5.222 Highlight from Set Menu A: Steamed Garlic Fish Fillet

-Cycle 5, Item 222-
15 (Fri) August 2014

Highlight from Set Menu A: Steamed Garlic Fish Fillet


at China Palace (Tagaytay Highlands)


with various members of the NCD unit

Tagaytay Highlands is a recreational complex.  Located in the province Cavite, about 70 km south of Metro Manila.  Vast, more like a sprawling township than a commercial property.  Comprises a network of timeshare condos and hotels and cabins and spas and restaurants (The Highlands), golf courses (The Midlands), and mansions/villas/apartments and other residential infrastructure (The Greenlands).  Members only.  Exclusive.  Expensive.  According to rumor, originally built as a presidential holiday paradise under the Marcos administration.  

The clubhouse at the peak of the mountain.

Just outside our conference room.

For work accomplished last year, before I joined WHO, our NCD (noncommunicable disease) unit was recognized by the Regional Director for outstanding contributions to the Organization.  As a reward, we were treated to an overnight retreat in Tagaytay Highlands.  However, after a full day of team-building exercises and program reviews, it felt like work.  Worse, because the surroundings seemed to scream that we should be playing instead.

Yes, that's a baby.

The result of the "What people think about you" exercise, this is what people think about me--I'm bubbly? 

In addition to quality, the award also acknowledged the sheer quantity of work that NCDs involve.  A startling statistic that most people outside of the NCD arena are unaware, including myself before I joined: the four major NCDS--cancer, heart and respiratory disease, and diabetes, account for nearly 70% of all deaths in the world today, 80% in the Western Pacific Region.  Our unit is tasked with addressing two of the four risk factors for NCDs, including unhealthy diet and physical inactivity; tobacco and alcohol, the other two risk factors, are handled in other units within the same division, but the activities largely overlap, so we have a hand in everything.  

Our accommodations in The Belle View, built right into the mountain...

...providing spectacular views of the The Midlands and The Greenlands... well as Taal Lake and Taal Volcano in the distance, though the fog/clouds were too heavy to see very far today.

I don't get this.

China Palace is a Chinese restaurant.  Located in The Highlands.  Offers Cantonese and Mandarin dishes.  

The food was excellent.  To save time and money, the boss ordered a set menu for the group.  Most of it was good, all very well crafted with top notch ingredients.   My favorite dish was the steamed garlic fish fillet: an intriguing juxtaposition of opposite textures and flavors, light (from the steaming) and creamy (from the inherently buttery character of the fish), bland (no sauce) and intense (deep-fried garlic).  Overall, this may have been the best Chinese meal that I've had in the Philippines thus far.  

Complimentary peanuts and peas (3.0).

Dried Scallop in Wintermelon Soup (2.25).

Three Kinds of Dimsum Combination (3.5).

Shrimp with Seasonal Vegetables (3.0).

Sweet and Sour Pork (3.25).

China Palace Roast Chicken (3.5)--best Chinese roast chicken that I've had anywhere in recent memory.

Salted Fish Fried Rice (1.25)--didn't really dig the fish, which was too fishy for my tastes.

Almond Jelly with Fruit Cocktail--didn't partake.

Chinese Pastries--didn't partake.


  1. Really? Amon those bubbly is the one you're wondering about? Because porn star is so obvious??

  2. Makes me wonder what you do /say around your colleagues...

  3. Porn star, along with the others, would seem to reflect the swagger that people have always loved me for.

    But bubbly, I dunno. I've always thought of myself as rather cynical and dreary.