About two weeks ago, I had my first meal at Madeca and wrote about it for I absolutely loved their Sisig Burrito (Php 225) and that I can’t ever finish a single order of it. I ended up just eating half when I had it all to myself. The servings are huge and it’s rare to find a place that’s good and a bang for your buck in Manila. The fact they merged Filipino-Mexican cuisine was nothing short of genius. Pictured below is the Madeca Burger which boasts a chilli con carne patty.

Click the photo below to read more!

Chili con Carnage

Verdict: The food is worth driving all the way to Ortigas for. And yep, that’s coming from me, someone who really prefers staying around Makati/The Fort.

5th floor,
The Podium Mall
18 ADB Ave. Ortigas Center
Mandaluyong City

Edit: YAY THEY DELIVER!!! Dial 87878 πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

By very fortunate circumstances, I found myself at the Samsung Galaxy S3 Launch Party for work last May 28. I got to the NBC tent 3 hours earlier than the whole thing was about to start and the place was absolutely transformed. It was then I found out that the Philharmonic Orchestra was going to play for guests who were set out to enjoy a 5-course dinner prepared by the wonderful people behind Cibo. I was in for a treat.

Cibo Catering
This was the Timballo “Al Forno” which essentially is baked dome penne pasta with grilled melanzane. I will not pretend I know what these things actually are for now, I am copying out of the fancy menu sheet they gave us. The dish was made up of organic Negros Mozzarella, zucchine and Philippine ham, pink tomato cream, pesto drizzle and melanzane crisp (grilled eggplant!). This was crazy good. I unwrapped what appeared to be leaves (I guess this was the eggplant, oops) and just ended up eating what was inside. The tomato cream sauce was reminiscent of Cibo’s Telefono but the added mozzarella and ham made this eons better.

Cibo Catering
The Halibut “In Cartoccio” had fennel and onion confit, Sagada orange and Tagaytay Haricot Vert. This tasted really clean and fresh, liked the touch of the orange and the greens to cleanse my mouth from the heavy richness of the first dish.

Cibo Catering
I had no idea what a Lemon-Basil Sgroppino could possibly be. I was prepping myself for some really light salad when the waiter brought this out and served it to us. After consultation from the Google servers, I discovered that Sgroppinos are Italian cocktails. All I can say about this is wow. I wish I could enter a restaurant and order this all the time instead of iced tea. I’m a big Mojito fan and this was just as refreshing. It was served with soft-crushed ice (as you can see in the photo) and man, it was really good. I wish they used bigger glasses. HAHA

Cibo Catering
The Slow Roast US Beef Belly was served with Pommery mustard glaze, truffle cream and red wine au jus. There were also roasted summer veggies and potato torte. I literally died when this came out. They combined my two favorite things and pulled it off so perfectly. The beef belly was seasoned and cooked wonderfully, the meat was tender (as expected) and was bursting with flavor. It was wonderfully countered by the truffle cream that tasted light yet distinct. Ugh. So good. This might be a secret but my friend and I actually did some begging and puppy eyes (embarrassing anecdote right there) with the waiter and managed to get seconds cause this was amazing and they had more to spare considering not all the guests showed up.

Cibo Catering
Last was the Almond Crusted Mascarpone Millefoglie which in regular terms would be Dulce de Leche, Fresh Panocha-Baguio Strawberry laced with a Muscovado-Rum. It was at this point that I realized that Margarita Fores is a genius and needs to be my best friend. Seriously. She can do no wrong and I hope in my heart that every fancy event I go to is catered by Cibo.

Cibo Di M Signature Caterer
The Commissary at Whitespace
2314 Chino Roces Ave Extension, formerly Pasong Tamo Extension, 1231 Makati, Philippines
Phone number: +632 7290030 local 101;
+63917 5138945 Anna Lopez
Operating Hours: Mon – Fri 09:00 – 20:00
Sat: 09:00-18:00
Sun: 09:00-17:00

I checked this space today and it finally hit that I haven’t updated in two weeks. In the internet world, 14 days equates to light years so hi. I’ve been a bit busy with life (aka running the house) and work so I haven’t had the chance to write a lot. In an effort to update about more than just food, this post is about my job.

I’m a freelance filmmaker by trade. I’m usually reluctant to say filmmaker because I’ve never actually shot on film. The video above is something I directed for Sunsilk sometime late last year.

I was also fortunate enough to work on a big online Dove campaign. Two out of the three videos were just released so I’d like to share them.

I’m thankful the year’s taken to a busy start. There’s a lot more coming up that have yet to be launched but I’ll be posting them for sure. Right now, I’m busy brainstorming for a couple of online campaigns, working on pitch material and looking for music videos to direct (so if you have any leads, point them this way).

As luck may have it, I was invited to the The Peninsula Manila’s Tasting Australia press launch on video duty. When I got there, I initially thought I was just going to be there for documentation purposes. I was extremely thrilled to find that I was actually there to partake in the three-course Australian lunch.

To start with, they served us this soft, crumbly sort of bread which I later learned was called damper. Damper is commonly known as campfire bread, because it’s usually cooked in campfire ashes. An online source says that “The bread is called damper because the fire is damped to allow the bread to be cooked over the ash covered hot coals.” There are many different variations of damper but what I tried had a cake-like consistency, being soft, moist and crumbly. It’s strongest point was the light blue cheese flavor it had. The crust was significantly harder but the blue cheesiness of it was more intense. To be honest, I’m not much of a bread person but damper of this sort is definitely something I can picture myself eating all the time. It was very, very good.

