Fine Dining Tips For First-Timers

Eating is such a basic activity for humans and yet this activity does not seem so basic at all when you do it at a fine dining restaurant. There are a lot of formalities and unspoken rules when it comes to fine dining and a person who will be trying it for the first time may get confused and overwhelmed.

fine dining in manila

2nd Restaurant

If you will be put trying out fine dining in Manila soon, it is best to familiarize yourself with what you need to know and remember. Below are some tips for those who might find themselves inside a posh restaurant in Ayala Center or any other fine dining restaurant soon.

  • Mimic other people. The safest thing to do when in doubt is to mimic other people. Unsure of how to sit? Do not know which utensil to use? Check out other diners in the establishment and try to approximate the average or the safest choice for you.
  • Work from outside in. This applies to knives and forks which can be daunting for a lot of people. Expect to see several pieces of flatware on your table and try not to be overwhelmed. The rule of thumb with flatware is to work from the outside going in. In other words, the outer most cutleries or those farthest from you are what you should use first.
  • Eat small. Fine dining is not for big bites and sloppy eating; it is for eating small portions. Cut the pieces into small sizes and put down your cutlery after every bite. Servers use your cutlery as signals for when you are finished eating which by placing your knife and fork together in the center of the plate vertically. If you are not yet done, cross the tips of your knife and fork on your plate or leave it an angle if you are using only one of them.
  • Dab, not wipe. The napkin should be unfolded and placed on your knees before eating; never put it at the front of your shirt or dress. When you need to clean your mouth, just dab your mouth and never wipe. When you need to go somewhere, place your napkin on your seat to signal the server that you are not yet done.
  • Wait for others. In fine dining etiquette, you should not start eating unless everyone has been served their food. This can be a challenge if you are attending a big event, but during these events, you may go ahead of other guests if your host has given you the signal to start.

Five Things To Consider When Picking A Hotel To Stay In

Whether you are leaving for a business convention or traveling in leisure, you are bound to stay in a hotel during one of your trips. Choosing a wrong one may lead to unpleasant experiences and wasted money. It is only sensible that you pick the right accommodation to ensure that you receive the comfort you deserve. 

Raffles Makati offers  suites and Residences

Raffles Makati offers suites and Residences

What To Consider When Picking A Hotel To Stay In

Learn some basic tips on what to consider when picking a hotel to stay in. Here are five tricks to help you through.

  1. Prices and rates. Suppose you are based in Cebu and you’ve been assigned to give an in-house training in one of your branches in Makati City. With over 60 Makati hotels to choose from, how do you know where to go to? This is where research comes in. Identify your budget and note down all the places that fall within the range of what you have in mind.
  1. Location. Another important consideration is location of the place. Is it far from the office? How near is it from the bustling area of the city? While you may be there for business purposes, it would be nice if you can easily go around the metro to do some shopping or maybe sight-seeing, at least anytime you feel like you want to unwind.
  1. Meal options. More often than not, breakfast is usually offered for free. How about lunch or dinner? While you can always order room service or dine in on one of their restaurants, do remember that it may cost you a lot. It would be wiser then to opt for hotels that are within walking distance from local eating establishments or those with an option to prepare your own meals like a room with small kitchen perhaps?
  1. Amenities and customer service. Do you see a need to visit a spa or massage center after long hours of work? How about a dry-cleaning service? Do they have Wi-fi access inside your suite? Identify what type of facilities you want included for the duration of your stay. Assess how quick and responsive their customer service too. You may have found the perfect accommodation but if you are not treated well, what’s the point?
  1. Reviews and ratings. Take time to browse the internet and read customer feedbacks. If no review has been done yet, find something else. It helps to check the star ratings as well.

Daycation or Staycation – You Choose!

A vacation in the city is next to impossible. Well, that was before. What we see today is a throng of urban dwellers who chose to stay in their respective homes instead to enjoy everything that the city has to offer. Makati City is not an exemption, with all the fine-looking façades and landscapes of shops, hotels, skyscrapers, high-rise condominiums, shopping centers, etc.

