Tasty, educational tours from Mangan Kapampangan

Last July, I briefly experienced what it was like to be a tour operator. Some relatives from abroad were in town and they asked yours truly to book a series of trips for them. I had three challenges. First, the ages of the vacationers ranged 1 to 60 years old (meaning: no one wanted to take long road trips or walk too far). Second, they’d gone to most of the Philippines’s popular spots (Boracay, Palawan, Baguio, etc.). And lastly, the trips were taking place in July, during the manic “wet but humid” season.

I’d listed down attractions in and around Metro Manila. Things like museum trips, performances at the CCP (Cultural Center of Philippines), and places to eat filled my notes. I’d almost ironed everything out when I chanced upon mangankapampangan.com, a website run by Bryan Ocampo. Initially, I was a bit skeptical. I’d done some tourism-related work in the past and I’d never heard of him. However, Bryan’s prompt and professional replies to my queries won me over. Continue reading “Tasty, educational tours from Mangan Kapampangan”


A delicious summer awaits: Tour Flair brings back Food Safaris

Sisters Dinty Barredo-Keating and Mindy Barredo Perez-Rubio of luxury tour outfit Tour Flair are bringing back their popular Food Safaris, just in time for food adventures this summer.

The Food Safaris are, in themselves, a showcase of Philippine delights. “Not only do guests get to enjoy the country’s natural wonders and learn about our culture by visits to heritage sites, they also get to savor and experience gourmet Filipino cuisine prepared especially by Tour Flair’s signature chefs,” explains Dinty.

For this summer’s round of Food Safaris, Tour Flair will be working with a bevy of top local celebrity chefs. Chef Ado Escudero, Chef Niño Laus, Chef Maj Lazatin, and Chef Suzette Montinola will be Creating fabulous meals that will showcase regional Philippine cuisine.

For the summer’s first Food Safari on March 21, guests will both explore Intramuros and Malacañang, and be treated to a sumptuous “Old Manila” Spanish/Filipino dinner and cocktails prepared by Chef Suzette Montinola. Chef Suzette, of La Cocina de Tita Moning fame, will also hold a cooking demonstration at The Legarda Mansion.

Experience ‘hacienda-type’ cooking on April 3 at the enchanting Villa Escudero. Renowned for his culinary art and skills, Chef Ado Escudero, Officier Maitre Hotelier of the Chaine de Rotisseurs International association of gastronomy, and owner of Villa Escudero, will treat the guests to a mix of Spanish, Filipino and regional cuisine at the Escudero ancentral mansion.

Chef Niño Laus’ signature blend of French and Japanese cuisine will take center stage at the Quezon leg of the Food Safaria in the first week of May. Guests will dine in an ancestral house in picturesque town of Sariaya.

Tour Flair Celebrtity Chef Sau del Rosario puts the creative finishing touch on a dish

In June, the Food Safari will be held in San Fernando, Pampanga. Guests will delight at Chef Maj Lazatin’s ‘gourmet comfort food’, which has both Italian and Thai influences. Chef Maj will prepare her delightful concoctions at the Lazatin Ancestral Home in San Fernando. Built during the American colonial period, the Lazatin Ancestral Home was declared a Heritage House by the National Historical Institute in 2003.

“Our goal is clear. We want our guests to see and experience the Philippines as we know it to with he beauty and culture of the country – the warmth and hospitality of the people. An amazing, welcoming place,” states Dinty.

Aside from the Food Safaris, Tour Flair’s impressive roster of destinations also include Boracay, Banaue, and AmanPulo. From premium accommodations in Manila, shopping jaunts in the flea markets of Baguio to scuba diving in El Nido, Tour Flair’s customized itineraries ensure that visitors get to enjoy their destinations to the fullest.

“We have a Bespoke service. We believe that flexibility puts visitors at ease – everyone needs a little freedom ,” shares Dinty. “Each client is treated like a friend visiting our homes – with utmost attention.”

For more information and bookings, please visit www.tourflair.com or call 817-2738. Inquiries can also be made via email:tourflair@gmail.com.

Healthy, tasty cuisine at Terazzas de Barako

Confession: I only began to seriously consider eating healthy when I became pregnant. Pre-baby, my gastronomic philosophy was simple: eat or cook whatever will make me ‘happy’.

The food I have served friends and family is a testament to this: from my ‘sinful’ stuffed chicken, the lasagna, the chip and dips, etc, etc. While I was never really a big fan of pork (I was raised in a household where egg, chicken and tofu were protein staples – Mom is half Japanese and grew up with our Adventist grand aunt), I fell in love with cheese, pasta, potato, and bread.  This whole ‘mom rarely served pork, beef OR hotdogs’ growing up backfired when I moved out…I discovered I could have bacon, bagnet, bulalo, lechon kawali, cake — glorious cheesecake, etc. WHENEVER I LIKED.

Anyways, when I became pregnant, EVERYONE kept bullying reminding me to eat healthy (insert annoying well-meaning reminders like: Don’t eat cake, the baby will become an obese diabetic…No sushi for you, think mercury poisoning). To my credit, I really took the doc’s (and the husband’s) advice to heart. I began to eat more fruits and veggies and less to no bacon (sniff! I miss you, old friend). Also, I began my ‘slow food’ journey (meaning, I did not visit Mcdo, KFC, Jolibee, Taco Bell, et al for most of my pregnancy).

While I am still not a health nut, I can confidently say: I have OK eating habits…I rarely have fast food.

This is why I did not even bat an eyelash when I visited Terazzas de Barako. Located inside Hacienda San Benito, a farm estate in Lipa, Batangas that produces organic vegetables, fruits, and even honey; the restaurant is billed as a fine dining restaurant with a healthy menu.

Continue reading “Healthy, tasty cuisine at Terazzas de Barako”

We had the munchies: Potato Chips

Today, I wanted needed, to satisfy my potato chip cravings. I’ve never made them before but after some Googling and a lot of imagining I decided: YES. I can cook this. I used a convection oven for this recipe but a conventional oven will do as well.


  • 1/2 kg potato
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • seasoning: used Pangasinan rock salt and some chili powder

Step 1: Wash and cut potatoes into thin chips.

Initially, I wanted to use my mom’s brand spanking food processor:

but I was too lazy to make sense of a new “gadget” and I was really, really in a hurry to get my chips! Used this instead:

An old food processor that my mom has been using forever (I think it is almost as old as I am…)


Step 2: Grease pan and place slices on baking pan. Cook for 15 mins at 200 degrees Farenheit (or 15 mins 220 degrees in a regular oven, I think…)

Step 3: Season & enjoy! 🙂