Bits and Snippets of the Philippines

Basic Reading of Global Filipinos

Archive for May 2014

Breakfast at Italianni’s

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If only they sold jewelry, someone would have created a movie out of it. Okay, fine. I’m being funny here. But two months ago, I graced the invitation by the Bistro Group’s family member Italianni’s at their Bonifacio High Street branch to savor their newest addition to their already sumptuous food – breakfast items.

At first I was taken aback when they said to meet at Italianni’s at 9:00 AM. Don’t they open starting lunch hours? Until someone mentioned “breakfast.” Oh, okay. Pizza and pasta for breakfast. That’s new. Hahaha! What a surprise.

Italianni’s has always been iconic because not only was it a date place for me and my former better half and a regular Sunday lunch with my late dad and our holy family, we even held the party for the christening of my eldest child and daughter Cara at their very first branch at what now is Greenbelt-4, which was then beside Mario’s and Wienerwald renamed Schwarzwälder. See how stories can be retold a thousand times? Italianni’s has a great history in my life.

Of course, the first thing I looked for was Eggs Benedict and there it was, together with more than a dozen varieties of Continental breakfast items and ala carte, to wit:

  • Hi-Fiber Oatmeal
  • Italianni’s Waffle
  • Spam and Eggs (breakfast wouldn’t be complete without Spam!)
  • 3-Egg Omelette
  • Classic Eggs Benedict
  • Eggs Benedict Adobo
  • American Platter
  • Western Platter
  • Pancake and Sausage
  • Fruit Platter
  • Arroz Ala Cubana
  • Vegetarian Arroz Caldo
  • Arroz Caldo Supreme
  • Chicken Teriyaki
  • Champorado
  • Spicy Tuyo Fillet
  • Sardines in Olive Oil
  • Smoked Salted Bangus
  • Chicken and Pork Adobo
  • Beef Steak
  • Crispy Bacon
  • Pork Tocino
  • Primera Tapa
  • Vigan-style Longanisa
  • Boneless Bangus Belly
  • Filipino Platter
  • Chocolate Mango Crepe
  • Peaches and Cream Crepe
  • Spinach Mushroom Feta Crepe
  • Tuna Lemon Mayo Crepe
  • Tomato and Basil Crepe
  • Chicken Pesto Shitake Crepe
  • Lotsa Muffins, Croissants, Ensaymada and Bibingka
  • And breakfast creations by Chef Josh Boutwood


I took a bite at most of the main breakfast items the group ordered and like the taste buds of all the Italianni’s chefs since the 90s, I like them all. Of course, I ordered the Eggs Benedict Adobo for myself (No sharing! Hahaha!) and it was superb. I think most of the main items are served with complimentary coffee.

I’ve been to Italianni’s during its breakfast hours three times already, twice telling my business colleagues to meet there than another usual (and drab) coffee shop. So, for those of you having reached this paragraph reading my short story, it’s time head on to Italianni’s at Bonifacio High Street or Greenbelt 3 as these are the only two branches they serve breakfast. It’s probably because some of their locations are inside the mall which usually opens near lunch time.

photos by @raffypekson


Veems is a Must-Try Photo Sharing App for Selfie-Loving Filipinos

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A group selfie of Philippine Bloggers Network. Look at the big smiles as they attempt to fit in the picture!

In a research released by Time Magazine, Makati City is the “selfie capital” of the Philippines and the world. According to the magazine, “there are 258 selfie-takers for every 100,000 people.” We even beat Manhattan, New York, which ranked number 2 (they have 202 selfie-takers per 100,000 people). With these numbers, it’s hard to deny that Filipinos love selfies. If another study is conducted, I’m pretty sure that the Philippines is going to be the monopod capital of the world.

Filipinos are NUTTY over photo-sharing!

People attempt to explain why Filipinos love their smartphone’s front camera so much. Most would say that it’s because they are very social people. Despite the individualistic impression of the world “selfie”, most selfies are actually done with a group of friends, colleagues, or family members. Huddling together and trying to fit everyone in the picture is a great bonding moment. (I can hear Paul Anka sing “Times of Your Life” in my head now.)

Did you know that Filipinos are the TOP photo uploaders in the world?

When the photo-sharing app Veems was released in the (online) Apple Store last October, a lot of Filipinos immediately downloaded the app. Out of the 110,000 registered users, it is estimated that fifty percent are from the Philippines. Approximately out of ten photos that a user uploads, seven of them are selfies.

