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World-class Mindanawon offerings at Datu’s Brew

The very intention of Datu’s Brew when it opened in May 2011 was to showcase that “Mindanao goods can be world-class”.

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The very intention of Datu’s Brew when it opened in May 2011 was to showcase that “Mindanao goods can be world-class”. Particularly because it is a coffee shop, owner Jehan F. Baraguir said that what many do not know is that “Mindanao has coffee beans that are globally recognized,” she said. For instance, Bukidnon coffee growers submitted their (Arabica) beans for consideration to a Canada-based accreditation organization, “at pumasa sila (and they passed).” With this, “they closely monitor the beans they produce; they’re of world-class quality.”

It is this that Datu’s Brew initially served, which may be particularly appreciated when served as Kape Mapadtadem (local version of Café Americano). It is this, too, that “helped start us create a following,” Baraguir said, “particularly those who want to drink REAL coffee.”

From there, Datu’s Brew soon grew – at first, continuing to offer more local coffees, e.g. from the nearby town of Pikit, to be paired with local delicacies; and then eventually, some locally inspired meals and (unfortunately “betraying” the intention of the place) café faves.

The menu, therefore, is somewhat “kalat”/“magulo” (scattered/confusing). For drinks, the local coffees mingle with hot choco (P100), frappe ((140-P170), and juices and shakes (P65-P95). For food, e.g. there’s Mac & Cheese (P135), Baked Spaghetti (P145), and Shepherd’s Pie (P145). But – again to highlight that what’s local can be good – there’s also Chicken Pinapalan (P145), a Maguindanaoan delicacy that uses “palapa” (pan-cooked coconut) as main ingredient. Taste-wise, this is akin to Malaysian and/or Indonesian way of preparing meals (there’s the Malay connection, after all), so expect every spoonful of chicken to be coconut-ty instead of sweetish (as the chicken ends up tasting when ordered from, say, Jollibee or the likes).

Baraguir admitted that the way Datu’s Brew is being managed was affected by the opening of franchises that “tend to eat up local businesses.” Not too far from her place are two outlets of Bo’s Coffee – “local” in the sense that the brand is Filipino, but still not Mindanawon or, to be even more particular, Cotabateño. These outlets have become go-to places of many because of the “brand”.

And this is where there’s some sadness felt, perhaps particularly because Datu’s Brew has continued to further evolve into a “local store” of some sort. Inside, the walls are clad with outputs from Maguindanaoan weaving; and they are also for sale, with Datu’s Brew serving as the avenue for Maguindanaoan weavers to sell their goods.

“We partner particularly with Maguindanaoan women from far-flung areas so their goods get the attention they deserve,” Baraguir said.

For instance, one partner community is Bulalo in Sultan Kudarat, where the products woven by older women are sold through the store. The long-term intention for this particular community is “for the older women to train the younger women so they don’t lose a cultural practice after they realize it’s a sustainable endeavor,” Baraguir said.

Come over then to get a taste of something Mindanawon. You’d not only be helping a local business grow; you’d be helping a local community thrive, too. And following the very concept behind Starbucks itself, aside from serving good coffee (of course) isn’t that what cafés are supposed to also be doing?

Datu’s Brew is located along Gov. Gutierrez Ave. (on the way to ORC Compound), Cotabato City. For more information, contact 0935 687 8800.

"If someone asked you about me, about what I do for a living, it's to 'weave words'," says Kiki Tan, who has been a writer "for as long as I care to remember." This one writes about... anything and everything.

Travel

On the road again? Choose the right tires for your ride

If you think it may be time to replace your tires, consider these five expert tips to simplify the process.

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Lots of people want to drive, definitely. But not everyone is well-versed with the cars they drive – e.g. many drivers have difficulty selecting the best tire for their vehicle and driving needs. For many, tire selection starts at the size then jumps to what’s in stock or what’s on sale. However, there are many factors to consider when you need new tires for your car, truck or SUV. Buying tires is an investment, so it’s important to make the right decision.

You may be surprised to learn determining the best tire is as much about the driver as it is the vehicle. Choosing the right tire requires considering where you drive, how you drive and what you drive. You can explore these and other factors in the Treadwell tire-buying recommendation tool, which is based on a decade of data and real-world test results.

