Tag Archives: Nic Gabunada

Jalan: Bringing Malaysian cuisine to Davao City

In this post, we feature Diana Lhyd Suelto’s review of a street food themed resto in Davao City. 

Diana talks about a Malaysian street food restaurant in Davao which takes after the famous stretch o hawkers,food stalls and seafood reaturants in Jalan Alor : Malaysia.  Here it goes:

The dining scene in Davao City used to have limited choices – tuna sutokil (sugba, tinola, kinilaw), pork and chicken barbecue, and the other usual Filipino fares. Today, however, we have a myriad of cuisines to choose from — Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, Middle Eastern, Korean, Indian, and American. Joining in the foray, wanting to carve a niche is Jalan Lok Lok and BBQ, a street food themed restaurant offering Malaysian dishes.

Jalan, which is located at Sobrecarey St, Obrero, serves traditional Malaysian fares such as beef rendang and nasi lemak. While these are delicious, it is their lok lok skewers that I like the most. 

Lok lok skewers are basically flavored gluten balls that you dunk into a boiling chicken stock for two minutes to cook. Then you slather it with your choice of sauce. My favorites are the spicy sambal and peanut sauce. 

I tried the Maranao version of beef rendang and it is a bit different from the one served in Jalan which is saucy. I like the Maranao version better but the one served in Jalan can hold its fort. 

I am not a chicken fan, but I guess if you slather sambal all over your food it will taste good, because the nasi lemak (fried chicken with cucumber and egg on the side) tasted great.
There’s just one thing that did not suit my taste and that was their rose lassie, a rose flavored juice. It tastes of cheap perfume. But other than that, everything was superb. 

Another thing worth noting is that the servers at Jalan are a very cheerful bunch. They were also very helpful to their ignorant customers (that’s me). They’ll make your dining experience more pleasant.

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Martial Law be Damned. Adtu ta sa Buda!

Martial Law be damned. There’s no better way to spend the weekend than to go on a froad (food road) trip to Buda in Marilog District to cool off and escape the city noise.

Unlike a few years back when you can’t find a decent place to eat, Buda (Bukidnon-Davao boundary) on the highlands of Davao City, is slowly transforming into a foodie destination. There are now quite a number of quaint restos that serve good food. Plus, the view each resto offers is nothing short of amazing.

Here are three of our favorite eat digs in Marilog:

La Toscana

They serve some of the best pasta and pizza in Davao City. Their fresh noodle seafood pasta alone is worth the more than an hour drive. They also have a branch in Tionko Avenue in Downtown Davao, but their pizza tastes much better at their Buda branch. Both branches use the same recipe, but the long travel to get there makes the food taste much better.

 

 

 

 

 

Seagull Mountain  Resort Steakhouse

This roadside restaurant has become the unofficial pitstop of motorists traveling to and from Bukidnon to Davao City. What made them famous is their delicious suman and sikwati combo. Your travel to Buda will not be complete if you don’t try this.

 

Wild Berry Resto
This rustic restaurant just before the quarantine stop in Lorega, Buda serves the most mouthwatering pork tenderloin steak in that part of the map. They also make a mean four berries shake with wild berry, that grows in their nearby farm, as their main ingredient.

 

 

Public advisories keep telling people to keep off crowded places, so what better place to go to than Buda. Tara na, adto ‘ta sa Buda.

 

 

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Want a Showstopper Execution?

In today’s post, I share with you an article on showstopper executions written by the Research Director of Omnicom Media Group Philippines.

 

Want A “Showstopper” Execution?

Dan Ryan Catalan

A “showstopper” that’s what you call an advertising execution that is sweeping off the feet of many advertising practitioners.  It’s a sensational feat for an advertising agency for its brainchild to create public buzz or trend online.  It’s the kind of execution that gets told over and over, even a decade after as reference for best ad-campaign practices.

Given a thousand ways to skin a cat, the “best way” for some advertising practitioners is the most “innovative”, most “creative”, most “revolutionary” and other synonymous buzzwords in the advertising vocabulary.  Why not, even marketing practitioners can’t help but to marvel and be envious of these ingenious executions paraded in mass media.

On the flipside, it is also these coveted wows, which trigger to jump the gun on executions.  With so much excitement on a spontaneous idea, there is a tendency to pre-empt the planning process.  In some cases, the execution becomes a blinder, rendering the insights and strategic process as mere support or embellishment, and worse, a pro-forma.

Nonetheless, seasoned communication experts can discern.  Omnicom Media Group CEO, Nic Gabunada explains… “Off-hand, it won’t be fair to discount the creative process that agencies go through.  But it makes you think when the execution starts outshining the brand.  You may praise the agency that came up with the brilliant execution, but the brand ends up with the shorter end of the stick”.  He adds, “You can tell if the campaign is about awards or if it’s an authentic brand communication.”  This happens with advertisers naively falling into the game, too eager to be the brand that comes up with “next-in-thing”.

