A Harvest of Culinary Joys

A Harvest of Culinary Joys

In Photo: Charcoal coconut ice cream, crispy cheese cracker, toasted bread crispy milk custard fritters, vanilla and strawberry sauce.  Sweet vinaigrette king prawn with egg white pearls in pumpkin sauce.

Cesar Cruz Jr.

Business Mirror | April 18, 2019

Fine Chinese Cuisine

Whenever celebrity chef Jereme Leung is in Manila, those who clamor for fine Chinese cuisine are always in for a special treat.

The Hong Kong born culinary artist brings with him an assortment of ingredients rarely found on our shore. Needless to say, he creates a big impression in the dining scene of the Metro by way of his ingredients coupled with his unique cooking method and creative presentation.

Master Chef Jereme Leung

His award-winning restaurant at the Conrad Manila, China Blue, known for its modern take of traditional provincial Chinese dishes is offering for the whole month of April a collection of wonderful culinary delights made from fresh seasonal ingredients—the Summer Harvest. The refreshing and invigorating collection is available in á la carte and set menu for both lunch and dinner.

In order to come up with inspired dishes that could be adopted in the Philippine dining environment, Master Chef Leung and his kitchen team immersed themselves in the culinary scene of Guangzhou. The food experience they had gave birth to the Summer Harvest collection.

In a recent intimate lunch event with media practitioners; the culinary wizard, together with the hotel’s resident executive Chinese chef Eng Yew Khor introduced our excited tastebuds to his culinary masterpieces. But before this writer and his colleagues partook of the feast, we were led to the immaculate kitchen of China Blue to have a master class with the highly regarded chef.

We got to try our hands in replicating a dish, which he demonstrated step by step. The dish, which is crispy milk custard fritters is derived from the city of “Da Lang” in Guangdong province, China. We excitedly wore our apron and got busy in a friendly competition to make the best looking dish worthy of a master chef’s approval. The fun cooking experience provided us an understanding of the hard work and attention to details Chef Jereme puts in his craft.

Chilled octopus salad

Afterwards we headed to the dining area. To our delight, our finished products were pigeonholed to several categories, such as- best in culinary skill, best in wow factor, best in taste. Everyone had a blast applauding each other as those in attendance received their respective award.

At this point, Leung provided us a glimpse of someone at the top of his game. In a focused and relaxed state, he churned out his culinary masterpieces with painstaking precision as every dish is an edible proof of his skill and creativity. To whet our appetite, he made a plate of three kinds of appetizers, which are light and easy on the palate- first-soy caramel glazed eggplant, second-chilled octopus salad with plum cherry tomato drizzled with sweet sesame dressing, third-braised US beef, in ginger and garlic crisp. The appetizer sampler showcased the versatility of the summer vegetables as they transform into flavor bombs with a slight tweaking of ingredients here and there.

The next course was double-boiled moon fish clam, healthy Dendrobium Herb, Black Chicken Consomme. These rare ingredients were served a bamboo cup, which paid tribute to life-giving and nurturing aspect of nature. The hot soup was pure liquid meditation as it soothed one’s sense with every sip.

Double-boiled moon fish clam, healthy dendrobium herb, black chicken consommé, soy caramel glazed eggplant and braised US beef.

The main course, on the other hand, showcased the delicate flavors of the sea with the serving of plump and juicy King Prawn in sweet vinaigrette on a bed of egg white pearls and pumpkin sauce; Baked Live Black Garoupa Claypot with shallot, garlic and coriander spices; Braised Abalone, Salted Chicken Guangdong Style, Fragrant Onion Rice.

Before serving the claypot dish, Master Chef Leung poured a Chinese liquor on top of the claypot cover and then proceeded to set it on fire. According to him, the dish will be infused with the essence and fragrance of the liquid. He placed emphasis on eating the dish while it is hot as all the flavors of the dish are pronounced. As for the Braised Abalone dish, the diner himself/ herself will be the one to pour its special sauce on to the food. It was evident that supporting ingredients of the three main courses exhibited restraint as not to outshine the subtle flavors of the seafood dishes.

