The 10 Biggest Foodie Trends in Manila 2010!

Allow me to share with you my talk during the 2nd Top Menu Masters Conference in Tagaytay…

Good Morning! I’m honored to contribute to the restaurant industry by sharing with you What’s Hot and What’s Not In the Evolving Philippine Dining Out Market. I’m an engineer by profession. I worked for P&G for 13 years as an IT Manager and turned into a full-time blogger in 2008 to focus on OAP. I don’t know how to cook and my family is not into any restaurant business.

 

What I can share with you today are the insights that I got from running one of the most popular food and travel blogs in the Philippines for 5+ years. I’ve been to most of the awesome restaurants across the Philippines — just name almost any restaurant and I’ll share with you my experience there. I interact everyday with Filipinos who love food. Since I don’t have a conflict of interest with any restaurant, I can give my insights without any bias.

More younger people are eating out with friends and their barkada as a way of hanging out. When I started OAP in 2005, most of my readers were professionals and families.

Recently, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the blog has already penetrated the college market. I have readers from La Salle, Ateneo, and other schools.

Because of food blogs, more people are willing to try new restaurants based on positive reviews of the bloggers and the readers. The fear of making a bad choice in a restaurant is a bit minimized, so you don’t waste money.

Filipinos are appreciating the quality and taste of food vs. going for quantity of rice and relatively cheaper prices.

Maybe due to the increase of local flights of budget airlines, more people are now able to travel around the Philippines and appreciate Filipino food in other regions. Also, they are able to travel abroad and be exposed to other cuisines.

In the last travel fair, our hottest tour was the Culinary Tour of Batanes despite the offer of low airfare for Southeast Asian Travel to Singapore, Malaysia, etc.

In this presentation, I would like to share with you my insights on the Foodie Trends so that you can ride it early on and leverage it for your business. It is important to take advantage of the trend early so that you can benefit from the power of word-of-mouth marketing.

Let me tell you a story about these cupcakes.

The first time I ordered cupcakes from Sonja, it instantly hit me that it would start the cupcake craze in the Philippines when the Serendra store would open. In June 2006, I created a blog post entitled, “Sonja’s Cupcakes — Creating the Cupcake Craze in the Philippines, predicting the popularity of this sweet treat. After that, we saw almost every baker creating his/her own cupcakes.

The first few bakers who rode the cupcake trend early on were noticed immediately and gained instant fame. Those who followed much later were “drowned” in the noise when cupcakes became mainstream.

In winning with a trend, it is important to distinguish it from a Fad.

Let’s take the Wagyu trend, for example.

The Trend: Foodies were looking for more yummy ways to enjoy steaks. We heard about the legends of Wagyu in Japan, so the foodies wanted to experience how soft it is and how yummy it is. The focus was on the taste and texture.

The Fad: Using Wagyu in just about anything even if it’s not yummy anymore. There is one shabu-shabu restaurant that introduced Wagyu as a top-of-the-line ingredient in Shabu Shabu. It did not work because Wagyu, when cooked in hot pot, becomes chewy and bland. Foodies are smart and won’t readily order it just because it has a “Wagyu” name.

Don’t go after the Fad. The key to winning is understanding what makes the Foodies talk about food and understanding what they want.

Food is part of the Filipino culture; you’ll notice that it is always part of any conversation. In fact, when Pinoys travel, food is an important factor. If the place is bad but the food is good, the overall experience is good. However, if the food is bad — no matter how good the scenery — the experience will most likely be remembered as negative.

Ask: What is it about the ambiance, what is it about the food, what is it about the service that foodies are looking for?

2010 Foodie Trends Slide6

As early as Feb 2008, we were able to spot the first-ever Frozen Yogurt in Cold Spoon in Pampanga. We raved about it and that started the Froyo craze in the Philippines. Most of the establishments that launched Frozen yogurt (like White Hat, California Berry and, eventually, Red Mango) enjoyed the benefits of word-of-mouth. Now, a lot of restaurants are introducing their own version of yogurt, and people are getting tired of it.

This 2010, check out the 10 biggest Foodie Trends you can explore for your business. 🙂

There are two types of consumers in Manila — The Foodies (which is a growing 

segment) and the Non-Foodies (who go for Eat-all-you-can Rice and Chicken). 

Let me tell you a story about one of our culinary tours of Tagaytay.

