• SUSAN AND FLORENCE HASSIG AND THEIR ANTIPOLO

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    In 1984, Susan and Tony Hassig decided to settle in Manila after spending a few years in Switzerland. Tony, a Swiss national, thought of sharing the tradition of fine Swiss cuisine with Filipinos and opened Vieux Chalet Restaurant in Taktak Road, Antipolo City.

    Antipolo’s hilly terrain and scenic view of the metropolis made it a perfect location for the Swiss restaurant, which offers an alternative lifestyle with a relaxed atmosphere using homemade and homegrown ingredients long before it became fashionable to go organic. Susan and her husband developed recipes that sent foodies flocking to the resto, and in time, it became known as The Restaurant in Antipolo.

    Today, Susan – who has since been widowed – oversees the restaurant with the help of her children Florence, Katharine, and Oliver, who are all committed to continuing the legacy their father began. Florence now manages the restaurant, which has since opened Saint Moritz Cottage, a quaint bed and breakfast space adjacent to Vieux Chalet Restaurant.

    She is an active member of the community as a member of the Board of Directors of the Antipolo Chamber of Commerce, the Antipolo Tourism Council, and the Resort Owners Association of Rizal. During her free time, Susan volunteers as a cook at a Meditation Center, painting with some members of the Antipolo Thursday Group, visiting children at Mother Teresa’s Shelter, and promoting Blue Collar Magazine to help young skilled workers and professionals in values formation for their work and their life.

    Here, they take us around their Antipolo, their SM.

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    Susan and daughter Florence at Vieux Chalet Restaurant. 

    “ I like Antipolo City because of its location, climate, greeneries, and friendly people. Here is where I found the opportunity to do the things I wanted to do, both for my living and personal pleasures. Enjoyed a life dreamed of by many.

    All my children loved growing up here, and they wouldn’t exchange it for any other place – they could safely play in the outdoors, everyone knew everyone. The serenity, the cool climate, clean air, make the place so conducive to one’s creative development.”

    Florence, who now manages the restaurant started by her late father, plays an active role in the community through her group Duyang Luntian, a group she founded with friends to raise environmental awareness and celebrate the environment through art and food.

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    Vieux with Florence and Susan, cheese fondue, lemon grass

    “There is nothing like living in Antipolo. Making a living from what you enjoy doing most, what more could anyone ask for? Enjoying a peaceful life up here on the hills of Antipolo is passed on to our restaurant guests who often ask themselves, ‘Why even if we can get the same food from any 5 star hotel, we still prefer to brave the odds and come here to your place?’”

    Vieux Chalet uses only the best and freshest natural ingredients to bring you a piece of Europe in the Philippines. The Cheese Fondue uses original Swiss cheese, but Vieux Chalet’s secret comes with toasted homemade five- grain bread, broccoli, cauliflower, and a fruit and nut platter. They make the food as creative as possible and use as much local ingredients when they can – the ice cream is made from cow’s milk, the most popular drink, Lemon Grass, uses lemon grass they grow in their backyard.

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    Antipolo Cathedral and Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage

    “Antipolo is special because it has been blessed to have the Shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage, which for more than a century, has been attracting pilgrims from all over the country, promoting faith and hope to travelers. The place also promotes simplicity of life, giving importance to the unity of family above all.”

    Antipolo is known to be the home of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage. History says that this miraculous icon has sailed back and forth between Manila and Acapulgo eight times, and on several occasions, was credited with saving her galleon from destruction by pirates, as well as Dutch and British blockades. It was on November 26, 1626 that the Archbishop of Manila Michael O’Doherty canonized the Blessed Virgin of Antipolo. During the month of May, thousands of devotees especially those intending to travel abroad come to pay homage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage.

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    Susan in Pinto Art Gallery

    “If I would take guests around Antipolo, I would take them to the Pinto Art Gallery.

    The Pinto Art Gallery is a contemporary art space, which stands at the entrance of the hectare wide Silangan Gardens, the weekend retreat of neurologist and art patron Dr. Joven Cuanang, which he started building and developing in the late 1970s. Pinto Art Gallery covers a complex of art spaces, including buildings of the Silangan Gardens, and open grounds often used for the installation of artworks. The latest addition to the complex is the Pinto Art Museum, which opened in December last year. The architectural complex designed by artist Antonio Leano,is composed of interweaving exhibition spaces.

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    The Meralco Management and Leadership Development Center (MMLDC)

    “Another place that would be of interest to visitors would be the Meralco Management and Leadership Development Center with its very modern technology in business centers and an aviary which showcases the owner’s love of birds.”

    The Meralco Management and Leadership Development Center (MMLDC) is an educational foundation that specialized in providing training solutions with a total learning ambiance. It is a unique and complete team building facility including a Rainforest and a Paintball area. The center also features a pavilion with an adjacent swimming pool, a grotto with an image of the Virgin of Antipolo, a chapel, a lounge, a clinic, and a gym. It also has an aviary of rare and exotic birds like the Hyacinth Macau.

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    Saint Moritz

    “One of Antipolo’s well kept secrets? We have three bed and breakfast rooms overlooking Metro Manila and a Jacuzzi and sauna place beside the restaurant called St. Moritz Cottages.’

    Florence is photographed beside the façade of St. Moritz Cottages. Guests say it gives them a feeling they are in Europe except the mountains do not have snow.

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    SM City Masinag

    “We are happy to have a new SM Mall so much closer to home. That’s because as the jingle says, SM has it all. Never fails me when I am desperate in finding a gift for everyone, young or old.”

    The newly opened SM City Masinag in Antipolo’s Central Business District is bringing the SM shopping, dining, and entertainment experience closer to home.

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    Susan at supermarket with her grandchildren

    “The whole family can enjoy a day outing just being at SM. It is conveniently located, has reasonable prices, and ample parking spaces.”

    Susan with grandchildren Autumn and Agila at SM Supermarket.