The city is a haven for both daycationers and staycationers.

A daycationer is a day-tripper wherein he or she visits a particular destination and returns home at the end of the day. Daycation is suitable for families with young children and individuals and families with pets. For daycationers, a night away from home may be cost-prohibitive that’s why they chose to explore the city during the day and spend the rest of the day at home instead of staying in one of the many Makati City hotels.


Anyhow, there are various tourist destinations in Makati City that daycationers may go to. Some examples are the Ayala Museum, Makati Museum, Philippine Army Museum, Yuchengco Museum, Filipinas Heritage Library, Sanctuario de San Antonio, Greenbelt Chapel, Guadalupe Church, Guadalupe Ruins, Ayala Triangle Gardens, Washington SyCip Park, Legazpi Active Park and Makati Park and Garden. also considers Makati Malls or Ayala Centers as must-visit tourist spots.

A staycationer, on the other hand, is an individual, family or group of individuals who choose to stay at home or in any of Makati City hotels for a night or two, making the most of their stays. At home, staycationers may set up a swimming pool or other pleasurable activities. On the other hand, there are hundreds of hotels in Makati City, some of which are classified as 5-star, classic luxury and boutique hotels as well as branded and lifestyle hotels. Don’t fret though because they offer reasonably priced rates, making them suitable for a staycation.


Numerous Makati City hotels such as Fairmont Makati, Raffles Hotel and Holiday Inn & Suites Makati boast not just of their amenities and facilities, but also of the experience that only luxury hotels in Makati can provide. It is the incomparable view of the magnificent Makati skyline at night. Not to mention, these hotels are multi-awarded and 100% family friendly, so staying for the night is a welcome idea.

Either daycationing or staycationing, bottom-line is you will get to enjoy the best of Makati City daytime and nighttime. Sometimes, it is not about the budget, but rather about the enriching experience of exploring the very place that you spend your everyday life. Who knows what you will discover on your next daycation or staycation, right?

Ayala Land unveils P80-billion Arca South development

Arca South

Arca South development

April 22, 2014 – Ayala Land, Inc. (ALI) has embarked on an P80-billion master-planned project in Arca South, a 74- hectare central business district (CBD) strategically located near the southern ends of major thoroughfares EDSA and C5, and right along the South Luzon Expressway.  ALI’s investment will be phased over the next five years as the former FTI Complex is transformed from a collection of old warehouses into a mixed-use commercial development.  It will comprise of residential communities, retail centers, office buildings, other establishments such as a hotel and a hospital, as well as recreational green spaces.

Arca South is located about six kilometers from Makati CBD and Bonifacio Global City, both premier CBD developments undertaken by ALI, and is expected to complement the business, living and recreational needs of these areas.

The name Arca South is derived from the word “arch,” a structure that typically indicates a welcoming entrance, as the development will serve as the gateway of the South.

“We envision Arca South to become an entrance to Metro Manila for those coming from the south – via SLEX from Alabang, NUVALI, Cavite or for those using the RORO [roll on – roll off] ships, even from as far South as Mindanao,” said Meean Dy, Ayala Land Vice President and Strategic Landbank Management Group Head.

Further improving accessibility is the government’s Southeast Intermodal Transport System (ITS) project, which is expected to accommodate an estimated 4,000 buses and 200,000 commuters a day.  The terminal will be a central station for all provincial buses carrying passengers to and from Laguna, Batangas, Quezon and Bicol.

The Skyway and C5/C6 connector road project will provide access ramps to Arca South as well as separate ramps to the Southeast ITS. Meanwhile, the Ninoy Aquino International Airport is only a 10-minute drive from the development.

“As is typical for an Ayala Land development, the heart of the city will be a highly pedestrianized center,” added Ms. Dy.

Arca South will feature three distinct retail areas. It will have its own version of Bonifacio High Street, an open green space flanked by retail developments on both sides.  This lifestyle mall will feature upscale fashion stores, specialty retail and select dining establishments integrated with a lush landscaped park. It will also have a transit-oriented mall linked to the Southeast ITS to serve commuters.  For a complete shopping experience, Arca South will open a regional mall with 150,000 sqm of leasable space offering diverse shopping, dining and entertainment choices.

