Category Archives: Food

Hope Shines Brighter in Negros for the 27th Negros Trade Fair


Inset: Official poster of the 27th Negros Trade Fair – Beyond Limits at Rockwell Tent.

Image of men in fashionable clothes, dancing to the latest beats, drinking the most expensive imported wines, these are the Manila based Negrenses taking part in the almost bacchanalian parties of the Kahirup Society. The onset of the sugar crisis in the 1980’s has stopped these parties altogether the Negros Trade Fair has replaced it as the Negrenses’ opportunity for socio-civic interaction now with a purpose, and that is to help their poor kasimanwas back home, reeling from the effects of what was once a mighty industry. Now on its 27th year, the Association of Negros Producers has reflected the desire to go beyond limits for this 5-day event.

Inset: Interior of the Negros Showroom branch in Buendia Avenue, Makati City.

Inset: One of the trendy house lamps available at the Negros Showroom Makati.

Inset: Durable and stylish dinner table at the Negros Showroom Makati available for sale.

Inviting some bloggers for a preview of the upcoming 27th Negros Trade Fair, Negros Showroom Makati Manager Mike Claparols, descendant of the first and only Negros Republic President Aniceto Lacson, entertained guests in the old Negrense way of serving an afternoon coffee treat of Negrense delicacies. This homey showroom reminds guests of the lifestyle back home in Negros where people come in the afternoon to have a small chat over coffee and treats. The Negros Showroom Makati’s space was given by the Department of Trade and Industry for use of the Association of Negros Producers as a showroom until December 31, 2012 this year.

Inset: Piaya and barquillos from Virgie’s served in Nong Mike’s ceramic products.

Inset: Caramel Tarts, also from Virgie’s, one of the Negros Showroom Makati bestsellers.

Inset: Quan’s napoleones served fresh from their commissary in Dian St., Makati City.

The treats served were best seller ones like the signature Piaya and Napoleones from Bacolod. Sweetness from the treats reminds us very well of not just the sugar industry but also the innate sweetness and gentleness of the Negrenses. Nong Mike remembered the days where people would simply go to a relative’s house and how the host would let out a feast of sweet treats for the visitors. Much of the delicacies we see now are innovations by the home cooks who got their ideas from abroad or simply by the needs of the times as people adapt. Abundance of sugar with availability of ingredients and flour has led to innate culinary creativity of the Negrenses.

Inset: Combination of capers, basil and olive oil makes up this delicious vegetarian pate.

Inset: Addicting natural squid rings available at the Negros Showroom Makati.

Inset: Negrense twist to the original Italian puttanesca sauce from Jarvis.

There are quite a lot of people who carelessly classify Negrense cuisine as “Ilonggo cuisine” due to undeniable similiarities in some dishes up to the name but, educated tongues would know that the food culture has gone beyond its original Ilonggo offshoot just a century ago, to a unique body of cuisine. Negrenses are well-traveled people and has so adopted cooking styles from various regions of the Philippines and even foreign influences, mainly Spanish, with some Italian, Mexican and Chinese. Fusion is best seen in the various recipe from other places, but blended well with local ingredients that the taste has now become characteristically Negrense.

Inset: Trendy but durable hand bags made of local materials in Negros by Kiculo

Inset: Export-quality local and organically-made personal care items from Fresh Start Organic.

Inset: Girls’ Accessories available at the Negros Showroom Makati.

Quality and advocacy mixes well for the Association of Negros Producers where products have wonderful stories behind them. The years of experience with Negros Trade Fair and the Negrenses’ creativity has ingrained a sense of quality for each of the products sold by the association, showroom and trade fair. Each has been carefully scrutinized to pass a standard test that most items sold are vailable for export. One of the success stories is Fresh Start Organic that started almost a decade ago and has been leading in the Island push for organic products. Aside from organic produce, they have also personal care items entirely from organic sources.

Inset: PUREZA The Story of Negros Sugar will be showing for the Negros Trade Fair.

Negrense products are merely a reflection of the actual welcoming warmth of Negrenses. Negros Trade Fair and Negros Showroom  Makati are unique chances for Manileños to have a feel of little bit of Negros in the middle of the busy Rockwell Center and Buendia Avenue. PUREZA The Story of Negros Sugar will screen tomorrow, September 25, 9pm at Power Plant Cinema 6 to give us a preview of a crisis that started this all. I recommend the Negros Trade Fair for your early shopping needs or just for your fancy of export quality products for your daily needs. Do set one day between September 26 to 30 to visit the little bit of Negros at the Rockwell Tent.


