Saturday, December 31, 2011

Best of the Year: 2011, it's a wrap!

Woman of the year: Anne Curtis

MANILA, Philippines - Besides hosting Showtime, where she dazzles everyone with her smile and sense of style, Anne Curtis starred in the talked-about box office hit No Other Woman, became the first Filipina L’Oreal endorser, and received a star at the Eastwood Walk of Fame. She also released her debut album Annebisyosa, which received a gold record award three weeks after, giving hope, as Anne said so herself, to non-singers who dream of recording best-selling albums. Anne has conquered everything that comes her way and she’s going to give established singers a run for their money when tickets start selling for her first solo concert next year. She’s all that and a bag of chips and to prove it, she became the first Rogue girl to receive triple covers and made like KC Concepcion (but without the cameras) and rode the notoriously packed MRT just to catch Kylie Minogue perform in Araneta!

Beauty queens of the year: Shamcey Supsup, Gwendoline Ruais, Dianne Necio, and Athena Imperial

Annual beauty pageants are the Super Bowls of beckys, so it was a good year for our sisters when Shamcey Supsup, Gwendoline Ruais, Dianne Necio, and Athena Imperial won respective titles in the pageants they participated in. Shamcey Supsup was awarded 3rd runner-up at Miss Universe, Gwendoline Ruais won 1st runner-up at Miss World, Dianne Necio placed in the Top 15 of Miss International (being the fourth consecutive Filipina contestant to do so), and Athena Imperial bagged the Miss Earth-Water title. With all the titles our beauties have been bagging this year, we wonder why Veejay Floresca, Martin Bautista, Lex Librea and Aleq Africa haven’t recorded themselves jumping up and down in their pajamas for old times’ sake.

Festival of the year: Cinemalaya

Cinemalaya, the bastion of Filipino indie cinema, has received its long-awaited and well-deserved recognition from mainstream media. Films from the festival in July, such as Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank, Ligo Na U, Lapit Na Me, Ang Sayaw Ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa, Zombadings: Patayin Sa Shokot Si Remington, and Rakenrol received commercial release, much to the delight of fans. Interest in indie films has increased over the years mainly because mainstream actors have started participating, most notably Eugene Domingo, much to the dismay of purists. Most exciting is Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank’s entry into the Oscars shortlist of Best Foreign Language Film. Whether or not it brings home the big win, is beside the point because finally, we may be evolving from formulaic teenybopper dramedies.

Network of the year: TV5

A great shift began in local television when business mogul Manny V. Pangilinan bought TV5 in 2009. The network has been MVP-fied for two years, but the masses only felt the change when big stars started transferring, beginning with Dolphy, Ruffa Gutierrez, and Willie Revillame in 2010. This was soon followed by Aga Muhlach, Nora Aunor, Lorna Tolentino, and Sharon Cuneta, whose move was rumored to have cost the network over P5 billion. TV5 under MVP shook the industry, changing the game from a two-player deal to a free-for-all, threatening those who relaxed in a one-competition setup. The successful rebranding of the network has made MVP even more relevant (especially after the Digitel takeover last month), probably as relevant as the PNoy himself, but we hope TV5 won’t monopolize the entertainment industry by getting all the artists — imagine Marian Rivera and Kris Aquino ending up sharing a talk show!

Breakups of the year: John Lloyd Cruz and Shaina Magdayao, KC Concepcion and Piolo Pascual, and Mo Twister and Rhian Ramos

The Ruffa Gutierrez-John Lloyd Cruz-Shaina Magdayao love triangle was confusing, then amusing at best, and KC Concepcion’s breakup with heartthrob Piolo Pascual was intriguing because of all the ambiguity during her interview with Tito Boy Abunda. After all, what are we supposed to think when she said “May mga hinahanap ako na basic lang na hahanapin ng isang babae sa isang boyfriend, sa isang lalaki.” But shortly after KC’s tearful tell-all, Mo Twister stole her thunder with the anonymous uploading of a “repaired video” wherein Mo detailed Rhian’s alleged abortion of their child. Though Mo denies having anything to do with the video’s public release, Rhian and her lawyer slapped him with a case accusing him of violating the Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act. Since then, another video surfaced of Rhian straddling Mo while dry humping, groping, making out and giving icky poo loooove declarations to the camera. For Rhian’s sake, we hope nothing worse surfaces. —Cai Subijano

Most celebrated musicians of the year: Adele and Amy Winehouse

Adele may have been performing since 2008 with the release of her studio album “19,” but it was the January release of “21” that propelled the British crooner to international fame. Her hypnotic voice gained a large following with her proclamation that she makes music for ears, not eyes. Despite the criticism on her weight, her hit single Someone Like You became an anthem (and the subject of a hilarious SNL spoof) and her cover photos for magazines, like Rolling Stone, British Vogue, and Cosmopolitan, are proof that big talent is beautiful. Her passionate and soulful voice reminds us of another tortured soul, Amy Winehouse, who we sadly lost this July, but we hope that Adele goes past the infamous 27 Club, which has taken many of our musical greats, to make the album “28.”

