Asian casinos will try just about anything to attract Chinese gamblers

Vincent Yu  / Associated Press

Mainland Chinese visitors gather at the lobby of the Galaxy casino in Macau

Bloomberg (by Liza Lin):

At the oceanfront Ramada Plaza hotel on South Korea’s Jeju island, about a hundred Chinese gamblers huddle around felt-topped tables, wagering as much as 5 million won ($4,500) at baccarat. Shouts in Mandarin — “Beautiful!”, “Good!” — ring out as bettors with winning hands slam their cards on the green table-tops.

Asian casino operators from South Korea to Australia are pulling in China’s gamblers as the country’s corruption crackdown scares many away from Macau, the world’s biggest gambling hub. They are capitalizing on a downturn in the city’s gaming industry, which last month suffered its worst drop ever.

Operators such as Paradise Co. in South Korea are hiring Mandarin-speaking staff and offering VIP treatment including free flights, limousines and hotel stays to big spenders. Echo Entertainment Group Ltd. of Sydney and NagaCorp Ltd. in Cambodia cater to the junket operators who organize trips for Chinese gamblers with perks such as higher commissions, lower taxes and private jets.

Premium mass players can be recognized as VIP players and treated better than in Macau,” said Lee Hyuk-Byung, vice chairman of Paradise, in an interview in Seoul. “And we have other attractions in Korea such as culture, fashion, food.”

Macau casino revenue fell last year for the first time and may decline another 8 percent this year, according to analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. By contrast, South Korea and the Philippines will grow 16 percent and 33 percent respectively this year, gaining from the spillover of Chinese gamblers, Deutsche Bank analyst Karen Tang wrote in a note.

Plastic Surgeons

President Xi Jinping has urged Macau, the only place in China where casinos are legal, to diversify from gambling. Macau’s government imposed more scrutiny over junket operators, as mass market gambling also weakened amid China’s economic slowdown, and new restrictions on visas and cigarette smoking.

The anti-corruption measures are discouraging some people from traveling to Macau, and as a result we are seeing a slight shift in travel from Macau to other destinations,” said Aaron Fischer, a Hong Kong-based analyst at CLSA Ltd. “Vietnam and Philippines will likely benefit as they are the closest. Korea will pick up people in the northern parts of China.”

Gamblers who bet at least $50,000 at Paradise’s casinos qualify for freebies usually available only to VIP players, Lee said. In Macau, the minimum needed to get similar perks from junket operators is about $500,000, according to CLSA data. The company also draws Chinese gamblers to the celebrity-obsessed country by touting its pop culture and offering recommendations of top Korean plastic surgeons, Lee said.

Operators have more risqué offerings too. A gambler who exchanges 300,000 yuan ($48,000) worth of chips can receive free flights to Jeju, tours with a Mandarin-speaking guide, and the companionship of a “third-tier” Korean actress or model, according to an e-mailed brochure from Shanghai-based tour operator CNS. A CNS travel agent, who would only give her name as “Xiao Qi”, confirmed the services when contacted by phone.

Shanghai and Shenyang

It’s illegal for foreign companies to advertise casino operations in China and Paradise avoids public solicitations, Lee said. Its staff reaches out to high-stakes gamblers recommended by existing customers and makes frequent trips to major Chinese cities including Beijing and Shanghai, he added.

Companies are able to sidestep China’s ban on casino marketing by advertising non-gaming aspects such as a concert or entertainment show held on its venue, said Grant Govertsen, an analyst at Union Gaming Group in Macau.

Junket operators own restaurants, night clubs, they sponsor golf tournaments and other getaways,” Govertsen said in an interview. “There is plenty of stuff a junket could advertise in a mass-market sort of format.”

Still, foreign operators’ efforts to attract China’s gamblers have caught the notice of local authorities, which announced last month a crackdown on representative offices that “attract and recruit Chinese citizens” to casinos.

Peking Duck

Manila’s members-only Signature Club in Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd.’s City of Dreams casino has entrance signs in both English and Chinese, while Mandarin-speaking staff direct guests to cashiers, shops, and restaurants. The neighboring Solaire Resort and Casino owned by Bloomberry Resorts Corp. has suckling pig and Peking duck on the menu, catering to Chinese palates.

There are a lot of excuses to go the Philippines; we always promote the Philippines not on the casino but the whole package,” Cristino Naguiat, chairman at gaming regular Philippine Amusement & Gaming Corp., said in an interview.

Even with the crackdown in China, we still had higher volume in terms of gross gaming revenue and in terms of junket and VIPs,” he said last month in Manila.

Too Many Chinese

South Korea is preparing to welcome more Chinese gamblers after tourist arrivals from the country rose last year to 6.1 million, with new casinos planned including at Incheon Airport.

On Jeju island, junket operators have set up shop to offer gambling chips on loan, a service common in Macau that helps bettors sidestep China’s limits on taking currency out of the country.

