Tag Archives: Best Entertainment Blog in the Philippines

What new generation writers can learn from Ricky Lee


To be a successful playwright, screenwriter, or writer for any medium, for that matter, patience is what you need besides writing skills. And that, according to multi-awarded screenwriter Ricardo “Ricky” Lee is more important than mastering your own craft. Continue reading

#JuanVibe is the new ‘Gimik ng Bayan’


The country’s leading messaging app, Viber, recently announced that it has hit a huge 21- million user threshold. And they are celebrating this milestone through a campaign that champions what Filipinos value the most – family, friendship and culture.

Viber Philippines officials with the members of technology and entertainment press

Dubbed as #JuanVibe, it’s a follow-up campaign to Viber’s #OneVibePH, where the company staged a massive music fest that gathered some of the biggest names on the local music scene. They also flew in international DJs to liven up the whole party. Viber practically invaded the live music circuit with concerts and parties that catered to young people.

This time, with the new campaign, Viber aims not only to further expand its presence in the country but to also have a deeper connection with all Viber app users.

Viber Philippines officials during the launch of #JuanVibe campaign Viber Country Manager for the Philippines Crystal Lee in a sit down interview with the media

 #JuanVibe is a touch base with app users allowing the company to have a deeper connection with them, encourage more people to use the app and ultimately engage them (Viber app users) in their numerous activities.

Crystal Lee, Viber country manager for the Philippines, believes that, for them to achieve this goal, it’s imperative to reach out to their target market. Starting this month until August, the Viber team will visit malls in Metro Manila before heading to other cities in the provinces. They will set up fiesta themed booths and conduct various activities under ‘Gimik ng Bayan’ campaign.

“The new campaign shows how Viber is part of daily Pinoy life and how we share this experience with them, whether on mobile or via Viber Desktop. It’s a call for everyone to bond and celebrate the most important things that make us Pinoy,” the Viber official said.

With a campaign that promotes national pride, Viber users are invited to join the #JuanVibe social media campaign by asking this question to their Viber Group: “Anong mahalaga sa ‘yo bilang Pilipino? (What’s important to you as Filipino?)” Viber users can post their chat screenshots via Twitter and tag @ViberPH with hashtag #JuanVibe.

JAIME DEMPSEY TAKES YOU ALONG FOR THE RIDE


If your idea of a travel show is a program that promotes fine luxury, fancy hotels, gourmet dishes and jet-setting from one location to another, then History Channel’s Ride N’ Seek is not the one you are looking for. Continue reading

The Katy Perry experience


It started with a “Roar” and ended with “Firework.” That’s how the Manila leg of Katy Perry’s Prismatic concert, which also marked the anniversary of her world tour, can be succinctly described. Continue reading

‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’…not a movie review


t06frs

Much has been written about the latest installment of the Avengers movie series. From the cutting-edge technology Marvel Studios employed to the high-octane action sequences that kept cinemagoers right on the edge of their seats, people just can’t get enough of this superhero action flick. Continue reading

You’re My Boss earns P200 million at local box office


The rom-com formula

A romantic comedy is light-hearted, humorous and most of the time centered on romantic ideals such as that true love is able to surmount most obstacles. And Antoinette Jadaone’s fifth directorial assignment stayed true to that principle. Continue reading

Siargao: Paradise down South


When our boat reached the islet called Naked Island I thought I was in paradise. The clear turquoise waters were so calm and inviting. A full 360-degree view gave nothing but a scene of the waters kissing the blue sky while clouds of every imaginable form floated aimlessly.

I jumped off the boat we were riding for 20 minutes and marveled at Mother Nature’s spectacular canvass. No photograph can give justice to this wonder, I silently told myself.

And because of its seclusion anyone can actually go skinny-dipping without being bothered by ogling onlookers. I wanted to swim without my clothes on but I was with people whom I have only met for the first time so totally dismissed the whole idea. Nonetheless, I took a dip in the waters as if my body was thirsty for it.

