Monday, March 31, 2008

Geneva Cruz: From Seattle & back to the Philippines 'Live Onstage'

Photos by Ver Penaranda

After a long absence from the stage, Geneva Cruz, The Pop, Soul, and R&B Diva from Seattle, Washington is currently back on stage and touring the Phiippines and Korea. Geneva Cruz will be kicking off this series of concert April 1, 2008 at Casino Filino in Tagaytay.

Geneva Mendoza Cruz- Miller, who is better known by her screen name Geneva Cruz, is a Filipina singer and actress. Born on April 2, 1976 in Gagalangin, Tondo, Manila, she comes from the legendary Cruz clan (one of Tirso Cruz Sr.'s Great Grand-Daughters) which include celebrities like Tirso Cruz III, Sunshine Cruz, Sheryl Cruz and Donna Cruz. She is also the cousin of actor-dancer Rayver Cruz.

Cruz began her career in 1989 as one of the lead singers of the popular group Smokey Mountain. She subsequently left the group to pursue a solo career. Her first album, "I Like You", went platinum. The album produced several hit singles, including the title track and "Anak ng Pasig" (from the movie of the same title) in which Geneva appeared. "Anak Ng Pasig," was also chosen as Best Pop Song by the 1992 Catholic Mass Media Awards.

Her scheduled upcoming shows include the following venues:

Apr 1 2008 8:00P - Casino Filipino Tagaytay City (Solo show)
Apr 3 2008 5:00P - Mall of Asia Manila ***
Apr 18 2008 7:00P - Davao City
Apr 19 2008 7:00P - Panabo City
Apr 24 2008 7:00P - Butuan City
Apr 25 2008 7:00P - Cagayan de Oro
Apr 26 2008 9:00P - Captain’s Bar Makati City (Solo with her band)
May 2 2008 7:00P - Cebu City
May 10 2008 7:00P - Iloilo City
May 24 2008 7:00P - Bacolod City
May 30 2008 7:00P - Tacloban City
Jun 1 2008 8:00P - Korea, Korea (Show for Globe Telecom)

(Most shows are with Pops Fernandez 'Divalicious Tour'/ except *** with Rachel Alejandro)

She arrived in the Philippines recently with the same speculations from the press as when she left in January 2007 for the United States -- with the nasty rumor that she and husband KC Montero were having marital problems. However, the energetic diva discounts the rumor as nothing new. She is happily married to MTV VJ KC Montero since January 2004. She has a twelve year old son- Heaven by her former Husband, Introvoyz drummer Paco Arespacochaga who is now based in Los Angeles.

Geneva and KC started going steady in 1999, right after her marriage to Paco was annulled. In 2004, the two got married in civil rites at the Montero's Seattle home but they kept their marriage a secret until recently. The rumor seem to have sparked because she left Seattle without KC nor Heaven, who is celebrating his 12th birthday on April 17th.

But Geneva is unfazed with all the rumor and is excited for tonight's kick-off show at Tagaytay. She plans to stay in the Philippines for the next three months ending her tour in Korea. An unfinished Album is also in the works. Her last recording came out in 2002.

Despite the curious tone of the Philippine media welcome to Geneva and her hectic Philippine comeback tour, she is so focused on the one dozen shows that are scheduled. Her reply to my last email before she left for the Philippines was: " hi! i'll let you know when i get back to manila, my manager has my schedule. thanks ha! happy valentines!" It looks like the love and the groove is still inside the girl from Tondo.

Watch out Philippines. The Diva is back !

By Jay Fermin

A 'Rubberized' Supreme Court

PerryScope: by Perry Diaz

Finally, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has achieved every totalitarian's dream --absolute power. And she didn't even have to declare martial law. The late dictator Ferdinand Marcos would have been awed at the way Arroyo acquired wealth and power.

Arroyo and her "royal family" must now be celebrating at the prospect of staying in power beyond 2010. Why not? After the 9-6 Supreme Court decision upholding Romulo Neri's right to invoke "executive privilege," nobody would now be in a position to block Arroyo from doing what she pleases to accomplish including changing the constitution so she could remain in power indefinitely.

The Supreme Court's controversial decision has brought to the forefront of debate the issue of "judicial independence." Never in its 107-year history had the Supreme Court made a decision that has generated apprehension among jurists, politicians, and the public that the High Court's independence has been compromised.

While the decision specifically addressed Neri's petition, it has set a precedence which would allow Arroyo to rule in total secrecy, all in the name of "executive privilege." As Sterling Seagrave, in his book "Gold Warriors," said, "Secrecy is power. Power corrupts. Secret power corrupts secretly."

In his petition, Neri sought guidance on the possible invocation of executive privilege on three hypothetical questions which he might be asked by the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee in its investigation of the $329-million ZTE-NBN scandal: 1) Whether President Arroyo followed up the ZTE-NBN project; 2) Whether Neri was dictated by Arroyo to prioritize the project; and 3) Whether Neri was told by President Arroyo to go ahead and approve the project after being told about the alleged bribe offer.

The gist of the majority decision penned by Associate Justice Teresita J. de Castro is that "the Executive has a right to withhold documents that might reveal military or state secrets, identity of government informers in some circumstances, and information related to pending investigations."

Chief Justice Reynato Puno, who penned the dissenting opinion, proved that the three questions were pertinent to the Senate inquiry. He said, "The three assailed questions seek information on how and why the NBN-ZTE contract -- an international agreement embodying a foreign loan for the undertaking of the NBN Project -- was consummated."

In a separate opinion, Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said, "Executive privilege cannot be invoked to hide a crime because the President is neither empowered nor tasked to conceal a crime. On the contrary, the President has the constitutional duty to enforce criminal laws and cause the prosecution of crimes." Further, he said, "Executive privilege must be invoked with specificity sufficient to inform the Legislature and the Judiciary that the matter claimed as privileged refers to military, national security or diplomatic secrets, or to confidential Presidential communications." And in direct reference to Neri's petition, Justice Carpio said, "Executive privilege must be invoked after the question is asked by the legislative committee, not before. A witness cannot raise hypothetical questions that the committee may ask, claim executive privilege on such questions, and on that basis refuse to appear before the legislative committee." In regard to the bribery issue, Justice Carpio said that Neri "categorically admits that his discussions with the President 'dwelt on the impact of bribery scandal involving high Government officials.' Petitioner's discussions with the President dealt not on simple bribery, but on scandalous bribery involving high Government officials of the Philippines."

Justice Carpio concluded, "Executive privilege can never be used to hide a crime or wrongdoing, even if committed by high government officials. Executive privilege applies only to protect official acts and functions of the President, never to conceal illegal acts by anyone, not even those of the President. Public office is a public trust and not a shield to cover up wrongdoing."

But regardless of Justice Carpio's brilliant and concise legal opinion, nine of the 15 justices favored the convoluted opinion penned by Justice de Castro. Many people are of the belief that Arroyo's appointment of Justice Arturo Brion to fill a vacancy on the High Court tilted the High Court in favor of Neri's petition. Critics said that Justice Brion should not have participated in the final vote on Neri's petition. First of all, he was a former cabinet member -- and a political appointee as well -- of Arroyo's government; thus, he may be privy to a lot of "secrets" that Neri and Arroyo wanted to hide from Senate inquiry and public scrutiny. Secondly, he did not participate in the High Court's hearing on Neri's petition. And thirdly, his appointment to the Supreme Court was perceived by a lot of people that he was appointed by Arroyo to stack the deck in favor of Neri's petition.

In addition to Justice Brion, another justice's participation in the vote was questioned. Associate Justice Presbiterio Velasco Jr. is said to have been a "golf mate" of Neri. According to whistleblower Rodolfo "Jun" Lozada, the two frequently played golf together at Wack Wack Golf and Country Club where the ZTE-NBN "commissions" -- or kickbacks -- were allegedly discussed by the "Greedy Group." Justice Velasco admitted that he played golf with Neri only once but claimed that Neri "is but an acquaintance."

But what remains a mystery is that nobody filed a motion to inhibit Justices Brion and Velasco from participating in the final vote, although it was reported that Senate lawyers have been preparing to file such motion. Makes one to wonder if the Senators had succumbed to pressure to not rock the boat. Has the long tentacles of Arroyo finally gripped the Senators -- particularly the "presidentiables" -- into submission?

With nine Supreme Court justices due to retire next year, Arroyo will have a grand -- and timely -- opportunity to appoint "political justices," the likes of Justice Brion. As Justice Carpio -- who graduated cum laude and valedictorian at U.P. in 1975, and placed sixth in the Bar -- said in 2006 after he penned the 8-7 decision which dismissed the petition for a people's initiative to amend the constitution, "the most important qualification of a judge is independence, not brilliance." Indeed, the 9-6 decision upholding Neri's petition may be the precursor of a "rubberized" Supreme Court, where decisions would be conveniently stamped to satisfy Arroyo's political and personal agenda.

