Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Man, the Boxer. The Manny. The Movie.

Who would have guessed that the filipino who would gain world prominence and admiration, representing the Filipino race, would be a simple, poor, average-sized boy from Mindanao? The only thing he had going for him was his dream and determination to provide for his family. From there, he worked his way to the top occassionally going on without food and shelter. He kept the winning streak while always ackowledging the help from above. He never forgot the Lord as he gained international fame. “He believes it is the Lord's will that he wins or lose” according to one of the amazed commentators.

Well, that is the gist of the movie, Manny, wherein we witness Manny Pacquiao's humble beginnings and progress from rags to riches. Well I must admit that initially I did not expect much. Perhaps like most people who haven't seen it yet, I was imagining a sappy, cinderella-type of presentation wherein Manny will be hailed like a god in the end. And the only people who would appreciate this format may be the C class Filipino audience where it's all heart and no intelligence.
But no, that is not the case.

I enjoyed the presentation format and sound track support that complemented the story which was executed in an endearing way that I believe even foreigners would appreciate. The first part portrayed a falling icon, which was a good hook. Then it was a look back at how it all started, integrating Manny's thoughts and feelings along the way. Even despite his world-stature, Manny is still the simple boy from Mindanao. He is so sincerely natural almost to the point of not realizing people were slightly making fun of him. And if he did realize, he simply brushed it aside like a good sport that he is. His almost “simple-minded” beliefs and comments were actually endearing. You wouldn't catch him bragging at all. He wouldn't get hot-headed, insult his oponent, question the judges, or even complain to media. Always responding with “It's the Lord's will” everytime he loses. He always gives credit to the Lord for all his wins.

So he can't sing, but the world let's him sing. “Maybe it's because no one is brave enough to tell him so”, laughs Jimmy Kimmel. Even Dan Hill, just joins along and tries to make him look good. There are a lot of comedy moments in the movie because it seems Manny is clueless about his true abilities when it comes to singing and acting. “Wapak Man” was another laughing moment along with.his other B action movies. He is what he is, a typical provincial, giggly,Filipino male easily believing others who may probably be taking advantage of him.

Though people may mock him in the way he thinks and acts, no one can put him down for his faith. He aims to glorify God's name in his actions, win or lose. In the Christian world, that is a powerful strategy. In the boxing world, where competitors are expected to brag and insult their opponents, it's a joy to see Manny giving his opponent a hug after the match. That, in my point of view, is what makes the world love this boxer. Pinoys will well up with pride and a lot of smiles too.

Catch “Manny”, the movie about Manny Pacquiao, in its limited theatrical run until Tuesday in cinemas nationwide. Manny is distributed by Solar Entertainment Corporation.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

MYMP's Electrified Actually Soothes the Soul

Sweet guitar sounds, songs of the past, MYMP brings back old melodies softened with guitar plucking.  I just love listening to MYMP's familiar, romantic, mood-enhancing melodies.

New lead singer Jana Laraza brings in the sweet, young voice that is a  perfect match with lead guitarist and founder of the band, Chin Alcantara's masterful guitar strumming.  You wouldn't imagine that this gentle-music-playing guitarist is really a rock-type of guy but Chin admits that if given a chance he would like to take his guitar on a wild spin.  But because his fans and followers still enjoy and clamor for the soft music he is known for, he just has to play down his dream until the day the fans want something new and drastic.

In the meantime, listen to the tireless music of MYMP as they present their latest album "Electrified". Now available nationwide.  In case you are wondering what the initials in their band name stands for, it means Make Your Momma Proud.  And I am sure their music does exactly that even to the rest of the Pinoys.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Azumi Boutique Hotel Special Introductory Rates Until April

There's a new hotel in the South that provides comfort at practical rates. The Azumi Boutique Hotel in Alabang just opened last Janutary 2014 and they are offering special introductory room rates until April. An overnight stay on their regular rooms range from P3,000-3,400. If you would like to try their roofdeck room with the family or use it for a private gathering, you can have it for P15,000 and it includes access to the pool right beside the room and a 360 degree view of the Alabang skyline which you can enjoy from sunset until the next morning.

Press Release:
The goal was to create a hotel that’s in tune with the modern traveler. One that is not only stylish and environmentally friendly, but also focused on providing things that are really essential and meaningful. By doing away with what is superfluous and largely wasted, guests can enjoy a quality hotel at an outstanding value.

