Ramen Plus from The Maya Kitchen

Japanese Master Chef Seiji Kamura chopped and sliced, simmered and boiled as he shared tips and secrets on how to cook various ramen at The Maya Kitchen recently. Miso Ramen, Shoyu Ramen, Hiyashi Chuka and Yakisoba were all presented with that special touch that only a Japanese cuisine expert can lend. 

Try your hands in preparing this flavorful Hiyashi Chuka in your own kitchen.

140g noodle
1 pc Japanese cucumber sliced into strips
60g chasu (meat)
1 pc crab stick
egg (crepe eggs)
10g wakame (seaweed)
5g sesame seeds (toasted)

Boil noodles for 3 minutes. Transfer in iced cold water then drain. Plate noodle, garnish with cucumber, egg, chasu, crab stick, and wakame. Just before serving, sprinkle sesame seeds and drizzle with hiyashi chuka dressing.

For more information, log on to www.themayakitchen.com or e-mail contactus@themayakitchen.com.

Flight Review: Philippine Airlines - Manila to Puerto Princesa

Pre-Airport Experience - Three weeks before departure, I requested to modify my roundtrip (PAL and PAL Express) airline tickets that was supposedly used last December to be rebooked on January 30 and February 8. Changes and payments transaction were made over the phone through respective customer care hotlines. It was a long call, presumably an hour including the usually unbearable waiting time, but all my concerns were attended accordingly in just one phone call, not a single follow-up was made. The experience was more convenient rather than going to the nearest ticketing office to make changes.

Travel Tip: How to Get a Window Seat without Paying More

I have flown a lot and on each flight, I want to be seated next to the window. I hate airplanes’ middle and isle seats and I think I’m not alone in thinking that they are the worst.  When I booked and rebooked my tickets, I skipped the airline seating chart because I won’t and didn’t pay that extra charge to choose my seat.  I don’t have an assigned seat until I checked in but I'm not worried. With an experience attending Air Philippines’ (now PAL Express) check-in counter during my OJT in college, I know what to do to get that seat next to the aircraft’s window. 

From what I’ve experienced in handling flight manifest and check-in counter during my OJT days, some number of available seats are on hold and block till the last minute, reserved for emergency cases and super VIPs they say. (Wikipedia: A flight manifest is a list of passengers (or in the case of a cargo flight, parcels) and crew of an aircraft compiled before departure based on flight check-in information. It is securely guarded to protect passengers' privacy)

Here’s the drill: You can get a window seat but it’s a gamble, depends if there’s a vacant window seat on your flight. 

Here’s what you have to do: Check-in two hours early for domestic flight. Give your nicest smile and beautiful eyes to the ground attendant and nicely request them that you want to be seated by the window. Unless all of the window seats have been selected and paid for, you have a pretty good chance of getting a seat with uninterrupted view of the sky.  

I requested a window seat with my signature puppy dog eyes that the pleasant ground attendant could not resist.  He placed me near cockpit, next row from senior citizens and PWDs, 7F of Airbus A320-214  as per my boarding pass. Man, I was very lucky!

Airport Experience - Passing through usual baggage and security checks, frisking, x-ray and metal detectors, shops and restaurants, I found gate 119 in Ninoy Aquino International Airport’s domestic flight area.  There are restaurants, clean restroom, and smoking area near the gate. Passengers bound to Puerto Princesa were lounging at the brightly lit terminal with nice cushioned seats and large window.  There’s a group of high school students carrying trophies wearing oversize glasses and baseball caps giggling, some were seating on the floor blocking the entrance gate although there’s lot of vacant seats.  I seated near the entrance next to old couple who coincidentally my seatmate in the plane, sleeping and looked tired - from probably connecting flight. On the other side was a nun silently praying the rosary, her eyes are closed. 

From where I seated, I saw Philippine Airlines Airbus A320-214 unloading baggage from the aircraft. It was a gloomy day signifying that tropical depression Basyang was slowly coming in the Philippine area of responsibility. I have plenty of spare time and surprised when I learned that WIFI access was free. My remaining 1:45 hrs of waiting was spent in the smoking area updating my social media accounts and checking the weather bulletin. The typhoon will reach the southern part of the country in a day or two according to PAGASA. I gotta have a safe flight, I told myself.