A call center company sponsored a culinary tour for its agents to enjoy the food in Tagaytay for a

day. We went to the best restaurants — Bawai, Chateau Hestia and ended up in Antonio’s

Restaurant. When we were eating at Antonio’s, there were a number of people complaining. They

wanted to have more rice, have bigger portions of food, and maybe just order a simple chicken

dish. These are the Non-Foodies.

The Foodies, on the other hand, appreciate good food. There are three types emerging:

1. The Snobbish Gourmets. These people have been exposed to the restaurants abroad and take pride in eating in establishments with Michelin Stars. These are the people who really know their food and look down on people who pretend to know all about food.

2. The Wannabe Chefs. These are the foodies who aspire to be chefs someday and look up to other well-known chefs or celebrity chefs. After they complete a culinary course, they already feel and act like chefs. They look upon themselves as part of a higher level from the ordinary people who just love food.

3. The Amateur Foodies. This is the biggest segment, and it’s growing everyday. They label themselves as Foodies because they enjoy food. Period. It is very easy to belong to this group, which usually entails just eating out and trying out good food. They don’t care about the chefs or the snobbish gourmets. I belong to this group.

Notice the advertising that most restaurants put out there — they appeal to the first

two segments. Most of the endorsers for restaurants or food are chefs.

I’ll tell you a secret… One of the main reasons why Our Awesome Planet is popular is 

because it is shared from the point of view of an Amateur Foodie, which a lot of people can 

relate to.

2010 Foodie Trends Slide8

The hottest craze this year is: Chocolate

It started when…

Heavenly Chocolates opened in October 2008, educating people on the different origins of chocolate

– Chocolate-covered Espresso Beans were introduced by Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf

– Benoit Nicolay Chocolates were introduced in the market

– The cult favorite Royce Chocolate opened in December 2008

Machiavelli Chocolatier Eurasian Chocolate opened in April 2009

– We discovered Erica Paredes’ Happy Bacon Chocolates during the Ultimate Taste Test

– In December 2009, Maitre Chocolatier Boutique Cafe opened its doors

– Max Brenner Chocolate reopened in Greenbelt 5

This year…
Chocolate Fire Boutique Café is opening on March 1 — all foodies are excited!

– We heard stories about Shelenni Gatlabayan’s Cacao in Antipolo, and…

Sins Choc Shoppe, producer of top pralines in Singapore, is opening in September

Gourmet Chocolates will be a hit this year. Ride the trend while it is on its way up.

 

There’s this story of a Chinese Restaurant with no name in Rockwell. Legend has it that it serves spicy Hunan cuisine and that mainland Chinese could be seen eating there.

Foodies just love secret or underground restaurants that serve good food. People flocked to this hole-in-the-wall Chinese restaurant along Camia St.

Private Dining restaurants are hot as well because they are more, well, private — not in the mainstream, and they can offer food with higher quality because rent is typically lower. The latest private dining restaurant that opened is Qasa 61 in Marikina. It was a hit during Valentine’s. (Who would ever imagine that a place hidden in the small streets of Marikina would be such a hit?)

These restos work because they can focus their money on the quality of food because their Rent and Marketing expenses are usually low. They are primarily marketed through word-of-mouth.

 

Manila is Demanding Better Food from the Restaurant Industry.

Filipino Food in Manila is commercialized in taste. Most of the top Filipino restaurants can be found outside of the metro.

Manila-based Foodies would love to see:

Authentic Ilocano Cuisine — the benchmark is Saramsam in Laoag

Authentic Bicolano Cuisine — there’s none in Manila except for Top Meals

Now is the time to focus on the quality of Filipino Food. Café Juanita and Milky Way have established themselves. But, still, if you look at the best restaurants in Manila, they usually serve continental dishes — like those in Le Souffle, Aubergine and Lolo Dad’s.

I’m still surprised that some new restaurants market themselves as Fusion Restaurants. The great ISCAHM teachers and students recently opened Celsius in Tomas Morato, and it is marketed as fusion. Foodies don’t like fusion that much anymore. Foodies also don’t like food trying hard to be like somebody else’s (like the Singaporean Food cooked by Filipino Chefs in Makansutra).

Foodies are after quality fare and do not like the commercialized ones. They are also still looking for authentic Taiwanese, Szechuan or Shanghainese, and Singaporean food.

Specialty is now the name of the game. Recently, foodies were raving about the Peanut Butter resto in SM North Edsa and the Greek restaurant in the food court of Glorietta.

 

A frequently asked question in OAP is where to go on a date…

 

This is one of the biggest foodie niches out there. Typically, special occasions are reasons to go

out on a date. This would include monthsaries, anniversaries, V-day, b-day, Christmas / New 

Year celebrations.

