Sunday, August 2, 2015

Weather Philippines: Accurate Weather Report from the Grass-roots

In the last several decades, the Philippines, more than any country in the world, received the most number of typhoons in a year, receiving 24 typhoons on the average per year. That is why Filipinos are said to be one of the most resilient people on earth, having to endure one calamity after another.

But as much as we are one tough spirit, communities living in the typhoon path, usually at the eastern seaboard of the Pacific Ocean, can only endure so much beating, most especially fisher folks living in the coastal areas, who receive vital weather reports a little too late or not as accurate.

Our own weather bureau- Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical Astronomical Services Administration – PAGASA, uses forcasting models which covers a much wider scope of area a typhoon can affect. Apparently, in reality, the strength of a typhoon varies from one area to another, even if these areas are under the same warning signal. Using such models can never achieve accuracy on a localized scale.

Therefore, there will be tendencies to over-prepare or under prepare with lack of accurate weather information. Businesses may cancel work and loose money despite fair weather and vacation trips get ruined in spite of clear skies.

Weather Philippines is a non-profit foundation that provides premier weather sensing and forcasting system made possible by up-to-date technology in modern weather forcasting. Its system is supported by partnership with business and local government units in all regions that systematically relay vital information gathered by its weather stations to communities greatly affected by the impact of any weather disturbances.  

Created by the Aboitiz Group and its business partners, such as Union Bank and Metro Group, it delivers free, more localized and more accurate information accessible by a mobile web application through  Presently, Weather Philippines has deployed more than 750 weather stations nationwide and have partnered with 586 LGUs and business enterprises, whose tasks is the safe keeping and management of these weather stations.

Last week, Weather Philippines invited members of the media to a day-trip of relaxation at the Anvaya Cove, Morong, Bataan. We were treated with great food, while we listened to a basic mountaineering course courtesy of one of the partners of Weather Philippines, Mountain Hardware. Part of the Primer Group, the staff of Mountain Hardware are responsible of helping the foundation in scaling mountains and remote villages in deploying the weather stations.

After the short seminar, some of us took the remaining extra time to dip in the cool waters of the pool of the resort while other stroll the clean gray sandy beach and grabbing every opportunity to shoot pictures on some of the great scenic views while the sun sets over the horizon. Even if there was a low pressure area coming our way, our day at Anvaya was not spoiled because we were confident that the weather in that part of the region was all clear and sunny. Thanks to the accurate report of Weather Philippines’ weather stations. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Australian Grass-Fed Steak Served Here... (Part 2)


True treasures can be found in hard to find places. The True Grill, is definitely is Australia’s best-kept secret in Makati. Situated in the middle of Jupiter Streets, this Australian beef hub is the depot of most of the steak houses around the metro. Started as an Australian Beef meat shop (Melbourne Prime), The True Grill has grown to be one of the most sought after steak houses in the city which serves authentic Angus, Wagyu, Tazmanian and Mulwara beef direct from Melbourne, Australia. Owned and managed by the husband and wife Mr. and Mrs. Rhett Uruttia, The True Grill Café is one of the few restaurants that serve authentic Australian Grass-fed Beef which has the most nutritional values you can find in a beef.

As we waited for the first dishes to arrive, I took the privilege of having a chat to sir Rhett regarding the details of Grass-fed beef. I was amazed as how the cattle are being raised that requires wide open spaces of pure grass. In order to raise a full grown cattle, it needs to have a grazing area of at least one hectare of grass land. In effect, the cattle will develop well defined muscular structures which are far more flavorful and nutritious compared to enclose and grain fed cows, in which when butchered, the meat or muscles are marbled with fats.

Chef Chris Bautista, the resident chef of the Café introduced us to Pinnacle Rib Eye Steak. As expected, the meat was cooked in a medium rare level in order to taste the true flavor of the beef. The dish is served with side salad on vinaigrette and French fries. They have three choices of sauce; the usual steak sauce, honey mustard sauce and catchup. I didn’t know that there are still people who prefer catchup for their steak, and I guess it’s for the fries. All of their sauces are home-made including the honey mustard sauce which is my favorite.

In this photo, the chef made a cross section cut of the Ribeye so show the purest muscle of the meat without any blemish of fat marbled into it.

The next is the Melbourne Burger. It is serve with crispy potato chips and catchup ( for the chips). These are double burger patties with 75gms each patty making it 150gms or 1/3 pounder burger, much like the size of burger of Jollibee Champ. The dressing is composed of fresh lettuce, onions and special burger sauce which makes the burger so delicious.

