Saturday, 13 December 2008

TAKEN - The movie

You might be wondering, what is Taken? I’m not talking about the Steven Spielberg produced alien abduction miniseries from a few years ago.

I’m talking about the new french triller from District B13 director Pierre Morel, based on a script co-written by Robert Mark Kamen (The Transporter) and Luc Besson (The Professional). Liam Neeson stars as a father who goes on a manhunt after his daughter is kidnapped in Paris.

Taken is set to be released overseas in February 2008, and currently doesn’t have a U.S. release. I don’t see why Fox wouldn’t release this film in the states. It looks like it has lot of American sensibilities, a great cast, intense story, and fantastic cinematography.

OBAMA - will he continue to shine for AMERICA?

Barack Obama is the most famous living person in the history of the world.

I’m not trying to induce an acid flashback to John Lennon’s infamous 1966 comment, “The Beatles are more popular than Jesus.” But whether you measure fame in terms of saturation or sheer numbers, it seems indisputable to me that more people know at least something about the new American president than anyone alive, at this point—or any—in the planet’s existence.

Who else could it be? One friend suggest Muhammad Ali, another Princess Diana, and a third said Bill Clinton. Surely all are global brands with enormous reach and broad appeal. But all fall short of the man-meets-the-moment frenzy unleashed by Obama.

To be sure, the digital revolution has made this feat of fame possible. Not only has it helped the son of an erstwhile Kenyan goatherd to become president, it has allowed a current Kenyan goatherd to follow the former’s journey. And he is not alone. Exponential growth in access to the Internet, satellite television and radio, cell phones, and P.D.A.’s means that breaking news now reaches virtually every corner of the globe. At the same time, population continues to grow; there are now some 6.7 billion men, women, and children on earth, an historic high.

But technology and biology don’t totally explain the Obama phenomenon. There’s no denying that the world has been utterly captivated by the new American president with the international pedigree. His black African father, white American mother, Muslim middle name, and childhood spent partially in Asia make him more than the 21st-century embodiment of the classic American melting pot; his story makes him accessible to people the world over who might see in his life a few scenes from their own.

That someone like Obama could be elected president of the United States—with its unrivaled power and prestige—has begun to restore the country’s and the world’s faith in America as the land of opportunity. Gone is the hunkered-down defensiveness of the past eight years, the lock-the-doors, draw-the-curtains, load-the-guns-to-keep-out-the-bad-guys mentality that turned so much of the world against us. In its place is the restoration of that classic American optimism, eyes lifted to the horizon, reaching out across continents and oceans, not in fear, but with faith that we can help build a better world. It was no accident that President Obama’s first televison interview from the White House went not to an American network but to an Arab one.

As Obama himself has acknowledged again and again, he begins his first term at a moment of profound crisis. The road ahead with be difficult, as gauzy goals give way to difficult decisions, and people from Chicago to Cairo, to Nairobi, find reasons to be disappointed. But at least for the moment, Obama has made America cool again—and more than that, he’s made his own brand arguably the most powerful the world has ever known.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

"UNDERWORLD; rise of the LYCANS"

A centuries-long blood feud erupts between two powerful and immortal tribes in Columbia Pictures’ new fantasy thriller “Underworld: Rise of the Lycans.” The third film in the epic “Underworld” saga goes back in time to depict the origins of the conflict between the aristocratic Vampires, known as Death Dealers, and the barbaric Lycans, a line of fierce werewolves. With more eye-popping CGI and astounding creature effects than either of its predecessors, “Underworld: Rise of the Lycans” reveals some of the hit franchise’s most compelling secrets.

Michael Sheen, Bill Nighy, Kevin Grevioux and Steven Mackintosh reprise their roles as Vampire overlords and Lycan rebels, with Rhona Mitra joining the cast as the impetuous Vampire warrior, Sonja.

More than a thousand years before the events of the original “Underworld,” two races of preternatural beings came into being, each springing from the bloodlines of a different son of the original Immortal, Alexander Corvinus. Vampires, arising from the Markus line, became elegant, aristocratic, cunning blood drinkers. Werewolves, from the William line, became savage beasts, with no trace of humanity left - and an insatiable appetite for violence. The Vampires came to dominate the local region – the wild lands in what is now western Hungary - with their superior intelligence, strength, and political skill. But even they feared the werewolves, who, though incapable of organization and higher thought, were capable of immense strength and savagery.

