Tag Archives: nickie wang

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.


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


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.”


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


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

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.


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.


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

A year older, an inch smexier

I wish I were 19 again. That was my age when I made some crucial decisions that greatly influenced me as an average reasonable person. Those decisions, I realize, even guided me in landing on the right job that I love and enjoy. They even have a direct impact on how I deal with situations that confront me on a daily basis. Continue reading

My simple nirvana

This blog is not a personal blog. I can’t even claim that every word in every article posted here is 100 percent mine. Nonetheless, I feel extremely proud of this simple nook in cyberspace as it turns 2 years old this month. Continue reading

Going with the Flo (Rida)

by Nickie Wang

Be it in the Philippines or in the Unites States or in any place in the world, the words celebrity and privacy are never associated with each other. So when hip-hop star Tramar Dillard a.k.a. Flo Rida gave Standard Today his personal mobile number, we asked: “Are you serious about it?”

“Of course! Everyone can reach me through (305) 528-2786. If they just want to say hello or if they need someone to talk to, I’m more than glad to accommodate their calls,” answered the 31-year-old rapper-singer in an exclusive interview. Continue reading

Project Runway Philippines returns on ETC

By Nickie Wang/ Manila Standard Today

What is the measure of a great fashion designer?

Solar Entertainment chief operating officer Peter Chanliong can’t answer this question but he assures that ETC Entertainment Central viewers will find out the answer if they tune in every Wednesda y night.

“Let’s just leave this question to the fashion experts,” Chanliong piped out in response to the question indicated in the Project Runway Philippines Season 2 program launch invite.

Joined by other Solar Entertainment top executives like Wilson Tieng, Chanliong graced the exclusive preview of PRP Season 2 held at the Embassy Superclub on Aug. 7.

Everybody in Solar was tight lipped in giving further details about the show’s second season, and that what made the media and guests all excited while waiting for the exclusive preview of the reality series that premiered last night on ETC.

“The Project Runway Philippines season 1 was very successful, and that’s the very reason why we felt that season 2 will be much bigger than the previous one,” Chanliong, who is also the executive producer of Project Runway Philippines, told Standard Today. “We incorporated the experiences we had with the season 1 to make the new season much bigger, and the only thing I can assure is that the drama will definitely make it more fun to watch.”

Chanliong added that Solar is not particular with television ratings stating that they have a captive audience who religiously follow their programs, “We measure the success of our programs with events like this,” pointing to the numerous preppy men and high-heeled women who crowded the venue, “And every time we launch a program, we are overwhelmed by the tremendous response and support we get from our audience,” he furthered.

From the much talked-about season finale held at the SMX Convention Center last November, Project Runway Philippines returns on its second season on ETC with international model and actress Teresa Herrera as host, fashion designer Jojie Lloren as mentor to the contestants, and fashion columnist Apples Aberin and fashion designer Rajo Laurel as judges.

Behind the seams

When asked to give a description of the show, fashion designer Rajo Laurel blurted out just one word—salacious (or scandalous in a more familiar term).

We had to agree with Laurel’s description of the program as it matches the unraveling glimpses of the PRP second season special preview. The first episode centers on the introduction of the competing designers, the first task that challenge their creativity and presence of mind, and the sneak peak of an appalling workroom confrontation between two of the contestants.

There is no tear-stained elimination yet but the show’s first episode promises to give televiewers the first glance of another edition of delicious episodes filled with more innovative challenges, more exciting guests and a more talented group of new designers.

But what sets PRP apart from other editions around the world? It’s the Filipino culture that uniquely adds color to the show. Each contestant manages to flaunt his or her skill while still considering the challenges as friendly competition.

The designers

Thirteen new breed of designers will compete for a chance to showcase their creations at the Philippine Fashion Week to be held in November, they are Cherry Veric, Hanz Conquilla, Hazel Sta. Ana, Manny Marquez, Meann Santos, Patrick Galang, Pau Geronimo, Randy Leano, Richie Bondoc, Russel Villafuerte, Santi Obcena and Tracy Dizon.

According to Jojie Lloren, also a professor at the School of Fashion and the Arts, these young designers are from different walks of life and some of them are not fashion designers by profession but they are taking this bold step to follow their heart to introduce their skills and fashion philosophies.

“What makes Project Runway Philippines 2 more exciting is that we have gathered 13 different personalities with completely different backgrounds. We have a call center agent, an accountant, and a single mother,” Lloren said.

Each week, one designer will be eliminated until it’s down to three contestants. The Final 3 will each be given a chance to showcase a collection at the Philippine Fashion Week, where the judges will declare who has the best collection and is the winner of Project Runway Philippines Season 2.

The best among the 13 designers will take home P500,000 in cash, an editorial spread in Preview magazine, sewing machines from Brother International, a designer package from Mannequin Inc., and a summer scholarship package from School of Fashion and the Arts’ European partner school, Instituto Marangoni.

Watch Prject Runway Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on ETC available on SBN 21, SkyCable channel 16, Global Destiny channel 30, Cable Link channel 48 and Smart myTV.

Nickie Wang (left) and Solar Entertainment chief operating officer and Project Runway Philippines executive producer Peter Chanliong

Nickie Wang (left) and Solar Entertainment chief operating officer and Project Runway Philippines executive producer Peter Chanliong (Venue: Embassy Superclub, Image by: Pranz Kaeno)

Generation Kill: the other side of the story

By Nickie Wang/ Manila Standard Today

It got the whole world’s attention, and we have heard different stories of people, civilians and servicemen alike, about the military invasion that led to the second Gulf War or more popularly known as the Iraq War.

So many questions have been asked about the real motives of the world’s most powerful nation in invading the oil-rich Middle Eastern country. The first 40 days of the invasion that started on March 20, 2003 is said to be the most crucial phase of the still ongoing conflict because it was the point when allies and enemies were named.

The US-led multinational military force included troops from the United Kingdom, Australia, Spain, and other countries including the Philippines.

So much about the drama that earned both sympathy and disapproval, a mini-series focusing on the first 40 days of the 2003 Iraq War has been produced. It aims to retell the historical and high-profiled armed dispute in a different perspective.

Generation Kill, a story based on the award-winning non-fiction book of the same name by Evan Wright, is a candid and realistic retelling of the early weeks of the military campaign. Wright is a Rolling Stone correspondent assigned to the First Recon’s Bravo Company’s second platoon during its last weeks in Kuwait.

Currently airing on Max Channel (formerly known as Cinemax), the seven-part HBO mini-series is supported by real events, real names, and precise dialog reported by Wright. Every effort is made to recreate Wright’s account of the Marines riding from the Kuwait border into the slums of Baghdad. Real Marines, who also became part of the series as cast members and advisors, were on the set to help maintain the production’s authenticity.

“Generation Kill gives an objective view of what happened [during the Iraq war] without politics or agenda. It’s the lives of these individuals. The war is just the backdrop,” says Eric Kocher, a Marine who served as key military advisor to the production.

The man in quagmire

An ensemble cast of up-and-coming stars is introduced in Generation Kill: Alexander Skarsgard (HBO’s True Blood) stars as Sgt. Brad “Iceman” Colbert; Lee Tergesen (HBO’s OZ) is Evan “Scribe” Wright; Jon Huertas (Hot Tamale) plays Sgt. Tony “Poke” Espera; and Stark Sands (Day of the Dead) plays Lt. Nathaniel Fick. Eric Kocher; and James Ransone (HBO’s The Wire) plays Cpl. Josh Ray Person.

In a phone interview with Ransone, the actor answered questions about the series where he plays a 22-year-old driver of a military vehicle called Humvee. The actor shared his thoughts about doing the mini-series together with what he considers as a superb cast.

“What’s funny is that I’m not very tall. I had to make elaborate actions because I don’t look like a soldier or a Marine at all. I’m just a small guy but in the series my duty is to drive a big vehicle that takes military personnel from base camp to the battlefield,” the actor said.

Ransone explained that completing all the physical and acting requirements was rewarding on his part. He added that to overcome such physically intense and demanding role made him realized that he can do better than just showing his sarcasm.

“My role is not far from my personality in real life. We have a lot of similarities; I think one is my sense of humor. I’m also a very sarcastic person, I don’t spend a lot of time with people to tell them ‘shut up’ so I just do it with elaborate words,” Ransone quipped.

According to the 30-year-old actor, the bond that has built among the cast members reflect on how they deliver their lines and how they treat each other while on the set. Ransone, better known for his role in another HBO series The Wire, furthered that he has found a new set of friends after shooting Generation Kill.

“We still see each other. That’s the good thing when you’re able to build a good relationship with your co-actors. Some people don’t see each other anymore after a certain project. They are called Hollywood friends, but the people I worked with in this mini-series are people that I still talk with until now. We even still see other. They are my favorite actors,” he detailed.

The war according to the actor

Generation Kill is a story of servicemen at the forefront and often working in uncertain conditions with little protection except their lightly-armored Humvees. The Marines were confronted by the reality associated to a military invasion: insufficient supplies, conflicting orders, cryptic combat strategy, unknown enemy, insurgency and civilians caught in the middle.

“I personally do not believe in wars. I can say that I don’t really believe that any military invasion will do any good. My concern is, look at the state of the country [US ], we have many bigger issues than invading a foreign land. It’s like raking your own backyard while your house is on fire,” the actor exclaimed.

Generation Kill is executive-produced and co-written by David Simon and Ed Burns (The Wire). Simon and Burns also share co-writing credits with Evan Wright, the erstwhile Rolling Stone journalist who also served as a consulting producer throughout the production and editing of the mini-series. Susanna White (Bleak House) and Simon Cellan Jones (The Trial of Tony Blair) share the direction.

Two episodes of Generation Kill premiere back-to-back every Sunday. The first two episodes were shown on June 7 at 9 p.m. on MAX. The final episode will air on June 28. Log on to cinemaxasia.com for more play times.

Muziklaban plays new kind of rock ‘n roll

By Nickie Wang/ Manila Standard Today

The venue of the Red Horse Beer Muziklaban’s press launch last week at the San Miguel Training Center in Tagaytay was an apt location to experience rock music, extreme sports, tattoo and independent film making and all the eventualities in between.

muziklaban endorsersThis year, Red Horse Muziklaban, the biggest and longest amateur rock band search organized and sponsored by the country’s iconic malt drink Red Horse Beer, takes the competition beyond music and extends the search by including the Art of Tattoo, Popular Extreme Sports and Independent Film Making in the roster of activities.

“Red Horse Beer has always been supportive of the Pinoy talent. While the brand will continue to discover amateur rock bands, it will also open doors to hopefuls from the world of creative arts and extreme sports,” Red Horse Beer brand manager Ray Encomienda explained.

“Iba na ang laban,” was the overused expression while members of the media were challenged to perform extreme tasks that included tight-rope crossing while on a harness and twenty feet off the ground, wall climbing, bunny hopping with a BMX bike that had to be assembled first by the participants, indie film making, and real tattoo art making using swine skin. The challenges tested the participants’ agility, mind focus, and team work.

Having a solid game plan really mattered and we agreed that the media challenge was a fitting way to introduce the 11th year of Muziklaban and its undying effort to discover new artists who would soon dominate the local rock music scene and other creative fields.

While performing all those tasks, we happened to meet the new endorsers of Red Horse Beer. We had no idea that the people who facilitated the challenges were the people we would soon meet for a short interview.

Called legends in their own respective fields, the three new brand endorsers join rock legend Pepe Smith in representing Red Horse Beer’s “Bago na ang Labanan” battlecry for 2009.

“Our new endorsers characterize the distinct Red Horse Beer appeal with their sense of adventure, strength of character and passion for their craft. We believe that their presence in all Muziklaban activities for the year will allow both rockers and non-rockers to relate to the brand,” Encomienda related.

Ricky Sta. Ana, the country’s top tattoo artist, represented the art of tattooing. Biker Armand Mariano, who has done the country proud for his international accolades, represented the Extreme Sports. RA Rivera, one of the country’s frontrunners in music video and independent film directing, represented independent film making.

“Iba talaga ang natutulong ng Red Horse, isa pa nga,” Sta. Ana quipped while answering the questions from the press. He said that Muziklaban is a perfect avenue to introduce Filipino artistry through skin art. “We have are own designs, very Filipino designs that reflect our own culture.”

“When I think about beer or Red Horse, it’s not intoxication that is on my mind. When someone mentions Red Horse, rock music ang naiisip ko. Most of my works in the span of five years ay puro music videos ng mga rock artists. That’s how I relate Red Horse Beer and my craft,” director and filmmaker RA Rivera explained.

On May 15, Red Horse Beer Muziklaban will kick off simultaneously in different locations: Super 8 Parking Lot, Rosario, Pasig; Service Road, Balibago, Angeles; Robinsons Lipa, Batangas and Rizal Park in Dumaguete.

For the Tattoo Challenge, activities will be held on May 22 (White Beach, Puerto Galera), June 12 (Generator Bar, Panay Ave.), and on July 17 (Philippine Trading Center, Roxas Boulevard).

Meanwhile, Extreme Sports fanatics may take the challenge on May 30 (Starmall Parking, Las Piñas); SM San Fernando, Pampanga (July 25); and Sta. Lucia East Grand Mall Parking, Cainta (Sept. 26).

For the Indie Film Challenge, see the Red Horse Beer team on July 31 (Mogwai, Cubao); Aug. 14 (Saguijo, Makati); Sept. 18 (Club Dredd, Eastwood, Libis); Oct. 2 (6 Underground, Pearl Drive, Ortigas); and on Oct. 23 (Mag:Net, Bonifacio High Street, Taguig).

A bigger Red Horse Beer Muziklaban also means more exciting prizes for the winning participants in the various competitions. Winners will have the opportunity to become Red Horse Beer Muziklaban endorsers. Just like the previous years, the winning band for the amateur band competition will take home P1 million cash prize and a guaranteed recording contract.

Elwood Perez: Master of mise en scene

By Nickie Wang/ Manila Standard Today

The cinema is a bizarre form of art. Movies can bring us to a time different from ours and they can involve us and while at the same time disconnect us from what we see on the silver screen. They can resurrect a personality, an idea, and a place, and these are just some of the countless things movies are capable of doing on screen.

A film director is the most responsible for every detail of a movie, much of what we see on the screen is the vision of a genius mind who transforms great or simple stories into a visually, mentally, and emotionally arousing motion picture.

Elwood Perez is a virtuoso of the camera and is the man behind numerous classic Filipino movies. His intuitive approach to filmmaking and scriptwriting is something worth emulating not because they are campy and sexy but they discuss social ills and promote solutions while tickling the most delicate part of our consciousness—our emotion.

waikikiLet us go on a flashback and relive a kitschy scene where Rio Locsin is running on the street wearing a yellow skimpy short made out of silk. It’s relatively a provocative scenario even by today’s standard. But it is not what made this film called Waikiki gain a massive reception. With Lorna Tolentino, Alma Moreno, Alicia Alonzo and Raul Aragon, completing the cast, Waikiki: Sa Loob At Labas Ng Bayan Kong Sawi, the story tackles the predicament of people drawn into migration in an effort to get out of poverty.

While it is still a relevant story, with thousands of Filipinos leaving the country, this Elwood Perez “camp classic” essays the dream of a man to bring his whole family to Hawaii. Behind the dream is a tale of different faces of women confronted by social, economic, and cultural issues.

Weaving daring scenes and social commentaries the title itself is equally stimulating due to its sexual connotation in the Filipino language.  However, despite the issue concerning overseas contract labor and experiencing discrimination and loss of communication with the family, the film has more weight and depth than its flamboyant marketing strategy.

To experience the film again or perhaps see it for the first time, is chance given by CinemaOne as it presents the 1980 movie to a public beachside screening this Saturday, April 25 in Boracay.

Born to direct

Born during the near end of World War II on Feb. 4, 1945 in Mabalacat, Pampanga, Elwood Perez started watching movies at the age of three. He practically grew up breathing, feeling, and thinking about movies.

elwood-perez-pic“I want [a] vicarious experience. That’s the only thing I want in my life. I hate the effort to go, let’s say for example to Venice. That’s why I watch films every day. Until now,” the 64-year-old director says.

He wrote, directed and acted the lead role in his first Filipino play, Ander di Saya. And he was only nine years old then. From then on, Perez knew what he wanted to do for the rest of his life.

A champion declaimer in his youth, Perez pursued his passion for theater arts by joining the University of the East Dramatic Guild.  At UE, he initially showcased his exceptional flair in writing, as a member of the editorial staff of The Dawn, official student publication of UE. It is in the same school where he graduated with a degree of Bachelor of Arts major in English. As Features editor of the school paper, he contributed numerous literary works and film reviews.

Though Perez is known for directing feature films, he had considerable success as theater and television director. From 1963 to 1999, he had directed and written theater productions and musical shows. Some notable works were his first foray as a writer and director for the play Dog Story staged at the University of the East Little Theater in 1964, the musical show A Million Thanks to You, starring Pilita Corrales in 1969, and the most recent stage extravaganza Private Parts that featured a number of sexy actresses doing semi-serious dramatic roles.  It was staged at the Music Museum in 2005 and featured Maui Taylor.

