The Manila Hotel mooncakes express gratitude and a wish of togetherness

At a time when we are mostly apart, the bonds among family members and loved ones are more important than ever. And we can show them we care with thoughtful gifts when our presence just can’t be assured. 

The coming Mooncake Festival in September 21 marks the end of the autumn harvest and it is traditionally a time to give thanks to the gods. As we adapt certain aspects of the Chinese culture, it has become symbolic and synonymous to expressing gratitude—something we can and should all do despite the challenges that have beset us since last year. Along with gratitude, the upcoming celebration also focuses on prayers and togetherness.

Mooncake Festival early bird 1 (1)

The Manila Hotel helps you plan for gifts for your loved ones to show them how much they mean to you. The special, hand-crafted mooncakes make the perfect gifts this season, and you can get them at a discounted rate when you order from now until August 20, 2021. The Early Bird promo gives buyers 30% off for purchases of Solo Boxes (PhP288 nett) or Boxes of Four (PhP1,188 nett) with no minimum order. They come in beautiful boxes that can be straight-away given out as gifts. 

Mooncake Festival early bird 2 (1)

The hand-crafted mooncakes by the hotel’s premiere Chinese chef come in four flavors: the classic Single Yolk Ted Bean Paste, and Single Yolk Pure White Lotus Seed Paste; and the special flavors Taro Paste, and Red Dates Paste. The mooncakes can then be picked up after the promo period, when the hotel is back in operations. 

For more information or to pre-order, call 85270011 or 0998-9501912. The promo cannot be availed of in conjunction with other promos and government-mandated discounts like Senior Citizen and PWD discounts, among others.

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

The Jelly List: Thoughtful Gifts for Valentine’s Day

The day of hearts is fast approaching. Despite the pandemic, Valentine’s Day remains one of the most anticipated holidays of the year.

The question is: how can sweethearts in the metro celebrate the day of romance if they can’t go out to wine and dine?

Through thoughtful gift-giving, of course!

Nothing says “I love you” like a well-considered present, one that gave thought to one’s sweetheart’s interests and passions.

Check out this list and let me know which suggestion suits your beloved best:

For the hopeless romantic: Preserved Flower Arrangement from Stories & Blossoms

Flowers are almost synonymous with Valentine’s Day. A bouquet of fresh-cut blooms would set a romantic heart racing, but nowadays, preserved flowers may be the way to go. They last longer than fresh flowers and are pretty low maintenance. (Somewhat like the ideal partner, eh?)

Tell your love story with a tasteful preserved flower arrangement from Stories & Blossoms. Through the creative combinations of colors, shapes and textures of various preserved blooms, you can express quite a lot to your loved one and evoke romantic memories. You can even have a unique arrangement inspired by your loved one favorite book, movie or TV series, just like the store’s Sex & the City Collection.

Stories & Blossoms’ SATC Collection

Stories & Blossoms’ SATC Collection

Stories & Blossoms’ SATC Collection

Stories & Blossoms’ SATC Collection

Stories & Blossoms’ preserved flower arrangements start at Php299 with more ornate signature creations starting at Php2,500. You can also have an arrangement custom-made according to your preferred colors and flowers as well as your budget. Shop online at Stories & Blossoms’ website or call +63 967 5099050.

Read more on Stories & Blossoms here.

Photo credit: Stories & Blossoms

For the health-conscious: Superfood Box Set from Goodness MNL

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is the value of our health. Central to any attempt at a healthy lifestyle is, of course, food.

If you want to start on a journey towards healthy living, incorporating superfood into your diet would be a good start. These nutrient-rich ingredients help in promoting health and warding off diseases.

Get a Goodness MNL box set to enjoy a sampling of five different types of superfood. Choose five from the nine superfood types available – organic chia seeds, organic golden flax seeds, organic sweet basil seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, Himalayan fine salt, Himalayan rock salt, organic cocosugar, organic adlai grits and cocosugar cacao nibs – and have them delivered to you in a beautifully curated box.

Goodness MNL

Goodness MNL

Goodness MNL’s box set is available for Php330 (with 30ml test tube bottles) and Php400 (with 40ml test tube bottles). Order your box via Facebook or Instagram.

Read more about Goodness MNL here.

