COVID-19 Crisis: DTI says restaurants in MECQ areas are allowed to have outdoor dining

In what is clearly a move with economic recovery in mind, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez declared that restaurants (located in places under MECQ or modified enhanced community quarantine status) with outdoor dining services and set-ups are allowed to resume but with certain limitations.

To make things clear, below is an excerpt from the Philippine News Agency (PNA) article which was published just yesterday. For greater emphasis, some parts are in bold.

In a text message to reporters Sunday night, Lopez said food establishments with alfresco dining services are only allowed up to 50 percent capacity, with diagonal seating arrangement and acrylic dividers on tables.

He added that indoor dine-in services are still not allowed in areas under MECQ, but food establishments can continue to operate with their take-out and delivery services.

From April 12 to 30, the National Capital Region, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal or the NCR Plus as well as Santiago City in Isabela, and the provinces of Quirino and Abra were also placed under MECQ.

Earlier, the DTI chief said that the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) might be sensitive in allowing indoor dine-in due to the highly contagious new variants of Covid-19.

“The IATF recommended to the President to shift to MECQ after two weeks of ECQ to restore more jobs and livelihood for the people,” Lopez said.

Clearly the local authorities are trying hard to balance themselves between economics and public health as new cases of COVID-19 (China Virus) continue to be counted in very high numbers on a daily basis in recent times. On April 2, the count of infections reached over 15,000.

Going back to the issue of allowing restaurants with outdoor dining (AKA alfresco) within the MECQ areas, it is good news that they are allowed to resume operations. It will still be a challenge for food establishments to attract enough paying customers and make their business’ financial ends meet.

On a personal experience, I love eating ramen and Tsukemen at Sigekiya Ramen in Alabang. I prefer that such meals would be cooked by the restaurant and be served to me at a table at their place. The alternative of taking the cooked ramen out and consume it at home is just not a convincing option for me because ramen is meant to be consumed quickly while it is hot. The alternative of taking home ingredients and noodles, and have them cooked at home does not appeal to me as I prefer Sigekiya’s cooks make the meal I paid for.

A delicious meal like this one is best to be eaten at the restaurant, even outdoors.

Also located in Alabang is the local branch of Akrotiri, a really fine restaurant that serves authentic Greek meals that my family and friends enjoyed. They also have meals that, in my opinion, are best consumed at their place and their Alabang branch (Commercenter to be precise) has space for outdoor dining. It was at Akrotiri Alabang where I treated 2019 SEA Games gold medalist Kim Mangrobang to a meal and organized an exclusive interview with her. They really have a fine-looking place. Visit their website at https://akrotiri.ph/

It is important to keep in mind that restaurants around the nation have struggled a lot since the pandemic started last year. These business establishments are also struggling with retaining their respective employees, notably their cooks, the baristas, waiters and waitresses. Remember that the meals and drinks you enjoy would not be the same when the people who prepared them get laid off.

With the DTI’s declaration of allowing food establishments with outdoor dining setups and services to resume, I encourage you my readers to consider supporting these businesses for your food and beverage needs. If you can’t have a meal with the family outdoors, perhaps you can push through with a business meeting with a corporate associate or reunite with your friend or relative with the outdoor setting of a restaurant while adhering to health protocols (wearing face masks, face shields, sanitizing yourselves, etc.). 

Now, let’s observe how the mayors, the barangay captains and other local authorities in MECQ areas will react to DTI’s declaration. You also might want to check with the local restaurants and coffee shops if they allow outdoor dining. Consider taking time out to call them or verify on their respective social media channels/accounts to see if outdoor dining is allowed.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

COVID-19 Crisis: National Capital Region (NCR) and 4 nearby provinces now under GCQ until April 4, 2021

It is all over the news and already a lot of people got affected specifically in the National Capital Region (NCR) and the nearby provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal. This past Sunday, the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) issued a new resolution (Resolution #104) in response to the spike of COVID-19 cases in the country. There was a single-day high of 7,999 new COVID-19 cases reported recently followed by blaming the government and economic managers.

Firstly, there is no lockdown which is good news. This is about retaining the General Community Quarantine (GCQ) status for NCR while the four nearby provinces have fallen under the same status.

To put things in perspective, posted below are excerpts from the Philippine News Agency (PNA) report…

Excerpt 1

Under IATF Resolution No. 104, he said only essential travel into and out of Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal will be allowed.

Excerpt 2

Traveling into and out of Metro Manila and the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal will be prohibited. We will have a sort of bubble in NCR, and the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal,” he said.

