Mindanao Times » Michael Dakudao http://mindanaotimes.net Tue, 25 Sep 2018 16:00:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.25 Cultural Potpourri: Waterfront Insular Hotel’s Greens and Strings Appreciation Night http://mindanaotimes.net/waterfront-insular-hotels-greens-and-strings-appreciation-night/ http://mindanaotimes.net/waterfront-insular-hotels-greens-and-strings-appreciation-night/#comments Tue, 04 Sep 2018 05:39:48 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=61713 ]]> It’s that time of the year when the Waterfront Insular Hotel Davao goes all out in inviting its patrons and partners to a special celebration for the “outstanding dedication and loyalty” to the City’s best located paradise of a hotel.

Last Aug. 30, 2018, the Waterfront Insular Hotel offered its guests for its annual “Client’s Appreciation Night,” hosted by the numero uno emcee Joey Sy-Domingo, beautiful music and a four-course special sit-down dinner to make the night a truly unforgettable one.

“We have gathered all of you to our annual thanksgiving to celebrate your patronage and honor your unwavering support to the hotel, our initiatives, the management, and staff,” expressed the gentleman of a towering hotel General Manager, Bryan Yves Sato Lasala, as he personally thanked the officers of the Task Force Davao, Col. Nolasco Memphin and Col. Randolph Cabangbang; as well as the friendly Commander of the East Mindanao Command, Lt. Gen. Benjamin Madrigal, who came accompanied by his lovely wife, Gie, both of whom are UP Los Banos graduates. Oh yes, the Commander also informed me that he and the popular Capitan Ronnie Go were in the same batch in the PMA.

In the midst of the Rhythm and Strings band playing the song “Lovely Day,” GM Bryan Yves S. Lasala and Property Sales and Marketing Manager Jennifer Romero went up on stage for the Awarding Ceremony to begin. There were 36 awardees to which the Waterfront Insular Hotel expressed its sincere appreciation in recognition for their highly valued support for the hotel’s programs. Those cited and given due recognition included those from the Conventions and Events Suppliers, Media Partners, Top Travel Agencies, Top Government Accounts, Top Non-Government Accounts, Top Convention Accounts and Top Corporate Accounts.

Introduced to the guests that night as well were the members of the Management Team of the Waterfront Insular Hotel Davao led by GM Bryan Yves S. Lasala along with the Property Heads and the Sales and Marketing Heads which include Marketing and Communications Officer Eva Ces Gamalong and Sales and Marketing Manager Jennifer Romero, among others.

Waterfront Insular Hotel’s Clients’ Appreciation Night

Waterfront Insular Hotel’s Clients’ Appreciation Night

Considered the highlight of the evening was the four-course gourmet dinner prepared by the hotel’s Exec. Chef Bienvenido Chavez, Group Exec. Chef Giovanni Sias, and the hotel’s culinary team. Take note that the Waterfront Insular Hotel Davao’s culinary team recently won three gold and five silver medals, a trophy, and the distinction of being proclaimed as this year’s Davao Culinary Cup Overall Champion. The thoughtfully planned dinner included a cup of White Tomato Cappucino soup; a minimalist plated Norwegian Salmon and Chicken with Pandan Mint Fettuccine; a delightful and colorful dessert consisting of Mango-Durian Mousse, Chocolate Mousse, Strawberry Mousse, Tiramisu, layered Cheesecake, Pannacota, Pralines, Fruit Tart; and ended with a small serving of timbale of Blue Cheese ice cream which madam Tomoko Dodo and I loved.

Chef Bienvenido Chavez, Jennifer Romero, GM Bryan S. Lasala, Eva Ces Gamalong, chef Giovanni Sias

Chef Bienvenido Chavez, Jennifer Romero, GM Bryan S. Lasala, Eva Ces Gamalong, chef Giovanni Sias

The evening’s invited artists for entertainment did not fail to impress the guests. The Rhythm and Strings Band had a pleasant repertoire of gentle-to-the-ears music of yesteryears which former Japanese Consul Tomoko Dodo, artist Vic Secuya and I truly enjoyed and grooved to. And yes, that was what must have prompted Vic Secuya and Commander Madrigal to ask how old I am which, of course, I didn’t respond to. But what truly brought the house down was the energetic and well-rehearsed performance of the guest artist, the show violinist Jake Juleous “JB” Gacang. This violinist not only played his electric violin but also sang some songs while doing some dance moves matched with his well-conceived facial expressions to tease the guests. “This cute guy, despite lacking in height, will be a hit in the USA,” so claimed madam Tomoko Dodo who took a video of Gacang performing his mighty best.

What a Green-and-White themed night. Thank you, Waterfront Insular Hotel Davao and GM Bryan Yves Sato Lasala. Thank you, Eva Ces Gamalong, for the photos used on this page.

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The Splendor of Music http://mindanaotimes.net/the-splendor-of-music/ http://mindanaotimes.net/the-splendor-of-music/#comments Fri, 03 Aug 2018 08:01:49 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=60770 ]]> Music lovers of Davao, please mark the date on Aug. 5, 2018, at 5:00 p.m., hopefully a bright Sunday, to experience the Splendor of Music. To help celebrate the Kadayawan Festival of our beloved Davao City, professional artistes from Seoul, South Korea, namely Park Sooyong (saxophonist), Kim Sungkwang (bassist), Lee Daein (classical guitarist), Cho Mee Hai (soprano diva of Davao), Song Taewang (tenor), Kim Eunhee (concert pianist), Kang Yunsook (jazz pianist), Lee Sungwjan (keyboardist) and Kim Minho (drummer) will be staging a fantastic concert at no less than the Marco Polo Davao Ballroom.  To make the concert a truly memorable one, renowned Filipino artistes Alfonso “Coke” Bolipata (violinist) and concert pianist Najib Ismael will add their brand of harmony for a strong Philippine-Korean musical union.