Photo: Reuters/Erik de Castro

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Arnel Pineda and Journey will debut REVELATION CD/DVD on Ellen Degeneres Show in May 08: World Tour starts June 08

All photos by Valerie Nerres / All Access Magazine

Ellen Degeneres of the famed U.S. talk show has confirmed that Journey with lead singer Arnel Pineda will be debuting their REVELATION CD/DVD sometime in May on the Ellen Degeneres Show. Here is the video clip of her announcement:

A new chapter in the legendary career of multi-Platinum rockers JOURNEY—Neal Schon (guitar), Jonathan Cain (keyboards), Ross Valory (bass), Deen Castronovo (drums) and Arnel Pineda (vocals)—will begin on June 3 with the highly anticipated release of REVELATION, a three-disc CD and DVD package to be sold exclusively at Wal-Mart stores in North America.

The first disc will consist of 11 re-recorded classics, the second is filled with 11 new songs, and the third is a live, in-concert DVD. All of the music on REVELATION was produced by Kevin Shirley (who previously worked with JOURNEY on their Platinum-certified TRIAL BY FIRE album).

Arnel Pineda, new lead singer for Journey is currently in the Philippines where he spent Holy week with his family and friends. He is scheduled to be back in the U.S. shortly.

Here are the confirmed dates for the JOURNEY/Heart/Cheap Trick concert tour:

(*** Please Note! Heart is not included in this show)


Wed 7/9 Denver, CO Fiddler's Green Amphitheatre
Fri 7/11 Salt Lake City, UT USANA Amphitheatre
Sat 7/12 Lake Tahoe, NV Harvey's Lake Resort
Tue 7/15 San Diego, CA Coors Amphitheatre
Wed 7/16 Irvine, CA Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre
Fri 7/18 Las Vegas, NV Mandalay Bay Arena
*** Sat 7/19 Tucson, AZ Casino Anselmo
Tue 7/22 Council Bluffs, IA Mid America Center
Wed 7/23 Oklahoma City, OK Zoo Amphitheatre
Fri 7/25 San Antonio, TX Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre
Sat 7/26 Houston, TX Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
Sun 7/27 Dallas, TX Amphitheatre
Wed 7/30 Tampa, FL Ford Amphitheatre
Thu 7/31 West Palm Beach, FL Sound Advice Amphitheatre
Sat 8/2 Charlotte, NC Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre
Sun 8/3 Atlanta, GA Chastain Amphitheatre
Mon 8/4 Atlanta, GA Chastain Amphitheatre
Wed 8/6 Orange Beach, FL The Amphitheatre @ The Wharf
*** Thu 8/7 Nashville, TN Sommett Center
*** Sat 8/9 Birmingham, AL Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre
Sun 8/10 Raleigh, NC Walnut Creek Amphitheatre
Tue 8/12 Virginia Beach, VA Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre
Thu 8/14 Jones Beach, NY Nikon at Jones Beach
Sat 8/16 Scranton, PA Toyota Amphitheatre
Sun 8/17 Uncasville, CT Mohegan Sun Casino
Tue 8/19 Boston, MA Tweeter Center
Thu 8/21 Holmdel, NJ PNC Bank Arts Center
Sat 8/23 Syracuse, NY New York State Fair
Sun 8/24 Saratoga, NY Saratoga PAC
Tue 8/26 Camden, NJ Susquehanna Bank Center
Wed 8/27 Washington, DC Nissan Pavilion
Sat 8/30 Bethel Woods, NY Center for the Arts
Sun 8/31 Hershey, PA Hersheypark Pavilion
*** Thu 9/4 Watertown, NY Watertown Baseball Diamond
Sat 9/6 Cincinnati, OH Riverbend Music Center
Sun 9/7 Cleveland, OH Blossom Amphitheatre
Tue 9/9 Detroit, MI DTE Energy Music Theatre
Wed 9/10 Indianapolis, IN Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre
Fri 9/12 Chicago, IL First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre
Sat 9/13 St. Louis, MO Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre
Mon 9/15 Kansas City, MO Midland Theatre
*** Tue 9/16 Minneapolis, MN Target Center/Casino
Fri 9/19 Seattle, WA White River Amphitheatre
Sun 9/21 Portland, OR Clark County Amphitheatre
Wed 9/24 Concord, CA Sleep Train Pavilion at Concord
Fri 9/26 Sacramento, CA Sleep Train Pavilion at Sacramento
Sat 9/27 Mountain View, CA Shoreline Amphitheatre
Tue 9/30 Los Angeles, CA Greek Theatre
Fri 10/3 Phoenix, AZ Cricket Wireless Pavilion
Sat 10/4 Albuquerque, NM Journal Pavilion

compiled by Jay Fermin
source: Journey Music, You Tube, Ellen Degeneres Show

'Insatiable' Elise Estrada wins “The CHUM Emerging Artist Award”

This young 19-year old Pinoy cutie from Vancouver, Canada has been tearing up the charts this year and has been the opening act for Rihanna and Enrique Iglesias. The video and song is on heavy rotation right now across all the radio stations in Canada and the world. Elise has been hard at work to get where she is since she was 4 years old. She’s been modelling, singing and acting her whole life! In 2004, she was crowned “Miss Vancouver Princess” and has been on various magazine covers.

Within the first week of Elise Estrada’s debut “Insatiable” single release, Elise found herself as the no. 1 Greatest Canadian Gainer on the TOP 40 Charts, and within three weeks Elise quickly became the no. 1 International Greatest Gainer in the country at TOP 40, and repeatedly hit the HOT AC Charts Greatest Gainer list as well. The wave continued as Elise Estrada was selected and WON “The CHUM Emerging Artist Award” from one of Canada’s leading radio and television conglomerates, as well was awarded a VideoFact Grant from the MuchMusic and MusiquePlus Television Networks.

Elise Estrada (born July 30, 1987 in Marikina City, Philippines) is a Canadian pop singer from Vancouver. Of Filipino descent, Estrada competed in the Pinoy Pop Superstar competition in 2006. Her 2007 debut single "Insatiable" reached number 44 in Canadian Hot 100 in the summer of 2007. The song was produced by The Beat 94.5's annual talent search competition in Vancouver.

Elise is also a former beauty queen, holding the title Ms. Vancouver Princess 2004. She was also first runner-up in the Binibining Pilipinas World of Canada Competition. She attended Holy Cross Regional High School.

Elise won a 2008 Canadian Radio Music Award and also got "set-up" with a member of Canadian rock band, Faber Drive. Elise's single "Unlove You" made it to number 7 on iTunes top songs on March 22, 2008.

CTVglobemedia Inc. is Canada's premier multimedia company with ownership of CTV, Canada’s #1 television network, and The Globe and Mail, Canada’s #1 national newspaper. CTV Inc. owns and operates 27 conventional stations across the country, with interests in 35 specialty channels, including CHUM Radio Division, which operates 35 radio stations throughout Canada, including CHUM FM, Canada’s # 1 FM station. Congratulations Elise Estrada on your win and good luck. Hollywood and the world are also listening in; the next Canadian international superstar !

compiled by Jay Fermin

Check out her Insatiable music video courtesy of RockSTAR Music Corp.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

America's Best Dance Crew is JabbaWockeeZ: partly Fil-Am crew crowned best in hip-hop

JabbaWockeeZ is an all-male dance crew originating from San Diego, California. The dance group members are: Rynan 'Kid Rainen' Shawn Paguio,Phil Tayag, Chris Gatdula, Kevin Brewer, Ben 'B-Tek' Chung and Jeff 'Phi' Nguyen. Three of the members of the group are Filipino-Americans.

The crew was named America's Best Dance Crew on March 27, 2008. The group gained fame on MTV's show, 'America's Best Dance Crew' and has also competed on 'America's Got Talent.' The crew is known for wearing plain white full-face masks and synchronized dance moves. Their name is derived from the Lewis Carroll poem, Jabberwocky.

Both the JabbaWockeeZ and Kaba Modern performances garnered praise from the judges, with the crowd cheering to keep both crews, and eliminate Status Quo instead. JC Chasez said that seeing those two crews go against each other was the biggest competition yet. However, Kaba Modern was sent home, and JabbaWockeeZ moved onto the "Do or Die" encore battle with Status Quo. The music for each encore was mixed at the direction of the crews.

Their encore performance was entitled "The Red Pill"... from the Matrix. After the MTV casting show, a nine-crew field performed each week, and viewer votes determine the bottom two teams. They then competed head to head, and the judges decide which crew leaves the following week. JabbaWockeeZ as the winning team gets $100,000 and a touring opportunity

'America's Best Dance Crew' is an American television show featuring street dance crews from the United States. The show is produced by American Idol judge Randy Jackson, and airs on MTV in the United States and MuchMusic in Canada. In the first season, it was hosted by Mario Lopez and featured Layla Kayleigh as the backstage correspondent. It was judged by rapper Lil Mama, former *NSYNC singer JC Chasez, and hip-hop choreographer Shane Sparks. The series was originally developed for NBC and now is shown on MTV. JabbaWockeeZ were declared the winners of season 1 on March 27, 2008. Congratulations to JabbaWockeeZ for winning the 1st season!

