Archive for the ‘Kathryn Bernardo’ Tag

5 Best ABS-CBN Christmas Station IDs   Leave a comment

xmas

When we think of Christmas, we’re reminded of a lot of things: completing the simbang gabi, the smell of fresh puto bumbong and bibingka, colorful Christmas decorations in Ayala, and endless shopping mall sales. Oh, and the  launch of ABS-CBN’s annual Christmas-themed station ID. Starting back in 2003, ABS-CBN’s tradition of producing these videos definitely adds more excitement to the holiday season. A dozen years later, it’s clear that they aren’t competing anymore with anyone when it comes to station IDs; as a matter of fact, they’re running this game already. ABS-CBN has already mastered the art of producing such that launching it is considered an event of its own already. Last week, they’ve finally released the one for 2015 with the theme “Thank You For the Love!” (which you can watch here) and sung by their triumvirate loveteams Daniel Padilla and Kathryn Bernardo, James Reid and Nadine Lustre, and Enrique Gil and Liza Soberano, alongside The Voice Kids 2 champion Elha Nympha and her coach Bamboo.

Let’s do the perfect holiday throwback as we go back at five of their best Christmas station ID outputs yet.

5. “Lumiliwanag ang Mundo sa Kwento ng Pasko” (2012)

2012 was when ABS-CBN started the tradition of incorporating their different advocacy in their station IDs. When previous years would simply focus on doing reenactments of the different Christmas traditions, they’ve now included snippets of the actual gift giving and helping to the victims of the different typhoons, as well as interviews to the survivors. Consider it tacky or exploitative if you like, but no doubt it started the trend of the heart tugging stories that makes the holidays feel really more about love.

Highlights:  Dawn Zulueta putting up her lantern in her US grapevine house, a shot of an old Ivatan couple setting up their lantern, and Gerald Anderson visiting a barangay severely affected by the typhoons.

4. “Magkasama Tayo sa Kwento ng Pasko” (2013)

2012 was the trial year, but 2013 was when they fleshed out more of these different human Christmas stories of Pinoys all over the world. It started with Gemma, an OFW based in Hong Kong narrating that she would miss the holidays to earn more money for her family. Then there’s a habal-habal driver in Cebu, Kim Chiu’s “family” that she visited for a reality show years before, and a married old couple based in the US now among many others. This year’s jingle, sung by The Voice Philippines coaches and top four, is also one of their catchier ones.

Highlights: Piolo Pascual surprising the OFW in Hong Kong, Judy Ann Santos visiting survivors in the Woman’s Crisis Center, and John Lloyd Cruz giving tribute to a loyal ABSCBN employee.

3. “Angat ang Ligaya ng Pasko” (2006)

Now if you’re fed up with the current format of the dramatic ones, the 2006 is a perfect throwback to the heydays when the station ID is less than four minutes, and Christmas is mostly seen as a purely festive celebration. Using APO’s Christmas classic “Tuloy Na Tuloy Pa Rin ang Pasko“, only this time sung by Orange & Lemons, this station ID is probably what detractors of the current format prefer. It’s short but it’s starstudded, it’s colorful and still celebratory, and those network wars fanatics can’t accuse it of being self-serving.

Highlights: That Church scene with Sharon Cuneta “reading” probably a Bible verse to the audience (also filled of the different Kapamilya celebrities), the late Johhny Delagdo dressed as Santa Claus giving gifts to children, and that final shot of the late Comedy King Dolphy, Susan Roces, Maricel Soriano, and Judy Ann Santos (talk about star power) leading other celebrities off the church.

2. “Star ng Pasko” (2009)

This is probably the greatest Christmas jingle ABS-CBN has ever produced. Fresh off the wounds of Typhoon Ondoy that year, combined with the “Bro” fever from their then primetime series May Bukas Pa, this is the song that we can safely call as the Christmas theme of 2009. Literally all the choirs in the country have included it in their repertoire of songs, and whether you visit malls or schools, this is the only song that’s being played. And you’d understand why. This has captured the essence of the Filipino spirit, and how Christmas is still seen as a day of love, a tradition that will never fade. The actual video delivers as well, with everyone waving their own star shaped lanterns, nevermind if they’re all singing the chorus for more or less, nine minutes.

Highlights: The little kid in the beginning pulling a set of lanterns from the mud, the lanterns forming a star-shaped creation in the middle, Kris Aquino with her new born son Bimby in the video.

