What makes a great #OOTD? Besides a well put-together ensemble, location counts for a lot, adding to the overall look and feel of an Instagram. With so many stylish nooks and corners in the Queen City, it’s completely impossible to run out of picture-perfect venues. Zee Lifestyle rounds out the best of them in this list, and as a bonus, not only will you get your money shot in these places, but you’re going to make some enviable additions to the #foodporn hashtag. Cue the double taps and the hearts.
Founded through James and Tasha Dixon’s passion for creating, Unos Design started as their personal hub where they could showcase their love for designing interiors, fashion, motorcycles, food and drinks. “The concept behind Unos Design is to build a lifestyle brand around an establishment that promotes art, music, and the freedom to express your passions under one roof,” says Tasha. The result is a coffee and cocktail bar that serves great brews, small bites, and signature drinks while displaying their customized bikes, leather bags, and accessories.
Befitting to this concept, Unos Design successfully treads a fine line between a homey vibe and a big city feel reminiscent of Hong Kong, London, and New York. “We encapsulate a relatively hipster feel and promote street culture through our selection of art, products, and music,” Tasha explains. The eclectic design is emphasized through the hand-painted chairs, the propriety art and photography, and the customized BMW on display. Tasha adds that she and James conceptualized all the elements, with everything fabricated, modified and painted by their team.
THE CHOCOLATE CHAMBER BOUTIQUE
International delegates involved in the recently concluded APEC have already had a taste of Ralfe Gourmet’s famed chocolates, bringing Raquel Choa’s vision of promoting local tableya as a world-class product one step closer to reality. In line with her ongoing efforts, the Chocolate Queen of Cebu recently opened The Chocolate Chamber Boutique, an offshoot of her eponymous restaurant. It’s meant to be a showroom of her products; but while dining customers are directed to The Chocolate Chamber down the road, there’s also a room designated for small functions and chocolate appreciation sessions.
With Raquel’s penchant for decorating and close attention to detail, no two visits to The Chocolate Chamber Boutique will ever be alike. The neutral color palette on the walls makes them ideal canvasses for Raquel’s chocolate paintings, including a big map of the Philippines on one side. The items on the shelves are constantly rearranged to highlight different products. The chocolate displays are always different, yet mouthwatering every single time. The pièce de résistance is an artistic, almost abstract mural of Raquel and her famous truffle set on the wall behind the counter. It’s a befitting tribute to Raquel, who has worked hard to elevate tableya into a Cebu delicacy.
Following the huge success of Zubuchon—yes, that restaurant hailed by Anthony Bourdain as having the ‘Best Pig Ever!’—Market Man Joel Binamira shifts his focus to a new dining concept in Cebu. Vastly different from his flagship restaurant, Pigafetta is—in Joel’s own words—a small watering hole for folks who want an authentic Italian meal in a modern setting. “It’s a place to relax and enjoy a glass of wine and perhaps a plank of cold cuts before a bowl of pasta or a Neapolitan-style pizza,” says Joel. “It’s meant for a younger, cosmopolitan crowd that not only looks for Italian food, but an appealing setting as well.”
Pigafetta’s interior, designed by architect Maya Franco and executed by KG Builders, is meant to set the mood for a meal—a casual yet modern and slightly edgy feel than Joel’s other restaurants. The décor, is predominantly black and white, complemented by local machuca tiles, stainless steel surfaces, wooden tables, and metal chairs. Dining at Pigafetta is also a comfortable yet stylish affair, with carefully selected plates, cutlery, and glasses that are conversation pieces by themselves. Filament bulbs add a nostalgic touch, providing a softer light that creates an intimate and welcoming ambiance that invites guests to linger in the evenings.
AXIS Entertainment Avenue
N. Escario St., Cebu City
CANVAS BISTRO BAR GALLERY
Seven years after it first opened at the Ayala Center Cebu, Canvas Bistro Bar Gallery reinvents itself with an intimate yet industrial setting—a canvas, if you may—for their dishes served in signature artistic flair.
