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VOL. 3

Connect to your culture


We’re on TV! Airs on ACTV-05 & KXLA44






The Evolution of Manila Up! International


s with most new beginnings, a new year makes it an opportune time for another start. Here at Manila Up! International Magazine, the focus was to expand the platform to further the interactive modality of our objectives through print media. Further along, we find ourselves at the helm of another medium, that of television. Welcome Manila Up! International TV! The seed of this project came about as the magazine spread its wings beyond all things Filipiniana around the globe. Aside from our contributing writers from many places, readers were quick to learn that our embrace reached far and wide into the realm of other cultures, thus, an avenue opened up in our path. The programming is vast and covers varied aspects of life and lifestyles amidst the incubator of the American dream. We set our sights high into the world of television and envision opportunities to help our “kababayans” and our kin of other humans in this home we call the Earth. The following personalities will light up the firmament in this new universe.

Sonia Dionela Bermejo Publisher/Executive Editor

Main Host: Marc Anthony Nicolas – “Inside Hollywood with Marc Anthony” • TV Producer of the daily show “The Talk Show” CBS channel 2. • Emmy Awardee as “BEST PRODUCER” for The Talk Show in 2016 • 2 times Emmy Awardee as “BEST PRODUCER” for Tyra Banks Show in 2008 and 2009

Segment: “Melody in Motion” • Melody Garcia, host from Florida • Award Winning Writer/Speaker/Influencer/UNICEF Leader/Founder of One Night One Voice/Co-Author Wome Who Influence

Segment:” The Sacred Self”

Segment: “Your Time with Thomas: The Experience” • Thomas Orlina, host from Los Angeles • Warner Bros in communications and in all movie premieres for Warner Bros. • He is the creator and producer of the YouTube 8th episode of Your Time with Thomas Our new MUTV will be shown on 2 stations ACTV based in Las Vegas and KXLA in Los Angeles. ACTV Asian Culture TV is locally shown in Las Vegas on channel 30.6 and can be seen globally 24/7 by uploading the APPS ACTV05 media. KXLA local channel 44 in Los Angeles.

• Stef Sifandos, host from Australia • International Speaker/Author/Relational Alchemy

Segment Guest Host: “The Confident You” • Lauren Ziegler, host from Missouri • Mrs. United States 2017 • An advocate for Human Trafficking, Speaker, UNICEF delegate @ManilaUp_mag manilaupmagazine




Sonia D. Bermejo

Publisher/Executive Editor EDITOR Edith Y. Pendleton Art Director Katherine F. Bercasio   Website Designer Allan Mark Paanio

Social Media Photographer/Videographer Celia Abuel “PaparrazzCel”  Photographers: Tony Garcia Jophel Huffman Auspicio Yan Louie Garcia Phillip Ner Jon Bermejo Richard Dizon Rajesh Shah Daniel Pham Joe Garcia


3756 W. Avenue 40 #160 Los Angeles, CA 90065 USA follow us on FB, Twitter, Instagram,Tumblr, Issuu

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: DUBAI Living the Good Life Gabriela Miloda STRASBOURG, FRANCE Grand Adventure Anna Marie Mateescu

Esmeralda Padilla-Gould FLORIDA, USA Life’s Journey Melody Garcia

Earnest Snoops! Ernest L. Gonzaga

LOS ANGELES, USA Reflections of Hope Rev. R.D Quema    Beautiful Life Monet Lu   On the Beat Fe Koons

Walk my Way Mayenne Carmona

Immigration Professor’s Corner Robert Perkins, Esq

Metro Scene Joy Fong Proverbs 31 Woman Jhoanna de Guzman

Hollywood Glam by “M” Simplicio Michael Herrera

LONDON, UK UK na UK Ela Hidalgo

Talk This Way Tim Park

Kingdom Adventures Gilda Pineda Dionela

Dine Travel in Style Grace Aguilar Piece by Piece Angel Tahimik

MANILA, PHILIPPINES In Other Worlds Becky Garcia

EZWay’s Corner Eric Zuley

BANGKOK, THAILAND Siam Living Maricel Diaz

The Scoop on Real Estate Vanessa Kempf

NEW YORK, USA On Call Romulo Aromin, Jr. MD

HAWAII, USA Maui Mania Edith Pendleton

Special Section: New York & New Jersey Joy in Tiny Jaunts Janice Lingad-Thabet

Island Living Randy Antonio

LAS VEGAS, USA Vegas Vibes

Articles published in this paper do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the publisher.

ISBN 231-256-2-16 4


Events Interviewer/ Correspondents Grace Aguilar


new era is unfolding. Here we are in 2018, as we shake off the initial shock of another beginning following what seemed to be another notch in the calendar of our lives we shall remember as the year 2017. Janus will be over by the time this issue hits the newsstands or at least our subscribers online and our readers who have the tactile experience of turning our pages. In this double issue of Manila Up! International magazine, we welcome our sister media in the persona we aptly call Manila Up! International TV. The details of the upcoming pilots are tucked under the wings of our prolific publisher and I shall allow Sonia to reveal the television’s programming menu for the year. Inside these pages, we feature our regular columns awash with more interesting insights within their realms of coverage. And, as we continue to welcome additional and exponential subject matters, we have contributing writers whose narratives explore multiple other tangents. It is the month of February we now focus upon. The ubiquitous time of year where the main theme is Valentine’s Day with its variant definitions and significances. Countless tales, tomes, events, and personal stories in abundance are Edith Y. Pendleton Editor to be expected. For how is one to define love, really? I shall defer my response to keep this rhetoric and polemic matter at bay. Who hasn’t a special story to share about a love, a love lost or even a love regained? What of the objects of that love? Animate, as in someone, or inanimate, as in a passion or collectible. Why, even non humans have their niches in our hearts, pets for instance, they who bring delight and unaffected affections into countless lives. Winding down, my role in the evolution of Manila Up! International Magazine has given me so much psychic reward beyond measure. And with this, I shall continue to be a part of this superb publication, albeit, as a contributing editor and looking forward with eager optimism that this will indeed be the beginning of a truly new era filled with ever more articles that enhance and expound upon the expandable.







We invite you to watch globally our new TV Show, the MANILA UP! TV ENTERTAINMENT (MUTV), a 30’min TV show that will be broadcast on 2 stations: Las Vegas and Los Angeles. ACTV Asian TV has a local station in Las Vegas Channel 30.6, this local channel can be viewed globally by downloading in any smart phones; the APPS ACTV-05 Media. It is Live simultaneous on YouTube; and Las Vegas 30.6. First showing will be this coming February 17, 2018, Saturday at 12:00-12:30 pm KXLA 44– local station in Los Angeles. Showing will be Sundays at 12:00-12:30 pm.



“Cove Manila”, Southeast Asia’s newest entertainment space with its indoor beach club and nightclub, boasting some of the most advanced audio, video and ambient lighting technologies that promise an unparalleled world-class experience, opened its doors recently.


Anno Domini (AD) 2018 – The year of our Lord Jesus Christ 2018

At present, the Gregorian calendar (solar calendar) is used internationally as a civil calendar. Historically, there were many types of calendars such as: Egyptian, Jewish, Roman, and, Chinese calendars among others.


Most Underrated Movies of 2017

2017 saw an interesting change in the movie industry. Big Hollywood films with A list celebrities flopped (even Tom Cruise couldn’t save Universal’s effort to make the Mummy relevant again), while the indie films like Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut Ladybird showed long-lasting box office results.



