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DekA Authentic Thai Food: This is simply… Thai

Mikee dela Cruz discovers a hole-in-the wall resto, DekA Authentic Thai Food, a must-visit for (truly) authentic (yet completely affordable) Thai food.

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Only 26, part-Filipino/part-Thai Feb is already a study of how to run a food business – as the owner of DekA Authentic Thai Food, she is chatty without being invasive (“How do you like the food?” she asked our party AFTER we have already tasted some of her offerings), pleasant without being obtrusive (“Not everyone likes our Chai Kiaw, with some saying it tastes like flower; but for others, it’s a refreshing and new flavor”), and is friendly without being condescending (“Let me take your photos, too, so I can put it on our Facebook page”).

Not that this place is perfect, truth be told.

  • The waiters (there were only two there at the time of our visit) were somewhat… supercilious – one preferred watching TV instead of looking after guests, while the other carelessly swept the floor while we were still eating (and he didn’t stop, too, even when he was told to stop).
  • There isn’t any parking space available – on-street parking’s the only choice for visitors…
  • The place isn’t all that big, with only three tables that could seat four, plus three smaller tables that could seat three, and one similarly-sized smaller table that could seat one (as it’s in the corner).
  • Some waiting may have to be done before the orders arrive…

But that Feb gives one of the lasting impressions from this small-ish venue boasting authentic Thai food in Makati City is a great thing. Else, what this place has to offer may be missed.

And what this place has to offer is goodness after goodness – the menu has a LOT (even including a page-full of vegetarian offerings), worth checking out at repeat visits.

Our visit started with the Pad Thai (stir-fried rice noodles with chicken, prawns, bean sprouts, spring onion, egg and ground peanuts – and no Thai resto visit is without a try of this)(P180), and what we had was, in a word, good. Not at all greasy (as many localized versions of Pad Thai tend to be), this one tasted… fresh (particularly the shrimps tossed into it). It personally reminded me of the noodles whipped in front of me by vendors along Silom in Bangkok – tasty and flavorful, and yes, fresh.

And oh, please note that the Pad Thai is said to be “good for one person”, two or even three (particularly if there are other orders) can share the big serving.

The Pad Thai worked well with the Som Tam (shredded papaya and carrots, seasoned with ground peanut, dry shrimp, lime juice, plum sugar, fish sauce and chili; P150). The other restaurant to offer what for me is just as good a papaya salad is Fely J’s (at Greenbelt 5 in Makati City), though their version had scraped green papaya, while Dek A’s had (as stated) shredded semi-ripe papaya; as such, the former was crunchier, and the latter – aside from being softer – was sweeter.

Papaya salad is always nice for cleaning the palate; and Dek A’s doesn’t fail on this, too.

Next came Tom Yum (P250 for two; P500 for four), that popular spicy lemon grass soup with shrimp (or chicken), mushroom, chili paste and lime juice. Photographer Red Apple summed up our experience with the soup, saying: “It’s just right”. “Just right”, in this case, comes from: perfectly prepared chicken strips/slices sans bone fragments, cooked so that the sourness of the broth is imbibed, thereby making every bite an invite to have more.

If you want it spicy, stress this – we wanted “mildly spiced”, but we were served one that seemed not to have been touched by chili at all (though that there abounded chilis everywhere helped).

But yes, this definitely works well with Jasmine rice.

And speaking of rice, their version of the bagoong rice (with sweet pork) is a must-try (P150). It doesn’t taste too salty (as bagoong tends to make food taste); instead, it was even somewhat sweetish, as if with fleshy dried fish, not with fish/shrimp paste. When the accompanying fried eggs, chopped sitaw (string beans), thinly sliced onions, and slivers of green mango were added, this – alone – made the visit worth it…

As pantulak (to help keep the food down), drop the softdrinks and choose instead Cha Yen (traditional Thai iced milk tea, P60), or Cha Kiaw (Thai iced milk green tea, P60), or Oleang (Thai iced black coffee, P50). Cha Kiaw was – as Feb noted – not for everyone because of its “floral taste” (for me not too different from drinking “leafy” teas). But it’s the Cha Yen that brought me back to the streets of Bangkok – not too sweet, with just enough milk, and truly refreshing. So again, drop the softdrinks; stick to the Thai beverages being offered.