1. “Isang Pamilya, Isang Puso Ngayong Pasko” (2002)

They say that the first one is really hard to beat, and in this case, that’s really true. The first Christmas-themed station ID they’ve made would probably put any other station IDs to shame when it comes to star power wattage. You have the late Comedy King Dolphy and the Action King Fernado Poe Jr., as for starters. Then fans of those so-called actressing would be delighted, as this also featured Superstar Nora Aunor, Star for All Seasons Vilma Santos, Diamond Star Maricel Soriano, and Megastar Sharon Cuneta in it. If I have to list the 100+ Kapamilyas in it (ranging from teleserye actors to musicians to the News & Current Affairs people), we’d probably never reach the end.

Highlights: Vilma Santos dancing with a student in the classroom, Nora Aunor lighting the huge candle, FPJ doing his trademark salute before Dolphy releases the lantern on top of the huge Christmas tree.

What are your favorite Christmas station IDs?Happy Holidays everyone!

Let’s talk on Twitter: @nikowl

10 Best MMFF Movies of the Last 10 Years   Leave a comment

Last week, the Metro Manila Development Authority headed by Francis Tolentino has announced the entries for this year’s Metro Manila Film Festival. And as expected, MMFF staples such as Vice Ganda, Robin Padilla, Vic Sotto, Kris Aquino, and Aiai delas Alas all have entries this year.

Once the festival home of films such as Himala, Burlesk Queen, Karnal, Itanong Mo Sa Buwan, Magic Temple, and Dekada ’70, there has been a paradigm shift in terms of the criteria on how films are chosen the past decade. Commercial appeal has been the primary agenda now and box office as a main factor on which entries will make it.

And while this has elicited a lot of criticisms, particularly the idea of prioritizing box office over “quality” films, the MMFF has still treated us with some notable films quality films over the years. This coming year, entries from Gil Portes, Antoinette Jadaone, Jose Javier Reyes, and Dan Villegas have been chosen while those of Erik Matti’s and Jeffrey Jeturian were in the waitlist categories.

Before I reveal my picks of the ten best MMFF films of the last ten years (New Wave section excluded), here are five that came close from being included:

11-15

“Ulam” from Shake, Rattle, and Roll XV (director: Jerrold Tarog, 2014) – Ulam made good use of every minute we’ve seen on screen to show the horrors and tension of a marital relationship.

“Katas ng Saudi” (director: Jose Javier Reyes, 2007) – Probably the most memorable OFW movies in local cinema depict those of a mother leaving their children behind. Here’s from a father’s perspective of coming home and realizing it isn’t what he expected.

“Pagpag” (director: Frasco Mortiz, 2013) – It’s horror by the numbers, but it tackles such a Filipino ritual one can’t help but to give in to its scares.

“Manila Kingpin: The Asiong Salonga Story” (director: Daryl dela Cruz, 2011) – It got its reputation as the one that started the action comeback, but its behind the scenes director mishap got in the way for  the film to move from being good to being great.

“One More Try” (director: Ruel Bayani, 2012) – Rip-off or not, the film brags of solid performances from its four leads, particularly that of its lead actress Angel Locsin.

And as for the top 10:

10

10. “Parola” from Shake, Rattle, and Roll 13 (director: Jerrold Tarog, 2011) – Parola is the perfect throwback to the early heydays of the Shake, Rattle, and Roll franchise, only with better production and technical achievements. Its scares mixes that of the old and the new, giving the type of scares that the audience will definitely bite.

09

09. “English Only Please” (director: Dan Villegas, 2014) – It’s easy to dismiss English Only Please from the get go, it’s not from the manufactured Star Cinema factory of kilig, not does it star a tandem that has a solid following. But it has proven that it doesn’t need any of those. It gives the same kilig and “feels” without the need to fall trap to the usual rom-com clichés.

08

08. “Blue Moon (director: Joel Lamangan, 2005) – During the last few years when Regal Films was still obsessed with this big star-studded ensembles in family dramas comes Lamangan directing a Palanca-winning screenplay about three generation of family members with the patriarch searching for his one true love. The film is mostly fluff hiding in between the big war backdrop, but its attempt is earnest one can’t help but fall in love with it.

07

07. “Lihim ng San Joaquin (director: Richard Somes, 2005) – When Shake, Rattle, and Roll made a comeback in the mid-Aughts, a lot expected to feel the throwback of the early 90s horror franchise. Instead, we got that ridiculous “Poso” episode and an uneven “Aquarium” one. Then comes “Lihim ng San Joaquin”, about a young , newlywed couple transferring to a rural town. This one will keep you on the edge of your seat with its silence.

