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Inside Makati’s immersive book club

Perhaps the most compelling issue in modern Philippine literature is still the gap in representation. Although the country has a range of literary works, there’s still a need for more representation and depth in the books local publishers churn out.

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With the hustle and bustle filling the avenues of Makati, it’s not wrong to assume that the city is a concrete corporate jungle. From high-rise buildings to industrialized stores, Makati is built on corporate ladders and elevator pitches. But explore a bit more and to the east side you’ll find Poblacion, a lively and hip contrast to what’s otherwise a commercial work mill for many.

While the fun and drinks happen at night, The Astbury–a third space for creative human experiences stands in one of Poblacion’s nooks and crannies. There, an intimate and immersive book club called “The Write Side of Bookshelf” gathered to converse and breathe new ideas on how to be a Filipino author and the future of Philippine literature last June 20. This session called “The Journey of a Filipino Writer” was led by author and longtime writer Pancho Dizon, and is just the first of many book club sessions to inject creativity and build a new community at the heart of the Metro.

The gap in representation

Perhaps the most compelling issue in modern Philippine literature is still the gap in representation. Although the country has a range of literary works, there’s still a need for more representation and depth in the books local publishers churn out.

For Bookshelf PH, a digital publishing house born at the height of the pandemic, the gap was found in the lack of books that paint the Philippine business landscape and sharing local stories of business leaders. This need was only amplified when people started searching for side hustles and business ventures to cope at that time. Thus, Bookshelf PH started publishing business books like The 50, which featured 50 HR leaders around the country to share their experiences working in different industries.

“Interviewing these leaders over Zoom calls was a great opportunity for writers like myself to dig deeper into stories often overlooked,” Dizon said. “You’d be surprised how easy it is to talk to these leaders by simply asking them over an email or messaging them on social media.”

Another issue in representation is found in many Filipino readers’ patronage of Western literary works over local books, especially for teens and young adults. Fantasy, sci-fi and other young adult Western novels with fandoms and following tend to take center stage in many local bookstores and online reading platforms.

“When you see the youth reading more Western literature, it actually signals a need for more Filipino representation and local books that can narrate stories as grappling as theirs. We have no shortage of inspiring stories, but we really have to search for them and dig deeper.”, Dizon explained.

The best language for local content

When it comes to language, the Philippines has almost 200 different dialects. Filipino readers and authors alike would often postulate on which language should be used in writing modern Filipino literature. One would argue that the rising use of English in many Filipino literary pieces snatches away the Filipino-ness of these works and dilutes the essence of using our Filipino language to enrich our literature.

But for Monette Quiogue, founder and managing partner of Bookshelf PH, language is simply a tool to use in conveying what truly creates the Filipino-ness in a literary work–the message.

“I believe that the message we communicate to our readers is the essence of Philippine literature,” Quiogue explained. “Language should never be a barrier in enriching local literary works. But choosing which language to use, whether that’s English, Filipino or Ilocano, matters most depending on which audience you’d like to get your message across.”

Bookshelf PH’s wide collection of books are mostly written in English. From business books painting the Philippine business landscape to women’s books narrating stories of prominent Filipina figures, the preference for English over Filipino in writing these modern books have a much deeper purpose behind it.

“We choose to write most of our books in English simply because we want to share our local content to a global audience. From the outside looking in, we want other cultures and nationalities to appreciate Philippine literature and reach a wider audience to inspire and share our local stories with,” Quiogue added.

The deeper purpose for writing local stories

After writing so many articles and books, one would ask what’s the deeper purpose to continue honing their craft in storytelling. For Dizon, his passion for writing stems from the people he has encountered and worked with in his story developments.

Fearless Filipinas 2, an anthology featuring 24 inspiring Filipinas who made a big impact in their fields, was an avenue for Dizon to create a spotlight for the Philippine women’s football team. By interviewing and featuring international footballer Cam Rodriguez in the book, Dizon had the opportunity to sit on the bleachers of Rizal Memorial Stadium to watch the team win the AFF Championships last year.

“Moments like the women’s football team winning the championship inspire me to write stories that are often found on the sidelines,” Dizon said. “There’s a lot of work to be done, but telling our own stories lets us take control of the narrative and for once, put a spotlight on us Filipinos.”

Join the next literary movement, intimate conversations, and creative exchange at the Astbury on July 12, Wednesday, 6-8 pm featuring The Write Side of Bookshelf’s latest guest speaker Merlee Jayme, author of Chairmom.

To reserve a spot and learn more about this creative get-together and future events, sign up here – limited slots only!

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Destinations

Lanson Place Mall of Asia offers venue for weddings

The newly opened Lanson Place Mall of Asia offers a charming blend of modern sophistication and timeless elegance, perfect for bringing dream weddings to life, from the grand entrance to the intimate moments, we ensure that every wedding is a distinct and unforgettable experience.