Romantic Foodies look for a unique restaurant offering good food with a nice ambiance.

I did an informal survey last Valentine’s and asked people where they spent it. There were three

categories of answers:

 1. Romantics celebrated V-day at home with a special dinner, cooked by one of the partners.

 2. Romantics traveled to nearby Tagaytay and Pampanga. In the recent V-day celeb, most people went to the Hot Air Balloon Fiesta.

 3. Lastly, Romantics celebrated it by going out. Usually they have a ritual for pre-Valentine’s, Valentine’s Day, and Post-Valentine’s.

Foodies are becoming health-conscious. So far, for this year, there’s a run almost every

week. In the past, you’d be lucky already if 1,000 runners would join the race. Last weekend,

12,000 people ran the Century Run — the biggest run ever.

 

When people run, they eat a lot. Most of the trainings and races are done in the morning.

Eating a breakfast buffet after a race is important. The Breakfast Scene is also becoming popular

where people run, like the Fort.

 

Before a race, people eat out or carbo load... They are starting to be particular about

nutrition too. It’s amazing to see how people are starting to be healthy these days…

 


When 
foodies want to de-stress or celebrate, they would go to a “feel-good” restaurant.

Yummy food is a very important factor, of course. The warm welcome of the waiters, interiors of the place and the ambiance are also very, very important. The personality of the owners is reflected in the ambiance.

Van Gogh is Bipolar by Jetro is a good example. The artsy ambiance is quite unique and very homey. Jetro cooks the food himself and, at the same time, entertains guests. The concept of the resto revolves around his bipolar personality and how the food he serves would help in preventing mood swings.

Café Juanita is another good example. It is one of the best Filipino restaurants in town. What I like about it is the ambiance changes every time because Dr. Vasquez, the owner, would move one piece of decor each time he is in the restaurant.

 


 

There are a lot of diploma “chefs” and celebrity “chefs” serving mediocre food, and Manila foodies are getting a bit tired of it.

Most of the culinary schools have set up their own training restaurants. There are also established chefs who create restaurants one after another like a fast food chain (but, in reality, they are just renaming/rebranding it and playing around with the pricing).

I would much prefer someone who doesn’t have a culinary degree but does know how to cook well as it is his/her passion. Take, for example, Marsha Adams’ Tuscany Restaurant. It is one of the most recently raved about restaurants in Tagaytay. She just loves to cook and you know the food there is served with love. Combine that with a warm Mediterranean ambiance and a relaxing sunset lounge — foodies would much prefer this kind of experience.

I started food blogging in 2005. And now, in 2010, almost everyone is a food blogger.

Food blogging is not a fad. It will constantly be there because of the need of people to immortalize their experience in a blog post. For Filipinos, eating is a social event. It is often enjoyed with family and friends, so capturing that point in history with a written account is accomplished by sharing it through Facebook or one’s own blog.

Restaurants should help these foodies create that memorable experience every time. Serving the best quality of food is a given, but the waiters’ level of service plays a very important role as well. It could be as simple as offering to take their group shot, or helping them when they take a picture of the menu, or maybe creating a special gimmick for a group celebrating a special occasion. They could also suggest the best items on the menu versus just saying all the items are good and then proceed to recommend the most expensive item offered.

To close, I would like to share with you the best Filipino Meal we ever had…

It was in a place in Guimaras. The food for the day there is based on what is fresh and available in the market. It is cooked slowly, with love, and using traditional methods. The ambiance is very homey and you always get to chat with the owner. The people there are very friendly too. The food is cooked to perfection — juicy and flavorful — and often served with the fresh fruits for the day. I can still remember it to this day… This is how Filipino Cuisine should be experienced.

Any guess as to where it is?

The Answer?

Isla Naburot in Guimaras

Ever since that wonderful experience, I’ve been on a quest to find the best Filipino Restaurant in the country.

My favorites are:

Ka Lui in Puerto Princesa

Breakthrough in Iloilo

Claude Tayag in Pampanga

Ugu Bigyan in Tiaong, Quezon

Kinabuhayan Cafe in Dolores, Quezon

Saramsam Cafe in Laoag, Ilocos Norte

Café Juanita in Manila

It’s been an honor sharing these foodie insights with the restaurant industry and community. Together, let’s take the Manila dining scene to a whole new level in 2010!

Add me in Facebook, and Add me in Twitter: antondiaz.

