Fashion Can Serve

 

 

I Can Serve 2015

 

Every year, for as long as I can remember, I have participated and supported breast cancer awareness campaigns. Recently it has taken on a different meaning with me. This year, I lost seven friends to cancer. Four of them had battled breast cancer. The other three had other types of cancers.

The Philippines has the highest rate of breast cancer in the region. Highest. This means one in 9 Filipino women will get breast cancer. It is mind-boggling and very scary. But what I have learned from my friends at I Can Serve Foundation, is that not all breast cancers are deadly. If detected early, breast cancer is curable by surgery, radiation, and/or chemo.

The message is simple. Please be aware of your bodies. Do a monthly breast self-exam. And if you are over 40 years old, have a mammogram once a year. Monitor your own body. Be proactive. See a specialist, if you feel you are at risk.

For more information on early detection and risk factors for breast cancer, go to www.icanservefoundation.org

 

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At I Can Serve Foundations first fashion fundraiser event, Fashion Can Serve, at the Raffles Hotel. My friend, Katherine Cheng of K & Company, accompanied me. I wore K & Company’s new collection – wide leg pants with a lace tunic top. Katherine is also wearing her dress from the new collection.

 

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With the founder of I Can Serve Foundation, Kara Magsanoc-Alikpala. Like the other women at I Can Serve, Kara is a living testament that there is life after cancer — a beautiful and meaningful life. I am so blessed to have her as a friend.

 

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With Dr Eileen Cuajunco, Girlie Rodis, Kara and Katherine.

 

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Seated across from me – Larry Leviste, Philippine Daily Inquirer’s editor-in-chief Letty Jimenez Magsanoc, Girlie Rodis, and fashion designer Ito Curata.

 

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Auction host Tessa Valdes

 

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Lulu Tan Gan with muses including breast cancer survivor Patty Betita.

 

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I Can Serve ambassadors Agot Isidro and Rissa Mananquil Trillo, with breast cancer survivor Toni Abad

 

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Fashion designer Maureen Disini with survivors Leah Caringal and Maritoni Fernandez

 

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Rhett Eala with I Can Serve supporters Tweetie de Leon Gonzales and Dawn Zulueta and breast cancer survivor Alya Honasan.

 

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Fashion designer Kristel Yulo with breast cancer survivor Michelle Dayrit-Soliven and I Can Serve supporter Amina Aranaz.

 

For more information on www.ICanServeFoundation.org

 

 

Trying to do it all

 

 

We just got back from a month-long vacation in our other home, Toronto. Travel is such a great opportunity to learn and be inspired. I’m so glad that our kids see it that way too. However it can also create so much imbalance in your real life, if you don’t take care of business.

Example, my kids and husband were on vacation mode, but I, on the other hand, still had to deal with writing deadlines and product concepts. Because my work is digital, I could be anywhere in the world and still publish. The key to enjoying your vacation, is to make sure to get all the work out of the way early so you don’t have this dark cloud looming over you. And that I did. Check out our recent visit to Toronto.

 

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Toronto’s skyline has changed so much.  It has been experiencing a condo/skyscraper boom! I can no longer see the landmarks I love like the ones by Mies van der Rohe, Royal York and the gold building.

 

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In Toronto’s Casa Loma.

 

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We maximised our park and playground time.

 

There are many things I try to look forward to after the end of a fantastic vacation. Instead of getting sad about missing family and the spontaneity of life during travels, I use this time to get myself excited about my work, my regular life, and my home. Though as a mother to three kids, I can’t exactly just focus on my work and myself. I have to organize my kids’ lives first – especially during the school year. It’s a crazy balancing act that works itself out somehow.

It gets overwhelming when I think of all the things I have to do in different segments of my life. It’s not like I can compartmentalize each segment. They all flow into each other. I have a home office that doubles as the kids’ study room. I have a kitchen that doubles as my blog office. And my closet has become some sort of supply room from all the samples sent to me. I manage my home, with the help of very good staff. But I’m still that person who has to think of menus, grocery lists, baon, doctors’ appointments, driver’s schedule while trying to meet deadlines, negotiating at meetings, and doing my job as a corporate emcee and host. I cook, I give my kids baths, and I make sure Patrick and I have lots of together time.