“The first part of the concert will feature classical songs interpreted through violin solos, opera arias, and piano and saxophone performances.  The second part will focus on crossover music comprised of jazz and Latin songs to showcase the practical music genre,” informs Davao’s opera diva and the Splendor of Music concert organizer, Mee Hai Cho, who just got back from the United Kingdom where she performed in her operatic best.  It was not too long ago when the opera diva staged a concert with Korean professional artistes in Davao at the Tropical Hotel to an SRO crowd of appreciative music lovers shouting “bravo” after each performance.

The first part of the program will have our very own violinist Coke Bolipata performing to French composer Jules Massenet’s “Meditation from Thais.”  The opera premiered at the Opera Garnier in Paris, France, on March 16, 1894.  Closing the first part of the program is soprano Mee Hai Cho’s melancholic interpretation of Korean composer Choi Youngseub’s composition, ‘A Nostalgic Kumgang Mountain,” which expresses the beauty of Mt. Kumgang and the ironic inability of Korean citizens to visit the enchanting place because of the division of North and South Korea.

The second part of the program will have violinist Coke Bolipata opening the show with his soulful interpretation of Willy Cruz’s “Sana’y Wala ng Wakas” as arranged by Lucio San Pedro.  Cruz, a famous Filipino songwriter and music producer, wrote the title songs like “Bituing Walang Ningning (1985), “Pahiram ng Umaga (1989),” and “Sanay Wala ng Wakas (1986),” for more than 100 Tagalog movies.  Ending the show will have saxophonist Park Sooyong and tenor Song Taewang performing with gusto to Mexican composer Consuelo Velazquez’s “Besame Mucho.”

‘The main objective of this special musical concert staged in the harvest season of August which celebrates the Kadayawan Festival is to provide an opportunity for music lovers to broaden their knowledge in the arts; and to interact with other people who share the same interest…Proceeds from the concert will be utilized for the music program we are establishing at the Evangelical Mission College in Bangkal, Davao City, for 2018-2019.  The professional artists from South Korea will conduct master classes for two weeks; and provide the necessary musical instruments and such other materials needed,” informs Ms. Mee Hai Cho.

This special concert is organized and lovingly presented by the Phoenix Cultural Exchange Foundation, Inc., in cooperation with the Marco Polo Davao, the Ayala Abreeza Mall of Davao, and the Citihardware of Mr. James Lee.

Please help promote and watch this amazing concert which doesn’t happen that often in our beloved Davao City. For information and inquiries, please contact 234-3178/0908-864-0922.

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Cultural Potpourri | Ikebana International-Davao Chapter 133′s Induction 2018 http://mindanaotimes.net/cultural-potpourri-ikebana-international-davao-chapter-133s-induction-2018/ http://mindanaotimes.net/cultural-potpourri-ikebana-international-davao-chapter-133s-induction-2018/#comments Fri, 27 Jul 2018 02:45:06 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=60670 ]]> THE TRAFFIC along Bajada was horrible last Friday the 13th of July, 2018, but it didn’t deter me from attending Davao’s lovely and perfumed ladies of Ikebana’s “Installation of Officers for 2018-2020.” Arlene “Jing” L. Puentespina, the outgoing President who led the group from 2016-2018, made me promise with such strong urgency to attend thus disabling me to go to Marco Polo’s fashion show held on the same day and time.

Upon entering the Mangosteen and Durian Hall of the Park Inn by Radisson Davao, I was welcomed by Jing Puentespina who wore an attractive gown like all the rest of the members of Ikebana International-Davao Chapter 133 who were all fashionably dressed. It is truly good to see that the veteran members were able to recruit lovely and talented newbies in this association of “friendship through flowers.”
The program started with an invocation expressed through an interpretative dance by the talented ballet dancer of a daughter of Engineer Angel and Jing Puentespina, Pia Angelika L. Puentespina, who had just finished her scholarship studies in China. She is now preparing to leave for New York, USA, for further studies. Benjie T. Yu followed with the reading of a prayer.
The lovely Leticia Robillo- dela Paz, who was celebrating her birthday, then welcomed and acknowledged the guests. Crisenda C. Liu was given the important task of introducing the Inducting Officer & Guest of Honor in the person of the Honorable Consul of Japan, Yoshiaki Miwa. Consul Miwa was a Counsellor of the Japanese Embassy in Finland then later became its Minister Counsellor before being assigned as Counsellor of the Japanese Embassy in the Philippines on February 2018. In just a few months, he was assigned as Director of the Consular Office of Japan in Davao City.
“This is my first diplomatic posting in an Asian country and I welcome it as I am an Asian. Finland’s climate has been too cold for me; while my posting in Iraq has been a truly hot experience for me. I am comfortable with Davao’s climate,” Consul Miwa said. Consul Miwa also informed the guests that Davao has kept him busy since his arrival to the City. He will work hard for economic cooperation between Japan and the Philippines to realize a healthier economy for Davao. He also mentioned that he will be proposing for a direct flight from Davao to Japan. But Consul Miwa’s important task will be the creation of a Consulate General in Davao by January, 2019. “It would mean a bigger scope of responsibility for me as Consul General with the upgrading of the Consular Office of Japan in Davao,” he pointed out. The good Japanese Consul also stated that 2020 marks the 100th year of existence of the Consular Office of Japan in Davao, the first Japanese consulate established outside of Manila during the prewar days. And the first Japanese consul assigned to prewar Davao happened to be his wife’s uncle. Do take note that by the year 2020, Ikebana International-Davao Chapter turns 50 years old.
In her farewell speech delivered like a true beauty queen, Jing L. Puentespina expressed, “As President for the past two years, I would like to thank the officers, members and friends of the organization. We have accomplished so much working together. I am delighted that our organization has regained an atmosphere of unity and friendship once again. Now, we see and feel amongst us the spirit of teamwork. I feel so proud and honored to have been able to lead this excellent team. It has been a wonderful journey knowing you and sharing laughter together…”
The new set of officers for 2018-2020 includes Ma. Lourdes Victoria T. Imperial (President), Leticia R. dela Paz (1st VP), Crisenda C. Liu (2nd VP), Clarice S. Lu (Recording Sec.), Leticia S. Averion (Corresponding Sec.), Jennifer Christine S. Lim (Treas.), Patria A. Ibarreta (Asst. Treas.), Araceli C. Bibay (Auditor), Ma. Diana C. Lozano (PRO), Ana Maria C. Abaca (Historian), and Arlene L. Puentespina (Ex. Officio).
Ma. Lourdes Victoria Tionko-Imperial is the granddaughter of the founder of Ikebana International-Davao Chapter, Dona Carmen Marfori-Soriano. Her mom, Marie Soriano-Tionko, who has always been an active member, is the daughter of Dona Carmen. “The beautiful Japanese art of arranging flowers, ikebana, is a mixture of adventure, creativity, knowledge, humility, patience and obedience…It is my deepest wish for everyone that we may continue to live out these qualities, especially resilience and love, as we work towards the Golden Anniversary. May we always share our hearts and soul in bringing life to the arrangements that we creat. May we continue to strive for further mastery, evoking the emotions and imagination of the audience. I look forward to working with everyone; and may we live out our motto: Friendship through Flowers.
I would like to thank dear Jing L. Puentespina for the surprise honorable award she blessed me with. More flower power to Ikebana International-Davao Chapter.