Compiled by Jay Fermin

Monday, March 24, 2008

A Name to Watch in Design: JUNLYN ANNE B. DELAS ALAS and her fabulous costume rendition of 'Madame Diamond'

Junly walks the runway with her creations. (As a high school student, she won first place in the statewide Future Homemakers of America (FHA) Design Competition).Photos by Joseph Albert Vargas

An invitation to the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica one evening turned out to be what the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM) says it was — “a powerful evening of imaginative entertainment, showcasing FIDM’s Advanced Fashion Design and Theatre Costume Design Graduates for 2008.” And what an awesome show it was! One of the FIDM’s students debuting that night is 21-year-old Junlyn Anne B. delas Alas.

In her debut show, on February 29th, Junlyn was ready to shine. She wanted the glitz and the glamour! Literally!

Referring to one of her characters she designed for, "Madame Diamond", it’s definitely obvious that diamonds are a girl’s best friend. Her designs for the Moulin Rouge Can-Can dancers sent her designs in motion on the runway stage as her dancers high kicked and danced their hearts on stage!

Raised in Orange County’s Huntington Beach, Junlyn’s personality reflects the beach town that she grew up in; She is free-spirited and optimistic. With that free-spirited energy in her Junlyn strives to always make the most of her life. Growing up she was surrounded by loving and supportive family and friends that encouraged her to express her noticeable talents in the arts. School was always a priority but the arts were her reality in both the performing and creative arts.

It was this reality that Junlyn Anne realized her future. The world of art consists of infinite mediums, mediums that Junlyn never tried to confine herself into just one or two of. She is always experimenting and exploring. From the stage to a pen and paper in her hand, she loves the creativity of expression through all the arts.

Junlyn Anne’s passion for the arts finally managed to find its place through the medium of fashion. In high school, Junlyn realized fashion was her life and this is what fulfilled her. Combining her interest for the theatre arts and fashion Junlyn realized costume design was the perfect hybrid of her two interests. In her senior year of high school, Junlyn Anne won a full year scholarship to the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising through a statewide fashion design competition. This in turn set the stage for her career in fashion.

In 2005, Junlyn embraced her new life as a fashion design student in Orange County. Ready for a challenge in 2006, she moved to Los Angeles to further pursue her career goals and focus on her education. Graduating in 2007 with an associate’s degree in fashion design, Junlyn then continued to follow her dream of seeing her designs under the spotlights of the Broadway stage. She was accepted into the advanced study program for theatre costume design at FIDM.

What Junlyn loves the most about costume design is the creativity and challenge of creating a character. Building a personality through clothing intrigues her.
As a child someone once asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up. Her answer was that she wanted to be happy. Fashion makes her happy. The creativity of design makes her happy. The excitement of always being challenged to create the perfect character for an audience makes her happy. Simply stated Junlyn is happy pursuing her career in theatre costume design. To Junlyn it’s all about doing ordinary things in extraordinary ways. If the shoe fits wear it. Junlyn’s shoe is definitely costume design! For Junlyn though, she wants an extraordinary shoe!

Taliba Publications
Los Angeles


Rodel E. Rodis, March 24, 2008

Though I had never been to a boxing fight before, curiosity drove me to go to Las Vegas on March 15 to watch the hyped-up rematch of Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao and Juan Manuel “Dinamita” Marquez for the Super Featherweight Championship of the World. “Super”, as it turned out, was no hype in the billing; it was the real deal as the two evenly-matched gladiators fought toe-to-toe for 12 rounds, fighting with all the power and heart they could muster. In the end, the Pacman won in a controversial split-decision but by barely one razor-thin point.

In the post-fight press conference, Pacquiao commented about the fight in English without using an interpreter: “The first knockdown, I was very happy," he said. "I think I controlled the fight already. In the next rounds, I had a bad cut on my eye and I didn’t see his punches. It was hard to punch back to him.”

With a Spanish interpreter, Marquez said: “Yes, I thought I won this fight and I still think I won this fight. Maybe the judges were thinking I was the challenger, but I connected with the most powerful punches and the most accurate punches.”

In previous press interviews where the Pacman spoke, always without an interpreter, he would often find himself grammatically challenged (though he is getting better) and his fight assessments always appeared simple-minded as though the English words that would articulate his actual insights were beyond his reach. In contrast, whenever the Mexican fighters spoke, with interpreters, they seemed to express more depth in their analysis.

I always wondered why the Pacman didn’t just speak in Tagalog and have an interpreter translate his words so that he could also appear to be articulate and intelligent. Is it pride?

That same question popped up at the 2008 Bb. Pilipinas beauty pageant that was held recently at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City on March 9. Janina San Miguel (pictured at left), a 17 year old freshman student at the University of the East, made it to the finals after winning awards for Best in Swimsuit and Best in Long Gown. And then came the interview:

One of the judges, Vivian Tan, asked her “what role did your family play to you as candidate to Binibining Pilipinas?” Janina’s answer, on, has already drawn more than two million hits (combining all versions). Here it is:

Janina: “Well, my family’s role for me is so important b’coz there was the wa- they’re, they was the one who’s… very… hahahaha… Oh I’m so sorry, ahhmm… My pamily… My family… Oh my god.. I’m… Ok, I’m so sorry… I… I told you that I’m so confident… Eto, ahhmm, Wait… hahahaha, ahmmm, Sorry guys because this was really my first pageant ever b’coz I’m only 17 years old and hahaha I, I did not expect that I came from, I came from one of the tuff ten. Hmmm, so… but I said that my family is the most important persons in my life. Thank you.”

In the youtube video, the sounds of audience guffaws were as audible as the looks of consternation and bemusement by the judges. Despite this gaffe, however, Janina won the contest and will represent the Philippines in the Miss World competition that will be held in the Ukraine.

But overnight, dozens, if not hundreds of Filipino blogs, commented on Janina’s selection with most making fun of Janina’s accent and poor grammar. Many questioned how she could possibly hope to win the world title when she can’t speak English properly.

But if anyone of these blog commentators ever watched any of those international beauty pageants, they would note that the questions were always posed to the Spanish-speaking contestants in English, translated by interpreters into Spanish, and the Spanish answers then translated into English. The translated answers showed the candidates' poise and articulation which accounts for why so many South American beauty queens have won these contests.

Why couldn’t the question to Janina have been posed to her in Tagalog and her answer delivered in Tagalog and then translated into English for US Ambassador Kristie Kenney who was a judge? The contest that used to be “Miss Philippines” is now called “Binibing Pilipinas” to emphasize its nationalist character. Hello?

The online web portal,, observed that “the use of English is not an issue for some contestants who can speak it fluently. There are a few young girls however, who did not have the luxury of attending an expensive private school where English is taught, or who do not belong to that social strata of Philippine society where proficiency in English is the norm.”

Philippine Daily Inquirer columnist Ramon Tulfo asked his readers to “Give the young girl a break! If she speaks ungrammatical English, blame it on the country’s educational system…You expect Janina to speak fluent English when our former president, Joseph “Erap” Estrada, speaks carabao English? C’mon, guys, you expect too much from a 17-year-old girl!”

The best insight about this “national psychosis with regards to the English language” came from the editorial which provided this observation “Tune in to most radio stations in Metro Manila and you'll hear Filipino DJ's straining to sound like Americans; sit-in on corporate meetings in boardrooms along Ayala Avenue and you will notice that greater deference is given to those who can say what they have to say in English. Say the same thing in Tagalog and it somehow carries a lot less weight or importance.”

“While proficiency in a foreign language is commendable, especially in this era of globalization," noted further, "the value of a foreign language should not be gained by denigrating our national language. Tagalog or Pilipino should be given the respect it deserves and be allowed to co-exist alongside all other languages...only then will we begin to appreciate and respect who we really are as a people.”

That's called self-respect.

Please send comments to or log on to or write to Law Offices of Rodel Rodis at 2429 Ocean Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94127, or call (415) 334-7800.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Journey's Arnel Pineda invited to guest at Ellen Degeneres Show

Talk show host Ellen Degeneres on her recent show of the same name was mentioning about the awesome singing talent from the Philippines and wants to invite multi-platinum Rock Band Journey new lead singer Arnel Pineda to guest in her show.