Competition between the island’s eight foreigner-only casinos has led to a flourishing of more than 100 unlicensed junket operators and their agents on the island, said Seo Won- Seok, a hotel and tourism management professor at Kyunghee University in Seoul.

As Chinese gamblers become more important, there’s a need to better regulate the growth of the junket operators that bring them, he said.

Our casino industry may be too dependent on the Chinese market and that means there is always risk from China’s government policy,” Seo said. “I think that’s the downside — too many Chinese in Korea.”

 

 

Resort in Philippines has literally giant Gundam rip-off, plus Disney and Marvel knockoffs galore

PG 30

RocketNews 24:

Although the Philippines have plenty of seaside travel destinations, Jed’s Island Resort isn’t one of them. Being located in the landlocked municipality of Calumpit means that while Jed’s isn’t far from Manila Bay, it doesn’t have any coastline to call its own.

That’s OK, though, because you can still relax in one of the resort’s nine advertised swimming pools. And while you may not be able to enjoy listening to the sound of the waves, you will be able to look up at Jed’s gigantic Gundam statue that’s as tall as the one in Tokyo yet far, far skinnier. Not into anime? Not a problem! Jed’s is also home to beloved characters from Disney, Marvel, and DC…or at least their disturbingly off-model, knockoff doppelgangers.

The facility’s grounds used to be a private estate, but were opened to guests as Jed’s Island Resort in 1995. The resort’s website boasts that “During its five summers of existence, Jed’s has welcomed actors and actresses, singers, and band members from showbiz as its guest.” Ordinarily, we’d write the use of “guest” off as a typo, but considering that the reference to Jed’s five summers of existence is on a web page updated in 2014, nearly 20 years after the resort’s opening, it’s possible the management simply isn’t very good at math.

But hey, who needs statistical accuracy when you’ve got the most iconic giant robot in the history of Japanese animation, the RX-78-2 Gundam!

PG 1

Wow…looks like Gundam needs a sandwich. Or, seeing as how he’s in the Philippines, maybe a plate of lechon, the local variety of suckling pig. The robot is looking so skinny that we’re surprised it can still stand, and also so anemic that there’s no way it could survive an attack by the bellicose Zeon forces.

Gundam is so gaunt that at first glance it seems like the photo is the product of a weird camera lens, but the proportions of the woman standing between his feet aren’t warped at all.

PG 25

As further proof, here’s the anorexic mobile suit from a different angle that reveals more of its narrow dimensions.

PG 20

Still, this is a pretty gutsy move by Jed’s designers. Non-official wonky physique and large letter J on its crotch, that’s clearly and literally a huge Gundam rip-off. We’re sure executives at Bandai, the company which holds the licensing rights to all things Gundam, aren’t happy about it. If it’s any consolation, though, Bandai’s lawyers should bear in mind that Jed’s Island Resort isn’t just ripping off Gundam, they’re ripping off everybody!

Well, maybe not everybody, but that only seems to be because there’s not enough space for a project of that magnitude. Still, Jed’s has done an impressive job of filling its property with as many unlicensed likenesses as it can hold. The resort isn’t shy about this, either, at least in the case of these two photos from its Facebook page, which are excitedly touted as “New attraction-One Piece at Jed’s! and Big Hero 6 Robot Baymax!”

PG 2

Among Frozen’s many crowd-pleasing aspects, some fans were thrilled to see a Disney movie with two princesses. But apparently the special Jed’s edition of the film features no less than three royal ladies.

PG 4

Elsewhere, Jed’s gets the number of siblings just right. Can’t say the same about their facial features, though.

PG 22

▼ Elsa must be hitting the gym regularly to have added that much muscle definition to her shoulders. She’s apparently become so addicted to the pump from lifting weights that she’s curling half a head of cabbage.

PG 23

Going from Disney’s newest hit characters to their oldest, here’s Mickey and pals Goofy, Donald, and Mickey Clones 1 through 3, plus rival Bugs Bunny, all posing in front of a brachiosaur.

 

PG 17

We’re guessing some older, hand-drawn cartoon characters must look down on their nouveau rich CG counterparts. How else could you explain why the heroes of Avatar were left out of the Disney/Warner Bros. group photo?

PG 13

Of course, not all classic animated characters are so set in their ways. For example, Snow White has expanded her social circle beyond her seven stout housemates, and is seen here in the company of 1977 anime mecha Voltes V.

PG 12

PG 11

As a matter of fact, Jed’s Island Resort seems to be all about crossovers, like this snapshot of the Sesame Street gang hanging out with Mother Goose.

PG 6

PG 7

PG 8

Awesome as it is to see Superman and Captain America in the same place, it’d still be cooler if they were fighting.

PG 14

Spider-Man, Wolverine, and Wonder Woman seem to have climbed all the way to the top of the water slide tower before losing their nerve to actually go down it.

PG 10

Legalities aside, we can at least see why the management of Jed’s Island Resort would want to decorate their pools with these instantly recognizable and hugely popular characters. They may have been a little too zealous in their efforts to copy as much as possible, though. For example, can you imagine any travelers picking where to stay according to which resort has the cast of free mobile game Clash of Clans?