Thus, Azumi Boutique Hotel in Alabang was born.

An array of books, photos, cozy furnishings and other travel mementos make for a picturesque welcome for the guests at the lobby. Natural light filters through the floor-to-ceiling glass walls, rendering warmth and accenting the spaciousness that defines Azumi’s elegant living spaces.

Azumi’s 187 rooms, characterized by use of earth tones with a distinct pop of orange and wood laminate floors, follow the same design elements of clean, modern lines. Floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors create a feeling of open space and also allow one to appreciate the cityscape.

The roof deck, on the other hand, is a sensory escape with its 360 degree view of the Alabang Skyline. Breathtaking sunrise and sunsets serve as backdrop while enjoying a dip in the infinity lap pool or a drink by the lounge beds. The rooftop function room and villa are the perfect venue for social or corporate events.

Azumi Boutique Hotel’s innovative concept, however, goes beyond aesthetic as it utilizes Japanese technology in its materials. The 3-dimensional look of the walls is achieved with ECOCARAT, a “breathing tile” made of natural raw materials specifically designed to absorb humidity, foul odors and harmful substances. Daiken Healthy Ceiling generates the same air quality found in large parks, keeping guests feeling refreshed indoors. PSE and ISO-certified Noatek LED lights are also used to conserve energy as part of the environmental thrust.

Situated at the heart of the south, Azumi Boutique Hotel is but a short drive to Ninoy Aquino International Airport and its location within Madrigal Business Park makes it central for business and leisure travelers. Alabang Town Center and Molito Mall, with its varied offerings of shopping and dining pleasures are but a stone’s throw away. However, for an authentic Filipino gustatory experience with a side of Philippine history, one only needs to visit the iconic Romulo CafĂ© at the hotel lobby. Also located at the lobby is Nail Spa, a chic salon for that much needed relaxation

Azumi Boutique Hotel is managed by Hospitality Innovators, Inc., one of the leading management companies in the hospitality industry with 15 years of reimagining and transforming management and operation of hotels, condormitels, resorts, condominiums and serviced residences.

Azumi Boutique Hotel is now open to guests. Visit us at 2205 Market Street, Madrigal Business Park Phase III Alabang, Muntinlupa City 1780 Philippines

T; +63 869 9888
T: +63 2 38 AZUMI [+63 2 38 29864]

Thursday, March 6, 2014

What in Cock's Name Is Red Turnip's Play About?

Cock . . well that's a title that will certainly grab you, regardless of what gender you belong. It certainly sparked my curiosity especially with people already buzzing about it. Giggly theater-goers would joke about minding what you say about the play . . . “I want to see Cock”, “Cock was great”, or “I love Cock”. Well, Red Turnip Theater did make a scene with this stripped-down theater play. What I mean to say, is that with the barest of set design, that's like an arena for a cock fight, and with a cast of only four actors, the play delivered maximum entertainment highlighting pure acting talent with the audience guided to use their imagination.

People who have been regulary watching theater would know that having a cast with Audie Gemora, Topper Fabregas, Jenny Jamora, and Niccolo Manahan will expect no less than perfection in their dialogue delivery, blocking, and basically keep the play going regardless of minor stumbles. If there was a “Little hitch”, no one noticed . . the performance was flawless. Imagine using dialogue and blocking to take over scenes or sets, the director really had a challenge before him. And because of that, I have to give a lot of credit to Director Rem Zamora for this concept. I believe it worked because of the great talents onstage who must have the confidence to perform with no set, no curtains to hide in, and performing inches away from the audience who happen to be surrounding you on all sides.

All four actors were equally great in their roles. Period. I would just like to point out a favorite scene, which I felt was just as memorable as the famous scene from the movie “When Harry Met Sally”, and that is the imaginary sex scene between Topper and Jenny. As the audience had to settle with their imagination with regard to the visual aspect, the sound and the feeling was delivered so vividly and in good taste. I'm certain it left a smile in everyone's face. So that's all I am going to share with you . . . you just have to watch the rest for yourself.

