Birthdays with GMA Artist Center's Kenneth Paul, Zandra, James, Rafa and Phytos

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

We spent the day with talented actors and their fans in the Lazer Max Tag Arena in Centris off Quezon Avenue. It was my first time to meet Rafa Siguion-Reyna, Phytos Ramirez and Zandra Summer but I've featured Kenneth Paul Cruz and James Wright in previous posts. The premise is, we're going to have fun in this joint... and that we did!

It was also a good time for these artists to connect with their fan clubs so they get to talk to their idols while we were there. It was intimate, especially when they sat down and ate with them during lunch. They got to know them more over pizza and pasta. The questions revolved around their projects and what other things they need to look out for with  Kenneth Paul, Zandra, James, Rafa and Phytos. They also had games designed for them to interact with each other. They also gave the fans prizes from GMA Artist Center, RRJ, Active White, Sundance and Toblerone. It was also a sweet sight when they all asked the them to sign some pillows as they'd want to keep the memories of this day.

Rafa Siguion Reyna and Phytos Ramirez

Rafa went ahead and promoted his stint in "Hari ng Tondo" (King of Tondo) which is an entry to Cinemalaya. It's also directed by his Dad the famous Carlos Siguion Reyna. He has much respect for the craft and he saw how hard it is. He also lauds Direk Maryo J. Delos Reyes which he works with in Nino. He says the thing common with them is that they know what they want and they never settle with mediocre acting. "They will make you work for what's needed in the scenes and that's a good thing" he adds.

I think Phytos Ramirez is one of the less seen (but not under appreciated) actors in this station. Don't get me wrong, I think it's not just the projects but his looks. He's 19 and he is aware that this is much of an awkward stage of pressing for cutie teeny bopper roles or go for mature ones. My shot here doesn't do justice because I think he's way more good looking in person. His Grecian looks is just something I haven't seen in Philippine TV and I think that can be something of an advantage. He now wishes to be seen in more mature roles and he's really working hard at it by bulking up. I guess it comes with the territory of being a matinee idol, which I think he's gonna be a perfect fit at. We only can wish him well; and I hope to see him in tons of projects soon.

 James Wright still has his self titled album out on stores nationwide. He's concentrating on performing and he's been touring a couple of cities to perform in. The one in Nuvali with Ogie Alcasid yesterday was fun it seems and he's also gone to Hong Kong coz he misses his family. I hope you get his album produced also by GMA Records. For more information about that, check my previous article here.

After Kenneth Paul Cruz's stint in Carmela (Marian Rivera's series), he's going to be in the Cinemalaya entry Mariquina (Marikina) together with Barbie Forteza, Mylene Dizon, Ricky Davao, Bing Pimentel, Dennis Padilla, Che Ramos, Mel Kimura, Erlinda Villalobos and Ruby Ruiz. It's Directed by Milo Sugueco. The movie talks about the city of Marikina, their history, the people who are in the shoe industry and how she (Mylene Dizon's character) begins to find her self in the process. Kenneth will be playing one of the pivotal roles in this film as the love interest of Barbie Forteza. He hopes everyone would be able to watch it during Cinemalaya preview dates as he's very proud of this project. I think he deserves it, rightfully do.

Zandra Summer who hailed from the Protege reality show was also there since her birthday falls in July like the rest of these guys. She's currently also in Dading playing one of the nurses in the show since Glaiza De Castro's character works in the hospital there. She didn't hold back and joined everyone in the Laser tag games, really a good gal. I hope she continue to get more projects from GMA because I think she's doing a good job in this support role. She's got character, and she looked pretty good when made up too. Good luck in your future shows Zandra and hope to talk more with you soon!

Overall, you guys have given your most precious fans a fun day that they would not forget. Thank you so much for being so nice too. Happy birthday!

Thanks GMA Artist Center for letting us tag along!

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GMA Casts Remake of Drama Series YAGIT

Monday, July 21, 2014

It wasn't easy to choose the next big child star says GMA Executives and Director Gina Alajar.

I remember watching this when I was a kid and it involved a lot of drama about violence about children, adoption, relationships and the normal good versus bad point of view. During a very young age you get to kind of feel what it is like to be in their condition. The street kids, they all have stories. It's one of the reasons why another installment of the soap YAGIT is going to be done by GMA this year. We were in the final auditions a week ago, they didn't know that they were up for a surprise. 

Judie Dela Cruz auditioning for the role of Josie/Josielyn
Judie Dela Cruz did her monologue and we've all seen how good she was in convincing us how poor and needy she was in a few minutes. She had a mature vibe with her and I bet she's turning into an "Ate" or older sister here without any effort. Among the thousands who joined the auditions she's one of the few who had been called back for the final screen test. There's good reason too because she registers great in the camera especially in close up. Here eyes speak, so you can feel how she delivers Josie's lines at an entire other level. 

Cute boy no?? He's JM Andres. I think he's appeared on TV and some commercials already. He's auditioning for the role of Ding Reyes. As one of the kids, I find his enthusiasm and character really effective. I bet even small girls might go gaga over him. He also is a mean dancer. I can already see him apt for Sunday All Stars or something similar to that.

She's Chlaui Malayao. She's the little girl from the noodle commercial where she said "I love my hair, my Mommy, my kuya my lolo etc.". Her innocence just put us into a trance and she even cried on the spot without any help. She's auditioning for the role of Elisa. As one of the kids, she'll definitely going to play it cute. You'll love her once you see her, I know I did. She's also very charming and can sing a tune or two. For her age, she's a prodigy. I bet she's going to be a big star soon.