The author chose not to be naked on the naked island

True to its name, Naked Island is an isolated 200 meter-long sand bar accessible by boat from General Luna, a municipality that boasts 27 km coastline of powdery white sand. It’s a piece of heaven and anyone would not mind staying there to swim and frolic in the sand with all the privacy he can get. But actually, Naked Island is just one of the stunning and mesmerizing gems in Siargao. Move around the island and see how this charming place can literally tame your psyche.

Small island with big waves

In ocean topography, it says that an abrupt rise on the seafloor produces extremely large waves. This explains why the waves in Cloud 9, a surfing Shangri-La in the quaint municipality of General Luna in Siargao, are hailed among the toughest breaks in the world.

Surfing in Siargao

The east side of Siargao, where Cloud 9 lies, is precisely positioned 40 miles away from the Philippine Deep, the second deepest trench on earth. The waves break out of oceanic trench and focus the wave energy straight to the long and relatively straight coastline of the surfing ground. This unique location of Cloud 9 allows surfers to have long and perfect rides.

It was in the 1980s when the waves of Tuason Point (Cloud 9’s former name) were visited by surfers who were bound to a competition in Hawaii. According to Jaime Rusillon, the mayor of the fifth class municipality, these surfers visited the isolated and rugged part of the island. They asked permission if they could swim on the beach.

“They were carrying strange looking boards that according to them, will hone their muscles,” narrated the municipality official, “When they saw the waves they went directly to the beach and played with them. I thought these guys were crazy. They played with the waves that most people here were afraid of.”

Sugba-Lagoon-Del-Carmen-Siargao-Island-Surigao-del-Norte-Mindanao

The surfers were named Steve Jones and Tony Arroza, but Mayor Rusillion said that they were not the ones who really discovered the excellent waves in Siargao. There was this mysterious tourist by the name of Max Walker who settled in a solitary hut on the palm-fringed shores of Tuason Point in 1994. He didn’t do anything but to surf and rest in his small abode. He starved himself until he died on the 41st day of his fast.

When Max Walker died, the mayor discovered that the real name of the strange tourist was John Michael Boyum, who happened to be a trailblazer from California. Using the documents left in the small hut of Max Walker, the mayor tried his luck and used relevant information to locate the relatives of the surfer. He wrote a letter to them and received a response after four months.

“His younger brother came here the same way he did – he jumped off the jeepney barefooted and asked me if he could swim,” the mayor remembered, “ His brother was one of those who trailed his trek, and those who did reach Tuason Point spread the word about Siargao and its magnificent waves.”

Since then, Cloud 9 became a popular surfing hideaway among experienced surfers. Local and international competitions are held here from August to November every year when the winds are stronger and the waves are bigger.

Off to Siargao

Getting to Siargao is an adventure in itself. The trip is not for the fainthearted because one will experience a literal bumpy ride. Although the Department of Tourism is already eyeing a direct flight from Manila to Del Carmen (the lone airport on the island), for now, tourists would have to take an hour and a half plane ride from Manila to Surigao del Norte, then by a two-hour ferry ride from Surigao City Pier to Siargao’s main entry point, Dapa Municipality Pier.

From the jetty port, the traveler will experience another challenging one-hour rough ride going to Pilar and General Luna, where most accommodations can be found. But as most tourists and surfers who have been to the island say, all the hours travelling are worth it once you see the majestic scenery that the tear-shaped island can offer. Seeing a rainbow every now and then is just a bonus—passing and distant rains are notorious in the area.

Siargao is a tropical island in the Philippine Sea. It sits on the eastern tip of Surigao del Norte, making it one of two places in the Philippines to experience sunrise ahead of the other parts of the country (the other one is the Caraga Town in Davao.)

Due to the island’s location, the winds and currents coming from the Pacific Ocean continuously influence the rock formations on its coastline and on the surrounding coconut islets. Majority of the magnificent rock formations are located in Magpupungko, which is also a swimming den during low tide when the waters are washed out and several lagoons are revealed.

How to go to Siargao

Half a billion peso has been invested for road networks, port enhancement and the other tourism infrastructure for Siargao since it became a popular surfing destination. According to Tourism Department former Secretary Alberto Lim, Siargao is one of DoT’s top priorities along with the other tourist destinations in Central Philippines. The island remains unspoiled by commercialism thus it attracts weekend backpackers who want to escape the busy life in the city. Lim said the province attracts around 39,000 visitors a year.

General Luna Mayor Jaime Rusillon told the author that the municipality is planning to have a biodiversity park. Currently being lobbied to the national government, the park aims to highlight the island’s exuberant flora and fauna. Del Carmen itself is home to a dense mangrove forest reserve, which is the second largest in the country.

The big fish

Locals in Siargao are well aware of the importance of the mangrove trees that abound the whole island. They know for a fact that mangrove forests serve as breeding ground for fish and other marine life. Local government is keen on educating its people about the significance of these reserves to their livelihood.

Apart from farming, fishing is the main livelihood in Siargao thus big fish like Wahoo and Billfish are no stranger to its people.

Philippines as an internet nation


Empowering underserved Filipinos

Tech giant Intel partners with Department of Science and Technology-Information and Communication Technology Office (DOST-ICTO) in a nationwide multi-stakeholder digital literacy movement formed to make the entire Philippines digitally literate. Continue reading

The Gift of the 9th Spring Film Fest


For 9 consecutive years a mix of educational institutions and organizations like the Ateneo De manila University, Ricardo Leong Center for Chinese studies, the Cultural division of the People’s Republic of China, the Confucius Institute at the Ateneo De Manila, Ateneo Celadon and Shangri La Plaza have come together to hold the Spring Film festival. Continue reading

All roads lead to SINGKWENTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL


A total of 51 filmmakers and 53 films will be showcased in this year’s Singkuwento International Film Festival, which opened on February 21, 6pm, at the Tanghalang Leandro Locsin  of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, at the NCCA Building, 633 General Malvar Street Intramuros, Manila.
Three movies that tackle the harsh realities faced by impoverished Filipinos here and abroad, will open the week-long film derby on February 21.
They are, Roberto Reyes Ang’s “TNT” (Always on The Run), a short film that tells of the life of an illegal immigrant living in the United States.
TNT poster
Ang’s short film recently won the Best Ensemble award from the 2014 International Film Festival Manhattan in New York City.
Perry Escano’s “Ang Platinong Buhok,” a short docu-film about the late theater, TV and film actress Amable “Ama” Quiambao. The docu talks of the much missed Quiambao and her life  as mother, friend, teacher and actress.
Nash Ang’s “Paraiso,” a 60-minute documentary that follows the lives of child survivors and their remaining families one month after the tragedy of Super typhoon Yolanda. It reveals their struggles as they live on and rebuild their lives in what was once their “paraiso” or paradise.
These screenings will be followed by  Jun Lana’s award-winning drama “Barber’s Tales,” which features Eugene Domingo, Iza Calzado, Nonie Buencamino and Eddie Garcia.
The Singkuwento Film Festival, with screenings until February 28, started in 2013 as a non-competition festival that showcased short films by a small group of filmmakers.
This year, it will start its first competition that is open to the public. Fifteen short films will battle for awards for Best Short Film, Best Cultural Short Film and Best Documentary Short Film, among others.
The festival’s objective was to “give Filipinos both here and abroad a channel where they can share their impressions of the Philippines and its people,” said festival director Perry Escano.
Winners will be announced during the awards ceremony on February 28.
For his invaluable contributions to the movie industry, filmmaker Brillante Mendoza will be the recipient of this year’s Singkuwento International Lifetime Achievement Award.
Aside from the competing short films, the Singkuwento International fest will also exhibit 15 shorts and screen full-length films from directors Jason Paul Laxamana, Nick Olanka Olanka, Rica Arevalo, Ellen Ramos, Sarah Roxas,Diane Ventura, Sigrid Andrea Bernardo, Mes de Guzman Will Fredo, Francis Xavier Pasion, Benito Bautista, Peque Gallaga and Lore Reyes.
Films by young directors Kip Oebanda (“Tumbang Preso”) and Don Gerardo Frasco (“Waves”) will likewise have their first international film fest screenings during the Singkuwento fest. Screening schedules will be announced soon.
Concluding film of the Singkuwento Film Festival is Joselito Altarejos’ “Kasal” on February 28 at 6 p.m.
 The movie, a slice of life of a gay couple played by Arnold Reyes and Oliver Aquino, bagged the Best Film award (Directors’ Showcase) at the 2014 Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival.
After the screening, awarding of the Best Short Film, Best Cultural Short Film and Best Documentary Short Film happens at 8pm.
The weeklong event is in cooperation with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and MPJ Entertainment Productions. For tickets, visit ticketworld.com.ph.

