Tuesday, March 29, 2016

5:04 PM

Heroes Across The Sea

What are you willing to do for the people you love?

For Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), this question is something they live with every day. Every day, they answer it by spending time away from their families, working in a different world. Every day they choose to help, often at the cost of their own comfort. 

Working abroad requires big changes. It means going out of comfort zones and taking chances far from the convenience of the place they call home. Bringing their talents abroad for the sake of uplifting loved ones back in the country involves dedication, a strong will, and unarguably, a big heart. 

For actor and TV personality Robin Padilla, calling these people “modern day heroes” is not enough for the amount of glory and sacrifice they give to the country. The actor, who is an avid advocate of OFWs, can very much relate to the stories these people tell.

“Hindi ako bago sa kanila. Baliktad lang siguro ang sitwasyon ko dahil ako kumikita ako dito at pinapadala ko sa Australia. Pero alam ko ang pakiramdam ng malayo sa mga anak ko. (I’m not new to their situation. Maybe it’s the opposite because in my case I earn money here and send it to Australia. But I know the feeling of being away from my children.),” Robin added. 

The drive of these modern heroes and their dedication towards their loved ones are aspects that have always resonated with him. He shares the facets that make him admire these people succinctly and emphatically. “Kung sakripisyo lang, lahat naman tayo nagsasakripisyo eh. Yung tibay talaga. Kapag andun ka sa ibang bansa at solo ka, iba yun. (If it’s just about sacrifice, we all make them. It is really the strength of these people. It is different when you are in a different country alone.).”

Touching the hearts of OFWs

The actor’s innate compassion for these individuals is the reason why he was chosen by a leading global money remittance service to serve as its face--and heart. Alex Chan Lim, Country Manager of MoneyGram International, Inc., Philippines praises the man for his sincere stand towards OFWs. 

“There was a meeting of the minds. When we first talked to him, we saw how he keeps true to his word.All the things that he says, they come from the heart.” He elaborates, “He isn’t the type of person who would just go out there for the sake of his job as an endorser. He has genuine care that touches the hearts of these people. And once you touch the softness of their heart, the rest will follow.”

The actor, who has represented MoneyGram since 2012, has been an effective conduit that connects Filipinos abroad to the culture they have temporarily left behind in the country. With the help of the brand, the TV personality has actively reached out to OFWs through a series of performances to bring joy to these modern heroes.

MoneyGram has been participating and at some cases, mounting its own shows for free as part of their efforts for the OFWs. Padilla religiously participates in them to gamely entertain the OFW communities across the sea. 

Lim shares one particular experience they had abroad. “There was a time when we went to Saudi Arabia and we met an OFW who works at the hotel we checked in. When he saw us, he naturally got awestruck with Robin. He returned three times just to talk to us. We talked for hours and not once did I see Robin 
show signs that he was tired.”

He continues, “What really surprised me is that he gave something that is really personal to him. That is out of his responsibilities as a brand endorser but he did it.” Robin gave one of the shirts he uses for his prayer sessions. “Sabi ko sa kanya, etong pangdasal ko na to, ang daming humihingi. Hindi ko to binigay pero ibibigay ko ito sayo. (I told him, there are so many people who asked me for this. I didn’t give it to them but I am giving this to you.)”

A progressive approach

Lim and Padilla pride their approach towards OFWs as progressive. “Nagsimula kami sa malasakit. Pero progressive kami sa approach. Sa mga performances, yung mga nagawa na namin, hindi na namin inuulit. (We started with compassion. But we are progressive with our approach. When it comes to performances, we do not repeat what we have done already.),” Robin explains.

This kind of approach is what MoneyGram also applies to their business.  “It’s a very transparent service. MoneyGram doesn’t have hidden charges. Whatever amount the OFW sends, it is the exact same amount that their family in the Philippines receives*,” says Lim. “Of course we are improving on other services. It is progressive.” 

These are just some of the ways that MoneyGram brings families closer. The brand has been to Japan, Singapore, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon to name a few out of over 200 countries and territories. For this year, the company has laid out more plans to touch the lives of more Filipinos with Robin actively pitching in for ideas. 

Lim enthuses, “Getting someone to represent your brand is easy. But how to effectively use him, you use him to grow the business and touch the hearts of the people. For us, there is equal importance to these two. Robin touches the heart of each and every Filipino outside this country. This is how business 
should be about.”

“Yung samin, gusto na lang naming iparamdam sa mga OFWs na andito ako para paligayahin kayo. Kahit isa, dalawang oras. Hindi mo na mabibili yun. (For us, we just want to make OFWs feel that I am here to make you happy even if it’s just for an hour or two. There is no price to that happiness.),” says 
the actor. 

