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Community Events
newbie

I have been eagerly waiting for the opening of BGC Arts Center since I learned about it. Not that I am the artsy type. Far from it. I have not watched a musical show for so many years that I can't even remember the last one I watched. I see the BGC Arts Center as one of the facilities that will strengthen the identity of the community in Fort Bonifacio. A community that shares the same neighborhood has to have places for members to do things together, and an arts center is a place for members of this community to enjoy performing arts together, and for some of the members to put up shows for the whole community.  We do not have community sports center, or community hall, but now at least we have our arts center.

This website's article on Three New Attractions to open in December 2016 has mentioned that the BGC Arts Center will open this month, and that the Arts Center would have its first concert on December 11. I went there on that day at around 5pm, hoping to be able to get inside to take a peek.

According to the press materials from the Bonifacio Arts Foundation, the BGC Arts Center is composed of the the Maybank Performing Arts Theater, the Alveo Central Plaza, and the Sun Life Amphitheater.


The building, which is called the Maybank Performing Arts Theater, looked substantially finished, except for the eating place, which is a McCafe (Why oh why a McCafe? I do not get it.  There is already a McDonald across the street.)

I saw some security guards standing inside the building, so I pushed open a glass door and checked if the show was going ahead as scheduled. The guards let me in and sent me across the hallway to the cashier located on the other side. So the BGC Arts Center was opened!


I did not buy a ticket at that time because it was above my budget. Then I proceeded to walk around the building, taking photos even inside the Globe Auditorium and had a good sneak preview of the show later that night, as well as the inside of the theater. All the lights, seats and air-conditioning were working, and they were very nice.

The artist performing that night was rehearsing a song. There was no echo and I could hear the singing clearly. Not wanting to overstay my welcome, I went back outside and asked if I could look at the other facilities. It was my lucky day. A staff of the BGC Arts Center, Ms. Martinez, helpfully guided me to the facilities upstairs. 

Ms. Martinez informed me that the arts center is on soft opening, and that it will open formally in mid January 2017.

Apart from the 500-seater flexible "hybrid studio-blackbox" which is called Globe Auditorium, the building has a big room on the second floor which is suitable for dance classes as well as recitals. It looked finished, with hard wood floor, a mirror-wall, and sound-proofed walls, stage-lighting system and working air-conditioning. Too bad I cannot play any musical instrument or have any inclination to learn ballet, so I will not be seen using that room any time soon.


We went onto the third floor, and I was shown a small space which can be used for a variety of purposes, such as workshops, exhibitions, or meeting. If the rent is reasonable, I am sure this space will be booked up easily.

When we went back to downstairs, Ms Martinez asked if I would be watching the concert that night. I told her that I would like to but the ticket price was beyond my budget. It must have been my lucky day. She told me that she had a promo code and the ticket price when the code was used was much more friendly to my bank account. How could I miss the chance to be one of the few people on this planet to watch the first show of the BGC Arts Center? I bought the ticket right away.

Now onto the show. It was called "A Very Broadway Christmas in Manila", performed by Andrew Keenan-Bolger with guest Tanya Mangalan. Prior to the concert, I had never heard of these two performers, so I went there with no expectation.

When I went back to the theater, I was late for the show. Andrew Keenan-Bolger apparently had sung a couple of songs already. Then he sang "What I did for love" from the musical "The Chorus Line". It was soothing and melodic. After that, he performed a tagalog song that I was afterwards told was called Sana Ngayong Pasko. It sounded great and his tagalog pronounciation must have been accurate too, as the audience applauded enthusiastically. After singing a Christmas song "Have Yourself a Merry Christmas" he took a break and gave the stage to Ms Tanya Mangalan.

Ms Mangalan was cast as the main character in the London run of the renowned musical, Miss Saigon, so her singing prowess was already well proven. That night, the theater was like her family room, as she used the opportunity to celebrate her father's birthday, and sang his favorite karaoke song, the title of which I cannot recall. It was a warm and intimate segment of the concert.

After Andrew Keenan-Bolger returned to the stage, he sang a few more songs, and then the evening came to an end. It was a short and sweet concert. The solo singer was a friendly and boyish singer with an operatic voice that has a bright future in performance arts.