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Every couple has envisioned their perfect wedding, meticulously planning every detail from the outfits to the rings. The venue is such a vital element, and we’re thrilled to offer an option that might be just what you’re looking for.

The newly opened Lanson Place Mall of Asia offers a charming blend of modern sophistication and timeless elegance, perfect for bringing dream weddings to life, from the grand entrance to the intimate moments, we ensure that every wedding is a distinct and unforgettable experience. 

A Bespoke Wedding Experience

Lanson Place Mall of Asia’s attraction is the Saffron Grand Ballroom, a beautiful space perfect for a dreamy wedding celebration. It has a classic elegance and offers a versatile setting that fits any style, making it a great venue for all sorts of events.

The Saffron Grand Ballroom is a spacious, pillarless, high-ceiling ballroom that spans 676 sqm. It features a dedicated lobby, with a grand staircase that leads seamlessly into the ballroom where the magic unfolds. Couples and their wedding entourage can use private dressing rooms, equipped with vanity mirrors and a sizable lounge area, as they prepare for the special day. Couples can also customise the Saffron Grand Ballroom, tailoring the venue to their heart’s desires. 

In addition to the ballroom, the Courtyard, a tranquil oasis on the third floor, provides a harmonious backdrop for intimate wedding ceremonies, seamlessly blending the sophistication of contemporary architectural design with the warmth of nature’s embrace.    

“Every wedding should reflect the couple’s unique story,” said Rheinna Laberinto, Assistant Director of Events. “We want to make sure that each wedding is as distinctive and memorable as the couples themselves.”

Exceptional Management and Service

At Lanson Place Mall of Asia, personalised service begins the moment couples start planning their wedding. Lanson Place’s team of event specialists collaborates closely with each couple to curate a tailored wedding experience that caters to their particular needs and desires.

From hand-picking the perfect menu and overseeing table layouts to managing guests on the big day, the Lanson Place dedicated event specialists meticulously consider every element of the wedding. They make sure the big day is flawlessly executed, allowing couples to focus on celebrating their love. Whether couples envision a lavish ceremony or an intimate gathering, the team of devoted hosts is committed to making every wedding day stress-free and memorable.

“We understand that weddings are one of the most important days in a couple’s life, and we are honoured to be part of that journey,” said Laurent Boisdron, Vice President & General Manager. “Our commitment on your special day is all about you and we pay much attention to detail to ensure that every wedding at Lanson Place Mall of Asia is not only beautiful but truly unforgettable.”

Design a wedding as unique as your love story with Lanson Place Mall of Asia Manila. Discover how Lanson Place Mall of Asia Manila can craft the wedding of your dreams by visiting Lanson Place Mall of Asia Manila’s booth at the Themes and Motifs Bridal Fair this 22-23 June 2024. Avail of the best bespoke wedding packages and make your special day truly unforgettable.

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Dining Out

Citadines Bacolod City brings new restaurants

Standing tall in the heart of Bacolod, this sleek urban oasis beckons guests with its contemporary design and unique island hospitality. Offering modern amenities, stylish interiors, and the distinct Negrense warmth, travelers can seamlessly transition from the bustling streets of Bacolod to the serene comfort of their accommodations at Citadines Bacolod City.

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Citadines Bacolod City, the Ascott Limited’s newest addition to its property roster, is the next go-to destination in the Visayas region, offering modern and comfortable accommodations for both business and leisure travelers.

Standing tall in the heart of Bacolod, this sleek urban oasis beckons guests with its contemporary design and unique island hospitality. Offering modern amenities, stylish interiors, and the distinct Negrense warmth, travelers can seamlessly transition from the bustling streets of Bacolod to the serene comfort of their accommodations at Citadines Bacolod City.

The property offers an array of accommodation options tailored to meet the diverse needs of guests. From Studio Apartments to Two-Bedroom Deluxe Rooms, each space is thoughtfully designed to provide the utmost comfort and convenience and ensures there’s accommodation suitable for any type of stay. Additionally, guests can take advantage of the inviting communal areas, which include a stylish lobby lounge, a well-equipped fitness center, and versatile event spaces.

During the sneak peek into Citadines Bacolod City, guests can savor culinary delights at the property’s in-house restaurants. Options encompass the Lobby Café which is Pureza, Grab and Go with Tam-is, Namit for all-day dining, Fuego Bar and Lounge for bar and lounge experiences highlighting steaks, and Adlao for poolside refreshments.