He closes, “Ang pagsabi ng bayani, hindi sa salita yan kundi sa gawa. Ang mapangiti mo ang mga taong ito, ito na yung pinakasimpleng pwede nating gawin para pasalamatan sila. (You shouldn’t only call them heroes, you should act on it. Making these people smile is the least we can do to thank them.).”

Endorsements from top caliber celebrities are indeed, one of the great tools that companies nowadays employ to find that "hook" among its consumers. MoneyGram, with its dealings with Robin Padilla, was able to strike that goldmine of connecting with its market. However, what simply sets them apart is the genuine love and compassion of their endorser, to the strong mass of OFWs across the globe that the company serves. A truly unique, and a heartwarming relationship between MoneyGram and its endorser. Aptly put, quoting Alex Lim and Robin on what sets them apart, "being with MoneyGram, you look beyond business. For us, it's all about service, na "Galing Sa Puso" (service from the heart). 

* MoneyGram and its agent will not apply any processing fee or any other fee to the recipients of money transfer service in the Philippines. However other fees may be charged to a recipient by a competent local authority in the Philippines.

MoneyGram and the Globe are marks of MoneyGram. ©2016 MoneyGram.

Press Realese

Monday, March 28, 2016

6:39 PM

World Street Food Congress 2016: A 15-hour Culinary Adventure

It was a whole day filled with fun, friendship and gastronomic delights as the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB), the Department of Tourism (DOT), Makansutra and Ayala Malls launched the World Street Food Congress (WSFC) 2016 via a 15-hour food frenzy safari.

WSFC is an international culinary affair and will be held in the Philippines for the first time after being hosted by Singapore for the past two years. The five day event will take place at Bonifacio Global City (BGC) from 20-24 April 2016 and will feature the World Street Food Dialogue, World Street Food Jamboree, and World Street Food Awards. Registration for the World Street Food Dialogue is done online at www.wsfcongress.com.

Among those who participated in the food tour were Makansutra’s KF Seetoh, Indonesia’s culinary ambassador Chef William Wongso, Our Awesome Planet’s Anton Diaz, Chef Sau del Rosario, RJ Ledesma of Mercato Centrale and Singapore’s DJ Rosalyn Lee.

The street food safari kicked off at 7:00 AM at BGC then proceeded to food stops at Pampanga, Binondo and back to BGC at around 10:00 PM. The itinerary included Recovery Food, Everybody’s Cafe, Aling Lucing’s Sisig, Cafe Fleur, Sarsa Kitchen + Bar and Mercato Centrale Night Market. Traditional favorites such as tapsilog, sisig, kare-kare, lumpia and lechon were among the numerous iconic Filipino dishes the participants sampled during the jam-packed trip.
“We are very excited that the Philippines will be hosting the WSFC 2016.This will once again highlight our country as one of the best culinary destinations in the world, and it is an opportunity for us to share to the global audience the richness and contemporary edge of Filipino gastronomy,” shares TPB COO Domingo Ramon C. Enerio III.

Considered as Philippine Food Month, April is packed with other major culinary events such as the Madrid Fusión Manila 2016, the biggest and most important gastronomic event in Asia in the 21st century; and Flavors of the Philippines, a month-long food extravaganza that showcases the unique tastes of classic, contemporary and exotic Filipino food from all over the country.

For more updates on WSFC 2016 and Philippine Food Month, visit www.tpb.gov.ph

Press Release

Thursday, March 24, 2016

5:46 PM

Mandala Park 6th Weekend Market At The City's Seat of Wellness

It was so nice to be part of the 6th Mandala Park Weekend Market. The monthly market will once again treat its visitors to a slew of homegrown merchants that promote the local culinary scene. And if that isn't enough, the shared space will play host to a fun activity that will surely get the kiddies moving.

Last March 19, the Mandala Park was transformed its green, open space into a venue for their well-curated merchants to showcase locally sourced and crafted produce and provide a platform for holistic wellness in the middle of Metro Manila's hustle and bustle.

With summer just around the corner, visitors can welcome the season by spending another chill weekend afternoon with the people who matter most to them in the cool, open spaces of Mandala Park.

I've seen some old timer merchant like Ribs Manila, Ginger Ale and Fog City Creamery while I am so delighted to try the new one like Gostoso Piri Piri, I am very interested on their Portuguese barbecue which I find it yummy. The Chicken that we had is so tasty and the meat was so tender.

I also tried the best selling burger of Eats Meets West with their mojos taste so good and would like to feature them on my blog focusing on them alone. Actually, I love to try the UFO Burger but Sean convinces me to try the Burger Meats Bagnet which satisfy me as they call it a best seller.

And it's because it's so damn hot that day I ordered Halo-halo in Asiong's Carinderia. I think their menu is compelling. They have the good taste for their Puto Leche, which is really good, even my kid loves it. And we take home some classic ensaymada from Homemade Treasure's Ensaymada.

