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Eats in Cebu: Mactan Alfresco

The Mactan Newtown’s Mactan Alfresco showcases some of Cebu’s best culinary kitchens, restaurants in a hawker-style food place

Megaworld, the country’s leader and pioneer in developing integrated urban townships, is set to bring new life to the Mactan food scene as it opens the Mactan Alfresco, an exciting new dining concept, at The Mactan Newtown.

Inspired by the popular Singaporean hawker center, Mactan Alfresco is a covered food strip designed to showcase authentic Cebuano cooking and cuisine.

The Mactan Newtown Alfresco

The Mactan Newtown Alfresco

“Mactan Alfresco is envisioned to help boost the local food tourism of Cebu by showcasing the region’s most exciting food, delicacies and dishes in an “al fresco” setting inspired by Singapore’s famous hawker-type food halls. With the growing BPO population, and soon residential population as well as the influx of tourists because of its close access to hotels and resorts, The Mactan Newtown is expected to experience growing commercial and retail demand. Thus, we are continously expanding our food and retail offerings to respond to the anticipated market demand,” explains Noli D. Hernandez, president, Megaworld Cebu Properties, Inc.

With a 350-person seating capacity, crowds can enjoy delicious grilled items from stalls which will offer Filipino favorites like skewered chicken, fish, shrimp, Cebu’s famous chorizo and the freshest seafood.

Among the features of Mactan Alfresco is the large communal outdoor grill or ihawan, which is the perfect way to cook Cebu’s bounty of land and sea. Guests can choose from an array of freshly cooked food choices “turo-turo” style or choose fresh meat and seafood and have have it cooked or “paluto” according to their preference. Each viand is partnered with “puso” or rice wrapped in triangular buri and banana leaves which one eats with their bare hands.

Among the dining establishments already open are Choobi Choobi, whose specialty is its Shrimp in a Bag, one pound of fresh shrimp which comes with corn on the cob and sauce options like Butter Garlic, Cajun, Sauteed in Garlic and Spicy Gata. Guests can also order Chilean Mussels in a Bag, Singaporen Style Salted Egg Shrimp, seafood delicacies like Scampi Baby Lobster, Giant Bamboo Clams and Lobsterfish and other favorites from the ocean like Stuffed Grilled Squid and Big Eye Tuna Belly.

Choobi Choobi's Shrimp in a Bag (Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, May 2015)

Choobi Choobi’s Shrimp in a Bag (Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, May 2015)

Other house specialties include Choobi Pata, Lola Pepang’s Fried Manok and even a Fried Herbed Spring Duck, a free range duck fried with secret herbs and spices.

Meanwhile, Mama Linda Inato BBQ Haus menu is full of sizzling dishes including Sizzling Gambas, Beef, Pork, Squid, Seafood and even Chicken Feet. They also have Crab ala King in Chili Sauce, Garlic Shrimp and Garlic Crab, Sweet & Spicy Sugpo, Steamed Lapu-Lapu and Crispy Pata.

Also offering Filipino favorites is Manang Sayong, with Barbecued Chicken, Pork, Liver, Native Chorizo and Dried Pusit. Guests can also order grilled or ihaw-ihaw fish Anduhaw and Molmol, Lapu-Lapu and Squid.

Fans of Orange Karenderia can also enjoy their delicious dishes at Mactan Alfresco. Guests can enjoy the Betsy’s Garlic Chicken in Orange, Tuna Buntot or for the more adventurous diner, the Crispy Tuna Bihod or Tuna Roe.

For a taste of native Cebu chicken or “Manok Bisaya”, homegrown Cebuano brand Conching’s is also opening at Mactan Alfresco.

Mexican is also on the menu at Mactan Alfresco with Meximama, who combines a casual dining experience with authentic Mexican flavors. A group of friends can share their Nachos en Salsa Roja, then dive into other delectable offerings like the Chuletas, a Mexican marinated pork chop with mango jalapeno and pineapple salsa, or try their tacos, burritos, quesadillas and fresh flour tortillas.

Tacos from MexiMama (Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, May 2015)

Tacos from Meximama (Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, May 2015)

For a sweet finish, guests can order the Meximama Tres Leche Flan or their Churros which come with both chocolate and dulce de leche sauces.

