Friday, April 17, 2015

Discovering Discovery Primea

There are friends that touch your heart and without any hesitation, you align yourself with one another and take a virtual ride with them in their life's journey.  One such friend is Jun Parreno, COO of the Discovery Leisure Company, whose meteoric rise in the hospitality industry I have watched closely ever since I met him in Discovery Shores 6 years ago.  From being the GM of Discovery Shores in Boracay, he rose to the rank of COO which makes him responsible for all the Discovery Properties in Metro Manila, Ortigas, Tagaytay, Palawan and still counting.
Three  years ago, he talked about a luxury hotel and residences of the Discovery Leisure Company that will soon rise in the former site of Gilarmi Hotel.

And here it is now, Discovery Primea, a soaring 68 story structure, comprising of 141 rooms and suites, together with 90 luxury service apartments offering breathtaking views of Manila's skyline.  It has a well trained group of personnel, led by the muy simpatico GM, David Pardo de Ayala, who I met also in Boracay 6 years ago when he was the Corporate Chef of all the Discovery Hotels and Resorts.

General Manager David Pardo de Ayala in front of his team: Isobel de Leon, Guest Relations Associate, Zandra Jessica Policarpio, Guest Relations Manager, Icy Jean de la Rosa, Guest Services Associate, Daniel Michael Magbag, Guest Services Associate 
GM David Pardo de Ayala welcomes me with a huge bouquet! So heartwarming! 
There is something about the Easter Holidays that make me crave for some peace and quiet, and this is for this reason that I chose to have a staycation in Discovery Primea.  The moment I stepped into their lobby, I instantly knew I made the right decision. Their Guest Relations Officers, Zandra Policarpio and her staff welcomed me with a spring bouquet.  GM David appeared shortly and welcomed me with an abrazo.  What a great reception- I felt the love and the good vibes right there and then.  And more so when I was brought up to my one bedroom Executive Suite.  Zandra and Gien surprised me with a cake that had my face and a picture frame with a collage of my photos on my night table.  These are the personal touches that Discovery Hotels and Resorts are known for and which make the guests feel special and pampered from the start.  The tour of the rest of the hotel followed.  The gym is well equipped and big, there is a quaint chapel, and two swimming pools, one for the hotel guests and the other for the residents. A Spa  and a cardiology clinic of noted cardiologist Dr. Garcia are in the planning stage.

Hanging out with Lovebirds Paul and Cecile! 
One of my welcome gifts but how can I eat my face!!! It was a delicious chocolate cake though! 
A close up of my face- cake! The other photo is GM David, Julie Boschi and myself, a recent instagram  post. 
 Another surprise waiting on my night stand, a picture collage of me!

The luxurious bedroom  of the one bedroom executive suite. 
The living / dining room of the Executive Suite. 
Full moon but empty pool area 

Break a sweat guys!!

My dinner guests, Pria Gonzalez, Jean Pierre Corcellut, Loudette Carmona Corcellut 

I invited my French brother in law, Jean Pierre Corcellut, my sister Loudette, and friend Pria Gonzales for a simple a-la- carte dinner at Tapenade on my first night there. Little did I expect that Executive Chef Luis Chikiamco prepared a degustation Menu for us. An interview with him revealed that he did his culinary basics in the prestigious Paul Bocuse school in Lyon, France and did his Practicum in a 3 Star Michelin Restaurant, Auberge Et Clos de Cime. His cuisine did not fall short of our expectations-it was indeed a testimonial of his culinary expertise. Paul Bocuse would have been proud of this student.  

Tapenade has a Mediterranean Menu and uses top ingredients only. Their greens for their salad bar are flown in from Holland, France and Spain.  They use olive oil for frying and their Pizza is brick oven baked.  The Mediterranean Cuisine at Tapenade is perfect for health conscious individuals as it incorporates a lot of healthy dishes in their menu.  

Chef Luis Chikiamco surprised me with an over the top menu!

Executive Chef Luis Chikiamco, who is a 3 star Michelin chef in my book, is a graduate of Paul Bocuse Culinary School in Lyon, France.  He makes Tapenade's delicious oven baked Pizza from scratch.
a mouth watering Prawn Rissoni 

The most fresh red snapper! 
The salad bar section. 
Dessert time! 
My favorite salad- compressed melon, buffala mozzarella, slices of chiliies.
My staycation at the Discovery Primea was a perfect respite for me.  It recharged me body, mind and spirit, ready to face the world's challenges once again.

