The love story that stirred the hearts of Filipinos brings joy to SKY homes this summer as “The Hows of Us,” the country’s highest grossing film, banners SKYcable Pay-Per-View this April.
College sweethearts Primo (Daniel) and George (Kathryn) vowed to stick together through thick and thin but are challenged when life suddenly gets in the way: Primo gets depressed for not getting the job he wanted while George feels the strain of mixing work and school.
The movie was given the Golden Jury award while Kathryn and Daniel were recognized as “Phenomenal Stars of Philippine Cinema” by the 50th Guillermo Mendoza Awards.
Catch this blockbuster film alongside “Always Be My Maybe,” “Every Room Is A Planet,” and “Nay” for only P99 for a 7-day access until May 8, 2019.
Apart from “The Hows Of Us,” viewers can also watch 50th Guillermo Mendoza Film Actress of the Year, Kim Chiu in her 2018 MMFF film “One Great Love.”
Kim plays Zyra, a woman stuck between trying to fix her relationship with her boyfriend Carl (JC De Vera) or end it. She gets more torn when she meets Ian Arcano (Dennis Trillo). The film received recognitions as Best Musical Score and Third Best Picture and 3rd Best Picture in the 2018 MMFF Awards.
Also catch Alessandra de Rossi, back from the success of “Kita Kita,” as she partners with Paolo Contis in “Through Night and Day.” They portray Ben (Paolo) and Jen (Alessandra) who were in a relationship of 13 years until they decided to level it up and get engaged. But before they say their ‘I Dos,’ their relationship will be challenged when they go on a trip to Iceland.
Completing this line-up, which subscribers can avail of for only P30 for a 3-day access until April 30, are Arjo Atayde’s “Tol,” and Andrea Brillante’s “Kahit Ayaw Mo Na.”
An epic throwback awaits “Game of Thrones” fans as SKY exclusively offers its subscribers free access to HBO GO, giving them a chance to relive the phenomenal television series anytime, anywhere until April 15.
The offer will delight all kinds of viewers, whether they’re new to the world of Westeros or already hooked to the behemoth series, as all seven seasons are available for streaming.
As the show’s previous season saw the Night King heading to Eastwatch with the undead Viserion and the White Walkers marching South, this season is set to bow out with its biggest episodes ever. With only six episodes, Season 8 is expected to be packed with epic turns of events, including its biggest battle—bigger than what many fans consider its most monumental, the massacre at Hardhome. Fans can also anticipate the formation of new alliances.
HBO GO is HBO’s online streaming service that gives subscribers a chance to watch and enjoy the world’s best movies, HBO Originals and more through the website or the mobile app. Subscription to the app also gives SKY subscribers free access to cable channels – HBO Hits, HBO Family, and HBO Signature.
The free access to HBO GO is available to all digital SKYcable and SKY Fiber Unli Broadband + HD Cable TV Plans 8Mbps and 16Mbps subscribers nationwide with HBO channel in their cable line-up. Download the HBO GO app now and register to catch up in time for the premiere of Season 8 on April 15, at 9:00AM. Visit mysky.com.ph/freehbogo for details.
For more exciting updates on “Game of Thrones,” log on to mysky.com.ph/got.
The Davao food scene is quite heavy nowadays with new outlets opening and familiar stalls reopening, proving that restaurateurs, chefs, and professionals are working overtime to entice the taste buds of discerning Dabawenyos and foodies.
This is a significant month as we celebrate our Araw ng Dabaw (founding anniversary) on March 16, so I would like to feature two restaurants worth mentioning. Award winning Chef Anton Abad, Vikings Luxury Buffet Corporate Chef, recently invited us over for some food tasting, through my partner Rhonson Ng, who is the official photographer.
My girlfriends and I accompanied him for a food shoot in Nords Bread Hub in Azuela Cove days before it opened just a week ago. We were treated to a fusion of delicious meals, one after another, and I might just run out of adjectives to say. Chef Anton has a tendency to pamper friends with his dishes; we delighted ourselves with breakfast favorites such as Adobo Diablo, Fluffy Cuban Style Omelette, and Primera Tapa, among others.