A New Way of Taking Selfies

So, what is Veems? It is a unique photo sharing app with a twist: snap a picture and instantly record 4 seconds of sound – your own voice or other. That means that besides uploading a good ol’ selfie image, you can add your personal voice. You can greet everyone “good morning”, say something inspiring, or add context to warrant the selfie.

While Veems seem to support a new trend of selfie, it can also be used to take photos of your recent adventures. Imagine taking a photo of a sunset at the beach along with the sound of the waves. Capturing both the image and the sound allows the moment to come alive on your phone.

Veems is now available on Android!

Since its launch Veems is only available on iOS. But Android users can join in the fun too. Veems is available for download on Android starting this week.

With most of the Filipino smartphone population are using Android, (I just recently switched to Android myself), I expect that more and more selfies will be uploaded in Veems.

Do you think adding a voice along with your selfie is a cool idea?


Research source: Time Magazine.

Photo by Ian Bacungan of The Rogue Writer, of the Philippine Bloggers Network.


Globe Project Wonderful Yields Wonderful Results

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I was privileged to be invited in another of Globe’s event, this time, introducing the collaboration of Globe with the online music giant Spotify. It was hosted by no other than Andi Manzano and Rikki Flores, online stars themselves and mainstay hosts of top FM radio Magic 89.9. I said hello to Andi during her break and talked about, oh well, anything under the stars. She’s still up to her blogging activity besides being a radio deejay, event host and newly wed.

But I’m digressing. Going back to the event, Globe Telecom’s Project Wonderful consists of three things:

  • Nation-building,
  • Culture-building and
  • Brand-building.

All told, its campaign has yielded a 9% growth in the first quarter of 2014 in revenue and income, and that in its thrust to create a wonderful world.

Spotify is a collaboration of Globe with the world’s biggest music platform. Being a music-over-the-web geek myself, I’d rather listen to web radio than have to decide what playlist to create and listen to. Spotify hits the spot for people like me, letting the platform decide the playlist based on my mood. This brings Spotify to the smartphone with Globe’s consumable mobile internet data plan GoSURF available to prepaid, postpaid and Tattoo-prepaid, an on-the-go service with free access to Spotify.

GoUNLI20 gives prepaid customers unlimited calls to Globe and TM customers, 15MB of data, and 20 texts to all networks for P20 a day.

With the popularity of Samsung Galaxy S5 gaining ground in the Philippines (CNet reports 11 million S5 phones sold since its April launch), Globe is offering the S5 for as low as P1,699 a month with its mySUPERPLAN, complete with a five-month subscription to Spotify Premium. There’s also a Galaxy Forever Plan 1599, Plan 1999 and Plan 2499 for those who want to get the latest Samsung Galaxy S every year.

The broadband brand Tattoo gets a kick with a Fiber-Fast home broadband connection ranging from 10 Mbps up to 150 Mbps available through Tattoo Platinum. Too bad my current condominium in Bonifacio Global City can only accommodate up to 3 Mbps. So, not all locations can avail of that high-speed connectivity. I wonder when I can get 150 Mbps at home?

Being a small business advocate, I’d rather focus on Globe’s myBusiness solutions built for small and medium enterprises (or SMEs), specifically their CCTV product and Globe Charge, an innovative smartphone-based point-of-sale (POS) device you attach to your mobile phone. And Globe partnered with Google to offer Google Apps for Business. I’m not sure how that’s done since the latter is available to anyone in the world in Google’s website. It’s probably a billing intergration thing but I’m just guessing.

Going international, Globe also offers local numbers in select countries for overseas and migrant Filipinos (or OFWs) so that they can call their in-country number that gets routed to their family in the Philippines. I believe they’ve established that kind of service in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Spain, Japan and South Korea. Adding to this, the Globe International Business Group that is handling this service is actually using my company’s cloud-based call center telephony solution to outsource telemarketing to small Filipino call centers calling the overseas and migrant Filipinos in the countries where the service exists. Yay!

I was surprised to see my good friend Jun Leido at last Wednesday’s event of Globe. It turns out, he is Globe’s consultant and liaison for the nation-building project of the telecom giant as the Presidential Assistance for Rehabilitation and Recovery (PARR)-appointed development sponsor in Aklan. Jun’s job, now a month old, is to faciliate and fast-track Globe’s projects in Aklan as part of the PARR initiative. Jun and I met years ago in the call center industry when he worked for an American-owned call center at the Clark Freeport Zone in Angeles City, Pampanga. From then on, he went on to work for various local government units (LGU) and from time to time only touched base with him through SMS, e-mail or Facebook. I wish him and Globe all the best in their endeavor to help Aklan. Way to go, Jun!

