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ee Fr January 2014 Issue 13

Exclusive Interview With

Christian Bautista Keanu Reeves

Kris Aquino

Talks About Family Traditions

Manny Pacquiao

Lifts the Filipino Spirit

in Tokyo

On the Winning Side of the Universe


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January 2014

Table of Contents

Editor’s Pick

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Illumination displays are lit up to create a Christmas mood at Ebisu Garden Place. Photographer: Din Eugenio

We Want Your Photos! Send your submissions to the editor at dang010@yahoo. com or filjapmagazine@yahoo.com. Resolution must be 300 dpi at actual print size. Please include applicable credits and captions.

In Focus Typhoon ‘Yolanda’ Aftermath: Time to Rebuild Cover Story Ariella Arida: On the Winning Side of the Universe Faces Manny Pacquiao: Lifting the Filipino Spirit

FilJap M A G A Z I N E Publisher: Yonei Toshikazu

Celebrity News Keanu Reeves Graces ’47 Ronin’ World Premiere in Tokyo

Editor-in-Chief: Florenda Corpuz Associate Editor: Nel Salvador Photographers: Din Eugenio Oliver Corpuz

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Special Feature Christian Bautista Represents PH in ASEAN-Japan Music Fest

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Spotlight One-on-One Interview With Christian Bautista

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Embassy News PH Embassy Receives Cash Donations for Typhoon ‘Yolanda’ Victims

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FilCom Watch Mr. & Ms. Thai-PH in Japan 2014 Candidates Presented

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Star Watch Kris Aquino on Family Traditions, Giving Gifts and Christmas Shopping

Digital Edition: issuu.com/filjapmag Facebook: facebook.com/FilJapMagazine

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Culture & Arts Kaloob: Going Against The Flow, Keeping Filipino Culture Alive

FilJap Magazine is published by FilJap Consulting. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be reproduced in any manner without the permission of the publisher.

Editor’s NOTE

Florenda Corpuz Editor-in-Chief

“You are capable of more than you know. Choose a goal that seems right for you and strive to be the best, however hard the path. Aim high.” In 2013, we aimed at making FilJap Magazine a better magazine that will set the benchmark of quality among Filipino magazines in the community. One year has passed and we are very happy

Advertising Executive: Judith Takahashi Distribution Executive: Genie Omata Layout Artist: VerJube Photographics Tokyo Office: 114-0004 Tokyo-to Kitaku Horifune 1-26-14-501 Telephone: 03-6903-2100 Fax: 03-6903-2101 Toll-Free Fax: 0800-919-3633 E-mail: filjapmagazine@yahoo.com Manila Office: 232 Amapola Street, Palm Village, Makati City, Philippines Telephone: 63(2) 403-42-06

to share with all of you the good news – we did it! With all the exclusive event coverages, scoops, one-on-one interviews and international and local personalities that we featured, we are proud to say that we have achieved our goal. This year, please allow us to aim higher and dream bigger by saying that we aspire to become one of Japan’s best foreign magazines that will cater not only to Filipino readers but to

other nationalities as well. As a matter of fact, we already took the initial step by increasing our circulation to 10,000 guaranteed copies monthly and writing all our articles in the English language. We know that setting this goal is a lot easier than achieving it but we strongly believe that through hard work, determination and dedication, nothing is impossible. We are counting on your support to help make this dream a reality.

FILJAP MAGAZINE | JANUARY 2014

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IN FOCUS

Typhoon ‘Yolanda’ Aftermath:

Time to Rebuild Photo credit: Ryan Lim / Marcelino Pascua / Gil Nartea (PCOO)

More than a month after super typhoon Yolanda struck the country, particularly the Eastern Visayas, the Philippines has started its rebuilding efforts in the most affected areas with the help of the public and private sectors as well as the foreign aid, which has now reached to Php18.206 billion.

