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Calgary Edition

PLANET

17 PHILIPPINES

JANUARY 2011


JANUARY 2011

PLANET

18 PHILIPPINES

Calgary Edition


Calgary Edition

PLANET

19 PHILIPPINES

JANUARY 2011


PLANET

JANUARY 2011

20 PHILIPPINES

Calgary Edition

CELEBR TY ZANJOE

HUNK actor Zanjoe Marudo has admitted he is courting Bea Alonzo. Talking to Showbiz News Ngayon (SNN) on Jan. 11, Zanjoe confirmed reports that he has been inviting Bea out. “Totoo naman ‘yon. Lumalabas naman talaga kami. Noong time na

LANI TO SIGN DEAL WITH U.S. RECORD COMPANY

ASIA’S Nightingale Lani Misalucha plans to expand her name in mainstream entertainment abroad by signing a record deal with a big American record label. “Hindi ko pa masabi yung buong detalye. Basta pag andiyan na, malalaman n’yo na lang,” Lani told reporters. Lani’s husband and manager, Noli Misalucha, said, “Lani was seen by a famous producer that signified interest to sign her up for an album that will make her more mainstream. Initially it will be a single. Ganun na ngayon. While she is promoting that single, simultaneously binubuo na niya yung album.” He added: “This also means Lani will have to take a leave from the Vegas circuit, to give way to nationwide promotions. Like, say tinawag siya ni Oprah or ‘Good Morning America,’ kailangan ready siya, at may oras para mag-guest.” Lani is set to start shooting her own weekly TV show on Las Vegas cable, called It’s Vegas with Lani Misalucha, where she opens with a musical number then interviews different guests like singers, dancers, comedians and chefs. When she is in New York or California, she is referred to as “The Siren of the Strip.” Lani was voted Best Performer in 2005 by the Las Vegas Revue Journal, an entertainment publication.

ZANJOE ADMITS COURTING BEA

‘yon in-invite ko siya manood, lumabas and mag-dinner. Siguro nga date ‘yon. Hindi naman ako nagbibigay ng label na ‘tara date tayo!’ In-invite ko siya dahil gusto ko siya makasama lumabas,” he said. Asked if he is formally wooing the actress, Zanjoe replied, “Oo. Nitong naramdaman ko na gusto ko nang manligaw. Basta ako pinapakita ko lang kung, pinapaligaya ko lang siya, pinapatawa. Mga ginagawa ko ‘yong magpapasaya sa kanya. Kung hindi man suwertehin, okey lang at least nagawa ko ‘yong gusto kong ipakita.” In an interview two days earlier on SNN, Bea disclosed that she and Zanjoe have gone out on dates. “Lumalabas kami with friends,” she said. “Nag-eenjoy kami sa com-

BEA pany ng isa’t isa. Nakapanood kami ng MMFF movies with friends.” Bea said that she is ready to love again this year. “Yun ang mga bagay na hindi pinaplano eh. Kung darating darating. Kung ano man ang dumating sa‘yo every single

day, kahit hindi sa love life, kahit sa ibang aspeto ng buhay mo, dapat tinatanggap ng maluwag sa dibdib at dapat i-enjoy mo lahat,” she said. Bea’s last relationship was with actor Mico Palanca which lasted for one and a half years. They split in 2008. Afterwards she briefly dated Jake Cuenca. And only a few months ago, her short secret fling with Gerald Anderson ended. Asked for his reaction on the budding Bea-Zanjoe romance, Gerald quipped: “Labas na ako diyan. Lahat naman kami nagmo-move on. Marami kaming napagdaanan noong 2010. But ngayon 2011 na, so move on na lang kami.” Zanjoe had a two-year affair with Mariel Rodriguez that ended in April 2010.

