The Manila Hotel joins Manila Restaurant Week from Sep 20 to 27

Manila Restaurant Week is an event under the “Manila, Support Local” Campaign, which aims to promote local food establishments in Manila that have been affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

Great food and great company are two of life’s simplest pleasures. So mark your calendars and get ready to feast on scrumptious food as The Manila Hotel’s famed Café Ilang Ilang participates in Manila Restaurant Week happening from September 20 to 27, 2020.

Indulge in a choice of starters like the savory Spinach-Ricotta Ravioli in light Parmesan Cream Sauce or Pomelo-Prawns Lumpia in Calamansi Honey Dressing; main course of sumptuous Beef Tenderloin in Balsamic glaze with marble potato and market vegetables or Pampano cooked in Tandoori Oven with Peas Pilaf rice and stir-fried Asian vegetables; and dessert of Fresh Fruits Salad with Ube ice cream or Mango panna cotta as dessert. The starter-main-dessert set is offered at only P980 nett per person, but cannot be availed of in conjunction with other promos or discounts. 

Manila Restaurant Week is an event under the “Manila, Support Local” Campaign, launched by the Bureau of Permits and City Government of Manila. The city-wide project aims to promote local food establishments in Manila that have been affected by the COVID-19 crisis. About 80 restaurants will be offering prix fixe menus at affordable prices during Manila Restaurant Week.

Launched on September 15, The Manila Hotel played one of the hosts of the multi-venue simultaneous kick-off, which was livestreamed on social media platforms. The other hosts were Bayleaf Hotel, Lucky China Town Mall, and Robinsons Place Ermita. The virtual launch was marked by an online performance of Lea Salonga who sang her new single, “Dream Again,” the official theme song of the campaign. 

“I believe we can do a lot in restoring the City of Manila back to its former glory under the leadership of Mayor Isko Moreno. We in the private sectors will always support you in this very worthwhile undertaking. Soon, Manila will be great again,” said Atty. Joey Lina, The Manila Hotel President, in his opening remarks during the launch. 

Manila Mayor Isko Moreno and Vice Mayor Honey Lacuña gave their respective speeches before checking the 11 restaurants that showcased their dishes at The Manila Hotel’s Roma Salon—namely Café Ilang Ilang, Century Park Hotel, Scorched, Golden Fortune, Luneta Park Hotel, Ilustrado, Tanabe, Jus & Jerrys, Patio de Conchita, Pares Kimchi, and Harbor View—and visiting the other venues, which was watched by thousands via livestream.

The Manila Hotel and all its outlets operates in strict compliance to health protocols, so our guests are assured of the highest standards of food safety and sanitation measures in accordance with the government guidelines.

For more information, you may check us out on Facebook or Instagram (@TheManilaHotel), or call 85270011 or 09989501912. For reservations, email resvn@themanilahotel.com.

Image and details provided by The Manila Hotel in a recent press release.

Celebrities give us all the feels with McDonald’s Kita-kits song

They’re missing their McDonald’s favorites just like you

Life as we know it has changed in just a short span of time. While leisure trips, meet-ups and celebrations are limited at the moment, McDonald’s, with its recently launched Kita-Kits with McDo campaign, showed that spontaneous feel-good moments in the new normal are still very much possible!

Bringing a message of positivity, their Kita-Kits video reminds us that though we may not be able to experience our old routines, new memories can still be made anytime, anywhere with McDonald’s.

The video is set against the backdrop of the iconic song Kita-kits sa McDo originally sung by Sharon Cuneta, adding a hint of nostalgia that makes you look back at your favorite McDonald’s moments. Iconic as it is, celebrities Alden Richards, Maine Mendoza, Michael V., and Judy Ann Santos have caught the LSS bug and have shared their own rendition of the song on social media. You can check out the video of your favorite celebrities singing along to this the heart-warming tune on Facebook.