The boarding process was very organized. I commend the ground stewards for repeatedly announcing the order of embarkation.  We were divided into three groups: Rear-Middle-Front. Seats in the back of the plane are boarded followed by the middle section and then the front area. Our group was the last to go onboard as final boarding passes were checked.

When the boarding door was closed, I prepared myself for a bumpy ride, fastened my seat belt tight, checked my exit door and switched my electronic gadgets off. As we taxi from taxiway to the main runway, the usual in-flight safety demonstration was performed by the poker-faced flight attendants, lol!

“When the seat belt sign illuminates, you must fasten your seat belt. Insert the metal fittings one into the other, and tighten by pulling on the loose end of the strap. To release your seat belt, lift the upper portion of the buckle. We suggest that you keep your seat belt fastened throughout the flight, as we may experience turbulence...."

We took-off Manila on the dot which is unusual to happen.  After passing above clouds and the plane reached its highest altitude, the captain turned the fasten seatbelt sign off and announced that passengers can now release their seat belts if needed.  The aircraft was still climbing to its cruising altitude when the tropical rays of the sun touched my face. It was unexpected, considering that there’s a typhoon coming in and was really cloudy when we left Manila.  I peeked through the window, below was a huge cloud formation, probably the advance party of the upcoming tropical depression, lol!

Philippine Airlines’ aircraft flew higher away from the clouds that cause turbulence. We float above the clouds and had a seamless flight. Accommodating airline crews served brewed coffee, tea, mineral water, greaseless peanuts and skyflakes in the middle of an hour flight to my lovely provincial capital, Puerto Princesa City. Before landing, the plane circled the famous Honda Bay with it islands and islets dotting the blue waters, giving the European tourists behind me a trailer of a grand vacation.

We arrived safe and a bit early from our scheduled arrival time. The crews and the passengers were both organize and sensitive as we disembarked. It was indeed another memorable and enjoyable flight.

The Ayala Triangle Project - BonChon Chicken

Apple Caramel Crispy Crepe, Php 60

BonChon, which means “original village” in Korean has been so mysterious to me.  I've been hearing a lot of buzz about their garlic-and-soy chicken and I was dying to try it for over a year but never realized until last weekend when my brother and I decided to meet up in Ayala Triangle Garden branch to discuss family matters.  

BonChon Chicken is a contemporary Asian/Korean-American QSR (Quick Service Restaurant) cuisine that highlights the Korean–style crispy fried chicken claimed to be super crispy yet light and not greasy, with hot moist juicy meat, sauced with its classic soy garlic or spicy glazes. 

The Korean franchise is the only fast-food restaurant in the strip of restaurants in the garden.  A typical fast-food restaurant, it occupies a clean and fresh ambiance with artworks adorn the walls, there's an al fresco area facing the lush garden for a more fun dining experience.

 Iced Tea, Php 30

Apart from the highly anticipated Korean–style crispy fried chicken, quirky winners on the limited and packaged to order menu includes Fish and Chips, Bulgogi Noodle Soup, and the newly introduced Apple Caramel Crispy Crepe. 

Fish and Chips, Php 125

Although it does take a little while for the chicken to cook, we ate our appetizers in the meantime. We had Fish and Chips, the deep fried cream dory fish was too hot and very spicy but the fries are great.

Bulgogi Noodle Soup is a must try, very tasty!

Bulgogi Noodle Soup, Php 60

Served with rice, my perception of its well-known chicken when I finally got to try it was met with its pungent sweet-savory soy garlic sauce, moist juicy meat and crunchy texture. Portions are smaller and prices are little more expensive than Mcdonald's and KFC though.

2pcs. (in Soy Garlic) Thigh Ricebox, Php 149.00

We also tried their pork chops, looks good but nothing spectacular when it comes to taste. The pork slices were too thin and a bit expensive at Php 149.00 for 2 pcs. Minimal table service was extended in spite of BonChon a fast-food and self -service restaurant. 

