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Posts Tagged ‘New York

Staten Island Filipinos and Hilton Owners Stage Benefit

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Looking west across Richmond Terrace at County Courthouse on a hazy late morning.

There are about 7,000 Filipinos living in Staten Island, New York and its community leaders have joined forces with the owners of the Hilton Garden Inn to hold a benefit event on January 15, 2014 to raise funds for the benefit of the victims of typhoon Haiyan or Yolanda. 100 percent of the proceeds from the free venue, food, beverages and service will go to the Archdiocese of New York’s “Relief from the Philippines” fund.

Various local celebrities will participate in the 7:00pm to 10:30pm Wednesday event. Tickets are priced at $75 for a buffet dinner and are sold at or call (718) 477-2400 ex. 5.

Source: Staten Island Live.

Photo by Jim.henderson at


The Food Tour of Tuscany

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I’ve lived a stone’s throw away from Tuscany at McKinley Hill for the past three years but I never imagined it to be this good. I experienced the so-so of the Venice Piazza – I guess it was just over-marketed that my level of expectation was just too high. But the surprise of being asked to go through a walking tour of eight of the dozens of bistros and restaurants was a delightful experience. It is now a must to be roaming around that single stretch of road where creative culinary and gastronomic science both meet Juan, the average man.

Tuscany at McKinley Hill is Megaworld Lifestyle Malls’ newest addition to its style to dining nirvana in the heart of the metropolis. If in the early millennium started Eastwood City, that large parcel of land in Quezon City that used to house General Textile Mills then converted into what really looked very similar to the dining streets of Universal Studios in California, here’s its newest culinary sanctuary from the folks that also gave you Venice Piazza at McKinley Hill, Burgos Circle at Forbestown Center, Lucky Chinatown and Newport Mall at Resorts World Manila.

It’s been hours since the walking and dining tour or #TuscanyFoodTour organized by veteran food, travel and lifestyle blogger Anton Diaz, and TV and events host and best selling author RJ Ledesma, both additionally famed for their successful Mercato brand of street food fairs. Our tour guides from Megaworld Lifestyle Malls Rachel and Cam (or Kam) gathered us as one small group, starting off at Planet Grapes and moving on to seven more stops. At the end of it all, it’s #burp and letting all that food and drinks simmer down and out of my system before I could get a good night’s rest.


It’s a wine shop with the modern touch of prepaid cards and its wine stations (or wine serving machines) that gives a demure filling or a hearty half-a-glass for white wines. Its friendly servers offered us a plate of single-piece appetizers, including a choice of Penoy or Balut, the staple of Filipino street food and a foreigner’s exotic nightmare. The servers said red wine goes great with Balut. That I have to remember the next time around.


The owner of this Tuscan-inspired restaurant Roland Lorilla was there to greet and orient us with the menu selections of his Italian cafe. We were told the word “Poggio” means “hills” and the hillside Italian sources of fresh farm ingredients makes the speciality menu items that his chef of 15 years experience provides diners. We were served white wine together with delectable hors d’oeuvres. The Prosciutto con Melone (ham and melon on pizza crust) was a surprise – ham and melon? Who ever thought that tasted great? There was also Crespella del Poggio Antico or crepe stuffed with ham and cheese, and mushroom in truffle sauce where anything with truffles is a gastronomic wonder. The mozzerella crostini or Promodoro e Mozzarella Crostini and Oyster Sur Pate di Fegato (oyster on liver pate) was also great.


Who doesn’t care for Mexican food even if our country hero Manny Pacquiao keeps fighting the Mexicans here and there? Burrito, taco salad with corn (now, that’s new), Mexican pizza and mango glazed chicken were the entrees served to us at this Tex-Mex restaurant. One rare find some of my blogger-friends knew they had was the hotter than the hottest hot sauce. Was that called “Ghost Sauce?” Or it sounds ghost-something similar. The tongue isn’t where the zing is, according to one who tasted it. The after-effect makes you sweat like an oven.


Finally, the resurrection of an authentic New York style bagel shop. Lower East Side is where the American owner (cute, single guy according to the girls) says his freshly boiled-then-baked bagels is patterned from the real, authentic New York way. In the early 90s, the first bagel store in the Philippines by my experience opened at Greenbelt 1 called Bagel & Co. That didn’t last long seeing that the dough looking like donuts didn’t hit the simple food culture of the Filipinos then. The last bagel shop I know (that also closed down) was located in Filinvest Alabang. Thank goodness a revival is alive here at Tuscany in McKinley Hills. Of course, every cream cheese flavor served owes its basic ingredient to the Philadelphia style. This is a must-keep-going-back breakfast-till-midnight-snack hangout.


