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January 2017

This website was several years in development, first in my head and then finally forcing my hands to type and put together words to explain what I saw and tasted. And thanks to a very talented and young grandniece who took care of the technical foundation, I am off to a good start.

I have always travelled but those trips were mainly through work or organized vacations through travel agencies.  Two years ago, I decided to travel to the Philippines every year, coinciding with winter in the U.S.  and the conclusion of my farmers’ market obligation. The popularity of Airbnb allowed me to pick and choose where to stay in the Philippines for half the price of hotel accommodations.  Since I do not want to drive, I like to find a condo close to the main MRT station on EDSA (main thoroughfare in Manila).  As I get close to my destination, I then get a taxi, saving me money and best of all, time.  Manila traffic is notoriously congested.  With the help of the Internet again, apps like GrabTaxi and Uber become a lifeline when navigating the city.

In Asia, great food and varied selection are taken for granted. The downside is that customers become used to a new restaurant or food trend that they lose interest very quickly. The short-attention span of customers is specially true in the Philippines.   I heard this tale many times that those making the comments believed that the  rate of restaurant closing was very high.

My intention here is not to critique specific restaurants.  I feel for restaurant owners,  who after investing their life savings, have to contend with sometimes vicious comments on the Internet.  I will feature certain restaurants but only to comment about certain dishes that I like, or unusual location or ambiance that needs special recognition.

I grew up in a  family where food and social connections were combined and nurtured.   I find that kind of experience lacking in my life in the U.S. I am hoping that this website will encourage my readers to reach out to friends and relatives through food, if they are not doing that already.  I also would like people to get out of their comfort zone and travel to Asia.   Sometimes the stereotypes shown on cable news become so strong that visuals associated with countries like the Philippines become difficult to erase.  Yes, there is poverty but there is also a lopsided show of wealth and prosperity.  And of course, U.S. dollars go a long way for items like food and those personal grooming services.  Spa and Japanese massage, anyone?

Manila is a great starting point to travel to other Asian cities.  Some trips barely cost $100 round trip.  I went to Taipei this year (2017).  Tokyo, Seoul or Kuala Lumpur next year?  Perhaps.

Hopefully, you will take the first step to get your passport and plane ticket.  In the meantime, eat and travel with me through this website.

Nel Hostetter