2pcs. Chops Ricebox, Php 149.00

Ending our brunch with Apple Caramel Crispy Crepe made our Dining experience Sweet and appreciable. 

Food Quality

The project's criteria are; Food Quality, Ambiance, Service, and Cost/Prices, where  Five (5)   indicates "Exceptional Experience", Four (4)  indicates a place "worth a come back", three (3)  means "a casual place to eat", two (2)   means "acceptable", and one (1))   means "poor".

Opening Soon in El Nido, Palawan: Cauayan Resort

A travel whisperer told me that there's another luxury resort opening soon in the shores of El Nido in the province of Palawan early this year. 

The municipality of El Nido, located in the northernmost tip of Palawan is already famous vacation and honeymoon spot among Filipinos and foreigners alike. With its karst and majestic limestone formations, empty blue lagoons, marble cliffs, prehistoric caves and waterfalls, El Nido has been cited by CNN as one of the 100 best beaches in the world (14th place) recently.

Admiring the photos on their website, the resort has a tropical ambiance and the luxurious Villas have stunning scenic view of the sea and sky. The Cauayan suite villa, perched on top of the hill has the most majestic 360 degree view of the island. As of writing, Cauayan Resort is being completed and not yet accepting reservations. But you can check out promising pictures on their website and Facebook account. Should you want to visit the Fuego managed resort, you can leave your contact information on their website and they will notify you as soon as the resort become operational.

 Photos from: www.cauayanresortgl.com

Dalandan (Sour Orange) Juice

Dalandan or Sour Orange is still in season and priced at just Php 20 per kilo at the market yesterday. I bought 2 kilos of fresh Dalandan for juicing. It is high in Vitamin C and help boost the immune system, perfect defense for contagious sore throat and flu in the office brought by the unpredictable weather.

Wash 10-15 pcs Dalandan fruit very well, slice fruits in half and squeeze in vintage glass pitcher. Add syrup or white sugar to desired sweetness. Add 1 liter of cold water, stir it up and serve over lots of ice.

Keep Calm and Be Awesome. Happy Wednesday!

Valentine at Chef Jessie Restaurants

It’s the Valentine indulgence that only Chef Jessie Sincioco can create. 

Have a memorable sit down dinner of Organic Garden Salad in Passion Fruit Vinaigrette Dressing, Baked Cape Cod Jumbo Scallops  in Miso Sauce, Cream of Roast Red Capsicum Soup with Cheese Crostini, Pan Fried Sea Bass with Goose Liver  in White Tomato Jus and Raspberry-Honey Sauce,  Strawberry Sorbet enhanced with Champagne, Grilled U.S. Black Angus Tenderloin Steak in Truffle Sauce  and  Grilled Tiger Prawns in Garlic Hollandaise  served with a Timbale of Wild Rice Vegetable Risotto and Sautéed French Beans. Dessert is a Trio of Supremo Chocolate Mousse, Pistachio Heart Pavlova and Cherry-Cheese Clafouti with coffee or tea and Petit Fours. End the meal with a toast of Moet & Chandon Brut.  The sit down dinner is Php2,500++ per person at Chef Jessie Rockwell Club, Top of the Citi by Chef Jessie and 100 Revolving Restaurant.

For a more casual Valentine evening, Chef Jessie Rockwell Club also offers a buffet at Php2,000+ 10% per person. Start with freshly baked Chef Jessie’s Ciabatta Bread and rolls. Salads include the exclusive Alugbati Salad with Dulong in Bagoong Vinaigrette Dressing, Smoked Salmon Caviar Pie with Croutons, Heart of Palm Salad in Tamarind Vinaigrette Dressing, Tomato Kesong Puti Salad in Pesto Vinaigrette Dressing, Parma Ham with Melon, Spicy Tuna Salad with Tanuki and Mesclun Greens with a choice of Raspberry, Balsamic or Blue Cheese Dressing. 

