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Biz Buzz: Upscale Italian dining

/ 12:25 AM March 22, 2017

His flagship Century City project may be more than a few steps away from Makati’s central business district, but that’s not stopping businessman Jose “Joey” Antonio from drawing in top-end establishments to his ambitious property development.

The latest offering from Antonio—who is also the country’s special envoy to the US— is the upscale Paper Moon fine-dining restaurant, which opened last week at the 65th floor of the Knightsbridge Residences Tower, just a few paces from the Century City Mall.

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The Italian restaurant that has its roots in Milan (founded in 1977) was brought to the Philippines by businessman Edi Tekeli, the same man who brought retail brands Guess and Mango to the country.

Manila is Paper Moon’s fourth international location, after having earlier opened branches in Istanbul, Turkey, and two in Doha, Qatar.
The restaurant opened last Wednesday which, incidentally, was also Tekeli’s birthday.

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Of course, the VIPs at the swanky new restaurant were let by Antonio and included Ambassadors Massimmo Roscigno (Italy), Asif Ahmad (UK), Kok Li Peng (Singapore), John Holmes (Canada), Effie Ben Matityau (Israel) and Roland Van Remoortele (Belgium). Business executives Noel Oñate and Mike Toledo were also present as were Rep. Tonyboy Floirendo, Ambassador Bienvenido Tantoco Sr. and Katrina Enrile.

Also present were Dr. Norman San Agustin, a prominent doctor from tri-state New York who is coming back to the Philippines to put up the Asia Breast Center for breast cancer patients, Makati Mayor Abby Binay-Campos and Mrs. Elenita Binay.

Paper Moon offers a wide selection of Italian dishes that complement its warm and cozy ambience. And most importantly, it’s open to non-resident diners who are willing to pay top dollar for good Italian food. —DAXIM L. LUCAS

Financial learning, by the cup

We’ve seen so many themed cafés being created in the metropolis, limited only by the creativity of their owners. Now, for financial literacy advocates, there’s a new café along HV Dela Costa, Salcedo Village in Makati City that’s devoted to teaching money matters.

Sense for Money (SFM), the same company that created Praxis—a game that teaches complex financial concepts to ordinary people by simulating their financial lives—has now launched Praxis Café.

Since 2003, more than half a million adults and children in eight countries have benefited from playing the Praxis board game. It has been used by teachers as an alternative learning activity, by families to start a conversation about the value of money and by businesses for employee wellness and to deepen customer relationships. Praxis was earlier introduced to the Philippine market through corporate partners (we first heard about it from Sun Life of Canada) but SFM now feels there’s a need to provide a direct avenue to consumers.

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As financial literacy is a life skill that empowers and changes people’s lives, SFM wants to encourage everyone to play whenever and wherever they can, whether at the café or through corporate partners.

Asked whether this was intended to be built as a chain of cafés (think Starbucks), Mari-an Albert, SFM Philippines CEO, told Biz Buzz: “If the concept becomes successful, yes. We are trying to make financial literacy more fun and accessible to all— so we provide a venue for anyone to come and play—specially the people who don’t want to go to a selling event or have not invited by our clients to their bespoke events.”

Albert said the new café was targeting anyone from 8 years old up who wanted to become more financially aware. “We’ve had folks host kid birthday parties here, teachers bringing in their students, coworkers looking for unique after-office activity,” she said. —DORIS DUMLAO-ABADILLA

The post-fact age

Much has been said about us now living in the post-truth age. But let’s not even talk about “truth,” which is as much in the mind of the cognizer as “beauty” is in the eyes of the beholder.

A swashbuckling professor, Dr. Henry Jones Jr., once said: “Archaeology is the search for fact, not truth. If it’s truth you’re interested in, Dr. Tyree’s Philosophy class is right down the hall.”

One needs not to swash buckles nor to dig up ancient ruins to appreciate the importance of facts, especially if maintaining a government agency’s website. After all, the website—especially at a time when social media rules our lives—is the agency’s profile page.

What facts, then, do we expect to see on a website/profile page? Probably some photos and the names that go with them. We’d like to know who makes decisions on whether the country has enough food supply, don’t we?

At the National Food Authority’s, members of the NFA Council are listed, with the individual’s photo, name and that of the entity he or she is representing. The name of the council chair, Cabinet Secretary Leoncio B. Evasco Jr., does not go with a photo. Not even a selfie, at such a time when some Cabinet officials are as Facebook-crazy as any millennial.

Also photo-less are Economic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia and the council’s board secretary Hermilia Campos Banayat.

Worse, almost two months after a new NFA administrator (who is also the NFA Council vice chair) has assumed office, the photo and the name still belongs to the previous NFA chief.

The same is true… sorry, let’s rephrase that. The same is a fact for the Land Bank of the Philippines president and the Development Bank of the Philippines chair, who sit as council members. On Landbank, the photo and the name still belong to Gilda E. Pico, who has had two successors since she stepped down in July 2016. On DBP, the photo and name belong to Jose A. Nuñez Jr., who was replaced last month.

But wait, there’s even worse. The name of the representative of the Department of Trade and Industry has been updated. But the photo is not, such that we see Adrian S. Cristobal Jr.’s face identified as that of Ramon M. Lopez.

The case is “doubleplusungood” for the Department of Finance. We see Cesar V. Purisima’s face along with the name Carlos G. Dominguez, someone who has almost the same name as the current finance secretary. For the record, Sonny is the third of his name (i.e. he is Carlos III).

Doubleplusungood—a Newspeak term that means “worst”—comes from the novel “1984” by George Orwell, wherein the main character Winston Smith works in the records department of the Ministry of Truth.

Smith alters articles in old issues of newspapers and other published work so that historical material would conform to the latest pronouncements of the totalitarian superstate that rules his country, called Airstrip One. He lives in London, but he is uncertain as to what his country’s name used to be—that’s how efficient truth management is in 1984.

In our country, there is presently no obsession nor compulsion to manage facts, even to make them simply agree with the current state of affairs. As for truth, we are fairly certain—merely “fairly,” mind you —that it is just right down the hall. Welcome to Duterpia. —RONNEL W. DOMINGO

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TAGS: 65th floor of the Knightsbridge Residences Tower, fine-dining restaurant, Italian Restaurant, Paper Moon, property development
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