This tire recommendation tool combines millions of data points from tire safety checks and Discount Tire’s own test track where intensive tests are performed on tires from all major manufacturers, along with the driver’s location, vehicle and driving habits, to generate a selection of personalized tire recommendations from a variety of brands.

With more than 20,000 different models of tires available for the everyday driver, it’s no wonder tire-buying can be a mystifying process. However, tools like this can help drivers make the most informed choice while having access to the same information tire technicians use in-stores alongside their expertise. The result: empowering drivers with information and options tailored to their needs.

If you think it may be time to replace your tires, consider these five expert tips to simplify the process.

Driving Style

The type of driver you are, the kind of ride you want and how long you expect your tires to last are all factors in choosing the right tires. For example, thrill drivers might prefer tires with high levels of grip and responsiveness while those who stick to long road trips are better suited for long-lasting, smooth riding tires.

Weather Conditions

Your location and the weather you regularly encounter when you drive influence the type of tires you need. For example, drivers in the upper Midwest require tires that perform well in extreme cold and winter weather while those in humid climates like the Southeast need tires that perform well in wet conditions.

Budget

Purchasing tires is an investment. Drivers should look at the cost of their tires over time, rather than the cost up front. In the long run, it may be more cost-effective to purchase a higher quality tire based on multiple factors like increased safety, improved handling and ride quality, as well as cost per mile.

Vehicle Specifications

Tire specifications can vary depending on the type of car you own. For electric vehicles and vehicles carrying heavy loads, it’s critical to know how much weight your tires can safely support. Only install tires that meet or exceed the load requirements for your ride.

Wear and Age

Two of the most important considerations when replacing tires are tread depth and tire age.

Your tires’ tread depth directly impacts your vehicle’s ability to stop. Tires are reaching the end of their life at 4/32 inches of tread. However, your tires may be underperforming even if more tread remains, particularly in rain or extreme weather conditions.

When it comes to replacing your tires, you should also consider their age. Because the materials used break down over time, experts recommend replacing tires that are six years or more past the date of manufacture.

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Destinations

Singapore Cable Car launches world’s first Skyorb Cabins

Exclusively designed for the Singapore Cable Car, the SkyOrb Cabin is the world’s first chrome-finished spherical cable car cabin. Unlike conventional cabins, the spherical design of the SkyOrb Cabins breaks the boundaries of traditional cable car aesthetics, offering a futuristic and captivating look.

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Mount Faber Leisure Group officially launched the new futuristic SkyOrb Cabins on the Singapore Cable Car – Mount Faber Line. The launch of the SkyOrb Cabins took place at Mount Faber Peak, as part of the Singapore Cable Car’s 50th anniversary celebrations. The event was attended by Bob Tan, Chairman of Sentosa Development Corporation and Thien Kwee Eng, Chief Executive Officer of Sentosa Development Corporation, as well as Michael Syn, Chairman of Mount Faber Leisure Group and Buhdy Bok, Managing Director of Mount Faber Leisure Group.

SkyOrb Cabins – A cabin like no other in the world

Exclusively designed for the Singapore Cable Car, the SkyOrb Cabin is the world’s first chrome-finished spherical cable car cabin. Unlike conventional cabins, the spherical design of the SkyOrb Cabins breaks the boundaries of traditional cable car aesthetics, offering a futuristic and captivating look.

The SkyOrb cabin boasts a spectacular view through its glass-bottomed floor

Fitted with glass-bottomed floors to allow guests to view the scenery below their feet, the new cabins offer guests an elevated journey with a stunning panoramic view of the skyline. As night falls, a captivating ring of lights surrounds the cabin windows, casting an illuminating glow that imparts a distinctly futuristic ambience. 

The SkyOrb Cabins have been thoughtfully designed with double window louvres at the front and triple window louvres at the rear, providing enhanced air ventilation for guests on board. To offer an exclusive experience, only seven SkyOrb Cabins will join the existing fleet, enriching the vibrancy of the Sentosa skyline. 

SkyOrb Cabin on the Mount Faber Line

“Each SkyOrb cabin, a gleaming chrome orb soaring through the sky, embodies modern design. These cabins offer guests a one-of-a-kind experience, taking them on a discovery between Mount Faber Peak and Sentosa, unveiling breathtaking views along the way,” said Mr Buhdy Bok, Managing Director of Mount Faber Leisure Group.