Live an Awesome Life,


Anton Diaz
Founder, www.OurAwesomePlanet.com
Call or Text Me: +63917 5683-627 (LOVE-OAP)

Follow Me FacebookTwitterFlickrYoutube

P.S. Thanks to Adolf for giving me the opportunity to contribute to this industry! 🙂 Let me know what you think…

83 thoughts on “The 10 Biggest Foodie Trends in Manila 2010!

  1. I loved this article. 🙂 I’m one of the amateur (VERY amateur) foodies as well. I don’t have what they’d call a cultured palate. I just love to eat and I’m always on the lookout for simply delicious food! I blog about my experiences because I myself always Google a restaurant first before trying it out, and it’s fulfilling to be able to contribute my opinions and ideas.
    Anyway, I fervently hope your prediction about chocolates in Manila is right!! True-blue chocoholic here.

  2. please define Foodie 🙂
    You’ve mentioned Cafe Juanita so many times now that I just have to try it.
    On another note, discussing all these foodies, what about their blogs, have you ever had a post where you link to your favorite or recommended foodie blogs? You don’t have to list all nor endorse anyone, just link to a number of foodie blogs which you read regularly.
    BTW was this a presentation for something?
    Whats the Top Menu Masters?

  3. This is one of the best posts i’ve read — very insightful and big help to a self-confessed foodie like me. Cafe Juanita really deserves to be on your list. I just hope I can try the other restos you mentioned!

  4. Cafe Juanita is worth checking out, huh? The menu was a little bit odd but that doesn’t mean the food doesn’t taste good. I will make a trip then! I’m dreaming of Isla Naburot now…..Thank you, Anton!

  5. wow! at least na try ko na yung 2 best Filipino restaurants
    Ka Lui- the ambience is very homey, typical filipino house made of bambaoo you have to remove your shoes/slippers.. the food was great.
    and Breakthrough…sarap eating while watching the view of the sea…love the fresh seafoods especially oysters..

  6. More younger people are eating out with friends and their barkada as a way of hanging out. When I started OAP in 2005, most of my readers were professionals and families.
    more na young-er pa?

  7. Agree on the foodie runners. We do a carboload days before the big race. Its usually pasta so our common choice has been TOSH, Joey Pepperoni and Pasta Roni. And after the race, just about anything, even fast foods, as long as the group fits in a big place. Our group at Takbo.ph can gather up to 70+ runners for a carboloading its hard to find a big place for our group.

  8. Hi Anton! I really love your blog and have been reading it since 2007. You’ve made everything so convenient for us! Most especially on “not wasting money on bad places” part. It’s great to know you don’t limit yourself to high-end,French food places, and it’s also awesome you’ve helped promote good Filipino food through your blog. I’m also an amateur foodie, I don’t eat exotic food like snakes and escargot or like Indian food just because. It’s great to have you blogging food, sans pretensions. Keep up the good work! 😀

  9. I like the categories 😀 btw, celcius is not a fusion restaurant *at least in the owners’ point of view*, the chefs/owners call their style as an OPEN MENU, which is the first one here in Manila and maybe that’s why most people see it as a fusion since nobody really know about what an OPEN MENU is all about 🙂 hmmmmm…. looks like I need to blog about it HAHAHAHA! Like the post Anton 😀

  10. I love Cafe Juanita (especially on Sundays when they have their awesome lunch buffet…beats most Pinoy restos and even hotels in the Metro) and Aubergine (steep but well worth the experience)!
    Yeah, there really is a yoghurt revolution right now. Another one opened in Glorietta, Tutti Frutti. And there’s another one in Greenbelt, Koolit (i think), across Flapjack’s. That one I have yet to try. I’ve tried White Hot, Red Mango and Tutti Frutti. I have 2 teenage boys and I’ve observed that kids usually go for yoghurt stops after dining in malls. And now, with my boys, hubby and I are inclined to do that, too!

  11. thanks for this article sir anton.:) recently,my friends and I finally “get to know” cupcakes by sonja’s and happy bacon by erica paredes. your blog is really awesome and it fits amateur foodies like us. hope to read more soon! God bless!

  12. “The Fad: Using Wagyu in just about anything even if it’s not yummy anymore. There is one shabu-shabu restaurant that introduced Wagyu as a top-of-the-line ingredient in Shabu Shabu. It did not work because Wagyu, when cooked in hot pot, becomes chewy and bland. Foodies are smart and won’t readily order it just because it has a “Wagyu” name.”
    “Real” foodies would know how that the beef should be very lightly cooked (just swished around for a couple of seconds) in shabu shabu, not left in to boil to death, so they could still appreciate the texture of wagyu.
    Yes, even in Japan, wagyu is used in shabu shabu. It’s definitely *not* a fad, though appropriating and criticising other country’s food without really knowing anything about it is apparently quite trendy.

