The Lord blessed the Philippines with Planetshakers

Welcome back, my fellow Christians, music enthusiasts and all those who seek the Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit! As I write this, I declare that I, along with many thousands of others, got blessed by the Lord through the Planetshakers Greater Asia Tour worship event I attended on the evening September 10 at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

For the bigger picture, Planetshakers returned to the Philippines for the first time since early 2020 (shortly before COVID-19 lockdown happened) and they organized worship events for four consecutive nights from September 8 to 11, 2022. Indeed, the Lord blessed the Philippines with Planetshakers whose music and leading of worship are clearly anointed by Him.

For the newcomers reading this, Planetshakers is a Christian church based in Australia and their worship music team produced a lot of worship songs that became not only popular with Christians around the world but also became part of their worship of the Lord. I reviewed several Planetshakers worship songs on this website and I encourage you to take to read my Christian Music Appreciation (CMA) articles of their songs by clicking hereherehereherehere, here and here.

In relation to their Greater Asia Tour, Planetshakers’ newest album is titled GREATER and you can see more about it at https://www.planetshakers.com/music/albums/greater/

If you want to discover and learn more about Planetshakers, I encourage you to click here (Facebook page), here (Instagram), here (Twitter) and here (YouTube). To know more about Planetshakers itself, visit https://www.planetshakers.com/

Before attending the Planetshakers Greater Asia Tour worship event of September 10, 2022, I should say that I literally wrestled a bit to secure an Upper Box ticker online at SM Tickets’ website when the tickets where first released on July 21, 2022. On that particular day, I was in a virtual line as there were more than 2,600+ others ahead of me on SM Tickets. That was a great reminder of how popular Planetshakers worship leaders and musicians really are among my fellow Filipinos. I did not see the long line as a problem at all as I kept faith that my turn will come and that a ticket with a good seat will be available.

After more than 30 minutes waiting, I had my turn searching for whatever available tickets I could find and all the tickets for the VIP section were already sold out which is not surprising at all. Thanks to the Lord, I got myself an Upper Box ticket and successfully used my credit card to complete the transaction. Eventually, all four nights of Planetshakers worship events here in the Philippines got sold out! I picked up my ticket at an SM Tickets branch a few weeks later at the near SM shopping mall.

On the evening of September 10, I went inside SM MOA Arena more than 90 minutes ahead of schedule. As I arrived, I noticed Planetshakers merchandise being sold as well as backdrops related to the church for picture-taking. I bought two posters before moving upstairs.

As I made my way going upstairs, I felt the excitement and high energy around me which is not a surprise since the Planetshakers worship event was expected to be amazing as it has been anointed by the Lord.

Planetshakers Greater merchandise sold at the ground floor of the SM MOA Arena.
The Planetshakers backdrop for picture-taking.

Finally, with the help of an usher, I find my assigned seat in the Upper Box section of the SM MOA Arena. While the foot space was little, my seat was comfortable enough and I had a diagonal view of the stage below. Already, I was thankful to our Lord and Savior Jesus for the blessing. This event was my 2nd time in life to see Planetshakers lead worship with music but it was my first time to actually attend a Planetshakers-led event. To be clear, I first saw Planetshakers live on stage during the Jesus Global Youth Day in 2019.

Another spot for Planetshakers event merchandise at one of the upper floors of the SM MOA Arena.

At a little past 8PM, almost all the seats were filled and then Planetshakers’ worship event started very energetically! The music was amazing and the lights on the stage and in other parts of the venue really dazzled! It was more than a raving experience…it was holy as the Holy Spirit in my heart moved within. As the music was played, I really experienced blessing from Him, I reached out to Him, expressed my thanks to Him for the blessings and emphasized the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus.

While my Upper Box seat was distant from the stage below, the monitors by the stage were clear enough to help me see who was speaking and who was on stage. Planetshakers co-founder and global senior pastor Sam Evans was there and so was Joth Hunt, their dance ministry members and the others.

The view from seat. Tremendous worship led by Planetshakers combined with music, dazzling lights and the strong faith of the attendees in the Lord proved this was an anointed event.

The worship songs played during the event was a mix of past and new (from the newest album GREATER). Each song played drew praise towards the Lord from the many thousands who attended. A lot stood up, raised and waived their hands to the Lord as the music played and the lights dazzled. The praise towards the Lord was undeniably real and powerful with Planetshakers helping lead attendees to Him. This reminds me of what was written in Chapter 150 of the Book of Psalm in the Holy Bible which goes as follows:

Praise the Lord!

Praise God in His sanctuary;

Praise Him in His mighty firmament!

Praise Him for His mighty acts;

Praise Him according to His excellent greatness!

Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet;

Praise Him with the lute and harp!

Praise Him with the timbrel and dance;

Praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes!

Praise Him with loud cymbals;

Praise Him with clashing cymbals!

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord!

Psalm 150:1-6 (NKJV)

Very clearly, Planetshakers’ worship events are aligned closely with the above holy scripture. What I attended was a lot more than “just a concert”. It was truly worship of the Lord with Planetshakers’ worship music, modern instruments, strong focus and a strong leading of prayers to Him.