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he calamity, which according to National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council or NDRRMC, has killed 5,670 people; 26,233 people injured; and 1,761 still missing as of press time. Typhoon Yolanda, or internationally known as “Haiyan”, has affected more than 11 million people in 44 provinces and 588 municipalities and has brought damage to properties amounting to more than Php34 billion and has left thousands of families homeless. In the midst of stories of loss, grief, hope and survival, President Benigno Aquino III recently announced the government’s rehabilitation and recovery plan, which will amount to Php41 billion. To ensure a systematic process and fast implementation of the program, he has appointed Sen. Panfilo Lacson to oversee the whole project, which started early December of 2013. President Aquino, who was widely criticized for the slow response on the

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typhoon aftermath, has emphasized to Sen. Lacson to make it a point that every peso will count. According to the senator, the President asked him to be transparent with his dealings in the recovery program, which he said is expected to be finished before President Aquino’s presidency ends in 2016. The rehabilitation and recovery plan will focus on housing, infrastructure, livelihood and employment opportunities, local facilities and social services. Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) chief Herminio Coloma, Jr. said that the initial estimate for the plan was Php38.8 billion but was increased to Php40.9 billion after series of meetings that transpired. He added that President Aquino also formed a task group enforced by Cabinet officials. While Lacson will oversee the whole rehabilitation program, the President has also delegated tasks to his Cabinet officials: DPWH Secretary Rogelio

FILJAP MAGAZINE | JANUARY 2014

Singson for shelter and reconstruction; Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla for power restoration; DA Secretary Proceso Alcala, DTI Secretary Grogory Domingo, DOLE Secretary Rosalinda BAldoz and TESDA Director General Joel Villanueva for livelihood and employment; DSWD Secretary Corazon Soliman for resettlement and psychosocial care; DENR Secretary Ramon Paje for environmental protection; and DOF Secretary Cesar Purisima, DBM Secretary Florencio Abad, DFA Secretary Albert del Rosario for resource generation and allocation. Typhoon Yolanda has hit the nation hard but time and again, the Filipino people have proven to the whole world that we are a country capable of rising again and charting our own destiny. The road to recovery may take a while, but years from now, Filipinos are all going to look back at this saying that we overcome this devastation -- as a family and as a nation.


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COVER STORY

On the Winning Side of the Universe It’s the year of Filipina beauty queens. After Megan Young won the Miss World 2013 crown, 25-year-old Ariella Arida made an impressive stint in the recently concluded Miss World Universe 2013 held in Moscow, Russia placing third.

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FILJAP MAGAZINE | JANUARY 2014