It is no secret that the process involving a total communications plan is long and arduous.  It involves multiple translations of thoughts—from consumer behaviour and brand equities to insights, from brand strategy to a creative material, from a creative handle to a media idea, from a media idea to executions.  Many times, the brand or marketing objectives get lost in translation.

Here are five nifty tips that marketing practitioners can employ to keep executions on track:

  1. Wear Your Brief Tightly:  Keep the brief printed and on-hand in every meeting and brainstorming session to keep tab of the brand objectives.
  2. Be The Consumer:  Compose your insight statements or insight setup for your advertising concepts, personally expressed from the target market’s point of view.   Of course, insights do not normally come straight from a consumer’s mouth, but stating the insights in the first person’s point of view will keep you consumer-oriented on your next steps.
  3.  Walk forward:  Working backwards starting from creative executions to consumer insight and brand objectives is a force-fit, and would not likely bring about a genuine consumer connection.  Insights about the brand and consumer should be the core of a strategy, not a creative idea.
  4.  Involve the Brand:  Always include the brand in crafting your strategy or concept statements. This should ensure that the brand is the focus of the plan or strategy.
  5.  Visualize the Media Idea / Strategy:  Creative handles are sometimes difficult or impractical to translate to media executions. Planners need to express the communication objective in an actionable/execution-oriented media idea.  However, this can steer one away from focusing on the brand.  Hence, a media idea or strategy statement should be supported by a “media concept”.  This concept articulates a clear vision on how the brand and its message will travel through different channels and reach the consumers effectively.

Impressive executions may be an advantage in cutting through the media clutter and amplifying brand messages, but an execution that is hollow on strategy and insight will be short in offering something substantial for the audience to sink their teeth into.

 

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Limpya Bota Series 2: The Shoe Shine Box


The Shoe Shine Box

I got my shoe shine box from a cousin during the summer months of 1970. He knew I wanted to have one. I told him that there is an opportunity to earn money shining other people’s shoes. He promised that one day, he will give me a shoe shine box. And on that summer, he did!

Inside the shoe shine box was a shoe brush and a can with a little shoe polish left on it. I bought additional items to complete my shoe shine kit:  a shoe brush, two packs of shoe dye or dyobos –one black, one red. I mixed these with water and put the solution in an empty medicine bottle. I also got a fresh can of shoe polish, two used toothbrushes and an old white cotton T-shirt.

I practiced with the shoes at home; first with the old ones, and later, with the relatively newer pairs.  I simulated various types of grime or dirt a pair of shoes could have, and made sure I ended up with a clean and shiny pair of shoes. Only when I was very confident with my skill did I declare myself ready.

On my first two days as shine boy, I tagged along with Sammy – a neighbor who has plied the trade for more than a year.  Sammy was my on the job trainer. He gave me pointers on how to approach customers and emphasized that I should converse with the customer while shining their shoes.  I also learned from him how to set the price of  shoe shine services by pricing levels based on a pre-agreed quality of polish :  one application of shoe polish was 25 centavos; two to three applications would cost 50 centavos; and a charol (a wet-look finish) was at least one peso. We also charged a premium depending on how dirty the shoes and/or how bad the customer’s foot or socks smell!

As “payment” for his efforts at showing me some tricks of the trade, Sammy made me swear on the following: I will not poach on his regular customers, I will maintain the pricing levels of the shoe shine services; he can borrow shoe shine materials from me during emergencies; and, he can tell people that he taught me how to shine shoes.

For the next four years, I was a shoe shine boy during weekends and holidays! I was charging from a low of 25 centavos to a high of one peso per pair of shoes.  I had my stable of regular customers.  Some of them told me their life’s stories; a few shared to me their fears; and, quite a number talked about their dreams. Normally, I just listened. But when they asked for my opinion, I did not give them straight answers. I normally give my opinion by asking them what-if questions. Or, I share with them anecdotes of what another person did under similar circumstances. I was not the best shoe shine boy in the market, but a lot of customers looked for me when they want their shoes cleaned.

I also introduced my younger brothers to the ins-and-out of making money in the public market.   Rey also braved the alleys of the market as a shoe shine boy for more than two years. But when the fuel crisis erupted, he shifted to selling kerosene on retail. Alan did not want to shine shoes. Instead, he sold fruits and other food products to passengers in the town’s bus terminal.

As a shoe shine boy I stayed in the public market during weekends. In doing so, I met and dealt with various types of people. By observing the actions and listening to the stories of the store owners and the commodity traders, I got a very good idea of how they manage their business:  where they source their goods, their source of financial capital, and the margins they made.

