Kraken – new COVID subvariant
There’s a new Omicron subvariant of the virus that causes COVID-19. It is identified as XBB.1.5 and it’s also called “Kraken” – after a legendary sea monster of gargantuan size said to appear off the coasts of Norway.
According to the WHO’s COVID-19 technical lead, Maria Van Kerkhove, speaking at a news conference on January 4, existing data suggest that this new XBB.1.5 is the “most transmissible” subvariant that has been discovered yet.
As of January 9, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has confirmed up to 42 new cases of the “Kraken.” It was double the 21 confirmed cases reported the week before.
In an interview on Global
See KRAKEN p3
devotees join Feast of Black NazareneLiza Soberano
From page 1 News, Dr. Brian Conway, medical director of the Vancouver Infectious Diseases Centre in British Columbia, said that the subvariant could likely become the dominant variant in Canada soon, especially given how rapidly it’s spreading in the United States and Asia. “So, if someone has had their vaccines, two vaccines let’s say, maybe even three,” Conway recommended that they get their bivalent boosters “as soon as they are able to.”
Keeping up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations continues to be one of the most effective ways to protect against serious illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19
according to PHAC.
The PHAC further advises the public to stay vigilant and follow public health measures to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. They include things like staying home when sick, properly wearing a well-fitted mask, washing hands, and with it being winter and people spending more time inside, improving indoor ventilation is very important.
It’s still unknown whether illness caused by XBB.1.5 is more severe than that caused by other recent COVID strains. Scientists will need to see more hospitalization and death data before determining whether
XBB.1.5 is more likely to cause serious illness compared to earlier versions of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
According to a December 21 report in the New England Journal of Medicine, early evidence suggests that bivalent boosters –the two updated boosters made by Moderna and Pfizer – offer protection against XBB viruses and are still effective in protecting against severe disease. Even if a person gets infected, that person is expected to have less viral load, and is likely to spread less virus. The vaccines still have strong protection against serious illness or death.
Year of the White Rabbit
2023 is a year of hope Kung Hei Fat Choi!
This is the year of the Water Rabbit, starting from January 22, 2023 (Chinese New Year), and ending on February 9, 2024 (Chinese New Year’s Eve).
In Chinese culture, the Rabbit is a symbol of longevity, peace and prosperity. This year is predicted to be a year of hope. People born in the Year of the Rabbit are believed to be vigilant, witty, quick-minded, and ingenious.
The Year of the Rabbit occurs every 12 years. That means the most recent Years of the Rabbit are 1999 and 2011. The new year brings new fortunes, and in 2023, people can expect prosperity, hope, and calm.
The 12 animals of the Chinese
zodiac are Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig.
Chinese New Year, also known as Lunar New Year or Spring Festival, is the most important festival in China and a major event in some other East Asian countries. It celebrates the beginning of a new year on the traditional Chinese calendar. It was traditionally a time to honour deities and ancestors, and it has also become a time to feast and visit family members.
What lies ahead for the Rabbit in terms of health, money, work and love in the Year of the White Rabbit? The South China Morning Post asked fortune-teller, author
and TV host Tong Pik-ha what the Year of the Water Rabbit has in store for the Rabbit born 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, and 2011:
Rabbit’s lucky colour: white; lucky number: four; lucky stone: rose gold
This year, Rabbits directly offend the guardian deity of Tai Sui, so they should be prepared for a few bumps ahead.
They can try boosting their luck with favourable events such as getting married, starting a family, buying property or setting up a new business.
Luckily for Rabbits, there will be supporters to help them with any challenges they may have.
There are two lucky stars for
wealth for Rabbits this year, so they should take on a bit more risk when it comes to investing.
Work should be harmonious for white-collar workers, but remember, this is a year that offends the guardian deity so
Rabbits should donate blood or go to the dentist during the second and eighth month of the lunar calendar to avoid any accidents that will end in bloodshed.
Kung Hei Fat Choi! Wishing you great happiness and prosperity!