For main courses we highly recommend Salmon Miso Teriyaki, Porky’s Best, Crispy Samgyeopsal, Aglio Olio and Spinach Mushroom Chicken Pesto. Of course the menu list goes on, but I am sure you will keep coming back. Make sure to taste the mouthwatering slices of Chunky Monkey, Bibingka, Cherry Garcia or the Bourbon Cheesecakes. The girls and I are fans of Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies, Matcha Cornflakes, White Chocolate and Walnut Cookies. Young Chefs Alyanna Barrientos and Abigail Louh have been most helpful as well. Nords Bread Hub opens daily from 10am until 10pm.
Drooling aside, let’s move on to its big brother (or rather sister company), the modern Filipino inspired ambience of Vikings Luxury Buffet in SM Lanang Premier. Bringing a fresh concept for this March celebration, Chef Anton introduced us to Executive Sous Chef Keenan Gran and Junior Sous Chef Aldrian Sarana who filled a long table with samplers of the Araw ng Dabaw buffet street food style, using ingredients from the local market with a spiced up presentation.
The sumptuous array called Bankerohan Special, consists of Green Mango and Pomelo Salad for appetizer, Crispy Isaw, Crispy Pork Belly, Crispy Salmon Skin, Pork Barbecue, Inihaw na Tuna Belly, Sinampalukang Kambing, Kilawing Kambing and Kalderetang Kambing. Desserts are finished with Ube Langka/Ube Durian Turon with Durian Ice Cream, Suman at Mangga, Homemade Biko, Durian Cake and Pomelo Brulee.
Again, thanks to Chef Anton and his young chefs, as well as Vikings F&B Manager Luel Magbanua for making our get together meals special.
“Here comes the sun”, we may hum this familiar tune as summer fast approaches. In Tagum City, the Tagumenyos hum to a different tune –‘here come the sunflowers!’
Having gone viral on social media
in its first blooming season just before Christmas, the latest tourist
attraction was inaugurated in front of the New City Hall of Tagum last November
The small hill was temporarily a
spot for sunflowers and plants before the administration decided in developing
the area. Known for being the City of
Parks, Tagum now welcomes the Sunflower Garden as its newest addition to
instagram-worthy places in the city.
According to City Information
Officer Edwin Lasquite, the small hill measures 700sq meters and was planted
with 8,500 seedless variety of yellow corona sunflowers (Sunrich Orange F1)
from Japan. Currently, around 8,200 are
thriving, with a life expectancy of a full month up to 35 days (from sprouting
to full maturity). Its flower diameter
is around 18-21 centimeters.
A few days ago, Ed Lasquite
invited us to witness its second season in bloom, and we were armed with
cameras and drones for an aerial view of the yellow wonders responding to the
sun. At this early morning, they were facing the New City Hall. By late
afternoon the heads will be turning around. This is a well-known characteristic of the
large flowering heads tracking the sun’s movement, a phenomenon called
During its full bloom, visitors
turned up as many as a thousand per day, according to Lasquite. It needs another 55 days to grow in full bloom
once more, giving the hill a chance to rest in between. The government is said
to be open for bookings on prenuptials, weddings and romantic proposals.
Thank you, Ed and tour quide
Isabeyl Rose Abapo of the City Tourism, for accompanying me and colleagues Ian
Garcia and Rhonson Ng, with the usual sumptuous lunch at Miko’s Brew before we
went back to Davao.
Witerary by Jojie
Alcantara (Photos by Rhonson Ng)
There are many things to consider
for parents who are finding the right preschool for their little ones.