Icon of the year: Steve Jobs

News of the death of Steve Jobs came as a huge shock, especially for those who lived by the gadgets he created, from the iPod, the iPad, and everything in between. His death in October was due to a rare form of pancreatic cancer, which he rarely talked about since being diagnosed in 2003. Steve is credited for leading the technology wave with revolutionary products that changed how we viewed communication. Currently, rumors regarding the iPhone 5 are spreading (again), but things haven’t been the same without Steve, who was celebrated for his personality aside from his products. Many believe that the company would do just fine, even when the maker has met the maker.

Box office diva of the year: Vice Ganda

Patrons of comedy bars in the days of yore knew who Vice Ganda was even before Showtime. The comedian has been in the comedy circuit since 1999, delivering the punchlines that would eventually break a Philippine record. He dominated national consciousness when he joined the hit series Showtime, where his jokes, which centered on the “may nagtext!” theme became insanely popular. But it was his self-deprecating attitude that endeared him to many fans, and he still remains the unkabogable judge, meaning he’s un-evictable (though we believe he would be a staple even if he could be booted out). His biggest coup for the year was starring in Praybeyt Benjamin, which broke the record for highest-earning Filipino movie of all time. Call him a horse as many times as you want, but Vice Ganda will be galloping all the way to the bank.

Arrest of the year: CGMA

We’ve all heard of the tragic executions of the suspected drug mules in China and our hearts go out to their families, but the biggest arrest for this year is of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. An arrest warrant for electoral sabotage was charged against the Pampanga representative while she was at St. Luke’s Medical Center in Taguig City where she was nursing a rare bone disorder. This was one of the missions of President Noynoy Aquino, but he didn’t seem satisfied as he went on a vicious tirade against the Supreme Court and Chief Justice Renato Corona for blocking his efforts with Corona immediately impeached. The furor raised against this was so great that pundits are calling the President a dictator, which is of course not true because the mark of a true dictator is having a Tumblr account of him looking at things or dropping the bass.

Good riddance of the year: Osama Bin Laden, Kim Jong-Il, Muammar Gaddafi, and Hosni Mubarak

It was a good year for politics as we saw the deaths of terrorist Osama Bin Laden, North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, and the ousting of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. These four have led different lives, but what they have in common is the feeling of discomfort they gave while in power, whether it be for their nation’s people or people from around the world. Bin Laden was finally captured by a US special forces military unit, Kim Jong-Il passed away due to a heart attack, Gaddafi was beaten and shot to death, while Mubarak was ousted after 18 days of protest. Suddenly, with the exception of natural calamities, the world suddenly seems like a safer place.

Team of the year: Team Philippines!

The Philippine Azkals paved the way for Filipino athletes getting the recognition they deserve by making the most out of a crack at entering the World Cup and putting up a good fight against David Beckham and the rest of LA Galaxy. The Philippine Volcanoes managed to live up to all that underwear-related hype by bagging the silver medal at the Asian Men’s Rugby 7s Championships. The Philippine Dragon Boat team has won five gold medals and two silver medals at the 10th World Dragon Boat Championships in Tampa Bay, Florida, on top of their gold medal wins in 2007 and 2009. All this athletic popularity proves that becoming a professional athlete in the Philippines is a viable career because if all else fails, you could also go for being a sought-after endorser. —Cai Subijano

Discussion of the year: The RH Bill

From the ridiculous schism among Ayala Alabang residents over whether a doctor’s prescription is needed to buy oral contraceptives to the intense verbal wars between Miriam Defensor-Santiago and Mommy Dionisia, and Lea Salonga and Manny Pacquiao, the RH Bill was one hot topic people couldn’t stop talking about. The discussions reached their peak with the exhibition of Mideo Cruz’s “Poleteismo” where even The Huffington Post took note of the way he offended the CBCP by gluing a wooden penis on Jesus Christ’s face on a poster. Admittedly, the exhibit was shocking, but the CBCP’s involvement in its removal begged the question of whether the Catholic Church was meddling a tad too much in society’s affairs. They may insist on refusing Holy Communion to politicians who support the pure logic of the RH Bill, but messing around in matters of art may be taking their position of power way too far. —Cai Subijano

Facelift of the year: NAIA

It took an international double blow for us to realize that NAIA 1 was overdue for a makeover. The Guide to Sleeping in Airports blog ranked NAIA 1 as the worst airport in the world and fifth most hated airport in the world by CNN’s travel site. A plan to rehabilitate the airport turned awry when renowned designers Kenneth Cobonpue, Budji Layug, and Royal Pineda revealed that Cabinet officials commissioned them to prepare a pro bono design. Teddy Boy Locsin demanded that the designers should be given subpoenas to reveal who these officials were, hinting that the officials granted them permission in exchange for free or almost-free furnishing. In spite of all the negative backlash, what’s important is our government has been moved to action. PNoy signed off on a P1.1 billion rehabilitation plan — P500 million for the interior design, with the help of the team behind Singapore’s Changi International, P340 million for structural upgrades, P300 million for much-needed rapid exit taxiways, P20 million for 72 new toilets (thank God!), and P20 million for urinals and other amenities. Hey, if an airport was named after your father, you’d better make it a priority!           —Cai Subijano

