Last Minute Christmas Shopping: Books

It’s December 23, a day before Christmas eve. Have you finished shopping for gifts? Have you asked ninong and ninang for your year-end reward for being a good girl/boy? If you haven’t yet, no worries. I can help you out.

I decided to come up with two last minute Christmas shopping specials. This is the first one and it’s for the bookworms.

I went around National Bookstore two days in a row and found some really good books that you can give or ask for as gifts. Check out what’s in my list and you might find something you like.

Harry Potter Cinematic Guide Collection by Felicity Baker – Php345


The ultimate Harry Potter fan gift. You’ll find everything you want to know about the movie – scenes, characters, and quotes. Each character has one full book, so you’ll have fun re-acquainting yourself with Harry and the gang. You’ll love the bright and colorful photos that seem to jump out of the pages!

An Illustrated History of Notable Shadowhunters & Denizens of Downworld by Cassandra Clare and Illustrated by Cassandra Jean – Php649


This anthology is perfect for fans of the Shadowhunter novels made famous by Cassandra Clare. The book includes characters from The Mortal Instruments, The Infernal Devices, and The Dark Artifices. Followers of the series will love the fact that the woman behind The Shadowhunter Tarot is the one who did the illustrations for the book.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay by J.K. Rowling- Php995


Haven’t had enough of Fantastic Beasts? Or perhaps you know somebody who still haven’t recovered from all the fun and excitement the movie gave him/her? If your answer is yes, this is the best gift to choose.It features not only dialogues but also staging directions for the film, which was released just last month.You’ll find a lot of character descriptions, as well as illustrations.Best for those who want to know more about the Fantastic Beasts characters.
The Children’s Bible – Php545
The best way to introduce The Bible to your children. With colorful illustrations.
Little Miss and Little Master Series by BabyLit – Php479
The classics made especially for young readers. Some of the titles available are: Pride & Prejudice, Les Miserables, Romeo & Juliet, Dracula, Sherlock Holmes, Frankenstein. The mini-books feature numbers, the alphabet, and basic words, among others.
The Lost Journal of Alejandro Pardo: Creatures and Beasts of Philippine Folklore
With entries by Trese author Budjette Tan, Kajo Baldisimo, David Hontiveros, Bow Guerrero, and Mervin Malonzo.
All That Darkness Allows: 13 Tales of Horror and Dread
Thirteen stories by 13 Filipino authors. If you like scary stories, this is the book for you. The fact that it is written by local writers make the stories more relatable. Buy this for yourself or for a friend or loved one who likes reading horror stories deep into the night.
Have you chosen which book to buy? You’ll have the whole day today and tomorrow to decide which one you want. If you can’t choose just one, go and get two books! 
Happy gift-giving and merry Christmas, Kagay-anons! 

Seda Centrio Officially Welcomes Christmas

Last November 18, Seda Centrio Hotel officially welcomed the Christmas season through a Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. The event gathered some of the hotel’s most loyal patrons, supporters, and friends, along with the staff led by Seda’s manager, Armand Angeles.

In a short program hosted by ABS-CBN TV host Nicole Abas Datayan, HM Armand thanked the guests and the hotel’s regular patrons. After which, Chef Malek El Safadi, Seda’s newest family member, then went onstage to introduce his team, as well as to share with guests all the special dishes he was cooking up for Kagay-anons for the holiday season.


Chef Malek and his team.

Before the Christmas tree was officially lit, guests enjoyed the special buffet spread prepared by Chef Malek. The kind chef prepared Lebanese, French, Egyptian, and Italian dishes. The lineup included four different types of salad, Bacon Wrap, Shrimp Curry, Saj Rolls, Potato Croquette, and Roast Pork Liempo, which was an instant hit among guests. Cocktail drinks were also served throughout the night. The buffet spread is a sampling of what Seda will be serving its guests for the duration of the Christmas season.

