Treat yourself to some sweet happiness from Casa Bakes by Kayla

Let’s admit it: we can all use a bit of happiness right now. If the past few months has taught us anything, it’s to grasp at every bit of simple happiness we can to help us keep our sanity during these crazy times.

Well, how about the kind of happiness that comes in this box?

Casa Bakes by Kayla

Casa Bakes by Kayla

Twenty-eight-year-old bank employee Kayla Torres used to be too busy to do much at home prior to the lockdown. When the community quarantine was put in place all over the metro, she found her days a bit gloomy. To cheer herself up, she took up her old hobby of baking cookies.

“Baking and eating cookies brighten up my day,” she shares.

After trying out cookies from other internet shops (chewy ones are her fave), she decided to make her own version. When she started posting about her creations on social media, they drew the attention of friends and family who want to buy those sweet delights.

Casa Bakes by Kayla

Casa Bakes by Kayla

And so began Casa Bakes.

Kayla’s new passion project currently offers the giant chewy cookies she so loves – the kind that’s monster-sized and packed with all sorts of good stuff that will fill your mouth with sweetness and your heart with joy. These are:

Chocolate Chip (Php215/box of 3 | Php400/box of 6 | Php575/box of 9). There’s a reason this cookie variant is always top of mind among many cookie lovers. From its sweet buttery smell, the burst of rich chocolate sweetness from the chocolate chips to the feel of the moist and gooey center that contrasts with the slight crisp at the the bottom and sides, this cookie deserves its place among the classic faves.

Casa Bakes by Kayla

Casa Bakes by Kayla

Casa Bakes by Kayla

Casa Bakes by Kayla

Reese‘s Chocolate Chip (Php230/box of 3 | Php415/box of 6 | Php590/box of 9). How can you possibly improve on a classic? Apparently, with a generous helping of Reese’s Peanut Butter Chips! The good ole’ chocolatey goodness of the chocolate chip cookie gets an upgrade with the decadent peanut butter flavor mixed in.

Casa Bakes by Kayla

Casa Bakes by Kayla

Casa Bakes by Kayla

Casa Bakes by Kayla

Birthday Cake (Php230/box of 3 | Php415/box of 6 | Php590/box of 9). A whole party packed into a cookie so you can celebrate your birthday any day you want. What can be more festive than white chocolate chips and a dash of sprinkles? Get ready to put on your party hats with this cookie.

Casa Bakes by Kayla

Casa Bakes by Kayla

Casa Bakes by Kayla

Casa Bakes by Kayla

Can’t make up your mind on which of these cookies to sate your sweet cravings on? Order a Surprise Surprise (Php225/box of 3 | Php410/box of 6 | Php580/box of 9) and get a taste of each yummy variant!

Casa Bakes by Kayla

So how can you get your hands on these monster-sized bits of bliss? Simply send a message to Casa Bakes on Instagram to reserve your slot for the next batch. Online payments via Union Bank and BPI are accepted.

Casa Bakes by Kayla

Disclosure: Product samples were provided to facilitate an honest review.

Check out my blog posts on other small enterprises and startups in the food business:

You are SAFE at The Manila Hotel

The historic hotel partially reopens in time for its 108th anniversary with upgraded hygiene protocols for guest safety; and launches special anniversary promo.

Just a day before the historic hotel’s founding anniversary, The Manila Hotel plans to partially open its doors to its valued guests, with the famed Café Ilang Ilang, the Lobby Lounge, and the Delicatessen resuming operations on July 3, 2020. A rebirth of sorts after months of following the government’s quarantine protocols, the hotel has adjusted along with the rest of the world in navigating the “new normal,” and puts a high premium on the well-being of guests. 

With the lobby shining bright anew signifying eternal hope, The Manila Hotel commemorates its 108th founding anniversary on July 4 by welcoming guests with an enduring brand of service that is now focused on enhanced health, hygiene, and sanitation protocols in line with DOH guidelines. 

As the hotel prepares for the reopening, Atty Joey Lina, the president of The Manila Hotel, assures the public, “You are safe here. We have taken every precaution to heart so you and your loved ones can have peace of mind when you visit or stay with us.”

To its valued guests who are waiting for Café Ilang Ilang to open, The Manila Hotel offers its 108th Anniversary Promo that gives the first 108 customers for the first 108 days of its reopening (including Saturdays and Sundays) a special dining rate of only Php1,250 for lunch, and only Php1,550 for dinner. Café Ilang Ilang likewise returns with a new system for dining where guests can “order and eat all you can,” meaning they can order as much food as they want from the selection of dishes at a fixed price. 

Both Café Ilang Ilang and the Lobby Lounge will be open with limited seating capacity. Thorough sanitation procedures will be implemented, and guests can order using disposable menu, eat using cutlery in sealed containers, and even use tables with acrylic dividers. Front-facing personnel communicating with guests like Guest Services Officers (GSOs) and waiters will don masks, gloves, and face shields. To limit contact with guests, Café Ilang Ilang is also fine-tuning its contactless ordering and payment system.