Here’s what the balancing act looks like —

 

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My work table at home.

 

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Prototypes of DAPHNE & National Book Store in my kitchen — because my kitchen doubles as an office. I love the light here.

 

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In my professional life, I emcee high-profile/corporate events, and I’m a TV presenter. I do not miss the days of producing and hosting a weekly show by myself. Now my time is more flexible. And I get to do top quality work of my choice. This was when I hosted a benefit for Typhoon Haiyan with Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian.

 

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When I hosted the anniversary event of Etihad, with CEO James Hogan.

 

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When I hosted the grand launch gala of City of Dreams.

 

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Hair and make up time, also doubles as time to catch up on emails and some writing.

 

I often get asked at interviews, “How do you do it?” The truth is, I do not know. Everything just happens. I do not have a concrete system. I basically just make lists and try to tick off as much from that list as I can during the day. I spent a lot of my 30’s making do with very little sleep. That is something I am not very proud of. Whether you are a mom or not, please, do not scrimp on sleep. Your body needs to heal and recharge. Get enough sleep.

Here are a few tips on how I keep myself in top form in order to run my little enterprises, manage my home, take care of my family, and make sure I am healthy.

1. I avoid getting sick by keeping my immunity strong. The rainy season has set in, and the common cold lurks around the corner. No one wants to be set back by a cold, flu, or other infectious diseases. The most important habit I have (and have instilled on my kids) is to wash my hands with soap and water all the time. It is one of the best ways to stop the spread of diseases. And to top it up, I boost my immunity by taking multivitamins every day.

 

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Remember when I took that trip to New Zealand and brought some Conzace with me? It helped keep my immunity up in the cold winter weather.

 

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Multivitamins can help you fight off possible viruses and infections. I make sure to shield myself from catching a cold by taking multivitamins.

 

2. No matter how busy I am, I have committed to doing pilates at least twice a week. I do this in the morning before I start my day. My advice is for you to find the time that works best for you. My afternoons are unpredictable, so I prefer to get it out of the way in the mornings. Do not underestimate the power of a clear mind and strong body to uplift your spirit and productivity.

 

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Pilates at Options Studio.

 

3. I avoid processed food. We still have fast food whenever it’s totally unavoidable, but this happens very seldom. I prepare healthier snacks and lunch for my kids (will have courage to share soon), and I usually make a bit more for my husband and me. I also have maintained my commitment to green-juicing. I have a cold presser and I religiously juice – cucumber, celery, kale, spinach, carrot, ginger, green apple and whatever greens I find in my fridge and the grocery.

 

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Green juice gives me a jolt every morning. I take a glass daily, first thing in the morning. Then after twenty minutes, I have a regular breakfast. I don’t believe in skipping meals.

 

4. I do not work at night anymore. I used to write during those precious quiet times when everyone was asleep. I’d still have to wake up when the whole house woke up so I ended up being very sleep-deprived. Not a good thing. I stopped that. Now I sleep, sleep, sleep. Wake up early. Get things done. Working from bed is also very bad for your neck. More on that later.

 


No more working in bed.

 

5. Daily quiet time helps a lot. I start and end my day in prayer. Sometimes the busier I am, the more I need to unplug from the digital world, hide from the real world, and just sit still. I have a favourite chapel that I go to. I also make sure to connect with nature. There is a lack of public parks and open spaces in the city. We knew this decades ago. So my husband and I worked towards making sure we always have access to nature – beach, mountain, farm. That’s where I find stillness and calm.

 


I love sitting in chapels. We all have our way of praying. I find that being in a quiet space helps me find my centre and strengthen my faith.

 


City life can take a toll on us. I make sure we make time for fresh air in our little rural plot.

 


My happy place. This is home to us. We come here to get recharged so we can do what we do.

 

I’m curious to know how you keep it together. How do you balance your work, passions and family responsibilities? How do you keep yourselves healthy? Are you as conscious about immunity as I am?

 

 

Picosure at Belo Medical Group

 

 

I attended the Belo Medical Group’s launch of Picosure a few days ago at Greenbelt’s The Residences. It is always such a pleasure to see both Dr Vicki Belo and Cristalle. I love their energy. No doubt, Belo Medical Group has been the leader in revolutionizing the beauty/medical industry for 25 years. Now they just introduced Picosure, the world’s fastest laser and the biggest breakthrough in laser technology.

