Thursday, November 9, 2023

Food Travelers: Here's why you must try Sampaguita

“I’ll never look at sampaguita the same way again. I’d rather eat it – mainly because we’ve discovered that the sampaguita is a versatile flower with many applications in food and beverage. There’s more to the local jasminum sambac, a variety of sampaguita that grows in the Philippines. Our goal is to get the conversation going and educate guests about its iconic aroma that adds a new layer of flavor to one’s local dining experience.” ~Socrates Alvaro, Cluster General Manager of Food and Beverage for Megaworld Hotels and Resorts (MHR)
Food detailing with Sampaguita in Salad

Megaworld Hotels and Resorts advocacy has always been passionate about pushing the borders of what their local products can do. Much like the sampaguita, Megaworld Hotels and Resorts shares with the world their thrust and why food travelers should try out their heirloom recipes with the essence of the national flower as they revive the sampaguita industry. 

Savoy Hotel Boracay 

True enough, the country’s largest homegrown hospitality management chain (MHR) heats up its kitchens and gives the Philippines’ national flower a date with your tastebuds. 

The hotel group now offers its guests their Sampaguita Menu made available daily across their 12 properties located in Boracay, Cebu, Iloilo, the National Capital Region, and Tagaytay. The line-up features heirloom dishes all infused and garnished with food grade sampaguita extract and blooms. The entire selection includes options for appetizers, salad, soup, mains, desserts, and baked goods. While lounging at the bar, guests may even try out cocktail creations with notes of the sampaguita. 

Kaakit Akit, Paraw Regatta, Maripoda, Sampaguita Fizz

Bistek Tagalog with Sampaguita

Cheescake Sampaguita

Sampaguita Ice Cream

Sampaguita Rubbed Pork BBQ

When asked how they do it, Ariel Castaneda, Executive Chef of Richmonde Hotel Iloilo, considering other options, they’ve also tried dehydration. Says the young and promising chef who conducts exclusive monthly dining events. Over time they’ve gotten more success doing the smoking process.

“We’ve tried the brining and pickling process, in which we infuse salt to the fresh flower and extract the full flavor. We dry out fresh flowers, petals and leaves and steep them into our mixture to give body to the dish. Use fresh and dried Sampaguita petals, to smoke meats, fish, and sauces to enhance the aroma of the dish. We get all sorts of reactions from guests. Guests would try different sampaguita dishes and would normally be amazed of the different flavor profiles it gives when mixed with other ingredients. we aim to diversify how our guests can better appreciate the versatility of the Sampaguita and bring it back to a wider audience. Being a proud homegrown brand, we seek to elevate what we have locally for the rest of the world to taste and appreciate.” ~Ariel Castaneda, Executive Chef of Richmonde Hotel Iloilo

Enjoying Sampaguita inspired cocktails at the Bar

In more ways than one, the sampaguita shares an uncanny similarity with Filipinos, says Alvaro. Both are resilient as they bloom more in difficult conditions, he explains. 

To enjoy this offer, guests may book a table directly with any Savoy and Belmont properties located in Boracay, Cebu, and Manila. They may also try it out in their Richmonde Hotels located in Eastwood, Ortigas, and Iloilo or maybe drop by the Hotel Lucky Chinatown in Binondo. Others may consider Kingsford Hotel Manila in Paranaque and lastly Twin Lakes Hotel in Tagaytay overlooking the Taal Lake. For more information visit or visit any of Megaworld Hotels and Resorts and their properties’ official Facebook page.  

Monday, October 23, 2023

Globe and Fine Dining Club Philippines launch Gourmet Giving Series

“With the Gourmet Giving Series, we're channeling Filipinos' love for food and sharing meals together into meaningful avenues of giving. We are excited and grateful to have some of the best Filipino restaurants and chefs as partners in our endeavor. Globe is not only a service provider. We are catalysts for change, forging pathways that seamlessly link our customers to opportunities where they can make a genuine difference and leave a lasting impact." ~Yoly Crisanto, Chief Sustainability and Communications Officer at Globe

As the holiday season approaches, the Gourmet Giving Series embraces the Thanksgiving ethos by blending gourmet experiences with giving back. Renowned chefs and restaurants will unite their skills and  influence to support a worthy cause. Attendees can relish a deluxe culinary expedition while contributing to The Hapag Movement fundraiser events.

Globe, in partnership with Facebook Online Community Fine Dining Club Philippines, proudly introduces the “Gourmet Giving Series: A Fine Dining Thanksgiving Experience for the Hapag Movement.” This culinary venture brings together Metro Manila’s hottest restaurants, each pledging a portion of their proceeds to support supplementary feeding and livelihood training initiatives for Filipino families experiencing involuntary hunger.

Mr. JC Cailles Lo, Entrepreneur, Founder of Fine Dining Club Philippines

Participating establishments include A-list Filipino restaurants: Alegria Manila, The Black Pig, Chef Jessie Rockwell Club, Ember, Flame by Discovery Primea, Gallery by Chele, Helm, La Cabrera, The Test Kitchen, Tiago’s Restaurant, Txoko Asador, and Your Local. Every venue promises distinctive offerings, from special Hapag Movement set menus to exclusive holiday previews.