Preschool offers early childhood education before they begin primary school,
with programs that provide care and development in a range of preparation
Of the best education systems in
the world, Singapore consistently ranks in the top ten lists, and scores
incredibly high in the PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment)
tests, which aim to measure and compare the performance of students across
different countries. Singapore also does well in exams of younger children, and
graduates can be found around the world’s finest universities. It’s no wonder
that they have many established preschool and nursery institutions all over the
Ranked as one of the best and
most popular, Mindchamps is an award winning premium early childhood education
provider for children aged 18 months to 7 years old in the playgroup, nursery
and kindergarten levels. With more than 40 locations in Singapore, it expanded
to more than 70 enrichment centers and preschools across Australia, Abu Dhabi,
Dubai, Philippines, Vietnam, Myanmar, China and Malaysia.
With a teacher to student ratio
of 1 to 6 for playgroup, and 1 to 8 for nursery 1, MindChamps has a unique
curriculum of activities specifically designed to prepare children for the
change in teaching styles, social skills, environment and routine when they
enter primary school. Qualified teachers undergo around 200 hours of compulsory
training and accreditation, ensuring that a child’s mind is nurtured by highly qualified
and dedicated mentors.
With an impressive global advisory
board comprised of leading educators, MindChamps offers a cutting-edge
curriculum with comprehensive programmes that contribute to a child’s holistic
learning and development, according to his or her individual strengths and
abilities. After decades of research, it has constructed a new approach to
early learning designed to equip the children with the foundations for future
success. MindChamps focuses on creating champion learners for life. The quality
childcare services ensure that your child is well taken care of and their full
potential is being nurtured.
In the Philippines, six (6)
centers are located in Manila Bay Campus, Fort Flagship Campus, Ortigas Campus,
Greenhills Campus, Nuvali and Alabang.
Venturing in Mindanao, Milo
Fadrilan (Marketing Director, Mindchamps International Preschool, BGC The Fort
Inc.) explained how fate has led him to interested investors and partners who
wanted the same quality education for their kids, and wanted to bring this
system to Davao. It so happens that his roots were also from Davao and had his
Last February 14-16, 2019,
MindChamps launched two and a half days of free trial sessions at the second
floor of Blooming Days Café where parents brought their toddlers to experience
the holistic approach and crafted play taught by Singapore-trained teachers,
followed by a written evaluation to assess the level each is qualified to
Witerary by Jojie Alcantara (published for SunStar Davao)
The 38th ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF 2019) which took place from January 16 to 18, 2019 in the picturesque city of Ha Long successfully ended with impressive developments, showing a stronger force in the appeal and charm of Association of the Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) destinations.
Host destination Vietnam (traditionally called Viet Nam) is proud to spotlight more than 70 of its best travel industry players in this year’s exhibition. Ha Long City is the capital of Quang Ninh Province and the gateway to world renowned Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
With the theme ASEAN: The Power of One, more than 1,500 delegates participated in over 100 meetings, business, education and social functions during a week-long event that also highlighted the 3-day TRAVEX, a prestigious annual leisure travel trade mart component of ATF.
TRAVEX delegates —including tourism ministers, leaders of national tourism agencies, international organizations, and buyers— convened daily at Quang Ninh Exhibition of Planning and Expo Center (QNEPEC), which offered the largest showcase of ASEAN destination products and services. ATF 2019 drew the interest of global buyers from 53 countries while more than 140 international and local media representatives were in attendance to cover the latest regional travel developments through the NTO media briefings by all 10 member states.
A total of 400 delegates were
hosted to this year’s event, including me and my colleague Ian Garcia of
Mindanao Times, as Philippine media delegates. We stayed in the elegant Royal
Lotus Halong Hotel for four days.
ATF promotes the ASEAN region as
one tourist destination, with all the tourist industry sectors of the 10 member
nations represented by top travel and tourism suppliers – Brunei Darussalam,
Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore,
Thailand and Viet Nam.
The Philippine contingent secured
an impressive 270 sqm. booth to showcase local destinations, attractions, and
special interest programs, with a number of leading Philippine companies in the
airline, hospitality, and tour operations sector which participated.
