Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Oh My Goodness . . . OMA!

Oma Platter
Malunggay pesto pizza with tinapa bits, four cheese pizza with kesong puti, Nacho with chorizo, tilapia sisig . . . a Pinoy twist to classic dishes at Oma Restaurant and Bar. First timers here must try their Oma platter which is a sampler of most the dishes just mentioned. But if you are a male beer drinker then the Oba platter is the best pulutan or finger food to order as this goes well with your drink. You can’t go wrong with this sampler of innards that include Pinoy favorites such as isaw, sisig and the like.

The dishes are best described as “ twisted pinoy” style not fusion, explains co-owner Rene Alcala. They make use of native spices or common flavors abundant in the country for their international dishes such as puttanesca without the anchovies, and pesto without the basil leaves, and still make it work with native ingredients such as tuyo and malunggay.

Oma owners L-R Chris Ecker de Guzman,
Leo Tiopas, Moi Marcampo
, Marina Martinez, Rene Alcala

OMA, which is grandmother in german language, is known for it’s innovative approach in Pinoy cuisine. Oma Restaurant and Bar is all about traditional home-cooked meals that are transformed or rather twisted into new and interesting delectable dishes.

Another twist to the menu is that the dishes are all named after grandmas, grandpas, aunts and uncles, nieces, nephews and friends suggesting a homey atmosphere.

Examples of other twisted dishes available are:  “Rafaelle” their version of camaron rebosado bathed in malunggay pesto batter. Malunggay leaves are also used as a pesto base in their most ordered pizza named “Trinidad” with “tinapa” and onion rings as toppings. “Roberta”, the most ordered pizza of the house, is their version of four cheese pizza with our very own “kesong puti” as the star of the four cheeses. “Jorge”, the most ordered OMA special in the house, is a crispy pork belly cooked in  “bagnet” style with “binagoongan” sauce. Pates are also Filipinized, we have “Tilapia Sisig pate”, “Pork sisig pate” and “Tinapa pate” to start your meals.

Chef Moi Marcampo
Recently, they have added pasta in their menu with the assistance of Moi Marcampo, better known as “Elena“ in the movie KIMIDORA. As you know the lady is an accomplished chef having studied at the Academy of International Culinary Arts (AICA).

One of her specialty is “Hatima” pasta, a Filipinized version of puttanesca, which is a MUST try. According to her, it’s a favorite of the stars in ABS-CBN. “Armida”, is their version of vongole with local clams as the star of the pasta and “Conchita” is Moi’s version of Tuna pesto with seared tuna.

Another one of her creations is the “Caridad” spring rolls with tinapa, a dish that would appeal to the majority with its tasty mix. When dipped in its sauce, the spring rolls  take on another personality.  The dish can be eaten like finger food or as a meal with rice.

Chef Moi knows she created a good dish, when it passes the taste-test of her picky-eater boss, actor Piolo Pascual.  When asked wha’s her favorite ingredient, the one she can’t do without, she answers simply, “olive oil”

The place evokes an old world feel of a stately mansion of Manila’s yesteryears with its old wood wall cladding, accentuated with mother of pearl and mirror tile mosaic.  The restaurant is accentuated with elegant mirrors of the same pattern that is continued into the bar area. This old-feel but modern and contemporary style design was created by Jim Tan, OMA’s interior designer.

OMA Restaurant and Bar is located at Ortigas Home Depot Foodstreet, Julia Vargas Avenue, Pasig City. For reservations, please call (02) 661 6714. Watch out for their Tagaytay branch starting in October.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Living Art in Picasso

The moment one alights from the vehicle to enter the Picasso,  one already feels that there is something unique about this hotel.  From the design by the entrance to the eye-catching uniform designs of the hotel staff, you can detect a certain resistance to the conventional.   

 Picasso is certainly not your typical boutique hotel but rather, a well conceptualized living space with an art theme that is consistent in its decors and furniture.  Stepping into its modest-sized lobby, you sense the aura of  upscale service with its museum-like ambience and the polite attention from the hotel’s staff. 

After the quick registering procedure, one is led to a quaint elevator that takes you to a floor where the room numbers  are part of the art,  hanging in a frame beside the door.  Upon entering the spacious quarters, your attention falls smack on the desk  with decorative accents that match the painting on the adjacent red wall. Sitting there makes you feel like an art curator or connoisseur.  