Speaking of prayers, I am very thankful to God that I personally witnessed Pastor Sam Evans leading prayers and got blessed that night. Whenever she leads prayers, it is always powerful, truly wholehearted, engaging and compelling! Pastor Sam Evans is truly anointed by the Lord to lead people to Him. The power and holiness of worship led by Pastor Sam Evans is even more tremendous when she is physically present with you. Her prayer was clearly done with all of her heart! This ultimately confirms the Lord’s blessing of the Philippines with Planetshakers and its sold-out worship events! More on the power of praying to the Lord and the truth about Him listening to us, learn from the holy scriptures below…

Call to Me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things, fenced in and hidden, which you do not know (do not distinguish and recognize, have knowledge of and understand).

Jeremiah 33:3 (AMPC)

Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.

Jeremiah 29:12 (ESV)

Seek the Lord and His strength;

Seek His face evermore!

1 Chronicles 16:11 (NKJV)

You are the Lord who reigns over your never-ending kingdom through all the ages of time and eternity! You are faithful to fulfill every promise you’ve made. You manifest yourself as kindness in all you do.

Weak and feeble ones you will sustain. Those bent over with burdens of shame you will lift up.

You have captured our attention and the eyes of all look to you. You give what they hunger for at just the right time.

When you open your generous hand, it’s full of blessings, satisfying the longings of every living thing.

You are fair and righteous in everything you do, and your love is wrapped into all your works.

You draw near to those who call out to you, listening closely, especially when their hearts are true.

Every godly one receives even more than what they ask for. For you hear what their hearts really long for, and you bring them your saving strength.

God, you watch carefully over all your devoted lovers like a bodyguard, but you will destroy the ungodly.

I will praise you, Lord! Let everyone everywhere join me in praising the beautiful Lord of holiness from now through eternity!

Psalms 145:13-21 (TPT)

During that same event, a prepared video was played recalling Joth Hunt’s bout with cancer a few years ago. Being hit with cancer is always difficult and even heart-breaking. Ultimately, Hunt did not give up as he kept his faith in the Lord. He never gave up on God! He recovered successfully from cancer and remains active with Planetshakers to this day! Hunts’ testimony and recovery are proof that the Lord will never abandon His children and only He can heal and restore you as long as you maintain unwavering faith in Him! Learn from the following scriptures below…

Fear not [there is nothing to fear], for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you; yes, I will hold you up and retain you with My [victorious] right hand of rightness and justice.

Isaiah 41:10 (AMPC)

For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.

Jeremiah 29:11 (AMPC)

Heal me, Lord, and I will be healed;

Save me and I will be saved,

For You are my praise.

Jeremiah 17:14 (NASB)

And the Lord turned the captivity of Job and restored his fortunes, when he prayed for his friends; also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.

Job 42:10 (AMPC)

More on the latest album GREATER – which itself is a key theme in the latest Planetshakers tours of worship events – there is biblical significance behind its title. It is a lively reminder about the greatness of our Lord and that we must always be with Him, follow Him and walk with Him in faith. The Heavenly Father, His Son Jesus our Lord and the Holy Spirit are always greater! Learn from the scriptures below…

Great is the Lord and highly to be praised; and His greatness is [so vast and deep as to be] unsearchable.

Psalm 145:3 (AMPC)

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life.

John 3:16 (NASB)

For the Lord your God is the God of gods and Lord of lords. He is the great God, the mighty and awesome God, who shows no partiality and cannot be bribed.

Deuteronomy 10:17 (NLT)

Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and the earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and Yours it is to be exalted as Head over all.

1 Chronicles 29:11 (AMPC)

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

Romans 8:28 (NKJV)

Go ahead—sing your new song to the Lord! Let everyone in every language sing him a new song. Don’t stop! Keep on singing! Make his name famous! Tell everyone every day how wonderful he is. Give them the good news of our great Savior. Take the message of his glory and miracles to every nation. Tell them about all the amazing things he has done. For the Lord’s greatness is beyond description, and he deserves all the praise that comes to him. He is our King-God, and it’s right to be in holy awe of him.

Psalms 96:4 (TPT)

Another shot from my seat. See if you can identify who is who on stage.

By the end of the September 10 worship event, I got very blessed by the Lord and I noticed many others around me left for home happy, thankful and positive. There were no signs whatsoever about disappointment and that is not surprising at all because the event was a blessing from the Lord. I felt great and deeply satisfied as I walked to the parking area to get into the car. I was overwhelmed with the Lord’s holiness and was really happy as I drove all the way back home.

Very clearly, Planetshakers and their highly successful worship events are big blessings of the Lord for the Philippines! In 2020, people prayed for His protection as COVID-19 swamped the nation. In 2021, people prayed to Him for social and economic recovery from COVID-19. This year, our faith in Him strengthened further which will lift the Philippines to emerge from the COVID-19 stronger and more confidently. Planetshakers’ events here in the Philippines are clearly part of the Lord’s plans for the Filipino people. As such, I urge you my readers to always pray to the Lord, ask for His plan for you, follow His Word and live with uncompromising faith in Him. Become a blessing to others as you get blessed by Him. Always remember that the personal relationship with the Lord is truly essential.