PG 18

But even then, Jed’s “creative” team wasn’t done scraping the bottom of the barrel, because you haven’t exhausted every option until you’ve made a knock-off based on the cover 1980’s flight disaster satire Airplane!

PG 21

 

Pope cuts Tacloban trip short amid typhoon in the Philippines

Pope Francis waves to well-wishers after mass in Tacloban.

CNN: 

Pope Francis cut his trip to Tacloban short Saturday as an approaching typhoon with blistering winds threatened the city in the Philippines.

The Pope donned a slicker to conduct an outdoor Mass for hundreds of thousands who gathered despite stormy weather.

The Mass in Tacloban was shortened after sustained winds of 80 mph and higher gusts howled toward the city.

Tacloban is still recovering from the 2013 disaster of Super Typhoon Haiyan, described as one of the strongest storms ever recorded with 195 mph sustained winds. It killed 6,300 people nationwide.

Typhoon Mekkhala was upgraded from a tropical storm and made landfall in the Philippines in the afternoon just northeast of Tacloban.

The Mass began about a half-hour after he landed. Wind rustled the hood on the pontiff’s slicker as he spoke to a crowd clad in raincoats.

Typhoon Mekkhala, which is called Typhoon Amang in the Philippines, was arriving on the island of eastern Samar — about 50 miles from where the Pope was in Tacloban.

Just two weeks ago, a tropical storm struck Tacloban and surrounding areas, causing a commercial passenger plane to slide off the runway while landing. Tropical Storm Jiangmi, renamed Seniang in the Philippines, killed 54 people in landslides and flash floods in that region, CNN affiliate ABS-CBN reported.

During the Pope’s visit to Tacloban, he will have lunch with survivors of the 2013 Typhoon Haiyan, renamed Typhoon Yolanda in that country. That typhoon displaced 918,000 families nationwide, the government says.

He is also to bless the Pope Francis Center for the Poor and will meet with clergy and more typhoon survivors in the cathedral in Palo.

The pontiff is also scheduled to perform an outdoor Mass in Manila on Sunday before millions of Filipinos.

By then, the storm should weaken to a tropical depression. Still, Manila could face gusty winds and significant rain during the Mass.

The Pope’s trip to Asian isles began Tuesday in Sri Lanka, and he landed in the Philippines on Friday.

On Friday, Francis met with President Benigno Aquino, and the pontiff urged the political leader to reject corruption and promote “honesty, integrity and commitment to the common good,” the Vatican said. He also spoke of “the moral imperative of ensuring social justice and respect for human dignity,” according to a copy of his remarks provided by the Vatican.

Here in the Philippines, countless families are still suffering from the effects of natural disasters. The economic situation has caused families to be separated by migration and the search for employment, and financial problems strain many households. While all too many people live in dire poverty, others are caught up in materialism and lifestyles which are destructive of family life and the most basic demands of Christian morality,” the Pope said in other remarks.

The Pope leaves Manila for Rome on Monday.

Link

Living grass billboard for Japanese personal care brand Shokubutsu Hana helps clean polluted river in the Philippines

 

River Cleaning Billboard

Laughing Squid:

 

To promote their line of natural personal care products, Japanese brand Shokubutsu Hana has created a novel living billboard in the severely polluted Pasig River in the Philippines that helps clean the river. The billboard, bearing the tag “Clean River Soon,” is made of vetiver, a type of grass that is used for treating wastewater.

Shokubutsu Hana estimates the billboard cleans between 2,000 and 8,000 gallons of water per day. The ad campaign was created by Manila ad agency TBWA\Santiago Mangada Puno.

 

Check out this link:

 

Living grass billboard for Japanese personal care brand Shokubutsu Hana helps clean polluted river in the Philippines

 

River Cleaning Billboard

River Cleaning Billboard

photos via Shokubutsu Hana

Link

Journey lead singer Arnel Pineda ready to release first solo album

 

JOURNEY ARNEL PINEDA

Huffington Post/Associated Press:

Arnel Pineda says he’s been putting together an album of his own compositions in his own voice to release this year, but he quashed rumors that he’s gearing up to leave the American rock band Journey.

The Filipino singer and Journey lead vocalist said he will stay as long as the band needs him. Pineda also dismissed talk of a possible band reunion with former lead singer Steve Perry.

The singer spoke in an interview Tuesday during the launch of his version of the song “Charity” in the animated children’s music video “Cha-Ching” on Cartoon Network.

The song about donating money or time to those in need can be purchased from iTunes to benefit Typhoon Haiyan victims in the Philippines.

The singer has been involved in charity projects in the Philippines. Having risen from poverty, he said it was his obligation to help those who struggle with difficulties he experienced.

Pineda, now 46, was once a homeless teenager in Manila who at 15 started singing professionally with small bands. He found success after Journey guitarist Neal Schon discovered him in 2007 on YouTube singing hits of Perry and sounding strikingly like him.

