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Kathleen A. Llemit

2016 Miss Universe officially starts with grand kickoff

Monday, 12 December 2016 00:00 Published in Headlines

Organizers of the 2016 Miss Universe pageant held a grand kickoff event last Saturday night at the S Maison Mall, Conrad Hotel in Pasay City.
Candidates from different parts of the globe were flown in to grace the festivities as well as participate in the pre-pageant activities that include visits to top destinations in the country during their five-day stay.
The candidates introduced during the event were Miss Australia Caris Emily Tiivel, Miss Indonesia Kezia Roslin Warouw, Miss Japan SariNakazawa, Miss Korea Jenny Kim, Miss Malaysia Kiran Jassal, Miss Myanmar Htet Htet Htun, Miss New Zealand Tania Pauline Dawson, Miss Thailand Chalita Suansane, Miss USA Deshauna Barber, and Miss Vietnam Dang Thi Le Hang. Miss Universe Philippines Maxine Medina was also present and will be joining the activities.

Miss Universe Organization president Paula Mary Shugart, who was warmly welcomed by fans who screamed her name at every opportunity during the event, said it was the organization’s as well as her dream to hold the pageant next year in the country.
The Philippines was host to Miss Universe pageants in 1974 and 1994.
She was also given a jacket with the words “Miss U Is On” by LCS Group chairman and former Ilocos Sur Gov. Luis “Chavit” Singson.
Singson’s LCS Group and Solar Entertainment Corporation organized the event.
Department of Tourism (DoT) Secretary Wanda Teo shared that the ladies’ itinerary include a tour of the Walled City in Intramuros and whaleshark or “butanding” interaction in Oslob, Cebu. The ladies were in top surfing destination, Siargao, yesterday.
Reigning Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach was also present to welcome the candidates. She also shared how excited she was for next year’s pageant.
“It’s not only a dream of Paula’s, a dream of the Miss Universe Organization, but also a dream of mine to bring back the competition here, and to show the world how beautiful the Philippines is. And it would really be great if I can finally have a proper walk on stage in no less than in my home country of course,”’ she said.
Wurtzbach was unable to do the customary victory walk after the mishap that host Steve Harvey caused in last year’s pageant when he announced that Miss Colombia Ariadna Gutierrez was the winner instead of Wurtzbach.
Also present during the kickoff were DoT Undersecretary Kat de Castro, Albay Rep. Joey Salceda and partners from Okada Manila, SM Lifestyle Entertainment, Philippine Airlines and Pay It Forward.
The event was hosted by Miss Universe finalist Shamcey Supsup-Lee and actor Benjamin Alves.
Over 90 candidates are set to vie for the crown during the pageant night to be held on Jan. 30, 2017 at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Finally!

Friday, 09 December 2016 00:00 Published in Life Style

JUST SAYIN’. I have to admit I was a bit skeptical when the then-newly minted Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) executive committee announced in July that this year’s annual filmfest would be a sort of revolution, the very reason they created the hashtag #reelvolution. At the back of my mind, I was thinking it was just another attempt at a catchy marketing ploy.
Now, we all know they really meant it. And, boy, did it raise a lot of eyebrows and make the usual contenders express dismay at their movies’ non-inclusion in this year’s lineup!
A big-time producer argued that Christmas is a time for kids, while a veteran actor-producer said the selection committee should have respected the “panlasa ng Pinoy” when they finally chose this year’s Magic 8. The last part is, of course, debatable because preferences will always be subjective.
This year’s lineup may not have the usual big names and familiar franchises, but to those who have been wanting variety, 2016 brings about that kind of anticipation that has not been felt and seen in the last decade or two.
While it is too early to judge that Die Beautiful, Kabisera, Saving Sally, Seklusyon, Sunday Beauty Queen, Vince & Kath & James, Ang Babae sa Septic Tank 2: Forever Is Not Enough, and Oro are all “quality” films, the very fact that these films, with the exception of Septic Tank, sound new for most moviegoers is exciting.
Therein lies the anticipation — just like when one is given something new and unfamiliar, one could not help but look forward to the discovery and its potential effects.
As a moviegoer, in fact, we have to give credit to the selection committee because it was considerate in coming up with this list. Since among the criteria were story, audience appeal and overall impact (40 percent) and cinematic attributes or technical excellence (40 percent), it is safe to assume that all eight films have a good story to tell and a message to impart. Of course, it is not to say that some of the past entries did not have these.
But the critical and crucial criteria was the latter mentioned. In my opinion, all movies have a story to tell, but not all are neatly executed, resulting in a hodge-podge, sorry-excuse-of-a-movie.
I just hope that the box-office returns for this year will not leave next year’s selection committee from cowering and reverting back to the old times. Face it or not, the P1-billion target is highly unlikely for reasons we all could point back to the box-office record of the lead stars of this year’s batch of movies. But then I could be proven wrong. Just look at Artikulo Uno’s Heneral Luna. Fingers crossed.
But here’s the challenge, since they have already braved this year, and with everyone chanting, “Change is coming,” then by all means, they should enforce that change.

