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Angelo G. Garcia

Connecting people by design

New money is everywhere in Asia. The middle class to upper middle class in this part of the world has been spending a lot in travel and properties, happily gobbling up what signature brands have to offer every season. Where else in the world can you see long queues outside Louis Vuitton and Chanel stores like people are waiting for tables at a popular restaurant. Even mid-tier labels are embracing the culture of brand-conscious Asians because consumer spending is at an all-time high. To some degree, high-end brands have become ordinary because more people own and can afford their products. The exclusivity somewhat diminishes and these labels are slowly losing their appeal, especially to those who have been there, bought that. There’s a new kind of brand these people are looking …

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Before and after success

Instagram, the hugely popular photo sharing app, is not exactly the medium one thinks of when wanting to write a story. It does, after all, focuses on photos and is purely visual. But writer Anna Todd started writing on the app. “I was just writing  ‘imagine.' It was these things called ‘imagines’ that are like mini/fan fictions on Instagram,” explains the 27-year-old author. Of course, what she wrote were mini-fan fictions of her favorite boy band, One Direction, more specifically, Harry Styles. But it was after learning about Wattpad, a storytelling social site, that she really put her fingers to work, writing full fan fictions about her favorite celebrity, racking up millions of words, writing stories. She was discovered by a publishing house through Wattpad, and they offered her a publishing deal. And in 2013, she published her first book, After, the …

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All day all American breakfast

A diner is the quintessential American eatery—serving pancakes, bacon, eggs, sausages, and overflowing cups of coffee, all day and all night. We’ve seen these restaurants so many times in Hollywood movies, like Jack Rabbit Slim’s all-American diner in Pulp Fiction, the roadside diner in Pineapple Express, or the busy dining floor of Katz’s Delicatessen in When Harry Met Sally. There’s even the apocalyptic restaurant ruins of The Walking Dead and the crime scene setting of Stranger Things. The more we see it, the more we want what these movie stars (especially Sally, as played by Meg Ryan) were having. And when you talk about American diners, Denny’s first comes to mind. One of the biggest, most popular restaurant chains in the US, this diner serves up classic diner fare. With over 1,700 restaurants across the globe—from Mexico to New Zealand—it …

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It’s all about hard work

Portrait by Noel B. Pabalate Many have written and even made movies about North Korea to try and paint a picture of what life is like in the communist country. The extremely secretive country has only opened its doors to very few outsiders, and when it does, certain limitations are set and only the superficial things are brought into light. Authors and researchers only get an idea of what North Korea is like through the accounts of defectors, those former residents who opted to live their lives outside its closely guarded walls. It is illegal to talk to an ordinary citizen inside the country. Author Adam Johnson had to read a lot of materials about the country, talk to defectors, and visit the country itself just to finish his book. He recently …

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Cantonese food like you never had before

Just a few months after it introduced its new chef and received the Golden Horse award, Marco Polo Manila’s Cantonese restaurant Lung Hin introduces a new executive chef again. The previous chef left the restaurant for personal reasons. He has since been replaced by chef Raymond Yeung from Hong Kong. An experienced Cantonese chef with more than 26 years of kitchen experience, he brings in traditional mastery, new flavors, and modern techniques to the hotel’s award-winning restaurant. Winner of the Hofex 2009 Hong Kong International Culinary Classic Gold Award, Raymond’s also studied under the Chinese Cuisine Training Institute (CCTI), the culinary school that the Chinese government operates, which hones Chinese master chefs in the techniques and disciplines of Chinese cuisine. Now, he joins one of the most modern Cantonese restaurants in Manila, Lung …

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Pizza made in Canada

Canada is not exactly as famous for its pizza as Italy or New York. The northernmost country of North America is more famous for its maple syrup and poutine (french fries with cheese curds and gravy). But did you know that the most expensive pizza in the world was created in Canada? It is made by  Chef Nader Hatimi who runs a small corner takeaway pizza shop in a fishing village in British Columbia. He dethroned celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay in the Guinness World Records for the most expensive pizza. Named after the town it is located, Steveston Pizza is a pizza shop that sells premium pizza. The corner shop sells quite a lot, because according to Filipino businessman Richard Go, who once lived in Canada, people would line up just for a slice or two of Chef Nader’s …

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Manners Maketh Man

The proverb “manners maketh man” means that a man’s character is defined by his manners. This phrase was popularized recently in the 2014 Hollywood film, Kingsman, which is about a group of dapper spies from England that recruits a young chav (an English stereotype of boorish young men) and transforms him into a proper spy like his deceased father. This phrase struck a chord in most of its audience, especially among young fans who now use it as a mantra. Its message is simple and direct, not hard to understand at all. A message that is quite relevant today. Not all people abide by this fundamental proverb. Times have changed, the rules have changed, and people, too. Most people today don’t think about how others feel. What’s important now is getting that …

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A hawker hostpot in Manila

When traveling to Singapore, one of the must visit places is the food hawker center. It is a food court that offers not only local cuisine but Asia’s best street food. This food hub is an important part of the country’s dining culture, one that the citizens are very proud of. For tourists, a visit is one way of filling up and sampling local cuisine—from chicken rice to chili crabs—without burning a hole in their pockets. Filipino foodies love these food centers. That is why many were excited when it was announced earlier this year that Manila is getting its own Singaporean food hawker center. This means that we don’t need to fly to Singapore just to fulfill our laksa or chicken rice cravings. Last week, Makansutra finally opened its doors to hungry customers. Located at the second floor of Bldg. A of …

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Volunteerism, restoring human dignity exemplify 2016 Ramon Magsaysay awardees

Asia’s Premier Prize - the Ramon Magsaysay Award will be presented today to this year’s laureates – three outstanding men, women and three organizations – who have greatly contributed to the betterment of many lives and their communities in ceremonies at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. This year’s awardees are: Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales (Philippines), the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (Japan), Bezwada Wilson (India), Dompet Dhuafa (Indonesia), Vientiane Rescue (Laos), and Thodur Madabusi Krishna (India). JAPAN OVERSEAS COOPERATION VOLUNTEERS For former Japanese volunteer Rina Tanaka, volunteer work is more than just helping others but it’s also about helping one’s self. Volunteerism actually enriches the lives of both the volunteer and beneficiary. “The general understanding of volunteerism is to help somebody else but in volunteering, you have a chance to find yourself. You experience …

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Culture rules

Desaturated color nature prints and bursts of bright appliques adorn a trio of white outfits. The clean white fabric serves as the perfect canvas for the modern print. The bottom edges of the garment are cut according to the shape of the print, showcasing an interesting finish to relatively classic silhouettes. This is the modern take of young Thai designer Anuruq Jaidee on the traditional costumes that were once worn by nobility in the palaces of Ayutthaya, the old capital of Siam, the old kingdom of Thailand. Most of the traditional costumes are inspired by nature that surrounds the palaces—from wild orchids to colorful butterflies to bird’s nests. “I’ve taken inspiration from the fashion of the palaces of the court of Ayutthaya and turned it into something wearable in modern times, something …

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