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Photographed by Rupert Jacinto




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ageants, galas, celebratory events and prominent folks from a diverse community fill Manila Up! International magazine on a consistent basis. So why is it such that when there are other lingering issues plaguing our world today we defer political matters to the experts? We too have a voice in world affairs inasmuch as our publication has coverage from sources far and wide. So how did it come to this month’s notes? Simple.

Sonia Dionela Bermejo Publisher/Executive Editor


Apolitical as we are, we are not living in a vacuum either and when we present outstanding personalities and beauty queens in our pages, it is not merely to divert attention from the more pressing needs in society. There are innumerable less fortunate ones in our midst and we do not turn a blind eye. The tumultuous political landscapes both here and in the Philippines do beg the question, are we aware and do we listen to the voices heeding our attention? The catastrophic environmental disasters, poverty and war all have common denominators ~ we are part of the whole scenario. So what is it we can do constructively to alleviate the impact of such matters of importance upon our lives as individuals and as a community of human beings, Filipino or non-Filipino? We cannot single handedly solve the problems of the world, we can only contribute from within our own immediate environments. Every bit of effort towards the goal of making this a better world becomes our responsibility. Manila Up! International is demonstrating this possibility by giving our subscribers and readers models to emulate from. And we are not talking about fashion models alone (although we do have quite a good number of them), we regale those who utilize social events to further their humanitarian causes, fund raisers, and trailblazers in their particular fields of endeavor and those who represent the best of the best and the cream of our crop of notables. There are relevance and pertinence in our subjects and subject matter in that every story does not have a single hero or heroine. Behind the scenes are the real movers and shakers, those who support the front liners to make it happen. To all those who have the voice of reason and moderation, we salute you. By championing yourselves and your causes in order to make it a better world now is a promise we can keep for future generations to come. More power to you!


Photographed by Rupert Jacinto




By Mayenne Carmona



here are lucky mortals who know from the moment they reach the age of reason what they want to become in life. They do not waver in their resolve and pursue their dreams head on. Dr. Vicente O. Santos Jr. is one of these lucky souls, who, from childhood knew that he wanted to be a doctor like his father, whom he emulated and looked up to as his role model. Dr. Vic clarifies that his father, Dr. Vicente M. Santos Sr., an obstetrician-gynecologist, did not impose his will upon any of his children. Dr. Vic Sr. always told them that the medical field entails a lot of sacrifice and commitment, usually at the expense of family time. But this did not deter Dr. Vic from realizing his dreams. He pursued his studies in medicine even without knowing beforehand what field he wanted to specialize in. Eventually, his vision for his future became clear to him: he wanted to be an ophthalmologist, improving people’s eyesight and healing their eyes, which are windows to the soul.

DEVOTION TO OUR LADY OF FATIMA Dr. Vic Senior’s dedication to his profession extended to the marginalized in society. He put up a prenatal and postnatal clinic in front of the family residence in Valenzuela, Bulacan. Every expectant mother from all walks of life who needed his care was attended to. In spite of his thriving practice, Dr. Vic Sr. stayed grounded and focused on the people of Valenzuela. “My parents were hardworking, frugal and prayerful. My mother was religious and as people can see, the hospital my parents built was named after our Lady of Fatima, who is the family’s guiding light to this day.” His parents’ work ethics inspired Dr. Vic when he was growing

up and studying at Ateneo de Manila University from grade school to college. His mother, Juliet O. Santos, was not into the field of medicine but had a doctorate degree in Philosophy, Honoris Causa. She also held a degree in Chemical Engineering and belongs to the famous Olivares (Pest Control) family. Given his parents dedication to their craft, Dr. Vic knew that one day he and his siblings would take over the hospital’s management and evolve into a family run business. The Fatima University Medical Center started with 20 beds and graduated to what it is today - a medical center with 150 beds and boasts of the latest in modern medical facilities with a goal to promote the best in primary health care. They


MANILA UP! health care using the latest in medical technology.


Dr. Vic Santos examining a female patient

are opening another medical center, their second in Antipolo by the end of this year. They currently have five universities in Valenzuela, Quezon City, San Fernando, Antipolo, and Nueva Ecija. Our Lady of Fatima University Medical Center is an offshoot of the hospital, which makes the once upon a time medical center into a teaching hospital. Dr. Vic Jr. teaches at the school and shares his expertise with the students who want to be eye doctors. He aims to increase the number of ophthalmologists in our country “we only have 2,000 eye doctors in a country with a population of 100 million”, he says. There was a time when Dr. Vic spread himself thinly, working in the capacities of: Chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology, Medical Director of FUMC, as a professor, an ophthalmologist, and surgeon. He soon realized that he needed to focus on a specific niche in order to be more effective. “So now we have Dr. Hernando Cruz as Chairman of the Ophthalmology Department while Dr.

Oscar Payawal is the Medical Director of FUMC. “Dr. Vic is an alumnus of the University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center and finished among the top 20 in the medical board examination of 1992. He did his ophthalmology internship at St. Luke’s and capped his training with a 2-year fellowship in medical and surgical retina specialization.

OUTREACH PROGRAMS Today, as president of Fatima University Medical Center (FUMC), Dr. Vic encourages outreach programs in nearby communities of the medical center as well as other areas like Pangasinan. FUMC has medical missions such as “Unang Yakap” for mothers and newborns and “May Malasakit sa May Sakit” for various health concerns. It pursues such missions with the assistance of pharmaceutical and drug companies, non- government organizations and fast food chains. He believes that FUMC can provide world class

One of the more advance technologies in ophthalmology that Dr. Vic has in FUMC is the Carl Zeiss Visumax Femtosecond Laser, a machine that performs a non-invasive revolutionary procedure for myopia and astigmatism. There are only two hospitals in the Philippines that carry this machine - St Luke’s and FUMC. Initially, Dr. Vic was one of only six ophthalmologists who were specially trained to do eye procedures using the laser machine. He is now designated as the official trainer for Asia in the Carl Zeiss certification procedure having trained ophthalmologists from Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, and Philippines. The procedure is called SMILE, which stands for Small Incision Lenticule Extraction. It is done with the Femtosecond Laser and it is one of the most advanced lasers using precision optics requiring just 5 minutes per eye with a recovery time of less than 5 days. A Femtosecond is one quadrillionth of a second thus making the procedure fast, safe, bladeless, flapless and painless. The cutting edge laser machine was unveiled in 2012 and FUMC acquired the machine in 2014. Local and foreign patients have come to avail of the procedure prompting Dr. Vic to say that where eye treatment is concerned we are not lagging behind other more advanced countries. To date, Dr. Vic has trained four more Filipino ophthalmologists to use this laser machine with three more scheduled to be certified under the Fatima-Carl Zeiss training program, increasing the number of eye doctors doing the SMILE procedure. Once again this big hearted doctor wants to tie up with some like-minded groups or organizations to help improve the eyesight of people who need it but

MANILA UP! cannot afford it. “We’ve got athletes, policemen, the military, firemen, etc. who need 20/20 vision. For them I can provide professional help pro bono and with SMILE, they can see clearly, perform their tasks more effectively and in the long run, serve their country better.” He advises everyone to have a regular eye check-up and “to keep your eyes healthy, never take them for granted.”

FAMILY BONDING & SOLIDARITY Before the family matriarch passed away, she advised her children

to take up the Executive Education of the Harvard Business School Families in Business Program. “It taught us to know ourselves better, the ability to judge ourselves and others fairly, and even how to compensate ourselves. And to better equip myself in handling the business challenges of an institution, I went back to the Ateneo Graduate School of Business for an MBA in Health.” The siblings wrote the Santos Family Constitution and every year, they spend time together to review, assess and to make changes if necessary. His siblings are: Dr. Yvonne Santos-Guevara, an OBGYN like their father; Dr. Caroline


Santos- Enriquez, president of Our Lady of Fatima University; Dr. Mylene S. Abad Santos, a radiologist who is at the helm of the center’s technology requirements; Enrico Santos, Vice President for finance of FUMC; Don August Santos, Vice President for finance of Fatima University and Robert Santos, the family artist, who also takes care of the school’s basic education program.Dr. Vic is not shy to say that he gets his strength and inspiration from his wife and children. He is married to Dr. Mary Ann ReyesSantos, who is into Rehabilitation and Physical Medicine. They have three sons, all studying in Ateneo: Angelo,

Sibling Partnership the M7 or Magnificent Seven: 1st Row (L-R) Dra. Yvonne Santos Guevara, Dra. Mylene Abad Santos, Dra. Caroline Enriquez 2nd Row (L-R) Mr. Don Santos, Mr. Robert Bjorn Santos, Dr. Vic Santos, Mr. Enrico Santos



Alfonso and Vicente Ignacio.” Not one of them has expressed any intention to be a doctor,” comments Dr. Vic, but like his father, he is not wont to influence them to go into the medical field. They are however aware of the Santos Family Constitution and they don’t miss the family’s Christmas with the Orphans yearly gift-giving party. Dr. Vic enjoys sports and was a rated tennis player in his youth. He shifted to golf in his 30s. Traveling with his wife and their three sons is his favorite past time.

Vic and Mary Anne in Sapporo Japan

PRESENT CALLING Dr. Vic has opened an office in Centuria Makati to make himself more accessible to patients in Manila so they don’t have to trek all the way to Valenzuela, Bulacan. He also took it upon himself to continue to train doctors to use the latest Carl Zeiss Laser so more people can avail of the latest technology in eye care, a task he considers his accidental calling. Dr. Vicente O. Santos Jr. has come a long way from the young boy who watched his father working long hours in his medical career. Just like his father, Dr. Vic is equally devoted to his medical profession and more. “I try to give 100% of myself in all my endeavorswhether in sports, in my profession as a doctor, as a philanthropist, in my teaching career, as president of FUMC, and most of all as a good husband and father. But I still have a lot to accomplish,” he says nonchalantly. The future is bright and the technology in the medical field is constantly evolving for the better. To whatever direction it moves, Dr. Vicente Santos will move with it, with his resolve to better serve his patients and give them the latest and the best in eye care.