06

06. “Kubot: The Aswang Chronicles (director: Erik Matti, 2014) – Sure, the MMFF has been a commercial venue for the whole family to enjoy, but with Kubot, the follow up to 2012’s Tiktik, Erik Matti proved that a sequel isn’t an alibi to come up with a lackluster addition to a franchise (which most MMFF franchises are guilty of doing). While it doesn’t necessarily have to beat its predecessor, it doesn’t have to be a downgrade as well.

05

05. “Boy Golden: Shoot to Kill (director: Chito Rono, 2013) – The best thing about Boy Golden is that it doesn’t want to prove anything. It doesn’t take itself seriously and just wants to have fun. And boy was it a fun movie-watching experience mixing camp and action we haven’t seen in a long time.

04

04. “Punerarya” from Shake, Rattle and Roll 12 (director: Jerrold Tarog, 2010) – Hands down, this is one of the best episodes ever in the whole SRR franchise. Jerrold Tarog’s first output stars Carla Abellana as a private tutor to two kids from the neighbor’s funeral parlor. And as secrets were slowly revealed, the tension just escalates further. This one doesn’t get old and is a must watch.

03

03. “RPG Metanoia” (director: Luis Suarez, 2010) – Not for lack of trying, the MMFF has welcomed local animation in the festival. Twice, even (the first one was 2008’s “Dayo sa Mundo ng Elemento”). RPG can brag about being the first Pinoy 3D animated film, but more than that achievement, its dedication in tackling a theme highlighting the rich Philippine culture is admirable.

02

02. “Kasal, Kasali, Kasalo” (director: Jose Javier Reyes, 2006) – On the outside, Kasal’s biggest achievement is how it managed to be a crowd-pleasing film, yet one that critics will positively respond as well. Digging deeper, it’s really not difficult to fall in love with this film. It touches the topic of a traditional Pinoy family whose value for marriage and relationship is as valuable to the whole family, maybe even more so, than to the actual couple. Obviously, the great ensemble elevated the already strong material further.

01

01. “Thy Womb (director: Brillante Mendoza, 2012) – It’s silly when you think about it, that the best film of the festival of the last decade, was just a replacement choice of that year. Shot in the farthest village of Tawi-Tawi, “Thy Womb” wasn’t just the story of a midwife attempt to provide her husband a child, but it also opened us to a culture we aren’t particularly familiar with. I believe this is one of the films that will go down as the best in the history of the festival. Plus, it gave us Nora Aunor’s comeback performance.

So as much as we rant and complain about the MMFF every year, chances are there are one or two entries that will really be worth of our money. This year has the potential to deliver as well.

You can tweet me if you want to talk about this list: @nikowl

2013 Metro Manila Film Festival Review: Part 1   12 comments

In the last three decades, Christmas time in the Philippines is not complete without the celebration of the Metro Manila Film Festival. The history of this festival might have been very shaky at best, but this one produced some of the best films our country ever produced ranging from Ishmael Bernal’s Himala and Eddie Romero’s Ganito Kami Noon Paano Kayo Ngayon. Other notable films include Marilou Diaz Abaya’s Jose Rizal, Jose Javier Reyes’s May Minamahal, and last year’s entry Brillante Mendoza’s Thy Womb. With that said, the last decade of the festival has focused mostly on commercially viable films with the same actors, producers, and even stories to watch every single year. Now on it’s 39th year, here’s the first half of my reviews for the MMFF entries of this year’s batch.

My Little Bossings

MY LITTLE BOSSINGS
Director: Marlon Rivera
Cast: Vic Sotto, Kris Aquino, Ryzza Mae Dizon, Bimby Aquino Yap, Aiza Seguerra

For his eleventh consecutive year in the film fest, Vic Sotto takes off his superhero costume and lays down all the swords and the magic as he now portrays Torky, who lives alone now after his wife died four months into their marriage. Working as a bookeeping accountant to a wealthy single mother Barbara (Kris Aquino), all he wanted was to travel around the world and leave where he’s at. Tides change when Barbara’s life was put into danger as her stepsister puts the blame on her on a pyramid scam and she relied on Torky to take care of her son, spoiled kid Justin (Bimby Aquino Yap).

