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Chicago Charmer

Witty architecture, limitless activities, the Hilton experience and a stunning skyline await the media personalities and tour operators arriving on Cathay Pacific’s newly added flights from Cebu to Chicago.

Witty architecture, limitless activities, the Hilton experience and a stunning skyline await the media personalities and tour operators arriving on Cathay Pacific’s newly added flights from Cebu to Chicago.

We arrived at O’Hare airport, second busiest airport in the world, on a damp, cold and gloomy tuesday afternoon. Not the first impression of Chicago I was aiming for. But in the days to come, my travel companions and I, did in five days what most people would do in a month and I was swept off my feet. For those with us visiting their second, third or fourth time they fell in love with the Windy City all over again. A success story is what it is. A phoenix rising above several tragedies: The Great Fire of 1871, the gang wars of Capone on the South Side and Moran on the North Side in the early 1920’s, political and labor upheavals and an en masse migration post World War ii. Drawing strength from its strategic location, rich diversity and proud citizens, Chicago emerges a formidable “Second City”.

Here is an unmistakable whiff of progress, culture and history in the 52°F air. I, along with lifestyle editors Nelia Neri of Sun Star and Mayen tan of the Freeman and tour operators, Margette villarica of Destination Specialists Inc., Sheila Colmenares of Leisure travel and tours, Aida Uy of Cebu Fortune Travel International, Inc., Victor Carvajal of Travelways Intl. Inc., Andrew Teh of Global Link Travel and Tours received a Passport to Chicago offering free passes and discounts to tours, restaurants, museums and shows from Benjamin Kelner of the Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture. With so much to do and so little time, each ticked off items from the many inviting possibilities we could do as a group or on our own.

To ease our eagerness, our ‘travel link’ Eugene Cheng of Unilink, Inc. was there to help us prioritize and provide a van for where the day may take us. Filipinos as we are, the highlights of our trip always involved good food, and lots of it. Our first meal after our long flight was in Chinatown where we enjoyed Lobster atop Chinese egg noodles. The lovely Connie Cimafranca and Port Manager Maggie Wong of Cathay Pacific along with Anthony Legaspi the Director of Sales for Hilton International treated the whole group to try Chicago’s world famous steak house, Morton’s. It was love at first bite as the rib-eye melted its way to our stomachs. Chicago is also home of the original deep dish pizza and for our fill, Eugene brought us to Lou Malnati’s. the warm and cozy restaurant in the idyllic Gold Coast neighborhood was perfect for our lunch date on one of the coldest days of our visit. as with keeping up with touristy traditions, we also enjoyed fresh seafood over at the Navy Pier.

Eugene, a fellow Filipino who is a travel agent in the US, offered up his services to help us maximize our brief stay. He took us everywhere, around the Loop, the Magnificent Mile, Lincoln Park and the Millennium Park. All 24 acres of the Millennium Park multi-tasks as a landmark, central hub, ice skating rink during winter, and a concert venue in Spring. A trip must include trying to find the right reflection on Anish Kapoor’s Cloudgate and admiring the twirling steel ribbons of the Jay Pritzker Pavilion. In the neighboring Grant Park, the Art Institute of Chicago houses the nations second largest collection of the world’s most beloved pieces of art like the iconic Nighthawks by Edward Hopper. After gawking at art you can take photos of the many sculptures scattered around the park like the Spearman and the Bowman, the eagle fountains, Agora and Daphne. We walked the distance between the institute to the Shedd Museum, Field Museum (where you can meet Sue the dinosaur) and the Adler Planetarium. It satisfied all my curiosities but you can also thrown in a side trip to the massive Museum of Science and industry, for good measure.

From the bird- eye view of towers, John Hancock and Willis, it’s easy to see why Chicago provides a fantastical backdrop for a whole range of Hollywood films. Chicago even saw the dawn of the silent screen with Charlie Chapman and Gloria Swanson as home to essanay Studios (now part of St. augustine College) and the Selig Polyscope Company at the turn of the 19th century. eighty movies and counting, from rom-com “My Best Friend’s Wedding” to period flick “road to Perdition” to name a few. Its alter-ego of Gotham City (Batman Begins, 2005, and the dark Knight, 2007) is one of the many worlds it doubles as.

The juxtaposition between the modern and the classic gives Chicago its look but it still remains very much a Great american City. Declared in 1991 as the “greatest american architect of all time” by the american institute of architects,Frank Lloyd Wright was a Wisconsin native but a Chicagoan at heart. His signature “Prairie” house with triangular gables, over-scaled roofs, bay windows, wide doorways, cross- axial lay out made of shingle, brick and stone characterizes many

  • by Katsy Borromeo


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THROWBACK THURSDAY. Our Stylish Voyage on a Boat with Loida and Richard


With hosts Loida Montesclaros and Richard Forteau, we take entertaining to the high seas.

by Shari Quimbo photography Steffen Billhardt

The sky was decidedly gloomy on the Sunday afternoon Loida Montesclaros and Richard Forteau invited a small group of us for a sail, the clouds getting darker as I make my way to Porter’s Marina, where the Blue Planet was docked.

“Richard built the boat himself in Cebu,” Loida explains, going on to share that he was the former honorary French consul in Cebu. “It was built here, and I designed the interiors.”

