Melawares Crowns New “Cusina Idols”

Armed with their cooking skills and fueled by their passion for food, a cooking enthusiast and a culinary student bested other finalists on the most exciting culinary competition to date, “The Next Cusina Idol Cook-Off Challenge,” hosted by Melawares, the popular high-quality melamine tableware, and Urban Kitchen, the complete restaurant and food service solution.

Winner for the Cooking Enthusiast Division Mercedita “Neneth” Madrona

Mercedita Madrona bagged the title in the Cooking Enthusiasts Division with her innovative fish recipe, Adobo Marinated Hito in Sisig Wraps, while Kimberly Jane Solejon emerged victorious in the Culinary Students Division after serving her winning dish Pan-Roasted Chicken Breast with Chinese Sausage Stuffing.

Winner of Culinary Students Division Kimberly Jane Solejon

As the “Cusina Idol” champions, each winner received a total of P250,000 worth of kitchen showcase from Melawares, Perfect Dining, Bestware or Urban Kitchen. Meanwhile, the other finalists went home with P25,000 worth of kitchen showcase.

Serving as their cooking arena was the Global Culinary and Hospitality Academy in Pasig City, where other gastronomic dishes were featured. In the Cooking Enthusiasts Division, finalists whipped up Fish Tortilla with Mom’s Most Requested Salad, Escalope Sea Bass with Celeriac Puree and Red Wine Sauce, Pan Seared Tuna with Cream Cheese, Tomato and Squash, and Crispy Fish Nest with Hoisin Chili Fillings. Finalists in the Culinary Students Division, on the other hand, brought to the table Pancetta-Wrapped Chicken Breast with Brussels sprouts and Mashed Roasted Squash, and Cheesy Chicken Tarts.

The Cusina Idols finalists were asked to cook and present their star dishes on the spot within one hour, and were judged based on the taste of their dishes (50 percent), cleanliness and preparation (20 percent), and plating and presentation (30 percent).

Adobo Marinated Hito in Sisig Wraps

Before advancing to the final round, the competitors underwent a rigorous preliminary round, after purchasing P500.00-worth of Melawares, Bestware, Perfect Dining, and Urban Kitchen products and filling out an online contest registration found at the Melawares Cusina Club Facebook page.

Pan-roasted Chicken Breast with Chinese Sausage Stuffing

Each contest participant was required to cook one original main entrée dish choosing between fish and chicken. Using Melawares, Perfect Dining, Bestware or Urban Kitchen products for the final plating, they took photos of their entries and posted it to the Melawares Cusina Club Facebook page. Winners were chosen based on the plating, cleanliness and preparation, and number of Facebook shares.

“It is no secret that Filipinos are foodies at heart, with some of our best chefs making waves at the international food industry. However, while the culinary talents of our Filipino cooks are unquestionable, food presentation poses a challenge to most. Fortunately, Melawares and our other lines are now making it easier to serve not only genuinely delicious food, but beautiful and appetizing-looking as well. With the Cusina Idol Cook-Off Challenge, we are excited to see the best and brightest culinary stars in the Philippines,” said Chriselda Chua, Marketing Manager of CDC Manufacturing Corporation, makers of popular tablewares brand Melawares and other quality tableware since 1969.

From a company that sourced its products through importation, CDC Manufacturing Corporation now carries four brands, namely, Melawares, the classic brand that carries high-quality melamine tableware products, Bestware, its affordable line of tableware products, Urban Kitchen, the company’s modern brand that carries food service products outside of melamine tableware, and Perfect Dining, the company’s exclusive brand for the SM chain that carries high-end melamine products, on top of being the leading manufacturer of customized dinnerware for Quick Service Restaurants serving the biggest names in the food industry.

For more information about the Cusina Idol Cook-Off Challenge, visit

PH Hotels Ready for Global Market — ADB – Canada

Philippine hotels and resorts in key island destinations are ready to compete in the global marketplace, according to the initial findings of a team of International Accommodation Assessors (IAAs) who joined the Department of Tourism (DOT) in conducting a national review of accommodation standards last month.

The team of IAAs composed of ten experts from different countries said Philippine hotels and resorts including the small players have ‘very high standards’ in keeping the unique Filipino hospitality, one of the country’s competitive advantages.

“The warmth of welcome for guests in all types of accommodation is almost unique among international destinations. There is a real potential for the Philippine tourism industry. Some hotels and resorts need to invest to improve, but the new rating system can help identify where to focus that investment,” the initial report noted.

New standards under the Hotel and Resorts Quality Assurance and Accreditation System aim to assist visitors in terms of the quality, service and comfort provided by accommodation businesses of all sizes and types in the Philippines.

