Monday, January 30, 2006

Para sa yo, Manny!

screenshot of PGMA with Manny Pacquiao

I have two left feet. I'm in the middle of Roxas Boulevard among crowds of people and my feet are killing me. My only consolation is that the rain turned into a drizzle but that doesn't change the fact that I'm wearing 3-inch boots, both intended for my left feet! Oo na, parehong kaliwa ang sapatos ko! But before you think I'm odd.. hear me out.

I actually came from my friend's wedding in Calaruega, Tagaytay and took the day off. The wedding was held in the morning, so it ended after lunch. Since I was already in Tagaytay, my friend and I decided to seize this opportunity and visit the much talked about Italian restaurant called Massimo's for coffee and gelato. We were the only ones in the restaurant except for the waiters and Massimo himself, a cute little boy who was playing chess with his English-speaking yaya. Since he's older than the restaurant, I suppose the place was named after him.

So there I was, enjoying the cool breeze, good food and having a nice conversation. Ahh, this is the life! But when the clock struck my case 4pm...I turned into the tazmanian devil! In a split-second I was running to the car like a lunatic, huffing and puffing and saying sh-t to the world. Heck, I even forgot my silver bag (that went nicely with my silver gray and pink dress) until the yaya thankfully came running towards the car to hand it to me. The text message that I got said it all, "Live report ka sa Roxas Boulevard for Manny Pacquiao victory party." TV Patrol World starts at 6:30 p.m. and I didn't know how the hell I was going to make it. But orders are orders, and I HAD to make it.

I told my crew to get clothes and shoes that I asked somebody in the house to prepare. Well that somebody handed them two left pairs of 3-inch black boots! I have two almost identical ankle length boots and the time had come for me to suffer for it.

It couldn't have come at a better time. I arrived at Roxas Boulevard at 6:30 pm! TV Patrol had already started but thanks to DZMM's Nedy Tantoco, I pretty much knew what was happening. I just had to double check some facts with a few quick interviews and phone calls here and there. Security. Check. Crowd estimate. Check. Who performed. Check. Who's coming. Check. What to expect. Check. Argh! These killer boots are really a killer! My right foot felt like it was swollen. I looked down at my funny looking shoes and realized it wasn't funny.

7:20 p.m. I was just waiting for my cue to start my live report. I thought I heard Julius Babao introduce me for my report, but I wasn't sure. My TV monitor and my earphone - where I get instructions from the field producer - died (why am I so lucky?) Julius was also at the Pacquiao victory party, just across the street, so I looked to my right hoping to get my cue from the real Julius and not rely on the unreliable. Too late. I was caught on-cam, wasting about 5 valuable seconds of airtime, looking away and for 5 looong seconds I was just nakatanga or mukhang tanga more like it until the monitor suddenly re-appeared and I could hear the camera man shouting, "CUE! CUE!" And off I went with my live report as if nothing happened.

After my TV Patrol stint I was told I would do more updates for Studio 23, ANC and Insider. Even if Insider came in after midnight, I was on a roll, my adrenaline was up and I was even excited to do more reports on Manny's Victory Party. Basta para kay Idol, go! I guess all of us reporters that day felt it too.

Earlier in the evening, Manny sang his hit single, "Para Sa Yo (ang laban na to)" with Nora Aunor, err, President Arroyo. He also sang the Big Brother song, "Pinoy Ako" with Sarah Geronimo and the President. He then left at 6:00 p.m., but the thousands of people who came didn't mind since there were other bands and celebrities who filled in for him.

11:30 p.m. I was done with my Insider script and just when we were about to edit the video, I heard louder screams and people chanting "Manny! Manny!" Oh no, did he come back? My question was answered when I heard the song again, "Para sa yo, ang laban na to. Para sa yo, ang laban na tohhh...." I went out of the OB Van and sure enough it was Manny. He came back! Minutes later he was dancing with Pops Fernandez. The guy is amazing. He arrived very early in the morning from Las Vegas and since then, he was just, to borrow Gary V's title, Mr. Pure Energy. Because of Manny's tenacity, I had to redo my script at the last minute. Again, basta ikaw Idol!

That's Manny. Last year I interviewed him when he returned to the country after losing to Morales. Even then, he had so many fans and I noticed he just wanted to please them all, gamely posing for pictures and signing autographs even as his companions urged him to get going. If he could just shake hands with each of the thousands of people present during his victory party, I bet you he would.