RAYVER GIVES CRISTINE A ‘PROMISE RING’ ACTOR-dancer Rayver Cruz has given his girlfriend of five months, Cristine Reyes, a “promise ring.” Cristine made the revelation during an interview with The Buzz on Jan. 9. “Talagang iniingatan ko ito kasi never akong nag-suot ng singsing sa buong buhay ko dahil walang kumakasya sa aking ring,” she said. “Parang destiny, ngayon lang may nagkasya sa aking ring… Tuwang tuwa din ako. Kahit naliligo, hindi ko siya tinatanggal.” Cristine commended Rayver because he loves not only her but also her family. But she quickly added that marriage is still far from their minds, saying that both of them are still young. “Nag-eenjoy lang ako. Ayokong madaliin, bata pa kami pareho.” Meanwhile, the young, sexy actress, who stars in the ongoing soap Kristine, faces all sorts of

RAYVER intrigues, including her reported plan to leave ABS-CBN. “Matagal pa po ako sa ABSCBN. Gusto ko dito, at home ako. Lahat ng projects binibigay nila sa akin. Sobrang thankful ako kasi dito ako nag-grow,” she said. Cristine figured in a controversy last December when she posted numerous fuming tweets on Twitter accusing Sarah Geron-

CRISTINE imo of making unsavory remarks against her. She denied that she posted angry tweets against Sharon Cuneta after the latter reportedly interfered with her rift with Sarah. The Philippine Entertainment Portal (PEP), quoting a “reliable source,” said Rayver and Sarah became an item for several months.

MESSY PAST WITH GABBY HAUNTS SHARON

SHARON Cuneta is in a unique and intricate predicament: how to explain to her children with Sen. Kiko Pangilinan her failed marriage to Gabby Concepcion, the father of her eldest daughter, KC Concepcion. Sharon and Kiko have two daughters - Frankie at Miel – and an adopted son, Miguel. “Actually, you know, it’s no problem between me and Kiko. I’m just worried. I want to process it very well with Frankie, Miel, and Miguel,” said Sharon.

She said she had started trying to explain to Frankie her past relationship with Gabby but her daughter had so many questions. “Sabi ko, ‘No, no... Kasi before I met Daddy [Kiko], blah, blah, blah... Do you understand?’” KC has her own personal experience sorting out the whole story to her half-sister, nine-year-old Frankie. She related that Frankie got very curious and startled when she read the credits to her album, KC, which read: “This is dedicated

to my sisters Frankie, Miel, Baby Sam and Garie and Chloe.” “Sabi niya [Frankie], ‘Sisters?’ So, sabi ko, ‘Where did I say sisters?’ ‘In your CD.’ Then, sabi niya, ‘Who’s Garie? Who’s Chloe? Who’s Baby Sam?’” narrated KC. So KC had to explain to her their complicated family tree. Garie is Gabby’s daughter with Grace Ibuna, while Chloe is the actor’s daughter by Jenny Syquia. Sam is Gabby’s daughter with his current US-based partner, Ginbee Yatco.

VIC AND PIA

VIC, PIA HAPPILY SPLIT VIC Sotto and Pia Guanio formally ended their nearly seven years of going steady in July last year, Philippine Star entertainment columnist Ricky Lo confirmed. But they have remained friendly toward each other as can be seen on the noontime show Eat, Bulaga! where they sometimes tease each other, with Vic giving Pia a hug and a kiss, reports Lo. Vic is famous for romancing his Eat Bulaga! co-hosts (Christine Jacob, Angela Luz and Coney Reyes; he has a kid each with Coney and Angela) who would quit the show as soon as the romance ended. But, Lo notes, that Pia seems to be the exception to the rule. She has broken the “tradition” and stayed on the show despite her breakup with Vic. Lo adds that Pia has found a new love in the person of Steve (surname withheld, so far) with whom she has been “on” since September last year. Steve, between 26 and 30 years old, comes from a rich family. Lo said Steve was with Pia’s family during a post-Christmas holiday in Shanghai. Vic, meanwhile, is said to be keeping an interested eye on Gwen Zamora, the Hilda Koronel-lookalike who was his leading lady in Si Agimat at si Enteng Kabisote, the 2010 Metro Filmfest top-grosser. Lo said it must have been hard for Pia to report the story on 24 Oras last Jan. 7 that Vic spent Christmas Eve with Gwen’s family.