Dexter’s Pizza in Dumaguete City


My Saturday was tiring filled with travel and meetings. I was back in Dumaguete City for an important meeting with AGLOW Philippines and meet a good friend afterwards whom I’ve not seen for quite awhile.

Roaming around downtown area gave me a good idea to try a local spa for their promo of an hour massage at P 185.00 only. After the relaxing massage came the idea of eating somewhere near the place where I was staying.

Who could have thought that you’ll find a pizza house somewhere in Burgos Street which is filled with local and international acclaimed restaurants.

I noticed that there was no one inside the pizza house which made me to decide to choose it for faster accommodation. There was no one at the counter at first but when the personnel saw me standing at the counter, she immediately came out and offered me their “specialties”.

Having a short conversation with her led me to know a few things about the store.

For one, they have more than 5 stores across Negros Oriental with 2 within the city area. There are 2 stores in Dumaguete City, one located near the city hall and the other one near the former mayor’s house.

Second, they opened a year ago and the stores in Dumaguete and the rest of Negros Oriental are branched-out from their main store in Manila. Their prices are quite the same from all their branches in Dumaguete and the neighboring cities.

Third, they specialize in home made pizza on a thick crust.

After sharing these details, we went through their menu and noticed that they have a lot of flavors to offer for a hungry man. To note, they have 4 major courses with all time fave,healthy cravings,gourmet and premium. 

They have a total of more than 20 pizza flavors ranging from 6 in. (kiddie),10in. (medium), 12in. (large),15in. (party) for their supreme sizes which only ranges from P 65.00 to P 285.00 per order.

After getting dizzy choosing which one to pick, I settled with their latest craze“Shawarma Pizza” on medium size which by the way cost around P 185.00.

The Shawarma delight is “oozing” with cheese and tastes like your typical “shawarma” recipe minus the meat. There were only a few shredded meat on the thick crust pizza and a few onions and veggies that could have ignited the cheese and sauce to it’s full flavor.

The pizza can really satisfy an empty stomach,especially it’s hot sauce (verde “something…”! I was able to finish 6 slices alone and can rate it at 7 out 8 for flavor and value. Although I was really hungry at that time but I think I really ate it out of the tasty sauce instead of being “hungry”.

Conclusion:

The top pick for the month can make you settle for the medium size pizza since it’s 12 inches can satisfy one man’s fill with but if you’re ordering for a group (or a couple with a big appetite!), I would greatly advice to get their party size delight.

Picky or not, the price is above average from your typical pizza house in Dumaguete City. Not to be biased about it, the one in Piapi tastes better on a thin or thick crust pizza at a cheaper price.

But if you’re in downtown area and at the hem of local diners and restaurants in the vicinity, Dexter’s Pizza is one good choice for a laidback weekend without rice.


The Bean Connection of Dumaguete City


I still had the time to stroll around downtown area while waiting for my trip back to Bacolod City last Monday. There were a lot of changes in the area after two years. One noticeable change would be the closure of Sta. Teresa restaurant and Mart One a couple of months ago.

The Downtown Area At Day

The Downtown Area at Day

I was trying to find a place to eat breakfast aside from the typical fast food chains and noticed The Bean Connection, which is located beside Chow King and the formerly area of Cang’s Inc. The coffee shop is actually owned by Scoobys, a known chain of restaurants in the city which happens to be a sister- restaurant of the ever famous Sans Rival. The location is still part of the Scoobys area which was converted into a coffee shop.

The Bean Connection

The Outside Area

The coffee shop recently opened last June 2012 offering a variety of delicacies which includes cupcakes and an unlimited offer of brewed coffee for as low as P 60.00.

Feast With Their Pastries

There were just a few handful of people inside when I came in since it was just 9:00 in the morning. While going through the menu, the crew offered their breakfast “Aros Spicy Tuna” which only costs P 50.00.

Try One Now!

Aside from the breakfast and coffee, the cafe also offers free wifi and a variety of meals from Scoobys which is just located  within the area as well. The place is big and staying there will be as comfortable as staying at home due to it’s ambiance and location. Here are additional shots from my cellphone when I was there:

The coffee shop is also filled with artistic touch that can be seen on the wall through the paintings of local artists and fellow coffee enthusiasts who’ve tried their luck with art expressing how they feel connected with the “bean” of the shop. Here are some of their personal expressions below:

Overall Experience

The coffee shop has the good location at the center of the busiest streets of Dumaguete City. The coffee is good, the food is great and the ambiance is better than the local shops I’ve been to before.

To be honest, I’ll be back for more brewed coffee and try their cupcakes this time. How about you, what’s your take on “The Bean Connection” lately?