The new theater is not very big, but it is well equipped. It does not offer grandeur, but gives you a feel of intimacy and modernity. I feel sure that I will go back there many times in the future.


My ticket to the first ever public show at the BGC Arts Center

The video below shows Andrew Keenan-Bolger rehearsing a tagalog song for the show later that night.




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Fun and Learning
eclara

I distinctly remember six years ago, a copy of Christopher Nolan’s film being given to me. Some of my friends who watched the said film raved about the thriller while some were just confused the whole time they were watching it. Before caving in and watching the film, I asked a cinephile friend about what he thought of Inception. He did not rave nor boo the film, he simply told me to watch Inception with the subtitles turned on, not to miss a word nor dialogue and be the judge myself.

I loved the film. In fact, after finishing it the first time, I watched the movie again before going to bed that day. Going to bed that night, there was a certain thrill to the thought of controlling your dreams, and even entering and controlling peoples. How one can create a maze with layers and layers of maze and eventually get out of it.

And that’s why I found myself signing up to try the newest breakout room in Bonifacio Global City--Totem Manila. This is not my first time in a breakout room. I first tried it inside the back of a truck while my friends and I vainly tried to find a “stolen” chemical formula. But alas, we ran out of time with only one lock left to crack. Going to the venue, I thought that this was my chance to redeem myself of that awful non-victory.   

Throughout the movie, I wanted to be Ariadne or Arthur. I want to create labyrinths within dreams and even have an epic fight scene with a bad guy with zero gravity. I wanted to solve the puzzle. Heck, I wanted to beat the best time. But a few minutes after being locked inside one of the escape rooms of Totem Manila, I realized that I would have probably died really early in the movie.

You see, we were briefed early on that the room is difficult. We were even told that the first clue was already with us. We had to solve puzzles in the dark thinking this or that would lead us to the first key—or at least the light switch. It took as more than 10 minutes (and a lot more pride swallowing) to wave our arms in front of the CCTV, signaling to our game masters that we were, at the very start of the game, utterly lost.

The moment when the light was finally switched on, our team was finally able to take a good look around the small room. Unlike my first jaunt in an escape room (it was messily filled with crates and props), we were placed in a clean small room with locks neatly arranged and maps and notes posted on the wall. One might think that being inside Totem Manila’s escape room would be easy since it was bare and with minimal props. In reality, I found it more eerie. During my first escape room experience, I knew that the props were there for a reason and would somehow or at least eventually lead me to clues, but in Totem Manila’s bare room, there’s that panic I felt when I did not know where or how to start.

 While I can’t describe most of the puzzles (you have to try them yourself!), most of them left our team clueless. We waved our arms a total of three times, signaling our need for clues and helplessness. The game was not easy. In absolutely no time, we were trudging back out the room with heavy hearts filled with defeat.

On the dreadful way back, I started thinking where we went wrong or where we should have looked first. And an annoying flashback to when my friend told me how to watch the movie in order to understand it: turn on the subtitles and to not miss a word or dialogue. That day in Totem Manila’s escape room, we clearly did not do both. Maybe an Inception replay is due.



Totem Philippines is located at Suite 302, McKinley Park Residences, 31st Street corner 3rd Avenue, across Stopover Pavilion.


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Fun and Learning
eclara


One would think that a night out with friends in a pub is enough. Who would have thought that one could drink all night and crawl to six pubs in just one night? And that is exactly what I did one Saturday night. Except the crawling part.

Aside from occasional drinking sprees with officemates and friends, I have limited to no experience with the nightclub culture of Manila, especially of Bonfiacio Global City. Sure, I’ve been to the bars in The Fort Strip, but I have no idea how pub crawls work. I was curious. I was excited!

That night, going to Big Bad Wolf, traffic was light. We thought we were on schedule, turns out we were an hour early for the pub crawl. But that was okay, Craig, the organizer, entertained all the questions with tales about the origins of Lush Nights Manila.

In no time, our small table was filled with people. We were given pirate hats and the shots were being distributed. The small glass was topped with a preserved fruit that was overly sweet. My companions told me it was cranberry. Although the shot left a hot line down my throat, it was not strong enough to cause the alcoholic kick. Good thing too since it was just getting started.