I now digress to invite you this Valentine to send and spread your love by Adopting your own Marine Animal. The rewards are most profound, further, you contribute towards the Foundation’s efforts to help save and protect our friends from the sea. Your legacy will be a lasting gift to them and our future generations because extinct is forever



We’re on TV! Airs on ACTV-05 & KXLA44





NSIDE HOLLYWOOD WITH MARC ANTHONY ” will cover the biggest stories in celebrities and entertainment news. Viewers will get exclusive access and a backstage pass to see what is happening in Hollywood. Marc Anthony Nicolas an accomplished TV Producer for the hit show “The Talk” on CBS and the recipient as the EMMY AWARD, BEST PRODUCER in 2016. He began his entertainment career as the MTV casting producer and worked as the TV producer for the “Tyra Banks Show”. He consecutively received EMMY AWARDS in 2008 and 2009. He hosted the very first Filipino talk show to interview mainstream celebrities called “On Your Marc” show, in Lifestyle Network. Additional accolades include, being ranked and recognized as the #1 most influential Filipino-American on the list of top 75 Most Influential. He was awarded “TV Producer of the Year” by the Filipino Press Club of California and most recently, received “The Outstanding Pilipinos” Award in Television.




S E G M E N T:



IN motion

elody in Motion” is a show segment dedicated to life that is constantly in the flow. Whether it goes fast or just enough to slow us down, Melody brings viewers to incredible people who will inspire your soul, events that ignite your life or quiet moments of self-reflection and gratitude in the different elements that Orlando Florida is known for. Melody is not a stranger to the Manila Up! International Media and is one of our contributing columnists since the inception of the magazine. Her column, “Life Journey’s” started as a simple endeavor on a quest to find answers to some of life’s greatest questions and evolved into something much bigger. As a visionary and creative heart, she came into the space by finding some of the world’s highest regarded influencers and poured wisdoms with her readers about their stories of breakdowns to breakthroughs which led to her winning multiple awards for her soul searing write ups. Melody went on to become a global changer with her creation and leadership of Unicef’s 14th Congressional

Action Team in the USA, advocating for children’s humanitarian platform representing 110 countries in the “fight against unfair” through awareness, community involvements and cross-collaborations all the way to Capitol Hill advocacy with US Congress and Senate. Her influence, accolades and involvement didn’t stop there as she unleashed her talents in the speaking space and positioned herself with the ability to strongly build relationships through authenticity, alignment of purpose and creative vision. Her most recent accomplishment now adds authorship after being selected as one of the 30 coauthors from around the globe in a book titled “Women Who Influence” set to be released on Amazon on 3/27/18. She is presently the Executive Content Director & Manager of Manila Up! TV Entertainment.

MUA and Photography: Ina Pandora Videographer: Juno Izazaga, Izazaga Media Production




S E G M E N T:




our time with Thomas: The Experience takes you on an adventure to experience travels, culture, sights, sounds, food and life! Thomas Orlina, the creator and executive producer of the YouTube eight-episode show titled, “Your Time With Thomas.” He started his career at TMZ in the publicity department and worked at Telepictures Productions, the production company who produces hit TV shows like, “The Ellen DeGenerous Show” and “EXTRA” with Mario Lopez. He currently works in communications at Warner Bros. and works all of the movie premieres for Warner Bros. Pictures. Thomas is a host for an after show for a network called “AfterBuzz” TV owned by Emmy award winning journalist, Maria Menounos. He is excited to show and produce his next series spin off titled above with Manila Up! TV Entertainment..



S E G M E N T:



he Confident You” series will will cover fashion, beauty, self-confidence, style, statement and different daily life hacks that will help your life on the go, present your best self and optimize your confidence in all levels. Hosted by Lauren Ziegler, crowned 2017 Mrs. United States. Lauren loves life and is a wife, a mother to two children, an entrepreneur, humanitarian and a professional model.  She was honored to win the two State titles, of Mrs. Missouri and Mrs. Florida prior to winning Mrs. United States. She serves as a Local and National Community Leader, a member of UNICEF, a Child Advocate and a National Keynote Speaker.   Lauren travels throughout the United States avidly fighting for children’s rights. She believes it is everyone’s responsibility to positively impact the world, and that the key to happiness is taking risks, dreaming big and challenging oneself to becoming the best version of themselves..





S E G M E N T:



he Sacred Self Series hosted by Stef, known as the “Relational Alchemist” and one of the most demanded experts in his field globally, shares keys to enhance the quality of your life, your relationship and in essence bring you closer to your potential. Stef Sifandos facilitates transformational growth through neuro-empowerment practices, an integration of spiritual Praxis and western psychology to improve, evolve and enhance the quality of your relationships. Stef is an international speaker and author. He works closely with people developing acute skills around cultivating a deep connection to self through vulnerability, masculine/feminine ‘whole’ emergence, empowerment and sovereign leadership. He guides


individuals in connecting wholly and authentically in relationships. For the last 15 years Stef has been at the forefront of innovating the global Health and Wellness Industry, whilst being a sought after innovator in the personal transformation, relationship and leadership space. Stef’s extensive knowledge has seen him become a well-respected mentor and trainer to some of Australia’s top professional sporting teams, professional individual athletes and professional world champion fighters, Olympians, gold medalist’s and elite special forces soldiers. To learn more about his extensive qualifications, journey and to connect, visit www. and follow him on Instagram and Facebook.

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Celia Abuel - Field Photographer


elia is part of the field correspondent team as a photographer. She holds a degree in International Marketing. Her passion for photography stemmed from an early age and was naturally drawn to the camera. Her hobby for picture taking was ignited during her travels and attending events. Somehow, in all of these, she became the assigned photographer and grew into her role. Celia was a military wife for 25 yrs  and was stationed in different countries, which allowed her to learn about diverse cultures and regions. Some of her past work experience includes retail management and financial accounting.  Celia became part of Manila Up! International Magazine as a social photographer in April 2016 and life has since then become one big adventure that brought her into attending almost all the events and taking photos with the celebrities. Celia is popular for her bubbly personality that is contagious for parties and events. Celia is a board member of the Filipino American Press Club of California (FAPCCA) and in November 2016 Gawad Amerika awarded her as the Outstanding Social Media Photographer of the year.


Celia Sabino


Grace Aguilar

Grace Aguilar --Field Correspondent


race Aguilar is the field correspondent for Manila UP! International Magazine and Manila Up! TV Entertainment. She holds a mass communications degree and previous work experience include being a Production Assistant for ABS-CBN, Teen Magazine in Manila, Philippines, and previous modeling experience for different events and brands. Grace has a love for travel and enjoys discovering new elements that help her live her life fully. Some of the previous countries visited include Hong Kong, Singapore, Iran, etc. She has been with the magazine for the last 2 years as the social media correspondent and became very visible on all social and fashion events. Her exposure in the media placed her the opportunity to interview boxing legend Manny Pacquiao, celebrities and Hollywood actors Antonio Jaramillo and Fabio. Currently, her column “Travel Dine in Style” allows her to experience and taste specialized gourmet meals. Grace recently was awarded by FAPCCA for her exemplary  work and support of their Media awards gala.






ove Manila,

Southeast Asia’s newest entertainment space with its indoor beach club and nightclub, boasting some of the most advanced audio, video and ambient lighting technologies that promise an unparalleled world-class experience opened its doors recently.


cretary, Bayani Former DILG Se Jacinto, Agile rt Fernando, Rupe ary of Finance, et cr Se d an a or Zam s Garry Teve

This is the last article of Ernest

EARNEST SNOOPS By Ernest Gonzaga


who passed away on December 29th. Manila Up! International Magazine’s family which included our dear Ernest sends its deepest condolences to those near and dear to him. This final tribute from his regular column signifies his valuable contributions to the success of the magazine and serves as our legacy from a mentor who inspired us and made it his mission to ensure that his efforts became the hallmark of his vision for the magazine’s publisher and staff. Farewell dear friend, till we meet again, may God Bless You.




Cove Manila is designed as a party mecca that offers a fusion of music, style, and dining at the heart of Okada Manila in the Philippines.