We ordered Chicken Pandan (P200), too, but Feb apologized for its non-inclusion in the list provided to the chef.

She was easily forgiven.

As the chase for this (and the other offerings in the menu) now made as an excuse to return to rediscover DekA over and over and over again…

DekA Authentic Thai Food is at G/F 245-C Pablo Ocampo Ave. corner Flor Deliz, Makati City. It is open from Monday to Saturday, from 11.00AM to 2.00PM, and then 5.00PM to 10.00PM (except Saturday when the resto doesn’t close after lunch); and is closed on Sunday. For more information call (+63 2) 2390531, (+63 2) 5005933 or (+63 2) 6235272.

Believing that knowing on its own is not good enough, "you have to share what you know, too", Mikee dela Cruz gladly shares through his writing. A (BA) Communication Studies graduate, he had stints with UNAIDS, UNICEF and Ford Foundation, among others, writing "just about everything". Read on as he does some sharing through Zest Magazine.

Destinations

Greenfield District in Mandaluyong kicks off its holiday celebration

To mark the beginning of the district-wide yuletide merry-making, the event kicked off recently with the traditional lighting of the 60-foot Christmas tree at the Greenfield District Central Park,. followed by a magical display of fireworks and Christmas caroling by a 20-piece chorale , setting the mood for guests to get into the holiday spirit.

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Greenfield District, the smart and connected urban center of Greenfield Development Corporation (GDC) in Mandaluyong City, transformed into a holiday wonderland with the launch of GDC’s annual Christmas festivities called “A Christmas for Generations”. 

To mark the beginning of the district-wide yuletide merry-making, the event kicked off recently with the traditional lighting of the 60-foot Christmas tree at the Greenfield District Central Park,.  followed by a magical display of fireworks and Christmas caroling by a 20-piece chorale , setting the mood for guests to get into the holiday spirit.

“After two years of not having face-to-face yuletide celebrations, Filipinos are surely excited to once again gather with their loved ones to celebrate the country’s festive Christmas season,” said GDC President and Chairman Jeffrey D.Y. Campos.  “Greenfield District is a venue where different generations, from senior citizen grandparents to Gen Z kids, can bond with each other by taking part in the fun holiday activities of the District,” he added.

Ongoing  until December 25, Filipinos of all ages are in for a lot of holiday fun at the District. On December 17, families, especially kids are invited to come and meet  Santa Claus at Greenfield District’s “A Night with Santa” , which will feature merry activities and gift giving.

Meanwhile, adults can start their holiday shopping early as the Greenfield District Central Park will showcase weekend bazaars starting this month until December. Shoppers can look forward to discovering value for money gift ideas, trendy fashion pieces, delicious treats and more. While shopping, visitors can also enjoy a quick food trip and engage in Arts and Crafts activities while immersing at the bazaars dressed in colorful Christmas decorations. 

With a mission to build future-ready and sustainable communities for generations of Filipinos, GDC upholds its tradition of organizing events that promote the value of togetherness and spending quality time with the family.

“At GDC, we are committed to not only building properties for generations but also creating verdant, spacious neighborhoods where Filipino families can create beautiful memories together throughout the years. Christmas is a special occasion for many Filipinos, and we want Greenfield District to be part of their memorable Christmas experience every year,” said GDC Executive Vice President and General Manager Atty. Duane A.X. Santos. 

Located at the corner of EDSA and Shaw Boulevard, Greenfield District is accessible to the public through various routes and roadways from the main business districts of Metro Manila, making it an ideal destination for recreational activities, get-togethers, and shopping this yuletide season.

Visit the Greenfield District with friends and family this holiday season.  To know more about the activities at Greenfield District, visit https://www.facebook.com/greenfielddistrict.

