Planning your DIY Taipei vacation (Rappler)

Go shopping and food tripping in Ximending night market

(This feature was published in Rappler last November 1, 2015)

Taipei, Taiwan is a haven for foodies. Its themed restaurants and street food offerings are enough reasons to fly to this nearby food destination. But Taipei will not just please your palate; it will fascinate you with its charming cityscapes and alluring activities.

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Incredible food trip in Taipei, Taiwan (Rappler)

Dishes are served in mini-toilet bowls at Modern Toilet

(This feature was published in Rappler last October 31, 2015)

If Taipei were a theme park ride, it would be like a rollercoaster that would take your taste buds up and down on a thrilling adventure. In this city, there are countless of food innovations you would find in the streets, dine-in restaurants, and also in themed establishments.

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8 ways to enjoy new buffet place The Pantry (GMA News Online)

Sinfully sweet treats at the dessert station

(This feature was published in GMA News Online last October 5, 2015)

Buffets offer diverse food options ranging from hearty meat dishes to healthy greens. The Pantry at Dusit Thani is the newest one I have visited, and it is not your run-of-the-mill buffet.

I confess, I sometimes feel overwhelmed at buffets simply because of the abundance of food. I feel paralyzed and don’t know where to start. So if you’re like me, it’s best to have a game plan to have a good buffet experience. Here are some tips to keep in mind to enjoy The Pantry.

1. Bring a big appetite

Skip breakfast if you know you’re going to have buffet for lunch. Maybe have some coffee and toast, but make sure to leave space for the delicious food you’ll soon have in your belly.

The Pantry has nine global stations: the Chinese bao bar, the Indian Tandoor oven, the brick oven pizza area, the salad station, the seafood station, the carving station, the dessert station, the beverage studio, and a takeaway counter called Grab & Go.

The Pantry observes three to four cycle changes in its menu. “That means, if you come for lunch today, tomorrow and the next day, it would be a different lunch every day,” said Chef Nicolas Issel. “What people really love, obviously we’re going to keep. We’re going to interchange and switch up as I feel is necessary. I always like to change up the technique or the presentation. The change will be a natural progression as we go along.” – See more at:

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Chicken, pizza and ‘third wave’ coffee at Frank & Dean (GMA News Online)

This third wave coffee shop has a hip and young vibe

(This feature was published in GMA News Online last August 19, 2015)

As a freelance writer, I’m used to lugging around my laptop and looking for a coffee shop to settle down to work—preferably one with the aromatic smell of freshly brewed coffee. Plenty of chain establishments are readily available, but I like the vibe that third-wave coffee shops exude.

Frank & Dean Café x Kitchen is the only “third wave” coffee place—that is, a place that buys coffee based on its origins and its method of production—in the Bonifacio Global City area. Its interiors have an industrial yet homey feel, with steel-backed upholstered chairs, lighting fixtures with metal frames, wood wall panels and brick accents. The big blackboard menu complements the trendy atmosphere. I spied a big group of corporate folks having a meeting during my visit. It seems like a good place to do meet-ups or simply hang out with your cup of joe.

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Hot and filling: Soups to warm you up on cold, rainy days (GMA News Online)

Ted’s Oldtimer Lapaz Batchoy_special batchoy

(This feature was published in GMA News Online last August 12, 2015)

If summer is synonymous with ice cream, then the rainy season is all about hot soups. There’s nothing more satisfying than slurping warm broth on a cold and rainy day—at least, for me. It’s just a nice pick-me-upper on a gloomy day. That’s what comfort food is all about, after all. Here are some of my favorites. What are yours?

Arroz caldo

I remember eating arroz caldo whenever I would get sick as a young child. My mom would feed me this hearty porridge made with rice and chicken because it had a light flavor and was easy to eat. It’s basically the Filipino version of the Chinese congee.

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Tasting my way around Tokyo (GMA News Online)

Skewered meats are easy to eat while sightseeing in Asakusa

(This piece was published in GMA News Online last July 2, 2015)

My love affair with Japanese food came later in my life. I remember I would cringe every time I would see my dad dip a slice of raw fish in wasabi-laced soy sauce and eat it in one big bite. Now that I have developed a more adventurous palate, I regret not trying sashimi earlier on.