The Indoor Beach Club features an advanced climate control system that emulates a cool bayside atmosphere for a picture-perfect “summer experience” all year long. Guests can experience the venue’s luxury cabanas with five-star hotel amenities and a private hot tub—all while enjoying remarkable views of the Manila Bay and the vast 9000-sq.m venue. The Nightclub is entirely impressive in its own way, as well. It is the world’s first entertainment complex that seamlessly incorporates some of the most advanced audio, video and ambient lighting technologies to put on an eye-popping show. Its chandelier is the only one of its kind in Southeast Asia with its ability to produce up to 10,000 special effects, including choreographed video and 3D motion graphics and hyper-intelligent lighting fixtures that


Agile and Wopsy Zamora

Johnny Litton, Ernest Gonzaga and Serla Russel

Tina Jacinto, David Lim and Mayenne Carmona

Chris Badiola, Helen Ong, Tedrick Yau, Czarina Ablaza- Syquia and Tina Jacinto

create stunning and mesmerizing visuals such as underwater effects that can illuminate the entire club. (Compare to the inner ring at OMNIA in Las Vegas.) Meanwhile, it is the only venue in the Philippines that uses the Funktion-One high-resolution sound system. Cove Manila is designed as a party mecca that offers a fusion of music, style, and dining at the heart of Okada Manila in the Philippines. The setting is a nearly 100,000 sq.ft party floor under a 100-foot tall and 300foot wide UVA and UVB protected glass dome and 360 degree column-free party space. You won’t even have to move clubs as it goes from

night to day. The Beach Club indulges those with a taste for the spectacular. Overlooking Manila Bay, it features a swim-up bar, well-appointed bungalows, a butterfly-shaped pool surrounded by genuine imported white sand. Its highly advanced smart air-conditioning amazingly emulates a vibrant bayside atmosphere by day and nice cool climate by night giving you the ultimate summer beach party experience without having to worry about the weather or the sunburn. Cove Manila is going to change the game in a big way not just for the Philippines, but all of Asia.



LONDON First Parliament building

2018 January Kingdom Adventures


ircles signify prosperity according to Filipino tradition. In London, Big Ben’s famous sound was heard once again at midnight on New Year’s Eve though it is silent for the rest of the year because of the ongoing refurbishment of Westminster Palace. It was followed by the UK’s largest annual fireworks display over London Eye. It is one of the most celebrated events that people from different parts come to London to celebrate New Year’s Eve. People are partying, dancing, singing, drinking and shouting amid the ice cold winter while waiting for the countdown of the fantastic world class fireworks display to begin. When the clock strikes at 12 midnight, countless of big bangs fill the air. The dancing fire of multi coloured sparks from all sorts of artistic and geometric shapes drawn by invisible hands in the air.


KINGDOM ADVENTURE By Gilda Pineda Dionela

Some shoot straight up like a rocket ship before exploding releasing not only the sparkle but giant flowery or starry shaped fires. Another twirl in a spiral like dancing stars in the ballroom of sky, some splinter into thousands of sparks falling like rushing waterfall and some like flickering showers of silver and gold. The rain of fire floating and scatters not only in the sky, but the reflection of attractive colours of red, purple, blue, pink, yellow, green, silver and gold paint the Thames River. What an

awesome sight that gives an impression of life in a fantasy world even just for a moment of time. Then the dark smoke covers the place and little by little silence and quietness follows. The fireworks display is over but the party continues all night for most people. For church going people like us, we participated in the countdown together after listening to the most awaited message for the coming year. The spectacular fireworks display is live on television and this is the only time of the year that we don’t need an Oyster or travel pass if we take the “tube” or bus from 23:45 on 31 December 2017 to 4:30 1 January 2018. Then comes morning, time for us to change our calendars for the new year. Back then, every New Year, free calendars was given to everyone from many commercial and industrial entities in the Philippines, mostly Roman Catholic calendars with the name of the saints on it. There are a lot of changes in the world and in our country, I witnessed all that and most neglected is the precious calendar that divided years, months and days. Most Filipino names from generations past were taken from

the name of saints (in Spanish) found in the Roman Catholic calendars, usually the male name ending in letter “o” and female name ending in “a”. As a result, previous generations had many similar first names and family names brought on by this tradition. Most from Generation X still bears the Spanish name, but the trend changed for Generation Y (Millennials), their names were mostly English. The trend changed about the same time that Roman Catholic calendars started to disappear from circulation. The influence of American colonization or English names became the new trend. In general Filipino names were Spanish, English, Filipino (such as Ligaya, Marikit, Patnubay, Liwayway) and Moro (they wanted to be called Bangsamoro an identity distinct from Filipino) names. One striking truth about this change of name trend is that no matter January Issue-1 how many centuries of the tradition were in effect, once the pattern changed people quit doing and following it. Influenced by new sources such as was mentioned above. Who would have thought many centuries of naming a child after a saint in the Spanish language taken from the Roman Catholic calendar will change in just one generation?

Anno Domini (AD) 2018 – The year of our Lord Jesus Christ 2018

At present, the Gregorian calendar (solar calendar) is used internationally as a civil calendar. Historically, there were many types of calendars such as: Egyptian, Jewish, Roman, and, Chinese calendars among others. Calendar forms are lunar which is based on different phases of the moon; solar which is based on the movement of earth around Thames River, London Bridge the sun; and lunisolar which is a combination of the two. The original Roman Calendar (lunar) started around 753 BC, beginning the year in March and not in January. During those times New Year celebrations fell on March 1st. The Julian Calendar introduced by Julius Caesar around 45-46 BC replaced the Roman calendar. He made January 1st as the beginning of a new year. Thereafter, the Gregorian Calendar was proclaimed in 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII to reform the Julian




In ancient times more than civil recording of important occurrences, a calendar was important because of its spiritual relevance. calendar. It is known as the Western Calendar. In the year 1600 most countries began using the first of January as the beginning of the year, but both Italy and England made January 1st as the beginning of the year only around 1750. The proper writing of our modern calendar should be AD 2018. If I were the Secretary General of United Nations or hold the most powerful position in the world I will declare the following: “Since we are in the era of intellectualism, it is just right and proper to write the date completely the way it was intended. If there are some minor errors, it is far better to indicate it than write an incomplete 2018---WHAT?” Since I am not any of the two above mentioned characters, I am just here to inform. The use of BC (Before Christ) and AD (Anno Domini) was introduced by Dionysius Exiguus, who lived in the middle of the 6th century. He was a scholar, theologian, an accomplished mathematician, and, astronomer. His motivation to introduce the modern calendar that we use today was to determine the exact date of Easter and the birth of Jesus Christ. That is why the modern calendar is the beginning of a Christian Era and not Common Era. In ancient times more than civil recording of important occurrences, a calendar was important because of its spiritual relevance. Its primary purpose was to specify the occasions upon which grand festivals were to be celebrated as commanded by God in Exodus 23:14-17. Even the everyday terms that are used such as day, month and year can be found in the bible. These words


are not invented by science but spoken by God Himself. We have seven days in a week based on 7 days that God created the heavens and the earth. God magnified His word above all His name. People call God different names depending upon the need that God meets in their lives, but the Word of God is unchanging. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but His words shall not pass away. The true and living God is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The Father of Jesus Christ and our Father too. Among many names, whether January Issue-2 English or Spanish there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved, the name of Jesus Christ whose birth is the basis of the modern calendar. Genesis 1:14 (KJV) And God said, let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years. Since the day of creation until now the sun and the moon are the bases of seasons, days, and years. The Word of God can never be outdated. It is always new and fresh every morning so there is no need to change or tamper it in any way. It is the ultimate thing that holds together the past, present, and the future unlike the calendar that holds only blips of earthly living. Happy “In the year of our Lord Jesus Christ 2018 or A.D 2018. My prayer is for God to bless us all with good health, wisdom and prosperity forevermore. Cheers for the coming year!!!