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Cultural Potpourri | Emilia S. Sitjar’s Royal Celebration http://mindanaotimes.net/cultural-potpourri-emilia-s-sitjars-royal-celebration/ http://mindanaotimes.net/cultural-potpourri-emilia-s-sitjars-royal-celebration/#comments Fri, 20 Jul 2018 01:23:40 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=60484 ]]> IT WAS, finally, Emilia Sorongon vda. de Sitjar’s official 80th birthday.

As expected, her royal celebration was such a well-attended event by guests coming from various sectors of our Davao community. “Last year was probably mama’s biggest birthday bash where the family took on the Chinese tradition of celebrating a birthday ending in 9 and adding a year (thus 79+1=80) after a freak accident, which left her with a broken collarbone. Thankfully she didn’t need any surgery and in two weeks was back on her feet,” confided the celebrator’s eldest son, Emil S. Sitjar.

As last year was a celebration of thanksgiving, this year it was a celebration of life. Last year, the lucky guests wore the color pink as requested by the Sitjar children. This year, the lady guests were strongly urged to wear their wonderful fascinators and imagine like they were attending the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Fascinators are those stylish headpieces often used at British formal events such as in the celebrated royal wedding.

It was tita Emilia’s unica hija, Eileen, who was assigned to organize the celebration. Eileen hired the services of Gigi Batuampo of Pink Touche to transform the Ballroom of Apo View Hotel into an English-themed party. So last fine Sunday of the eighth of July, 2018, Gigi had fresh flowers of all shapes, colors, and sizes along with Alor’s Home Kitchen’s yummy desserts of strawberry shortcakes and chocolates beautifully decorating the tables.
The lunch buffet consisted of Manhattan Clam Chowder, West Leek Soup, an open Salad Bar, Chicken Cordon Bleu, Roast Pork Hamonada, Seafood Mandaragat, Creamy Carbonara and Fresh Fruits, all prepared by the able staff of the Apo View Hotel.

Naturally, mother Emilia S. Sitjar came to her party dressed in an outfit inspired by the Queen Mother as she is to her family. The regal queen of alajeras of Davao City was every inch a royalty in a coat dress by Edgar Buyan, and accessorized with fascinating blings from Emilia’s Finest Collection (Abreeza Mall).

Completing the Sitjar family were Emilia’s children Emil, Eduard alias Jet (who flew in from Bangkok) and Eileen. Unfortunately, Jovito Sitjar Santiago was the only grandchild present as cousins Sophie and Sonia, together with mom Boong, had school activities to attend to in Thailand.

Without any formal program, the party was relaxed and free from any sort of rigidness. Macho Jet, known for his public speaking prowess, wit, and humor, became the deserving program host in an instant. Fr. Erwin Torres, who teaches at the Ateneo de Davao University was requested to bless the abundant food before chow time. Just right after everyone said “Amen,” 17 lechons were brought to the ballroom eliciting cheers from the guests. Each table got a whole lechon de leche to enjoy.

After lunch, Santiago, together with classmate Bela Baron and cousin Eva Jalad, went up on stage and performed a dance number for the royal Lola. Emilia’s sister, Candi S. Jalad, who travelled the distance from Butuan, described Emilia as the eldest sibling who is tough yet loving.

Emil talked about tita Emilia as a devoted mother; as well as her devotion to the Divine Mercy. In humor, Emil revealed how his mother dearest insisted on a party despite having only a few weeks of preparation. Not to be outdone as usual, Jet delivered his message with his signature antics that left everybody laughing hard.

A surprise dance number was presented by the officers of the Divine Mercy Apostolate Archdiocese of Davao. Edna Ramirez, Treasurer of the Divine Mercy, described her relationship with Emilia and pictured her as “a sexy registrar of the Immaculate Concepcion College (now UIC) who wore mini-skirts and carried bags with matching colored stiletto shoes” in the past.