I was most wary about this dish not because it’s crocodile (which was actually the exciting part) but because it’s raw. We were served a Crocodile Ceviche with Mango, Pumpkin, Beet, Pomelo and Pepperberry Tartare. Now, if you look at the photo I have posted above, the thinly sliced white meat on the right is crocodile. How shall I describe this? Taste wise, it was great and all the elements blended together peacefully. It is notably salty though which is probably why they use fruits to balance it out. The croc meat reminded me of frog and jellyfish; it was chewy. The chef mentioned that croc meat had the tendency to be tough when cooked or sliced too thickly which is why he opted for the ceviche.

Mountain Pepper-seared Kangaroo Loin Quandong Jus, Down Under Dukkah-dusted Kumara with Asparagus and Yakajirri Hollandaise wins the award for longest food name on this blog or maybe ever. I didn’t know what to expect when I tried kangaroo meat. In fact, it was surprising to me that I was excited for this. There was this unspoken deal I made with myself years back when I had a bunny for a pet and I promised I wouldn’t eat cute things. Kangaroos, despite being kinda smelly, rank high on my list of cute, plus points for carrying their babies in their pockets. I don’t know though, it seems the carnivore in me has won.

The kangaroo meat was really tender. It also helped that it was seared and the core was pink and rare. In general, I’d say the flavor was beefy with a very slight aftertaste. When people ask me how it was, I tell them it’s between beef and lamb. I think the non-particular people could dismiss this as beef. Peppers they used along the crust of the loin were very fresh and flavorful, I don’t know when I’ll get to eat this again. When I asked them what the Kumara was, they said it was imported sweet potato. It’s not like the kamote we have here though. It’s soft, the way a regular potato is when you boil it, and it isn’t rough on the mouth. The Down Under Dukkah dust was something else because it was crazy good. The chef told me to do a Google search on it and I found that it stems from Middle Eastern influences, the Aussies merely adapted it to their cuisine. Sarap and very tasty. It suits the Pinoy palate which is particularly fond of sweet and savory tastes rolled into one. I don’t care much for the Yakkajiri and the asparagus on Hollandaise. I’m not big on Hollondaise in general so it’d be useless to write about.

For dessert, we were served Lemon Myrtle Cheesecake topped with Macadamia Caramel. Sounds like perfection in itself but when I first read this on the menu, I thought, “What on Earth is lemon myrtle?” Lemon myrtle’s a plant that’s native to Australia and can be used for many different purposes apart from culinary. For the cheesecake, they’ve managed to use it to infuse a particularly strong citrus flavor. Taste wise, it isn’t like regular lemons. There was a sort of bitterness to it that reminded me of biting into a lemon seed. I know lemon seeds don’t sound very appetizing but somehow it worked for this cheesecake. I’m particularly fond of both caramel and macadamia so I was happy to see them together. Somehow, the caramel on this cake had a smokey flavor and wasn’t as sweet as caramel usually is. I enjoyed this a lot. Edit: If you are wondering what those black stems are lying across the cake, they’re vanilla sticks! I think! Well, they are carriers of this wondrous thing called vanilla bean! They smelled awesome.

Tasting Australia is a week-long tie up with The Peninsula and the Australian embassy to promote Aussie food and culture here in the Philippines. Restaurants in The Pen like Old Manila and Escolta will feature native Australian dishes throughout the week. This started on Jan 27 and already ends on Feb 3, Friday so if you want to try any of these dishes, you have only two days!

The Peninsula Manila
Ayala Avenue Corner Makati Avenue,
1226 Makati City, Metro Manila
Phone: +63(2)8872888

Reydon Romero - URCC
Last night, I got to shoot at the Rogue Black Tie Brawl. They held it at the New World Hotel’s Grand Ballroom, the place was decked out perfectly with a stage and a ring in the middle. There were 6 fights that night, all in the mixed martial arts category, from the guys at URCC. It was the first time in my life I’d ever seen people fight the way they did last night. Unsurprisingly, it’s easier to appreciate two half-naked guys beating the pulp out of each other live than on television. Last night’s crowd was totally pumped with testosterone, even the ladies in full gowns were cheering and jeering. I absolutely don’t know anything about MMA but man, was it intense. I found myself shouting while filming the fights.

Reydon Romero - URCC
If I’m not mistaken, the rounds last night were extended to 10 minutes instead of the usual 3 which explains why all but one of the six fights ended in the first round. With the production pass they gave me, I got to position myself right by the ring which made the experience even more real. I could smell the guys’ blood and sweat as I filmed them fight which was really hardcore. Since I was on video assignment, I managed to sneak in two photos from the last fight, which are the ones I am posting here. They’re both of Reydon Romero who was defeated by Ricardo Sapno on the second round by TKO. He actually collapsed after the fight was over and I read online that it was because he was recovering still from this big bout he had just two weeks ago. I’m looking forward to see how the video turns out when it’s done. I’ll post it as soon as I can. Work’s been pretty busy these days but completely fulfilling. When you’re down and starting out like I am, there’s nowhere else to go but up.