“This period of adjustment to the new reality has not been easy, and many of us may be at a loss how to move forward. Here at McDonald’s, it is our mission to make feel-good moments easy for everyone,” says Margot B. Torres, Managing Director of McDonald’s Philippines. “The current circumstances have certainly changed our lives, but we will always find ways to celebrate and be with family and friends.  Wherever you are, McDonald’s will be with you so you can make memories and enjoy delicious food.”

If you haven’t seen McDonald’s latest video, kita-kits at McDonald’s Philippines Youtube or McDonald’s Facebook Page.

Details provided by McDonald’s Philippines in a recent press release.

Ben&Ben portrays family drama on “Nakikinig Ka Ba Sa Akin” music video

Award-winning Filipino band Ben&Ben explores the complicated dynamics of a fictional family in the music video of “Nakikinig Ka Ba Sa Akin.” 

Revolving around a realistic depiction of a family on the verge of dysfunction, the narrative hits home with each member learning how to listen to each other, and speak their minds.

It also examines the flawed but beautiful relationships that we nurture within the family, and the decisions we make in extraordinary circumstances.

Helmed by “Pagtingin” music video director Jorel Lising, the intimate piece features ensemble acting performances by Agot Isidro, Bart Guingona, Jasmine Curtis-Smith, and Kelvin Miranda.

Lising’s compelling take on Ben&Ben’s massive hit has earned praises from various publications in the country. Renuel Fallore of MYX shares that the “cinematic music video couldn’t have come at a better time,” and reflects on its importance in today’s socio-political landscape. Bandwagon Asia, in its coverage of the song’s official tease a few months ago, took notice of the song’s evocative lyrics, which remind “people that COVID-19 remains to be the common enemy in this difficult time,” and therefore needs critical attention and vigilance.

As of July 14, Tuesday, the “Nakikinig Ka Ba Sa Akin” music video is currently trending on YouTube with more than 300,000 views in four days. 

On Spotify alone, Ben&Ben’s latest single has reached more than a million streams in its second week, making it one of the biggest releases of the month so far.  

“Nakikinig Ka Ba Sa Akin” is now out on all digital platforms worldwide via Sony Music.

Image and details provided by Sony Music in a recent press release.

WWF-Philippines holds webinar on Food Safety in The New Normal

As part of its celebration of June as the National Safety Month, WWF-Philippines, the local arm of the World Wide Fund, held the Panda Talk Food Safety: Everyone’s Business, a timely topic as the country transitions to The New Normal.

Panda Talks are WWF-Philippines’ free livestreaming educational events which aim to equip the public with information on conservation in line with the organization’s initiatives.

With many Filipinos going into buying foodstuffs online and home-based food selling, there is a need to establish food safety and food waste management practices.

Host Janine Gutierrez, WWF-Philippines’ National Youth Ambassador, and speaker Melody Melo-Rijk, WWF-Philippines’ Project Manager for the Sustainable Diner Project, discussed ways in which consumers and home-based food businesses can practice food safety in a COVID-19 world.

Food Safety in the New Normal (image sourced from freepik.com; article in beingjellybeans.com)

“Food safety is actually a shared responsibility between the food businesses and the dining public,” shares Melo-Rijk. “We all have a stake in making sure that our food is safe, nutritious and healthy to eat.”

Since COVID-19 is transmitted from human-to-human, physical distancing has become the norm. Although there is no evidence that food of animal origin can transmit the disease, preventing food contamination will reduce foodborne illness and the likelihood that novel diseases such as COVID-19 will emerge.

With these in mind, Melo-Rijk shared best practices to ensure food safety for both consumers and food businesses.