As for dessert, a plate of coconut charcoal ice cream, crispy cheese cracker, and toasted bread crispy milk custard fritters in vanilla ice-cream sauce was served. It was the elegant and more artistic version of the dessert we cooked before we partook of the gustatory pleasures.

Master Chef Leung convincingly demonstrated the many factors that turn a meal into an awesome dining experience.

The Summer Harvest is, without doubt, a taste of the extraordinary.

Cesar Cruz Jr.

Author Profile

Cesar studied communication arts at the University of Santo Tomas. He writes articles in the Lifestyle Section of Business Mirror as a lifestyle writer. He manages Pancit Malabon, his own restaurant at Banawe St.

Dimsum Plus at the Shang Palace

Dimsum Plus at the Shang Palace

Cesar Cruz Jr.

Business Mirror | July 25, 2018

Feast Like an Emperor

THE Shang Palace of Makati Shangri-La lets its diners feast like an emperor with its all-you-can-eat dimsum, appetizers, soup, noodles, rice and one main course. It’s originally priced at P1,100 net, but for July 28 to 31, an exclusive voucher sale for only P868 net will be offered at the Shang Palace. The vouchers could be redeemed until September 30. Dimsum Plus is available for lunch from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm, Monday to Saturday.

The great thing about Dimsum Plus is that one gets to savor top-quality dimsum prepared by Chinese chefs, aside from the wide assortment of these bite-sized delicacies.

It is no wonder that Shang Palace remains the go-to place of discriminating palates when it comes to consistently good dimsum.

Have your fill of these crowd-pleasing treats:

Har Gow (steamed crystal skin shrimp dumpling)—The translucent skin is delicately thin yet chewy enough to complement the mild flavor of the generous portion of the fresh shrimp it holds inside.

A must-try.

Siu Mai (steamed pork dumpling with fish roe)—Perhaps, this is the most common of the dimsum bunch. The version here is bursting with the goodness of pork. Simply put, it’s Siu Mai done right.

Deep-fried Taro Puff with Diced Scallops—According to the chefs at Shang Palace, they can tell just by looking at a Taro Puff if it is perfectly cooked. They shared that they don’t take their eyes off the dimsum when cooking it, as there is a critical moment that it must be pull out of the oil.

Barbecued Pork Pie—Don’t let its plain appearance deceive you. The flaky baked buns provides the right contrast to its sweet and smoky asado filling. Eating just one pie is not enough.

Pan-Fried Turnip Cake with XO Sauce—The appetizing color of this dimsum comes from the XO sauce which also lends a mild spiciness to the dish.
Imagine, these are just five of the 18 dimsum varieties one enjoy.

To make the most of the house rules that one diner availing of the Dimsum Plus is entitled to one main course, come in a group of seven and have all the kinds of main course offerings serves at your table. Everybody gets to share everyone’s order.

The Hot Prawn Salad, a sweetish creamy delight is a surefire hit. It has been premarinated to stay firm. Its appeal lies in the crunchy exterior while the juices remain intact. The XO sauce and chili garlic condiments, which are a natural match for the dimsums, pair unexpectedly well with the seasonal fruit platter. Try it.

On the other hand, Chinese favorites the likes of pecking duck, beggar’s chicken, pork pie, and even sauces and condiments are available at the Shang Palace boutique. Guests can still feast like an emperor in the comforts of their home.

Cesar Cruz Jr.

Author Profile

Cesar studied communication arts at the University of Santo Tomas. He writes articles in the Lifestyle Section of Business Mirror as a lifestyle writer. He manages Pancit Malabon, his own restaurant at Banawe St.

When Fine Chocolates Meet Fine Dining

When Fine Chocolates Meet Fine Dining

Cesar Cruz Jr.

Published in Business Mirror | December 28, 2017

A Mission to Churn out More Than World-Class Sweets

Auro Chocolates, a proudly Filipino bean-to-bar chocolate company, is on a mission to churn out more than world-class sweets. It has constantly strived to improve the standard of living of local farming communities in Davao, where it source its cocoa beans.