We were then walking to our next destination, Tap Station. Before we were given shots, Craig distributed Bingo cards to the participants. One quick read and I knew that I would not be able to do any (let alone all). Good thing I was grouped with two other people. My group mates made sure we crossed out most of the items in the “bucket list”. Kiss a stranger? Pass. Show underwear? Pass. Get a stranger to buy you a drink? No, thanks. Seriously, I would not even dare to attempt any. A few creative executions (aka cheating) later, and we had two things left uncrossed. Public makeout and DJ in the bar. Before we attempt any of the two, a group has already raised their completed card. I don’t know about the rest of our team, but I was thankful we did not get to finish.


We then walked to Craft. Bottles of beer was distributed to the group and the crowd was slowly chatting to strangers within the group. Unlike the initial meeting filled with shyness and awkward introductions, everyone was getting comfortable with each other. An orange-flavored shot was then passed around. This, by far, was what I found the most delicious. It was not as sweet as the first one nor as bitter the last one, but it was sweet enough that you can roll the drink around the tongue to get a proper taste.

We headed to Prive next. It was obviously different from the previous locations we’ve been. For one, the lights were dim and the music was pounding. I knew that the alcohol was starting to kick in. A waiter was distributing lemon slices and salt. Before I was given a shot glass, I knew what was coming. Now I don’t know much about alcohol aside from the occasional beer, wine and cocktails, but tequila? That I’m very familiar with. I quickly downed my shot and felt the familiar burning sensation from the top of my throat, past my lungs and down to my belly. A shot of tequila feels the most familiar to me. A shot brings me back to my university days.  

Before I knew it, we were one by one filing in cabs and heading to Valkyrie and Palace Pool. Our last stop for the night. By this time, I was keeping a close eye on my wristwatch. It was 1:30am .While we were cruising the quiet streets of BGC, I thought to myself: Who knew that it really was possible to do what we are doing?

When we finally entered the doors of Valkyrie, I knew I was screwed. After dropping off my bag to the counter, I lost sight of my companions. I didn’t know anyone. I made a beeline for the restroom hoping I can catch a familiar face, but to no avail. I wanted to go home since I found it pointless to stay alone in a very intimidating environment.

And just when I was about to grab my phone from my pocket, I saw a couple of familiar faces going out of Valkyrie, heading to Palace Pool Club. I thought that maybe I should say good bye first to my newfound friends. There, in Palace Pool Club, I saw the group. Contrary to the urgent vibe from the previous bars, everyone was taking it slow and finally enjoying the party.




Before, I concluded that I would just say good bye. But by the time I flagged down a cab, it was already 4:00am on my watch. Dear old introvert me enjoyed a night out with complete strangers. I slept the whole day after. It felt like I was coming down with a fever, but thank goodness it did not get that far. I think I understand now why people do this even though it feels awful the next day. The unexplainable joy pumped by alcohol. The thrill of moving to the next environment. The heart pounding along with the music, different each place. And the complete strangers, suddenly becoming your BFFS. One would think that a night out with complete strangers moving from one pub to another would be bad. Who would have thought that this one would enjoy it? 

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Fun and Learning
eclara

Attend one of Fully Booked’s workshops of course. Signing up was an impulsive decision, but I really was looking for something to do that day anyway so I went.


The best part, upon entering the third floor of Fully Booked’s workshop area, was when I saw that we were only 12 students that day, I knew that I was bound to learn something because the teacher can focus on her students. The bad thing was other students would know that I suck since they will hear everything.

I was the first one to arrive and the table assigned to me was already arranged with art materials ready to be used. I was glad that they provided us with brushes, watercolors and paper since I would’ve probably bought the wrong things if they didn’t. I didn’t know the brands or even the watercolor types, apparently, they were plenty!

We started a bit later than scheduled because some of the students were late. But in no time, we were discussing the different techniques in watercolor painting and the brush stroke types. We were given plenty of papers to play with where we had to paint on boxes with the different techniques. We were encouraged to use different colors to see how the paint behaves in water and paper. I got the hang of it, but of course, I was also told that I was painting on the completely wrong side of the paper, the whole time! Apparently, I was painting on the smooth side, and we were supposed to paint on the rough side of the paper—which definitely makes a difference to the behavior of the paint and water! I had to catch up after I realized my mistake.