The film is actually a feel good one in terms of emphasizing the role of the family and while it did not offer anything new, it was engaging and at times, really funny. There were some inspired approaches used in the film such as that of the Ili Ili montage in the first half hour of the movie involving mother Barbara and son Justin. I guess one of the movie’s most valuable asset is the chemistry: Aiza Seguerra and Vic Sotto has one, Kris Aquino and Vic Sotto has one, Ryzza Mae Dizon and Bimby Aquino Yap has one. Vic Sotto’s schtick (and his looks) really never gets old. He might have been doing the same act for years now both in TV and film, but he has that charisma that appeals to the movie goers. I like it more when Kris Aquino pokes fun at herself (confession: I love her in Sisterakas last year), so when she keeps doing all these drama scenes here opposite a very campy Jaclyn Jose shows her awkward kunot noo theatrics. Aiza Seguerra’s doing more mother roles now no? I think it actually suits her as she gives an affecting mother figure here. But then again, the stars of the show are the kids. Ryzza Mae Dizon is really a natural. She’s such a blast to watch as she’s not conscious in front of the cameras. On the other hand, Bimby Aquino Yap has been mostly relegated to scenes where he does the “reaction face” (think of the person reacting after the punchline was thrown in gag shows), but the kid has the charm that’s lovely to watch. He does not look awkward and it seems like he’s enjoying this acting stint. If anything, I think this film perfectly encapsulates the usual feel good family movie of the earlier MMFF days, and it’s this season that fits the vibe of the film the most.

Rating: 2.5/5

Pagpag

PAGPAG
Director: Frasco Mortiz
Cast: Daniel Padilla, Kathryn Bernardo, Paulo Avelino, Shaina Magdayao, Clarence Delgado

The film tackles the different superstitious beliefs that one should not do after visiting a wake, with Death knocking at your doors if you fail to do so. When a group of five teens accidentally visits a wake that a funeral wake service group prepared for, things start to get eerie for both camps.

Another mainstay genre at the MMFF is that of the horror one. I don’t know why people love to scare themselves on Christmas day, though “scaring” them is quite a task since most of the horror films failed to deliver. Pagpag is an interesting one. When the film starts to be get predictable, the writers still inject something twisted or new in order to balance it. And for the most part, it actually works. The superstition niche is one that never gets old, and we’re given a rich serving of that in the movie. The Final Destination deaths were actually hit or miss with some really interesting deaths and some senseless lazy ones. The movie also opens with an interesting short story explaining the concept of pagpag. If anything, I guess the final act went on too long and it just.doesn’t.die.down. And of course in the middle of scaring us all, there’s the obligatory kilig scenes, since this stars the top love team for Christ’s sake. But that’s countered with the great visuals offered by the movie. The editing, production design, and cinematography were really great. I love the colors palette used, and the crisp editing was put into good use in the death scenes. Overall, I felt this one is a very competent film style wise, and whether you’ll actually be scared is up to you. But it’s one of the better ones did the past few years.

Rating: 3/5

Girl Boy Bakla Tomboy

GIRL BOY BAKLA TOMBOY
Director: Wenn Deramas
Cast: Vice Ganda (x4), Maricel Soriano, Joey Marquez, Ruffa Gutierrez, Kiray Celis

Quadruplets representing each possible gender preference reunite, and it’s not as warm and loving as one actually thinks it is.

Disclaimer: I actually enjoy most Vice Ganda movies. Maybe I share the same humor with him, but when he starts to do his schtick, I really end up cracking. I laugh with him while watching Showtime  and Gandang Gabi Vice, and I laugh a lot in his past films. However, this one is really tiring and overkill. I give him props though for playing all these four characters, as I find it a really daunting task, but it’s just too much for me. He made the mannerisms work somehow by sticking one quality per character, but I did not buy the boy and girl part at all. There’s a reason I guess why bakla is the narrator and center of the film, as it is his most natural. His tomboy used this lower voice which he held on until the end. Of course, there are still some hilarious parts. Bakla’s scene in the near end is one for the books and it’s really funny, but everything else feels so dated and tired. And I won’t even begin with the black face character of Kiray Celis and how many endless jokes were done about it (though I guess it’s sadder that the audience bought it a lot and we’re hilariously dying at it). Meh. I’m indifferent on this one, but I expect it to be this batch’s top grosser.

Rating: 2/5

Boy Golden

BOY GOLDEN
Director: Chito Rono
Cast: ER Ejercito, KC Concepcion, Eddie Garcia, John Estrada, Gloria Sevilla

Based on the Arturo Porcuna story, ER Ejercito plays the title role of Boy Golden as he partners with dancer Marla Dee (KC Concepcion) in taking revenge against the biggest mafia in town.