Travel of authorized persons outside their residences (APORs) such as essential workers, health and emergency frontline services personnel; government officials and government frontline personnel; duly-authorized humanitarian assistance actors; persons traveling for medical or humanitarian reasons; persons going to the airport for travel abroad, returning overseas Filipinos and overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) will be unimpeded for as long as they show their respective work identification cards.

Individuals crossing zones for work or business and going back home will also be allowed to travel to and from the said areas.

“Kung kayo ay uuwi, essential travel po ‘yun. Kailangan lang magpakita ng ID kung saan ka talaga nakatira (If you’re going back home that’s essential travel. All you need to do is show your ID to prove that you live there),” he said.

Excerpt 3

Public gatherings limited

All public gatherings, including religious gatherings, will be prohibited but weddings, baptism, and funerals will be allowed but must observe a 10-person venue capacity.

Current operational capacities of essential and non-essential services and industries will remain.

However, face-to-face meetings, group meals in workplaces will be prohibited. Instead, work-from-home and virtual meetings are encouraged.

Roque said the IATF resolution also enjoins the private sector to adopt similar alternative working arrangements as those in place in the executive branch of government such as operating on a 30 to 50 capacity.

Only outdoor dining allowed

As for dining, Roque said only outdoor dining will be allowed in areas under GCQ while indoor dining will be strictly prohibited.

“Pagdating po sa mga restaurants, ang papayagan lang po yung mga outdoor dining (When it comes to restaurants, we will only allow those with outdoor dining),” he said.

Outdoor dining must observe a maximum of 50 percent venue capacity.

Take out and delivery is encouraged, he added.

Wear masks at home

Although the economy will stay open, Roque said the IATF resolution will require persons below 18-years-old and above 65-years-old, those with comorbidities, and pregnant women to remain inside their residences at all times.

The IATF resolution also advises the wearing of face mask at home especially when living with elderly and vulnerable.

Accepting of visitors outside immediate family or household is strongly discouraged.

Operations of driving schools, traditional cinemas and video and interactive game arcades, libraries, archives, museums, and cultural centers, limited social events at accredited tourism establishments and limited tourism attractions will be temporarily suspended except open-air tourism attractions.

Before the IATF’s new resolution was issued, the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) went ahead in shortening the hours of voter registration as well as suspending the organizing of satellite registration (registration processes held outside of their office) which started yesterday. People around the Philippines have until the end September 2021 to register themselves or adjust their respective voter statuses in preparation of the May 2022 presidential, national and local elections.

For their part, the Department of Tourism (DOT) announced yesterday that it would yield to public health concerns in relation to the GCQ status for NCR and the 4 nearby provinces.

With regards to the IATF’s prohibition on indoor dining, already the shopping malls and restaurants here in South Metro Manila have made adjustments and updated their customers. Sigekiya Ramen announced that their restaurant at Commercenter, Filinvest City in Alabang, is still allowed to accommodate paying customers for outdoor dining. Like many others, they also offer takeout and delivery services. Alabang Town Center and Festival Mall in Alabang posted updates about safety protocols in accordance to IATF Resolution #104.

With all these developments in place, people in the NCR and the affected provinces under GCQ will have to adjust. It is okay to keep reporting to work but there is a need to be cautious with regards to personal safety and avoiding COVID-19 infection as much as possible. There is also the need to prioritize where to go and what to do. All of these are in effect until April 4, 2021 and here is hoping that the current situation will improve (that the daily COVID-19 count of new cases will go down) so that the new round of restrictions under GCQ will not be extended.

Better yet, I encourage you all to look up to our Lord Jesus and keep having unwavering faith in Him. I also encourage you all to read chapter 91 of the Book of Psalm in the Holy Bible and pray in tongues to our Lord in the privacy in your respective rooms (with the door shut closed). Open your heart to the Lord, always.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

My Observations: Sigekiya’s Haruichiban Ramen

It has been quite some time since I last visited my favorite place for noodles here in Alabang. This is because mainly of the pandemic that started in March 2020 followed by a series of lockdown periods and varied forms of community quarantine. Along the way, I kept focusing on my corporate work and as a result of the social effects the pandemic had on local society, eating outside or having drinks at a coffee shop became much less frequent for me.

Very recently, I revisited Commercenter and, finally, I returned at last to Sigekiya Ramen which is a great place for Japanese meals, especially noodles (note: Sigekiya makes their own fresh noodles which always have nice texture and are always filling). For the newcomers reading this, I previously wrote my opinions about Sigekiya’s other meals like the Gojira Ramen, the Chicken Teriyakidon, the Yokohama Tantanmen, and my personal favorite the Tsukemen.  

Other than missing their great tasting food, I returned to the restaurant mainly to try out their latest offering – the Haruichiban Ramen.

The Haruichiban Ramen with a nice presentation!