And then we proceeded with painting an apple. Simple enough right? I mean what could be harder than painting a fruit that requires only one color, red, and maybe a brown for the twig? Wrong. Apparently, we can use yellow, white and even brown on the apple itself. We were also told not to paint the whole apple and leave some dry areas for the “lighter part.”

I was thankful at the teacher and how she kept the pace steady. She would visit me from time to time and check if I was keeping up. Everyone in the class had their own experience with art, oil painting, and even sculpting, and I was the only student who had no prior experience or whatsoever with a paint brush other than the one you can find in Adobe Photoshop.



In no time, we were painting a vase with a flower on it. The flower, at least I know how to draw and paint, the vase was completely new however. How do you exactly make a translucent material without white paint? This, we learned, was trial and error with the brown, blue, and water. I had to go through different mixes before I got the color that I wanted, and by the time I came up for air, everyone else was drawing a breakfast table. Darn it.

It was, by far, the most complicated thing to do. We were handed a photo each, it was a photo of a table with many breakfast meals and with so much color that I knew would take me more than a day to finish with my pace. Thankfully, the teacher told us that it will really take us some time to finish that painting to it will be a take home work. We were given the basic colors on what to use each meal, but the teacher told us to explore the mixtures ourselves, that way, not only will we get the hang of watercolor painting, we might also be able to discover different color mixtures we can use on our own someday.

I’ve been painting since July. I’ve bought many papers, but from time to time, I get stuck and put everything away, out of my sight. But I really think that I did learn a thing or two, and I’m glad that I did sign up for that workshop. I’m not ready to show anyone my recent works, but I think I can pat and tell myself that I’ve improved from painting on the wrong side of the paper, at least!

 Photos from Drawing Board Workshops Facebook Page

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Work Life
eclara

The place where I started working was my first experience of the real adult world, and while I do have a few irks about the outdated place, it’s still close to my heart. But I’ve always been fascinated with startups, especially those who have no offices to call their own yet. That’s why one fine Friday morning, I decided to book a desk in one of the newest co-working spaces in BGC, SquareOne.

Location is key

I love how  convenient Square One is. I told my Uber driver to just drop me off near Bonifacio Technology Center so that I could look at the stores and restos nearby. I felt delighted knowing that should I need to grab a bite, I could step out and there were a number of options to eat. Also, I spotted places where if I need to meet someone, I could just tell them the name of Starbucks and it’s a date! No need to hail a cab to look for a decent place to meet with a client.




Amenities

It’s really clean and cozy. Upon entering, I saw that I was the first worker for today and it felt like I had the place to myself, except for the polite and helpful receptionist and some staff of course. The ambiance was really casual and creative, not too intimidating and the noise was set to a minimum. There’s music playing but not loud enough to distract me from the pile of emails waiting. Wi-fi was quick and easy to access and surprisingly really fast. Coffee and tea are readily available. Colorful couches are scattered around the room for anyone who wants to work comfortably and meeting rooms and private areas are also provided for teams who need privacy. Outlets for plugs were aplenty on walls. Basically, my only qualm was the common restroom. One has to go out of SquareOne to use the restroom.



How my day went down

I really found the place interesting since everything was new to me. The helpful lady at the receiving area points out the areas that I could use and explained how everything works.

I sat down in a blue-colored chair with a table, and immediately started working, I don’t know if it’s the change in the environment or the fast internet helped. Almost 30 minutes into working silently on my own, the regular workers of the area trickled in one by one. I was worried that they will notice the new blood and try to talk to me (after all, I’m used to working full-time in an office where I’ve been employed for three years, so I am bound to greet and make small talk every 15 minutes) but they carried on with what they were supposed to do in their own area.

After a long time slouching on my laptop, I felt uncomfortable with the seat and table. The design of the furniture forced me to type higher than what I’m used to and the back of the chair is too short for my back to lean on. Unlike office chairs, designed to take on stressed people leaning back from time to time, the furniture at SquareOne are designed to be aesthetic and give off creative vibes. Maybe that’s why there were couches scattered everywhere, but I passed on using them, I felt sleepy everytime I took a glance at them, so I stuck to my uncomfortable position. After sometime, I just decide to put my computer on my lap and leaned back to a much more comfortable position.