Color me surprised, but boy is this my favorite so far. I’m surprised because I don’t even have any idea what the film will be about, but this is an enjoyable as one can get. It has camp!!! I mean how can you not love it when there’s a white face character named Boy Putla. There’s Boy Putla, there’s an endless Elvis references, there’s Gloria Sevilla pulling her underarm hair while talking to Roi Vinzons. There’s even a Valentina motel with an unguarded big yellow python crawling on the tree near its entrance. I guess the lack of hype over this one is what wins me over. Manila Kingpin was good for the most part, and I like the black and white approach used. I’m simply not here for overdone El Presidente. But I think this one manages camp and action smoothly that it’s an enjoyable watch. I enjoyed the twists and turns in the story, and the fight scenes were for the most part, well done. As always though, my main problem with an ER Ejercito film is ER Ejercito himself. He’s really just awkward and it was painful to see him jumping off the roofs with his bulging belly in tow. But then he gets saved by the wonderful ensemble as KC Concepcion enjoying her role as Marla Dee, Eddie Garcia in an Eddie Garcia performance, and John Estrada, Jhong Hilario, Baron Geisler, and Tonton Gutierrez delivering as well. I guess the person most responsible here is director Chito Rono. He made this thing more interesting with the shots, and the production design and costumes here are top notch. He could have trimmed 10-15 minutes here as it’s quite long, but I’m living for the camp of this film. Whether it’s intentional or not, I don’t know, but I enjoyed it a lot.

Rating: 3.5/5

There you have it. What where your favorites this year? You can click here to see the second batch of MMFF reviews which includes Chris Martinez’ Kimmy Dora ang Kiyemeng Prequel, Francis Villacorta’s Pedro Calungsod, Eliza Cornejo’s Kaleidoscope World, and Joyce Bernal’s 10,000 Hours. Happy post Christmas day everyone, and happy MMFF season! 🙂

You can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

Entertainers of the Year 2013   2 comments

Hi everyone! We’ve passed the latter part of the month, and Christmas is really around the corner? One of the things I really love about December is coming up with my year end lists! And there’s no better kick off to that than by posting my list of Entertainers of the Year list. Inspired by Entertainment Weekly’s same title, I came up with 15 names whose 2013 is a breakout year in local pop culture scene. Last year, Nora Aunor topped the list which also included Janice de Belen, Iza Calzado, and married couple Zoren Legaspi and Carmina Villaroel. Here are 2013’s batch of entertainers:

15 doris bigornia

Photo courtesy of: twitter.com/DorisBigornia

And she’s bacccckkkk!!! After long years, the one and only Mutya ng Masa graces our screen again with her strong and feisty presence. Whether it’s asking the taumbayan questions for senatoriables, going back and forth with people on the street on their opinions of things, or showing her natural flair of humor and comedy on Gandang Gabi Vice, hers is a presence that was greatly missed. As if that’s not enough, she also serves as a fairy godmother very Tuesday afternoon in her own public service program, 2013 reunited us with this lively lady muse.

14 angeli bayani

Photo courtesy of: philstar.com

Sure, the Philippine independent cinema has been roaring and peaking as each year passes, but aside from the movies that we see, we’re also showered with the great talents that we witness. And this year, indie figure Angeli Bayani is definitely the queen of festivals. You can find her participating in the Cinemalaya entry Purok 7, Sineng Pambansa entries Lauriana and Tinik and in the CineFilipino entry The Guerilla is a Poet. As if that’s enough yet, she shares the same distinction this year with Marion Cotillard and Carey Mulligan: all three of them graced the Cannes Film Festival multiple times as she’s a part of Lav Diaz’ Norte, Hangganan ng Kasaysayan, and Singapore’s Oscar entry, Anthony Chen’s Ilo Ilo. 2x Oscar Best Director Ang Lee summed it best, when he said Angeli is a national treasure.

13 alden richards

Photo by Jojit Lorenzo from http://manila.coconuts.com

Ever since his breakthrough in One True Love last year, Kapuso actor Alden Richards is definitely primed to be the next big leading man of its network. As a proof, he participated in two Kapuso series this year (Indio, Mundo Mo’y Akin), starred in his own Magpakailanman episode, and will soon be seen in the Metro Manila Film Festival entry 10,000 Hours alongside Robin Padilla. That’s more than enough confirmation that this mestizo hunk is definitely being groomed to follow the paths of Dingdong Dantes and Richard Gutierrez among others. Oh, and who would forget his Cosmopolitan Bachelor Bash stint this year?

12 kathniel

Photo courtesy of: bidakapamilya.blogspot.com

If there’s one love team who definitely takes the cake as the most remarkable this year, no question that it’s the team up of Kapamilya stars Daniel Padilla and Kathryn Bernardo. Collectively known as Kathniel, they have managed to sweep the whole nation’s feet and surge into their best year yet as a love team. Last March, they had their launching movie Must Be Love which performed greatly at the box office. And as before the year ends, they’ll once again star in the lone horror MMFF entry Pagpag which will be another of their blockbuster. But aside from that, their follow up teleserye Got 2 Believe not only is a consistent top rater, but it’s definitely on Twitter’s trending topic worldwide EVERY.SINGLE.NIGHT. It’s definitely a career peak for both of these teens, and we’re waiting what’s next for them.