Adopting best practices, the hotel launches a comprehensive initiative to assure its patrons they are safe at The Manila Hotel. High-traffic public areas will have hygiene reminder signages and distance indicators, and guests will be asked to undergo mandatory temperature checks, and health declaration procedure. Limited capacity will also be implemented in elevators, while several hotel facilities will remain closed including the spa, swimming pool, gym, and other areas.  

High-touch points like door handles, elevator buttons, public area furniture, and others will be sanitized multiple times per day using UV technology. Tests reveal that UV sanitation greatly reduces the bacteria count on surfaces, as demonstrated by lower RLU readings—whose value is used as a measure of surface cleanliness—after the procedure. 

Barring announcements from the government to the contrary, the hotel also plans to start accepting room bookings by August 2020.  The public will be assured of rooms thoroughly cleaned first with UV-C light technology to eliminate germs, bacteria, and viruses; followed by medical-grade sterilizing and disinfecting solution. A change of fresh and sanitized linens; sanitation of touch points in the room including remote controls, lamps, etc.; and thorough bathroom disinfection are also art of the procedure. Guests will also receive personal wellness kits, issued a UV-sanitized keycard, and arrive to guestrooms with a seal of assurance that they are the first to enter the sanitized environment.

Because taking care of its own people means they can take better care of guests, The Manila Hotel has invested on testing its staff upon return to work to ensure they are healthy. The culinary team strictly adheres to stringent protocols on proper hygiene, hand washing, and food handling. Staff will be required to wear PPEs as needed, and a strict implementation of distancing measures will be done in the offices, front desk, and other areas frequent by guests. 

The Manila Hotel looks forward to welcoming both loyal and new guests with the kind of service it is known for, with the assurance that “YOU ARE SAFE HERE” is not just a tagline but a commitment it truly means to uphold.

Get a taste of Asian comfort at home from

Through its website, would-be diners can easily browse through and select their choices from BOA Kitchen’s takeaway menu and pay via credit card, e-wallet or mobile bank transfer upon checkout.

Asia is just full of wonder, colors and flavors, and its food even more so!

With influences from several nationalities and ethnic groups, all linked by this vast continent, Asian cuisine is a study of similarities and contrasts.

Since last year, denizens of the foodie haven Tomas Morato area in Quezon City have easy access to Asian comfort food, thanks to BOA Kitchen + Socials. This Scout Rallos restaurant prides itself on being able to bring traditional favorites from the Southeast Asian region to the local food scene, but with modern twists, making more palatable to the Pinoy diner. It has even secured a spot in Spot.PH’s list of Top 50 New Restaurants in Metro Manila. (Check out my previous dining experiences at BOA Kitchen here and here.)

It has also successfully pivoted its operations to thrive in the New Normal, first by offering party trays of its best-selling dishes for delivery during the ECQ, and now, by making its client’s ordering experience even easier and more convenient with its newly launched website:

BOA Kitchen

Through its website, would-be diners can easily browse through and select their choices from BOA Kitchen’s takeaway menu and pay via credit card, e-wallet or mobile bank transfer upon checkout. Afterwards, they can opt to pickup their orders from BOA Kitchen, or have them delivered to their home (delivery fee already computed).

I tried it out to introduce my kids to Southeast Asian cuisine during our dinner. With just a few taps on my tablet, I was able to order a selection of sumptuous dishes. (BOA Kitchen’s staff even took care of the booking the delivery service for me!)

BOA Kitchen

That night, my family feasted on:

Kimchi Quesadilla (Php225). A Kor-Mex fusion made with grilled tortilla filled with cheddar, mozarella, kimchi and gochujang sour cream.
BOA Kitchen
BOA Kitchen
Nasi Goreng Chicken (Php310). Indonesia’s version of fried rice, given a sweet and savory flavor by the use of kecap manis (sweet soy sauce) and made heartier by the addition of kropek, cucumber, tomatoes, fried egg and shredded chicken.
BOA Kitchen
BOA Kitchen
Nasi Lemak Chicken Rice Bowl (Php265). The fragrant Malaysian rice dish cooked in coconut cream and pandan leaves, served with sambal (Indonesian chili sauce), dilis (dried anchovies), peanuts and soft-boiled or fried egg and accompanied by Thai Fried Chicken. Apparently, this dish is a hit with the kiddos!
BOA Kitchen
BOA Kitchen
Chicken Pad Thai (Php365). One of BOA Kitchen’s best-sellers, this stir-fried noodle dish is made with rice noodles, tofu, egg, bean sprouts, peanuts and chicken bits. To fully enjoy the Pad Thai, heat the sauce in a pan, then toss the noodles in until well-coated. Let the sauce reduce for a bit before serving.
BOA Kitchen
BOA Kitchen
Mango Sticky Rice (Php235).   Glutinous rice cooked in coconut milk and topped with mango bits served with chocolate Tablea syrup. A great mix of Thai and Filipino flavors.
BOA Kitchen
BOA Kitchen
This Southeast Asian feast was well-enjoyed by the fam! Try it out for yourself! Order now at  Take advantage of the website’s launch promo and get 10% your total bill!

