Issue of January 12, 2020
Mt. Province
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The multi-talented Chino
Stella Maria L. de Guia
Chino is a young Chinese painting and wet and dry media visual artist, graphic and digital designer, disk jockey, emcee, cook, adventurer, photographer, and an amateur calligraphist. He is at present the Corporate Communications Officer of Hotel Supreme and a disk jockey at K-Lite. He finished Information Technology. I first met him when he and his late father Norman Chow did their first exhibit at the Baguio Museum entitled “BiYao” in 2017. I was fascinated by this young man’s prowess, who also did his own emceeing. His father Norman, demonstrated Chinese calligraphy. Impressive.

With his late father Norman Chow, one of the original members of Tahong Bundok demonstrating Chinese painting and calligraphy.

His full name is Chino Severo Chow. Named after the famous Don Chino Roces of the Manila Times. This was when his parents were staying near the Manila Times in Manila. In fact his siblings were all named after famous personalities. Eldest sister Agatha was named after Agatha Christie and middle sister Cezanne was named after the French Artist Paul Cezanne.

He recalls that he even got a birthday gift from Babeth Lolarga, sometime in 2012. It was a bio-graphy book of Don Chino Roces authored and signed by another famous author, Ambeth Ocampo.

Chino’s favorite Chinese painting “Bloodmoon”

“I learned Chinese painting from my father, Norman Chow. He is also an artist. One of the pioneers of Tahong Bundok, a local art group in the early `80s, “says Chino. “I’m a huge fan of Oriental art, much like watercolor, it involves meticulous strokes. Each stroke is important for all of the details. I also love working with ink, especially black and white. I never had formal studies about it. I learned from seeing and watching and then I practiced.”

He comes from three generations of Chinese painters. His dad had mentioned that his grandfatherChiu Yu Tong, they call him Joe Chow at the Dainty Restaurant, actually took a short formal art course in China before he left for the Philippines.

Chino with Hotel Supreme owner and manager Peter Ng, who is also a board of trustee of the Baguio Museum.

Chino uses Chinese ink called “mao”. Its dry ink that one mixes with water, then rub in a stone.

His favorite Chinese painting called the “Bloodmoon” was inspired by Mt. Kalugong. “It’s my Oriental painting interpretation of Mt. Kalugong. It is as if I am flying over it and painting it. When we do painting, we imagine that we’re somewhere infront of it and painting it.”

With friends from K-Lite. (from left to right) Karla O’Hara, Ms. Baguio 2018, David Riley, Fiona, Chino, and Hillary. -- Shemen Padua

When asked how this young artist got into disk jockeying, Chino said he simply auditioned when he heard about it in 2010. Gifted with a glib tongue, Chino got into the world of radio with the name “Parker” with flying colors. When you open your 96.7 K-Lite FM radio, you might just be listening to him.

Discovering halal food at Qilla
Nonette Bennett
There’s a halal restaurant in town that’s turning one-year-old, Qilla.

Located along Rimando Road in Baguio, this restaurant enjoys a flow of out-of-town customers who have heard of it from other people who have posted positive reviews about the food. Halal means permissible meat that is written in the Qur’an which prescribes the manner by which poultry and animals are slaughtered. It means that the “tasmiya” or “shahada” is recited before the live and healthy animal is slaughtered by a razor - sharp blade for the least pain or suffering. Blood must be drained from the animal. Swine flesh is not allowed in this kind of food.

Lamb qorma is lamb cubes stewed in cashew and almond cream with yogurt garnished with almond slices and ginger slivers.

My choices were the popular halal food – cheese samosa, seekh kebab and lamb qorma. Qilla’s Pakistani owner, James Qazi, explained that the authentic spices that they use make the food truly savory. In the menu, all the herbs and spices used in the preparation of the food are listed such as turmeric, cinnamon, cloves, black pepper, ginger, garlic, coriander seeds, green cardamom, star anise, onion seed – kalonji, green and red chili, fenugreek seeds, nutmeg, dried lemon, mint leaves, coriander leaves, fennel seeds, black cardamom, cumin seeds – zeera, bay leaf, carom seeds – ajwain, and onion.

The blend of these spices holds the secret of cooking halal food that is delicious, he says.

James and Liza Nympha Qazi personally serve their customers the certified halal food at Qilla Restaurant at SJJ building along Rimando Road.

Cheese samosa at Qilla is an Indian – Pakistani fried pastry stuffed with cheese and some vegetables. As a starter, the creamy cheesy filling is unlike other samosas I have tried. The pastry is crusty and the soft texture of the filling makes it an excellent appetizer because it is not salty. The sweet- sour dip is an excellent partner to this starter dish that comes solo. The Seekh kabab comes with rice or chappati. It is made from minced beef with spices and grilled on skewers. A fair warning to those who will try it is that it is spicy and aromatic. One would guess that it has a healthy dose of black pepper, garlic, onions, bay leaf, and cumin. It comes in a pair of four - inch rolls with two slices of tomato. The tomatoes will definitely tone down the spices of the kebab. The chapatti just like rice gives the needed carbo pair like Asian diets. It is juicy and tender, while other kebabs can be a little denser and drier. As James explained, the sauces that accompany most of the dishes are extra special. This dish has a green dip with herbs and yogurt that blend excellently with the spiciness of the meat. The lassi, yogurt drink is perfect to balance all the flavors one savors.

I fell in love with the lamb qorma. According to James, the lamb is stewed in cream of cashew, cream of almond and yogurt. One can taste the cashew and almond in the gravy that accompanies the tenderest lamb chunks. This dish is perfectly salted and spiced. It is not spicy but it is creamy.

Cheese samosa is a good appetizer with its creamy cheese and vegetable filling in a crusty shell.

There is a whole menu to discover but it seemed like the lamb, chicken, and beef biryani were among the most po-pularly ordered food. This has long grained rice called basmati with exotic spices and layered with the preferred meat and cooked with a thick gravy.

The best part of Qilla is seeing James and his curled moustache that is a symbol of nobility in Pakis-tani culture. He is most entertaining and hospitable because he personally attends to the customers. Married to a Bontoc native, Liza Nympha, for more than 30 years, the few words in Filipino interspersed in his heavy Indian accented English add to the Qilla experience. Qilla means castle.

Seekh kebab is made of spicy minced beef that is skewered and served with rice or chappati and dipped in a mint sauce.

Qilla will soon move to Outlook Drive he says because business has been very brisk with out-of-town visitors who have sampled the food and are returning or like me, cur-ious about this other kind of cuisine.

Call or text James for reservations at 09155082760 or 09472737373 or you may have to wait your turn for 30 or so minutes. He closes at 10 p.m. or before that when the food runs out and opens at 10 a.m. He serves no alcohol.

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