Monday, October 28, 2013

Singapore Airlines' "Passengers Come First Policy "Wins Customer Loyalty

How could we not forget the iconic Singapore Girl and the Singapore Airlines jingle that goes . . ."Singapore girl, you're a great way to fly"?  Last October 24, we had a chance to get to know the people behind this company whose image has been stamped in our minds as a gracious, memorable, luxurious way to fly in a press gathering at Chateau 1771 in Greenbelt.  It was a fun, light, friendly conversation with the management team who sincerely wanted people to know that they care enough to risk profit over passenger convenience.  Their attitude "It is not the passengers fault when there is a delayed flight so they don't deserve the inconvenience or extra expense."  In other words, they will take the burden of making up for such unavoidable problems.  And  they also want people to not perceive them as being expensive as they present competitive rates for high quality service and perks.  The conversation also covered security, drunken passengers, rowdy kids, lost baggages, medical equipment, cuisine, accommodations and their response to such emergencies or challenges.  In summary, I gathered that they are willing to go that extra mile to keep the passengers unburdened by these unforseen incidents.  Below are their offerings for the month of October . . .

Fly & Cruise with Crystal Cruises
In a first of its kind partnership, Singapore Airlines, American Express and Crystal Cruises are offering the best luxury packages coined as “Fly & Cruise in Luxury”. American Express Cardmembers can enjoy as much as 50% savings on both air and cruise components, which include roundtrip all-inclusive airfare on Singapore Airlines Suites, First or Business class and all-inclusive cruise experience on board the 6-Star, all-suites Crystal Cruises to over 20 voyages covering South America, South Africa, Europe, Southwest Pacific, Asia and more. The Fly & Cruise in Luxury promotion fares start from USD 5,726 for a 12-day cruise from Bali to Singapore. American Express Cardmembers can also avail of additional savings of as much as USD 1,500 per person for bookings made until October 30, 2013. This promotion runs until May 2014. For more details, visit,, or call Adventure International Tours, Inc. (doing business as American Express Transnational) at 884-9403 / 884-9427 or 38.   

KrisFlyer Miles 
Members will be able to use their KrisFlyer miles to pay for Singapore Airlines and SilkAir flights booked through the SIA website.  Customers can choose to mix miles and cash to pay for their next airfare, including payment for fuel surcharges and taxes. With a minimum of 5,000 miles to start using this feature, customers will have the opportunity to use their KrisFlyer miles earlier, and before they expire.

KrisFlyer is Singapore Airlines' frequent flyer programme. Members can use their miles to pay for all or part of their airfares on Singapore Airlines or SilkAir when they book on, or redeem award flights on over 30 world-class airlines to more than 1,000 destinations in 170 countries. Miles can also be redeemed for flight upgrades on Singapore Airlines and SilkAir, Singapore Airlines’ regional carrier. For more info, visit their website at

Singapore Airlines Airbus A330-300:
Singapore Airlines received the first of 19 new A330-300 aircraft at a ceremony in Toulouse, France last 21 January 2009. These aircraft have recently been added to the fleet servicing the Manila Singapore route.

The aircraft is configured in a two class layout, with 30 new Business Class seats, and 255 Economy Class seats. The Singapore Airlines A330-300 fleet is powered by two Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines

Key facts and figures of the  aircraft are as follows:
Seating Configuration: 285 seats (2-class configuration)
Range: 4720 nautical miles
Wingspan: 60.3 meters (198 feet)
Length: 63.7 metres (209 feet)
Height: 17 metres (56 feet)
Maximum Takeoff Weight: 233,000 kilograms (233 tonnes)

Singapore to London:
Passengers who are flying from Singapore to London have become the first to experience Singapore Airlines’ next generation of cabin productselegantly upholstered seats all the way from Scotland and the new KrisWorld in-flight entertainment system. via Singapore Airlines from Manila to London with a stopover in Singapore.

The new cabin products, which are set to be Singapore Airlines’ benchmark for premium air travel, are being introduced on a Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. All throughout the month of October, it will operate selected flights between Singapore and London. For more information and updates, visit

Filipino Favorites Worth Dining For At Siklab

  If you are not familiar with Filipino dishes but want to try what makes the Filipino eat five times a
 day, then Siklab should be one of the first Filipino restaurants you should visit. If you are entertaining balikbayan friends or foreign guests, you won't regret bringing them to Siklab. Opening its doors at the 3rd level of Greenbelt 3, SIKLAB offers local comfort food with a twist and a burst of flavors.

With a restaurant name that literally means “to catch fire” or “burst into flames,” the dishes served here are in their best hot-off-the-grill goodness like the staple Filipino Chicken Barbecue which happens to be one of the restaurant’s “must-try” items on the menu.

