Cheekily drawing its name from the infamous Padre Damaso, Chef Bambi Sy Gobio serves up a bold and dynamic menu that updates, twists, winks and nods at Filipino cuisine. Whilst there’s always some apprehension with contemporary iterations of traditional dishes, Sy Gobio delivers the goods with a bold palette and a knack for combining unusual flavours. Contemporary updates on classic dishes signal a cultural shift towards the more global and sophisticated. However, ingenuity, fearlessness and a deep understanding of the components of traditional cuisine are required. Thankfully, chef Bambi Sy Gobio has these in spades.
One of the greatest aspects of Pia Y Damaso is its nod to our cultural roots, particularly our Spanish traditions and dishes. Unlike other resteaus, Sy Gobio hasn’t suffered from cultural amnesia and brings back old favorites like callos, albondigas, ox tongue, pork belly and chorizo, with imported goodies from Spain like Manchego cheese combined with locally sourced, regional ingredients. The Adobo Pork and Chicken gets a crisp saucy update and Kare Kare has some new life breathed into it with meat-off-the-bone oxtail in a gorgeous peanut garlic sauce.
But it’s not just the heavy creations that catch our attention. Every single dish is an intriguing and audacious mix, from the snacks to the poultry. The Kua Pao Pandesal is a cheeky little twist on the ‘ol Sio Pao. Sugary-sweet pork belly melds nicely with the potent Asian flavours of star anise and coriander, with some added crunch from peanuts, all wrapped up in a cheeky little pan de sal bun.
Much-missed western flavor combos also make a presence on the menu. The Fig, apples, pine nuts and roasted garlic pasta, with excellent Davao-sourced goat’s cheese and caramelized onions deliver the complex sweet-savory flavor that other restaurants just haven’t caught onto. The crisp cones, loaded with crab, corn and cinammon-y tomato relish are also a delight. Ostrich steaks and the infamous Crocodile meat ‘Betrayal’ Salad ensure that you’ll have to keep coming back.
Drinks are a highlight at P200 for a gin infusion, as well as a load of fascinating concoctions. Skip the M Café’s ridiculously priced and clumsily made Hendricks Martini (olive juice and olives with Hendricks? Hellur?). Head here for a pre-drinks drink. From black pepper, fig, orange and apricot, bay leaf and orange cardamom infused gin, as well as cinnamon, pandan and violet tea infused vodka, the drinks menu is a delight. Some interesting mixes appear, including the Damaso - an apricot brandy, black pepper gin and bay leaf gin and creme de menthe potion. Pia Alba does a reinterpretation of the once-again trendy Pimm’s with some cucumber, apples and citrus thrown in. Whilst the Serpolette’s mix of Galliano, ginger and violet tea infusion and cream is a refreshing touch. Sy Gobio is clearly a gin aficionado, with the infused bottles strewn around the restaurant.
The desserts a full-on sugar assault with standouts like the Goat’s Milk Leche flan, sourced from Davao and the Brazo ni Doña Vicki meringue and fresh butter curd. However, it’s the Chocolate Eh that pushes all the right buttons and brings us back to our cultural heritage. If it’s too hot a day, then have them throw in the Chocolate Eh with some Goat’s milk for a milkshake that balances the rich tablea with some welcome sour notes.
There aren’t many other resteaus that possess this winning combination of imagination and creativity, yet so distinctly traditional in outlook. In that sense, Restaurante Pia Y Damaso transcends the realm of novelty. It elevates Filipino cuisine to a more sophisticated level, connecting us with our international roots and re-aligning our focus on our Spanish cultural roots - exactly where our food should be. With China at our doorstep, the incessant drone of Korean pop music and the endless invasion of US sugar and dessert factories, Filipino cultural heritage is being atomised and forgotten. Former staples like salted Bacalao and Bilbao Chorizo are a distant memory for some or even foreign ingredients to others. The casualties of our hybrid culture and colonial mentality are ironically, a loss of our colonial Spanish heritage. Yes, we have our Kare-Kares and we debate about Adobo, but all things Spanish look in danger of going the way of the dinosaur.
Thus, Restaurante Pia Y Damaso is not only the venue for a gastronomic night out - it is a standard bearer for our heritage and the continued evolution of Filipino culture. So kudos to Pia y Damaso for serving up surprising and audacious Filipino and international dishes. The menu is truly subversive. We welcome this sort of culinary cheekiness. It’s high time someone shook up our staid and stale classic dishes. So kudos to Chef Sy Gobio for a wild ride with a bold palette and rousing flavor combinations.
Like most insecure adolescents, I despised my body. I hated how my huge breasts would not allow me to wear any clothes I wanted and how hard it was to shed my baby fat. My weight fluctuated like the stock market and my acne would come and go like an erratic lover. During high school, my weight skyrocketed from 110lbs to 130lbs. Needless to say, I dreaded our PE classes that entailed us to wear shorts and required us to have swimming lessons in our then-new olympic size swimming pool. You have to understand, we had to swim with the boys in our bathing suit–a nightmare of epic proportions to any chubby, insecure teen!