I might have missed out on Japanese food for some years, but I believe it made me appreciate it more now. During my recent trip to Tokyo, food tripping was my main itinerary. I skipped DisneySea and Mt. Fuji in the name of food.

Despite my weary feet I trod along the city streets just to find the best ramen bar. I rode trains to reach the fish market and indulge in the best sushi I ever tasted in my life. To lessen the ordeal for Tokyo trippers, here are some of my food finds that you must try.

Read the rest of the article HERE.

A first-time visitor’s guide to Tokyo (GMA News Online)

Encountered lots of local tourists during the Golden Week

(This feature was published in GMA News Online last June 16, 2015)

Move over, Hong Kong! There’s now a new “it destination” for Filipinos: Japan. With more affordable direct flights by budget carriers and the ease of getting a Japanese visa, locals finally find it accessible to visit the Land of the Rising Sun.

I recently organized a family trip to Tokyo and managed to take care of everything—from visa application to flights and accommodations—for all 15 of us. I am no travel agent nor am I affiliated with a travel agency, but I was able to execute our trip with minimal fuss and stress thanks to technology and a lot of research.

Pick a place

What’s on your bucket list? There are a lot of must-see places in Japan, so it’s best to narrow down your list of must-visit spots and decide where to book a flight.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is in Osaka, while Disneyland and DisneySea are in Tokyo, and Kyoto has a collection of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. In our case, Tokyo was the top choice since we were traveling with kids who looked forward to visiting the world-class theme parks.

Read the rest of the article HERE.


Bite-Size: Finding the recipe for success (GMA News Online)


(This feature was published in GMA News Online last June 9, 2015)

Culinary schools have mushroomed all over the metro. It’s no surprise since Filipinos are known for service here and abroad, and the booming economy has helped the food industry gain ground. You’ll see it in the presence of gourmet weekend markets, specialized restaurants, international franchises, and even private dining offerings.

More people now dream of becoming chefs and owning their own restaurants someday.

A taste of #GlobalGrit

One institution that has been aiding wannabe-chefs turn their dreams into reality is Global Academy, the first culinary school in the country to be recognized by the World Association of Chefs Societies.

Read the rest of the article HERE.



Stay slim without dieting, just healthy eating (GMA News Online)

A healthy bowl of strawberries with yogurt and flaxseeds

(This feature was published in GMA News Online last June 8, 2015)

I write for a living. My job entails writing about food. I’ve been to countless media events, attended many restaurant visits, met local and international chefs, and exposed my palate to new food adventures along the way.

Despite everything, I’ve pretty much maintained my five-foot-two-inch, 100-pound frame all these years. Some of my clothes from college (almost 20 years ago) could still fit me, although the style is a bit questionable.

I can say that I haven’t changed much physically, but it’s not because I’m on a diet craze or something. Far from it! In fact, I don’t believe in diets. I’ve heard a lot about programs like the South Beach Diet, Atkins, Cohen, and the like, but I never joined any. I just ate according to my preference. After all, I live to eat.

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A spring menu and rooms with a view at Qiwellness Living (GMA News Online)

Cocktails with a view. Cheers to that!

(This was featured in GMA News Online last June 1, 2015)

From afar, the big crimson front door seemed like part of a private residence. It wasn’t until I saw the sign saying Qiwellness Living (qi is pronounced “chee”) that my interest was piqued by this discreet Tagaytay destination.

Once inside, a picturesque view of Taal Lake and Volcano welcomed me and my dinner mates. It was a bit foggy when we arrived late in the afternoon, but I could still see the faint silhouette of the famous peak.

I turned to my immediate surroundings—modest interiors with Chinese-inspired furnishings and décor. The entrance is on the third level where we somehow got a closer view of the volcano, compared to the perspective from the lower level.

The dining area with its 18-seater table and chairs with two-meter-high backs was the first thing I noticed when I entered the establishment. We were told that it was inspired by the Ming Dynasty, when the Chinese would wear heavy fur coats and hang them on the back of the chairs.

Read the rest of the article HERE.