Revisiting CAFÉ MEDITERRANEAN: Flavors of the Sun

LOCATION: Lower Ground Floor, Power Plant Mall, Rockwell Drive corner Estrella Street, Makati, Metro Manila 1210

I had a sentimental lunch here with close family while at the Power Plant, remembering my sister-in-law who passed away because this was one of her favorite dining places in the metro.

Café Mediterranean is a cozy, casual Mediterranean1 restaurant that offers “the Mediterranean lifestyle … through fresh, healthy meals with family and friends, finding a balance between work, relaxation, and experiencing the pleasures of an active life.”2 It believes that “sharing meals with friends and family, pausing to taste, smell and enjoy, rather than simply refuel, is one of the most valued foundations of traditional Mediterranean culture!”2

1-dining                                Cafe Med Power Plant dining area, upon entry, to the right

1-dining-1                                 Cafe Med Power Plant, upon entry, to the left

1-fx rm                                            Cafe Med Power Plant function room

Here is a brief history of this restaurant before I share my recent senti-dining experience with you, dearest readers/followers. In 1994, siblings Gonzalo and Giovanna Mabanta, along with Gonzalo’s then sister-in-law Marla Moran, opened the first branch of this restaurant in Greenbelt Mall, and it became an instant hit among the corporate crowd in Makati. The name was derived from Caffe Mediterraneum, a long defunct early 1960’s beatnik hangout in Berkeley, California.2

Café Mediterranean features “fresh, light, yet flavorful, and slightly unusual and interesting menu offerings … the traditional cooking of the 14 or so countries located within the Mediterranean… keeping the key ingredients (olive oil, garlic and tomato) as unifying elements”2. Employees and loyal customers are treated as extended family, thereby exuding a sense of family tradition in the restaurant.2

The menu is customer-friendly, indicating if dishes are vegetarian/vegan, with appropriate descriptions.

Here is the menu:

  1. Appetizers and Little Plates
  2. Soups and Salads



  1. Sandwiches
  2. Pastas
  3. Pizzas


  1. Gyros3
  2. Gyro Plates
  3. Gyro Platters
  4. Döner Kebabs4


  1. Large Plates
  2. Kebabs5
  3. Kebab Platters


  1. Side Orders
  2. Desserts
  3. Beverages


Prices are inclusive of government taxes, and subject to 10% service charge.

You can also ask your server about the creamy, low calorie, and genuine Gelato Italiano. Perhaps I will try it next time.


Now here is my dining experience in this restaurant:

We were only four that lunchtime and we ordered the following: a Kebab5 Platter with Pita6, Tabbouleh7 (served with grilled chicken), and Roti8 (with dip). There were three in my group who had the Zomato9 Gold app but only opted for the 1+1 drink promo so we ordered the Mango Banana Lassi10 and the Lemon Cucumber Shake, with syrup/Splenda11 on the side (to minimize/avoid using sugar).

1-order-1-aThe Kebab5 Platter with Pita6 was very satisfying with a mix of chicken and beef kebabs, fish kebabs and kofta12, with small portions of hummus13, moutabal14, and tabbouleh7. The 5 large pitas6 were served warm and best savored dipped in these accompaniments/dips. We dipped the pieces of grilled chicken, beef, fish and kofta in our individual dipping ware with the sauce served in a bowl. The grilled onions and tomatoes were enjoyed with every bite of the grilled meat/fish and dips, along with the pita. Happy tummies! My favorites were the fish and chicken kebabs since they were very savory, tender and juicy. I found the beef kebab a bit tough and the kofta savory, but too strong for my taste.

We enjoyed dipping pita6 bread and rotiin the accompanying sauces/dips.

1-order-2The Tabbouleh7 (served with grilled chicken) was served chilled. We enjoyed this very refreshing vegetarian salad with the grilled items ordered.

The Mango Banana Lassi10and Lemon Cucumber Shake were both served well chilled and were refreshing. They were good combinations of the major ingredients used for each beverage, and were not too sweet.

1-fd-hummus-bowlsIt was late when I saw a separate menu for Hummus13 Bowls, which are served with two pieces of pita6 bread. I could have ordered one had I seen this menu earlier. I wanted to support Café Mediterranean which is partnering with the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR. All proceeds of these orders go to Syrians displaced by the Syrian War. So, what are you waiting for? You not only get to enjoy a freshly made, hearty and healthy hummus bowl, but you get to help displaced Syrians too.

Contact details: Tel Nos.: (02) 898-1301 or (02) 765-5010; Mario Gutierez (Manager);;    website:

If you cannot go to Power Plant Mall, here are the other branches of Café Mediterranean in Metro Manila, Laguna, and Davao:

  1. 3rd Floor, 1 Bonifacio High Street (Phil.Stock Exchange), 5th and 28th Streets, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig (coming soon)
  2. 2nd Floor, Corte de las Palmas, Alabang Town Center, Alabang, Muntinlupa City
  3. Unit 45 & 46, Basement 1, Estancia Mail, Capitol Commons, Pasig City
  4. 1st Level, Greenbelt 1, Ayala Center, Paseo de Roxas corner Legaspi Street, Makati City,
  5. Ground Floor, Entertainment Center, SM Mall of Asia, Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City
  6. 5th Floor, The Podium, Ortigas Center, ADB Avenue, Mandaluyong City
  7. GFF-8 Ground Floor, Solenand 3, Nuvali, Sta. Rosa, Laguna
  8. Chimes Mall, Davao City

This is not a sponsored post. I paid for my visit in this restaurant.

Did you find this post informative? I would like to hear from you re your dining experience in this restaurant. Simply scroll and click “Leave a comment”. Do share this post with your Facebook friends, follow me by clicking on the bottom right corner of your device, and do not forget to like this post.  Thank you!

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The following terms are defined for interested readers, especially those with “Senior-Moments”, and those too busy or lazy to Google such terms:

1Mediterranean cuisine is characterized by these key ingredients – olive oil, garlic, fresh fruits and vegetables, protein-rich legumes, fish, chicken, whole unprocessed grains, seeds and nuts, with moderate amounts of dairy, wine and red meat15, prepared by people of the Mediterranean region16. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Mediterranean cuisine”.17

3Gyro, or gyros, is a Greek dish made from meat (pork, chicken, ground beef, mutton, or veal), cooked on a vertical rotisserie, similar to shawarma18 (of the Middle East19). The roasted meat is sliced vertically in thin, crisp shavings when done. It is generally served wrapped or stuffed in a lightly grilled flatbread (like pita6), and rolled up with sliced tomatoes, chopped onions, tzatziki20 sauce, and sometimes, French fries. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Gyro (food)”.21

4Döner Kebab is a type of Turkish kebab5 made of seasoned meat cooked on a vertical rotisserie. The outer layer is sliced into thin shavings as it cooks. The sliced meat may be served on a plate with various accompaniments, stuffed into a pita6 or other type of bread as a sandwich, or wrapped in a thin flatbread such as lavash22 or yufka23. It inspired similar dishes like the Arab shawarma18, Greek gyros3, and the Mexican al pastor24. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Döner Kebab”.25

5Kebabs are various cooked, skewered or not skewered, (cut up or ground) meat (or seafood) dishes, sometimes with fruits and vegetables, with origins in Middle Eastern19 cuisine, with variants throughout Asia and even worldwide. In the Muslim world, a kebab is any of a wide variety of grilled (cooked on a skewer over fire) meat dishes. It can also be grilled, baked in a pan in an oven, or as a stew, and served with various accompaniments. It is traditionally made of mutton, but regional variations use beef, goat, chicken, or fish. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Kebab”.26

6Pita is a Middle Eastern19 family of yeast-leavened round flatbreads baked from wheat flour, also common in neighboring areas. It is used to scoop sauces or dips, such as hummus13, or to wrap kebabs5, gyros3, or falafel27, in the manner of sandwiches. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Pita”.28

7Tabbouleh is a Lebanese and Syrian vegetarian salad made mostly of finely chopped parsley, tomatoes, onion, mint, (soaked, not cooked) bulgur29, and seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Some variations add garlic or lettuce, or use couscous30, instead of bulgur. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Tabbouleh”.31

8Roti, or chapatti, is a round, unleavened, flatbread native to the Indian subcontinent32, made from stoneground wholemeal flour, traditionally called atta, and water that is combined into a dough. It is also consumed in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and parts of Africa, Fiji, Mauritius and the Caribbean. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Roti”.33

9Zomato is an Indian restaurant search and discovery service, founded in 2008 by Deepinder Goyal and Pankaj Chaddah, and now operating in 24 countries, including the Philippines. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Zomato”.34 

10Lassi, lacchi, chaas, or taak, is a popular, traditional dahi (yogurt)-based drink that originated in the Indian subcontinent32. It is a blend of yogurt, water, spices, and sometimes, fruit. It is traditionally a sweet, savory drink, sometimes flavored with ground and roasted cumin, and served chilled. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Lassi”.35

11Splenda is the commercial name and registered trademark of a sucralose-based artificial sweetener, owned by the American company Heartland Food Products Group, and manufactured by the British company, Tate & Lyle. It is available in both granular and dissolvable tablet forms. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Splenda”.36

12Kofta is a family of savory meatball or meatloaf dishes found in the Indian subcontinent32, South Caucasian37, Middle Eastern19, Balkan38, and Central Asian39 cuisines. It is made of minced or ground meat, usually beef, chicken, lamb, pork, fish or shrimps, mixed with spices and/or onions. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Kofta”.40

13Hummus is the classic Middle Eastern19 chickpea and sesame dip or spread. Cooked or mashed chickpeas or other beans are blended with tahini41, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic. It is also popular in the Mediterranean16. It is rich in protein, fiber, B vitamins and minerals like manganese. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Hummus”.42

14Moutabal is a smoked eggplant and tahini41 dip, and sometimes has cumin.43 It is similar to baba ghanoush14, a Levantine44 appetizer of mashed, baked or broiled eggplant, mixed with tahini, olive oil, and various seasonings. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Baba ganoush”.45

16The Mediterranean countries are those that surround the Mediterranean Sea. Southern Europe46, the Levant47 and North Africa48 regions border the Mediterranean, in addition to two island nations – Cyprus and Malta. Here are the countries and territories bordering the Mediterranean Sea: (1) Southern European coast: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, France, Gibraltar, Greece, Italy, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Slovenia, Spain, and Turkey; (2) Levantine coast: Cyprus, Israel, Lebanon, Palestine (Gaza Strip), and Syria; (3) Northern African coast: Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, and Tunisia. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “List of Mediterranean countries”.49

17 “Mediterranean cuisine,” accessed January 4, 2019,

18 Shawarma is a Middle Eastern19 meat preparation based on the Turkish döner kebab4, originally made of seasoned mutton. Modern versions are also made of beef, chicken, turkey or veal, cut into thin slices, and stacked in a cone-like shape on a vertical rotisserie. Thin slices are shaved off the cooked surface as it continuously rotates. Spices added include cardamom, cinnamon, cumin, paprika and turmeric. It is commonly served as a sandwich or wrap, in a flatbread such as pita6 or laffa50, often garnished with diced tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions, pickled vegetables, and tahini41 sauce or amba51 mango sauce. Some restaurants may offer additional toppings like grilled peppers, eggplant, or French fries. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Shawarma”.52

19Middle East is a transcontinental region centered on Western Asia53, Turkey and Egypt. It consists of the following countries: Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Middle East”.54

20Tzatziki, cacik, or tarator, is a dip, soup, or sauce found in the cuisines of Southeast Europe46 and the Middle East19. It is made of salted strained yogurt or diluted yogurt, mixed with cucumbers, garlic, salt, olive oil, sometimes with vinegar or lemon juice, and herbs such as dill, mint, parsley and thyme. It is generally served as a cold appetizer (meze55) or a side dish. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Tzatziki”.56

21“Gyro (food),” accessed January 4, 2019,

22Lavash is a soft, thin, Armenian unleavened flatbread made in a tandoor (a cylindrical metal oven) and also eaten all over Azerbaijan, Iran and Turkey. It is made with flour, water and salt. The thickness of the bread varies, depending on how thin it was rolled out. Toasted sesame seeds and poppy seeds are sometimes sprinkled before baking. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Lavash”.57

23Yufka is a thin, round and unleavened flatbread in Turkish cuisine, similar to lavash22, usually made from wheat flour, water and salt. It is about 18 inches (40-50 cm) in diameter. The sheets of yufka dough are baked on a heated iron plate called a sac for about 2-3 minutes, turned over once to brown the other side. Before consumption, dry yufka bread is sprayed with warm water. The moistened bread is covered with a cotton cloth and is rested for 10-12 minutes before serving. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Yufka”.58

24Al pastor, or tacos al pastor, is the Mexican version of Turkish döner kebab4 and the Greek gyros3. It is a pork dish developed in central Mexico that is based on shawarma18 spit-grilled meat, brought by Lebanese immigrants to Mexico. Al pastor literally means “shepherd style” in Spanish. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Al pastor”.59

25“Döner Kebab,” accessed January 4, 2019,öner_kebab

26“Kebab,”accessed January 4, 2019,

27Falafel is a Levantine44 and Egyptian deep-fried ball, or a flat or doughnut-shaped patty, made from ground chickpeas, fava beans, or both, commonly eaten inWestern Asia53, most likely originated in Egypt. Herbs, spices, and onion relatives are commonly added to the dough of this vegetarian dish, considered a street food. The balls are commonly served in a pita6, laid over a bed of salad or pickled vegetables, and drizzled with hot sauce or a tahini41-based sauce. It can also be wrapped in a flatbread called a taboon. It can be eaten alone as a snack, or served as part of an assortment of appetizers called meze55. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Falafel”.60

28“Pita,” accessed January 4, 2019,

29Bulgur is a cereal food made from the cracked parboiled groats of several different wheat species, most often with durum wheat, with a light, nutty flavor. It originated in Middle Eastern19 cuisine. It is a common ingredient in cuisines of many countries of the Middle East and Mediterranean16. It does not require cooking, although it can be included in cooked dishes; soaking in water is all that is needed. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Bulgur”.61

30Couscous is a Maghrebi62 dish made of (3 mm or 0.12 in.) small steamed balls from crushed durum wheat semonila, traditionally served with a stew spooned on top. It is a staple food throughout the North African48 cuisines of Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, and Tunisia. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Couscous”.63

31“Tabbouleh,”accessed January 4, 2019,

32The Indian subcontinent is a southern region and peninsula of Asia, delineated by the Himalayas in the north, the Hindu Kush64 in the west, and the Arakanese65 in the east. Politically, it includes Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Indian subcontinent”.66

33“Roti,” accessed January 4, 2019,

34“Zomato,” accessed January 4, 2019,

35“Lassi,” accessed January 4, 2019,

36“Splenda,” accessed January 4, 2019,

37The South Caucasus is a geographical region in the southern Caucasus Mountains on the border of Eastern Europe67 and Western Asia53. It roughly corresponds to modern Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “South Causasus”.68

38The Balkans is a term used more generally for the region, including states in the region, which may extend beyond the peninsula, and is not defined by the geography of the peninsula itself. The Balkans are usually said to comprise Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, and Slovenia. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Balkans”.69

39Central Asia is a region which stretches from the Caspian Sea in the west to China in the east, and from Afghanistan in the south to Russia in the north. It consists of the former Soviet republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgystan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. It is also colloquially referred to as “The Stans” as the countries generally considered to be within the region all have names ending with the Persian suffix “-stan”, meaning “land of”. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Central Asia”.70