After enjoying Chef Malek’s feast, the guests were ushered to Misto, where a grand Christmas tree stood in the middle of the lounge. Together with Department of Tourism Regional Director Catalino E. Chan III and Miss Cagayan de Oro 2016 Sherlyn Legaspi, hotel manager Armand officially lit Seda Centrio’s Christmas tree.


To add to the merry Christmas spirit, Corpus Christi Grade School’s The Falsettos serenaded the guests with some Christmas carols. Their sweet voices soared through the hotel lounge, brightening up the already festive atmosphere.

Before the event ended, HM Armand, and Ms. Carol Valdez of the hotel’s marketing and sales team, picked out several winners for the raffle draw. Some guests took home Misto gift certificates, while one lucky lady received the grand prize of an overnight stay in one of the hotel’s premiere rooms.

Aside from officially welcoming the Christmas season, the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony served as a peek into Seda Centrio Hotel’s special treats for December. The hotel’s Seasons Specials include the Banquet Blowout and the Festive Buffets. The Banquet Blowout is for events with a minimum of 25 persons from December 1, 2016 to January 31, 2017.  Seda’s Festive Buffets will be from Mondays to Saturdays, 6pm to 10pm, from December 5 to 23, 2016. For more information about the hotel’s December specials, please contact 088-323 8888 or 0917-577 5910. You may also send an email to

Happy holidays, everyone!

Aruga Unveils Christmas Specials

(with press release provided by Aruga)

Last November 26, Aruga Aesthetic Center welcomed special guests into its clinic for a night of wellness and beauty. It was a special evening where guests were given the chance to experience the services that highlight the Aruga experience –an experience centered on Filipino hospitality and utmost care.


Aruga endorser Cindy Obenita telling guests about the clinic’s holiday specials.

We Filipino consumers usually have a budget for everything, especially for special treats. As we’re all busy fulfilling daily tasks, we tend to forget to take care of ourselves. Some of us often set this though aside, thinking that skincare and wellness are luxuries we cannot afford. Aruga Aesthetic Center knows this and seeks to change this notion by offering reasonably-priced services that do not skimp on quality.


CDO Bloggers. Ready for some Aruga pampering. 

Since the Christmas spirit is already felt everywhere, Aruga decided to offer a special treat to its customers. For this holiday season, Aruga has prepared a variety of promotions on their products and services. These were all unveiled to the guests last Saturday. The evening started with the launch of Aruga Aesthetic Center’s open house, which will run from November 26 to December 3, 2016. For three days, anyone who loves some pampering and self-love can drop by the clinic for a free skin consultation. Aruga believes that everyone should care for the skin they’re in, and getting to know your skin will be the first step in your facial wellness journey.

Launched on the same night were Aruga’s Holiday Beauty Campaigns: The first, dubbed Party Ready Beauty with Aruga Aesthetic Center, focuses on helping us with our busy social calendars this holiday season. This campaign offers us a way to make it to each social engagement as confident as we can be, and with eyelashes and eyebrows on fleek. Aruga will be offering promos on eyelash extensions and iBrow services –making sure you can have party-ready beauty every day of the week.


It’s a”Light and White Christmas” at Aruga.

The second campaign, “Light and White Christmas,” offers Kagay-anons a white Christmas. Aruga offers you a chance to unleash your inner glow, for a more radiant, and stunning you. Special promotional packages are available for their glutathione, Beauty Fusion, and other skin brightening services. Check out the details below:

– 4 Gluta Shots: P3,400 –  with 4 FREE BASIC FACIALS
– 4 Luminesce Gluta Shots: P12,000 – with 4 FREE SPECIAL FACIALS
– 4 Aruga Whitening Special Facial: P3,996 – with 1 more FREE ARUGA WHITENING SPECIAL FACIAL
– 4 Body Scrub: P3,996 – with 4 FREE BASIC FACIAL
– 4 Regular Beauty Fusion: P14,000 – with 4 FREE BASIC FACIALS
– 4 Luminesce Beauty Fusion: P20,000 – with 4 FREE SPECIAL FACIALS
– 5% off on all our Lash Extension Services
– Avail of our iBrow Service and get 1 FREE REGULAR FACIAL FREE

Finally, but certainly not the least, there is the Aruga Christmas Tree Campaign, where you can give back to the Earth by giving a gift to yourself. For every Php1000 worth of services availed, Aruga Aesthetic Center will plant a tree in your name. It’s a gift that keeps on giving. Isn’t that what the Christmas season is all about?