Food Safety at Home. The home has emerged as the safest place to be as it is an environment that can be easily controlled by the consumer. Steps to further safeguard household members from disease include:

  • Practice personal hygiene at all times. Washing hands from nails to elbows for twenty seconds will help to remove physical dirt and reduce microbes. Daily and thorough bathing of each household member will also prevent contamination and disease transfer. It is also important to be mindful of your water usage so turn off your faucet while still soaping your hands.
  • Clean and sanitize. Cleaning is the removal of visible physical dirt from surfaces while sanitizing involves the use of anti-bacterial agents to eliminate invisible micro-organisms. It is important to sanitize (between 60% to 85% FDA-approved sanitizing solutions are best) after cleaning to help reduce all possible contaminants.
  • Separate raw and cooked food. Raw food contains more micro-organisms than cooked food so these should be kept apart to avoid cross-contamination. This also involves the utensils use to handle food during preparation: ideally, a separate set of knives and chopping boards should be assigned for raw and cooked food; if this is too costly, food preparers can just make sure to clean and sanitize each tool prior to shifting from raw food to cooked food and vice versa.
  • Cook and store food properly. The key to cooking and storing food is temperature. Microorganisms grow best between the 5 deg and 60 deg Celsius (or 40 deg to 130 deg Fahrenheit). Food should be stored below 5 deg Celsius to slow the growth of microorganism and cooked above 60 deg Celsius to eliminate them.
  • Consume fresh food and clean water from safe sources. Avoid overstocking food to assure their freshness upon consumption. Be sure to check expiry dates of packaged food and the state of fresh produce regularly.

Food Safety in Businesses. The Department of Tourism (DOT) has already released guidelines for restaurants and food businesses to follow to ensure the safety of the dining public in accordance with the measures set by the US Food and Drug Administration (US-FDA). These include:

  • Employees must be clean and healthy. Food business employees must be free from COVID-19 and other diseases. Therefore, they must always practice stringent personal hygiene, wear appropriate personal protection equipment (PPEs) such as gloves, hairnets, face masks and shields, work clothes and protective covers for shoes. They should undergo regular temperature checks and immediately report any symptoms to their employers. Diners must also be required to wear face masks, undergo temperature checks, step onto sanitizing mats and provide contact details for contract tracing.
  • Clean and sanitize. All surfaces in the dining and food preparation area (including utensils and equipment) must always be cleaned and sanitized. Ingredients should, of course, be meticulously cleaned.
  • Maintain physical distancing at all times. The standard of 2 meters (6 feet) must be practiced by employees and diners alike, supported by floor markers or signs. Self-service setups (wherein diners will proceed to different areas) and displays of food items (which will encourage diners to gather in certain areas) must be avoided.
  • Ensure protocols for delivery and pickup. Measures to ensure minimal physical contact should be implemented. For example, the use of cash or credit cards that involves physical objects changing hands should be avoided, and instead be replaced by cashless payment options like G-Cash and Paymaya which allow consumers to pay for their orders remotely using their mobile phones. Food delivery apps like GrabFood and FoodPanda have also released guidelines for contactless delivery which include designating a surface outside the home for the rider to drop off the order and pick up payment.

With these measures in place, the spread of diseases can hopefully be controlled and curtailed.

Food Safety in the New Normal (image sourced from freepik.com; article in beingjellybeans.com)

Minimizing Food Waste

Even in The New Normal, sustainability should still be a priority concern with food waste comprising 80% of the country’s solid waste. The Sustainable Diner Project is WWF-Philippines’ initiative that aims to lessen food wastage and contribute to the improvement of the implementation of sustainable consumption and production processes in the food service sector. From studies and talks done by the organization with stakeholders in the food industry, the project has provided steps that consumers and food business can follow to minimize food waste. These include:

  • Plan ahead. Check your refrigerator, pantry and other food storage areas and plan your menu before going out to buy food.
  • Check labels and expiry dates.
  • Ensure proper storage and preparation of food. Ensure that food storage equipment such as refrigerators and chillers are functioning properly. The designated food storage area should be a cool and dry place, free from rodents and pests. Make sure that the food you store is properly sealed to avoid attracting rodents.
  • Only buy products you can reasonably consume. Avoid overbuying food, especially perishables. WWF-Philippines also encourages consumers to buy “ugly” fruits and vegetables which are impertfect-looking produce due to discolorations or shape but are perfectly fine when peeled.
  • Be creative with your next meal. Being stuck at home has unleashed the hidden talent in cooking that many of us have. Try to maximize the existing ingredients in your pantry and even leftovers when preparing your next meal.