Welcoming the New Year were the brightest stars in business and entertainment industries that joined Gan Advanced Osseointegration Center (GAOC), the leading dental center in celebrating its success in 2017 and the auspicious start of 2018.



r. Steve Mark Gan, GAOC’s president and CEO, personally welcomed distinguished guests to their annual appreciation dinner which included Jollibee Corporation and co-chairman of Double Dragon Properties Tony Tan Caktiong who attended with his wife Grace Tan Caktiong, Lamoiyan Corporation president

Dr. Cecilio K. Pedro, and former Congressman of the 1st District of Leyte, Martin Romualdez. Also gracing the event were PRC Board of Dentistry member Dr. Gloria


Bumanlag, Dr. Roberto Garcia, Dr. Melinda Garcia, and Mike Balani.



GAOC celebrity friends were also present at the event, including top actors Richard Gomez, Tirso Cruz III, Gerald Anderson, Enchong Dee, IĂąigo Pascual, Carla Abellana, Denise Laurel, Christian Bautista, Myrtle Sarrosa, Gab Valenciano was with beauty queen Stephany Stefanowitz, Nikki Valdez, Jay-R, Dingdong Avanzado with wife Jessa Zaragosa and daughter Jayda, Roselle Nava with husband Allan Ford Lee Tan and son Rafa, IssaLitton, I.C. Mendoza, Tippy Dos Santos, and stylists, Rex Atienza and Jay Sarmiento.



GAOC has constantly been at the forefront of dental practice in the Philippines and as well as South East Asia and is renowned as the ‘go-to’ dental clinic for top local showbiz personalities. With its philosophy, “It’s not just a smile, it’s a statement”, GAOC employs the most advanced equipment and facilities, as well as well-trained professionals and dentists to provide the best service to its clients.




Photos by JOE GARCIA • Correspondent: Grace Aguilar • Videographer: Youssof Sekander

Sweeptakes AwardSingpoli Float


ingpoli float “Rising Above” won the Sweepstakes Trophy, at the 129th Tournament of Roses Parade 2018, as the “most beautiful entry encompassing float design, floral presentation and entertainment.”


Rose Queen and Royal Court

Mayor Eric Garcetti

Consul General of Cambodia, Kim Chha Hout, being interviewed by correspondent, Grace Aguilar

Hollywood composer Nathan Wang wrote the song “Rising Above� and was rendered by singer Shila Amzah from Malaysia. Rising Above, their theme, has a story that even though life is difficult, we can rise above and we can overcome the

adversity and make a difference. The Chairman of Singpoli American BD, Mr. Hui, was so happy to have been awarded their second Sweeptakes Trophy.



CALIFORNIA Grace Aguilar interviewing Consul General of Malaysia Devrin Jack

Mayor Pro Tem of Arcadia Sho Tay, Mrs. Tay, Publisher, Chairman of Singpoli, Mr. Hui, Mr. Ting, and President ASEAN,PAC Nellsen Young

Mr. Hui of Singpoli, Mr. Ting, Nellsen Young of ASEAN Pac, Consul General if Cambodia, Kim Chha Hout




he publishing team came up with yet another milestone celebration with a formal event in “The L.A. Hotel Downtown”. Kentaro Kameyama, winner of the famous fashion competition

“Project Runway”, along with designer Kiki Wang wowed the audience with their latest collections. The Manila Up COVER GIRLS, who modeled for our 2 designers, strutted with ease and confidence, with the intricate choreography directed by our own Geo Sargent.


The Alka Vida Winners and Candidates

One of our Designer KENTARO KAMEYAMA, recent winner of Project Runway

Rosalie Cua, Randy and Becky Burman, Jeanette Ong, Nanshi Ignacio, Alka Vida Hernan Saldo and Taddy Saldues, Sonia Bermejo, Lissa Chow, Songwriting Shane and Tina

High profile guests included Alice Mester from the famous TV show “the Big Bang Theory”, Isabel Rivas and Pinky de Leon from the Philippines cinema. The wonderful guests showed up and owned the red carpet with their glittering gowns, partnered with the joyous and elegant runway. The event was topped with delicious course dishes including steak, salmon, chicken, and desserts. The venue was full of performances from the singers Tiffany-Nicole Brevard, Lorenzo Caunan, and Esmeralda Padilla-Gould, accompanied by the rhythmic sound of DJ John Robinson and DJ Joel Velasco. A huge thanks to our sponsors, singers, DJ’s, guests, models, designers, staff, volunteers, and crew for a successful event! To God be the glory!



Chef Mario Medina and Sidney Garcia with their guests

Mul Tayoba, Alona Howard, Mrs. Tayoba, Carl Andrada Esmeralda Padilla-Gould

Manila Up Cover Girls wearing Kiki Wang creation


Melania Silva of Cruise One, designer Kiki Wang, Christina, Jeannete Lovings, Joy Alegre, Angelita Pallares

Dan Guadalupe,Carl Andrada, Elna Villaflor, Kiel Ortega, Weng Yap, Rey Chuidian, Philip Ner Katyana Borja

Lorenzo Caunan broadway singer

Tiffany Nicole Brevard

Designer Kiki Wang

Host Prince Mario Max Schaumburg

above: Photographers right: COVER GIRLS - Cleopatra Jones, Jessica Duhay, and Katiana Borja




Meet the 2017

Bulong Pulungan

Mayor Guia Gomez


PAGOR Chair Andrea Domingo

Jaime Bautista December 12, 2017

ulong Pulungan media forum at Sofitel is the longest-running weekly forum in the country, now celebrating 32 years. Amid its annual Christmas party, the Core group honored exemplars which made an eminent accomplishment for the year. The spotlight was on the chosen four as Bulong Pulungan Core Group honored the following exemplars: President and Chief operating officer of Philippine Airlines (PAL), Jaime J. Bautista is the one of the exemplars who accepted his glass trophy



Bulong Core Group with Hotel Sofitel officers

Rachel Arenas with Deedee

that depicts an award in Tourism. As the COO, Bautista aimed for modernization of services of PAL extending its structure by opening domestic and international flights, making it a first class airline.

Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles, son of the former House Speaker Prospero Nograles, deserved an Exemplar award due to his securing the budget of P40 billion to fund the free tuition act in State Universities and Colleges in the 2018 budget. Even without incorporating exquisite jewelries and elaborate elements, San Juan City Mayor Guia Gomez has her own worth as a public

official. Her friendly, down-to earth demeanor will surely tug at anyones heartstrings especially the people of San Juan, the city hailed as the Best Performing Local Government Unit along with Makati for financing its own programs out of its own earnings. Also, San Juan received the Seal of the Good Governance as a proof of Mayor Gomez’s proficiency to govern her city when it comes to financial management, disaster preparedness, social protection, peace and order, environmental protection and business friendly government, employment programs. Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) chairman Andrea Domingo had charismatic and sincere influence devoting assets to finance the infrastructure of school buildings and health facilities. While accepting her glass trophy, Domingo added a quick remark about PAGCOR influencing people to gamble more. “Gambling has been in the world for so long. It’s better that government regulates it.” PAGCOR has administered funds well for the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, with the financial assistance to the casualties of calamities, medical assistance to indigent communities, which are returns with good purpose. This most heartfelt honor and fitting conclusion would undoubtedly be one of the most memorable experiences for the awardees.