And then another genetic fluke transformed the balance of power again: a female werewolf, captive in the Vampire stronghold, gave birth to a seemingly human child. This was Lucian (Sheen) – the first Lycan, born into slavery in the house of Viktor (Nighy), the supremely powerful Vampire leader. Unlike “William’s Kind”, the original werewolves, this Lycan was able to take the form of either man or beast at will. Lucian’s bloodline was used by Viktor to create an entirely new breed of slaves, abused by the Vampires as laborers and guards during the vulnerable daylight hours, and prevented from transforming by the silver-spiked moonshackles kept locked around their necks.

Viktor reigns over his slaves, his court and his domains with an iron hand. He loves only two things: power, and his beautiful but willful daughter Sonja (Mitra).

Each night, Sonja rides with the Death Dealers, an elite squad of Vampire soldiers that protect Viktor’s domain against the marauding werewolves. But unknown to her father or any of her peers, Sonja has fallen in love with Lucian, now a skilled blacksmith and weapons-maker in the Vampire castle. Their affair must be conducted in the utmost secret, since if discovered, it would mean certain death for both of them.

Incredible battle scenes, astonishing stunts and cutting-edge creature effects make “Underworld: Rise of the Lycans” an epic adventure that stands proudly on its own.

Opening soon across the Philippines, “Underworld: Rise of the Lycans” is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008



Badminton, game for two or four players using lightweight rackets and a shuttlecock, a cork ball fitted with stabilizing feathers. Players hit the shuttlecock back and forth over a net, trying to keep it from hitting the ground. Some people play badminton outdoors on a level grassy area or beach. However, tournament-level badminton is played indoors on a specially marked court.

Badminton’s governing body, the International Badminton Federation (IBF), has about 140 member nations. The IBF estimates that about 200 million people play the game worldwide and that more than 1,000 players participate in international competition. Badminton’s growth accelerated after the game’s debut as a medal sport during the 1992 Summer Olympic Games. China, Denmark, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, and South Korea are just a few of the countries where badminton is popular.


International rules state that an indoor badminton court must be rectangular, with white lines marked on a level wooden floor or on a special mat that is rolled onto a level playing surface. A singles court is 44 ft (13.41 m) long and 17 ft (5.18 m) wide. For doubles, alleys 1 ft 6 in (0.46 m) wide along the two longer sides of the court come into play, making the court 20 ft (6.10 m) wide. Because many shots fly high into the air, there must be clearance of at least 30 ft (9.14 m) above the court. A net stretched across the middle of the court has a top edge set to a height of 5 ft (1.52 m) at the center and 5 ft 1 in (1.55 m) at the posts.


Badminton rackets weigh between 3.5 and 5 oz (99 and 141 g) and consist of a leather or terrycloth handle; a long, thin shaft; and a stringed area called the head. Official rules limit the total length of a racket to 26.75 in (67.95 cm). The head of a racket measures 11 in (28 cm) in length and 8.6 in (21.8 cm) in width and is strung with synthetic nylon or gut at between 25 and 35 lb (11.3 and 15.9 kg) of tension. Early rackets were made of wood, but badminton rackets are now commonly made of aluminum, boron, graphite, and titanium.

Tournament-quality shuttlecocks, also called shuttles or birdies, weigh 0.2 oz (5.7 gm) and consist of 16 goose feathers that protrude from one side of a ball-shaped cork base. Most shuttles used by casual players are plastic and have synthetic feathers. Both types of shuttles are 2.5 in (6.4 cm) long. When the shuttlecock is in the air, its aerodynamics cause it to spin so that when players hit it, they almost always strike the cork, not the feathers.


Play begins with a serve from a service area on the right-hand side of the court to a receiver in a diagonally opposite service area across the net. To serve, the server stands behind the service line and strikes the cork base of the shuttle in an underhand motion. The receiver must then return the shuttle before it hits the ground, and the players hit the shuttle back and forth until one side fails to return it.

Play ends when the shuttle hits the ground on one side of the court or when one player makes a fault, or error, such as hitting the shuttle into the net or out of bounds. Specific faults for servers include striking the feathers of the shuttle first or serving overhand. The receiver can be faulted for not being within the service court, for not having both feet on the floor when receiving, and for moving before the serve is made.

During play, faults include hitting the shuttle into the roof or lights, hitting it through the net, double-hitting or slinging a shot, touching the net, playing a shot by reaching over the net, and allowing the shuttle to hit the player’s body. Unsportsmanlike conduct—such as intentionally distracting an opponent—will also earn a player a fault.


Points are scored when the opponent fails to return the shuttle, hits it out of bounds, or earns a fault. Points only count for the server (or serving side in doubles), so keeping the service privilege is an important part of the game. If the server loses a rally or makes a fault, the service privilege passes to the opponent. In doubles, this immediate loss of service occurs only at the start of the game. After this first loss of service, each team receives two chances to hold serve. When the first teammate loses serve, the partner serves. If the partner loses serve, the opposing team takes over.