“Tam-is,” a charming corner on the ground floor, is named after the Hiligaynon term for sweet. Providing a quick grab-and-go option for food, like coffee and pastries, for guests who are always on the move, Tam-is greatly lives by the ideal that ‘life is sweet’ and is a nod to the joys and richness of life’s experiences. “Puerza” completes the lobby’s artisanal bakery and café experience by offering finely crafted European-style boulangerie and French viennoiserie for a sit-down and relax experience throughout the day.

At “Fuego Bar and Lounge,” guests can enjoy a menu featuring a variety of steaks, antipasti boards, sides, and cocktails that draws inspiration from the flames of the majestic volcanoes that surround the Negros region. Located on the second floor alongside the “Namit” all-day dining restaurant. It promises an unforgettable dining experience through its various unique ala carte dishes inspired by local and Southeast Asian cuisine.

When it’s time to unwind by the pool, retreat to “Adlao.” From fresh fruit platters to savory appetizers, guests can savor a tempting selection of snacks, refreshing juices, and expertly crafted cocktails all while enjoying the peaceful nature of the space.

“We are excited to offer guests a sneak peek into Citadines Bacolod City and provide them with a glimpse of the modern urban oasis and the different culinary offerings we have been working on,” said Jose Mari Medrano, Citadines Bacolod City’s Executive Chef.

Citadines Bacolod City’s signature program, City Hacks, and its staff, known as Citazens, offer guests an authentic local experience. With personalized recommendations and insider tips, Citazens help guests take full advantage of the city’s authentic local experience. These can include immersing in the city’s culture, cuisine, and hidden gems. Furthermore, for those looking to dive deeper into the food culture of Bacolod, the property’s Citazens are well-equipped to offer city hacks to help navigate the culinary scene with ease, guiding guests to the most authentic eateries and culinary hotspots.

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Destinations

Boracay’s OG Japanese restaurant turns 17

Located at the center of the lively D’Mall, Station 2, Boracay, HAMA provides a Zen-like, casual ambiance that perfectly complements its beachfront location. It’s easy to spot, as strings of red and black Japanese lanterns line their alfresco roof, while the inside seating area has wood and stone natural elements, reminiscent of a minimalist Japanese garden.

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HAMA, Boracay’s top Japanese restaurant celebrates its 17th birthday, as it continues to proudly offer a unique blend of traditional and contemporary Japanese cuisine. From fresh sushi to mouth-watering teppanyaki dishes, HAMA strengthens its reputation further as a must-visit gastronomy destination on the island.

Located at the center of the lively D’Mall, Station 2, Boracay, HAMA provides a Zen-like, casual ambiance that perfectly complements its beachfront location. It’s easy to spot, as strings of red and black Japanese lanterns line their alfresco roof, while the inside seating area has wood and stone natural elements, reminiscent of a minimalist Japanese garden.

The name “hama,” meaning “beach” in Japanese, is a fitting tribute to its close proximity to Boracay’s pristine white sands and gorgeous blue seas, which a 3-minute walk can access. This casual setting, combined with the vibrant atmosphere of D’Mall, makes HAMA an ideal spot for intimate lunch outs, and family gatherings. Since its opening in 2007, HAMA has built an esteemed reputation as a favorite dining spot among tourists, known for its memorable authentic Japanese dishes that delight first-time travelers, and patrons coming back for more.


HAMA’s tender and delicious pork tonkatsu rice bowl

Owned by the successful duo Juan Elizalde and Paolo Occhionero, the same masterminds behind the other island-popular dining establishments ARIA Cucina Italiana, Boracay Beach Truck, and Cafe Del Sol, HAMA continues to impress with its diverse menu. Diners and patrons can enjoy traditional Japanese dishes with innovative modern twists, catering to various cravings and tastes, ensuring a dish and drink for everyone. Signature offerings include the exquisite sushi boat with 32 pieces of their bestsellers, flavorful teppanyaki udon with juicy, well-seasoned beef, and hearty bowls of ramen with rich and decadent broth. 


Be wowed by HAMA’s 32-piece sushi boat, perfect for big groups

The restaurant’s sushi and teppanyaki stations are standout features, showcasing the chefs’ expertise and providing customers with a captivating dining experience. The dishes are reasonably priced, and designed to be shared family-style, allowing guests to sample a variety of flavors in one meal, while extending their travel budgets, too.

Other than the relaxing ambiance, delicious food, and reasonable price points, the team’s warmth and excellence in service are what people recognize and love about HAMA, too. Under the leadership of COO, Ernesto Casas, who has been with the group for a decade and counting, the staff and team members are always ready to serve with eagerness and enthusiasm, giving traveling diners a pleasant and memorable experience every time. 

For those vacationing in Boracay, HAMA is a culinary destination not to be missed. Its commitment to food quality, dining ambiance, and customer satisfaction ensures an unforgettable dining experience that stands out on this beautiful island.

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