Calgary Edition

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JANUARY 2011

Ah, finally the party season is over! Correction – the party season has a short break in it. What a blast it was! I have never seen so much delicious food! Church groups, work, family and friends – they all tried to out-feast each other. All my clothes must have shrunk over the holidays. They don’t fit anymore. Even our cat Pogi looks like he swallowed a watermelon! We stayed with friends in Banff for a couple days over the Christmas holidays and may I suggest one thing? If you have never been to Banff and Lake Louise in the middle of winter – you should try it! Borrow a friend’s Park Pass (that saves you $20 right there), stay away from the Banff Gondola (that will save you $30 per person) and try skating on Lake Louise (free). Or go tobogganing in Banff (free). For the best scenery take a drive around Minnewanka Loop (free) or visit Cascade Pond (free). Check out the frozen Bow Falls (free) and when you want to warm up, you will find the Banff Park Museum (cheap) to be one of a kind. This year’s ice sculptures (free) will be done at Lake Louise around January 21, but I suggest you go after that as they are more awesome when finished rather than in-progress. Depending on the weather the ice sculptures are usually there until at least the end of February. GOOGLE “Ice Magic – Lake Louise”, you will be glad you did! Several items in the news for 2011 are interesting to note. One of the most positive is the enforcement of a new law concerning cell phones and driving. The Police will watch for other “distracted driving”

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offences but the cell phone, hands free or not, is a serious menace that should be dealt with. If you are one of those people who just can’t survive 30 minutes without yapping and gossiping on the phone, get your money ready – you will contribute many pesos to the City and Province. Most of those people who are addicted to meaningless conversation on a phone are too young to remember when Calgary streets were relatively safe to travel on. This will be an improvement for sure. One change is that Filipinos may have to learn to read a road map or street guide, rather than relying on driving to the neighborhood and then calling for directions. And yes, trying to type an address into your GPS will get you the same ticket as using the cell phone. Good luck! Otherwise, a great 2010 will no doubt be followed by an exciting 2011. For Ludy and I, maybe after 6+ years we can have our daughter here in Calgary, completing a lengthy and costly adoption process. Maybe… May 2011 will see another Pacquiao fight. They are always a lot of fun. Barlow Trail will close. City Council will finally announce a Tunnel will be built under the new runway at the Airport. The Flames will let us down - again. A popular club in Calgary will be under New Management – again. The $25 million “Peace Bridge” will open. The $120 million Genesis Center for Community Wellness will open, a huge multi-sport facility up in Martindale, for Calgarians to use…and maybe we will get a real summer in 2011? Pray for that one! Have a great 2011!

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF STOPOVERS Hello again, dear readers of Planet Philippines Calgary Edition. I hope everyone had a great holiday season. Myself, I was blessed to have been able to go to Hong Kong for two weeks to be with my wife. It was my first time to fly Air China, and I am pleased to say their service was superb. Mind you, I flew business class (using Air Canada Aeroplan reward points, can’t afford to pay for that in full) and so perhaps that has an effect on the service you experience. The matter of getting enough points and maximizing their use would be the subject of another article, however. For this month, as promised, we will discuss the topic of stopovers. For our purposes, let us define a stopover as “an intentional stop of at least one night at a city between the origin and destination, and then continuing to the destination.” In essence, a stopover allows the traveler to visit an intermediate city with minimal airfare expense. Most airlines allow a free stopover (either inbound or outbound to your destination). Example, if you have booked Asiana Airlines with inbound: Calgary - San Francisco – Seoul – Manila; and outbound Manila - Seoul – Los Angeles – Calgary, then you could have one free stopover (no additional airfare) in either San Francisco, Seoul or Los Angeles.

In case you are planning a 21-day (including flight time) holiday in Manila, and you have relatives in San Francisco, you could for example reduce your holidays in Manila by 2 or 3 days and instead spend that time with friends and relatives in San Francisco. Of course, if you have more days available, extending your vacation by 2 or 3 days might be preferable, allowing you to spend the full 21 days in the Philippines. If done this way, then the traveler has in effect saved the cost of a Calgary to San Francisco round trip (at least $500). If you have relatives visiting Vancouver and Calgary, they could elect Vancouver as a stopover, with Calgary as final destination. They don’t have to pay the Vancouver to Calgary round trip. Something closely related to a stopover is an open jaw itinerary, and the airline usually allows this in lieu of a stopover. An example is if your relatives from the Philippines or the US wish to visit you in Calgary and other relatives in Edmonton, the airline might not allow Calgary as a stopover towards Edmonton, since there maybe direct flights to Edmonton from Vancouver (if coming from the Philippines) or from New York (if coming from the US). You could advise your relatives to take inbound: NY-Calgary and outbound: Edmonton to NY (focusing on a US