Family picture in the Hamptons New York

Family Picture in Ediburgh Castle




Sonia D. Bermejo Publisher/Executive Editor EDITOR Edith Y. Pendleton Contributing writers:

NEW YORK, USA On Call Romulo Aromin, Jr. MD Special Section: New York & New Jersey Joy in Tiny Jaunts Janice Lingad-Thabet LAS VEGAS, USA Vegas Vibes Esmeralda Padilla-Gould

DUBAI Living the Good Life Gabriela Miloda MANILA, PHILIPPINES In Other Worlds Becky Garcia Earnest Snoops! Ernest L. Gonzaga Walk my Way Mayenne Carmona Metro Scene Joy Fong Proverbs 31 Woman Jhoanna de Guzman

FLORIDA, USA Life’s Journey Melody Garcia LOS ANGELES, USA Reflections of Hope Rev. R.D Quema     Beautiful Life Monet Lu   On the Beat Fe Koons Immigration Professor’s Corner Robert Perkins, Esq

LONDON, UK Kingdom Adventures Gilda Pineda Dionela

Hollywood Glam by “M” Simplicio Michael Herrera EZWay’s Corner Eric Zuley

UK na UK Ela Hidalgo BANGKOK, THAILAND Siam Living Maricel Diaz

Talk This Way Tim Park Dine Travel in Style Grace Aguilar

Piece by Piece Angel Tahimik HAWAII, USA Maui Mania Edith Pendleton Island Living Randy Antonio Photographers: Benny Uy Rudy Autor Phillip Ner Jon Bermejo Richard Dizon Gerry Edra Jophel Huffman Louie Garcia Tony Garcia Auspicio Yan   Social Media Photographer/ Videographer Celia Abuel “PaparrazzCel”  Events Interviewer/ Correspondents Grace Aguilar Icee Cruz   Layout Artist Juvelin Aripal Website Designer Allan Mark Paanio


3756 W. Avenue 40 #160 Los Angeles, CA 90065 USA Email: | Website: http// Follow us:  FB, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Issuu Articles published in this paper do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the publisher. ISBN 231-256-2-16


Edith Y. Pendleton |


I’ll see you in September when summer is gone...” Oh yes, the “ber” months are here. Labor day marks the beginning of the end of the Summer season. It serves as a ‘marker’ to remind us that we can anticipate cooler climes, holidays galore and a new school year. Not as a mere coincidence, we proudly open up our issue this month with a highly regarded eye specialist, who, along with his mission oriented family is in the field of education with a vision to elevate the levels of literacy among Filipino students within their sphere of influence. Meet Dr. Vic Santos. An accomplished doctor who went beyond his noble calling to help realize the family’s altruistic endeavor of inclusion, to care for those who are marginalized in society.

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Among birthday celebrants we celebrated quite a number from the illustrious set to include the former first lady, Imelda Marcos, and TV personality Johnny Litton. They had theme parties, one of note was highlighted by an African inspired event by Jun Jun Ablaza, ablaze with all the trimmings of exotic wilderness. Long term Ambassador Massimo from Italy bade farewell to his adopted country in a fitting tribute. Our society writers Becky Garcia, Mayenne Carmona, Joy Fong and Ernest Gonzaga were on top of their game covering celebrities, events and everything concentric to the glitz and glamour that accompanies the lives and lifestyles of the rich and famous. Travel writers winged in with their fantastic tales at their points of destination some with spiritually inspired tones tinged into the mix. Before long, the “ber” months will conclude with December, not too far in the distant future. And Manila Up! International eagerly looks forward to our 2nd anniversary providing you, our valued readers and sponsors more awesomeness. Having said that, surprises are in store and they will be revealed in time so keep your eyes and ears open to more of what makes us tick and click! Ciao for now.




DR. VIC SANTOS, JR. Dr. Vic is now designated as the official trainer for Asia in the Carl Zeiss certification procedure having trained ophthalmologists from Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, and Philippines. The procedure is called SMILE, which stands for Small Incision Lenticule Extraction. It is done with the Femtosecond Laser and it is one of the most advanced lasers using precision optics requiring just 5 minutes per eye with a recovery time of less than 5 days. MISS UNIVERSE THAILAND She said she’s hoping to make everyone proud of her. Asked what will be her advocacy, she said she wanted to especially focus on helping with increased awareness about teenage pregnancies as this problem with a very high rate of incidence not only in Thailand but also in most Southeast Asian countries.



MEANS TO BE ASIAN IN AMERICA Now, there is Master of None. A show featuring an Asian protagonist. A show written and produced by two Asian creators. A show that speaks directly about what it means to be Asian in an industry full of prejudice and misunderstanding. And this show also happens to be one of the most critically acclaimed series Netflix has ever created. A WALK TO NOWHERE – ONE STEP CLOSER (RICHMOND PARK – DEER HAVEN) One way to unwind from all complexities around us, is to just take a walk in a place splendid yet primitive, a well conserved place like one of those in the Royal Parks in London.There are eight Royal Parks in London and the biggest of them all is Richmond Park, having an area of

2500 acres (more than 1000 hectares). That is massive.


THE NEW TRUMP ADMINISTRATION Finally, President Trump has put a lot of resources into executing deportation orders, i.e., finding people that have already gone through the deportation process in front of a judge and not being allowed to stay. In several cases, immigration agents have raided the homes and workplaces of people with these orders.


They say the only way to deal with addiction is to face it head-on. I have the “home-court” advantage because I’ll be talking about the Ikea-showroom floor that we have turned our new home into. So hang onto your POÄNG chair as we confront this compulsion piece by piece.


feather capelet. Knowing Jun Jun and his legendary flair for unique but tasteful entertainment, the celebration will never end without a spectacle prepared by him. True enough, the artistic genius, jewelry and artwear maven treated us all to a fashion show that featured a Neo -Tribal collection. To the beat of the drums, models appeared wearing Jun Jun’s own interpretation of ‘urban street gear meets tribal exoticism’. There were jazzed up denim jackets with patches designed as African tribal masks. The men had acid washed denim tops with frayed edges and layered with other denim pieces in different hues. Female models sashayed flirtatiously in strips of denim that emulated an ethnic grass skirt. Cowrie shell embellishments were sewn to fabrics that accentuated the tribal designs. Finally, these were all glammed up with accessories similar to those used by the Maasai people of East Africa by utilizing thousands of cowrie shells to create interesting ethnic disc-shaped neck pieces and breastplates with feather trimmings.


e knew we were in for a surprise the moment we saw Jun Jun Ablaza at their countryside estate’s grand pavilion during the celebration of his father, consul Louie Ablaza’s eightieth birthday. He was garbed like a mod chieftain in a Steve de Leon


psychedelic tribal mask patterned top. He completed the look with his own trinkets and an over-the-top black

The fashion show concluded with Jun Jun who appeared in sumptuous layers of antique ivory combined with relics of our pre-colonial past over a casual denim ensemble. He once again staged a well applauded show that completed another talked about Ablaza celebration. We definitely had an enjoyable afternoon! It was a marvelous party that had the sensuality of the exotic African safari, glamour of upscale luxury, an electrifying festival vibe, and an indulgence in fashion and artistry. Email: Photo Lorna Llanes



Maria with the runners-up: First runner-up Supaporn Litiphruek, and joint second place runners-up Suraphuen Artkong, Ratchanok Nawaset and Paweensuda Du-uen



ageant season is everywhere!

Recently, Thailand also held its search for the country’s “coAnfidently beautiful” woman to represent it at the world’s most prestigious beauty and brains competition, the upcoming Miss Universe pageant 2017.

Miss Universe Thailand 2017 was the 18 th edition of Miss Universe Thailand held at Royal Paragon Hall of Siam Paragon shopping mall in Bangkok on July 29th, with 40 young, talented and beautiful ladies who vied for the crown. Maria Poonlertlarp Ehren, 25 years old, from Bangkok whose

mother is a Thai and whose father is from Sweden, was crowned by her predecessor Chalita “Namtan” Suansane this year. “Mareeya” gained her Master’s degree in Marketing at Stockholm Business School and is currently continuing her studies for a doctoral degree. She has worked as a professional model since she was very young.


SIAM LIVING By Maricel Diaz

In an interview right after her win, she said that the first thing she’ll do, as in the next day, was to take a rest and catch up on some sleep and give herself a much deserved rest from the rigorous preparations and schedules of the competition. Then after that, she’ll comeback and work harder to prepare and make herself stronger for the Miss Universe pageant. She said she’s hoping to make everyone proud of her. Asked what will be her advocacy, she said she wanted to especially focus on helping with increased awareness about teenage pregnancies as this problem with a very high rate of incidence not only in Thailand but also in most Southeast Asian countries. She’s hoping, and said she will do her best, to make this platform become more helpful and effective. Also asked if she’s looking forward to meeting Miss Universe 2005, Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach, who’s scheduled to meet her and the runners up a few days later, said she’s very much excited as Pia is one of her role models and an inspiration. She will definitely ask her for some tips to help her prepare for the pageant. Congratulations, Maria! Your followers and supporters from Thailand and the rest of the world are wishing you all the best for the Miss Universe 2017 competition. Photo Source: Miss Universe Thailand

Maria Poonlertlarp Ehren was the tallest among this year’s Miss Universe Thailand candidates. She’s also named as Bangkok Airway’s “Boutique Lady” special award during the pre-pageant. NAME: Maria Poonlertlarp Ehren NICKNAME: Mareeya AGE: 25 HEIGHT: 184 cm. EDUCATION: • Master’s Degree in Marketing, Stockholm Business School (Stockholm, Sweden) • Doctorate Degree in Marketing, (on-going)


By Maricel Diaz


iss Universe 2015, Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach recently visited Bangkok to meet her fans and to experience unique elements of Thai culture. She was also invited to help promote independent travel for women by joining the launch of “Women’s Journey Campaign” event hosted by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) which ran for the whole month of August. While in Bangkok, Pia was able to enjoy and explore Thai culture, sample its exotic food and fine-dining, visit some popular Bangkok tourist spots and experience world-class shopping and entertainment. Pia said she loved Thailand’s vibrant culture, fun-loving locals and amazing shopping experiences. But beyond shopping malls, she’s also impressed by the friendliness of the people and the variety of the kingdom’s stunning destinations, which are fun, beautiful and allow visitors, especially solo female travelers, a sense of peace, safety and tranquility. During her fourday visit to Thailand, she also enjoyed activities that showcased Thailand’s rich arts and culture and watched a performance of “Ramayana”, as well as taking part in a Thai cooking class and toured Rattanakosin island, Wat Pho and the famous flower market.