Reinforcing the Department of Tourism’s (DOT) thrust of promoting the country as a responsible and sustainable tourism destination, Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) focused on green destinations to attract high-spending tourists by offering community-based products.
Part of TPB’s efforts is also strengthening the presence of the Philippines in international travel conferences and conventions. TPB Chief Operating Officer Marie Venus Tan said it is “imperative for the TPB to take part in the ATF to generate top-of-mind recall of the Philippines’ branding, ‘It’s more fun in the Philippines’ in line with invigorated efforts to promote it as an ideal tourist destination.”
While the ATF experience comprised of complimentary pre-show tours generously prepared for delegates (Ha Long Bay cruises, Lan Ha Bay-Hai Phong City, and trips to Yen Tu Mountain and Ninh), other major events were the Saigon-Ho Chi Minh City Night dinner party for international media on board the Ha Long Princess Cruise, the Opening Ceremony and Welcome Reception & Dinner by VNAT for all delegates, the Friendly Golf Game, TRAVEX lunch and dinner hosted by Quang Ninh and FLC Resort, Brunei Night Reception and Philippines Late Night Function, and the Closing Ceremony of Visit Viet Nam Year 2018 & Gala Celebrating the Success of ATF 2019 for all delegates.
The after dinner party hosted by the Philippines was much talked about for its fun performances and all night dancing by the delegates.
Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Viet Nam, H.E. Nguyen Ngoc Thien, expressed his gratitude and that “the people of Quang Ninh province are honored to host ATF and invite all delegates to experience the natural beauty, warm people and endless adventures in Ha Long Bay.
“ATF is a platform for all ASEAN Member States to build a stronger and more powerful position in the world stage with meaningful initiatives that boost tourism growth while preserving our unique and collective heritage, identity and culture for the next generation to experience.”
ATF 2019’s panel of partners and
sponsors include Official Air Carrier – Vietnam Airlines, Official Meetings
Venue – FLC Group, Official Communications Partner – SCTV, Official Tour
Operator – Saigontourist, Official Show Daily – TTG Show Daily, and Official
Sponsors – BBC, Bia Ha Noi, Bien Hoa Beverages, CNN, Hanoitourist, Heritage
Line, Ho Chi Minh City, Muong Thanh Group, Nguyen Le, Quang Ninh, Sun World,
Thai Tuan, Thien Minh and VNPT.
Meanwhile, Brunei gears itself
for ATF 2020 as it prepares to showcase its offerings and the changes that have
taken place in the decade since it last hosted ATF in 2010. For more
information, visit www.atfvietnam2019.com.
Special thanks to partners who have supported me in my trip: PLDT Home for my Fibr connection here at home enabling me quick access to my cloud files anywhere as well as communication matters; Printlife Official for my printed cards, AromacologySensi Philippines, Bioskin and MX3 for the proudly Davao products I gave away to fellow delegates. Lastly, here’s to the fun company of our former media colleague Salome Villaflor who is now General Manager of Halong Paradise Suites.
Chef Anthony Joseph Ante III, otherwise called Chef Nino, celebrated the Lunar New Year with his new Waterfront Insular Hotel Davao family after being formally appointed as Property Executive Chef.
Chinese New Year’s Day last February 5, Chef Nino treated guests and media
friends to a special Lunar Buffet lunch gathering at Café Uno featuring a
12-course spread and special carving of Lechon Macau, Pecking Duck and Pork
Charsiu as main dishes.
The six-station Oriental cuisine includes signature specialties of Salt and Pepper Squid, Stir Fry Beef, Bok Choy in Oyster Sauce, and Kung Pao Chicken.
Also included are appetizers, assorted salads, sushi starters, dim sum, hopia and tikoy, as well as the Tang Yuan, which are essential delights traditionally eaten during the New Year. The Year of the Earth Pig is also ushered in along with good luck and prosperity by a traditional lion dance performance in the hotel premises.
earned a Diploma in Culinary Arts and Hotel Management from the International
School for Culinary Arts and Hotel Management in Quezon City. He
has then moved abroad to join several 5-star resorts and hotels in the USA,
China and Canada, before moving back to the Philippines, and eventually joining
the Waterfront corporation.