In men’s singles, men’s doubles, women’s doubles, and mixed doubles, the first side to score 15 points is the winner. Women’s singles games are played to 11 points. If the score is tied at 14-14 (or 10-10 in women’s singles) a system called setting settles the outcome. The first side that reached 14 (or 10) elects either to play through, meaning that the next side to win a point wins the game, or to set the game to three additional points, meaning that the first side to reach 17 points (or 13 in women’s singles) wins the game. Each badminton match is a best-of-three-games contest. Average matches last about 45 minutes, but professional matches can last more than 2 hours.

Badminton tournaments involve a number of officials. A referee supervises the tournament organization while an umpire controls each match. Aided by a service judge, the umpire keeps score and rules on faults during play. Up to ten line judges rule on whether particular shots have landed in or out of the court.


Badminton requires speed, strength, power, agility, and nerve. Players must move quickly from side to side and back and forth, and stamina is important.

There are six key badminton strokes: the serve, drive, net shot, smash, lift (or lob), and clear. To hit these strokes, players use either a forehand or a backhand grip, depending on court positioning. On the forehand the forefinger acts as a lever and creates power and direction for the stroke. For the backhand the thumb creates this power and direction while placed along the back of the handle.

Many players aim the serve toward the centerline of the opposite service box. This technique limits the angle of the opponent’s return shot. Sometimes players use long, high serves to force opponents to the back of the court. Players also make specialty serves, such as flick serves that barely clear the net or drive serves that are hit down the sideline of the service area, to catch opponents out of position.

Once play has started, players tend to hit straight, low-flying shots called drives. When the shuttle remains close to the center of the court, net shots can be a good option. Net shots can be hard-hit or delicate. They are aimed at the front area of the opponent’s court, forcing the opponent to play the shot close to the net.

If the opponent manages to return a net shot, the return must be hit high to clear the net. This gives the player a chance for a smash—the deadliest attacking stroke in badminton. A smash is hit to the floor so forcefully that the opponent has no chance to return the shuttle before it hits the ground. The hardest smash has been recorded at more than 160 mph (260 km/h).

Players also use two looping strokes that knock the shuttle high and deep. The lift, or lob, is an offensive stroke made from the middle or front of the court. This shot sends the shuttle in a high arc above the opponent’s reach, forcing the opponent to the back of the court. The clear is a similar stroke, but it is used for defensive purposes when players find themselves out of position. The high arc gives players time to return to the middle of the court and to prepare for another rally.


Many badminton enthusiasts play in clubs or at local and regional levels. Top players compete in the World Grand Prix series, an international circuit of tournaments sanctioned by the IBF.

The world championships are badminton’s biggest event and are held every two years. The tournament features five competitions: men’s and women’s singles, men’s and women’s doubles, and mixed doubles. The world championships are always preceded the previous week at the same venue by the Sudirman Cup world mixed team championships, where contests between nations are decided by five matches: men’s and women’s singles, men’s and women’s doubles, and mixed doubles.

Two of badminton’s most exciting events are the men’s Thomas Cup and the women’s Uber Cup. These world team championships, which take place every two years side by side at the same time and at the same venue, have continental qualifying rounds. Contests are staged in a round-robin format with knockout finals at both the qualifying stages in February and the grand finals in May. Thomas Cup and Uber Cup contests consist of three singles and two doubles matches.

Other major events are the European championships, held every two years, and the Olympic Games and the Commonwealth Games, both held every four years.

The IBF, located in Cheltenham, England, regulates all these events and is the sport’s governing body. Representatives from Canada, Denmark, England, France, Ireland, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Scotland, and Wales founded the organization in 1934. Today the IBF has about 140 member nations.

Friday, 17 October 2008


Arnel Pineda was born in Sampaloc, Manila, in the Philippines. His mother instilled his love for singing at an early age, encouraging him to sing along to songs from her favorite singers like Karen Carpenter and Barbra Streisand. Growing up, his parents entered him in many singing contests.

His mother, who had been suffering from rheumatic heart disease, passed away when he was thirteen. Her illness had left their family deep in debt. Being a year behind on their rented apartment and unable to sufficiently provide for the family, his father decided to move out and ask relatives to take in Pineda's siblings. To ease his father's burden, Pineda quit school and volunteered to strike out on his own.