  13. Well when I asked one of the owners before he said the food was fusion and was proud of it. Yeah can you explain what an Open Menu concept is? 
    Sent from my iPhone

  14. really??? because I also asked the question in almost the same way and the Chef/one of the owners, told me it’s an Open Menu, will ask them more about the Open Menu 😀

  15. Great article! Now I’m convinced you don’t have to be a pro to know how to cook good food. It’s more of having the passion. Kudos!

  16. Ka Lui & Breakthrough are overpriced for such simple food–highway robbery.
    Cafe Juanita.. How can you glamorize Filipino food? You just can’t. Kare-kare for P350? Why?
    “Foodie” is an overused term. It’s not a job. Just because you and I (& everyone else in the Philippines) like to eat doesn’t make us foodies. It makes us human.
    Please don’t ever say the Philippines is a poor country or “naghihirap” when everyone is eating out all the time and blogging about their exploits. That’s just not right. People are rich here. Who knew.
    Biggest problem about food in the Philippines? Consistency. At first, the quality is good, even outstanding. After a few months, it just goes way way down. Upmarket prices for such low quality food. Apparently, you can eat ambiance. This has to change.
    Food service in the Philippines? ZERO. Waiters don’t know what they’re doing or what they’re serving, and it always has to be in an extremely slow turtle pace. What’s the service charge for? I’m not paying 10% for bad and/or slow service.
    On a good note, Kinabuhayan Cafe has amazing food. Organic, ethereal and it speaks to your soul. Because it’s made by someone who loves what he does and wants people to eat well, at a fair price. And also, it’s consistently great.

  17. Froyo is the new bubble tea!
    Great post, Anton. I hope you’ll keep doing this kind of assessment of foodie trends every year. Opening a resto is one of my/my husband’s pipe dreams and information like this gives all of us aspiring resto owners a lot to think about. On the whole, well thought out writing like this is not just the usual PR food writing and benefits the whole foodie scene in general.

  18. Shabu shabu is the sound made when lightly swishing the meat in the stock. This is the way they do it in Japan.
    Only in the Philippines do people boil everything to death.
    If you can’t do it right, then don’t do it the wrong way & say something bad about the product when it’s not the product’s fault.

  19. Great post Anton! I love to eat and I only used to go to restaurants that are popular or satisfy my hunger. Ever since I’ve read and followed your blog, it opened me to a new level of dining experience, even if I’m a very amateur foodie. Now I make it a point, when we eat out, to observe more–the food, the service, the ambiance, my money’s worth and the whole dining experience itself. Thanks Anton!

  20. Galing Jeng, thanks fo letting me know… I'm trying to share nga with the restaurant industry na all of us are looking for experience. 
    Thanks for the comment!
    Sent from Danao, Bohol 

  21. Sige I will try to do it every year… I never really thought of doing it until I got invited to the conference… Got a lot of good feedback too from the conference… 
    Sent from my iPhone

  22. OMG! I was so feeling the snobbish gourmet description until I saw that I had a cameo with a picture pa! Thanks OAP! You’re the bestest! And so thankful that you patiently help me out with the dumbest of analytics questions! I agree, food is all about the experience, and people would rather have an old dish made perfect, than a slew of new fusion dining experiences, though I’d like to contest that Asian-Cuban food is still amazing.
    ANd I agree with your final line, the best meal I had was when I went diving and saw a bunch of ugly sea urchins prickling their way underwater. I caught a few (don’t ask me how) and had them opened right there on the boat. With mild rinsing in salt water and a few drops of calamansi, I was in Uni heaven. LOVE THIS!

  23. powerful presentation! i think you did an amazing job consolidating all this information!
    three things came to my mind:
    (1) i really hope the healthy food trend persists – and that it can be brought much more into breakfast (as well as lunch and dinner).
    (2) my main concern with the “authentic filipino” trend is how many restos are introducing “crispy this, crispy that”. crispy dinuguan. crispy kare kare. crispy tadyang baka in sinigang. not only are we spending extra energy and time in commercial kitchens doing an extra cooking process before serving the dish; we’re clogging lots of people’s arteries with it. i feel it’s serious enough to mention.
    (3) new trends emerge based on how new ingredients are introduced to the local market – meats, baking ingredients, certain vegetables or fruits…. if prices of these things aren’t as steady as supply, high end restaurants end up cutting corners.
    i don’t know how much of a true high-end restaurant market metro manila can handle. diners simply won’t pay what many chefs/”chefs” think it’s worth. i leave judgment to you and your readers. 🙂
    however, half of me wishes we had a high cuisine reputation to make us famous worldwide.the other half of me hopes more of our restaurants will become so consistent in their cooking it won’t matter anymore whether it’s high brow or low brow.

