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Energy efficiency tips

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Bedroom and Living Room Energy Efficiency Tips

AIR CONDITIONER

Match your aircon horsepower (HP) to the size of your room. Your aircon’s efficiency heavily depends on the space it will cool. An aircon that is not the right size – if its bigger or smaller – for your room, it can cost you an extra P965 per month. For an 18 sqm. area, recommended size is a 1.0HP unit.

Follow prescribed maintenance schedule and clean the air filters. Clogged air filter causes airflow issues making the air handler work harder as it pushes air through. As a consequence, it will consume more energy – a 30% increase or additional P341 per month for a 1.0HP aircon unit.

Consider Inverter Technology. They are more energy efficient compared to conventional units. Based on Meralco Power Lab tests, inverter savings can be from 25% to 62%. For a 1.0HP unit, this can be around P504 per month.

ELECTRIC FAN

Choose the right fan. Desk fans are best for small rooms. Stand fans are best for medium-sized rooms because of their adjustable height levels. For large or spacious rooms, consider using ceiling fans with longer blades. The longer the blades, the more air they can push around. Ceiling fans are very efficient in stirring the cooler air along the floor to cool the rest of the room.

Set the right speed. The faster your fan blades rotate the more energy your electric fan consumes. So set your fan speed according to your cooling needs. Based on Meralco Power Lab tests on a 16’’ fan at #1 (low) vs #3 (high) setting for 9hrs/day use, you can save P32.40 a month per fan when you switch to the lowest setting!

Clean fans regularly. The dust that accumulates at the fan blades, motor housings, and grills reduces the air current generated by the fan. Also any form of impurities that pile up at the motor’s cover prevent air from naturally cooling the motor. This causes it to heat up and consume more energy.

TELEVISION

Watch TV together. Instead of watching different TV programs on different TV sets and multiplying your consumption, agree on a program you can all watch together.

Unplug your TV sets. This eliminates stand-by power costs. A 21-inch TV can add P15 – P20 on your electric bill every month on stand-by power consumption. Better to use a power board or power strip to help you unplug appliances with just a click.

Choose the right size. Choose the size that best suits your viewing needs. The bigger the TV, the higher the wattage ratings, the more energy you consume. The screen size of your TV should be based on your viewing distance from the unit. For your high-definition TV (HDTV), first measure the viewing distance starting from the viewing area, like sofa or bed, to where you will place the HDTV unit. Minimum viewing distance = screen size x 1.5. Maximum viewing distance = screen size x 3. For a quick guide, click here.

Use Energy Saving Mode. This usually dims the backlight, which means lower power consumption. Save energy consumption from 27% to 67% or P23 to P92 per month by switching to Energy Saving Mode.

Consider LED TVs. LED TVs are far more energy-efficient than CRT (cathode-ray tube) televisions and Plasma sets. Save up to 77% on energy costs or P102 per month (for a 24” TV) while enjoying the best viewing experience.

Kitchen Energy Efficiency Tips

INDUCTION HEAT COOKER

Use of IH cookers. Based on Power Lab Tests, induction cookers are more efficient (82%) than gas (36%) and electric (coil-type) stoves (36%). Induction cookers also cook faster, create less ambient heat so you save on space cooling costs, have precise cooking temperature and time, and are safe from gas leaks and explosions.

OVEN and MICROWAVE

Choose to use a microwave oven over conventional ones. It cooks food faster because the energy heats only the food and not the oven compartment. If available, use microwave or toaster ovens for cooking or warming leftovers. They use up to 30% less energy than regular ovens. To lessen costs further, use glass pans. Glass retains heat, so you can set the oven to a lower temperature.

Keep it closed. Refrain from looking inside a working oven too often and instead use the oven light to check on the food. Twenty percent (20%) of the heat can be lost each time you open the oven door.

Turn it off. Turn the oven off before cooking is complete (up to 15 minutes, depending on the dish). The heat in the oven will continue to cook the dish until finished. Also keep preheating to a minimum.

REFRIGERATOR

Choose the right one. Check the attached yellow label. Units with a higher Energy Efficiency Factor cost less to operate. Also, pick the right size for your family. As a rule of thumb, a 7 to 10-cubic foot ref generally holds a food capacity for two people. Add an extra cubic foot for each additional person in the household. If the ref is too big and you don’t keep it filled, it wastes energy and costs more to operate.