Traslación 1.2M devotees join Feast of Black Nazarene
Based on the data released by Quiapo Church Command Center, a total of 1,268,435 devotees joined the celebrations from January 6 to 10, 2023.
This is the third year that organizers have suspended the full traditional Traslación or the procession of the image of the Black Nazarene from the Quirino Grandstand to Quiapo Church in compliance with pandemic protocols. However, the 2023 feast marked the return of some of the physical activities after being suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This [year] is far from the five million total projected during the pre-pandemic Traslación, but double the number during the pandemic Traslación,” Fr. Earl Valdez, Quiapo Church spokesperson, said in a statement on January 10.
A total of 925,782 devotees went to the Quiapo Church while those who were at the Quirino Grandstand were 254,653
The government declared January 9 a special non-working day in Manila to allow devotees to join the Feast of the Black Nazarene activities.
Another 88,000 faithful joined the Walk of Faith procession where they walked from the Quirino Grandstand to the Quiapo Church on January 8.
Data also showed that most devotees came on feast day itself on January 9 with 709,945 while another 409,785 people showed up the day before.
The Traslación (transfer) was replaced by a three-kilometer Walk of Faith on January 8, from the bayside Quirino grandstand to the minor basilica in Quiapo, home to the 17th century life-sized image of the Black Nazarene, built by the Franciscans in 1586. The building survived two major fires and the 1945 bombing of the capital in World War II.
Quiapo Church officials implored the devotees that kissing the image of the Black Nazarene was prohibited during the “pagpupugay” (viewing or touching) at the Quirino
Grandstand, but they were allowed to touch the image or wipe it with their towel or handkerchief. The “pagpupugay” started at 1:00 a.m. on January 7 until January 9. Church personnel
were posted near the image to ensure that no one would kiss the image during the entire event.
There were three lanes that separated males, females and persons with disabilities, senior `
citizens and the pregnant. The devotees were asked to wear masks, line up with physical distancing, and disinfect before and after touching the image of
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Last year we reported that the number of landings in Canada exceeded 400,000 for only the second time since 2013. Despite the global pandemic and the extensive backlog of applications, IRCC was able to land 405,303 new immigrants in 2021. This number was widely panned last year as a record landing but what about the following year? We have just completed the 2022 operational year and the numbers of landings continue to rise.
The immigration minister recently announced that Canada welcomed over 437,000 new immigrants in 2022. This number
From page 4
the Black Nazarene.
The image was on stage at the centre of the Quirino Grandstand, site of many official government functions and where Pope John Paul II beatified San Lorenzo Ruiz in February 1981.
First aid teams and medical stations were at the venue for emergencies. The National Capital Region Police Office also deployed 5,559 officers at Quiapo Church and Quirino Grandstand.
Police prohibited vendors within the vicinity of the Quiapo Church while churchgoers were not allowed to bring backpacks and colored canisters. Only transparent plastic bags and water bottles were allowed.
The airspace in the vicinity of Quirino Grandstand and Quiapo Church was also declared “no fly zones” from Friday noon until noon of January 10.
The Traslación re-enacts the “solemn transfer” of the Black Nazarene statue from a church in Intramuros to the Saint John the Baptist Church, which is now commonly referred to as the Quiapo Church, on January 9, 1787. The “solemn transfer” eventually became the date of the Feast of the Black Nazarene.
The wooden statue – carved by an anonymous Mexican artist in the 16th century – was brought to the Philippines in 1606, 85 years after Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan, who sailed under the Spanish flag, set foot
exceeds the targeted 431,000 and sets a record for landings, besting the all-time record set one year ago. It would appear that the Levels Plan for 20222024 actually underestimated the landing potential of the department and the country. It does not appear to be wishful thinking for IRCC to forecast that 500,000 plus landings by 2025 is achievable.
Minister Fraser is justified to praise the work of his immigration staff in meeting and surpassing the projected landings for last year. “Today marks an important milestone for Canada, setting
Another new record for landings in Canada
a new record for newcomers welcomed in a single year,” said Immigration Minister Sean Fraser. “It is a testament to the strength and resilience of our country and its people. Newcomers play an essential role in filling labour shortages, bringing new perspectives and talents to our communities, and enriching our society as a whole. I am excited to see what the future holds and look forward to another historic year in 2023 as we continue to welcome newcomers.”