A cut above other ‘Barbie’ stars
This is not to demean Barbie the doll, but as a point of glaring difference, Barbie Forteza is more than just the dolled-up, pretty young actor wannabe. In fact, it is an insult to call her a wannabe because she is a cut above her contemporaries.
What earned my respect was when I got to interview her in a pocket presscon with other reporters.
“It is actually my dream. That was my goal when I entered showbiz, to be not just a TV personality. Iba ‘yung sikat ka. Iba ‘yung actress ka. Iba ‘yung respeto, treatment at tingin. Maybe hindi ka tinitilian ng marami or ng lahat pero ‘yung mga critics, alam ninyo (refers to the reporters) kung sino ako, ang mga capabilities ko (It is actually my dream. That was my goal when I entered showbiz, to be not just a TV personality. Being popular is different from being an actress. If you’re an actor, people respect and treat you differently. There might not be a lot of people who will scream your name but the critics know who I am and what I am capable of),” said the 19-year-old actress.
For a teenager, she sounded mature enough to discern what being an actor means. It is always frustrating to hear wannabes say that they want to be an actor and yet see them fail to commit to the craft. With the onslaught of reality TV shows, as well as showbiz offspring who think that it is their due to join tinseltown just because of their famous last names, it is quite maddening to see these wannabes given projects, some of which are leading roles, and give cringeworthy performances one after another.
But not Barbie. In fact, she should be emulated by her contemporaries. She shares that she likes auditioning because she wants to earn her stripes. “Actually I prefer to go to auditions so I wouldn’t be questioned as to how I got the part. I don’t want to hear people commenting that I got the part just because I’m favored to get it. I want to earn my role in every project. I want to hear them say, ‘Yeah she deserves it.’”
It is even more impressive to know that her first major acting award was for a role that she fell in line and auditioned for. Mariquina was her first Cinemalaya outing in 2014. She won the Best Supporting Actress Award for the New Breed Category. Her most recent Cinemalaya film is Tuos, opposite Nora Aunor. Again, she auditioned for this.
Barbie relates that she shot Tuos when she was doing her soap The Half Sisters. She practically had no rest days as she had to fly back and forth to a mountainous province in Iloilo to shoot the story about binukots or tribe princesses. Besides learning how to speak a native language, she also had to spend four days shooting for Tuos and the next three for her soap. It was her work cycle for a time. She adds that she did not want to pass up the opportunity to act beside Aunor, one of her idols. Again, thumbs up for her choice of favorite actress. She truly knows who to look up to, acting-wise.
I might sound like I’m singing quite a lot of praises for this young actor, but forgive me for the indulgence — for me, Barbie is a rarity.
In that sitdown, I also discovered how pragmatic and honest she can be. She admits she chooses projects that would balance out her two varying images: risk taker indie actor Barbie and popular teen star Barbie.
And her balancing act seems to be paying off, she observes. “It has a huge impact on me. I have a different market. I believe I’m widely known across all ages. I’m not stuck with just one identity.”
Not even 20, Barbie has another feather in her cap that should be the envy of her peers. She recently won the Best Actress Award for her film Laut at the 36th Fantasporto International Film Festival in Portugal. Just for reference, past winners of the award include Helena Bonham Carter for Margaret’s Museum (1996) and Jessica Chastain for Mama (2013). Barbie portrayed a Sama Dilaut, a group of ethnic people from Mindanao, many of whom are often seeing wandering city streets begging for alms.
While she is waiting for other projects for Cinemalaya or other indie films, popular actor Barbie is set to take place early next year as she turns on the charm for the TV viewing public via the primetime offering Meant To Be, airing during the third slot of GMA-7’s nightly primetime block.
After she charmed her way into the hearts of romcom fans via Amboy earlier this year, she will portray the role of Billie in Meant To Be. Her Billie will be paired with not just one but four up-and-coming leading men of GMA.
They are Ken Chan, Ivan Dorschner, Addy Raj and Jak Roberto. She will be reunited with three of her former screen partners. Ken was the third wheel in Twin Hearts. She was paired with Ivan in an episode of Maynila. Jak played a supporting role in The Half Sisters. He also played her husband in Laut. Addy Raj is a newcomer and just recently signed with GMA Artist Center under a co-management scheme just like Ivan. The pure Indian from New Delhi, and who fell in love with the Philippines after spending months as an exchange student in Ateneo will try acting after appearing in I Love OPM. Ivan, on the other hand, finally gave acting another try after living in the United States some three years ago after his stint at the Pinoy Big Brother show.
Here’s hoping to more projects for Barbie, hopefully with another noteworthy actor and fellow GMA teen talent Teri Malvar, who Barbie confesses she would want to work with in the future.