Here's a segment of the broadcast expressing her interest in inviting Arnel Pineda:

Talks are in process to have Journey's Arnel Pineda, as well as the whole band of JOURNEY--Neal Schon (guitar), Jonathan Cain (keyboards), Ross Valory (bass), Deen Castronovo (drums) and Arnel Pineda (vocals), who is originally from the Philippines, to be on the "Ellen Degeneres Show." It is amazing that Arnel sings so good (too good to be true)that Ellen quips HE IS NOT lipsinging! Ellen surely knows great talent when she hears one. Ellen have acknowledged that there is a lot of singers that are really good from the Philippines and have featured the Philippine young Filipina singer Charice Pempengco on her show which drew a lot of viewer attention.

Pineda, on the other hand, is no overnight success. A 40-year professional singer with quite a reputation in Manila's clubs, he looked set to join the legion of talented, but relatively unrewarded, singers who never break into the big-time.

One video posted online of Pineda performing with his Zoo band in a Makati nightclub changed all that.

More than 7,000 miles away in California, Neal Schon, founder and guitarist of the rock band Journey, downloaded a clip of Pineda singing their hit "Faithfully" on YouTube, and knew his search for a new frontman had ended.

"After watching the video over and over again, I had to walk away from the computer and let what I heard sink in because it sounded too good to be true," Schon said in a statement posted on Journey's Web site.

In two of the latest whirlwind career turnarounds launched by the video-sharing Web site (, Filipino singers Charice Pempengco and Arnel Pineda have shot from relative obscurity to levels of success surprising even to them.

Fifteen-year-old Pempengco thought her music career was doomed when she lost a local singing competition in 2006.

But YouTube gave her the "cyber break" of a lifetime, when a clip of her singing Jennifer Holliday's "And I'm Telling You I am Not Going" caught the attention of TV host Ellen DeGeneres and Grammy award winning producer David Foster.

News media have reported that YouTube, the internet video sharing website, have given the Filipinos the "Cyber Break" they need to be discovered and launched into the world stage. This is no surprise though: Filipinos do have great talent.

by Jay Fermin

Saturday, March 22, 2008

PerryScope by Perry Diaz: The Grand Deception

In my article, "Economic Boom or Boo-boo Economics" (Nov. 30, 2007), I wrote: "With 50% of Filipinos poor -- 40% of whom have experienced hunger -- and with unemployment rate at 7.8%, what we will soon hear is the 'astronomic boom' of discontent and the cry of the helpless poor. Indeed, Arroyo's boo-boo economics has created a short span of high -- albeit false -- expectations. She promised jobs for the people, yet more than one million Filipinos are leaving each year for jobs overseas."

That was four months ago when the OFWs were praising Gloria for calling them the "bagong bayani" (new heroes). Indeed, the OFWs' remittances in 2007 set a record high of more than $14 billion. But little did the OFWs realize that their remittances would make the peso stronger; thus, decreasing the value of their dollar earnings. But in spite of the strengthening of the peso, prices of commodities have mysteriously been skyrocketing.

The decrease in OFWs' earnings has a direct effect on the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) which measures economic growth. Since the OFW families would be inclined to spend less on personal consumption, it would have an adverse effect on the GDP. With "personal consumption expenditure" accounting for 74% of the GDP, a decrease in personal consumption spending would bring down the GDP; thus, cooling off the economic growth.

Last January, the Arroyo government announced that the country's GDP grew 7.3% in 2007, the highest since 1976. For the past two years, President Arroyo has been painting a rosy economic picture of the country. In May 2006, she declared that she envisioned the Philippines becoming a First World country -- an "Enchanted Kingdom," she said -- in 20 years. Since then, she had launched a media blitz heralding her achievements. Indeed, everything seemed to be going so well that Arroyo's "new heroes" have become her zealous defenders against her critics, particularly the media. Not anymore. Today, the "new heroes" feel that Arroyo has betrayed them.

On February 3, 2008 the Daily Tribune editorial said, "There was something smelly and not palatable with the way statistics are being suddenly and drastically revised by the Arroyo government." The source of the stink was in the fine print of a footnote on a government statistics report which said that the GDP was revised from 6.6% to 7.4%. Well, a change of 0.8% in GDP is substantial.

The editorial further stated, "The sudden spurt in the government growth record was the reason Gloria, fresh from the World Economic Forum at the Swiss Alps, was able to proclaim to the world that the economy, in terms of GDP, grew 7.3 percent, while the gross national product (GNP) that takes into account remittances of the army of Filipinos working overseas rose 7.8 percent last year."

Three weeks after the Tribunal editorial, Peter Wallace of Standard Today wrote an article, "Time to face the Facts," which debunked Arroyo's economic data. He said, "if you were told that GDP really only grew about 4.8 percent, and that family spending declined, and that there were more people who went hungry during the past three years than in any period during the past 10 years, you'd think much differently." Now, there's an ocean of difference between a 4.8% growth and the 7.8% growth that Arroyo has been trumpeting. Wallace explained, "In 2007, the economy, had exports and imports grown as they did during the past 20 years, would only have grown at about 4.8 percent. What created the 7.3 percent wasn't a dramatic improvement in the factors that contribute to growth but, instead, a worrying massive decline in imports." Wallace further stated, "Imports were 6.6 percent less in 2007 than they were in 2006. Now in a healthy, growing economy that's a most unlikely event."

My question is: What caused imports to decline in a "growing economy"? One explanation is that smuggling has increased; thus, negatively impacting legitimate trade activities. And this rationale was unwittingly collaborated by an article in the Warrior Lawyer which said, "one of the many criticisms leveled against this administration is how smuggling is not only rampant, but allegedly condoned at the highest levels of government." In the past seven years, cheap smuggled goods have been flooding the Philippines. For the first time in the country's history, the rich and the poor are wearing the same expensive brand names. The only difference is that the poor wear fake brand names smuggled from China. Recently, former Speaker Jose de Venecia, Jr. has implicated First Gentleman Mike Arroyo and his son, Congressman Juan Miguel "Mikey" Arroyo, in smuggling operations.

Another interesting article was written by Manuel L. Quezon III -- grandson of the late President Manuel L. Quezon -- which showed a graph titled, "Real GDP Per Capita Quarter-on-Quarter Growth Rate." The graph, covered the period from the 4th quarter of 1981 to the 2nd quarter of 2007. Noticeably, the graph has a gap between the 4th quarter of 1999 and the 2nd quarter of 2001. Quezon noted, "You will see on the chart above, which comes from a presentation of Dr. Michael Alba, that the line showing the country's GDP is broken at one point. I asked him what that meant. He said, it represents a change made in the manner GDP is computed, which makes all previous data and all subsequent data not precisely comparable to each other." In other words, had the manner in which GDP was computed not change in the 2nd of quarter 2001, the GDP would have been different from what Arroyo had been showing the world. It is interesting to note that Gloria Arroyo took over the presidency from Joseph Estrada on January 20, 2001, the first quarter of that year. Did Arroyo manipulate the GDP computations?

The biggest victims of Arroyo's grand deception are the poor. A recent survey by the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) showed that the number of poor Filipinos has increased and poverty overall has worsened during Arroyo's term. Poverty incidence rose from 24.4% in 2003 to 26.9% in 2006. Compounding this is the latest survey by the Hong-Kong based Political and Economic Risk Consultancy (PERC) which revealed that the Philippines -- for the second time in a row -- is perceived as the most corrupt economy in Asia. With the rice shortage and rising cost of commodities, particularly oil and rice, the economic downturn is hurting whom would hurt most -- the powerless poor.


Wednesday, March 19, 2008



(Hollywood, California – March, 2008) Fresh from a successful year of topping both the World Music and Traditional Jazz charts with her sophomore CD, “Flippin’ Out”, FreeHam Records artist Charmaine Clamor is poised yet again to bring the culture and heritage of the Philippines to the forefront of contemporary American music with two recording projects. The creator and purveyor of “jazzipino” will headline at the world famous Catalina Bar & Grill on Friday, April 4 and Saturday, April 5 (an unprecedented feat considering Catalina does not readily bestow back-to-back headline performances) where she will debut selections from her upcoming Philippine “harana” (akin to the western “serenade”) CD.

The “harana” first gained popularity in the Philippines during the early part of the Spanish Period with influences from Spanish folk music and Mexican mariachi sounds. This traditional “courtship” music is still practiced in many parts of the Philippines with a set of protocols and a specific style of music. Guitar master Richard Ickard accompanies Clamor on the upcoming CD and will accompany her for both Catalina performances.

Clamor - who has been interviewed on NPR (National Public Radio), was named one of the 100 Most Influential Filipinas in the United States (, who was a presenter at the Inaugural Filipino American Visionary Awards at the Kodak Theatre earlier this month and who is on constant airplay at radio stations KCRW & KKJZ – invited Mon David, the winner of the 2006 London International Jazz Vocalist competition, to sing a duet or two with her on the upcoming release. David will be Clamor’s special guest artist on the Friday, April 4 show at Catalina’s. Singer/crooner Michael Konik, the host of “Tasty Tuesdays” at Catalina Bar & Grill, will guest at the April 5 show.