 

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I love Dr Vicki Belo. She always compliments my skin when she sees me – “no pores, no spots, no makeup!” She always asks me which of her treatments I’m doing. And since I started going to Belo Medical Group in 2008, all I’ve been doing is a simple facial and Powerpeel. I used to go every two weeks (when I was still on TV). But now that I don’t have a regular show, I just go every three weeks.

 

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With interior design sisters Cynthia & Ivy Almario and Yvette Fernandez.

 

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At the launch – Distribution Manager of Cynosure, Michael Byers, Cristalle Belo Henares, Vicky Belo, and host Grace Lee.

 

Picosure was introduced to the media by Michael Byers from Cynosure the makers of the machine. Dr Belo kept teasing him that he looked like Keanu Reeves. The crowd loved it. Michael explained that Picosure is faster than the conventional nanosecond laser machines. Operating in picoseconds, Picosure uses a patented technology called Pressure Wave which utilizes light pulses instead of heat that prevents damage on the surrounding areas of the skin.

Picosure is best used for tattoo removal, acne scar treatment, removal of pigmented lesions and wrinkle treatment. This same technology makes it more effective in breaking down skin pigmentations, inducing collagen production for skin rejuvenation and improvement of acne scars. With Focus Lense, Picosure’s benefits become even more effective by concentrating light pulses through targeted areas in the face and neck. Also, tattoo is no longer permanent with Picosure. This beauty machine breaks down the stubborn pigments into sand-like property which makes it is easier to remove from the body.

 

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The face of Picosure is Alice Dixson, who proudly announced she was 45 years old.

 

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Jordan Shen, Field Marketing Specialist for APAC of Cynosure, Michael Byers, Distribution Manager for APAC of Cynosure and Mr. Doron Glazer, Chief Executive Office of Spectrumed

 

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“What makes this machine so wonderful is that with Picosure, it requires fewer treatments. You can also combine it with Belo’s Collagen powder drink to help the skin become more supple and firm” says Cristalle Belo Henares.

 

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PicoSure’s ultra-short pulse duration goes beyond photothermal action creating an intense photomechanical impact, patented PressureWave™, resulting in greater disruption of the target for better clearance with fewer treatments, less fluence and without injury to the surrounding skin. Even dark, stubborn blue and green inks, as well as previously-treated, recalcitrant tattoos can be removed. Source.

 

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PicoSure laser focuses on your problem areas whether it’s brown spots, sun damage, freckles, pigmented lesions or acne scars. PicoSure offers a gentler treatment. In the past, lasers have relied on intense heat energy to remove pigment from the skin, which may be painful and lead to significant skin redness and downtime. Source.

 

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Traditional nanosecond lasers predominately rely on photothermal action, delivering heat to the pigment and surrounding tissue. PicoSure takes advantage of PressureWave Technology to shatter the target ink into tiny particles that are easily eliminated by the body.

 

For more information on Picosure, check out www.belomed.com, Belo Medical in Facebook, or locally call 819 BELO (2356), US inquiries call 1-310 742 4843.

 

 

Barcelona food

 

 

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Last December, just before the Christmas rush, I travelled to Barcelona with a 2-person team from Lifestyle Network. It was a surprise bonus from being Samsung Digital Home’s brand ambassador at the time. We filmed some interstitials called “DAPHNE Diaries” that will soon air in Lifestyle Network. I have quite a few stories about this trip that I’ll be sharing in future entries.

Barcelona is one of those cities you can just lose yourself at while wandering through its streets. There are the must-see sites for visitors, those listed in all travel guides. But the true beauty of Barcelona is in what you discover while walking around. This is what happened to us in terms of food. We had a couple of pre-planned dining spots, but we left a lot of our meals to whatever came our way, wherever we were. Hope you like my list.

 

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Our hotel Hotel Silken was located just off of La Rambla, the main tree-lined promenade with kiosks that sell newspapers, flowers and souvenirs. We were within walking distance from La Boqueria and other great spots.

 

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When in Barcelona, must have churros at any random xurreria. Found this stall while walking around Placa de la Sagrada Familia, outside the church.