Read more here:

ALI to complete Ayala Center facelift by year end

Property giant Ayala Land Inc. (ALI) is set to complete the first phase of the P28.5-billion redevelopment of its crown jewel, the Ayala Center, by December this year, in line with its goal to convert Makati City into a premier regional center in Southeast Asia.

ayala center makati facelift

In a briefing yesterday, ALI president and chief executive Antonino T. Aquino said the Ayala Center facelift is the group’s most ambitious program and biggest investment in a singular area to date.

The first phase will bring to the market 214 new retail outlets with a gross floor area of 54,000 square meters and two office buildings with a GFA of 50,000 sqm, new residential towers and three new hotels – Holiday Inn & Suites, Fairmont Makati and Raffles Makati – offering a total of 660 additional rooms.

Aquino said the project ensures the transformation of Ayala Center into Makati’s cosmopolitan lifestyle hotspot with a captive market.

“This is consistent with ALI’s thrust of continually developing large-scale, mixed-use urban hubs in the country. As we pursue our growth strategy with the development of other business districts in Metro Manila and across the country, we will continue to enhance Makati so it maintains its place as the premiere destination in the Philippines,” Aquino said.

“Makati began the trend of masterplanned communities in the Philippines over 50 years ago. It will remain a prime example of sustainable urbanization, and the main vehicle for transformation this year is the Ayala Center,” Aquino added.

Aquino said the reinvigorated Glorietta will offer three floors of retail, a new activity center, and two levels of basement parking when it opens its doors in December. The redevelopment cost was pegged at P3.1 billion.

Encouraged by brisk sales of the upscale Park Terraces, Ayala Land Premier will soon launch Garden Towers, a two-tower residential project slated for turnover to buyers in 2019.

Bobby Dy, head of ALI’s Residential Business Group, said the first tower will comprise 340 units with an average size of 140 square meters. Unit prices range from P10 million to P140 million.

Dy said the special units will be sold for P100 million to P140 million each or P175,000 per sqm.

The Park Terraces is now 84 percent sold since its launch in 2010. Its first tower will be turned over to residents in 2015 and the two other towers by 2016 and 2017.

Also to open in December are the 280-room Fairmont Hotel and the 32-room Raffles Makati All suite-hotel to cater to affluent business and leisure travelers. Both hotels, accessible from Makati Avenue, are the newest luxury accommodations to rise in the last two decades in Makati.

The two hotels will share a 30-story tower with Raffles Residences Makati which will occupy the 11th to the 30th floors.

By April 2013, the 348-room Holiday Inn and Suites Makati, one of the most recognized brands globally, will offer spacious guest rooms and comfortable work spaces to both business and leisure travelers.

The Ayala Center redevelopment forms part of the P60-billion five-year capital expenditure program for six distinct and complementary districts. The five other districts include Makati North (young and creative), Makati central business district (business), Ayala Triangle Gardens (urban oasis), Makati South (transport hub), and Sta.Ana (Makati’s entertainment district) covering a total of 70 hectares.

The Philippine Star
30 October 2012
By: Zinnia B. Dela Peña

Quick Ways To Get Cool This Summer

The summer months in the Philippines are notorious for the heat and humidity that can be very unbearable at times. It is not surprising that a lot of people constantly look for ways to get cool during the hot summer months. If you are looking for some ideas as well, below are some of the quick and easy ways to alleviate the heat and humidity this summer season.

  • Turn on the air conditioner. One of the quickest and most common ways of getting cooler during summer is to stay in your room and turn on the air conditioner. No wonder many appliance stores get to enjoy an increase in their air conditioner sales right before and during the summer months. The only drawback with this method is the higher electricity consumption – you might find yourself with a very high electric bill next month.

air conditioner

  • Go to the mall. Shopping malls in the Philippines are more crowded during two seasons of the year – Christmas and summer. If the Christmas season is for shopping, the summer months are for the free use of cold air conditioning while walking around. This is the best option for those who do not want to pay for expensive electric bills or those who do not have air conditioning at home. Aside from providing much needed cold air, malls like the Ayala Center offer a lot of activities that you can do. You can even treat yourself to some cold drinks to further cool you while walking around.