So before entering college, I decided to enroll in Fitness First. I had a trainer, dietitian and a favorite masseuse. Before June, I was down to 120lbs but I wanted to be slimmer. With a proper diet which included 1/4 cup of rice, a small plate of viand and vegetables courtesy of the nuns from St. Therese Dormitory and my daily jog around Freedom Park, my weight went down to 110lbs by 2nd semester of my second year. I was even able to reach 102lbs during college but my weight still fluctuated from 102lbs-110lbs. Upon achieving my ideal weight, I gained more confidence in wearing short shorts and of course, swimsuits!
My favorite swimsuits, from Nudo to Ed Hardy :)
My huge breasts that were once a source of ridicule and insecurity became an asset and now, I am proud of them melons. After years of being so tightly wound and anxious about my figure, I have grown to love my body and who I am. I really do not care what others say whenever I post my beach photos. I worked hard to have this figure, I am comfortable in my own skin and I am proud of my body regardless of any weight changes. I have never starved myself to be thinner, never went on a diet and stopped being obsessed about my figure for almost 8 years now.
Therefore, as you can see, I have grown to love swimsuits. I have a variety of swimwear from bikinis to one pieces to maillots. I never once considered wearing a bikini but now, I embrace the idea wholeheartedly. To hell with the world, my body may never stay this good or healthy forever!
One-pieces from Kamiseta, Accessorize and Freeway
Aside from that, I became a big fan of dresses–summer dresses to be exact. I am not a jeans kind of person. You would always see me in shorts, skirts or dresses.
Some of my summer dresses and cover-ups from Bangkok and Sydney
Long dresses for the beach.
And some dresses I would give away.
My summer ready bands.
So I guess what you can take from this post is that if you really want something, you have to work hard for it and when you finally achieve your goal, do not be embarrassed to share it or even flaunt it! Be proud of your accomplishment. Be proud of who you are. And of course, love your body...it's the only one you've got. :)
Austin Rolan Boutique sells affordable designer clothes from Banana Republic, D&G, Emporio Armani, Hugo Boss, Uggs, Talbots, Zara, Old Navy, Ann Taylor and many more. Their clients range from those with full pockets and discerning eyes to local celebrities. Their main boutique appears as a small specialty shop inside BF, but you can also catch them at bazaars in The Fort and around Manila. The brand specializes in winter gear and formal wears.
I will be posting our behind the scenes in the future.
To know more about Austin Rolan, check out my post:
Graduation is the quintessential rite of passage. Ceremonious, traditional and communal; the event demands grace, poise and a particular sort of youthful elegance. I was so proud of my sister, Margie when she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Fine Art (Visual Communication) at UP. It was her rite of passage and her golden moment. My job was to make sure she looked perfect for the occasion.
Margie is naturally morena, an inherited trait from my father’s side. Half the children are morena, the other half of fairer complexion. My sister was of the former and I, of the latter. We’ve both embraced our complexions and have never tried to whiten or alter them. However, this means different techniques to rock our different complexions.
BEFORE AND AFTER
(Sorry sister, it's the only picture I have of you before doing your make-up)
With an oval face and high cheekbones (another family trait), my sister’s morena skin tone suits her well. I began with Make Up For Ever’s HD Foundation in a darker tone, Make Up For Ever concealer palette and MAC Powder to set the foundation. For her eyebrows, I used Etude House’s Eyebrow Kit to define clean, elegant frames for eyes. Margie wore blue contact lens, so I started with gold eye shadow from Coastal Scents to make those baby blues pop. Payne’s Grey and Metallic slate-blue was used along the darker areas of her eyes to contour them. The combination provided a complexity and an edgy elegance - whether she was staring at you or batting her eyelids. Finally, I used MAC’s Waterproof Eyeliner, just in case the tears of joy leaked out.
As graduations are a mark of youth, I applied MAC’s ever-so pink ‘Watch me Simmer’ to balance her blue eyes. This complemented her golden-dark skin tone and black hair, giving her an exotic, polished look.
It wasn’t over the top, with none of the excessive amounts of blush that plague graduations. All you have to do is play to the strengths of your skin color and the eye and lip make-up will do all the talking and exemplify your high points.
"...I shall die here. Every last inch of me shall perish. Except one.
An inch. It's small and it's fragile and it's the only thing in the world worth having. We must never lose it, or sell it, or give it away. We must never let them take it from us.
I don't know who you are. Or whether you're a man or a woman. I may never see you or cry with you or get drunk with you. But I love you. I hope that you escape this place. I hope that the world turns and that things get better, and that one day people have roses again. I wish I could kiss you. "
1. Blueberry White Tea - Refreshing drink for summer. Bottle is also stylish. Currently using it as a vase for my roses.
2. Etude Pearl Extract Facial Mask - It's good to have facial masks this summer. It's extremely hot in the Philippines, you get oily and sweaty, so I think masks and scrubs will help remove any built up of dirt in your pores.