Lauded by All About Jazz as “one of the finest singers to come around in a long time”, Charmaine Clamor uses her notoriety not only to aid other Filipino artists, but to bring attention to worthy causes. Later this month, she makes her theatrical debut in the Filipino Women’s Network productions (San Francisco and New York) of “The Vagina Monologues” where she will not only infuse the show with her music, but will also get the chance to deliver one of the more impassioned monologues of the show. The show commemorates the 10th anniversary of “V-Day”, a worldwide call to stop gender violence.

In addition to the upcoming “harana” CD, Clamor will be launching yet another CD featuring “jazzipino”, the fusion of American soul and jazz with the music and lyrics of traditional Philippine song, which will continue to explore the genre trail blazed by “Flippin’ Out”. Both CDs are anticipated to be released simultaneously later this year which will make Charmaine Clamor the first Filipina artist ever to have 2 independent recordings climb the charts at the same time.


Charmaine Clamor at CATALINA BAR & GRILL
6725 Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood, CA. 90028

Friday, April 4, 2008 @ 8:00 pm
(Doors open at 7:00 pm for supper)
With special guest Mon David
All tickets: $20.00

Saturday, April 5, 2008 @8:00 pm
(Doors open at 7:00pm for supper)
With special guest Michael Konik
All tickets: $25.00

Reservations at
www.catalinajazzclub or by calling (323) 466-2210

Special Group Rate Discounts Available
Reduced Prices for Law Enforcement Personnel and Armed Forces Servicemen and Servicewomen and Veterans with accompanying I.D.
Half-Off Ticket Prices for Students with Valid I.D.

Visit for more information.

Ted I. Benito/TDRZ Productions, Inc.

Savannah Pershina/Jazz Promo Services

Raymond Legaspi 'Does the Tango' at Ayala Museum March 25 Exhibit: Ten questions to the Artist and his Art

Raymond Legaspi 'Does the Tango' is a one-man-show slated for the Ayala Museum from March 25 to April 7 of 2008, his third one-man show and the second in Ayala Museum. This is very fast progress for one who had dedicated 20 years of his professional life as a multi-awarded advertising creative director and has just very recently returned to his hometown and to his art. Travel with me as I interviewed him just before his Ayala Museum exhibit opening and not only to preview the arwork but to know the Artist up close:

1. What got you started in doing Art?

I have been an artist ever since I could remember. If only I could still find my school text books it would always be with drawings in it. But in college I took up fine arts and majored in advertising in UST. After that, I trained in Seattle in graphic design, illustration and photo retouching. Then nearly 20 years I worked as an Art and Creative Director for 3 multinational Ad agencies in Manila. In those years, painting after work or during weekends was a therapy from the hectic life of advertising. Art in advertising involves countless drawings, conceptualization, designing, rejections, fights, presentations and involves 20-30 people in a very limited time. So in the last quarter of 2006 I retired in advertising and moved to Bacolod City (Negros Occidental)and just paint.

2. Who do you consider your mentors or inspiration in the Art world past and present?
Van Gogh, Matisse and Picasso. The present would be Chinese artists Yue Mi Jun and Zhang Xiao Gang.

3. What materials do you use for your paintings?
Mostly i use oil on canvas though for small pieces I use pen, acrylic and ink on paper.

4. Who is Raymond Legaspi when he is not painting?
House keeper and a little bit of farming. Climbed Kanlaon twice last year and another major deep forest climb here in Mt. Marapara. But if not for a very long drive I would rather be in the coastal beaches south of Sipalay and Cauayan.

5. What is a typical day in the life of Raymond Legaspi?
I paint everyday. Since I work at home, actual painting starts as early as 6 am till noon. But in between I force myself to have breaks for tea and move around the house doing non-creative things like checking emails, play with the dogs or do a quick errand.

I would continue right after lunch and could end around 3 or 4 pm with the same breaks. If I still feel creative I would do some sketches for possible visual ideas for future works. But I visualize ideas right after I wake up in bed in the morning. I think the ideas are more clearer during that time.

I don't paint at night even If I wanted to. Because insects fly into my wet painting!!! They are attracted to and fly around my working lamps. So in some nights I would go unwind with some artist friends, painters and in the performance arts and discuss how to save the world.

6. If given the chance, which celebrity would you like to paint and in what setting would you use?
Once I thought it would be nice to paint our senators in colorful dasters and peacefully sleeping in a session equipped with their microphones on.

7. Your art takes a sharp glimpse of moments in life; what is the reason for that passion?
Before I seriously started painting 4 years ago and with the dream of going back to Silay City (in Negros) for good, it was the moment where I was searching for my art I thought I should paint the feeling of me already in the Silay setting. But I wondered who would be interesting? And the women in dasters (dress similar to Hawaiian Mumu) came to life. Our mothers, lolas, and titas, in their colorful dasters and their contented and laid back life must be visualized.

The Tango series are the 70's memories of the small community dances and house dance parties we attended in Silay and Bacolod, as well as the purok dances in the farms.

8. How long could a typical idea become an artwork for you?
Sometimes it just flashes in the middle of a movie, TV news, driving or a conversation over dinner. So It would be good if I dont forget it and visualize it on paper. I collect this flashes on my sketchbook for future work. Maybe I already know what I(emotion in the art) want and all it needs is a visual.

But if it's something that needs a message like if its for a competition then it is a longer process of research and inspiration. It could take days, then the flashes would come. Sometimes I would need to do something non creative like go to the farm or walk around Bacolod central market, ha ha!

9. How would you describe your type of art?
Actually I don't know. But last year at my Ayala Museum show an old woman told me that my work is Naif. At first I thought she was insulting me as a naive person. But there is a actually a Naive or Naif Art movement. Whew!

So I will leave it to critics to define what kind of artist I am. I just paint what I feel.

10. Do you consider yourself a modern Amorsolo? Why or why not?
Sorry I only know a little about Amorsolo. I only saw a few of his paintings and all of them are great. Why not a modern Amorsolo? I tend to avoid realism. When I was in UST, all we did was painting realistic art and I find it less creative.

Raymond Legaspi Does the Tango is a visual arts exhibition of twenty works that romanticize the Filipino lifestyle of a happy existence, all within the milieu of the dance of free love. Coming from the Daster series with its siesta mood, Raymond Legaspi now elevates his work to another level of movement as his canvas comes alive with the ebullience and passionate intimacy of the tango, a number of frames providing classic instrumentation with the Argentinean bandoneon. The garments of the characters still carries the images that provide a richer insight into the personalities depicted in the space, a distinctive execution technique that the artist favors.

The characters in a Raymond Legaspi canvas tend to be healthy of body yet proportionally smaller of head, a marked influence coming from the Chinese way of equating heaviness with prosperity and the size of the head with contentment. The interesting part is that though they come from all walks of life, they all celebrate their own versions of happiness, an emotion Legaspi singularly pursues. He is not afraid to experiment with his colors and gravitates towards the hues that other artists tend to avoid. His fluid brush stroke is intentionally bared using a wet on wet technique that provides a freshness that is very much painting-like as opposed to being realistic. He has tasked himself to document the images of life that tell of stories that pass all too quickly.

By Jay Fermin

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Will Ramielle Malubay stay on top 5 of American Idol season 7 ?

March 18, 2008 Hollywood: Filipino-American Ramiele Malubay performed “I Should Have Known Better” on American Idol Top 11. "I Should Have Known Better" is a song composed by John Lennon(credited to Lennon/McCartney), and originally released by The Beatles on the United Kingdom-version of A Hard Day's Night, their soundtrack for the film of the same name.

Ramiele Malubay is still the most popular girl in the competition in terms of cuteness and likability so that still works in her favor.

However, there is a possibility of Ramiele Malubay getting hammered by the judges in the early rounds, with her hopefully surviving intact. She’s obviously the neophyte (similar to David Hernandez) among all the “veterans” (or professionals?) on the show, so American Idol will use that for all its worth. Plus, Ramiele Malubay crying in the sidelines every single elimination show is priceless. They can’t get rid of her early, but they are going to make her cry her eyes out week after week.

I think the broad appeal of Ramiele Malubay will carry her deep into the Top 5 this year. She truly has a big voice underneath all that cuteness. If you just listen to her, you would be surprised of her amazing vocal talent. I really love how she’s not afraid to show her emotions on the show — apparently she’s really this bubbly young woman genuinely excited about all the attention that American Idol is bringing. The shoes! The clothes! We love it too Ramiele. Even Simon Cowell, AI's Mr. Nasty, when he gives a negative comment to Ramielle, it elicits a submissive "ok" from the young Fil-Am Ramielle. Sing straight from the heart Ramielle. Be confident and proud. Make Filipinos and Filipino-Americans proud too.