  24. Awesome comment! Yeah I don't like the crispy this crispy that… Filipino food is really more grilled than fried. Agree that a trend is influenced by the availability of a new ingredient 
    Sent from my iPhone

  25. It is my pleasure 🙂 actually when we out restaurants, more than half of the time the restaurants are mediocre… We end up wasting a lot of money really…  In 2010, I'm being more picky with the restaurants I would blog about 🙂  
    Sent from Danao Adventure Park in Bohol

  26. I link the foodie blogs in the blog post specially if they are very relevant. 
    Top Menu Masters is an industry conference for restaurants and hotels in Manila 🙂 
    Sent from Danao Adventure Park in Bohol

  27. Yes, I agree with Cafe Juanita. Just ate there last Valentine’s at the new Fort branch. Worth trying:
    – Beef Kaldereta
    – Vietnamese Spring Rolls (a surprising choice but it was good!)

  28. it is laughable that graduates of these newly sprouted culinary schools in the philippines already consider themselves as chefs. don’t they know that it takes years, more or less a decade, to be considered as one? there’s also no guarantee that after ten years eh chef ka na. they should read michael ruhlman’s “how to be a chef.”
    i’ve always wanted to be a chef so as soon as i finished my thesis at good ‘ol dlsu, and armed with an f1 student visa, i took the first flight to new york to begin my culinary studies. thereupon, i realized that the road to chefdom is filled with years of slave labor. 16-hour, six day, extremely physically demanding workweeks in exchange for almost next to nothing/minimum wage are the rules of the game. this is the high road that one takes to get an apprenticeship under a michelin-starred chef. and an apprenticeship is THE ONLY way in all cultures, mapa-west o mapa-intsik, to acquire the craft.
    except in the philippines.
    a culinary school degree can be compared to having a pre-med degree. not even.

  29. Okay, now Sir Anton, my next destination would be Isla Naburot…well… that’s after my boss leaves around June… I will reserve flights early though… hopefully it won’t be raining that much when I’m dining al fresco…. LOL =)

  30. Hi Anton,
    No pun intended, but Wagyu or kobe beef is actually a very prized meat for shabu shabu in japan. The ideal way to eat it is to dip it a few times, cook it medium rare or the most medium, that way you can still taste the full flavor of the beef. Any meat no matter how good, will turn bland dry, and icky if it’s over cooked. Just my two cents.
    As for private dining resto, I’ve tried Soco and it’s a total waste of calories, money and that place is just a joke.
    Very good write up though on this entry. Keep up the good work.

  31. Hi Anton! Your presentation and write up is truly amazing, it’s incomparable as it reflects a lot of things about food blogging and our country being a home to a lot of restaurants, food establishments ( hidden or not ) you gave meaning to it. I am an HRM graduate in UST back in 2000 and that time restaurant industry was just starting to boom but as years go by, because of food blogging, it opened doors to a lot of beautiful things, all things yummy.
    This blog helps a lot of people to get familiarized with what the Metro can offer. Thanks Anton! 🙂 I know that there will be more to come, and I do hope i get the chance to see once you talk again for a conference!!!

  32. “Restaurants should help these foodies create that memorable experience every time. Serving the best quality of food is a given, but the waiters’ level of service plays a very important role as well.”
    I agree with this and I think everyone in the food industry, especially restaurant owners should read this insightful article. As an amateur foodie myself, I appreciate restaurants who accomodate food bloggers taking time to review what their restos can offer, and I am sad that some of them do not appreciate it and even prohibits taking pictures of their store and/or products.
    This is a great article. Thank you for sharing it with your readers 🙂

  33. Isla Naburot is my favorite place in the world too. Their fresh seafood is to die for and their turon is the best.
    That’s where i proposed to my fincee as well. We were lucky enough to have the whole island to ourselves.

  34. Hello Mr Awesome Planet! Awesome blog. Would like to ask about the 5th pic where there was a group inside a cave and a beautiful beach in the background located?