Always remember that God has plans for you and you only need to decide to let Him into your hear, to walk with Him, follow Him all the way and let His Spirit – the Holy Spirit – in your heart work in guiding you. Never forget that Jesus is our most definitive Lord and Savior and it is only through Him that we can connect with the Heavenly Father. That being said, the Planetshakers event I attended heavily emphasized Lord Jesus’ name as worship went on inside the SM MOA Arena. All our praise and all the glory are for God, Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Always have unwavering faith in the Lord! Always praise, honor and thank the Lord with all your heart!

At this point, I encourage you all to pray to the Lord wholeheartedly and with enduring faith in Him. For true quality time with Him, be in your room with the door closed and locked, then pray to Him. As the Lord blessed our nation with Planetshakers and their four nights of sold-out worship events, I also encourage you to pray for Planetshakers so that their ministry and network of church will continue to preach God’s Word and help people come to Jesus. Pray for Planetshakers’ co-founders Russell and Sam Evans so that the Lord will bless them as they keep on working tirelessly in serving Him and leading people to Him. Pray for Planetshakers’ pastors, musicians, dance ministry members and all their employees and stakeholders so that the Lord will bless them and support them as they organize more worship services. As Planetshakers keeps on serving the Lord and help lead people to Jesus, the following holy scripture below will resonate with the faithful and those who seek Him. I also encourage you to share the scripture to others…

Those who give thanks that Jesus is the Son of God live in God, and God lives in them.

1 John 4:15 (TPT)

In ending this article, I posted below the official music videos of worship songs related to Planetshakers’ latest album. May these enlighten you, delight you and motivate you to come to God, Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit without hesitation. Seek Lord Jesus first, follow His light and always be the fearless and aggressive church of Lord Jesus! Live by Jesus’ eternal victory! Peace and amen to you all!

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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 as well as making a donation to support my publishing. 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 with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/

My return to Xtremely Xpresso Café in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone

During my most recent visit at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone, I took the opportunity to revisit key places around as it has been more than two years since my previous visit. On the afternoon of April 30 (just a day before the 2022 Subic Bay International Triathlon happened), I took time out to revisit Xtremely Xpresso Café (social media here, here and here) located at Dewey Street corner Sta. Rita Road.

Xtremely Xpresso Café is more than just a place to enjoy good coffee. It is also a restaurant that sells to its customers a good variety of tasty meals from pizza to pasta, rice meals and others. The very first time I visited the food joint was in the early 2000s. Through the years I had coffee there during my solo visits and there were also times that I was with the family enjoying pizza and their meals. Xtremely Xpresso’s pizzas were always delicious and filling to enjoy with friends or family.

Xtremely Xpresso Subic Bay Freeport branch on the day I returned.

Going back to my April 30 afternoon visit, I easily recognized Xtremely Xpresso upon arrival. What I found interesting was that the place was bustling with customers both indoors (where it is air conditioned) and outdoors as if life was back to normal (note: Alert Level 1 status was in effect on the Subic Bay Freeport Zone back then). I saw some groups of people, couples and individual customers enjoying their meals and drinks on the outdoor area (note: lots of seats and tables with shade) and the simmering heat of the day did not seem to bother them at all.

Then I entered and saw the ever familiar-looking interior. Almost all the seats and tables were filled up by customers who mostly came in groups or pairs. Everywhere I looked, I saw people really enjoying their food and drinks, and having quality time together. As such, I decided to order a drink and dessert and have the waiter serve them to me at a seat outdoors.

I took sat at a place where there was enough shade to protect me from the sun. While the heat was obvious, there were moments I felt some relief in the form of coolness from the occasional wind coming from the sea water several meters away. After about ten minutes waiting, the waiter served to me the cheesecake slice and the Shockwave Xtreme Frappe’ that I ordered.

The cheesecake I ordered at Xtremely Xpresso.
A close look at a portion of the cheesecake.

As I was seated outdoors, I did not want to let the sun and the summer heat ruin the cheesecake so I started consuming it portion by portion. Each bite of it was smooth and in terms of taste, it had a mild sweetness to it. More notably, it tasted like any cheesecake. In terms of content, it is thick and long enough for me. As such, Xtremely Xpresso’s cheesecake slice is good enough.

Xtremely Xpresso’s Shockwave frappe was cold coffee with some chocolate to its taste with a creamy aesthetic. In my experience sipping it moderately, the Shockwave had a moderate sweetness to it and I felt a creamy coffee and chocolate taste. It was during the remaining small amount I sipped when I suddenly felt a sweetened taste. Then the drink ran out. Xtremely Xpresso’s Shockwave is a frappe that is completely different from what other coffee shops here in the Philippines offered. I can say it is a good drink to have at Xtremely Xpresso.

The Shockwave frappe was mildly sweet and had a coffee and chocolate taste.