The new Canvas Bistro Bar Gallery, located along the Maria Luisa Road in Banilad, utilizes the materials used in their previous restaurant. Interior designer Shiela Solon collaborated with owners Chef Steve and Eya Shrimski for an unfinished minimalist decor, complemented with warm lighting from the eclectic mix of light fixtures. Besides highlighting the artworks displayed in Canvas—it is a gallery, after all—the lighting also makes it easy to take some drool-worthy #foodporn posts, especially their new offerings, which range from healthy options to classic breakfast staples to all-time favorite comfort food.
The rustic charm and lush greens of Circa 1900 has made it quite the popular destination for stylish #OOTDs and even wedding-related photo shoots. A scenic home-turned-restaurant tucked into one of Gorordo’s quieter streets, Circa 1900 is ideal for romantic dates and intimate group dinners. Picnic tables and benches are scattered across the property, although the grand staircase sitting underneath a porte-cochere beckons guests into the main area of the restaurant. At the top is a small porch with cozy lounges, cocktail tables and chairs, and an opening to the bar inside.
The menu is innovative, featuring international dishes while paying homage to the Filipino culinary heritage through the use of local ingredients. The food is ideal for foreigners who want to experience local cuisine, yet taste something that’s still familiar to them.
Did we miss any places? Have recommendations? Sound off in the comments below!
The Uncommon Traditions that Mexicans and Filipinos share when celebrating the Day of the Dead.
Dia de los Muertos
By Allain Dumon Fonte
The 2nd of November is All Soul’s Day, a holiday that is very important to many Filipinos to remember our loved ones who passed on. This is also widely celebrated in Mexico as “Dia De los Muertos” or in English, “The Day of the Dead”. And Mexicans celebrate the 2nd of November grander than they celebrate Christmas. Well, you can witness it from the Disney movie, “Coco”.
As All Soul’s Day or Dia de los Muertos is about to end, here are some interesting traditions and superstitions that Filipinos and Mexicans share:
1. IT IS NOT ON THE 31st OF OCTOBER
Dia de los Muertos or All Soul’s Day is not practiced on October 31st or on the Hallow’s Eve as many other western cultures practice; but we celebrate it on the 2nd of November. We celebrate November 1st as All Saint’s Day or the Day of the Holy, while in Mexico they call it Dia de los Innocentes or Dia de los Angelitos to commemorate the children who died too early in life.
2. THE RITUAL
Both in Mexico and in the Philippines, we visit the grave of our loved ones and we clean it well. This is a ritual to honour their resting places and to let them know that they are never forgotten.
3. FLOWERS INVITE SPIRITS
In Mexico, they believe that the scent of flowers attract spirits. So the flower offerings are invitation to their dead loved ones to visit the living families. While in the Philippines, we believe that flowers offered to the dead exalt the souls and somehow fill in the sadness that we feel when missing our dead loved ones.
Most of the time, Filipinos choose all-white flowers to offer because white is the absence of colour, which means the absence of Joy and happiness. White also symbolises purity of soul which we hope our dead loved ones will attain as they journey to heaven. While in Mexico, they have the yellow Mexican marigolds as the official flowers of the dead that will guide them in their journey to the afterlife.
4. THE LEGEND OF THE MONARCH BUTTERFLIES
Both cultures believe that monarch butterflies are dead loved ones who visit us and show their appreciation that we have not forgotten them. A presence of monarch butterflies also means that our dead loved ones are always there guiding us and looking after us.
5. A PICNIC IN THE GRAVEYARD
Spending a night at the graveyard and picnicking with the rest of the family may sound very creepy to many; but to both Filipino and Mexican cultures, picnicking and spending a night at the cemetery is a must to show our love to our dearly departed. It is the only time in the year that families gather and tell stories of the dead loved ones and how colourful or how great their lives were.
6. FOOD FOR THE DEAD
In Mexico, they have what they call “ofrendas” or an altar where the pictures of their dead loved ones are displayed and offered with flowers, candles, and their favourite food. Very similar to the Filipino culture of cooking the favourite food of our dead loved ones and everyone in the family enjoys the food for dinner.
