The Restaurant                          

About us image
HAMA Japanese Cuisine is located at the plaza of D’Mall, the central hub of commercial activity between Stations 1 and 2 of Boracay’s famed White Beach. It opened its doors on December of 2007. Simple yet modern, its design evokes the simplicity and natural beauty of Japanese style with natural textured walls, a river stone clad wall and a bar with a Japanese-themed roof.

With its vibrant, comfortable ambiance and authentically modern Japanese design, this restaurant has indoor and al fresco dining areas, an open style kitchen with a yakitori grill behind its glass panes and a sushi bar with the freshest sushi and sashimi on display.

  The People behind it          

Juan Elizalde

Juan has been going to the island of Boracay since he was 8 years old, first stepping on its pristine white sand the year 1978, back when there was absolutely nothing else there but the sea, the shore and a tiny fishing village.

“We used to sit on the beach at night and build bonfires. There was no electricity that time—if you can imagine it, Boracay was still untouched by modernization. It was just us and the townsfolk with the wind, the waves and the sand. I remember just sitting out there and someone, a local, would pick up a guitar and just strum it. Those are my fondest memories of Boracay,” says Juan.

In the 80s, his father ventured into the resort business by putting up the (now defunct) Palm Beach Resort. By 1988, Juan started learning the ropes by helping his father.  Around 1998, their family opened “D’Mall,” which was a huge success and expanded by 2003. It was the year Juan found available space and decided to enter the food industry by opening his first restaurant, Aria Cucina Italiana.

A few years later D’Mall expanded and another space became available, so Juan and his business partner, Paolo Occhionero decided to put up another restaurant, thus Hama was born.

Paolo Occhionero

Paolo, an Italian, first visited the Philippines in 1982.

 “I was taking a break from my studies and accompanied my friend to a travel agency. He was booking himself a flight to Lima. All of a sudden I saw this place called the Philippines and I asked the travel agent, "Where is that place?" To which she replied, "The Far East." Immediately, I said, "Book me there; I want to go as Far East as I can go."

Paolo was only supposed to stay in the Philippines for 2 months during his first trip, but instead, he ended up staying for 6 months.
In 1983 Paolo heard about the “paradise” island and first landed on the shores of Boracay. In 1985, he met Juan Elizalde and the two soon became good friends. By 1986, he built a “vacation” home on the island he had fallen in love with. In 1991 he built one of Boracay’s most famous and long running restaurants, True Food. In 1992 he ventured into the resort industry and started a boutique beach front resort called True Home.
In 2003, he partnered with Juan Elizalde for Aria Cucina Italiana.