Calgary Edition

SAFETY AND FAIRNESS FOR WORKERS IN ALBERTA Feeling safe or being treated fairly at work is not a privilege. In our province it is a right. That is why Employment and Immigration provides a number of ways to file an employment standards complaint. You can call our provincewide, toll-free number at 1-877-4273731, or visit one of the employment standards offices located across Alberta. In addition to calling or coming in, a recent improvement to our system allows you to file a complaint online at www. employment.alberta.ca/EScomplaint. Provincial laws are put in place to protect those who work in Alberta. That means the Government of Alberta’s employment standards has regulations that include time off for holidays or holiday pay, protection of jobs while on maternity leave and that eligible workers must be paid overtime. Whether you were born and raised in Alberta or have just arrived from another country, I encourage you to learn about your rights on the job. Everyone is entitled to fair treatment in the workplace. Currently, I am preparing to speak at a meeting of the Canadian Association of Administrators of Labour Legislation (CAALL) in Winnipeg. This meeting will gather the federal, provincial and territorial departments responsible for

labour in their jurisdiction. I am proud to represent our province at these talks, where Alberta continues to promote best practices and look for opportunities to collaborate with other provinces. Employment Standards receives about 5,000 complaints each year, and we review each one thoroughly. So far in this fiscal year, Employment Standards has collected almost $3.8 million for employees in response to employment standards complaints. These complaints range from problems with overtime and holiday pay to illegal pay deductions. Employment Standards works with people from around the world when they come to Alberta. Our staff understand that newcomers may hesitate to come forward with an issue or may not be familiar with the services available to them. For more information on Employment Standards, or to find the nearest Employment Standards office, please visit www.employment.alberta. ca/ES or call 1-877-427-3731. Your comments or concerns related to this article, or any future article, are always welcome. You can contact me by calling 780-415-4800 in Edmonton and area or 310-0000 and then 780-415-4800 for elsewhere in Alberta, or through e-mail at EI.minister@gov.ab.ca.

visitor for simplicity). The “open jaw” concept is that the travelers would arrange their own trip from Calgary to Edmonton. It’s like Calgary is still the stopover, but the connection arrangements to Edmonton are personally managed, not handled through the one airfare. That ‘personal management’ could be through you driving your visitors to Edmonton and handing them off to relatives there. The visitors don’t need to return with you to Calgary. The openjaw itinerary saves the traveler the cost and time of an unnecessary return trip to Calgary. Here are my personal examples: 1. When my family and I were immigrating to Canada in 1993, I thought that it would take a lot of time and money before we could hope to visit relatives in the US. So, we took advantage of stopovers. I picked Continental Airlines with itinerary Manila - Guam – Hawaii - LA – Calgary – Winnipeg. We elected Guam, where the in-laws were, as our free stopover and stayed there for 3 nights and then paid an extra $100 per person for an additional stopover for 4 days in LA, to meet relatives in the LA and San Diego area. Even after years of settling in Canada, we were not able to visit Guam, and were glad to have done so during our inbound immigration flight. 2. Our second trip to the Philippines (1999) was before my youngest turned 2 years old (so that his infant fare is just $100). We had the Asiana Airlines itinerary as mentioned above. We elected LA as our stopover on the way back from the Philippines and we spent a week in Disneyland. The money we saved from round trip airfares (5 x $500 = $2500) was more than enough to pay for our hotel, rental car, food, and entrance tickets to the happiest place on earth!