40“Kofta,” accessed January 4, 2019,

41 Tahini is a condiment made from toasted, ground, hulled sesame seeds. It is served by itself as a dip, or as a major ingredient in baba ghanoush14, halva71, and hummus13. Tahini-based sauces are common in Middle Eastern19 restaurants as a side dish or as a garnish, usually including lemon juice, salt and garlic, and thinned with water. The sauce is also a popular topping for meat and vegetables in Middle Eastern cuisine. It is used in cuisines of the Eastern Mediterranean72, the South Caucasus68, as well as parts of North Africa48. It is also used in Chinese and Southeast Asian cuisine. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Tahini”.73

42“Hummus,” accessed January 4, 2019,


44 Levantine cuisine is the traditional cuisine of the Levant47 which covers a large area of the Eastern Mediterranean72. The most distinctive aspect of Levantine cuisine is meze55, including baba ghanoush14, hummus13 and tabblouleh7. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Levantine cuisine”.74

45“Baba ganoush,” accessed January 4, 2019,

46Southern Europe, or Mediterranean Europe, is the southern region of the European continent, consisting of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Corsica, Croatia, Cyprus, Gibraltar, the East Thrace of European Turkey, Greece, Italy, Malta, Montenegro, Slovenia, and Spain. Andorra, North Macedonia, Portugal, San Marino, Serbia, and the Vatican City are also often included, despite not having a coast in the Mediterranean. It can also include mainland Southern France and Monaco, which are otherwise considered parts of Western Europe. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Southern Europe”.75

47The Levant refers to a large area in the Eastern Mediterranean72, primarily in Western Asia53. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Levant”.76

48North Africa is a region encompassing the northern portion of the African continent. There is no singularly accepted scope for the region, but the most commonly accepted coverage includes Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Sudan, and Tunisia. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “North Africa”.77

49 “List of Mediterranean countries,” accessed January 4, 2019,

50Laffa, or taboon bread, is a Middle Eastern19 flatbread, traditionally baked in a taboon oven or a tannur, and is similar to the various tandoor breads in many parts of Asia. It is of medium thickness, slightly chewy, and does not tear easily. It is used as a base or wrap in many cuisines, and eaten with different accompaniments. It is a staple in Middle Eastern cuisine worldwide. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Taboon bread”.78

51Amba, or anba, is a tangy mango pickle condiment popular in Indian and Middle Eastern19 cuisine, particularly Iraqi, Israeli and Saudi cuisines. It is typically made of mangoes, vinegar, salt, mustard, turmeric, chilli and fenugreek, similar to mango chutney. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Amba (condiment)”.79

52“Shawarma,” accessed January 4, 2019,

53Western Asia includes Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Cyprus, Georgia, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Western Asia”.80

54“Middle East,” accessed January 4, 2019,

55A meze, or mezza, is a selection of small dishes served as appetizers in parts of the Middle East19 (as a multi-course meal), the Balkans38 and Greece (as snacks while drinking or talking), and North Africa48. It is generally accompanied by distilled drinks like arak, mastika, ouzo, raki, rakia, or tsipouro. It may also be consumed with beer, wine and other alcoholic drinks. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Meze”.81

56“Tzatziki,” accessed January 4, 2019,

57“Lavash,” accessed January 4, 2019,

58“Yufka,” accessed January 4, 2019,

59“Al pastor,” accessed January 4, 2019,

60“Falafel,” accessed January 4, 2019,

61“Bulgur,” accessed January 4, 2019,

62The Maghrebi is a major region of North Africa48 that consists primarily of Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, and Tunisia. It is also called Northwest Africa, Northern Africa, Greater Arab Maghreb, Arab Maghreb, Greater Maghreb, the Berber world, Barbary, or Berberry. It additionally includes the disputed territories of Western Sahara (mostly controlled by Morocco), and the cities of Ceuta and Melilla (both controlled by Spain and claimed by Morocco). The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Maghrebi”.82

63“Couscous,” accessed January 4, 2019,

64Hindu Kush is an 800-km-long mountain range that stretches near the Afghan-Pakistan border, from central Afghanistan to northern Pakistan, according to the Wikipedia page “Hindu Kush”.83

65The Arakan Mountains, or the Rakhine Mountains, are a mountain range in western Myanmar, according to the Wikipedia page “Arakan Mountains”.84

66“Indian subcontinent,” accessed January 4, 2019,

67Eastern Europe is the eastern part of the European continent, and although there is no common definition of its coverage, the United Nations’ Statistics Division included the following countries: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Russian Federation, and Slovakia, as well as the republics of Belarus, Moldova, and Ukraine.85

68“South Caucasus,” accessed January 4, 2019,

69“Balkans,” accessed January 4, 2019,

70“Central Asia,” accessed January 4, 2019,

71Halva, halvah, or halwa, is any of various dense, sweet confections, mostly made in the Middle East19, Central Asia39, and the Indian subcontinent32. It could be flour-based, made by frying flour (such as semolina, cornstarch, and rice flour) on oil (like clarified butter or ghee), mixing it into a roux, and cooking it with a sugary syrup, very popular in Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Greece, India, Iran, Pakistan, Somalia, and Turkey. It could also be crumbly and nut butter-based, usually made from tahini41 or other nut butters such as sesame and sunflower, and sugar. Halva can also be based on other ingredients like beans, lentils and vegetables, like carrots, pumpkins, squashes, and yams. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Halva”.86

72Eastern Mediterranean countries are geographically to the east of the Mediterranean Sea, and includes Cyprus, Egypt, Greece, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Palestine, Syria, and Turkey. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Eastern Mediterranean”.87

73“Tahini,” accessed January 4, 2019,

74“Levantine cuisine,” accessed January 4, 2019,

75“Southern Europe,” accessed January 4, 2019,

76“Levant,” accessed January 4, 2019,

77“North Africa,” accessed January 4, 2019,

78“Taboon bread,” accessed January 4, 2019,

79“Amba (condiment),” accessed January 4, 2019,


81“Mezze,” accessed January 4, 2019,

82“Maghrebi,” accessed January 4, 2019,

83“Hindu Kush,” accessed January 4, 2019,

84“Arakan Mountains,” accessed January 4, 2019,


86“Halva,” accessed January 4, 2019,

87“Eastern Mediterranean,” accessed January 4, 2019,

CEV: Ceviche Heaven in Siargao

LOCATION: Loose Keys Moto Culture, Tourism Road, municipality of General Luna, Siargao Island, province of Surigao del Norte

Picture this: You are in Siargao Island and staying in General Luna and it is your first night, or your next night/s after surfing or island hopping. Do you want to go to a bar yet try something different to eat? Well, why not go to Cev?

0-cev-1Loose Keys-Cev, located along Tourism Road, municipality of General Luna, Siargao

Loose Keys, the bar part of this establishment, opened sometime mid-2018, while the kitchen part, called Cev, opened on November 2018.

You cannot miss this cevicheria-bar, owned by David del Rosario, a surfer with a culinary course from the USA, who claims to be “living his best life” in Siargao.

Cev is along Tourism Road, the main road of the municipality of General Luna. It is near a popular restaurant called Bravo.

The open-air atmosphere in Loose Keys-Cev is cozy and perfect for relaxation after surfing or island-hopping. What’s that? You don’t drive, and have not rented a motorcycle? No worries. Just ride a tricycle. Pay PHP20 per person, and the driver will drop you right in front of this place.

Operating hours are 11:00 am till 9 pm daily.



0-cev-4Take three steps up the entrance, and to your left are the items for sale (shirts, surfing boards, etc.).

0-cev-7To your right is a billiard table and high stools with the wooden frame of the restaurant’s border where you can place your cold beer or cocktail while playing billiards, or when just chilling and enjoying a drink while facing the main road, watching people and vehicles pass by.

0-cev-5A little further to the left are two small dining tables for four, then a bar, where customers can sit, order drinks and chill.

To the inner right are longer tables for bigger groups to gather, eat ceviche1 and kinilaw2 dishes, drink, and enjoy each other’s company.

51724465_809269626098180_2493690086873366528_oCev is busy at night, so come early! (Photo from

0-cev-9-ok                                          Wall Menu, Loose Keys-Cev, Siargao

BeFunky-collageDave del Rosario with the catch of the day (l-r): Mahi-mahi3 (the favorite fish),  Cobia (delicate, plump, almost sweet; 21 kilos in pic), Talakitok or Bigeye Jack (8.5 kilos in pic), all for Cev’s ceviche dishes and kinilaw rice bowls.  (Photos from

0-cev-10-ok                                                    Menu Card, Loose Keys-Cev, Siargao

Serving portions of two colorful and eye-appealing ceviche1 dishes, PACIFICO and SANTA FE (at PHP320 each), are big enough to be shared by two to three persons.

0-cev-16-pacifico-okWe enjoyed Pacifico: fresh fish prepared with calamansi4 juice, cilantro5, and red onions, made creamy with coconut milk,and complemented in texture and taste by soft boiled sweet potatoes and soft sweet corn kernels, as well as the crisp fried sweet potato strings and tortilla chips. I surmise that the leche de tigre6 added a certain appeal to the dish among male customers (see the footnote below). You must try this ceviche1 creation!

0-cev-13-santa fe-okWe also ordered Santa Fe. This ceviche1 is very interesting! The fresh fish is prepared with calamansi4 juice, and flavored with red onions, and cilantro5, along with tomato puree. The tortilla chips and cucumber slices gave a contrasting texture and added flavor, and the fried bananas and popcorn offered an added treat for this dish.

Colorful and visually attractive kinilaw2 rice bowls (at PHP280 each), good enough for sharing between two seniors, are available: General Luna (named after the town it is located), Daku, Guyam, and Naked (named after three popular islands in Siargao). Mix all the ingredients well so you get a bit of everything per spoonful. See their descriptions in the menu above.

0-cev-14-guyamWe only ordered two kinilaw2 dishes. The Guyam kinilaw2 rice bowl, made of garlic rice, grilled pork belly strips, along with the fresh fish, made tangy with sweet calamansi4 and coconut vinegar, was very satisfying. The ginger, pickled papaya, red and green onions gave enough spiciness, while the crunchy cucumber slices and roasted corn provided added texture plus an element of surprise to this dish.

0-cev-15-gen lunaThe General Luna kinilaw-garlic rice bowl features grilled eggplant, made creamy with coconut milk, and the fresh fish is combined with coco vinegar, ginger and red onions. The surprise was the combination of spiced mango cubes, fried sweet potatoes and black beans.

0-cev-11The alcoholic beverages offered are: Signature Cocktails (Drunken Monkey, Open Water, Sunken Sailor, and Treasure Chest), Classic Cocktails (Amaretto Sour, Margarita, Mojito, and Piña Colada), House Specials (Bacardi & Coke, Gin & Tonic, Jack Daniel & Coke, Rum & Coke/Sprite, Vodka Cranberry, and Vodka Soda), and Beers (San Miguel Light, San Miguel Pale Pilsen, Beer na Beer, Brew Kettle, Red Horse, and General Luna Ale7).

Our male companions ordered beer, which was served well chilled.

0-cev-12Non-alcoholic beverages include: hot or iced coffee (americano, cappuccino, espresso, latté, mocha), hot or iced signature drinks (almond, chocolate, salted caramel, toffee), juices and smoothies (banana, calamansi4, cranberry, mango, watermelon), and soft drinks (Coke and Sprite).

0-cev-17-drinksI ordered a watermelon smoothie. It was served in a highball glass with a bamboo straw, which I appreciated because of their non-plastic policy. This drink was just right: it was refreshing, creamy and not that sweet. Duirng our next visit, I ordered a Margarita. This cocktail was balanced, with the right amount of tequila, sourness, bitterness and sweetness. I definitely enjoyed this drink.

So, when in Siargao, why not stop by at Cev to drink a cold beer/cocktail along with Pacifico Ceviche (PHP320) while playing billiards, and/or order our favorite Guyam kinilaw rice bowl (PHP280) for lunch/dinner? Besides, you can get to meet the most friendly, hospitable, good-looking, and hands-on restaurant owner in Siargao, just ask for Dave!

Contact information: Instagram: @cevsiargao;  @loosekeysmotoculture;

This is not a sponsored post. I paid for my visit in this restaurant.

Did you find this post informative? Have you tried Cev? I would like to hear from you. Simply scroll to “Leave a Reply” and enter your comment in the box. Please scroll and click the “Like” tab and “Facebook” to share this post. Do not forget to follow me by clicking “Follow” on the lower right corner of your device.

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The following terms are defined for interested readers, especially non-Filipinos, those with “Senior-Moments”, and those too busy or lazy to Google such terms:

1Ceviche is a popular Latin American dish where the raw cubed fish or shrimp is diced and “cooked” in citrus juice, then mixed with other ingredients like red onions, cilantro5 and chilis, according to the Wikipedia page “Ceviche”.8

2Kinilaw is the Filipino term which literally means “eaten raw”. It usually refers to a raw fish or seafood dish, native to the Philippines, similar to ceviche1, although lightly grilled meat and vegetables may also be used. It basically relies on (coconut or cane) vinegar to denature the ingredients, and has a souring agent like calamansi4, balimbing9, dayap10, green mangoes and kamias11. It is flavored with salt and spices like black pepper, chili peppers, ginger and onions. The dish could be served as an appetizer, as a finger food (pulutan in Tagalog) with alcoholic beverages. There are many Filipino regional variations. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Kinilaw”.12

3The mahi-mahi, or common dolphinfish, is a surface-dwelling ray-finned, compressed-bodied fish with a single, long-based dorsal fin extending from the head almost to the tail, found in off-shore, temperate, tropical, and subtropical waters worldwide. Males have a prominent forehead protruding well above the body proper while the smaller females have a rounded head. This colorful fish has a golden side, bright blues and greens on the sides and back, and an iridescent blue pectoral fin. Its color fades to a muted yellow-grey upon death. The name comes from the Hawaiian language which means “very strong”, through the process of reduplication. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Mahi-mahi”.13

4Calamansi is a small (about 30-mm in diameter), tangy-sour citrus fruit with a thin, green skin (which turns yellow-orange when ripe), with a yellow/orange pulp. The juice is used in various food and beverages as a major/minor ingredient, seasoning or dipping ingredient.