Before tita Emilia delivered her royal speech, she called on stage the lucky ladies donning the best fascinators. Florian Roldan-Sanchez was declared the winner; and went home with a diamond watch to the envy of the guests.
Emilia Sitjar then thanked her children, whom she describes as “the loves of my” life as well as confidently stating that her kids love her very much. She thanked her officers of the Divine Mercy Apostolate whom she works closely with, as well as the priests and nuns who came to celebrate with her. Lastly, she thanked her relatives and her friends who came to the celebration. Oh yes, tita Emilia did not forget to ask her guests to donate to the Divine Mercy Apostolate Archdiocese of Davao.

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Cultural Potpourri | Biag is back! http://mindanaotimes.net/cultural-potpourri-biag-is-back/ http://mindanaotimes.net/cultural-potpourri-biag-is-back/#comments Tue, 17 Jul 2018 02:18:57 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=60320 ]]> It was a few weeks ago when I found a small pack of chocolates on our dining table waiting for me. Our household assistant said it came from Bian.

But when I read the message written on the box, I was so surprised to find out it was actually a “pasalubong” from Biag. Yes, Biag Gaongen is back. Who is Biag Gaongen?

Biag is the Igorot Ballet Dancer I’ve written about several times in the past 10 years. Former principal dancer of Ballet Philippines (1999-2009), dance artist of Taiwan’s Cloud Gate Dance Theater (2009-2010), Austria’s Tanz Oper Graz (2011-2013), Biag is the “bunso” of Agnes Locsin’s Manila-bred “babies.” And he seems to be the favorite of the dance maestra.

A recurring knee injury forced Biag to hang his professional dance shoes; and so, he decided to pursue a masteral degree in the academic world of dance. The past three years saw Biag laboring through books and research papers as he studied to acquire an MFA (Masters in Fine Arts) in Dance at the Ohio State University (OSU or Ohio State) in the USA.

It has to be mentioned though that even as Biag left the professional dance scene, he kept dancing in productions of the Carmen Dakudao-Locsin Foundation here in Davao. He was seen performing and choreographing in Agnes Locsin’s Alay Sa Puno Series (UGAT:Unang Galaw, SANGA: Ika-Apat na Galaw, BULAK: Ika-Limang na Galaw, and BUNGA: Huling Galaw). He was also Locsin Dance Workshop’s (LDW) associate artistic director as well as dance teacher to LDW’s advance students before he left for OSU.

His three-year study at Ohio State should have been a straight stay at the US, but Biag came home last year to participate in ICONS, the 70th Anniversary Celebration of the Locsin Dance Workshop. I believe he couldn’t say no to his Nanang, aka Agnes Locsin, so he came home to help out in the production of his “home” studio.

Biag graduated from Ohio State University last May after he successfully performed and submitted his thesis entitled Locomotion: Gained in Translation (a dance film exploration and fusion of movements by dancers of varied dance training) last March; and was back in Davao last June. He’s back teaching the intermediate and advanced ballet classes at LDW.

So what’s next, Biag? “After my much needed rest, one month lang ang bigay ni Nanang, I’m doing a show here at the Locsin Dance Workshop. Post-masteral thesis ko daw for Nanang, sabi nya. For now, that’s my main focus. Mas matindi pa sa thesis ko! But I’m so glad to be back home… in the Philippines and in Davao. Uwing-uwi na ako since last year pa.”

We too are glad you’re back, Biag. Looking forward to this show you’re putting together. Tell us more, soon. Perhaps, we can have our lunch or dinner date this time which we have been planning for years.

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Cultural Potpourri | A Musical Tribute to Maestra Ma. Victoria E. Tagle http://mindanaotimes.net/cultural-potpourri-a-musical-tribute-to-maestra-ma-victoria-e-tagle/ http://mindanaotimes.net/cultural-potpourri-a-musical-tribute-to-maestra-ma-victoria-e-tagle/#comments Fri, 13 Jul 2018 01:22:41 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=60231 ]]> “God has a purpose for your pain, a reason for your struggles, and a gift for your faithfulness. Don’t ever give up,”

resonates with the personal inspirational message the Reverend Msgr. Paul Quizon of the St. Francis Parish Church gave to the well-loved music maestra Ma. Victoria “Vicky” E. Tagle.

Last July 7, 2018, Nico E. Tagle and the members of the St. Joseph Vocal Ensemble (SJVE) gathered family members, relatives, and friends in a tribute cum fundraising dinner held at the D’Leonor Hotel-Bajada all for the love of the ailing music maestra Vicky. Indeed, it was quite a shock to learn a few months earlier that the beloved music maestra has cancer of the uterus and had to undergo a series of expensive chemotherapy sessions at the Davao Doctors Hospital which could naturally drain one’s finances. As such, the devoted Rey and Nico Tagle, along with the members of the SJVE, decided to put up a fund-raising dinner to be of help.

As the unico hijo of the Tagles explained in his welcome remarks, “My mom felt sad that she felt all alone in her fight against the big C. Tonight, we have all gathered here to let her know that she is not alone in her trying times. We are in total support of her; and we are praying fervently for her recovery as her prayer warriors. You are not alone in your battle, ma. We all love you and we will always be here for you.”

“Maestra Vicky’s St. Joseph Vocal Ensemble is a church-based choral group which was formed in 2001 through the initiative of Fr. Pete Lamata and maestra Vicky. The group was formerly known as the St. Joseph the Worker Parish Choir; and was an official parish choir. The group has joined multiple chorale competitions in the Davao region and has won awards consequently. It was in 2010 that the group underwent changes and transformed itself as the St. Joseph Vocal Ensemble. We continue our journey to share God’s music through the church with teacher Vicky leading us. The SJVE is a resident choir of the Sta. Ana Church, Our Lady of the Perpetual Help, and the Carmelite Monastery’s Chapel. The choir also finds time to share their music in church services held at the Abreeza Mall on Sundays,” shared the devoted choir member Kristine Rose Duritan-Puyod.