Disappointment of the year: Banned underwear billboards on EDSA

Clothing magnate Bench has always pushed the boundaries when it came to advertising, but one series of billboards along EDSA apparently went too far and bothered the wrong people. Described by Mandaluyong City Mayor Benhur Abalos as “inappropriate,” he had them dismantled. Ads featuring Aly Borromeo, along with the rest of the Philippine Volcanoes, the brothers Younghusband, Angel Locsin, and Lovi Poe in provocative wear were also removed because they were “offensive.” While it may appear that the MMDA has a personal vendetta against fit people, the organization’s chair Francis Tolentino said that they were removed because the operators didn’t have the proper permits. Whatever the reason — because really, most, if not all, of the ads removed had barely-clothed endorsers — EDSA is probably now safer, with less road accidents, but a lot less eventful.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas Parties Pt. I (2011)

Christmas in the Philippines has always been a grand affair. I mean, what else could it be for a country that celebrates the holiday for a quarter of the year? But 2011 was different. It wasn't as jolly or colorful. Fewer houses featured Christmas lights, and our street was no exception - in fact ours was barely lit. It must have been the disasters that struck our friends in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan, but the gloom spread throughout the country. Despite that, the Christmas spirit didn't stop because we sent our donations, prayed hard, and partied harder. Because that's the great thing about us Filipinos - we get by with faith, camaraderie, and a glowing optimism. Here's a rundown of the parties I attended, celebrated with a grain of sobriety to support our stricken brothers.

December 19, 2011: Team Supreme

Celebrated with some writers from Supreme at SM Megamall. Actually, we were there to feature some stores in the Mega Atrium but my editor Cai decided to double it as our Christmas party. Had lunch at Yabu with the marketing department of Megamall and Tim, our editor-in-chief. Went to our assigned stores together, but eventually dispersed. I got Gotti's and Amici, both Italian restaurants. I was so stuffed because they kept bombarding us with food, and I even tried the other restaurants the other writers featured. I got to keep three kinds of pastas, two pizzas, a salad, on top of the food we ate. Met Nikko, wandered around then went to SM Mall of Asia to have dinner at our favorite Thai restaurant.

December 21, 2011: TP

Me and the new members of the team

I was invited to the Christmas party of The Perpetualite, my school's publication. I missed the first part of the party in Alabang because I had to work on my Atrium pieces, but I joined them at the current editor-in-chief's bar. Had a lovely dinner and reconnected with my close friends. I was supposed to stay for an hour because I had to work on my Best of the Week stories but a good supply of drinks and company made me stay until morning. I submitted my Best of the Week past the deadline with profuse apologies and alcohol breath.

December 23, 2011: The Tins

What I wore: Ukay dress shirt, H&M undershirt, Zara jeans, Kickers loafers

The Tin family. There are more of us, some were in the den playing mahjong 

Me and my brother with the Tin kids, the most adorable siblings this side of the Philippines

I went to Quezon City for the Tin Christmas party, a family friend of ours. My mom and brother go a day early, but I usually go on the day itself if I have to finish tasks or if I'm feeling too lazy to join them. I decided to stay home and unwind after the stressful week at Supreme and watched movies the whole day. I didn't encounter traffic (thank God) so I was in time for dinner. The catering was really good and I helped myself to prawn, Korean noodles, ox tongue, and good conversation from the Tins. I met a Canadian teacher who works with Kim in Vietnam and we exchanged notes on culture. We had the annual exchange gift, which is a fun experience because there are over 40 of us. Auntie Lisa picked me (I picked her last year) and she got me a wonderful bath set from Italy. Ang pao were exchanged and I made quite the collection.

December 24, 2011: The Arsuas

Me and my brother with the Paragases and my cousin Lord

Me and my brother with our cousin Pao. He is the cutest toddler and he and his siblings (all under the age of 11) are the most intelligent kids I've ever met.

My family usually spends noche buena at home with my mother's side of the family. The number of attendees can almost rival that of the Tins, but there are family dramas that decimated the size for the past two years. But the show must go on and the party was almost as cheerful as when we were complete. The food was divine, thanks to my mom who is one of the best cooks ever. We had our exchange gift, I got a Takeo Kikuchi jacket from my mom and the Japanese editions of Vogue and Elle from my brother.

December 25, 2011: Alabang

What I wore: Kenneth Cole shirt, Takeo Kikuchi blazer, Bench jeans, and Kickers loafers

I grabbed hot chocolate at Coffee Bean and was surprised to see this - a gadget that vibrates and flashes when your drink is ready!

On Christmas Day, my mom invited us to go to Alabang to catch dinner and a movie. We watched Shake, Rattle, and Roll 13 for the Metro Manila Filmfest. It was the least of all evils, according to mom, but I personally wanted to see Manila Kingpin: The Asiong Salonga Story and Segunda Mano (out of morbid fascination for Kris Aquino's acting). We had dinner at Pepper Lunch and caught the movie. I even ran into my editor at the cinema! I wasn't impressed with the movie, but I did like the last part with Chris Martinez and Eugene Domingo, who teamed together for the hit Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank. A week before, my mom asked me if I wanted an iPad for Christmas. I'm not big on gadgets so I probably wouldn't enjoy an iPad as much as an Apple junkie, and I didn't really know what I wanted so I asked instead for a 500GB external hard drive. It's been very useful to me for storing my movies and TV shows.