For the stressed: Coloring Books from Shopping on the Side

Engaging in a creative activity such as coloring books can help calm a busy mind, facilitate a more restful slumber and can even unleash one’s creativity in other pursuits.

If you think your special someone can benefit from these, then gift them with imported adult coloring books that will soothe the mind while getting those creative juices flowing.

Coloring Books - Shopping on the Side (https://shopee.ph/shoppingontheside?v=5ef&smtt=0.0.5)

Coloring Books - Shopping on the Side (https://shopee.ph/shoppingontheside?smtt=0.0.9)

Fortunately, getting those coloring books won’t require such a huge effort. Simply order from Shopping on the Side’s store on Shopee and take your pick from its wide variety of books from meditative mandala patterns, whimsical drawings of fairies, intricate illustrations of travel destinations to humorous comic strips.

Read more about Shopping on the Side here.

For the eco warrior: Bamboo Mug and Tumbler from The Bamboo Company

If protecting the environment is one of your SO’s priorities, you would want to support this advocacy through gifts that promote zero-waste, sustainability or the elimination of single use plastics.

Reusable implements for drinking or eating to-go food would go a long way towards keeping the environment safe for future generations.

The Bamboo Company

The Bamboo Company

You can purchase this Breakfast Buddy (Mug and Coffee Tumbler Set) from The Bamboo Company’s online store (now on sale for Php1,699 from Php2,040). It’s perfect for that leisurely morning coffee that you two can share on a chilly Valentine’s Day morning.

For the homebound imbiber: Cocktails-to-Go from After Hours Bar

If your special someone misses the experience of going out to a bar for a drink, then bring the bar home!

While the pandemic has had a huge impact on the restaurant and hospitality industry, bars were hit the hardest. Fortunately, some have pivoted their business to include ready-made cocktails available for delivery, such as After Hours Bar.

After Hours, Tomas Morato

After Hours Bar Bottled Cocktails

You can get 500 ml bottles of After Hours’ signature cocktails such as Sangria Spritzer (Php825), Punch Drunk Love (Php975), Gin Basil Smash (Php975), Muscovado Old Fashioned (Php1,300) and Negroni (Php1,500) delivered to your home just by ordering through its online store.

Read more about After Hours Bar here.

For the sweet tooth: Strawberry Shortcake from Inang Charing

If your beloved adores desserts and sweets, then express your love with a delectable Strawberry Shortcake!

A gorgeous confection made with delicate vanilla cake, layered with thick and fluffy whipped cream and topped with slices of fresh and succulent strawberries, this will surely excite the senses!

Inang Charing Strawberry Shortcake

Inang Charing Strawberry Shortcake

You can get this delightful creation from Inang Charing Cakes and Pastries, a Pasig-based online baker. An eight-inch round cake is available for Php1,135 (for pickup only due to the delicateness of the cake) but an 8-in x 8-in square pan is also available for Php835 (more suitable for delivery services).

Place your orders via Inang Charing’s Facebook and Instagram pages with a two-day lead time.

Read more about Inang Charing Cakes and Pastries here and here.

So there you have it: my list for thoughtful gift ideas for your special someone this Valentine’s Day.

Which one do you think suits your beloved the most?

Check out my other adventures compiled into Jelly Lists:

Tell your tales with Stories and Blossoms’ preserved flower arrangements

Have you ever heard the phrase “say it with flowers?”

This saying is attributed to Boston adman Major Patrick O’Keefe who came up with the slogan during a discussion with former President of the Society of American Florists. While brainstorming on possible slogans for the organization, Penn was said to have remarked “There is nothing you can’t say with flowers – when you send flowers, it says everything,” to which O’Keefe exclaimed “That’s it!”

Stories & Blossoms

For ages, meaning have been attributed to flowers. From the Ottoman Empire’s obsession with tulips to the Victorian era’s interest in floriography, up to the present day’s penchant for using blossoms in home decor, flowers have been used to send messages to their recipients.

Stories & Blossoms

Imagine what you can say with preserved flowers instead. If you haven’t yet considered preserved flowers to beautify your home or to give as gifts, here are ways they trump fresh-cut flowers.

1. They last longer.

The thing with flowers is they tend not to last that long. While fresh-cut flowers can generally last for a week or two, preserved flowers can stay around for up to three years. You won’t have to worry about your home accent or present wilting away too soon.