On the special night for maestra Vicky, the SJVE started the programme with heartfelt renditions of the “Prayer of St. Francis” and “Seasons of Love.” Dance maestra Cecile D. Hidalgo’s I-Sayaw’s lead ballet muse, Erika Almaden, performed to the tune of “Ave Maria.” Bro. Froilem “Bonn” Barretto of the Redemptorist Church sang his version of “The Warrior is a Child” followed by “The Promise” which had the guests warming up to a night of music.

As the guests were having dinner, Musikademy’s Kyle Pulido entertained with his guitar music. Watching him perform made me realize that, indeed, the boy has developed into a good artist. My first encounter with Kyle was when I was portraying the role of the King in the “King and I” and Kyle was still a very young and cute boy in the Musikademy production. After Kyle came the performance of the Musikademy Scholars of music maestro Bong Aviola. The group is comprised of Yannah Maniquis, Lexi Cosare, Quisha Modequillo, KC Bengil, Riana Gumanit, Caitlyn Co, JClark Detoya, Andrea Lopez, and Yanna Ignacio who sang songs quite unfamiliar to the audience.

It was truly a special night of music for maestra Vicky. Can you imagine the Davao Girls Choir of the Davao City National High School with conductress Elena Gementiza; maestro Bong Aviola’s The Himig Singers; and The University of Mindanao Chorale headed by Peter Ian Buaya and Timothy Paul Atencio all joining forces with the St. Joseph Vocal Ensemble as singing warriors for the love of maestra Vicky?

“It is music and teaching music which gives me the courage and hope to face this challenging phase of my life. I continue enduring my agony knowing the Lord is always there for me. He is my rock. And I thank you all for this wonderful opportunity of sharing music which is special for me,” said the teary eyed and frail music maestra Ma. Victoria E. Tagle.
To end the evening, the SJVE, the Himig Singers, Musikademy’s M6, The Davao Girls Choir, and the University of Mindanao Chorale were united in singing “When You Believe” lovingly dedicated to music maestra Vicky.
I am praying for your fast recovery, tia Vicky; and I love you.

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Cultural Potpourri | Impressions on Davao by a First Time Visitor http://mindanaotimes.net/cultural-potpourri-impressions-on-davao-by-a-first-time-visitor/ http://mindanaotimes.net/cultural-potpourri-impressions-on-davao-by-a-first-time-visitor/#comments Tue, 10 Jul 2018 07:59:39 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=60084 ]]> Last June 29 to June 4 was a busy schedule for me with my former UP College of Architecture (Diliman Campus) classmates visiting me. It had been months since Archt.

Aimee Maceda Aquino of Manila, a first degree cousin of Baby Maceda-Montemayor, and Archt. Menchie Abragan-Atienza of New York planned of visiting Davao City for some rest and recreation. It was the first time Menchie was to set foot on Davao soil which truly excited her. She had been away for about two decades; and dear Aimee saw to it that it was worth her time coming back home to the Philippines for a visit. Menchie was determined to visit provinces in the country she hasn’t gone to. Davao was first her list upon Aimee’s strong recommendation and it excited her being the hometown of our controversial Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.

Friends reunited (l-r): Architects Menchie Abragan-Atienza, Aimee Maceda-Aquino and Michael Ebro Dakudao

Friends reunited (l-r): Architects Menchie Abragan-Atienza, Aimee Maceda-Aquino and Michael Ebro Dakudao

“Coming from New York, all I expected from my Davao trip at the start was to share good food with dear friends that I haven’t seen for years. My Davao trip turned out to be so much more,” she said as she continued, “Homemade breakfast at my friend Michael’s home was such a delight to trigger my taste of Davao. This was followed by a delicious Filipino lunch hosted by Baby Maceda-Montemayor at Mesa Restaurant in SM Lanang Premier. Then off we went to the Rodriguez family’s popular Paradise Island in the Garden City of Samal which was truly a restful haven for me having spent so many years in New York’s concrete jungle. The variety of plants utilized in the resort’s landscaping was such a treat for me. It was such a sight to behold. Not to mention the delicious resort’s cuisine made of fresh ingredients we truly savored and enjoyed. Never have I felt so happy and contended in a long time.”

Dining at Mesa with Baby Maceda-Montemayor

Dining at Mesa with Baby Maceda-Montemayor

“Travelling from the traffic-congested Davao City to the Puentespina family’s Malagos Garden Resort was truly an amazing and welcoming oasis. The local vegetation of various flowering plants in the midst of such lush greenery only made me imagine the Garden of Eden right here in Davao City. Not to mention the fantastic artworks of varying sculptures in the place. It was interesting to visit the chocolate museum as well.”

“The Insular Waterfront Hotel-Davao is a beautifully maintained, well preserved, iconic hotel of Davao City. I was quite surprised that the hotel retains most of its native design elements complete with that 1960’s feel. It was such a privilege to visit the Dakudao family’s historic estate. The beautiful family mausoleum designed by Archt. Michael Ebro Dakudao from the ruins of the Dr. & Mrs. Santiago Pamplona Dakudao, Sr. residence originally built by Japanese carpenters in 1936 was truly impressive and one of a kind. Oh yes, it was a must for us to visit President Duterte’s humble home plus the high-walled mansion of the Ampatuan family. I enjoyed visiting the Crocodile Farm and meeting the owners Sonny and Marco Dizon. It was a first for me to hold a huge albino python and baby crocodile while being photographed. The Japanese Tunnel as well was amazing. All these places I went to in Davao were just unforgettable for me.”