The popular beauty queen also had a “Meet and Greet Day” event and was joined by Miss Universe Thailand 2017 winner, Maria Poonlertlarp Ehren, first runner-up Supaporn Litiphruek, and joint second place runners-up Suraphuen Artkong, Ratchanok Nawaset and Paweensuda Drouin – all of whom charmed the crowds by taking time to chat, answer questions and to pose for the pictures. Since her reign as Miss Universe, Pia has maintained a high profile, working on her TV career and doing

charity work. On May 3, 2017, Pia was named a UNAIDS (United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS) Ambassador of Goodwill for Asia and the Pacific. Before she left Thailand, Pia also made a courtesy call at UNAIDS headquarter here in Bangkok. Kaphun mak kha, Pia! And continue being confidently beautiful with a heart! Photo Source: Pia Wurtzbach’s Instagram page


By Becky Garcia


or several years now come July, a devoted friend, Muebles Italiano owner Noel Gonzales, hosts a birthday asalto for Congresswoman Imelda Romualdez Marcos. He usually asks Hi Society to co-organize with him. As usual, the highlight of the party was the program where all celebrities rendered songs for the celebrant. Anthony Castelo opened the program with his Tagalog songs. There was Pop tenor Jonathan Badon who, up to the end of the party, was serenading Madame Imelda. The surprise appearance of songstress Imelda Papin who sang several songs delighted the guests present then. Violinist Merjohn Lagaya, a scholar of the celebrant dedicated his several pieces to her. Not to be outdone of course was the host himself who sang several songs. Ping Valencia was also convinced to render several songs. The party would not have been complete without the celebrant singing and she obliged, even doing a duet of “Dahil sa Iyo� with Dr. George Sarakinis. Helping Noel welcome the guests was his gorgeous wife, Eileen. Guests included the likes of Israeli Ambassador Effie Matityau who led the list of wellwishers. Others present were Ralph Manalo, Mom Nardone with daughter, lovely Angelina, Nona Ricafort, Lolita Mirpuri, Actress

Rep. Imelda Marcos wish and Blow her Birthday Candles

Anthony Castelo, Joel Cruz, Freddie Aguilar, Noel & Aileen Gonzales

Jean Saburit, Maurice Lim, Pianist Ingrid Santamaria, John Gaddi and Sonny Tanchanco, Dr. Joni Dizon, Wopsy and Agile Zamora, Cheloy Ignacio, Joy Fong. And there was Joel Cruz happily telling guests about his fundraising show for the soldiers of Marawi on August 13 at the AFP Theater and asking friends to support his show. Additionally, there were Jiro Shirakawa, US based Jaz and Kendra Pinca, Atty. Rene and Ann Puno, Jinky

and Jerry Rabano, Migs and Manuel Cabreros. Early arrivals were Ito Curata and Bob Miller. A buffet spread of Filipino and Asian dishes were there to be savored by the guests. Madame Imelda who is now 88 years old was still looking radiant and is looking forward to another year of celebration. Happy birthday!!!


HE. Effie Ben Matityau, Lolita Mirpuri and Babe Romualdez

Dr. Joni Dizon, Agile Zamora, Ito Curata and Bob Miller

Mayrice Lim, Rep. Imelda Marcos and Ingrid Santamaria

Mon Nardome, Rafael Manalo and Angelina Nardome

Neil Jesuani, Cheloy Ignacio and Joy Fong

Marissa Fenton, Jinky Rebano, John Gaddi, Ping Valencia and Dr. George Sarakinis


Marge, Eileen & Noel Gonzales, Becky Garcia, Dr. George Sarakinis, Rachel Verns and Perjohn Gomez

Rep. Imelda Marcos, Eileen & Noel Gonzales and Imelda Papin

Noel Gonzales Serenade the Bday celebrant





n Saturday, August 5, 2017, this lovely lady celebrated her 18th birthday (debut) held at the Admiral Kidd Catering and Conference Center in the scenic beauty of Point Loma in San Diego, California. The event was well attended by her family and relatives from different parts of the globe and wonderful friends who wanted to be a part of this memorable event. Numerous performers graced the celebration with their rendition of songs and serenades. The finale was the debutante singing to her audience after her very inspiring speech for all her guests. One striking part of the program was her short one minute snippet of a video before she was introduced with her message, “New Adventures, New Mindset, New Focus, New Intentions, New Beginnings� which was filmed and edited by her amazingly talented cousin Joshua Ortiz. It also showcased her two music videos of all original songs written and produced by David Elan and Jeeves Ducornet. Last but not least, the celebrant was presented as the featured cover girl of Manila Up! International Magazine, our one and only debutante, JESSICA DUHAY.



ecause life is all about movement, one day in July was dedicated to dancing. More than just a form of exercise, it was meant to be a stressbusting occasion presented by Cathy Salimbangon, President of Organique Acai, Importers of the popular superberry health drink. Wellness advocate Cory Quirino enlisted the support of Hi Society and her many friends to take time out for their health. Society Lounge was teeming with guests who learned how to simply

enjoy the afternoon by taking their much-valued “me time� seriously. Needless to say, a generous sampling of the purple berry superfood sustained their energy levels throughout the event. Early arrivals were Ambassador Victor Garcia with gorgeous wife Connie who was so actively dancing with gusto and so with the rest of the guests like Marisa Fenton, Kathy Park, Emma Nieto and Glo Alcala. Club Bulakeno was well represented by members Gyngyn Ponce, Maru Go, Moleen del Rosario, and May Cortes. Lovely couple Jun Valenton and Mona Serevilla were dancing too. Also

Marissa Fenton, Arlene Jacobo, Connie Garcia, Yoli Ayson and HE Victor Garcia


seen doing the line dance were Helsa Santos, Yamani Caliwara, Consul Evie Costa, dancesport champion Rose Jacob, Yoli Ayson, Mayenne Carmona and good looking guys John Gaddi and Sonny Tanchanco. Due to insistent requests from others who heard about the occasion, plans are underway for a part two rendezvous. Some zumba groups even want to join next time. Looking forward to another fun event like this. Congratulations Organique.


Natalya Bronzova, Connie and HE Victor Garcia

Dr. George Saralinis and John Gaddi

May Cortes, Moleen del Rosario and Gyngyn Ponce

Cory Quirino, Sonny Tanchanco, Precy Yulo and Becky Garcia

Liza Solis, Emma Nieto, Kathy Park, Anne Derecto and Glo Alcala

Yamani Caliwara and Natalya Bronzova


PROVERBS 31 WOMEN By Jhoanna de Guzman

ne of the greatest blunders the world might teach us is about self-sacrifice. People often misunderstand this, thinking that loving others has become a duty that we often forget about our own welfare. We get past our lives feeling happy for others, yet, feel unfulfilled. But, let’s be real. Are we truly genuinely happy when we put others first? You may say I’m selfish. But being selfish is not that bad at all sometimes. Remember, we only have one life to live. And everyone must know that, After God, YOU are your first priority. One must not neglect self-love. Loving oneself, flaws and all is one of the biggest favors we can do for ourselves.

Give yourself some love and consider practicing self-love. Here’s how: 1. Don’t settle for less. 2. Know that your value as far as God is concerned is far worth more than rubies. 3. Pay little attention to what others tell you. 4. Have a positive self-image. 5. Find happiness in the simple and little things. 6. Believe that you have been made in the image of God. 7. Love yourself unconditionally. 8. Go out there and find out what God has created you for. 9. Accept your flaws and imperfections. 10. Travel alone, figure yourself out. 11. Know who you are and focus on being good at what you do. 12. Try out things for the first time. 13. Respect and admire yourself.

14. Don’t strive for the approval of others. 15. Don’t depend on the compliments of others just to feel good about yourself. 16. Be kind to yourself, remember that God is continually shaping you. 17. See yourself as a winner. 18. Ask yourself if that’s what you deserve. 19. Ask yourself if that’s what you think you’re worth. 20. Walk with confidence knowing that God loves you. 21. Acknowledge your need for Jesus and do something about it. Continue feeding yourself with self-love till your heart overflows. Remember, self-love is the best love. Photo Source: www.onehdwallpaper. com



And What It Means to be Asian in America

Photo Source: nz/2016/04/master-of-none/



he term “golden age of TV” has been around for quite some time now; since the late 2000s, with shows like Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Walking Dead, and Game of Thrones, the viewers have been exposed to quality content that no movies could offer. And the expansion of streaming services into creating their original projects seemed to only increase the amount of great content; shows like Orange is the New Black and House of Cards became downright sensations without having to air a single episode on primetime television.

There is a trend, however, among these shows previously mentioned. While they are radically different in subject matter, genre, and even the target audience, all of these shows feature casts that are predominantly white. It doesn’t matter if the show is set in a fantasy land or the White House, there are only white people to be seen. What’s even worse is that I can’t name a single Asian character from any of these shows. While Glenn from Walking Dead was a major character since the beginning, his death didn’t lead into a new Asian character. At this point, the marginalization of Asians in media shouldn’t even surprise anyone; the history of underrepresentation, or even worse, misrepresentation of Asians goes as far back as the beginning of commercialized motion picture. The industry either wants Asian actors to put on an

accent or completely disregard them. Now, there is Master of None . A show featuring an Asian protagonist. A show written and produced by two Asian creators. A show that speaks directly about what it means to be Asian in an industry full of prejudice and misunderstanding. And this show also happens to be one of the most critically acclaimed series Netflix has ever created. Master of None follows Dev, a struggling 30 something actor living in New York, as he goes through various hardships like going to a friend’s wedding, dealing with parents, and deciding whether marriage is right for him or not. The set up is typical to say the least - the ‘30 something living the single life in New York is it’s own genre at this point in pop culture, the entirety of Friends and How I Met your

MANILA UP! 29 Mother can back me upbut there is something special about Aziz Ansari’s comedy drama. While this show may follow the format of your typical NBC sitcom, Master of None tells that similar story from the perspective of an Asian man. The show is semi-autobiographical to Ansari’s real life, and one can definitely find the cultural influences from Tamil, India all over the series. He has immigrant parents who moved to New York during the 70s, he visits mosques, and he enjoys fine Asian cuisines. The co-creator of the show Alan Yang is a Taiwanese American, and his on-show counterpart Brian Yang goes through situations any Asian American would, from getting confused for another nationality to slowly forgetting your first language. The Asian influence upon the show is very much prominent, but the show’s point is never to be ‘that Asian show’.

Master of None doesn’t focus on what being an Asian American is, but rather what being an Asian American isn’t. The show explores the idea of stereotypes and reality quite often. In the episode “Indians on TV”, Dev is asked to put on an accent during his casting process. Later in the series, Brian’s father goes out on a dating spree with other women of his age. The stoic, quite, awkward, and briny tropes of Asians are completely thrown out the window. Instead, they are portrayed as real human beings. Just because Dev is an Indian doesn’t mean he won’t go out on multiple Tinder dates in one night. Asians are the same as the rest of America. While we may appear to be different or have different cultural backgrounds, in the core we are all Americans, and we are what make this country great. Looking at Iron Fist, a Netflix show that is also full of Asian cultural

influences, it’s easy to tell what Aziz Ansari’s comedy does so well that other shows don’t. The lead character of Iron Fist, despite being trained by Tibetan monks to become the next Kung Fu hero, is white. The enemies he slaughters are all Asian, from ninjas to other masters of Chi, but the main hero of the show is a white man. I don’t even think there is a single Asian character in the whole show who isn’t a martial arts master. So the question is this- why can’t the titular character also be Asian? Master of None has a diverse cast full of amazing actors. The main character we follow is Asian, his best friend is Asian, and his parents are Asian. But, he lives a life that almost anyone of his age can relate to. He goes through the same problems, the same dilemmas, and possesses the same virtues. Because Asians, believe it or not, are also humans, Hollywood.