 

For someone used to having an area of her own, it felt new and adventurous to work in the SquareOne environment. I didn’t get to talk to anyone as they were all busy working, but it felt like new ideas were coming into my head. I don’t know if it’s the new environment of if the idea of working at co-working spaces really broadens your horizon, with you really thinking right out of the box.

 

 

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Fun and Learning
newbie

While walking down Bonifacio High Street (BHS) today, a rainy Sunday, I was surprised to see that there were empty docking bays at the Tutubi bicycle rack placed at 9th Avenue of BHS. Really? Tutubi bikes were ready to use already? I used them a few times when they were located at the Stopover Pavilion at 31st Street, but had not tried them after they were relocated to BHS.

Luckily for me, I had the Tutubi card with me. I was prepared to be disappointed when I tapped a bicycle bay with the card, because the Tutubi bicycle rack had moved there for a while without being plugged in, but to my delight, I heard the talking voice of Tutubi's computer system.  At first, it muttered something I could not hear and the bicycle was not released. Then I tried again, and I heard the bike lock clicked, so I removed the bicycle from the bay successfully, yehey!

My original destination was a shop on BHS, so I rode the bicycle for a short distance, parked it at a green bike rack, and did my planned shopping. I could have done that on foot, but riding a bike was fun, and saved a few seconds for this short trip. I wanted more. My other destinations before heading home were both within walking distance. One was Central Square at BHS, the other was the supermarket at Forbestown Road.

So, instead of returning the bike to the rack, my plan became that of going to Central Square, and then, if necessary, proceeding to Forbestown. After that, I would drop the shopping at home, and then return the bike to BHS. I knew that there were bicycle racks near my destinations, so that was one thing I did not have to worry about. 

Riding the Tutubi was easy. Yes, it is a heavy bike, and I would not go anywhere that would require me to lift it up. It was also not designed to have a second seat for an additional passenger. But it was light to pedal, even without changing gears, which it has three. It also has a ringer on the left handle. And of course, the built-in lock with cable was very handy. In fact, with its bulk, one could lock the bike on its own wheels and not have to worry much about it being stolen, unless someone comes prepared with a cable cutter. Since the Tutubi bicycles borrowed from BGC are only allowed to move within BGC, the chances of them getting stolen is quite low to begin with.

What about the little adventure? There are no secret hideaways in BGC, so the adventure was not in discovering new places. Actually, I found my little adventure within Central Square mall. This place is usually just like a regular mall, but last weekend, something less regular happened there. 

I tasted a concoction that looked like blood, sipped moonshine that had 40% alcohol, and scooped up some ice cream that was made with 40% tilapia (yes, tilapas fish). And all that in a span of less than 30 minutes. 

Normally, I would not go so wild on a Sunday. I would have hesitated in trying unusual stuff offered to me on the street for free. But I had my Tutubi bicycle. Somehow it elevated my adrenalin. And combined with the fact that they were part of the Harvest Festival sponsored by the Department of Agriculture. I felt bold.

When I left the mall, I found myself carrying a bag of mushroom growing material, a tin of expensive leaves, a packet of beef jerk, some tomatos and other items in my backpack. I would normally not do so much shopping. I guess that is the downside of having a bicycle, which allows me to save time, and when the bicycle also has a basket, how can I not shop?

I returned the bicycle to its rack in BHS at around 8pm, a little later than I had originally planned, because I decided to use it to go to dinner in Forbes Town Road after I dropped off my shopping at home. Locking the Tutubi bicycle is sometimes tricky, and this time, it took me more than ten minutes because the system could not be triggered easily. With the help of the security guard, we parked the bicycle in another slot, and managed to trigger the system by pushing the bicycle in hard. I was relieved to hear the now familiar voice of the system asking me to swipe the card to complete the bike return process.


Riding the Tutubi bicycle is certainly fun for the rider on a Sunday when traffic is light. It provides me an alternative way to keep fit, and gives me more time to get things done, or shop more. It is a quality of life thing.

From the view of Tutubi providers, what is in it for them? In a bigger picture, does a bicycle sharing scheme contribute anything to the society as a whole, so that it can justify the public resources put into it? Well, my trip did not replace a trip in a car, since the distance was short, and I would have walked anyway. So I cannot say that it reduced my carbon footprint. If there are bike racks at two ends of BGC, for example, that allows people living in the residential area in Crescent Park West district to have lunch in SM Aura, or for residents in Serendra to meet a friend in Burgos Circle for lunch, instead of riding in a private car, then the environmental benefit would be obvious. 