  35. Yes Yedy, I'm glad I shared it with OAP readers… There's a lot of insights in this blog posts that someone could use to boost their business 🙂
    Live an Awesome Life,
    Anton Diaz
    Founder, http://www.OurAwesomePlanet.com
    Call or Text Me: +63917 5683-627 (LOVE-OAP)
    Follow Me FacebookTwitterFlickrYoutube
    Latest Blog Post on Our Awesome Planet: The 10 Biggest Foodie Trends in Manila 2010!

  36. It is located in Nakabuang Beach in Batanes 🙂
    Live an Awesome Life,
    Anton Diaz
    Founder, http://www.OurAwesomePlanet.com
    Call or Text Me: +63917 5683-627 (LOVE-OAP)
    Follow Me FacebookTwitterFlickrYoutube
    Latest Blog Post on Our Awesome Planet: The 10 Biggest Foodie Trends in Manila 2010!

  37. You're welcome Pie 🙂 Thanks for appreciating the presentation!
    Live an Awesome Life,
    Anton Diaz
    Founder, http://www.OurAwesomePlanet.com
    Call or Text Me: +63917 5683-627 (LOVE-OAP)
    Follow Me FacebookTwitterFlickrYoutube
    Latest Blog Post on Our Awesome Planet: The 10 Biggest Foodie Trends in Manila 2010!

  38. bat walang mention ang kikufuji dito! hahaha 🙂 hands down best value for money jap food in metro manila… kahit ilang balik ko dito panalo!

  39. One of the best filipino meal I and bf had was at the Dumaluan Beach, Bohol!
    It’s a simple place, around 2 to 3 tables fronting the beach.
    Just like your experience in Isla Naburot, the food is based on what is fresh and available in the market. Plus value for money talaga!

  40. I haven't really thought of that. I don't have a list in mind yet and but I'll try to come up with a list…
    Live an Awesome Life,
    Anton Diaz
    Founder, http://www.OurAwesomePlanet.com
    Call or Text Me: +63917 5683-627 (LOVE-OAP)
    Follow Me FacebookTwitterFlickrYoutube
    Latest Blog Post on Our Awesome Planet: [OAP SURVEY] Ice Cream or Frozen Yogurt?

  41. thanks for sharing your insights anton and i enjoyed reading all the comments as well. mabuhay ang amateur foodies 😀
    in a not-so-related topic, have you read this article? Filipino Food: Off the Menu it tells a lot about why Pinoy food is having a hard time entering mainstream US restos even in Pinoy-helmed restaurants. One thing that stuck to me was the lack of a single national dish. interesting 🙂
    cheers,
    neva| manilamommy

  42. Yeah, just read that article as well, very interesting… Pinoy Food will have its own time 🙂
    Live an Awesome Life,
    Anton Diaz
    Founder, http://www.OurAwesomePlanet.com
    Call or Text Me: +63917 5683-627 (LOVE-OAP)
    Follow Me FacebookTwitterFlickrYoutube
    Latest Blog Post on Our Awesome Planet: [OAP SURVEY] Ice Cream or Frozen Yogurt?

  43. If you want a really good spanish fabada or lentil soup (lentejas), Cafe Juanita would be the last place for it. I went there twice and was disappointed both times. This was 5 years ago so maybe things have improved(?) Nice ambiance though and very affordable. Nice place to meet and talk. Terry’s in Pasong Tamo would be your best bet for spanish specialties, even if the old man can be an asshole with a nice smile at times.
    Enjoy eating!!!

  44. this was a very insightful article, and will be following your blog for more information on the restaurant industry. i am looking forward to try out the restaurants you have mentioned i can already taste them in my mouth….yummm.
    just one question though, i notice you do not have any blogs or preference on Cebu food? would really wanna know what you think about the restos and food there! more power, keep eating and writing!!!

  45. Hi Anton! This is yet another wonderful blog entry from you. I shared it with my officemates. I’m certain it can help inspire them personally (more foodie options!) and professionally (getting to know their foodie consumers!). 😀 Thanks for sharing these great insights with us!

  46. Your blog is great but is it possible for you to avoid the overuse of the word ‘would’? For instance,in your description of Cafe Juanita: “…What I like about it is the ambiance changes every time because Dr. Vasquez, the owner, would move one piece of decor each time he is in the restaurant.” Here the use of ‘would’ implies a past action, but the first part of your sentence starts, ‘what i like about it…’, which is in the present. The correct grammatical form would be: …the ambience changes every time because Dr Vasquez moves one piece of decor each time he is in the restaurant.’
    Another common mistake a lot of pinoys make is the (incorrect) interchange of the words ‘could’ and ‘can’. We tend to use ‘could’ when we really mean ‘can’, and vice versa. Again, this is grammatically unpleasant and awkward. Frankly, it does my head in.
    Other than the minor syntax lapses, your blog is great and provides us with a good source of restaurant information. Thanks!