All that work certainly paid off—Loida and Richard would often sail the boat out to different Philippine destinations such as El Nido, Siargao, Boracay and the Gigantes Islands in Iloilo. These could mean days-long journeys that sometimes meant dealing with some rough seas. Quick day trips, much like the one we were about to embark on, were also a regular past time.

Loida gives me a quick tour of the boat then shows off her tropical spread. With its bright blue and white floral seating, the cabin’s dining area is already a pretty festive site. “I wanted to keep it simple,” she tells me, arranging her fresh fruits around on the banana leaf-covered wooden slabs she was using as serving trays. “And I wanted it to look more local, more tropical. We are on the water, after all.”

The bamboo slats of the dining table were the perfect backdrop to Loida’s spread, which featured tropical fruits alongside an entire roll of lechon belly, fresh lumpia, empanada and steamed shrimp.

The highlight of the table, though, was the chicken liver pate, a dish that Richard makes himself. “Luckily, the French love to cook,” Loida jokes conspiratorially.

Finally, it was time to take the vessel out onto the high seas, and the group makes its way above deck to enjoy the view. The cool sea breeze was a bit stronger than usual, something that had to do with the dark rain clouds looming above us—something that would have deterred any other group, but not this adventurous bunch. Armed with a glass of champagne in one hand and a biscuit smeared with pate on the other, many stand against the railing, admiring the sight of the sky turning orange above the Mactan Channel.

And then it starts to pour. No matter, though—as the rain pounds against the deck, the party finds its way down below. A bottle of wine is opened, and then another, while a second pot of pate is transferred on a plate. Our captain waits until the waves calm before he brings us back ashore.

(This story has already been published in the printed edition of Zee Lifestyle Magazine’s November 2016 issue as one of the Entertaining Features on pages 82-85.)

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Experience authentic Korean Barbeque at Da-In Restaurant

Filipinos are crazy for Korean barbecue. As such, there are a lot of places that are offering Korean barbecue. But Da-In restaurant isn’t just one of those restaurants.

Located in Salinas Drive in Lahug, Cebu, Da-in restaurant is a joint project between the Creative Cuisine Group and Da-Won restaurant. With state-of-the-art grilling stations in each table and various Korean cuisines ready to be served, Da-In would surely sate your Korean barbecue cravings without any hassle.

Visit Da-In restaurant today!

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Head Up North, Where A Relaxing Escapade is in Store at Maayo San Remigio

On your next trip out of the city, head up North to Maayo San Remigio, where a relaxing escapade awaits.

Oftentimes, when it comes to deciding the next travel destination, the Northern part
of Cebu is overlooked in favour of its Southern end. The South boasts of sunny beaches,
cascading waterfalls and the popular whale sharks who have made its waters their home.
While these are beautiful aspects that the South has to offer, the North is just as—if not
more—abundant in offerings. The North’s natural scenery is relatively untouched, and on top
of that, it’s less likely to be flocked by tourists.

This means more opportunities for a retreat away from the hustle and bustle of the
city. The roads heading North are long and winding, yet the beauty that lies at the end of the
journey proves that the trip is worth it. Knowing that, where does one go in the North?

Hidden away in the northern part of Cebu, Maayo San Remigio is a haven for those
who seek peace and serenity, making it an alluring abode for a sojourn on the island.

The resort’s guest rooms are vibrant and reminiscent of the Carribean.

Approximately a 3-hour drive from the city, the resort grants access to a tropical
retreat with a captivating beachfront setting—a charming destination away from the daily
hustle. Whether on its fine white sands and blue waters or inside the cozy rooms, Maayo
San Remigio is a delight to local and foreign tourists alike.

A newly-opened resort under Maayo Hotels flagship, Maayo San Remigio is a
destination that guarantees a refreshing, laidback experience, sure to wash away the worries
you brought with you from the city.

A clean white aesthetic is made tropical with bamboo accents and greenery.

It’s equipped with a mix of luxurious relaxation and wellness, fun and entertainment,
and enticing wining and dining options. This Caribbean-inspired resort is a serene hideaway
on a lush slice of tropical paradise with emphasis on ultimate comfort and exclusivity.

The resort’s location makes it doubly precious; scattered throughout the resort
grounds are viewing areas that grant you access to the sunset. Watch the sun sink down the
horizon by the infinity pool, on the beach’s shoreline, or atop the cliffside with the waves
crashing below. When night falls, the stars come out to dance across the clear skies, making
for an unparalleled stargazing experience.

Sunsets at Maayo San Remigio are a sight to behold.

Maayo San Remigio blends authentic Cebuano hospitality with its tranquil
atmosphere and exceptional design. Its well-appointed rooms and villas ensure a relaxing staycation, while its thoughtful amenities and facilities evoke a feeling of belonging in
paradise. The resorts brings the culinary excellence that is found in the Maayo Hotels brand,
creating palate-pleasing Filipino dishes with a modern twist. Complemented by the resort’s
wide menu of drinks—from juices to cocktails to shakes—one will truly enjoy a stay here.

So on your next trip out of the city, head up North to Maayo San Remigio, where a
relaxing escapade awaits.

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