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By Joy Fong



verybody’s favorite host Johnny Litton celebrated his birthday this year at the Grand Ballroom of The Bellevue Manila.

Mike & Veronica Litton, Martin Litton, Paolo Barnes and Allan Litton

Isabella Oca and Chelsey Sison

Rep. Cynthia Villar and Joe Mari Chan

The theme for this year’s party was based upon the 1950’s film “High Society” from the Frank Sinatra and Grace Kelly era. As guests entered the main lobby of The Bellevue Manila, a very sleek latest model Lexus was situated to one side providing for many photo opportunities. The ladies came in Grace Kelly inspired dresses which definitely added to the glamour of the evening. Gracing the event with their presence were Johnny’s family, friends and colleagues in the business and social circles as well as several government officials like Congresswoman Imelda Marcos, Sen. Cynthia Villar and Gov. Chavit Singson together with members of the diplomatic corps including US Ambassador, H.E. Sung Y Kim, E.U. Ambassador H.E. Franz Jessen with his lovely wife Madame Wang Qi, Israeli Ambassador, H.E. Effie Ben Matityau, Russian Ambassador H.E. Igor Khovaev, Ambassador to the US Babe Romualdez, Ambassador to Spain Philippe Lhuillier with his wife Edna,


how the night was all about love and friendship without any political bias nor boundaries. He fondly talked about his loving wife, Tere, the days he worked for former First Lady Imelda Marcos, who was listening from her seat, his unforgettable days in showbiz and of course, he shared stories relating to his long-time and new-found friends.

Beng Fores, Natty Pappas, Rep Imelda Marcos and Gov. Chavit Singson

Mia Lozano, Czarina Syquia, Mia Borromeo and Ann Ong

Ambassador Mercy Tuason, former Ambassador to the Court of St. James Jesus Tambunting with his wife Marge, former Ambassador to Spain Lani Bernardo with his wife Conchitina, Philippine Hotel Owners Association Inc. president Arthur Lopez and wife Letty, and Bonifacio Landmark Realty and Development Corp. president Hans Hauri and wife Bo just to name a few.

Other notable guests were Ambassador Victor Garcia and wife Connie, Consuls Louie and Mellie Ablaza, Consul Betty Chua, Consul Helen Ong, Consul Fortune Ledesma, Consul Agnes Huibonhoa, Consul Fausto Preysler, and Consul Evie Costa. As Johnny delivered his monologue on stage, he mentioned

Throughout the evening, short video clips from the High Society film were played as well as excerpts from Johnny’s hit TV show “Oh No It’s Johnny” that was definitely nostalgic for most of his guests. It was definitely a star-studded night with song performances by Jose Mari Chan, Janet Basco, Arthur Manuntag and Kathy Mas. A dance performance by Grace Gobing, and a grand finale by Club Mwah capped the evening. A special segment in the program was titled the “Stars of the Night” which awarded a handful of guests who certainly dressed for the occasion with well-deserved prizes. Also adding to the success of the evening was the hardworking team of The Bellevue Hotels & Resorts led by Chairman Johnny Chan with his sons, The Bellevue Hotels & Resorts managing director Patrick Chan, B Hotels managing director Ryan Chan and The Bellevue Resort managing director Dustin Chan. With overflowing wines from Titania Wines, giveaways from Rustan’s, Aficionado, Beabi and Laneige and the official TV partner 2nd Avenue, it was definitely a night to remember! Happy Birthday and more to come Ninong Johnny!!! Cheers!!!


Richard Tiu and Booky Kue

HE. Effie Matityau, HE. Philippe & Edna Lhuillier, Natalya Bronzova and HE. Igor Khovae

Elton & Caroline Tan, Michelle & Hayden Sison and David Ackerman

Gerry & Virginia Lane

Weejay, Tara, Pam and Marielle Litton



Anne Curtis


nother ‘talk-of-the town’ event was held recently in Manila. It was considered as one of the grandest and most spectacular bridal events of the year. Marriot Hotel Manila was the venue for “Marry Me At Marriot” 2017. Now on its 5th year the “Marry Me at Marriot” bridal show left everyone astounded and stunned. The country’s top fashion designers, personalities, stylists, wedding suppliers, and soon-to-be wed couples gathered at the Marriott Grand Ballroom.

The event was a ‘must-see’ event, especially for couples thinking of tying the knot soon. It was a night of delight and pleasure as audiences attended the memorable Marry Me at Marriott bridal fashion show. The grandiose façade of the Marriott Hotel grand ballroom, down to each intricate designer piece, was really so amazing. The ceiling was made to look like a garden though I felt that it could have used more flowers like most of the wedding receptions do and give it a more enchanted and fairy-tale like impression. Marry Me at Marriott, showcased the magnificent designs of Michael

EARNEST SNOOPS By Ernest L. Gonzaga

Leyva, Happy Andrada, Hannah Kong, and Avel Bacudio. The designers’ models included Olympic Silver Medallist Hidilyn Diaz for Hannah Kong and media personality Janeena Chan for Happy Andrada, Sam Wilson and Alden Richards for Avel Bacudio, actress Anne Curtis for Michael Leyva.


JC Buendia, Agile Zamora and Randy Ortiz

Michelle Garcia and co host


By Becky Garcia

Queenirich Rehman, Kenneth Lee, Cory Quirino and Mae Velilla


ix years is all you need in order to make significant memories to last a lifetime. And so it was one fine evening when Baby Cruz Vasquez decided with Cory Quirino to re-enact one of their memorable gatherings during their beauty pageant days. Thus, past queens and princesses came together for one nostalgic reunion. Baby’s place which often was the venue for many fine-dining

experiences was dressed up for the occasion. It was elegant, to say the least. The tastefully prepared cocktails along with foie gras, cheese, caviar and a buffet spread of salmon as well as juicy steaks were masterfully whipped up by the kitchen crew of Nana’s Kitchen owned by Baby herself. The restaurant had a soft opening in Molito, Alabang. ‘Beautiful’ was the one adjective to best describe the evening, what with the presence of so many beauty

queens like Gwendolyn Ruais, Queenierich Rehmann who did her beatbox and Hillarie Parungao who had a grand time re-uniting with princesses Ross Mosa, Zahra Saldua, Mia Howell, Cassy Naidas and Vanessa Wright. Baby’s hubby Dr. Danny Vasquez helped in welcoming guests like Panama Ambassador Rolando Guevara who was a one time judge for the Miss World Pageant, and Comelec Chairman Andy Bautista. Jeff Lee, who flew in from Malaysia rendered several songs.


Queenierich Rehman, Baby & Danny Vasquez

Chairman Andy Bautista and Becky Garcia

Watch out for the continuation of​

“Joys in New York and New Jersey Jaunts” ​ Sarah Saldua and George Sison

(Part 2 of a series) next issue.

Catching up on life can make for an interesting evening. For Cory and Baby, it was a walk down memory lane. The feeling that night was one of family. And it was contagious, because we all felt the authentic sincerity of closeness which made us all understand the meaning of gratitude. This, because ‘thank you’s were profuse and so were the gifts that guests took home. Baby is truly a perfect host.

Mae Velilla, Arlene Florentino and Zeny Cruz


Vanessa Wright, Mia Howell, Cory Quirino, Ross Mis and Queenierich Rehman

Japet Aguilar & Caaie Naidas

Ricky Davao, Dr. George Sarakinis and HE Rolando Guevara Alvarado

David Semerad and Gwendolyn Ruais

Zarah Saldua, Vanessa Wright, Hillarie Parungao and Mia Howell




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ne way to unwind from all complexities around us, is to just take a walk in a place splendid yet primitive, a well conserved place like one of those in the Royal Parks in

London. There are eight Royal Parks in London and the biggest of them all is Richmond Park, having an area of 2500 acres (more than 1000 hectares). That is massive. It is a top UK site for ancient trees and a range of rare species including fungi, birds, beetles, bats, grasses, wildflowers and herds of

deer. That is the reason why I and my friend, Zen, went there, to see deer. I have travelled from the north to south of the Philippines. I saw caves, mountains, beaches, and forests, they were all stunning. I had seen alluring sunsets, virgin waterfalls


KINGDOM ADVENTURES By Gilda Pineda Dionela

and rivers where my grandparents used to live. While I was staying at my grandparents’ house as a child, the “Aetas” of Sierra Madre often came down from the mountain to barter trade with people who lived in the mountainside where we were then. Our favourite was “pindang na usa” (Venison jerky or dried cured venison). Aetas are indigenous people who live in isolated mountainous parts on the island of Luzon. They are known as descendants of the original inhabitants of the Philippines. At a young age, I was curious, asking myself what a deer was. I am grateful to England’s King Charles I for making Richmond Park a deer park. I like to see deer, apart from my curiosity as a child, I also once read this passage in the bible ‘He made my feet like the feet of a deer and set me secure on the heights.’ It was at my place of work during a lunch break and before my afternoon nap when I read that. It is so clear in my memory as if it happened only yesterday. What did this really mean I always asked myself, and why deer? Our ‘deer hunting’ begun. We took the London Underground Train going to Richmond. You can also get there through London Overground or by London buses. Zen and I checked the night before to find out how to get there the easiest way knowing there are several gates leading to this park.

Upon reaching the station, none of the buses that we were supposed to take u which was suggested on our cell phone information was there! I thought to myself, “if you feel lost and your modern gadget couldn’t help you the best thing is to ask help from the locals, the experts”. We approached an older lady in her 70’s or 80’s and she told us which bus to take. Gadgets are cool and modern but the knowledge of our elderly and those who are old fashioned are equally relevant. For young generations so engrossed with electronic gadgets, earlier generations had far more exciting experiences that

I think younger generations should explore and appreciate. Finally, we reached our destination. Looking towards the horizon, the park is enormous. There is a map located in the park but the map doesn’t indicate where one can find the deer because they roam around freely, whenever and wherever they want to go. The park is theirs. “Where do we go from here?”, Zen asked. She suggested a direction, I checked the ground and found several small piles of dirt coming from deer.

