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Kathleen A. Llemit

Setting the bar for integrated resort entertainment, Okada Manila executives promise an immersive style, which highlights culture and the arts.

At the media luncheon held last week, Okada Manila president Steve Wolstenholme said the 44-hectare property will be a “gamechanger” among the other integrated resorts located in the Entertainment City in Parañaque City.
On a soft opening starting today until its grand launch sometime end of February next year, visitors to the property will notice a dancing fountain, reminiscent of famed fountains in other destinations such as the Dubai Fountain in United Arab Emirates and at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, United States.
Designers and makers of said fountains are the same team, which was tapped by Okada to create what they call the soon-to-be iconic feature, The Fountain.
The $30-million fountain designed by WET measures 37,464 sq.m., said to be equivalent to 50 Olympic-size swimming pools.
WET director of technical resources Jim Doyle tells Daily Tribune that it will be like watching a “painting in the sky,” a multicolored light show that features the many varied beautiful flowers of the Philippines. Doyle said it is the first time that their group has done a project that uses multi-color projection.
The projection, said Wolstenholme, shoots from the bottom to a height of about 30 meters.
Accompanying this dancing fountain show are performances as visualized and choreographed by creative director and choreographer for entertainment Giulio Scatola. Scatola brings with him his vast theater and performing arts experience from Cirque du Soleil and West End to come up with “interactive performances that blend elements from circus, club, cabaret and theater” to present a series of performances that are bound together into one beautiful imagery of a moving and evolving stage.
Besides Scatola’s World of Wonders feature, Okada Manila has also signed an unprecedented partnership that is considered as another gamechanging move.
The Organisasyon ng Pilipinong Mang-aawit (OPM) partnership with Okada Manila, said Wolstenholme, is an integral partnership in its aim of bringing Filipino entertainment to the world.
OPM members will be highlighted in a series of shows and performances in the property.
During today’s preview, guests will see some of these celebrated artists perform at the outdoor concert which will also feature a fireworks and light show.
Besides The Fountain, Okada Manila will also feature a 9,000-sq.m. entertainment venue enclosed in a glass dome and a UV-protected indoor beach club featuring two stages with a maximum capacity of up to 4,500 guests.
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Uniqlo opens second stand-alone store

Wednesday, 21 December 2016 00:00 Published in Life Style

Japanese global retail brand Uniqlo recently opened its second largest stand-alone store in the country.
The 2,100-sq.m., three-story building is located in C3, one of the busiest sections of the Bonifacio Global City where other retail brands, dining outlets and an amphitheater are just a stone’s throw away.
It is the second standalone after the Uniqlo Eastwood outlet in Quezon City, said store manager Jami Barra. She enthuses about the store’s feature, which lends each floor as a stand-alone concept.
The first floor is dedicated to the latest and trendiest items. It is also where travel essentials are displayed. The second floor is the mecca for the ladies, while the third level is dedicated for the men.
The newest store offers the brand’s complete product line-up, including its full range of everyday LifeWear essentials, as well as the newest addition to the LifeWear collection, the Uniqlo U. Said collection is created by the global design team at Paris Research and Development Center under the direction of Christophe Lemaire.
Also popular for their denim collection, the latest Uniqlo denim offerings include Selvedge and Miracle Air jeans for men and Ultra Stretch and Boyfriend jeans for women.
For kids and parents who love twinning, Uniqlo has a wide array of bottoms featuring the classic, drape and denim joggers.
As it is the season of giving, Uniqlo Gift Cards are available at the newly opened store.
For more information, visit

A decade of working on ‘Saving Sally’

Saturday, 17 December 2016 00:00 Published in Life Style

By Kathleen A. Llemit, Senior Writer

Those who were present and saw a man crying his heart out during the announcement of this year’s Metro Manila Film Festival official eight entries late last month might have wondered why he “ugly cried.”
Avid Liongoren said it was like he was ha-ving a “beauty pageant moment” while he waited to know if his entry, Saving Sally, had made it to this year’s Magic Eight. Pretty much most of Liongoren’s young adult life was spent creating the world of Marty.
“It was my life for the past decade. I still don’t know what it means. The thing that I’ve been working on for the past 10 years, I was just committed to finishing it,’’ shares the director during the recent presscon of his movie held at a restaurant in Quezon City.
He and writer Charlene Sawit-Esguerra have known each other since they were 17, taking up Fine Arts at a premier university.
Sawit-Esguerra wrote it as a short story about a boy in love with his girl best friend, who is in love with a not-so-nice guy.
It is a simple love story, they say, told differently, and featuring lots of monsters. Given that their background is Fine Arts, they put to good use their creative and visual flair.
Thus, Saving Sally is not so simple after all. Fashioned after the rich aesthetics of Dave McKean, illustrator of MirrorMask, and dark yet entertaining narrative of Neil Gaiman, the film promises to be a visually engaging story.
With such a grand vision, Avid would be committed to making his dream come true.
It was, however, an arduous road for him. Money and resources were scarce. To be even at par with a Hollywood-level animation, one would need 500 people working continuously for four years. And he did not have it. With barely enough, he made do with what he had.
With five people and old yet trusty computers, he started his dream project. Shooting started in 2005, with a different actress in mind. Two years after and with the film almost done, they had to stop production because of funding issues. In 2010, he resumed shooting, but then another problem surfaced. Former child star and Magic Temple actress Anna Larrucea could not return to finish the film, leaving her co-stars TJ Trinidad and occasional commercial actor and former 5&Up host Enzo Marcos wanting of a leading lady.
Fortunately, a surprising twist of events happened.
Rhian Ramos recalls that it was the first time that she had wanted to do a role that she had to line up for.
‘’It was the first thing that I went to audition for on my own volition. TJ told me about this while taping a show. For mainstream, most of the time, they kind of just give you the part. It was my first experience where I want to make the choice to go do this film,’’ recounts Rhian, who also shared that the only other time she had auditioned for a role was for Captain Barbell.
The actress was then 19 and was taping for the TV show Zorro, where TJ was also starring.
“Rhian came in and we were taken aback, thinking why, for someone like her, she would audition for our film. We asked her if she wanted to go ahead so she would not have to wait. But she said she would wait for her turn. At that moment, we thought we could work with her. She’s not coming in as a star; she’s coming in as an actress,” recalls the director.
And so shooting resumed after over a year of auditions. Reenergized, Avid and his small team at Rocketsheep began to meticulously frame every scene with stylized Manila and 2D animated monsters. The result is a blend of live action and 2D animation about Marty and Sally going about their lives as geeky friends who each have their own “monsters’’ to conquer.
“It’s kind of like Marty and Sally are very much like kids that I grew up with in school. It is a simple story, that is why it is a story that can’t be told enough. It’s a familiar story, but told in a different way that I wanted to be a realistic Sally in the world that it is told,’’ shares Rhian.
“I know they are emphasizing that it is a simple love story, but there is an underlying narrative there on why Sally really needs to be saved. So I urge you to watch the film,’’ adds TJ.
For Avid, who shares that if he would estimate how much he has shelled out to finish a film, he would have been able to buy for himself a house, finishing Saving Sally has sort of given him a family of avid dreamers and believers.
Completing the cast of Saving Sally are Bodjie Pascua, Carme Sanchez, Archie Adamos and Shamaine Centenera Buencamino.
It is Graded A by the Cinema Evaluation Board and Rated PG by the MTRCB.
It opens on December 25 in cinemas nationwide.


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