3. When I was completing my MBA in Queen’s in 2005, I used an Air Canada Aeroplan reward ticket to attend one of the residential sessions in Kingston, Ontario. According to the reward rules then, if I flew direct to Kingston, then Toronto would be my only possible stopover. However, I wished to visit some fraternity Brods and members of our sister sorority that are based in Chicago. I opted then to elect Toronto as my stopover, for Chicago. I just paid extra to ride the train from Toronto to Kingston, and then hitched a ride with a classmate from Kingston to Toronto. Essentially, the cost of my flight to visit Chicago was the $100 train ride and gasoline contribution (which my classmate graciously declined). You see, stopovers even work with reward flights, not just paid flights. 4. A more recent example was in 2008, when I flew inbound: Calgary – London - Copenhagen; outbound: Helsinki - London – Calgary. If you noticed, it was already an open jaw. Traveling with my fiancé across Scandinavia, I didn’t need to return to Copenhagen in order to get back to Calgary. Air Canada was especially nice when I claimed this reward trip, they also allowed a stopover. I had a fraternity Brod in London who I have not seen in 20+ years, and who offered to host me and show me around the city. So, I stayed 3 days there before returning to Calgary. This article is bordering on the space limits allowed for my column so I have to sign off at this point. For the next issue, we will chat about maximizing the luggage that you could bring, if you desire to do so. Please email any questions or suggestions to PinoyTravelChat@pinoyinfo.com


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KC currently cohosts the gossip program The Buzz, and has several projects in the works.

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A

Calgary Edition

BY PEPPER MARCELO

N OFFSPRING of two celebrities is almost always presumed to eventually follow in the footsteps of their parents. This was doubly true in the case of Maria Kristina Cassandra Concepcion, KC for short, whose parents were among the hottest names in showbiz when she was born in 1985.

Equipped with the good looks of parents Sharon Cuneta and Gabby Concepcion, KC was destined to be thrust into the limelight. Although KC was shielded from unnecessary public scru-

CAN KC STAND ON HER OWN? The thing for KC is not to do what her competition is already doing, but to keep them at bay by coming up with original concepts and performing challenges that they simply can’t pull off as well. That’s a tall order, but show biz “royalty” deserves nothing less. tiny and was focused on finishing her studies, it seemed there was only one path for the young starin-waiting. After finishing her bachelor’s course in the American University of Paris in 2007, she landed the lead female role in teleserye Lovers in Paris opposite Piolo Pascual. She also appeared in several romantic-themed movies, including For the First Time, When I Met U and I’ll Be There. She also recorded two albums. It was inevitable that some quarters would feel that KC is so lucky to have been given a head start considering that most aspiring, nameless actors have had

to build a name for themselves through sacrifice and hard work. But such is the nature of the industry when one is born from showbiz “royalty.” “What was so wrong with that?” wrote Philippine Daily Inquirer columnist and critic Nestor Torre. “Unlike them, KC was already a star even before she officially joined the biz, so she shouldn’t have been given the standard stellar treatment. That’s simply no way to treat a princess.” Torre has even gone so far as saying that the 25-year-old should be getting better projects because


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of who she is. However, the question most people are asking is: can KC stand on her own, away from her famous parents’ shadow? One suggestion, Torre wrote, was in KC’s movie with her dad, I’ll Be There. “The movie with her dad, Gabby, could work, except that he would, as usual, be leaning on her. Perhaps, it could do the trick if it were tweaked to give both of them really difficult and complex acting challenges, so viewers could clearly see the Concepcion thespic genes in full display,” said Torre. KC, who had labeled her father as her “dream leading man,” said she never imagined she’d be starring opposite him in a major move project. It was an opportunity for KC to be with her father on a mutually-respectful, professional level and to make up for lost father-daughter time. Gabby returned to Manila in 2008 after nearly 10 years of stay in the US. Even during intensive rehearsals for the film, father and daughter had the opportunity to discuss and reveal their long-dormant feelings for one another. “Sa workshop kami nakahanap ng chance na ikuwento sa isa’t isa yung mga sama ng loob na matagal ng nakatago. So medyo sobra akong napiga,” she shared. For KC, the process was difficult, given their estranged past. “Kakaiba talaga kasi si Papa yung kaharap ko. Na medyo masasabi kong kulang pa kami sa bonding moments sa totoong buhay tapos biglang pinagagawa sa amin yung mga bagay na hindi pa namin napag-uusapan.” After the project with Gabby, fans are looking forward to KC’s collaboration with mother Sharon. As an added bonus, there are talks that the mother-daughter combo could team up with another showbiz icon, Star All Seasons Vilma Santos. According to reports, Star Cinema plans to produce a movie tentatively titled Mothers and a Daughter, which revolves around a daughter with two women claiming to be her mother. Another move of KC to spread her own wings is her joining the gossip show The Buzz last April after Ruffa Gutierrez left the program. This was followed by her own solo program, Simply KC.