 

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Thank you for our guide, Fabio Bugna, for showing us some his favourite spots in his beautiful city.

 

 

FEAST - EUSKAL

 

We arrived in Barcelona on an afternoon flight and found ourselves famished by 5pm, too early for dinner. Euskal Taverna was a random discovery on our way to the Picasso Museum. They had a pintxos bar! Pintxos (or pinchos)  are little snacks served in bars common in the Basque country. They are like tapas, but pintxos are spiked with a skewer or toothpick on a piece of bread. They are served and billed individually. You may either order them or just pick them up in a buffet setting. You are then charged for each pintxos based on the number of toothpicks on your plate.

 

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Euskal Etxea Taverna

 

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The pintxos are presented over the bar. You just get what you want. This is what I love about Spanish dining. It’s so casual and social.

 

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For my first meal in Barcelona… of course, jamon iberico and tortilla de patata.

 

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Euskal has over 80 varieties of pintxos, depending on what is available and what’s fresh.

 

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Happy tummies. Our producer Dianne Sibal and director/videographer Carlo Lina.

EUSKAL TAVERNA, Placeta de Montcada, 1-3_08003. Tel +34 933102185

 

 

FEAST LA BOQUERIA

 

I can just imagine living in Barcelona and having La Boqueria market right there. I’d be picking up fresh food every single day. There would be very little cooking done, just tossing of all the fresh ingredients in hot olive oil and everything would taste so good. This is a place that is frequented by locals and tourists.

La Boqueria’s full name is Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria. The earliest record of La Boqueria dates back to 1217. It went through many names and changes. It wasn’t til 1826 that the market was legally recognised. The construction of the permanent market structure started in 1840 under the direction of the architect Mas Vilà. The metal roof from the 1914 fish market still exists today. .

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My happy place in Barcelona.

 

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Seafood

 

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Fresh catch

 

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Being touristy in the market.

 

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Then I found what I was looking for.

 

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Acorn-fed Jamon Iberico. This one’s from Salamanca. The ones I bought were from Jabugo.

 

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I was so happy just tasting all the different legs!

 

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Seriously. This is my joy. I could never give up eating jamon.

 

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There’s my baby. I bought a big chunk of this and had it sliced and vacuum packed. Bellotas means acorn. This Iberian pig ate only acorns. It came from a farm in Jabugo. The ham was aged for 5 years. That’s the story of my jamon.

 

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My precious jamon iberico 5 jotas. I still have one pack in my fridge. Hmmm.

LA BOQUERIA, La Rambla, 91, 08001 Barcelona. Telephone +34 933 18 2584.

 

 

FEAST -ELQUIM

 

One of my unforgettable meals was in this amazing market stall at La Boqueria. El Quim does not take reservations. We took our chances and got there in the morning before the lunch rush started. El Quim started in 1987 with a three-metre long bar and just five stools. It now is one of the most famous eating spots in La Boqueria.

El Quim specializes in fried eggs, hence the egg emblem on the chefs’ jackets. They also have sandwiches, seafood and basically whatever fresh comes in to the market that day.

 

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You won’t miss El Quim when you are at La Boqueria. It has a choice spot in the middle of the market with a 16-metre wrap around counter and 18 stools.

 

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Chef Quim and his fellow chefs in the open kitchen.

 

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A must!!! Two fried eggs with baby squid. Yes fried eggs. The best I’ve ever had!!!

 

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Totally simple but oh so good – fried artichoke with a drizzle of sea salt.

 

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With a glass of cava, early morning.

 

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With the gracious and famous chef Quim.

EL QUIM DE LA BOQUERIA, Stalls 584-585-606-607-608-609, La Boqueria Market, Rambles. Telephone 93 301 98 10

 

 

FEAST ESCRIBA 5

 

Escriba is a pastry and chocolate shop with a lot of history and awards. We visited its second shop situated along La Rambla. The main confectionery showroom is at Gran Via. This shop along La Rambla was formerly Casa Figueras, makers of pasta and semolina. The corner shop shows beautiful Art Nouveau decor, with the founding date 1820, laid out in mosaic. The shop was refurbished in 1902 by stage designer Ros Guell who supervised some of the best craftsmen in the Art Nouveau movement.