Hot dishes include Carvings of U.S. Black Angus roast Beef Au Jus, Roast Suckling Pig, Roast Chicken in Garlic Thyme Jus, Barbecue Pork Spareribs, Pan Fried Cod Fish Fillet in Tomato Herb Sauce, Baked Salmon in Salt Crust with Dill Hollandaise Dressing, Grilled Tiger Prawns in Thermidor Sauce, Brown Rice Vegetable Risotto, Homemade Mashed Potato, Fettucine Al Pesto with Grilled Vegetables, Sauteed Vegetables in Season.

Those with a sweet tooth will swoon over Strawberry Cream Torte, Rare Cherry Cheesecake, Chocolate Decadence with Butterscotch Sauce, Assorted Panna Cotta, Crepe Samurai, Croquembouche Caramel, Fruit Salad Italian Style, Chocolate Kiss, Princess Carmen, Pudding Tartlets. 

Make your reservations now. Chef Jessie Rockwell Club is at the Ground Level, Amorsolo Square, Amorsolo Drive, Rockwell Center, Makati, 890-7630, 890-6543 or 450-2996, rockwellclub@chefjessie.com. Top of the Citi by Chef Jessie is on the 34th Floor, Citi Bank Tower, Paseo de Roxas, Makati, 750-5810-11, topoftheciti@chefjessie.com. 100 Revolving Restaurant is on the 33rd Floor, MDC Building, C5 corner Eastwood Drive, Quezon City, 962-1016, 962-5654, 100@chefjessi.com. 

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9th Balayong Festival 2014 | 142nd Founding Anniversary of Puerto Princesa City ( Schedule of Activities)


February 14, 2014
4:00 AM: Love Affair with Nature
Venue: San Manuel

February 24, 2014
9:AM: Miss Puerto Princesa Candidates Swimsuit Competition
Venue: Aziza Paradize Hotel

February 26, 2014
5:00 PM: Miss Puerto Princesa Candidates Casual Wear Competition
Venue: Robinsons Place Palawan - Activity Center

February 28, 2014
8:00 AM: Opening Tabuan Festival
Venue: Old Public Market (starting point) to Baywalk (end point)

March 1, 2014
1:00 PM: Street Dancing Competition
Venue: Junction 1, Mendoza Park, Baywalk
Motorcade of Miss Puerto Princesa Candidates
7:00 PM: Balayong Dance Contest
Venue: Puerto Princesa Baywalk

March 2, 2014
6:00 AM "Forever Young Handog ng Apuradong Administrasyon"
(check in and medical)
8:00 AM Quiz Bee (Elementary Level)
1:00 PM Quiz Bee (High School Level)
Venue: City Coliseum
1:00 PM: Peacekeeping Force Parade
Junction 1 to Baywalk
3:00 PM: Peacekeeping Dance Showdown
Venue: Baywalk
8:00 PM : 1st Puerto princesa City Pyro-Musical Competition and Fireworks Photo Contest
Venue: Baywalk

March 3, 2014
1:00 PM Araw ng Princesa (Queen of Queens Parade)
Venue: Junction 1 to Baywalk
3:00 PM Gay Double Trouble Ramble Boxing
Venue: Baywalk
6:00 PM: Oplan Linis Clean and Green Award
Venue: City Coliseum
7:00 PM: Miss Puerto princesa 2014 Silver Talent Night
Venue: City Coliseum

March 4, 2014
6:00 AM Civic Grand Parade
City Government Employees, Program and Special programs, Barangay Officials, Province, Schools, NGOs, Dog Parade, Tamilok Raiders, Mountain Bikers
7:00 AM The Grand Float Parade
Venue: Junction 1 to Baywalk
9:00 AM: Unveiling of Street Names
9:30 AM: Inauguration of City Projects
6:00 PM: Mayor's Award
7:00 PM Fireworks Photo Contest Awarding
7:30 PM: Miss Puerto Princesa 2014 Silver Grand Coronation Night
Venue: City Coliseum

March 5, 2014
9:00 AM "Forever Young Handog ng Apuradong Administrasyon"
6:00 PM Tabuan Closing