From shining shoes, I earned around ten pesos on Saturdays; and fifty percent more during Sundays. That was a lot considering that in the early 70s, we could buy a bottle of soft drink plus a big piece of bread or a stick of banana cue for 25 centavos. To be sure, I earned more money from selling and attaching spikes to shoes, and from commodities and livestock trading.  In the early seventies, the money I earned on weekends not only covered my day-to-day allowances and other needs, I was also able to share these earnings with my family and my siblings.

I still relish the opportunities that the shoe shine box has opened to me.  In the years after my stint in the public market of my hometown, my playing field has expanded several folds. But the set of skills I learned during my shoe shine box days were all put to good use during my professional and business career.

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Success is doing what one desires

What is success? Somebody forwarded to me this account and I thought it offers a fresh insight on the topic.

This is the story of Ruben, an independent business man in a coastal town in Southern Philippines.

Ruben came into the shore early one morning with his small boat full of lovely fish; one for his family, others to sell. Freddie, a top executive from Manila on vacation, saw Ruben return while  the other fishermen were still out with a few catch.

When Freddie asked around about Ruben, everyone told him that Ruben was the best fisherman on the coast.

Freddie walked down to Ruben and asked how he spent his days. Ruben said he fished a bit in the morning, went home to spend some time with his wife and play with his kids, then in the evening he would meet his friends at a local restaurant for songs and games.

Freddie got excited and proposed a business partnership. Together they would build a fleet of ships that would benefit from Ruben’s knowledge. They would move to a big city, and later run offices and fleets around the world.

Ruben asked about the future beyond the world-wide ventures. Freddie expounded on the glories of the great cities and high society, He also stated that after earning so much money they could to retire, go anywhere and do anything they wanted.  Ruben asked Freddie what he wants to do when he retires.

Freddie replied, “I would buy a place near the shore, fish a bit in the morning, go home to spend time with my wife and play with the kids, then in the evening I would meet my friends at a local restaurant for songs and games.”

And Ruben laughed, and walked away.

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My take of P-noy’s Year 1 in office

Pres Benigno Aquino III
President Aquino delivering his 2011 SONA

Daang Matuwid” and “Kung Walang Corrupt, Walang Mahirap” were two prominent campaign slogans of P-noy.  And now that he is the president, we expect him, his cabinet and other functionaries to  live up to these promises.

One year after P-noy’s  inauguration as  president of the country, I could say with confidence  that there is a conscious effort to fight corruption, although, efforts at the national level are yet to trickle down to the local levels.

And while there were black eyes  (the most prominent of which are the handling of the Luneta park hostage-taking incident;  the Leviste “escape” from Bilibid Prisons;   and, P-noy’s purchase of a Porsche), I have three first person experiences of change under this new administration that impresses me and provides a glimmer of hope for the future:

WANGWANGS:  In less than a month after the “no more wang-wang” statement of the president, I could only hear wangs-wangs when an ambulance or a fire truck pass by. Before the “no more wang wang” declaration, even barangay vehicles ran around with wang-wangs on. You can only curse and shout expletives as everybody and his mother who can claim connection to the powers that be  either counterflows or crosses red lights with sirens wailing.

The “no wang-wang” is a good example of how a simple act delivers a message so strong and so symbolic of what change means under the Aquino administration. It  defines every citizen’s expectation of other government officials. It sets the tone of how those in power should handle themselves, at least, in public.

LOG BAN:   At least in Quezon province, hardwood and other timber are getting scarcer.  Logs brought by the rivers to the sea during heavy rains and swollen rivers are now few and far between. A supplier of timber and cut logs from the mountains of Sierra Madre recently went to me to ask for advice on other types of businesses he can venture into.  He told me that it is now very difficult to get timber from his usual sources in Sierra Madre.  A year ago, his clients can simply tell him the quality and quantity of timber they want to order. With the right price, he will even deliver these to Metro Manila.

BUSINESS CONFIDENCE :   I have several business contacts and consulting clients who have either increased their current exposure in the country or have invested for the first time in the country.  Most of them are Filipinos. This is consistent with the official statistics which shows that investments rose 76% to Php162B in the first quarter of 2011.versus the same period of 2010. Moreover, Php140B of that amount came from Filipino investors — a leap of  211% from Php45B in the first quarter of 2010.

The business sentiment is one of optimism that the playing field will be more level in this administration. Bureaucratic red tapes at the national levels appears to have abated, although in some towns and cities in the country getting business permits still takes forever to finish.

To me,  the past 12 months were mostly foundation work, cleaning up, and reviewing. I hope that we will soon see  a Comprehensive Development Plan – something that puts in writing the socio-economic targets we will work at achieving in the coming years.  Definitely, we expect more action in the coming years, as the cleaning up and reviewing should give way to more action. Then we can judge whether he had become the type of leader we want him to become.

 

 

 

 

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