So my recent visit at Xtremely Xpresso in Subic Bay was good one. I would not hesitate to return there and next time, I would definitely order a meal, a different drink and something else. In my previous dining experiences there with my family, I enjoyed the taste of their Big Ben pizza, the Seafood Pesto pizza, the Creamy Cheese Penne and their Spinach Omelette. All of those and a lot more are still being offered to customers.

While securing an indoor seat and table is challenging, be assured that there are a lot more tables and seats outside. In fact, having breakfast and coffee outdoors is a fresh and comfortable experience as the sun is not too intense in the morning.

For those of you reading this, if you are planning to visit Subic Bay and you want good food and drinks to enjoy, I encourage you to visit Xtremely Xpresso.

Let me end this piece with the following holy scripture…

So then, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you may do, do all for the honor and glory of God.

1 Corinthians 10:31 (AMPC)

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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 with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/

A wonderful lunch at Gourmet Garage Subic

When I arrived in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone just a day before the 2022 Subic Bay International Triathlon (SUBIT) took place, I was very hungry as I left home very early without any breakfast and I was not able to stop at any of the gas stations (and their respective food joints) along the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) as we took the counter-flow going north.

After settling at a hotel in close proximity to the triathlon venue, I drove to the one restaurant located at the Argonaut Highway-Rizal Highway corner that I’ve been eager to revisit…Gourmet Garage Subic (social media here and here).

The front of Gourmet Garage Subic!

Coming from the parking area of the business establishment, I entered Gourmet Garage Subic through the rear door and immediately I felt this atmosphere of class with classical music being played as I walked on and recognized their fine interior. It was a very welcoming experience and already there were people enjoying their lunch.

As I was pretty hungry and somewhat worn down by the long drive from Metro Manila, I ordered myself a Caesar (their version of Caesar’s salad) to enjoy something fresh. From the restaurant’s Main Event section of the menu, I chose the Lamb Madras Curry.

While waiting for my orders to be served, I took the time relaxing, enjoying the aircon and the continuous music, looked at the products displayed and browsed the web with my smartphone via Wifi. And then just like that, the waitress served me the Caesar which was faster than I expected. Upon seeing the salad placed in front of me, I was impressed with the way it was presented. There was some food art to it visually.

The Caesar of Gourmet Garage.
A closer look.

The Caesar was prepared with really fresh romaine lettuce topped (on a key portion) with Gourmet Garage Subic’s very own dressing mixed with parmesan shavings and bits of bacon. Right from the first bite of the salad (note: I used the fork and knife to cut myself a portion) that had the lettuce and dressing together, I experienced this very flavorful and pleasing taste! It was very delicious, I went on to cut portions of the Caesar and slowly consumed it along with the bits. I really enjoyed the salad as it was prepared by the cook to be flavorful, fresh and very satisfying! Gourmet Garage Subic’s Caesar is easily the best fresh salad I’ve had in a long time!

Just a few minutes after I was done with the salad, the Lamb Madras Curry was served to me. Right from the start, I noticed it was very well presented and the subtle heat I felt from it showed the lamb was newly cooked. I also liked the pleasing smell of the meal.

The Lamb Madras Curry was so nicely prepared and it tasted great!

The Lamb Madras Curry came with basmati rice on the bottom topped with the finely cooked lamb (itself topped with yogurt plus onion pieces and vegetables). On one side was a small tomato with a roasted onion and other onion pieces. The other side had more leaves. The meal was served with two sauces – garlic and chili.

As a first-timer of this particular meal – noted as a Chef’s Recommendation on Gourmet Garage’s menu – I decided to try out a small piece of the lamb without any yogurt on it and I found to be tasty on its own. There is no doubt that the lamb pieces were very finely cooked and the way it was prepared showed that special attention to details was done by the cook.

A piece of lamb by the fork.

I tried another piece of lamb and dipped it on the garlic sauce. The flavor of the said piece was enhanced by the said sauce as I chewed. I can say also say the same about the lamb pieces with yogurt on them. As for the spice level, I can say it is tolerable (pretty mild to be precise) and I never had a problem moving from one bite to another, also consuming the rice (really fragrant) and the vegetables. Along the way, I managed to cut some pieces of lamb placed on the fork along with the vegetable for that meat-and-veggies taste.

The Lamb Madras Curry from the side.

Every bite I had with the Lamb Madras Curry really had great flavor and big satisfaction. It is so great, this is easily the best lamb meal I had in years! Whoever designed the Lamb Madras Curry knew exactly how to ensure great taste, solid satisfaction and freshness (in terms of vegetables prepared and the cooking of the meat)!

Gourmet Garage Subic’s Caesar and Lamb Madras Curry are both highly recommended to all of you who love food! Make sure you try either of them once you visit the restaurant.

Apart from serving meals, drinks and desserts for diners, Gourmet Garage Subic also has a nice selection of imported products for your home consumption. On display for sale were lots of bottles of fine wine, fruit juices, frozen meat, condiments, snacks, pastry and other good products to take home! They also sell fresh bread products.

Looking for a new bottle of wine to buy? So many to choose here!
Bread and pastry offered.
Drinks, snacks, condiments and other nice products on display.

