Duty, Honor, Country For A Changed Man: ARIEL QUERUBIN

Thursday, May 23, 2024

To tell you honestly, the moment I heard the name Ariel Querubin, I was bit afraid... really afraid. My memories of him constituted an event during then President Corazon Aquino's time where TV cameras zoomed in on him amongst RAM SFP YOU soldiers at a hotel in Makati. When asked, he bid this as a time when he was so angry. This was so different from the man I saw a few days ago, an opportune time to talk to him as a changed man, definitely.

A native of Dagupan, Pangasinan, he's now the most decorated soldier in the country. If you try and see his accomplishments as an officer of the Philippine Marine Corps (also from PMA), it will include the biggest kidnapping and armed groups, rebels, organizations, terrorist groups (CPP NPA, MNLF, MILF, Abu Sayyaf, name it), whom all feared HIM on the battle grounds. He has received the coveted MEDAL of VALOR, the highest military award for courage, which shows how much dedication he's given to this country of ours. He even had the battle scars from ammunition and shrapnel to prove it.

He says "I'm thankful I got to meet you all, I'm Colonel Ariel Querubin. I am so fortunate to have been awarded 49 combat medals and other awards. I'm a soldier who have been able to battle with almost all the armed groups. They say this Ariel Querubin is a tough one. A person who stood up for peace, order, and a clean government. I have served without being involved in corruption. We stand on our principles, also for those who are less fortunate. We do not condone fraud, criminals, or those who abuse power."

This man is disciplined, can still workout, tougher than your muscled athlete at the gym. He's also experienced bouts with danger, but he knows he still has a mission. If God and the people permit, he wants to serve and is ready for it. He adds "I can leave my comfort zone for a higher calling."

He's been through a lot, but treats this opportunity to be a good one. He has been incarcerated in the past, and this has made him realize that his career as a military man isn't everything in life. He treats his time there as a quick jolt so he could come to his senses and become closer to his family. He knew then that all his awards would fail in comparison to his accomplishments as a father to his 7 children. One precious award he received was for an "Ulirang Ama", it has meant a lot for him.

His family stood by him. (photo courtesy of Ariel Querubin FB page)

In the past, he always had his thoughts with his soldiers, but now see the value of the same family waiting at home, worried about his life every time he goes out for a mission. He also feared he would have to answer to the countless families of these soldiers, but didn't know it was the same for him during those years. He found his wife standing up for their family, standing up for him. She took the punches, and he saw how the media also kept the fire burning for him at a time when politicians and other individuals were attacking him.

After being transferred to 5 difference facilities, they always saw how he smiled and fight for his family. He had the heart, and would want to do the same as a changed man today.

Out there in the field, he believed things couldn't be settled with words. But now, it's a way to talk, for the economy to progress, and see the importance of his experience as an actual warrior, more reasons to listen to him. He is a peace advocate, and deem life important. War is expensive, and is not a solution if the root cause is not addressed. Insurgency for him will only persist if there is no good governance. The Armed Forces has done remarkably well, and hope other agencies follow suit.

When you see him, he's now a force for positive change, even in the communities in the BaSulTa area. Introducing livelihood programs, a parcel of land where they could grow crops and earn a living, this sparked change for them and he hopes you see how he could do the same for you too. Here's our interview with him a few days ago:

His duty to his family, his indelible honor, and hope for the country is etched in his heart. His name is Ariel Querubin. Thank you for the opportunity to get to know you Sir! *Salute*


Teach Kids About Biodiversity Through MIND S-COOL Special

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

There exists a Biodiversity crisis and there's certainly no opportune time to teach kids about its dangers but now. If you don't know how, the Bonifacio Art Foundation Inc. and United States Agency for International Development have come together to bring you a special edition of MIND S-COOL TV. They also have put up a Biodiversity Crisis Escape Room which you can try, so you and your kids would be able to get hold of your role before tragedy strikes.