The design is repeated in the bed’s cover sheets as well.  The soft and clean sheets make you want to jump into bed after a nice warm shower. The light switch  or the lack of it at the bedside is another amusing detail.  A mere touch of the hanging light’s dangling wire by the bed opens the light to dim, bright , and off in that order once you continue touching it. 

After checking out the fridge, you grab a can of juice which you consume as you unpack your luggage.  For some reason, one just has to open the television and tune in to the news as part of the unpacking process. Should you be confused with the two television remote controls, a quick call to the concierge will enlighten you on what buttons to push.

The frosted glass walls that come between  the shower area and the bed may make you feel a bit bashful should you decide to take a bath while a friend is in the room with you. Just think of it as part of the uninhibited  experience of art and you may even be a part of the living art on the other side of the wall.  Don’t worry, you will simply appear as a splash of colors with no form. 

But after you take that relaxing rain-like shower, you may never want to leave the room for a night in town.  A feeling of relaxed, almost sleepy feeling overcomes you.  You just want to grab a bag of chips and a can of soda while you tune in to the movie channel.  But if your friend insists that you should not waste a night just to sleep, you can fix your hair and make up in the spacious bathroom. It has all the supplies and amenities you need, such as a blow dryer, shampoo, body wash, lotion, toothbrush and toothpaste.

What’s great, is that you have the option to cook your own meal in the room as there is a stove,  as well as a microwave to heat up your take-out food.  Staying at the Picasso does not have to be all business, if you need time alone to work or just relax in solitude with the right comforts then Picasso is the place to be. If one can live in a museum and be inspired by works of art that surrounds you, I think Picasso would be the closest experience to that.
The Picasso Boutique Serviced Residences
119 L.P. Leviste St., Salcedo Village
Makati City, Philippines 1227
T. +63 2 828.4774
F. +63 2 828.9141

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Fly Responsibly with the Bright Skies for Every Juan Programme

Here's a press release that should appeal to green travelers out there . . .
Apo Reef Island
Every time we fly, our aircraft burns fuel and emit carbon into the atmosphere. The release of greenhouse gases contribute to climate change, which is now the most serious and pervasive threat to humanity and nature.

What if airline passengers have the chance to offset their carbon footprint whenever they fly?

The World Wide Fund for Nature Philippines (WWF-Philippines) and Cebu Pacific Air, Inc. (CEB) invite travelers to fly responsibly by donating to the Bright Skies for Every Juan programme when booking their trips online at The CEB website generates a donation amount that corresponds to the distance of their flight and the estimated amount of carbon dioxide emitted.

Through this programme, airline passengers have the opportunity to minimize the ecological impacts of air travel and help protect the Philippines’ Great Reefs, the Apo Reef in Occidental Mindoro and Tubbataha Reef in Palawan, which together generate enough food and livelihood for some 40 million Filipinos each year.

The Bright Skies for Every Juan Programme
WWF-Philippines’ partnership with CEB began in July 2008 – initially to prepare Mindoro’s Apo Reef for the looming effects of climate change. A powerful patrol boat bearing WWF and Cebu Pacific colors has now apprehended dozens of park violators.

The inclusion of the Tubbataha Reefs of Puerto Princesa City has dramatically enhanced the breadth of the program. 

“We want to provide an innovative opportunity for our passengers to contribute to a climate adaptation program to fight global warming,” says Lance Gokongwei, CEO and President of CEB. “Since airlines contribute their own carbon footprint to the atmosphere, Bright Skies for Every Juan, our climate adaptation program, gives CEB the chance to do something concrete for the environment.

WWF-Philippines Vice-Chair and CEO Jose Ma. Lorenzo Tan says, “At the end of the day, the most crucial decisions - that to consciously do what we can to reduce our impacts - lie in our own hands. We have a shared responsibility to minimize our footprint not just when we fly – but in whatever we do.”

Bright Skies, Great Reefs

Formed from the eruption of undersea volcanoes nearly 15 million years ago, Tubbataha or ‘long reef’ in the Samal tongue is located in the central Sulu Sea, about 160 kilometers southeast of Puerto Princesa City in Palawan.

The Tubbataha Reefs host over 600 kinds of fish that frolic amongst 396 types of soft and hard coral. Other denizens include 14 species of sharks including the ferocious tiger shark; 12 species of dolphins and whales; a nesting population of endangered hawksbill and green sea turtles; and over 100 species of birds, including rare migratory birds. 