What happens when a young gay man falls in love with a woman? COCK, by Mike Bartlett, revolves around a gay couple whose rocky relationship derails when one of them sleeps (and falls in love) with a woman. The result is “the ultimate bitch fight”,

Fresh off the success of their critically-acclaimed CLOSER last October at Whitespace, Red Turnip promises another unique, in your face theatrical experience with it's second offering.. Rem Zamora makes his directorial debut with COCK.“We’re excited to be back in Whitespace. A lot of people who came to CLOSER said they enjoyed the intimacy of the experience and the space. That was in Hall B. We’re going even more intimate this time in the smaller Hall A. COCK also plays in the round so it feels like you’re watching a fight in an arena—no frills: just words and pure conflict in the ring, and an intense involvement in the audience.”

Zamora has assembled a tight cast of theatrical heavyweights for COCK’s Manila premier: Topper Fabregas (Boeing Boeing, The Producers), Niccolo Manahan (Next Fall, Doubt), Jenny Jamora (Mind’s Eye, A Little Night Music), Audie Gemora (Sweeney Todd, Les Miserables)

Fabregas is John, a young man caught between his gay lover and his growing attraction to another woman- W, played by Jamora.

Niccolo Manahan makes a theatrical comeback as M, John’s lover who isn’t about to let him go without a fight. “I feel ‘Cock’ will be a great experiment for me; an experiment in balancing my life with the things I enjoy doing, and an experiment in pushing my range. I don’t know where this experiment will lead but its an incredible opportunity that I’m thankful for.”

Rounding off this impressive cast is theatre stalwart Audie Gemora as F, M’s well-meaning father whose sudden appearance at dinner throws everyone for a loop. “The birth of a theater group is always exciting and eventful with fresh artistic vision and passion. I am thrilled to be part of Red Turnips 2nd offering, ‘Cock’. This is Rem Zamora's directorial debut and my first time to be acting opposite brilliant young actors Niccolo Manahan and Jenny Jamora, while Topper Fabregas takes on his most complex character yet. Together we jump into a crackling cock fight of personalities, emotions and words.”

Cock will be staged at Whitespace — 2314 Chino Roces Ave. Extension (formerly Pasong Tamo Extension), Makati — on March 7, 14, 21, 28 and April 4 (Friday, 9 p.m.); March 8, 15, 29 and April 5 (Saturday, 8 p.m.); April 5, Saturday at 4 p.m.; March 9, 16, 23 and April 6 (Sunday, 4 p.m.) and special closing gala on April 6, Sunday, 8 p.m.

Tickets are available through TicketWorld (891-9999 or
Or Red Turnip Theater ( or

National Rondalla Workshop on April at the CCP

Press Announcement:
The Cultural Center of the Philippines announces that it shall be holding the CCP National Rondalla Workshop on April 8-12, 2014 (Tuesday to Saturday) from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM at various venues of the Cultural Center of the Philippines. The Workshop is open to rondalla groups all over the country who have been in existence for at least two (2) years and who wish to further hone their skills in rondalla technique and performance.

The workshop modules include sectional rehearsals per rondalla instrument, note reading sessions, individual rondalla ensemble cliniquing sessions, conducting sessions for conductors, and plenary sessions wherein all the participants gather together to learn a common piece.

Rondalla ensembles who have the complete rondalla instruments which include the banduria, octavina/laud, guitar and bass may apply for the Workshop. A minimum of six participants will be accepted for the Workshop. This will culminate in a performance at the Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino (Little Theater) on Saturday, April 12, 2014 at 4:00 PM.

For more information, please contact the CCP Artist Training Division at 832-1125 loc. 1604/1605 or

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Pasinaya Goes the Extra Mile to Highlight Other Cultural Sites

Visit other Philippine cultural sites in Manila with special Art Jeepneys that will take you around for free.  Give them a helping hand with small token donations for their  upkeep.

Press Release:

In celebration of its 10th anniversary this year, the CCP Pasinaya Open House Festival on March 16, Sunday, “goes the extra mile” and extends its reach and boundaries beyond the CCP Complex to include other cultural sites such as the Metropolitan Museum of Manila, National Museum, Bahay Tsinoy, Casa Manila, Museo Pambata and 1335 Mabini.

The expansion of Pasinaya to include other cultural institutions in the area surrounding the CCP, according to CCP Artistic Director Chris Millado, makes Manila and Pasay the most creative places on earth, at least for a day during the Pasinaya celebration. “We hope to infect the whole city with this spirit of creativity,” Millado said.