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“Marami kaming similarities, pero mas marami kaming iba,” says KC’s mom, Sharon.

KC (2nd from left) with her The Buzz co-hosts (L-R) Toni Gonzaga, Kris Aquino and Charlene Gonzales.

With her Lovers in Paris co-star Piolo Pascual. “The thing for KC is not to do what her competition is already doing, but to keep them at bay by coming up with original concepts and performing challenges that they simply can’t pull off as well. That’s a tall order, but show biz ‘royalty’ deserves nothing less,” said Torre. KC decided recently to drop her former managers Shirley Kuan and Sandra Chavez and moved under the tutelage of Star Magic, the talent arm of ABS-CBN. Sharon says she does not meddle in her daughter’s career and gives advice only when it is sought. “Actually, hindi ako nakikialam sa career niya talaga, even

when she chose Sandra and Shirley to be her managers,” she said. On KC’s move to Star Magic, Sharon said, “I’m happy. She’s in very good hands also.” During the launch of her line of perfume recently, the Megastar was asked by reporters how she and KC differ in personality. “Well, marami kaming similarities, pero mas marami kaming iba,” Sharon shared. “Mabait siya, pero magkaiba kami ng personality. . . KC is bullheaded and strong-willed, like me and my mom [Mrs. Elaine Cuneta]. Siguro kasi, KC went to school in Europe. There’s a certain way they did things in Paris.” She added: “Hindi siya mataray pag-uwi niya, baka iba ang dating sa iba. But she’s a very hard worker. ‘Tsaka magaling naman siyang makisama.Kahit sa crew, sa staff, they all naman tell me that she’s adored.” While she maintains a handsoff policy towards KC’s career, Sharon remains a doting and protective mom, constantly guiding her daughter through the roughand-tumble world of showbiz. If there is one thing that Sharon does not want to happen is for KC to be affected by the system. “Yung hindi siya magpakain sa sistema ng showbiz . . . At hindi niya makalimutan na pamilya ang pinakaprayoridad, ang pinakaimportante. Kasi lahat ng success, makamtan mo man, wala ring mangyayari.” n

The next issue of Planet Philippines (Calgary Edition) will come out on February 18, 2011. We welcome any articles, greetings and announcements relevant to the Filipino community.

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duits of information in the biz that Vilma and her supporters wanted us to be a part of a special celebration to be graced by the Star for All Seasons (and Reasons) herself. This, despite the fact that we were also known to be a “Noranian,” and had even won an award from Nora’s fan club! But, we accepted Vilma’s invitation with alacrity, because in our estimation, we support both Vilma and Nora, especially when they’re doing their best work. That may sound rather “unprincipled” of us, but we’ve never really been a fan of stars as stars, only of their performances.

BY NESTOR TORRE

HEN WE were writing film scripts decades ago, one of the m o v i e companies that kept us particularly busy was Atty. Esperidion Laxa’s Tagalog Ilang-Ilang Productions. We did one screenplay after another for him and directors like Romy Suzara, Ishmael Bernal and Maning Borlaza — and many of them turned out to be for movies starring then teen sensation, Vilma Santos, who was one of TIIP’s hottest “properties.”

We liked writing scripts for “Vi,” because she was pleasant to work with and had a lot of common sense. She was really young, but she cared about doing good work. So, when she later emerged as one of the country’s most acclaimed actresses, we definitely weren’t surprised. In the ’70s, however, Vi did mostly lighthearted teen romps, so she didn’t have much opportunity to show what she was really capable of as a thespian.