Culture-building is a unique thing that Globe is undertaking. I already believe Globe to be the best in telecom customer service, having had experiences with all the telecom companies in the country, besides being recognized by Telecom Asia as the best Asian telecom carrier which also recognized its Google Free Zone campaign as the most innovative telecom project. Now, they have an initiative called Project DNA (Deliver the Next Act), a mindset concentrated in providing a genuine, more caring, and wonderful customer experience. Hats off to Globe for not having to rest on their laurels and continuing to go above their par.

Speaking of awards, here are a few more: Best Network-based Solution for Servicing Customers Award in the 19th Annual Global Mobile Awards and the New Consumer Product of the Year in the first Asia Pacific Stevie Awards, both for Globe’s GoSakto: Create Your Own promo. It also garnered the Customer Service Leader of the Year, a Gold Stevie for its Twitter support channel @talk2Globe, Bronze Stevie for New Consumer Service of the Year for its international service Globe Seafarer, a bronze award for Innovation in Customer Service–Telecommunications, gold for Best Use of Technology in Customer Service–Telecommunications, three international Gold Quill awards, Anvil Award of Excellence, a Merit Award for its crisis and disaster communications social media campaign, and the Integrated Communication Category in the ASEAN Corporate Sustainability Summit and Awards 2014.

I guess there’s more to life in Globe than just mobile phone signal and service. I recently encountered my most gad-awful customer service experience in a competing mobile carrier that my procrastination of moving from a prepaid Globe service to a postpaid one is now a decision of the type of phone. I just hope I decide more quickly; or would you think Globe should give me a discount for writing this? Hehe.

Photos by @raffypekson.


Globe Telecom Launch Anti-Spam in Text Messaging Campaign

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Globe Telecom launched a campaign to address continuing proliferation of unsolicited promotional materials sent through short messaging service or text messages, commonly known as text spams. This was announced in January 24 of this year at the Globe Press Room web page.

How to Report a Spam Text Message

Subscribers may report via the Globe website through Talk2Globe Chat (; send a message through Globe Contact Form ( or by tweeting @Talk2GLOBE on Twitter. Subscribers can put in the number, the exact message, and the time and date the text spam was received. Numbers that are reported to be source of text spams are first sent warnings and those that are persistent source of text spams are deactivated from the service, YolyCrisanto, Globe Head of Corporate Communications, said.

How Did They Get Your Number

“Anyone who has access to numbers can create a database. Collection of numbers can come from registration to events and websites, prepaid loading from sari-sari stores, to text validation of mobile apps, and more. Major sources can be mobile marketing companies, app and web developers, load merchants, private and public establishments as well as through mobile generator programs,” Crisanto added.

Does Globe Sell Mobile Numbers

Also, Globe Telecom also disputes an online report that telcos sell customer numbers to database marketing companies.

How Will You Know If the Text Blast is Legitimate

Lastly, legitimate text blasts approved by the National Telecommunications Commission (or NTC) are properly identified and do not carry 11-digit numbers.


Photo upload by JohnnyMrNinja into


Dole Pineapples and Lots’ A Pizza Makes Filipino Pizza Heaven

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Did you know that Lots’ a Pizza in 1987? I can only remember having this brand of pizza with the unique Filipino taste, more on the sweet side, every time I went to visit my cousins on the weekends at Moonwalk Village in Paranaque City. Of course, pizza goes well with two-liter soda bottles and that’s the way it was always being served.

Dole recently hosted a meet-up with media and the Lots’a Pizza management team to introduce new variants to their classic flavors. I’m talking about Manhattan Deluxe, Hawaiian Extreme, and Pure Beef Supreme, just a wee bit more pricy but targeted for those looking for something extra or special in their pizza. And what’s not to miss on mentioning their bestsellers – Great Manhattan, Hawaiian Delight, Pure Beef Special, Pepperoni n Mushroom, and Hotdog Festival. Yes, pizza with Purefoods hotdogs on it. Plus its classic offerings of Double Whammy, Roast Beef n’ Cheese, Bacon Blaze, Hungarian Fiesta, and Garden Harvest.

And because Lots’a Pizza uses Dole pineapples on their pizza, they even have their own private labeled can of pineapple chunks specially packaged by Dole itself.