5Cilantro, coriander, or Chinese parsley, is an annual herb where the leaves, with citrus overtones, and dried seeds, with a warm, nutty, spicy, lemony-orange flavor when crushed, are the parts most traditionally used in cooking worldwide. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Coriander”.14

6Leche de tigre (tiger’s milk) is the citrus-based spicy marinade used to cure the fish in classic Peruvian ceviche1. Thus, it is the leftover juices of a ceviche, which usually contains a bit of fish juice, fresh lime juice, sliced onions, cilantro5 leaves, chilis, chopped celery ribs, thinly sliced garlic cloves, finely grated ginger, kosher salt and pepper.15, 16, 17 It is said to be the Peruvian version of Viagra and has aphrodisiac properties.18

7subject to availability

8“Ceviche,” accessed January 4, 2019,

9Balimbing, carambola, or star fruit, is an edible fruit with the scientific name Averrhoa carambola, native to the Philippines and Indonesia. The oval fruit is about 5-15 cm (2-6 in.) in length, has (usually 5) distinctive ridges running down its sides, and commonly eaten out of hand. It has a smooth, thin, slightly waxy skin. The flesh is crunchy, firm, and very juicy. It does not contain fiber, and has a texture similar in consistency to that of grapes. The small type is sour/tart while the larger type is sweet. It is best consumed shortly after it ripens, just after all traces of green have disappeared, with brown ridges at the edges, and still fells firm. If you cut this fruit crosswise, each slice is shaped like a star. It can also be used in cooking, and can be made into juice drinks, preserves and relishes. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Carambola”.19

10Dayap is the Philippine variety of key lime (Citrus x aurantiifolia), a citrus hybrid (C. micrantha x C. medina). This spherical fruit is 2.5-5 cm (1-2 in.) in diameter. It is usually picked while it is still green and turns yellow, when ripe. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Key lime”.20

11Kamias is the Filipino term for Averrhoa bilimbi, an ellipsoidal, elongated fruit, measuring 4-10 cm, and sometimes faintly angled. The smooth to slightly bumpy skin is thin and waxy, turning from light green, to yellowish-green when ripe. The flesh is crisp and the juice is sour and extremely acidic, and therefore not typically consumed as fresh fruit itself. In the Philippines, it is often planted in backyards, and the fruits eaten raw or dipped in rock salt. It can also be sun-dried then preserved, used as a souring agent for Filipino dishes, or used to make salad, mixed with tomatoes and chopped onions, with soy sauce as dressing. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Averrhoa bilimbi”.21

12“Kinilaw,” accessed January 4, 2019,

13“Mahi-mahi,” accessed January 4, 2019,

14“Coriander,” accessed January 4, 2019,

19“Carambola,” accessed January 4, 2019,

20“Key lime,” accessed January 4, 2019,

21“Averrhoa bilimbi,” accessed January 4, 2019,


S.E.A. stands for Siargao Environmental Awareness Movement, a non-profit organization that is “a collaborative effort to help preserve the natural resources and beauty of the island which the local and the travelling community rely on for a simple, yet beautiful, life. It acts as a hub to connect networks of people with unique skills – surfers, artists, writers, journalists, IT experts, policy-makers – to contribute in solving the island’s environmental problems.”

The Movement wants to instill in everyone a sense of responsibility and ownership of the growing environmental problems, starting with young surfers.

BeFunky-collage-2               All photos were obtained from the Facebook account SEA Movement

A Brief History of S.E.A. Movement

The surfers behind the Siargao-born surf brand, Kudo Surf, started this movement as their “answer to the pressing issue in climate change, increasing tourism, and the need to educate local communities about the importance of ecological diversity. Protecting the environment is protecting their livelihood and their future.” Starting the brand allowed them to merge their passions – surf traveling, environmentalism and commerce – together.

“We are grateful to Mother Earth for giving us great waves and the raw materials to make our products. We just gotta do our business and live our lifestyle responsibly. We believe that businesses should be more eco-conscious and we do our part by contributing to the improvement of environmental issues in Siargao, where our headquarters is.”

Projects of S.E.A. Movement

1. Monthly Beach Clean-Up and Placard Posting – This project started on October 2015. Volunteers are asked to clean up the beach.This shows the locals how much garbage is thrown carelessly all over the island. The local municipal office helps in the monthly beach clean up by providing a garbage collection truck.

The Movement also makes placards set up in public areas where people can be reminded: “Ayaw Paglabog Ug Basura” (Don’t Litter), “Barura Dili Marajaw” (Garbage is Not Good), and “Plastic is Not Fantastic”.

2. Plastic Bottle Campaign – S.E.A. encourages Siargao business owners to provide water stations and re-usable water bottles to reduce, and eventually, eliminate the use of single-plastic bottles in the island.

3. Her Planet Earth for the Women of Siargao – This is an environmentally-conscious program which “aims to train and equip underprivileged women with the tools and skills to sell bags and other fashionable items made with recyclable materials gathered from the sea”.

“This project simultaneously provides the community with a livelihood opportunity and reduces plastic waste and pollution in the oceans, thus, empowering the community of warm and friendly people by creating awareness around gender equality and visibility of men and women’s contributions to society and teaching responsibility towards environmental preservation.”

This program is the collaborative effort of S.E.A. Movement, Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP), the local government of General Luna, Siargao Masaya, and other partner agencies and NGOs.

4. Solid Waste Management Localized Videos – S.E.A. has created, and will create, videos aiming to help educate and teach people, especially children about Solid Waste Management (SWM) and how important it is to segregate wastes.

So, for the techie readers of this post, why not volunteer to create fun/animated and educational videos!

5. S.E.A. Movement Awareness Campaign – It would be awesome to help spread the word about this Movement and the campaigns they are working on. Calling on experienced marketing professionals or social media experts, your help or advice would be very welcome.

6. Other Projects
a. Read-Aloud – In 2016, a US-based NGO, Bagong Kulturang Pinoy, donated eco-awareness-specific children’s books so volunteers read aloud to groups of children in their classrooms, or at the beach, for the latter to learn about the environment, how to love reading, and how to have more meaningful relationships with buddy volunteers.

b. Segregation and Recycling Stations – A big project of the Movement so there will be a proper waste disposal system in the island, leading to zero-waste management.

c. SEA and Public Schools – General Luna public schools have opened their libraries to house the SEA Movement’s eco-books. They also initiated tree-planting and a clean-up drive with the students.

d. Short Film on Eco-Awareness – The Movement plans to make an entertaining and educational short film that will inform the local community of Siargao and its business and government sectors about the importance of eco-consciousness.

e. Fund Raising – The Movement is a non-profit organization so it needs to generate funds for their projects. Some activities are: SEA Movement Shirts and Canvass Shopping Bags to help spread the Movement’s agenda and reduce the usage of plastic bags; Let’s Get it OM! (Benefit Yoga), a by-donation yoga session led by volunteer yoga teachers; and Crowd Funding, i.e., the acceptance of donations of any kind from kindred souls.

I hope I did my small share by writing this post in my blog.

Let us all help to preserve the natural resources and beauty of Siargao Island!

The information was obtained from and

Contact information: Facebook account: SEA Movement; Tel. No. 0945-837-9202; Instagram: @s.e.a.movement

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Location: 4th floor, Uptown Mall, 36th Street corner 9th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City (BGC), Fort Bonifacio Global, Taguig City, Philippines

Admit it, dearest Seniors, there are times when you crave for guilt-free dining. And, one way is to succumb to a Western treat when you are in BGC! So, off we trooped to BUFFALO WILD WINGS (BWW) at Uptown Mall1.1-bw

It is open from 11 am till 11 pm and offers wi-fi as well as outdoor seating.

We came early for lunch so we were one of the first diners for that day.

But first, here is a very brief background of the restaurant. Buffalo Wild Wings is an American casual dining restaurant and sports bar franchise in the USA, Canada, India, Mexico, Oman, Panama, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Vietnam. Founded in Ohio in 1982 by Jim Disbrow and Scott Lowery, it specializes in buffalo wings2 and sauces, and is also well known for chicken tenders3and legs. It was called “Buffalo Wild Wings &Weck” (BW3) till 1998, since it also served “Beef on Weck”4.

Entering through the main glass doorway, you will immediately step into a spacious and modern sports dining area that is well lit with adequate indoor lighting, plus natural light through the outer glass walls. Brown, yellow and off-white colors exude a relaxing ambiance. The outer glass walls and the inner brick walls are dotted with wide/flat-television screens showing various sporting events. Sports memorabilia/murals and framed pictures are also showcased on the walls. The mood is definitely casual yet cozy.2-bw

The pub-style bar is a just few steps away from the entrance and you will be greeted and escorted to a table, depending on the number of people in your group.3-bw

The staff’s uniform is a jersey-like t-shirt and pants. The number 82 is printed on the sleeves, signifying the year when the chain was established.5-bw

There is a place for kids to play video games. Now, this feature, dearest seniors, would be helpful if we, adults, have not had enough of our conversations, and the kids are restless and bored. It will definitely allow us more mileage to continue our stories and exchanges.

Once seated, we were given menu cards and so, we focused on the available options, eager to satisfy our hungry tummies. Going over the menu, I could picture family and friends enjoying and sharing buffalo wings, along with different US beef and pork dishes, or the younger generation getting together with friends after a hard day at work, to relax and unwind watching their favorite sports on television screens, and all of that while enjoying a glass of cold draught beer!


The restaurant offers a variety of tempting platters, all served with a platter of dirty rice (PHP1,495): Most Valuable Platter (traditional wings with your choice of sauce or dry rub5, honey barbecue ribs, and grilled pork belly); All Star Platter (traditional wings with your choice of sauce or dry rub, honey barbecue ribs, and teriyaki pork belly); and, Three Point Platter (traditional wings with your choice of sauce or dry rub, honey barbecue ribs, and fried pork chop).

You can also order: Crispy Pork Hock (slow-cooked and deep-fried crispy pig’s trotter, paired with balsamic vinegar dip, PHP795); The Big Ribs (oven roasted fall-off-the-bone honey barbecue half or full ribs, served with fries, PHP695, PHP1295); Double-Thick Herbed Chop (grilled herb chop served with brown pepper sauce and dirty rice, PHP495 for 400 grams); 3/5/9- piece Crispy Fried Chicken (PHP345, 560, 995); or, 3/5/9-piece Classic Roasted Chicken (PHP 465, 695, 1195).

Three burgers are available to choose from: Mozzarella Burger (topped with pepperoni slices, mozzarella sticks, marinara sauce, drizzled with parmesan garlic sauce and parmesan cheese flakes, PHP595); Smokehouse Burger (grilled juicy burger topped with a slice each of cheddar and mozzarella cheeses, drizzled with honey barbecue and smoked aiolisauce, PHP545); and, Buffalo Bleu Burger (with dill pickle chips, bleu cheese dressing, and blue cheese crumbles, drizzled with the signature medium sauce, PHP545).

A wide selection of beverages is offered: soft drinks (PHP105), Red Bull Energy Drink (PHP130), lemonades (PHP145), limeades (PHP155), fresh fruit juices (PHP130), domestic, imported and draft beers (PHP105-395), coffee and tea (PHP95), and drinks of the season (PHP155-275).

We ordered only two food items: Baby Back Ribs, and a large order of Buffalo Wings with an extra order of Blue Cheese Dip, plus beer, and soft drinks. It is a bit pricey, I must say, so dearest Seniors, do not forget your Senior Citizen cards! Portions of orders are good for sharing though.

The Baby Back Ribs were delicious. The meat was very tender and flavorful. The accompanying fries and slaw were prepared and seasoned just rightand complemented the ribs well.

The large order of Buffalo Wings was crisp, tasty and juicy. An extra order of the Blue Cheese Dip was needed to complete our enjoyment of the Buffalo Wings.

The beverages were served cold.

Overall, the taste of the food was good.

Service was fast. The staff was good at offering menu suggestions and was also great when dealing with kids.

The rest room is clean and well-maintained.

Reservations are recommended. Contact information: (02) 801-5993; 09157946102

This is not a sponsored post. I paid for my visit in this restaurant. If I come back, I will try their nachos, burgers, chicken salad, spinach artichoke dip, and mango shake.

Did you find this post informative? I would like to hear from you re your dining experience in this restaurant. Simply scroll and click “Leave a comment”. Do share this post with your Facebook friends, follow me by clicking on the bottom right corner of your device, and do not forget to like this post.  Thank you!

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The following terms are defined for interested readers, especially non-Filipinos, those with “Senior-Moments”, and those too busy or lazy to Google such terms:

1Uptown Mall, formerly Uptown Place Mall, is a shopping mall at the 36th Street of Uptown Bonifacio complex in the northern part of Bonifacio Global City, in Taguig City, Metro Manila. It is owned and managed by Megaworld Lifestyle Malls, a subsidiary of Megaworld Corporation, according to the Wikipedia page “Uptown Mall”.7

2A Buffalo wing is an unbreaded chicken wing drumette8 or flat9, generally deep-fried, then coated and/or dipped in a mild, medium hot, or hot sauce made of a vinegar-based cayenne pepper, hot sauce and melted butter/margarine prior to serving. It is a popular American dish generally served hot, along with celery stalks and/or carrot sticks, with blue cheese dressing for dipping. All information were from the Wikipedia page “Buffalo wing”.10

3Chicken tenders is a common American chicken snack made of deep-fried breaded chicken meat prepared from the pectoralis minor muscles11 of the said fowl. It is also called chicken fillets, chicken fingers, chicken goujons, chicken strips, or tendies. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Chicken fingers”.12

4Beef on Weck is a sandwich made with roast beef on a soft kummelweck roll13. It is found primarily in Western New York State in the USA, particularly in the city of Buffalo. The meat on the sandwich is traditionally served rare, thin cut, with the top bun getting a dip au jus and spread with horseradish. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Beef on weck”.14

5A dry rub is a mixture of dried spices and herbs, usually with salt and sugar, rubbed directly into raw meat prior to cooking. It does not have any wet ingredient. It creates a crust on the meat and enhances its flavor without adding moisture.15

6Aioli is a Mediterranean sauce basically made of garlic and olive oil.

7“Uptown Mall,”accessed September 7, 2018,

8A drumette is the top section of a chicken wing which is meatier than the two lower parts, called the wingette or flat9, and wing tip or flapper, respectively, according to the Wikipedia page “Poultry”.16

9A flat or wingette is the second or middle section of a chicken wing, according to the Wikipedia page “Poultry”.16

10“Buffalo wing,” accessed September 7, 2018,

11The pectoralis minor muscles of the chicken is a thin, triangular muscle, located on either side of the breastbone, under the breast meat. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Chicken fingers”.12

12“Chicken fingers,” accessed September 7, 2018,

13A kummelweck roll is a large, crusty, glazed roll made in Buffalo, New York, USA, made from white wheat flour. “Kummel” means “caraway” in German, and “weck” means “bread roll”.17

14“Beef on Weck,” accessed September 7, 2018,

16“Poultry,” accessed September 7, 2018,


Location: G/F, Garden Side, Greenbelt 3, Ayala Centre, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines

People’s Palace is a delightful modern Thai-Asian restaurant located in Greenbelt 3. It showcases a casual, spacious yet cozy dining experience, even for groups. Dishes are MSG free, and some vegetarian-friendly dishes are also offered. It is owned and operated by Riselaw Restaurant, Inc., the same company behind Sala Bistro and Sala Restaurant.


As a brief background, Scottish restaurateur Colin Mackay arrived in the Philippines from Hong Kong in 1996, and joined business partners Chico Angeles and Kerwin Go to open People’s Palace in Greenbelt 3 in 2005.*

Now, I know what is in the minds of my readers who are not familiar with Greenbelt and its parking. Well, worry no more because Greenbelt Mall offers extensive basement pay parking with entrances on Makati Avenue and Esperanza Drive. You can also avail of valet parking operated by the mall along Esperanza Drive fronting Greenbelt 2. There are 2 drop off points for clients with chauffeurs: one along Makati Avenue (between Greenbelt 3 and 4) and one along Esperanza Drive (fronting New World Makati Hotel).*

People’s Palace is open daily with hours of operation as follows: Monday to Friday (11AM – 2:30PM) for lunch; Monday to Thursday (6PM-11PM) and Friday (6PM -12 midnight) for dinner; and, all day on Saturday (11AM – 12 midnight) and Sunday (11AM– 11PM).

The simple, yet elegant and modern dining area has a high ceiling with just the right amount of lighting for a comfortable ambiance at night. It offers seating for 88 guests, with additional casual dining at the long white glass bar.*

The glass walls along the walkway of the Garden Side make this restaurant seem even more spacious than it is.

The al fresco garden dining area, fronting the restaurant, can accommodate 50 guests. The lounge area offers huge leatherette “day beds” where up to 50 guests can order cocktails or dine casually at low bench tables.*

Food orders may seem pricey, but the portions are good for sharing. (So dearest Seniors, keep this in mind when ordering.) Table booking is recommended because this restaurant gets packed during lunch and dinner.

And now for our dining experience.