By this fifth #TuscanyFoodTour place, I’ve been stuffing myself with a fiesta of wine, appetizers and small-portion entrees. Now comes the big boy – steak! And pizza, too! Not the most tender I’ve tasted but considering the shared environment of the food tour, it wasn’t meant to be. I’ve eaten at Marciano’s in Greenbelt and the steak I ordered there was tender. However, warm pizza still tastes good nonetheless. Their kitchen is managed by Giorgio Buciarelli, an Italian chef who creates these al dente pasta creations (I didn’t touch the linguine anymore) and freshly carved pizza delights. But I had to get their Panna Cotta dessert on a shot glass to wash away the rich tastes of all the appetizers and entrees through these five restaurants.


What’s food that’s Canadian? Umm… maple syrup and Canadian bacon? Would you believe French Fries from Quebec? They call it Poutine, french fries with a heavy serving of beef gravy and cheese curds. They cut a what-looked-like a pound of Wagyu burger into six slices but that Wagyu beef served any style will always hit that excited tongue receptor buds. Ahh… ice cream was served last. Now, here’s a gelatto that’s maple syrup flavored with bacon bits. Huzzah! The Canadian experience is complete. The restaurant’s Filipino-Canadian owner spent his little less than 10 years going around the restaurant market of Greater Vancouver in B.C. before going back to the Philippines to open Main Street in Tuscany at McKinley Hill.


It’s a pink store and my daughter would love eating here with her Canadian friends. And it’s a cupcake store. I think the story here is that the Mom kept baking cupcakes to her daughter Sophie and her high school friends, when cupcakes were all the craze and wars about it began on primetime television. My colleagues said they were good. I’ll leave the ladies and girls to their passion for cupcakes and trust them on their word that it’s a must visit.


Finally, the last of the eight restaurants we were being toured at. Our Megaworld Lifestyle Mall rep Rachel was still with us (minus Cam), ever so patiently guiding us to where to go next. And she saved the best for last. This is the second branch of Sauceria – the first was put up three years ago in San Juan. The owner whom I didn’t get the name says they cater to the artisanal way of preparing and cooking food – nothing artificial will ever get into their food. And the owner’s explanation makes food cooked in Sauceria sound like rocket science. Research on the number of taste buds we have, categorized flavors, fresh versus not-so-fresh, and the mix-and-match that goes into each delicacy item I think makes this newly opened restaurant a true winner. “The rich flavor of food begins with the right sauces,” as how the place gets its name and the literal reason why. Definitely, a two-thumbs-up, must-come-back place.


The Megamall Lifestyle Malls will be running this kind of tour with all the restaurants along the Tuscany mall street participating starting on Saturday, November 30, 2013, starting 2:00PM till 5:00PM. It will continue at the same time span on December 7, 14 and 21. Ticket price is 1,000 Philippine Pesos (roughly $22) per head. You may call fixed/landline numbers +63 (2) 709-0888, +63 (2) 709-9888 or +63 (917) 838-0111.

Trust me to say that you have to prepare yourself for an experience you’ll need to diet the previous days before engaging yourself in this kind of feast. I didn’t, I should have and the next time around, I will.

Bon Appétit!

Image poster courtesy of Megaworld Lifestyle Malls | Photos by Raffy Pekson II for


28 Percent of US Immigrants Come from Asia

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In operation until 1954, the immigration station processed over 12 million immigrant steamship passengers.

The Migration Policy Institute (MPI) reports that 28 percent of all immigrants in the United States – about 11 million – hail from Asia. Asians are the second largest immigrant group after Latinos, with nearly half coming from the Philippines, India and China and residing in California, New York and Texas.

Asian immigrants are perceived as “model minorities” who work hard, do well, and don’t complain. In the American imagination, they do not seem to share the challenges faced by other immigrant groups.

Nearly half of Asian immigrant adults have a college degree or higher. Among all immigrants, Asians are more concentrated in management, information technology, and science and engineering. A majority of immigrant doctors and nurses are from Asia.

MPI estimates that Asian immigrants accounted for 11 percent of all unauthorized immigrants in 2010. The Department of Homeland Security counts among the undocumented 280,000 Filipinos, 200,000 Indians, 170,000 Koreans and 130,000 Chinese.

Read more at WNYX New York Public Radio

Photo by wallyg at


Filipino-American Victims to be Remembered at 9-11 Anniversary Memorial Services

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Second plane strike at the World Trade Center on 9/11

Filipino-American organizations are commemorating and remembering the 20 victims of the World Trade Center collapse on September 11, 2001, twenty people who had Filipino origins. Two of those were actually on board the planes that hit the twin towers. Their biographies will be read at the 9/11 Tenth Anniversary Vigil for Filipino American Families on Sept. 9, 2011, from 7pm to 9pm at the Asian American Writers Workshop, 110-112 West 27th Street, Sixth Floor, New York, NY. This event is open to the public.

