Sunday, August 9, 2015

Tagcrawl: an exploration of Simple Lang, Plaza Cafe and M Cafe on July 24, 2015

The TAG Network is a multi-faceted online electronic platform that offers a variety of services. These range from an electronic currency and cryptocurrency payment system known as Tagcash up to a loyalty rewards program known as Tagrewards. Their system is pretty eclectic. They even have diversified their services to include a listing service for job postings known as Tagworker and for Lost and Found items known as TagaFind. 

In order to show members of the electronic media the capabilities of the Tag system, select bloggers and other attendees were invited to attend the first ever Tagcrawl, last July 25, 2015. The contingent got to experience the usefulness of the Tag77 System, a social event management platform and community dedicated to streamlining the experience of setting up events and handling all other matters associated to it. This includes the creation of a confirmation setup wherein the attendees can formalize their desire to join the events. This system can also help provide revenue for paid ones through an online ticketing system. The program also boasts of a social community setup that aims to create a loyal band of people who are dedicated to using the website to organize events. The application of this setup was through the use of RFID Bands wherein a user's data was embedded. these bands were subjected to scanners provided by the Tag system during the event proper.

The event was hosted by the lovely Ms. Kris Baron and the members of the Tag network team. The itinerary for the day was an exploration and food tasting of three prominent dining places in Makati offering sumptuous dishes. These establishments are Simple Lang, located at the Ayala Triangle Gardens, the Plaza Cafe which is right in front of AIM , and the Museum Cafe, situated in the Ayala Museum Building. The rate was at 250 pesos for paid attendees while bloggers came in for free. The rate gave so much value for money due to the fact that the restaurants offered these meals at a premium. The bottom line is that the rates were discounted for us. 

The restaurants were assigned to serve us different dishes corresponding to the stages of a meal. In Simple Lang, we had the viand. The restaurant, for starters, offers Filipino food with a twist, aka fusion cuisine. It had an airy interior with bright colored furniture. The layout was more reminiscent of a nouveau riche establishment rather than a traditional Filipino restaurant, but the meal never disappointed me in any way. The food consisted of Rellenong Bangus with rice complete with Sinigang Bagnet with Watermelon. I can gladly say that the meal didn't disappoint. The Bangus was pretty fresh and the inclusion of tomato and onion garnish enhanced the flavor. The Bagnet Sinigang, on the other hand, consisted of a righteous mix of fat and sweetness reminiscent of Filipino fusion cuisine. The inclusion of watermelon into the dish was an unexpected twist. Apart from coloring the soup, the fruit came as a reminder to not be overindulgent with the pork fat and remember the health benefits of fruit. That is a pretty lame excuse, though, for the fact that the soup is still an innovative recipe that is rarely tried and tested in Filipino cuisine.

Our second tour consisted of a 15 minute walk to Plaza Cafe, a hole-in-the-wall chic coffeehouse located in front of the AIM Building. For this segment, we had a taste of the cafe's drinks and trademark cookies. The cookies were huge to begin with, and were generously laden with chocolate chips of M&M's. The dough was pretty juicy and tasty. Overall, the dessert was truly a diabetes powerhouse boasting of a rich helping of premium ingredients and expert baking. The experience wasn't complete without the choice of drink from the menu. That choice alone was enough to exceed the 250 entrance fee. I had the classic American root beer float as a testament to my undying devotion to the A&W spirit. After a few sips, I realized that the Plaza cafe version was at par, if not superior to the classic A&W brand. Well the one I tasted at the cafe was pretty superior due to the generous helping of ice cream and the fizz made by the beer. 

The last leg was a helping of cocktails, beer, and chicken wings in the posh Museum cafe located beside the entrance of the Ayala Museum. The interiors were quaint and well-lit. To cap off the night, we each had an order of the bistro's signature cocktails mixed with a variety of Eastern and Western ingredients. I, for one, had Sake mixed with Dalandan juice topped of with red berries and blue berries. The taste was vibrant and tangy. The ingredients were truly evident of a high premium drink. It wasn't enough to make me drunk; so I complemented the order with 2 bottles of San Miguel Premium, another high quality alcoholic beverage. The additional kick did help me enjoy the spiciness of the chicken wings as a form of pulutan. In sum, the mix of alcoholic drinks and spice brought me to very comfortable level enough to help me enjoy the interaction with other bloggers.

I'd say that the event was a total success. Kudos to the Tag Network Team for organizing a successful food crawl that spanned a variety of diverse establishments along Ayala Avenue. I'll be looking forward to the next one.

The story in pictures:

The entire Tag network - note the variety of services offered by Tag

The importance of cashless transactions in today's world and the virtual community

The event poster

Tagcash shirts, Tag electronic wristbands, and Tag pins given before the event. 

The quaint Simple Lang Cafe located at the Ayala Triangle Gardens

A 3 pm lunch at the venue

The second stop of the trip - the semi-clandestine Plaza Cafe

The participants contemplating what to order

a chalk mural on the wall of the Plaza Cafe

The logo

The participants anticipating the orders

Plaza Cafe's delectable choco chip cookies and M&M cookies

The Tag Network team orienting us on the Tag Network

Ms. Kris demonstrating the Tagcash system

Bloggers discussing while waiting for food at the Museum cafe


Some of the drinks in Museum cafe - the coffee liquor garnished in pandan leaves and the mojito

The Sinigang in Simple Lang - note the use of authentic bagnet and fresh watermelon

The viand in Simple Lang - Rellenong Bangus with plain rice 

some of the attendees

An explanation of the Tag system

some of the attendees posing for the camera

a 15 minute walk from Simple Lang to Plaza Cafe - we passed through the Makati Stock Exchange

The attendees focused on listening to the Tag demonstration

Spicy Chicken wings courtesy of Museum Cafe

The vibrant atmosphere of Museum Cafe

note the art deco interior of the Plaza Cafe

another 15 minute walk from Plaza Cafe to the Museum Cafe

The bloggers posing with their Tagcash shirts

Plaza Cafe's full bodied cofee with matching froth

The attendees trying out the sumptuous dishes in Simple Lang

A welcome remark at the Museum Cafe

a lively atmosphere with a lot of chatter at the Plaza Cafe

Beer, cocktails, and wine night at Museum cafe


A day of fun and laughter

An orientation of the Tag virtual site in Museum cafe

The last leg of the journey at Museum Cafe

The AIM, right in front of Plaza Cafe

Another picture of the walk to Plaza Cafe

a bunch of happy campers

The bright interiors of Simple Lang

The classic American root beer and cookies at Plaza Cafe

Spicy chicken wings with cool cocktails at Museum Cafe

The new san Miguel Premium with the Berry Cocktail I ordered

bundles of chocolate chip cookies

Ms. Kris Baron with an attendee

The sumptuous berry cocktail

The bloggers and attendees enjoying their cookies

The Simple Lang meal package

A variety of cocktails from Museum Cafe

The Tag pin

the candlelit ambiance at the Museum Cafe

Special Thanks to:
Ms. Kris Baron of Tag network for the invite
Ms. Janice Quinn, Mr. Enrico Cruz, Ms. Maribeth Brown, and the entire Tag network team for the pictures

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