(insert pic – PP-2)

We called ahead of time to reserve a table. We were warmly greeted when we entered the restaurant.10-reception-okHospitable People’s Palace staff – Cashier Kaye Valerio and Assistant Restaurant Manager Gerald Tan

After confirmation of our reservation, we were immediately shown to our table, with the server forewarning us of the higher level of our table location, so we would have safe footing. I appreciated that because I have the tendency to walk fast and presume that the level of the flooring is always even!

The server briefly left when we were all seated, but quickly returned with a tall stool for our bags. Again, a gesture I appreciated, instead of us asking for it.

Rectangular menu/beverage cards were handed to us. I noticed that the format was friendly to first-time guests since the former indicated “must try” dishes and spicy dishes (although you can request to lighten the spice level, if desired), while some special/unfamiliar beverages indicated tastes/major ingredients. Take note that quoted prices do not include the 10% service charge.

I also liked the idea of separate cards since I did not have to flip through different pages. There are separate cards for:

Hot Soups and Appetizers, Cool Salads (front of card) –4-soups-salads-ok

Curries, Stir Fries, Rice and Noodles (back of card) –5-curries-ok

Sweets and Hot Beverages –6-sweets-ok

Refreshing Juices, Smoothies and Shakes –7-juices-ok

Softies (soft drinks and mineral waters); Local and World Beers; and Spirits/After Dinner Liqueurs and Mixers –8-softies-ok

The members of my group, as usual, were very hungry after shopping/working-out so we went over the menu card and selected five items: Thom Yum Thalay; Prawn, Pomelo, Chicken and Coconut Salad; Prawn Spring Roll with Sweet Chili Sauce; Chicken Pandan; and, Crispy Bananas with Coconut Ice Cream. We did not order any beverage that day.

The Thom Yum Thalay (PHP460) is Hot and Sour Seafood Soup. It was served hot, with just the right amount of sourness. The assorted seafood was fresh, and cooked just right.

The savory and creamy Prawn, Pomelo, Chicken and Coconut Salad (PHP480) was so refreshing and delicious. The presentation was colorful and so appealing with the generous large chunks of sweet and juicy pomelo, succulent prawns, onions, cilantro, and crunchy nuts. The coconut cream and the chili-fish sauce accompaniments, when added to the salad with its vinaigrette dressing, complemented the combined textures and flavors of the ingredients. Guess what? We asked for another order!11-salad0ok

The Prawn Spring Roll with Sweet Chili Sauce (PHP390) was very tasty so we had to ask for another order too.3-lumpia-ok

The Chicken Pandan (PHP420) was a safe order for kids and kids at heart. The chicken was juicy and tasty. By the way, we requested the wrapping to be removed.12-chicken-ok

The Crispy Bananas with Coconut Ice Cream (PHP290) was a refreshing dessert, with just the right amount of sweetness.2-dessert-ok

The best feature I experienced in this restaurant was the fast and efficient service of the staff, something I seldom get from other restaurants. My group had dinner, and, even though the dining area was packed, the orders were speedily paced and served. Requests like extra dips/condiments were promptly brought, and reheating of the soup for a late diner was quickly done. Water glasses were replenished even without our asking, and several courtesy checks were made to ensure our dining experience would be satisfying. Yes, dearest Seniors, you will be very satisfied with the service in this restaurant!

Requesting the bill and waiting for the change as well as the return of our senior citizen cards were likewise swiftly executed.

So, kudos to the management for instilling the value of quality in food/beverages and service for a very satisfying dining experience. Hats off also to Scottish chef, Colin Mackay, for the very brief waiting time and well-paced serving of orders even with an almost full house.

A minor comment though: personally, I found the round table good for six persons a bit small for comfortable elbow room and for our five orders.

But, overall, we left this restaurant very satisfied and will definitely come back.

On my next visit, I will try their other popular offerings like: Crispy Catfish with Green Mango Salad, Crispy Lapu-Lapu,Crispy Soft Shell Crab with Mango Relish, Mussaman Curry of Lamb, Pad Thai, Stir-Fried Prawns, Thom Kha Gai, Thom Yum Goong, Tod Man Pla, Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Seed Ice Cream, Mango and Passionfruit Pavlova, Panna Cotta with Cardamom and Spice Apricots, and Thai Iced Tea. Definitely, so many reasons to return!

For reservations, call (02) 729-2888, to be sure you will have a table waiting for you during peak hours.

People’s Palace is also available for hire as an exclusive venue for private events (50 or more guests) any day of the week, along with a tailored package based on your specific requirements*:

  1. Private lunch events in the dining room can accommodate 90 guests for a sit-down lunch from 11AM to 3PM, and 200 guests for a cocktail party with passed canapés, for a minimum of PHP150K (Monday to Friday), PHP200K (Saturday), or PHP225K (Sunday);
  2. Private dinner events in the dining room can accommodate 90 guests for a sit-down dinner from 6PM to 12 midnight, and 200 guests for a cocktail party with passed canapés, for a minimum of PHP300K;
  3. Private garden events at the partially-covered garden area can accommodate 50 guests for a sit-down dinner or 100 guests for a cocktail party with passed canapés, from 6PM to 12 midnight, for a minimum of PHP120K; and,
  4. Private lounge events can be held in the lounge dining area, which can accommodate up to 50 guests for private cocktail events, with optional occasional seating on the ottomans and sofas, from 6:30PM to 12 midnight, for a minimum of PHP60K.

By the way, credit cards are also accepted so even if you are short of cash, you can still dine and unwind in this restaurant.

You may also contact the restaurant by Email at, or  by visiting its website at

This is not a sponsored post. I paid for my visit in this restaurant.

Did you find this post informative? Have you dined in this restaurant? Tell me about it! I would like to hear from you. Simply scroll to the top right part of this post and click “Leave a comment.” Do not forget to follow me by clicking “Follow” on the lower right corner of your device.




Location: 2/F, Maxims Hotel, Newport Boulevard, Newport City, Resorts World Manila, Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines

The name of this fine dining Japanese-Korean restaurant, GINZADON, is a combination of two words: “Ginza”, the upscale Tokyo district, and “don”, the Korean term for money. Together, these terms assure the customers that they get the best of authentic Japanese and Korean dishes, served together for a “thrilling interplay of textures and tastes.”1


This authentic Japanese-Korean restaurant is open from 11 am till 12 midnight, daily. It has a casual, yet comfortable, dining facilities.

It offers a wide range of dishes2:

  • SASHIMI3 (PHP200-1,100): Ama Ebi (Sweet Shrimp), Hamachi (Yellow Tail), Hokkigai (Surf Clam), Hotate (Scallops), Ikura (Salmon Roe), Ise Ebi (Live Lobster – PHP1,250/100g), Kanibo (Crab), Madai (Snapper), Madai Ozukuri (Thinly Sliced Snapper), Madako (Octopus), Maguro Tataki (Seared Tuna), Shake (Salmon), Shake Tataki (Seared Salmon), Shime Saba (Marinated Mackerel), and Tamago (Baked Egg).
  • Sushi4 (PHP100-440): Ama Ebi (Sweet Shrimp), Ebi (Shrimp), Hamachi (Yellow Tail), Hokkigai (Surf Clam), Hotate (Scallops), Ikura (Salmon Roe), Kanibo (Crab), Madako (Boiled Octopus), Madai (Snapper), Maguro (Tuna), Shake (Salmon), Shime Saba (Marinated Mackerel), Tamago (Thin Egg Omelet), Unagi (Eel), and Uni (Sea Urchin).
  • PLATTER (PHP900-2,160) – Sashimi and Sushi Moriawase (Sashimi3 and Sushi4 Platter), Sashimi Moriawase Matsu (Special Assorted Sashimi), and Sashimi Moriawase Take (Regular Assorted Sashimi)
  • URA MAKI5 (PHP370-1,500) – California Ura Maki (Inside-out Roll with Mango, Cucumber, and Crab Meat), Canadian Maki (Inside-out Roll with Mango, Crab Meat, Salmon, and Crispy Salmon Skin), Crazy Maki (Crunchy Maki Topped with Crabstick Salad), Dragon Roll Maki (Mango, Cucumber, and Crab Meat, Wrapped in Grilled Salmon Skin), Ebi Avocado Maki (Prawn and Avocado Roll), Futo Maki (Big Sushi Roll), Kani Maki (Soft Shell Crab Roll), Maguro Aburi Maki (Seared Tuna Roll), Maguro Ura Maki (California Roll with Tuna), Rainbow Maki (Avocado, Mango, Salmon, Tuna and Snapper Rolls), Shake Aburi Maki (Seared Salmon Roll), and Yulonagi Maki (California Roll with Eel Teriyaki)
  • SOUPS (PHP95-2,540) – Chawan Mushi (Steam Egg Custard), Hamachi Misoshiru (Yellow Tail Head Miso), Kani Misoshiru (Crab Miso, PHP398/100 g), Misoshiru (Plain Miso), Sakana Osuimono (Fish Clear Soup), Shake Misoshiru (Salmon Head Miso), and Yose Nabe (Seafood and Vegetable in Broth)
  • SALADS (PHP620-1,000) – Kanibo Salad (Crab Sticks, Cucumber, Tobiko6 and Japanese Mayonnaise), Poke Salad (Sliced Tuna and Green Ice Salad), Seared Tuna Salad (Lollo Rosso Leaves Topped with Seared Tuna), Shake Poke Salad (Sliced Salmon & Green Ice Salad), and Spicy Tuan Salad (Lollo Rosso Leaves Topped with Spicy Tuna in Special Sauce)
  • TEMPURA7 (PHP310-860) – Chicken Katsu (Deep-fried Breaded Chicken), Ebi Tempura (Shrimp), Ika Ring Karage (Fried Squid Rings), Kisu (Japanese Whiting Fish), Mixed Furai (Deep-fried Breaded Meat and Seafoods), Tempura Moriawase (Assorted Tempura), Tori No Karaage (Japanese Fried Chicken), and Yasai Kakiage (Deep Fried Vegetable Strips)
  • YAKIMONO8 (PHP280-2,490) – Aspara Bacon (Bacon Wrapped Asparagus), Butayaki (Pork Barbecue), Ebi No Shioyaki (Prawn with Salt), Gindara Teriyaki (Black Cod in Special Sauce), Hamachi Okashira Shioyaki (Grilled Yellow Tail Head), Kani Bacon Maki (Crab Sticks and Bacon Maki), Shake Harasu Yaki (Salmon Belly), Shake Okashira Shioyaki (Grilled Salmon Head), Unagi No Kabayaki (Thin Snapper), Uzura Bacon (Bacon Wrapped Quail Egg), and Yakitori (Chicken Barbecue)
  • TEPPANYAKI9 (PHP240-4,750) – Asparagus in Butter, Bean Sprouts, Chicken Teppanyaki in Teriyaki Sauce, Fillet of Salmon (Salmon Steak), Fillet of Yellow Fin Tuna (Tuna Steak with Pepper, Onion and Mange Tout), Green Capsicum, Local Lobster Teppanyaki (PHP1,288/100 g), Seafood Teppanyaki (Mixed Seafood Cooked with Sake in Special Japanese Sauce), U.S. Wagyu Beef Ribeye, U.S. Wagyu Striploin (Snake River Farms, Meat Marbling Standards A4, and Yasal Itame (Stir-fried Vegetables), and Yakimeshi (Japanese Fried Rice)
  • VEGETABLE DISHES (PHP205-620) – Agedashi Tofu (Deep-fried Tofu with Special Sauce), Gyoza (Japanese Dumplings), Gyutama Okonomiyaki (Pancakes with Beef and Eggs), Mabu Tofu (Braised Beancurd in Sweet Chili Sauce), Okonomiyaki (Japanese Cake with Vegetable and Seafood), Tofu Steak (Beancurd Steak)
  • RAMEN10 (PHP440-570) – Chasu Rane (Ramen Noodles with Pork Barbecue in Special Japanese Soup), Miso Ramen (Ramen Noodles with Japanese Miso Soup), and Shouyu Ramen (Ramen Noodles with Japanese Soya Sauce)
  • SOBA11/UDON12 (PHP360-830) – Hiyashi Chuka (Summer-Style Cold Noodles), Hiyashi Somen (Cold Thin Noodles), Tempura Soba (Japanese Thin Noodles Topped with Tempura in Special Soup), Tempura Udon (Japanese Thick Noodles Topped with Tempura in Special Soup), Tenzaru Soba (Cold Buckwheat Noodles with Tempura), Yaki Soba (Stir-fried Japanese Thin Noodles with Pork, Seafood, and Vegetables), and Yaki Udon (Stir-fried Thick Japanese Noodles with Pork, Seafood, and Vegetables)
  • RICE (PHP95-240) – Gohan (Steamed Japanese Rice), Kimchi Bokkeumbap (Kimchi Fried Rice), and Yaki Onigiri (Grilled Hand Molded Rice)
  • RICE TOPPINGS served with Miso13 Soup (PHP550-1,570) – Ebi Katsu Don (Deep-fried Braised Prawn on Steamed Japanese Rice), Gyudon (Black Angus Beef Topped on Steamed Japanese Rice), Katsudon (Japanese Pork Cutlet Topped on Steamed Japanese Rice), Tendon (Ebi Tempura Topped on Steamed Japanese Rice), Tori Don (Grilled Chicken Topped on Steamed Japanese Rice), Unagi Don (Grilled Eel Teriyaki Topped on Steamed Japanese Rice), and Yakiniku Don (Stir-fried U.S. Beef Striploin Topped in Japanese Steamed Rice)
  • KOREAN BARBECUE (PHP800-1,320) – Kalbi Sal (Black Angus Beef Short Rib), Kkeot Ssam Gysop Sal (Grilled Pork Belly), L.A. Kalbi Gui (Barbecue Beef Spare Ribs), and Yang Nyeum Tweji Kalbi (Grilled Pork Belly)
  • PORRIDGE (PHP160-570) – Hobakjuk (Pumpkin Porridge), Jun Bok Juk (Rice Porridge with Abalone), and Patjuk (Seared Salmon Sashimi)
  • CLASSICS, served with rice (PHP330-1250): Bibimbap (Steamed Rice Topped with Beef and Vegetables), Bul Go Gi (Stir-fried US Beef with Vegetables), Dak-Dori-Tang (Spicy Chicken Casserole), Ddeok Mandu Guk (Rice Cake and Korean Dumplings in Ox Bone Soup), Doen Jang JjiGae (Soy Bean Paste Stew), Gal Bi Jim (Braised Prime Beef Short Ribs), Haemul Kalguksu Bukkeum (Stir-fried Kalguksu14 Noodles with Seafood and Vegetables), Haemul Pajeon (Seafood and Spring Onion Pancakes), Hobak Jeon (Pan-fried Stuffed Zucchini), Hweh Dup-bop (Raw Fish Topped on Japanese Steamed Rice), Japchae (Sauteed Sweet Potato Noodles with Vegetables and Beef Strips), Kimbap (Korean Style Roll), Kim Chi JjiGae (Kimchi Stew), Mandu (Korean Dumplings), Nak Ji Bok Keum (Stir-fried Baby Octopus with Fine Noodles), O-Jing-uh Bukkeum (Spicy Stir-fried Squid), Sengseon Jurim (Spicy Braised Fish), Seol Leong Tang (Ox Bone Soup with Fine Noodles and Sliced Beef), Shin Ramen (Korean Instant Noodles), Sundubu (Spicy Korean Stew), Ugeoji Galbitang (Beef and Cabbage Stew), and Yuk Gae Jang (Spicy Beef Soup)
  • DESSERTS (PHP140-235) – Anmitsu (Assorted Fruits with Jelly in Sweet Red Bean Paste, Mochi and Ice Cream, Back Sesame Ice Cream, Deep-fried Matcha15 Ice Cream (Green Tea Ice Cream Coated in Crunchy Deep Fried Bread), Kanten Yose (Mixed Fruits Gelatin), Kohe Kanten (Coffee Jelly), Kwail (Assorted Fruits), Nuk Cha (Green Tea Ice Cream), and Shiratama Zenzai (Sweet Red Beans with Rice Balls)
  • BEVERAGES, alcoholic and non-alcoholic (PHP150-270) –Fresh Juices and Smoothies, Lemon Iced Tea, Sodas, Bourbon, Brandy, Local and Imported Beers, Rum, Sake16, Scotch Whiskey, Soju17, Gin, Tequila, Vodka

It also offers special monthly and seasonal treats.