Later, they served us the Philly Cheese Steak and Chili Con Carne. The cheeses steak is actually are fine strips of pure Black Angus Beef in a white bun with fresh lettuce, tomatoes, special cheese and True Grill’s signature sauce. The Chili Con Carne is cooked in Australian beans and tomato sauce. Even when cooked, you can still taste the true flavor of the beef.

Another unique attraction of the place is the art works which are beautifully mounted all over the resto. These artworks are just of the few of the collection of Mrs. Uruttia, which she kept over the years of travel. Some were bought from abroad but most are masterpieces of our local talents.


Our next stop is the Blackbird and it was my first time to eat here. Blackbird is located at the old Nielson Tower along Makati Avenue. As a short trivia, Nielson Tower is noted to be the oldest standing structure in Makati where it was used to be the air traffic control tower of the first air terminal in the Philippines. After the Second World War, the Ayala Corporation poured some resources to renovate the building and became a house of historical memorabilia and library. But last year the library was moved to the Ayala Museum and the building was turned into a restaurant which is now called Blackbird.

We arrived at Blackbird at around past lunch time and we were welcomed by Mr. Anthony Weymouth, Austrade’s Senior Trade Commissioner,  who gave us a quick tour of the place. After which, he led us to the main dining hall where we were served with some of Blackbird’s best-selling beef cuisine.

Our first dish was the Australian grass-fed Mulwara Beef Tenderloin Tataki with Roasted Rice, Shallot and lime Dressing. The Mulwara beef was slightly cooked (almost raw) and sliced very thin. One can know the quality of the beef if it can be eaten raw. This raw dish is something that every beef or steak lover should try. It is when you can actually get the real experience of an authentic Australian grass-fed beef. The flavor is so rich and it was complimented with the lime sauce that made the beef taste so great.

The second one is the Australian Grass-fed Mulwara Flatiron Steak with Kimchi, Green Onion and Ginger, Lettuce with Hot sauce. The Mulwara beef is cooked under a very hot iron plate, so you’ll taste the Smokey flavor and the rich flavor of the steak. The kimchi goes well with the meat as well as the green onion paste. Of course everything compliments well with steamy rice.

I took a shot of this girl “flat ironing” the white table sheets and wondered how does the chef prepare the Mulwara Flatiron steak. Hmmm….

THE BLACKBOARD by Chef Mitchel

After four restaurants in Makati, the group went to Ortigas area for our last food trail venue which is the Blackboard by Chef Michel. This restaurant is quite popular for its unique menu line up. Inside, there is a large blackboard mounted in the wall that features the menu for a particular season. After a season is done, the Chef will erase everything written and will feature another set of dishes. So, if you visited the place once and liked a particular dish, that one might not be around the next time, you visit them again. This concept is something that is quite unique for some, but quite frustrating for others who finds a favorite dish which is no longer in the menu.

Our travel from Makati to Ortigas took us longer than usual because of the traffic condition in EDSA, which is good in a way, because we needed that extra time to digest all the steak we’ve been eating the whole day. When we arrived the group was ready to take on another set of steaks prepared by the chef. The group was received by Luis, the restaurant manager of Casa Roces. He was newly assigned to manage the place while Chef Michel is on travel overseas.

For starters, we were served with white bread with pate and fruit juice. After which, we proceeded immediately to tackle the heart of the issue which are the steaks. The first one is the Free-Range Pure Black Angus Striploin. The beef is grilled in a medium-rare level, served with sautéd button mushrooms in red win and steamed sliced potato drizzled with parsley.

Before we proceeded with the next steak dish, sir Luis served us a breather to wash-off our palate from all the over-powering taste of steaks we’ve been eating the whole day. So we were served with Seared Salmon Fillet with Mango Salsa in Camote mash. This particular Blackboard’s best sellers and it was a good way to rest our taste buds.

And for our last steak dish in our MLA Food Trail is the Signature label Tasmanian Prime Ribeye. Now this steak certainly wraps the evening with Cracked Black Pepper, Confit Shallots sauted in red wine and Baker’s potato sauted in Café de Paris butter.

Of course, this special steak dinner would not be complete without the Red Wine which certainly culminates the evening.

Red Wine to wrap up the evening... Photo by

The five restaurants are just among the 35 others that serves Australian Grass-Fed Beef. The dishes were tailored menus that highlight the unique flavor of Australian Grass-Fed Beef which has been raised exclusively on pasture of Australia.