IRCC has projected 447,055 landings for the current year but, based on the experiences of the past two operational years, this number may surpassed.
IRCC attributes the high
number of landings to new resources, new technology, streamlined processes, and expanding online services in response to increased applications. It is possible to do both and IRCC has demonstrated their commitment to meeting and exceeding landing targets. The government allocated $50 million to address the ongoing backlog of applications, which was estimated at 1.09 million applications in all processing streams on November 30, 2022.
The new record of landings in 2022 is consistent with the 2023-2025 Levels Plan, tabled in November 2022. The projected landing numbers appear realistic with 465,000 in 2023, 485,000
in 2024 and 500,000 in 2025. Minister Fraser was correct in stating that he was looking forward to “another historic year in 2023.” We can all applaud their efforts because we need the influx of new Canadians to fuel the economy and recover from COVID.
Michael Scott is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC, R525678) who has 30 years of experience with Immigration Canada and the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program. He currently works as a licensed consultant with Immigration Connexion International Ltd. Contact him at 204-691-1166 or 204-227-0292. E-mail: email@example.com.
on the islands and brought Christianity to the archipelago.
The icon, celebrated in the Philippines, is considered by many Filipino Catholics to be
miraculous. They claim that it can cure disease by merely touching it.
Winnipeg meteorologist making a difference one weather forecast at a timeby Lucille Nolasco-Garrido
Pants or shorts? Sleeves or no sleeves? Should you wash your car today? Is it a good time to travel?
A lot of our everyday decisions depend on what kind of day it will be. Whether hot or cold, balmy, or windy, weather conditions set the tone for the quality of our day.
Meet Winnipegger Dan Miguel (Miggy) Blanco, a meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada, who is helping people make decisions and set the tone for a quality day, one weather forecast at a time.
PE: What made you decide to pursue a career in meteorology?
MB: I have always been fascinated with the weather while growing up, especially with how ephemeral weather can be. I remember days in the summer having clear mornings, thinking that it would be a perfect day to go to the park. However, in the late afternoon, a strong thunderstorm would pass by with quarter-sized hail!
When I reached high school, I found myself taking an interest in math and physics. Then, while researching different career paths, I found that meteorology is all math and physics as well! So, it basically fit all my interests and was a perfect niche for me.
PE: Was this your dream growing up?
MB: Although I was always interested in meteorology and the weather, I would say it was not particularly a dream of mine growing up, as I was still unsure of what career I wanted when I was still in elementary and junior high. I always liked science growing up, though, which developed my interests in physics and math. Once I found meteorology as a viable career path that fit those interests, then it definitely became a dream of mine to become a weather forecaster. So, it was more of a late dream I had after finding this niche that fit what I enjoyed.
PE: How important is the role of a meteorologist?
MB: I would say it is very important since weather is something that affects everyone’s daily lives. On the public forecasting side, their forecasts will affect anyone from the general public to emergency management officials to search and rescue. They are issuing forecasts and weather warnings 24/7/365 to ensure you are prepared for any adverse weather.
On the aviation forecasting side (where I currently work), our forecasts ensure the safety and efficiency of aircraft flying into, out of, and within Canadian airspace. This includes general aviation pilots as well as every Canadian commercial airline. We write forecasts specifically for the airport terminals called TAFs (terminal aerodrome forecasts) and we highlight any significant weather around Canada such as areas of thunderstorms, turbulence, or icing. Pilots and flight dispatchers then use our forecasts and planning charts to prepare and file their flight plans safely.
PE: What challenges have you faced, or are still facing, with regards to being a meteorologist?
MB: The main challenge I have is the inherent chaotic nature of weather. With a small change in some sort of weather variable (temperature, humidity, cloud cover, type of cloud), the weather may change from staying clear all day to a severe thunderstorm outbreak. Fog is another example of this where it may seem very likely the next morning, but a slight change in wind direction could prevent any fog from forming. Fog also has a large effect on aviation operations, which adds to the challenge; it has the potential to cause flight delays and cancellations depending on its thickness and duration. However, these challenges just add to my fascination with weather and motivate me to learn more about these topics and to analyze more data to make a forecast as correct as possible.