42 MANILA UP! I agreed to go that path because there was a sign that the deer passed that way just recently. We walked for hours and miles but it seemed the deer were nowhere to be found. And it felt like the purpose of our coming was not going to be served. God has a way of giving hope, He will give a sign even if one doesn’t ask. We wished and prayed to find at least one deer. Along the way we found old oak trees having trunks with diameters equal to size of five human beings standing side by side in a circle, they seemed to be centuries old. The cool breeze, sunshine, blue sky and different shapes of clouds were the sight that gave us comfort to enjoy our deer hunting escapade. There are wild flowers, butterflies and other insects one will not see in the city. We sat down on old trees lying there to rest a bit before we continued searching. Finally, from afar Zen saw an image that looked like a deer. At first, I doubted and thought it was a dog and not a deer. We ran to look further and found that there were herds of deer. We were not sure which among them were Red or Fallow deer. What we were sure of was that they were female deer and their fawn. We prayed for one, but found more than a hundred! We got as close as we can and they were looking at us too. But then we asked why there were no deer with antlers. Then among a herd we found one with six inch long antlers, and we asked why it was small. Then we started laughing. We only prayed for one deer then God showed us hundreds yet we complained and had to look for deer with


antlers. I observed as much as I can to answer my question: “Why was it a deer and not a mountain lion mentioned in the Bible that was to stand on the mountain to describe a victory over the enemy in the most difficult and dangerous terrain?� We headed back home. My friend used her compass but remembered only North-East but not the exact degree in NorthEast. As a result, we got lost. As we finally found our way out, we jumped for joy because we found herds of bucks and stags -hundreds of them too. The sizes of antlers varied. Male deer with multiple branched and shaped bones on top of their heads is


Watch out for the continuation of​

“Joys in New York and New Jersey Jaunts” ​ (Part 2 of a series) next issue.

MANILA UP! 45 an amazing sight. The view and their movements are picturesque. We both agreed that that was the reason why we lost our way back through the gate we entered from. A day of observation gave the answer to my nagging question. Why deer not mountain lion? Fallow deer try to stay together in group of up to 150. They are agile and fast to escape in case of danger. They tend to maintain loose groupings when tamed and basically all rise up together, moving to the grazing area, and after grazing return to their favorite spot. Generally, dominant leaders establish the route that extend in an almost straight line. There seems to be a steady relationship between age and social rank. Mature male fallow deer or bucks spend most of their time alone or in bachelor groups until it is time for rutting or breeding. The newly born are hidden by their mothers among the bracken and long grass. The young are very vulnerable and their mothers are alert to any disturbance, ready to defend their babies. Leadership is usually established by the lead hind, helped by a second female, who assumes a rear-guard position during group movement. These descriptions by an expert, about the behavior of deer we observed to be true and accurate. We also noticed that under the intense heat of the sun and after grazing the stags or bucks group together as if there was a maestro who instructs them all to sit under the shade of a big tree. How about mountain lions which can stand on the mountain like deer? They are known as ambush hunters silently following the prey and attack quickly by surprise. Now I know the other aspect to my analogy. The mountain lion attacks the weak deceitfully and claims victory alone

for its own selfish benefit. Whereas, the victory of the deer to stand at the height of the mountain signifies the victory of the herd, their family, their group, the leader and followers, all for their common good. That was a great adventure. At times, it seemed we were walking in a place of nowhere but simple things we saw along our way, like yellow wildflowers, tall brown grass, an old oak tree were one step closer to the very reason we were there. We had the choice to turn back and retreat when we got tired or keep going and appreciate the journey itself. Choosing the latter gave us endearing fulfilment. Finding an answer to a meaningful question, contemplating how a deer behaves so well in unity than most civilized human beings, an oak tree standing tall and mighty to give shade and comfort to herds of deer gave us a great lesson. God’s creation is meant to be in harmony. In our life’s nowhere,

when we believe in the Living God, our compass is Jesus. His needle that aligns and points towards a consistent sense of direction so that we will never get lost amid all frustrations is no other than the Holy Spirit. At the beginning, it did not seem obvious but every turn of events demonstrated an invisible guide in this simple tour. My curiosity since childhood was satisfied through visiting a historic park which has looked after its deer since 1637. There are other things to see and do. Isabella Plantation which is fenced and can easily be located is where we can enjoy beautiful ornamental plants. Richmond Park, is of a national and international significance for wildlife conservation. It is London’s largest Site of Special Scientific Interest, a National Nature Reserve and a Special Area of Conservation. It is worth spending your time there when you come to visit London. Photos by Gilda Pineda Dionela


UK NA UK By Ela Hidalgo

Mister and Miss Body Beautiful 2017 Grand Winners Jules Chan and Diane Fronda


eauty pageants have traditionally focused on judging and ranking the physical attributes of the contestants, and some evolved to also incorporate personality traits, intelligence, talent, and answers to judges’ questions as among the criteria.

Starvision UK, in collaboration with One Philippines UK, has launched its 3rd event; the “Mister and Miss Body Beautiful 2017. It is a pageant that does not only focus on beauty but also promotes good health. This was conceptualized to inspire people to live a healthy life, get fit and to maintain a beautiful body In addition to these, it is a ‘pageant with a heart’ and for a good

cause. The less fortunate orphans of the Christian Praise Children’s Love will benefit from the funds raised during the final night of Mister and Miss Body Beautiful which was held last July 22, 2017 at Baden Powell Queens Gate in South Kensington. The pageant was seven months in the making. There were challenges along the way especially when it came to scouting for candidates. It was decided that this pageant would be open to all nationalities to compete, and to also promote Philippine customs, to show that we, Filipinos, can lead this kind of pageant, while promoting health and fitness as well. As the main organizer and coordinator, who conceptualized the idea of incorporating health and fitness into this pageant, I have started getting fit and living healthy. About five months ago the changes resulted in weight loss. I have chosen to eat healthy foods and do my work outs. I had to be the role model and


Watch out for the continuation of​

“Joys in New York and New Jersey Jaunts” ​ (Part 2 of a series) next issue.

The winner of Mister Body Beautiful 2017, Jules Chan, is automatically going to be the representative of UK to Myanmar in December for the Mister Tourism World.

Jules Chan, Best in Swimwear (Male Category)

for the rest of the group to follow. It is overwhelming to know that the candidates and the production staff vowed to continue their journey of living healthy lifestyles, be inspirations to others and advocates for the objectives of Mister and Miss Body Beautiful. June 22, 2017, after months of planning and preparations, Filipinos and non-Filipinos gathered for the final night of Mister and Miss Body Beautiful. People witnessed how some of the candidates really transformed into having beautiful bodies. The candidates were supported by their families, friends and followers as they showcased themselves in different categories including: Fantasy, Casual, Swimwear and Long Gown/ Formal Wear. Some of the candidates demonstrated their talents during a separate night event which was held at Bar FM in Shepherds Bush last June 25th. Lastly, their intelligence and wit were tested through the Question and Answer Portions. The results of the Final Night are as follows:

Diane Fronda, Best in Swimwear (Female Category)

Special Awards: Mister and Miss Goodwill: Kris Favor and Florie May Rapirap Best in Talent: Florie May Rapirap Mister and Miss Online Sensation: Kris Favor and Diane Fronda Mister and Miss Face of the Year: Aaron Blackburn and Diane Fronda Mister and Miss Bodygenice: Jules Chan and Maya Abdou Mister and Miss Congeniality : Aaron Blackburn and Sharimaelyn Sadca Major Awards: Best in Casual Wear: Jules Chan and Janice Suarez Best in Fantasy Wear: Jules Chan and Diane Fronda Best in Swimwear: Jules Chan and Diane Fronda Best in Formal Wear/Long Gown: Jules Chan and Diane Fronda Second Runner Ups: Giuliano Mateas and Maya Abdou First Runner Ups: Matt Adcock and Shaianne Mister and Miss Body Beautiful: Jules Chan and Diane Fronda

It was a great night and thank you to everyone who attended the final night. Thank you to the production staff who helped; Chit Sarmiento, Rodel Saycon, Helen Ellan, Manel Sinfield, Dyna Abella, Mhay Ferrer, Mindy Tizon, Josie Casupang, Harin Perera, Glenda Marie, Adelaide Cana, Julie Cana ( also assisted me with my outfits that night, my fashion stylist), Rey Abesamis (One Philippines), the photographers, Dave Moscrop, Leo Jimenez, Nani Hernandez, Videographer Jacob Gaza, Regin Raquedan for the posters and videos, the stage and creative director and choreographer, Randy Silverio and to the lovely hosts, Angelica Cortez and Sidney Shepherd. Special thanks to the night’s adjuncticators, Rachelle Gaza and Alexa Taag, to all the high calibre and respectable board of judges, Bernie Dontogan, Elvjis Plugis, Rebeca Riofrio, Rose Eclarinal, Ali Hajj, John Isabel, Okkar Min Maung, Imo Malik and Gerry Panga. Not to forget, this pageant will not be possible without the following sponsors and gift/voucher donors: John Isabel, Edna Santos of Sampaguita Tours, Julius Billones of Filipino Youth Foundation, Monira Guiamalo, Janette Panaligan of Vista

48 MANILA UP! Land, Geophel Samonte of Smartheart Professional, Century Property, Jo Taag, DDS-UK, Terry Beauty Salon (also for my hair and make up), Boomers Travel Philippines, AA World Travellers Travels and Tours, Munting Kusina, Nilo’s, Coco’s Lounge for all the trophies, Ogie and Bessie Villedo, Mindy Tizon of Nuskin, Chit Sarmiento, Julie Cana of True Care Massage,Wynchu Travel and Padala, Leo Sunpungco of Genistar, Edralyn Resort Ilocos Sur, Homestasis London, Chumleigh Hotel London, Kate Davies of Arbonne UK, Manila Supermarket, Edna Lobo of Sunrise Cafe Romford, Jun Bitanga of Juanachat, BE+ for the t-shirts, PEGARRO SWIMWEAR for the candidates’ swimwears, media partners: The Filipino Channel, Filipinas Radyo UK, One Philippines, Manila UP and to all the Filipino Community who were present that night. To all the performers, D’

Intruders, Thea Natividad, Chelsea’s Angels, Adelaide Cana and Mister Tourism World 2016, thank you. No words can express how grateful we are at Starvision and One Philippines for the support you all have given. Words of praises came from the judges and everyone present during the final night and all are very much appreciated and overwhelming. These were just some messages and comments that I received: “Well done and congratulations for leading this useful competition for others. You are a living proof that it could be done. Mind over Matter. This can be the next big thing in UK or even in Europe.”- Neil Medina, Filipino Fashion Designer “Amazing pageant and a great show. The whole pageant was well

organised” – Imo Malik, Model/Actor/ Singer “Thank you for the opportunity and I just want to say that from 106 kg, I lost 98 kgs and still keep my size because of this big journey of joining the pageant.” – Kris Favor, Mister Body Beautiful Online Sensation and Goodwill We, at Starvision and One Philippines hope to be better and bigger for next year’s Mister and Miss Body Beautiful 2018, to be held JULY 21, 2018. To all who are interested to join, start living healthy and hit the gym!