To be continued here.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

A hidden oasis

Manila, Philippines - The iconic SM Megamall is a structure that people associate with ultimate convenience. Apart from offering several floors of shopping, dining and entertainment, it’s also a one-stop shop for those errands that never seem to get crossed off your to-do list, like renewing your driver’s license, getting yearly health and dental check-ups, even sorting out your banking affairs, then hopping on the MRT once you’re done. Indeed if you build it, they will come, and so came the bustling crowds that are as identifiable as Megamall itself. In that rush to get everything done before that movie you bought tickets for starts, all while making your way through a packed escalator, you might feel that you just want to stop and take a break. But being able to relax right in the middle of a busy crowd? Indeed, when SM Megamall proclaimed that they’ve got it all for you, they left no stone unturned.
This is exactly what the Team Supreme found out when we invaded the Mega Atrium at SM Megamall, an area that appears suddenly like mirage for mall goers who need a bit of respite, yet disguises itself as a blur in the corners of the eyes of determined shoppers hopping from one store to another. Truly, once you finally take notice of it, you’ll realize that it’s been there all along, waiting for you to enter. Located right in the heart of SM Megamall, literally in between Mega A and Mega B, the Atrium has a bright, yet intimate feel about it, despite the fact that it houses nearly 100 stores and restaurants.

Some of us, like Chief Supremo Tim Yap, were dropped right off at the Mega Atrium Lobby, which is located in the center of the mall facing J. Vargas Avenue. Once in the lobby, all he had to do was take the elevator and be whisked away, crowd-free, to meet the team for lunch at Yabu. If it’s your chauffeur’s day off, valet service is also an option at a P100 flat rate. Like those who drove their own cars, you'll be pleased to know that the Mega Carpark C opened last month and offers direct access to the middle of Megamall at only a P45 flat parking rate. That’s right, no more lugging your purchases from one end of the mall to the other just to get to Mega Carpark A or B.

All five floors of the Mega Atrium at SM Megamall offers a balanced selection of shops and restaurants.
In fact, you don’t even need to lug your shopping bags at all because there is the luxury of sending your purchases to the Package Pick-Up Counter. The service is totally free. Simply shop at the participating stores, fill out a form to have your items sent to the Package Pick-Up Counter, then fetch them when you’re all shopped-out with your claim stub. If you urgently need to send out an important e-mail to your boss, worry not because there is free wireless Internet available in the entire SM Megamall.
And finally, when every aspect of yourself has been satisfied physically, head up to the fifth floor of the Atrium where you can find the beautifully spacious Chapel of the Eucharistic Lord. Capping off a full day of shopping and dining with a moment of silence before heading home is a great way to end a well-rounded Mega Atrium experience.

Turn to the next pages to see how TeamSupreme spent the day at the Mega Atrium at SM Megamall!


Amici satisfies the most discriminating tastes with authentic Italian dishes, offering Italy’s finest and using the freshest ingredients. Sadly, authentic comes with the price of newcomers thinking that it is expensive, but Amici believes that quality food does not require a hefty price tag and its back story proves just that.

Amici di Don Bosco began in 1994 when a Salesian priest opened a turo-turo canteen to serve the Don Bosco Printing Press employees. The canteen served Italian coffee and gelato, later introducing wood-fire oven-baked pizzas and homemade pasta. Word got around and Don Bosco students began flocking to the canteen, followed by visitors from all walks of life: from celebrities and socialites to housewives and blue-collar workers. Realizing that business was not their specialty, the Salesian priests sold the business to Iboy Pinga and Danny Moran, the founders of Red Ribbon.

Amici is known for its pastas, pizzas, and the dessert obsession du jour, gelato. The pizza choices are diverse, from the classic Margherita and Napoletana to specialized pizzas, such as the seafood-based Frutti di Mare, the meat-only Tutta Carne, and the cheesy Al Quattro Formaggi. Pizzas cost roughly P300 to P400 and are good to share. First-timers must try the Chorizo e Spinaci, one of their specialties. The pastas are just as varied, from tomato-based, cream-based, to olive oil-based. The must-try is the Spaghetti ai Tesori del Mare, a spicy dish with chili oil and the Linguine al Proscuitto e Tartuffo, a dish with two kinds of mushrooms.

Equally renowned is Caramia, Amici’s gelateria. It offers cakes and gelato, a healthier alternative to ice cream. Compared to ice cream, gelato has less fat and is richer and creamier. It comes in many flavors such as pistachio, sans rival, and cioccolato and costs P75 a scoop. Slices of cake range from P65 to P125, with the Di Lusso as one of their newer offerings, a combination of pistachio, chocolate, and strawberry gelato wrapped in chocolate and has a crushed graham crust.

Dining at Amici may sound sinful, but true to its religious roots, its core value is sharing. Not only is eating more pleasurable with loved ones, an order of select dishes called Tuloy Speciali will give P10 to the Tuloy Foundation, a non-profit organization in Alabang to help street children. At Amici, it’s all about eating good and doing good!

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Amici is located on the 4/F Mega Atrium, SM Megamall and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. For reservations, call 636-1341.