At Siklab, the story doesn’t end with serving all-Filipino dishes but we present these dishes creatively, the Bistro way,” Chef Josh Boutwood says. “Both usual favorites and some unique Filipino dishes will be served with interesting twists. The taste, however, is still traditionally Filipino — but richer and more flavorful,” he further hints.

Chef Josh personally recommends the star of the menu, the Chicken Barbecue. Chicken pieces are smothered in Siklab’s marinade made of coconut soy sauce, citrus and other spices and the meat is grilled to exact temperature and tenderness. The smokey aroma and intense flavor of the chicken plus its juiciness and succulence, bite after bite, will delight even the most discerning palate.
Salads are prepared with fresh ingredients that are truly Filipino: salted eggs, green mangoes, pako, kesong puti and grated coconut. Greens are the leafy malunggay and kangkong as well as other vegetables that make up dishes like Pakbet, Pako Salad and Monggo Soup. For appetizer, Kuhol Sa Gata (local escargot drenched in coconut cream and spicy ingredients) is a winner.

For entrees, the barbequed Liempo, a slab of perfectly grilled juicy pork belly best eaten with piping hot steamed rice and condiments on the side, is a crowd favorite. The adventurous eater may order Grilled Pig’s Ears, a not-your-usual grilled fare but equally tasty and enjoyable. A healthier alternative is the Tuna Belly, a juicy and tender chunk of tuna sprinkled with chilis and garlic.
Of course, what’s Filipino cuisine without the usual highlights: Bulalo, Molo Soup and Sinigang na Baka. Perfect for any kind of weather, these flavorful stews complement the grilled items on the menu.

Meanwhile, skewered beef and pork specialties are not to be passed up if only for Siklab’s signature basting sauce. “Roasted seafood are dipped in blended soy sauce and lemongrass, while beef, pork and poultry are brushed with a tomato-based basting—all rich and homemade barbecue basting,” Chef Josh explains.

Desserts at Siklab are mostly childhood favorites prepared in a playful way. If you enjoy a slice of sweetened glutinous rice or sweetened banana in your younger years, then you will surely love Siklab’s versions of Caramelized Banana and Biko. Even the ordinary Turon 2.0 becomes fancier as it comes adorned with homemade sugar snap cones and topped with banana ice cream with banana compote.

As part of Bistro Group’s portfolio of restaurant concepts, Siklab carries the same brand of customer service, great food and friendly ambiance that the chain is known and loved for. In the local food scene, Siklab distinguishes itself as a blazing new venue where families, friends, expats, urban professionals and balikbayans can enjoy an authentic Pinoy dining experience – proof that Filipino dishes are definitely worth dining for.  For more information and reservations, please call 729-7431 and 32. 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Enjoy An Evening of Bel Canto with Arthur Espiritu on October 26

Press Release:
A rare treat awaits music lovers as the Manila Chamber Orchestra Foundation presents a special concert, "An Evening of Bel Canto" on October 26, 2013 at 7:00 p.m., at the Ayala Museum, Makati Ave. cor. de la Rosa St., Makati City. 

Bel Canto which literally means "The Art of Beautiful Singing" is a vocal fad made popular during the late 17th century that requires singers to possess incredible virtuosic vocal technique and impeccable musicality. Composers such as Rossini, Bellini and Donizetti wrote music with limpid melodic lines that would encompass a singer's whole vocal range with a lot of ornate embellishments. Operas like I Puritani, La Sonnambula, Norma, Lucia di Lammermoor are some of the well-known bel canto opera.

Promising a spectacular vocal evening, "An Evening of Bel Canto" will feature some of the country's finest young singers today headed by the internationally-acclaimed Filipino tenor - Arthur Espiritu, considered as the country's premiere tenor today, the sole and first Filipino to win the Belvedere Vocal Competition in Vienna, and the only Filipino to have sung in many major opera houses in the world including the prestigious Teatro alla Scala, St. Gallen Opera in Switzerland, Paris Opera, Pittsburgh Opera to name a few. Performing with him are soprano Elainne Vibal, a Jovita Fuentes Vocal Competition winner; soprano Myramae Meneses, the 2012 Aliw Awardee for Best Actress in a Musical and the top winner of the National Competition for Young Artists; and soprano Stephanie Aguilar, last year's third prize winner of the Jovita Fuentes Vocal Competition. Performing with them will be most a sought-after collaborating artist -- pianist Najib Ismail. The concert will also have Supertitles, an English translation projected on the sides of the concert venue for the audience's better appreciation of the words and music.

Highlight of the program includes some of the most challenging arias and rarely performed scenes from great operas including the duet from Bellini's "I Puritani" with its three high D's (high notes), the exquisite duet from Rossini's "Semiramide", and the fiendish Donizetti's "La Fille du Regiment".

