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Heads up to those living in the South: the Mercato Centrale Group‘s bringing their food and lifestyle market to your area!

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“After a short break from the South, we are excited to be back in the area!“ enthused Anton Diaz, co-founder of the Mercato Centrale group and the blogger behind the popular food and travel blog in the Philippines www.OurAwesomePlanet.com.  “Thanks to all the support from our Southern-based foodie fans who have been clamoring for our return.”

“We look forward to bringing the Mercato Centrale foodie experience to Alabang Town Center, which includes a variety of great-tasting and innovative food choices straight from the homes of the South-based chefs and homemakers, acoustic entertainment and a lively atmosphere“ said RJ Ledesma, co-founder of the Mercato Centrale group. “We will also have the best-selling vendors from our various Mercato markets sharing their famous dishes in EL SUR!”

“We also want to find the next big food entrepreneur from the South!” added Anton.  “The Mercato markets have been the birthplace of many expanding Manila food businesses like Manang’s Chicken, Merry Moo Premium Ice Cream, Spring by Ha-Yuan, Kristina’s Inutak, Chuck’s Grubberie Fish and Chips and many more. We are happy to note that one of our pioneer Mercato vendors, Mochiko Ice Cream, already has a branch here in Alabang Town Center!”

For interested food vendors who want to join EL SUR, please contact (+63 917) 840-1152or (+632) 812-0102, email admin@mercatocentrale.ph or visit www.facebook.com/elsur. Limited slots available.

I was in first year high school when I first learned about Westlife. They were the only boy band which I found to be really, really good and have admired throughout their entire career. When they decided to disband, I, of course, were one of those who felt really sad. Nevertheless, when I learned that some of them would be embarking on their solo careers, I was very happy. I knew that I would still be a fan of their (individual) music.

When I heard that Shane Filan, who used to be Westlife‘s main vocalist, was coming to Manila for a promotional tour, I was psyched! It was admittedly pretty late when my friend and I learned about the event and I’m so thankful we were still able to reserve our VIP tickets.  The event that was held at the SM SkyDome in SM North EDSA last September 28. If it wasn’t sold out, we probably would’ve purchased the VVIP tickets that they had for sale. Unfortunately for us, there were only 100 VVIP tickets available and they were all gone during the early part of the selling period. Better to have a VIP ticket than nothing!

Shane Filan Tour_ticket photo 2013-09-28_14-55-10_546_zpsbe2ee8be.jpgThe VIP ticket that we were able to purchase was part of a bundle. It came with a copy of Shane Filan’s Everything To Me EP, a 20 x 30 poster and a chance to get an autograph from the artist himself.

Shane Filan Tour_background photo DSC_0542_zps58913fab.jpgThose who were able to get the VVIP passes were ushered into the SkyDome at around 4pm for an exclusive meet & greet session with Shane Filan. The VIP and Gold ticket holders were allowed entry at around 5pm. Once we were already seated, I was able to snap a photo of this before a lot of the other fans started to have their pictures taken with the stage as their background.

 photo DSC_0543_zps2d627f57.jpgThe program was hosted by Magic 89.9′s Every Friday Madness DJ, Tina Ryan. I found her to be really entertaining!

Shane Filan Tour_Front Act Sabrina photo DSC_0545_zpsb48e1d13.jpgThe opening act for Shane Filan‘s promo tour was Sabrina, a local acoustic artist who has been in the industry for several years now. She performed covers of Titanium (David Guetta featuring Sia) and Just Give Me A Reason (Pink), and also some of her original songs.

Shane Filan Tour_1 photo DSC_0566_zps5598fd34.jpgAfter Sabrina’s performance, Shane Filan was introduced to the waiting crowd. He entered the stage full of energy and proceeded to serenade the crowd with five songs. Most of them were from his upcoming CD, while one or two were from his time as part of Westlife.

Shane Filan Tour_2 photo DSC_0588_zps646ccff5.jpgIt was really nice to watch him perform live in such a small place. I’ve been to a couple of Westlife concerts, but this was the first time that I was able to see him up close. He did look like he was really having a great time during his performance. A lot, if not all, of the attendees were singing along with him. It was amusing!

Shane Filan Tour_3 photo DSC_0555_zps96f1f8dd.jpgI took a number of photos for the blog and this, definitely, is my favorite shot from that evening. 🙂

Shane Filan Tour_EP photo 2013-09-28_19-42-09_190_zpsd15c44cb.jpgAt the end of the show, we were ushered onstage to have our CD inlays signed by Shane Filan himself. It was a bit disappointing that we weren’t allowed to use any of our personal cameras to take photos during that time and that some of the people who were ushering the line were a little too “authoritative” to the people who were waiting for their turn. I guess it’s to ensure that no one would get hurt in case someone went hysterical, but I wished they were a bit more lenient. I think most of the fans only managed to say a quick “thank you” before they were led away from the table. :-/

Anyway, the EP contains just four tracks, but we don’t have to wait too long since his first solo debut album will be released on November 4, 2013. Still curious? You may learn more about Shane Filan by visiting his official website here or his Facebook page here.