The system which was launched last year reviewed 144 hotels and resorts in the country’s main island destinations such as Cebu, Bohol, Davao and Palawan. The DOT tapped international assessors to ensure that the review is based on accepted international standards.  The review itself is part of a technical assistance funded by the Government of Canada and administered by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) aimed at improving competitiveness in the tourism sector, in time for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) integration. ASEAN member countries include the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Brunei.

Undersecretary Maria Victoria V. Jasmin, Chairperson of the DOT Project Steering Committee, said the technical assistance is crucial in helping the department to implement Improving Competitiveness in Tourism, a roadmap designed to increase foreign tourist arrivals to ten million by 2016.

“Data will be carefully analyzed in order to further strengthen and develop the accommodation standards system and enable us to compete at the highest international levels in the future,” said Undersecretary Jasmin.

Undersecretary Jasmin added, “these new standards will help guide Philippine hotels and resorts on where they could invest to further improve their businesses. They are shown to be equally effective in identifying excellence, enabling the finest properties and managers to show the way for others. The standards clearly identify examples of best practice for use by all types and levels of accommodation.”

Hotel owners and senior managers in all the properties visited welcomed the new set of standards as they see it as a significant improvement on the old standards introduced in 1992. “Owners and managers welcomed the introduction of the internationally understood one to five star grading approach. They understood that not everyone can be, or should be, five stars and that some of the most successful hotels and brands internationally hold two or three stars,” Undersecretary Jasmin said.

Final results of the assessment will be released in September 2014.

Safari-stic Saturday in Lions Park Residences

A Safari-stic event in Lions Park Residences

It’s going to be a Safari-stic Saturday at the Lions Park Residences on July 28 as it opens its gates to families who would like to enjoy a day of fun and surprises with nature.  The event will allow both parents and kids to enjoy and experience Lions Park Residences’ community living that nurtures nature in urban living. 

Lions Park Residences, a project developed by CDC Holdings, Inc., offers low-rise condominium units, strategically located near commercial destinations, the Makati and Ortigas business districts as well as the new NAIA 3. The event will allow guests to explore the property’s lush surroundings complemented with its amenities such as the multi-purpose hall, a landscaped park, a resort-type swimming pool, and a playground complete with fish pond and butterfly garden. 

The Safari-stic Saturday event will highlight Lions Park Residences’ love for nature as it brings a variety of animals to the community where kids are sure to enjoy and learn.  Kids and adults alike will have the chance to feed and pet the animals and have their photos taken with them.  

One of the highlights of the event will be a show featuring different breeds of Poodle and Capuchin Monkey.  Witness how these animals will capture the audience with their fun and captivating tricks. 

To complete the whole affair will be the zooper games and face painting activities that are sure hit for the kids. 

CDC Holdings, Inc. is also making true to its 2012 tagline “We make it easy,” by presenting a very affordable offer where families can already move-in for as low as five-percent down payment for Lions Park Residences’ remaining units. This is one offer families should not miss!

So, mark the date, July 28. Bond with your family at the Lions Park Residences in Sun Valley, Paranaque City! 

Become Agents of Change through Arts

Making a difference to make the world a better place is such a challenging feat.  For VSO Bahaginan, a premier development organization in the Philippines, such goal is achievable by bringing people to work together.  As a federation member of the international organization, VSO Bahaginan has a network of people who help them in addressing issues on poverty. It creates positive change by engaging volunteers and partners through its wide range of volunteer programs and development initiatives.

The Art for Volunteerism (AFV) exhibit was officially opened by: Mr. Jose Conception Jr., Chairman, RFM Corporation; Ms. Grace Aquiling-Dalisay, Board of Trustees Member, VSO International, together with the AFV participating artists and members of VSO Bahaginan’s Board of Trustees.

VSO Bahaginan celebrated another milestone in empowering people to become agents of change as individuals and institutions participated in the first “Art for Volunteerism” charity exhibit.  It highlighted Filipinos’ spirit of bayanihan as the event united the lovers of art and goodwill.

Shaped with the objective of opening the door of volunteerism to a fresh ground, the “Art for Volunteerism” pools together 17 distinguished academics and professional visual artists from renowned universities in the Philippines for the realization of this project.  The participating artists include Marco Ruben Malto II, Daniel “Dansoy” Coquilla, Benjie Cabangis, Jonathan Olazo, Mervy Pueblo, Noell EL Farol, Zean Cabangis, Riel Jaramillo Hilario, Ferdinand Cacnio, Rosscapili, Dexter Sy, William Gaudinez, Renato Agustin Ong, Andoi Solon, Rodolfo Samonte, Paolo Baen Santos, and  Nestor Olarte Vinluan.

True to VSO Bahaginan’s philosophy of creating a lasting change through bringing people together to share skills and knowledge, the participating artists agreed to share their skills by including select art pieces to the “Art for Volunteerism” exhibit and online selling.   Through the sales generated from the charity exhibit tickets, more people are making themselves instrumental in transforming lives.  The artists are also donating part of the art pieces’ sales to the program.