The sponsors of the event are as follows:

  • Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS) Metro New York Chapter;
  • Filipino American Human Services, Inc. (FAHSI);
  • Kalusugan Coalition, Inc.;
  • Damayan Migrant Workers Association;
  • Collaborative Opportunities for Raising Empowerment (CORE);
  • Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE);
  • UniPro, BaranGAY, NYU International Filipino Association (IFA);
  • Outstanding Filipino Americans (TOFA) in New York Committee.

There was also one other Filipino-American who died in the plane crash in Pennsylvania.

The name-reading activity was suppose to be part of the upcoming memorial celebrations but Mayor Bloomberg decided to scrap this tradition. A lot of the family members were angered when this announcement was made, saying the reading should remain part of the ceremonies. Still, there are others who agree to discontinue it as a requirement.

Half-way around the world, Marie Rose Abad, a New York-born daughter from an Italian immigrant family and one of the victims of the 9/11 attacks, has her name emblazoned in a village in the Philippines called the Marie Rose Abad Village where her Philippine-born American husband, Rudy Abad, had a community of about 50 one-story houses built in 2004 in her memory. Marie Rose was a senior executive at the 89th-floor office of the investment bank Keefe, Bruyette & Woods when the second plane slammed the building.

The 21 Filipinos and Filipino-Americans who died in the World Trade Center attacks and the Pennsylvania plane crash were the following:

  • Grace Alegre Cua;
  • Cesar A. Alviar;
  • Marlyn C. Bautista;
  • Cecile M. Caguicla;
  • Jayceryll M. de Chavez;
  • Benilda Pascua Domingo;
  • Judy Hazel Fernandez;
  • Ramon Grijalvo;
  • Frederick Kuo Jr.;
  • Arnold A. Lim;
  • Manuel L. Lopez;
  • Carl Allen Peralta;
  • Maria Theresa Santillan;
  • Rufino Conrado (Roy) F. Santos;
  • David Marc Sullins;
  • Hilario (Larry) S. Sumaya;
  • Hector Tamayo;
  • Cynthia Betita Motus Wilson;
  • Ronald Gamboa (plane crash);
  • Ruben Ornedo (plane crash);
  • Manolito Kaur (plane crash).

Both President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama are expected to attend the Ground Zero memorial services. The 9/11 attacks claimed the lives of 2,977 people, including 246 victims on the four planes and 411 emergency workers from the FDNY, NYPD, PAPD and EMT.

Sources: Inquirer Global Nation | Filipino Reporter | Huffington Post | Wikipedia

Photo by stevenbaker at


Where in Queens are the Pinoys?

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There are 75,352 Filipinos in the city of New York (2005-2007 survey) of which 60% reside in the borough of Queens. Wow! This makes the migrant Filipinos the fourth largest group of Asians in the entire city. For “Filipino businesses,” you can find many congregated along Roosevelt Avenue at Woodside, Queens.

Read the article in Nomadic Pinoy and see the pictures for yourself.

Written by Raffy Pekson II

August 23, 2009 at 11:41 pm

Filipino Restaurant at New York’s Lower East Side

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Located in the heart of New York’s Lower East Side, “Kuma Inn” is a cozy restaurant tucked away on the second floor, serving Filipino, Thai, and Southeast Asian cuisine. It is owned and operated by Executive Chef King Phojanakong. The restaurant offers an original menu consisting of a variety of meats, seafood and vegetables.

Call the restaurant at (212) 353-8866 for reservations or click here to go to its website.

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Written by Raffy Pekson II

June 19, 2009 at 1:04 pm

A Filipino Hip-Hop Group from New York and New Jersey

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“Deep Foundation” is a hip-hop group of five Filipinos from New York and New Jersey released their first album last year and have spent the first semester of 2009 touring the West Coast. A series of videos have also been released featuring music from their album. Founded in 2001, the album touches on the foundation of hip-hop that the group believes in plus a mix of their Filipino roots. The group includes the following members:

  • Ryan Abugan, 23, known also as Hydroponikz;
  • Mark Malacapay, 26, known as Ill Poetik;
  • CJ Guiang, 27;
  • Rosendo Pili, 24, known as Mugshot;
  • Michael Capito, a 24, known as Suitkace.

Deep Foundation aims for a universal appeal. Much of their music hits on common themes of love, family and growing up in an urban setting. So far, it has struck a chord with fans. A growing number of Filipinos and non-Filipinos alike are attending live shows. “Children of the Sun (Remix),” the longest track on the album at close to eight minutes, samples the singing of Heber Bartolome from his 1978 song “Tayo’y Mga Pinoy.”

Click here to read their story in

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Written by Raffy Pekson II

May 26, 2009 at 6:28 pm