The Panda Talk Food Safety: Everyone’s Business may be viewed on Facebook.

About WWF-Philippines

WWF is one of the world’s largest and most respected independent conservation organizations, with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries. WWF’s mission is to stop the degradation of the Earth’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world’s biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption.

WWF-Philippines has been successfully implementing various conservation projects to help protect some of the most biologically-significant ecosystems in Asia since its establishment as the 26th national organization of the WWF network in 1997.

Check out my other posts on conservation:

Header photo created by prostooleh – www.freepik.com

Food photo created by freepik – www.freepik.com

Pinoy Bloggers take on The New Normal

It has been more than three months since the pandemic has essentially turned our worlds upside down.

As we waited for quarantines to be lifted and restrictions to be loosened, many of us found ourselves willing time to hurry up so things can get back to normal.

But we can’t really go back to the way things used to be, right? Not when the threat of COVID-19 or any future communicable health risk still looms.

Hence, the emergence of The New Normal. While businesses re-open and people are more frequently moving about, the following principles still apply:

  • Increased importance of personal hygiene
  • Practice of physical distancing
  • Focus of all activities in the home
  • Transition of most interactions to digital

To help ease the way towards The New Normal, several Filipino bloggers have taken it upon themselves to broach topics relevant to the transition. They create content to guide, inspire or entertain as we all grapple with the changes to our way of life.

Keepin’ Fit and Healthy

Bloggers Take On The New Normal

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is the value of one’s health. We have seen how this viral infections has wreaked havoc, not only on one’s physical well-being, but also on one’s finances and social interactions. Also, keeping fit has become challenging for many with exercising outside the home and in the gym no longer among the options available. It is no wonder, then, that bloggers have chosen to dwell on how to maintain one’s health and fitness during this time.

Ces Dimalanta of Manila Millennial, for instance, guides her readers on how to conduct a COVID-19 self assessment using FightCOVID.app.

Prevention is better than cure so it’s good that we continue monitoring ourselves if we develop symptoms, but at the moment, there’s just so much strain on medical workers and doing a self-check is the least that we can do to help. – Manila Millennial

Dale Palisoc of The Little Binger, on the other hand, shares a list of free apps and websites on home workouts that can help his bingers to keep on track with their health goals.

We spent every single day at home because we are restricted and it is not safe… But you know what it is not healthy to stay stagnant. We still have to keep on moving. The big question, however, is how to do it? Especially now that gyms are closed and it is terrifying to jog outside… – The Little Binger

Home is the place to be… stuck in?

Bloggers Take On The New Normal

The home emerged as the safest place to be in, but, as most of us discovered, it is not always the most comfortable or the most entertaining. People who are used to going out and having a social life now find themselves isolated. Families who used to just see each other at dinnertime or on weekends now spend the whole day in each other’s company. The problem that arose from these scenarios is how to while away the time while “stuck” at home? These bloggers may have just the answer.

Nicole San Miguel of Living Beyond Style, Wendyflor Palomo of Wendyflor.com and Mikhaela Adarve of Youthsoloartsy.com, all give their own takes on how one can make the most of the time at home resulting from the quarantine.

Community quarantine may be a disorientating experience, especially for those of us who are used to spending most of our time outside the house. But, it’s also essential to look on the bright side, while channeling our energy into some productive activities. – Living Beyond Style

Beyond my motherhood duties to my two sons, I have come to appreciate the time I have: to do things I have always wanted to do but never got to, because I have always put them aside. – Wendyflor.com

Don’t forget to smile and be positive regardless of what situation you are in. One creative hobby helps us a lot to be more productive and manage our mental health to lessen the stress level. Despite the current situation, it always good to remember you got the passion to do things right and be the right person to deliver results to continue your undeniably creative hobby. – Youthsoloartsy

How can we get our hands on those food!

Bloggers Take On The New Normal

Anybody who knows me also knows that the enjoyment of good food is central to my happiness. When the community quarantine was implemented, my foodie friends and I worried about our favorite restos, and rightfully so. The restaurant industry was among the most badly hit by the pandemic and the resulting lockdown with the reduced clientele, lack of manpower and rising overhead costs putting a huge strain on their finances.

