Naturally Peninsula: ChangeMakers Dinner Event & What Happens Next @ThePeninsulaMNL #HealthyHelping

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We get invited to a lot of dinner events in Manila, but I was not expecting this kind of gathering of like-minded individuals in a different kind of networking.

I thought it was a PR event but it was not. You could sense that the intentions were sincere–to make a difference, promote sustainability, and help each other out.

Here’s a photo essay of the Sustainability Networking Dinner hosted by Janice Lao at The Peninsula Manila…

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The invite looked like it was for a sustainability campaign for Corporate Social Responsibility of an established business. It turned out to be one of the highlight dinners for me to kick-off the summer of 2017. 


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The dinner was held in the Old Magsaysay Room of Old Manila restaurant, with a formal French dining setting.


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The Naturally Peninsula menu aims to offer delicious dishes with ingredients that come from a sustainable source. This is unlike some establishments that put a high price on “sustainable” healthy food just because but doesn’t even taste good.


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Eggplant Salad. Confit, Grilled, Raw Vegetable, Lemon Vinaigrette.

The meal started with Eggplant Salad with a good grilled flavor (no char) and just the right amount sauce to not overpower the sweet taste of the eggplant and vegetables.


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From the beginning, I was excited to meet all the changemakers and learn about what they do to make the world or the country a better place in their own small ways.

(I thought I didn’t know anybody except for my friend, Tina Vitas of Easy Cures.)


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When the Clarendelle 2014 Bordeaux white wine started to pour, everyone began to loosen up and be in a more talkative mood.


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We had a short introduction before the meal began to break the ice and after the salad course, each one started talking about their own sustainability projects.

We got to know Lynn Pinugu of Mano Amiga, the people behind PCIJ Investigative Journalism, the UNDP programs, and the Stephen Co of Nipa Brew.


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Seafood Arborio Risotto. Green Asparagus, Clams, Parmesan Crisp.

The seafood course was served with shrimps and clams, topped with asparagus and parmesan crisp on a bed of paella-like risotto. This paired well with the white wine.


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The highlight of the night was meeting Nicole Andrienne Ponseca, Founder of Maharlika Moderno and Jeepney Filipino Gastropub. I admire how passionate she is about her first Filipino Cookbook–a groundbreaking book of her essays on Filipino Cuisine, with the US Market as a target. 

Special Thanks to Carissa Villacorta for inviting us to meet Nicole and for making this dinner happen! 🙂


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Roasted free-range Pamora Chicken. Grilled Provençal Vegetable, Cherry Tomato, Kalamata.

I always love the chicken from Pamora Farms! Here, the chicken was roasted and still juicy and paired nicely with the grilled vegetables, sweet tomato, and olives.


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Thank you to Janice Lao, Filipina Director of the Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability of The Peninsula Group worldwide, for organizing this ChangeMaker dinner! 


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Malagos Chocolate. Pinipig, Carabao Milk, Pilinut.

I couldn’t help but finish every bit of this Malagos chocolate dessert with pinipig, pilinut, and ice cream. What a way to end our meal!


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It was awesome to meet Nines Terol, who was part of our Maven Secrets Program, and Anna Oposa (finally) of Save Philippine Seas!


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Petit Fours to end the night.


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I really loved this meeting of minds of young passionate individuals who consider themselves stakeholders in sustainability and corporate responsibility. 

It was also a brilliant way to know more about the Naturally Peninsula menu, which is not your typical wine and dine event, but more of a networking, “let’s change the world together” kind of thing.


Live an Awesome Life,



Disclosure: Our meal was courtesy of Janice Lao. I wrote this article with my biases, opinions, and insights. 

P.S. It would be nice to have a reunion at the end of the year to review how effective this dinner was as a catalyst for positive change in Manila.

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