Indeed, when we look at cars on the road, many are occupied by only the driver. If we can replace each of those cars with a shared bicycle, then the Tutubi scheme would be a worthwhile one. If someone lives in Bonifacio Ridge, for example, and usually takes a taxi or drives a car to go to work in SM Aura, can be enticed to switch to a Tutubi bicycle instead, then the scheme can be sustained. Or, if the scheme can be extended to reach the edge of EDSA where the commuting demand is strong, then there will be higher utilization of the shared bicycles.

Right now, I am just happy that I have a bicycle to ride on weekends within Bonifacio Global City.



The bloody colored Hibiscus tea was tasty. A little sour, and a little sweet.


Moonshine by Barik Supremo is a hard liquor.


Tilapia ice cream tastes like regular ice cream.




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Food
eclara

I'm a night owl. I find it hard to sleep at night and I usually end up ordering food at 2am or even 5am. And then I thought, what would a a nighttime snack run in Bonifacio Global City go about like. 

One midweek night, I decided to traverse a portion of The Fort. I started at 9pm from SM Aura. I had to do a quick errand at Power Mac and then I tried to look for the perfect appetizer.

Frankie’s
SM Aura

I love buffalo wings. I think it’s the perfect companion to an alcoholic drink and at the same time, it can be eaten with or without rice. It’s the first time I tried the wings from Frankie’s and upon looking at the simple menu, I knew that I had to try garlic parmesan coated buffalo wings.

It took some time before the order arrived, but it was definitely worth it. I ordered half a dozen of wings, but I wasn’t sure if I will be able to finish it. The wings were coated with thick garlic sauce and heavily sprinkled with parmesan. The initial taste was overpowering but the moment you bite your teeth into the white meat, the overall taste balances it out.

At that time, I wasn’t sure if I would still be able to eat two more dishes, but since I made it a point to walk to my next destination, I thought the short distance would build up my appetite.

½ dozen of Buffalo wings P188


Luna Breakfast and Coffee
BHS

This was actually an unexpected stopover. I was saving coffee and desserts after a rice meal. But when I went inside the small café along Bonifacio Hugh Street, I knew that I could make time for a quick dessert and just eat the supposed rice meal after.

I wanted to try and grab their coffee, but knowing my body, I knew that if I drank even a milliliter, I would not be able to sleep a wink later. I decided on the Pastillas cupcake and the Leche yema.

Initially I thought the serving was too small and does not justify the bill that I racked up for two modestly looking desserts. But upon taking my first bite, I knew that it would take some time for someone to finish off the small sweets. The sweet pastillas and yema base of the desserts are surprisingly small in such small dessert place. It took a while for me to clean my plate of all the crumbs because both the desserts are too ssweet.

You see, Luna Café is this rustic looking place. Half the price you pay is probably the ambience. I could really see myself enjoying a cup of coffee and a small plate of dessert with a book soon (I plan on treating myself in the future). I might have raised an eyebrow at first for the price, but I think the desserts that I ordered are meant to be consumed for a little longer than it took me to devour them.
Leche Yema P65 ; Pastillas Cupcake P100

Shawarma Bro’s

The last time I had their shawarma, it was served to me from a food truck. I was really curious about what it would feel like to eat a meal from their own place. By the time that I put the metal plate on the table, I smelled that it was the familiar taste that I was craving for. I ordered a Beef Shawarma Rice meal with garlic and cheese (yes, my two favorite) sauce with vegetables on the side.

What I loved about this meal was the rice. It was cooked fresh, so it tasted warm and delicious. The meat was a little tough, but bearable. I found the dressing a bit too bland, not like the taste I remember, but still familiar, which was definitely a plus. I found this stop as the most comfortable. The restaurant exuded this chill vibe where I felt people coming from drinking could recover. And why wouldn’t they? Warm food and some meat will probably help hungover people get their feet back on the ground in no time.
Beef Shawarma Rice P179

 

Frankie's Wings at SM Aura


Frankie's Wings is located on 4th floor of SM Aura. It is opening a shop in Crossroads, 32nd Street.