When we dined in Ginzadon, they offered an Eat All You Can Menu for only PHP888 net per person, consisting of the following, inclusive of 3 pieces of Salmon Sushi and 3 pieces Ebi Tempura:

  • SUSHI4 AND URU MAKI5 – California Maki (California Roll), Futo Maki (Big Sushi Roll), Kanibo Salad (Crabstick, Cucumber, Tobiko6 and Japanese Mayonnaise), Madai (Snapper), Maguro (Tuna), Shake Maki (Salmon Sushi Roll), Tamago (Japanese Omelette), and Tekka Maki (Tuna Sushi Roll)


  • SOBA/UDON/RAMEN – Chashu Ramen (ramen noodles with pork barbeque in special Japanese soup) and Yaki Soba/Udon (Stir-fried Japanese noodles with pork, seafood and vegetables)
  • YAKIMONO – Butayaki (Pork Barbecue), Kani Bacon (Crabstick Rolled in Bacon Strips), Shake Okashira (Salmon Head, subject to availability), Tori Karaage (Japanese Fried Chicken), and Yakitori (Chicken Barbeque)


  • KOREAN SPECIALS –Doen Jang Jigae (Soy Bean Stew), Gohan (Steamed Japanese Rice), Japchae (Sauteed Sweet Potato Noodles with Beef), Kimchi Jigae (Kimchi Stew), Misoshiru (Miso Soup), and Yakimeshi (Japanese Fried Rice)


  • DESSERTS – KoheKanten (Coffee Jelly) and Nukcha (Green Tea Ice Cream)


A customer can pay cash, through credit card, or points18. Prices are VAT inclusive and are subject to 10% service charge.

If you want to dine in this restaurant but find it a bit pricey, why not book online to avail of promotions. I surfed (but have not tried) and found which offers 10-50% discount, depending on the time slot. You just need to present your Eatigo booking confirmation to the reception staff before being seated.

Now let me describe our dining experience. We availed of the Eat All You Can Menu I mentioned above.

0-appetizers-x                                                         We were given appetizers.

Overall, the taste of the food was good but not much to rave about.

My group included a 6-year old kid and we chose dishes he liked and he was satisfied with what we asked him to try and eat.

The dining staff were accommodating. Service was paced, but a bit slow.

The comfort room was clean and well maintained.

For reservations, call (02) 9088888.

This is not a sponsored post. I paid for my visit in this restaurant.

Did you find this post informative? I would like to hear from you re your dining experience in this restaurant. Simply scroll and click “Leave a comment”. Do share this post with your Facebook friends, follow me by clicking on the bottom right corner of your device, and do not forget to like this post.  Thank you!

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

The following terms are defined for interested readers, especially non-Filipinos, those with “Senior-Moments”, and those too busy or lazy to Google such terms:

2; prices and menu items are subject to change without prior notice; prices are VAT inclusive and are subject to 10% service charge

3Sashimi is a Japanese dish consisting of thinly sliced, fresh, raw fish or meat, often served as the first course in a formal Japanese meal but may also be served as the main course. It is garnished with long thin strands of daikon (white radish) or single leaves of the shiso herb (perilla). It is served with soy sauce as a dipping sauce, along with condiments – wasabi paste (the hot Japanese green paste made from the wasabi rhizome), grated fresh ginger, and ponzu (Japanese dipping sauce made of fish flakes, lime juice, soy sauce and vinegar). The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Sashimi”.19

4Sushi is a Japanese dish made of specially prepared vinegared (medium grain white rice or brown) rice, usually with some sugar and rice, combined with a variety of ingredients (e.g., raw/cooked seafood, vegetables, tropical fruits), served as an appetizer or as a main dish. Fillings, toppings, condiments (shoyu or soy sauce, wasabi, Japanese-style mayonnaise) and preparation vary widely. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Sushi”.20

5Ura maki, literally “inside-out roll”, is a medium-sized cylindrical piece with two or more fillings, developed as a result of the American creation of the California roll21, as a method originally meant to hide the nori22. The (avocado, carrots, crab meat, cucumber, mayonnaise, tuna) filling is in the center surrounded by nori, then a layer of rice, and optionally an outer coating of some other ingredients, such as roe or toasted sesame seeds. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Sushi”.20

6Tobiko is the Japanese word for flying fish roe. The eggs are small (0.5 to 0.8 mm), naturally red-orange in color, with a mild smoky or salty taste, and a crunchy texture. It is used to make sushi more attractive so sometimes it is colored to change its appearance: squid ink to make it black, yuzu23 to make it pale orange, and wasabi24 to make it green and spicy. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Tobiko”.25

7Tempura is a Japanese dish, usually consisting of seafood (e.g., shrimp, squid rings) or vegetables (e.g., strips of carrot, eggplant, onion) that have been battered and deep fried. It is eaten hot immediately after frying, and may be sprinkled with powdered green tea and sea salt, or yuzu and salt, before eating. It is commonly served with tentsuyu sauce (about 3 parts dashi26, 1 part each of mirin27 and shoyu28) and grated daikon29. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Tempura”.30

8Yakimono is a Japanese grilled or pan-fried dish, often served as an appetizer, made of pieces of marinated, skewered and grilled meat. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Japanese cuisine”.31

9Teppanyaki is a style of Japanese cuisine that uses an iron griddle to cook food.

10Ramen is the Japanese term for a noodle soup consisting of Chinese-style wheat noodles, a meat/fish-based broth, often flavoured with soy sauce or miso, with various toppings (e.g., chashu or sliced pork, menma or lactate-fermented bamboo shoots, negi or green onions, and nori or dried seaweed). The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Ramen”.32

11Soba is the Japanese term for buckwheat. It usually refers to thin noodles made from buckwheat flour, or a combination of buckwheat and wheat flours. They contrast to thick wheat noodles, called udon12. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Soba”.33

12Udon is a type of Japanese thick wheat flour noodles, often served hot as a noodle soup, according to Wikipedia page “Udon”.34

13Miso is a traditional Japanese seasoning produced by fermenting soybeans with salt and koji (the fungus Aspergillus oryzae) and sometimes rice, barley, seaweed, or other ingredients. It is a thick paste used for sauces and spreads, pickling vegetables or meats, and mixing with dashi soup stock to serve as miso soup. It is typically salty, but its flavour and aroma depend pn various factors in the ingredients and fermentation process. Different varieties of miso have been described as salty, sweet, earthy, fruity, and savory. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Miso”.35

14Kalguksu is a traditionally considered seasonal Korean noodle dish consisting of homemade, knife-cut wheat flour noodles, served in a large bowl with broth (e.g., dried anchovies, shellfish) and other ingredients (like vegetables, often aehobak36, potatoes and scallions), usually seasoned with salt, consumed most often in summer. The term literally means “knife noodles” since the noodles are not extruded or spun, they are cut. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Kalguksu.37

15Matcha is a finely ground powder of specially grown and processed green tea leaves. It is used to flavour and dye foods such as mochi38 and soba11 noodles, green tea ice cream, matcha lattes, and a variety of Japanese wagashi39 confectionery, as well as hot tea in the traditional Japanese tea ceremony. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Matcha”.40

16Sake is a rice wine which is the national beverage of Japan.

17Soju is a clear, colorless, distilled Korean beverage which is traditionally made from rice, wheat or barley, with an alcoholic content of 16.8-53% alcohol by volume. It is usually consumed neat. Modern producers often replace rice with other starches like potatoes, sweet potatoes or tapioca. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Soju”.41

18You can earn points when you shop, dine, or gamble in Resorts World Manila. You can then redeem points the next time you visit said hotel and dine in Ginzadon, among others.

19“Sashimi,” accessed January 4, 2019,

20“Sushi,” accessed January 4, 2019,

21A California roll, or California maki, is a makizushi42 sushi roll that is usually rolled inside-out and contains avocado, crab meat or imitation crab, and cucumber. Sometimes, crtab salad is substituted for the crab stick, and often the outer layer of rice is an inside-out roll (ura maki) is sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds, tobiko6 or masago (capelin roe). The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “California roll”.43

22Nori is the Japanese name for edible seaweed species of the red algae genus Pyropia. It has a strong and distinctive flavor. It is shredded, rack-dried, formed into sheets, and sold in packs in grocery stores for culinary purposes. It is uses chiefly in Japanese cuisine as an ingredient to wrap rolls of sushi4 or onigiri44. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Nori”.45

23Yuzu is the Japanese term for a round, yellowish citrus fruit with fragrant, acidic juice, used chiefly as a flavoring. It is called yuja in Korean. This fruit looks like a small grapefruit with an uneven skin. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Citrus junos”.46

24Wasabi is the green, highly pungent, paste served as a Japanese condiment for sushi4 and sashimi3, made from the wasabi plant.

25“Tobiko,” accessed January 4, 2019,

26Dashi is a class of soup and cooking stock used in Japanese cuisine. The most common form of dashi is a simple broth or fish stock made by heating water containing kombu (edible kelp) and kezurikatsuo (shavings of katsuobushi – preserved, fermented skipjack tuna. It forms the base for miso soup, clear broth, noodle broth, and many kinds of simmering liquid. It can also be mixed into flour base of some grilled foods. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Dashi”.47

27Mirin is an essential condiment used in Japanese cuisine. It is a type of rice wine, similar to sake, but with a lower alcohol content and higher sugar content. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Mirin”.48

28Shoyu is the Japanese term for soy sauce, according to the Wikipedia page “Soy sauce”.

29Daikon, literally “big root,” is a mild-flavored winter radish. It is originally native to Southeast or continental Asia. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Daikon”.49

30“Tempura,” accessed January 4, 2019,

31“Japanese cuisine,” accessed January 4, 2019,

32“Ramen,” accessed January 4, 2019,

33“Soba,” accessed January 4, 2019,

34“Udon,” accessed January 4, 2019,

35“Miso,” accessed January 4, 2019,

36Aehobak, Korean zucchini or Korean courgette, is an edible green to yellow-green summer squash which belongs to the species Cucurbita moschata, commonly used in Korean cuisine. It is shaped like a zucchini but with thinner, smoother skin, and more delicate flesh. It is usually sold in shrink-wrapped plastic. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Aehobak”.50

37“Kalguksu,” accessed January 4, 2019,

38Mochi is a Japanese rice cake made of mochigome, a short-grained japonica glutinous rice, pounded inot a paste, and molded into the desired shape, traditionally made in a ceremony called mochitsuki, and commonly sold and eaten during Japanese New Year. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Mochi”.51

39Wagashi refers to traditional Japanese confections/sweets that are often served with tea, especially those made of anko (azuki bean paste), fruits, and moch138. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Wagashi”.52

40“Matcha,” accessed January 4, 2019,

41“Soju,” accessed January 4, 2019,

42Makizushi is a cylindrical piece of sushi4, formed with the help of a bamboo mat called a makisu. It is generally wrapped in nori (seaweed), but is occasionally wrapped in a thin omelette, soy paper, cucumber, or shiso (perilla) leaves. It is usually cut into 6 or 8 pieces, which constitutes a single roll order. It is also called norimaki or makimono. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Sushi”.20

43“California roll,” accessed January 4, 2019,

44Onigiri is a popular staple food in Japanese restaurants worldwide, made from (sometimes lightly salted) boiled white rice, fried rice, o-kowa or kowa-meshi (sekihan, glutinous rice cooked/steamed with vegetables like red beans), maze-gohan (“mixed rice”; cooked rice mixed with preferred ingredients), formed into triangular or cylindrical shapes, and often wrapped in nori (seaweed). It can be filled with umeboshi (pickled ume fruit), katsuobushi (dried fish prepared in hard blocks from skipjack tuna), kombu (dried, dark brown seaweed), miso13, okaka (dried, fermented, and smoked skipjack tuna), salted salmon, tarako (plain, salted sacks of Pollock or cod roe), tsukudani (small seafood, meat or seaweed simmered in soy sauce and mirin), pickled fruit and vegetables, fried foods, or any other salty or sour ingredient as a natural preservative. It is also called omusubi, nigirimeshi, or rice ball. It is not a sushi4. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Onigiri”.53

 45“Nori,” accessed January 4, 2019,

46“Citrus junos,” accessed January 4, 2019,

47“Dashi,” accessed January 4, 2019,

48“Mirin,” accessed January 4, 2019,

49“Daikon,” accessed January 4, 2019,

50“Aehobak,” accessed January 4, 2019,

51“Mochi,” accessed January 4, 2019,

52“Wagashi,” accessed January 4, 2019,

53“Onigiri,” accessed January 4, 2019,


Location: 2nd Level, Bonifacio Stopover Pavilion, 31st corner Rizal Drive, Bonifacio Global City (BGC), Taguig City, Philippines

My husband and I were craving ramen1 while walking in BGC when we chanced upon an interesting Japanese restaurant – Genki Sushi!


We were enticed by the promotional announcements on the glass wall: a must-try Shoyu Ramen2 with a very big picture; premium bentosets; and, take-away party sets (see below).

18-shoyu ramen-ok


We said: “What the heck, let’s try their ramen1 as a snack!” When I repeated the name of the restaurant in my mind, I recalled that I read about it as a Japanese casual fast-food dining concept featuring the conveyor-belt method of serving sushi4, using a miniature high-speed train system. So, we entered this restaurant and were immediately greeted by the wait staff.


But first, let me give a brief background. Established in 1990 in Japan, Genki Sushi is a chain of conveyor belt sushi4 restaurants.

This restaurant started with 24-year-old Japanese sushi6 chef, Fumio Saito, who dreamed of creating a modern sushi6 restaurant with an unusual feature known as “kaiten” (literally translated as “revolving”). In December 1968, he created the concept of “kaiten sushi” and pioneered the use of a revolving conveyor belt to serve sushi, combining serving traditional sushi with modern technology.7

This new concept caught on fast in Japan and appealed widely to the masses since it offered quality sushi at affordable prices, served using an innovative manner, delighting even children.7

In 1991, a year after it was established, Genki Sushi Co. Ltd listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. With its dedication to freshness, the company quickly gained public support and successfully expanded further throughout Japan.7

Genki Sushi went international in 1992. Expansion was rapid with Genki Sushi outlets opening in Hawaii, Singapore, and subsequently in Malaysia and Taiwan. In March 1995, the first Genki Sushi opened in Hong Kong. Today, Genki Sushi operates a total of 40 outlets in Hong Kong.7

The chain has expanded to currently include locations in Japan, Australia, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Kuwait, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, and the USA (California, Hawaii and Washington), according to Wikipedia page “Genki Sushi”.5

In the Philippines, Genki Sushi is a brand under Mother Spice Food Corp., with other brands that include Mango Tree, Mango Tree Bistro, and Cocina Peruvia.8

Genki Sushi in BGC is open from: 11:00AM – 10:00PM, Sunday – Thursday, and from 11:00 AM – 11:00PM Friday and Saturday.