I salute Lots’a Pizza because they stood up to their name: lots of pizza! Egad! The media people were turning down pizza boxes upon pizza boxes of par-baked (that’s partially baked in Lots’a Pizza lingo) and freshly heated up pizzas that just kept on being served. I myself gave up on the fourth slice; if I accepted all their servings, I would have eaten about 15 slices… or more! As my mom would always tell me, it’s better to over-serve your guests than leave asking for more. Definitely the Filipino way of serving food – always too much!

NOTE: Unfortunately, is currently unavailable. There is, however, their Facebook Page at You can find information about its history, VMV, franchising information, contact information, frequently asked questions, a very long list of outlets with delivery service and the telephone number, etc.

Lots’a Pizza Franchise System Inc. is located at no. 28 Capricorn St., Pamplona Park, Las Pinas City, with telephone numbers (02) 873-8435 or (0917) 882-9553. They also have a separate “Franchise Hotline” (02) 872-0702 or (0917) 882-9551.

Image poster from Lots’a Pizza | Photos by @raffypekson


Lea Salonga Part of World-renown Artists for Benefit Concert

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“After the Storm” is a benefit concert for those in the Philippines affected by last year’s devastating typhoon Haiyan or Yolanda. Directed by Asian-American actress, singer, dancer, choreographer, theatre director, and author Baayork Lee, and produced by Robert Pullen, English theologian and official of the Roman Catholic Church, often considered to be one of the founders of Oxford University. In cooperation with the Philippine Embassy in the Washington, D.C., the US-Philippine Society and the Philippine Humanitarian Coalition.

The concert will be held on Sunday, June 15, 2014, at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall in Washington D.C., and will feature Tony and Olivier awardee Lea Salonga who was one of the first to confirm her participation. Joining Salonga is American actor Lou Diamond Philips, Grammy Award winner, American tenor Rodell Rosel, principal dancer Christine Rocas, Grammy violinist Joshua Bell, and Glee superstar Darren Criss. Joining this roster of performing artists are the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra and the Broadway Community Chorus.

The official website for this benefit concert is

For ticket sales and more information, you may contact (202) 467-4600 or go to


Photo from Lea Salonga.


Adventour – For Backpackers and Budget Travelers

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“You’ve got to be crazy!”

This was and still is the common reaction of my online friends (and offline as well) when I told them I recently joined a start up print magazine company. In our digital age, would an old school magazine survive? I think so. I know so.

I’ve been in the digital world since the day I lay my fingers on the teletype machine of a Digital Electronics Corporation (DEC) PDP-8 in 1981, a minicomputer the size of household refrigerator hooked up to dumb terminals and teletypes using a timesharing phenomenon called Resource Sharing Timesharing System or RSTS. From then on, an IBM mainframe, a few minicomputers, lots of microcomputers, personal computers, laptops, notebooks, netbooks and today’s tablets and smartphones have made me wired and wireless in my day-to-day life.

But I still buy print magazines, books made of paper, and would grab the day’s broadsheet newspaper to turn the pages my arm rather than my fingers. In most of the Southeast Asian countries, though the penetration of mobile phones is high, the general public still rely on print media to get the current events, opinions, features and gossip. The older generation still wants to touch paper when reading and the younger generation still has to contend with paper-made books, pens, pencils and paper-made notebooks in school. Print media in the context of demographic statistics is still one of the three main mediums of information and entertainment, together with radio and television.

Adventour started in October last year with the intent of providing travel articles to the reading public in the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam. Content was and is being developed in the Philippines but with trips to other countries. In March of this year, I met with the publisher and editor-in-chief and came on board as the magazine’s Marketing Director, together with a new advertising head, too. Together, we re-engineered the strategy and direction of the magazine that resulted in its current tagline – The Backpacker’s Lifestyle Guide.

Adventour, on its third quarterly issue, will start talking to backpackers, budget travelers, budget vacationers, budget diners and budget lifestyle seekers by the fourth quarterly issue. We broke down our target age group into five: 40% of the 25-30 years of age, 25% of the 31-40, 15% each of the 15-24 and 41-54, and 5% of the 55 and above. This simply means to whom our stories will be talking to by age, including targeting the urbanized market. We all know everyone owns a mobile phone and people tend to assume the majority are online. Statistics tells us otherwise – 32% have access to the internet and 28% have social media accounts, both active and inactive.  This only means that the primary medium of information in the Philippines is still tri-media, with print media playing a major role. Maybe the online world will catch up soon but not soon enough.

The Adventour team would like to make it very easy for its market to get its hands on a copy of the magazine, very easy to use it as their travel and lifestyle guide, and very easy to earn or gain from using it. Circulation is key and for now, the magazine is free.