Ever Bilena welcomed 2018 with a grand allwhite party at the Metrotent in Pasig. Dubbed “Lightup with EB” the glittery evening was hosted by 2017 Mr. Chinatown winner Jacob Muñez, comedians Ethel Booba, and, Betong Sumaya along with special guest/co-host, Tricia Lao. Ever Bilena CEO, Dioceldo Sy and COO, Silliman Sy gave special recognition to loyal employees who have dedicated 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 years of service to the company. The employees also had a chance to win flat screen TVs, mobile phones, cash and other valuable prizes during the raffle. The night was made even more memorable with the presence of Ever Bilena and Blackwater celebrity endorsers Max Collins, Christian Bautista, Derrick Monasterio, Loisa Andalio, Ronnie Alonte, the Asistio sisters, and Blackwater Elite PBA players. Guests were asked to come in allwhite attire as a sign of hope and happiness for the New Year.





Congresswoman of Batam holding was the Mrs Asean 2014

The Batam International culture carnival commemorated its 188th years last December 2017. The carnival was livened by the Indonesia ethnic costume parade, with mesmerizing colors and exuberant accessories. There’s lizard and sea creatures, representing part of Riau island that is surrounded by the sea. Enchanting tribal dancing at the finale. Samantha Go, Mrs Asean 2014, and the delegates of TKS n Sons Pageantry from Singapore watched the parade in awe. Contributor and Photo Credit to : Samantha Go, Mrs Asean 2014 from Malaysia 38 MANILA UP!

Samantha Go with the director of TKS n Sons, Ms Beverly Tan

The wedding groups of different cultures









World-Renowned Rock Band- Lynch Mob at the Indie Stock Music Festival photo by Pacific Pro Digital

he Indie Stock Music Festival Provided an Opportunity for Indie Bands to Perform on the Big Stage with World-Renowned Rock Bands. Indie Stock Music Festival was a success fans enjoyed the one-day music festival and rocked to an array of music genres, including Rock, Hard Rock, Christian Nu Metal, Southern Rock, Rock Funk, Nu Metal, Heavy Metal, and Alternative Rock Music. The music festival was created to focus on the indie bands that are just starting out by performing together with World-Renowned Rock Bands that have been playing for years. This year Indie Stock Music Festival was held recently at the Pico Rivera Sports Arena located in California, the new festival showed that it’s really all about the music. Bands such as Lynch Mob with the legendary guitarist George Lynch, Trapt, P.O.D and Six Gun Sal were on the massive stage along with Lethal Injektion Never Your Zero, Hipnostic, Misamore, Osairis, Gravity Layne, Dirty Machine, The 95th, Fifi Larue and Angeles. The music festival was MC’d by Leif Garrett an American teen idols of the 70’s and featured in fan magazines, such as Tiger Beat, 16, and Teen Beat. Garrett went on to be being a Multi-Gold and Platinum recording artist. Stay connected with Indie Stock Music Festival on Instagram @ Check out the video on Youtube com/watch?v=WU3jty5kb2U. To learn more about Indie Stock Music Festival, visit


Indie Heavy Rock Band Hipnostic at the Indie Stock Music Festival-photo by Credit Sheri Determan

Six Gun Sal, Southern Rock Band at Indie Stock Music Festival photo by Sheri Determan







nternationally renowned pianist and organist, Willem Van Suijdam and Gina Ronquillo invited some close friends from the diplomatic corps, business and social circle to an evening of Christmas songs via a concert cum Christmas party held at their upscale piano store in Ronac Lifestyle Centre, Paseo de Magallanes, Makati. The introduction was made by the Hon. Marion Derckx, Netherlands Ambassador. The concert cum party started with an audience participation from the guests of the traditional “O Come All Ye Faithful” with Willem Van Suijdam on the organ. The opening prayer song was rendered by Lilibeth Garcia and was offered for the recovery and safety of our dear friend, crooner Arthur Manuntag, who collapsed during a concert for a brand car in Baguio City some few weeks back. Willem Van Suijdam performed several solo organ Christmas songs such as “O Holy Night,” improvisation on “Silent Night,” and pieces from the “Nutcracker, P.I. Tchaikovski,” “Air in D Major from Suite No.3,J.S. Bach,” and “Pachelbel’s Canon in D”. Other performers who performed that night were Ricardo Abapo who did a solo piano piece of “J.S. Bach, Fantasy and Fugue in A Minor,” Graham Dwyer on the harpsichord with his “Sonata for Organ and Harpsichord, Gaetano Piazza,” and “Sonata for Organ and Harpsichord,


Gillian Thesie& Gian, & Vonnel Romano, Atty. Cesar Romano, Chef Manny Eduarte

Giovanni Luchinetti,” Brian Berino, piano solo “Elude Tableau Opus 39 in D Major, S.Rachmaninoff,” Hiliodoro Fiel on the piano and Renato Lucas, cello with the piece “Dance of the Blessed Spirits, C.W.Gluck,” Dr. Oliver Salonga, piano solo of “Etude Tableau Opus 33 in C Minor, S. Rachmaninoff,” The University of Manila Singing Ambassadors Choir under the direction of Armand Joseph Villanueva rendered some traditional Christmas songs, and finally, Jovianney Emmanuel Cruz, piano solo of “Chopin Ballade No 1 in G Minor Opus 23” who made everybody stood for an ovation. The concert/party ended with the guests singing “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” amidst continuous flow of pricey wines and delectable food to feast.

Gina Roquillo, Mike, Devine & Tom Austria

Baby de Jesus, Manolyn Taylor

Ced Ramirez, Joy Fong, Michelle Lucas

Panama Ambassador Rolando Guevara, Mme. Lizia Lu Wife of Amb. of Israel

Ronnie & Gina Mohnani Susan Olayvar, Gina Ronquillo, Norma Funtanilla



Elizabeth Olsen and Aubrey Plaza in film Ingrid Goes West source: Variety


Most Underrated Movies of 2017 2017 saw an interesting change in the movie industry. Big Hollywood films with A list celebrities flopped (even Tom Cruise couldn’t save Universal’s effort to make the Mummy relevant again), while indie films like Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut Ladybird showed longlasting box office results. Superhero movies went outside the conventional formula and transcended their genre, while horror movies gathered more audiences than any recent years. Every new year begins with movie fans listing up their favorite films of the previous year. From Margot Robbie’s Oscar contender I, Tonya to director Jordan Peele’s brilliant social horror Get Out, most people’s “top 10 movies of 2017 list” is definitely packed with great films. But instead of focusing on the year’s greats, I’d like to dedicate this for the year’s most forgotten, the overlooked, the most underrated films of 2017.


Ingrid Goes West

Actress Aubrey Plaza gives us what’s possibly her best role yet. Yes, even including April Ludgate from Parks and Recreation. Ingrid Goes West starts off like how one would imagine an indie comedy starring Aubrey Plaza to do soquirky, cute, and charming. However, the movie quickly turns into something much darker than that. Plaza’s character Ingrid is mentally unstable, fragile, lonely, and addicted to social media fame. Her take on what could’ve been a generic character is essentially what differentiates Ingrid Goes West from other indie comedies. This movie is funny, uncomfortable, and honest. Expect to cringe, laugh, and cry all at once when watching this film.

A Cure for Wellness

Most people know director Gore Verbinski from the first three Pirates of the Caribbean movies- basically before the franchise officially turned unwatchable. Say what you want to say about those movies, but one cannot deny his talent as a master of visual storytelling. In his latest fantasy thriller, Verbinski does exactly that- tells the story in the most visually stunning way possible. The backdrop of an isolated wellness center in the alps brings back similar eerie atmosphere as Kubrick’s the Shining. What holds this ridiculously high-concept story together is Verbinski’s odd, often terrifying visuals. While the 146 minute runtime might be a challenge, it’s definitely worth checking out.