BOA Kitchen

BOA Kitchen

BOA Kitchen + Socials is located at Mezzanine Floor, 45 ABDC Building, Scout Rallos corner Scout Tuazon, Bgy. Laging Handa, Quezon City, accepting orders  Tuesdays to Sundays from 10am to 5pm. Delivery is available only within Metro Manila.

BOA Kitchen + Socials Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

PhilPop goes global with #MusicBreakingBorders

With #MusicBreakingBorders as its newest tagline, PhilPop is committed to celebrating and showcasing the diverse appeal of Filipino music through its Songwriting Festival.

PhilPop has always been a reliable and trusted platform in fostering appreciation for quality and original compositions that reflect Filipino culture, experience, and identity. This year, the country’s premier songwriting competition plans to continue its mission of promoting homegrown music on a scale that’s never been done before: by going global and forging regional ties.
With #MusicBreakingBorders as its newest tagline, PhilPop is committed to celebrating and showcasing the diverse appeal of Filipino music through its Songwriting Festival.

This also serves as an opportunity to empower underrated music talents from the Philippines to harness their potential in the international music arena, and give them the necessary support to widen their reach and adapt to various challenges and trends in the industry.

Music Breaking Borders

National Artist and PhilPop Music Fest Foundation Board Member and Bootcamp Master Ryan Cayabyab puts into perspective the fascinating story and direction for original Pilipino music for which PhilPop dares to achieve. “Filipino music and songs become more meaningful, more colorful and more diverse when we tear down the barriers that separate us. The color that each language brings, the unique stories that each music creator conjures or creates, and the diversity of possible creations to choose from makes for a more exciting direction for Philippine popular music to take. Hence, we in Philpop has adopted the theme, Music Breaking Borders to achieve what we have set out. The other facet of Philpop’s #MusicBreakingBorders is, you probably have guessed – the task of Philippine pop music to break barriers in the international scene,” Cayabyab shares in a statement.

PhilPop Boot Camp coach and folk icon Noel Cabangon also emphasizes the importance of giving voice to new, original Filipino pop songs from different parts of the country, and that an overwhelming number of aspiring songwriters outside Metropolitan Manila, have produced and written material that deserves to be heard on the mainstage. “The idea of breaking borders is to somehow break the “monopoly’ of music emanating from the National Capital Region (NCR).”

Cabangon explains, “We have to admit that there is a diverse musical sound of diverse influences from the regions. Music has been one of the popular art forms that expresses the culture and way of life of the people from the region. I’m not just talking about indigenous sound and ideas but distinct people’s character and sensibility. #MusicBreakingBorders is also not just an accommodation of music from the other parts of the country, but the idea being inclusive, in the sense of original Filipino music. We somehow want to break the wall of confinement in the center and allow/open the arena, and create a broader stream. Somehow this broader stream can lead all of us to the sea and to the ocean, where borders are opening up to new ideas.”

Overwhelming response

The 2020 PhilPop Music Festival started accepting entries last April 25, 2020 from all over the country in 5 different clusters: Northern Luzon, Southern Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao, the National Capital Region. 

More than a thousand entries have already been submitted, with original and unpublished compositions not restricted to any genre, and written in various languages—from English to Filipino, from Bicolano to Ilocano, from Cebuano to Waray, and more. 

Submission of entries is still ongoing until July 4, 2020. For more details on how to join, feel free to register online via their official website

To date, PhilPop has produced some of the biggest songs of the last two decades, including massive streaming and radio hits performed, composed and written by Ben&Ben, Thyro and Yumi, The Itchyworms, Sam Concepcion, Johnoy Danao, Kyla, and Joey Ayala—to name a few. 

The respected music institution has also created a world-class and sustainable curriculum for its annual workshops and seminars, facilitated only by the best in the Philippine music industry. 

This year alone, PhilPop conducted several talks and performances online through its banner showcase, Q&A + Kwentuhan Songwriting and PhilPop Live, which can be streamed on its Facebook page

According to PhilPop 2020 President Ricky Vargas, the country’s biggest songwriting competition aims to strengthen its presence by “coming up with digital initiatives and strategies to engage future music industry professionals with different approaches in songwriting, production, and other modes of creative expression that are at par with international standards.” He adds, “Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, we remain as a stabilizing force in discovering world-class songwriters and composers, and making sure that their work stands out in terms of innovation, cultural pride, and global appeal.