Gotti’s Ristorante

Tucked away in the fourth floor of the Mega Atrium at SM Megamall is one of its best-kept secrets: Gotti’s Ristorante. An Italian restaurant by trade, its interiors promise a taste of Italy: lots of wood and brick, subtle lighting, and posters of Italians and their dishes. Even though its name evokes Italy, it references one of the most infamous mobsters ever, John Gotti, who is also known for his epicurean tastes.
Lovers of Italian food appreciate what Gotti’s has to offer. That’s because the pizzas and pastas are authentic, something owners Eileen and Manuel Gonzales and John Erich and Malou Taca have mastered over the years. The idea began when Eileen was working in an Italian restaurant in New York. She felt that “it would be right” to offer thin-crust pizza in the Philippines, so in 2002, she opened Pizzeria Pronto with her husband and the Tacas in SM Bicutan. It wasn’t until 2008 when they changed names and decided to expand to SM Mall of Asia and the Mega Atrium at SM Megamall after studying their products.
The joint is known for its pizza and pasta, but what separates Gotti’s from the rest are the secret recipes, their affordable prices and heaping servings. Pastas come in single and to-share servings, with prices ranging from P200 for single servings to P300 for groups of two to three. The must-try, or “most wanted” is the Frutti di Mare, a seafood-based pasta in rich marinara sauce. Other pasta dishes not to be missed are the garlic shrimp in white wine and the creamy basil bacon. One interesting pasta dish is the Pasta ala Vodka, a pomodoro cream sauce dish with chili and the alcoholic drink.

An Italian meal wouldn’t be complete without its pizza offerings and Gotti’s doesn’t come short. For P260 to P360 per 12-inch pie, customers will have a taste of Italy with its oven-baked thin crust. The classics are there but the stars are the Four Seasons, Mi Mama’s Quattro Formaggi, and the Contadina, a pizza with prosciutto, grilled eggplant, and freshly grated Parmigiano Romano.

Highly recommended for dessert is the decadent Tartufo Nero, a pure dark chocolate gelato with a brandied cherry core, capping off a delicious Italian meal. Gotti and his mob crew have reached our shores and might soon be the Philippines’ most wanted.

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Gotti’s Ristorante is located on the 4/F Mega Atrium, SM Megamall and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. For reservations, call 634-0348.

Best of the Week: Gaga gets hacked, a Pinoy saint, and Britney is engaged! Again.

Saint of the week: Pedro Calungsod

Manila, Philippines - Blessed Pedro Calungsod will be canonized as the second Filipino saint since Lorenzo Ruiz in 1987. Calungsod, a native of Iloilo, is known as the 17-year-old martyr who taught Catechism and evangelized the Chamorros in the Marianas Islands, Guam. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 2000 for his unwavering dedication to Christ, and that “young people today can draw encouragement and strength” from him. On Dec. 19, Pope Benedict XVI approved his sainthood after a woman was brought back to life from a heart attack through Calungsod’s intercession. The date of his canonization has yet to be announced, but we Filipinos are proud!

Partyboy of the week: PNoy

Actress Valerie Concepcion and President Noynoy Aquino are getting negative attention for attending a Christmas party for the employees of Malacañang at the height of Typhoon Sendong. The story broke after Valerie tweeted that she was at a party with the president and that he was laughing at her jokes. The Aquino team (meaning his sisters), came to his defense saying that the party has been planned ahead of time but that he was constantly on the phone, monitoring affected areas such as Cagayan de Oro. His unofficial spokesperson, Kris Aquino also said that “Hindi naming pwedeng huminto nalang ang buhay at magmukmok nalang tayo.” All we have to say is that it must have been one hell of a party!

Death of the week: Kim Jong-Il

Kim Jong-Il has been a popular figure even outside the political circle, so it came as a huge shock when it was revealed that the North Korean leader died over the weekend. The news came as a double surprise because it was declared two days after, similar to what happened when his father, Kim Il-Sung passed away. The Dear Leader died of a heart attack caused by overwork and stress, and his son Kim Jong Un will soon take control of a 24 million strong nation, raising concerns over his plans and capabilities. The local media has elevated him to mythic status, but politicians and the masses are still cautious with the Great Successor, wondering if he can be iconic enough to have a Tumblr account of him looking at things.

Hacking of the week: Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga wins the Associated Press’ Entertainer of the Year award, besting Apple’s Steve Jobs by three votes, but 45 million Facebook fans and 17 million Twitter followers weren’t entertained when a virus hacked into Mother Monster’s accounts promising an iPad 2 for every follower who clicked the link posted. The post read “FREE iPad2′s to each one of you in the spirit of the holidays” luring unsuspecting followers (at least 7,000 of them) who thought she was just being her fan-loving self. The posts have been deleted, but her AP win might be eclipsed by the hacking. After all, what use does a cooperative shared by 1,700 newspapers, 5,000 radio and television broadcasters, 243 news bureaus, and 120 countries have compared to 62 million rabid monsters?

Engagement of the week:  Britney Spears and Jason Trawick

Pop superstar Britney Spears is tying the knot for the third time with her former manager, Jason Trawick. The engagement was announced in the most bizarre way, though: by changing her Facebook status from single to engaged. While the method of broadcasting the news may be questionable, it might be a case of “third time’s the charm” with the pop icon, who is about to marry a 40-year-old man who chose a ring based on quality and beauty rather than size. Many cynics are probably betting on the union’s longevity (hers is still the record to beat with 55 hours), but we believe in happily ever after, even when she sang “Mama, I’m in love with a criminal, and this type of love isn’t rational, it’s physical.”