The chocolate company recently held a chocolate-infused benefit dinner at the Peninsula Manila. “The farmers are actually the ones who will stand to benefit from this dinner. It is a group of farmers who used to be Marines but they retired and have decided to create a community of farmers to support their comrades by comrades, I mean, their farming communities. So basically, it consists of retired Marines, widows, housewives and their children, as well,” Auro Chocolate Managing Director Mark Ocampo shared.

The elegant dinner started with four kinds of amuse bouche, which each one having a touch of chocolate-baby beets, chicken choux, cocoa-dusted toast and goat cheese “cheesecake.” The bite-sized treats have successfully whetted not only the appetite, but the imagination of the diners, as well, of what is to come.

The appetizer, made by Chele Gonzales of Gallery Vask, was Mahi and Mole. The tasty mole complemented well the mildly sweet taste of the fish. Upo seeds, on the other hand, which looked like pinipig, added a nice crunchy texture while the grilled coriander provided a clean herby taste to the dish.

The entrée of Cinnamon Chocolate Duck Breast was masterminded by Allan Briones of Old Manila. This dish, garnished with charred pineapple, cashew mousseline and toasted coconuts hinted that Christmas is just around the corner with its pineapple and smoky ham-like taste.

The main course of Beef with Cacao and Hibiscus was the brainchild of Josh Boutwood of the Test Kitchen. The slow-poached beef short rib cooked in cacao butter, which had a very beefy flavor, paired exceedingly well with Cabernet Sauvignon.

Cesar Cruz Jr.

Author Profile

Cesar studied communication arts at the University of Santo Tomas. He writes articles in the Lifestyle Section of Business Mirror as a lifestyle writer. He manages Pancit Malabon, his own restaurant at Banawe St.

Filipino Food to the World

Filipino Food to the World

Geraldine Rullan-Borromeo

Published in Daily Tribune Life | August 31, 2011

Filipino Food has Emerged With a Quality All Its Own

Upholding Philippine cuisine to a world that has taken to Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai and even Korean foods has been an elusive quest to many a Filipino foodie. Filipino food boasts of a rich heritage of Malay, Indonesian, Spanish, Chinese and even American influences. With the passage of all these culinary influences, Filipino food has emerged with a quality all of its own and no Filipino – and foreigner who has taken to Philippine cuisine by affinity or just for the sheer love of it – will ever displace their love for adobo (pork and chicken dish), sinigang (sour soup), pansit (noodle dish) and minatamis (sweets).

Adobo (Photos by Eiliv Sonas Aceron from Unsplash)

Even Filipinos who have traveled the world take pride in the sumptuous linamnam (savory) flavors that only Filipino food has, firm in the belief that Filipino food has a flavor profile that no other cuisine, no matter how sophisticated, possesses. To bring Filipino cuisine to the same forefront that other Asian cuisines have attained remains a dream for many a Filipino foodie.

To this end, the Department of Tourism (DoT) and the Center for Culinary Arts (CCA) collaborate on the new program Kulinarya Short Courses. Kulinarya is a component of the Cultural Tourism Program of the DoT, which is a tourism product that seeks to introduce and promote Philippine flavors to the local and international culinary scenes.

This program is part of CCA, Manila’s mission to promote Filipino cuisine in the Asian and International markets and in line with the Kulinarya Program of the Department of Tourism,” said chef Gigi Angkaw, Continuing Education Program manager of CCA, Manila. “The program is designed for domestic and international tourists who would like to experience and learn Filipino cuisine.”

Kaldereta

The Kulinarya Short Courses will be conducted in CCA Farmer’s Market every second Friday of each month, for half day. There will be a minimum of five persons and a maximum of 15 participants per session.

“The program will start with a tour of Farmer’s Market for familiarization of Philippine ingredients. Next is a hands-on cooking demonstration where every participant will have his own work station guided by chef instructors.The fun part of food tasting and sumptuous lunch follows,” said Angkaw.

The Farmer’s Market Tour opens up a world of Filipino ingredients to the “market tourist” as the CCA chef walks the vegetable aisles to showcase native vegetables, highlighting provincial finds like pako (edible young fern), lato (grape seaweeds), luyang dilaw(turmeric), etc.