Stories & Blossoms

2. They cost less.

Fresh cut flower arrangements for delivery usually start at Php700 but preserved flower arrangements can cost as low as half this amount.

Stories & Blossoms

3. They require little maintenance.

Since the preserved flowers are dried, they do not require water to maintain them. Given our climate, you would just need to keep them from dust and moisture so you can enjoy them for a long time.

Stories & Blossoms

4. They don’t trigger pollen-based allergies.

If you’ve always loved the beauty of floral arrangements but get a case of the sniffles every time you’re near them, preserved flowers is the solution to your problem. Preserved flowers no longer have pollen so those who suffer from allergies to this substance can enjoy them safely.

More and more, it seems that preserved flowers are well-suited to today’s minimalist trends in gift-giving and home decor.

Stories & Blossoms

Online flower shop Stories & Blossoms captures not just the needs of times but also the stories behind every emotion, celebration and milestone that call for its tasteful preserved flower arrangements.

Through the artful combinations of colors, textures and sizes of different blooms, it helps evoke feelings, memories and thoughts.

Take this Stories & Blossoms creation – called “Little Black Dress” – a 26-inch tall arrangement that incorporates the Pantone colors of 2021 – Illuminating Yellow and Ultimate Grey – as well as my favorite color, Black. This imbued a combined sense of brightness, serenity and hope to my home. It also became an eye-catching and elegant centerpiece for my dining table.

Stories & Blossoms

You too can capture and tell your tales with preserved flowers. Just shop online at Stories & Blossoms’ website. Arrangements are priced starting at Php299. To know more about its newest arrangement creations and offers, like and follow Stories & Blossoms on Facebook or call +63 967 5099050.

Disclosure: A product sample was provided to facilitate this feature article.

Three reasons to make superfood part of your life

Goodness MNL makes healthy eating more accessible with its carefully curated goodness boxes.

With a new year just around the corner, we usually take this time time to reflect on the year just past. And, boy, is there quite a lot to reflect about this year!

If, like me, you have allowed your inner foodie free rein this year with no exercise to counterbalance the intake of food, then you might be thinking of living a healthier lifestyle from the new year onwards.

Goodness MNL

Food will undoubtedly comprise a large part of your new lifestyle, and not just what you restrict yourself from gorging on, but, more importantly, what you choose to nourish yourself. It is important to keep in mind that while you shy away from food that do not significantly benefit your well-being, you should ensure that you consume more of those that do such as superfood.

Goodness MNL

If you haven’t been consciously incorporating superfood in your diet, now is the best time to do so. Here are three reasons why:

1) Superfood are highly nutritious.

Being whole or unprocessed ingredients, superfood are known for having high nutrient density which help in keeping you healthy and in warding off diseases.

Chia seeds, for example, are rich in fiber and energy, have anti-oxidant properties and help in maintaining heart health.

Goodness MNL

Goodness MNL

Himalayan salt, on the other hand, is also rich in energy, helps promote brain health and manage the effects of aging.

Goodness MNL

Goodness MNL

If you’re looking for food with lots of protein, fiber and omega 3 nutrients, golden flax seeds are among your best bets.

Goodness MNL

Goodness MNL

Meanwhile, if you want something to help with your digestion and heart health, you might want to check out sunflower seeds, which are also great sources for Vitamin E and magnesium.

Goodness MNL

Goodness MNL

Cacao nibs, on the other hand, can help in improving your mood, have antioxidant properties and are good sources of fiber, iron and magnesium.

Goodness MNL

Goodness MNL

2) Superfood can easily be integrated in your favorite dishes.

I used to think that healthy food is bland or tasteless but -surprise! surprise! – superfood happen to be among those things that are not just good for you but tastes good, too!

Himalayan salt can help in flavoring your grilled steaks and other savory dishes.

Goodness MNL

Chia seeds, golden flax seeds and sunflower seeds, on the other hand, can be blended into your favorite juices, smoothies and mocktails.

Goodness MNL

Goodness MNL

Goodness MNL

Goodness MNL

Goodness MNL

Lastly, cacao nibs can be enjoyed on their own – I munch on them as I watch my favorite stand up comedy shows on Netflix – or be added to dessert recipes.

Goodness MNL

3) Superfood are now more readily available.

Ready to test the waters of going into superfood? Not to worry!