Those who were able to pivot their operations to be viable by making their food available for pickup or delivery stand a chance at surviving in The New Normal.

Plus, for those who are not used to cooking their own food, having tasty and easily accessible food options will make the quarantine restrictions seem not as harsh.

Since the start of the quarantine, I have featured noteworthy dishes from these establishments which can now be enjoyed at home. If you have time, do check out my posts on Fresh Takes on Filipino Food for Araw ng Kalayaan and Extraordinary Sushi for International Sushi Day.

So, what’s next?

Bloggers Take On The New Normal

Through all the difficulties we faced due to the pandemic, we are buoyed by the hope that someday it will end. When that day comes, we need to be prepared on what do do.

Ivan Jose of Ivan + Khris’ Travels gives advice to would-be travelers on how to travel safely and hassle-free.

Practice social distancing as much as you can. When exploring city centers and parks, take cycling tours instead of walking tours or bus tours. Cycling presents the least risk of coming into close contact with other tourists. Plus, cycling is great for your health at any time! – Ivan + Khris’ Travels

GV Caplas of Wandering Good Vibes presents a 30-day challenge to her readers to divert them from their worries and anxieties.

#30DayNewNormalChallenge aims to help citizens face this New Normal phenomenon. This will allow us to just live day-by-day unaware that we have adapted positively with this universal change. – Wandering Good Vibes

Karla Obispo of Travel with Karla, on the other hand, provides a playbook on how to be a decent person in the time of COVD-19 which I think still applies into The New Normal.

There are many ways on how to be a good citizen in the time of COVID-19. I hope you choose to be one. – Travel with Karla

Navigating the way into a new set of circumstances, norms and environments as a result of COVID-19 may seem daunting, but be assured, your blogger friends are with you ready to share what we can to guide, inspire or entertain you into The New Normal.

Many thanks to my fellow bloggers for contributing to this post!

Photo Credits:
Header photo by Sarah Killian on Unsplash
Health and Fitness photo by Cathy Pham on Unsplash
Home Life photo by Tanaphong Toochinda on Unsplash
Food photo by Victor He on Unsplash
Beyond photo by Dan Meyers on Unsplash

Hotel Sogo innovates New Normal hotel features

Experts say it will take longer before the world completely heals from the effect of COVID19. As the country prepares to ease up after the almost three months of Enhance Community Quarantine, Hotel Sogo steps up for their version of the hotel industry’s ‘new normal’.

Hotel Sogo is doing various ways to ensure the safety and security of its guests and employees against the spread of Covid19 virus, once they go back to regular operations. Top on its list will be the use of ultraviolet (UV) lights in disinfecting around its facilities and intensified the process from checking-in to ordering of food to make sure their facilities as So Clean. The ultraviolet (UV) lights are highly effective at disinfection, as its rays are capable of killing bacteria, germs, and viruses.

To prepare its employees in servicing its guests, Hotel Sogo makes sure to protect their employees from the virus by giving them vitamins to boost their immunity and provided personalized PPEs. Hotel Sogo employees have their medical check-ups and Covid19 testing to make sure that their personnel is free from the virus to make sure that the employees and not just the facilities are So Good and ready for their regular operations.

Guests need not worry during their stay Hotel Sogo ensures that operations and preparations are So Safe, as mandatory temperature checks, passage through disinfecting tent, and use of disinfecting foot tray are in place. The availability of hand sanitizers in common areas, are strictly observed, as well as social distancing from the receiving process to elevator use going to their rooms. Facilities are also redesigned and modified to protect the guests and employees, like placing the glass panel divider on top of the front desk.

All of this information can be found in Hotel Sogo’s ‘new normal’ video playbook. The video is shared with relevant government agencies like the Department of Health (DOH), Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), and the Department of Tourism (DOT), in the hope that the video could serve as a benchmark of other similar establishments prior to their reopening.