Blogges getting some much needed pampering from Aruga.

Aruga invites you – and everyone! – to drop by the clinic this holiday season. Pamper yourself and your loved ones. Indulge in the affordable luxury that only Aruga Aesthetic Center can offer.

Aruga Aesthetic Center is located at Door 1, Cornerstone Bldg, Ramon Chaves Street. They are open from Monday to Saturday, 9am to 8pm. For more information, please contact 0917-507 8972.

Happy holidays from Aruga!

Chef Malek El Safadi: Bringing the Flavors of the World to CDO

(Press Release by MFPoblete)

The newest addition to the Seda Centrio family is an accomplished chef who brings with him world class experiences.

Chef Malek El Safadi is well-versed in the culinary world. In fact, he shares his knowledge and expertise through the many culinary art mentorships he has done (and continues to do). Apart from his stint as the Corporate Executive Chef for renowned hotels here and abroad, Chef Malek also spent nine years (1989 to 1998) with The King of Saudi Arabia, serving as General Head Chef and Nutrition Consultant for His Royal Highness.

Passion for Culinary Arts

Born on January 24 in Alieh, Beirut, Chef Malek completed his BS in Agriculture Engineering at the University of Santo Tomas in 1985. A year later, he found himself at the Lebanon School of Culinary Arts, where he eventually finished his HRM degree, with a major in Massive Food Caterings. Not one to easily rest on his laurels, Chef Malek went to the Manuel S. Enverga University Foundation in Lucena for his Hotels & Restaurant Management studies.

After completing the course in 1997, he continued his quest for knowledge and excellence. From 1997 to 1998, Chef Malek was at The Culinary Institute of America, where he eventually completed his training for Fine Dining.

While in training, Chef Malek was also working. He had stints at MGM in Las Vegas and even shared his culinary skills while training at the Taj Mahal in India. Training as an International Corporate Executive Chef, he said, means allowing yourself to be “involved in all the flavors of the world”. Thus, Chef Malek took every opportunity to learn and grow in his chosen field.

One of the reasons for Chef Malek’s successful culinary journey is his passion and love for culinary arts. This is evident in his quest for continuous knowledge even when he is already considered one of the best. This determination and willgness to learn and do better is what helped Chef Malek carve a respectable image in the international culinary field.

Training People to Provide Excellent Service


Chef Malek. (Photo by Vincent Tom Udasco)

Aside from his stints as Corporate Executive Chef and Director of Food & Beverage of world class hotels and resorts, Chef Malek was also consultant and trainer for different hotels in the Makati CBD.

Chef Malek believes that providing excellent service does not only mean serving the best dishes. Excellent service means offering the most comfortable rooms, first class amenities, good public relations, and everything else that a hotel or restaurant can offer. This is why the training and consultancy work he does is essential in helping achieve an establishment’s goals.

Bringing Interesting International Flavors to CDO

Chef Malek comes from a culinary family that owns a chain of restaurants. So his passion for creating unique dishes is understandable. As his training and specialty is whipping up international culinary masterpieces, this is what he brings to Cagayan de Oro as he starts his journey as the newest chef for Seda Centrio’s Misto.

Misto is known for its exceptional buffets and culinary specials. It is one of the few hotels in the city that offers fresh treats using the most natural (organic) ingredients. This makes Misto the perfect venue for Chef Malek to flex his culinary muscles.