You can try five different types of superfood by getting a box set from Goodness MNL. Choose five from the nine superfood types available – organic chia seeds, organic golden flax seeds, organic sweet basil seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, Himalayan fine salt, Himalayan rock salt, organic cocosugar, organic adlai grits and cocosugar cacao nibs – and have them delivered to you in a beautifully curated box.

Goodness MNL

Goodness MNL

Already into healthy eating and want to encourage your friends to do the same? Goodness MNL box sets are also great as Christmas gifts or giveaways so your friends can join you on your healthy eating journey.

Goodness MNL

You can get a box set for Php400, the box contains five 40ml test tube bottles or for Php330 containing five 30ml test tube bottles.

Goodness MNL

Both variants include your choice of five superfood, a wooden teaspoon, recipe and info sheet, ribbons and Christmas tag

To order, just message Goodness MNL on Facebook or Instagram with instructions on how you want your box set customized. Payments via BDO or GCash are accepted.

Goodness MNL

Goodness MNL delivers within Metro Manila and nearby provinces. Shipping fee will be shouldered by the buyer.

You can also course your order through Shopee.

So be on your way towards a healthier lifestyle by eating healthy and by getting goodness in a box from Goodness MNL!

Goodness MNL

Disclosure: Product samples were provided to facilitate this feature article.

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

Ultimate Christmas Treats – Ben’s Cookies

Looking for a way to spread the holiday cheer?

How about gifting your nears-and-dears with a box of Ben’s Cookies?

Ben’s Cookies

From its beginnings in 1983 as a stall in UK’s Oxford Covered Market, Ben’s Cookies have extended its reach to the Philippines when it opened its first store in The Podium Mall in July 2019, followed by branches in SM Mall of Asia and SM Megamall. It brought with its those signature palm-sized pieces of moist and chewy delights made with chunks – not chips – of premium chocolate, unsalted butter, wheat flour, fresh eggs, cane sugar and nuts, all freshly baked everyday.

Ben’s Cookies

Ben’s Cookies is the brainchild of cookbook writer and chocoholic Helge Rubinstein who named the business after her son.

Ben’s Cookies

With such a history, we can say that each cookie is made with love. Check out some of its cookie creations:

Milk Chocolate Chunk. The chocolate chip cookie may be the grandaddy of all modern cookies but this one may be considered The Godfather because of its heft.

Ben’s Cookies

Ben’s Cookies

Dark Chocolate Chunk. The Milk Chocolate Chunk’s darker and more sophisticated cousin, perfect for dark chocolate lovers.

Ben’s Cookies

Ben’s Cookies

White Chocolate Chunk. A more delicate version of the Milk Chocolate Chunk, this is a cookie you reach for if you want a break from the usual.

Ben’s Cookies

Ben’s Cookies

Double Chocolate and Nut. This baby’s got twice the chocolate goodness, further enhanced by the addition of crunchy walnuts.

Ben’s Cookies

Ben’s Cookies

Speculoos Cookie. To end all speculation, this cookie brings the spiced and nutty sweetness you crave for.

Ben’s Cookies

Ben’s Cookies

Other cookie variants include: Double Chocolate Chunk, Triple Chocolate Chunk, White Chocolate Chunk and Macadamia, Orange & Milk Chocolate Chunk, Praline & Milk Chocolate Chunk, Lemon, Cranberry & White Chocolate Chunk, Oatmeal & Raisin, Peanut and Milk Chocolate, and Fruit & Nut.

These cookies are available by the piece at Php90 each, or by the box (Buy 5 and get 2 free at Php450 or Buy 10 and get 5 free at Php900) or by the tin (4 pieces at Php495 or 8 pieces at Php835).

Ben’s Cookies

Go ahead and spread some sweetness and good cheer by giving out these yummies to fam and friends.

Ben’s Cookies

To get your Ben’s Cookies, drop by any of its stores:

  • Ground Floor, The Podium, ADB Avenue, Ortigas, Mandaluyong City
  • Second Floor, Mega Fashion Hall, SM Megamall, Ortigas, Mandaluyong City
  • Ground Floor, Main Mall, SM Mall of Asia, Mall of Asia Complex (MOA), Pasay City

You can also call +63 917 5267711 or order online.

Ben's Cookies Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my reviews of other dessert shops in the metro: