22 Jul2014


Things have been a bit slow on the blog over the past two weeks… if you only knew why… :) The management team and I have lost so much hair in the past few weeks I haven’t needed to get a haircut. Opening a new restaurant branch in Cebu/the Philippines (and probably elsewhere) is like a human giving birth to an elephant. We are several weeks behind schedule and rushing to open (soon) so that we will be able to serve participants and their friends to the annual Ironman Race in Cebu scheduled for August 3, 2014.


I could write a book about the experience (for the 6th or 7th time) but it would be too painful to recount. Suffice it to say you have to deal with things that could try the patience of even the calmest person on earth. Up top, one section of the dining room, some 3 months ago, just as we were bringing down walls, tiles, etc. The second photo is a couple of days ago…


…then yesterday or so. A clearer view of the new Zubudagat experimental “kinilaw” bar.


The “before” view of the bathroom…

marina mall wash area[1]

…and after (two wash sinks outside the bathroom which is handicapped compliant).


Before, in one corner of the dark bar that existed before we took the space…


After, we opened up the solid walls, added lots of glass to let the light in, and put in our service area in front of the kitchen…

marina mall dining[5]

…and lights in and being tested.


And today, the crew just fired up an indoor charcoal grill and it seems to be working. This means we are closer to a soft opening at the Marina Mall in Mactan (just two minutes from the airport and along the main route of the Ironman race) in a few days or so. Keep your fingers crossed that everything else falls into place soon. :)

Some photos in this post taken by RF, along with those by MM.



  1. greens_blossoms says:

    Fingers and toes crossed that all will work out well….Congratulations!!!

    Jul 22, 2014 | 10:42 pm


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  3. Natie says:

    By the looks of it, you are right right on track! Much prayers going your way, and also to the new crew!!

    Jul 22, 2014 | 11:04 pm

  4. Mart says:

    The place looks great! Congrats on finishing up the construction project and good luck with the openings!

    Jul 22, 2014 | 11:43 pm

  5. marilen says:

    Hope elephant’s delivery has been successful – I love ‘zubudagat’.

    Jul 22, 2014 | 11:50 pm

  6. Betchay says:

    Wow! Looks like an episode of Restaurant Makeover. Very nice interior! Congratulations!

    Jul 23, 2014 | 1:31 am

  7. La Emperor says:

    Looks fantastic. Love the high ceiling ! Another hit in the making, MM.

    Jul 23, 2014 | 1:37 am

  8. Thel from Florida says:

    I am praying for your continued success! God bless always and forever :)

    Ah construction. When we custom built our home Mar-Dec 2009, my husband and I almost went crazy dealing with contractors, so we said never again.

    Jul 23, 2014 | 3:02 am

  9. amy says:

    It looks really nice, worth all the aggravations, whatever they were :) Congratulations! Another place to go to and more good food for people who love to eat!

    Jul 23, 2014 | 5:39 am

  10. millet says:

    coolest! i always say our government makes it so hard to be a good citizen hereabouts, with a length of red tape that could take you all the way to the moon and back. but this looks so nice…can hardly wait to see it.

    Jul 23, 2014 | 7:28 am

  11. khrishyne says:

    marina mall!zubudagat!are you gonna let go of the island branch?

    Jul 23, 2014 | 8:04 am

  12. Ros-Anna says:

    Nice clean lines with that big punch of red!

    Congratulations and All the Best with this new feat!

    Jul 23, 2014 | 9:04 am

  13. Footloose says:

    @Millet… i always say our government makes it so hard to be a good citizen hereabouts…

    Just consider the obstacles they make overseas workers jump through that cause forced hardship to our biggest earners of foreign exchange. It is unconscionable and malicious.

    Jul 23, 2014 | 9:06 am

  14. ami says:

    MM, try watching Flipping Vegas on either the History or Bio channels and take refuge in the knowledge that the same delays, issues and headaches happens even in the US.

    Jul 23, 2014 | 10:01 am

  15. linda says:

    Wishing you all the success that you so deserve! What a smart looking shop you got there,MM!

    Jul 23, 2014 | 10:14 am

  16. Junb says:

    nice interior!!! I’m sure it will be another success :)

    Jul 23, 2014 | 10:52 am

  17. dianne says:

    everything looks great! good luck on your newest baby (elephant) ;)

    Jul 23, 2014 | 11:42 am

  18. Cheryl says:

    congrats MM and God bless u more!

