Thailand’s Royal Umbrella Rice now available in PHL

THE THAI staple Royal Umbrella rice, a favorite in supermarkets in over 100 countries around the world, is now available in the Philippines, in supermarkets nationwide (SM, Rustan’s, Robinsons, Puregold, and Shopwise) and online via LazMart. Prices start at P350. Royal Umbrella is a 40-year-old brand of premium Thai Jasmine Rice (Hom Mali). Grains are carefully selected from the best rice fields and processed under stringent procedures to ensure the highest international standards. Royal Umbrella offers three signature products: Thai Hom Mali Rice (Royal Umbrella Red) which is the best-quality Jasmine rice that is harvested only once a year;  Thai Jasmine Rice (Royal Umbrella Green), which has a light Jasmine fragrance, and a soft and sticky texture once cooked; and, Fragrant Rice (Royal Umbrella Orange), an affordable fragrant rice that is aromatic with a soft texture can be enjoyed longer when cooled down. Royal Umbrella is produced by C.P. Intertrade (CPI), a company that sustainably trades numerous products from food to raw industrial materials. CPI was established in 1979 as a subsidiary of the Charoen Pokphand Group of Companies and was promoted by the board of Investment of Thailand. CPI’s Sustainable Rice Program aims to reduce the carbon and water footprint of rice. This is done through research on greenhouse gas management in each step of the production process and streamlining supply chains to develop an eco-friendly planting system for Thai Hom Mali Rice that ensures high yields in each harvest.

Hendrick’s Gin for Valentine’s Day

Staying-in this Valentine’s Day? Hendrick’s has got you covered with a flirty pairing of candles and cocktails for an unusual candlelight dinner at home.  Simply purchase a 700ml bottle of Hendrick’s Gin from Feb. 8 onwards at participating outlets to receive a handcrafted cucumber and rose candle in an intricate Hendrick’s teacup. Then mix up some liquid love with two rose-themed Hendrick’s Gin libations — Kissed by a Rose and Rose Tinted Glasses, cook or order in some takeout and light the scented candle for a romantic night in. Those with a sense of humor can complete a poem on the Hendrick’s Gin Facebook page to win the one-of-a-kind bouquet crate complete with 50 of the finest cucumbers, blooming roses, and a bottle of gin made oddly delivered to your loved one on Feb. 14. Look out for the contest post that would be published from Feb. 6 to 10, and submit your poem via a comment on the post (contest closes on Feb. 10, 11:59 p.m.). For more information on the world’s most unusual gin and its iconic rose and cucumber pairing, visit

Negrense cookbook launched

AN 82-page cookbook entitled Negrense Heritage Cooking was launched on Jan. 19 by the Department of Tourism (DoT) in partnership with the Slow Food Negros Community, the Negros Museum, and the Provincial Government of Negros Occidental. Local chefs Gabriel Francisco Melocoton, Joeri Arro, Mia Lizares Gonzaga, and Shuni Grace Palma Osano prepared and shared stories behind some of the delectable Negrense dishes featured in the cookbook, including Tangigue Kinilaw with Smoked Gata, Labuyo Oil, and Passionfruit; Linutik Nga Kalabasa with Balsamic Soy, Stir Fried Alugbati and Pechay and Kalkag; the cookbook’s recipe of Adobo Sang Tumandok; Lumpia with Ubod; Linagpang Soup; Tres Leches; and Saba na Saging. Those behind the cookbook are: editor Mia Lizares Gonzaga, recipe writers Jackie Gamboa and Charisse Lugay, Reena Gamboa who did the research, Julie May Calderon who did the cover design and book layout, Georgina Camus who did the illustrations.

Sheraton Manila Bay reopens Pacific Lounge

SHERATON Manila Bay welcomed back diners with the reopening of its top floor restaurant, the Pacific Lounge, on Jan. 22. Known for its panoramic 360-degree view of Manila Bay and city skyline, the Pacific Lounge serves a pre-dinner cocktail buffet featuring an array of select Asian staples, tapas, and local cuisine every Friday evening from 6 p.m. onwards. The pre-dinner cocktail buffet is priced at P988++ per person inclusive of house wine, local beer, chilled juices, fresh juices, iced tea, or soda. On Jan. 29, diners will be treated to Cocktail 360 creations such as Flautas con Carne y Queso, Mini Muffuletta Sandwich, Pesto Foccacia with Grilled Sausage, Grilled Aubergine Salad in Crispy Pita, Parmesan Chicken Tenders, Seafood Aglio Olio, and more. On Feb. 5, Pacific Lounge returns to its Tapas Classico roots with an assortment of delicatessen meat and cheese plus a line up of delicious bite-sized bits such Tortilla Classico, Croquetas de Jamon y Queso, Chicharrones de Cadiz, Tostas con Nueces, Queso Azul y Uvas, Pintxos Morunos, and Callos alla Madrileña among others. Members of the hotel’s Viber community will enjoy an additional 50% on mocktails and cocktails and 30% on local craft beer. To join the Sheraton Manila Bay Viber Community and get exclusive perks and promos, visit Reservations are required. Social distancing and health and safety precautions are implemented. The hotel strictly implements a No Face Mask and Face Shield, No Entry Policy. For table reservations, call 5318-0788, 0917-583-7294, 0917-583-7326 or e-mail Sheraton Manila Bay is located at M. Adriatico cor. Gen. Malvar Streets, Malate, Manila.