Flight attendants of the week: Thai ladyboys

New Thai airline PC Air made a bold move by hiring transsexuals, or ladyboys, to serve as flight attendants. The decision to hire one of Thailand’s “trademarks” came after more than 100 transsexuals applied for the job. Four were accepted with the condition that they must walk and talk like a woman and that they meet the qualifications for female flight attendants. One transsexual flight attendant, Tanyarat Jirapatpakorn said that the opportunity is the beginning of acceptance of transsexuals in Thailand and that maybe they could get a future job in the police force and the army, scaring homophobes into bullying members of the LGBT community with access to machine guns. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Weekend in bullets.

  • Mom came home from Japan! She was there for two months to manage our business and she's back for the holidays! My brother and I missed her so we were really happy to have her back. Tons of pasalubongs!
Mom knows my fascination with green tea so she got me stuff with green tea in it: coffee, candy, cheese with wasabi (they're also green), cocoa, and wafer sticks.

Local fashion magazines. Random Japanese magazines for women (I have no idea what I'll do with these); for men, featuring the S/S 2012 collections of the Fashion Weeks in New York, Tokyo, Milan and Paris; and the pièce de résistance, the November and December issue of Vogue Nippon.

Clothes: Three button-downs, a t-shirt, a blazer from Gap, a belt, room socks (I have a thing for wearing socks in my room), Sonia Rykiel towels, and a Cerruti toiletries bag for when I travel.
  • In typical mom fashion, she asked us what we wanted for Christmas. My brother asked for a longboard (which he got the following day) but I don't know what to get. Frankly, I have everything I want. She then asked me if I wanted an iPad and I didn't know what to say because I have no idea what it does. Sorry, guys. I'm not an Apple fan. I've had three iPods but that's the closest I'll get to Steve Jobs. I might upgrade my camera instead.
  • Saturday, I met my friend Myk for dinner and a movie in Greenbelt. We wanted to watch The Adventures of Tintin (it was that good that I wanted to see it again) but they weren't showing it anymore so we opted for Immortals. I didn't really want to watch it but it was either that or New Year's Eve so we chose Immortals. Bad move because the movie was terrible. The story was boring and the portrayal of the gods was disappointing. The biggest letdown was Athena. The paragon of wisdom in ancient Greece looked more like a Victoria's Secret model than the goddess of justice.
  • Bought Ira Levin's The Stepford Wives! I've been looking for a copy for years. Finally! It even has an introduction by one of my favorite authors, Chuck Palahniuk.
The movie adaptation featuring Nicole Kidman and Glenn Close was really something. Can't wait to read this one and watch the first adaptation!
  • Dinner at CBD, Ayala Triangle. It's only been two weeks since I last dined there but I've been craving for their milkshakes the minute I stepped out the last time I ate in the restaurant. I had the same thing - CBD burger (this time with cheese) and the apple pie milkshake, which is one of the best things I've ever tasted, I swear by it.
  • Yesterday, I was in Megamall with Supreme for a feature we're doing for the Atrium. Met some of the admin who gave us a brief tour and left us to divide the stores we were featuring. I got Amici and Gotti's, both Italian restaurants. It was really fun because I got to taste everything for free and got to take everything I didn't finish home. It was my first time to meet the team and they were very nice, especially my editor, Tim Yap. We had lunch at Yabu, delicious.
  • Met Nikko, window shopped at Forever 21 (I saw my friend Kim, who is home from Vietnam for the holidays) and was severely tempted to buy a Fair Isle cardigan after Gino de la Paz's raves in his Supreme column last Saturday. I didn't buy one but Nikko and I did get jars of Dead Sea Salt from Jericho. I tried it last night and it felt so damn good.
Great on the skin, this is one way of pampering yourself.
  • Went to Mall of Asia to have dinner at our favorite Thai restaurant, Jatujak. We had the Bagoong Rice and the Chicken Pandan, oh my gosh. Yummy!
  • Had my hair cut today!
I don't like it very much but I have to work with what I have!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

An Industrial Wonderland

It starts with that haunting tune. You enter the gallery and it sucks you in, into some sort of industrial Wonderland where everything is an alternate of what you know and believe in. You hear the hypnotic music from DJ Spooky’s video installation and you forget everything else.

“A crayon sketch of Leonor Rivera drawn by José Rizal taken from Wikipedia” by Patrick Cruz. Screenshot, Xerox Paper. Dimensions variable.

Collage Drop Outs is an art exhibit that features pieces from established artists in the Philippines, Singapore, Canada, and the US. It is a collection of works that aims to explore and question orthodox and unorthodox ways in addressing theme, imagery, style and material by putting together artists who have unique practices. This is a conscious choice by the curators, Mariano Ching and Isabel Ching. “We’re not really following what we were taught in college about collage. Many of these artists are not known for doing traditional collages.” While collage brings to mind high school notebooks with cutouts of images and mantras from magazines like Vogue and Cosmopolitan, Collage Drop Outs is mature, intelligent, and beautiful.

"Antarctica Manifesto / Antarctica Treaty" by Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky That Subliminal Kid. Digital print on paper. 2’ x 3’ each.