Shortly after taking my seat inside, I ordered one Haruichiban Ramen which was priced at P300 (introductory price) and it was served to me in less than ten minutes time. It came in a regular-sized bowl which was still large in terms of containing all the content. Right from the start, the Haruichiban Ramen was hot and it had a very nice smell.

As this was my first time to have Haruichiban Ramen, I slowly examined it and noticed it had a brown looking soup with Sigekiya-made noodles under it, an entire boiled egg slashed into two, vegetables and a nice serving of pork. Everything was well prepared!

A closer look…

Then I started consuming the soup. It was delicious! To be specific, it had a strong flavor and I felt the taste of garlic. This is no ordinary soup. It’s really something made with careful mixing of ingredients with the goal of giving customers a delicious and unique experience. According to the Sigekiya waitress I talked with, the soup for Haruichiban Ramen has the taste on tonkotsu combined with miso and shoyu. Minced garlic was a key ingredient.

From that point on, I went on to consume the rest.

The noodles made by Sigekiya are always nice and filling to eat with the rest of the meal!

Ultimately, I really enjoyed Haruichiban Ramen. In fact, I love it and I would not hesitate to come back for it again in one of my future visits at Sigekiya. Haruichiban Ramen is very delicious and since it has Sigekiya’s own ramen combined with a nice serving of vegetables and the pork serving, it was easily filling. For the P300 I paid, I got great taste and satisfaction in return.

That being said, Sigekiya’s Haruichiban Ramen is highly recommended!

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

My Observations: Sigekiya Ramen’s Chicken Teriyakidon Set

A few months ago, I had lunch at Sigekiya Ramen inside Commercenter, Filinvest City, Alabang. Many times have I been consuming Tsukemen or ramen at that restaurant which has been operating since April 2016. The notable thing about Sigekiya Ramen is that they maintain a high level of quality on their food (which explains why they use many imported ingredients) which, in my opinion, justify the prices.

After some thinking during my visit, I decided to try, for the first time ever, one of their rice meals and I ordered their Chicken Teriyakidon Set.

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The Chicken Teriyakidon Set.

It did not take too long for them to serve me the meal which came with a bowl of rice topped with chicken laced with teriyaki sauce and some sesame seeds, a cup of miso soup and a small serving of salad.

Slowly I took a sip first of the miso soup which tasted good. Then I examined the chicken on the rice bowl which turned out to be boneless. In terms of serving, the amount of chicken was generous.

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A close look.

 

Using chopsticks, I went for a portion of both chicken and rice. The result? A delightful taste! I can say that the chicken and rice were both well cooked and the teriyaki sauce prepared was pretty flavorful. Slowly, I kept consuming more of the rice and chicken, alternating with the soup and the salad.

To put things in perspective, teriyaki refers to a Japanese dish consisting of fish or meat marinated in soy sauce and grilled.

Overall, Sigekiya Ramen’s Chicken Teriyakidon Set was a nice hit and I can say that I got my money’s worth.


Thank you for reading. If you find this lifestyle article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

My Observations: Sigekiya Ramen’s Yokohama Tantanmen

Recently I visited Sigekiya Ramen at Commercenter, Filinvest City, Muntinlupa City and there I tried out their latest ramen called the Tantanmen (full name: Yokohama Tantanmen).

According to the good people of the business, Tantanmen is the newest ramen variant created by their master Mamoru Sugizaki. It comes with a thinner version of Sigekiya’s made-in-store ramen noodles combined with a soup that rich, flavorful and spicy. Also present are some ground meat and a few green vegetables.

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A close look at Sigekiya’s Yokohama Tantanmen.

From my first experience tasting of the soup, I felt this delicious flavor in my mouth. To my surprise, there was spice that was more tolerable than I expected. Normally I go only for Level 1 spice at Sigekiya Ramen and their Tantanmen’s default spice was at around Level 5. As the spice was tolerable, I kept consuming more of the dish and the thinner noodles was nice change. By the time I finished it, I was really satisfied and I truly enjoyed it.

So would I recommend this new dish of Sigekiya to you? Yes! In fact, I highly recommend it! If you love your ramen to be spicy (note: at Sigekiya, you get to customize the spice level), filling and tasty while at the same time you crave for ground meat, then the Yokohama Tantanmen is for you!

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The Tantanmen from above!

Sigekiya’s 3rd anniversary

This month of April, Sigekiya Ramen celebrated its 3rd anniversary and I am happy for them that they made it this far attracting loyal customers as Commercenter keeps on establishing itself as a good venue for shopping, dining and movies in the highly competitive commercial zone of Alabang.