“Even though I am still with (Journey) and we are touring, I am also working on my original materials and I am also recording them,” Pineda said, adding he aims to launch the album this year.

This year, Journey is touring the United States and Canada, and next year will tour South America. On rumors of a Journey reunion with Perry, he said he has not heard any talk of that.

If that happens, he said “I’d be more than happy to give way,” saying it would allow him more time with his family.

But Pineda said: “As long as they need me I will be there, I’m never gonna quit on them.”

Check out this link:

Journey lead singer Arnel Pineda ready to release first solo album

Link

50 Filipino foods that define the Philippines

CNN Travel: 

AdoboAdobo — common, but not ordinary Filipino food.

1. Adobo

No list of Filipino food would be complete without adobo.

A ubiquitous dish in every household in the Philippines, it’s Mexican in origin, but Filipinos found that cooking meat (often chicken and pork) in vinegar, salt, garlic, pepper, soy sauce and other spices, was a practical way to preserve meat without refrigeration.

This cooking style can be applied to different meats or even seafood. Sample it in a Filipino home or the garlicky version of the lamb adobo at Abe.

Abe, Serendra Plaza, Fort Bonifacio Global City, Taguig; +63 2 856 0526; www.ljcrestaurants.com.ph

 

 

LechonLechon — this little pig went to our stomachs.

2. Lechon

The lechon is the most invited party guest in the Philippines. The entire pig is spit-roasted over coals, with the crisp, golden-brown skin served with liver sauce, the most coveted part.

In Cebu, the stomach of the pig is stuffed with star anise, pepper, spring onions, laurel leaves and lemongrass resulting in an extremely tasty lechon, which needs no sauce.

In Manila, get your piggy from Elar’s Lechon, while in Cebu, the best is CnT Lechon.

Elar’s Lechon, 151 Quezon Ave., corner Speaker Perez Street, Sta. Mesa Heights, Quezon City, Metro Manila; +632 731 7551. CnT Lechon, 1377 Rama Ave., Guadalupe, Cebu City; +63 3 2254 4249

 

SisigSisig — no pig parts ever go to waste.

3. Sisig

Nothing goes to waste in Filipino food. In the culinary capital of Pampanga, they turn the pork’s cheeks, head and liver into a sizzling dish called Sisig.

The crunchy and chewy texture of this appetizer is a perfect match for an cold beer. Serve with hot sauce and Knorr seasoning to suit the preference of you and your buddies.

Credit goes to Aling Lucing who invented this dish at a humble stall along the train railways in Angeles City, Pampanga. While Sisig can be found in many restaurants, try the original version at Aling Lucing Sisig.

Aling Lucing Sisig, Valdez StcorAgapito Del Rosario Street, AngelesCity, Pampanga; +63 4 5888 2317

 

 

Crispy pataCrispy pata — crunchy, juicy, chewy; a tasty trinity of Filipino food.

4. Crispy pata

Not for the easily spooked, this pork knuckle is simmered, drained and deep fried until crisp. The meat is tender and juicy inside, with a crisp, crackling exterior.

Served with vinegar, soy sauce and chili. If you have a craving for this at any time, Aristocrat is open 24 hours.

Aristocrat, 432 San Andres St., corner Roxas Blvd., Malate Manila; + 63 2 524 7671; www.aristocrat.com.ph

 

Chicken InasalChicken inasal — you’ll never go back to Nando’s.

5. Chicken inasal

Yes, it’s grilled chicken. But in Bacolod, this is no ordinary grilled chicken.

The meat is marinated in lemongrass, calamansi, salt, pepper and garlic and brushed with achuete (annatto seeds) oil.

Every part of the chicken is grilled here from the paa (drumstick), pecho (breast), baticulon (gizzard), atay (liver), pakpak (wings) and corazon (heart). It must be eaten with a generous serving of garlic rice, with some of the orange oil used to marinade the chicken poured over the rice.

Go chicken crazy at Manukan Country where there is a row of authentic Inasal restaurants.

Manukan Country, Reclamation Area, Bacolod City

 

Taba ng TalangkaTaba ng talangka — crab fat; a rarity if ever there was one.

6. Taba ng talangka

The fat of a small variety of crabs are pressed and sautéed in garlic. This cholesterol-laden Filipino food is often used as a sauce for prawns or eaten with fried fish and rice.

The best taba ng talangka comes from the provinces of Pampanga, Tarlac and Bulacan. Buy a bottle or two from the markets there, or pasalubong shops like Bulacan Sweets.

Bulacan Sweets, 155 N.S. Amoranto Ave., Quezon City, Metro Manila; +63 2 740 2171

 

7. Pancit Palabok

When Filipinos have guests, they don’t skimp. The pancit palabok served on most birthday parties is oozing with flavor and textures.