PE: What did you take in university and what kind of training was required to get to where you are now?
MB: I graduated with an Honours Bachelor of Science in Physical Geography with a focus area in atmospheric science from the University of Manitoba. Meteorology also requires a strong background in physics and math. So, I filled my electives with higher level math and physics courses and graduated with a minor in math as well. I also took a few computer science courses to keep my options open for meteorological modelling and research.
After graduating, I applied and was hired for the Meteorologist Operational Internship Program (MOIP) to become a meteorologist with Environment and Climate
Change Canada. The hiring process requires you to pass an exam and interview. If you are hired, you will have to move to one of their training centres in either Edmonton or Montreal. You will undergo about a year of forecasting training before being sent to one of the weather offices across Canada to join their team of operational meteorologists. For myself, I moved to Edmonton, finished the training, and was placed in the Canadian Meteorological Aviation Centre - West (CMAC-W), which is the aviation forecasting office in Edmonton.
PE: Any advice to our young readers who might also want to pursue this kind of profession?
MB: Take as many math, physics, and computer science courses as you can in high school and university. At its core, meteorology is all math and physics. Being able to fully understand and manipulate the fundamental equations of meteorology will help tremendously with weather forecasting.
In terms of opportunities, many universities across Canada offer co-op programs and jobs for their respective weather offices, allowing you to gain forecasting experience while only being a student. Here in Winnipeg, the University of Manitoba has a co-op program for the Winnipeg weather office as a “Severe Weather Assistant,” helping the operational forecasters with gathering severe weather reports.
Lastly, as someone who made it as a weather forecaster, the excitement about the weather never stops. I can truly say that I love my job and I am sure that if you are already passionate about the weather, you will love this job too.
PE: Anything else you would like to impart to our readers?
MB: I would first like to thank them for reading through this article. Also, I would tell everyone
to at least consider meteorology and weather forecasting as a career, even if you are not that interested in math, physics, or the weather. It is a very rewarding career knowing that you are making a difference in the world and are directly affecting many people’s lives.
Environment and Climate
Change Canada, is the department of the Government of Canada responsible for coordinating environmental policies and programs, as well as preserving and enhancing the natural environment and renewable resources. It is also colloquially known by its former name, Environment Canada.
Liza turns into ‘Miss Universe’
Moves to LA to become a world-class actress
Actress Liza Soberano has transformed into a Miss Universe queen with the help of Pinoyblooded make-up artist, Patrick Starrr
Soberano, who is in Los Angeles, California, spent time with Patrick for a makeup vlog where she got to wear a replica of a mikimoto crown of the Miss Universe pageant.
“It feels right. No, I’m just kidding. I feel very honoured to be in your presence,” she said at the start of the video.
Soberano has often been encouraged by many netizens to join beauty pageants. In fact, she portrayed Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach’s life on Maalaala Mo Kaya several years back.
In the same vlog, the actress, who rose to fame through her shows with boyfriend Enrique Gil in the Philippines, confirmed that she is moving to LA to pursue her showbiz career.
According to her, it is easier to stay around the area where there are many opportunities for acting.
“It’s a lot easier to build my career if I’m here because they are always looking for in-person meetings. It’s so hard to book jobs if you are meeting people over Zoom. They can’t really tell what your personality is like,” she explained.
Soberano said she wants to
become a world-class actress while testing the waters for a music career.
She signed a contract with James Reid-led Careless Music, taking her talents under a new
management after spending many years with Ogie Diaz’s guidance.
“I’ve been training a lot here. I’ve been taking vocal lessons, acting,” she continued.
See LIZA p12
Biz group pushes for Jose Mari Chan’s nomination as national artist
The Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (FFCCCII) on Wednesday bestowed on music icon and top sugar businessman Jose Mari Chan the FFCCCII Lifetime Achievement Award during the Pandesal Forum in Quezon City.