11 teng brothers

Photo courtesy of: philstar.com

The most prominent siblings in collegiate basketball the past season, the whole UAAP men’s basketball finale was all about one surname: TENG. Elder brother Jeric Teng of the UST Growling Tigers competes with younger sibling Jeron Teng of the DLSU Green Archers during the best of three series. And while it’s Jeron and the rest of the Green Archers that added a championship trophy in their mantle, the biggest winner from this are parents Alvin and Susan Teng whose hundreds of interviews and guesting stints this season have already emphasized how proud of them of their kids. The good things doesn’t stop there though, as Jeric easily got drafted by Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in the PBA while Jeron, if not doing guest stints in Got 2 Believe, continues his stints everywhere.

10 beauty queens

Photos courtesy of: sashfactor.info, normannorman.com, abs-cbnnews.com

2013 is probably the best year in a long time for Philippines in the pageant world, as it’s a year of firsts, fabs, and fun for this pageant loving country. Megan Young clinched the country’s first ever Miss World title when she won last September. Weeks before, Mutya Datul also gave us our first Miss Supranational title, and just two days ago, Bea Rose Santiago clinched us out fifth Miss International title (just one crown away in tying the best performing Venezuela). As if that’s enough yet, Ariella Arida continued the winning streak of our Miss Universe contenders by placing in the Top 5 for the fourth consecutive year. Both Cindy Miranda and Angelee Forbes also ended up as semifinalists in Miss Tourism Queen International and Miss Earth contests respectively. Then Ali Forbes also ended up as third runner up in Miss Grand International. And to cap this fantastic year, Gil Wagas is 4th Runner Up in the Mr. International pageant. Whew!

09 atom araullo

Photo courtesy of: twitter.com/atomaraullo

As if he’s not on anybody’s list yet, ABS CBN’s in house reporter Atom Araullo suddenly became the country’s top leading man. Only this time it’s not for the movies. His commendable and brave coverage of the Yolanda incident last month gave new meaning to the word professionalism. Not only did he turn out to be the unsung hero of the incident, it also gave birth to memes such as the Man in the Rain and ATHORM Araullo. But what’s more impressive about it is that you know the man is not doing it for the acclaims or the buzz, but more of the human intention of helping other people. Apart from that, he continues to be a reason women wake up in the morning – literally that is – via Umagang Kay Ganda and creeping us every Friday afternoon with interesting stories in Hiwaga.

08 vivian velez

Photo courtesy of: sssip.wordpress.com

Definitely one of the prettiest faces in the biz then and now, Vivian Velez made 2013 a perfect comeback year for her both in television and movies. In the small screen, she starred  in two series for two networks with Misibis Bay in TV5, and as Malvina Sancuevas in the local adaptation of famous Mexican telenovela in Maria Mercedes in ABSCBN. In the big screen, her short but memorable stint as the female boss in On the Job made her the fierce female boss, but more than that, her participation in the Cinema One Originals entry Bendor not only gave her her first lead role status in years, but also a Best Actress accolade in the said festival. What a comeback indeed.

07 abra

Photo courtesy of: musicweekly.asia

Rap music continues to be a force to be reckoned with in the Philippine music scene, after the likes of the late great Francis M., and Gloc 9 kept it alive the past few years.  The latest addition and poster boy of the said genre is 23 year old Raymond Abracosa, more familiarly known as Abra. Initially a part of the hiphop group LDP (Lyrically Deranged Poets) back in 2010, the rise of the fliptop sensation introduced him more to the general public. Last August, Abra launched his first concert and has performed in over 25 different TV shows the past year in the three largest networks of the country from ABS CBN’s Gandang Gabi Vice and Minute to Win It to GMA’s Celebrity Bluff and TV5’s Wowowillie. Now a certified household name, I’m pretty certain it takes more than a gayuma or an ilusyon on why he’s one of 2013’s entertainers of the year.

06 ryzza mae

Photo courtesy of: Yes! Magazine Facebook page

Big things come in small packages. Or in this case, big talents come in small eight year old girls. Ryzza Mae Dizon is probably as cute as a button but I’m sure you’d be wowed by all her achievements thus far. Hosting her own talk show The Ryzza Mae Show everyday then going straight to Eat Bulaga! right after, that’s just a part of Aling Maliit”s daily routines. She has also covered magazines, starred in a lot of advertisements. and won awards left right from Child Star of the Year up to Best Talk Show Host. And she’s ending this year with a bang by starring in her own MMFF entry My Little Bossings. Her 2013 alone can definitely be considered as one of the greatest in the history of child stars.