It Comes at Night Imagine the Walking Dead, but except for the zombies. If that idea sounds boring, then you can probably skip this movie. But if you’re looking for a tense, character-driven horror movie set in postapocalyptic backdrop, this is the film for you. Joel Edgerton and Carmen Ejogo deliver some of the most heartfelt, intense scenes as they do per usual. The real standout star of the film is Kelvin Harrison Jr. His character Travis, the protagonist of the film, struggles to find himself and maintain purity in a world that has gone mad. Harrison Jr. delivers a subtle yet powerful performance; with this movie and another underrated jem from 2017 Mudbound, Harrison Jr. is shaping to be one of the most talented actors of the new generation.

American Made To be completely honest, I went into this movie half-worried half-skeptical; the trailer seemed like yet another passable Tom Cruise movie. It seemed like a typical uber-nationalistic action movie that celebrates macho white men. In reality, American Made was everything I’ve just mentioned and so much more. The movie directl tackles those action movie tropes to make parallel with America’s immoral foreign policies and its involvement in South America during the 70s. Director Doug Liman made what’s essentially a meta film that questions Hollywood action movies as a whole. With energetic scenes and artistic editing, this movie is anything but generic.

Okja South Korean director Bong Joon-ho delivers yet another film starring a gigantic grey monster running around the city of Seoul. But Okja is nothing like his previous take on the genre the Host, mainly because Okja herself is just one adorable superpig. Following Mija, a country girl from the outskirts of Korea, and her best friend/genetically modified super pig Okja, the film is full of adventure, dry humor, and brutal social commentary against big meat industries. With Hollywood stars like Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhaal, Paul Dano, and Steven Yeun in the mix, Okja is the most exciting thing you could watch on your Netflix right now (and yes, it’s a Netflix film, so now you have no excuse to not watch it).

Gook In his sophomore film, writer/director Justin Chon tackles one of the most brutal race riots in modern America- the L.A. Uprising. Following brothers Eli, played by Chon himself, and Daniel, played by David So, Gook is a powerful drama that’s not afraid to tackle the subjects of police brutality, Asian marginalization, and black and Korean relations. With amazing performances from all actors and especially the starlet of the film Simone Baker, Gook is an experimental, bold indie drama that’s full of statements to make.



The First Filipino Produced Original Songwriting Competition in London LONDON


ll of us love listening to music, especially those songs that really touches our hearts and had a great impact to ourselves ; the composer intended it that way, no matter what the genres are. Still the songwriter wants you to feel every note, as if you are hearing his heart beats.”, says Michael Cana, the mind behind Masters of Songwriting. Way back in mid May 2017, Michael Cana attended a Filipino event and chatted with a great composer, Ronald Dalida of Velvet Child, who mainly plays his original songs in all occasions and the only one whom Cana know that does it. Cana and Dalida shared their ideas in putting up an event, mainly for composers like them. However, due to busy schedules, they never had time to discuss it. “ I am a composer, I can make songs and collaborate with other musicians, but sadly, I do not have the confidence to show it to anyone and so afraid to be criticised for my songs. UK na UK By Ela Hidalgo Probably, an event is my way to express


it fully; having a good platform, wherein everyone can join and be the same level as I am. I am not professionally trained but I can combine series of tunes that would make up a music to listen to”. Says, Cana Cana belongs to D’ Intruders and play bass guitar and keyboards, The band usually plays cover and mostly disco. “ Ela is the female vocalist of D’ Intruders and she is great in making events. So, I asked her to collaborate with her and it was July when we started discussing the theme and came up with “Masters of Songwriting”. A date was arranged for the final night”; added Cana. Many had commented that it is a great idea and the rest is history. Since Cana is a very good friend of mine and his family, I agreed to do it and supported him, as they are also very supportive to me, especially his wife Julie Cana, who does style me in most of my events, but also, she is like a big sister to me. Additionally, I have seen, that this is an exceptional platform for Filipinos and Non-Filipino composers, for their song creations to be heard and be recognised. January 28 (Sunday) BAR FM , was the night wherein, eight contenders for the title of Master of Songwriting performed their songs live. They were Emma Lauson ,

Eugene Arcilla, Dodie Victorino, Gee Luengco, Harin Perera, Ken Kiwas, , Nane Guno and Regin Raquedan. All of the eight contestants really showed their creativity in expressing how they feel, through writing their own songs. They all performed amazingly. Although they are equally talented, in every competition, there are winners to be declared and chosen by the judges, through certain criteria. The said contest was judged by professional musicians, radio and TV journalists, namely, Rey Abesamis of One Philippines, Alexa Taag of A’ GEM, Ronald Dalida of Pinoy Underground, Ador Miranda of Radyo Manila UK and Rose Eclarinal of the biggest Filipino channel, ABS- CBN. Therefore, the songwriters who had their winning songs are: Gee Luengco: Grand Champion with her song “Internet”, based on the Overseas Filipino Workers’ life in Hongkong. Luengco said, she was inspired to write a song about the lives of OFW as she witnessed how hard life is working abroad. This is about an OFW who is a breadwinner and working so hard for her family back home and uses the Internet to find a lover, hoping that someday, true love and love will be found. “I was overwhelmed and thankful that my song was chosen and I bagged the grand prize. I did not expect anything except that I only wanted my songs to be heard. I would like to say Thank you to all organisers of Masters of Songwriting 2018, Mr. Michael Cana and Miss Ela Hidalgo for making this event possible. This helps improves and develops confidence as a musician. I would also want to encourage, young musicians to write their own song lyrics and develop their own musical styles”, says Luengo. She received a £300 cash, guitar, 2 nights stay in Belmont Hotel Pasay Philippines with breakfast for 2 persons, 1 hour body massage and a trophy. Luengo promised herself that she will share her first cash reward to charity. She had chosen the Cordillera Connection, a UK registered charity as her beneficiary. According to her, TCC is one of the many who helped out in rebuilding school and churches in Tubigon Bohol when her province was hit by earthquake in 2013. Regin Raquedan : First Runner Up with his song, “Binalewala”. He received a £150 cash, 30 minutes massage voucher and a trophy. “Masters of Songwriting” is the first of its kind in the Filipino community in London. It was opened to all nationalities and was focused to find the best song writers in all genres. I am so glad that couple of my songs were chosen for the finals. It gave me ths chance to perform it live and sing infront of a big crowd. Normally, we are not given this kind of chance. Hopefully, this event will trail blaze a path for all song writers. All finalists were so good and

unique in their ways. All in all the event was a total success”, added Raquedan. Nane Guno : Second Runner Up with her song, “ Habang buhay ang Gabi”. She received £50 cash, 30 minutes massage voucher and a trophy. Guno says that, it was her first tme to join a song writing composition, so she did not expect to be in top 3 finalists. “I was just writing my songs as a hobby. I never thought I’d go beyond than what I expected. Someone just sent me the about the competition and encouraged me to join. I took the shot and it was worth it”, she added. Aside from the finalists, local artists such as D’ Intruders, A’ GEM, No Direction, Dave and Jade Hoskins, Adelaide Cana, Ollie Valle and Frazer Kennedy added glitter to the event, with their quality entertainment and performances. This was hosted by Randy Silverio and Vanessa Mondala, who are both nurses by profession and active in Filipino Community. In addition, this event will not be possible without the sponsors, Leo Sunpongco of Genistar, Anico Finance, Coco’s Lounge, Terry’s Beauty Salon, True Care Massage, Christopher Calisse, Ogie and Bessie Villedo, One Philippines, Manila Up, TFC ABS-CBN, Pinoy Underground, Wynchu Travel and Padala, Mindy Tizon of Nuskin, Ali Hajj of AA World Travellers and Tours, Belmont Hotel Pasay, La Carmela Boracay and Bluewater Cebu . Special acknowledgement to a beautiful friend (inside and out) and the wife of Michael Cana, who gave her all our support, Julie Cana. Also, to their daughter, Adelaide Cana, friends Grace Quinto, Manel Sinfield and Edz Pineda, who had immensely helped during the show. Huge thank you as well to Angel Toniama, videographer and Dave Moscrop, photographer. Lastly, to everyone present during this event, “MASTERS OF SONGWRITING 2018”.