The FFCCCII Lifetime Award for Chan was given in the form of a big plaque of honour and a special medallion.
During the event, Lim also revealed that the FFCCCII had officially written a letter to the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) to endorse
and nominate Jose Mari Chan as National Artist due to his rich contributions to Philippine arts and culture.
Aside from singing several of his original compositions, Chan also thanked the FFCCCII for giving him the FFCCCII Lifetime Achievement Award.
Chan said that music is a gift from God and that he owes his wife and family for their support for his half-century music career.
He also paid tribute to his late father, the self-made sugar business leader Antonio Chan, who had emigrated at age 13 from
Bela Padilla to star in PH adaptation of hit Korean movie Spellbound
London-based actress Bela Padilla is set to return to the Philippines for a new film project, Spellbound, the Filipino adaptation of the top-grossing 2011 South Korean romanticcomedy film.
Padilla got hold of the script of Spellbound three years ago after she did her first South Korean adaptation of director Nuel Naval’s Miracle in Cell No. 7 with Aga Muhlach and Xia Vigor
The latter was Viva Films’ box-office entry in the 45th Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) in 2019 and became a winner at the tills.
Spellbound was given to Padilla after the loveteam of James Reid and Nadine Lustre bowed out from the project when their screen partnership was no longer feasible.
Padilla plays Yuri, a beautiful lady who has become a ghost magnet after she survived a vehicular accident back in high school. The constant presence of the ghosts in Yuri’s life stirs fear among people dear to her.
Even her family members
Ejay Falcon makakasama ni Coco Martin sa Batang Quiapo
pagbibidahan ni Coco Martin
Ayon sa aktor, hindi niya pinalagpas ang pagkakataon na makabalik sa pag-arte lalo pa’t makakasama niya si Martin.
“Ang pag-arte ay isang propesyon na masarap
R’Bonney Gabriel is Miss Universe 2022
First Filipino-American Miss USA to win the title
R’Bonney Gabriel, the first Filipina Texan to win Miss Texas USA and Miss USA, is the new Miss Universe. The 28-yearold was crowned the 71st Miss Universe in New Orleans, January 14, 2023.
Gabriel was born in Houston, Texas, on March 20, 1994, to a Filipino father, Remigio Bonzon “R. Bon” Gabriel, and an American mother, Dana Walker She has three older brothers. Her father was born in the Philippines and is originally from Manila, having immigrated to Washington state at the age of 25. He went on to earn his doctorate degree in psychology at the University of Houston. Her mother is from Beaumont, Texas. Gabriel graduated from the University of North Texas with a bachelor’s degree in fashion design with a minor in fibres. She now works as a designer creating eco-friendly clothing, and as a model.
In the final Q&A segment, the top three contenders were asked how they would work to demonstrate Miss Universe as an empowering and progressive organization if they won the title.
Gabriel said: “I would use it [the Miss Universe platform] to
be a transformational leader. As a very passionate designer, I’ve been sewing for 13 years. I use fashion as a force for good. In my industry, I’m cutting down on pollution through recycled materials when I make my clothing. I teach sewing classes to women who survived human trafficking and domestic violence, and I say that because it is so important to invest in others, invest in our community, and use your unique talent to make a difference. We all have something special and when we plant those seeds in other people in our life, we transform them and we use that as a vehicle for change.”
Gabriel was crowned Miss Universe 2022 by the outgoing titleholder India’s Harnaaz Sandhu, making her the ninth American to win the pageant. The last Miss USA to win Miss Universe was Olivia Culpo at Miss Universe 2012.
The Miss Universe runner up is Miss Venezuela, Amanda Dudamel. Philippines’ Celeste Cortesi, the 25-year-old FilipinoItalian beauty queen, failed to advance to the pageant’s finals top 16. This is the first time since 2010 that the Philippines didn’t enter the pageant’s semi-finals.
The 1-2-3 approach to eating fruits and veggies
Is it a challenge for you to eat all five servings of fruits and vegetables every day? The 1-2-3 approach can help you pack in all your servings – and more –throughout the day.