As mentioned in my past article, Gourmet Garage Subic also caters. Through their website, customers can also order Gourmet-in-a-Box (meals by the tray) and Party Trays (varied types of food with parties in mind). There is something that will surely interest you when it comes to good food! That being said, I urge you to check out Gourmet Garage’s website as well as their presence on Instagram and Facebook.

This is a great place to have your picture taken inside Gourmet Garage Subic!

The next time you visit Funtastic Subic Bay, I highly recommend you visit Gourmet Garage Subic at 1143 Argonaut Street (very near the Starbucks Coffee shop there) for very good food with your family, friends or business associates. On my next visit to Subic Bay, I’ll definitely come back to try their other meals.

Let me end this piece with the following holy scripture…

Whether you eat or drink, live your life in a way that glorifies and honors God.

1 Corinthians 10:31 (TPT)

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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 with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/

Tasty food at Saibachi Japanese restaurant in Festival Mall, Alabang

Have you been at Festival Mall in Alabang, Muntinlupa City lately? If you are craving for delicious food at one of the many Japanese restaurants inside Festival Mall, then you should take a look at Saibachi Japanese restaurant (stylized as SAI-BACHI) at the ground floor level just steps away from SM Savemore Supermaket.

In my experience, I’ve been dining at Saibachi in the mall from time to time over the past several years. Their restaurant has limited space (note: they have a counter for orders and payments, and a selection of food at a space by the wall just outside their restaurant), some chairs and their tables are small compared to those in other restaurants there. The current COVID-19 pandemic saw the imposition of limitations on how many customers could be allowed to eat inside restaurants (I’m looking at you – MMDA, Metro Manila Council and IATF). Even so, Saibachi still succeeded in staying in business and keeps on feeding customers with delicious food. Not even the pandemic and government overreach could stop them.

At this point, you must be wondering what food of Saibachi’s do I enjoy eating. Let’s move on!

Miso Soup

The single serving of Miso Soup in a small-sized cup.

For starters, I like their Miso soup which as of this writing costs P55 per single serving (small sized). In terms of taste and ingredients, it is good and satisfying to have. It is also one of the earliest items to be served to me in most of my dine-in visits at Saibachi Alabang through the years.

Futo Maki (Foto Maki according to Saibachi)

The 5-role Futo Maki set.

Saibachi’s Futo Maki is served with five pieces along with soy sauce and wasabi. Each roll is not as thick compared to what is served in other Japanese restaurants but to Saibachi’s credit, each roll is tasty and their specific selections of ingredients per roll shows precision. The 5-roll set is good enough in terms of taste and content for me personally. Those who crave for greater satisfaction with Futo Maki should consider a second set to order. The Futo Maki set nowadays costs P125 per order.

Fried Rice

A solo serving of Fried Rice.

Fried rice at Saibachi (P150 per order as of this writing) is pretty tasty on its own. The taste is strong enough, I did not need to add any condiments anymore. Their fried rice has bits of meat, carrots, egg and a few other vegetables. For a single serving, the content is satisfying enough for me dining in. For anyone who craves for greater satisfaction of fried rice, you should consider ordering Saibachi’s fried rice offerings through their delivery and catering services.

Beef Sukiyaki

A bowl of soup-style Beef Sukiyaki on the right, Miso Soup cup on the left.
A close look on the ingredients prepared in Saibachi’s Beef Sukiyaki.

This one is easily my favorite in Saibachi when dining in. At P220 per order, the Beef Sukiyaki is served by the bowl and it is what others would refer to as the “soupy type Sukiyaki” for it is prepared in soup-style. On face value, the bowl looks small but in reality, it contains a good amount of hot soup, Sotanghon-style noodles, pieces of beef, vegetables and one egg on top. Beef Sukiyaki served in other Japanese restaurants are often large (note: with lots of vegetables and ingredients served fresh apart from the soup) and prepared to feed at least three people. If you want a tasty Beef Sukiyaki for your solo enjoyment with lots of soup, enough ingredients and a strong taste, you will get it at Saibachi! Personally, I consider this as Saibachi’s dine-in special and I highly recommend it.

Chapchae

The very tasty Chapchae on display.

While they are referred to as a Japanese restaurant, Saibachi also serves non-Japanese food. Anyone who loves Korean-style noodles should order the Chapchae whenever dining in. To begin with, Saibachi’s Chapchae are really prepared to be very tasty and anyone who loves strong flavors will enjoy it. When it comes to content, I find the Chapchae solo-serving (P150 per order as of this writing) to be rather lacking. Any customer who wants more of the very delicious Chapchae should consider ordering another serving or go for the bilao-sized servings (for multiple people to enjoy).

The above-mentioned foods are the ones that I enjoyed collectively when dining inside Saibachi at Festival Mall over the past several years. That being said, I recommend their Miso Soup, Futo Maki, Fried Rice, Chapchae and Beef Sukiyaki to you readers. Apart from serving food for diners, they also serve meals of Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Filipino and Thai cuisine through delivery and catering. Going back to my previous dine-in experiences with them, they need to improve on their Beef Ramen which I must say is flawed and not exactly a satisfying ramen experience (note: the beef served had that burned taste and feel, and the noodles served did not look and feel made in store but most likely were sourced from the wholesale market).