Photos courtesy of © Miss Universe L.P., LLLP


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lthough she didn’t get to take home the crown, which the Philippines last had in 1973, the 5’7 beauty who hails from Laguna was well-applauded among the 87 contestants in what is touted as the most prestigious beauty pageant. Her win solidifies the winning streak of Filipina beauties who made it to the top five of the said pageant since 2010. It can be recalled that Venus Raj won Miss Universe 4th runner-up in 2010 followed by Shamsey Supsup who placed 3rd runner-up in 2011 and Janine Tugonon took the 1st runnerup in 2012. Although the Miss Universe title is elusive since Margie Moran won in 1973, it is safe to say that Pinay beauties are still ahead of the pack, captivating the audiences with grace, class, elegance and sincerity. Donning an Alfredo Barraza yellow gown, Ariella was the only Asian who made it to the top 5 alongside Venezuela’s Gabriela Isler (Miss Universe 2013), Spain’s Patricia Rodriguez (1st runner-up), Ecuador’s Constanza Baez (2nd runner-up), Brazil’s Jakelyne Oliveira (4th runner-up). Ariella, who graduated with honors from the University of the Philippines – Los Baños with a degree in Chemistry, made an emphasis on the value of education in the question and answer portion. Asked by gold medalist figure skater Tara Lipinski, one of the judges of the competition, on what can be done about the lack of jobs for young people starting their careers around the world, Ariella answered the question with ease and substance. “For the people who have lack of jobs, I do believe that we people should invest in education and that is my primary advocacy, because we all know that if everyone of us is educated and well aware of what we are doing, we could land into jobs and we could land a good career in the future. Education is the primary source and ticket to a better future,” Ariella said. Ariella was an early favorite in the competition earning nods from viewers, netizens and advertisers. In fact, she was chosen as one of the six beauty contestants to represent the German luxury automobile Mercedes-Benz in an advertisement and one of the 27 contestants who appeared in the Tony WardMercedes Benz Fashion Week. She also made it to the top 16 after leading in the social media online polls and then strutted on stage wearing a red bikini wowing the crowd with her signature walk and turn. Other contestants who made it to the top 16 were Costa Rica, Ukraine, China, United Kingdom, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, USA, Nicaragua, Switzerland and India. The competition made it more meaningful for Ariella, who at the time of the event was informed of the news about the devastation brought by super typhoon Yolanda in the Eastern Visayas killing thousands and leaving many families homeless. She dedicated her strong finish in the pageant to the Filipino people, especially to the typhoon victims, hoping that the good news can somehow ease the burden of grief and loss that they were going through. She even added that not winning the crown may be a blessing in disguise because that meant she can come home in the Philippines right away to help in the relief efforts. “The Filipino resiliency and our ability to be positive despite all odds is something that my country can be proud of.” In this case, Ariella’s star shines even brightly even without the Miss Universe 2013 beauty title.

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Photo credit: Chris Farina / Top Rank

FACES

Manny

Pacquiao Lifting the Filipino Spirit It is no secret that the Philippines rises and falls with Manny Pacquiao’s triumphs and defeats. To a nation that is always dealing with issues on poverty and corruption as well as tragedies, the eight-division world champion is seen by many as a hero, a demi-god even, making his every fight a sacred watch.

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nd so the country came together when the 35-yearold Pacquiao entered the boxing ring again – after his two consecutive losses to Timothy Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez – to fight 27-yearold American Brandon Rios at The Venetian Macau recently. Everybody who watched the match saw Pacquiao’s old form that catapulted him as the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world – throwing lethal combinations, displaying superior speed, and executing his game plan with ease and class – that left Rios looking desperate 8

and frustrated the whole 12 rounds of the fight. When everything was cleared, nobody ever doubted that the pride of the Philippines has the WBO Welterweight title in the bag. The judges scored the bout at 120-108, 119-109 and 118-110 all for the Filipino southpaw. Indeed, Pacquiao is back on the winning fence. And it came at a time when the nation is reeling from the devastation brought by super typhoon Yolanda that struck Eastern Visayas more or less than two weeks before his much anticipated match. “This is not about my

FILJAP MAGAZINE | JANUARY 2014

comeback. My victory is a symbol of my people’s comeback from a natural disaster and a national tragedy,” said Pacquiao touted as “Pambansang Kamao” after the fight. His win couldn’t be timelier as the Filipino people banked on him to give the needed inspiration and hope; that despite the tragedy that left our mouths agape on the thousands of lives lost and the depth of the damage, there is light, there is balance, there is a new beginning. Despite facing tax evasion case filed by the Bureau of Internal Revenue, Pacquiao hurriedly went

home and visited the typhoon victims in Leyte and Samar giving money, Bible, relief goods, hope and inspiration. Pacquiao was seen mingling with the typhoon victims, even granted photo opportunities, to those who asked. He gave the victims a Bible and told them not to give up even if life is getting harder by the day. “Please persevere. I also persevered. I did not stop asking help from God. I did not give up,” Pacquiao was quoted as saying. Pacquiao was once again like a hero who’s saving the disadvantaged – even for short a time.


CELEBRITY NEWS

TOKYO, Japan – Hollywood actor Keanu Reeves braved the cold weather to attend the world premiere of his latest film “47 Ronin” on November 19.