Ksenia Gavrilenko, Katerine Belikh, Valentina Yanshitskaya, Rose Gali, Inna Gavrilenko



ussian born Natalya Bronzova became reality as her solo exhibition at the House of Representatives was inaugurated by the​honorable​guests: Deputy Speaker Hon. Linabelle Ruth R. Villarica, Cong. Imelda R. Marcos, Cong. Anthony M. Bravo, The President of CCP, Arsenio J. Lizasso, Hon. Fema Duterte, famous journalist Ramon Tulfo, Ambassador Victor Garcia and Russian Emb.Council Viktor Balashov! It was the first time that the National Russian Anthem was played in the Congress of the Philippines in honor of one only person: Natalya Bronzova, a


writer and artist, who promotes Russian culture and Art in the Philippines! Ms Bronzova become very much part of the Philippines society as she lived in Manila for over five years and befriended many outstanding people here. Ms Bronzova has written three books on the Philippines, the country of her soul. Earlier this year she had a solo exhibition at the Cultural Centre of the Philippine, becoming the first Russian artist being exposed there; this is now also true for the House of Representatives! We can truly say that Natalya’s art is loved and recognized in the Philippines for its unique style, powerful positive energy and spirituality. ​

Inna Gavrilenko, Katerine Belikh, Lidia & Victor Balashow

Baby De Jesus, Rep. Linabelle Villarica, Georgette Wilson, Connie Garcia

Natalya with arcos M Rep. Imelda

Natalya Bronzova, Mon Tulfo, Lolita Mirpuri

Natalya’s art Natalya’s art is elitist! It is very spiritual and each piece has deep meaning and a story behind it. Light vibrations and positive energy flow from Natalya’s canvases, bringing peace and harmony to the audience. The price of art is the energy and emotions it gives to those looking at it; in this sense, Natalya’s art works are priceless as one wants to look at them again and again... The scenes depicted on the canvas call us into the wonderful imaginary world of Natalya, which she gracefully shares with us; one just wants to live in that perfect and miraculous world. How deep and rich is the artist’s inner world if she is able to give it away so generously and never at a loss? This is the artist’s mystery, a legend that she made by

herself. Natalya created her own place in art, her own style. Nothing is ever repeated on her canvases, and each one has a unique story; together, they tell the story of one outstanding artist, who created her own path in art and in life. Although surrounded by many celebrities of her country, Natalya does not copy nor follow any one; she became her very own art current. She gives us new fashion, where Art should be spiritual and beautiful, not to become only part of a luxury interior, but to become a necessity of every day life for high society, celebrities and anyone who is able to feel the beauty and receive energy from an art piece, enjoying it, meditating to it and even being healed by its very presence





ere is a whale of a tale I shall relate. It somehow began when I first spotted the humpback whales frolicking in the waters of my beloved island. Maui is the playground for these gentle giants of the sea, among other cetaceans which inhabit our nature infused environs. They come from late December and slowly depart by May, like visiting guests who never overstay their welcome.   Thus, no matter how many whale watch tours and sunset dinner cruises one enjoys, it becomes an addiction of sorts to get on board Pacific Whale Foundation’s boats with their effervescent, knowledgeable crew who never cease to offer the ultimate in these sea bound experiences. Of course, they deliver substance to serve but the stars of the show are the denizens of the deep, seemingly as comfortable in the shallower depths as they are in their treacherous seasonal migrations in the deep.

Picture this... They breach, double breach, tail slap and do all sorts of amazing “tricks” without human prodding one may see in man made sea life shows. While newborns and mothers



By Edith Pendleton

are bonding, some adult males attempt their ‘shenanigans’ but there are other gentle males who protect against their disturbances to keep mothers and babies safe. The shows are invariably distinct, no scripts, just pure ecstasy in their flow. The whale songs are spellbinding, a language so instinctive and elemental, we may never comprehend. Folks who visit from around the planet are in magical awe. The Dolphins, not to be outdone, are also performing their antics a la ‘Flipper’, that classic TV character. Last but not the least are gentle, harmless False Killer Whales, their name is self explanatory. I now digress to invite you this Valentine to send and spread your love by Adopting your own Marine Animal. The rewards are most profound, further, you contribute towards the Foundation’s efforts to help save and protect our friends from the sea. Your legacy will be a lasting gift to them and our future generations because extinct is forever. Log onto the Pacific Whale Foundation›s website at: Mahalo nui loa!




ransformation from world-class to five-star airline characterized the year 2017 for Philippine Airlines. The flag carrier shifted to high gear on initiatives to raise its rating by airline/airport rating company Skytrax to four stars in 2018, and eventually to five stars by 2020. The goal is not a quick fix, but a multi-year top-to-bottom re-invention of the airline. Singular focus is the passenger – an unceasing effort to extend total passenger care at every customer touch-point, while managing expectations every step of the journey. PAL maintained its three-pronged strategy of fleet upgrades, route expansion and service innovation to achieve the goal.

New planes, new routes Seven airplanes were delivered in 2017 – five Bombardier Q400 turboprops for inter-island flights and two Boeing 777300ERs for long-haul routes. On June 13, the first of eight reconfigured, tri-class Airbus A330s was unveiled, featuring one of the most luxurious cabins in the sky. This A330 first flew to Honolulu,


followed by Sydney, Melbourne, Tokyo Haneda and other routes. From July to November, five dual-class, 86-seater Q400 were delivered. Its first commercial flight was CebuCaticlan in August. Meanwhile, on December 15, a PAL 777 made the first trans-polar flight for a Philippine carrier – a 16.5-hour, non-stop Toronto-Manila flight – preceded by the upgrade of several routes from one-stop to non-stop in 2017: ManilaDoha, Manila-Auckland, Manila-Kuwait and Manila-Jeddah. PAL’s complete fleet of ten 777s now flies to North America and London. Additional airplanes enabled PAL to open new routes out of Cebu, Davao and Clark. On January 2, PAL operated its first international flight to Clark with the arrival of an A321 from Seoul. Other new routes include Seoul-Tagbilaran, Chengdu-Kalibo, Chengdu-Cebu, Manila-Kuala Lumpur, Cebu-Beijing and Cebu-Bangkok. From having no Clark service in 2016, PAL vaulted to become the largest airline operator at Clark airport by the close of 2017, with flights from Clark to Bacolod, Basco, Busuanga, Calbayog, Catarman, Cagayan de Oro, Caticlan,

Cebu, Davao, Masbate, Puerto Princesa, Tagbilaran, Virac and Seoul. From Davao, PAL opened three new routes (Davao to Tagbilaran, Cagayan de Oro and Zamboanga) using the new Q400s. Ten domestic routes were opened from Cebu – Siargao and Camiguin (new PAL destinations) as well as to Cagayan de Oro, Caticlan, Legazpi, Ozamiz, Puerto Princesa, Surigao, Tacloban and Tagbilaran.

Product innovations PAL introduced a new Premium Economy product on its A330s (and soon A350s), offering all-new seats and amenities in a private cabin. A key service innovation is inflight connectivity – ensuring more passengers stay connected while flying, through WiFi or mobile phone connection. PAL also introduced new inflight menus, including signature Filipino dishes. The Swing Around Tour Packages were resumed, offering affordable travel packages. In February, PAL introduced the first-ever nationwide crowd-sourced inflight safety video featuring nine of the best Philippine tourist destinations. PAL likewise enhanced its website and improved an array of check-in, transit, transfer and boarding procedures. In 2017, the flag carrier proposed to build the NAIA Terminal 2 Annex that can accommodate up to 17 million passengers annually, with parking for up to 15 aircraft. Different companies took notice of PAL’s transformation. Awards were given including 4th Best Airline Worldwide for Best Cabin Service, 6th Most Improved Airline, 2017 Subic Eco-Tourism Festival Award and Best Asia-Pacific Treasury Team.

