or multi-strap flats that come in leather, canvas, or the FitFlop’s trademark waterproof plastic material.

The women’s collection is influenced by 1950s photographs of carefree, chillin-like-a-villain days along the Mediterranean coastline. While for the men, the brand kept it sleek and simple by reinventing its bestselling silhouettes with a touch of nautical colors and prints.

The next two days, after exchanging pleasantries, business cards, dream vacations, and travel and fashion faux pas (Ladies, long walks on powdery white sand beach in sky-high wedges is not pleasant in real-life or on Instagram, although magazine ads can take some creative license), the group—along with Jill and foreign journalists from Jakarta and Brunei—proceeded with the leisure part of the trip strolling along Alona Beach, climbing the seemingly never ending stairway (214 steps!) to the Chocolate Hills observation deck, quietly trudging around the Philippine Tarsier and Wildlife Sanctuary to spot the cutest primates on the surface of the planet, and luxuriating in style at Amorita’s poolside cabanas.


The famous Chocolate Hills (Bohol images by Angelo Garcia)

Bohol has fully recovered from the devastating magnitude 7 earthquake that rocked, and greatly damaged, the heart-shaped island in 2013.

The (few) Chocolate Hills that eroded during the quake is now getting a lot of attention as it is now called “Chocolate Crinkles” because of its white-smudged surface.

The Loboc River Cruise, which briefly stopped operations after the quake, is now back in business. The centuries-old churches are now being rebuilt and restored by the government and heritage and private foundations.

There are now geological tours that attract not a few geological experts, students, and enthusiasts to learn about Bohol’s fault lines and newly discovered Great Wall of Bohol.

The province has gone through a full rebranding campaign to win back and lure in local and foreign tourists, a testament to the innovativeness and the resilient spirit of the Boholanos in times of natural disasters.

All these we experienced and discovered while casually breaking in our stylish, summer-ready Fitflop pairs. Talk about pleasing two needs with one super fun deed. Travel, after all, is supposed to be good for the sole, sorry, soul.

So why not enjoy each moment of it, wherever you are, in utmost comfort and #OOTD-ready style?

The Primer Group of Companies is the exclusive distributor of FitFlop in the Philippines.


MANILA STANDARD

PAL’S New York adventure By Bambina Olivares Wise | Mar. 29, 2015 at 06:50pm

I’ll be honest: The last time I flew Philippine Airlines, the flight was delayed coming and going, the food was mediocre, and I swore to myself, never again.

The majestic New York skyline shortly before the 7AM landing

Well, never say never, as the adage goes. Because two weeks ago, I was invited to join PAL’s inaugural flight to New York.

It was a historic flight for many reasons. The date of the flight – March 15th – marked the 74th anniversary of the airline’s founding. It also marked the resumption of flights to the Big Apple afteacr a very long absence. Before service to New York City was discontinued, PAL used to fly into Newark (EWR) International Airport. The inaugural flight landed at PAL’s new home, JFK International Airport, Terminal 1.

“Deep in our hearts, we knew that one day, PAL would be back in New York. After 18 years, that day has come,” said PAL President Jaime J. Bautista right before takeoff.


Manila to New York Cabin Crew roster led by Flight Purser Monique Gloria.

READ MORE...
Bautista made special mention of the Filipino-American communities along the Eastern seaboard “who are our most passionate supporters,” who had long clamoured for the resumption of flights. PAL now serves, in addition to New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Honolulu and Guam.

The All-American theme that pervaded the inaugural ceremonies was charming and unpretentious. There was Lady Liberty at the airport covered in a robe and crown the same oxidized green as the actual Statue of Liberty; even her face was painted the same color. Refreshments were as American as you could get: hotdogs and lemonade!

As soon as everyone settled into their seats in the spacious Boeing 777 aircraft, crooner Martin Nievera began to serenade surprised but delighted passengers. Chairman of PAL Dr. Lucio Tan was on board the flight, and frequently strolled up and down the aisles, checking for himself that passengers in all classes were comfortable.

The 12-hour flight to Vancouver was indeed comfortable, and the crew, headed by Flight Purser Bernard Buenaventura were lovely without being obsequious, a balance of demeanor not that simple to achieve when you have a flight full of VIPs, as Dr. Tan certainly was.


PAL Chairman and CEO Dr. Lucio Tan turns over an aircraft model of the B777-300ER to US Amb. to the Philippines Philip Goldberg before the flight to NYC

A barrio fiesta awaited us at the departure area in Vancouver (YVR), with simple ceremonies again marking the inaugural YVR-JFK flight. From there, it was another five hours or so to New York. Glimpsing the city early the next morning through the windows of the plane and watching dawn give in to day, the orange bands of sunrise brightening the sky, was quite magical.

Though the weather was bracing – it even snowed on the first official day of Spring, March 20th – it was altogether an auspiciously good start to what is clearly a new era for PAL.

The goodwill generated by the resumption of flights was evident by the impressive turnout for the press conference held on March 16th at the Hilton Hotel in Midtown Manhattan, followed by a filled-to-capacity reception and dinner which saw the irrepressible Nievera performing, once again.

He was upstaged, however, by the appearance of Rebecca Versoza Santos who, it was revealed, was PAL’s very first flight attendant. While wheelchair-bound, the US-based Mrs. Santos’ elegant bearing was still very much apparent when she stood up briefly to receive a token of appreciation from Dr. and Mrs. Tan – a round trip New York-Manila-New York ticket.

As for that thing I said about never ever flying PAL again? I think it’s high time I reconsidered.

Bambina Olivares Wise flew to New York as a guest of Philippine Airlines.




Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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