K e a n u R e e v e s Graces ’47 Ronin’ World Premiere in Tokyo Photos by Florenda Corpuz

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earing a smart black striped suit and a pair of tan-colored loafer shoes, the Matrix actor looked dapper as he posed during a photo call for his samurai film at Roppongi Hills Arena. After spending more than an hour on the red carpet, Reeves was joined on stage by fellow cast members Hiroyuki Sanada, Tadanobu Asano, Rinko Kikuchi, Kou Shibasaki, Jin Akanishi and director Carl Rinsch. “Minna-san konbanwa! It’s great to be here. It’s an honor and a privilege for me to have had the

experience of making 47 Ronin with these incredible people and these wonderful artists. And it’s amazing to be here at the premiere,” Reeves enthused. “I would like to thank Universal for the opportunity to make this very extraordinary, ambitious, wonderful, life-affirming film,” the 49-year-old actor confessed. “Watashi wa minna-san to ai te ureshii desu. Eiga o mitte kudasai. Arigato gozaimashita,” Reeves said to his Japanese fans. Distributed by Universal Pictures, this 3D samurai film was shown in cinemas on December 6. FILJAP MAGAZINE | JANUARY 2014 9


special feature

Photos by Din Eugenio

Christian Bautista Represents Philippines in ASEAN-Japan Music Festival

TOKYO, Japan – Asia’s Pop Idol and Kapuso actor-singer Christian Bautista represented the Philippines at the ASEAN-Japan Music Festival held at the NHK Hall in Shibuya on November 28.

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autista was the only Filipino artist chosen by the Embassy of Japan in the Philippines to perform at the music festival. The international singer sang one of his hits entitled “The Way You Looked At Me” followed by a mash-up of the songs “Invincible” and “Titanium”. “Thank you to Japan and to all the countries who are helping my country right now to rise. Together, we are invincible. Arigato.” “I’m very grateful that I’m here in Japan right now. Also because I’m grateful to your country for your help in my country for what happened because of the typhoon. So this is my chance not

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just to perform for Japan but to thank you personally for your kind hearts. We are your partners, no matter what happens, we will help each other. Thank you for this event also,” Bautista said in an interview with hosts Chris Peppler and Hikaru Nishida. Aside from Bautista, top performers from other ASEAN countries and Japan were also invited to perform at the event, which included AKB48, EXILE and w-inds from Japan, Zul Faden from Brunei Darussalam, Preap Sovath from Cambodia, Agnes Monica from Indonesia, Annita from Laos, Siti Nurhaliza from Malaysia, Sai Sai Kham Leng from Myanmar, Olivia Ong from

FILJAP MAGAZINE | JANUARY 2014

Singapore, Bird Thongchai Mcintyre from Thailand and My Linh from Vietnam. Special Ambassador for Japan and ASEAN Ryotaro Sugi also rendered a song entitled “A Letter to God”. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe graced the event. The ASEAN-Japan Music Festival was televised on NHK channel last December 15 as part of the 40th anniversary celebration of the ASEANJapan Friendship Cooperation. It aims to recognize the help extended by ASEAN countries to Japan during the twin disaster that hit the country on March 11, 2011.


spotlight

One-on-One Interview With

Christian

Bautista TOKYO, Japan – Right after the rehearsals for the recently held ASEAN-Japan Music Festival, Asia’s Pop Idol Christian Bautista granted FilJap Magazine an exclusive one-on-one interview, where he shared his humbling experience for being chosen as the Philippines’ sole representative to the music festival.

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IV EXCLUS FilJap: How does it feel to represent the Philippines in this event? Christian: First, I was surprised that I was picked. Second, I was honored that I was picked. And then later on, naging nervous kasi makakasama ko ang ilan sa pinakamagagaling na ASEAN performers so it really inspired me and challenged me to really give a good performance.

Photos by Din Eugenio

FilJap: Is this your first time in Japan? Christian: Actually, it’s my second time. Last was in 2005. We did a concert for our kababayans here.