Provide proper air circulation and location. Keep at least a 2-inch gap behind the refrigerator and on all sides to let air to circulate. This prevents the motor from overworking and allows efficient heat release from the condenser coils. Don’t position your refrigerator in direct sunlight or near heat-producing appliances like the stove.

Keep it full, but do not overload. Keep refrigerators at least two-thirds(67%) full to allow for proper air circulation of cool air inside. This keeps your food properly chilled. Overfilling the refrigerator hinders the cold airflow, reducing its efficiency. For manual refrigerators, when there is already 1/4 inch frost build up, defrost it. Too much frost also makes your unit operate inefficiently. By optimally loading your refrigerators, you can save up to P231 per month (for a 7 cu ft ref).

Store food properly. Don’t store hot food. Let it cool to room temperature first or your refrigerator has to work harder to bring the temperature down. Also, cover liquids, wrap food, and wipe off moisture from containers. Not covered food releases moisture, which makes the compressor work harder and also cause excessive build-up of ice in your freezer.

Take the paper test. Close the refrigerator door on a piece of paper. If you can pull it out easily or it falls, it means the door seals aren’t working and won’t keep the cold in. That means it uses more energy to keep your food cold. It’s time for some repairs.

Mind the door. It will also help if you minimize the time the refrigerator door is open. Avoid unnecessary opening. Before opening, consider what would you like to take and where its place inside the refrigerator. Avoid choosing or thinking what to take while the door is open.

Consider Inverter Technology. If you’re looking for a new refrigerator, consider Inverter refrigerators as they are more efficient versus conventional units. Based on Power Lab tests, save as much as 50% on refrigerator costs or P278 per month (for a 7 cu ft ref).

RICE COOKER

Check your ‘Keep Warm’ function. Rice cookers have a ‘Keep Warm’ function that maintains the appropriate amount of heat needed to keep rice warm after it is cooked. Instead of relying on this function, schedule when you’ll cook rice in closer to your eating time. After using your rice cooker and every time it is not in use, unplug the power cord. Not unplugging after can cost you an additional P70 per month for a 1.0L rice cooker.

Clean your rice cookers. Make sure that the inner pot and hot plate are free from any form of impurities such as burnt grains of rice or hardened food. The surface of the plate should be well cleaned and smooth to allow complete contact with the inner pot. This will ensure efficient and even heating.

Choose the appropriate size of rice cooker. Choose the right rice cooker size according to your household needs. An oversized rice cooker would consume more energy than a properly sized rice cooker.

STOVETOP

Plan ahead. Prepare all ingredients before cooking to avoid frequent switching of the electric stove. Thaw frozen food thoroughly before cooking.

Match pots and pans with your stove. Avoid using a big burner for a small pan to lessen heat transfer loss. This saves up to 25% of the electricity you use while cooking. It also helps to use flat-bottomed pots and pans as they allow faster heat transfer and use up to 50% less energy. Cover pots and pans with lids while cooking to prevent heat from escaping.

Save the heat. Turn off the electric stove during the last minutes of cooking. The remaining heat will be enough to keep the food simmering.

Laundry Room Energy Efficiency Tips

CLOTHES DRYER

A clothes dryer is usually the second or third largest electricity-consuming appliance in your home. Knowing how to operate the machine efficiently will significantly help bring down your electric bill.

Maximize the operation of your clothes dryer. Run only on full loads. Small loads are less economical. But don’t overload the machine. Air should be able to circulate around the clothes to properly dry them.

Sort clothes when drying. The dryer operates most efficiently when drying clothes of the same thickness. Different types require different settings. Dry heavy fabrics, such as cotton towels, jeans, or jackets separately from light fabrics, such as underwear and summer clothes. Light fabrics take less drying time than a mixture of items.

Do not put wet clothes. Make sure clothes are effectively squeezed or spin-dried before putting them inside the dryer. Dry two or more loads in a row and make use of the hot air that’s already in the dryer from the first load.

Clean your dryer often. Clean the fluff out of the filter before every load to allow better air circulation. Remove the lint from vent hoods and lint kits.

Place your dryer in a warm and dry space. A clothes dryer in a cold or damp basement will have to work harder to get your clothes dry. We also recommend using a clothesline. During sunny days, hang clothes to dry to lessen the use of your dryer.