So if you are a steak lover like me and desires to experience the real taste of Australian Beef, just look for this poster in all of these participating restaurants: 100, A Steakhouse, Acacia Hotel, Arya, Blackbird, Capriccio, Casa Roces, Chef Jessie Rockwell Club, Chef Jessie Top of the Citi, Chesa Bianca, Cravings, Cyma, Epicurious, Illustrado, Kitchen 1B, Lucia Restorante, One Way, People’s Palace, Prime 101, Sala, Sala Bistro, The Blackboard, The Breakfast Table, The Tru Grill, The Urban Farm, and The Wholesome Table.

Again, there's more...

Part of your steak eating pleasure, the Meat and Livestock Australia MLA in Partnership with the Australian Embassy, Qantas Airline, Victoria, Australia Unlimited and True Aussie Beef has come up with an offering to lucky loyal guests of participating restaurants to win dinning privileges worth PhP5,000 or round trip tickets for two to Australia when you ordered Australian Grass-fed beef.

Australian GRASS-FED Steak Served Here... (Part 1)

The title of this blog is exactly the sign you will see at the entrances of five restaurants I have visited the other day, which serve some of the best Beef dishes I have tasted. Since it involves five restaurants, I decided to have this into two parts.

Australian Grass-fed Beef Served Here...

Last week, I got an invitation to a “Food Crawl” for five restaurants that’s serve some of the finest beef dishes which Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) are quite proud to feature because Aussie Beef are quite famous for its prime quality of cattle which are Grass-fed. MLA in partnership with the Australian Embassy prepared one week of schedules where I got to choose a day of food crawling, and I chose Tuesday, July 21. After my confirmation, I knew that it would be a day of “Beef overload”, so I made some preparations by increasing the distances of my running routes, and a few reduction of meat diet prior to the “Fat-Tuesday” feast.

Kitchen 1B is located at KL Tower, Gamboa Street, Legaspi Village, Makati City


I arrived at Kitchen 1B around 9:00am and I was welcomed by its Manager, Ms. Agnes Almeda. It was my first time to visit this resto and I heard from my wife that they serve good food here. Kitchen 1B is just one of two branches in Makati and its part of the Pablo Group.

The "Fat-Tuesday" batch! with friends from Australian Embassy and MLA

After meeting the hosts of the food event, the first dip of steaks were served. The first in the menu is the Steak Salad. Starting the day with a steak is not my usual morning routine, but this one was quite satisfying. The vegies, tomatoes, smothered with a special kind of vinaigrette which is sweet and spicy are very refreshing at 9 in the morning. The beef are striploins form Tazmania which is cooked medium-rare and is very tender.

Steak Salad...

For us to taste more of Kitchen 1B’s beef dishes, they prepared a number of their best sellers in one plate and in bite sizes so we can have more room for more dishes later. These are Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich, Steak Frites and Beef Tapa. These are all Mulwara Beef from Australia and they are all grass-fed. The Philly Cheese Steak is also very good. They have good cheese but not so over powering that you lose the taste of the steak. The Beef tapa is also good. Though I’m not a fan of tapa because its well done, and you tend to lose the real beef flavor when its well done. But this one is certainly exceptional. That is one good thing about grass-fed cattle; you get to taste the “real” taste of the beef muscle and less of the fat.

A bite portion of Philly Cheese Steak, Steak Frites and Beef Tapa

And the last of the course is the Mushroom and Tenderloin Chunks. Again this is Mulawara beef from Australia, grilled to medium-rare consistency topped by a Mushroom cream cheese paste with Sweet-potato side dish. I took a photo of our sample serving as well as the actual regular serving which is very big and looks delicious too.

Mushroom and Tenderloin Chunks


Not far from Kitchen 1B is ONEWAY, which is located at Benavides Street. One Way Resto-bar is quite popular for their grilled food as well as their wine and steaks. Upon entering, you will notice a unique interior which are full of photos of known personalities who frequented the place.

As a welcome drink, staff prepared a fine celery shake with mangoes. The first dish that was served is a signature dish of One Way, the Gravalax Salad, which has a composition of fresh vegies, lettuce, arugula, fresh tomatoes with marinated salmon with strips of ripe mangoes.

Gravlax Salad... Photo by

As the main course, the resto served Striploin Steak. Again, it is an Australian grass-fed beef, grilled in a medium rare consistency on the side is Bearnaise Sauce with sharp cheddar and Mashed Potatoes. Even without the sauce, the beef was so good and very tender. You will feel that there is no marbling of the fat with the muscle, so you’ll taste the beef muscle which is very flavorful.

For dessert, it was Mud Pie Ice Cream, which is actually a pie with ice cream filling with fresh fruit cream.