The Everything To Me EP contains the following tracks:

– Everything To Me

– Everytime

– Once

– Today’s Not Yesterday

**This is not a sponsored post.

I received another email from the Marketing Team of the Mercato Centrale Group, informing me about the group’s newest baby: Porto Cena in Subic, Olongapo City. I’ve been to the Subic area numerous times and it’s always been one of those places to go to when you want a quick trip out of Manila. Starting October this year, those of you living near that area or those who find themselves there during the weekends will have something else to check out:

Porto Cena logo photo PortoCenalogo_zps5fa1b729.jpgThe Mercato Centrale group, organizers of the popular night food markets Midnight Mercato in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, Cucina Andare in Glorietta Park, Makati, Mezza Norte in Trinoma Mall, Quezon City and Cocina Centrale in MarQuee Mall, Angeles, opens the NEWEST Mercato Centrale market in the North: PORTO CENA in Ayala’s Harbor Point Mall, Subic every Friday and Saturday starting October 5 (Saturday) from 4pm to 3am. 

“We are excited about bringing the Mercato Centrale experience to the Subic Bay Freeport Zone”, shared Anton Diaz, co-organizer of PORTO CENA and the blogger behind the popular food and travel website http://www.OurAwesomePlanet.com. “The variety of great-tasting and affordable food choices, the acoustic music and the lively atmosphere will definitely complement the fun and adventurous vibe that Subic has become well-known for!”

PORTO CENA will be a night food and lifestyle market where the home-grown food entrepreneurs of Subic Bay, Olongapo and the rest of Zambales can showcase their local cuisine.” said RJ Ledesma, co-organizer of PORTO CENA.  “We are also excited to have the expatriate community of Subic – who come from all parts of the globe – to offer their specialty dishes in the market.”

“Of course, we are also bringing over the best-selling food vendors and food trucks from our Mercato markets in Manila to be part of PORTO CENA.” Added Anton Diaz.

 PORTO CENA is located at Ayala’s Harbor Point Mall in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone, Olongapo City.  

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**To learn more about their activities, head to their Facebook page by clicking here.

If you believe you have that special dish that can make anybody go gaga over it, you better join The Next Big Food Entrepreneur Contest! This event is now on its second year and is done in partnership with Solane LPG and Mercato Centrale Philippines. It doesn’t matter if you’re an amateur or a professional food entrepreneur; as long as you’re 18 years old and above and a resident of the Philippines, then you’re eligible to join.

Food Entrepreneur banner photo SolaneBackdrop_zps3856d82d.jpg

There are three stages in the competition: the Food Taste Test; Food Selling; and Submission of Business Plans. Deadline for the first stage of the screening is already on July 25, so you better hurry and prepare for it!

The individual or team who will get the highest scores for their business plans will get Php100,000 in cash and 6 months free rent in Mercato Centrale. They’d also get to be featured in Entrepreneur and Yummy magazines. Pretty nice, huh? 🙂

***You may refer to the June issue of Entrepreneur Magazine for the full mechanics on The Next Big Food Entrepreneur contest. You can also visit their website or official Facebook page.

For all you food lovers who will be within the SM Mall of Asia area, here’s a treat for you!

Fiesta Bahia flyer photo flyerstudycolor_zps1f8b074f.jpg

Mercato Centrale Brings ‘Food Tourism’ to SM Mall of Asia this July
Did you know that one of top tourist destinations in Manila is the SM Mall of Asia (MOA)? And what’s one of the best ways to welcome foreign guests to one of Manila’s top tourist destinations?  By sharing with them a variety of great-tasting dishes from different parts of the Philippines!
 
That’s why the Mercato Centrale group, the organizers of Metro Manila’s premier night food and lifestyle markets, is bringing a new ‘food destination’ experience to the SM Mall of Asia By the Bay with Fiesta Bahia – ‘the food tourism’ market – every Friday, Saturday and Sunday starting July 12 (Friday) from 4pm to 3am.
 
“In an interview with Today Show food blog, Bizarre Foods host Andrew Zimmen predicted that Filipino will be the next big thing.  Chef and culinary expert Anthony Bourdain of “No Reservations” also shared in his blog on the Travel Channel website that he enjoyed sisig and Cebu lechon during his visit to the country.” said Anton Diaz, co-founder of Mercato Centrale and the popular food and travel blogger behind www.OurAwesomePlanet.com.
 
“As our tourism industry continues to boom, I’m sure many foreigners, balikbayans and even locals would like to sample the richness of our Filipino cuisine. That’s what Fiesta Bahia is all about – a food market where you can enjoy popular dishes from the different regions all in one place!” Anton added.  “Aside from that, they can enjoy the popular gourmet and artisanal food from our suki Mercato Centrale vendors.”
 
“Our location along SM By the Bay is also a great place to bring tourists, friends and family!” shared Vanessa Ledesma, co-organizer of Fiesta Bahia. “They can take in the beauty of the Manila Bay shoreline, enjoy the weekend fireworks, and listen to live acoustic music while enjoying a great salo-salomeal.”
 
“We’re actively looking for food entrepreneurs who specialize in provincial cuisines from all around the Philippines.” Said Rache Diaz, co-organizer of Fiesta Bahia. “If you’ve got a great homemade dish from your hometown, we would love for you to share a taste of your own local culture with foodies from around Manila and the rest of the world!”
 
For interested food vendors who want to join Fiesta Bahia, please contact (+63 917) 840-1152 or (+632) 812-0102 or admin@mercatocentrale.ph. We are prioritizing vendors who specialize in regional/provincial food. The more unique, the better! 

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