(compiled by Jay Fermin)

Monday, March 17, 2008

Hoopla from Manila, Grand Reunion of PBA Greats

Team coverage by photographers:Albert Vargas, Nic Arriola, Jerry Ubalde, Art Santos, Benny Uy, Philip Ner, and Ver Penaranda

March 15 2008. Cal State Dominguez is a sprawling university in Dominguez Hills, Carson city, Southern California. Right off the 91 freeway and relatively close to the Pacific ocean, the gymnasium in this school was the site for the 1st Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Grand Reunion tour in the USA.

The PBA Legends USA Foundation is the brain child of Abe King Jr(CEO), backed up by powerful help from Rey Santos (VP), Rufino Ignacio (Secty/Treas) and other fellow cagers like Senator Bobby Jaworski. These men of vision saw the potential of uniting the global Filipino and helping the less fortunate thru their passion which is basketball. The main objective of this unity is to raise funds for educational needs via scholarships, donate computers, provide medical/dental missions for the less fortunate Filipinos in the homeland. Another goal would be to assist the hard up PBA players (past and present) who have fallen to hard times.

Abe King Jr is a big man with a giant heart. He currently stays in the USA and reminisces about the times when newly arrived from the Philippines, he worked late shifts at a convenience store so he could support the family. Kind of like all of us willing to take on any job in America just to get started. His positivity migrates to people around him making him the hub of a fun group.

Definitely, this PBA presentation intends to entertain Filipino Americans who remember the good old days, being glued to that TV set watching the games. Times when you cheered your favorite PBA heroes to make that 3point shot to even the game or drive in with that basketball to lay the winning shot. Although life was hard in the old country, those PBA games made it easier to tolerate. Something to look forward to.

Time flew by and your PBA heroes retired and moved on to different lives. Some became celebrities, politicians, and businessmen. Some just dropped out not to be heard of again until now. Others immigrated to other countries like America.

This is a list of PBA Legend players and where they are currently based:

RP-BASED PLAYERS: Ramon Fernandez, Philip Cezar, Atoy Co, Bogs Adornado, Manny Paner, Manny Victorino, Hector Calma, Alvin Patrimonio, Allan Caidic, Jojo Lastimosa, Ronnie Magsanoc, Gerry Esplana, Bong Alvarez, Vergel Meneses, Dindo Umaren, Johnny Abarrientos, Olsen Racela, Jerry Codinera, Art DeLa Cruz, Sonny Cabatu

U.S. BASED PLAYERS: Francis Arnaiz, Abe King Jr., Abet Guidaben, Bernie Fabiosa, Estoy Estrada, Yoyoy Villamin, Big Boy Reynoso, Rudolf Kutch, Marte Saldana, Ricardo Brown, Onchie DeLa Cruz, Tim Coloso, Cris Bade, Dennis Abbatuan, Noni Robles, Allan De Los Reyes, Etok Lobo, Yves Dignadice, Elmer Lago, Bokyo Lauchengco, Jun Jabar

R.P. BASED COACHES: Virgilio Dalupan, Danny Florencio, Robert Jaworski, Rino Salazar

U.S. BASED COACHES: Oni Padilla, Jun Paguinto, Django Rivera, Peter Aguilar, Romy DeLa Rosa, Naning Valenciano, Boy Valera, Anthony Dasalla, Rey Yncierto, Jerome Cueto, Jose Francisco, Robert Concepcion, Ricardo J Cleofas, Danilo Basilan


11:00AM was the official start time for the festivities. Tickets were at $20/bleachers and $40/ringside. Attendance towards the end of the event topped 3,000 people.

Abet Guidaben being interviewed by John Lacson

The actual legends game itself would take place a little bit later on. Meanwhile, visitors started arriving as early as 10AM hoping to catch a glimpse of their PBA idols. ABET GUIDABEN, BONG ADORNADO, YOYOY VILLAMIN, ALVIN PATRIMONIO, JOJO LASTIMOSA, and more players started the autograph signing. Set up at a long table close to the locker room, these celebrities patiently took their time in posing with fans, signing T-shirts and basketballs. Through out these event, the flash of digital cameras capturing photos of regular Fil-Ams with their tall PBA idols was ongoing.

Refreshments were served by the gate at the concession stands. The media station located by the entrance door sold basketballs for visitors who wanted to take advantage of this once in a lifetime opportunity to have signatures on these balls from the players.

Like all Filipino-American events, this PBA happening was an opportunity for the local pinoys to get away from a boring week-end and spend time with kababayans, hoping to shake hands and have their photos taken with their sports heroes, past and present.

There were some pre-main event activities. One of which was a one on one three point shot duel between visitors and PBA legends. Surprisingly, this contest was won by guest Philip J Marte against Jojo Lastimosa. Score was 19-18. Close score which just goes to show how basketball can be anyone’s passion.

The actual main event itself kicked off about 3:00PM. The two teams represented Martin Purefood (Red team) and Ohana Harbor Coffee(white team). The players were introduced. The teams were a mix of both RP and USA based players.

Here is the first five line-up for both teams.

MARTIN PUREFOOD/Red Team - Fabioso, Guidaben, Cesar, Co, Adornado

OHANA HARBOR COFFEE/White Team - Arnaiz, Coloso, Paner, King, Fernandez

True to form playing comedian, Atoy Co(red team) jokingly complained from the very beginning that there were more players at the white team. He tried to obtain compassion from the crowd who just laughed at his antics. Atoy, by nature, is so full of energy in such a funny way that everyone loves him.

1st quarter score Red 24 -White 16
After the first 5minutes of the game, it seemed that time and age had indeed caught up with our heroes. The effort put in playing full court basketball showed in their breathing and body language. Stooped over trying to regain wind, some players realized they should have exercise more to get back in shape for this legends reunion. However, as the game progressed, they regained the skill of pacing themselves and managed to avoid more air balls. White team started slow and barely making their shots. a couple of missed lay ups. Red team did better, making their shots and controlling the game.

2nd quarter score Red 48- White 43
White team shooting better and keeping within winning distance from the Red team. However Red team point guard RONNIE MAGSANOC’S superb ball handling keeps the white team at bay.

Half Time
One on One Rivalries (2 minute pick up basketball)
Arnaiz VS Fabiosa - Fabiosa wins 3-0
King Vs Cesar - Cesar wins 5-2
Cesar Vs Fernandez- Even score 0-0

3rd Quarter score Red 80 - White 69
Red team stretches the lead with better shooting and passing.

4th quarter score Red 104 - White 100
White team close to catching up with Red Team. ATOY CO and couple team mates posing for pictures in the middle of court while game still going on. Audience cracks up laughing while referee pretends to get mad.

END SCORE: Red Team 104 - White Team 100

The event winds down about 5:30PM with group pictures of the teams taken by photo journalists at the media station.

Going back to ABE KING JR. Projected funds generated by this event to assist the needy would be between $20-30 thousand. Depending upon the success of the USA tour, he hopes to take the show to Europe. Maybe Italy or England where there is an influx of Filipinos. Most likely the East Coast sometime next year. He hopes to expand the genre of PBA players from the baby boom to the present batch of players.

Atoy Ko and teammates at the PBA Legends Tour

The PBA Legends is like a fraternity. Composed of talent who knew each other well and quite happy to renew the friendships. There are Filipinos overseas who thru the actions of this group, might take it upon themselves to help our poorer countrymen. The example set up by such a group proves that the Philippines is not forgotten. There will always be that link which says, “You can’t deny your roots. Embrace it. Meanwhile.. lets play ball!”

Written by: John F Lacson
photo coverage by Benny Uy, Albert Vargas, Ver Penaranda, Nic Arriola

Disconnecting the Wack Wack Connection

PerryScope: by Perry Diaz

With the recent brouhaha over the ZTE-NBE and other corruption scandals involving the First Family and their business cronies -- the "oligarchs," according to Romulo Neri -- the Wack Wack Golf and Country Club had been, or may still be, the place for the "players" to play a real life game of "Monopoly." Indeed, the place could be aptly called "Wack Wack Gold Counting Club." In the midst of all these scandals was former COMELEC Chairman Benjamin Abalos, a slick operator who was tagged as the man in middle -- the conduit -- of all these questionable multi-million dollar transactions.

Founded in 1930, Wack Wack Golf and Country Club has been the place to be for the rich and the famous. Named after the "uwak" (crow), Wack Wack has become synonymous with power and influence; that is, political power and influence peddling.

The ZTE-NBN scandal has brought Wack Wack to the limelight. It was the venue for a series of rendezvous involving Philippine government officials and businessmen from China. One of these projects -- the $329 million National Broadband Network (NBN) -- was allegedly brokered by Abalos and which implicated the First Gentleman, Mike Arroyo, as having exerted influence -- for a hefty commission -- on his wife, the President. The disclosure was made by Jose "Joey" de Venecia III, son of former Speaker Jose de Venecia, Jr., in his testimony before a Senate panel. De Venecia claimed that Abalos tried to bribe him for $10 million to withdraw his bid in favor of ZTE Corp., China's third largest telecommunication firm. De Venecia also accused Mike Arroyo of telling him to "back off" the project. And all of these alleged incidents happened at Wack Wack.