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All Nippon Airways launches ‘Beyond #MissingJapan’ campaign

On 11 October of this year, border restrictions were eased, allowing foreign new arrivals including business travelers, students, and technical trainees to finally enter Japan.

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Prior to the pandemic, the Japan Tourism Agency reported the number of foreign visitors traveling to Japan in 2019 hit an all-time high of 31.9 million, 600k of whom were travelers from the Philippines. In 2020, the number dropped drastically to around 4.12 million due to the stringent travel restrictions throughout the pandemic, making Japan one of the world’s most difficult countries to enter.

On 11 October of this year, border restrictions were eased, allowing foreign new arrivals including business travelers, students, and technical trainees to finally enter Japan. With news of Japan’s plans to reopen the country to international travelers, Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) and All Nippon Airways (ANA), Japan’s largest 5-star airline are launching “Beyond #MissingJapan” together.

The campaign was inspired by both social media posts of people yearning to travel to Japan and a strong sense of eagerness amongst ANA’s flight crew to welcome visitors back. And Filipinos are eager to visit the Land of the Rising Sun. According to a 2022 Statista survey, Filipinos chose Japan as their top holiday destination. Countries in the EU and US got the 2nd and 3rd choice, respectively.

‘Beyond #MissingJapan’ aims to excite  travelers for their next trip, give them head start on planning, and an insider’s perspective on the island country. The campaign features Paolo from Tokyo, a famous Filipino YouTuber based in Japan, who shares the best that Japan has to offer to both first-time visitors and seasoned travelers alike.

Paolo’s travels take us to Greater Tokyo and the hidden gems in the areas around the country’s capital. He rediscovers popular landmarks like Asakusa, shopping mecca Don Quijote, and the iconic Tokyo Station to name a few. Paolo also ventures into “New Tokyo” where lesser-known attractions such as Tokorozawa Sakura Town, Sanagi Shinjuku, and GOTEMBA PREMIUM OUTLETS® are located, must-visit spots that opened after 2020 and are within a few hours from Tokyo.

Get a real-life glimpse of Paolo’s experience in this 360 video that takes you inside the awe-inspiring pop culture haven Tokorozawa Sakura Town and walks you through the temples of Asakusa and Miyashita Park, a rooftop oasis in the heart of bustling Shibuya. The 360 video also gives you a feel of the festive vibe at Sanagi Shinjuku and the shopping that awaits at the endless aisles in Japan’s biggest discount store, Don Quijote, and the more upscale complex, Coredo Muromachi. Always growing and evolving, Tokyo still has so much more to offer

Mr. Isao Ono, Vice President of Marketing & Sales, Asia & Oceania from ANA said: “I believe our ‘Beyond #MissingJapan’ campaign will give those who have missed Japan an opportunity to rediscover the country through a series of videos featuring Asia’s most well-loved personalities as well as a 360° first-person perspective of landing in Japan. At ANA, we are committed to providing passengers with the best service in a safe and clean environment. We look forward to welcoming more travelers to Japan soon.”

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Travel with your furry friends with Airbnb this festive season

Around the world, Airbnb Hosts have welcomed hundreds of thousands of guests and their beloved pets. As the pandemic pet boom continues and travel resumes, guests are increasingly looking for domestic stays that allow them to bring their furry friends along, with ample outdoor space for all to roam around.

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This week marks World Animal Day, an international day celebrating all animals and promoting a better future for animals all over the world. As the festive season rapidly approaches, there’s no better time to start planning a getaway for your loved ones – with fur kids in tow.

Around the world, Airbnb Hosts have welcomed hundreds of thousands of guests and their beloved pets. As the pandemic pet boom continues and travel resumes, guests are increasingly looking for domestic stays that allow them to bring their furry friends along, with ample outdoor space for all to roam around.