Just like this year, Manny opened his house last year to anybody who wanted to watch his fight. He told his relatives to bring out the TV set so that their neighbors could watch. I know because I was sent to General Santos City to cover his family and relatives during his first fight with Morales. I remember his two cute boys running around the house oblivious to their father's fight. I remember his brother who was practically stuck to the radio as he listened to the live report on Manny's fight and I remember him being so upset when his brother lost. He was convinced Manny was cheated. Manny's mother was also something else. She was praying the rosary in front of a Virgin Mary statue in a corner while everyone gathered in the living room to watch the super duper commercial-ridden fight which was then shown on RPN 9. At first she tried to watch, but when Manny was hit the first or second time, she couldn't bear it and just went on praying and crying with her eyes closed until the fight ended. When I talked to her afterwards, she said she couldn't bear seeing her son hurt. She also told me she doesn't really like watching his son's fights because it just might give her a heart attack.

This year was different though. I saw Manny's mother being interviewed on Rated K and she was all-smiles. There were also clips of her watching Manny's fight. During an interview, she said she had a good feeling Manny would win. Wow, mother's instincts. Maybe last year she had a feeling Manny could lose? Because last year she was a nervous wreck and looked ten years older compared to this time.

I guess in Manny's next fight, it would be a good idea to observe his mom closely.

In the meantime, while the overly played "Para sa yo, ang labang itohh..." drive us nuts, I wonder how his duet with his wife, Jinky, sounds. I heard Manny's wife is a good singer and they have a duet in Manny's new CD.

Next question. Will Manny enter showbiz? Didn't he host "Kamao" with Robin Padilla and Vina Morales last year? I really wish he won't follow Onyok Velasco's footsteps. But I would rather have Manny become an artista than a gambler or politician, I don't know which is worse.

All I know is that I will never ever NEVER wear my shoes this way again.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Barbie's Ken

If you're wondering why former Barbie's Cradle lead singer and now solo artist Barbie Almabis is smiling these days -- it's because she's making beautiful music with someone. No, I'm not talking about her new album (though she does have one coming out), I mean it in the figurative sense!

I interviewed Barbie at the Lovapalooza launch party, and the whole time, a tall guy in an all black get-up was watching her intently. I thought he was a curious onlooker, but I later found out that he's actually Barbie's "special friend". The good-looking guy is the son of a former military man turned Senator. He looks like a younger version of his dad sans the moustache(clue, clue!)

The very private Barbie was quite shy about discussing her love-life. Even the guy, who has a high-profile father, was uncomfortable about the media attention -- he would cover his face everytime the camera would focus on him. I did find out that their "relationship" is fairly new. Whether they'll hit the right notes, only time will tell. I do wish them all the best, as they make a lovely couple.

And speaking of the right notes, Barbie is coming out with a new album in a few months time. She says the album will feature a newer sound which she describes as, "less jazzy and more pop rock". Will her love songs be inspired by real life? Just asking... =)

Monday, January 16, 2006

Uma and Sam: We're here to stay!

Pinoy Big Brother housemates Uma Khouny and Sam Milby are all smiles after receiving their special working permits from Bureau of Immigration Commissioner Alipio Fernandez. The Fil-Israeli Uma and Fil-American Sam needed to get working permits since they do not carry Filipino passports. They had to pay a fine though of P 10,000 and P 40,000 respectively for not complying with the BI's requirements on time. That's small change for these PBB stars who already have a new TV show and endorsement deals. The two say they can now breathe easier as they can work (legally!) without fear of getting deported. No need to cry girls, they're here to stay!

Friday, January 13, 2006

Internet Love-Affair

Would you marry someone you've never even met?

I met Beth on a flight from Amsterdam to Cardiff, Wales in June 2005. She was my seatmate on that connecting flight and we got to talking since we both came from Manila. As Beth and I chatted, I discovered she was on her way to meet her "future husband." I asked her how they met and she told me, "through the internet." And just like that, I had my story.

Beth turned out to be a computer programmer at ABS-CBN, no less! She wasn't the typical "take-me-out-of-this-rut" kind of girl actively looking for a foreigner husband. You see, it started out of curiosity. Beth was doing research on graphic design and was looking at the layout of Yahoo Personals. On a whim, she decided to register and voila - men all over the world became instant admirers!

One of them was Andrew, a 32-year old entreprenuer based in Bridgend, Wales (you probably thought he was 50!) When I interviewed him in person he told me it was "love at first sight"... from seven thousand miles away. Beth's simple, no-make-up but pretty picture in her profile did it for him.

Andrew "courted" Beth for almost a year thru chatting and e-mail. Once, he even came to Manila to meet Beth's family and then he proposed... now Beth is Mrs. Andrew, and from the looks of it, she couldn't be any happier.

During my three-month stay in Cardiff, I was surprised to meet many Filipinas married to Welsh men and most of them met -- you guessed it -- through the net! This phenomenon is actually not new, as even before the internet, there was already such a thing as “mail-order brides.” Of course, that's another story. I also met the "older generation" of Filipina women married to Welsh men -- one couple I met had been married for 15 years. They told me they started as "pen pals" and their husbands "met" them thru magazine ads. Very interesting indeed.

