Highlights: The Best Of Bicol Launch At A-Space Greenbelt

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The #BestOfBicol launch dazzles the Manila scene, graced by VP Leni herself.

What began as a collective for Bicol-based businesses in 2013 (?) became a full-blown movement to push for regional talent at the fore of it all. We felt we’re over with festivals and beautiful beaches and that it’s time for Bicolano talent to shine. The Best of Bicol movemen promotes the region’s diverse talents in the arts, crafts, culture, food, digital marketing, and social entrepreneurship. Quite a mouthful, but it all boils down to curating the best of the region.

On January 24, we ditched our dinners, braved hellish Makati traffic and headed straight to A Space in Greenbelt to knock on Manila’s door and introduce ourselves. The rest, as they say, is beautiful history.

The sheer size of the crowd.

Really, we pencilled in thirty guests—notable people in Cuisine, the Arts, Crafts, Digital Marketing, Publishing, Public Relations, among others—but about seventy people showed up.

We wanted to make sure we put together the best–we had stalwarts in the fields of Art, Slow Food, Regional Cuisine, Crafts, Social Entrepreneurship on our list. The turnout was beyond belief it needed an encore at the Manila House a couple of months later!

Attendees from different publications and industries eager to hear what Best of Bicol is all about.
(From L-R) Best of Bicol Team Paul Sumayao, Bidibidi delos Santos, Mae Carl Perdon and Pen Prestado
The VP having a light moment with Town & Country's Yvette Fernandez.

Delicious Treats

Vask’s Jet Sumayao and East End Taverna’s Rudi Espiritu is the is one great tandem to beat at the kitchen. Chef Rica Buenaflor–fresh from her studies at the Le Cordon Bleu Paris, helped out. Whipping up hors d’ouevres inspired by Bicol cuisine(the laing-camote croquettes were fabulous), the oohs and aahs from the guests were overtures to each feast. As the seconds rolled into minutes and into hours, the wine-pouring spectacle never halted! Who would want to miss that?

Guests could not stay away from the ice cream cart provided by 1st Colonial Grill. If you stand beyond five meters away from the cart, you’re dead. Also because the stock cartons of Bicol’s Best’s laing and Bicol express is right next to it. So you better stay close. 

Chef Rudi Espiritu (in black) in a light moment with VP Leni Robredo as he shows her his delicious menu. Looking on is Chef RIca Buenaflor (collaborating with him) and Mr. Carlo Buenaflor, founder.
Our friends at 1st Colonial Grill serving their famous sili ice cream to guests!

Artworks by Bicolano Artist Pen Prestado

We first met Pen at school some years ago, and after penning what could be one of the freshest eras in regional Art movements, we’re thankful to the Universe. Trivia: after realizing that the Best Of Bicol movement really is about bringing people over to the region, Pen’s illustration ‘Oryol,’ the serpentine temptress in the epic of Ibalong, have been incorporated in its logo. Talk about providence!

Pen Prestado's series of watercolor illustrations showing the ingredients that make up the Bicol cuisine.
Embellishing the event's call outs is Pen Prestado's 'Marketplace series.'
Oryol, the serpentine temptress in the Bicol epic Ibalong, serves as the anchor for the Best of Bicol logo, also another illustration by Pen Prestado.

The Best Of Bicol Meets The Vice of Bicol

Truly the pride of the region, the event is graced by none other than the Vice President Leni Gerona Robredo herself. Despite her busy schedule, she found time to drop by and meet the team behind the movement.

Woman of the hour: VP Leni arrives to greet the guests.
VP Leni addressing the crowd.
VP with the Best of Bicol team (from L-R): VP Leni, Carlo Buenaflor, Bidibidi de los Santos, Rica Buenaflor, Milo Naval, Paul Sumayao and Mae Carl Perdon.

Media Mileage

Besides launching the #BestOfBicol flagship website OURVIBE.PH (now BESTOFBICOL.PH), we were happy to see Philippine Tatler’s Yvette Fernandez and Team Magazine’s Paolo Lorenzana at the event, and a few more friends from the press!

Bidibidi delos Santos talks to one of the media attendees
Rica Dakudao-Buenaflor and Diego Buenaflor engages in a conversation with Milo Naval (in black).
Muni's Jen Horn and farmer Enzo Pinga at the lounge.

See you at our next event!

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