The name Collage Drop Outs itself is a play on words. Mariano and Isabel chose it because the idea of a dropout is closer to counter-culture. It is subversive and rebellious, with a self-deprecating twist that makes it humble. Also, because the name sounded funny. On the surface, it is witty and attracts attention, but is steeped with meaning. Much like the exhibit pieces.

“Let’s Talk About Everything” by Izziyana Suhaimi. Embroidery on found materials, wooden embroidery hoops and gold thread. Variable dimensions.

Exploring the exhibit is like exploring Wonderland. Every visitor feels like Alice as she digs into a dimension where every place is as different as the last and to find the real meaning of everything would only confuse even more. Taking collage as a departure point, the 11 artists considered the relevance of collage to their respective practices. The group of artists is also a collage, a collage of nationalities, perspective, and practices with fresh takes on the theme, but there was an underlying dialogue that made the exhibit coherent. The curators have invited underground filmmaker and cartoonist Roxlee, installation artists Felix Bacolor and Juan Alcazaren, musician DJ Spooky, and equally renowned artists such as Zeus Bascon, Patrick Cruz, Eugene Jarque, Rafeeza Khaliq, Romeo Lee, Izziyana Suhaimi, and Mac Valdezco.

Dust” and “Mold” by Mac Valdezco. Acrylic and collage on canvas. 3’ x 4’

The curators themselves are celebrated. Isabel Ching, a noted curator, has set up countless exhibits in Singapore and Hong Kong, and has worked with at least 30 artists including multi-awarded painters Louie Cordero and Poklong Anading. Mariano Ching is a member of the Surrounded by Water Art Group and his works have been recognized by art groups, and he was awarded the Cultural Center of the Philippines Thirteen Artists Award in 2006. His works have been exhibited here and abroad, and some of his pieces belong to art collections in the Singapore Art Museum. Despite the same last name, the two are not related.

“China Girl” and “Indian Head” by Felix Bacolor. Adhesive wallpaper, dimensions variable. Wallpaper sticker backing, masking tape, ladder, dimensions variable.

According to Mariano and Isabel, inviting the artists was both challenging and exciting. The challenge came from overseas artists who couldn’t guide the curators in installing their pieces, and working within the allotted budget. But the reward of working with really good artists paid off because the artists were open to how their works were going to be displayed and the exhibit went without a hitch.

“Good Night Collage Series 1-9” by Juan Alcazaren. Plastic. 15” x 11”

In the end, I had to tear myself away from the pieces because it was nearly closing. Throughout the exhibit I was mesmerized by DJ Spooky’s haunting tune and when I exited, I was awakened by the cold wind and the faint smell of lemons from the nearby Cantinetta. As I walked away, possibly suffering from Stendhal Syndrome, I swear I saw the Cheshire Cat up in a tree, grinning at me.

Collage Drop Outs is located at Finale Art File, Warehouse 17, La Fuerza Compound (Gate 1), Chino Roces Avenue, Makati and will be exhibited until December 31. The gallery is open Mondays to Saturdays from 10AM to 7PM. You may contact them at 813-2310 and 812-5034.

Best of the Week: Heroes, iPhone wars and the Person of the Year!

Release Party Battle Of The Week

MANILA, Philippines - Since 2008, Globe Telecom has been enjoying sole distribution of the iPhone, but their reign has ended. Apple has now given Smart Communications the green light on the iPhone 4s release as well. To set themselves apart, both companies went head-to-head with the baddest release parties. Globe’s iPhone 4s launch last Dec. 15 had house DJ, Kaskade, perform at the Ayala Museum while Smart took them on by bringing performers Lupe Fiasco and Jermaine Dupri last Dec. 16 at Rockwell. It’s hard to tell who fares better in the telecommunications game, but one thing’s for sure: with the release of the iPhone 4s and the jaw-dropping line-up of performers, everybody wins.   — Roxy Valencerina

Hero Of The Week: Robin Lim

Filipino-American midwife Robin Lim was announced as 2011’s CNN Hero of the Year, being the second Pinoy to win after 2009’s Efren Peñaflorida and hiskariton klasrum. Lim, who was proclaimed last Sunday in Los Angeles, is known in Indonesia for her free prenatal and birthing services to low-income families. Mother Robin, or Ibu Robin as she is called by locals, set up the Yayasan Bumi Sehat (Healthy Mother Earth Foundation) in 2003 to fight the rising costs of delivery that result in high maternal and infant mortality rates. Mother Robin received an additional $250,000 grant for her foundation on top of the $50,000 each of the 10 finalists received. Filipinos are proud, yet eye Indonesia as a competitor for the most populated country in Asia.

Rude Awakening Of The Week: Tvmaria.Com

Polite Manila got the shock of their lives when a live streaming link to the installation of new Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle led them to a transvestite porn site with a man wearing lingerie greeting them with “Are you over 21 and feeling horny? Then enter me, darling!!” The website link was posted on the Manila Archdiocese’s website and features the correct site but with a different domain. The group has yet to release a statement but it is safe to say that it was a rude awakening, in more ways than one.