Romantic drama

One fine day, however, we were tapped to write Inspiration, a more substantial young romantic drama starring Vi and Jay Ilagan, to be directed by the Ishmael Bernal, and Vilma was finally given her chance to dig deeper than usual into the character she was playing—a young teen who was troubled by the fact that her widower-dad had fallen in love with a widow (Jay’s mother). Since both Vilma and Jay resented their parents’ “disloyal” love affair, they started out as bitter antagonists. Imagine their “shock” therefore, to eventually realize that they were also falling in love—with each other! Both young stars delivered strong and sensitive performances under Ishmael’s mentorship, and everyone was very happy with how the film turned out. We recall that even the acclaimed actress-director, Rosa Mia, went out of her way to compliment us on the script we had written. Vilma was even happier with the outcome of another script we wrote, Dama de Noche, directed by Maning Borlaza, because it gave her her first, big acting award. It may surprise film buffs now, but in the ’70s, Vilma played second fiddle to Nora Aunor when it came to winning acting awards, and this frustrated her. So, she

JANUARY 2011

Vi still in top form

VILMA, NORA

AND THE TWO FACES OF SHOW BUSINESS We recall both Nora and Vilma at their peak—and at the lowest and most bitter dregs of their lives and careers. So, they share more than just their exceptional popularity and talent, they know what each of them has gone through, and has hopefully learned lessons from.

Vilma’sstringofsuccessesencompasses showbiz, politics and marriage. The Batangas governor is happily married to Senator Ralph Recto.

The highly acclaimed Superstar displays her dramatic acting prowess in this scene from Bakit Bughaw ang Langit. was ecstatic when Dama de Noche helped give her a big victory in a major acting derby.

Vilma and Nora in their teens. Some people may regard them as rivals but others see them as the iconic two faces of show business.

Nora’s life and career have sadly taken opposite twists and turns, culminating in the shocking but hopefully temporary loss of her iconic singing voice.

Special celebration Through the years, therefore, Vilma has been very appreciative of our work and the attention we’ve paid to her subsequent standout performances—and so has her very active fans’ club, the members of which keep citing Dama de Noche as one of their idol’s “signature” successes. That’s why we weren’t surprised when we were recently informed through the usual con-

Well, we’re so glad we were at Vilma’s bash, because she was in top form, looking much younger than her 50-plus “golden” years and full of exciting plans for her political career and her continuing growth as an actress. It looks like 2011 will turn out to be one of the thespian-politician’s best years yet! As we had ourselves a great time with dear Vi, however, we occasionally caught ourselves thinking of her rival-counterpart-friend, Nora, whose life and career have sadly been taking opposite twists and turns of late, culminating in the shocking but hopefully temporary loss of her iconic singing voice. Fact is, quite a number of people have already “given up” on Nora—but, we aren’t among them. In fact, we resolutely believe that she will bounce back, contra mundum, and that, despite the wear and tear of time and tragedy, she still has some great performances left in her. Nora’s imminent return So, we look forward to Nora’s reportedly imminent return to the local performing scene, after far too many years spent nursing her psychic bruises abroad. So what if her golden voice hasn’t been fully restored? We love the singer, not the song. Vilma and Nora, Nora and Vilma. Show biz people keep talking about the two faces or masks of the entertainment world, one triumphantly laughing, the other drenched in abject tears. We recall both Nora and Vilma at their peak—and at the lowest and most bitter dregs of their lives and careers. So, they share more than just their exceptional popularity and talent, they know what each of them has gone through, and has hopefully learned lessons from. To top everything off, they have remained friends through all the seismic upheavals they have “contrapuntally” experienced. So, other people may regard them as rivals but we see them as—the iconic two faces of show business. (Philippine Daily Inquirer) n


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The Monument of Legazpi and Urdaneta, a reminder of the country’s colonial past.

around.