So why do these foreigners prefer Filipinas? Based on my interviews, they like Pinays because they see them as beautiful, exotic, subservient, mysterious and easily controlled. While the stereotype of why Filipina women prefer foreigners is because they see them as a means to escape poverty and a chance at (economic) freedom. I'm sure there are a number of studies on the sociological or socio-anthropologal aspects of how the West perceives the East and vice versa, so I won't pretend to be an expert.

What struck me most, however, was the comment of one Welshman who'd been married to a Filipina for twenty years. He told me he liked pinays because they are "better wives and mothers." I thought his wife, who was beside him at that time, would take offense at being portrayed as simply a "domestic goddess." I asked her what she thought of her husband's remark, and her answer was "I'm proud to be a good wife and mother to our children."

Well, I figured if it works for them, then who am I to judge? As in any relationship, there are pluses and minuses. There are a number of horror stories related to "mixed" marriages, but there are also those who will just make you sigh and say, "I'm happy for them." I guess in the end, it's not so much how you met but how much effort you put into the relationship to make it work.

If you want to see my report about Beth and online dating, do catch Balitang Europe this Sunday at 11:30 pm on ANC channel 27 and TFC Europe at 2pm (Manila time). You'll be able to catch me on Balitang Europe every Sunday, starting this weekend. I do hope Filipinos in Europe will enjoy the show -- as well as Filipinos who have relatives in Europe -- malay n'yo, ma-feature namin ang kamag-anak ninyo! =)

Tune in on Sunday!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Beauties of the MMFF

It seemed like lower was better at the recent Metro Manila Film Festival. I'm talking about necklines here, as seen from the gowns of the stars. Here are some pictures I took at the event. Sorry for the low quality as I was using the camera on my phone. Enjoy!

Ohh, my Darling... Darling Lavina

Assunta de Rossi

Darna in White Angel Locsin with beau Oyo Boy Sotto

Star of the Night Iya Villania

Alessandra de Rossi

Ageless Lani Mercado in Paul Cabral

FPJ's daughter, Lovi Poe

"Janno Who?" Bing Loyzaga

Ana Capri

The Lone Thorn Rustom Padilla

Crossing swords..err.. microphones with GMA's Lhar Santiago

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Showbiz Tidbits

Manny Pacquiao bought a Porsche Cayenne as a Christmas present to himself.

Plinky Recto's ex was her annulment lawyer.

JB Magsaysay gave Ms. Germany a necklace. When the two guested in Magandang Umaga Pilipinas, the Ms. Earth beauty contestant complimented JB on his shell necklace, so he gave it to her as a "goodwill" present.

Ai-Ai De Las Alas is "Mrs. Milby" because Sam forgot her last name so she told him to just call her "Mrs. Milby".

Big Brother Champion Nene and Bob spent the new year together with Bob's family in Bulacan.

And finally...konting plugging, hehe...get yourself a copy of the latest Star Studio magazine with Piolo and Judy Anne on the cover. Learn some of Piolo's shocking confessions, take a peek into Onemig Bondoc's P10 million house, be a guest at Andeng's (Bong Revilla's pretty sister and Diether Ocampo's ex) multi-million peso wedding, and check out their travel exclusive featuring photo's from my European trip. :)

The Louvre in Paris with my mom and nephew, Nicolas

View of The London Eye on the river Thames

The Grand Canal of Venice

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Plinky's Ex Speaks Up

I called Plinky Recto's ex-live in partner today to get his reaction after the TV host claimed her ex "abducted" their 1 year and 3 month old son.

The man said it was legal for him to have custody of their son since he had a TPO or Temporary Protection Order. He also called Plinky "mentally sick" and said their child needed protection from his mother.

At first, he told me he didn't want to be interviewed, and that if I come out with our conversation on TV, he would send me to jail for a year -- or at least that's what I heard since the cellphone line was choppy.

I told him he had my word if he wanted to talk off-the-record -- I just wanted to hear his side of the story. But during the course of the conversation, he agreed to be quoted on some statements.

He said he believes Plinky wants the media's attention because "she's an actress, a has been and wants to revive her career" and that "she wants to run for Mayor of Lipa City."

He also wanted to clarify that Plinky's permanent neck injury wasn't caused by him. He said that according to the doctor, it's a chronic injury, meaning it's been there all these years -- "even before we met," Plinky's ex said.

In spite of everything, Plinky's Harvard-educated ex said he is still open to reconciliation and friendship. He said he is willing to give Plinky a monthly allowance and will share custody of their son "if Plinky gets psychiatric help."

He also said, "I don't want to fight her. I just hope she stops this thing, it's not doing me, her, our son any good."

But Plinky is not backing down. "Shino-showbiz lang kayo nyan. Iba ang salita niya sa publiko sa ginagawa siya. Hindi siya mapagkakatiwalaan. Wala siyang palabra de honor!"

With that, the battle continues...