July 20, 2006

Sightings...at the Power Plant mall

YOU can’t beat the personal touch. Seen mixing among balikbayans last July 15 at the Power Plant mall's South Court was the very amiable Nestor “Tong” Padilla, president of Rockwell Land Inc. The balikbayans, participants of the 2nd Ambassadors/Consuls General Tour of the Philippines, were treated by Rockwell’s top banana to a tour of the company’s condos and newest project, One Rockwell, where its so-called “Z-units” will offer spectacular views of the surrounding cities once its East Tower is completed by 2010.

I was not surprised at all that after Tong chatted up his guests, many of them made serious inquiries about purchasing a unit at One Rockwell, which at P7 million for a two-bedroom spread, would only set the mucho-monied balikbayans back a mere $134,000. Peanuts really compared to a comparable condo unit in say, New York. Among those who made inquiries were the elderly Jeffrey Schorr, and his young pretty Filipina wife, Hannah. For those who don't know Jeff, he is the US Department of Interior's man in Saipan, Northern Marianas and who has the ear of Interior Deputy Secretary David Cohen. Looking a bit like a blond Jerry Seinfeld, Cohen is scheduled to fly into Manila in November for an Asia-Pacific invesment conference at the Makati Shangri-La Hotel. Earlier, I asked Jeff he was in town to check out the peace and security situation for Cohen, and he said, "No. But I'll surely tell him what a beautiful hotel he'll be staying in!" Ha-ha

But what really interested me was Tong’s disclosure of a new concept restaurant rising in the Rockwell area. “It’s an exciting new restaurant,” he said. “A lot of people have wanted him (the chef) to do this for the longest time.” Of course I tried to pry the secret chef’s identify out of the wily Tong, who only said the guy is a Filipino. Oh gosh, I hope it just isn’t Ms. Gaita. I love her and her food, but enough outlets already! Well, who knows, maybe Tong was just trying to throw me off the scent by saying that the chef would be Filipino and a “he.” (In photo is Tong Padilla, right, and two balikbayan guests.)

Personally, I'm placing my bets on either Oscar staple Wolfgang Puck or the smoldering Iron Chef Todd English. Last I heard of Austria’s greatest export, and I'm not talking about Ah-nold, he is supposed to open his restaurant at Gateway in Cubao in 2007. But before he does, can the Aranetas please get rid of the fishy palengke smell wafting throughout the Farmer’s Plaza Mall and into the MRT trains passing by?! What a stinker! As for the yummy Iron Chef, he was just in Manila recently scouting for a good location for one of his restaurant brands. Hmm…things are certainly simmering in the local restaurant business.

(Photo courtesy Outsource PR)

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