The seafood aisles is a sight to behold with shrimp and large crabs galore,fresh clams, mussels, bamboo shells and scallops, all live and kicking. A walk deeper into the middle of the market brings you to booths showcasing fresh tuna as big as sharks, laid on blocks of ice, ready to be cut for sashimi; fresh pink salmon heads headed for soup cauldrons; real maya-maya (red snapper)set apart to distinguish them from maya-maya wannabees; and mackarels of all sizes and shapes.

Chicharon and munggo.

Having a CCA chef explain the way through the market and revealing how to cook this and that ingredient as one passes through the market is a rich culinary treat that opens one’s eyes to the wonders of Philippine cuisine. Getting to cook alongside a CCA chef is another enriching culinary experience to widen one’s understanding of the staple dishes of Filipino cuisine.

The market tour is not complete without passing through the meat aisles where offals are being offered for making Filipino delicacies. Sides of beef and pork hang on large hooks side by side with hamonado longganisa (sweet sausages) and garlic sausages.

The poultry section is another aisle altogether that features native free-range chickens. Getting a chicken deboned for a relleno (stuffed boneless chicken) is a service they provide at the Farmer’s Market, along with grinding spiced up meat and stuffing it in fresh casings.

 

Champorado and tuyo.

And for a whiff of fresh aromas after a tour of raw meats, the fruit section displays the bounties of the tropical fruit farms of the Philippines: strawberries and passion fruits from Baguio; pomelo from Davao; durian from Cagayan de Oro; Quenne Anne pineapples from Ormoc; lansones from Camiguin; sweet mangoes from Zambales, Pangasinan and Cebu; and bananas from just about from everywhere.

Even an experienced kusinera(cook) has a thing or two to learn. Adobo is not just adobo in this short course. The adobo presented is the adobo that epitomizes the Filipino adobo as it goes through several processes of cooking – marinating, stewing then frying.

Noodle tricks are another thing to learn in the sotanghon guisado(sauteed rice noodles) demonstration. Also achieving the balance of saltiness and sourness in a sinigang is another knack that requires mastery. And making a sweet enough but not to sweet smooth maja con mais (corn pudding cum flan) is another culinary technique in the offing at the DOTCCA Kulinarya Short Courses.

Fried bananas coated with caramelized sugar

Manggo juice

The introduction of these Filipino favorites to the world and presenting them in a homestyle yet creative way opens up the culinary world to appreciate the wonders of Philippine cuisine.

Reggie Borromeo

Author Profile

Reggie is co-founder of Write Concepts Company, the publisher of www.write-experts.com. She manages a network of professional writers and artists in the Philippine publishing world to form a pool of experts and talents that can deliver optimum communications services.

You can contact Reggie at: reggie_rullan@write-experts.com

Northern Exposure

Northern Exposure

Gabrielle R. Borromeo

Published in Daily Tribune |November 30, 2018

A Culinary Adventure

Having been born and raised in Baguio City, I thought I knew all there was to know about the Summer Capital of the Philippines.

A culinary adventure recently, organized by the Tarlac–Pangasinan–La Union Expressway (TPLEx) and San Miguel Corp. (SMC), proved me wrong.

Tony Reyes, the marketing manager of TPLEx, emphasized, “It’s not about the road, it’s about the destinations. We want to promote tourism in places never before seen here.”

True enough, the Daily Tribune and other media guests experienced North Luzon in a whole different light. We visited landmarks from Nueva Ecija to Binalonan, all the way to Baguio that deserves more spotlight than it has ever been given.

Holy Veil at Nampicuan

The adventure began at TPLEx, on the way up to Baguio, where we first stopped by The Sanctuary of the Holy Face of Jesus Immaculate Conception Parish. This Nueva Ecija church used to be visited only by the people in the community.

Recently, however, visitors have been growing in numbers to view the Holy Veil and visit the church itself.

The Holy Veil at Nampicuan is an exact replica of the original one in the Basilica di Volto Santo in Manoppello, Italy. What makes it an official replica is that it is claimed by the Church to be the only burial cloth that touched the actual cloth that touched Jesus Christ.