Mr. Marco Ruben Malto II represented the artists of Art for Volunteerism

“With VSO, every peso you share brings people together to spark a chain reaction.  You will help make life better not just for an individual or a family, but for a community or even a country,” said Malou Pantua-Juanito, executive director of VSO Bahaginan.

The funds that will be raised by the “Art for Volunteerism” project will be used to help fund the organization’s Model Forest Projects in Ulot, Samar and Carood, Bohol.  This environment program is in partnership with the International Model Forest Network (IMFN) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.  The project focuses on the sustainable management of Carood Watershed in Bohol and the Ulot Watershed in Samar.

VSO Bahaginan works to support the local organizations via their specific sustainable and volunteering-based development interventions that will enable people to live harmoniously with the environment.  Together with partners, VSO Bahaginan and volunteers will work in ecotourism and enterprise development, capacity-building of people’s organizations, establishment of local volunteering groups, and organizational development of the watershed councils.

“The Model Forest project does not only address environment-related issues but greatly contributes in transforming the lives of those in the community. The project hopes to see the communities flourish, where its dwellers are committed in protecting the environment because have experienced the benefit that it brings to them,” added Jacinto.

VSO invites you to be part of this drive to transform lives. Together, we can help enable our local communities become champions of environmental protection and sustainability while still allowing them to be self-sufficient and productive.

The “Art for Volunteerism” has been made possible with strong support of Globe Telecommunications, Inc., Pioneer Insurance, and American Data Exchange Corporation. Also extending assistance to the event are Riego de Dios Law Offices, Voyage Studios, and Philam Foundation, Inc.

If you want to be a stakeholder in the process of development through this initiative, visit for details on how you can make a difference.  The site contains information on the participating artists and artworks.

Pay it forward…

Being good is innate in us, Filipinos.  I believe that.  I think we’re more attached to others compared to how other races are.  We tend to accept everyone as our family hence, the attachment.  It is in our nature be involved  to other people’s problems or challenges… although sometimes, to a fault already.  I have encountered one organization that highlights this goodness in us.

It’s VSO Bahaginan.  I know there are a lot of NGOs out there but what I like about the organization is it brings out the best in us.

Filipinos, by nature, are kindhearted, and that is clearly the rationale why the term bayanihan was coined.  Bayanihan or the spirit of communal unity or effort to achieve a particular objective has been witnessed in multiple occasions and through time.  It is from this standpoint that VSO Bahaginan, a development NGO that works to fight poverty through various volunteering programs , hopes to further spur the flame of bayanihan especially in making a positive change in the world we live in.

The organization’s development approach is to bring people together to share skills, build capacity, promote national and international understanding and action to create lasting change.  VSO Bahaginan invests in people at the community level, ensuring that every peso spent on their development programs spark a chain reaction.  It has developed a series of videos that aim to entice both individuals and organizations to make that first step to positive change.

The first two videos dubbed as “Chain Reaction” and “Icons” both focus on the core value of VSO, which is volunteering.  The videos were taken from two different perspectives: how one can make a difference through volunteering and the experiences and benefits of volunteering.

Chain Reaction:

VSO Bahaginan brings people with the skills and the heart for development with the communities that need them the most.  Each action, each advocacy, each social work starts with volunteering. When one volunteers, it changes lives.

VSO Bahaginan believes in the beauty of volunteering. This video shows how our volunteers contributed to changing lives in the communities they have worked with – Leo Cabasag developed a Sign Language module for the children in Cebu, James Zamora taught Cotabato farmers how to improve their civet coffee production and Dr. Allan Sande is now serving in Itbayat, Batanes as its community doctor.  They shared their gifts, made things better and changed people’s lives.

Change can start with you, right here, right now.  Make that lasting ripple effect in the society.  Donate to VSO at and start your chain reaction now.


VSO Bahaginan promotes volunteerism through proactively linking with communities, organizations, government and anyone who has the heart and desire to effect positive change. Through the voices of these volunteering icons, VSO Bahaginan aims to spark a volunteerism revolution in the country.

VSO Bahaginan produced the Icons videos—a series of video clips featuring the top volunteering icons in the Philippines talking about their experiences and their reasons for volunteering their time, talents and treasures.

To view the videos, please visit VSO Bahaginan’s website

 “If you have much, give your wealth; if you have little, give your heart.” ~ Anonymous

Celebrating partnerships through Mabuhay Germany

For years, the German-Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (GPCCI) has been celebrating the affiliation between Germany and the Philippines through the annual “Mabuhay Germany” event.  This year marks the fourth year that GPCCI and its member organizations will be celebrating this significant occasion.  The event is set to take place at the Bonifacio High Street in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City on October 7 – 9, 2011.

