Meeting of Stamp Collectors at the Lotus City Garden Hotel

Lotus Garden Hotel , A Mabini corner Padre Faura street , Ermita, Manila-Philippines

I was invited by Mr. Reynaldo Ong de Jesus and Mr. Hans Becker after the stamp awareness exhibition at the Saint Stephen High School last November 9, 2015 . He just told me that an important stamp collector is in town and a well-known local philatelist is also visiting .

collectors had fun time chatting

I quickly joined the impromtu meet-up at the Lotus City Garden Hotel.  This is also the place where Mr. Hans Becker is staying until his departure for Cebu the following day. When we arrived at the hotel lobby, Sir Rey told us that we are going to meet Mr. Nigel Gooding and his wife Velda together with local philatelist and stamp book author Mr. Jorge H. Cuyugan of Pampanga .

Mr. Jorge H. Cuyugan holding one of his books published in the mid-1990’s

Mr. Cuyugan is author of several philatelic and numismatic books which were published in the mid -1990’s and early 2000.  I have featured him conducting free public lectures at the PHLPOST vicinity way back in 2011.

Link to previous post:

The hotel lobby had a mini-collection of dolls from the Philippines and from other countries affix on a doll case. The dolls are some sort of attractions to the visitors of the hotel and restaurant.

There is also a breakfast buffet which only cost Php 300 per head, however we were not able to catch -up since we arrived past 11:00am

chicken and pork adobo meal -good for 2 person

The group just ordered a-la carte meals and desserts by Cilantro restaurant.

 I have tasted better and more tender adobo compared to the ones being served at the hotel, Perhaps they are catering to the foreign guests at the hotel which does like the strong vinegar taste.

pork tocino meal

Collectively , the hotel had an interesting Filipino ala carte breakfast meal served to their guests, each plate cost Php 250  had a combination of beef tapa/ boneless bangus , longganisa / pork tocino / corned beef , served with garlic fried rice and pickled papaya ( atchara ) with coffee or tea or sliced fresh fruit in season.

pork adobo meal


I have the privilege of speaking and meeting with Mr. Nigel Gooding, This is my first time to meet him in person. I have seen his vast collection of Spanish- Philippines stamps ( via internet and some publication of IPPS)  and on covers . I must say it is quite impressive. He started his stamp collecting when he was studying in Xavier School way back in the mid- 1970’s.  He was born in the Philippines and stayed for several years before studying in Australia and now staying in England .

blueberry cheese cake

He is quite fluent in Filipino and got a chance to ask him about stamp clubs that he joined when he was still in the Philippines. He told me that there used to be more stamp clubs when he started collecting them.

He met a lot of old -time stamp collectors and dealers which were quite helpful . Prices of Spanish-Philippines stamp and on covers were not that expensive when he started collecting. He began with mostly Philippine republic stamps and FDC ( First Day Covers) which were quite cheap and can easily be bought with pocket change or school allowance then gradually moving to the more difficult covers and Spanish era .

The group had quite a good long chat before we parted ways, Mr. Robert Tan ( former President of Philippine Philatelic Federation ) joined then in the late afternoon . Mr. Reynaldo Ong de Jesus, Mr. Jorge Cuyugan and the author had to rush for our afternoon appointments and we had to go before Mr. Tan arrived at the hotel.

It was a good meeting and i learn a lot of things from these people whom i consider as pillars of philately ( stamp collecting) in the Philippines. They tirelessly promote stamp collecting . It is quite rare now a days that people would really concentrate on these things.  We bid farewell to one another and hope that we will have another fruitful acquaintances in the future.

Nigel Gooding :


Binalot Fiesta- Harrison Plaza, Manila opening

Harrison Plaza , Manila-Philippines

When it rains , It is a sign of many beautiful things to come.  Starting from it’s humble beginnings in the mid 1990’s , this is  Binalot’s 46th outlet in the country .Binalot had become a model for corporate social responsibility and its traditional home- cooked Filipino foods and packed the traditional way .

L-R Mang Binalot mascot, Pastor Reuben Abante, Mr. Rommel Juan( President ) , Captain  George and Mrs. Nerissa de Leon -Clarabal and son. ( franchise owners- Harrison Plaza branch)

management, staffs and crews

fiesta -like setting showing colorful buntings and animated caricature

The fiesta -like atmosphere , complete with buntings , foods in native bilao , balloons added colors and much  fun fare to the event.

corporate social responsibility poster

Corporate Social Responsibility and Preservation of Traditional  Filipino Food Wrapping :

DAHON (Dangal At Hanapbuhay para sa Nayon) Program, The company  proud to say that – an example of how both the community and the company can benefit from the same program.

Initiated at the start of 2007, DAHON helps farmers from Nagcarlan, Laguna, a quaint town nestled at the foothills of mystic Mt. Banahaw, about 100 kms. South of Manila, earn more from selling banana leaves. And as the farmers plant and sell more banana leaves, Binalot benefits because the restaurant  are ensured a steady supply of quality banana leaves at a low price. Binalot is heavily dependent on banana leaves because their meals are served wrapped in a banana leaf, which locks in the food’s flavor (Binalot is a Filipino word which means wrapped). Having that dedicated community that not only supplies the leaves, but also cuts and sanitizes them to Binalot’s specifications, eliminates added costs.

signature barbecue dish with banana leaves

Environmental Advocacy:

Most fast food restaurants and even small eateries around the country would rely on styrofoams , plastics in their packaging . If not properly disposed -off , it can  cause environmental problems such as clogged drainage and adding to the waste problem.