Get six servings by eating:
• 1 serving with breakfast
• 2 with lunch
• 3 with dinner and snacks
Remember that the serving size for fruits and vegetables is about 4 to 6 ounces.
Measurements for one serving can differ depending on the food, such as:
• 1 cup of raw or cooked fruits and vegetables
• ½ cup of legumes
• 3 cups of leafy greens
When you add fruits and vegetables to your meals and snacks, you’ll find that getting six servings can be easy and fun. Keep fresh, frozen and canned fruits and veggies on hand so it’s easy to add them to meals and your favorite dishes.
Use these ideas for each mealtime
• Make a smoothie with fresh or frozen fruit. Try adding a handful of spinach or kale.
• Mix berries and chopped fruits into batter for pancakes, muffins and waffles.
• Top your cereal, oatmeal or yogurt with fruit, such as berries, peaches, apples or bananas.
• Add vegetables, such as peppers, onions and spinach, to
From page 8
The Kapamilya actress added that she likes the work culture in Los Angeles – making her believe that it is the best play to figure out what she really wants with her career.
“I really like the weather. I actually love just the culture of working hard and grinding to be successful. This year and the next will be figuring out what I really want to do with my career. And personally find out what excites me,” Soberano said.
Soberano has been in the US since last year where she finished filming her Hollywood debut film, Lisa Frankenstein, starring Kathryn Newton and Cole Sprouse
Recently, she was also included in the list of 100 Most Beautiful Faces, an international list driven by social media. The actress ranked 23rd, while Ivana Alawi placed sixth.
Soberano has been a Hall of Fame inductee of 100 Most Beautiful Faces since 2018, when she reached a fourth consecutive year appearing in the list.ABS-CBN NEWS
Fujian province in China to Iloilo. He said that the secret to maintaining his singing voice
omelets, hash browns or breakfast potatoes.
• Bring a piece of fruit for an on-the-go breakfast.
• Add extra vegetables to your sandwich or wrap. If you’re eating out, ask for extra veggies.
• Make homemade vegetable soup for lunch. If you’re buying prepared soup, compare nutrition labels and choose the option with the lowest amount of sodium.
• Build a salad with at least three cups of leafy greens. You can add chopped vegetables and fruit for more flavour and texture.
• Use leftover vegetables from last night’s dinner as a side dish.
• Top a baked potato with salsa or broccoli.
• Make a stir fry for dinner with lots of vegetables.
• Grill vegetables with a minimal amount of oil or oil spray. Thread them on a kebab or toss in a grill basket. Grilling works for fruits, including peaches, pineapples and mangoes.
• Add extra vegetables to pasta sauces, casseroles and soups. Good options are onions, peas, beans, tomatoes, peppers and spinach.
• Steam, microwave or roast vegetables for an easy side dish. Use either fresh or frozen veggies.
• Serve a vegetable-based soup, such as a hearty mixed vegetable, squash, cauliflower,
potato, corn or broccoli soup.
• Incorporate fruit into your dessert. Add it to gelatin desserts, make a parfait with yogurt or just serve fruit cut into chunks or slices.
• Keep raw veggies or a piece of fruit at your desk for an easy snack.
• Pack dried fruit in your purse, pocket or backpack to nibble on during the day.
• Dip apple slices or baby carrots in small amounts of peanut butter or almond butter. Try sprinkling cinnamon on apple slices.
• Put fruits and vegetables in easily accessible locations, such as the front of your fridge or counter, which will stop you from reaching for unhealthy foods when you’re hungry. If you’re low on time, try buying prepared trays with fruits and veggies that are already washed and cut.
Remember that when it comes to fruits and vegetables, more is always better. Don’t be afraid to go over the recommended servings. Eating more of these foods can help crowd out higher-calorie foods and satisfy your hunger and cravings for something sweet. Making fruits and veggies a regular part of your diet is as easy as 1-2-3.