For about two years his life was spent out on the streets, sleeping wherever he could: in public parks, or on a narrow bench outside a friend's crowded house. He earned meager money by collecting glass bottles, newspapers, and scrap metal and selling them to recyclers. He would also go to the pier with his friends and take on odd jobs like cleaning scrap metal and docked ships. He didn't have much to eat, sometimes rationing a small package of biscuit as his meal for two days. Despite all these hardships he tried to remain optimistic about his future.

[edit] Singing career

In 1982, when Pineda was 15 years old, he became the lead singer of the Filipino musical group called Ijos Band. He used to sing in Shakey's Taft. In 1986, some members of Yjoz formed a group called Amo. Amo entered and won the Rock Wars contest in the Philippines.

In 1988, Amo entered and won the Philippines leg of the Yamaha World Band Explosion. They went on to the finals in Hong Kong, but were not qualified to win due to a technicality. The rules stated the winning song had to be an original composition. However, they also stated that the song entry in the finals had to be the same song with which the band won their country's leg of the competition. Amo's winning song in the Philippines was Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody", obviously not an original. After the contest, the band continued as Amo, performing live. They opened for Robert Palmer in Manila in 1989. [3] Amo played in clubs in Quezon City, Olongapo City and Makati City, which are located in Luzon, the biggest island in the Philippines. Amo was very popular in the renowned Chinese-owned California Jams club in Olongapo City, which was frequented by United States military personnel.

In 1990, Pineda and other members of Amo formed another band called Intensity Five and once again entered the Yamaha World Band Explosion. Pineda won the Best Vocalist award and the band came in as first runner up.

Later in 1990, five of Amo's original members split from the band leader, Ulysis Ablang (Uly) and formed another band behind Pineda, "New Age". This occurred prior to the release of Amo's one-and-only album released in 1990 titled Ang Tunay na Amo ("The Real Master") on BMG records which spawned one popular radio hit called "Running Away". (The song was popularized again in 2006 by another Filipino artist Erik Santos, who won an American Idol type Filipino TV show, Star In A Million.) The remaining members of Amo went on to become "The Boss Band", while Pineda's band, New Age, played regularly at Fire and Rain in Makati City.

In 1991, during one of those performances, a talent agent spotted Pineda and New Age and asked them to move to Hong Kong to perform at a very popular entertainment restaurant called Grammy's. With New Age, Pineda performed six nights a week, Tuesday through Sunday, for several years thereafter.[3] After a long-term serious relationship failed in 1994, Pineda suffered health problems, which almost destroyed his voice. He returned to the Philippines. After six months of recuperation, he was able to sing again.[3][4] He returned to Hong Kong and resumed singing with his band. In 1998, the owner of Igor's, the premiere theme restaurant/nightclub in Hong Kong, asked New Age to perform there. Dressed in skeleton outfits, they called themselves "The Rolling Bones".

In 1999, Pineda caught the attention of Warner Bros. record label and flew back to the Philippines on his days off to record a solo album, the self-titled Arnel Pineda. Most of the album’s ten original songs were slow ballads, with only two upbeat numbers, one of which carries a Latin style. One of the songs, “Iiyak Ka Rin” (You Will Cry Too) became a karaoke favorite in Asia, while another song "Sayang" (Too Bad) became a radio favorite. Pineda wrote and arranged several songs. Pineda continued to perform with New Age while making his album and for several years thereafter. In 2001, Pineda sang one song with Filipino band, South Border’s album The Way We Do. The song is called “Looking Glass”. In 2002, Pineda's band changed their name to 9 mm and played at “The Edge” in Lai Kwai Fong, Hong Kong.

In 2004, three members of the New Age band reformed with a female singer sharing lead vocals with Pineda and called themselves “Most W@nted”. This band played 3-4 hour sets Monday through Saturday at The Cavern Club in Hong Kong.[5] On their only day off, Sundays, the band often performed at Filipino community events.

In 2005, Arnel recorded the theme song of the short-lived Filipino radio show "Dayo". A band named The Visitors was briefly formed for promotion purposes of the "Dayo" soundtrack consisting of three members from Ijos/Yjoz, Amo, New Age and Most Wanted.

Monday, 13 October 2008


We finally have an official release date: Warner Bros will release Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I on November 19th 2010. That means there will be exactly two years without a Harry Potter movie. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince hits theaters later this year on November 21st.

This came from a combination of me looking for a particular movie poster to use as a source pic for something else and a post by sbeegee where she put speech bubbles on one of the 7th book covers and mentioned that she was going to watch Gone With the Wind. Talk about random, huh?

Sources: Movie posters for Gone With the Wind and An Affair to Remember, the book covers for Deathly Hallows, Equus Daniel (this particular shot of him for the 3rd time), and random Emma pic.

Saturday, 20 September 2008


True friends are for life
Until the end
They're more than special
They're your bestest friends.