Viva makes good music videos, too


VIVA Entertainment is known for producing commercially viable films, this time around, the entertainment company cooks up something to delight music consumers.

It may not be as big as ABS-CB’s Star Music, which has half-a-million YouTube subscribers, but Viva Music group’s YouTube Channel is showing a lot of potential. Of late, the channel has produced music videos that suit the taste of music aficionados especially those who prefer watching music rather than listening to them. Continue reading

The rise of terrible singers


SHE has already made millions as a celebrity endorser and television star and for starring in a string of box office movies, but Anne Curtis was not satisfied yet, she’s also conquered the music business—sort of.

In September 2011, the then 26-year-old Anne unveiled Annebisyosa, a record album that features six tracks all produced by Viva Records. The CD turned platinum the same year. Continue reading

Romantic-comedies dominate 2014 box office


LIGHT-hearted and humorous plotlines centered on true love with happy ending are the main themes of local films that dominated the box office in 2014.

Romantic comedies have a long history of doing well at the box office and this year is no exception. Out of 10 top-grossing films this year, eight movies were in the rom-com category.

Two of the films that made the elite list but did not follow the same theme were Star Cinema’s horror-comedy Da Possessed and horror-drama Maria Leonora Teresa. They raked in an estimated box office gross of P120 million and P72 million, respectively. Continue reading

Oscar-winner Hillary Swank stars in a moving drama


Classical pianist  Kate (Hilary Swank) is afflicted with ALS, better known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Her husband Evan (Josh Duhamel) tries to find someone to take care of his wife. Bec (Emmy Rossum) – a college student – applies for the job despite being unsuited for the position. Kate sees something special in Bec and wants to have her as her caregiver to help her with everyday things like taking a shower. Kate and Bec help each other to live their lives and find their way in the world.

Directed by theater veteran George C. Wolfe (Angels in America), the film explores how two strangers can bring out the best in each other even in the midst of trials and tribulations.

You’re Not You details how human emotions can play a big part is keeping the audience sit through the whole film. Swank, as expected, delivers an incredibly moving performance as she portrays a gravely ill woman. It takes an intelligent actor to essay such role without making it look rehearsed. Her subtle  yet highly effective acting glorifies people who have the same condition yet show positive outlook in life including making complex decisions on how they would like to live their remaining days.

As the whole story revolves on Kate’s worsening condition, it also segues into relationship issues brought about by lack of real communication: her growing estrangement from her friends; her husband’s unfaithful outings; and her mother’s lack of emotional support in her current situation.

YOU'RE NOT YOU

Bec, as an untamed soul, finds her purpose in this emotional journey. From a struggling musician, the college drop out becomes a self-thought ALS patient advocate. From a stubborn party owl, her character turned into a devoted companion assuming responsibilities beyond the job of a caregiver. Emmy Rossum’s plausible character development  is a delight to the audience.

Subplots  and support characters perfectly fit into the story without them taking the limelight from the real purpose of the film.

You’re Not You is distributed and released in the Philippines by Octoarts Films International and will hit movie theaters nationwide starting November 26.

WHAT IS ALS?