05 jessy mendiola

Photo courtesy of: Esquire Philippines Facebook page

What a year for this pretty mestiza actress! Not only did she step out from being one of the second tier actresses in her station, she carved a name for herself as one of 2013’s biggest breakthrough stars. Probably the greatest thing that happened to her this year is that she went single as it opened a lot of new doors for her career wise. Playing the coveted title role in Maria Mercedes, Jessy not only showed us her amazing salsa skills, she also highlights her acting chops amidst the great veteran actors of the show. And of course, the endless magazine covers she had (even twice in the same month!) and appearing as Pokwang’s daughter in Call Center Girl. But I guess if there’s one visual image that Jessy left her stamp in 2013, it’s that ordering a McSpicy meal hasn’t been sexier the way she did it in her commercial.

04 the voice coaches

Photo courtesy of: talentscoops.com

Certainly one of the best things that happened to Philippine singing shows, The Voice of the Philippines just murdered all these other local adaptations of foreign singing shows by coming up with an inspired coach line up. On one hand, you have apl.de.ap, a part of the prominent Grammy winning group Black Eyed Peas. Then there’s rocker Bamboo whose fanbase continues to grow as his years in the industry grows as well. Then there’s Pop Royalty Sarah Geronimo who still remains as the best output of her generation. And to complete the quartet, Tony winner and definitely on a league of her own, Lea Salonga. Aside from their natural chemistry, one of the best things they produced are their different coaches collaboration which we got a lot this year from Imagine to Man in the Mirror and even up to the official Christmas soundtrack. I mean if you’re gonna be coaching people in a singing competition, then you better show them how it’s actually done.

03 tom rodriguez

Photo courtesy of: latestcelebrityupdate.blogspot.com

Ever since he entered show business way back in 2009, there’s no doubt that 2013 has been the best by far for hunk Tom Rodriguez. Earlier this year, he’s best known as Aiza Seguerra’s partner Pards in the daytime hit drama Be Careful with my Heart. Months after, her switched networks to GMA, and that proved to be the best career decision by far. He got his first primetime lead role via the buzzed show My Husband’s Lover which opened more doors not only for him, but an unlikely love team with co-star Dennis Trillo (a.k.a TomDen). This show catapulted him not only to leading man status, but a pin up boy as one of the two faces of this year’s Cosmo Bachelor Bash. He’s also a recording artist and did concerts here and abroad with the rest of My Husband’s Lover’s cast. With this great 2013, he definitely jumps his way as one of the best and most successful post-Pinoy Big Brother careers.

02 gilas pilipinas

Photo courtesy of: stardomfanatics.com

One word: PUSO. Probably in the best local basketball result of the year, it has been a long and winding road for this Philippine basketball team. But like anything else, patience is definitely worth the wait. Whether facing issues of the events venue, finding an immediate replacement for the host country, and even player participation, Gilas Pilipinas lives up to its name by showing greatness among other things via the team’s hard work and resiliency. That’s why when they’re up against that crucial game against Korea, the whole country is on their back supporting the whole team. And I’m certain that when that game ended, not a dry eye can be found on the whole arena as all you hear are loud congratulatory cheers. And while the team wasn’t able to beat Iran in the final round, who even cares anymore? It’s all about Madrid in 2014, and I’m sure the country will be there again to support this team, and the team will be motivated than ever to bring pride to the country.

01 joel torre

Photo courtesy of: Esquire Philippines Facebook page

And 2013’s Entertainer of the Year is none other than… Joel Torre. In probably one of his most notable years in his career, Torre aced both the small and big screen this year. He started this year in the small screen as Pepe in Juan dela Cruz and ended it up with the role of funny and conniving Governor Hugo Layer in Honesto. But aside from that, his most remarkable moments for this year were his performances in the movies. As Tatang in On the Job, Torre shared lead star status with the likes of Piolo Pascual and Gerald Anderson. Then his Best Actor winning portrayal in the Cinema One Originals entry Kabisera as the controlling patriarch gave him two of the finest roles to work on this year. It’s rare that actors of his age get meaty roles like this, but it’s even rarer to find actors who’ll give justice to both roles. He already earned two Best Actor trophies, each film apiece, and he better makes more space for his shelf as he’ll be getting more this coming awards season. And with that, there’s person no more fitting to own the title of 2013’s Entertainer of Year than him.

There you have it! 2013’s honor roll as Entertainers of the Year! Who were your favorites in the list? Who do you think were overlooked? And who are your personal entertainers of the year? I’d love to hear your thoughts as well!