And what’s a trip to Cebu without lechon? Guests can order delectable lechon from Cebu’s Original Lechon Belly, Ana’s Lechon and Ayer’s Lechon. Also on the horizon for Mactan Alfresco are the lechon pits where guests can soon experience lechon roasting on the premises.

“The Mactan Alfresco aims to bring the best of Cebuano cuisine to locals and tourists alike, helping to expand the food tourism industry in Mactan. With a mix of establishments that offers dishes that Cebu is famous for and the communal grill where you can see your food being cooked, Mactan Alfresco’s dining experience will be a feast for the senses,” said Kevin L. Tan, First Vice President and Head of Commercial Division, Megaworld.

At the opening of the Mactan Alfresco: Megaworld Cebu Properties, Inc. President Noli D. Hernandez, Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza, Megaworld's First Vice-President and Head of Commercial Division Kevin L. Tan, and Megaworld's Vice-President for Visayas Operations Virgilio Carsido, Jr. (Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, May 2015)

At the opening of the Mactan Alfresco: Megaworld Cebu Properties, Inc. President Noli D. Hernandez, Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza, Megaworld’s First Vice-President and Head of Commercial Division Kevin L. Tan, and Megaworld’s Vice-President for Visayas Operations Virgilio Carsido, Jr. (Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, May 2015)

The Mactan Alfresco is conveniently located near the main entrance of The Mactan Newtown, the country’s first “Live-Work-Play-Learn” lifestyle township with its own beachfront located in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu. Megaworld has allocated P30-billion to develop the township within the next five years.

Among the exciting features of The Mactan Newtown is the development of its 11-hectare beachfront property which soon be home to a beach club as well as boutique and resort hotels in which residential condominiums residents and BPO companies will have access to.

There are 10 luxury residential towers on the pipeline, at least seven office towers, and five business and leisure hotels, including the 18-storey The Mactan Belmont Luxury Hotel and 18-storey Savoy Hotel Mactan Newtown.

Bringing to life the “Play” aspect of Mactan Newtown is the Plaza Magellan, a Megaworld Lifestyle Mall that will soon rise in front of the historic Mactan Shrine. Aside from housing the finest shopping, dining and entertainment choices, the planned three level retail and commercial hub will feature a Spanish galleon flanked by Spanish steps and arches – reminiscent of the Spanish era in the Philippines.

MACTAN ALFRESCO
M.L. Quezon National Highway
Lapu-Lapu City, 6015
Open from 10:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Entertainment

Arcane: League of Legends: Netflix Review

Rating: *****/*****

League of Legends a very popular video game that’s been around for over a decade has now been adapted into an animated series on Netflix.  The series, Arcane: League of Legends was just released on November 6, 2021 and starring Hailee Steinfeld.  As a person who doesn’t play LoL, I was very surprised by Arcane’s story and the quality of the animation.  The title theme song is by Imagine Dragons and soundtrack is very cool.

Rottentomatoes gives the series a 100% score!  Here’s what they say:

“Newcomers should be equally enthralled by Arcane’s compelling narrative, richly developed characters … “

 Critics Consensus

“Arcane makes an arresting first impression, combining a spectacular mix of 2D and 3D animation with an emotionally compelling story to deliver a video game adaptation that could become legendary.”

Well then, this is a must see for me!  Now out on Netflix

… zen

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Entertainment

ALBUM REVIEW: Red (Taylor’s Version) by Taylor Swift

RATING: ★★★ / ★★★★★

You probably don’t need to be reminded of why Taylor Swift has decided to release re-recordings of her previous albums, starting with Fearless (Taylor’s Version) last year and now with Red (Taylor’s Version). However, if you somehow missed one of the biggest music controversies in recent history, here’s a quick summary: in 2019, talent manager Scooter Braun acquired the record label Big Machine and as part of the deal acquired ownership of the master recordings for the first six studio albums by Taylor Swift. Swift has been trying to buy the masters to her songs for years but she’s been offered nothing but unfavorable conditions — therefore, as a countermeasure, she is re-recording all of her six albums and so far has released two.

It’s a bold move on Taylor’s part, but lucky for her, the re-recordings have done incredibly well especially with the re-recording of her 2012 album Red. On its first day of release, Red (Taylor’s Version) has broken two Spotify records: one for the most-streamed album in a day by a female and another for the most-streamed female in a single day both in Spotify history.