Mud Pie Ice Cream... Photo by

So to all steak lovers out there who wish to experience the real taste of Australian Beef, just look for this poster in all of these participating restaurants: 100, A Steakhouse, Acacia Hotel, Arya, Blackbird, Capriccio, Casa Roces, Chef Jessie Rockwell Club, Chef Jessie Top of the Citi, Chesa Bianca, Cravings, Cyma, Epicurious, Illustrado, Kitchen 1B, Lucia Restorante, One Way, People’s Palace, Prime 101, Sala, Sala Bistro, The Blackboard, The Breakfast Table, The Tru Grill, The Urban Farm, and The Wholesome Table.

But wait, there's more...

Part of your steak eating pleasure, the Meat and Livestock Australia in Partnership with the Australian Embassy, Qantas Airline, Victoria, Australia Unlimited and True Aussie Beef has come up with an offering to lucky loyal guests of participating restaurants to win dinning privileges worth PhP5,000 or round trip tickets for two to Australia when you ordered Australian Grass-fed beef.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

ULTHERAPY:The most effective and safest Face-lifting procedure without the surgery…

Whenever I come across a job opening, I often see a qualification that spells, “with pleasing personality”. It seems that the set of skills and experience now a days to get the job are no longer enough to please everyone. This reality may not be as fair, but that’s the way of the world. That is why people will do everything that is humanly possible to be as young, fresh, and beautiful as they can to remain competitive. And it works. But for some who just want to feel good about themselves and have the funds to support a vain lifestyle, they will get the best cosmetic surgeon money can buy and brave a surgical procedure regardless of the medical and health risk involved. 

However, with the fast pace of technological advancement in the field of cosmetic reconstructive surgery, and the alarming rate of “botched” cases that lead to cosmetic disasters, more and more people are veering away to the end of the blade just to achieve a vain dream and chose a much safer alternative called ultrasound. 

(From L-R) Dr. Ron Elepanio, Dr. Z. Teo, Dr. Peter Peng, Dr. Venzo Veceral

Before, I always thought that ultrasound was only limited to the Doppler device gynecologists use when they probe pregnant women that shows an image of the baby inside a tummy. Now, the ultrasound technology can do much more aggressive work such as, dissolve gal-stones, burn fat and the latest of these, is the ability to reorganized the collagen of the sub-epidermal layer of the skin to produce new collagen that will bring a fresh face tonicity. A natural face lift!   

Ulthera System...

ULTHERA System is the latest in face lifting technology which uses Ultrasound that micro-focuses specific area of the face, neck, and chest which is very safe and non-invasive. Among the ultrasound devices that are out in the market today, the Ulthera System is the only machine that is U.S. FDA approved for non-invasive lift procedure. It is one of the latest devices of MERZ Aesthetics, a division of MERZ Co., the innovative leader in aesthetics medical application.

Merz Representative and Dr. Teo, presenting US - FDA Certificate of Authenticity

Recently, MERZ Philippines launched the Ulthera System in the country to offer Filipinas and Filipinos to finally experience this non-invasive face lifting technology. The event was held at the Le Jardin French cuisine restaurant at W Building in Bonifacio Glabal City. The launch was attended by members of the media and with friends in the cosmetic reconstructive industry. Several experts were invited as well to speak about the advance technology of Ulthera. 

Dr. Peter Peng of Taiwan

The first speaker was Dr. Peter Peng of Taiwan whose long time practice of Ulthera back in his home country has brought a lot of success in his medical career. His post-operative results to his patients have resonated in many parts of the world and have invited to speak in medical forums to share the remarkable face lifting results of Ulthera System. 

Dr. Teo, expounding on the benefits of Ultherapy

Another expert who shared the wonderful things about Ulthera can do to people, is Dr. Z Teo from Singapore. Dr. Teo presented some of his patients who have been getting Ultherapy for the past six years and the results are still amazing showing no signs of any complications. The technology of the machine are so high-tech, surgeons can view the procedure via magnetic resonance imaging that allows the doctor to zero in detailed areas, avoiding bones and nerves. 

Dr. Ron Elepanio

Dr. Ron Elepanio, a medical psychiatrist shared to the audiences the benefits of such procedure in the emotional, mental and psychological perspective. According to Dr. Elapenio, “ When you feel beautiful, you tend to be more confident about yourself “. 

Dr. Peng demonstrating Ulthera System face lifting proceedure...

Ultherapy enhances the look of a person which is non-invasive and it improves the elements of the face without adding any fillers or implants. It reorganizes collagen which is already part of your body and That what makes Ulthera System so amazing. 


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