The dining area is well-lit from the glass walls and adequate indoor lighting. The other walls are painted off-white with the lower half in light brown. Its ambiance is almost fast-food style featuring off-white tables good for four people, and red-cushioned booths, for more comfortable, yet casual dining.

Genki Sushi offers the following:



GUNKAN(PHP70-180) –


MAKI MONO10 (PHP70-160) –

7-maki mono

NIGIRI11 (PHP70-150) –


RICE & NOODLES (PHP230-400) –


SASHIMI12 (PHP250/350) –


TEMAKI13 or HAND ROLLS (PHP90-120) –




TRIOS (PHP199) –



14-side order-ok

DESSERTS (PHP80-220) –


PREMIUM BENTO3 SETS – Chicken Black Pepper Bento (PHP480), Chicken Katsudon Bento (PHP480), and Shrimp Tempura Supreme Bento Set (PHP650)

23-bento sets-ok

TAKE-AWAY PARTY SETS – Small Salmon Set (PHP500); Roll Set (PHP800); Big Salmon Set (PHP1,000); Genki Cooked Set (PHP1,400); and, Genki Supreme Sushi Set (PHP2,300)


BEVERAGES – Coke in Can (PHP80), Coke Light in Can (PHP80), Sprite in Can (PHP80), House Blend Iced Tea (PHP100), Asahi in Can (PHP120), and Honey Citron (PHP130)


I remember hearing about this unique Japanese restaurant and its high-tech way of ordering and serving non-soup orders. Allow me to tell you about our dining experience.

Once seated, my husband and I curiously studied the wall-panel menu which was pretty extensive (see above).

22-wall menu

The wall partition on one side of each table-booth has colored pictures of the various items you can order (see below), with English and Japanese names and corresponding prices, excluding service charge. At the bottom, there is a legend for the icons used for the items: Genki recommended, spicy, and vegetarian. It also has a note: “pictures are only for reference; some dishes may contain fish bones”.


We finally decided to get two orders of Shoyu Ramen2 and one order of Salmon Sashimi12. We did not order any beverage since choices were limited and we are staying away from softdrinks. Anyway, they serve complimentary green tea.

The use of a touch screen (fixed on the side of the conveyor belt) to place one’s order is very interesting. The top of the screen offers seven categories (from left to right): Sushi4, Sashimi12, Washoku14, Dessert, Beverage, Promotion, and Take-Away. You just have to press the category of your desired orders, click the dishes you want, then press “Go!” on the train-like figure at the bottom left corner.

There are three notes at the bottom: “photographs are for identification purposes only”; “service charge will be added upon bill settlement”; and, “order confirmed cannot be cancelled”.

We pressed the appropriate orders on the screen, initially with the help of a server, and waited for our orders. Remember, all orders are final so always ask the help of a wait staff before you place your order. I was personally excited to witness how the orders will be served by the express tray.

We further observed the set-up in our booth. There was a sign which read: “Please keep arms and elbows clear” so we obediently did not extend any of our upper limbs.

A small ledge with a special track was positioned along the wall partition with the menu on one side of our booth to “deliver” our orders. A sign states: “Children below 7 years old are not allowed to sit on the inner area of the booth.” A caution sign reads: “Take your dishes only after the express tray stops. Never put your hands into the express tray area, except when taking off dishes.”

Each booth has a faucet for dispensing hot water, with appropriate notice of safety: “Caution: hot water”. There was a green tea container, a table napkin dispenser, and a chopstick container.

In the meantime, a server gave us black tea cups. We then helped ourselves to the complimentary green tea powder container on our table and carefully turned the lever of the faucet to pour hot water in our cups. The green tea was good and hot, and we enjoyed it while waiting for our orders.

Then, lo and behold, after about 15 minutes, my husband’s order of Salmon Sashimi12 “arrived” from the kitchen. The high-speed express train-tray which can accommodate 4 dishes per trip, swiftly sped along the track, and “parked” at the center of our table’s wall.


My husband got his sashimi12 order from the train-tray. A waiter then brought the soy sauce and wasabi15. I asked for two glasses of water.

The Salmon Sashimi12 (PHP250) consisted of 4 fresh slices, and, according to my husband, it was fresh and tasted good.


A server then brought our Shoyu Ramen2 (PHP250) and water. The ramen1 was served hot. However, I personally prefer the broth to be richer and more flavorful, instead of being light and almost clear, like Filipino mami16. The pork could stand more curing to be tastier.


It then came time for us to settle our bill so we pressed “view your bill”. The screen showed the items we ordered with the corresponding prices, the service charge and the total amount to be paid. I was looking for a Senior Citizen discount button but there was none, so we just waited for our server.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  21-tab-ok

Personally, I find this restaurant a bit pricey based on the serving portion and quality of the dishes that we ordered. However, its unique high-tech/automated feature could account for its novelty and relatively high price.

A server then approached us, and we gave our Senior Citizen cards for our total bill to be discounted. Credit cards are also accepted by Genki Sushi.

Overall, service was fast and the staff was courteous.

Unfortunately, I did not have the chance to use the rest room so I cannot comment on it.

Contact information: (02) 624-2867; Facebook: Genki Sushi Philippines; email:

So, dearest Seniors, if you plan to eat out with your grandchildren, why not try this restaurant, even just for its high-tech service which they could definitely relate to and enjoy? If BGC is not accessible to you, you can also visit the other outlets of Genki Sushi in: Ayala Mall the 30th (Meralco Avenue, Pasig City), UP Town Center (Diliman, Quezon City), SM Aura (BGC, Taguig), SM Megamall Mega Atrium (Mandaluyong City), and SM North EDSA (Quezon City).

This is not a sponsored post. I paid for my visit in this restaurant.

Did you find this post informative? I would like to hear from you re your dining experience in this restaurant. Simply scroll and click “Leave a comment”. Do share this post with your Facebook friends, follow me by clicking on the bottom right corner of your device, and do not forget to like this post.  Thank you!

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The following terms are defined for the benefit of interested readers, especially non-Filipinos, those with “Senior-Moments”, or those too busy or lazy to Google such terms:

1Ramen is a Japanese dish consisting of Chinese-style wheat noodles served in a meat/fish-based broth, often flavored with soy sauce or miso17, served hot, with toppings such as chashu (simmered/braised pork), menma (marinated bamboo shoots), negi (green onions), and nori (dry seaweed), according to the Wikipedia page, Ramen.18

2Shoyu Ramen is the oldest kind of ramen1 which has a clear broth, based on a chicken and vegetable (or sometimes, fish or beef) stock with plenty of soy sauce added resulting in a soup that is tangy, salty, and savory, yet still fairly light on the palate. It is often adorned with menma (marinated bamboo shoots), negi (green onions), ninjin (carrot), kamaboko (fish cakes), nori (dry seaweed), boiled eggs, bean sprouts or black pepper. It occasionally contains chili oil or Chinese spices. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Ramen”.18

3Bento is a single portion Japanese meal, usually served in a square compartmentalized lacquerware, called a bento box, in Japanese restaurants. It generally consists of rice, fish or meat, picked or cooked vegetables.

4Conveyor belt sushi, literally “rotation sushi”, is a form of sushi6 restaurant common in Japan. In Australasia, it is also known as a sushi train. Kaiten-zushi is a sushi restaurant where the plates with the sushi are placed on a rotating conveyor belt, or moat, that winds through the restaurant and moves past every table, counter and seat. Customers may place special orders. The final bill is based on the number and type of plates of the consumed sushi. Some restaurants use a fancier presentation such as miniature wooden “sushi boats” traveling small canals or miniature locomotive cars. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Conveyor belt sushi”.19

5“Genki Sushi,” accessed February 3, 2019,

6Sushi is a Japanese dish made of specially prepared vinegared medium grain white rice or brown rice combined with a variety of ingredients (e.g., raw/cooked seafood, vegetables, tropical fruits). Sushi can be served as an appetizer or as a main dish. Fillings, toppings, condiments (shoyu or soy sauce, wasabi20, Japanese-style mayonnaise) and preparation vary widely. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Sushi”.20



9Gunkan is a typical Japanese way of serving ingredients which would be difficult to serve on top of a nigiri11. It is usually made by wrapping a piece of nori (dry seaweed) around a ball of rice with plenty of space left on top to be filled with a variety of ingredients (e.g., potato salad, salmon roe, sea urchin, squid). Nori can be replaced with very thin strips of daikon, cucumber, and zucchini.21, 22,23

10Maki, short for makizushi, is rolled, or wrapped, sushi6 formed into a cylindrical piece, using a bamboo mat called a makisu. It is also called maki mono or norimaki. It is generally wrapped in nori (dried seaweed) then cut into 6 or 8 pieces, for a single roll order. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Sushi”.20

11Nigiri is a hand-pressed sushi6 which consists of an oblong mound of sushi rice that a chef presses between the palms of the hands to form an oval-shaped ball, and a topping (the neta, typically fish, such as salmon or tuna), draped over the ball. It is usually served with a bit of wasabi20. Certain toppings are typically bound to the rice with a thin strip of nori (dried seaweed), most commonly octopus (tako), freshwater eel (unagi), sea eel (anago), squid (ika), and sweet egg (tamago). The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Sushi”.20

12Sashimi is a Japanese dish consisting of thinly sliced, fresh, raw fish or meat, often served as the first course in a formal Japanese meal but may also be served as the main course. It is garnished with long thin strands of daikon (white radish) or single leaves of the shiso herb (perilla). It is served with soy sauce as a dipping sauce, along with condiments (wasabi15, grated fresh ginger, ponzu24). The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Sashimi”.25

13Temaki, literally hand roll”, is a large cone-shaped piece of nori (dried seaweed) on the outside and the ingredients spilling out the wide end. A typical temaki is about 10 centimetres (4 in) long, and is eaten with one’s fingers because it is too awkward to pick it up with chopsticks. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Sushi”.20

14Washoku, literally “food of Japan”, is the Japanese collective term for traditional, well-presented, Japanese food. It is registered as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, known worldwide as being delicious and healthy, with ingredients which blend together in a harmonious fashion and satisfies all the senses.26 It is made of 4 elements: a bowl of plain steamed rice; a small plate of konomono (pickled seasonal vegetables) or tsukemono (Japanese pickles); a bowl of ju (soup) which contains vegetables or tofu and uses the broth of kombu kelp or shavings of dried bonito, with salt and miso added for flavor; and, three sai (one main/two side dishes) which are cooked fish, tofu, vegetables with dressing, etc.27

15Wasabi is the green, highly pungent, paste served as a Japanese condiment for sushi6 and sashimi12, made from the wasabi plant.

16Mami is a Chinese egg noodle soup, served as a popular snack item in the Philippines. It has several variants: asado28, beef, chicken, wanton29, or combinations thereof. It is said to have been invented by Ma Wen-Lu, the founder of the Chinese restaurant, Ma Mon Luk.

17Miso is a Japanese seasoning which is a thick paste made from fermented soybeans with salt and koji (the fungus Aspergillus oryzae) and even barley, rice malt, seaweed or other ingredients. It is typically salty, but can also be earthy, sweet, fruity or savory. It is used for sauces and spreads, pickling vegetables or meats, and mixed with dashi soup stock to serve as miso soup. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Ramen”.18

18“Ramen,” accessed February 3, 2019,

19“Conveyor belt sushi,” accessed February 3, 2019,

20“Sushi,” accessed February 3, 2019,




 24Ponzu is a Japanese dipping sauce made from fish flake broth — simmered from a mixture of katsuobushi (dried, fermented, and smoked skipjack tuna) flakes, mirin (rice wine), rice vinegar, and kombu (seaweed), then cooled and strained — plus citrus juice (e.g., daidai, kabosu, lemon, lime, sudachi, zuyu) and soy sauce. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Ponzu”.30

25“Sashimi,” accessed February 3, 2019,



28Asado is a variation of siopao31 or mami16 which is made of savory/sweetened stewed pork bits/chunks.

29Wanton, in Chinese cuisine, is a small dumpling with a savory filling of minced pork, usually eaten boiled in soup, or with mami16 noodles.

30“Ponzu,” accessed February 3, 2019,

31Siopao is the Filipino version of the Cantonese steamed bun called cha siu bao, served hot as a popular snack item in the Philippines. The filling/variant is either asado28 or bola-bola (ground pork, chicken, beef, shrimp or salted duck egg). NOTE: Siopao literally means “hot bun”. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Siopao”.32

32“Siopao,” accessed February 3, 2019,


Dearest Filipino readers, when was the last time you went to the Manila Zoo? Personally, I have not visited that place for decades. Why? I got feedback from those who went there about the miserable state of the animals, how dirty and smelly the surroundings are, the condition of the facilities, even the toilets – all these and more, which break my heart because I only have fond memories of this zoo when I was in elementary. My father even taught me how to fish and distinctly remember catching a lot of tilapia in the lagoon which we brought home, cleaned, cooked and enjoyed as a family.

Well, it seems that the Manila Zoo will be indefinitely closed starting today, January 23, 2019. 1, 2, 3,4,5  This was ordered by Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, weeks after the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) tagged it as one of Manila Bay’s major pollutants1, 2, 3 as it has supposedly been draining untreated sewage into one of the estuaries leading to that body of water.2, 3

In a one-page memorandum issued on January 21, Mayor Estrada ordered that “full support and cooperation be extended to the national government for the rehabilitation of Manila Bay.”1,4

Mayor Estrada said the temporary closure would allow the city government to conduct a proper assessment and study of the zoo in preparation for its rehabilitation, upon the recommendation of the Office of the City Administrator and Department of Engineering and Public Works (DEPW).1,3,4

The management of Manila Zoo explained that way back during its opening, in 1959, the zoo was not required to have a sewage treatment plant.2,3

Two weeks earlier, the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA), one of the agencies tasked to rehabilitate Manila Bay, said that the zoo and 16 other establishments around the bay had not complied with the 1997 concession agreement signed by the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System and two concessionaires, Manila Water Company Inc. and Maynilad Water Services Inc., requiring all enterprises in Western and Eastern Metro Manila to put a wastewater treatment facility. Jas Garcia, the officer-in-charge of the public operations bureau of Manila Zoo, said the zoo only had septic tanks which remove contaminants in wastewater.5

Manila Zoo is connected to the Estero de San Antonio Abad which DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu said had coliform level of 1.3 billion per 1,000 ml per most probable number (mpn), higher than the bay’s 330 million. These fecal coliform levels are way above the standard of 100 ml per mpn.5

The city government of Manila vowed to fully support the government’s move to rehabilitate the nearly 2,000-square-kilometer Manila Bay. Mayor Estrada directed the city and zoo officials to address the problem.3

The mayor also ordered the DEPW and the Department of Public Service to submit a program of work for the construction or installation of water treatment facilities or sewage plants in the zoo and other city facilities,1, 2, 3,4,5 which according to the DENR, will take a couple of months.2

City Administrator Jojo Alcovendaz earlier said that two water treatment plants might be installed in Manila Zoo within three to four months, after Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu accused zoo officials of dumping untreated water into Manila Bay. The DENR gave the city government four months to construct a wastewater treatment facility.5

The zoo’s employees will not lose their jobs because the zoo will only be closed to the public but will remain in operation for them to take care of the animals.3  

Personally, I agree with the closure of Manila Zoo, not only to comply with the required water treatment plants to save Manila Bay, but the next three or four months would be an opportune time to improve the state of the zoo in terms of animal care, facilities, cleanliness and sanitation of the premises, among others. I am still hopeful that the zoo will reopen, with the proper water treatment plants and cleaner, well-maintained, and improved facilities.