We got to experience the escape rooms earlier. It teaches you how each of us affects the balance between agriculture, aquaculture, the land we live in. This would be a good thing to do especially with young adults and kids. The activity costs Php 150 in Mind Museum, but may be free when brought to other areas.

It is ultimately a collaboration, of what you, your government, and other people could do to act on it. The Biodiversity Crisis Escape Rooms (BCER) would teach participants to work together in order to achieve goals and solve the crisis. This same setup will be done in different parts of the country including Subic, Puerto Princesa and Davao. Community leaders including decision makes are encouraged to join. The 3 rooms are actually connected, and they'd have to work together to solve it with different measures, each one needs to do their part.

A special about this will also be broadcasted on May 26th at 11am on. OnePH. This will also be replayed at 4:30pm on the same day. During the launch, Kathy Watchala of USAID Sibol and Maria Isabel Garcia of BAFI welcomed everyone and urged more people to come on dates indicated on posters. You may email them at mindscool@bafi.org.ph if you want to know more about the project, so you too can get involved!


BEA ALONZO, DANNY TREJO + Hollywood Stars on 1521: The Quest for Love and Freedom

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

It's coming and for those who are eagerly awaiting this action romance movie called "1521: The Quest for Love and Freedom", you're in for a treat!

We got to talk to the producer Francis Lara Ho a few days ago at the Viva offices in Ortigas, Needless to say, he addressed a few things including the noise surrounding the movie and the participation of actress Bea Alonzo + her manager Ms. Shirley Kuan. He was with 2 other Filipino actors Vic Romano and Larissa Buendia who also shared with us their experience playing Udong (the brother of Bea in the film) and Humamai (the Queen).

The Arduous Task of Casting

When they were finalizing characters for the project, they had to choose the one to play Magellan between Andy Garcia, Danny Trejo, and another actor in the US. It was Danny who immediately gave his feedback as he resonated well with the persona of Ferdinand Magellan. The legendary man and actor who did hit series Machete understood why there was a need to tell this perspective since western movies have profiled both Lapu Lapu and Magellan quite differently.

Vic Romano and Larissa Buendia had to audition through the various casting calls they did in Manila. Though there was lockdowns in place during that time, they had to find ways to get there in time.

For Bea Alonzo, she was always a dream to work with for Producer Francis Lara Ho. She knew her track record and wanted for her to play Diwata on Day 1. Her work in the movie was stellar. He was apologetic and said "I don't know if she will have the chance to see this or hear what I'm about to say, but I really admire her, she's a stellar performer. There were some times during production that I tell her how great she is. When she is on set, she doesn't only know her part in the film, but even know and memorized everybody else's lines. That's how professional she is. I hope she gets to hear this, I apologize... because of my limited knowledge and experience as a first time producer, I made some calls that somehow didn't help her portray her character. I take responsibility for that, I really hope she accepts my apology. It wasn't really my intention, as it has always been my dream to work with her. She has always been my first choice. Her character wasn't offered to anyone else but her. We have reached out to her camp several times, and I'm sad because you saw the success it had in the US where big people lauded it. I got quite sad about that time when someone interviewed me, because it became a controversy, when the purpose of that interview was to promote the film. Ms. Shirley (Bea's Manager) is a family friend, she's not my enemy, and she spends time with my family when she's in the US. I want the nation to know we're not enemies. We've known each other for 3 or 4 years. I also want to apologize to Ms. Shirley. It was never my intention to make the relationship like this. We are preparing tickets and formal invitations for them for the premiere."

Shooting the Film

Larissa Buendia shared how she worked in this film. She says "This is my first full length feature film, so getting the role got me really excited. It was always a dream of mine to visit Palawan, it was a dream destination and it was beautiful as I'd hope it would be. It was wild, I regret not being able to roam around much because we shot this in an island, but I do plan to go back there some day. This project was a dream come true, I got to work with Danny Trejo. He's humble, down to earth, almost like a child like aura about him. I'm so excited I'd be able to post our photos together since we're now promoting the film. Ms. Bea was so professional, the tenderness and strength she exuded in this film was proper for Diwata. It's something I'd never forget. My cast mates were all so nice to me as well, as an introvert, they never made me feel I'm alone even if I dread meeting new people. They're family now. I'm so thankful we got to bond and experienced this."