This concert is for the benefit of foundations that support medical treatment for children afflicted with Cancer. For tickets, please call TICKETWORLD at (891-9999), COEA at (782-7164 or 0918-3473027) and MCO Secretariat at 750-0768 or 0920-9540053.  This concert is made possible in partnership with Ayala Museum, BusinessWorld, HighLife, DZFE.FM The Master’s Touch and Lyric Piano.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Cinderella Makes Her Grand Entrance on October 9 at Resorts World Manila

Starting October 9, Resorts World Manila (RWM) transforms its Newport Performing Arts Theater (NPAT) stage into a magical kingdom as Cinderella makes her grand entrance.

Have you wondered when Cinderella started mesmerizing children and adults alike? Well apparently, Cinderella goes way way back. During the press conference held at Resorts World Manila, it was revealed that Cinderella was originally Chinese. Upon analyzing the nature of Cinderella, it was validated that the story of Cinderella is actually an adaptation of an Original Chinese version.

I strongly feel that Cinderella is an adaptation of the original Chinese version because there are a lot of issues that the West has with it like, why doesn't she step up and fight for her rights? If you consider it being an original Chinese narrative, then you will understand why Cinderella is non-confrontational, why she is passive, but she is not unknowing. In the text, she mentions that maybe it is her fault for letting them walk all over her.. She is aware yet she chooses to be recessive until such time that the Fairy Godmother leads her to her self-realization, “ explains Director Micheal Williams. The Asian nature is quite strong in Cinderella's character.

When asked what makes this version of Cinderella special from the other presentaions? Knowing that kids nowadays are more complicated, Director Williams explain that they had to create a more realistic Cinderalla integrating her true nature with logical consequences of her actions and not just presenting a fairytale as normally told.

The Fairy Godmother makes an appearance and maneuvers Cinderella's fate. She makes sure everything happens. She makes things possible. Only after Cinderella has decided to take matters into her own hands, she stops wishing and does something about it . . . is the pivotal moment of the play. We try to incorporate all these elements into the design, “ Director Williams further explains.

If you think about her psychologically, she is a battered and abused woman . . . . If you think about it dramaturgically, there is no villain in this story. There's only the other women who are obstacles to her happiness. All those things come into play in this version.The bottomline take aways is that “Goodness is rewarded” adds Director Williams.

Originally written for television, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella was based on the popular French version Cendrillion by Charles Perrault. The television musical was first broadcasted in 1957 in CBS which was viewed by over 107 million people during its network premiere. It featured Julie Andrews in the title role and Jon Cypher as the Prince. The three-act TV version was comprised of original compositions that spiced up the well-loved fairy tale including “In My Own Little Corner”, “Ten Minutes Ago”, and “Do I Love You Because You’re Beautiful” among others.

Several remakes were made including the CBS 1965 version starring Lesley Ann Warren as Cinderella and Stuart Damon as Prince Charming. Walt Disney also made their own version in 1997 which featured a star-studded cast which includes Brandy, Whitney Houston, Paolo Montalban, Bernadette Peters, and Whoopi Goldberg, among others.

In 2008, Tony Award winning actress Lea Salonga top-billed Broadway Asia Entertainment’s 30-week Asian Tour of Cinderella which premiered in Manila.

This 2013, RWM, the ultimate one-stop, nonstop entertainment and tourism destination in the country, will bring Cinderella back to Manila as its latest musical offering. “In the interest of theatre arts, we have to invest because when people come they expect to see something better, more glamorous, more “bonggacious”, than the previous production. That’s something that Resorts World Manila always aims to do-- we always try to give a wow factor. What we have done before, that becomes the norm and we always try to do better with subsequent productions” said RWM Chief Entertainment Officer Colin Kerr.

Slipping on the famous glass slippers to play the title role is TV and stage luminary Karylle Tatlonghari, with Julia Abueva and Justine Peña as alternates. Asia’s Pop Idol Christian Bautista, on the other hand, will fill the role of the Prince Chhristopher alongside Fred Lo as his alternate.

The First Lady of Philippine Musical Theater, Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo, will once again step into the enchanted stage of the NPAT, this time to play the role of the ever-reliable Fairy Godmother. Also joining the all-Filipino ensemble are Pinky Marquez, Sweet Plantado, Sheila Francisco, Miguel Faustmann, Maronne Cruz, Gianina Ocampo and Red Concepcion.

Resorts World Manila’s Cinderella is under the direction of veteran theater actor and director Michael Williams.

For show schedules and complete details about Cinderella, visit or call Tourist Hotline at (02) 908-8833. For ticket inquiries and reservations visit RWM Box Office located near the main casino entrance or call (02) 891-9999.


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