Special thanks to the Waterfront team of GM Bryan Yves S. Lasala, Marketing Communications Officer Eva Ces Gamalong and Sales & Marketing Manager for the invitation and warm support.
Witerary by Jojie Alcantara (column name in SunStar Davao)
Ha Long City in Quang Ninh Province of
Vietnam is a quiet but blossoming town right in the heart of the UNESCO World
Heritage Site Halong Bay. Quite laid back from other touristy cities, the
roads are wide and without traffic (maybe peak season is different). Apart from
Ha Long Bay cruises which is the major attraction, it also offers beach activities,
nature treks, local food and night markets.
Divided into two main areas, there is Hon Gai on the other side of
the bridge where local life, culture and food can be experienced. Bai Chay is
the central tourist area on the other side where Ha Long Bay is dotted
with luxury cruises or replicas
of Chinese junk boat tours.
beach, restaurants, cafes and varying structures from high end resorts to
boutique hotels are lined along the bay. Many building constructions
are on the way, preparing Ha Long to become the next busy destination.
Ha Long Bay (Vietnamese: Vịnh Hạ Long) is a popular destination for many reasons. The name Hạ Long means “descending dragon”, with a bay that features thousands (1,969 as of record) of limestone karsts and isles in various shapes and sizes protruding around the waters.
Famous for its attractive rock formations, bays, uninhabited islets, limestone pillars and cave formations, it leads to an overall stunning landscape that makes it a traveler’s bucket list. Some islets are named after shapes of objects or animals like the iconic fighting cocks.
In 1962, the Vietnam Ministry of Culture, Sport and
Tourism designated Ha Long Bay a ‘Renowned National Landscape Monument’. First listed as a
UNESCO World Heritage
Site in 1994 in recognition of its outstanding, universal aesthetic value, its World Heritage
Listing was updated in 2000 for its outstanding geological and geomorphological
In October 2011, World Monuments Fund included the bay on
the 2012 World Monuments Watch, citing tourism pressures and associated
development as threats to the site that must be addressed. In 2012, New 7
Wonders Foundation officially named Ha Long Bay as one of New Seven Natural
Wonders of the World.
must-see spot to explore is the beautiful Thien Cung Cave (Heavenly Palace Cave), a beautiful primitive cave with a
complicated interior structure, high ceilings and a unique system of
stalactites and stalagmites in different forms and shapes that tickle your
They say it is
best to visit Ha Long between October to December as weather is most pleasant
in fall with less rain. April is also tourist season and an ideal time to
cruise Halong Bay because it is not as hot in summer or as bitterly cold in
winter when the whole bay is shrouded in mist. In my visit this January, though, I was hit with a chilly blast for the
rest of my stay.
Halong City is approximately 3 hours away from the international airport in Hanoi, Vietnam’s bustling capital, which has a direct flight from Manila, Philippines via Cebu Pacific. While we came as hosted media courtesy of TTG Asia, organizers of the Asean Tourism Forum (ATF 2019), I had the option to choose my airline for convenience in connecting flights.
I was billeted in Royal Lotus Hotel, located in the bay area where most of the high rises and top hotels stood. I stayed for the ATF Convention as a Philippine delegate together with colleague Ian Garcia of Mindanao Times, and we have bonded with other foreign travel agents and international media.
Special thanks to partners who have supported me in my trip: PLDT Home for my Fibr connection here at home enabling me quick access to my cloud files anywhere as well as communication matters; Printlife Official for my printed cards, AromacologySensi Philippines, Bioskin and MX3 for the proudly Davao products I gave away to fellow delegates.
Witerary by Jojie Alcantara (column name in SunStar Davao)
Vietnam is the host country of the 38th ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) 2019. Held in Ha Long, this country is all ready to create a major and lasting impression on its 1500 delegates. These comprise of ministerial, NTO, official meeting delegates, as well as TRAVEX suppliers from across all 10 ASEAN member states, international buyers and media pools.