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Alden Richards’ lockdown learnings

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The actor went on his first on-location shoot for his upcoming documentary taking note of all the necessary health precautions. PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF GMA PUBLIC AFFAIRS

In spite of various projects that continue to come his way, Alden Richards admits he has not been cushioned from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Like most celebrities and as a business owner, the GMA Network star is experiencing how the invisible enemy has taken a toll on various industries.

Alden talks about these matters in the documentary Lockdown: Food Diaries, produced by GMA Public Affairs and airing on 27 September.

The docu is a glimpse into the lives of workers in the food sector and highlights their courage and determination as they work to keep the supply chain running.

Lockdown: Food Diaries is Alden’s first project since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the country. The TV special was shot after Metro Manila was placed under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).

Alden and the show’s production team had to deal with the challenges of shooting under MECQ, making sure that they followed all the protocols of taping on location.

 

Alden Richards knows full well the cost of running a business as he owns a restaurant himself. He shares his learnings amid the pandemic in ‘Lockdown: Food Diaries.’

The actor — recently named as the Department of Health’s (DoH) Anti-COVID-19 Awareness Campaign Ambassador — notes the new normal way of stepping out of the house: “Before COVID, we only had to secure things like wallet, bag and car key whenever we left the house. Now we are used to wearing a mask, a face shield and bringing alcohol to sanitize the hands.

In the docu, Alden discusses “quarantine-born” food items and looks at how the pandemic has made a dent on the food industry, taking note of how Filipino ingenuity always arises amid adversity.

Alden also takes viewers to his restaurant and shows them the changes he had to implement.

He says: “This is my quote every day: the only difference between a good day and a bad day is your attitude.”

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‘Gaya sa Pelikula’ premieres today

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JUAN Miguel Severo’s ‘Gaya ng Pelikula’ is now streaming on YouTube. POSTER COURTESY OF GLOBE STUDIOS

Globe Studios is back with its first ever narrative digital series that is surely going to bring all the kilig and laughter in a refreshingly unique way with Gaya sa Pelikula (Like in the Movies).

The series is a love letter for and from the community in how it freely presents queer love, all its feelings and all its possibilities that can lead to a most-deserved happy ending.

Written and created by Juan Miguel Severo and directed by JP Habac, the romantic comedy series tells us about Karl, a 19-year-old introverted architecture student in the middle of an identity crisis and Vlad, a schoolmate on the run from his own family. As their lives become entwined by fate, they become housemates over the semestral break where Karl and Vlad come to learn more about each other and about themselves than they could have ever imagined.

Gaya sa Pelikula is an eight-part series of 20-minute episodes that is a prequel to the unproduced teleplays on Wattpad by Severo. It will premiere on Globe Studios’ official YouTube channel starting today, 25 September, with up and coming actors Paolo Pangilinan and Ian Pangilinan taking on the lead roles of Karl and Vlad, respectively.

Gaya sa Pelikula was also chosen to be part of YouTube’s Super Stream content line-up. Super Stream is an effort of YouTube to enable Filipino viewers to access partners’ content such as movies, TV shows and more for free for a limited time.

New episodes drop every Friday at 8 p.m., from 25 September to 13 November.

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Grand book event turns a page

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IAN Sta. Maria’s ‘Salamangka ‘ Book 2 will be launched on 3 October. ART COURTESY OF SUMMIT BOOKS

The 7th Philippine Readers and Writers Festival, an annual event organized by National Book Store and Raffles Makati, will be held online from 28 September to 4 October.

The festival features author interviews, talks and panel discussions with top Filipino artists and authors — all streaming for free on the NBS Facebook Page (fb.com/nbsalert) and with selected sessions simulcast on Shopee and Lazada.

Books featured in the festival may be purchased at NBS branches and online on www.nationalbookstore.com, and official stores on Shopee and Lazada. Special discounts are up for grabs online from 25 September until 4 October, with up to 20 percent off on all imported titles and 10 percent off on all local titles.

Learn about the value of history with bestselling author, renowned historian and speaker Ambeth R. Ocampo. Enjoy live poetry reading by Jerico Silvers and appreciate poetry’s function as social commentary from Lourd de Veyra. Join book discussions with a number of authors including Ayris Alcachupas, Kaye Allen and Jason Paul Laxamana.