“I dread to think about the calories I consumed throughout my visit. Such a delightful Spanish cuisine served at Tiny Kitchen by Vincent Rodriguez. French cuisine was made more enjoyable with the presence and hospitality of Claude and Tess LeNeindre of Claude’s at the lovely Oboza Heritage House. I loved the Southeast Asian cuisine of Dim Yum; and so with the Filipino Pizza of Insular Waterfront Hotel. The sizzling pochero of Roadside Cafe and Bigby’s grilled chicken barbecue with its special sauce were so delicious. And Davao’s various fruits are something to rave about.”

As for Aimee Maceda-Aquino, who visits Davao once a year, she expressed, “Davao has always been for me one destination where gustatory delight connects to lifelong relationships with family and friends; and to the interesting social journeys of personalities who helped make Davao what it is today.”

“Davao’s gastronomic display and hospitality is a fusion of European, Asian, and Filipino regional cultures that are as varied as the Davao population. Breakfast and dinner of tapa and chorizo, grilled food, local fruits served with so much courtesy, love and warmth was such a pleasing experience in Paradise Resort where we got to meet the owner. Equally delightful was a serving of delicious paella, lengua con champignon, chorizo and shrimps, and queso de bola cheesecake and local coffee in Tiny Kitchen. The dining experience is something worth duplicating when I return to Davao next time for my highly valued haircut from Mr. Deeno Jeong of the SVS Korean Beauty Salon.”

Thank you, Aimee and Menchie, for the distraction er visit. Owing to problems with the internet connection, good pictures were not downloaded for this article.

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Cultural Potpourri | The 54th Celebration of the Hijos de Davao 2018 http://mindanaotimes.net/cultural-potpourri-the-54th-celebration-of-the-hijos-de-davao-2018/ http://mindanaotimes.net/cultural-potpourri-the-54th-celebration-of-the-hijos-de-davao-2018/#comments Fri, 06 Jul 2018 01:54:15 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=59965 ]]> The celebration of Hijos de Davao’s 54th anniversary held last Jun. 29, 2018, at the SMX Convention Center of SM Lanang Premier was made special with the presence of special guests which included Executive Secretary of the Philippines Salvador “Bingbong” Campo Medialdea, Ambassador to Israel Neal Garcia Imperial, Republic of Korea’s Honorary Consul in Davao Edgar N. Ang, Cong. Karlo Alexei Bendigo Nograles, Cong. Mylene Garcia-Albano and the Chairperson of the Cultural Center of the Philippines Maria Margarita Moran-Floirendo.

Warmly welcoming the guests by the ballroom’s entrance were the smiling Hijos de Davao Officers (2015-2018) namely Vincent J. Garcia (President), Carmen Soriano-Diano (Vice President), Rowena Hizon-Daluz (Secretary), Pilar Rosario E. Rodriguez (Treasurer), Maria Isabel Soriano-Lemen (Asst. Treasurer), Jose Claro H. Velez (Business Manager), Marissa Salonga-Tionko (PRO) and lawyer Rose Marie T. Cabaguio (Director).

In his message, the Hijos de Davao President Vincent J. Garcia mentioned that not even the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos’ declaration of Martial Law in 1972 nor the devastating siege of Marawi in 2017 prevented the holding of the anniversary celebration of Hijos de Davao.  For indeed, it was a special day to observe the Feast of St. Peter, the Patron Saint of Davao City.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte once reminded the members of the Hijos de Davao:  “The Hijos de Davao has been a valuable partner in preserving the cultural heritage of Davaoenos and in transforming the ordinary people of Davao into exceptional citizens who in turn, help and assist in the development of the City and the empowerment of fellow Davaoenos… We all know that the Hijos de Davao is a socially conscious and responsible institution fixed with a sincere desire to make our community grow and develop.  Thus, we in the government are thankful for the countless community-related activities and projects being implemented by your dynamic organization.”

As is the highlight in the tradition of the annual celebration of the Hijos de Davao, the longest existing socio-civic organization of the City, it proudly presented the lovely, statuesque and talented Cecilia Paulino Reta as this year’s muse.  Cecilia is the daughter of Hijos de Davao members Rodolfo and Jessieden Reta; and belongs to the 6th generation of the Bangoy-Bustamante-Alzate-Suazo clan of Davao City.  Cecilia’s escort was the equally tall and handsome, young hunk of a banker, Brandon Chad Cody Tuano Gahol, the son of Ricardo and Lucille Gahol.  Cecilia was crowned by former Miss Universe (1973) and presently CCP Chairperson Maria Margarita Moran-Floirendo and Exec. Secretary Salvador C. Medialdea; while Cong. Mylene Garcia-Albano and Cong. Karlo B. Norgrales pinned the sash on her.  The sweet Anette Josephine Salonga Tionko, the 53rd Hijos de Davao muse, and Hijos de Davao Pres. Vince J. Garcia presented Cecilia with a bouquet of beautiful flowers.

Twenty-two pairs of dancers, both young and young once, coming from prominent families of Davao were chosen to perform the traditional Rigodon de Honor.  The rigodon participants all looked elegant dressed in their best ternos and barong Tagalog ensembles.

An added feature to this year’s Hijos de Davao celebration, which was ably emceed by DJ Raebert Santos, was the Mother-and-Daughter fashion show featuring the collection of popular Davaoeno designer Bobby Castillo.  The models included Marga and Nikka Nograles; Mia and Sophia Floirendo; Joan and Andrea Alladin; Michelle, Danielle, and Natalia Isabelle Ang; Tricie and Tala Arcenas; Aina, Julia del Rosario and Emelia Santos; Cindy and Mischa Cayco; Lea and Celine Nitoreda; Mabelle and Lissy Lemen; Christine Barreto and Bianca Uy; and Ann and Sandy Gotamco.