They're the ones you can go to
When you're in despair
The ones that'll help you
Even when you got gum in your hair!

They're the ones who'll laugh
And go laughing with you all through the night
The ones who'll help you
Help you with all their might

To have a good friend
You have to be one
So be nice to one another
So you can be friends forever
And that\'s how to be the best friend you can be.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008


It is a mixture of body and soul, of dance and fight, of instruments and voices. According to history, Capoeira was created by imported Africans on Brazilian soil. It evolved as a means of expression of the yearning for freedom and simultaneously as a form of entertainment.

Moicano and Fantasma Fofinha and Besouro

Condemned and persecuted, capoeira managed to overcome the preconceptions of the beginning of the century and reach new horizons. It is considered one of the most comprehensive forms of physical conditioning and is an integrated balance of mind, strength, rhythm, poetry, agility, and harmony. It is the maximum expression of liberty and keeps the art of the ancestors alive, being part of Brazilian and now, world history.

A Brief History of Capoeira
The word Capoeira (cáapuêra: of Tupi-Guarani Indian origin) stands for "wild grass", or "grass that has been cut".

Capoeira as it is known today began when enslaved Africans created quilombos, hidden free states where runaways, outcasts and fugitives of mixed origin lived communally. Amongst these the most famous was Palmares led by Zumbi, an invicible warrior and strategist, whom according to legend was a capoerista.

Mestre Bimba Mestre Pastinha

Historically the personal guard of the Brazilian Emperor Dom Pedro I was formed by capoeiristas, or capoeiras. However, the MARECHAL Deodoro da Fonseca, in 1890, according to the decree by law 487, declared that any capoeira caught practicing the art on the streets would be expelled to the island of Fernando de Noronha (an island in the northeast of Brazil) for a period of six months. In this way, the said decree having temporarily ended the practice of capoeira, it was to rise again nearly 50 years later in 1957 when Manoel dos Reis Machado, or better-known as Mestre Bimba, mounted a presentation for the then President of the Republic, Getúlio Vargas. Enchanted by the game, Dr. Vargas liberated the practice of capoeira that since then went from marginality to being taught in academies in Brazil.

Mestre Bimba created the Regional style, that is identified as the faster, more purposeful and efficient version: capoeira as a fight. The style known as Angola is capoeira in slower form with smooth movements that demand more contact with the ground, and was created by Vicente Ferreira Pastinha or Mestre Pastinha, in Bahia. Nowadays Capoeira is no longer a privilege of Rio de Janeiro or Bahia, practiced in many Brazilian states and, more importantly, the world over.

What is a Batizado?
It is a festival of interaction between masters and students. It is a magical encounter; it is energy; it is culture; it is an exchange of information; it is incredibly emotional. It is an intense moment where mestres, professors, and students of the Escola Brasileira de Capoeira and invitees from Brazil and elsewhere reunite to exchange experiences, knowledge, and wisdom.

As the first encounter of students with invited masters, it is in the context of the batizado that initiates in the art of capoeira receive a nickname by which they will be known within capoeira, including their first cordão(belt). Baptized students also move from one graduation to another according to their practical and theoretical development throughout the year.

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Oprah, Ellen, Celine and Charice - on greater heights!

I’m not fond of fancy food,” she says in Filipino, eating the spam and eggs – spamsilog, actually – out of a Tupperware container with her right hand encased in a clear plastic baggie.

Charice would rather eat with her fingers like any true-blooded Pinoy, but then she wouldn’t want to get any grease on her Macbook’s keypad, would she?

The silver laptop is powered on in front of the dresser, revealing a Garfield screensaver.

It’s more than just a prop.

Speaking mainly in Filipino, she explains: “When I get sleepy, I lose my voice. So I need games on my laptop to keep me awake. I love gadgets – cellphones, iPods, laptop – dati napapanood ko lang sila sa TV, ngayon nabibili ko na sila (I used to just see them on TV, but now I can afford to buy them).”

Charice is wearing a floppy blue hat, with her big toothy grin and eyes that turn down at the corners in a broad, good-natured face that reminds one of Alice’s Cheshire cat, or Evisu, the Japanese god of wealth.

Like any 16-year-old girl, she giggles a lot, and it’s probably this natural, unforced quality that must have appealed so much to Oprah, Ellen Degeneres et. al., apart of course from the outsize voice that got everyone’s attention.