Anne Harguth is a registered dietitian in Nutrition in Waseca, Minnesota. Courtesy: Mayo Clinic News Network.
is a healthy lifestyle of his daily exercise and not smoking.
He added that his love for singing is one way to stay young and that he has no plans to retire from singing.
The Barangay Kamuning Senior Citizens choir sang three Christmas songs for Chan, the “Father of Filipino Christmas Music.”
The special guests during the forum were Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines, Huang Xilian and Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama. Rama said that he and the Cebuanos admire Chan.By Perfecto Raymundo, Jr.
From page 9
detached from her. She purposely distanced herself from other people. Hence, Yuri is convinced she is better off alone.
Spellbound, slated to be shown February 1 as Viva Films’ pre-Valentine offering, is directed by Jals Zarate, who produced Sigrid Andrea Bernardo’s Huling Cha Cha ni Anita (2013) and Jourdan Sebastian’s The Art of Ligaw (2019).
In Spellbound, Padilla is paired for the first time with Marco Gumabao, who needed to take an acting workshop since he is playing a magician in the film. He wanted to do hands-on training since it is hard to fake his scenes.
He plays Victor, a street magician who easily attracts people through his charm and good looks. He spotted Yuri among his audience, so he made her his inspiration for his horrormagic show that becomes an instant hit with the crowd.
“It was nice working with Marco,” said Padilla. “It took us a long time to wrap up Spellbound, but okay siya talagang katrabaho.”
“He was very open on the set. We discussed our scenes together before we executed them.”
Completing the unusual triangle is the unfriendly ghost, Krissy, played by Rhen Escaño Also in the cast are Cindy Miranda, Benj Manalo, Ronnie Liang and Moi Bien.
Gumabao and Padilla had worked together in James Robin Mayo’s Apple of My Eye (2019), with the former in the lead and the latter as the screen writer.
Last year, Padilla made her directorial debut when she starred in the romantic drama, 366, opposite Zanjoe Marudo Spellbound, the first screen tandem of Padilla and Gumabao, went through a lot of snags before it finally hits the big screen. Viva Films announced the adaptation of the project as early as late 2019.
Bela Padilla’s Ultimate Oppa with Kim Gun-woo, Jasper Cho streams on Prime Video In January 2020, Padilla
and Marco started filming but Taal Volcano erupted and not too long after, lockdown was declared nationwide because of COVID-19.
Padilla relocated to London in 2021. She and Gumabao only managed to resume filming again late last year.
“I’m finally glad that Spellbound is finally done and it will be shown on February 1,” Padilla declared. “After three years, we will see this film.”
From page 9
balikbalikan bilang paglingon sa aking pinanggalingan. Kaya naman pag may bukas na oras ay di puwedeng pahindian ang alok na maging bahagi ng nalalapit na serye ng nag-iisang Coco Martin,” saad ni Falcon sa caption.
Nagbigay din siya nang kaunting aasahan sa magiging papel nito sa nasabing palabas.
“Maigsi ngunit espesyal na papel mula sa mahusay na produksyong inihahanda ng aking mga kapamilya sa ABS-CBN,” dagdag ng aktor.
Handog din niya ang kaniyang pagbabalik sa pag-arte sa mga fans na naghihintay na muli siya mapanood.
“Sa mga nakamiss sa akin sa telebisyon, ako ay may munting handog para po ito sa inyo at sa aking mga kababayan.”
Noong Mayo 2022, nanalo si Falcon bilang bagong bise gobernardor ng Oriental Mindoro.
Si Falcon, 32, ay lumaki sa Pola, Oriental Mindoro.
Gumawa ng pangalan sa showbiz si Falcon nang maging big winner sa teen edition ng Pinoy Big Brother noong 2008.
Naging leading man ng iba’t ibang serye ng ABS-CBN si Falcon tulad na lamang ng Pasion de Amor at Dugong Buhay Isa ring Philippine Air Force reservist si Falcon na nakumpleto ang training noong 2019.
El Shaddai Youth’s Magical Starry Christmas Evening
Members of the El Shaddai Youth group in Winnipeg presented their first-ever concert at the Forrest Nickerson theatre on December 17, 2022.