One of my favorite characters back then was Tomtom. This is the same role that Jemwell Ventinilla was actually auditioning for. This kid has natural comedic timing. He made us laugh profusely a couple of times and most of them are situational. That's a hard thing to do. Even if Director Gina Alajar was trying to be serious during the screen tests, she couldn't help but laugh when this kid cracks one or two jokes in between. He also did good but needs work on some of the angles, positioning and works with the camera but that can be easily managed. I bet if he gets casted in Bubble Gang, he'll prolly pass that!

Later on, they were called into the meeting room so they would know if they passed or not. Then Director Gina Alajar asked to have their parents and guardians to go with them too. When she broke the news, the kids just broke to tears... some just was so excited!

Their parents were also overjoyed! Honestly, GMA is gambling a lot here. They are literally going to cast some lesser known kids instead of the ones that are already on their stable. Yes ladies and gentlemen, these are the kids that are going to be the next stars of YAGIT.

The next time you'll see them, they're going to be in the remake of the 1984 classic. Jocelyn, Tomtom, Elisa and Ding will be a hit and they will be a regular name in your household pretty soon. They also mentioned that GMA stars Yasmien Kurdi, LJ Reyes, Rich Asuncion, James Blanco, Frank Magalona, Renz Fernandez, Maricris Garcia, Kevin Santos, Joana Marie Tan and Wowie de Guzman will be in it too. Looks promising? Of course it is! Let's see how Director Gina Alajar and their production executes this when it starts shooting hopefully next quarter. I'll watch!


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8 Awesome Reasons To Travel North Luzon Now!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Now I'm no travel expert but I guess I'm a person hard to please. When it comes to traveling, sometimes I don't like places that I go to because it's too far, too crowded or the food sucks. Traveling North Luzon made me think about how this place is a little under appreciated, so I'm going to list down a few things that makes this an awesome travel spot for those who haven't done it yet!

1. The North Luzon Expressway (NLEX)

Photo Bocaue Tollgate from Wikipedia (
It's easy to travel North now because the North Luzon Expressway made traveling faster and more efficient. The roads are perfect for long drives because it's maintained properly. The tollgates have EC cards which you can get prepaid so you don't have to queue. Compared to regular roads that can take you several hours to go to the north, this will cut the travel time enormously. The view is also spectacular and just needs a short turn to go to towns along it. It made everything freaking easy, I suggest you come along with friends so you can save up gas and toll fees. It'll be worth it!

2. The Festivals

7107 International Music Festival
If it's a FIESTA made for  a town's patron saint or a FIESTA made for thanksgiving, or a full pledged Music Festival with International acts no matter what genre it is, the North Luzon provinces are full of it! Our country is at least celebrating one fiesta per day, now imagine that done all throughout the year! This is the Philippines so we make it BIG!

3. The Old Churches


There's nothing even greater than seeing and believing in Churches as the house of God. For those who are religious, you'll be surely blessed by visiting these century old or more churches to renew faith and learn a little more about the country's history as we are around 80% Roman Catholic. You'll meet the locals in and around towns that are centered in these areas. The architecture, the details of the walls are all heavenly... surely it's something that should be seen!

4. Some of the World's Best Beaches 

You can have a view worthy of postcards even without leaving the island of Luzon. The spectacular beaches of Pagudpod of which some remains untouched and has got less commercialization just spells paradise. It's also windy up here so the Windmills of Bangui can get you electricity and supply the great part of the province without the need for other power sources that's nature friendly and safe. The water is cold while the weather is hot, perfect combination to relax in a hammock tied between coconut trees and have a beer on hand. Isn't that the perfect summer?

5. The Food

Taking a guiltless pleasure on some of the most unnoticed dishes in the country like "Dinengdeng" (Local Vegetables in Grilled Fish broth)  or the oh so crunchy "Bagnet" (Deep Fried Crispy Air Dried Pork) which is so good. Aside from that, they've also got Ilocos Empanada done in so many ways from Vigan to other cities in this province. The famous Vigan Longganisa also is the best thing for breakfast in the country. I could have kilos of this in one sitting and still want more. Do not hesitate to taste this and more when you visit the region. 

6. Cheap Accommodations

Azalea Residences Baguio City
North Luzon has varied rates for accommodations. You can opt for hotels or huge residences like this one or get cheap ones in bus terminals. You can also opt for transient homes in the suburbs for better chances to meet locals too. Just stay nice and friendly as they will return the smiles back at you. They are ample enough for those that are just passing by or to spend a few days in these provinces. It's a good thing to immerse yourself in the culture and live with the locals so you can experience what it's like in the North Luzon path. Some are cold, some humid, but all in all a spectacular place to be in when in the lovely cities you get lost in. Everyone speaks a little or more English so it's not a big deal to say you've got language barriers.

7. Vigan Vies for 7 Wonder Cities of the World

 They have now been able to get into the final 21 cities and they are vying for the final 7. Vigan has got lots of history. They have some of the most picturesque cobbled stone streets and tourist spots not seen in any Asian country. To learn more on how to vote for them, please read my article here.

8. NLEX "Tara Na Sa Norte!" (Let's go to the North!)

Going to the North is definitely one thing that anyone should try when in Luzon. Now it's going to be made even better as they'll showcase deals in travel, accommodation and their products in one venue right here in Manila. From July 25-27, 2014 they'll set up shop at the Glorietta Activity Center in the city of Makati. There will be over 100 vendors offering the best hotels, products, restaurants, small and medium enterprises from the best in the region on these dates. This is put up by the Manila North Tollways Corporation and co presented by the Department of Tourism Regions 1, 2 and 3 plus the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR). This is also supported by Ayala Malls, North Philippines Visitors Bureau (NPVB), the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), Clark Development Corporation, Maynilad, PhilHydro, Cebu Pacific and the Philippine Daily Inquirer. 

Now if that isn't enough reason to go to the North of Luzon, I don't know what will!


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