Corporate Social Responsibility Projects The PAL Foundation continued extending travel assistance to airlift relief goods to disaster-stricken areas. More than 15 tons of donations were flown to Cagayan de Oro for displaced Marawi residents, while seven local

children flew to Manila to be resettled at an orphanage in Cavite. PAL Chairman Dr. Lucio C. Tan donated P2 million cash intended for soldiers who fought in Marawi. Habitat for Humanity was given 750,000 miles that were converted to tickets to support its housing advocacy for indigent communities. A total of 149 indigent-patients (and their escorts) flew PAL to get emergency medical assistance. Recently, more than 13 tons of donations were airlifted to Davao for victims of typhoon Vinta in North Cotabato and Lanao del Norte. Filipino athletes – from tennis and table tennis players to figure skaters – competed abroad flying PAL to represent the country under the PAL Foundation’s flagship program #RPRSNT Pinoy. In September, 132 Filipinos were repatriated on a special PAL flight from Puerto Rico just before Hurricane Maria devastated the Caribbean island. PAL employees actively participated in ecological projects such as the International Coastal Clean-up and tree-planting on a farm in Carranglan, Nueva Ecija.

Looking Forward to 2018 PAL looks forward to opportunities in 2018, when it introduces new Airbus A321 NEOs (February) and A350s (June) that will allow PAL to mount non-stop flights to Brisbane, India and the US East Coast (via the polar route). The flag carrier will continue promoting its network through campaigns anchored on the “Heart of the Filipino” theme – e.g., Fly the Way You Deserve, More Heart, Experience the Heart of the Filipino, Stories from the Heart and Hugot Lines – and developing its “Buong Pusong Alaga” service philosophy. The whole PAL organization is primed and ready to deliver a major boost in service that “comes only from the Heart of the Filipino” in a serious bid to become a five-star airline.





he may be petite in stature but Indonesian born, United Kingdom domiciled and currently ShangriLa Sri Lanka based executive chef Nonky Tejapermana packs a punch way above her weight in the world of culinary arts that has seen her slave over hot stoves in places as far apart from each other, Sydney to London and Dubai to Miami. Along the way she has been acclaimed by Conde Nast Traveler - wherein Hollywood star, Kate Winslet, offered Nonky a ringing endorsement as well as another one in the Sydney Morning Herald. Her over two decade career has seen her start with the Shangri-La and Four Seasons hotels in her hometown of Jakarta, she then moved on to the Burj Al Arab and proceeded to sharpen her skills in London, first at the Mandarin Oriental and later at famed Hilton in Park Lane. While operating in London it meant having the unique privilege to cook for the Queen of England, the Queen of Pop Madonna, Tony Blair, Jennifer Aniston and Will Smith, among but a few names to drop. Along the way having also served stints with Qatar Airways and P&O luxury cruises. Which brings us neatly to Nonky and the Philippines. Just recently she has decided to dip the gentlest of toes in the local culinary backwaters


by opening a small restaurant in Baliwag, Bulacan named Bistro G. But why the curious choice of location? Explains Nonky: “ Actually it was a Filipino friend who suggested I do something in the Philippines. And I saw it as a chance not to seek fame or even money but to help young Filipinos by

training them and also provide for their employment. This is why instead of Manila we chose Bulacan where there is more of a need for employment. My hope is that profits from the restaurant will eventually help to build classrooms or a small hospital in the area.” “The menu at Bistro G is nothing complicated considering it’s just a starting point in the food business for many of the staff, some kind of Bistro but with fine dining service. I also want to try and promote Filipino food by giving it new twist”, she adds. With another restaurant, this time named Koki Nonky Restaurant in the works to be opened shortly in Baguio, and with the same outreach values in mind, Nonky is kept understandably busy while directing her small team in the Philippines from her present base in Hambantota on the picturesque southern coast of Sri Lanka where she is the Executive Chef of Shangri-La’s super luxurious and idyllic Hambantota Golf & Spa Resort. Observing her at work in the Shangri-La in Hambantota, it’s easy to see that she brings an element of caring to her cooking. In a scene of clattering pans and steaming urgency she is a calm but firm presence. No spitting hot fat as is the norm for today’s genre of celebrity chefs! “I treat my chefs here like extended family. My constant advice to them is that when the ingredients are fresh, it is all that mainly what matters. No need to replenish, just go with it. That to me is what good cooking is all about”. “Putting on my white tongs and going to work everyday here in this beautiful resort is an exciting adventure”, she concludes. Email




hilippine Airlines flew its milestone 1st ultra-long polar flight from Toronto, Canada nonstop to Manila - the first-ever crossing of the Polar region by a Filipino airline. PAL flight PR119 took off from Toronto’s Pearson International Airport at 12:53AM local time December 17, arriving Manila the next day at 6:10AM December 18 Manila time, after a 16.16-hour journey across the Arctic Region.  The historic flight was led by PAL Vice President for flight operations Captain Florendo Jose “Chuck” Aquino III, together with Captain Raymond “XP” Casambre, First Officer Paul “Boom” Domingo and Second Officer Jhonathanne “Jo” Hizon.   The state–of–the–art 370-seater Boeing 777-300ER with registry number RP-C7779 flew 7,200 nautical miles or 13,300 kilometers and traveled over Canada, Greenland, the Arctic Circle, Russia, Mongolia and parts of China.  The flight was conducted at cruising altitudes ranging from 29,000 to 37,000 feet.  PAL President and COO Jaime J. Bautista proudly said, “This was the first non-stop direct flight from Toronto to Manila over the polar region (north pole). Kudos to the PAL team which made this flight a reality and most importantly, congratulations to our PAL flight deck crew under the leadership of Capt. Chuck. You make us proud.”  For his part, Capt. Aquino said “I am truly honored to have been given the privilege to lead this milestone flight. More than that, I was glad to be part of a journey that brought much happiness to passengers on board as they were given a rare treat of the Northern Lights.”  PAL decided to shift to direct non-stop service via the polar route to cut down the total traveling time between Toronto and Manila. The carrier used to operate flights

between the two points with a stopover in Vancouver, a longer routing that resulted in a combined flying and ground time of 21 hours. This new route cuts traveling time by 4.5 hours, a saving that translates to greater convenience for passengers. From here on, PAL will be operating these nonstop Manila-Toronto and Toronto-Manila flights on a regular four times weekly schedule, with departures from Manila every Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.   At present, the long-range B777 is the fleet for the polar route. The ultra-long-range Airbus A350s, which will be delivered starting 2018, will also serve the said route.  Passengers of this first polar route experienced PAL’s signature “Heart of the Filipino” service, inflight entertainment, wifi connectivity and comfortable seats and spacious cabins of the Boeing 777. The all-Filipino cabin crew of PR119 comprised 14 flight attendants and stewards headed by veteran Purser Gladys Santos.  The new nonstop Toronto service is the latest time-saving routing enhancement employed by the flag carrier. In recent months, PAL converted one-stops to nonstop flights in routes to Auckland (New Zealand), Kuwait, Jeddah (Saudi Arabia) and Doha (Qatar), eliminating the respective en route stops in Cairns, Dubai and Abu Dhabi. PAL plans to follow up with another polar crossing service on an even longer nonstop route (over 17 hours):  from Manila to New York (JFK Airport) and from New York to Manila, using the A350 aircraft, within the second half of 2018. PAL previously operated a Manila-Toronto nonstop service for several months in 2012, using a northern Pacific routing (the shorter polar route was not yet open for use by Philippine carriers at the time).  The return journey from Toronto included a stopover in Vancouver.