Time’s Person Of The Year: The Protester

Time magazine’s annual Person of the Year award is out and it honors The Protester for strengthening the idea that “individual action can bring collective, colossal change.” The idea sparked when a Tunisian fruit vendor set himself on fire in a public square because of the dictatorship, which was followed by the iconic toppling of dictators in the Middle East, and then the Occupy Wall Street movement. Other candidates were considered, such as Apple’s Steve Jobs, Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, Kate Middleton (we don’t know either), and Admiral William McRaven, the overall commander of the secret US mission to kill Osama Bin Laden. Filipinos have yet to meet The Protester, argue that Kris Aquino should be Person of the Year.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Best of the Week: Rumors, gossip, a catfight, oh my!

Rumor of the week: Ryan Gosling in Siargao

MANILA, Philippines - A frenzy erupted in Twitterverse when a rumor spread that actor Ryan Gosling was surfing in Siargao, Surigao del Norte. Known for his roles in The Notebook and Crazy, Stupid Love, the rumor had everyone questioning, from fangirls to celebrities, such as Ruffa Gutierrez and Maxene Magalona. Tweets poured in from users, some confirming his alleged presence with an Instagram photo. The rumor was eventually quelled with a tweet saying that he was in L.A. at the time of the “sighting,” on the set of a new movie. The Instagram photo was real (the abs were not Photoshopped), but it has been said that it was taken years ago in Miami, disappointing Filipino girls, feminist Ryan Gosling fans, and secretly, boys.

Beauty pageant of the week: Miss Earth 2011

Miss Philippines Athena Imperial was crowned Miss Earth-Water, placing her among the ranks of Shamcey Supsup and Gwendoline Ruais, but a controversy met the recently concluded pageant. A screencap of Miss USA Nicole Kelley’s Facebook Wall went viral, with a post that said the Philippines is “dirty and noisy,” that “these people want to touch you and be with you all the time” and that she’s “scared to eat.” Kelley later denied the post, claiming that her account was hacked and that she was at a community garden tour when it was posted. Netizens expressed their disbelief, saying that she should have been grateful for being welcomed with open arms, while admitting that what she said was true.

Rally of the week: Slutwalk

Girls in conservative Singapore gathered for the very first Slutwalk, a worldwide campaign to fight sexual violence that started in April after a Canadian police officer said “Women should avoid dressing like sluts in order to not be victimized.” Based on the manifesto, society should stop blaming the victim, emphasize that “no” means “no,”and for women to reclaim their right to express their sexuality without fear. The global campaign has had 50 marches around the world and will include talks and workshops to discuss sexual assault and to provide support services for rape victims. According to Cher Tan, one of the organizers, the event is “not about the right to wear skimpy clothes, but rather the right to be without fear,” and that participants need not wear provocative attire in the rally, resulting in a low turnout of perverts, and therefore, rape. Mission accomplished.

Visitor of the week: Isis King

Isis King, the first transgender model from hit series 
America’s Next Top Model is in the country to shoot a film called Hello Forever. The film will be about a mother looking for her lost child with Isis playing a transgender in search of love. The model and actress is having a blast in the Philippines, where she guested on Umagang Kay Ganda, shot for Mega magazine, and partied with locals at KYSS. Isis is the third ANTM personality who has visited the Philippines, after photographer Nigel Barker and runway coach Miss J. Beckys are hoping Tyra’s next, bringing with her all the fierce our country can handle.

Couple of the week: Vic Sotto and Pauleen Luna

Notorious ladies’ man Vic Sotto has found himself another girlfriend, this time in the form of co-host Pauleen Luna. The news was publicized last Tuesday by Philippine STAR columnist Ricky Lo who revealed the news after a close friend to the couple confirmed it. Bossing, as he is known to his loyal fans, has had a very colorful love life that once involved Dina Bonnevie, Coney Reyes, Christine Jacob, Kris Aquino and Pia Guanio. The news was met with shock (from girls) and reverence for Vic’s prowess (from boys), and a slew of comments, one of which was an open letter to Paolo Ballesteros saying “Keep up the drag queen dress-up and you just might be next on Vic Sotto’s list!”

Catfight of the week: PNoy and the SC

A potential catfight broke out last Monday when President Aquino berated the Supreme Court and Chief Justice Renato Corona in the televised First National Criminal Justice Summit at the Manila Hotel. In his speech, he grilled the Supreme Court for stopping him from going after ex-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and that they should be serving the Filipino people. Officials were disturbed by this tirade and described the President as a “bully,” but Corona did not react during the speech and even shook hands with the President. Supreme Court spokesman Midas Marquez announced that Corona would not resign and that he would just “let it be, it’s almost Christmas,” but we suspect Corona’s Burn Book will be filled with pictures of Aquino and catty remarks.

Video of the week:

Just when DJ Mo Twister was about to leave the country and escape his “dark place,” a video of him was uploaded on YouTube tearfully narrating an abortion his then-girlfriend Rhian Ramos had in 2010. In it, he blames her family, her manager and her station, forcing GMA to file suits against the DJ for “malicious and false imputations.” According to Mo, he did not have anything to do with uploading, saying that he sold many of his items including his computers just before leaving for New York, but that Rhian knew of the video’s existence. Rhian was described as traumatized and has filed for a temporary protection order and a harassment case against Mo, saying that he violated the Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004. He later apologized to Rhian and the network, but spoke further about his grief over the abortion, prolonging the issue and making things more awkward for everybody.
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