  • Eat some halo-halo. There is a reason why the Filipino dessert halo-halo is popular during summer season. This cold dessert is fun and enjoyable to consume just when you need to get cool. You can either make it yourself or buy one from the many halo-halo stands that sprout like mushrooms during summer.


  • Take a quick shower. Aside from higher electric bills, a lot of households also get higher water bills during the summer months. This can be attributed to longer and more frequent bath/shower times taken by most people. A quick shower can do wonders in making you feel cooler and more refreshed.

quick shower

  • Drink a slushy fruit shake. If you are not a halo-halo person, a slushy fruit shake will do. All you need are some days old fruit which are plentiful during summer months, some ice, and a blender. You may want to add some milk and sugar for a more delicious fruit shake.

slushy fruit shake

(Guest Post)The Tricky Business of Looking for an Office Space: A No-Fuss Guide

When you think of starting a business, one of the first things that will probably come to mind is where your office will be. Since this is where everything will happen, you have to find the most suitable one for your budget, needs and preferences.

However, searching for the perfect office space can be more challenging than you think. Just like looking for a house, you would need to consider several things before making that final purchase. More often than not, that decision is very hard to make.

A sketch of an office building

Choosing office space doesn’t have to be rocket science


Would you just settle for the first office space you see? Of course not! Make your search a whole lot easier with these tips:

  • Give yourself some time to look for options

Planning is everything when looking for an office space to rent, especially since you will need to stay in your chosen place for at least a year or more, depending on your contract. To avoid rushing with your decision and to make sure that you have enough time to look for options, start your hunt at least 18 months before your opening day.

  • Create a list of all your business needs

Since your needs can be different from other businesses, it’s best to have a list of your office requirements so it’s easier to narrow down your options to those that are most suitable for your company. Here are some of the things that you need to determine before looking for an office space:

  1. Number of Employees
  2. Office Equipment and Supplies
  3. Storage
  4. Number of Rooms Needed
  • Look for a location that’s nearest your target market

If you want your start-up to succeed, you would need to be accessible to your customers. Your address would also play a huge factor in your company’s image so it’s best to rent an office space in a place that people know about. The good thing about looking for an office these days is that so many companies offer good options in the best addresses in town. One good example of this is Regus Philippines. The company has a huge selection of office spaces to rent in some of the ideal locations in the country including Makati, Manila and Cebu. They also offer other business solutions including day offices, business centres, virtual offices and meeting facilities in over 600 cities and 100 countries around the world.

  • Look at the big picture before making that final decision

After you’ve narrowed down your options to at least two, it’s time to think about the big picture. How do you see your business three years from now? Do you foresee the need to hire more employees after a year or two? Are you planning to expand your company? By asking yourself these questions, you could choose on an office space that could cater to the growing needs of your business. This way, you wouldn’t need to go through the motions of looking for another office and adjusting to a new working environment again.

Once all these steps are done and you’ve finally decided on the best office space to rent, make sure to review the contract first before signing it. This is to make sure that you’ll really be getting everything that you need and require for your business. This is also the best time to choose a reliable office rental company to avoid any problems later on.

After everything is done, you shouldn’t also forget to follow some good practices to keep your office organised and productive as possible. You can teach your team some tips for a more organised work desk in the office so they can maximise their space. You can also follow the seven basic tips on how to become productive at work so you can really make the most out of your time in your office.

Five Ways To Finding Great Restaurants During A Trip

“If you’re 22, physically fit, hungry to learn and be better, I urge you to travel – as far and as widely as possible. Sleep on floors if you have to. Find out how other people live and eat and cook. Learn from them – wherever you go.” –Anthony Bourdain

It is not just the adventure you’ve experienced that makes traveling worth remembering. It is also the food you’ve eaten that leaves a lasting impression. 