 

Immerse yourself in insightful discussions on a plethora of topics, including an exploration of stories in this year’s edition of the Philippine Readers and Writers Festival.
POSTER COURTESY OF PRWF

Immerse yourself in insightful discussions on various topics, including an exploration of stories in the time of COVID-19 and behind-the-scenes look into the making a children’s book.

You can also gain skills with Bliss Books authors who will share tips in writing during the new normal, and a panel discussion on teaching values through picture books.

Sign up for updates by visiting bit.ly/prwf2020signup and get a chance to win a set of books. You can also join the raffle promo when you shop online. Five lucky winners will receive a dining certificate for two at Raffles Makati.

Participating publishers include ABS-CBN Books, Adarna House, Anvil Publishing, Ateneo de Manila University Press, Lampara Books, Lifebooks, Summit Books, Tahanan Books, University of Santo Tomas Publishing House and VIVA Books.

Visit www.readersandwritersfestival.com; follow National Book Store on Instagram @nationalbookstore, and on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube @nbsalert.

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Wine spritzer as ‘tita’ Zoom drink

Francine M. Marquez

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Chill at home with your concoction of wine spritzer. There’s no rule whether you prefer a white or a red as base. Mix it up with soda or carbonated drink and add your choice tropical fruit. Voila, it’s a spirited Zoom session with friends! PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF UNSPLASH/JONATHAN BORBA

The rules in wine drinking are shifting at the same pace as the state of local quarantines. Staying at home has become the great neutralizer for drinkers who want to stay safe with a buzz.

In pandemic times, expressing shock over someone putting ice in wine or chilling a bottle of red are passé. What matters is, in vino veritas or in wine there is truth. There is no other way to enjoy a glass than through honesty and letting it all out. No one will be judging since one is in the confines of one’s home. The whole point of drinking is pleasure.

Because doctors frequently remind us that good nutrition and hydration are musts in battling COVID-19, then mixing wine with sparkling liquids, juices and fresh fruits may also help.

What better way to lounge at home and reminisce on tropical vacations from the past than with a refreshing glass or two of wine spritzers. It’s good enough to bring back memories of business-class plane rides and being pampered with a thoughtfully-made mimosa.

Wine spritzers and mimosas are best if you’re in the mood to customize your drinks for a happy quarantine hour. All you need is wine, of course, and carbonated water.

I prefer soda water for zero sugar, but tonic water is also fine. And who cares if you opt for Sprite or 7 Up, that’s okay as well. To each his or her own choice.

But for those who want to follow the standard, here’s how to make a simple wine spritzer.

Pick your favorite wine, either red or white. The kind of wine you choose will define the taste profile of your drink. For an earthy base, choose dry reds like Cabernet Sauvignon or Pinot Noir, or dry whites like Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay. For a sweet foundation, opt for a semi-sweet or sweet Zinfandel if you prefer red, or a Riesling or Moscato if you like white.

Pair it up with a liquid. Proportions are up to the drinker. In a glass, pour the wine and preferred liquid in whatever level of booziness you want. In my case, I add only a fourth of the liquid to my wine so I can still enjoy its flavor and body. Liquids to pair can be club soda, sparkling water (canned like Wilkins or bottled like Perrier), or citrus juice.

Keep the pampering vibe going with a splash of elderflower liqueur or Angustura bitters. Then again, level up your wine spritzer by adding other kinds of liquor, like a good splash of gin, rum or vodka. Building up the flavors is really all up to the drinker’s taste. If you’re using dry wines, it’s okay to add sweeteners like an agave syrup or good old grenadine.

Garnish with fresh fruits or herbs. Finish making that wine spritzer like a pro by dropping one or two maraschino cherries, or cubes of fresh fruits like watermelon or mango. Herbs like basil or a sprig of rosemary add dimension to the drink. Or, if you’re just an old-fashioned type, a slice of lemon won’t hurt.

Ice, ice baby. But, of course, add ice cubes for that chill factor. Mix and enjoy immediately.

What to pair your wine spritzer with? Cheese, wine, nuts, fresh fruits, pastries, spicy tofu, fried meatballs, your dinner or your lunch — practically anything you feel like having. It’s your happy call.

In wine, we savor the good life.