Advice to aspiring composers

When asked about his advice to new and upcoming composers and songwriters, Ryan Cayabyab shares a few important reminders to achieve their goals of making it to the international stage. “The balance to be original and to be universal all at the same time is the key that anyone aspiring for global recognition needs to achieve. It also means that a careful balance between science and art should be the direction to take. This will entail a lot of observation and experimentation and a lot of creative spirit and practice to get to that point where one is ready to take flight! Like all types of experiments, there will be a lot of failures along the way, so we need to be prepared for the long haul: prepared physically, mentally and emotionally.” Noel Cabangon encourages everyone to focus on honing the talent and turning the process into a habit. “Get inspired, keep on writing, open your ears and eyes to new ideas and transform and them your own.”

PhilPop Songwriting Festival 2020 is an initiative of the PhilPop Music Foundation, chaired by Mr. Manny V. Pangilinan. This year’s PhilPop is co-presented by SMART, MERALCO, and MAYNILAD.

Details and photo provided by PhilPop in a recent press release.

Singapore nu-jazz outfit The Steve McQueens drop soulful new single ‘Firefly’

Singapore nu-jazz band The Steve McQueens have released their long-awaited brand new single ‘Firefly’ via Singapore based indie label Umami Records, exactly 143 weeks after their last release, full length album ‘TERRAЯIUM’ in 2017. The release comes fresh off the band’s ‘Nerd Lounge’ tour at the start of the year where they played shows at the Jakarta International Java Jazz Festival, Tokyo Big Romantic Jazz Festival and the Esplanade Singapore.

The Steve McQueens have provided the following statement announcing the new song:

“Firefly generates its own light
Firefly generates its own beauty
Passion flies like fire
Passion dies with no desire
Passion is beauty
– The Steve McQueens”

‘Firefly’ is the lead single of The Steve McQueen’s new EP ‘Nerve Endings’, scheduled for release on 7 August 2020, featuring music from the band’s ‘TAPE’ tour in 2018. The band is currently writing and recording new material for their fifth album, ‘The Observer’, to be released in 2021. The band provides some insight into the thinking behind the project: “The Observer stands apart, an indifferent spectator at the ongoing culture clash between the jazz traditionalists and the new guard, smiles quietly to himself and just makes music.”

‘Firefly’ by The Steve McQueens is available everywhere at this link.

About The Steve McQueens

The Steve McQueens refuse to be pedestrian; they don’t live in the transient, or the touch-and-go. Swerving between cool seduction and gripping magnetism, they are ambitious to light the world up with their progressive brand of self- titled neo- vintage soul- funk. They have played to growing attention at festivals like the Tokyo Jazz Festival and Summersonic (Japan), Java Jazz (Indonesia), SingJazz (Singapore), Melbourne International Jazz Fest (Australia) and Jarasum International Jazz Festival (Korea). The quartet formed in 2013 as a forging of four mercurial talents in Singapore, a small country punching above its weight in Southeast Asia’s music scene. Critically acclaimed, The Steve McQueens will leave an indomitable mark on any listener with their music.

About Umami Records

Umami Records is a Singapore-based indie record label founded in 2013. Much like the “5th taste” reputation of its namesake, the label strongly believes in discovering new, interesting sounds that run underground and away from the mainstream. The label’s tight-knit, curated roster thus far has included releases from Linying, The Steve McQueens, brb., Evanturetime, CampFire, Martin Baltser, Phoria, Oriental Cravings, and more.

Swipe, Match, and Win: Play Shopee Candy and win a brand new laptop and smartphone at Shopee 7.7 Free Shipping Fiesta Sale

From June 22 to July 7, users can enjoy free shipping with ₱0 minimum spend and redeem amazing prizes weekly with Shopee Candy.

Shopee, the leading e-commerce platform in Southeast Asia and Taiwan, launches a new in-app game, Shopee Candy, just in time for Shopee 7.7 Free Shipping Fiesta Sale. Shopee Candy players can redeem prizes, win cashback vouchers, and earn Shopee coins. From June 22 to July 7, shoppers can look forward to free shipping on selected stores, flash deals, and fantastic promotions from leading brands at Shopee 7.7 Free Shipping Fiesta Sale.

Ruoshan Tao, Head of Marketing at Shopee Philippines, said, “We are excited to introduce our latest in-app game, Shopee Candy, just in time for Shopee 7.7 Free Shipping Fiesta. Shopee will continue to provide users with more rewarding games and entertaining offers as Filipinos continue to play, work, and shop from home.”

Shopee Candy

Shopee Candy is an easy switch-and-match game that appeals to users of all ages. Players simply have to switch and match candies to achieve the goal of each level before running out of moves.