“We are using the power of the social media community to help transform and uplift the lives of The Hapag Movement beneficiaries. We believe that engaging with Facebook’s Fine Dining Club Philippines is leveraging the platform’s passion for food to also make a purposeful difference.” ~RG Orense, Globe Digital and Social Strategy Head

Ms. Yoly Crisanto, Chief Sustainability and Corporate Communications Officer Globe

Globe Platinum customers are in for a treat with exclusive priority booking access through their dedicated lifestyle concierge exclusively for Globe Platinum and Fine Dining Club Philippines members from October 24 to 28. Special treats also await other Globe mobile and broadband customers who avail of the Hapag Movement tasting menus from November 20 to 30.

"Through the Gourmet Series, we hope to unlock meaningful, memorable, and sought-after dining experiences for our customers with this food offering. By partnering with some of Metro Manila's premier restaurants, Globe delights customers to dine in their favorite establishments while supporting a movement for social good.” ~Darius Delgado, Head of Globe’s Consumer Mobile Business

Fine Dining Club Philippines, a vibrant community of over 23,300 culinary enthusiasts, has been instrumental in fostering unique dining partnerships and events, making this collaboration with Globe a perfect pairing.

The event builds on the momentum of Globe’s Longest Hapag series, which bridged World Hunger Day to World Food Day and has mounted a number of food-driven fundraisers to gain support for the Hapag Movement.

Ms. Cynthia Mangahas, Director, Customer Growth & Experience Globe

Since its launch in August last year, the Hapag Movement has already raised PHP21.5 million, impacting close to 70,000 Filipinos through supplemental feeding and livelihood training.

With the Gourmet Giving Series, Globe further widens the ecosystem of support for the Hapag Movement, leveraging fine dining as a focal point to inch closer to its goal of transforming the lives of 500,000 Filipinos facing involuntary hunger.

To learn more about Globe, visit

Friday, October 6, 2023

Dookki, Korea's No. 1 Topokki Buffet Now Serving at SM City Baliwag

Bulakenyos can anticipate a delicious Korean feast as Dookki has started serving at SM City Baliwag. Dookki, originally founded in December 2014 in Seoul and even featured in popular Kdramas, has evolved into more than just a well-loved food franchise. It has become a prominent company with global expansion into various countries, including China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Australia, the USA, and now the Philippines.

"Dookki" signifies two meals: the first being Topokki, and the second being fried rice. As soon as customers step into the establishment, they will find themselves immersed in a Korean buffet experience. The spread includes a diverse selection of dishes categorized into sections such as street food, a sauce station, side dishes, a renowned rice station for crafting personalized kimchi fried rice, noodles that can be combined with various ingredients, rice cakes, and unlimited beverages, among other offerings.

With 20 store branches nationwide, Dookki Philippines targets providing quality food and the best service experience to Filipinos. Furthermore, Dookki aims to create a place where Filipinos can have fun and a space where friendships can be built over food.

It’s definitely a treat, as friends and family may take advantage of Dookki’s discount promo this holiday season. Instead of P599, patrons can enjoy an unlimited Korean buffet for as low as P549 until December 31, 2023. Hurry and visit Dookki at the mall annex of SM City Baliwag. Also, check out their other branch located on the second level of SM City Marilao.

Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Mercato Centrale Partners with I-We to Host 'The Great Indian Fiesta', Commemorating 75 Years of India-Philippines Friendship

"I love Indian food - it's my favorite cuisine. I love the mixture of spices and the subtle flavors. It's really erotic; the spices are so sensuous." ~Joe Perry

Mercato Centrale, in collaboration with Indian Women in Enterprise Philippines (I-We), is set to host "The Great Indian Fiesta" to mark 75 years of friendship between India and the Philippines. The dynamic two-day event that featured Indian food, Fashion, Culture, and Entertainment, an exceptional occasion, creating an engaging and vibrant ambiance reminiscent of India took place on September 30 to October 1, 2023, at Paseo De Roxas Street, Makati City.

The fiesta showcased over 30 vendors serving authentic Indian dishes such as curries, biryanis, and sweets, providing attendees with a taste of India's diverse culinary traditions.

Aiming to foster growth within women-led MSME businesses, the fiesta also showcased over 30 vendors serving authentic Indian dishes such as curries, biryanis, and sweets, providing attendees with a taste of India's diverse culinary traditions.

In addition to the array of Indian delicacies, attendees also purchased arts, handicrafts, handlooms, accessories, wellness products, and pet products. 

The event also featured classical and contemporary Indian dance performances on a red carpet, providing attendees with an immersive cultural experience. Additionally, there are various games and contests where attendees participated and enjoyed.

Notable guests from Ayala Land, the Embassy of India, and other esteemed dignitaries graced the occasion, underscoring the cultural significance of this celebration of friendship and entrepreneurship.

See you next time for a festive event dedicated to Indian culture, cuisine, and entertainment at Mercato Centrale.

For more information and updates, follow Mercato Centrale on social media:

Established in 2010, Mercato Centrale has since served as an incubator for micro and small food business enterprises, helping them navigate the business environment as the New Normal. Setting a high standard for the outdoor food lifestyle market, Mercato Centrale has continuously provided support to small food businesses from both private entities and local government cooperatives.