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Hong Kong F&B festival moves to the virtual space

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It’s still a celebration of good food and great spirits as the annual Hong Kong Wine and Dine Festival goes online with a myriad of activies for foodies and an online hub for all of its programs. PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF HKTB

In view of the uncertainties related to the coronavirus pandemic, the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) has announced that its annual signature event, the Hong Kong Wine and Dine Festival will, for the first time, be held online from 29 October to 1 November.

HKTB chair Dr. YK Pang said: “The Hong Kong Wine and Dine Festival has been one of the most popular events among locals and tourists alike since its inception over a decade ago. Despite the COVID-19 outbreak this year, we hope people can continue to enjoy Hong Kong’s unique dining culture while providing business opportunities for the local F&B sector amidst this challenging economic climate. Organizing the festival virtually allows us to achieve both objectives without compromising public health and safety.”

He added: “The virtual Hong Kong Wine and Dine Festival will strive to recreate the festive, joie de vivre (enjoyment of life) atmosphere the event is famous for, by offering access to exclusive wine and gourmet experiences curated by experts on the subject. Taking advantage of the virtual format, the event will be extended from the usual four days to several weeks so that more people can take part regardless of time and geographical constraints.”

To preserve as much as possible the original flavour of the physical event, the HKTB is building an online hub where most of the festival programmes will take place.

A variety of wine merchants will provide special discounts and products tailored for the festival, which participants can browse and purchase in a virtual exhibition space.

Meanwhile, renowned wine and food critics, chefs, and wine experts will speak on wine-pairing and culinary topics in virtual workshops and classes.

The Hong Kong Wine and Dine Festival was launched in 2009, after Hong Kong and Bordeaux signed the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Wine-related Business.

The outdoor event quickly became a talk of the town and was dubbed one of the world’s top 10 international food and wine festivals by Forbes Traveler.

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PELíCULA 2020 to feature ‘Tokwifi’

Pauline Songco

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CARLA Pulido Ocampo tells the tale of a 1950s mestiza who is trapped in a TV and ends up romancing a Bontok Igorot man in ‘Tokwifi.’

Carla Ocampo’s award-winning short film, Tokwifi, is among the featured works in the annual Spanish Film Festival PELíCULA, presented by Instituto Cervantes and the Embassy of Spain in the Philippines.

This year’s festival will be held online for nine days starting 3 October.

Now on a larger scale involving the Embassies of Spain in Thailand and Australia, PELíCULA 2020 will screen eight feature films and four short films including Thailand’s Dossier of the Dossier, Spain’s Suc De Síndria and Australia’s Lost and Found.

“Films and visual arts are a good refuge in these dark times. October is a special month since Spain is celebrating its National Day on 12 October. Though we won’t be able to celebrate the fiesta with a cocktail but we can celebrate through PELíCULA,” said Ambassador of Spain to the Philippines Jorge Moragas in a virtual press conference.

 

AUSTRALIA’S entry in the festival.

The Spanish film La filla d’algú (2019), directed by more than a dozen of student directors, will open the festival.

The 71-minute film is about Eli, a lawyer from the upper class who gets pregnant in her 30s. On the same day she is set to hold an oral hearing of a high-profile trial, her father, a renowned lawyer from Barcelona, disappears. Her search will lead to the discovery of family secrets and a reality that will turn her world upside down.

PELíCULA 2020 winds up with the screening of Arima (2019), the debut film of the Galicia-based Basque director, Jaione Camborda. It follows the life of four women and a young girl whose existence are disrupted by the arrival of two strangers. The film’s plot draws a fine line between reality and imagination, dreams and nightmares, fear and desire.

Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) chair Liza Diño said, “FDCP has been doing a lot of refocusing of its programs in support of the COVID-19 intervention. We are launching next week the Philippine cinema fund to support filmmakers whose productions had to stop. We are also supporting the development of new films. In terms of partnership, we have launched an international co-production which allows for partnerships between countries. I hope that this can activate and stimulate collaboration between Philippines and Spain.”

 

Irene Moray’s ‘Suc De Sindria’ tells the story of Barbara and Pol who go on a holiday with friends. In the course of their brief sojourn, Barbara will redefine her sexuality.
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF PELíCULA SPANISH FILM FESTIVAL

Other films in the PELíCULA 2020 line-up are El increíble finde menguante (2019) by Jon Mikel Caballero, the comedy Asamblea (2019) by Alex Montoya, the drama Jaulas (2018) by Nicolás Pacheco and the Costa Rican film El despertar de las hormigas (2019) by Antonella Sudassasi.