I remember Sigekiya Ramen opened on April 6, 2016. Back in those days, I was already tired of eating ramen served by many other Japanese restaurants which bought their noodles wholesale and just cooked and served those. With Sigekiya, I was already interested to find out how good, how tasty and how unique their ramen would be. A day or two after their opening in 2016, I went inside, sat down and ordered their default ramen. Right from the first serving, I enjoyed their soup and made-in-store noodles (which have a rich texture, is thicker and more ideal to chew than other ramen noodles).

Since then I return to them whenever I can afford their meals (which by the way are made with imported ingredients which explain the high prices). I also enjoy ramen again only this time it’s Sigekiya that is my first choice.

I also wrote about their Tsukemen (my favorite!) and the Gojira Ramen.

If you are interested to try Sigekiya Ramen’s offerings, visit them at the ground floor of Commercenter. Inquiries are accepted by phone at 805-0400.

Kudos to Sigekiya Ramen!


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

 

My Observations: Sigekiya’s Gojira Ramen Is A Monster Meal For Your Belly!

Looks can be deceiving. Recently I visited Sigekiya Ramen at Commercenter in Alabang for lunch initially wanting the Tsukemen which I enjoy. As I looked on their menu, I noticed one particular ramen I have not tried before – the Gojira Ramen. It was listed on the menu that it was available on small size but the waiter assured me that it comes with a lot of content.

So I ordered it and after about ten minutes waiting, it was served to me at my table. To my surprise, Gojira Ramen was plentiful and all the space of its small-sized bowl was really full!

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A closer look at Gojira Ramen.

I took a closer look before consuming it. It had two nice servings of meat, lots of fresh vegetables, the soup and the noodles (located underneath). It took me a while to get through it at first alternating between eating the meat, then the noodles, then the vegetables and the soup. As I went on, I enjoyed it more.

More importantly, it filled my stomach. The small-sized bowl was deceiving to the eye but rest assured, the Gojira Ramen is rich with content and flavor. Do I recommend it? Absolutely!

In case you are wondering what Gojira means, read this – Gojira is actually the Japanese name of Godzilla (the cinematic icon from Japanese cinema). The very first Godzilla movie released in Japan in 1954 was titled Gojira.

If you are looking for a monster meal at Sigekiya Ramen, go for their Gojira Ramen. Meat, vegetables and noodles nicely fixed together to satisfy you.


Thank you for reading. If you find this article to be engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco.

Have you tried Tsukemen?

tsukemen1

When it comes to dining at a Japanese restaurant, sushi and maki often interest me. On April of 2016, out of curiosity I tried the ramen of Sigekiya Ramen restaurant located inside Commercenter, Alabang, Muntinlupa City. The ramen was very good with its rich soup, pork servings and most notably freshly made, in-store noodles.

A few months later that same year, I returned to the restaurant and daringly tried something really new to me. Something I never tried before. That was Tsukemen. It was served to me with cold freshly made noodles (with a patch of seaweed and vegetable bits) and a bowl of hot broth that was pretty thick.

So there I was struggling a bit to drip the noodles into the soup and then consume it while using chopsticks (and sometimes the soup spoon provided). The struggle was worth it because the dish really tasted very delicious! The soup was so tasty, I never bothered to add some condiments. The noodles were so fresh and clearly thicker than most noodles, they were very satisfying to eat (pretty chewy) once they got wet with the hot soup. Since then, Tsukemen became my favorite dish to order at Sigekiya Ramen and for some time I’ve been searching for the dish in other Japanese restaurants in Alabang and BF Homes. So far I only saw two other restaurants serving Tsukemen.

What is Tsukemen?

Historically Tsukemen was invented by a Taishoken restaurant owner in Japan identified as Kazuo Yamagishi. At the age of seventeen, he came up with the concept of Tsukemen as a result of seeing a colleague consuming down the noodles after dipping them in a cup that contained soup. At his restaurant, in the year 1961, Yamagishi added Tsukemen to the menus identified as “special morisoba”. The experiment became a commercial success and the rest was history. Yamagishi died in 2015 and so far his contribution to Japanese and global cuisine won’t be fading away anytime soon. Slowly but surely, Tsukemen is making its way to more Japanese restaurants outside of Asia.

How to eat Tsukemen? Use the chopsticks to grab a manageable amount of noodles, slowly dip it into the soup, move them into your mouth then slurp it carefully. If this is too hard, you can use the soup spoon to help you support the noodles.

What you should NOT do when having Tsukemen is mixing the noodles into the soup to make it more like ramen. That’s wrong and improper. There is a good reason why the noodles and soup were served to you separately. Tsukemen is all about dipping the fresh cold noodles into the soup and then consuming it with a unique approach. Do not treat Tsukemen like ramen or like some other noodle soup dish.

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