A concert to celebrate the spirit of Christmas, brought cheer through music and dance with songs like All I want for Christmas, Underneath the Christmas Tree and My Grownup Christmas List. A great evening to also remember Christmas through our Lord God through the song Go Light Your World
The youth group thanks all who came out to show their support and to help make the night a huge success.
The singer for the evening were: Hannah Alcorin, Joanna Ascencion, Josh Ascencion, Jadeline Borja, Angelynne Custodio, Lucky Goduco, Louise Lozano, Dana Martinez, Daryll Martinez, Darius Martinez,
Jerome Monsalud, Julliane Monsalud, Rorie Joyce Palmaera, Ghilliad Puno, Joydlyn Rojas, Cheerie-Ann Rojas & Reeza Rojas.
The dancers were: Julianna Casas, Johanna Cases, Johanna Mag-Uyon, Sparkle Macalino, and Joshua Simangan.
The band: Lewciene Arididon, Lew-Miguel Arididon, Chris Marquez & Mica Linag.
Special guests: G-Force Dancers, Nuki Lozano, Maritess Alcorin, Precious Macalino, and Juliet Monsalud.
Winnipeg Disciples: Donnell Custodio, Romy De Leon, Romy Ascencion, Jhess Estillore, Michael Arididon, Edwin Cases, Oliver Mag-Uyon, Jerry Monsalud, and Danny Martinez. Accompanied by Rowell Punzalan on piano.
The concert was directed by Dandreb James Toledo Rojas.
National onion shortage in the Philippines
The Filipinos are facing a major onion crisis. Climate change continues to destroy the locally grown onions, driving the price to cost more than meat in the market. It is a national problem because onion is a staple ingredient in Filipino cooking.
Government officials in the Philippines are now hoping onion imports will tide the country over for the coming months. The Department of Agriculture (DA) is also aiming to eliminate middlemen to be able to bring down the price of onions reportedly being sold still relatively high at PHP400 to PHP550 per kilo.
“Right now, what we are doing is to eliminate certain layers of traders because that will help bring down the price. As we all know, retail price includes the cost of biyahero (trader) and the cost of the retailer,” said Agriculture Assistant Secretary and spokesperson Kristine Evangelista during a news forum at Dapo Restobar in Quezon City.
“At the same time, we are trying to link our farmers directly to the retailers and the markets. Pag mas mura ng kuha ng mga retailers, mas mura ang presyo sa palengke, (If the retailers get produce at a cheaper price, the prices in the market will also be cheaper),” she said.
The DA official announced the retail prices of onions in wet markets remain relatively high at PHP400–PHP 550 per kilo.
Besides strengthening the market linkage between the producers and the consumers, Evangelista added that the DA is also looking if there are other bottlenecks in the supply chain, and likewise capacitating farmers’ cooperatives to take on the role of the middlemen.
“Definitely, this is a direction that we will continue to make. We will minimize middlemen in the transactions to be able to be fair to our primary stakeholders, which is the producers, and also protect the consumers as well,” Evangelista said.
Regarding the importation of onions, she said the DA is ensuring the imported products will not affect local farmers.
This week, the DA approved the importation of 21,060 metric tons of onions and set a January 27 deadline for all eligible importers for their shipments to arrive.
The importation of onions is meant to arrest the price surges of the commodity in the local markets ahead of the peak of harvest season expected by midFebruary.
Local onion growers are expecting to harvest by February until April.
For long-term measures, Evangelista said the DA will be implementing interventions to bring down the cost of production and at the same time increase the yield.
She said they are also looking at possible sites for the location of cold-storage facilities that the
DA will establish to store surplus produce.
“The Bureau of Plant Industry has a list of accredited coldstorage facilities, but we need to put up additional facilities. That is included in the DA budget this year. These facilities are meant to be strategically located in production areas,” Evangelista said.
“As far as the Department of Agriculture is concerned, our direction is clear, which is to increase production, and bring down the cost of production. On the other side of it is to make agricultural commodities accessible and affordable to consumers,” she said. – PNA