Watch Hotel Sogo’s ‘new normal’ playbook video to know more.

Video and details provided by Hotel Sogo in a recent press release.

Lido Cocina Tsina salutes COVID-19 front liners by giving back

Lido Cocina Tsina, a family Chinese restaurant chain, shows support to the heroes in the front lines who help fight the spread of COVID-19 by distributing food packs while the enhanced community quarantine is in effect.

Lido team members or Lido family as they call it, prepared and packed healthy and delicious meals and distributed within selected communities in Metro Manila.

“As front liners ourselves, we feel for those who take part in their commitment to serve our countrymen. This is the least we can do to help our healthcare workers, police and military officers, and government workers to show appreciation to what they are doing,” says Lido’s owner, Ms. Annie Wong.

For the past two weeks, the Lido family tirelessly reached out to personally thank our front liners in different hospitals. Health workers at Holy Infant Jesus, Philippine Children’s Medical Center, Veterans Memorial Medical Center, De Los Santos Medical Center, St. Luke’s Medical Center, Makati Medical Center, and Pasay General Hospital were among the recipients. The team also did not forget hundreds of personnel from the police and military forces that secure the borders.

There were also countless heartbreaking encounters with homeless fellows who are most in need of assistance from the government. They were also among the priorities of Lido during the distribution of food packs. Families from Brgy. Bagong Pag-asa, Brgy. Vasra, Brgy. Mariana and Brgy. Project 6 are among the beneficiaries during the first two weeks of distribution.

To date, the Lido team continuously extends its hands and finds better ways to send help to the front liners and the general public. Some Lido stores remain open to cater to take-out and deliveries.

To support the enforcement of social distancing and community quarantine, orders may be placed via www.lidodelivery.com, 8888-5436, Grab Food, Food Panda and Lalafood.

Bayanihan Musikahan raises additional 1.5M in 1 hour

Small donations amounting to PhP 1.5 million poured into the Bayanihan Musikahan fund-raiser in 1 hour during the live concert-from-house of music superstar Lea Salonga last night.

She began and ended her hour with composition by the principal organizer of the project, Ryan Cayabyab, National Artist for Music. Emphasizing citizen action in the face of a pandemic, Salonga encapsulated an emerging dynamic of citizens helping citizens through small contributions and exercise of talent.

The unusual spike adds this amount to the total of PhP 22,373,178.00 already raised by April 2, 2020. Ms. Salonga announced this figure during her concert, while triggering a outpouring of support from Filipinos on lock-down, watching from their homes in the Philippines and overseas.

The increased fund-raising momentum enables increased speed in delivery of food packs to the marginalized communities in Metro Manila facing the pandemic with extreme vulnerabilities.

The Samahan ng Nagkakaisang Pamilya ng Pantawid (SNPP), a 70,000-strong urban poor organization, began distribution of the Bayanihan Musikahan food packs from a few days after the launch of the marathon concert series, and is increasing pace and reach daily. Nearly 15,000 food packs have been provided families in dense, inner city pockets.

Filipino musical artists giving one hour concerts kick-started and sustain the Bayanihan Musikahan fund drive that enables this quick-response citizen action to stave off the possibility of worst case scenarios among communities compromised by poverty in Metro Manila.

Among those who already performed are Martin Nievera, Ebe Dancel, Acapellago, Karylle Tatlonghari and Spongecola, Bullet Dumas, Rachelle Gerodias and Byeong-in Park, and Morisette Amon.

Donations came in at an increasingly fast clip as the Lea Salonga concert proceeded, and it was immediately clear to an audience of tens of thousands that the surge was driven by the experience of virtual, communal bonding around an admired singer, and heightened awareness of the gravity of threat to impoverished communities.

The citizen-led marathon concert series, livestreamed on Facebook, is an unusal partnership between and among the significant talents of the Philippine music industry and the most trusted of civil society organizations. Philippine Business for Social Progress receives, accounts for, and disburses the funds. The SNPP hit the ground running because it has a complete database on its membership.

Details and image provided in a recent press release.