P. S. Soon to open are 1824, a cigar and single malt whiskey bar, Edge, a garden lounge which will serve molecular mixology and Flame, the hotel's signature restaurant which will offer contemporary continental cuisine.
For reservations: call 632-9558888. Or email

A soothing bath before sleep while watching Revenge! 
Good night! 
Breakfast muesli 
My early morning fix
Good bye gift from Isobel and Zandra. 
Discovery Primea trademark,  Service from the heart! 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Starry, Starry Nights and a Time for Sharing

Some nights are just magical.  All the components are perfect: a good cause, great company, excellent cuisine, a full moon perhaps, a fun escort, high grade wines and bubbly, classy ambiance, and who knows, a romance secretly brewing among couples that people don't know about. 

Such were the evenings I have chosen to feature here. I start with the Johan Strauss Event at the Lobby of Shangri-La Makati. It was a musical evening, a celebration of the 25th anniversary of The Sound of Music.  Soprano Rachel Gerodias and her classical singer husband provided delighted the guests with the memorable songs made popular by Julie Andrews.  Proceeds of the evening went to scholarships for gifted children, building more churches, helping educate poor seminarians, among other good causes. 

A visual fashion  treat: Tina Jacinto, Virginie Lane, and Mayenne Carmona
A fund raising to build more houses in Tacloban took place in Green Sun Hotel. My fiends and I gave our share and we were able to give two houses.  The ever generous Chef Jessie Sincioco sponsored the food, the piece de resistance was the cochinillo ( baby lechon) which was given to all the tables. Filipino cuisine like adobo, kinilaw, crispy daing, seaweed salad, achara, rice, shrimp- all served on banana leaves spread out on tables. The event was spearheaded by the Dayrit Siblings- Christine, Jacqui, Mark, Michelle, with the help of friends like Bum Tenorio, Butch Abert, and Fr. Gerard Deveza who also officiated in a mass prior to the event.  It is always heart warming to see so many people share their blessings with the unfortunate. 

Everybody loves Lechon: Jaime Ponce de Leon, Ann & Rene Puno, and Bum Tenorio can't wait! 
Chef Jessie sponsored the food of  Lechon and Filipino staple goodies.  Rene Puno, Sitoy de Guzman, Hera Geriene and Rachel de Guzman feasted!
 Wesley Machado de Pereira is society ladies' personal trainer of Mixed Martial Arts and kick boxing, He is strict and delivers results of a toned body. When do I start Wesley? 
It was her night to shine, as 3x Katha Awardee, fashion accessory designer Ann Ong, was chosen as one of the 7 Women Who Wow, a yearly event held by Manila Bulletin's Style Weekend to celebrate International Women's Month.  Actress/painter/model Heart Evangelista led the pack. The others to complete the list aside from Ann Ong were artist Olivia d'Aboville, writer and education advocate Gang Badoy, photographer/supermodel Joy Bitagcol, medical Director and founder of the anti aging clinic bearing her name, Aivee Teo and model/ writer Sarah Meir. Accomplished women in their own right, they are this year's Women who Wow ! 

Cheers!  EIC of Style Weekend Liza Ilarde Cuenca, Heart Evangelista, Joy Bitagcol, Ann Ong, Olivia d'Aboville, Gang Badoy, and program host RJ Ledesma. 
 Jason Ong gives his supportive presence to wife Ann Ong
Ann Ong's cheering squad: Linda Ley, Jemellie Gonzales, Len Olbes, Mayenne Carmona and Rachel de Guzman.
a check was given to Ann Ong's chosen charity and she chose the Children's Joy Foundation, Inc., an orphanage that feeds and educates 30 children. 
Knit Queen and Fashion Designer Lulu Tan Gan decided to celebrate her birthday amongst the marginalize with her feeding friends, Angels to Street Kids (ASK).  They decided to go to Payatas in Quezon City. It was a touching event as 150 under served children delighted in the burgers and cakes that the group brought for them. After the event, generous supporter of the Angels, Cristina Cuevas, CEO of Sulo Rivera Hotel, hosted lunch for the group. 
Cristina Cuevas, center, our hostess with the mostest, tries to take a selfie with the Angels to Street Kids: Philip Dizon, Len Olbes, Mayenne Carmona, Lulu Tan Gan, Ruby Tiong Tan, Rachel de Guzman, Taj Curata, Francis de Leon. Emma Pante, Anna Sia, Bob Miller
Sitoy de Guzman, Myself, Cristina Cuevas, Lulu Tan Gan
Ito Curata tried to cheer up this boy strapped in his wheel chair all his life. 
The ASK group that morning
Our mission: Lead, Share, Hope, Inspire
We were applauding the kids singing Happy Birthday for Lulu Tan Gan ( in white sunglasses) 
There is so much joy in giving! Just ask Ito Curata!