The ALS ice bucket challenge has recently taken social media by storm.Hollywood celebrities, local stars, and even ordinary people literally pitched in to support and fund research on the condition that is also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Their social media videos may seem amusing, but there is a deeper reason why they subjected themselves to that bucket of ice-cold water.

Ice Bucket Challenge

This viral campaign started because not much is known about ALS or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, which affects the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. As with its most famous patient, American baseball player Lou Gehrig, people who are diagnosed with this condition degenerate as movement are slowly affected until the later stages that result in total paralysis. People who were otherwise healthy in their younger years start to lose control over the use of their muscles, and soon are unable to speak, walk, and feed themselves.

Man suffering from ALS

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig’s disease, and rarely Charcot disease—is a neurodegenerative disorder with various causes. The term motor neurone disease (MND) is sometimes used interchangeably with ALS while others use it to refer to a group of similar conditions that include ALS. ALS is characterised by muscle spasticity, rapidly progressive weakness due to muscle wasting. This results in difficulty speaking, swallowing, and breathing. The disease usually starts around the age of 60, except in cases that are directly inherited when the usual age of onset is around 50.
About 5 to 10% of cases are directly inherited from a person’s parents. ALS is the most common of the five types of motor neuron disease.
The average survival from onset to death is three to four years. Only 4% survive longer than 10 years, although rare cases survive 50 years or more. Most die from respiratory failure. In much of the world rates of ALS are unknown. In Europe the disease affects about 2.2 people per 100,000 per year. In the United States, more than 5,600 are diagnosed every year, and up to 30,000 Americans are currently affected. ALS is responsible for 2 deaths per 100,000 people per year.
Descriptions of the disease date back to at least 1824 by Charles Bell. In 1869 the connection between the symptoms and the underlying neurological problems were first described by Jean-Martin Charcot who in 1874 began using the term amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. It became well known in the United States when it affected a famous baseball player by the name of Lou Gehrig, and later when the ice bucket challenge became popular in 2014.

Who is Lou Gehrig?
Baseball player

Lou Gehrig

1. Henry Louis “Lou” or “Buster” Gehrig was an American baseball first baseman who played 17 seasons in Major League Baseball for the New York Yankees. Using number 4 as his mark, Lou plays First baseman and pinch hitter
2. Born: June 19, 1903, Yorkville, New York City, New York, United States
3. Died: June 2, 1941, Riverdale, New York City, New York, United States and buried in Kensico Cemetery, New York.
4. Spouse: Eleanor Gehrig (m. 1933–1941)

Rediscovering Boracay through Fairways and Bluewater


fairways and bluewater resort boracay

What else could we enjoy in Boracay?

Touted as one of the 10 best beaches in the world by Yahoo Travel for its pristine blue water and blindingly white sand, Boracay has more than relaxation, clubbing, and beach activities to offer. Continue reading

Which movie topped 2013?


Sarah Geronimo John Lloyd Cruz movie 2013

IN A year packed with bold and independent films, yet again, a formula movie emerged as the most successful local flick in terms of box office revenues. Continue reading

Julie Anne San Jose: Recording artist of the year


Julie Anne San Jose 2012

GMA Records artist Julie Anne San Jose scored another milestone in her recording career as if confirming her position as the most successful recording artist this year. Continue reading

Angel Locsin returns as Darna


A decade after her last sightings on the big screen, Darna is set to amaze moviegoers via a film that will showcase cutting-edge special effects Philippine cinema has never seen before. Continue reading

Will Philippines finally earn an Oscar nomination?


After what the seven-member committee of the Film Academy of the Philippines (FAP) described as a very careful deliberation, they decided to send Hannah Espia’s Transit to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Hollywood, CA as the country’s entry to the annual Academy Awards in the Foreign Language Film category that will be held in 2014 and will be called the 86th Academy Awards. Continue reading

A rendezvous of silent films and creative Pinoy musicians


Now on its 7th year, patron of culture and the arts Shangri-La Plaza once again hosts the much awaited Manila International Silent Film Festival from August 23 to 25, at the Shang Cineplex. Continue reading