Adventour will begin to feature everything a backpacker and budget traveler wants to read and see – people, places, promos, value for money and the unique experience. It’s not just another common travel magazine; rather, we want that one special breed of travelers to benefit from reading Adventour – the backpacker and the budget traveler.


If you are interested to advertise with Adventour, please e-mail me at and I or someone else will send you the media kit.


If you are interested to get a copy of Adventour, please fill in the short form below.


Finding The Perfect Pint in Manila

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How you see The Perfect Pint inside and out.

There’s a new kid in town and his name is “The Perfect Pint.”

I tagged along with my friends, together with bloggers and media people, to attend the official opening and inauguration of a new gastro pub in Bonifacio Global City, today’s gotta-be-there place in a new wave of bars, clubs, diners and restaurants sweeping the skyscraper residents. We were there on time, which means we were too early. LOL!

This new bar and restaurant (my old school term) is the brainchild of a band of brothers, namely Alec, Noel Jr. and Raymond Tempongko whose intent is to get the dining and beer-drinking world of Metro Manila to savor handcrafted beer. But it does not stop there. Much like wine is paired with different types of food, so then did the brothers decide to have “craft beer” paired with a variety of food. For this, they brought in Chef Gene Gonzalez, made famous for bringing us the iconic Café Ysabel.

Chef Gene meticulously paired one type of food that goes with each of the craft beers The Perfect Pint is offering. Some of the mouth- watering pairings include Truffle Fries with Czech Weizen, Kapal Muks with Pale Ale, Liver-wrapped Bacon with Dark lager, Smoked Angus Tapa with Egg with Pale Ale and Stinky Pizza with Weizen. Even their dessert, freshly-baked caramel smores are paired with dark pilsen. And Chef Gene not only set up their kitchen but made sure to personally be involved in hiring the chefs and assistants. Everyone from the two shifts were there on opening day.

L-R: Me and Chef Gene Gonzalez, my chef idol from the time he set up Cafe Ysabel.

My favorites were the Truffle Fries, Liver-wrapped Bacon and Stinky Pizza. Oh, boy! The pizza is a five-cheese-layered pizza for all slices! I mean, many of us are served a four-cheese pizza but divided into two slices per cheese flavour. This one’s all of them! And this one’s a must try with the Weizen beer, of course.

This 5-cheese pizza is undeniably the best cheese pizza ever. And paired with beer? OMG!

Going back to the craft beer, I asked Noel what the difference was with craft beer and micro-brewed beer, the latter of which was also the rave a decade or so ago but curiously disappeared only after a few years. For one, craft beer is handmade while micro-brewing is done by a machine. So, there’s probably the love and passion of a person brewing the beer, coupled with the human judgment call when and if the brew is at its perfection.

The Perfect Pint will not serve local commercial beer you usually buy in convenience stores. Instead, it will only offer craft beer, mostly of which are brewed locally by Filipino-owned independent breweries. Local beers from Katipunan Craft Ales, Craftpoint Brewing Company, Pivo Praha Corporation, G Point and Fat Pauly’s will be available on tap and bottles.

None of the usual, local beer bottles you buy in convenience stores are sold here. Only handcrafted beer.

Beer Pairing. I mean many of us are beer drinkers rather than wine connoisseurs, and today is your lucky day to have beer and food paired together without the snobbish ambiance from wine drinkers. Just kidding! I saw about four or five large screen televisions hanging in all corners of the place, which can probably mean a place to watch live sports telecasts while pairing craft beer with food and shouting Ole! Ole! Ole! Ole!

Oh, by the way, The Perfect Pint is giving away 10 percent discounts to weekday lunch patrons up until May 31 this year.

Here are more photos…

L-R: Me and one of the three brothers who owns The Perfect Pint, Noel Tempongko Jr.


The inside of The Perfect Pint. It’s letter-U shaped with a bar in the middle.


Table setting and the menu on a clipboard as we arrived on time and too early.


I was trying to get photos of the bar but this girl was in the way. Heck! I decided to take her photo, too. LOL!


The many things you’ll see and crave for at The Perfect Pint.


The Perfect Pint is located at the second floor of the Crossroads Building along 32nd Street in Bonifacio Global City. If you know where the stand-alone Starbucks with the drive thru is, then the building is right beside it, which also means MC Depot is right at its back. They are open seven days a week, from 11:00 AM up to 2:00 AM the following day.

Photos by @raffypekson and #PerfectPintPH