“Kalog po talaga ako (I’m really goofy),” she explains. “I’m a cheerful person. I only look serious when I’m performing on TV. People like me because I make them smile, although when I perform, they say I make them cry too, being the first Asian to have achieved this stature, this being the ’little girl with a big voice,’” she continues. “I felt really touched when Oprah Winfrey described me as the most talented girl in the world. Naisip ko na maraming talented sa mundo pero ako yung napili niya na sabihan ng ganoon (I thought, there are a lot of talented people in the world, but she chose me for that tag.) ”

Her cellphone rings.

Charice’s ringtone is a snippet of her Madison Square Garden duet with Celine Dion, a measure of the impossibly high esteem in which she holds “Miss Celine.” Of all the incredible achievements she’s racked up in such a short span of time – appearing on “Oprah” and “The Ellen Degeneres Show,” singing a duet with Andrea Bocelli and performing at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade – it’s still the highlight of her life thus far, a dreamlike moment during which she ascended to the higher realms and tasted nirvana.

Or in her own words:

“Talagang napaka-perfect kasi niya at napakabait kaya hanggang ngayon nandoon sya,” (She’s really so perfect and so kind, so until now, she’s up there),”she gushes.

And she would love nothing better than to record another duet with “Miss Celine,” God willing, on her international debut album, due next year from Warner Brothers. Or Josh Groban. But that’s really up to her managers and producers.

In the meantime, she’s happy to be our first truly bi-coastal star, or in local showbiz parlance a “lagare queen,” only her lagare involves juggling local performances with bookings in the US and other countries. In fact, international stardom has prompted the family to keep an apartment in LA, although Charice is more often on the road, racking up frequent-flyer miles and living out of hotel rooms.

Luckily, at her age, it’s still an adventure and not yet a grind. Being pronounced “the most talented girl in the world” by Oprah doesn’t seem to have jaded her yet.

“Syempre po nakakapagod yung byahe, pero pag nandun na ako sa stage at nagpe-perform ako, naiisip ko na lang ang pagod pag matutulog na ko, (Yes, the trips can be tiring but when I’m performing onstage, I only think of the fatigue come bedtime),” she says. “The events where I sing are enjoyable and I get to perform with big stars, and that banishes the tiredness,” she adds.

Like any star-struck fan, Charice’s Macbook contains her photo album of cherished snaps with the likes of Alicia Keyes, David Archuleta of “American Idol” fame, Nicole Richie, Mariah Carey, Josh Groban and Peter Cetera of Chicago, to name just the more recent additions.

The Mac is also a reminder of just how much Charice owes her present celebrity to the existence of the worldwide web. Like Arnel Pineda, she was discovered on YouTube through videos posted by her fans.

“That’s the main reason I’m here,” she admits. “Because of YouTube, I got invited to Sweden, Korea, the Ellen Degeneres show, then Oprah’s show. That was also where I was discovered by the brother of David Foster (her current producer).”

Through her laptop, Charice is able to keep track of the numerous blogs and fansites devoted to her, as well as her official website, although she is leery of actually posting anything.

“I don’t blog. I might miss some websites and people might get offended. So I just view them but don’t post anything.”

Her newfound celebrity has also somewhat curtailed her activities.

“Sometimes when I go malling, I can’t really shop and look around because people ask to have their pictures taken with me. So I don’t go anymore. But yes, I do get to play – mostly with my brother.”

Like many showbiz kids with irregular schedules, Charice has had to opt for home schooling, where she is now in third-year high school.

“Syempre po nakaka-miss din,” she says of having to say goodbye to her friends. “I was in regular school till first year high school so I really miss my classmates. I visited them once and it was a good feeling, but I couldn’t stay long. It feels good to see them and to hear them say they’re proud of me.”

Right now she’s settling for a routine that she describes as “bahay, ABS-CBN-States – ’yun lang po (home-TV studio-the US)” but allows for the possibility that showbiz may not be forever.

“College – I’m still undecided, but given the opportunity, I’d like to study in the US and take up Law. I wanted to be a doctor initially, but I was inspired by Tito Mike (immigration lawyer Mike Garfinkel, whose wife Millie manages her career Flipside). I want to be an entertainment lawyer. But school doesn’t have to be in the US, as long as I get to finish college.”

It all depends, of course, on what the future holds for Charice. Pop superstardom beckons, but she seems wise beyond her years as regards the perils of instant celebrity and its long-term prospects.

“Syempre gusto kong maging superstar, pero gusto ko rin maging lawyer,” she says candidly. “Gusto kong makompleto ang maibibigay ko sa mommy ko, gaya ng sariling bahay. Basta pag nakompleto ko yon, kahit mawala na ako sa showbiz, at least nakompleto ko na ang mga gusto nila. (Of course I’d like to be a superstar but I also want to become a lawyer. I want to give my mom a house and everything she wants. As long as I get to do that, I wouldn’t mind fading out of showbiz).”

