Monthly Archives: August 2014

An Interview with Paultender, The Ultimate Pinoy Pride

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I have been endlessly fascinated and entertained by people who can flip bottles and serve me drinks at the same time. Yes, my friends, I am talking about the one and only flairtender.

My fascination with the art of flairtending started with the movie Coyote Ugly… I thought that the girls in the film were both bad-ass and sexy doing their stuff. I’ve always had flairtending as one of the things I want to learn before I die, but I found out that it takes so much dedication and practice, none of which I think I have enough of to pursue this art (just yet ;)).

One of my friends, however, has more than enough of that (and the good looks to back it up as well, hahaha)…. The ultimate Pinoy pride of flairtending, Paul Ceron. Like the friend that he is, he decided to grant me an interview to make my article on flairtending more believable… After all, I can honestly say I have no authority on this matter. 😉

*cue round of applause*

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The one and only Paul Ceron

Me: What is flairtending?
Paul: Flairtending is a stylish act of mixing drinks which involves passion and entertainment. Basically the art of flipping, spinning, balancing, throwing and catching bottles while in the process of making drinks.

Me: How did you get into flairtending?
Paul: It was last 2002 when I watched a Food and Beverage Expo and saw some Flairtenders performing on stage. I found it interesting. Then I started practicing with the goal of becoming somebody in this field and after months of training I decided to join a nationwide bartending event. Luckily, I ranked as first runner up, and after that flairtending became my passion.

Me: Describe your Flairtending Organization.

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Paul: My group is called FLAIR CLUB PHILIPPINES. I am the National President and the Founder. We were formed in 2007. Flair Club Philippines envisions to be the leading group in promoting Flairbartending as a sport in the Philippines. Our Mission is to raise Flairbartending to a new level of excellence through training with competent, highly skilled and knowledgeable members.

Me: What makes a good Flairtender?
Paul: There are a lot of ways to be good in this… Like practicing hard, being creative with your moves/routines, having focus and dedication, and most importantly joining a local competition to be competitive enough. Of course years of experience will lead you to be recognized in this field.

Me: What is the Filipino’s edge in Flairtending?
Paul: Simply, we never go into a battle if we are not ready… That is our number one edge. Second, our determination… Our having a dream. But most of all our faith in God.

Me: How can Filipinos show support to your representation of the Philippines in global flairtending competitions?
Paul: Through social media like FB, INSTAGRAM, TWITTER, and others and by liking my videos and greetings… With social media, I must say that it’s really worked because I feel support through messages and likes.

Me: How do you see the Philippine flairtending scene in the future?
Paul: I can say that Filipino Flairtenders are well equipped already and ready to accept any challenge in global scene. A year from now Filipino Flairtenders will be recognized as some of the best in this field.

Quite the ambition, and I must say Paul and the Filipino pride are on their way up. So take to social media, folks! Show your love and support for the Philippines’ own Paul Ceron! Cheers!

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*photos all courtesy of Paul Ceron

Caffeinate Me!

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I am upto my head in work lately. Loads of research, meetings, talks, paperwork, and even dinners.

I found the weirdest observation from all the people I have been working with. “Would you like to have coffee?” is a sentence that gets frequently tossed about. It would be used to set up a meeting, offer me something before I start talking, offer as an after dinner option to further prolong a conversation (or taper it off), or jolt myself awake enough by my friendly neighborhood barista, laptop in tow.

That being said, and like the beverage nerd that I am, I decided to find literature to understand why coffee is so ingrained in the Filipino lifestyle. I found “An Introduction to Coffee” (Juan and Francisco, National Book Store) quite an informative read.

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By and large, depending on which legend you believe, coffee originated from the Middle East. It was discovered by a person who ate these mysterious berries, thus having experienced the world’s first caffeine rush. The berries were found to be too bitter, so it was roasted and boiled to soften. The first coffee house was opened in Constantinople, today’s Istanbul in Turkey (sing it with me: Istanbul was Constantinople… Nuninuuuu). Turks invaded Vienna but were defeated by the Polish, leaving their coffee behind. The first coffee shop was opened in Marseilles after King Louis XIV received a present of coffee from a Turkish sultan. The word Mocha came from “Al Muka” (Port of Mocha) in Yemen, where the first coffee shipment came from. Further spreading in Europe, the Dutch colonies in the East Indies (Indonesia) started planting them. Indonesia (or Java, in particular) being of close proximity to us… Well, you get the picture. Coffee in the Philippines.

Another theory as to how coffee got here is through the Spanish during their occupation of our wonderful country.