It was gifted to Nampicuan by the Rector of the Basilica and Guardian of the Relic, Capuchin Friar Carmine Cuchinelli, in 2014 after its Philippine tour. Since then, this humble church has been declared a Shrine by the Catholic Church.

It has made a name for itself, and today, a signage along TPLEx, draws more people to visit. It also has two jampacked services on Sunday and a large crowd on celebrated Christian occasions like Holy Week.

Chef Aldwin Soriano demonstrated how to make Binalonan’s longganisa.

Ylang-Ylang Processing Plant

This leg of the trip reminded me of my childhood days where field trips consisted of visiting factories and plants, and seeing for oneself how a product comes to be.

Here, we were shown how the ylang -ylang flower was made into essential oils, perfumes and other sprays. We were each given an ylang-ylang reed diffuser to try for ourselves.

The local bloom grows profusely in the northern provinces of Tarlac and La Union.

Ylang-Ylang flowers are made into essential oils, perfumes and other sprays at this processing plant.

Ruperto’s Inland Resort

Showcasing Binalonan’s famous longganisa, our brunch was enjoyed in this resort. Binalonan’s local sausage contains lean meat, with hardly any fat in it. A cooking demonstration on how to make the longganisa was held by SMC using their products.

Farmer’s Daughter

The trip to Baguio took a few hours, so we were ready for our late lunch at Farmer’s Daughter when we arrived at the highlands. This got me excited because of where the restaurant was situated, somewhere far from the city proper.

Farmer’s Daughter had a homey, provincial feel to it, not to mention it was a bit chilly already. I was surrounded by wood, including the walls, tables and benches.

What was served was Pak-Pako Salad, a river fern salad with tomato and cucumber mixed vinaigrette; Pinikpikan, an Igorot chicken dish (Cordilleran version of tinola) with Etag (salted meat); Kinuday Jen Baboy, stir-fried smoked pork; Kinuday Jen Baka, steamed smoked meat; and Dinakdakan, a charred pork ear, tongue and snout dressed in pig’s brain and other spices.

I highly enjoyed the Pinikpikan and Pak-Pako Salad, but the rest were all too new for me, and a little too overwhelming to eat. Nonetheless, they are definitely dishes everyone must try for the experience.

DINAKDAKAN, a Cordilleran specialty of charred pig’s face served at Farmer’s Daughter.

Mama’s Table

The highlight of this trip was the extravagant and lavish dinner at Mama’s Table by Chef Vicky Tinio-Clemente. It was special because no one can just walk in as they please to dine here — one must reserve a table and come with a minimum of six diners. During special occasions, reservations can be a challenge as this home is always fully booked.

When we entered the premises, we all felt as if we were transported to a scene from a movie — a cozy home with wooden accents, similar to a cabin but more modern. The house was huge, with walls that were all colored in a rusty red hue. Dim yellow lights set the mood.

What surprised all of us were Mama’s Tables, literally two huge, long tables that were beautifully prepared as if the Queen of England were joining us.

Candles lit the table, with wooden ornaments as centerpieces. These brought beauty to the table, not to mention the lovely yellow and white flowers in bloom. The charger plate was gold, making us all feel like royalty. It was truly a forest fairytale, and we were all guests of honor.

We were welcomed with unlimited wine and softdrinks. For the SMC French-inspired eight-course degustation at Mama’s Table, the first to be served was the spreads and dips. This included the Bagna Cauda (anchovy garlic dip) with vegetable crudites like chopped cucumber, carrots and broccoli; Smoked Bangus Mousse served with R. Lapid’s chicharon that chef gets fresh; the Chili Con Carne that everyone was raving about served with hint of lime tostitos; and the Artichoke Parmesan and Mozzarella Spread served with assorted breads and crackers.

The Amuse Bouche was adorably presented — a brown eggshell sitting pretty on a white throne with one finger toast brushed with anchovy butter. Inside the shell was a quiche, almost like an omelette, with caramelized onions, sautéed locally-grown tasty mushrooms, Gruyere and Parmesan cheeses in strong and delicious truffle oil custard, all baked together.