FilJap: Any upcoming albums or shows? Christian: I’m planning to release a new album next year so I’m working on it ngayon pa lang.

FilJap: What can you say about Japan? Christian: I’ve always loved Japan and its culture. The food – the ramen, sushi, sashimi, wagyu, tempura. I like anime, the architecture, the history, the samurai. But most of all, I admire the strength of Japan that no matter what comes to this country, the people remain strong and they share that strength to others.

FilJap: Any message for our kababayans here in Japan? Christian: Sa lahat po ng mga kababayan natin dito sa Japan, miss na po namin kayo. Sana po mabuti ang kalagayan ninyo rito at lagi ninyo isama sa panalangin ninyo ang Pilipinas. At iyong mga nasalanta ng bagyo ay sana ay hanapan pa natin ng paraan para sila ay matulungan pa. Ipanalangin ninyo rin po sana ang gobyerno natin na magkaisa at mas maging maayos na.

FilJap: During the rehearsals, you were the most applauded among other ASEAN artists, what can you say about that? Christian: Ah, well it’s just the rehearsal. The most important one is the actual show but I’m glad that the audience felt what I was trying to say and that is we are strong together.

FilJap: What is your message to our kababayans in the Philippines? Christian: Sa mga kababayan kong Pilipino, kaya po natin kung anuman ang nararanasan natin ngayon. Magtulungan lang po tayo at magkaisa at tayo po ay makakabangon. To all our fellow ASEAN countries, we are one, we are united through music, our friendships and our ties. Let us continue to be there for each other.

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embassy news

Philippine Embassy in Tokyo Receives Cash Donations for Typhoon ‘Yolanda’ Victims

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he Philippine Embassy in Tokyo received voluntary cash donations last November from officials and representatives of Keidanren (¥ 1 million), AEON Co. Ltd. (¥10 million), Marubeni Corporation (¥15 million), New Komei Party (¥1 million), Democratic Party of Japan (¥2 million), Tokyo Metropolitan Government (US$50,000), Sumitomo Metal Mining Co., Ltd. (¥50 million), the City of Sendai (¥1 million), Niigata Prefecture, Fukuoka Prefecture, Saga Prefecture, Itabashi Ward (Tokyo), Suginami Ward (Tokyo), Chiyoda Ward (Tokyo), Minato Ward (Tokyo) and Suita City (Osaka) as humanitarian assistance for those affected by Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines.

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Six-year old Shoichi Kondoh also donated his childhood savings after watching the devastation on television. Accompanied by his mother, Miho Kondoh, Shoichi visited the Philippine Embassy to personally hand-over his donation of ¥5,000 taken from his piggybank savings. With no claim of kinship or affiliation to the Philippines, Yutaka Ishimaru, an 81-year old retiree living in one of the home nursing care facilities for the elderly in Chiba Prefecture, donated ¥ 1 million from his personal savings. A Japanese man also donated ¥200,000 on behalf of a father he never knew. “My father lies sleeping in a mountain somewhere in Luzon,”

FILJAP MAGAZINE | JANUARY 2014

he wrote. He narrated that he was just three months old when his father, a member of the Japanese imperial army, left him to serve his country during the Second World War. His father went to the Philippines and never made it back home. “I am enclosing here ¥200,000 for all the troubles my father may have caused to the Filipino people,” he added. He is hoping that the money will somehow help alleviate the plight of the typhoon victims. In addition to the local governments, a large number of private companies, religious organizations, NGOs, schools and individuals have also given donations. A complete list of donors may be found in the Philippine Embassy website.


filcom watch

Mr. & Ms. Thai-PH in Japan 2014 Candidates Presented Photos by Judith Enfectana

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he heat is on for the candidates of Mr. & Ms. Thai-Philippines in Japan and Little Mr. & Ms. Thai-Philippines in Japan 2014 as they were officially presented to the press last November 30 at The Bagus Place in Ginza. Labor Attaché Clifford A. Paragua of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO Tokyo) graced the event by delivering an inspirational speech. The event was organized by Lifesupport Com Co., Ltd. in cooperation with Softbank.