“Few reefs come close to the biological productivity of Tubbataha,” explains WWF-Philippines Vice-Chair and CEO Lory Tan. “Through a well thought-out plan implemented by the Tubbataha Protected Area Management Board and the Tubbataha Management Office, fish biomass has remained stable for over a decade. Today, Tubbataha’s fish biomass stands at over 200-tonnes per square kilometer. Incredibly, this is five times greater than the productivity of a typical healthy reef.”  

On the other hand, Apo Reef is the largest in Asia and is situated 15 nautical miles west of Sablayan in Occidental Mindoro. It is home to almost 200 species of soft and hard coral, 385 species of fish plus charismatic undersea giants like thresher and hammerhead sharks, manta rays, sperm whales, dolphins and sea turtles.

Through the DENR and the local government of Occidental Mindoro, WWF helped secure the future of Apo Reef through its proclamation as a ‘no-fishing’ zone in 2007. Overall coral growth dwindled to less than 33% in 1994 but has steadily improved. In 2006, an assessment cited growth at 52% and rising.  

Through the generosity of thousands of Cebu Pacific airline passengers, the Apo and Tubbataha Reefs will enjoy better protection through improved local government alliances and enforcement efforts, financial sustainability schemes and responsible ecotourism.

In the face of economic and environmental fragility, the importance of the Apo and Tubbataha Reefs, as well as the wealth beneath and above their waters have never been more critical.

WWF-Philippines and CEB encourage airline passengers to fly responsibly and help sustain the excellent health of the country’s great reefs. 

Feel the Retro Swag at the Newest Bar Lounge in Town: Rocket Room

So here's another chill place you may want to check out while you're in town. Rocket Room is located at 7th Avenue corner 30the Street, Ground floor of Bonifacio High Street Central, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.
Extend your night out by swinging by the metro’s latest bar lounge brought to you by Raintree Restaurants—Rocket Room. With its vivid and outrĂ© interiors elaborately designed by Noel Bernardo, Rocket Room lends the right amount of buzz to every coffee break afternoon or late night out.

The bar lounge brings thrilling arrays of Rocket Room’s House Made Infusion Jars, specialty spirits infused with fresh fruits and spices, Classically Twisted drinks, which are twisted takes on the classics, as well as an extensive selection of wines, beers and sangrias.
Serving up the best of organically hot and cold Rocket Plates, Raintree Restaurants brings innovation with itsdistinctive variety of food offerings and characteristic sets of interiors.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Lor and Ed Calma’s Beauty -in-Oddness Designs at the LRI Design Plaza

Makati City, Philippines---LRI Design Plaza celebrates its 8th anniversary with an exhibit by one of the country’s well-respected architects and designers, the father and son team of Lor and Ed Calma, who presented their recent creations to the public in a cocktail launch held May 23, 3012 at the LRI Art Pavilion in Bel-Air, Makati.

The exhibit presented Arch. Lor and Ed Calma’s various works that included office and residential designs as well as furniture pieces, sculptures, and sketches.  Home owners will get inspired upon seeing the novelty, practicality, efficiency as well the beauty of the designs.  Models of the actual and future projects created by the Calma ingenuity and creativity which are on display include the Serendera bridge, The UP Museum, and the Mind Museum among others. Creative mind with limitless boundaries best encapsulates the whole exhibit presentation of the Calmas who presented eye-catching odd shapes in building structures as well as furniture and art pieces that made logical sense.

The exhibit is ongoing from May 23 to June 9 at  the LRI Design Plaza, 210 Nicanor Garcia  Street (formerly Reposo), Bel-Air, Makati. For inquiries or more information, you may contact the following numbers +63(2) 895-1772, 895-7949  and +63(2) 895-5470 (TeleFax)  or check the website at  Store Hours are Monday to Saturday  10:00 AM to 7:00 PM.  
LRI Design Plaza is a one-stop-shop where one can find a treasure trove of high-quality furniture, art, antiques and modern decor items. Located in Makati City, this design center provides an oasis of peace for shoppers who seek to tastefully kit out their homes in a unique and expressive way.

LRI Design Plaza houses a cluster of chic, beautifully laid-out shops that offer home and office furnishings, home accessories, light fixtures, fabrics, antiques and art pieces, as well as interior design and photography services at a range of prices that will satisfy the budget-conscious and the design-conscious alike.


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