Thursday, April 12, 2018

#AirAsiainDavao: AirAsia Introduces Unique Malagos Chocolate-Infused Meal to Santan In-Flight Menu Selection

When one of the best young chefs of the country meets Davao's finest chocolate, you just know something's cookin'...


AirAsia recently introduced a new dish to its Santan In-Flight Meals in collaboration with Chef JP Anglo and Malagos Chocolate. In addition to popular hot meals like Nasi Lemak, Chicken Rice and Thai Green Curry, you can now savor rich local flavors with Chef JP Anglo's Roasted Dalandan Chicken with Pimiento Sauce infused with Malagos Chocolate. And that's one more flavorful reason to fly with AirAsia...


With regular direct flights from Manila and Clark, heading down to the King City of the South is easy with AirAsia. An early morning flight from Clark kicked off our adventure in Davao followed by a smooth landing at Francisco Bangoy International Airport after sunrise. It's the first day of chasing wonders with AirAsia in Davao.

 
A half-hour drive up the winding road led us to Malagos Garden Resort, a massive 12-hectare property draped in lush and verdant greens (more on Malagos Garden Resort on my next post at #AirAsiainDavao: Up Close with Nature at Malagos Garden Resort). Higher up the resort, the source of Malagos Chocolates' indulgence is a short trek away with its abundant farms of single origin cacao trees. Malagos Chocolate takes pride with its tree-to-bar experience, earning it the distinct reputation as one of the Best 50 in the World.


At Malagos Garden Resort's Koi Cafe, preparations were made for AirAsia's In-Flight Catalog launch as Chef JP Anglo set-up his station for the evening's feast featuring his special dish. I've been impressed with AirAsia's Santan In-Flight Meals since I first tasted the savory offerings last year, and Chef JP's new dish is a welcome addition (for more on AirAsia's Santan In-Flight Meals, see my earlier post, Enhancing The On-Board Experience with AirAsia's Santan Food Festival and Celebrating Asian Flavors with AirAsia's Santan Food Festival on my other food blog).In-flight meals are mostly hit or miss, but AirAsia's Santan In-Flight Meals always hits the spot. Reflecting the vibrant flavors of the region, AirAsia's Santan In-Flight Meals deliver fresh and authentic flavors. Now, locals can enjoy homegrown flavors with Chef JP's Roasted Dalandan Chicken with Pimiento Sauce infused with Malagos Chocolate.


At the launch, guests from media as well as bloggers from Manila, Cebu, Davao, and Malaysia were treated to a sumptuous feast, including a special sampling preview of Chef JP's Roasted Dalandan Chicken with Pimiento Sauce. Chef JP is known for his modern and inventive take on local regional cuisine, making him the perfect choice for AirAsia's newest Santan In-Flight meal offering.


Freshly grilled, the juicy is chicken dish is finally served. It's innovations like these that differentiate AirAsia from other low-cost carriers. It's no surprise then that AirAsia has been consistently honored as the World's Best Low-Cost Carrier by Skytrax for nine consecutive years. "I am incredibly happy and excited to share my first dish especially made for an airline and I love it that AirAsia is literally taking Filipino home grown products and talents to greater heights," shared Chef JP Anglo.


Chef JP Anglo masterfully weaves complex and contrasting flavors in a seamless blend, with the delicate juicy and smoky notes of the grilled chicken complemented by the sweet and tart citrus hints of local dalandan and sharp flavors of pimiento followed by the nutty chocolate adding depth to the dish. The different layers of flavors are distinct yet subtle without overpowering the other for a delicate balance. 


The new dish is a celebration of local regional flavors, and flyers can now savor Chef JP's Roasted Dalandan Chicken with Pimiento Sauce on all AirAsia domestic and international flights in the Philippines with the Z2 flight code. Travelers are encouraged to pre-book their meals and save up to 20% as compared to purchasing their meals on-board, with a guarantee that their preferred meals are available during their flights. Guests who have booked their flights without meals can easily add them in via the "Manage My Booking" option after logging in to www.airasia.com. It's another flavorful component in a continuous chain of memorable moments for that AirAsia experience.