How To Find Great Restaurants During A Trip

Finding a great restaurant to dine in can be quite a struggle especially if you’re new in the place. Here is a quick guide to help you overcome that.

1.       Consult a guide book. Most city and tourist destinations have dedicated magazines or special publication issues that contain its “Best Of” list. They either itemize the top places to dine in or enumerate their delicacies that are available either on specialty stores or by the road. Use this to gather ideas on where to head on to whenever you want to fulfill your cravings.


2.       Visit their website. Find the online portal of your destination and you’ll most likely see the recommended restaurants to go to, including specific directions on how to drive and get to it. Their contact information is probably posted there as well so you can easily call to inquire about the menu or the cost of a specific meal.


3.       Check blogs and online reviews. Online media has never been so powerful since the birth of blogs and reviews. A simple Google search can give numerous results to various recommendations from people who have been to where you are at now. Read their insights, weigh its pros and cons so you will be guided on what to order in case you decide to check the restaurant out.


4.       Leave your place and ask around. The trick lies in leaving your comfort zone and taking a risk. Supposing you are in a Makati City hotel for a business conference and you’d like to try out the best restaurants in the Philippines around the area. Eating on the same accommodation may result to a five-star treatment, true, but it shouldn’t end there. Get up and move, talk to the local folks and explore your options.

ask around

5.       Follow the trail. The last secret is being observant and checking where the crowd is. If it is full-packed with people, they must have something good to offer.

 follow the trail

Seven Basic Tips On How To Become Productive At Work

Productivity in the workplace can make or break a company. Having highly productive employees often translates to the success in the business while keeping unproductive workers frequently results to minimal output and lower profits. Needless to say, it plays a huge role in maintaining a good and stress-free work environment.


How To Be Productive At Work

Learn some tricks on how to greet and balance your daily work to produce positive and desirable outcomes. Here are seven tips to show you how.

1.       Start early. The secret to getting a lot of things done lies in starting with your tasks ahead of the rest of your workforce. Get up at 5 in the morning. Ignore the summons of getting back to your bed. Stretch those muscles and do a few warm-up exercises to boost brain function. Eat heavy breakfast and go straight to your office. Chances are, the earlier you leave, the lesser the chance you’ll encounter traffic and the higher the possibility that you’ll be the first one to arrive at your workplace. This means no distractions and bigger opportunity to focus more on your to-dos.

2.       Setup your workstation. Organize your area so that it attracts positive vibes and energy. Keep it clean and clutter free so that no time is wasted when you need to pull up a file or two. Get rid of the items that you do not use. Post your goals prominently on your desk for encouragement. Create a to-do list and utilize calendars for easy scheduling.

3.       Prioritize. Browse through your checklist and tackle the most important ones that generate the highest ROI (return of investment). Do remember that setting priorities is a habit that every person should employ.

4.       Deal with emails, phone calls and meetings strategically.

  • Email. Avoid checking your inbox as soon as you arrive at your desk. Do them in the middle of the day when you have completed majority of the urgent tasks. Refrain from viewing your messages every time you hear a notification.
  • Phone. Talking to the phone eats a lot of time therefore you should return calls at the end of the day. Employ a calling habit like standing up while on call so you are more likely to get to the point of the conversation right away.
  • Meeting. Keep them at its minimum and do not schedule them all at the same time. 

5.       Handle distractions smartly. Check Facebook and Twitter only during your breaks. Do not encourage any type of procrastination – visiting websites that require a good amount of reading, answering every question that a colleague asks or assigning a distracting message alert tone on your mobile.

6.       Take a break. Do not allow yourself to be imprisoned by the walls of your office. A short 5-minute walk does wonders to your mind and body. For instance, if you work in Makati City, consider eating out nearby commercial spaces in Makati instead of having your lunch delivered at your desk. Drink water every now and then. Get up. Step away from your tasks and take ten-minute breathers.

7.       Set deadlines. Knowing that you have a deadline helps you focus on the things that are needed to be done. Hence, always make sure that everything you do has a deadline.