Why Wack Wack? It turned out that Abalos had been wearing too many hats and his fingers on too many pies. Abalos owns substantial shares of stock and is also the President of Wack Wack. It's sounds wacky but Wack Wack is Abalos' exclusive domain -- his little enchanted kingdom.

Wack Wack has been a dominant part of Abalos' life since his birth. He was born poor in Pangasinan on September 21, 1935. His father, Ciriaco Ruiz Abalos, worked as a locker room attendant at Wack Wack and his mother, Efroncina Santos Abalos, worked as locker room girl. He grew up in Madaluyong where Wack Wack is located and when he was old enough to work, he worked as a caddy. Golfing became his passion. And golfing also helped him connect with the rich and the powerful.

As president of Wack Wack, it was not uncommon for his VIP guests to pay him a visit at his office. In one interview with a newspaper reporter, Abalos said, "With so many VIPs I've spoken to and met at Wack Wack, I might be accused of brokering a lot more deals." Huh? Was that a Freudian slip?

At one time, by his own admission, Abalos hosted ZTE officials at Wack Wack. And at another time, he played golf with Romulo Neri, who was then the director general of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA). Neri claimed that Abalos offered him a bribe of "200" -- this figure was presumed to be "200 million pesos" -- to endorse the ZTE contract. Neri immediately reported the incident to President Arroyo. According to Neri, the President told him not to accept the bribe but to go ahead and endorse the contract with ZTE, which he did. Within a short period of time after that, President Arroyo abruptly terminated him as NEDA chief and appointed him as officer in charge of the Commission on Higher Education. Did Arroyo do that to insulate Neri from the heat that was about to ignite?

With the recent testimonies of NBN consultant Rodolfo "Jun" Lozada and ZTE consultant Dante Madriaga before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, details of the ZTE-NBN deal were exposed including the involvement of the shady "Greedy Group plus plus" which -- according to Madriaga -- was composed of Abalos, Leo San Miguel, Ruben Reyes, Quirino dela Torre, and the First Couple. Madriaga also alleged that the group received an advance of $41 million from the Chinese, $30 million of which went to the First Couple. Had the contract not been cancelled, the total "commission" would have amounted to $200 million.

Madriaga told the Senate panel that the "commission" from the ZTE-NBN deal would have amounted to 60% of $329 million which would have been divided as follows: the first 20% markup would go to ZTE; the second 20% markup would go to the "consortium" composed of ZTE and the "Greedy Group plus plus"; and the third 20% markup would go again to ZTE and the "Greedy Group plus plus."

With the ongoing investigation by the Senate, the "commissioners" -- a pejorative term for those who got "commissions" or kickbacks -- were expected to be summoned to testify. Reyes, whom Madriaga tagged as the "bagman" for the "Greedy Group plus plus," was subpoenaed by the Senate but left the country on a "business trip." Leo San Miguel appeared as a "surprise witness" only to surprise the senators that he has no knowledge of "tongpats" -- Filipino slang for kickbacks -- in the ZTE-NBN deal. Lozada immediately contradicted San Miguel by presenting an email from San Miguel to Lazada which contained an attachment detailing the "tongpats." San Miguel countered that the attachment was "doctored." Well, what else would he say, admit it? However, during a lunch break of his testimony, San Miguel was overheard talking to a person in a cell phone, saying: "Yes ma'am. Yes ma'am, I'll deny it, ma'am." Senator Panfilo Lacson believed that the person at the other end of the call was the "Ma'am" herself -- President Arroyo.

With the ZTE-NBN scandal and other controversial deals that have been "cooked" at Wack Wack, "High Commissioner" Abalos -- whose demand for a $130 million commission from the ZTE-NBN deal has opened a stinking can of worms -- has been trying to project an innocent image by challenging Lozada to a debate. However, he refused to appear before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee. If he was innocent, why wouldn't he testify before the Senate? Recently, he "won" a raffle prize held at Wack Wack for a vacation trip abroad. He said that he'll use it in April. That means that he would not be able to testify in the Senate for probably an indefinite time should he choose to stay abroad for an extended time. This reminds me of Joc-joc Bolante who took off a few years when the P3-billion fertilizer scam was being investigated by the Senate. With "High Commissioner" Abalos out of the country soon and the alleged "bagman," Ruben Reyes, on a business trip to China -- hmmm -- the Senate would be dealt once again another "Houdini" vanishing act by persons involved in scandals in the Arroyo administration.


Telltale Signs/ The Saga of Flor and Jennifer

Telltale Signs/ The Saga of Flor and Jennifer
Rodel E. Rodis, March 17, 2008

March 17, 1995 will be mournfully remembered as the day when Singapore executed Filipino domestic worker Flor Contemplacion for allegedly murdering Filipina domestic worker, Delia Maga. Filipinos recall that just before the date of her execution, two witnesses came forward with evidence that Contemplacion was innocent and that it was Maga’s employer who strangled her in a fit of rage after finding his 4-year old epileptic son accidentally drowned in the bath tub because Maga had left him alone, unaware of his condition.

Although Contemplacion, the 42-year old mother of four, had neither the motive, means or opportunity to kill Maga, Singapore police nonetheless made her the sole murder suspect and convicted her based on her torture-induced confession. The authorities refused to consider any new evidence that might contradict their convenient wrap-up of the case.

When Contemplacion’s coffin arrived in Manila, thousands of Filipinos waited at the airport to honor her as a symbol of injustice and of the hardships and sacrifices of overseas Filipino workers.

At the time of Contemplacion’s execution, Jennifer Drake Larsen, the granddaughter of an American serviceman, was living in Cavite province with her American husband, James Larsen, and their 3-year old son, James Jr. She could not have imagined how Contemplacion’s death would affect her.

Jennifer Larsen had been a victim of domestic violence in the US when she decided to leave her businessman husband and their home in Walnut Creek, California to return to the Philippines with their son. After arriving in Manila, however, she called her husband. “You can join us here if you want,” she told him, “because I know you can’t hurt me here.” She gave him the phone number where he could reach her if he accepted the invitation.

After Jennifer and her son had been living in Cavite for a few months, her husband accepted her invitation, flew to Manila, and joined them. What Jennifer did not know was that Larsen had filed a criminal complaint for child abduction against her in Walnut Creek and that a warrant of arrest had been issued for her.

Larsen lived with Jennifer and their son in Cavite for several months until he succeeded in convincing her to return back to their Walnut Creek home, promising that he would never hit her again. Jennifer made plans to return back to California with her son but, at the last minute, decided to leave her son in Cavite with relatives, just in case.

Larsen brought Jennifer to the airport and assured her he would join her in California in a few days. After Jennifer’s plane took off, however, Larsen went straight to the US Embassy to inform the FBI that a wanted fugitive would be stopping over in Honolulu on a PAL flight bound for San Francisco.

When Jennifer landed in Honolulu, two FBI agents were waiting to arrest her for felony child abduction. She was handcuffed and brought to the Honolulu city jail to await extradition to California.

In the aftermath of Flor Contemplacion’s execution, there was widespread condemnation of the Philippine government’s failure to do more to help Contemplacion and overseas Filipinos. Responding to the popular outrage, President Ramos directed Philippine consuls all over the world to check the jails of their jurisdictions to find Philippine citizens in need of government assistance.

Following the directive of her government, the Philippine Consul General in Hawaii visited the Honolulu prison and personally learned of Jennifer's plight. By then, she had been in jail for a few weeks awaiting extradition to California with bail set at $500,000. Jennifer recounted to the Consul how she had been brought before a magistrate in prison garb, with chains on both her ankles and wrists.

The Hawaii Consul contacted her counterpart in San Francisco who then asked me to represent Jennifer pro bono after she had been extradited to Walnut Creek. In an April 24, 1995 interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, which reported on the case, Jennifer defiantly declared: “They could tell me that I could spend the rest of my life in jail, but I don't care, I am not going to let him have custody of my child.”

After Jennifer had been confined for nearly two months in jail in May of 1995, I worked out a deal with the court for Jennifer to be released on her own recognizance if her son was returned back to his father in Walnut Creek within seven days. Jennifer reluctantly agreed to the deal and asked her sister to fly to Manila to pick up her son and turn him over to his father, which she did on the 7th day, just a few hours before the deal would have expired. As agreed, Jennifer was released from custody without bail.

But the District Attorney refused to dismiss the charge or to even offer a plea bargain to reduce the felony charge to a misdemeanor with no jail time. The D.A. wanted Jennifer to go to state prison.