AirAsia Philippines' top management led by Chairperson Marianne Hontiveros and CEO Captain Dexter Comendador, Chef JP Anglo and members of the Puentespina clan of Malagos Chocolate celebrated the unique collaboration adding a festive note to the evening's lavish feast.


In addition to Chef JP Anglo's new dish, AirAsia's new In-Flight Catalog will also feature selected all-natural food products and hand-woven items curated by the AirAsia Foundation such as local artisan tea from Tsaa Laya...


...intricate hand-made fashion jewelry accessories from Olivia & Diego Upcycled Jewelry...


...and exquisite hand-woven fabrics from Anthill Fabric Gallery. Shopping and dining at a cruising altitude high above the clouds just got a whole lot better.


The new offerings are consistent and strategically aligned with the brand and their signature service culture. "AirAsia is a sociable and innovative brand, we take pride in our collaborative nature. There is so much talent and unique products in the Philippines especially in Davao that deserve the world's attention and it brings us so much pride that we are with Chef JP Anglo, Malagos Chocolate, and social entrepreneurs who all value a strong, innovative service culture--which is also the hallmark of AirAsia's brand of service," explained AirAsia Philippines CEO Captain Dexter Comendador. "We value customer service at all points of the journey--from the purchase of the ticket to leaving the airport, on board, and onto the destination. This latest enhancement in our in-flight menu makes flying with us also a delightful dining experience," added Captain Rex Comendador. It's this continuous chain of memorable moments that make flying with AirAsia different and special. And now, even tastier too.  


Early the next day, AirAsia toured the group to experience Davao Oriental starting with an early brunch at Punong's, a scenic outdoor restaurant built on stilts above a fishpond. Specializing in local cuisine and the day's freshest catch, Punong's is a perfect stop for travelers to savor homegrown flavors (more on Punong's on my food blog at Flavors of Davao: Brunch with a View at Punong's).


After a satisfying brunch by the fishpond at Punong's, we set out on a long four-hour drive to Davao Oriental. The long drive from Davao City to Mati can be quite liberating, without the usual traffic from the metro. 


Then, we begin chasing wonders in Davao Oriental on our first stop, Mount Hamiguitan Natural Science Museum. A World Heritage Park, Mount Hamiguitan Natural Science Museum showcases the rich bio-diversity of Davao with interactive exhibits inside a gleaming white and modern structure situated at the peak of Mount Hamiguitan (more on Mount Hamiguitan on my next post, #AirAsiainDavao: One with Nature at Mount Hamiguitan World Heritage Park).


The road trip then leads us to one of many scenic stopovers along the route. The popular Sleeping Dinosaur, with its gently sloping contour resembling a slumbering giant, is definitely worthy of an Instagram and Facebook post. With a high vantage point overlooking Pujada Bay at Badas Point, the reason for the descriptive name becomes immediately apparent.


Take a closer look and you'll see the snoozing dinosaur laying flat on its belly. See it?


If you're traveling to Mati, make sure to include a stop at Sleeping Dinosaur. And time your stop late in the morning or early afternoon to enjoy the formation in the best light.


Finally, we arrived at Mati's famed beaches with its white and powdery soft sand and gentle surf. The beaches at Dahican are also a popular spot for surfing and skimboarding, with many locals regional and even national champs in surfing and skimboarding competitions.


With the sun fading fast, we settle in to our beachfront cottages and recharge for the day ahead.


The surf's up at Dahican early, and locals take advantage of the waves.


Young skimboarders wait for the right wave, and race toward it head-on for that thrilling ride. Just watching these kids riding the crest of the crashing waves is an experience in itself.


The local champ then appears showing his winning moves. Summer's here, and Dahican's definitely the place to be in Davao Oriental (more on skimboarding in Dahican on my post, #AirAsiainDavao: Surf's Up in Dahican).


It's been an amazing adventure of chasing wonders and experiencing Davao with a fresh new perspective, and the flight back home to Manila capped another memorable experience with AirAsia.


The warm and friendly smiles of the countless faces of AirAsia linger long after the trip as you plan your next adventure with the World's Best Low-Cost Carrier. Let AirAsia take you there...

For more on AirAsia Philippines, visit their FB Page at https://www.facebook.com/airasiaph/

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