The noodle dish is layered with rice noodles, a rich orange sauce made from shrimp broth, pork, hard boiled eggs, shrimps, chicharon (pork rinds) and sometimes oysters and squid. Enjoy the rich sauce of Perfect Loaf Bakery and Café.

Perfect Loaf Bakery and Café, Teresa Ave. corner St. Joseph Street, Nepo Mart Complex, Angeles City, Pampanga; +63 4 5888 6629

 

 

BulaloBulalo — the more marrow the merrier.

8. Bulalo

Despite the perennial heat, Filipinos often enjoy sipping piping hot bulalo soup made with from freshly slaughtered Batangas beef.

The broth is rich with flavors seeped from the beef after boiling for hours. The bones are big, meaning more bone marrow to enjoy.

In Santo Tomas, Batangas, there’s a row of restaurants along the highway serving bulalo. But the best one stands out further away in nearby Tagaytay city, called Diner Café.

Diner Cafém Tagaytay-Batangas Highway, Tagaytay City; +63 4 6413 1845

 

Arroz CaldoArroz caldo — cold cure, Pinoy style.

9. Arroz Caldo

While chicken soup soothes sick Westerners, Filipinos turn to arroz caldo, a thick chicken rice porridge.

Cooked with ginger and sometimes garnished with a hard-boiled egg, toasted garlic and green onions, this Filipino food is sold in street-side stalls.

If dining al fresco doesn’t suit you, try it at the Via Mare outlets around Manila.

www.viamare.com.ph

 

10. Fish tinola

The freshness of Cebu’s rich marine life can be tasted in its fish tinola, a simple sour broth flavored with onions, tomatoes and sambag (tamarind) and cooked over coco-lumber firewood for hours.

Cebuanos know to go to A-One, a small hole in the wall known, cooking up to 200 kilos of fish daily.

A-One, Rd. North 6, North Reclamation, Cebu City

 

 

Kare KareKare-kare — the proof is in the texture.

11. Kare-kare

This stew of oxtail has the most delicious sauce made from ground toasted rice and crushed peanuts. Banana blossom, eggplants and string beans add more interesting textures, to make it a complete meal on its own.

It’s eaten with steamed rice and bagoong (shrimp paste). While mom’s kare-kare is always best, the version at Café Juanita is authentic.

Café Juanita, 19 West Capitol Drive, Barrio Capitolyo; +63 2 632 0357

 

kamaroKamaro — get over the appearance and a succulent bite awaits.

12. Kamaro

Serious gourmands know the best cooks come from Pampanga. So do kamaro, these mole crickets they cook into a delicious appetizer.

What makes this delicacy special? Well if catching these bugs is tough, so is cooking them. Legs and wings must be removed, then the body is boiled in vinegar and garlic. It’s then sautéed in oil, onion and chopped tomatoes until chocolate brown.

These bite-size appetizers are crunchy on the outside and moist on the inside. Sample Kamaru at Everybody’s Café, an authentic Pampango dining institution for many decades now.

Everybody’s Café, Del Pilar, MacArthur Highway, San Fernando, Pampanga; +63 4 5860 1121

 

 

13. Ilocos empanada

Yes, its name reveals its Spanish origins. But its ingredients are all local.

Grated unripe papaya or bean sprouts, egg and loganiza (pork sausage) are stuffed in the empanada and deep fried, accompanied with a spicy vinegar sauce.

Get this staple Filipino food from stalls beside the cathedrals in Vigan and Laoag.

 

 

Sinigang — as tasty as it is cute.

14. Sinigang

Sinigang is a stew of fish, prawns, pork or beef soured by fruits like tamarind, kamias or tomatoes.  Often accompanied by vegetables like kangkong, string beans and taro, this stew is eaten with rice.

A modern, but delicious spin on Sinigang is Sentro 1771’s version called Sinigang Corned Beef.

Sentro 1771’s,  Greenbelt 3, Paseo de Roxas cor. Legaspi Street, Ayala Center Makati, Metro Manila; +63 2 757 3940

 

TapaTapa — an easy way to make rice interesting.

15. Tapa

Filipinos are huge rice eaters, and breakfast is no exception.

A tap-si-log consists of thin slices of dried marinated beef served with fried egg and garlic rice.

While it is breakfast fare, it’s also a quick, satisfying meal you can eat anytime and available in most places. Making it accessible all the time and even available for deliveries, Tapa King serves it in the classic, sweetish and spicy versions.

www.tapaking.com.ph

 

Dinuguan at PutoDinuguan at puto — the best pork innards ever looked.

16. Dinuguan at puto

While it may not look appetizing, this black dish of pork and pig innards stewed in fresh pig blood seasoned with garlic, onion and oregano and eaten with a white puto (rice cake) or steamed rice, is a comforting dish for many Filipinos.

Café Milky Way’s version tastes homemade and clean.

Café Milky Way, 2/F 900 A. Arnaiz Ave. Cor Paseo de Roxas, Makati; +63 2 843 4124

 

17. Betute

The French may have turned frogs’ legs into a delicacy, but Filipinos take it to the next level. They get a frog, stuff it with minced pork and deep-fry it.