“LOVE YOURSELF ENOUGH TO LIVE A HEALTHY LIFE”. Photos credited to Concept Imagery

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Why is your electricity bill so high? Let me explain it in a simple way which most of us are familiar with‌like getting gas for your car. Would you go to a gasoline station knowing that the gas price per gallon goes up in every 5 gallons that you pump? Imagine that you start pumping at $3.00 per gallon and then the price goes up to $5.00 per gallon once you reached 5 gallons. Then, it jumps up again to $7.00 per gallon once you reached 10 gallons and stay at $7.00 per gallon until your gas tank is full. In addition, this gasoline station raises their rates an average of 6% every year. Are you going to continue doing business with that gasoline station? Do you think it’s fair? This is the same way your utility company charges you on your electric bill. The more you use electricity, your unit price per kwh increases. This is the reason your bill is high. Going solar is like going to a normal gas station with a low fixed price per gallon and you have the option to lock in that price per gallon for the next 20 or 25 Years.

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any people have been asking questions about what has changed with immigration under President Trump. There have been only a few changes so far, but we believe many more are coming soon. So far the biggest change is the deportation policy. Under President Obama, people who were non-criminals and caught by immigration were able to get their deportation cases closed through the policy of prosecutorial discretion. Under this policy, immigration would look at the whether the person had any ties to the United States and other positive contributions, and thus weigh those positives against any negatives such as criminal convictions and often stop the deportation if the positives outweighed the negatives. Under Trump, this policy which is called“prosecutorial discretion” has stopped. This means that anyone caught by immigration with even with a traffic ticket (or nothing at

all) could be placed into deportation proceedings and deported if they are out of legal status. Another major change we’ve under President Trump is serious delays in immigration cases. For example, under President Obama, if a citizen married an immigrant in the USA and filed a petition, the immigrant could get to work card in about three months. This is now taking at least five or six months. There are even delays in issuing receipts in immigration cases.


deportation orders, i.e., finding people that have already gone through the deportation process in front of a judge and not being allowed to stay. In several cases, immigration agents have raided the homes and workplaces of people with these orders.

What’s clear from all this is that the Trump administration has not put a lot of resources into deciding immigration cases for people trying to immigrate legally. This makes sense since President Trump just proposed new laws that would even further limit the already backed up immigration system.

If you are interested in legalizing your status are coming to the United States to work, live, or study contact the Law Offices of the Immigration Professor nationwide, 888-439-4560 or email us, robert@immigrationprofessor. com. We offer a free 15 minute consultation for people to see if they qualify for US immigration.

Finally, President Trump has put a lot of resources into executing

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advancement of Filipinos in the community. LAFACE put together a “Meet and Greet” event to congratulate and get to know the newly appointed Deputy Mayor of Budget and Innovation, Miguel Sangalang. He is the highest ranking Filipino civil servant in the City of Los Angeles under Mayor Eric Garcetti’s current administration.



os Angeles Filipino Association of City Employees (LAFACE) objective is to foster the advancement of Filipinos and other minorities in Los Angeles City, and to promote the economic, social, cultural, and educational

LAFACE is very proud to celebrate the success of their fellow Filipino civil servant and member of LAFACE. This event was to let fellow Filipinos, nonFilipino members and other guests to know that LAFACE strives to foster the general advancement of Filipinos in City’s service. It gives support and acknowledgement for contributions given to the City. This is also to offer inspiration to everyone, to witness and

experience how LAFACE continues to promote and serve as an advocate for its members. The event was also geared to encourage non-members to sign up and support its mission. The honoree was introduced by Mr. Joel Jacinto, a Commissioner from the Board of Public Works, another high-ranking Filipino appointed by Mayor Eric Garcetti. LAFACE thanked Council member, Jose Huizar, of Council District 14 for his gracious support which allowed everyone invited to gather and celebrate. “Founded on the premise that diversity and representation are important - especially in places where people are able to make real change happen, representation is not just about having a seat at the big table. Representation is about being able to contribute in various, unique ways, to encourage and foster new perspectives,


Miguel S. Sangalang (center) with City of LA officers and employees​. Photo credit: Celia Abuel

to engage in different conversation, and to solve problems with innovative solutions. Representation brings on a ripple effect. And it is ultimately about being more inclusive in the many different types of tables EVERYWHERE - big or small tables, corporate or community tables, artistic or academic tables, and even where we are now – at the dining table, enjoying Filipino food. Representation in key places allows for possibilities and opportunities in various other places. This year LAFACE is celebrating 35 th year anniversary. For the October celebration of Filipino American History Month, we are celebrating LAFACE’s 35 years of contribution to the great City of Los Angeles, and its Filipino-American civil servants. Please save the date on Friday, October 6, 2017 for FilipinoAmerican History Month celebration at the Los Angeles City Hall.

We are asking all LAFACE members and Filipino City employees to look for old photos from previous LAFACE events to include flyers, newsletters, and other old city memorabilia as well. If you have older family members who worked for the City, please invite them to the event! LAFACE will be awarding scholarships at the October 6 FAHM event. The formal announcement will be sent via e-mail in the next couple of weeks with the instructions and application form. Applications are due by mid-September. We will be awarding four $500 scholarships. Three will be awarded to children of 1-year LAFACE members: 1. High School Academic Merit 2. College Academic Merit 3. Outstanding Community Service (High School or College) and, our newest category is for a LAFACE

member who is working and studying at the same time as follows: 4. City Employee College Student: 1-year LAFACE member, working full or part time for the City, and attending school for higher education (for a trade, bachelor’s, master’s or doctorate degree). “Thank you all for joining us today! We hope to see you all again at LAFACE’s 35th Year celebration and Filipino American History Month on October 6th. We encourage you to be LAFACE ambassadors, and share with your Filipino coworkers the many things LAFACE has to offer, and together, let us foster the advancement of Filipinos in City Service, and promote the economic, social, cultural and educational advancement of Filipinos in the community.” ~ Miguel Sangalang



WALK MY WAY By Mayenne Carmona

alph Juan and Jasmin Ellen Sarmiento’s nuptials had all the ingredients of a grand wedding. But when one overlooks the grandeur and the fancy trimmings that define the weddings of the rich and famous, what should shine thru is the love between the couple. And this love was what everyone noticed all through-

out the ceremony and the reception between Jasmin and Ralph. Emotions ran high and mixedthere were both tears and laughter throughout the evening. Leaving one’s family behind is sad but to venture into a new life with a beloved is a joyful experience. As the night wore on, only love and happiness shone radiantly on the newlywed’s faces.

Couple in st therese of the child jesus parish

56 MANILA UP! The ceremony was concelebrated by Archbishop Jose S. Palma, Monsignor Boy Alesns and Fr. Brian Brigoli at the Archdiocesan Shrine of St. Therese of the Child Jesus in Lahug. The bride’s gown was executed by Jun Escario. Her mother, beauty queen Jennifer Helen Weigel, and the groom’s mother, Mrs. Grace Tan Juan wore gowns by Philip Tampus. The elegant reception was held at the Convention Center which was brightly decorated with monochromatic shades of autumn foliage, but orange was noticeably the dominant color.

Mayenne Carmona & Mother of the bride, Jennifer Weigle

The couple and the guests were serenaded by 5 singers- Jeffrey Hidalgo, Richard Poon, Angeline Quinto, Erik Santos and the inimitable Basil Valdez. The “On the Cover Band” lured the guests, both the young and the young at heart to the dance floor with their contagious dance music. During the lauriat dinner, there were poignant and funny speeches from the bride’s twin sister, Jennifer Elaine, from the bride’s father, Samar Representative Edgar Sarmiento, the groom’s best man, Michael Ryan C. Gohu and his father, Mr. Richard Chua Juan who announced that he and his wife were celebrating their 35th wedding anniversary that day. The best man and twin sister’s speeches bordered on the sentimental and the hilarious which kept the audience on teary eyed or in stitches mode.

The bride and groom with the maid of honor, the bride’s twin sister, Jennifer Elaine Weigel Sarmiento and the groom’s best man, Michael Ryan C. Gohu

The bride and groom cut the first dance with their father and mother respectively, and then the usual protocol dances followed: Bride and groom dance, bride’s mother with groom’s father, groom’s mother with bride’s father then with their respective spouses. The many guests swarmed the dance floor and skipped the light fantastic till the wee hours of dawn. To Ralph and Jasmine, may God bless your life’s journey abundantly so you can live and celebrate your love to the fullest!

Jackie Dico, Echie Hernandez, Bride, Jennifer Sarmiento, Elise Ventura, Twinie Ng and Nicole Juan


Couple with parents

Couple kiss at the reception


Photo Source: /files/news_article/ikea-bookbook-final-hed-2014.png

But before we get down to business, let me tell you when it all began. A very recent (a week ago) move to a one-bedroom loft-style unit next door caused me and my enabler (aka my husband) to re-think our choices and come up with a design that will complement the high ceilings and open-floor layout of our new 650 sq. ft. apartment. We both wanted more floor space and our very nice

(must be a fellow Ikeaholic) landlord didn’t prevent us from hanging stuff on the wall. Plus, we have two adult golden retrievers with hair that shed – enough hair to make a small dog out of it! Based on that list, more room for our twelve feet (eight paws included) to move around the house; we need more foldable, stackable, stash-awayable furniture preferably with wheels for added mobility and, if budget

permits, a leather couch that could withstand our “hairy situation.” So what’s a couple to do given our specific needs and budget? Head straight to the “blue box store.” It started out innocently enough; a shelf here, a storage box there. But then it spiraled into an Ikea rabbit hole, and before I knew it, the


PIECE BY PIECE By Angel Tahimik

addiction signs started to surface. In a span of 15 days, my loyal and equally IKEA-addicted accomplice and I, did the following. If you’ve done at least five of these, you’re on your way to getting hooked – you’ve been warned. 1. Made four separate trips to Ikea: one for just looking around and the other three are, well you know – “stocking-up on stash.” 2. Had sleepless nights browsing and

adding items to my Ikea online cart. 3. Having known by heart which furniture belonged to the Ekby and the Lack series. 4. Having memorized the aisles and bins of our favorite items – or carrying a pocket journal in case we forgot. 5. Imagined what a wonderful world it would be if everything was made out of the Algot system. 6. Craved for Swedish meatballs even after eating it twice in one week. 7. Turned my Pinterest into an Ikea online catalogue. 8. Pinned all the boards on Pinterest containing Ikea hacks. 9. Repeatedly flipped through the pages of our IKEA catalogs and still got awe-stricken every time. 10. Spent every single day at home assembling, drilling and installing shelves and going back to Ikea to

buy more shelves (shout-out to my very patient husband). 11. Set a goal to one day purchase the leather sectional sofa that costs a month’s rent. 12. Left the house without taking a shower because we were in a hurry to get to the store – to claim the last piece of Veberbοd room divider (note: they are temporarily oversold). 13. Took a day off from work to spend a five-hour-quality time at our favorite store. 14. Stared at the walls of our home (for an hour) envisioning the wall gallery I’m building out of Ribba frames. 15. Smiled at our empty fridge but frowned at what little wall space we have left to hang more Algot systems. 16. Taught our dog to speak I-K-E-A (Just kidding. They already know how to do that).