Of course, the weekend market wouldn't complete without some musical guest. During that time the live performer was the Bleu Rascals who specialize in Texas style blues and they are the genre's band-to-watch here in the country with their old school vibe and cool guy attitude.

The Mandala Park Weekend Market is Litton & Co.'s enclave of wellness and sustainability. It is indeed another way of Litton's in giving back to the community by handling them a venue for bringing people together in their love for local food, music, and places.

For more information on the Mandala Park weekend market series, follow Mandala Park on Facebook at facebook.com.mandalaparkph, and on instagram @mandalaparkph.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

2:10 AM

Dome Cafe Shangri-la Adds New Menu Items

When I think of a place where I can relax while sipping a good cup coffee while chatting with friends. The only place that comes to my mind especially if I wanted somewhere near my place it was definitely the Dome Cafe in Sharangri-la Plaza.

The place is so cozy and very friendly. I would say that this is the place for business meetings or meeting a friend for a short conversation.

I will recommend to try their newest line of food. I love the Classic Primavera Pasta that they serve, the cream sauce in linguine is so thick. The Salmon and Egg Mayo Sandwich is taste really good because egg and mayo complements the smoked salmon otherwise it will taste fishy. While the Sweet and  Spicy Grilled Salmon is my favorite, it was served with rice pilaf and asparagus. 

They also served the following in addition to their newest menu items:

Mixed Grilled Sausage
Garden Salad
Vegetarian Sandwich
Hungarian Sausage Sandwich
Classic Burger
Sausage and Egg on Toast
Bacon and Egg on Toast

I also love their summer coolers. I tried the Jamaica Coolers, it has the combination of fresh orange with strawberry and mango syrup that makes it more refreshing.

Not only that because their New York Cheesecake and Blueberry Cheesecake is the best while the Carrot cake is perfect for their signature coffee.

By the way, they even have Acoustic Night every Fridays and Saturdays, 7 pm onward with unlimited drink. Perfect for bonding with friends for a nice chill nights.

You can avail their 20% discounts if you are a connoisseur card holder, so get yours now and enjoy the following perks from Dome Cafe Shangrila;

  • 10 discount for every dine-in, take out or delivery purchase.

  • Free drink of your choice from any of their handcrafted espresso beverages.

  • Exclusive access to perks with their partners and other tie-ups.

  • Exclusive invites on Dome Special Events.

  • 20% discounts on their NEW MENU ITEMS.

  • Birthday treat surprise from Dome during your birth month.

This Promo is valid until March 30, 2016. So what are you waiting for! Like them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/domephilippines or visit them at the Level 1, Shangri-La Plaza Mall

Friday, March 18, 2016

5:43 PM

Fr. Larry Faraon’s Lenten Recollection at Teatrino and Easter Egg Hunt at Promenade

Fr. Larry Faraon O.P. will conduct another stirring Holy Wednesday  Recollection at Teatrino on Holy Wednesday, March 23 to bring Christ’s Passion and Death closer to the lives of the faithful. On Easter Sunday, March 27, the Promenade hosts another fun and frolicsome Easter Egg Hunt as the Risen Christ removes the pall of gloom with the joy of His glorious Resurrection.

From 2 to 5:30 p.m. on March 23, the popular Retreat Master will take retreatants on “A Journey of Presence, Sacrfice and Communion”, focusing on the wonder of the words “..and He dwelt among us” – the special privilege we all have because God became man, lived on earth to work wonders and redeem us from sin.

In this year of the Special Jubilee of God's Mercy and Compassion, the Eucharist comes out as the perfect example of such mercy.The abiding presence of Christ in the Eucharist is God 's expression of 'being with' his people especially in challenging times. The sacrifice on the cross of His son Jesus commemorated in the Eucharist brings forgiveness, the ultimate act of God's mercy and compassion. In holy communion, which is the result of the eucharistic activity, God's mercy and compassion is shared in fellowship and charity. We shall share with each other the richness of God's mercy and compassion in the retreat,” said Fr. Larry.

“The Music Museum group started the tradition of the Lenten Recollection at Teatrino in 2010. It is oursimple but meaningful way of sharing God’s word and His love with our mall goers.It is our spiritual gift to everyonewho has made us truly blessed through the years,” said MMGI President Precy M. Florentino.

“We want to spread the happiness of Easter to everyone as well. So on Easter Sunday, March 27, we will also celebrate the most important Christian feast, which is Christ’s Resurrection, via our traditional Easter Egg Hunt. Did you know that the word Easter comes from the Latin word oestre which means egg?,” she asked.

Everyone is invited.The Lenten Recollection is on a first come-first served basis and reservations may be made through 721-6726 and 722-4535 loc. 116. The Easter Egg Hunt happens right after the Easter Sunday Mass at 10:30 a.m.

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