It is her mother, after all, who remains her main role model. Raquel Pempengco was a vocalist for Souls Free, a show band. She would take Charice along on her shows, and at age four, the little girl caught the bug.

“I really envy my mom because she was a vocalist in a band, and she influenced me. One time the band asked me to sing and I found myself enjoying it. I asked my mom to teach me how to sing. She didn’t expect that I’d sing well, so in effect, she discovered me.”

Singing is the one thing that comes most naturally, and she doesn’t want to mess that up by thinking too much about it.

“I don’t want to think about it. I’ve joined a lot of singing contests before and I always lost, so I don’t want to think that I’m that good. In fact, in those amateur contests, I would imitate the other contestants whom I idolize because I didn’t think I was good enough. As long as I get to sing the song and feel it, that’s it. When people say I’m good, I just don’t think about it; it makes me uncomfortable.”

She’d also like to show her audiences that she can do more than just the big showpiece ballads. Occasionally she’ll surprise audiences by doing a Miley Cyrus number, or even “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson. Her own listening these days runs to rhythm and blues, Chris Brown and Rihanna, she says. But audiences have come to expect full birit mode from her, the athletic numbers that showcase her big outsize voice and what she can do with it.

With her “keep it simple” philosophy, Charice doesn’t worry about how much to give to a performance. She always gives it all she’s got.

“I always give 100 per cent; if possible, 110 per cent, because I really want to satisfy my audience. When they go home, I want my performance to be imprinted on their mind.”

Charice will turn 17 next May, most likely in Las Vegas where she’s booked on a promotional tour for her DVD “David Foster and Friends.” Right now, however, she’s still very much a kid at heart, but a kid who’s learned some valuable lessons in life.

“I always say this because I’ve been through it,” she tells aspiring young singers. “If they really dream of being a singer, they need discipline. Don’t take advantage – hintayin mo yung para sa iyo (wait for what’s really meant for you). But don’t give up either. I remember how after ‘Little Big Star,’ I gave up. For one week, my mind was a complete blank because I’ve lost. Good thing some people helped me stand up. ’Wag susuko, kasi talagang may plan si God para sa inyo (Don’t give up because God has a plan for you).”

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

CHARICE PEMPENGCO - A VOICE soaring beyond her dreams...

Nobody expected that after Leah Salonga, a young girl would again penetrate the international entertainment scene and make Philippines really proud of her achievements. Nagpapatunay rin sa tagumpay na tinatamasa ngayon ni Charice na kung hindi ka man sinuwerteng maging grand champion sa isang contest ay mayroon pa rin namang mas malaking mga bagay na nakatadhana na mangyari sa iyo.

Sa pictorial ng 2nd album niya under Star Records, ipinahayag ni Charice sa PEP na hanggang ngayon ay di pa rin siya makapaniwala sa mga magagandang nangyayari ngayon sa kanyang career at buhay.

“Nagugulat nga ako, almost one year lang, last year lang ako na-discovered. Nag-start ako kay Ms. Ellen [Degeneres] last 2007, ‘tapos nagbigyan ng break nina Ms. Oprah [Winfrey] and David Foster. Last year, marami talagang nangyari. Sana this year, sa mga nakikita kong balita ngayon sa States, sa mga predictions nila na lagi akong kasama, sana magkatotoo yun. Sana nga, sa tulong ng mga taong nasa likod ko, sana lahat mangyari yun,” ani Charice.

BEING IN TOP THREE. Kamakailan ay kumanta si Charice sa isang party ng Sony Pictures. Kumpirmado na ring kakanta din siya sa after party ng Oscar’s Awards Night at isa rin si Charice sa tatlong newcomers na hinulaan ng Fox News who will make it big this 2009.

“Kumanta ako sa birthday ng isa sa mga director ng Sony Pictures, si Mr. Steve Dish, actually di ko sure yung surname niya. In-invite po niya ako dun. Ang format ng birthday niya ay mula ’50s, yung mga usong kanta nung ’50s at mga usong kanta ngayon. Ako yung in-invite niya to sing his favorite songs.

“Sa Oscar’s naman, magpe-perform ako sa post-party nila. Kasama ko si Mr. David Foster, marinig ko lang ang Oscar’s kinikilabutan na ako. Masaya ako kasi parang nag-i-start na ako na makilala talaga ng mga tao.