While betute isn’t for everyone, the adventurous can try it at Everybody’s Cafe, an authentic Pampango dining institution for many decades now.

Del Pilar, MacArthur Highway, San Fernando, Pampanga, +63 4 5 8601 121

 

 

LaingLaing — yes it’s slop, but damn tasty slop.

18. Laing

This dish of taro leaves cooked in rich coconut milk is an everyday staple in Bicol. Morsels of meat and chili are added to give punch to the Laing.

It’s eaten with steamed rice. The authentic versions from kitchens in Naga and Albay are most delicious. In Manila, try it at Dencio’s.

www.dencio.biz

 

PinakbetPinakbet — simple, cheap and healthy; no wonder it’s spread around the country.

19. Pinakbet

Up north in Ilocos, the vegetable dish of okra, eggplant, bitter gourd, squash, tomatoes and bagoong (shrimp or fish paste) called pinakbet is a favorite.

And now, this healthy, cheap, and easy to cook dish has made its way around the archipelago. It is cooked in most households and local restaurants.

Try it at Max’s Fried Chicken, Manila.

www.maxschicken.com

 

20. Sinugno

Cooking with coconut milk is common in the province of Quezon, south of Manila. Freshwater tilapia fish is grilled then simmered in coconut milk and chili.

It’s definitely freshest when eaten close to the fishponds as they do in Kamayan Sa Palaisdaan.

Brgy. Dapdap Tayabas Quezon; +63 4 2793 3654

 

 

BagnetBagnet — a crunchy, vinegary addiction beckons.

21. Bagnet

While the lechon kawali, the deep fried pork, is a popular Filipino food all over the country, bagnet, from the northern province of Ilocos, is coveted for its irresistible crunchy skin dipped in the sweet-sour vinegar sukang Iloko.

Buy it from the markets of Ilocos, or try it at Café Juanita.

Café Juanita, 19 West Capitol Drive, Barrio Capitolyo; +63 2 632 0357

 

Pancit HabhabPancit habhab — fast-food for the Philippines.

22. Pancit habhab

Trust Filipino ingenuity to adapt noodles to their lifestyle. In Lucban, Quezon, pancit habhab is served on a banana leaf and slurped. Garnished with carrots, chayote, and a few pieces of meat, this cheap noodle dish is most often eaten by students and jeepney drivers on the go.

For an extra special version, try Old Center Panciteria  who has been making the noodles since 1937. They add lechon, generous serving of vegetables, and even hand you a fork.

Old Center Panciteria, 85 San Luis St. Lucban, Quezon; +63 42 540 3068

 

23. Pork barbecue

In a country where almost everything is marinated, skewered and grilled in the street corners, everyone has their favorite barbecue meat. Pork is the most popular.

Cebu is known for barbecue stalls along Larsian Street just off Fuente Osmena Circle.

Manila residents are addicted to that from Ineng’s, which has many outlets in Metro Manila, for its big, chunky pieces of pork with a perfect, salty-sweet marinade.

Dela Rosa Car Park, Dela Rosa Street, Legaspi Village, Makati City, Metro Manila

 

 

LonganizaLonganiza — bursting with flavors, sometimes literally.

24. Longaniza

Every province has their version of the pork sausage called longaniza. It varies from sweet to garlicky to spicy.

Usually eaten for breakfast with garlic rice, fried egg and a dipping sauce of vinegar.

Zoricho, 118 Silver City, Frontera Verde, Ugong, Pasig City, Metro Manila; +63 2 571 3269

 

Lumpiang UbodLumpiang ubod — spring rolls with a coconut-y twist.

25. Lumpiang ubod

The fruit, leaves and even the pith of the coconut tree is used in Filipino food. The pith makes a sweet and tender filling for the fresh lumpia, our version of the spring roll.

A delicate egg wrapper contains a savory filling of ubod (the pith of the coconut tree), shrimps, pork, onions and a garlicky sweet sauce.

Bacolod city is known for its petite version of this spring roll.

El Ideal Bakery, 118 Rizal St., Silay City, Negros Occidental; +63 34 495 4430 and Bailon Homemade Ilonggo Delicacies, 1115 Rodriguez Ave., Bangkal, Makati; +63 2 843 6673

 

Bicol ExpressBicol express — uniting coconut and chili lovers.

26. Bicol express

A fitting tribute to people who love coconut and spicy food is bicol express, a fiery chili, pork and coconut milk stew. Try it at the hole-in-the-wall eatery called Top Haus in Makati.

Top Haus, 5994 J.D. Villena St., corner Mabini Street, Poblacion, Makati

 

27. Relyenong alimango

Filipino cooks are never fazed by fuzzy food preparations like relyenong alimango. The crab is delicately peeled then sautéed with onions, tomatoes, herbs and stuffed back into the crab shell, then deep fried.