To be screened as well are the documentaries Mudar la piel (2018) by Ana Schulz and Cristóbal Fernández and El cuadro (2019) by Andrés Sanz.

Aside from online screenings, webinars and online discussions will be conducted with directors of the featured films.

All films will be streamed for free at www.pelikula.es for 24 hours, starting 6 p.m. (Philippines and Thailand) and 8 p.m. (Australia) on their screening dates.

Visit www.pelikula.es, manila.cervantes.es or www.facebook.com/InstitutoCervantesManila.

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A rosé kind of sparkling tea

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The perfect celebratory non-alcoholic drink. PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF FORTNUM&MASON

Following the success of its Sparkling Tea, Fortnum’s unveils a rosé with a difference, the Rosé Sparkling Tea (HK$ 268).

The announcement came after Fortnum’s Sparkling Tea rose to the top of its category in sales in Hong Kong in November 2019.

Different from the zesty flavor of the original Sparkling Tea, the Rosé Sparkling Tea is drier and has berry flavors which reflect the taste of an elegant rosé, alongside more tea per liter.

The result is a complex, crisp and elegant Sparkling Tea with zero artificial additives.

The complex brew consists of 11 organic teas, including Fortnum’s Sencha, Silver Needle and Darjeeling. The addition of hibiscus, which lends a pink color to the liquid, is responsible for the dryness, red fruit flavors and complex herbal tannins, making this drink perfect for tea fans.

“Warm weather and rosé go together like, well, tea and biscuits, and since we first launched the original Fortnum’s Sparkling Tea, our team has worked hard meticulously developing, tasting and tweaking this Rosé Sparkling Tea,” said Zia Zareem-Slade, customer experience director of Fortnum and Mason.

“We’re delighted to present Fortnum’s Rosé Sparkling Tea, another creative innovation in our tea history. It really is the perfect non-alcoholic drink to celebrate a reunion with a loved one or as a gift for a rosé-loving mum-to-be.”

For expectant moms, teetotallers, or those simply wishing to cut down a little, Sparkling Tea is best.

The success of Fortnum’s Sparkling Tea shows that many Hong Kongers are already seeing it as a substitute for a glass of champagne.

Tasting notes include raspberry Pavlova, sherbet, wild strawberries, elderflower and Oolong. The palate opens to tropical fruits, cranberry, hints of ginger and deep layers of Darjeeling complimented by light, fresh Japanese Sencha. Delicate tannins from the teas and hibiscus lend firm, precise structure and herbal complexity. The finish is long and satisfyingly round, with white tea, a touch of baked dough and delicate spice inviting the next sip.

Fortnum and Mason is at Shop 022, ground floor, K11 Atelier, Victoria Dockside, 18 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong. Visit www.fortnumandmason.com.

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5 safe grocery shopping tips during lockdown

Plan your list, schedule your activity on a slow day and other helpful tips to keep you safe while doing your supermarket run.

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Even with eased quarantine conditions, health and safety remain important especially when doing regular errands that entails leaving the hose. When doing groceries and getting essentials for the home, for instance, there’s no harm in taking extra precautions. Here are helpful tips to help minimize the risks while shopping for groceries:

Wear full protective equipment. While wearing a face mask may be enough, you may also want to consider wearing a full set of protective gear. Face shields and gloves can definitely help reduce the risk of contracting illnesses.

Go during off-peak hours and days. Try going to the supermarket when there are fewer people around. Go during weekdays and early mornings to avoid the crowd.

Keep a list and stick to it. The less time you spend in the grocery store, the better. Before going to the supermarket, make a list of all the items you need so you know where to go and finish shopping quickly. Sticking to your list also helps in preventing unnecessary purchases.

Avoid using cash and disinfect your items. Consider paying for your groceries either with credit or debit card or other forms of contactless payment. Paper money has a higher risk of carrying viruses and diseases, so the less contact with other people, the better. Don’t forget to disinfect your hands as well as the items you bought with alcohol or disinfectant sprays.

Shop for groceries online. For those who really want to stay safe while still getting the things they need, online shopping is an option. Most brands are already available from your favorite online stores. All you need to do is wait for your orders, disinfect the products once they arrive, and they’re ready to be used or consumed.