 

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Escriba’s pretty art nouveau facade.

 

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The original corner mark of the building.

 

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Beautiful chocolate shop.

 

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We zeroed in on the xuixo, the sweet pastry beside the croissants.

 

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Creations of Chef Antoni Escriba, which have been winning awards since the 1950s.

 

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An image of the Virgin Mary guards the main shop.

 

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Dianne, Carlo and I with our xuixo purchase.

 

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If you don’t have time to sit and have coffee and sweets at Escriba, just drop by and get some xuixo, a pastry filled with crema catalana that is deep fried and covered with crystallized sugar. It was so good, I had to snap this selfie while walking down La Rambla with some crema in the corner of my mouth! Oops.

ESCRIBA, Rambla de les Flors 83, 08001. Telephone 93 301 6027

 

 

Feast formatgeria

 

One of the most charming places we went to was Formatgeria La Seu in Barri Gotic. This was highly recommended by our guide, Fabio. Formatgeria La Seu, a lovely cheese shop, is run by Katherine McLaughlin who personally picks the variety of cheeses from all over rural Spain. Her passion has brought her to some of the best cheese farms in Spain. At Formatgeria La Seu, you are guaranteed carefully selected cheeses, presented in optimum conditions.

We sat at the tasting room in the back, where we sampled a couple of palettes of cheese and a glass of vermouth.

 

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A lovely cheese shop in the narrow streets of Barri Gotic.

 

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The cheese at Formatgeria La Seu are stored and displayed in a temperature and humidity controlled cool-room, which one can enter, to view and sample.

 

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The tasting room at the back still has equipment for churning butter as this was one of the first butter-making factories in Barcelona.

 

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It was a very cold morning. This is Fabio and me trying to warm up with a glass of vermouth. It took me a while to peel off my trench coat.

 

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Vermouth was having something of a revival in Spain. It was an old-fashioned aperitif that was eventually replaced by beer or wine. But now, it is again in vogue in the Barcelona brunch set. People drink vermouth straight up before a meal or on Sundays after mass. Some say, vermouth’s resurgence has to do with the poor state of the economy. Vermouth has 15% alcohol by volume, offering the best value for your euro. The vermouth at Formatgeria La Seu was homemade, sourced though Katherine’s exploration of rural farms in the region.

 

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Each cheese in our palette came with a story about the farmer, the farm, the region. I was amazed.

 

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The backroom was kept as close to authentic as possible, with the old tiles and dairy-churning equipment.

 

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Wine and vermouth decanters in every shape.

 

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We really enjoyed this stop. I could have stayed longer. I’ll definitely be back. This is so Patrick’s thing.

FORMATGERIA LA SEU, Carrer Dagueria,16,08002, Barcelona. Telephone 93 412 65 48

 

 

FEAST - NACIONAL

In one of our walks home to our hotel, we stumbled upon El Nacional. At the time, it was just newly opened. El Nacional is located in a huge warehouse-like structure that dates back to 1889, the height of the industrial revolution in Barcelona. It used to house a cafe, a theatre, a fabric dye factory, a car dealer’s shop before the Spanish Civil War. Then it became a garage.

The building of El Nacional has now been converted into this beautiful dining hot spot with six different food specializations that reflect various recipes from the around the Iberian Peninsula. Loved the interiors!!! We didn’t get to try anything here, so feel free to let me know in the comments section how the food was. I just wanted to show photos of the stunning space.

 

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Narrow path that leads to El Nacional

 

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The cocktail bar.

 

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The oyster bar.

 

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La Llotja, specializing in fresh seafood.

 

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There is a mini seafood market where diners can choose their catch of the day and request for it to be cooked.

EL NACIONAL, Passeig de Gràcia, 24 Bis 08007. Telephone +(34) 93 518 5053.

 

 

FEAST - STOP MOS

Stop & Mos was  random find while shopping at the Mercat dels Encants, one of the oldest markets in Europe, dating back to the fourteenth century. After going through stalls of peddlers in the antique market (I will share with you my finds later), we went up to the mezzanine and looked for a place to eat.

Stop & Mos is one of those market stalls that caters to people on the go. Their logo says “natural take away food.” So this is not your typical fast food joint. We found a picnic table and seats, where we ate our food in take out containers outdoors. It was December and it was cold. Everything we ordered was so good.