Chicken or bangus (milkfish) are also cooked relyeno. Often cooked in homes for fiestas, but enterprising housewives sell them at the Sunday market in Quezon City (Centris Mall, Edsa, Quezon City) or the Saturday market in Makati (Salcedo Village, Makati)

 

BalutBalut — just think of it as being overripe.

28. Balut

No trip to the Philippines would be complete without sampling its famous balut. Vendors peddling these eggs on the street chant “Baluuuuut!” to entice buyers.

This 17-day-old duck embryo is boiled, served with rock salt or spicy vinegar and is often consumed with beer.

 

29. Inihaw na panga ng tuna

General Santos and Davao City are known for their numerous ways with tuna. The panga or jaw is often grilled over coals and dipped in sauce of soy sauce, vinegar, chili and calamansi (local lemon).

Marina Tuna Seafood Market & Restaurant, Kilometer 8, National Highway, Bo. Pampanga, Sasa, Davao City; +63 8 2233 2666

 

Fish KinilawFish kinilaw — various forms, one great taste.

30. Fish kinilaw

The day’s fresh catch is dressed in palm coconut vinegar, ginger, chili and spices. Each province has its own way of preparing kinilaw.

Most wet markets will prepare this for you. Most popular in Cebu is to eat it in Su-tu-kil, the row of seafood eateries (Lapu-LapuCity, Mactan,Cebu).

 

Kuhol sa GataKuhol sa gata — what the French can do …

31. Kuhol sa gata

Fresh snails cooked in coconut milk and leafy vegetables. The snails are served in the shell and a tiny fork (or toothpick) is used to loosen the meat inside.

This is usually served as an appetizer or a snack, but it works well with hot rice.

Try it at Barrio Fiesta Greenhills

 

SinanglaySinanglay — when food looks this good it’s almost a shame to eat it.

32. Sinanglay

Fresh tilapia stuffed with tomatoes and onions, then simmered in coconut milk and wrapped in pechay leaves (similar to bokchoy), which helps keep the fish together and adds a peppery taste. It’s a staple Filipino food.

Try it at Adarna Food and Culture

 

Inihaw na LiempoInihaw na liempo — the delicious crunch-soft combo strikes again.

33. Inihaw na Liempo

A Filipino-style barbecue using a popular pork part: liempo (pork belly). Arguably, the best is Cebuano style — a slab of liempo stuffed with herbs and spices and roasted, resulting in juicy flavorsome meat inside and crackling skin outside.

 

34. Empanada de kaliskis

The literal translation of these words is scaly pie. A traditional meat pie from Malolos, it is a flaky, croissant-like pastry filled with chicken and deep fried.

Best freshly made, get it when in Malolos or from a reputable restaurant such as Adarna Food and Culture.

 

TugacTinolang tugac — hopping into your fave dish list.

35. Tinolang tugac

Frog isn’t common in Manila, but a few miles away in Pampanga you’ll see it stuffed or stewed.

Or simply taking the place of chicken, such as in the common tinola — a ginger-based soup usually cooked with chunks of green papaya and chili pepper leaves.

 

Camaro RebosadoCamaro rebosado — juxtaposing flavor and texture.

36. Camaro rebosado

Shrimp coated in egg and flour batter and deep fried.

Served with a tomato-based sweet and sour sauce for dipping.

 

BibingkaBibingka — the smell of a Filipino Christmas.

37. Bibingka

For many Filipinos, Christmas is marked by the scent of bibingkas cooking at dawn. These rice cakes are made by soaking the rice overnight, grinding it with a mortar stone and mixing in coconut milk and sugar. Laborious.

The batter is poured into clay pots with banana leaves, with coals on top and below. It’s garnished with salted eggs, kesong puti (white cheese made from Carabao’s milk) and slathered with butter, sugar and grated coconut.

Best eaten hot from weekend markets. The best one is from Aling Linda at the Sidcor Sunday Market at Centris Mall, Edsa,Quezon City. For the rest of the week, try Via Mare or Ferino’s Bibingka with branches all over Metro Manila. www.viamare.com.ph

 

Suman at MangaSuman at manga — can’t go wrong with sweet, juicy mango.

38. Suman at manga

Sold along the roadside, suman are sticky rice snacks steamed in banana or coconut leaves. There are many versions of suman, depending on the ingredients and leaves used.

These Filipino food snacks are often paired with sweet ripe mangoes. They’re cheap snacks, which travel well.

Buy them from roadside stalls, or enterprising vendors peddling them on buses.

 

ChamporadoChamporado — essentially a bowl of hot, soggy Coco Pops.

39. Champorado

When the rains start pouring and classes are suspended, children love this comforting breakfast — a chocolate rice porridge. It’s hot, rich and filling.

To offset the sweetness it’s often served with dried fish.

This breakfast of champs can be eaten in roadside carinderias or try the triple chocolate version at Max’s Fried Chicken in various cities.

 

Halo-haloHalo-halo — the tastiest way to ward off the heat.

40. Halo-halo

Many people joke that the Philippines has two seasons: hot and hotter. Cool off with some halo-halo.