Participants can earn as many points as they can get and redeem their rewards after the game. Users can stand a chance to win Shopee coins, cashback vouchers, and special prizes, including a Samsung Gear VR, A&S S200 Slim HD TV, Xiaomi Mi A3, FUN SNAP iDol Drone FHD, Xiaomi Mi 9 SE, Nextbook Flexx 11 2-in-1 laptop and a Huawei Nova 3.

Shopee 7.7 Free Shipping Fiesta
From June 22 to July 7, Shopee 7.7 Free Shipping Fiesta offers up to 90% off on select items, weekly flash deals, and promos as low as ₱9. Users can look out for exclusive offers from leading brands such as Globe, Pampers, Nestle, Unilever, Maybelline, Wyeth, and The SM Store.

Download Shopee for free through the App Store or Google Play.

Image and details provided by Shopee in a recent press release.

Step into fairyland with this treat from Graffiti Desserts

It was originally thought that the Black Forest Cake (or Gateau, if we are to judge by the complexity of this confection) got its name from the Schwarzwald (“Black Forest” in German). It is a densely forested mountain range in Southwest Germany which was said to have inspired the Grimm brothers to write the tale Hansel and Gretel.

The Schwarzwald is known for its rain-blessed, lush and verdant forests, attracting tourists from all over the world who want to experience that fairytale setting.

Well, imagine ending a meal with that fantasy tableau right on your dessert plate.

Graffiti Desserts

New online store Graffiti Desserts recently introduced its signature offering: the Black Forest Floor. This unique creation deconstructs and reimagines the classic Black Forest Gateau as the Shwarzwald’s lush forest floor.

Graffiti Desserts

In each cup of this ingeniously crafted dessert are elements of the Black Forest we know and love, but with a few tweaks.

Graffiti Desserts

Moist chocolate cake, cherries marinated in amaretto and a layer of cocoa and crushed peanuts make up the “soil” which surrounds a “mud pool” of salted milk chocolate ganache. Nestled amidst candy twigs and pebbles, dried rose petals and a green tea butter crumble which serves as a “moss” covering is a gold tinted dark chocolate cream dome “egg.”

Graffiti Desserts

You could say this dessert might just be too pretty to eat but what a loss that would be to your other senses.

Graffiti Desserts Black Forest Floor

From the exotic blend of fruity and rich chocolate scents to the interesting variations in texture inside your mouth, to the explosions of salty-sweet, chocolatey, fruity and candy flavors on your tongue, every spoonful is like digging into the forest floor for buried treasure.

Graffiti Desserts

Graffiti Desserts is the brainchild of Rain, a twenty-six-year-old entrepreneur who partnered with classically trained baker to bring about unusual desserts. This new entrant into the busy metro food scene seeks to differentiate itself from other dessert shops by “taking inspiration from every direction, rethinking sweets and changing the dessert landscape in the process.”

Well, I’m already a fan.

Graffiti Desserts

I’m also excited about the next product it will launch. I heard it will be similar to the Black Forest Floor – introducing a new spin to an old classic and inspired by nature.

In the meantime, dessert lovers out there can get your hands on your own little pots of Black Forest Floor by sending Graffiti Desserts a message through Facebook or Instagram, indicating your number of orders, name, contact number and delivery address. Online banking payments via BPI, BDO and Metrobank are accepted.

Disclosure: Product samples were provided to facilitate an honest review.

Check out my blog posts on other small enterprises and startups in the food business:

Chef Jessie’s creations are now available for delivery and pickup!

Fans of Chef Jessie Sincioco will surely be glad that her well-lauded creations will be easily accessible to them as we all enter the New Normal.

From her memorable beginnings as the baking category grand prize winner in The Great Maya Cookfest in 1983, becoming the very first Filipina Pastry Chef in 1990, her hands-on management of upscale restaurants through own company JCS Gastronomie, Inc, to being hand-picked to cook for His Holiness Pope Francis during the Pontiff’s 2015 visit to the Philippines, Chef Jessie has shown time and again that she can adapt to the changing needs of her clientele while maintaining the quality and craftsmanship her food creations have become known for.

Chef Jessie’s Place for delivery

With the metro now under a general community quarantine, with some restrictions still being applied to people’s movement, especially when dining out, Chef Jessie has made many of her celebrated culinary ouvres available via pick up and delivery, some of which were sent to me to sample and enjoy with my family.

Ciabatta Bread (Php100/loaf). Italy’s response to the French baguettes, this long, flat and rustic-looking loaf of bread (named after the slippers it resembled, apparently) was only invented in 1989 by Arnaldo Cavallari, but has the look and taste of old-fashioned breads. It’s perfect as an accompaniment to pastas and other savory dishes or as an appetizer when slathered with butter or dipped in to oil and balsamic vinegar.