Luna's pastillas cupcake and the leche yema


Luna Cafe in Bonifacio High Street 


If you have craving for shawarma while in the Fort, go to Shawarma Bros in Stopover Pavilion



Shawarma on a plate

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Memorable Events
newbie

As a resident of Fort Bonifacio, I am surrounded by establishments that offer good food.  Many of them have a wine list. I sometimes wonder, would wine drinking make a meal more interesting? or would I just become addicted to the alcohol in the wine? what are the reasons that people go into drinking wine?

I decided I need to actually go out and do some research. While there are many places that sell wine in Fort Bonifacio, in the last few weeks I came across two opportunities to get some good education on the subject. 

Wine and Cheese pairing

One August Saturday afternoon, I took part in a wine and cheese pairing event at Wine Story Serendra.

If you are not a wine person, you would probably have never noticed their shop, because on the outside, the shop looks like it is closed. Its wall on the outside is tinted black. The La Petite Foire du Fromage (A Mini Cheese Fiar) event held on August 27 was a good opportunity for me to go inside the shop without having to worry about being alone there.


On the day of the event, I entered the shop and was pleasantly surprised to see a brightly lit place, with walls of wine. In the center of the shop were tables ladled with different kinds of cheese, surrounded by wine bottles. Several wines and a champagne were recommended to go with the cheeses. Wine Story Serendra positions itself as a place that allows wine connoisseurs to find rare wines.

The most unique feature of this wine shop, apart from their wine, is their high tech wine tasting machines. There were three cubicles with glass window on a wall, and each one housed four different wines. To try a glass of wine, you insert a prepaid card into a slot, and push a button. The price of a glass of wine is indicated on the button. Cool.


Then came the education part. There was a small room which could accommodate around 15 people around a big table. During my one hour stay there, I had a snippet of two workshops, one was a demonstration of burrata cheese making, and the other was a basic wine pairing seminar.  What I took away from the workshops was that the lecturers were friendly people and spoke in plain language that was easily understood by non-wine drinkers. It was not intimidating at all. I think I would not mind attending their workshops in the future.

Wine Story Serendra is located at the ground floor of Serendra Piazza, facing Market!Market! Mall, next to Cold Stone Creamery.

Wine and Food Pairing

On a weekday evening, I attended a wine pairing event at CAV, a wine bar and restaurant located conveniently at Bonifacio High Street. Since CAV is a fine-dining restaurant, the wines being promoted were paired with fine food prepared by CAV's chef. There were five wines being offered for tasting that evening. Each was accompanied by two exquisite cocktail dishes. I was fortunate enough to be seated with the wine ambassador from the wine company being featured that night, Clarendelle, so I got to learn how rose wine was made and other interesting wine related stories.


I only had time to try the first three pairs of food and wine, and left before two more pairs were served. The event started with a 2013 white wine paired with crabmeat crustillade and oyster tempura, followed by a 2015 rose wine that went with a salad made from hazelnut and roasted beets, and duck liver on bread with fig marmalade. The third wine was Clarendelle Rouge 2010, a red wine that is a blend of three traditional Bordeaux grape varieties, and it was paired with wagyu oxtail ragu and porchetta.

For a non-wine drinker, the wines were very good. But the food was what I remembered well. The duck liver, OMG! I have dined in CAV before, but did not try these cocktail dishes, maybe because they were not on the menu. Serving food in bite size like this to go with various wines is indeed an excellent way to let us understand the essence of pairing. It was much easier to appreciate the general rule that red wine would go well with red meat dishes once you tasted the combination. (As to the why, I did some online research, and found that tannins, which are rich in red wine, would soften the fat in steak and make the steak more flavorful, while the acid in white wine makes fish tastes more salty and less fishy) 


Overall, I found both events to be quite fun and educational, even for non wine drinkers. Who knows, may be I could be converted after a few more events like these!

(I asked to be observer to the events, and the hosts graciously let me participate for free. One even let me free-ride on the food-and-drink tasting part. My thanks go to Wine Story Serendra and CAV Wine Shop & Cafe.)


CAV Wine Shop and Cafe is at Ground Floor, The Spa Building, 9th Avenue Corner Lane P, Bonifacio High Street. See here for contact details.