You can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

REVIEW: 24/7 in Love   4 comments

247 in Love

24/7 in Love is every Kapamilya’s dream come true. It combines a lot of their favorite Star Magic artists which makes it a dream come true for these teen and network driven audience that seems to be the film’s target. Just when you thought that Cinco is already crowded when it fits five stories in a film, then you’d be surprised to find out that this one incorporated seven stores in it.

The main story involves Jane (Kathryn Bernardo) who wants to meet her biggest crush who happens to be singing heartthrob Billy Fernandez (Daniel Padilla). In order to do that, she must enter a video contest that begs the question “What will you do if the world ends on December 21?” The approach Jane used in it is to interview random people to ask for their answers, and that served as the common link to the other six categories. Not the laziest methinks, but not the most creative as well.

The first interviewee happens to be forty year old virgin Virginia (Pokwang), and knowing that the world is about to end, the only thing she wants to do is end the drought as well. Coming from a heartbreak from long time boyfriend, her friend set her up on a male prostitute hiring site which led her to meet Charles (Sam Milby). Apparently, it was Charles first time in the business as he’s only doing it for fast cash. Among all the stories, this seems to be the most loyal to the recurring theme of what will you do til the world end. Pokwang and Sam Milby has this fun chemistry that it’s not weird to watch at all.

The second story involved Barbara (Maja Salvador) who’s head over heels over his playboy bachelor boss Ken (Diether Ocampo). There’s not a lot that happened in this part, though it’s always a joy to see Maja Salvador on screen. She’s just so natural and comfortable to watch. Diether Ocampo, on the other hand, has already proven himself before, but it seems that not being on the screen for quite some time can make your acting look dull especially when you’re paired with an energetic actress like Maja.

Next story is about a gay and a girl bestfriend between Isabella (Bea Alonzo) and Butch (Zanjoe Marudo). As Isabella realizes that she’s starting to like her bestfriend who happens to have the same preference with boys as her. This one is a case of friendship and where one draws the line in pursuing the next step. While watching this episode, I’m just really amazed with how beautiful Bea Alonzo is. I have already mentioned it before in my The Mistress review, but she really just radiates the screen. Zanjoe Marudo was convincing at most times, and their chemistry works. I just find the story too long especially since after it’s two predecessors were fast and resolved quickly.

The fourth story involves heartbroken Verna (Angelica Panganiban) who mends a broken heart in Vietnam, and there she meets Pinoy bartender Elvis (John Lloyd Cruz). It was a fast encounter; too fast that things ended real fast as well. With that said, this is my favorite among the series, and probably one that can stand as a lone film. There’s too much that one can explore here, and this gives a tight and mature portrayal that stands out among these bubblegum love stories. Angelica and John Lloyd clicked naturally, and both were good in their individual scenes.

Piolo Pascual headlines the next part as Pipoy, which is reminiscent of the famous Gerald Anderson character Budoy. He and his constant buddy Jomar (Zaijan Jaranilla) are the closest of them all, and that involves him doing all the tricks for Jomar’s crush Ayee (Xyriel Manabat) to like him. When a confused Ayee thought that it was Pipoy who was doing the movies to her, Pipoy and Jomar’s friendship was put to a test. This is one of the fun episodes in the series, as it showcases how Zaijan and Xyriel are the best child actors of their generation and has cemented their status to join the club of the best child stars ever. Piolo, despite not being totally relegated to supporting status, was good as well. This is probably the episode that will leave you with a smile when it ends.

The last one is about childhood sweethearts Patty (Kim Chiu) and Alvin (Gerald Anderson). After graduating from high school, Patty left to pursue his dreams leaving Alvin behind. Now as an intern in an ad agency, she gets the task of finding the local town hero who happens to be Alvin. The material they worked on was one of the weaker ones in the series, but it was fun seeing over the top Maricar Reyes as the boss from hell, and the Kimerald team together. However, it seems as if the whole episode was just focused on exploiting Gerald Anderson’s body by making him run in slow mo with only his undies on, or have him take his shirt off.

The whole movie closes by going back to the first story which involves a song number and a not so surprising appearance by all the previous couples in the venue with Kathniel taking the spotlight in this one. I’m not surprised but I’m stunned that every time either Daniel Padilla or Kathryn Bernardo appears on screen, the whole cinema goes crazy.

All in all, the movie was uneven at best, and that’s because of the too many stories which were unbalanced. With that said, it was definitely entertaining with some premises worth of being uncovered better. I find it more of a Valentines Day than a Love Actually.

Grade: 3/5