3. Can Can by Paris Hilton - I've had this for a while now. It has a very sweet, cotton candy-like scent. This fragrance suits my body during summer as it reminds me of sweet fruit cocktails and some fun, flirty times at the beach. Trust me, men love this scent as long as you don't put too much.
4. The Face Shop Power Perfection BB Cream - This was given by a friend. Used it as sun protection for the beach since it has SPF 37. Still put on sun block for my face but I've decided to give this a chance. As usual, the color doesn't match my skin tone, so I'll be using it as a highlighter. Will provide a more thorough review in the future.
5. Maybelline Fifth AVE Fuchsia - I chose this color to complement the fuschia ribbons in my Nudo swimsuit. I try to mix it with MAC's Watch Me Simmer to give it a more neon feel and I'm loving it!
6. Human Nature Mineral Face Powder in Honey - This product didn't appeal to me at first because it has a very light coverage. After using it a few times, I grew to love the finish and the fact that it suited my skin color so well. It is available in four Filipina-friendly shades:
Vanilla – Light
Honey – Fair
Caramel – Medium
Toffee – Morena
7. Lovely ME: EX Milky Tint in Baby Pink - This was a gift from my close friend, Allison. I adore this sweet baby pink gloss. I coat this over MAC's Watch Me Simmer to have a dewy finish.
8. Etude Nail Polish - Another gift from Allison. I haven't tried it yet but it looks cool.
9. Cellphone tag from Boracay - Part of Allison's gift. Good for travelling. Haha, at least everyone knows who owns the phone.
Allison's gifts. Thank youuu ♥
If I need to take a few products at the beach with me, I'd take:
1. Human Nature Mineral Face Powder in Honey
2. The Face Shop Power Perfection BB Cream
3. Maybelline Fifth AVE Fuchsia
4. YSL Baby Doll perfume
My current fave lipstick shade.
The Face Shop Power Perfection BB Cream
Maybelline Fifth AVE Fuchsia
Nivea Sun Sunblock
YSL Baby Doll Perfume
As you can see, the sunblock and BB cream caused my face to have a bit of a white cast which will be washed out upon swimming. As of this writing, my tan is still even aside from a few tan lines so I'm good.
March was full of ups and downs as usual. A whirlwind of events, emotions and trips. I've been going out almost everyday, going places, taking advantage of my last few weeks of freedom. I still can't blog about a lot of personal shit that went down, regarding my health and some change of plans, but hopefully, I can share them in the near future. :)
Here are the things I'm thankful for though:
1. Tagaytay Bonding with the family -It is very rare for us to go out of town together. We're all busy. My mother and sister are very focused on their careers, my dad is busy with our businesses and I am always out somewhere...well, I'll be more focused on my career soon. I was extremely happy to spend a weekend with the family and Margie's boyfriend, Austin. It is good we were able to bond before my parents left. My parents are currently in New Zealand and they will be staying there for 2 weeks (huhu). I can't believe I'm saying this, but I do miss them very much.
2. UP Epsilon Chi Fraternity and UP Chi Epsilon Sorority Outreach Program in Bilibid
A successful outreach program conducted by these frat and soro. I am very thankful that they took time to visit Bilibid. I am very proud of their leaders for organizing this and their members for all their efforts. Well done, EpChi and ChiEp!!! :)
3. Me-Ann's Graduation
Ate Sally has been with the family even before I was born. When she decided to start her own family, we asked her to stay with us. We built them a nice house on our garden and provided work for her husband. Me-Ann is Ate Sally's eldest daughter and my godchild. She's a very smart teen and has a bright future ahead of her. For her graduation gifts, I gave Ate Sally and Me-Ann a free make-over and a starter kit for college, like clothes, bags, make-up etc. My younger sister is all grown up so I was really giddy to give Me-Ann pretty pink things. I woke up around 4:30AM for these two to do their make-up and I couldn't be happier and prouder. :)
4. Road/Food/Shopping Trip with EpChi
Two days dedicated to eating, Divi shopping and road tripping. I love these funny kids :)
5. Davao Trip
Sun, food, hotel drinks and of course, the beach. I shall miss you, Davao.
6. Booked Bali This was such an impulsive booking. No one really thought this through. Manila-Bali. Ngurah Rai International Airport, also known as Denpasar International Airport (DPS), is located in southern Bali, 13 km south of Denpasar.-Wiki Since it's in the middle of work time, I can't really be gone for long. Whatever. Who is not excited? :))
9. The Walking Dead Season 3!!
8. Job Offer Will (hopefully) be an Assistant Manager in 6 months. ^___^ Office is 5 mins away from my house without traffic, not much overtime and I'll be assigned in that department I have always wanted. Kind of a dream job actually. I was willing to defer my scholarship for this. Training starts next next week.
After writing everything, March didn't seem so bad. :) Looking forward to starting a new chapter this April.