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VEGAS VIBES By Esmeralda Padilla-Gould

strong passion in keeping the Asian communities together for future generations, thus, the revival of VAsian TV with stronger partners and more ambitious projects.


arl Magno, founder and CEO of ACTV, shared the challenges and triumphs of creating an outlet for Asian awareness in Las Vegas through the medium of television. ACTV, the Las Vegas community channel, cleared its inception on January 21, 2017 fortifying its awareness mission by showcasing the beauty and culture of our fast growing, vibrant Las Vegas Asian-American community. The station produces news, stories and entertainment. Its headquarters are located at the Asian Culture Alliance Center, 333 S. 6th Street, Las Vegas, NV 89101. Carl Magno, a graduate of Ateneo University, Davao City, with a B.S. in Business Administration also has an MBA in Consumer/ Industrial Marketing from the Eastern Washington University in Cheney,

Washington. After growing up in Davao City, he recalls his steadfast desire to relocate to Las Vegas. Captivated by the iconic names of Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, and the Rat Pack, he has always dreamed of moving his entire family to America. Acquiring U.S. citizenship he has been residing in the entertainment capital of the world since 2006. Even though he lives here in Las Vegas, he still enjoys reading about several of our many Las Vegas icons. With his 30 years experience in producing and distributing programs with Asian content, he found himself creating a TV network called VAsianTV with Guy Rendon and Bill Bon. One of its featured shows was “It’s Vegas with Lani” hosted by our Asia’s Nightingale and Las Vegas headliner Lani Misalucha. His original attempt in creating an Asian Channel in Las Vegas, VAsianTV with Guy Rendon, unfortunately met its demise in 2013. But he has always maintained a

The partnership with Cavin Fung, Founder and President of Asian Culture Alliance, a 501C3 foundation organized in 2014 started in the middle of 2016 when he was invited to partner with ACA for the creation of a 24/7 TV Network for the Asian Community. Before agreeing to be part of the TV network, Carl agreed to partner with Cavin in the re-creation and re-launch of ASIAN NEWS which launched in late August last year. During that time, Carl saw how ACA took care of its members. ACA provided almost everything to their members for free, including membership and all the classes. The members benefited from ACA and because of this generosity, they donated their time, effort and money into ACA. Most of the members of ACA back then were Chinese, with only a handful of Filipinos and other Asian nationalities. After the successful re-launch of Asian News, other Asian nationalities started to come and participate, including our VAsianTV and VegaslifeTV partners Steve Schorr coming in from the television and mass media arena and David Tupaz, a world renowned elite fashion designer.

MANILA UP! 61 Everything was running very well at the Asian Culture Center from where ACA operated. The VAsianTV studio unfortunately burned down, and was totally destroyed in midOctober last year. All of VASianTV’s production equipment succumbed to the fire and left them with virtually nothing. The ACA lost everything as well, however, this was where Carl saw the Asian Community spirit coming through. Cavin and Carl decided that it was indeed a blessing in disguise. They were tested by God on how passionate they were about their project. So it didn’t stop the ACA and VAsianTV operations. For almost three months, episodes were taped in restaurants and temporary locations while some of ACA classes were held in the homes of teachers and small offices in the Chinatown area. On November 12, 2016, during the 2nd Asian Culture Day celebrations, Cavin Fung announced to over a thousand people in attendance at Texas Station, that ACA was to launch a 24/7 TV Network called Asian Culture TV (ACTV) in January, 2017 and that Carl Magno will serve as its CEO. No one in the TV/Broadcast Industry took them seriously, knowing that it will take at least $2 Million to create a local TV network, let alone another $30 Million for a global network. Everyone was quite aware they didn’t have the resources on hand to do it. Against all odds, but with God on their side, ACTV was electrifying the TV airwaves on channel 30.6 by January 21, 2017! Needless to say, everyone was shocked and in disbelief. Below is Carl’s speech during the Grand Opening of the new Asian Culture Center, at 333 S. 6th Street. “ACTV’s programming is very unique. Our first guideline is this everything that comes out of ACTV

MUST be sex, violence, profanity, or fabricated, biased news. Preferably, we will produce 80% of our programs locally and about all things Asian in the Vegas Valley. The 20% will consist of programs that either promote Las Vegas or the beauty of Asian culture and travel destinations, including the great and varied cuisine of Asian nations. Currently we have Flags of Asia where we educate viewers of the 48 Asian Nations recognized by the United Nations, and 4 to 8 of their most famous food on Food Asia. The Asian Culture Center has more than 40 free classes in Performing Arts, Languages, Sports, etc. and our goal is to put all of these classes on live television so that more people worldwide will benefit from the free classes, physically and online. Now, other Asian organizations also offer free classes. That’s great because more people will benefit. The only difference is of course, ACA has a 24/7 TV arm that will share everything that we’re doing for everyone interested, globally.”

Their ACTV app was launched in August 2017, and is available to download for free through App Store on your iPhone or iPad, or through Play Store on Android smartphone. Search for “actv-05media.” ACTV is also available on FREETV Channel 30.6 in the Vegas Valley or via live streaming at It has been an amazing experience being one of the newscasters of Asian News and co-host Music Asia. I had the pleasure of meeting and actually working with the members and crew of ACTV. I’m proud yet humbled to be part of Asian News and to co-host Music Asia with Mr. Art Mendoza. To those wishing to start a career in entertainment, and need exposure on local and global TV, please call David Knight or Art Mendoza at 702.666.8658 or email us at We would be glad to assist you in achieving your dreams in the entertainment industry.



n Sunday, August 13, 2017 a Los Angeles based event planner and event producers Virgelia Productions., Inc. hosted the 13th Annual Haute Couture Fashion Show Los Angeles held at the historic and beautiful Millennium Biltmore Hotel located in the heart of the bustling downtown Los Angeles.

Two weeks before the event, Virgelia Villegas, President of Virgelia Productions announced that the event had sold out tickets. The much anticipated fashion show presented six seasoned, successful designers, each had very distinctive style but all had common qualities – they were successful, passionate, determined, incredibly talented and highly respected on their own merits.

The royalty studded event was hosted by Prince Mario Max Lippe of Germany and Queen Ashley Park, Miss Asia USA 2015. In attendance were the current 2017 beauty titleholders Miss Asia USA Juri Watanabe, Mrs. Asia USA Jenny Bui, Miss Teen Asia USA Nancy Ngo, Miss Latina Global Angelique Plaza, Mrs. Latina Global Monica Escobar, and Miss Asia

MANILA UP! 63 USA California, Linoria Aghakhani. The art of casting the 2017 featured designers was undertaken by Virgelia who took the time to research for the right designers in order to achieve the mission of the Haute Couture Los Angeles Fashion Show which was to showcase the culture of our diverse society and provide opportunities for nonprofessional models to break into the field of fashion. Featured designers were: The a young and beautiful Ayan Wang, based in Shanghai, China she traveled across the continent to showcase her latest Fall collection. Phukaw with lead designer and proprietor AksapakBondu with an atelier in Hollywood presented the Hill Tribal cultural clothing of Thailand made with organic yarns. Manshaa’s lead designer and proprietor Archanaa with atelier in California and India presented 22 of her colorful Saree and Lenga. Lee Hwa with lead designer Laura Park is based in LA’s Koreatown is the biggest and oldest Hanbok atelier and designer in the US. Hanbok is a traditional Korean female formal wear. Shail K’s lead designer and proprietor Kimi is a former Bollywood actress and model. Based in bustling Los Angeles, Kimi specializes in formal, modern ladies evening gowns. Contestants of Virgelia Productions, Inc. Pageant modeled her latest Fall collections.

Renowned international Japanese designer Sueko Oshimoto. With atelier in North Hollywood and Japan, presented a colorful collection of modern Kimonos to represent the modern woman of today. Virgelia Villegas, the creator of Haute Couture Los Angeles Fashion Show was inspired to create the show 13 years ago in order to open up the doors of opportunity for her pageant contestants who were given the utmost in casting opportunities by modeling for her fashion shows. The production overview of such massive undertaking included more than 73 models, 6 designers with their staff, over 32 teams of hair and makeup artists, 10 stage, sound and lighting staff, 10 volunteers 4 staff, 6 official photographers and videographers, with 2 months to plan and 10 hours to set up a 2 ½ hour show. When asked, “what is the key to a successful event?” Virgelia Villegas said: “ A skillful, strong leader with a great team of staff ”. Next, Virgelia Productions will present a fashion show for the National Convention of AREAA – Asian Real Estate Association of America on September 29, 2017. Thereafter, the Miss Asia USA / Miss Latina Global / Miss Europe Global Pageants to be held at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center on November 18, 2017 For more information about Virgelia Productions contact 1800 831-9880 or Text 818-641-7779/ Facebook VIRGELIA PROD Photos by Rajesh Shah Photography





Private Dining area for conference, business or small group


t’s been such a great summer so far. Cali weather has been wonderful. And, always pretty excited to do reviews on restaurants. In our last June-July 2017 issue, we featured the upscale American Dining venue in WEHO - The Pump. This time we have another beautifully decorated American Mediterranean themed restaurant also owned by the gorgeous celebrity entrepreneur, Lisa Vanderpump. She owns the SUR Restaurant which is located in the heart of West Hollywood at Robertson Blvd. and Melrose Ave. Its hours of operation are from 5 PM every night, 7 days a week. Dinner is served Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday until 10:30