The environment has also benefited from the program as leaf trimmings, which used to be thrown away by Binalot’s commissary (and therefore find their way to the city’s mounting trash heaps), are now used as compost material at the community level. Even the community chapel cum day care center has also benefited from the DAHON ( Leaf)  program, acquiring a much needed renovation and re-painting, with labor and materials provided by Binalot.

L-R Mr. Rommel Juan ( President of Binalot ) Mrs.Nerissa Clarabal , Mr John Rustia ( first customer of the branch) , Mr. George Calaraval and son

Mr. John Rustia from Caloocan City was the first customer of Binalot’s Harrison Plaza branch. As a token of appreciation from the management  , He received a goodie bag and a free leche flan meal .  Mr. Rustia was elated upon learning that he was the first customer at the branch.

husband and wife tandem being interviewed by NET 25 television crew

The grand opening of the branch was well covered by the quadri-media from print, radio, television and even bloggers.

Contact : 881-12-31 for delivery and catering services

Note: I would like to ” Thank” Mr. Ross Del Rosario , Mr. Rommel Juan, Mr. Nerissa and Captain George Claraval and the rest of the wonderful crews of Binalot for extending their invitation.

Binalot Food Corporation:

Binalot Food Fiesta Facebook:

Lunch Buffet Meal at Museo ning Angeles

2nd floor Museo ning Angeles, Angeles City -Pampanga province, Philippines

Pamangan Food Festival  poster in Museo ning Angeles compound

Mangan tana ! Let us Eat ! as the Kapampangan are known all over the country and the world as the Culinary Capital of the Philippines.  After a short tour of the museum , the group was treated to a lunch buffet by the Museo ning Angeles and the Angeles City Tourism office.

photo gallery of famous Kapampangan dishes and desserts

table centerpiece with  fruits  and native desserts

Kapampangan pork tocino

Tocino is bacon in Spain but in Caribbean countries, such as Puerto Rico and Cuba, tocino is made from pork fatback (equivalent to slab bacon cut) and neither cured nor smoked, but just fried until very crunchy and added to recipes, much like lardons in French cuisine. It is widely believed the the art of making tocino came from Mexico during the Manila-Acapulco galleon trade and the other variations may have been influenced by the Carribean countries and Spain  ( due to increase trade with them during the late 19th century). Pampanga province, being an agricultural area had a large track of sugarcane plantations and poultry livestocks such as chicken, pigs , cows and carabaos  – sugar which is a by-product of sugarcane is one of the main ingredients of  meat preservation whether pork, beef or carabao meat.

Carabao tocino

Carabao Tocino – This is not my first time to eat a carabao tocino , I have eaten  several times in  restaurants which offer Kapampangan dishes in Metro Manila. But i must say that the way the tocino is marinated differs this dish from Manila.  you can tell that this is a carabao tocino by the color of the tocino ( darker) and a bit tougher compared to pork tocino .

However,  Kapampangan culinary experts say that during olden times, people will seldom use sugar in meat preservation unlike nowadays were people are more accustomed to the sweeter tocino which children and teenager would prefer.


 a yellow sticky rice dish like paella topped with boiled chicken eggs . The yellow coloring was derived from turmeric and the rice is cooked with coconut milk – proof of the India / Malay influence in Philippine culinary dish  prepared by Delyn’s fast food

Lechon -Kapampangan style


 According to our guide,  This is one of Senator Benigno” Ninoy” Aquino  father of the current president , favorite is a dish of plump mole crickets (Gryllotalpa orientalis Burmeister). These are called camaru (may be spelled as  ‘kamaru’), which are burrowing insects found in soft ground such as rice paddies.  I have tasted mole cricket before both adobo style and deep fried , but i must say that this taste different .

Sisig Pisngi at Balugbug Babi

This sisig dish was prepared by Mrs. Miniang Pamintuan

chicken barbecue

I have eaten a lot of chicken barbecue from different restaurant in Metro Manila  from cheap eateries  in the University Belt area , ordinary garage- style eateries in Quezon City to  chicken buffet meal in five star hotels and restaurants. This chicken barbecue served to us during the festival is again in my ” WANT ” list . This  dish is marinated just the way i like !

Sorbet with Dayap

After the gastronomic food fest , We were again treated to an array of  desserts and this Kapampangan style  ” sorbet ” never eases to amaze me, with great mix of sweet, sour taste cleanses my palate !

participants of the food festival

A visitor of the food fest being interviewed by a reporter of ABS-CBN regional news-network

I have seen a lot of balikbayan , locals and even foreigners enjoying the sumptuous lunch buffet meal being offered by Museo ning Angeles , according to guide, people can arrange for a food buffet meal which suit their budget and package tour which includes a tour of heritage houses , churches and industry.

Address: Old Muniscipio Building , Sto. Rosario Heritage District Sto. Rosario Street , Angeles City 2009 -Philippines

Phone (+63) 45-887-47-03 Mobile : (0926) 98766-55

Museum : Opens daily  9:00 am to 5:00pm

 night visit and Sundays : by appointment



Museo ning Angeles:

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