  47. Thanks for pointing this out. I learned from this comment. I will continue to strive to improve the overall quality of writing of the blog.
    Sent from Mobile

  48. nakakatuwa kuya anton that we both scored the best meal we ever had! guimaras also! in jordan, guimaras, sponsored by the mayor, who is my dad’s friend, i will always remember the lunches we had at baras beach resort:) sarap sobra! and i will go back there this year!
    this was very helpful! this is among my favorite read in yer blog! more power and food trip tayo minsan! sama mo naman ako!:D

  49. hey anton, i just noticed you prefer Ka Lui over Kinabuch in Palawan, thats interesting. Another must try over there is The Lotus Garden, where the food is good and the people are friendly 🙂 Congratulations on the growing success of OAP!

  50. Yes I love Ka Lui!  I never tried Lotus Garden because you're the first person I heard recommending it. I'll try it when we get back to Palawan.

  51. Great post!
    Just wanted to share I’m the grandson of the owner and It brings me great pride that family’s place was mentioned here. I grew up eating that food on Isla Naburot! Sarap talaga haha.
    just a small bit of trivia, Claude Tayag is the nephew of my grandmother who is also a Tayag from Angeles. When I was younger, he would always come over and cook with my titas in Isla.

  52. Underground resto scene I think is very much needed in Manila. Need places that looks rundown but serve really good food like hawker style.

  53. I just read about your blog through the net and i must say that i love it.
    this is a very nice article.
    I haven´t been to the philippines in a long time and evertime i go home I am always surprised to see lots of new places to eat and the more i see them the more i get confused . This blog will keep me updated and will surely be a useful guide the next time I am there
    I think the best meal that one can have is a good meal shared together with the family and/or friends, with foods that are cooked with lots of love and it doen´t matter if you eat them with your finest silver wares or just with your bare hands.
    keep up the good work, Anton

  54. i like filipino food priced for the filipino. overpriced pinoy food is ultimately un-filipino and inauthentic. perhaps if care is taken to make the overall dining experience a standout, then that would probably justify higher rates. but please point me to a pricey pinoy resto that truly accomplishes this, as most of them are plain pretentious.

  55. tried ka-lui in puerto princesa 2x, awesome ambiance but the food was malansa and the fish (ka-lui is a seafood restaurant) was very hard and burnt. the next day we ate in badjao seafront and the food was better : )

  56. OHMY I love your blog!!! I am so thrilled with every blog post you share! I am just a noobie blogger and I wanna be just like you!! I am so inspired!! 🙂

  57. did you do a blog about isla naburot? I want to know more about that place. I am planning to take my family there when we go back for a visit from the US.
    Thanks Anton!

  58. i love to visit all over the Philippine i saw in the article that it’s more fun in the Philippines, i saw some of the pictures of food it’s taste delicious.. every Filipino should proud of the Philippines. because it’s really more fun in the Philippines..

  59. I’ve been following your blog for a few years now, hats off and thanks it’s getting better. We stayed at Isla Naburot twice and you are absolutely right, the best home cooked Filipino meal ever. The cook buys the fish and other ingredients from a banca that passes in front of the island and during low tide they simply cross to Guimaras to harvest coconut and other fruits. I believe they even
    have their own shrimp farm. However, every time I come back to the Philippines I am invited to dine at Breakthrough and it’s always mediocre to bad & almost cafeteria style food. My hosts are baffled too because they usually have good meals there. Oftentimes I have better luck at Tatoy’s.

  60. Thanks for the speedy reply; I actually tried most of those dishes but Tatoy’s manok inasal is way better and so is the boneless bangus. I was never impressed with the managat fish, though that could be a personal taste. The aligue rice that I had somehow tastes like it stayed too long under the heat lamp. Breakthrough’s shellfish however is super fresh and nicely prepared so I promise to go back to Breakthrough this Christmas.
    Last Christmas I went to Pototan for their yearly Iwag Festival and had the most delicious batchoy
    @ Tak’s Batchoy, a hole-in-the-wall inside the old market. Her batchoy harkens the original Lapaz batchoy flavour before Ted et al turned batchoy into a Macdonald like franchise.

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