This season of gift-giving, it is time to find that one item that would not fail to put a smile on anyone who gets it. There is one gift that would literally do that and so much more, possibly induce a laughfest as one flips from one chapter to another.
Summit Book’s Etiquette for Soshal Climbers is one gift that would surely be appreciated for all the spot-on humor laid out in its paperback cover.
The book actually contains improved blog posts from three law school buddies who thought of putting up a humor blog.
Faye Condez, Vivian Tan and Camille Buhain were blockmates in UP Law a decade back. Since they pretty much know one another and figured they have the same “wavelength,” they put up the cult popular humor Web site, The Soshal Network, www.thesoshalnetwork.com, in 2012. They have become known as Ms. Sophisticated, Mrs. Domesticated, and Ms. Provinciated, respectively. As suggested, all three ladies give out tips as their online personas about how to be pa-soshal (a slang term for those aspiring to live the life of the privileged few) in a humorous way.
Four years after, all have their blog posts have been re-edited and printed out in an easy-to-read format.
Some of their blog post favorites were rewritten including how to make a brunch, now with tips from socialite Tessa Prieto-Valdes, as well as how to wear a duster dress, which now comes with styling tips from celebrity stylist Liz Uy.
Etiquette for Soshal Climbers is now available in newsstands, bookstores, convenience stores and supermarkets nationwide for P250.

Fly like an eagle at Enchanted Kingdom

Wednesday, 07 December 2016 00:00 Published in Life Style

An imposing structure has been making a lot of motorists do a doubletake while passing by Enchanted Kingdom (EK) in Laguna. It’s neither a cockpit arena nor the south’s version of Bulacan’s Philippine Arena, says EK chairman and president Mario Mamon. The nine-storey circular building that strikingly resembles the sun in the Philippine flag is the theme park’s newest and “most substantial’’ investment in its 21 years of existence.

Named Agila the Eksperience, the attraction is said to be the largest single flying theater of its kind. It recently had a soft opening and will have its grand launch on December 11, less than a year since it broke ground in March 2015.
Mamon said the idea of putting up Agila is their way of giving back to the country, slowly paving a way to more fun, educational and nationalistic rides in the years to come.
Aptly named after the Philippine eagle, the ride will be a multi-sensorial experience, pretty much like a typical 4D movie experience but more than triple in size.
Guests will be watching a six-minute feature in the 544-square-meter attraction that will highlight the best destinations the Philippines has to offer. All 105 guests, at maximum capacity, seated in the three-tiered arrangement, will get to “fly like an eagle’’ and tour 3,000 kilometers of beautiful sceneries and beaches, from far north in Batanes in Luzon to a southern town in Cagayan de Oro City in Mindanao. Just like when an eagle flies high, they will be able to experience the breath of the wind caressing their cheeks, as well as feel the splash of water when it swoops down to a glistening pool of the ocean.
Mamon enthuses about the panoramic and stunning cinematography of the featurette. He says the scenes were shot in 6K resolution by an Emmy Award-winning cinematographer who did the aerial photography of reality TV series Survivor and movie Titanic.
Inside the Agila, guests will not only be treated to a travelog, assures Mamon. The whole experience will last for 20 to 30 minutes. It will start with a tour of Eldar’s Workshop where they will be oriented as to their mission — the quest for the elements. Afterwards, they will experience the “exhilarating ride.’’
The Agila is not only named as such, but will also feature a sculpture in driftwood titled Mag-anak (Family), displayed at the lobby. The work is designed by international artist James Doran Webb. The sculpture depicts a portrait of a family of a Philippine eagle.
Agila is the first attraction in the planned “Cultural Zone.” Mamon shares that the zone will be done in phases and will feature attractions and themes that will not only be fun, but most importantly educational and nationalistic, featuring stories related to the Philippines. He hopes that the zone will have substantial attractions by the time the theme park celebrates its 25th year in 2020.
Besides the Agila, EK also recently signed a three-year partnership with Sudden Impact! Entertainment Company. Most of the attractions spearheaded by the company are found in Australia, United States and England.
The partnership has brought in another must-visit attraction in the park, bringing along its famous brand of horror-comedy that has tickled and scared three generations of moviegoers.
The Ghostbusters Adventure Live! is the latest addition in EK. It is a walk through space that fans of the franchise will be able to relate to as scenes guaranteed to scare and thrill fans were created inside the attraction. The actors specifically underwent training with Dominic McChesney’s Scare School.

For more information, visit www.enchantedkingdom.com.

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