Exotic Bar with rustic and antique decor

PM, until 11 PM on Thursday with Friday and Saturday until 11:30 PM. Happy hours are Monday through Sunday at 5:00-7:00 PM. They’ve got valet and street parking. Dress code is dressy. SUR is situated in WEHO adjacent to other great restaurants, bars and lounges. SUR carries its meaning as sexy, which best describes the unique restaurant. If you’re looking for a comfy indoor dining, a patio and a romantic private room, Sur is the place to be. SUR has great service, an international cuisine, low lighting with colors of pink and purple. Pink and purple creates a nice ambiance for the restaurant with crisp linen, fresh cut flowers, rustic, wooden or decorative items and antique artifacts. This restaurant offers an

exotic flare to unique dining. SUR has been featured in the BRAVO series “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” and the docu-series “Vanderpump Rules”. SUR is the best date night place for me. I would rate it an A+ as well for an amazing dining experience, always keeping in mind the comfort of its diners. It’s got a variety of choices on the menu from appetizers, salads, pasta and risotto, entrees, side orders and desserts. Drinks include tea, coffee, digestifs, cocktails, champagne and other signature libations. So whenever you’re in LA... think SUR as your choice of restaurant. Photos by Celia Abuel


Main dining area for families or bigger group

Roasted garlic chicken breast with two side orders (steamed carrots and French fries)

Intimate Dining area for a romantic dinner for two (2)

Smoked Salmon ~ Alfalfa sprouts salad, capers & mango dressing


By Grace Aguilar


e’re way past half the year of 2017 but it’s been such an amazing one especially with events following one after another. For example, last August 12th in Carlsbad, in a gorgeous mansion an event was put together for a good cause by Founder Al Harris and Co-Founder Raquel Sanchez of the organization called Kiss the Monkeys (KTM). It’s always a joy and a pleasure that we get to participate & Manila Up! International Magazine was present to partake in the exciting event. Prior to it, Kiss the Mermaids was officially launched at a gala. Kiss the Mermaids had a magnificent underwater photoshoot taken by the talented Alex Sher. Lisseth Corrao from Couture USA hosted the Aqua Gala Event, a charity event benefitting the MagdaleneEcke Family YMCA to launch KTM’s Women Empowerment Organization. Every lady guest that evening looked lovely. As the guests arrived, there were a few photographers present to take pictures at the red carpet. They walked into the mansion greeting the organizers, Al and Raquel as music which was provided by DJ Aljess Bernardo of A8 Creatives filled the air. Emcees that evening were Sonya Berg and JP West who did a good job keeping the guests entertained, introducing amazing musicians such as Tiffany Nicole Brevard and Ryan Brahms.

Singer Ryan Brahms and first on right singer Tiffany Nicole Brevard with Prince Mario Max Schaumburg

Guests were entertained with two fashion shows. One was with designer Annette Higgins wearing & showcasing her designer hats with her beautiful models on stage by the pool area of the mansion. The second fashion show was by fashion designer Lisseth Corrao with her designer dresses. A stage by pool area was nicely decorated with a masterpiece backdrop of flowers designed by florist and event planner Norayma Weaver of Sol Luna Events. Tiffany Nicole Brevard and her Mom were awarded the Kiss the Mermaids Evolutionist Award at the Aqua Gala event. Tiffany rendered a beautiful song and played the harp while singing her song. Versatile musician Ryan Brahms sang a few songs while he played a couple of instruments too. Jena Masero danced a nice Hawaiian number. The last highlight was an auction of bachelors: Bachelor Billy Broas, Andrew William Steel and James Hawthorn. It was pretty exciting

watching women bid for these bachelors! Tasty delights like Filet Mignon, crab and halibut were served by Bratzo Basagoitia from Cafe Secret, a Peruvian restaurant in Del Mar. Ara Lebanese Grill served delicious food as well. Peter Wrobel and Diana Mendoza from Koo Koo Liqueur made us try their tasty Chocolate Liqueur. The show ended sweet with pictures taken at the red carpet of Kiss the Mermaids, a bit of dancing, guests mingling and networking. I met so many amazing people that night. Truly I am thankful to Al and Raquel for the invite. Organizers are thankful to those that made the event a success. Among the (too many to mention are) volunteers Scott Kurachi and Faris Addal along with Sidney Garcia for his support in promotion and sponsorship. Aqua Gala Event wouldn’t have been made possible without the help of everyone working together towards a common goal or mission.


Photo by Alex Sher

Photo by Alex Sher


I’ll See you in September, when Summer is gone?... my favorite Labor Day Quotes “He who works with his hands is a laborer. He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman. He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.”

~  Francis of Assisi

“Our labour preserves us from three great evils -- weariness, vice, and want.”

~ Voltaire

MAUI MANIA By Edith Pendleton

“My father taught me to work; he did not teach me to love it.”  

~ Abraham Lincoln

“In proportion therefore, as the repulsiveness of the work increases, the ~  Karl Marx wage decreases.”  “Man is so made that he can only find relaxation from one kind of labor by ~ Anatole France taking up another.”  “Labor Day is seen as a day of rest for many hardworking Americans.”

- James P. Hoffa

“The candidate out front on Labor Day has historically been the one who stayed ~ Peter Jennings ahead in November.” “Without labor nothing prospers.” 

~ Sophocles

“The end of labor is to gain leisure.” 

~ Aristotle

“Labor Day is a glorious holiday because your child will be going back to school the next day.  It would have been called Independence Day, but that name was ~ Bill Dodds already taken.”    If a train station is where the train stops, and a bus station is where the bus stops, what is a work station?

~ Anonymous


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long with a spectacular evening of world class performances and star studded lineups, twenty extraordinary, young women, with an equally impressive group of nine teen candidates fought for gold at the 5th, grandest, and final installment of Binibining Pilipinas USA. In a first, the

evening was hosted by KC Concepcion and KC Montero -- remarkably, the first-time ever that the two KCs have hosted a show together. “It took Binibining Pilipinas USA to bring us together,” quipped KC Montero. Co-hosted by Emmy award winning producer of “The Talk,”

Marc Anthony Nicolas, the night kicked off with a spectacular opening number featuring laser and LED effects, twin 20 foot dancing robots and high-flying, acrobatic moves by Asia’s Got Talent and WCOPA Grand Champions, Junior New System, to Coldplay and The Chainsmokers’ “Something Just Like This.” The audience joined in, waving their LED batons in the air.

MANILA UP! 73 “That atmosphere was absolutely electric,” said Olympic figure skater, Michael Martinez who was in the audience. Hailing from seven states, the contestants competed in their national costumes, swimsuits, and evening gowns to a sellout venue. The toughest job of narrowing the bunch fell to the pens of the distinguished panel of judges chaired by Miss Universe 1993 Dayanara Torres, Undersecretary of the Philippine Department of Tourism Kat De Castro; world renowned fashion designer Elie Madi, “Voice builder to the world” Gary Catona, former Major League Baseball All-Star Royce Clayton, Ralph Moore, Hon. Cristina Perez (from the TV series Justice for All with Judge Cristina), Michelle Narvaez, and actor Reggie Lee (Grimm). Special music performances by a pair of platinum recording artists, Dawn Robinson of En Vogue (“My Lovin’-You’re Never Gonna Get It”) and dance diva Cece Peniston (“Finally”) had the audience dancing and singing along enthusiastically. Lastly, for a surprise number to celebrate five years of excellence. IEG brought back some Binibining Pilipinas USA and Teen USA alumni as they presented a dance number, “There’s Nothing Holding Me Back.” The evening marked the final time the pageant would run as “Binibining Pilipinas USA”. KC Concepcion announced that the pageant would continue next year under its new moniker, “Miss Filipina International.” “We couldn’t have been more thrilled with these past five years,” said

KC Montero and KC Concepcion

Mildred Deang, BP-USA founder and Executive Producer. “At the same time, we’re excited for what the next five years will bring, but first, we need to catch up on some sleep!” Special guests were Jacob Meir, founder of For the Stars Fashion House, actress Maria Conchita Alonzo, Olympic skater Michael Martinez, Consul General Los Angeles Adelio Angelito Cruz and wife, Director of Tourism Los Angeles Richmond Jimenez, actress Hilda Koronel, President of Hunt Enterprises Priscilla Hunt, Miss Universe Guatemala Virginia Argueta, Cinemoi President Daphna Zimans, Emmy-

award winning producer Lisa LewBrennan, designer Joey Galon and a quartet of mainstream entertainment and fashion industry publicists Nerissa Silao, Eseel Borlasa, Josephine Dizon and Winston Emano. All were on hand to join the most awaited event of the year. The winners were: Binibining Pilipinas USA 2017 is Nikki Zulueta Binibining Pilipinas USA Tourism – Kylie Nishida Binibining Pilipinas USA 1st Runner Up - Kelly Ceniza, 2nd Runner Up - Nicole Viera 3rd Runner Up - Nicole Colina.


Binibining Pilipinas Teen USA Asia Aragon 1 st Runner Up Czarina Kwong 2nd Runner Up Patricia Santos 3rd Runner Up Lorey Caminos Special Awards: Binibining Photogenic and Popularity – Maristel Barrientos Binibining National Costume – Janet Hammond Binibining Miss Congeniality – Pamela Saguinsin Binibining Top Runway Model and Binibining Philippine Airlines – Amber Oconer Binibining Best in Talent – Cheska Angeles Binibining Best in Swimsuit – Kylie Nishida Binibining Best in Evening Gown – Kelly Ceniza Binibining Social Media – Rachelle Penaso Binibining People’s Choice Award – Kyra Decastro

Junior New System

The Judges

Asia Aragon won all the following: Bb. Teen Best in National Costume Bb. Teen Miss Congeniality Bb. Teen Top Runway Model Bb. Teen Best in Talent Bb. Teen Best in Swimsuit Bb. Teen Best in Evening Gown Bb. Teen Teen Social Media – Patricia Santos Bb. Teen People’s Choice Award – Lorey Caminos Bb. Miss Popularity – Angel Soliven Bb. Miss Teen Photogenic – Czarina Kwong Photos by Celia Abuel

Michael Martinez, Olympic skater

Dayanara Torres, Miss Universe






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Victory Auto hosted the personal appearance of the famous LA Lakers player, Jordan Clarkson for the benefit of St Lorenzo Ruiz, for their ministry Faith Formation Programs. Photos by Tony Garcia

Mutya Trinidad, Jordan Clarkson, and Yolly Trinidad


Jordan Clarkson with our correspondent, Grace Aguilar

Owner Hedi Tinidad with daughter Mutya

Jordan Clarkson with Social Media Photographer, Celia Abuel

Yolly Trinidad, with Miss Philippines USA and Victory staff

Jordan Clarkson

Owner of Victory Auto Hedi and Yolly Trinidad with the MPUSA 2017

Jordan Clarkson



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2017 september issuu  
2017 september issuu