Saibachi’s Beef Ramen needs improving.

Also, in my opinion, the interior of their restaurant inside Festival Mall needs some improving to be more comfortable for families or groups of friends (five people and more) to enjoy. I understand their restaurant space is limited and they need enough space for the kitchen personnel to work in, but I can see that some improvements could be made on the dining area. When I say improvements, I don’t mean a full renovation which can be very costly.

Ultimately, if you love Japanese food and you want it with the best possible value for your limited budget while visiting Festival Mall, I encourage you to try the food at Saibachi’s restaurant. Go there! They have lots of other food offered and their menu has lots of items for you to select.

The wide menu at the space by the wall just outside their restaurant. Look at all the choices and prices.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Have you dined in at Saibachi inside Festival Mall lately? What meals do you enjoy there the most? Also, have you tried ordering Saibachi’s food through delivery service or through their catering packages? How often do you eat inside their restaurant whenever you visit Festival Mall?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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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 with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.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

Better than Streaming: Godzilla vs. Kong and In the Line of Fire 4K Blu-ray releases coming out this June!

Welcome to this new series of articles titled Better than Streaming. As many of you, my readers, already know, I am not fan of streaming when it comes to watching movies and TV shows in the comfort of home. My current preference for such home entertainment is the Blu-ray disc format as well as its high-end format the 4K Blu-ray disc! I simply want the best for my personal viewing of movies and TV shows, and the advantages of disc media (specifically 4K Blu-ray) over streaming are clear and undeniable!

I personally own a lot of movies on Blu-ray and I own one Blu-ray disc of V: The Original Miniseries (which is so enjoyable and this time it was presented in high-definition). I recently started building up my personal collection of 4K Blu-ray releases with Total Recall and Wonder Woman 1984.

For this article, we can focus on two notable movies – one new and one old – that will be released on 4K Blu-ray in the middle of June 2021!

Let’s start with Godzilla vs. Kong, the 2021 pandemic-era blockbuster which will be released on 4K Blu-ray disc (plus Blu-ray for 1080p viewing) on June 15, 2021. Pre-orders for the 4K Blu-ray release can be done right here.

The Godzilla vs. Kong 4K Blu-ray combo preview.

As of this writing, Godzilla vs. Kong in optic media will come with the following technical specs and special features:

  • ENGLISH DOLBY ATMOS AUDIO TRACK
  • Audio Commentary by Director, Adam Wingard
  • Kong Discovers Hollow Earth
  • Kong Leaves Home
  • Behold Kong’s Temple
  • The Evolution of Kong, Eighth Wonder of the World
  • Godzilla Attacks
  • The Phenomenon of GŌJIRA, King of the Monsters
  • Round One: Battle at Sea
  • Round Two: One Will Fall
  • Titan Tag Team: The God and the King
  • The Rise of MechaGodzilla
  • Optional English SDH, Latin Spanish, French, Brazilian Portuguese, Italian-SDH, Cantonese, Complex Chinese, Korean, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, and Swedish subtitles for the main feature

Video
Codec: HEVC / H.265
Resolution: Native 4K (2160p)
HDR: Dolby Vision, HDR10+
Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1

Because the movie theaters here in my place remain closed due to the COVID-19 (China Virus) pandemic, I was not able to watch Godzilla vs. Kong. Along the way, I stayed away from streaming it via HBO Go because I’d rather pay for the best home viewing option which is the 4K Blu-ray release of the movie that is coming. Oh yes, Godzilla vs. Kong’s visuals have been rendered in native 4K (2160p).

The next upcoming 4K Blu-ray release that is worth looking forward to is none other than In the Line of Fire which starred the legendary Clint Eastwood, John Malkovich (who was nominated for an Oscar for his performance in this very movie) and Rene Russo. It will be released also on June 15, 2021 and you can order it in advance right here.

The cover of the 4K Blu-ray release of In the Line of Fire.

For your reference, here are the available technical specs and features…

  • NEWLY REMASTERED IN 4K FROM THE ORIGINAL CAMERA NEGATIVE WITH HDR10
  • ALL-NEW DOLBY ATMOS TRACK + original theatrical 5.1 + original theatrical stereo
  • Audio Commentary with Wolfgang Petersen
  • 5 Deleted Scenes
  • “The Ultimate Sacrifice” Featurette
  • “Catching the Counterfeiters” Featurette
  • “How’d They Do That” Featurette
  • “Behind the Scenes with the Secret Service” Featurette
  • Theatrical Teaser

Video
Codec: HEVC / H.265
Resolution: Native 4K (2160p)
HDR: HDR10
Aspect ratio: 2.39:1
Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1

I saw In the Line of Fire on video tape in 1993 and on DVD in 2001. I would love to replay the movie with native 4K visuals and see how good the promised new remaster for the 4K Blu-ray will turn out. In pop culture, In the Line of Fire was kind of like a reintroduction of Clint Eastwood to the public and helped younger moviegoers in 1993 (especially those who missed out on his Dirty Harry and cowboy movies) get to know him and his cinematic art better. In the Line of Fire was directed by Wolfgang Petersen and apart from getting solid performances from the cast, he successfully told a compelling story and presented really good hard-action scenes.