His long list of television credits starts with the multi-awarded drama anthology series Balintataw, a joint project of the Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) and the original ABC-TV5, and was aired from 1967 to 1972. Perez’s stint as a television director continues with Bahay Mo, Bahay Ko, Kapilas na Pag-ibig and other coming-of-age shows that highlighted issues on morality (Sa Ilalim ng Isang Bubong), patriotism (Labi ng Digmaan), and politics (Idolo ng Madla).

Following the critical and financial successes as a legitimate theater and television director, at age 25, Perez marked his debut as a film director with Blue Boy in 1970. The film was a flop at the box office but it was revered by critics.

Maturing as a scriptwriter and film director, in 1973, commercially successful Lipad, Darna Lipad! was released. Award-winning actress Celia Rodriguez essayed the role of Medusa-like villainess, Valentina, nubile Vilma Santos played the Filipino supergirl (a role that launched her in a series of Darna flicks).

To Filipino film industry insiders, Perez is known as the most sought-after movie director of his generation. He consistently churned out hit movie after another. His unsurpassed track record of money-makers and trend-setters include Zoom, Zoom, Superman!; Bawal: Asawa Mo, Asawa Ko; Isang Gabi, Tatlong Babae; Divorce: Pilipino Style; Masarap, Masakit ang Umibig; Summer Love; Till We Meet Again; and  Ibulong Mo sa Diyos.

Today, films he directed in the ’70s and ’80s like Pakawalan Mo Ako (a Vilma Santos-Christopher de Leon starrer) and Ang Totoong Buhay ni Pacita M, as then enfant terrible of Philippine Cinema, enjoy regular reruns on primetime television and in select movie houses as examples of the award-winning film or the commercially-rewarding art film: true classics of film as entertainment for everyman, the 20th century’s quintessential art form.

His life’s mise en scene

“During the height of my career, I didn’t like publicity. Do you know any director who sold a movie on a count on the fact that he directed the film? I was very quiet then, because nobody would watch a film because of the director. Stars pa rin ang pinapanood ng tao,” Perez conveys.

Last year, the University of the Philippines Film Institute held a major retrospective of the film works Perez called “Stars Converge—The Stellar Art and Career of Elwood Perez.” It was a way to reintroduce the exceptional work of the brilliant director whose films earned accolades here and around the world.

His landmark films earned him two Best Director trophies from the Film Academy of the Philippines (FAP), another three Best Director awards from Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences (Famas) and one from the Metro Manila Film Festival.

The Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino (Philippine Film Critics Circle), in its most recently published book, labeled Perez’s most critically acclaimed work, the 18-trophy winner, Nora Aunor-Tirzo Cruz III starrer, Bilangin ang Bituin sa Langit, “the quintessential Filipino film.” He has been called the “under-appreciated Philippine auteur” by foreign film critics. His film Silip, which was often regarded as a near-pornographic movie, received rave reviews when its re-mastered copy with Greek and English subtitles was released abroad, a web film reviewer tagged it as a bona fide masterpiece.

“I used to be very scared to associate with my peers, I feared to let them detect my stupidity and I was also selfish, I refused to share my wisdom. That’s why I only have few friends. My friends are the ones who understand me,” the director explains why he kept himself away from the limelight and public eye.

Despite all the great compliments and his status as one of the legends of Philippine cinema, Perez still thinks that his masterpiece is yet to be filmed.

“After all these years, I am more mature as an artist. I really believe that ngayon lang ako gagaling that’s why I want to make a film, because there’s wisdom in age and in experience. I’m thankful that I’m strong,” he says with conviction.

In the past years, he chose  to turn down projects even the offers where left and right but now he is willing to eat humble pie to give in or to satisfy his craving to make another film or for his idea to get green lighted.

“The film is in development since 2000, the story is about how I’m trying to direct life, but eventually life takes over and directs the movie. It’s like an act of God, God is in every detail, God is always the one who directs you,” Perez furthers.

Though he said that it’s not easy to discern the authentic from the phony, and he does not relish judging the works of others with his particular job description, the project he has been thinking all of these years is a funny pathetic take on the condition of local film industry.

“In the scheme of things, that is the role of the critic and the pundit,” his words toward the films exhibited today.

“I don’t consider making movies as a work, making movies should be a walk in the park. I don’t make movies now because if I don’t enjoy making one, I don’t do it, I get irritated easily these days. Unlike before, I leave all my tensions at home,” he concludes.