Chef Jessie’s Place for delivery

Chef Jessie’s Place for delivery

Chef Jessie’s Place for delivery

Chef Jessie’s Special Dip for Bread (Php450 for 220g bottle). Speaking of dips, I also received a bottle of finely chopped red and green bell peppers, pimiento and grated parmesan in herbed olive oil, which went so well with the ciabatta bread. I liked the dip as is but Hubby preferred adding more grated parmesan to the dipped bread. Aside from snacking on the bread and dip while binge-watching on Netflix, we also included this combo to our meal when I cooked up some Creamy Pesto Chicken for the fam’s dinner.

Chef Jessie’s Place for delivery

Chef Jessie’s Place for delivery

Chocolate Gateau ala Teddy Keng (Php1,000 for 6-in | Php1,500 for 8-in). Chef Jessie’s version of the decadent chocolate cake, this confection is made of alternating layers of light chocolate cake and rich chocolate cream filling all covered with a rich, shiny ganache and decorated with an unfurling flower fashioned from chocolate.

Chef Jessie’s Place for delivery

Chef Jessie’s Place for delivery

Chef Jessie’s Place for delivery

As you can see from the description, this gateau is a chocoholic’s delight! Named after one of Chef Jessie’s friends, The Landmark founder Teddy Keng, the cake is said to be a rich, generous and subtly sweet as he is. Well, high praise indeed!

Chef Jessie’s Place for delivery

Chef Jessie’s Place for delivery

These culinary delights and more are available at Chef Jessie’s Place, the newly-built building which houses Chef Jessie’s pattiserie, restaurant and corporate offices. You can read more about it here.

Chef Jessie’s Place is located at 1997 Pililla corner Obrero and Tanay Streets, Valenzuela, Makati City, open daily from 9am to 4pm for pick up and delivery. To order, text or call +63 917 8967880, +63 917 8330797 or +63 977 0976649 or email

Missing the experience of fine dining? Well, here’s some good news: Chef Jessie Rockwell Club is now open everyday from 10am to 5pm for dine-in. Prior reservations are required at +63 2 88906543, +63 2 88907630, +63 2 77290122 or +63 917 8967880. Read about my fine dining experience at Chef Jessie Rockwell Club here.
Disclosure: Product samples were provided to facilitate an honest review.

Chef Jessie's Place Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

UE Jam Sessions pay tribute to the frontliners with original song, “Lalaban Tayo”

UE Jam Sessions (UEJS), the premiere music organization in University of the East, released a tribute music video dedicated to the medical practitioners and frontliners of the country, who are risking their lives amidst the pandemic crisis.

“Lalaban Tayo” was written by Jenny Legapi, arranged by Choi Felipe, and executive produced by Tommy Tanchanco. Featuring 34 singers and musicians from UEJS Manila and UE Caloocan, the collaborative effort was recorded and filmed during the lockdown period in the confines of their own homes.

Despite the limited resources and massive challenges that the students have to go through in the recording process, they were able to improvise and produce a studio-recording quality of the uplifting pop-rock anthem that champions the daring and uncompromised sacrifices of our modern day heroes. It’s their contribution for all the hard work that our medical, security and essential frontliners had to endure during these uncertain times.

“As we move forward in these trying times, we put our hopes in one another,” 12 Stone Records CEO Tommy Tanchanco shares. “Reshaping our lives this quarantine can never be easy for all of us, but still, let us not forget those people who risk their own lives on the front line and go beyond their call of duty.”

Its accompanying music video, which was edited by Cher Manulit, interspersed individual recordings from the participating student-musicians with inspiring clips showcasing the acts of kindness and compassion of our frontliners, particularly those in the medical field.

“Lalaban Tayo (A Special Tribute To Frontliners)” is now released via 12 Stone Records.

Details and image provided in a recent press release.

HBO docuseries I’ll Be Gone In The Dark debuts 29 June exclusively on HBO GO and HBO

I’ll Be Gone In The Dark, a six-part HBO Original documentary series debuting same time as the U.S. on Monday, 29 June at 10.05am on HBO GO and HBO, with a same day encore at 11.05pm on HBO, is based on the book of the same name and explores writer Michelle McNamara’s investigation into the dark world of a violent predator she dubbed the Golden State Killer. The series is directed by Academy Award nominee and Emmy® winning director Liz Garbus (HBO’s “Who Killed Garrett Phillips,” “Nothing Left Unsaid: Gloria Vanderbilt & Anderson Cooper”) and produced by Story Syndicate. Additional directors on the series include Elizabeth Wolff, Myles Kane and Josh Koury. New episodes premiere subsequent Mondays at 10am with same day encore at 11pm.

Terrorising California in the 1970s and ‘80s, the Golden State Killer is responsible for 50 home-invasion rapes and 12 murders. This series gives voice to the survivors and their families, documenting an era when sex crimes were often dismissed or hidden in shame. A timely inquiry into our macabre preoccupation with true crime and a cautionary tale of the dangerous lure of addiction, the series is a riveting meditation on obsession and loss, chronicling the unrelenting path of a mysterious killer and the fierce determination of one woman to bring the case to light.