Third was the Squash Soup with a twist. This was the best I’ve tried so far. It wasn’t thick, but runny with a little touch of graininess. It was cooked with just the right saltiness of smoked bacon, grated apples, thyme and port garnished with julienned crunchy apples, crispy bacon bits and roasted pine nuts that came as a surprise to the mouth.

Intermezzo 1 was next, which was a baked herbed feta in puff pastry topped with smoked salmon, acidulated fennel, tobiko roe and capers.

A WARM and cozy dinner at Mama’s Table as Chef Vicky Tinio-Clemente (inset) prepares an eight-course French degustation for her guests.

For the seafood course, a baked pinkish-orange Norwegian salmon that melted in my mouth was served. It was one of the highlights of the night, if not my favorite. I’ve eaten salmon so many different ways but this made me fall in love. It was so soft that it vanished too quickly from my mouth, which was the only disappointment because I could eat this everyday. It was served with thin zucchini slices, topped with peas and pepper like stars in the sky, with a hint of tarragon, orange supremes and citrus buerre blanc.

The Intermezzo 2 was a sweet and salty cheese two-ways. One way was the crunchy and fulfilling buttered bread cup in the shape of a boat with mouthwatering aged Manchego cheese topped with Hill Station’s Guava Jam. They complimented each other with the perfect amount of contrasting tastes. The other way was the triangle slice of Truffle Noire Aged Gouda drizzled with truffle honey. I love honey I would have loved more of it in the cheese.
Who knew cheese and honey made such a great team?

For the meat course, what was served was tender roasted chicken breast topped with honey cured bacon in Saltimbocca style. I found this dish a little too strong for my palate, but great for people who love salty food. It was stuffed with sage, Parmesan, Pecorino Romano and Grana Padano cheeses. On the side was the red wine reduction mushroom jus and risoni in mushroom cream sauce with French beans, asparagus and snowpeas.

For the digestive, we were served an easy-to-eat salad that was like a taco. The Romaine lettuce was drizzled with house-made Caesar Salad dressing using local Benguet lemons, grated Parmesan cheese, crunchy bacon bits and baked croutons.

Contrary to modern belief that salads should be eaten before the main course, the French originally served it at the end of the meal. It was just served at the right time because it cleansed the palate before dessert.

This came as a duo of Toblerone chocolate and Essenso Microground Coffee mousse with whipped cream, diced fresh mango; and Creme Brulee in a mini saucer served with whipped cream and diced mangoes, sprinkled with Swiss chocolate and Essenso coffee.
The great ambiance, soulful music, splendid food and amazing company completed the four-hour meal.

The soulful music was performed by Paul Columna, vocalist from Camel Hump, a local band from Baguio. He sang folk indie songs with his trusted acoustic guitar. It was music perfect for the chilly weather.

Baguio Country Club

We rested our heads that night in this Baguio classic, the views splendid for our city-weary eyes.

The next day, we had the morning to ourselves, with the option to go to the Trading Post early to purchase extremely affordable vegetables or sleep in and enjoy the sweater weather of Baguio.

Museo Kordilyera

The first adventure for the second day was at the UP Baguio Museo Cordillera (The Museo Kordilyera). As I mentioned, I was born and raised in this city, yet I had never ventured into this museum. I’m sure plenty of locals and tourists alike walk past this museum, not taking the advantage to immerse themselves in their own cultural heritage.

At The Museo Kordilyera, there was so much to learn and the museum was actually very engaging. There were lifesize figurines of the natives and their actual house as well. It was a three-level structure with the reception level visible on the surface and a few historical artifacts to see.

For more to see at the second and third floor, one must avail of an entrance ticket. This ticket leads one to view most of Museo Kordilyera’s essential facilities which include a permanent collection and curatorial space for ethnographic materials; a temporary exhibition space for loaned exhibitions and collateral activities by students, faculty and alumni; a visitor’s room for museum orientation purposes; an audio-visual room; and a museum shop and café.