Fusion, a Davao based dance organization comprised of Julian Pablo Lizada Lopez, Kyle Alexander Verano, Alex Batistil, Louise Anne Subido, Hyacinth Jan Yanson and Andrea Angel performed their mighty best in a highly energetic hip hop dance number.

A surprise guest performer for the evening was the highly-acclaimed stage and film actress from Manila, Pinky Marquez, who beautifully sang songs from the “Sound of Music.”

After a buffet dinner which was lovingly prepared by Baby Maceda-Montemayor’s Villa Margarita Hotel’s catering service, the Hijos de Davao members and their relatives and friends enjoyed the rest of the evening listening and dancing to the music of a live band called the Reversed Band led by Angelo Inigo.

Long live, Hijos de Davao.


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Cultural Potpourri | Rene S. Gargallo, Marco Polo Davao’s New RBE Manager http://mindanaotimes.net/cultural-potpourri-rene-s-gargallo-marco-polo-davaos-new-rbe-manager/ http://mindanaotimes.net/cultural-potpourri-rene-s-gargallo-marco-polo-davaos-new-rbe-manager/#comments Fri, 29 Jun 2018 02:19:08 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=59680 ]]> Marco Polo Davao formally introduced its new Restaurant, Bar and Events (RBE) Manager to Davao’s lifestyle writers last June 27, 2018, at the Polo Bistro.  His name is Renato “Rene” S. Gargallo who has 15 years of hotel experience and knowledge of the Philippine hospitality industry.  Meeting him and conversing with him over a Polo Bistro lunch consisting of Exec. Chef Alex Destriza’s set menu of pepper tuna loin with poached quail egg salad, seafood and shellfish cream soup, roasted prime beef fillet with red wine sauce, and capped with a dessert of mango and passion fruit medley, Marco Polo Davao’s RBE Manager, indeed, is armed with good communication and interpersonal skills.

A graduate of San Sebastian University where he obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management , Rene prides himself with his 15 years of work experience in the country’s food and beverage industry.  Before coming to Davao City to work at Marco Polo, Rene was Operations Manager and Outlet Manager of the Shangri-La Boracay for eight years before the island was closed off to tourists.  His last job was at the Dusit Thani Hotel in Makati City where he was happily employed as Assistant Food & Beverage Manager.  Rene also worked for the Mandarin Oriental Hotel and Hyatt Hotel and Casino.  He is quite hopeful that he could be of help in Marco Polo Davao’s competitive momentum especially when the new five star hotels begin their operations in the City of Davao soon.

Marco Polo Davao’s RBE Manager Rene S. Gargallo

Marco Polo Davao’s RBE Manager Rene S. Gargallo

“I forecast, plan and control the ordering of food and beverages for the hotel.  I also manage the finances related to the whole process of purchasing food and drinks for the hotel’s outlets.  By purchasing it includes the ordering and transporting of food and beverages,” said Rene when asked of his duties.”

“I am also responsible for the overall operations of the hotel’s outlets which could use some re-branding.  I make sure that the hired staff is trained on proper food preparation; proper and legal alcoholic beverage service kitchen safety techniques; and that everybody understands health standards,” informed Marco Polo Davao’s RBE Manager Rene S. Gargallo as he added, “The training and the development of the bar and restaurant team using relevant techniques; and making sure all team members are aware of their respective responsibilities and are performing all duties to a constantly high standard are very important to me.  It is also my duty to communicate our services and facilities to our hotel guests as required.”

According to Rene, he likes the Davaoeno employees of Marco Polo Davao although it is his first time to handle Mindanaoans.  He has worked well and know the regionalistic traits of the Tagalogs from Luzon, the Visayans from the Visayas region and now, the Davaoenos of Mindanao.  The problem facing him now is that he finds the employees of Marco Polo Davao lacking the “confidence” that he has been conducting seminars to train them to function more effectively in more ways than one.  “It may take at least three months of training from me.  And yes, the millennials are of a different culture as well.  What I do is adapt to their ways.  Mind you, but they learn as fast as they change employers.  I just accept them as they are and deal with them accordingly.”

“I’ve been here for a month in this beautiful City of Davao.  So far, I like the peace of the city and its happy people.  Yes, Davaoenos may complain incessantly about the traffic; but honestly, it is nothing compared to the traffic grind I had to bear with when I was working in Makati City and living in Pasig.  The daily ride from Pasig to Makati and back was so stressful to the point of being unbearable.  Davao traffic is fine with me.”

Rene is still single.  He is now looking for a place he could rent so he could ask his mother dearest to join him in Wow Davao.  Indeed, life is here in Davao City.  Welcome to Davao City, Marco Polo Davao RBE Manager Rene S. Gargallo.





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Cultural Potpourri | Dining with a Manila Gourmet http://mindanaotimes.net/cultural-potpourri-dining-with-a-manila-gourmet/ http://mindanaotimes.net/cultural-potpourri-dining-with-a-manila-gourmet/#comments Tue, 26 Jun 2018 00:09:12 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=59515 ]]> More than a month has passed since the Marco Polo Davao led by its wonder women, GM Dottie Wurgler-Cronin and Director of Sales and Marketing Pearl Peralta-Maclang, joined the celebration of Philippine Airlines’ “4-Star Global Airline” certification with PAL executives from Imperial Manila.

Unfortunately for me, one beloved PAL executive was unable to attend that time.