So there you have it! June 15, 2021 will be an exciting day for 4K Blu-ray enthusiasts as well as those who love King Kong, Godzilla and Clint Eastwood! While there are indeed a lot of other movies coming out on 4K Blu-ray in the month of June, Kong vs. Godzilla and In the Line of Fire are the standouts for those who love spectacle.

Before I end this article, let me ask you readers – Do you have a large collection of 4K Blu-ray movies right now? What do you enjoy most about watching movies or TV shows in 4K resolution? What is the one movie or TV show you wish will be released soon on 4K Blu-ray format?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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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

Watch the Blade Moto radio show hosted by Love-Love Tioseco on Tuesdays

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from Love-Love Tioseco by means of an interview, viewing the Blade Moto radio show and research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

Months ago, my very dear college buddy Love-Love Tioseco acted on the direction of the Lord to provide frontliners food to eat during the height of the COVID-19-related lockdown here in the Philippines. You can read all about that in my special feature in this website.

A lot has changed since then. Although the authorities are still cautious and monitoring cases of COVID-19, the community quarantine levels around the country have eased which helped pave the way for more people to travel around and among them are employees and business owners/managers who were allowed to move on with their economic activities. The Philippines still has a long way to go to recover the economic momentum that was lost as a result of the initial lockdown. We are all moving on the road to recovery.

Going back to Love-Love (note: she is the Secretary of the Luzon Motorcyclists Federation, Inc. or LMFI), in recent times she has been hired to host the official radio show of car accessories chain store Blade Auto Center called Blade Moto (also referred to as Blade Mo To). Specifically, she hosts the radio show on Tuesdays in two segments at 11AM and 2PM and it is streamed live online via the Blade.ph Facebook page, the Blade Auto Center Facebook page, the Blade Auto Center YouTube channel, and Blade Auto Center on Instagram to name some.

Love-Love Tioseco hosts the Blade Moto radio show every Tuesday at 11AM and 2PM. Her jacket is that of Colegio de San Juan de Letran. (contributed photo)

Officially, Love-Love started hosting the Blade Moto show on November 3, 2020, the morning segment of which I tuned in and even had a comment read on the air. I’m not a motorcyclist myself but I learned a lot from the topics discussed between Love-Love and the guests on the show. Of course, it was also fun reading comments from viewers who got acknowledged on the air. Through the show, you will also learn about motorcycling, what the motorcyclists’ culture of the Philippines is like, who is who among the motorcyclists, what the bike clubs are, how to drive properly during times of disaster, and more. I should also state that Blade Moto is also an ideal show where motorcyclists can reach out to the public and share their views so that people can understand them better.

Love-Love interacting with viewers who commented live during the November 24 morning show.
My question highlighted during the November 10 morning radio show.

To get the scoop about how she got involved with Blade and their radio show (under the Blade Radio line), I asked Love-Love some questions and below are her answers (in blue).

How Blade Moto came to be

How did you get your break to become host of Blade Moto radio show?

Many thanks to my boss Blade CEO Mr. Robertson Sy Tan who offered me the job to be one of his radio show host at the same time, it is an honor to be a part of the Blade Family so i immediately accepted the job on the spot.

Since the show started, how was the reception from the motorcyclists and other viewers? Did you and the producers receive lots of feedback via text, email or online messages?

The number of viewers has been growing especially those who inquire about the laws that discriminate motorcycle riders and those who like sending funny comments to my featured guests which actually makes the radio show lively.

Most of the messages we receive from our viewers are those who demand for shout outs while watching us live online.

What can people expect from future editions of the show you are hosting? Is something exciting coming?

I do not want the public to have high expectations but rest assured that our radio show will not endorse government officials and we will make it a point to always promote safety for all road users.

Conclusion

In concluding this article, posted below are the November 3, November 10, November 17 and November 24 YouTube videos of Blade Moto in full for your viewing pleasure. I encourage you all to watch out for all future shows of Blade Moto with Love-Love every Tuesday via Blade Auto Center’s YouTube and social media channels. There is always something new to learn and enjoy!

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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. 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

Our Home Tahanan is the Definitive Book about Tahanan Village

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from reading the Our Home Tahanan coffee table book, inquiring with Florencia Umali and doing research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

Our Home Tahanan is the Definitive Book about Tahanan Village

If you want to discover and study the history of a well-established village such as Tahanan Village in Barangay BF Homes, Parañaque City, don’t rely on a pretentious, so-called independent local community print media publication. Instead, pursue such information recorded in the official documents or an official publication of the village produced by the villagers.

As many of us here in South Metro Manila are confined into our homes with the ongoing quarantine on communities (which is part of the COVID-19 Crisis), I found time to read the official Tahanan Village coffee table book titled Our Home Tahanan.

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The coffee table book itself.