“My specialties are dishes from all the Arab countries, and Italian cuisine. We’ll be having authentic Shawarma here at Misto. This will be on the new menu.” And yes, there will be pizza; but it will be different  from the usual,” he teases. “I produce everything from scratch. Our pizza does not use ready-made sauce. We also have hamburgers, but I do not use extenders on them. There is no artificial flavor (MSG) in my dishes.”

Chef Malek follows a strict procedure when cooking, one that keeps the dishes fresh and tasty. His entrees are always oozing with colors and flavors. A colorful meal is important because, according to the chef, “The eyes always eat first before the mouth.”

This is what diners at Misto will experience every time they indulge in a culinary treat at the hotel. Chef Malek and his team will prepare an array of local and international fusion dishes for Seda Centrio’s themed buffets. Some of these treats include the Chicken Salad with three different lettuce types, all organic, and with freshly made dressing; and a unique salmon dish. Each is designed to cater to the varying choices of diners, so you’re sure to have an unforgettable culinary experience at Seda!

Experience the colorful, inviting, and mouthwatering culinary masterpieces of Chef Malek, including Arabic, Italian and local with a twist. Visit Misto at Seda Centrio now. For inquiries and reservations, you can call (088) 3238888 or 0917-577 5910. Who knows? If you get there early, you might even meet the good chef!

Seda Centrio Celebrates Oktoberfest

(Press Release)

Beer lovers all over the world rejoice every time October sets in because it means one whole month of beer festivals. These festivals are known as Oktoberfest celebrations.

Oktoberfest originated in Munich, Bavaria, Germany, where an annual beer festival and traveling funfair takes place from middle or late September to early October. Considered an integral part of Bavarian culture, the festival is celebrated in different ways around the world. The central figure in all these celebrations is beer; large amounts of it, plus food and some music.

In the Philippines, Oktoberfest is celebrated with music and food. Throughout October, various concerts featuring the country’s top bands are held in different venues around the country. Restaurants and hotels also come up with special events to commemorate these Oktoberfest celebrations. Some of these events feature popular German food like sausages.

Here in Cagayan de Oro, Seda Centrio Hotel’s Misto is one of the establishments offering special treats for the Oktoberfest celebrations.

Beer Time

Oktoberfest actually started early at Seda as it introduced Beer Time at Misto last August. This is perfect for beer lovers who want to unwind after a challenging day at the office.

From Monday to Friday, guests at Misto you can order all your favorite local beers at a discounted price of Php80. For a more satisfying Beer Time experience, you can pair off your beer with any of the restaurant’s Snack Platters. If you want something sweet and spicy, go for the Sweet Beef Tapa with Spicy Coconut Dip. If you prefer to take your beer with something fried, try Misto’s Crispy Squid Heads.


Other Snack Platter choices are Tokwa’t Baboy, Sisig Sipa, Sinuglaw, and one of their bestsellers, Cheeseboard. Prices for these platters are reasonable, ranging from Php180 to Php350.

In case you prefer other alcoholic drinks, you can have them at 30% off per glass.

Beer Time at Misto is from 5:30pm to 8:30pm.

Oktoberfest at Misto

Oktoberfest celebration at Seda Centrio is special this year.


From today until October 22, you and your friends can celebrate world’s largest beer festival at Misto. For only Php699, savor all the mouthwatering grilled sausages that you can. Pair this with one free round of iced tea, or you can order your favorite beer or alcoholic beverage at a special discounted price.

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Oktoberfest at Misto is from 6pm to 10pm.

Misto is located at the 4th floor of Seda Centrio Hotel. For more information and for your reservations, please contact 088-323 8888 or 0917-577 5910. You may also send an email to

Cheers! Prost! See you at Seda Centrio!