It’s hard to review an album like this when Red (Taylor’s Version) is, for the most part, just a recreation of the songs of Red. There are new songs, of course, but the majority of the tracks are simply re-recorded versions of her already existing songs. The Immaculate Collection by Madonna, this isn’t — save for All Too Well, there are no new instrumentals or parts of the song here, just plain re-recordings of her previous songs.

Unfortunately for Taylor Swift, some of the songs don’t really benefit from being re-recorded. The original version of We Are Never Getting Back Together, for instance, while far from Swift’s best song at least had the energy and emotion you’d expect a bitter break-up song like it to have. In the new version, Taylor Swift just sounds lifeless and bored, especially when it comes to her spoken lines.

It’s difficult to blame her when she’s expected to still give convincing performances of experiences she’s had over a decade ago. How do you expect a singer in her 30s to sing a song about how excited she is to be 22 and still make it sound as convincing as she made it when she was actually 22?

That being said, some of the songs also benefit from being re-recorded. There’s a sense of nostalgia added to many of these songs. Taylor Swift sounds older and, in a way, that adds even more emotional depth to some of her tracks. And for anyone not wild about these songs simply being re-recordings, Swift has six new “From The Vault” tracks which should be enough to tide you over.

All in all, Red (Taylor’s Version) doesn’t always work, but for Taylor Swift fans, it’s a way to listen to versions of her songs that are hers. It’s why the “(Taylor’s Version)” at the end of these songs are so important and it’s great to know Taylor Swift finally has versions of the songs she wrote which she can call hers.

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LADY CYCLISTS HIT THE ROADS AND SLOPES OF CEBU.

Cycling has been a growing sport and hobby for many years but it’s popularity has erupted since the Covid pandemic.  People biking to work and for recreation is an everyday sight in Cebu.  More and more are joining the ride.  Many are quite serious about cycling.  I know three ladies who are among those who’ve gone long distances across Cebu.

How did you get into serious cycling?  What was your motivation?

Blinky de Leon.  Event Host, Product Endorser & Influencer

“ I’ve been into cycling since I was a kid. A little backstory, I was around 10 years old when my dad surprised me with my first custom-made mountain bike. I still keep it until now, in fact I had it refurbished. It’s the most sentimental thing I ever received since it was his way/gesture to catch up with me after not seeing each other for almost 6 yrs. My dad is based in Germany and he also loves cycling and makes his own bamboo bike.”

 

“Just a year ago though, my friend Gazini randomly, out of nowhere, picked me up from home to bike with her to the South of Cebu. I felt really excited and motivated to get back on track because it’s very nostalgic and brings back so many great memories. And since then, the rest was history. We’ve been joining different groups, tried different routes and conquered different heights. I’ve met so many cyclists with very inspiring stories in the bike community who kept me feeling motivated too. I also look forward to the sights and the adventure that comes along with it.”

 

Yumz Mariot. Branding & Marketing Consultant

“I used to bike along with rock and wall climbing. I am lousy with ballgames which is why. Our usual route were Talamban and Mactan but one time, managed to ship gears all the way to Dumaguete for a quick ride to Valencia, the next town located at a higher elevation. Those were days when I did it for fun and what bike I was using did not matter.”

“Fast forward to 2021, a year after the pandemic lockdown began, I realized I have been lazy to do any fitness routine. Too caught up on juggling between house chores and Work from Home deliverables (I work as a Branding and Marketing Consultant), I started to feel my body needs to move as much as my brain does. A hysical fitness routine is as important as what I eat, or what I read or watch. So I decided to invest on a decent MTB, just very recently and got myself a much necessary restart. What motivates me even more is the area where I currently reside at. It is vast, fresh, green and safe for solo bikers like me.”

 

Prime Sarino. Digital Media Creative

“I started biking as a young teenager and I got the idea to start it as an adult hobby 3 years ago. I was already into running and I thought it would be great to venture into another outdoor activity to keep me occupied after work hours and weekends. I was set to travel for a year so I had to put aside the idea first but came pandemic. We were all forced to stay put and everything was put on hold. Cycling became my diversion. My cyclists friends invited me to quick and short rides. I enjoyed my first 50km ride and the sceneries and routes most of all. It also helped channel a positive mindset during the hard hit season of the pandemic. Not to mention it’s also another way to stay fit when we were forced into inactivity during the quarantine.”

Next in Part 2, we ask the ladies about their cycling experiences and memorable moments…

by: Zen

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