ATF TRAVEX, renowned for being the largest and most diverse
showcase of ASEAN suppliers, will play witness to ASEAN travel trade industry
exhibitors from Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia,
Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam, connecting with
hosted buyers and media representatives
from around the world.
The 3-day ATF TRAVEX 2019, which commences from 16 January
till 18 January, will aggregate 75 official sessions with the host country
organizing numerous social activities and programs that include pre-and
post-show tours in selected tourist attractions, an opening ceremony, a welcome
reception and dinner events, a friendly golf game and a farewell party for all
Another anticipated ATF component is the ASEAN Tourism
Conference, where major regional issues are presented and discussed by subject
experts and thought leaders. In keeping
with the aim of strengthening co-operation among the ASEAN tourism industry’s
various sectors, this knowledge platform promotes discussion, exchange of ideas
and valuable perspectives to motivate progress among ASEAN stakeholders.
Through its high hospitality and infrastructural standards,
Vietnam aims to successfully demonstrate its capabilities and be recognized as
one of ASEAN’s most attractive destinations, complete with world-class
facilities and services to make an even greater impact on its already
impressive touristic appeal.
Vietnam spared no cost in giving all delegates a generous
opportunity to experience Ha Long, the Quang Ninh province and other
destinations with a total of 15 pre- and post-ATF tours to be held over 4 days.
Itineraries include cruises of Ha Long Bay, Lan Ha Bay, Hai Phong City, as well
as trips to Yen Tu Mountain and Ninh Binh.
Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Viet Nam, H.E. Nguyen Ngoc Thien, said in a statement, “The people of Quang Ninh province are ready to welcome delegates and guests. We are honored to host ATF and look forward to inviting all visitors to experience the natural beauty and warmth of our people. We are ready to embrace all ASEAN states to drive connectivity and sustainable tourism to Viet Nam and the region as one.”
Vietnam has over 540 tourist destinations and attractions that can be classified as cultural, sea, natural & ecological, and sports & recreation tourism. Among them are 24 world heritage sites. For more information and updates for ATF 2019, visit www.atfvietnam2019.com
Special thanks to partners who have supported me in my trip: PLDT Home for my Fibr connection here at home enabling me quick access to my cloud files anywhere (articles and images) as well as in communication matters; AromacologySensi Philippines, Bioskin and MX3 who have shared proudly Davao products to give away to fellow delegates..
Big Bad Wolf Book Sale finally comes to Davao with a whopping 1 million books of different genres from popular authors and diverse topics, fiction and non-fiction to bestsellers. These are all to be enjoyed in a nonstop shopping for 24 hours from November 23 to December 2 at the Tent of Azuela Cove.
Popularly known as the world’s biggest book sale, the Big Bad Wolf Book Sale is the brainchild of founders Andrew Yap and Jacqueline Ng from Malaysia since it launched in 2009. It specializes in offering the widest selection of brand new books at discounts of 50% to 90%, the lowest prices possible. This includes a huge selection of children’s books.
The visionaries behind the brand state that Big Bad Wolf is not just a book sale, but a reading advocacy organization. It aims to create a love for reading, inspire people to chase their dreams, and empower everyone with knowledge. Its primary aim is to encourage people of any age to discover the joy of affordable reading.
Changing the world one book at a time, Big Bad Wolf has now toured across Malaysia,Thailand, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Taiwan and UAE and will continue to do so.
In a Davao press briefing last November 5, Big Bad Wolf represented by founder Jaqueline Ng turned over a P5 Million check to Gawad Kalinga’s Executive Director Luis Oquineña, a hefty donation to support outreach programs with the partnership.
Media members and bloggers were also treated to free books of their choices laid out on a long table as a surprise. My haul was a hardbound Cartoonist Bible and a huge DC Comic Book of Batman. VIP access passes were also distributed for an exclusive first look on November 22, 2018.