Interesting how coffee was brought to us along with Christianity.

In recent years, it is considered proper for Pinoys to offer coffee to a guest at home or to a person you’re out with (professional or otherwise). Some Pinoys use “going out for coffee” as a nice first date: Affordable and casual, therefore not intimidating.

What can get intimidating is the vast amount of coffee varieties out there. What is important to remember is this: Philippine coffee is REAL. By real I mean it’s an excellent acronym to remember coffee varieties we have in the Philippines:

1) Robusta – Often used for instant coffee, quite strong
2) Excelsa – Used to blend with Robusta and Barako
3) Arabica – More expensive, quite smooth
4) Liberica – Our famous Barako (one of my personal favorites)

In recent years, there has been a steady rise of foreign coffee house franchises in the Philippines. In our neghborhood alone, one cannot go 3 blocks without encountering one. They have not only been used as a haven for study groups, casual meetings or dates, but have been the venue for Christmas drinks (ergo planners) and cutesy mugs for your SO.

I have developed a preference for coffee shops that are not mainstream, so I was delighted when Toby’s Estate opened its doors in Manila. Coffee there is what coffee should be: strong, smooth, and delicious. Even the experience is awesome: Gorgeous interiors and sincerely friendly baristas.

I decided to befriend the manager of the Salcedo branch, Joel. Quite the jolly fellow, he offered me items not found on their standard menu (how very underground, I love it). This is how I stumbled upon the Gibraltar: 2 shots espresso, 2 shots of milk, and a thousand shots of GOODNESS. I love how it’s served like in the French cafes, in a small glass as opposed to a mug. Toby’s is also legendary for their coffee art, and recently they held a coffee art competition.

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The Gibraltar, Toby’s Estate Salcedo

I am, however, a total grump in the morning. My husband does not advise me to go out of the house (even to a coffee shop) without coffee in my system (I might chew out a barista for being too friendly). My husband and I believe that the first thing you drink in the morning can potentially dictate how your day is going to be. Admittedly, I’m too zonked out in the morning to be bothered to use a proper coffee machine (ducks as my coffee afficionado friends cringe), so I rely on the instant stuff. I am thinking of purchasing a Nesspresso machine in the future though… Stay tuned!

That being said, I normally keep the following items in my pantry:

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1) Daily Chef 100% Colombian Instant Coffee (100% Arabica) from Rustan’s – very smooth stuff. I take it black with some sweetener after a friend influenced me to get off sugar and cream as part of a diet.

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2) ChekHup Ipoh White Coffee from Landmark – I love Malaysian white coffee. There is so much to be said about its smoothness and richness.

All this talk about coffee makes me want to make one, stat. Share your coffee discoveries. Cheers!

The Zen of Drink

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So I managed to finally return to practicing yoga.

Hang on… This is a beverage blog. What…?

Chill. Let me explain.

With the amount of drinks I consume on a regular basis (all in the name of research… Honestly! ;)), I try to discipline myself by making sure I exercise in some way. I find yoga to be challenging both physically and mentally. My practice allows me to face my week of research, talk, and writing with a certain amount of centeredness (if there is such a thing).

So I got quite curious after one class, when my BFF told me about a home made “elixir” our yogi makes. The yogi told us that this fermented elixir of his allows you to have energy if taken before and after practice. It came in different flavors (Strawberry, Guyabano, etc) but I went for the lemon ginger one. He warned me that taking the entire bottle turns you into something of an Energizer bunny, so half at a time is enough.

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The Secret Yoga Elixir

I fell in love with it. The spicy ginger notes and sharp lemon flavor hit you wonderfully. It was perfect for refreshing yourself after an intense yoga session. Understandably, the ginger flavor is an aquired taste, but I love it. It reminded me of a sparkling version of the local “salabat”.

On another post-“death by yoga” session, I decided to pass by the newly opened Echostore. Echostore belongs to the Echo Yoga group (who I miss terribly, the new shala is too far now), which sells locally produced, environmentally friendly products. I decided to have a Bayani Brew. “Bayani” is Filipino for “hero”, and I decided to figure out whether or not their “Kick-ass Lemongrass” flavor is as heroic and kick-ass as the label suggests.

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Kick-ass Lemongrass

It was such a welcome boost after the killer yoga session. It’s not too sweet, and the pandan blend adds a softer, fragrant dimension to the sharp, spicy lemongrass. I don’t know if it will save the day, but it certainly saved my parched, dying self. 😉

What do you normally drink before, during, or after working out? Cheers and Namaste!