The Museo Kordilyera is part of an infrastructure development plan initiated by UP Baguio Chancellor Raymundo D. Rovillos. This development plan had been approved and funded by the UP system under the administration of university President Alfredo A. Pascual. This museum, as Vice-Chancellor for Administration Prof. Jessica K. Cariño said, will focus “on the collection, preservation and display of objects associated with the unique societies and cultures of the Cordillera region.”

Carved wooden sculptures at the Museo Kordilyera.

BZA Home Style Crafts

For dessert, we all had this sweet and delicious Strawberry Shortcake topped with Magnolia’s Vanilla Ice Cream at BZA Home Style Crafts.

BZA is a three-year-old arts and crafts shop in Baguio City where one can paint, create rhinestone art and more. It was born out of the passion of Donna Marie Navarrete. It was her love for the arts and crafts that brought her and her eldest son, Brandon, to manage this business together.

This dedicated single mother of three named BZA after her three sons Brandon, Ziggy and Andrei.

Donna said she saw the need for art in the area, so she started with cross-stitch and crochet then ventured into DIY 5D Rhinestone Art in the late 2014. Rhinestone art is a jeweled art. It begins with a sheet of paper with numbers or colors, and all one has to do is glue the rhinestones to the designated number or colors until it is filled up to complete the jeweled image. BZA also offers customized rhinestone art for anyone interested using their desired image.

BZA, located at 1st Road, Quezon Hill, Baguio City, is part of Donna’s beautiful home. “This house has history. This used to be former President Manuel L. Quezon’s vacation house back in the 1930s or the 1940s, so when I got it, it was still spooky. What’s great about it is the space, which is why my son, Brandon, truly believed in its potential. Yes, it’s all my son’s idea. He’s my pride. This was how he came in. His vision turned this into a full blown restó cafe. People now even host events here.”

Aside from an art cafe, Donna also manages a furniture shop and an indoor golf course. “Yes, I also have a furniture shop and everything here in this art cafe is for sale, meaning we have stocks if anyone is interested. As for our indoor golf course, well, my family and I are sporty and since it rains a lot in Baguio, we made an indoor golf using a golf simulator. This way, there is no need to protect oneself from the sun! Also here in our indoor golf course, basically anyone can play a whole round of golf. We even have different courses.”

BZA Home Style Crafts has branches in Taguig City and Binondo in Metro Manila; Angeles City, Pampanga; Imus, Cavite; San Jose and Baliuag in Bulacan.

PLATES of BZA’s Strawberry Shortcake.

Lemon and Olives Greek Taverna

Lunch was at a quaint, wooden cottage-themed old house turned into a restaurant along Outlook Drive South, Baguio City.

This restaurant has a beautiful view of Baguio’s greenery, especially their al fresco area. This spot is where tables are perched on a little veranda where guests can enjoy the landscape.
Also, every nook and cranny of Lemon and Olives is decorated from exterior to interior. On the outside, plants dangle from the entrance; while inside, the finest details can be seen on the painted walls, chairs, tables and decorations.

This new establishment celebrated its first anniversary last June.

We enjoyed their homemade pita, Greek dips, chicken and salad. Their servings are big and are good for sharing.

Homemade pita, Greek dips, chicken and salad can be enjoyed at the cottage-themed Lemon and Olives Greek Taverna.

House of Yogurt

Our final stopover was at the House of Yogurt. Their home blend yogurt was thick and fully satisfying. Their yogurt is a must-try during one’s trip to Baguio.

They also have a pasalubong (souvenirs) area right at the entrance, showcasing the “Best of the Highlands.” All the best products from the provinces within Cordillera can be found at this one-stop shop.

House of Yogurt’s healthy yet delicious yogurt parfait and their very own must-try special turon.

They also have a pasalubong (souvenirs) area right at the entrance, showcasing the “Best of the Highlands.” All the best products from the provinces within Cordillera can be found at this one-stop shop.

Gabrielle Borromeo

Author Profile

Gabe organizes what she sees around her and loves to put it into words. She has been contributing her articles for the Daily Tribune newspaper, Tinig ng Marino (maritime) newspaper, Cook magazine, Appetite magazine and F&B World magazine.

You can contact Gabrielle at: gabrielle_borromeo@write-experts.com