Michelle McNamara lived a quiet life as a writer, mother and wife, preferring to stay on the periphery of the Hollywood world of her comedian husband Patton Oswalt. But every night, as her family slept, she indulged her obsession with unsolved cases. Delving into the world of online chat rooms and crime blogs, she became immersed in the graphic details of the Golden State Killer case, along the way connecting with like-minded sleuths, trading facts, photos and leads.

McNamara’s blog about unsolved crimes, True Crime Diary, chronicled her obsession and led to a lengthy article about the case for Los Angeles Magazine, which resulted in her landing a major book deal. Committed to solving the case, the investigative research consumed her, and she became more and more plagued by dark thoughts and a growing sense of angst. The demands of balancing her self-described addiction to her work with her family life pulled McNamara in competing directions and she became increasingly reliant upon prescription drugs to manage her mounting anxieties. After a string of sleepless nights and harrowing nightmares, McNamara tragically died of an accidental overdose in her sleep with her manuscript unfinished. After her death, Oswalt enlisted his wife’s fellow sleuths, Paul Haynes and Billy Jensen to help finish and publish her book, which received rave reviews and went on to become a 2018 New York Times bestseller.

I’ll Be Gone In The Dark is a detective story told in McNamara’s own words, through exclusive original recordings and excerpts from her book read by actor Amy Ryan. The series draws from extensive archival footage and police files as well as exclusive new interviews with detectives, survivors and family members of the killer to weave together a picture of a complex and flawed investigation. It is a frightening document of an era when victims were often too ashamed to speak out and sexual crime was minimised in the press and the courtroom. Echoing McNamara’s writing, the series gives voice to the victims, and their experiences speak to the far-reaching, human cost of the decades-old case.

The series is also a journey into the soul of McNamara, a tenacious journalist and citizen detective whose unrelenting commitment to investigating crimes earned her the respect of law enforcement and whose articles and book earned high praise from critics. Her evocative writing reflects deep themes of loss, anxiety, the lure of addiction, the love that binds us and the dangerous secrets of our daily lives.

McNamara’s years of relentless determination for justice for the victims helped keep the case alive and in the public eye. Ten years after she began working on the case, and just two months after her book was published posthumously in 2018, Oswalt and several of McNamara’s fellow sleuths were gathered for a reading from McNamara’s book in her hometown of Chicago. Just hours later, the Sacramento Sheriff’s Office arrested 72-year-old former police officer Joseph James DeAngelo, identifying him through DNA evidence as the notorious Golden State Killer.

McNamara’s unwavering resolve, the survivors’ fortitude to tell their stories and the decades-long dedication of local investigators result in a shattering portrait of a fear-gripped community and the eventual path to justice. I’ll Be Gone In The Dark is a thoughtful and haunting meditation on survival, the reverberations that violent crimes have on our society and those who pursue their resolution.

Episode 1: “Murder Habit”
Monday, 29 June at 10.05am
Writer Michelle McNamara, author of True Crime Diary, her blog about unsolved crimes, finds a new obsession in the “East Area Rapist” (EAR), who terrorised California in the 1970s and ‘80s, responsible for 50 home-invasion rapes and 12 murders. The EAR, whose true identity is still unknown, would also come to be known as the “Original Night Stalker” and, as Michelle dubs him, the “Golden State Killer.” Delving into the world of online chat rooms and crime blogs, she becomes immersed in the graphic details of the Golden State Killer case, connecting with like-minded sleuths, trading facts, photos and leads. After pitching a story to Los Angeles Magazine, she hits the ground running, interviewing several EAR survivors and retired detectives who worked the case. Today, Michelle’s husband, actor Patton Oswalt, friends, and fellow citizen detectives reflect on her intoxicating talent – which McNamara calls an “addiction” – for piecing together clues and bringing unsolved true crime stories to life. Directed by Liz Garbus.

Episode 2: “Reign of Terror”
Monday, 6 July at 10am
Michelle McNamara reflects on the 1984 murder of her childhood neighbour Kathy Lombardo, which she credits with planting the seed for her lifelong fascination with unsolved crimes. Local detectives who worked the East Area Rapist (EAR) case in the ‘70s – and citizen detectives who picked up where they left off – discuss a proliferation of serial rape cases in Northern California at the time, discussing an era when victims were often too ashamed to speak out and sexual crime was minimised in the press and the courtroom. Following a rush of media coverage in 1977, EAR’s boldness escalates, as he shifts his focus from single women and teenagers, to include couples as well. Today, several survivors describe these attacks and their aftermath in chilling detail. Directed by Elizabeth Wolff.