My family tradition involves me driving all the way to Colon street and buy that famous Snow Sheen’s “pancit canton”. This is my granddad’s favourite snack. Sadly, the old Visayan Restaurant is no longer there. My late uncle and my late grandpa love their sweet ad and sour fish. We also set up an “ofrenda” on their graveyard and eat their favourite food while picnicking in the cemetery. We do not spend a night in the cemetery; but while we are picnicking there, we usually play the songs of Pilita Corrales and Susan Fuentes that my late grandpa used to listen every afternoon while enjoying his coffee, pan de sal, and pancit canton.
What about your family traditions? Share your thoughts by commenting to this article.
MODEL: Michael Joseph Mortola Enriquez & Alexis Wingfield
PHOTOGRAPHER: Gianne Paolo Anciano
HMUA/DESIGNER: Hazel Ocaba
STYLING: GPA Lifestyle + Clothing
Catch Ted Lasso the Emmy Award Winning Comedy Series on Apple TV+
Rating: *****/ *****
The multi award–winning comedy series airing on Apple TV+ is one of my favorite shows. Ted Lasso starring Jason Sudeikis is about a fun good-natured American football coached hired by a British soccer club (AFC Richmond in London) to become their new coach. In spite of the fact that Ted has no experience or knowledge about British football/soccer, his positive demeanor and charm helps him overcome the animosity of the team’s players, staff and fans. Eventually Ted wins over the team and the locals as they fight for position in the English Premier League.
The show won the 2021 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series and 7 Emmy Awards in its 2 seasons and Season 3 is just around the corner. You can catch Seasons 1 & 2 of Ted Lasso on Apple TV+
PANDEMIC DIARIES: Twelve Months Later
Photos taken by Pablo Quiza around Cebu City during the months of March, April and May 202
AS WE APPROACH ONE YEAR under pandemic times, we look back at March 2020 with fascination. And awe. We had 12 months of lockdown and survived the so called new normal. We lived with masks and alcohol even today. Carless roads and dark malls. Those were the early days of March, April and May.
It stretched to October and past Christmas. No Sinulog. Virtual parties on Zoom and virtual mass on You Tube and FB Live. We debated on the best meds to take if we get sick and whether to wear masks (please do!). We scampered for face shields and anti-viral sprays. Vitamins C and D and zinc. Later, we survived being swabbed and we learned the difference between a PCR and an anti-gene test. The latter cost less.
We dreaded the declarations of IATF mandated from Manila. And we got mad at the police chief who had a birthday party while his people were busy locking up everyone violating the lockdown. Most horrifying of all, we needed to produce IDs! Are you a resident of Barangay Lahug or Banilad? Are you employed and why are you still working? Everyone suffered thru endless checkpoints. Most sad of all are those using motorbikes, they seem to get the raw end of the deal since those with cars are not as scrutinized. We managed to trick the system by putting a big handwritten note in front of the car: COMPANY CAR, and zipped tru the police desks in the middle of the road. Don’t even think of travelling, by plane, boat or bus. The collection of the required documents is enough for one to get exposed to Covid.
We learned to shop online, order groceries and necessities thru delivery. We slowly moved towards cashless payments. Gcash and banks like Union Bank and China Bank with friendly apps are heroes for making life easy for most of us to spend what little cash we have to spend on Lazada or pay the VECO bill. Oh and we binged on K dramas on Netflix and You Tube, kamsaminada.
As 2021 enters, there are some good news. For those obsessed with news, you already know that 7,000 vaccines arrived last March 2 in Cebu, with more expected in the next few weeks. The death rate is not as high among those who caught this pesky virus, which tells us that doctors in the hospitals have some proven expertise in dealing with Covid. More cures should be in the horizon.
Meanwhile, lets continue dreaming of the day when we can cross borders again, even if its just Bohol or Boracay, Bangkok or Hong Kong. Ready those luggages and bags bought during the 3/3 sale in Shopee in preparation for the day when we can take the ferry or the plane for new adventures.