More than 3 million pets have checked into Airbnb since last November. As of June 2022, pet-friendly stays make up almost one-fifth of all Philippines listings on Airbnb, a 44% increase compared to June 20192. The top ten destinations for pet-friendly travel in the Philippines in Q2 2022 are:

  • Manila, Metro Manila
  • Baguio, Cordillera
  • Patuto, Calabarzon
  • Quezon City, Metro Manila
  • Taguig, Calabarzon
  • Cebu City, Central Visayas
  • Olongapo, Central Luzon
  • Nasugbu, Calabarzon
  • San Fernando, Ilocos
  • Calamba, Calabarzon

Amanpreet Singh Bajaj, Airbnb’s General Manager for Southeast Asia, India, Hong Kong and Taiwan said that when it comes to pet-friendly Airbnb stays, owners are seeking stays with additional space for their furry friends, often in locations outside capital cities.

“If you’re an avid pet lover, you’ll know that no holiday is quite complete without taking your family pet along. We have something for even the fussiest four-legged family members, and certainly, homes with spacious yards and deck areas are always among the most popular for guests with pets,” Bajaj added.

In the Philippines, over 15,000 guests have traveled with their pets on Airbnb3. To inspire more fur moms and dads planning to bring their pet friends on their next getaways, here are some amazing pet-friendly listings in the Philippines —  from spacious homes with huge backyards for your pets to roam to stays co-hosted by equally hospitable pooches!

Spacious farms for the zoomies

If you’re itching for a quick weekend away from the 9-to-5 routine, these farm stays that are drivable from Manila can certainly give you and your fur baby that relaxing getaway you both deserved.

  • The Alperi Farm is a newly built private farmhouse in Amadeo sitting on an expansive 2,000 sqm — perfect for non-stop fetch and the occasional zoomies. Offering guests plenty of opportunities to unplug and bond with loved ones (pets included!), the farmhouse comes with entertainment and activity options including a playhouse, bird sanctuary, a gym, and even a theater and arcade room.
  • Another farmstay south of the metro is Campo Canueza, which provides the best of both mountain views and beach access. It has a two-storey air-conditioned bahay kubo, a private pool, and an expansive space where you can freely walk your pets. At night, you can pitch a tent outside and enjoy uninterrupted views of the night sky.

Beachfront homes for the water-loving breeds

While some will just dip a toe, other dogs are born for the water — and will be truly delighted to hit the beach. Head on to these beachfront stays if you and your canine companion are dreaming of sands in your toes and paws.

  • Saya Nest is one of the seven nests hosted by proud fur-mom and Airbnb Host, Tamara. Located in the rainforest of Subic Bay, it lies just a few minutes from the beaches and falls. There is a fenced-in patio so your pets can run off-leash, a bathtub overlooking the forest, an outdoor table and grill, and a hammock by the porch. If you’re lucky, you might even be welcomed by Tamara’s own fur babies!
  • If you and your pet are up for a little island adventure — check out this Beachfront Loft in Palawan. It is located in a 2-hectare beachfront community in Aborlan just south of Puerto Princesa, and sits right by the sandy beach. Go boating with your pet by day and warm up around the bonfire at night while listening to the calming waves.

Breathtaking views for your best bud

Looking for vacation rentals with picturesque views where you can bring your fur babies? Search no further! These homes are not only pet-friendly — they make you want to bask in the scenery and stay for longer.

  • Anto House is a secluded farm nestled in the highlands of Antipolo, offering a 360-degree view overlooking the distant Metro Manila skyline, Angono hills and ridges, and the Laguna de Bay. Featuring two beautiful bamboo casitas that can accommodate up to 14 guests, it’s perfect for family gatherings and even reunions. There are also animals on the property like goats and sheep that both kids and fur kids can interact with.
  • How about calling an entire island your home for the weekend? This rustic, tiny island is right in the middle of Lumot Lake, with astounding views of the Sierra Madre mountain ranges. If your fur bud’s love language is quality time, you can set up a mini obstacle course, go swimming at the lake, or simply just watch the world go by.

1 Based on Airbnb internal data from June 30, 2019 to June 30, 2022

2 Based on Airbnb internal data from June 30, 2019 to June 30, 2022

3 Based on Airbnb internal data from November 11, 2019 to June 30, 2022

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