Episode 3: “Rat in a Maze”
Monday, 13 July at 10am
In 1979, law enforcement is thrilled when the East Area Rapist (EAR) attacks abruptly stop in Northern California, but in reality, EAR has moved south to commit a number of gruesome murders in the Santa Barbara area, known as the “Original Night Stalker” series. The hunt for the perpetrator stalls due to lack of cooperation between jurisdictions and concerns of tarnishing the area’s pristine image, leaving the community unaware of the predator in their midst. David Witthuhn, the husband of murder victim Manuela Witthuhn, is questioned as the sole person of interest, but his name isn’t cleared until 20 years later, when DNA evidence links his wife’s murder not only to others in the Santa Barbara area, but also to EAR assaults in Sacramento. Michelle’s article chronicling her investigation of the case, “In the Footsteps of a Killer,” causes a splash when it’s published 2013. After signing a major book deal, she works around the clock to find the killer and struggles with another aspect of the book – writing about herself. Directed by Myles Kane & Josh Koury.

Episode 4: “The Motherlode”
Monday, 20 July at 10am
Michelle and her editors agree to push her book deadline after being granted access to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department’s East Area Rapist / Original Night Stalker (EAR/ONS) room. Poring over 37 boxes of files now occupying her daughter’s playroom, Michelle and her researcher Paul Haynes explore the case of the “Visalia Ransacker,” the perpetrator of a string of burglaries in the early ‘70s bearing striking similarities to EAR. Overwhelmed by the amount of material and the graphic nature of the crimes she is investigating, Michelle struggles to balance the demands of her self-described addiction to her work with her family life. Painful personal memories, combined with her pressure to solve the case and finish the book leads to a string of sleepless nights and harrowing nightmares, as she becomes increasingly reliant upon prescription drugs to manage her mounting anxieties. Directed by Myles Kane & Josh Koury.

Episode 5: “Monsters Recede but Never Vanish”
Monday, 27 July at 10am
As Michelle’s loved ones cope with her sudden death, her work to unmask the Golden State Killer lives on. Inspired by McNamara’s interest in genealogy and online DNA testing services, Paul Holes, Chief of Forensics in Contra Costa County, reconstructs the killer’s family tree with the help of genetic genealogist Barbara-Rae Venter. After inheriting Michelle’s 37 boxes of case files, researcher Paul Haynes and true crime writer Billy Jensen work alongside Michelle’s husband, Patton Oswalt, to finish her book, which becomes an instant bestseller. Meanwhile, the release of Michelle’s autopsy report rocks her inner circle. Michelle’s writing – in which she wrestles with depression and her own mother’s sudden death — sheds light on her pain but leaves many questions unanswered. Directed by Elizabeth Wolff.

Episode 6: “Walk into the Light” (Series finale)
Monday, 3 August at 10am
As 72-year-old former police officer Joe DeAngelo’s arrest unfolds in real time, chilling facts materialise that illuminate Michelle’s prescience in her book’s epilogue, “Letter to an Old Man.” Researcher Paul Haynes and true crime writer Billy Jensen try to learn everything they can about DeAngelo. Exclusive interviews with DeAngelo’s relatives reveal early family trauma, and his double life as a suburban dad and serial predator. His ex-fiancé also details the behavior and warning signs that lead her to end their engagement. Having finally faced their attacker in court, several survivors meet for the first time and gain strength in their shared desire to confront their pain, move forward, and advocate for all sexual assault survivors. When Patton Oswalt, Jensen, and Haynes connect with survivors and McNamara’s fellow citizen detective Melanie Barbeau, Michelle’s absence is deeply felt. Directed by Liz Garbus.

A Story Syndicate Production, I’ll Be Gone In The Dark is a series by Liz Garbus; based on the book written by Michelle McNamara; directed by Liz Garbus, Elizabeth Wolff, Myles Kane and Josh Koury; producers, Elizabeth Wolff and Kate Barry; co-producers, Myles Kane and Josh Koury; executive producers, Liz Garbus, Dan Cogan, Michelle McNamara, Patton Oswalt and Dave Rath; co-executive producers, Paul Haynes and Billy Jensen. Michelle McNamara’s Words Read by Amy Ryan. For HBO: executive producers, Nancy Abraham and Lisa Heller.

HBO Original Series as well as live channels are also available for streaming to SKYcable subscribers on HBO GO for as low as Php99/month. To subscribe, call your local SKY office or fill up this form.

Subscribe to SKY Fiber and get your first three months’ access to HBO GO courtesy of SKY Fiber. More details on this promo here.

Show details and images provided by HBO in a recent press release.

Disclosure: I work for SKY and part of my job is promoting its products and services, especially the content it provides to its subscribers. I consider being able to share my love for TV shows and movies and the experience of watching and talking about them with like-minded people some of the biggest perks of my job.