 

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Mercat dels Encants.

 

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There was a fantastic view of Torre Agbar from the market.

 

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Me and Fabio ordering our tapas and pintxos.

 

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The chef himself was taking our order while preparing our food.

 

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We had tortilla, tapas, croquettas, sardines and these amazing fried peppers. I could have eaten the whole dish.

 

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Layers of aubergine with goat cheese, tomatoes and olive oil.

 

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And my favourite Spanish comfort food, tortilla de patatas.

STOP & MOS, Castillejos 158, Fira Bellcaire Mercat dels encants, Barcelona.

 

 

feast casa 1

 

Casa de Tapas is an interesting concept restaurant that put together award-winning, Michelin-starred dishes from other Barcelona restaurants and chefs, all under one roof. It’s like being able to have a sampler of all the best dishes at one time. This was our only scheduled meal in Barcelona where we actually had reservations. Excellent.

 

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We started with bruschetta using fresh tomatoes and garlic and a bottle of award-winning olive oil from Tickets.

 

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Casa de Tapes staff demonstrated how to rub fresh garlic and tomato on toasted bread. Then we drizzled extra virgin olive oil and sprinkled salt and pepper on our toasts. Delicious.

 

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Salad with burrata.

 

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Steamed tomatoes. So simple yet so out of this world amazing. What’s in their potatoes in Barcelona?

 

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Beef stew that just fell off the bone.

 

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Dani Garcia’s Burguerbull, with two Michelin stars. Oxtail burger, beef, arugula, havarti, cheese and Dani’s magical mayonnaise.

 

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Chocolate cake

 

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Russian roulette chocolate by Escriba. One of these chocolates is filled with pepper. Dianne was the lucky one.

 

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A memorable farewell dinner with new friends Fabio, Dianne and Carlo.

CASA DE TAPAS CANOTA, Calle Lleida 7, Barcelona. Telephone +(34) 93 3259171.

 

 

Sfera

 

 

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This season saw the opening of many foreign fashion brands here in Manila. It is a really exciting time for shoppers, but also a bit nerve-wracking for local retailers. I say all this competition is healthy for our economy. Plus for the many travellers who shop abroad, now you can focus on doing other things that travellers do like eat, see historical/architectural sites, experience local culture. I feel there will be less “need” for me to shop when I travel because almost everything is here now!

A few weeks ago, I attended the launch of Sfera. Its first branch is located at the second floor of SM Makati. Sfera is a Spanish brand that carries current fashion for women, men, and children. I really liked the personality of the brand. Lots of comfortable and current styles, but not exactly too trendy. I found a lot of relaxed clothing that’s perfect for casual days. But also discovered some interesting printed outfits and tailored items. The good news is – prices are very affordable. They had dresses as low as P1,200. On an average, each item I bought didn’t go over P2,000. I think I found my new favourite fast-fashion retailer.

 

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I almost got this grey sweatshirt but realized that I would need to actually make this blog come alive again. It’s kind of been in a long slumber. Haha. So sorry for being lackadaisical about updating my blog.

 

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These printed long sleeve shirt dresses are perfect for lazy weekends, while polished enough for easy meetings.

 

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I wore that red dress during a ribbon cutting ceremony at Manila FAME.

 

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I loved their collection of intimates. I got a couple of these stretchy lace-lined camisoles.

 

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Interesting details

 

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The accessories were arranged by themes. This beaded clutch had that nice Navajo pattern.

 

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Tropical

 

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The kids clothing are really “cool” – this, according to Sophia and Lily. And really friendly on the pocket. So affordable.

 

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See what I mean?

 

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I don’t know what’s happening, but my girls are really really into sweatshirts these days. They want to wear sweats every day.

 

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Cute tween fashion

 

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They even have infant wear

 

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With the merchandising team of Sfera. I love how no one wears socks in a certain demographic these days.

 

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With Jenni Epperson, Patti Filart and Rica Bonifacio.

 

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Lately all I’ve been wearing is Sfera. Good for non-occasion days and easy to spiff up for dressier parties.

 

Follow Sfera Philippines on Instagram at @sferaPH