Did you find this post informative? Have you been to the Manila Zoo before it was closed? Can you share what me your experience there? I would like to hear from you. Simply scroll to “Leave a Reply” and enter your comment in the box. Please scroll and click the “Like” tab and “Facebook” to share this post. Do not forget to follow me by clicking “Follow” on the lower right corner of your device.

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Every January 9, we witness the biggest religious procession in the Philippines, the one held in honor of the Black Nazarene. Some foreign senior friends of mine asked me about this religious image, so here are facts which I researched.


The Black Nazarene is a popular life-sized image of a dark-skinned, kneeling Jesus Christ carrying the cross. It is enshrined in the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene(simply called Quiapo Church), in the Quiapodistrict of the City of Manila3, Philippines.

This iconic image is called Poong Itim na Nazareno or Hesus Nazareno in Filipino, and El Nazareno Negro or Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno in Spanish.

The image derived its name from “Nazarene”, a title of Christ identifying Him as a native of Nazareth in Galilee.


Source of Picture:, by Constantine Agustin,

The miraculous Black Nazarene is venerated every Friday. Many devotees relate their poverty and daily struggles to the Passion of Christ4, as represented by this image. Devotees also believe that merely touching this renowned image could cure diseases, so it continues to attract more and more devotees from across the nation and even from overseas. A composite replica, however, was made in recent years for its processions.

Cagayan de Oro City, in Northern Mindanao, has an official replica of the Black Nazarene given by the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene1 in 2009. A replica of the Black Nazarene was also canonically enshrined at Saint Catherine of Siena Roman Catholic Parish in Reseda, California, USA. Another replica can be found at the Old Chapel of St. Rock the Healer Mission Center, Bishop’s Compound, Barangay Cawayan, Catarman, Northern Samar, where devotees venerate the image, especially on Fridays.


The Black Nazarene’s head wears a braided wig made of dyed abaca, along with a golden crown of thorns. Attached to the crown are the traditional “Tres Potencias” (“three powers”), or three rayos (“rays” symbolizing the three powers of the Holy Trinity), exclusively used for images of Jesus Christ in traditional Filipino and Hispanic iconography to signify His divinity.

The original image has lost several fingers over the centuries.

The barefoot image is shown in a genuflecting posture, symbolizing the agony and the weight of the Cross, along with the overall pain Christ endured during His Passion4.

The Cross itself is of black wood tipped with flat, pyramidal gilt brass caps.

The image is dressed in a heavy velvet tunic of maroon, embroidered with floral and plant emblems on gold thread, and trimmed with matching lace collar and cuffs. Around the waist is a gold-plated metal belt embossed with the word “NAZARENO”, while a golden chain ending in spheres is looped around the neck and held in the left hand, representing His Scourging5.

The many devotees of the Black Nazarene relate their poverty and daily struggles to the Passion of Christ4 as represented by the image of the Black Nazarene. His eyes and His mouth manifest the writhing pain He suffered and portrays a calling for someone to help Him carry the heavy cross. Anyone who focuses his eyes for some time on this image will be irresistibly moved with pity.6


The image was originally owned by the Recollects and was carved by an unknown Mexican sculptor using mesquite, a dark wood that was a popular medium in the 16th century in Mexico. The image was then transported to the Philippines in 1606 aboard a galleon from Acapulco. It arrived in Manila on May 31, 1606. It depicts Jesus en route to His crucifixion. A similar image called Cristo Negro7 is venerated in Portobelo, Panama.

It is said, however, that it was either charred by a fire on the galleon or its dark complexion was due to votive candles8 burning before the image. These still have to be proven.

Pope Innocent X approved veneration of the image in 1650 as a sacramental, and authorized the establishment of the lay Confraternity9 of the Most Holy Jesus Nazarene (Confradia de Nuestro Santo Jesus Nazareno in Spanish).

Pope Pius VII gave the image his Apostolic Blessing10 in 1880, which granted plenary indulgence to those who piously pray before it.

The Black Nazarene was originally enshrined in the high altar of the Church of Saint Nicholas of Tolentino11 (popularly known as the Recoletos Church), located some distance away from modern-day Rizal Park12, inside Intramuros13. Both the church and the image perished during the bombardment and the flames of the Liberation of Manila14 in 1945.

On January 9, 1787, the Recollects donated a copy of the image to the Church of the Camisa (one of Quiapo Church’s original names) and it has been housed there ever since. This “solemn transfer” of the image’s copy from Intramuros to Quiapo was later on celebrated by the faithful every January 9 by means of a procession (henceforth called the Traslacion). This image has withstood four centuries of fires, earthquakes, and even World War II.

The image presently enshrined above the main altar of Quiapo Church is a composite of the surviving copy’s head and a body-replica sculpted by renowned Filipino santero (saint-maker) Gener Maglaqui, who was commissioned by the Archdiocese of Manila15.

The other composite comprises the surviving copy’s body and the head of the Maglaqui replica. Enshrined in a direct part of the Minor Basilica16, it is the second composite which is used in the three major processions (see below). This arrangement began in the 1990s because of security concerns, and to better protect the icon. Until then, the image donated in the 18th century was used in whole during processions.


Here are the devotions in honor of the Black Nazarene:

  1. Every Friday, except Good Friday, is called “Quiapo Day” in Metro Manila, where masses are held in the image’s honor. At the end of each Mass in this Minor Basilica16, devotees pay homage to the image by clapping their hands. Heads up on every Friday in that vicinity because of the heavy traffic due to the high influx of devotees.
  2. Paglalakad nang Paluhod – The reverential custom of “walking” on one’s bended knees (kneeling down posture) along the main aisle, from the entrance of the church, towards the image at the altar.6
  3. A nine-day annual novena17 in honor of the Black Nazarene starts midnight, December 31, with a procession in Quiapo2, Manila3, and continues until January 8.18 For the complete novena, days 1 to 9, visit:

A novena is also held every Friday, attended by thousands of devotees. A note is sounded before the novena begins as the devotees to the Black Nazarene troop in, reciting their strings of petitions.

  1. Traslacion19 – I will make a post soon.
  2. Pahalik – This “kissing” ritual of the statue is held during the eve of the Traslacion19, following the folk belief that a cloth can absorb the powers of a holy object, usually and specifically its curative abilities and blessings, originating from the ancient custom of ex brandea (cloth wiped on the bodies or tombs of the Twelve Apostles), itself part of the wider category of Third-class relics20.
  3. Pabihis–This “dressing” ritual refers to the changing of the vestments of the Black Nazarene which is done by a priest vested in a cope21 and stole22, and devotees either inside the Minor Basilica16, or outside, in Plaza Miranda23. It is performed five times a year during preparations for major religious occasions, and is open to the public.
  4. Pahawak– This refers to touching the statue or the garments of the Black Nazarene.6
  5. Pasindi (“lighting”) or lighting of multi-colored votive candles8 outside the Minor Basilica16.

Monsignor Jose Clemente Ignacio, rector and parish priest of the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene, said that over the years the devotion has increased. He identified three elements for such popularity: miracles and healing; the identification of the Filipinos with the sufferings of Jesus Christ; and, the Panata24 commitment.6

Karl Marx, a German philosopher, socialist revolutionary, sociologist, political theorist, historian, journalist and economist, said: “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people,” according to the Wikipedia pages “Karl Marx”25 and “Opium of the people”.26 Other people also say that all these devotions, especially the wiping of the image, represent idolatry or fanaticism.

They may call it as such but how can you explain the conversion of devotees who previously led not-so-good lives? Genuine faith to the Black Nazarene has led to the miraculous healing of devotees. I, myself, witnessed the complete healing of my husband’s aunt who had a terminal sickness. Personally, I believe that we must respect one’s freedom of religion and his/her relationship with God for a meaningful, happy and contented life.

Pope Benedict explained popular piety in the devotion of the Black Nazarene. “I urge you to retain an appreciation for popular piety, which is different in every culture yet always remains very similar, for the human heart is ultimately one and the same. Certainly, popular piety tends towards the irrational, and can at times be somewhat superficial. Yet it would be quite wrong to dismiss it. Through that piety, the faith has entered human hearts and become part of the common patrimony of sentiments and customs, shaping the life and emotions of the community. Popular piety is thus one of the Church’s great treasures.” Pope Francis is also asking us to support and strengthen, understand and find meaning in popular piety.6


The image is brought out of the church three times a year:

  1. January 9, for the largest procession in the country, drawing millions of devotees for the anniversary of its translation19 or “solemn transfer” in 1787 from its original shrine inside Intramuros13 to the Minor Basilica16 where it is currently housed.
  2. Good Friday27, the Nazarene’s liturgical feast, commemorating the culmination of the Passion4; and,
  3. December 31, New Year’s Eve, the first day of its annual novena17. See Devotions above.

The information was obtained from the following Wikipedia pages: “Black Nazarene”28, “Quiapo Church”29 and “Translation (relic)”30.

Did you find this post informative? I would like to hear from you. Have you seen the Black Nazarene? Have you ever experienced the Traslacion? Do share your comments. Simply scroll to “Leave a Reply” and enter your comment in the box. Please scroll and click the “Like” tab and “Facebook” to share this post. Do not forget to follow me by clicking “Follow” on the lower right corner of your device.

Viva, Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno!

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These footnotes are specially made for foreign viewers and those who would like to know more about the terms below:

1The Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene, commonly called Quiapo Church, is a prominent Mexican Baroque31 minor basilica16 in the district of Quiapo2, in the City of Manila3, Philippines. This minor basilica, dedicated to Saint John the Baptist32, is the home of the revered Black Nazarene. It was founded in 1586 by Fray Antonio de Nombela, OFM, and is under the Archdiocese of Manila15. You can visit its website: The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Quiapo Church”.33

2Quiapo is a district in the city of Manila3, in the Philippines, with 16 barangays34. It is the home of the Quiapo Church and known as a place for marketplace bargain hunting. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Quiapo, Manila”.35

3The City of Manila is the capital of the Philippines and the most densely populated city proper in the world. It was founded on June 24, 1571 and became the first Philippine chartered city, on July 31, 1901. It is the city where the Rizal Monument, Fort Santiago, Malacañang Palace, and University of Santo Tomas are located, among others. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Manila”.36

4The Passion of Christ, in Christianity, refers to the short final period in the life of Jesus, covering: the portent grievance of the Blessed Virgin Mary; His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, the Last Supper; His bleeding and Agony in the Garden; and, His crucifixion on Mount Calvary, defining the climatic event central to Christian doctrine of salvation history. In the liturgical calendar of the Roman Catholic Church, the Passion is commemorated during the Holy Week, beginning on Friday of Sorrows, followed by Palm Sunday, and culminating on His death on Good Friday. NOTE: Passion comes from the Latin word passionem, meaning “suffering, enduring”. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Passion of Jesus”.37

5Scourging is the act of inflicting severe corporal punishment or self-mortification using a whip or lash, usually made of leather, according to the Wikipedia page “Scourge”.38


7Cristo Negro is a wooden statue of Jesus Christ carrying a cross, located in Iglesia de San Felipe, a Roman Catholic parish church in Portobelo, Panama. The life-size statue is carved of heavy cocobolo wood which is dark brown in color. It was found on the shores of the town’s harbor. It is adorned with a robe that is changed twice a year, wine or red in color during the Festival of the Black Christ on October 21, and purple during Holy Week. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Cristo Negro (Portobelo)”.39

8A votive candle, or prayer candle, is a small candle, typically white or beeswax yellow, intended to be burnt as a votive offering40 in an act of Christian prayer, especially within the Anglican and Roman Catholic Christian denominations, among others. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Votive candle”.41

9A confraternity is generally a Christian voluntary association of lay people created for the purpose of promoting special works of Christian charity or piety, and approved by the Church hierarchy. It is most common among Roman Catholics, Anglicans, Lutherans, and the Western Orthodox. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Confraternity”.42

10The Apostolic Blessing or Papal Blessing, is a blessing imparted by the Pope, either directly, or by delegation through others. Bishops are empowered to grant it three times a year, and any priest can do so for the dying. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Apostolic Blessing”.43

 11Saint Nicholas of Tolentino (c. 1246 – 1305) was an Italian saint and mystic, known as the Patron of Holy Souls, and was canonized on June 5, 1446 in Vatican by Pope Eugene IV, the first Augustinian to be canonized. At his canonization, Nicholas was credited with 300 miracles, including 3 resurrections. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Nicholas of Tolentino”.44

12Rizal Park, or simply Luneta, is a historical urban park in Roxas Boulevard, Ermita, Manila3, in the Philippines. It is a major tourist attraction in Manila and a favorite leisure spot, especially on Sundays and national holidays. The execution of the national hero, Jose Rizal, on December 30, 1896, happened in this park, thus, the park was named after him. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Rizal Park”.45

13Intramuros, or Walled City, is the historic walled area within the modern city of Manila3, administered by the Intramuros Administration. It was the seat of government and political power when the Philippines was a component realm of the Spanish Empire.The Spaniards constructed the defensive walls in the late 16th century to protect the city from foreign invasions. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Intramuros”.46

14The Liberation of Manila was the result of the Battle of Manila from February 3 – March 3, 1945, during World War II. It was fought by American and Filipino forces against Japanese troops in Manila and resulted in the death of 100,000 to 240,000 civilians, 1,010 Americans, and 16,665 Japanese, as well as in the complete devastation of the city, destroying architectural and cultural heritage sites. The city’s capture was marked as General Douglas MacArthur’s key to victory in the campaign of reconquest. It is the last of the many battles fought within Manila’s history. With Intramuros13 secured on March 4, Manila was officially liberated, albeit completely destroyed with large areas leveled by American bombing. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Battle of Manila (1945)”.47

15The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Manila is the archdiocese of the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic Church in Metro Manila, Philippines, covering Manila3, Makati, Mandaluyong, San Juan, and Pasay City (except for Villamor Air Base and Newport City which is under the jurisdiction of the Military Ordinariate of the Philippines), with headquarters in 121 Arzobispo Street, Intramuros13, Manila. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Manila”.48

16A minor basilica is a title given to some Roman Catholic Church buildings by apostolic grant or immemorial custom. Presently, the authorizing decree is granted by the Pope though the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Disciple of the Sacraments49. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Minor basilica”.50

17A novena is an ancient tradition of devotional praying in Christianity, consisting of private and public prayers repeated for nine successive days or weeks. During a novena, the devotees make petitions, implore favors, or obtain graces by worshipping Jesus Christ, and ask for intercessions of the Virgin Mary, or the saints of the faith. Persons may express love and honor by kneeling, burning candles, or placing flowers before a revered statue. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Novena”.51


19Traslacion is the Spanish term referring to “passage” or “movement”. In Christianity, the transfer (or translation) of relics is the removal of holy objects from one locality for placement in another. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia pages “Black Nazarene”52 and “Translation (relic)”53. For the devotees of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo2, this term means the procession held every January 9 to honor the said statue.