(L-R) GPCCI President Reiner Allgeier, GPCCI Business Development Manager Nadine Fund and German Embassy Deputy Head of Mission Ralph Timmerman hosted the kick-off press conference of Mabuhay Germany 2011

This GPCCI’s flagship event will carry the “Winning Moments” theme for its 2011 edition.  According to Reiner Allgeier, GPCCI president, “Mabuhay Germany 2011 is focusing on remarkable victories that have established the Philippines and Germany relationship. These winning moments clearly define and build up the dynamic and mutual relationship between two great nations.”

German Embassy Deputy Head of Mission Ralph Timmerman gave an overview of the German community in the Philippines

Mabuhay Germany was set up to commemorate the more than 140 years of trade partnership between the two countries. Through the event, GPCCI and the exhibitors are able to showcase the most comprehensive collection of German products, services, culture, and lifestyle.  Last year, a total of 35 companies have joined the exhibition whose commercial value is rated high by former exhibitors due to the scale and quality of the international visitors at the venue.  Following this year’s theme, exhibitors are invited to highlight their winning moment from sports to business and from politics to technology.

“Mabuhay Germany has always been an excellent platform to promote German-Philippine businesses.  Through the solid dedication of our partners together with that of our hardworking Event Committee, we are able to highlight the best of what our two countries have to offer year on year,” Allgeier added.

German-Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (GPCCI) President Reiner Allgeier gave glimpse of what to expect for the Mabuhay Germany 2011 set on October 7-9, 2011

This year’s activity has something in store for all types of visitors. The program includes: a bazaar for shoppers and trendsetters on the lookout for quality products “Made in Germany”; food stalls offering authentic German treats and beverages for certified foodies by Dusit Thani Hotel Manila, German Club, Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila; Hänsel und Gretel Haus conducting fun games and learning modules for the entire family; and a Car Expo showcasing the latest in German automobile technology. Other adjacent activities include sports competitions for the athletic types, a Job Fair for job seekers to get in touch with German employers and entertaining performances featuring talented musical artists every night.

Exhibitors involved in the 2011 Mabuhay Germany are Ayala Land Sales Inc., BAG Electronics Inc., Bayer Philippines Inc., Banc

German-Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (GPCCI) Business Development Manager Nadine Fund welcomed and hosted the recently concluded launch of the Mabuhay Germany 2011

o de Oro Unibank, Inc., Robert Bosch Inc., Continental Temic Electronics Phil. Inc., Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH (German Development Corporation), Doehle Shipmanagement Phils. Corp., Euro Pacific Resorts Inc. (Club Paradise / El Rio y Mar), German Embassy Manila,  German European School Manila,  Goethe Institut/DAAD  (German Academic Exchange Service), Lufthansa German Airlines, Lufthansa Technik Philippines, MAN Automotive Concessionaires Corporation, Santa Fe Re

location Services, Schenker Philippines Inc.  and SSI Schaefer Systems Phils. Inc.

The event was also made possible by Aboitiz Project TS Corp., Banco de Oro Unibank, Inc., Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale, Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH (German Development Corporation), and Hapag-Lloyd Phils Inc.

Fuel Up and Roll Out at Total

Total (Philippines) Corporation fuels the much-anticipated Philippine screening of Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon, the third installment that reveals more of the Transformers mythos

Total is giving its customers a chance to own limited edition Transformers toys and drive home a Chevrolet Spark with its Fuel Up and Roll Out promo. Customers get the chance to drive home a Chevrolet Spark 1.2L MT by simply loading up P500.00 worth of any Total fuel (Total ProTec, E10 and Premier Unleaded, Regular gasoline or Diesel) or 4 liters of Total lubricants (Quazrtz or Rubia) or avail of a single purchase receipt worth P500.00 at Bonjour or Café Bonjour. Any of these purchases also entitles the customer to buy a Transformers 3 limited edition toy for only P100.00 and a raffle coupon.


This exciting promo is in line with Total’s promise of delivering Total Performance and Total Satisfaction in everything it does, from the services rendered by the crew, convenience of its facilities and performance of its products. At the Transformers screening, Total takes the opportunity showcase the high performance of its fuels and lubricants that are trusted by world renowned experts in motorsports via the “Moon Race” video which will be shown in Glorietta 4, Greenbelt, Power Plant, Alabang Town Center, SM Mall of Asia, SM Mega Mall, SM North EDSA, Promenade, Trinoma and SM Cebu cinemas.


The Fuel Up and Roll Out promo runs from July 1 to September 15, 2011 at all Total stations nationwide with DTI-NCR permit No. 5096, Series of 2011.



Total (Philippines) Corporation is a subsidiary of Total SA, the world’s fifth largest, integrated, publicly-listed oil and gas company. To date, it has 166 service stations in Luzon and Visayas. It markets and distributes LPG under the Superkalan and Totalgaz brands, along with engine oils Quartz and Rubia.