    Jul 23, 2014 | 12:50 pm

  19. Ed B. says:

    Awesome! Congrats on the new branch! :D

    Jul 23, 2014 | 1:06 pm

  20. Bubut says:

    I miss your post – glad you are back- congrats !

    Jul 23, 2014 | 1:32 pm

  21. manny says:

    It’s getting closer to manila!!!

    Jul 23, 2014 | 3:06 pm

  22. Cwid says:

    Looks very promising. I am looking forward to the opening. Great looking interior! Awesome food I am sure.

    Jul 23, 2014 | 3:24 pm

  23. chichay says:

    A lot of demolition have been made there. :) I hope I can visit one of your outlets in Cebu!

    Jul 23, 2014 | 4:24 pm

  24. gigi says:

    congratulations. hope to visit the place when you open next week. Tri-athletes will arrive starting July 28th. :)

    Jul 23, 2014 | 4:52 pm

  25. Chinky says:

    Wishing you and your crew more success! I’m pretty sure all will work out well!

    Jul 23, 2014 | 6:34 pm

  26. Marketman says:

    HI Everyone, thanks so much for your kind wishes. Knee deep in it now, but we should hopefully be ready in a couple of days or so, if, as some have pointed out, the red tape is cleared… we are technically in an Export Processing Zone, so the requirements are even more stringent than usual (like having bars beside your urinal and toilet, in a bathroom which has to be big enough for a wheelchair to maneuver in), and exit signs (utterly hideous) above your glass EXIT doors, and a myriad of things like that…even though for some reason many of our neighbors don’t seem to have a lot of these things… But we are working hard to comply with it all… and final recipe testing/practice is going on… :)

    Jul 23, 2014 | 11:23 pm

  27. GT says:

    Congratulations, time for another vacation!!!

    Jul 24, 2014 | 9:43 am

  28. Gej says:

    Congratulations MM and Zubuchon!

    That idea of a book on opening a resto promises to be a fun read!

    Jul 24, 2014 | 10:11 am

  29. Loney Kitchen says:

    Sending the best of wishes, MM.

    Jul 24, 2014 | 10:17 am

  30. peterb says:

    Looking good MM! Congratulations!

    Jul 24, 2014 | 12:11 pm

  31. CHARM says:

    hope you will open a resto in Manila.. :( last time was in Cebu airport, there’s no avail lechon for takeout.. :(

    Jul 24, 2014 | 5:22 pm

  32. moni says:

    All the best in your new undertaking MM. I will now schedule my MNL-CEB flights to later in the morning so I can stop in Zubudagat before taking the fastcraft home.

    Jul 24, 2014 | 6:27 pm

  33. borckx says:

    I’ve passed by the area just yesterday and it looks great! A far cry from the establishments in the area. Good luck!

    Jul 24, 2014 | 11:18 pm

  34. florisa says:

    congrats MM.

    Jul 25, 2014 | 1:33 am

  35. joey @ 80 breakfasts says:

    All finger crossed for you MM!! Gosh…so envious of Cebu right now!

    Jul 25, 2014 | 12:10 pm

  36. MP says:

    Congratulations! Can’t wait for a branch in Manila to open!

    Jul 26, 2014 | 10:36 am

  37. rt gonzales says:

    Well done MM!!!

    Jul 26, 2014 | 4:19 pm

  38. Kasseopeia says:

    This is Restaurant Makeover material. So glad the resto will be operational when I visit… More branches to visit = more fun!

    Jul 29, 2014 | 2:30 pm

  39. Guia says:

    Congratulations, MM! God bless and all the best to you, family & crew!

    Jul 30, 2014 | 2:12 am

  40. chewwy says:

    Congrats MM! Can i ask if you designed the interiors of the restaurant? it looks great!

    Jul 30, 2014 | 3:39 pm

  41. Marketman says:

    Maya Franco did the architectural and overall design scheme, we stuck to the Zubu color palette of red/white/stainless steel and grey/black, we (Managers and I) picked the chairs, tables, lighting, etc. :)

    Jul 30, 2014 | 4:28 pm

  42. Lynne says:

    Congratulations ! I had been following you since 2005. I had seen you 2x in Makati. I dont know you personally but reading your blogs is like knowing you vicariously. How I wish you can have a branch here in Manila.

    Aug 11, 2014 | 8:48 am


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