SHOP safe. / PHOTOGRAPHS BY YUMMIE DINGDING FOR THE DAILY TRIBUNE @tribunephl_yumi

NutriAsia has an online store on Lazada and Shopee so you can get your trusted food items like Silver Swan, Datu Puti, UFC, Golden Fiesta, Mang Tomas, Locally, Papa and Jufran in the safest way possible.

To start shopping for NutriAsia online, just visit their e-stores on Shopee (shopee.ph/nutriasiaofficialstore) and Lazada (lazada.com.ph/shop/nutriasia/).

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Better days for gourmet gypsy

And now, for even better news. On 16 September, Gourmet Gypsy in Maginhawa Street announced it’s now open for private dining.

Francine M. Marquez

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Chef Waya Araos-Wijangco

Like the heartwarming song “Better Days” by Dianne Reeves, Quezon City’s well-loved restaurant Gourmet Gypsy is bringing back good memories to patrons who missed the cozy atmosphere and soulful cuisine of chef Waya Araos-Wijangco.

And like a prelude to this happy development, friends and habitues of the restaurant cozied up in late August for the “Coming Home Concert,” hosted by singer and stage actor Nar Cabico who is now based in Texas with his partner.

Just like the good old days of the restaurant’s Gourmet Gypsy branch (that permanently closed in May), hearts sighed and memories lingered as it virtually brought its creative community together again to bring cheer to a quarantined audience.

The laidback co-hosting by Nar and chef Waya was matched by unfiltered, “let one’s hair down” performances by seasoned artists Bituin Escalante, Kim Molina and Jerald Napoles and Melvin Sumalinog.

Nar, who rendered his Filipino interpretation of “Better Days,” couldn’t help but get teary-eyed as he confessed that he misses “home” (Gourmet Gypsy) and “family” (the restaurant’s community).

The active chats, greetings and funny comments throughout the show moved him to let out a smile and say in Filipino, “I feel all of you.”

Rebooting the grocery experience
But before this tender moment, Gourmet Gypsy wasn’t spared from the battle to survive in the midst of the economic shock brought by the pandemic. Besides the closure of its Roces branch, the Maginhawa Street restaurant had to adapt to the uncertainty of the times as it devoted its kitchen to serving meals for medical frontliners and, eventually, transitioning its ‘front of house” area as a grocery store.

With stringent protocols, the rebooted Gourmet Gypsy launched a by-appointment store selling ready-to-cook and ready-to-heat Gourmet Gypsy dishes, house-made jams, condiments, baked treats and even family-sized platters to share with loved ones during celebrations and Sunday family meals at home.

True to its spirit of community, its principles of kindness and inclusivity (as Gourmet Gypsy opened employment opportunities for people with special needs), the grocery store also offered artisanal food items, crafts and fresh produce from fellow social entrepreneurs.

At Gourmet Gypsy, chef Waya serves scrumptious meals and soulful cuisine. / Photographscourtesy of Gourmet Gypsy

This new concept was well-received as chef Waya and her team navigate the new-normal through e-commerce while maintaining strict health protocols in their physical shop.

And now, for even better news. On 16 September, Gourmet Gypsy on Maginhawa Street announced it’s now open for private dining. By reservation of up to 10 persons only, patrons can enjoy sitting on the restaurant’s elegant Jerry Araos seats and sculptural tables, while savoring international flavors, and possibly chatting with chef Waya once again.

Private dining services are from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. People may book through (02) 7211-1233 or 0995-382-5736, or through www.gourmetgypsy.ph . Based on the restaurant’s photos on social media, the spaces for reservation are the function rooms and former co-working space of the venue.

Sous vide steak, grilled prawns, paella, porchetta, anyone? There’s more: Gourmet Gypsy’s salads, pasta dishes, keto-baked desserts and refreshing drinks. All these, chef Waya swears, in a deep-cleaned and UVC-sterilized environment.

One can return home to Gourmet Gypsy and let the gentle times roll. But like Reeve’s song, one can’t have these better days “unless you make it through the night.”

Chef Waya and her restaurant is a testament to that Gourmet Gypsy continues to spread goodwill by providing hot meals for locally stranded individuals and other vulnerable communities affected by the lockdown.

Oh, yes, one’s “gotta be patient,” strong-willed, and committed to keeping its team and community healthy and safe like chef Waya.

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