N THE shadows of an ancient cathedral in the Philippine capital, wilting horses attached to carriages shelter from the tropical sun as their drivers try to interest the few tourists milling

Hawkers exhibit sombreros, fans and rosaries on the pavement nearby but few buyers are in sight—a depressingly familiar scenario for Manila’s historic tourist district centered on the colonial Spanish Walled City of Intramuros. Tourists generally skip old Manila in their rush to Boracay and some of the country’s other tropical islands, but the new government of President Benigno Aquino III is hoping to entice them to linger a little longer. “Intramuros should be the top tourist attraction in Manila,” Department of Tourism Secretary Alberto Lim, who has been in the post since June, told Agence France-Presse during a recent interview. “We should build museums,” Lim said. “We have so many beautiful artifacts that are sitting in warehouses. It’s almost criminal that they’re going to waste

Manila’s historic district is centered on the colonial Spanish Walled City of Intramuros.

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HISTORIC MANILA ENTICES TOURISTS ‘Old Manila is more authentic. Makati will always show you what the Philippines wants to be . . . glitzy, shiny, new, controlled, instead of showing you what we really are . . . unbridled and gloriously chaotic,’ says tour guide Carlos Celdran.

Tourists take a leisurely tour of the district on board the horse-driven calesa. and that they’re deteriorating.”

Cultural history

The Southeast Asian archipelago’s cultural history includes three centuries as a Spanish colony that ended in 1898, followed by nearly half a century under US rule. But Manila, which was once dubbed the “Pearl of the Orient,” is now better known for its sprawling slums and widespread poverty than its architectural and cultural riches.

Much of the architecture that made it one of Asia’s most intriguing cities was destroyed during World War II, when US bombs rained down to oust the occupying Japanese forces. Efforts by post-war architects to rebuild Manila’s ruined churches were not a success because they lacked experience and technology, according to Paulo Alcazaren, architect and founder of the Heritage Conservation Society.


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Some prefer to take a walking tour of the side streets to view the Spanish-era buildings. “The conservation during that period was pretty primitive. They tried to replicate the original stone with concrete blocks and cement,” he said. Nevertheless, nuggets of historical gold can still be found in old Manila. Among them is the shell of Intramuros, built by the Spanish rulers as their walled enclave and where they executed Philippine revolutionary hero Jose Rizal. Another is the RomanesqueByzantine Manila Cathedral, which was originally constructed in 1581 and then rebuilt six times after being destroyed by earthquakes, fires and bombing. Nearby, the Spanish-era San Augustin Cathedral is guarded at the entrance by Chinese lion statues, a legacy of the country’s long history of immigrants from China.

Philippine capital before hitting the island resorts, many of them end up staying in hotels in the swanky Makati City area, which was built on the site of a former airport after World War II. Makati City is now Metro Manila’s financial heart, as well as a haven for expatriates, with designer shopping malls, international hotels, chic bars and upmarket restaurants. But Celdran said that old Manila was more authentic. “Makati will always show you what the Philippines wants to be . . . glitzy, shiny, new, controlled, instead of showing you what

Fort Santiago inside the walled enclave is where national hero Jose Rizal was imprisoned before his execution. we really are . . . unbridled and gloriously chaotic,” he added.

Manila’s Port Area

Celdran and Alcazaren see potential for Manila’s old quarter, but believe that it should be redeveloped as part of a broader project encompassing the port area of Manila Bay. Manila Bay is renowned for its golden sunsets, which can be enjoyed over a cocktail on the

Nevertheless, nuggets of historical gold can still be found in old Manila. terrace of the Manila Hotel, a US colonial-era building that once included the Beatles among its ce-

lebrity guests. Celdran said that Manila’s port area, with its palm-tree-lined boardwalk, had the potential to be the Philippines’ version of Miami in the United States. Yet for the time being, visitors seeking a sunset vista are more likely to encounter half-naked street children scavenging along the litter-strewn beach with a putrid smell of pollution wafting off the sea. (Agence France-Presse) n

Theatrical tours

For Carlos Celdran, whose theatrical tours of the churches and nearby Intramuros are a must-see for any visitor, tourists who skip old Manila miss an opportunity to explore a historical melting pot of cultures unique in Asia. “Our Hispanic past is unique for the region . . . for a Korean tourist a Catholic church is really exotic,” Celdran said. When tourists do stay in the

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FOR YOUR SUPPORT ! The Romanesque-Byzantine Manila Cathedral, constructed in 1581, has been rebuilt six times after being destroyed by earthquakes, fires and bombing.


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