In the course of the 10-day jury trial in September of 1995, Jennifer recounted how she had been brought to live with her then 34-year old husband when she was 17 and how he had began beating her after they were married and she had given birth to James Jr. Her husband stoutly denied her accusations of domestic violence.

An element of the crime of child abduction (California Penal Code Sec. 278), I reminded the jury in closing argument, is the intent to “detain or conceal the child from a lawful custodian”. Jennifer contacted Larsen as soon as she landed in Manila and invited him to join them and he, in fact, joined them. The jury deliberated for a few hours and returned a unanimous verdict of not guilty.

After the trial, Jennifer regained custody of her son.

Please send comments to or log on to or write to Law Offices of Rodel Rodis at 2429 Ocean Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94127, or call (415) 334-7800.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao Defeats Marquez at Mandalay Bay Las Vegas

This was a close fight with Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao winning over Juan Manuel “Dinamita” Marquez by a split decision. Pacquiao earned 115 points over 112 of Marquez.

The much awaited boxing rematch of Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao vs Juan Manuel “Dinamita” Marquez, The Unfinished Business, their unfinished business is finally “finished”. It was worth the wait. Pacquiao won by only 3 points, a small margin, but a victory nonetheless.

115 points points for Pacquiao versus 112 points for Marquez by a split decision. What helped Pacquiao win the title was that he knocked down Marquez down to the mat on the third round. Because by the twelfth round, Pacquiao was visibly weaker and had a hard time deflecting the punches of Marquez. In a later interview, Marquez felt that he was cheated out of the crown just because of that momentary lapse in the third round. Too bad for Marquez, the points given to PacMan for that knockdown made up for the punches that Marquez connected.

Ciara Soto anthem video courtesy of GMA TV
(compiled by Jay Fermin ppp-usa)

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Journey with lead singer Arnel Pineda performs at sold out Planet Hollywood Vegas concert March 8: REVELATION CD/DVD coming soon

All photos by Valerie Nerres

Las Vegas: March 8, 2008 -- A new chapter in the legendary career of multi-Platinum rockers JOURNEY--Neal Schon (guitar), Jonathan Cain (keyboards), Ross Valory (bass), Deen Castronovo (drums) and Arnel Pineda (vocals)—will begin on June 3 with the highly anticipated release of REVELATION, a three-disc CD and DVD package to be sold exclusively at Wal-Mart stores in North America after the recent sold out concert at Planet Hollywood Las Vegas with 9,000 fans (half of whom were asians) in attendance. The concert was a huge success will the DVD will be included in the upcoming REVELATION CD / DVD coming out in June.

The first disc will consist of 11 re-recorded classics, the second is filled with 11 new songs, and the third is a live, in-concert DVD. All of the music on REVELATION was produced by Kevin Shirley (who previously worked with JOURNEY on their Platinum-certified TRIAL BY FIRE album).

JOURNEY will take REVELATION on the U.S. concert trail later this July, with details to be announced in the coming weeks.

On December 5, 2007, Pineda was announced as the lead singer of Journey. CNN Headline News ran the story as part of their "News to Me" segment.

Pineda debuted as the lead singer of Journey on February 21, 2008 at the Viña del Mar International Song Festival held at the Quinta Vergara Amphitheater in Viña del Mar, Chile. Videos of the Vina del Mar performance are available at the Festival's home page and on YouTube.

The band also performed at the Estadio San Carlos de Apoquindo in Santiago on February 23rd (with Peter Frampton and Earth, Wind and Fire).

There was supposed to be a third concert at Viña del Mar Casino in Valparaíso on February 24th but this was cancelled due to electrical problems at the venue.

Chilean media acclaimed Pineda's performance: "Journey made an outstanding show making clear that Pineda's choice is the best choice to fill front-man's position."[citation needed] Journey keyboardist Jonathan Cain described Pineda's performance in a radio interview: "We went to Chile just recently, where we had never played and they went crazy, they absolutely went nuts...Arnel's first show - talk about a stressful thing - we had a televised concert for 25 million people...Is the guy a winner? Yeah, he's a winner. He's a clutch player."

Journey returned to the US for a private Remax Convention event at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on March 6, 2008. Their concert in Las Vegas' Planet Hollywood on March 8, 2008 will be released on DVD in June.

Upcoming Tour and Album
Journey will next tour Europe in June. Three concerts are scheduled for Germany (June 11, 13 and 14) and one in the Netherlands (June 15). UK concerts are scheduled for June 17 (Carling Apollo Hammersmith - London), June 19 (Carling Apollo Manchester), June 20 (SECC Clyde Auditorium, Glasgow), June 22 (Wolverhampton Civic Hall), June 23 (Cardiff International Arena), and June 25 (National Stadium Dublin, Ireland). The official US tour begins on July 4 and continues through the end of September, 2008. In the closing months of 2008, Journey plans to tour Japan, Australia, and the Philippines.

Journey recently completed a new studio album called "Revelation" which is slated for release on June 3, 2008 in the US. The first disc will consist of 11 re-recorded classics, the second is filled with 11 new songs, and the third is a live, in-concert DVD. All of the music on "Revelation" was produced by Kevin Shirley (who previously worked with Journey on their Platinum-certified "Trial by Fire" album

Jonathan Cain described the upcoming album in an interview: "We recorded our greatest hits with our brand new singer from the Philippines, Arnel Pineda, and it's unbelievable when you listen to it. We paid a lot of attention to the details because everybody loves those hits and we weren't about to step all over it. We've got that and a brand new CD as well, and then there's a bonus DVD of what the band looks like now, about an hour of songs... It's a 3-disc package... We're excited because we think Arnel is the future for our franchise... We knew that if we were ever gonna move on, we had to get somebody that was really gonna be our future and sound like Journey is supposed to sound...I think Journey fans are in for a real treat."

In an interview soon after Pineda joined the band, Neal Schon said, "We feel reborn. I think there’s a lot of chemistry between the five of us. At first we were going to go into the studio and just write 4 songs, but now it’s escalated to a lot of great new and diverse material. The stuff sounds tremendous. Everyone’s so stoked about it. We feel very fortunate to have found Arnel."[22] In his online diary, Shirley described the recording sessions as "wonderful, successful, stupidly creative" and said that "Sometimes you just know when there's history in the making."[23] In a statement on December 5, 2007, Shirley said "I was stunned at Arnel, who is a monster vocalist. He is the real deal. Just phenomenal."[24] When speaking about the upcoming album in a later entry in his diary, he said: "Just got back from Vegas last night, after mixing seven new Journey songs. They are outstanding... For the record, I think Arnel is 'the business!' - the guy can really sing! He handles the ballads with SO much heart, and belts the rockers as hard, and melodically, as anyone I have heard. The songs are sensational - wonderfully crafted and deep, and so focused, you may wonder where they all came from. And I'm being serious...." Shirley saw videos of Pineda's debut performance at Viña del Mar and remarked that he was "so proud of him. He's a real genuine guy."

(compiled by Jay Fermin ppp-usa)
Ed's note: Thank you to Amanda Cagan of ABC PR - Journey

Friday, March 14, 2008

Ciara Sotto to sing Philippine national anthem at Pacquiao - Marquez II fight at Las Vegas

Ciara Sotto has been chosen to sing the Philippine National Anthem “Lupang Hinirang” at the boxing rematch between Philippine’s pride Manny Pacquiao and Mexico’s Juan Manuel Marquez, on March 15, 2008 at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.

The young actress-singer is currently based in Las Vegas, Nevada and has been preparing for more than a year now for her postponed stage show which will tentatively open in the Spring.

(compiled by Jay Fermin ppp-usa)

Thursday, March 13, 2008


Journey with lead singer Arnel Pineda at Planet Hollywood Las Vegas entertained a packed crowd of 9,000 fans March 8, 2008

March 11, 2008 -- A new chapter in the legendary career of multi-Platinum rockers JOURNEY--Neal Schon (guitar), Jonathan Cain (keyboards), Ross Valory (bass), Deen Castronovo (drums) and Arnel Pineda (vocals)—will begin on June 3 with the highly anticipated release of REVELATION, a three-disc CD and DVD package to be sold exclusively at Wal-Mart stores in North America.
The first disc will consist of 11 re-recorded classics, the second is filled with 11 new songs, and the third is a live, in-concert DVD. All of the music on REVELATION was produced by Kevin Shirley (who previously worked with JOURNEY on their Platinum-certified TRIAL BY FIRE album).
JOURNEY will take REVELATION on the U.S. concert trail later this July, with details to be announced in the coming weeks.

Courtesy of A. Cagan of ABC PR

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

HappySlip Christine Gambito: Darling of the media at the 1st Filipino American Visionary Awards at Kodak Theatre

Awesome Photo Coverage by celebrity photographer Albert Vargas:

Irresistible Smile and Happiness provided by Youtube Superstar and new Philippine ambassador of tourism herself: Christine Gambito.

(Compiled by Jay Fermin)