Tilaw, An Asian Fusion Pop Up Dinner

Fusion cuisine is popular nowadays. This is the type of cuisine that combines different types of culinary elements. It does not have just one style; rather, it fuses various elements. Part of the reason for fusion cuisine’s popularity is the creativity and innovation that comes with every dish. And this is what Kagay-anons will experience on Sunday, October 16, when Tilaw unfolds at Loreto’s Grill and Restaurant.

Tilaw is an Asian Fusion pop up dinner organized by Loreto’s and Big Tummy Chefs (BTC) in partnership with the Culinary Institute of Cagayan de Oro and Professional World Academy. Diners will be treated to six different plated dishes, particularly the chefs’ Asian Fusion takes on appetizers, salad, the main course, and dessert.


To provide entertainment to diners, Vivi Viduya will be singing all-time favorites and contemporary songs along with Sessionistas. You’ll love listening to Vivi’s enchanting voice while feasting on the fusion spread prepared by Tilaw‘s chefs.

So if you want a satisfying Sunday night date, head over to Loreto’s along Tomas Saco and 6th Street in Nazareth for Tilaw: An Asian Fusion Pop Up Dinner. Food will be served from 6pm to 10pm.

Tickets are priced at Php700 and can be bought at Loreto’s Grill and Restaurant and the Culinary Institute of Cagayan de Oro. For more details and additional inquiries, contact Loren at 0917-308 6470 or Mark at 0917-527 4652.

See you at Tilaw!


(Check out Big Tummy Chefs’ Facebook page for more details. Click HERE!)



Expo Mom: The Motherhood Journey in Cagayan de Oro

(Press Release)

As the ultimate mommy event of the season takes a second trip to Mindanao, expect to be inspired by the different faces of mommyhood on October 15, 2016 at Centrio Mall, from 10AM to 9PM. Whether you’re an expectant mom, a new mom, or a mom of three or four, you’re going to find something to love at Expo Mom Cagayan de Oro.

Expo Mom: The Motherhood Journey features a fun and fulfilling all-day program. In the morning The Modern Nanays of Mindanao, a community of moms who promote breastfeeding, babywearing, and cloth diapering, lead the celebration of motherhood with a Mamba session—a Zumba class made especially for moms with slings! Dr. Raissa Paje Bayawa, founder of Happy Heart Kids Yoga, takes the stage next to enlighten moms about the benefits of prenatal yoga and to share some helpful moves as well.


Two sessions delve deep into the amazing journey that all moms share. The first one focuses on pregnancy and breastfeeding & finding that right balance between home life & career. Guests are Nadine Casino, founder of Modern Nanays of Mindanao; & Ruby Caberte, a popular blogger who is also a mom.

The second session touches on baby care, with discussions on the right way to wear baby and age-appropriate toys to help with a child’s development . Guests for this segment will be an early childhood educator and a few mommies.

Other exciting activities scheduled include a bento-making session specifically devoted to picky eaters, by the pioneering Bento Mommas, who have actually been with us all over the country this year. You can sign up to participate at for Php900, inclusive of basic bento tool kit, bento box and food ingredients for the workshop plus freebies from sponsors, all of which you can take home afterward.


A makeup on-the-go demonstration for busy mothers by Paola Paladio- Ching follows in the afternoon, in addition to a craft workshop with a homegrown moms and kids crafts group. In between, many prizes will be given away care of our generous exhibitors and sponsors Caltrate and Belo Baby.

Topping the motherhood celebration is a fashion show devoted to babywearing, showing one and all that it is possible to look positively trendy with a baby in tow.

A year from its 10th anniversary, Expo Mom continues to be a source of information and inspiration among modern parents and a wellspring of modern products and services for the whole family.

Expo Mom 2016: The Motherhood Journey is co-presented by Caltrate Plus and Belo Baby, with Centrio Mall and Ayala Malls as its venue partner, supported by Modern Nanays of Mindanao, Carmel Kho Ricarte and Moms Radio; with Professional Organizers Unlimited, Inc. and Creative Juice Communications as logistics partners.

Entrance to Expo Mom is free.

For more information, visit