20Third-Class Relic refers to any object that is touched to a First- or Second-Class relic54. Most are small pieces of cloth that touched the bones of saints or touched the body or tombs of the apostles. NOTE: A First-Class relic is an item directly associated with the events of Christ’s life (manger, cross, etc.), or the physical remains of a saint (a bone, hair, skull, limb, etc.). A Second-Class Relic is an item that a saint owned (e.g., a shirt, glove, etc.) or frequently used (e.g., a rosary, crucifix, book, etc.). The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Relic”.55

21cope is a liturgical vestment, i.e., a long mantle or cloak, open in front and fastened at the breast with a band or clasp, in any liturgical color. It may be worn by any rank of the clergy, and also by lay ministers in certain circumstances. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Cope”.56

22A stole is a liturgical vestment of various Christian denominations, consisting of a band of colored cloth, formerly usually of silk, about seven and a half to nine feet long and three to four inches wide, whose ends may be straight or may broaden out. The center of the stole is worn around the back of the neck and the two ends hang down parallel to each other in front, either attached to each other or hanging loose. It is almost always decorated in some way, usually with a cross or some other significant religious design. It is also often decorated with contrasting galloons (ornamental trim), and fringe is usually applied to the ends of the stole following Numbers 15: 38-39.The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Stole (vestment)”.57

 23Plaza Miranda is a public square bounded by Quezon Boulevard, Hidalgo Street and Evangelista Street, in Quiapo2, Manila3. It is the plaza which fronts the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene1 (Quiapo Church), and is considered as the center of Quiapo as a whole. It was inaugurated by Mayor Arsenio Lacson in 1961, named after Jose Sandino y Miranda, who served as the Philippines’ Secretary of the Treasury from 1833 and 1854. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Plaza Miranda”.58

24Panata is a Filipino term for a solemn promise or vow.

25“Karl Marx,” accessed December 30, 2018,

26“Opium of the people,” accessed December 30, 2018,

27Good Friday is a Christian holiday commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus and His death at Calvary, observed during Holy Week.

 28″Black Nazarene,” accessed December 30, 2018,

29“Quiapo Church,” accessed December 30, 2018,

30“Translation (relic),” accessed December 30, 2018,

31Mexican Baroque is a variation of Baroque architecture, a European style which is highly ornate and extravagant in style. It was introduced through Spain, then adapted to reflect the taste of Mexican indigenous works and criollo, i.e., Mexican-born Spaniards. It has the following characteristics: ornamentation (of most architectural facades and interior walls); hybridity (the combination of European and Spanish-Mexican/Armerindian aesthetic traditions/tastes); the use of azulejos, or ceramic tiles, in decorative patterns in the facade; the use of a wider array of materials (a technique called yeseria where plaster is carved into complex geometric patterns); the use of polished and gilded wood; the use of retablos, paintings of saints set in wood frames; and, the use of life-sized wooden statues of saints.59

32John the Baptist (late 1st century BC – 28-36 AD) was a prophet, even considered a saint, who baptized Jesus Christ in the river Jordan, according to the Wikipedia page “John the Baptist”.60

33 “Quiapo Church,” accessed December 30, 2018,

34A barangay is the smallest administrative division in the Philippines, headed by a barangay captain, aided by a Sangguniang Barangay (Barangay Council). It is the native Filipino term for a district or village. It was formerly called a barrio. In a metropolitan area, a barangay is an inner city neighborhood, a suburb, or a suburban neighborhood. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Barangay.”61

35 “Quiapo, Manila,” accessed December 30, 2018,,_Manila.

36“Manila,” accessed December 30, 2018,

37“Passion of Jesus,” accessed December 30, 2018,

38“Scourge,” accessed December 30, 2018,

39“Cristo Negro (Portobelo),” accessed December 30, 2018,

40A votive offering, or votive deposit, is one or more objects displayed or deposited, without the intention of recovery or use, in a sacred place for broadly religious purposes. Some offerings are made in anticipation of the achievement of a particular wish. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Votive offering”.62

41“Votive candle,” accessed December 30, 2018,

42“Confraternity,” accessed December 30, 2018,

43“Apostolic blessing,” accessed December 30, 2018,

44“Nicholas of Tolentino,” accessed December 30, 2018,

45“Rizal Park,” accessed December 30, 2018,

46“Intramuros,” accessed December 30, 2018,

47“Battle of Manila (1945),” accessed December 30, 2018,

48“Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Manila,” accessed December 30, 2018,

49The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments is the congregation of the Roman Curia63 that handles most affairs relating to liturgical practices of the Latin Church64 as distinct from the Eastern Catholic Churches and also some technical matters relating to the Sacraments. Its functions were originally exercised by the Sacred Congregation of Rites, set up in January 1588 by Pope Sixtus V. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments”.65

50“Minor basilica,” accessed December 30, 2018,

51“Novena,” accessed December 30, 2018,

52“Black Nazarene,” accessed December 30, 2018,

53“Translation (relic),” accessed December 30, 2018,

54A relic, in religion, usually consists of the physical remains of a saint or the personal effects of the saint, or venerated person, preserved for purposes of veneration as a tangible memorial. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Relic”.55

55“Relic,” accessed December 30, 2018,

56“Cope,” accessed December 30, 2018,

57“Stole (vestment),” accessed December 30, 2018,

58″Plaza Miranda,” accessed December 30, 2018,


60“John the Baptist,” accessed December 30, 2018,

61“Barangay,” accessed December 30, 2018,

62“Votive offering,” accessed December 30, 2018,

63Roman Curia is the group of administrative institutions of the Holy See and the central body through which the Roman Pontiff conducts the affairs of the universal Catholic Church. It acts in his name and with his authority for the good and for the service of the particular Churches and provides the necessary central organization for the correct functioning of the Church and the achievement of its goals. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Roman Curia”.66

64The Latin Church is a particular church of the Catholic Church. It is headed by the Pope, the Bishop of Rome, with headquarters in the Vatican City, enclaved within Rome, according to the Wikipedia page “Latin Church”.67

65“Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments,” accessed December 30, 2018,

66“Roman Curia,” accessed December 30, 2018,

67“Latin Church,” accessed December 30, 2018,


UPDATE: Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. signed Department Order No. 03-2019 (Documentary Requirements for the Renewal of Regular Passports) on January 15, 2019, removing the requirement of presenting a birth certificate when renewing a Filipino passport.1 The order states that “the Department recognizes the need to enhance the convenience of, and unburden the public and passport applicants from unnecessary requirements for the renewal of their passports. Therefore, the presentation of birth certificate in the application for the renewal of passport shall not be required.”2

“I know there are many obstacles to getting fast passports. I know all over the world, passports are swiftly given, renewals are automatic. No other requirements are imposed. But give us time to get things done,” Secretary Locsin said while signing said order in the presence of the media.3 He also stated that the “old passport is more than sufficient.”3, 4

The order covers only regular renewals of passports, and shall not cover the following cases where birth certificates are still required1, 2, 3, 5:

  1. First-time passport applications;
  2. Renewal applications for lost and mutilated passports;
  3. Renewal applications requiring changes in the passport entries;
  4. Renewal applications of old brown and green passports bearing no complete middle name; and,
  5. Applicants included in the Department’s watchlist.

Let me stop at this point, dear readers. For some of you who might not have heard the news starting the weekend of January 12-13, 2019, for whatever reason, you might be thinking: What happened in the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA)? Why, all of a sudden, was it announced, thereafter, that birth certificates were required for passport renewal, but on the 15th, about 3 days after the announcement, a DFA order was made no longer requiring birth certificates for passport renewal? What really happened? Well, Tita S immediately posted: Say, Say, Say! – 2019 ADDITIONAL RENEWAL REQUIREMENT FOR PHILIPPINE PASSPORTS ISSUED BEFORE 2010

So, for those who missed that post, here is a recap of what happened.

This issue started when an overseas Filipino worker complained about not being able to renew his passport because the name on his birth certificate does not match the one on his old passport, sometime end of the week, around January 12, 2019.5

To this, Secretary Locsin said, “Isn’t the expired passport sufficient ID? How many times do you have to prove you are what the State declared you are in the expired passports? Why even need to show birth certificate when he is holding a government-issued passport that’s expired and he wants it renewed.”5

But when asked why the DFA could not just get the data from when the OFW initially applied for a passport, Secretary Locsin announced that the DFA needed to rebuild their “files from scratch because [their] previous outsourced passport maker “made off with the data” when its contract was terminated.5, 6 He added: “Because [the] previous contractor got pissed [and] when terminated it made off with data. We did nothing about it or couldn’t because we were in the wrong. It won’t happen again.7 Passports pose national security issues and cannot be kept by private entities. Data belongs to the state.”6

Netizens then raised complaints.2 Secretary Locsin responded to a netizen’s query on data protection. He said he did not know whether information taken by the supposed passport contractor was safe. “How can we be sure? I don’t know. Why you guys who understand data acquisition and protection should keep up the attacks,” he said.8

Meanwhile, DFA Assistant Secretary Cato said that “applicants renewing brown or green passports or maroon machine-readable passports are required to submit birth certificates because we need to capture and store the document in our database as we no longer have the physical copy of the document submitted when they first applied”.9 Recall that before the country transitioned to the e-passport, the DFA required the submission of physical copies of birth certificates and marriage contracts, he said.6

According to Cato, the DFA stopped issuing the machine readable-ready and machine readable passports (MRP) around 2010 to 2011. He said electronic passports or “e-passports” are passports which contain a microchip. Furthermore, Cato said that there are still Filipinos who are in possession of expired MRP or older passports which have not been renewed yet.7

On January 12, Saturday, the National Privacy Commission (NPC) launched an investigation into the alleged data security breach.4 NPC announced: “Any form of non-availability of personal date, infringement of the rights of data subjects, and harms from processing that include inconveniencing the public, must be adequately explained to the satisfaction of the law.”8, 10 The NPC said that it would summon DFA officials and the alleged passport contractor.8

Senator Risa Hontiveros, meanwhile, demanded an explanation how a privately contracted firm can take an entire physical database of all Filipino passport holders and why the firm is not being sued. She said it “indicates a serious national security risk” and that the data should “be retrieved completely and with the highest sense of urgency and priority. Apart from that, the people responsible for such a gross display of incompetence should be held fully responsible.”9

On January 14, Monday, DFA Secretary Locsin said that there is “no leak so far” of the passport data that a former private contractor allegedly ran off.4

That same day, Malacañang rejected the move of the DFA to require birth certificates for passport holders seeking to renew their travel document. Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said that the public should not be burdened by being required to submit original copies of their birth certificate, since obtaining such requires another application process before the Philippine Statistics Authority. He added that “the submission of the old or current passport which the applicant seeks to renew should suffice for the purpose. The ongoing practice is not only cumbersome to everyone affected but is a form of red tape which this administration frowns upon and will not tolerate.” He even said that the current arrangement for the printing of passports should be examined “to determine if there are violations of pertinent laws which may be detrimental to the public.”10

In this regard, Senator Nancy Binay called for a review by the Office of the Solicitor General of all government contracts with third party providers, in response to the issue of passport data disclosed by Secretary Locsin over the weekend. She said that there is a need to step up standards when it comes to data protection and security especially if data management is handled by third-party contractors. There is also a need to know which agencies are prone to data “hostaging” so that this issue will not happen again, and like what happened in the Land Transportation Office and the National Bureau of Investigation, where there was a stoppage of operations and vital public services were affected.11

In a related statement, the Commission on Human Rights urged the government to identify accountabilities in the supposed data breach, saying it is important to uphold “the right to privacy in preserving human dignity as stated in various human rights documents, including the 1987 Philippine Constitution, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the Data Privacy Act of 2012”. It added that the passport data mess “poses grave national security issues, especially since the said data contain sensitive, personal information of Filipino passport holders.”11

The following day, January 15, Secretary Locsin took back his word and said that the former passport contractor did not run away with the data, but only made them inaccessible.2, 5 He said that “the DFA is taking the word of passport contractor APO Production Unit, a company under the Presidential Communications Operations Office11, that there is no breach in Filipino’s data” and there is “sufficient justification in removing the birth certificate requirement in the renewal of passports.”4

Secretary Locsin said that former contractor, French firm Francois-Charles Oberthur Fiduciare would not compromise another country’s security despite making the data inaccessible and that “they do not want to occupy us”.11

He also clarified that it was not possible for a contractor to have run away with personal data of those affected by the data breach at the DFA.11

Even former DFA Secretary Perfecto Yasay, Jr., said Oberthur could not have run away with personal data of passport holders. He said that Secretary Locsin may have been misinformed about the supposed data breach. He added that the French firm withdrew from the agency when its contract expired. According to him, saying that Oberthur ran away with data would be “completely false and malicious”. He also told ANC’s “Headstart” on January 15, Monday, that “the only reason, compelling reason, I can see is because they wanted to deflect the real issue of the passport mess, which is awarding the production of the passport from an end-to-end basis”.11

Secretary Locsin posted on Twitter that the “data is not run-away-able but made inaccessible. Access denied. But APO assured me that they were able to access but not much use and parts corrupted”. 11

He revealed that APO agreed with him that old passports would be the best evidence of identity.11

He added, however, that “only a Senate investigation will assure the public that there was no breach or loss of data. Until then, the Department can give no assurances on the safety and security of some data.”4

In an interview, Secretary Locsin appealed for the public’s understanding as the agency tries to swiftly resolve issues in the processing of Philippine passports. 3

Here are my comments:

  1. Finally, a sigh of relief for the latest development of no longer requiring a birth certificate to renew a regular Philippine passport!
  2. I also commend Malacañang for its wisdom as well as its concern for all Filipinos by rejecting DFA’s original decision to require such a document for regular passport renewal. I totally agree, no red tape please, in any government agency!
  3. I likewise concur with DFA’s 4 premises, cited as bases for the said order1:

a. Every Filipino has the constitutional right to travel which cannot be impaired, except in the interest of national security, public safety, or public health, as may be provided by law.

Definitely, an internal problem, or change of passport maker contractors, should never create an additional requirement for renewing one’s regular passport!

b. Republic Act No. 8239, or the “Philippine Passport Act of 1996”, imposes only minimum documentary requirements for the application and issuance of regular passports and other travel documents.

So, why did DFA Assistant Secretary (ASec) Cato immediately announce the birth certificate requirement for regular passport renewal, only for Secretary Locsin to take it back days after, thereby causing unnecessary stress among concerned Filipinos?

c. Section 7 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the Passport Act does not require the presentation or submission of birth certificates in the renewal of passports, and instead requires only the submission of a duly accomplished application form and the old passport, unless there is a change in the status of the applicant or change in the passport entries.

Again, with this provision in the IRR for passport issuance, why did an ASec immediately announce an additional passport requirement, when it will only be overturned by the DFA Secretary himself, days after?

d. The DFA recognizes the need to enhance the convenience of, and unburden the public and passport applicants from unnecessary requirements for the renewal of passports.

So, dear DFA officials, always bear this in mind when a decision has to be made re this matter.

We, Filipino Senior Citizens, hope that we will not be stressed again re the renewal of our passports since we just want to enjoy our remaining/limited traveling years. Thank you very much!

4. The National Privacy Commission (NPC) must immediately release the results of its investigation re this issue and make a formal announcement for all concerned Filipinos to understand what really happened.

5. Yes, as a Filipino, I am looking forward to a Senate inquiry to get the whole picture of what happened, determine who is/are at fault, ascertain if there is any breach in Filipino privacy, and come up with measures so that this will not happen again, not only in the DFA, but other government agencies as well.

6. The DFA should explain why they had to change the passport maker and why the former system was not made accessible/compatible with the system of the new contractor? Is there really a need for a new contractor to begin with? Can’t the former contractor upgrade its technology/system to meet the new requirements of DFA? I am not techie but should there have been a turnover of data for the smooth operation of passport making?

DFA should be transparent with the terms and conditions of the contract with the new passport maker, with appropriate safety nets as to the privacy of Filipino passport holders, and technical protocol so that this issue will not happen again.

7. In this fast-paced world of technology, other Philippine government agencies must learn from this issue, and ensure that they will not experience this kind of technological problem when it comes to third-party contractors.

The Philippine Identification System (PhilSys) ID, for instance, will soon be implemented. The lead agencies must be careful in choosing a reputable contractor and come up with a contract which will ensure that the system is safe so all Filipinos will be assured that their personal information is safe and there will be no red tape ever!

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