Vic Romano shared how frogs on the set was fun as he says "I'm in Viva projects, but this one is a dream because it's a Hollywood project. In the auditions, I was in a locked in taping in Baguio and couldn't go out because of it. I got notified to go to Marriot, but couldn't go out because of restrictions. I messaged and got word that there will be day 2, I went there 3am, took the bus, to get there on time at 2pm. The script was also in English, so seeing the day 2 auditions with so many people was scary. When I went there, I just did the scene and interview. I just went out and went back to Baguio to work again. That's how hecting things were. I haven't reached Baguio yet but I already got word I got the part. I was shaking. I'm just happy and thankful. We got to Palawan, but I found out Danny Trejo was part of it. I didn't know his name, but knew his face since I watched his movies. When I saw him in person, I thought he was a giant on screen, but we had the same built and I was excited to do scenes with him later on. He always asked about who the Filipino actors were and I told him about them."

He adds "One scene had rain, mud and a village involved. The frogs were so noisy that we couldn't film, and Danny Trejo kept on looking for them because they always did it after the rain. He even slept on wood planks, get stepped on, but didn't complain. He also played a lot with the kids on set, you'll never see him much with the adults but he kept playing with the kids all the time. When you don't see him on set, that's what he instantly does."

Hector David will play Enrique who is Bea's love interest in the film. The guy is a legit POWER RANGER (Green Samurai, and part of Megaforce) and was seen in the Percy Jackson movie (Lightning Thief). Michael Copon who plays Filipino hero Lapu Lapu is also a POWER RANGER (Time Force) and was part of One Tree Hill, and As Good as Dead. The film also stars Costas Mandylor, Maricel Laxa, Sol Eugenio, Floyd Tena, and Eren Kereci.

Here's the interview we had with them on video, please enjoy!

This film has already won 4 international awards and is going to be screened in the Philippines on June 5. There will be a premiere night, which I hope fans would support since it's been a while since we've seen a Hollywood film where 95% who worked on it is Filipino. If you want more information about the film, visit 1521movie.com. 


A Brilliant Boracay Summer with Andrea Brillantes, Kyle Echarri and Brilliant Skin Essentials

Monday, May 20, 2024

Boracay was suddenly even more brilliant as Star Magic artists Andrea Brillantes and Kyle Echarri went ashore for Brilliant Skin Essentials summer event. This was hosted by the brand's queen and CEO Ms. Glenda dela Cruz. The event last May 19th also was the perfect time to introduce their newest brand ambassador and some new products which is part of the new line.

Ms. Glenda says "We call this a Brilliant Summer, and honestly, I am overwhelmed by the amount of support we are getting. Thank you all for making this possible. Even if they say that the hot season is over, we're still celebrating summer!"

She's continued to give really great incentives to brand partners and this time, she flew over 300 franchise owners, distributors and guests. They also had Andrea Brillantes and Kyle Echarri entertaining them all in the evening with song and dance numbers. Andrea mentioned "Brilliant Skin has been something I use since I was 15, and I know it's effective." Kyle added "Being with this brand makes me feel like I'm with family, which I'm sure even you would attest to! (and points to the crowd)."

Then they launched their new products particularly Brilliant Sun Professional Sunscreen, Hello Melo Drinks (a drink with collagen and vitamins), and Hyper Hydra Pressed Powder (which is available in different shades).

Andrea was also renewed as their endorser this year. She looked so happy during the event. Later in the evening, they raffled off prizes like Handheld Fans, TCL 55 Inch TV's, iPhone 15 Pro and cash to lucky guests. If you want to know more about their products, just search for @missglenda on social channels as they post all their products there.

What a Brilliant Summer!