Dinagyang at Richmonde

RICHMONDE Hotel Iloilo joins the Dinagyang festivities this year with special room rates until Jan. 31, and with its Festive Buri Boxes that help support Iloilo-based businesses. Filled with an assortment of local treats like freshly baked Richmonde breads and signature ensaymadas, Superhouse drip coffee, Cabatuan tablea, Basilur tea, and Hummingbird jam, each set is perfect for snacking while watching the digital streaming of the Dinagyang performances. The buri box comes in plain or colorful versions, with the latter hand painted by local artists. The price of the Festive Buri Boxes start at P750 nett. Meanwhile, on Dinagyang weekend, The Granary prepares a special buffet spread. With fully manned buffet counters, limited seating capacity, and implementation of strict safety and sanitation protocols in accordance with the guidelines set by the IATF, Iloilo City Government, and the tourism department, the Richmonde ensures that the wellbeing of all diners is protected. The Weekend Dinner Buffet is priced at P950 nett per person with 50% discount for children six to 12 years old. Prior reservations are required. For inquiries, room and restaurant reservations, and orders for buri boxes, call Richmonde Hotel Iloilo at +63 33 328-7888 or 0917-580-9642, or send an e-mail to Bookings and orders may also be made online at Richmonde’s official website,

Firehouse Pizza goes vegan

WHAT started as a seasonal offer during World Vegan Month last November, Firehouse Pizza’s plant-based pizza and pasta selections are now available all-year-round. Now officially part of its regular menu, the vegan offerings include the Vegan Firehouse Pizza which is loaded with seitan, vegan parmesan, vegan brie, vegan mozzarella, jalapeno, and arugula; the Vegan Four-Cheese Pizza which has vegan old smokey, vegan herbed feta, vegan parmesan, and vegan mozzarella; and the Vegan Truffle Pizza which features portobello mushrooms, garlic, vegan brie, vegan parmesan, vegan mozzarella, finished off with a dash of truffle oil. In addition to vegan pizzas, Firehouse Pizza has also added a plant-based pasta menu with dishes such as Vegan Lasagna, Baked Fillet Caprese, and Meatless Albondigas. All these vegan dishes are available at Firehouse Pizza from 4 to 9 p.m. For takeaway via or delivery via FoodPanda, Grab, and Pickaroo, the restaurant can accept orders from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. Firehouse Pizza is located at Entrata Urban Complex, Filinvest City, Muntinlupa. For more details, visit or call 0998-595-3832.

Max’s All-You-Can promo returns

MAX’S Restaurant brings back the Max’s All-You-Can promo, last held in 2019, which offers an assortment of the restaurant’s favorite dishes, all in one plate, for P499 per head. The orders include Sarap-To-The-Bones Fried Chicken, Max’s Spicy Tofu, Chicken Sisig, and Chicken Lumpiang Shanghai. Each plate also comes with all the steamed white rice a customer could want. The last of Max’s All-You-Can Weekends will be on Jan. 29-31 in all Max’s stores nationwide. Book ahead at Full mechanics are available at

Tasteful Selections offers items for charcuterie boards

A MAIN point of pride for Tasteful Selections is putting a premium on quality products, which is why they only source from the food item’s country of origin. This meticulous sourcing process resulted in partnerships with award-winning brands. Charcuterie boards are essentially DIY and can include jamón serrano (Tasteful Selections’ supplier for the cold-cut variant is a Spanish company that pioneered the breeding of Duroc pork, from which jamón serrano is made); Goya manzanilla olives stuffed with smoked salmon; and Manchego cheese. Learn more about the products by following Tasteful Selections on Instagram (@Thetastefulselections) and by logging on to

Johnnie Walker celebrates 200th anniversary

LAST December, Johnnie Walker invited everyone 18 years old and above to 2XX & Beyond — a virtual festival to celebrate Johnnie Walker’s 200th anniversary. The festival was aired on from 5 to 11 p.m. It included a screening of the film The Man Who Walked Around The World, an independent feature documentary that explores how Johnnie Walker, for over two centuries, has navigated adversity with optimism to cement its place in culture as a global icon.  Johnnie Walker also hosted a series of talks: starting with Creative Conversations over Scotch with artists Jappy Agoncillo and Bea Policarpio; Scotch 101 for the New Generation with Ervin Trykowski, Rian Asiddao, and Lester Ligon; and a “tell-all interview” with Johnnie Walker brand ambassador Nico Bolzico. Johnnie Walker also partnered with Karpos Multimedia to culminate the festivities with some of 2020’s freshest musical acts: Breakbot + Irfane, FERN., August Wahh, and Jason Dhakal. Consumers can still view The Man Who Walked Around The World at Meanwhile the different creative talks as well as the concert are available at the Johnnie Walker Facebook Page.