Published in 2006, Our Home Tahanan is a commemorative publication that emphasizes the past, the present and the future of Tahanan Village which in 2005 celebrated what was back then its 30th Foundation Day. It has a collection of stories and testimonies from the pioneering residents and the later residents who contributed to the development of the Tahanan community in more ways than one. I myself enjoy reading it and examining the photos which clearly showed how much Tahanan Village developed through the decades.

A special project of the 2005 Board of Directors of the Tahanan Homeowners Association (THA),  Our Home Tahanan has an extensive look at the history of the village starting even before it was founded in the 1970s. It also offers readers a look at the many organizations that not only organized several in-village activities and events, but also emphasized how lively Tahanan’s community really has been.

Let’s take a look at how Our Home Tahanan was conceptualized and turned into an actual coffee table book.

From concept to a published work

The idea of developing an official coffee table book about Tahanan Village was raised in a meeting that was held on June 10, 2005. The Committee composed of Tess Arriola, Florencia Umali, Corly Vergara, Peter Olivares, Reno and Malou Araneta, Nene Sandico and then THA president Milton Lalisan had a thorough discussion about the elements and topics for a souvenir program in relation to the 30th Foundation Day of the village.

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A group photo of the yearbook committee members. 

20200407_230224.jpg
An article and a full page image.

The idea of a coffee table book alone was perceived to be challenging at first and there were expressions of skepticism and incredulity. The mood eventually turned into optimism and determination.

According to then THA president Milton Lalisan, the Committee came to a decision to develop the coffee table book project.

Below is an excerpt with words of Lalisan…

It was agreed that we would develop a really nice, glossy book, semi-hard cover, with lots of colored and black/white pictures. The book should appeal to different types of readers:

+ Residents who have grown with the village, who were here when Tahanan was still on its pioneering stage. 

+ Residents who have built their houses at a later stage but who quickly managed to acclimatize to the environment around them.

+ Sons and daughters of residents who had their childhood in Tahanan Village, some who may now be in their teens, young adulthood or are parents themselves.

+ and those who have personal interests in Tahanan Village, the lot owners who have not built their houses, the prospective homeowners who are considering living in the village.

Afterwards, several forms of preparation followed: writing articles, researching, organizing an in-village photo contest, financing, editing and finally, publishing it.

According to Florencia Umali (now the incumbent president of the Century Club of Tahanan, Inc. or CCTI), she and her fellow members of the Committee worked long and hard to make the project a reality.

“We coordinated with the different clubs and organizations, and the previous Tahanan Board (of Directors),” Umali recalled. “We also coordinated with the first homeowners of Tahanan Village. We also worked on collating their old pictures and memories.”

After much hard work as well as editing done by a local resident, Our Home Tahanan got published.

The history of Tahanan Village and its origin

As mentioned earlier, this coffee table book also has the official history of Tahanan Village and what happened behind the scenes that led to its foundation way back in the 1970s.

Here’s an excerpt from the article Tahanan Village: How It All Began written by Digoy Fernandez.

I guess the Tahanan story really began with the friendship of Dominador “Bandoc” Mercado with both the Rufino and the Campillo families. According to youngest Campillo son Lito, Bandoc had a special way with his father, Sostenes Sr. Bandoc even had a free place to stay in the Campillo managed Shellbourne Hotel located strategically at the Luneta. I remember my group of friends, which included Charlie Rufino, going to watch movies for free in the Rufino theaters, and then dropping by the hotel to meet up with Bandoc and middle Campillo son, Jun, on many an occasion during our high school and college years.

One day, Bandoc approached the Rufino family with a proposition to develop 60 hectares of the Campillo rice farm in Parañaque into a subdivision. At that time, the heirs of the eldest Rufino patriarch, Vicente, wanted to try their hand in horizontal development. Their past experience in real estate was mostly in vertical development. At that time, BF Homes had already started and proved that a housing development beyond the Merville area could be a success. The Rufino family agreed provided that Bandoc take the helm of the management of the project.

Youngest son Charlie and youngest daughter Pixie were assigned to the project and were mentored directly by Bandoc. The latter drew up a joint venture agreement with the Campillo family, and thus, Tahanan Development Corporation had its beginning. The eldest Rufino daughter, Ditas, thought up the name “Tahanan” Village and also the use of flowers to denominate streets.

The definitive book about Tahanan Village

Our Home Tahanan also contains articles about how the Tahanan Homeowners Association (THA) started, what were the facilities and organizations in the village, how the village’s very own tennis club began, who were the pioneers and notable residents, and more. Special attention was also paid to the THA’s relationship with contracted security agencies as well as the breakthroughs on securing the village that were realized when the association formed their Security Committee.

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A few of the many congratulatory pages.

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Another villager-written article. 

There are also many literary pieces written by village residents who shared their experiences and what living in the village truly is like. Adding depth to these articles are the many, many photographs of the times, the events, and the people involved with the village.

In my experience, Our Home Tahanan is not only a great published work to discover and research about Tahanan Village…it is the definitive published work complete with the contributions and involvement of the villagers.


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

Special thanks to Augusto Tejada of Tahanan Village.