Collaboratively designed between Mount Faber Leisure Group and renowned cable car cabin manufacturer CWA, the SkyOrb Cabins showcase product innovation and commitment to creating new unique experiences for guests. Based in Olten, Switzerland, CWA has enjoyed a long partnership with Mount Faber Leisure Group since the first generation of the Singapore Cable Car cabins was launched in 1974.

The SkyOrb Cabins will be open for guests to experience from 20 March 2024 and tickets will be available for sale at the Singapore Cable Car Mount Faber and Sentosa Station ticketing counters from the same day. Mount Faber Line and Cable Car Sky Pass ticket holders have the privilege of upgrading one-way of their round trip (between Mount Faber and Sentosa Cable Car Stations) to a SkyOrb Cabin experience. This upgrade costs $15 per person on weekdays, and $20 per person on weekends and Public Holidays.

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Destinations

Japan ranks as top leisure travel destination for Filipino travellers: Visa study

According to the data, 24% of surveyed Filipino respondents have traveled overseas for leisure or business purposes in the past year. This trend aligns with a broader travel resurgence across Asia Pacific, with 37% of those surveyed reporting overseas travels within the same period.

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Visa, a global player in digital payments, has published its most recent Green Shoots Radar study[1]. This quarterly report analyzes consumer sentiments across various sectors, such as financial services, commerce, and travel.

The study reveals a surge in travel frequency among Filipino travelers. According to the data, 24% of surveyed Filipino respondents have traveled overseas for leisure or business purposes in the past year. This trend aligns with a broader travel resurgence across Asia Pacific, with 37% of those surveyed reporting overseas travels within the same period.

Japan emerged as the top leisure destination for Filipino travelers, with 32% visiting in the past year. Singapore (22%) followed by Hong Kong (21%) and Thailand (18%) were the next most popular destinations. For business trips, Singapore led the list with 25%, followed by Japan (23%), and the United States tied with Hong Kong at 18%.

Filipino travelers prefer to book flight tickets directly from the provider’s website (44%). Among those respondents who booked their accommodations through Online Travel Agencies and paid the full amount upon booking, using credit cards is the most popular payment mode (41%), followed by mobile/e-wallets (28%).

Jeff Navarro, Country Manager for Visa Philippines, said, “As cross-border travel gains momentum in the Philippines and the region, we have a significant opportunity to maintain visibility throughout travelers’ journeys. This involves being present during destination searches and bookings, using Visa cards on travel apps for smoother transactions, and engaging consumers with authentic travel and shopping content to create a secure and seamless digital payments experience for everyone, everywhere.”

The future of travel remains promising, with 65% of Filipino respondents planning overseas leisure travel in the next 12 months. The top three leisure destinations intended in the next 12 months are Japan (38%), followed by South Korea (29%) and Singapore (16%). For business travel, Japan (19%), Canada (13%), and South Korea (12%) are the most likely destinations.

According to Visa’s Global Travel Intentions 2023 study[2], majority (89%) of Filipino travelers used credit (44%) and debit (39%) cards when travelling, for the benefits of cards’ wide acceptance (56%), accepted at ATMs (49%), and ability to be used both online and within apps (43%).

Visa’s most recent Consumer Payment Attitudes 2023 study[3] data also reflect cards as the preferred mode of payment when travelling, where 25% of surveyed Filipinos use credit or debit cards online and 21% use via swipe or insert when traveling overseas.


[1] The Green Shoots Radar survey was conducted online in 14 markets covering more than 8,000 respondents, including 500 consumers in the Philippines in January 2024, towards male and female respondents aged 18-65 with a minimum household income of PHP 12,000.

[2] The Global Travel Intentions Study is the largest and longest running global consumer insights program from Visa, which surveys travelers across continents on their travel journey and payment behavior. The study was conducted across April-June 2023 to more than 1,000 Filipino respondents.

[3] The Visa Consumer Payment Attitudes Study was conducted in Oct-Nov 2023 via online interviews with 1.000 Filipino consumers across the country with a demographic mix of ages (18-65), genders and income levels.

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