One Shoot, One Meal: Uniting Photographers for a Cause

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lobal Pikons Japan, a group of amateur and professional photographers, conducted a charity event entitled “One Shoot, One Meal: Photowalk for a Cause” at Ueno Park last November 24. Over a hundred photo enthusiasts of different nationalities participated in the event, which generated a total amount of ¥364,500. The said amount was donated to the earthquake victims in Bohol and Yolanda victims in Leyte.

Lolita Carbon holds benefit concert in Tokyo

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inoy rock icon Lolita Carbon of the 70s folk group Asin performed at a charity concert entitled “Lyrics and Hymns” held in Yotsuya on November 10. Lolita sang some of Asin’s greatest hits like “Masdan Mo Ang Kapaligiran”, “Kahapon at Pag-Ibig”, “Musika Ang Buhay”, “Magulang” and “Itanong Mo Sa Mga Bata”. “This is my fourth time in Japan.

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Published

I have many unforgettable experiences in this country. I’m happy to perform again for our kababayans here,” Lolita said. Aside from Lolita, Japan-based Filipino groups Himig Koenji, Tampipi and LUMAD performed at the concert. Nancy Funayama and Richard Martinez also serenaded the audience. All proceeds were donated to Bohol earthquake victims.

o you have the knack for writing? Do you have something in mind that you want to Share? This is your chance to be heard! FilJap Magazine is inviting you, our valued readers, to submit informative, entertaining and interesting articles (must be written in 300-500 words, MS Word format) and photos (should be in high resolution, 100 dpi at the minimum), which are original and never been published in other newspapers or magazines. Announcements of events are also welcome. You can send them to filjapmagazine@yahoo.com. FILJAP MAGAZINE | JANUARY 2014 13


star watch

Kris Aquino

on Family Traditions, Giving Gifts and Christmas Shopping

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t’s our Christmas tradition to have Mass together on Christmas Eve,” says Kris, the youngest daughter of icons of democracy Ninoy and Cory Aquino, and a celebrity in her own right, who is considered the Queen of all Media. “When Mom was alive, it was at Times Street and Father Arevalo would be the one to say Mass. That was our family’s Christmas celebration until she passed away.” Since 2010, however, the Aquinos – Kris, sisters Ballsy, Pinky and Viel and brother Noy and their families – have been having their gettogether at Bahay Pangarap. That’s, of course, because her brother Benigno Simeon Aquino III is the President of the Philippines. “It’s a time for family,” says Kris, who is the face of the I Love Christmas Shopping at SM campaign. “It’s Mass, dinner, gift giving, then others go to their in-laws.” She adds that every year since 2010, she has had an entry to the Metro Manila Film Festival. Premiere nights, however, are usually held on December 24 and she usually has to rush to the family dinner. But “God is good, they adjust the time to wait for me to arrive.” Now that she has her own family, she and her kids have their own tradition – traveling after the MMFF awards night. In 2010, they spent the holidays in Singapore; in 2011-2012, it was New York; 20122013 in Los Angeles and Las Vegas. This year, “the awards night is on December 27, so we plan to leave on the 28th. It will be hopefully London this time, but if my sisters have their way, it will be Japan so we will all be together. But the kids want London, so we’ll see.” Here, Kris shares with the readers of FilJap Magazine her thoughts on the joys of Christmas, gift giving and why she loves holiday shopping at SM. It reveals a side of her rarely seen – her love of family, her incredible sense of organization, her generosity. 14