In Manila, Milky Way Café offers the best halo-halo with finely shaved ice and a generous serving of leche flan, gulaman, ube, banana, kaong, beans and garbanzos, milk and a scoop of ube ice cream.

Milky Way Café, 2/F, 900 A. Arnaiz Ave., corner Paseo de Roxas, Makati; +63 2 843 4124

 

Buco pieBuco pie — another way to eat the king of coastal fruits.

41. Buco pie

Go loco over coconut. In the province of Laguna, buco pie (young coconut pie) wars are hot. Each claims to be the best.

Orient D’ Original may have a tacky name but this pie shop has been a favorite for 45 years.

They serve the pie hot, with a delicious filling with generous layers of tender coconut meat.

Orient D’ Original, National Highway, Los Banos, Laguna, +63 4 9536 3783

 

42. Ensaymada at tsokolate

Ensaymada is a handmade cheesebread topped with sugar and cheese, and best served with thick Filipino hot chocolate.

Mary Grace cafe serves this unbeatable combination popular for breakfast or an afternoon snack.

www.marygracecafe.com

 

Pastillas de LechePastillas de leche — light, sugary and perfect with a cup of tea.

43. Pastillas de leche

Made from fresh carabao milk and sugar, this sweet confection is stirred until thick and melts in the mouth. Each piece is double wrapped in paper.

Traditionally, in the province of Bulacan, they hand cut ornate designs for the wrapper. A consistent source of all things pastillas is Bulacan Sweets with more than 40 years experience in making these sweets.

Bulacan Sweets, 155 N.S. Amoranto Ave., Quezon City, Metro Manila; +63 2 740 2171

 

Puto BumbongPuto bumbong — one of the world’s few purple foods.

44. Puto bumbong

These may look like miniature chimneys along the roadside stalls, but that’s what gives the chewy purple snacks their name.

Traditionally, purple mountain rice was used to make these, steamed in bamboo tubes, then served with butter, panocha (brown concentrated sugar) and grated coconut.

The Via Mare chain has been consistently producing chewy snack for years.

 

TuronTuron — if you thought bananas shouldn’t crunch, think again.

45. Turon

This fried banana with langka (jackfruit) all sealed in a lumpia wrapper is our version of a sweet spring roll.

It is peddled around the cities and towns for the perfect merienda (mid-morning or afternoon snack).

 

Pan De SalPan de sal — simple breakfasts are sometimes all you need.

46. Pan de sal

Pan de sal are small oval buns often eaten by Filipinos for breakfast. A brownish crust conceals a soft and fluffy inside. The best pan de sal is baked in an oven using firewood, naturally infusing the wood flavor into the bread.

Everyone has their favorite bakery, but Pan de Manila with outlets all over Metro Manila is consistently delicious.

www.pandemanila.com.ph

 

TahoTaho — the sweetest mush you’ll ever eat.

47. Taho

Brown sugar syrup is stirred into warm soybean custard and topped with sago pearls.

Traditionally sold by vendors walking the streets calling out to those at home, but can also be sourced from supermarkets and restaurants.

 

Tablea TsokolateTablea tsokolate — hot chocolate, but not as you know it.

48. Tablea tsokolate

A customary hot chocolate drink that stems from Spanish colonial times, tablea tsokolate is made from tablea de cacao — bittersweet, thick flat chocolate disks.

The traditional version is available at Adarna Food and Culture.

 

Halayang UbeHalayang ube — two purple foods in one list? World’s going crazy.

49. Halayang ube

The ube or purple yam is a popular ingredient used for desserts and here it’s made into a sweet halayang ube (ube jam).

For decades the nuns of the Good Shepherd Convent in Tagaytay have been producing this jam. Their product is smooth and creamy, and helps provide a livelihood to the single mothers who make them.

Good Shepherd Convent, Good Shepherd Bahay Pastulan, Maryridge, Iruhin West, Tagaytay City, Cavite; +63 46 483 3590; www.goodshepherdsisters.org.ph

 

Leche FlanLeche flan — the dessert of connoisseurs.

50. Leche flan

This is a popular dessert among locals — an egg and milk-based custard capped off with glistening caramelized sugar.

 

Link

Manila offers couples free train tickets for PDA on Valentine’s

RocketNews 24:

 

vintagekissingphotos3

Generally speaking, it’s considered bad form to suck face on public transportation, particularly in socially conservative countries like the Philippines, but perhaps lovers get a little extra leeway on St. Valentine’s Day, because the Manila Light Rail Transit is offering free tickets to couples bringing the romance today.

A spokesperson announced this week that the LTR would be offering books of seven tickets to five lucky couples on Valentine’s Day that “showed romance.” No definition was offered for exactly what that might mean, but LTR employees would be prowling lines 1 and 2 between 6a.m. and 8 a.m. to find some deserving lovebirds.

Source: Manila Bulletin

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Manila offers couples free train tickets for PDA on Valentine’s