A one-day open house festival held annually at the CCP, the Pasinaya is the biggest multi arts festival in the Philippines featuring the participation of thousands of artists and hundreds of artistic and cultural groups. It offers to the public on a unique “Pay what you can, See all you can” donation scheme the opportunity to enjoy a sneak preview of the CCP Performance Season.

More than 3,000 artists and 300 institution-based, community-based and school-based artistic groups will participate in the 2014 CCP Pasinaya. In addition to the performances, there will be workshops, and lecture-demonstrations.

Pasinaya is presented by the Cultural Center of the Philippines and is headlined by the CCP’s own resident companies, namely Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra, the UST Symphony Orchestra, Ballet Philippines, Philippine Ballet Theater, Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group, Bayanihan Philippine National Folk Dance Company, National Music Competitions for Young Artists (NAMCYA), Philippine Madrigal Singers and Tanghalang Pilipino. For this year's Pasinaya, CCP partners with Metropolitan Museum of Manila, National Museum, Bahay Tsinoy, Casa Manila, Museo Pambata, 1335 Mabini and Jeepney Tours.

On March 16, Pasinaya at the CCP begins with an early morning pre-show at 7:30 with the Marine and Bugle Team heralding the festivities. This will be followed by the official opening ceremonies and street parade.

At the Pasinaya partner institutions, performances and various cultural activities will also be offered under the “Pay what you can, See all you can” donation scheme, starting at 2 pm. Art jeepneys will ferry audiences to partner museums for free.

For more information about Pasinaya, please call CCP Performing Arts Division at tel. no. 832-1125 local 1607.  

Monday, March 3, 2014

Via Philippines Offers Online Bus Booking System with Jam Liner and Philtranco

(Left-right) Jam Liner and Philtranco’s VP for Marketing Christine Guevarra, Jam Liner and Philtranco’s President and CEO Dennise Trajano, Via Philippines’ Sales and Marketing Manager Maricar Chao and Via Philippines’ Finance Manager Leonora Wenceslao
(Left-right) Philtranco Liner’s VP for Operations Rodelio Domingo, Jam Liner and Philtranco’s President and CEO Dennise Trajano, Via Philippines’ Sales and Marketing Manager Maricar Chao, and Via Philippines’ Finance Manager Leonora Wenceslao  
Good news!  Now you can book your bus trips in advance so you don't have to wait in line anymore. More convenient, less worry, safer trips, fun travel adventure . . .

Press Release:
Via Philippines, the Asia’s largest travel network, announces its partnership with two bus liner giants in the Philippines namely, Jam Liner and Philtranco Liner last Feb. 14, 2014 in Manila City. As Via Philippines continues to grow not only in the country but in Asia, the company is committed to deliver to its travel agency partners’ clients the “travel with convenience” solution through their new bus online booking system launched last February 22, 2014.

With Via Philippines’ online bus booking system, reservations or bookings can be done easily with just a few clicks away. Via’s accredited travel agencies would just simply input their point of origin and the destination and then, it’s done. Their clients don’t need to go through long queues in bus terminals and scramble to secure bus’ seats.

The available bus destinations where accredited travel agencies can choose from are the following: Legaspi, Naga, Clark/DMIA, Bulan, Sorsogon, Gubat, Sorsogon, Donsol, Sorsogon, Lipa, Batangas, Batangas City, Sta. Rosa Laguna and Lucena, Quezon.

Via Philippines expressed enthusiasm as a partner of the two big bus liner companies in the country. “I am pleased that Jam Liner and Philtranco Liner chose us to be their partner in offering the people the ideal vacation experience. Through this effort, we are expecting that more people will be interested and encouraged to travel as buying tickets is now made easier and more convenient. This will also provide our valued travel partners with a variety of travel products that they can offer to their customers.” statement of Mr. Ramesh Samineni, Via’s Business Head for South East Asia.

About Via Philippines

Via Philippines Asia’s Leading Travel Network with 20,000 travel partners across 2,400 towns and cities of India, 6,000 travel partners across 186 towns and cities of the Philippines, and present in 1,700 cities across Asia Pacific through its 50,000 travel partners and over 170,000 hotel partners around the globe.


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