Holy Week Escapade: Return to Baguio City

Growing up, summer usually meant an annual visit to Baguio. Considering that frequency, it’s almost hard to believe that this is my first visit in nine years. The Holy Week crowd extended our travel time by three hours, but thanks to TPLEX, we still managed to arrive before noon. The weather is relatively warm; the midday sun overpowered the characteristically cool climate – almost as if there’s no looming storm. 

Much has been said about the boom of commercialism taking its toll on the city’s indigenous charm. But, it’s still great to be back. 

Meanwhile, I still think it looks like a different animal.

Happy Day in Bahay Aruga!

Last Friday, TV5 celebrated UN’s International Day of Happiness with a visit to Bahay Aruga, a free halfway home for pediatric cancer patients nestled in the vicinity of Paco, Manila. Executives, celebrities, and other volunteers banded together in providing an afternoon of fun and laughter to the 27 residents, who were more than happy to welcome their special guests.

The kids were treated to song numbers by Tuesday Vargas and Marvelous Alejo and games facilitated by Ritz Azul, Chanel Morales, Chris Leonardo, and Malak So Shdifat. The short visit culminated with a ceremonial release of red balloons, which symbolizes the network’s goal to spread love and happiness.

Activities and performances aside, the real scene-stealers were the children, who never lost their capacities to laugh, play, and maintain their youthful spirits in the midst of their life-threatening condition. It was indeed one memorable afternoon, and we have these young warriors to thank!


Career Fest Crashers

Jobseekers who attended Day 2 of this year’s MVP Career Fest were in for a pleasant surprise when Kapatid celebrities dropped by the venue earlier this afternoon. The stars entertained the crowd in an intermission program hosted by News5 personalities MJ Marfori and Laila Chikadora. Their appearances were interspersed with motivational talks delivered by renowned executives.

Highlights include Talent Center artists Mark Neumann, Akihiro Blanco, Chris Leonardo, Alberto Bruno, Nicole Estrada, and Malak So Shdifat gyrating to Magic’s Rude. This was followed by an appearance by Tropa Moko mainstay Wendell Ramos and a raffle draw conducted by PBA players. The segment was capped off by two song numbers. First was by Talent Center‘s Marvelous Alejo, who took on a KZ Tandingan single. While the second was by Martin Escudero, who took on an iconic APO Hiking Society ballad.

Here are photos of those mentioned highlights:

My Bb. Pilipinas 2015 Wish List

Because of previously-scheduled commitments, there’s a cloud over my attendance in the Bb. Pilipinas 2015 pageant tonight. Thus, I’m left with no recourse but to catch the telecast as soon as I get home.

If last year was akin to Survivor: Fans VS. Favorites, the 2015 edition can be compared to Survivor: All-Stars. The roster of frontrunners consists of acclaimed three-peaters and highly-touted veterans from other local pageants. There’s also a tinge of showbiz royalty tossed in. Needless to say, expect this to be another tight race. (I know I say that almost every year, but this time, I mean it.) Here’s a quick rundown of my picks:

Continue reading My Bb. Pilipinas 2015 Wish List

Wrong Ramen, Right Company


Well, if there’s any consolation in missing Malasimbo for the umpteenth time, I got to reunite with my film school buddy Miray over dinner earlier. Prior to this, our last encounter was Direk Marilou‘s wake back in 2012. She relocated to Ireland via her husband’s new job posting ever since.

This catch-up paved away to another “reunion”. While I’ve eaten in Wrong Ramen, Forbestown, BGC on sporadic occasions before, I never got to go back since I moved out of our Fort office. This marks my first visit after nearly two years. And since Miray’s food trips during her 3-month visit comprised mainly of burritos and ramen, this choice is hardly surprising.

I ordered the F.U. Ramen, which is one of my staples next to The Communist (their take on Tantanmen). It’s breakfast ramen topped with sinful morning fare: bacon strips, fried egg, Spam, and a slice of cheddar. It’s basically a vat of calories, and as the name suggests, you will feel the urge to hurl expletives after your first slurp. The best part is when the cheese starts to melt.

F.U. Ramen (P425.00)
F.U. Ramen (P425.00)

The Sea Men Ramen was Miray’s choice. You don’t really have to delve into the apparent innuendo (the menu is overflowing with them). Obviously, it’s their seafood variant.

Sea Men Ramen (P345.00)

For dessert, we ordered Poop of the Gods. Calm down. It’s just a dollop of Belgian chocolate sprinkled with sea salt and soaked in olive oil. It’s an off-beat combination, but it works.

Poop of the Gods (P135.00)

Given the establishment’s crammed table set-up, we concluded our reunion at the nearby Starbucks Reserve, which is far more conducive for catch-up banter. There, Miray detailed on her life as a work-at-home wife and her upcoming Vietnam-Cambodia trip. All in all, the reunion was a pleasantly surprising and welcome treat. Way to reignite my dreams of someday visiting Europe. For that, I will keep my fingers (metaphorically) crossed.

These Irish treats bode well for my occasional sweet tooth.
These Irish treats bode well for my occasional sweet tooth.

Ritz Azul and Marvelous Alejo in Hair Asia’s 25th Anniversary


Earlier today, I paid a quick visit to Hair Asia‘s 25th National Open Championship, which they held in celebration of their silver anniversary. Just like in previous years, the annual hair and make-up competition and beauty expo attracted thousands of guests – participants and exhibitors alike. Up for grabs in this year’s makeshift beauty olympics: cash, freebies, and a Hyundai car for the overall winner. It’s been a while since I last saw the World Trade Convention Center that congested. Such was the reception.

I was amused by the kitschy Parisian motif – though one of the Eiffel Tower replicas seemed a nudge away from toppling. Models wearing bridal gowns roamed around casually amidst the flurry of activities. Inside, Novuhair brand ambassador Abby Asistio provided entertainment through an intermission number. Her soothing vocals provided contrast to the busy atmosphere.

IMG_7677Each exhibitor’s booth was armed with its own gimmick. Some gave free samples. Others, free consultations and demos. But it was the Shawill Cosmetics booth, in particular, which reserved the most special surprise. Waiting to assist the guests were the brand’s celebrity ambassadors Ritz Azul and Marvelous Alejo. Photo-ops ensued.

Less than a year since joining the Shawill and Ivy Cosmetics family, both Kapatid actresses have levelled up in terms of projects. Ritz has started appearing in indie films, while Marvelous recently top-billed a Wattpad series. Suffice to say, their visit came in perfect timing.


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So here’s her new song, preview it maybe?

Remember when the general population found lip-synching to Carly Rae Jepsen‘s Call Me Maybe cute? Or when your boss forced your entire team to do such because, clearly, an “MTV” was the key to acing your company party presentation but everyone had the same idea anyway? Of course, you do. And please, it’s called a music video, not an “MTV”Such was the song’s embedding power; it’s hard to believe that it’s been three years since we basked in its ubiquity.

The Canadian singer did manage to release equally catchy follow-ups, like This Kiss and Good Time (with Owl City), but neither could match the aforementioned single’s inescapability.

Well, here’s the synth-driven follow-up being pegged to be Carly’s next worldwide smash. It’s the first single off her yet-to-be-named third studio album, released just a few hours ago.

Will we really, really, like it in the same way that we really, really liked Call Me Maybe? We shall see.

Sounds promising, though:


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