Gift giving is an essential part of Christmas. How do you prepare for this? What gifts do you usually give? Kris: Christmas is a time when you can show the people important to you what they mean to you. All my pamangkins have grown so they appreciate cash or GCs. I have been giving SM GC’s for many years because you can use it in the SM Store and SM Supermarket. I also like to give them gadgets. For my inaanaks, it’s also gadgets and GCs. For my friends who are rather wealthy, I donate in their name. I have a special card designed where I tell them I gave to a charity in their name. For those who work in my shows and movies, I give gift certificates talaga. Last year, I also brought 8 chosen staff to a trip to Korea – 5 from Kris TV and 3 from my teleserye. Those memories will really last. What about your kids? Kris: With the kids, I’m so guilty of the fact that every week is Christmas. I am lucky that they are very kind and happy for everything they have. Bimby nags me to ‘save your money, Mama.’ Kuya Josh always asks for money to give to everybody because it is his joy to share – from the drivers, the PSGs, the yayas, those in school. He is super happy when he does that. Do you think that sharing with the less fortunate is an essential part of Christmas? How do you do this? Kris: Yes, of course. Because of Kris TV, Kim Chiu and I learned that gift giving is really for kids. We like less fortunate kids to be happy and work on this. We are also preparing lots of Noche Buena packs with Ryza. We hope that these will reach many people. I’ll also course some through Red Cross for those in evacuation centers. I feel that we are comfortable all year round, so it’s really our turn to do our share to make others happy for Christmas.

FILJAP MAGAZINE | JANUARY 2014

Like all families in the Philippines, the Aquinos have their own special way of celebrating Christmas.


FILJAP MAGAZINE | JANUARY 2014

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culture & arts

Kaloob: Going Against The Flow, Keeping Filipino Culture Alive Text and photos by Tim Ramos

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Culture is a beautiful thing. Some might even say the soul of a country and its people. That may sound trite, but in today’s fast-paced and modern society, native culture is a largely forgotten thing, relegated to a folksy novelty many have simply attributed to a thing of the past.

specially in our country, where so many are quick to dismiss the native in favor of anything and everything Western, our native customs and traditions – our own Filipino culture – is a small, fledgling thing, clinging on to dear life. And it is precisely this trend of cultural decline that Kaloob: Philippine Music and Dance Ministry, seeks to fight against. And the results are amazing. Not only do they seek to stay true to the essence and spirit – and the stories – that lie behind the true Filipino music and dances that they have collected and studied from all over the Philippines, they have succeeded in 16

finding characteristics that connect many these ancient expressions of performance art; pointing to the threads that connect us all, despite us all being separated by our 7,107 islands. They show that many forms of our music and dances – regardless of what region they are from – speak profound volumes of what make us a people, of what makes us Filipino. Long before their ‘Kalooban: Oneness of the Filipino Soul in Dance’, performed before an awestruck crowd at the CCP Main Theatre last November, the group has long been researching many of the country’s native music and dances. Not only that, they have also been incorporating

FILJAP MAGAZINE | JANUARY 2014

these dances into Christian worship, believing that these may be reclaimed and rechanneled from the old pagan rites into a form of Christian worship that is uniquely Filipino. Through the years, the group – founded by Dr. Eduardo Lapiz, a pastor – has stayed true to their calling, and have carried on with their mission both within the Philippines and abroad, in both religious and secular events. The recent performance – or “prayformance” as they call it – is one of many they have staged in their storied career as a troupe. While some of their number have left for other pursuits and new faces and new bodies memorize

the ancient performances in their repertoire, their commitment to sincerity and genuineness remains the same. And even among those who have left – some of whom returned to perform at the CCP just for the event – the call and allure of our own culture cannot be ignored. There is still much to be discovered about our culture, and thus much more stories to be unearthed. As such that we as a people have scattered ourselves all over the four corners of the earth, we need something to tie us together. Culture is that thing, that common denominator we can take hold of and say that “this is ours” regardless of where in the world we find ourselves in.


FILJAP MAGAZINE | JANUARY 2014 Blood Compact

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FilJap Magazine January 2014