“Sa Fox News naman, napanood ko na nag-predict sila ng shining stars this 2009. Natuwa ako kasi kasama ako sa top three, no. 1 is Robert Pattinson of Twilight, no.2 is Kate Winslet, ‘tapos no. 3 ako. Iba yung feeling, ang sarap, so, sana magkatotoo. Tuwang-tuwa ako habang pinapanood ko, ‘Have you heard the name Charice Pempengco of the Philippines ?’ Nakakataba ng puso.”

Despite of Charice’s busy schedule, di pa rin niya kinalilimutan ang kanyang mother studio, ang ABS CBN at Star Records.

“Siyempre naman, kahit two days lang ako dito, umuwi ako dito para sa mga commitments ko sa kanila. Ngayon may pictorial ako for my second album in Star Records, bale 2nd album ko ito sa kanila for Mother’s Day so sana suportahan nila gaya ng una kong album. Magkakaroon din ako ng major concert, so, sana abangan nila.”

OPRAH RUMORS. May bali-balita noon na si Oprah Winfrey daw ang tumatayong manager ni Charice sa States, bagay na agad ay nilinaw sa amin ng batang singer. Binigyang-linaw din niya ang balita na ia-adopt daw siya ng sikat na sikat na TV host.

“Ang manager ko ay yung manager ni Andrea Bocelli. Si Ms. Oprah ang nagmo-monitor ng career ko, siya yung nagsasabi kung ano ang dapat kong gawin, kung ano ang ayaw niya, siya yung nagmo-monitor. Kumbaga siya yung tumutulong, siya yung nagsasabi kay Sir David Foster kung ano ang mga dapat kong gawin sa career ko.”

As for the rumor na ia-adopt na siya ni Oprah…

“Hindi naman totoo ‘yan, natutuwa lang si Ms. Oprah sa akin pero wala naman akong nabalitaan na ganun. Ang alam ko na nagdyo-joke ng ganyan ay si Sir David Foster. May limang daughters siya, niloloko niya na ako raw ang pang-anim. Si Ms. Oprah naman talaga, tumutulong siya sa mga bata kaya minsan naiisip nila na ‘Baka ia-adopt na nito si Charice.’ Kung mangyayari yun, dapat kasama ang mommy pati kapatid ko.”

FRUITS OF HER LABOR. Sa ganda ng tinatakbo ng career ni Charice, nabibili na niya ang mga gusto niya.

“Nakabili na ako ng [Ford] Expedition and sana makabili pa ako ng isang sasakyan. Kabibili ko lang ng isang apartment, isa ibibigay ko sa Lola ko, yung isa sa amin and the rest ipapa-rent ko. Sa Laguna yun sa Cabuyao, feeling ko kasi sinuwerte ako sa Laguna, ayokong talikuran kung saan ako nagmula. Gusto ko ring makabili ng sariling bahay para sa mama ko.”

Nagpahayag din ng pasasalamat si Charice sa mga taong sumusuporta sa kanya lalo na sa mga kababayan nating na nagsasabing proud sila as Filipinos dahil sa achievements ni Charice ngayon.

“Nagpapasalamat ako sa kanilang lahat. Pag napapanood ko ang sarili ko sa YouTube ‘tapos binabasa ko yung mga comments, malimit nababasa ko dun talagang mga Filipino na susuporta raw sila at ‘pag nagka-album daw ako, bibili raw sila ng 10 copies. Nakakatuwa na makatanggap ka ng ganung mga komento galing sa kanila.”

INTERNATIONAL ALBUM. Natutuwa rin si Charice sa nakalinyang international album na gagawin niya.

“Happy yung feeling pero sa project na ito, masasabi ko na isa ito sa pinakamahirap na gagawin ko, kasi bukod sa debut album ko ito, whole world po ito ibebenta. Mamimili na kami ng ng mga songs, pag nakapili na kami, diretso na kami sa recording. Umabot lang po ito ng gold, okey na sa akin, masayang-masaya na ako dun.”

Sunday, 10 August 2008

US Retrogression and Nurses arund the globe - soaring? OR souring?

Although recent retrogression relief is welcomed by nurses, hospitals and agencies alike, Procare USA president Scott O'Carroll cautions that the relief is only temporary and that retrogression delays could again effect green card processing times for registered nurses. O'Carroll states that, "in light of the critical nursing shortage, the US must restore non-immigrant visas similar to the old H-1A category that expired in 1997 if the US hopes to attract quality foreign trained nurses." Immigration laws in many countries including the UK, Canada and Ireland, help to facilitate the immigration process making it much easier for nurses to work in these countries. We're losing quality, foreign trained nurses to other industrialized countries simply because of our cumbersome immigration process.

Procare USA has been recruiting foreign trained nurses since 1990 and has licensing and immigration specialists on staff to assist foreign trained nurses.

Friday, 1 August 2008


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