It made me wonder why it’s only recently that the PAL AVP Babyruth Chuaunsu came to Davao.  “It’s for my rest and relaxation that I am here.  I also want to check on what’s new with Davao City’s culinary scene,” the lady with the “kutis mala porcelana” stated without hesitation.  Why, it’s almost a year ago when Babyruth came to Davao and we, including manong Rene and Inday Chona Lizada, joined her in her quest for Davao’s best restaurant.  This woman has all the delicious reasons and unique stories of unforgettable memories for celebrating haute cuisine from renowned 5-Star hotels to provincial homes’ comfort food lovingly prepared by the family’s devoted cocineras.

Dining at the Lotus Court with Babyruth E. Chuaunsu, Pearl P. Maclang and chef Alex Destriza with the Lotus Court staff

Dining at the Lotus Court with Babyruth E. Chuaunsu, Pearl P. Maclang and chef Alex Destriza with the Lotus Court staff

It was last Saturday, June 23, 2018, when Babyruth, along with Marco Polo Davao’s tiny-waisted Pearl Peralta-Maclang, invited for lunch at the Lotus Court which Babyruth loves to check on for its culinary development whenever she is in town.  I must admit that I was rather confused to refer to the PAL AVP as a gourmand rather than a gourmet in the past.  The dictionary defines a gourmand as “someone who is extremely fond of eating and drinking;” while a gourmet “is a person with refined tastes who enjoys and knows a lot about fine food and drinks.”  Definitely, Babyruth E. Chuaunsu is a gourmet by any culinary standards.

When it comes to Chinese cuisine, PAL’s AVP is, unquestionably, a connoisseur.  She has stayed for years as PAL representative in Mother China, the land of her ancestors.  Her presence at the Lotus Court is enough to make Marco Polo Davao’s Exec. Chef Alex Destriza and his culinary minions shake, rattle and roll done with a diplomatic smile.  For lunch at Davao’s reputed finest Cantonese restaurant, Babyruth ordered the favorite dishes of her former PAL boss who is now the Secretary of Finance of the country, Carlos Dominguez III.  The Lotus Court dishes included hot and sour soup, hakaw, pork buns, silken tofu with assorted mushrooms and veggies, lemon chicken, sauteed beef with shiitake mushrooms, salted fish fried rice, and steamed pampano.  It was a feast for just three people.  As expected, Babyruth listed her suggestions for chef Alex to ponder on.  Indeed, it has been a long time since the Lotus Court added something new to its menu.  The Cantonese restaurant used to invite foreign Chinese chefs to update its culinary offerings.  “And I am wondering why the Lotus Court doesn’t have high end, special dishes included in its menu for its VIP diners,” Babyruth asked.  Oh yes, both Babyruth and Pearl wore red, as red as the face of chef Alex when Babyruth started her culinary inquisition.

After the filling lunch, we were on our way to Halifax Davao Hotel, Inc. President Francis Rasay Ledesma and Jocy Tagle-Ledesma’s Saddleback Haven located in Baracatan, Toril, Davao City.  Earlier that day, dear Jocy sent me this loving message, “I pray you will enjoy Saddleback Haven and feel God’s presence there.  Bing Dakudao Locsin and I already had our retreat there with our Bible study group…God bless you, Michael!”  Indeed, Saddleback Haven offers a communion with nature as Babyruth described the place.  It’s a fitting haven to recharge in for a wearied soul of an urbanite exposed to all sorts of stresses in a concrete jungle.  Saddleback Haven reminds me of Baguio of yesteryears when it wasn’t that densely populated as it is now.

Upon arrival at Saddleback Haven, Francis and Jocy’s devoted cocinera, Ruby Gelasque, and her assistants prepared banana with langka turon and a refreshing drink of lemon grass juice with lots of lemon slices.  We had our tour of the place and before we knew it, Ruby had us prepare for dinner she herself cooked.  “I had my training at Marco Polo Davao and of course, with ma’m Jocy,” revealed Jocy.  Dinner consisted of corn soup with native mushrooms, oxtail and pork knuckles kare-kare, grilled pampano, and fried lumpia ubod.  Home-cooking at its best from Jocy’s recipes.  I left Saddleback Haven by 8:00 p.m. leaving Babyruth and Pearl for a friendly overnight bonding.

As Ruth was leaving on a night flight back to Manila on Sunday, manong Rene and Inday Chona Lizada joined us for an early dinner at chef Patrick Co’s Fat Cow.  “I like the look and feel of Fat Cow.  The restaurant is well-lighted, simple, and has tasteful furnishings…The meal started with its crusty, sliced bread with butter and tomato jam.  The tomato jam was cooked down to release its own sweetness which mixed perfectly with the tomato flavor.  I wish I had some pink Himalayan salt with me so I could sprinkle some of it on the jam to make it perfect.  The mesclun salad boasted of fresh greens, prosciutto, shrimps and its well-balanced vinaigrette blended just deliciously. The salad featured the burrata cheese.  Chef Patrick’s classic bacon and potato croquette was well complimented with his mushroom-onion puree with truffle oil.  I kept the excess puree anticipating it to be used with the chef’s additional dishes and I was right.  The Wagyu striploin with garlic confit and a duo of mustards came next.  The Wagyu was done right and it was yummy topped with the puree,” commented the Manila gourmet which had chef Patrick smiling from ear to ear.  As if chef Patrick’s well thought of set menu for the group wasn’t enough, Babyruth still ordered additional dishes like the osso buco and the unagi aburi maki.  We ended our dinner with chef Patrick’s blueberry cookie tart.

Thank you, Babyruth, for the enlightening culinary experiences you’ve been sharing with me.  It is always such a delight (complete with stress, too) to be with such an unpretentious and lovable Manila gourmet.


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