Sunday, January 29, 2012

Brasilipinas 2012 : Bringing Brazillian culture in the hearts of Pinoys. Obrigada!

My earliest recollections of how I began to appreciate and grow to love Brazilian music, particularly Samba and Bossa Nova, was in grade school. As young as eleven years old, the music I liked listening to were the songs of Antonio Carlos Jobim, Joao and Astrud Gilberto, Roberto Manescal, Ellis Regina, Sergio Mendez and other Brazilian music icons not many people my age can appreciate. Perhaps, my influences can be traced back to when my dad used to play them at home and somehow such music was captured by my older siblings as well.

Today Brazilian music is redeeming itself, merging its iconic feel in the genre of hip-hop, pop music and techno. Musical personalities like George Michael teamed up with Astrud Gilberto with a new rendition of “Decifinado” and Sting had also a similar take when he sang Insensitez with the great Antonio Carlos Jobim. It was one of Jobim’s last few recordings before he passed away. Many other well known artists have done special projects of their own to revive the Brazilian music many people around the world has grown to love.

Brazilian culture appreciation in the Philippines has surely improved so much in the last 30 years. Today, it’s not only the music that people are trying to like, but the whole Brazilian culture that comes along with it. First, there was their most loved sport, soccer; then their dances like the Samba and Capoeira which a few gyms in the metro have adapted and taught these exotic dances merged with aerobic classes. 

The Musica Brazileira Popular – MBP, a counterpart of OPM in the Philippines, has greatly improved as well. In the 70s and early 80s, there was only Bong Penara of the Batucada band and a few handful of Filipino Jazz artists who were brave enough to entice enthusiasts with their music. Now, we have several: the Aquarela Band, Aileen Sison, the Guarana and a few more emerging new talents, all playing Brazilian music in various pockets of music bars in the metro. And the most beautiful thing about this is many of us, Filipinos, are starting to like it, and we want more.

For the past 6 years, Brasilipinas has successfully banded together to promote the fusion between Filipino and Brazilian culture. It was able to truly surprise Manila and created a mark in the 2,000+ guests who came to the event last March 4, 2011 entitled “Rio de Manila” by Brasilipinas.

This coming February 17, 2012, as the whole world once again celebrates the tradition of Brazilian Carnaval, EBC Philippines, The Embassy of Brazil Manila, Power Plant Mall and Havaianas will stage “Axé” of the Carnaval in Manila at The Rockwell tent starting at 8:00pm.

Get ready to enjoy parades, samba, percussion, capoeira, poi, Brazilian reggae and bossa electronica ensembles brought in by a powerful mishmash of artists and sponsors composed of Brigada, Escola de Samba, Nyko Maca, Julien Drolon, Eileen Sison e Guarana, Planet Zips and EBC Philippines with guest Capoeira teachers from Brazil and Asia bringing their culture to Philippine shores.

Chef Carla Abaya will be serving famous Brazilian dishes while SoFA presents a Brazilian inspired fashion show. Portuguese beers will also be available at the Super Bock bar.  Samba and capoeira workshops will be offered from February 15-16 with a culmination to the much-awaited Capoeira Batizado (graduation) Ceremony happening on February 18. All these are to be held at The Rockwell Tent.

Let us not forget about the FREE Caipirinha inspired drinks served from the Havaianas Beach Bar!!!! And the best part of it all is --- the entrance is for FREE!!!! This is definitely all about “Axé” in Carnaval.

With special participation of Collezione C2, celebrated designer Rhett Eala likewise came out with special designs for his Brasilipinas Limited Edition shirts to be sold exclusively at their Power Plant Mall branch.

This event, a fusion of Brazilian and Filipino culture, is just the first salvo of many great things to come. In many occasions, we Filipinos are known to adapt the nice things we like to learn from foreign influences. For instance, using the English language, we learned to tweaked some words and made them our own – the “tagalized” versions. If the Italians have their versions of pasta, we also formulated our own with lots of sugar and catsup on it.

So it would not be a surprise in the coming generations that we will come up with another version of Brazilian culture intertwined with ours, the same way “Semba”, an African religious dance, eventually metamorphosed into “Samba” when African migrants brought it to Brazil. This is definitely the era of cross-cultural phenomenon interweaving in the hearts of people of different races.

This event is also brought to you by Gatorade. For more info, visit

Music Review: Ronald Tomas Nonet, A Big band Jazz style with a Pinoy touch

Reviving the Beatnik era!

 Whenever I listen to a new jazz cut on the radio and eventually discovered the artist is Pinoy, I’d once again feel astounded on how Filipino Jazz artists have developed and became at par, or even exceed, with the world’s standards today. In my last CD review, I focused the spotlight to Johnny Alegre’s Human Folk. A unique ensemble of great talents fused together creating a new jazz form – the Pinoy jazz.

This time, I would like to highlight another Pinoy jazz group which applied a distinctly unique twist on how big band jazz sounds like. Ronald Tomas Nonet, a promising and emerging jazz band today, has come up with a brand new self-released CD entitled Travels. 

Travels is a collection of jazz music inspired by places in the Philippines, its people and its culture. Much of these were the baseline of the leader of the band Mr. Ronald Tomas, former sax player of the band Parliament Syndicate. All of Ronald Tomas Nonet’s music was creatively rendered like in the 50’s jazz type era; a jazz timeline where Miles Davies, Thelonius Monk and Bill Evans once dominated the radio air bands and the stages of Carnegie Hall in Manhattan during the heydays of Jazz. This CD has definitely captured that feel.

Let me start with the first cut, “Chili-Con Pasyon”. Whenever I listen to this, I can’t help not to visualize a segment of the early James Bond movies in a climactic car chase. What makes it unique is that it fuses the melody of a very Pinoy culture which is the traditional Lenten chant – Pasyon. Who could ever imagine that such melody can be transformed into jazzy upbeat music? You have to listen to it to see what I mean!

Another creative rearrangement is “Joselynang Baliwag”. It is a reincarnation of an old kundiman song to a syncopated jazzy cut. However, this type is something that can be appreciated by a more mature jazz aficionado. The off-key melody with seemingly clashing chords of the horns may not be as soothing to the ears of some newbie jazz fans. For them, it might sound as if it’s out of tune but it’s not. It is simply jazz.

Another movie soundtrack sounding is the e“Duyog Sunrise”. Listening to it, I can’t help but recall some old B-movies I viewed on cable whenever I listen to this one. From a fast track, the music mellowed down to a cool easy listening cut called “Ground Zero”. This piece brings my mind to places where a metal pole, top hat and fishnet stockings of a dancer may complement the music.

“Na Tutulog Ka Na Ba Sinta” is a great tribute not only to this not-so-old Filipino song, but more so to the writer themselves, Antonio Suarez and the great Levi Celerio. This romantic serenade cut was even made more beautiful with Tomas’ arrangements.

Other unique cuts like “Pandango Palawan”, “Ramut”, “Dum Da Dee Dum”, “Sinulugang Taktak” are included in this album. The Ronald Tomas Nonet is just one of the few jazz big-band ensembles in the country today that I am thankful to have come to discover as it is quite notable for its unique rendition of Filipino music that creatively transcends to jazz masterpieces.  

Thursday, January 26, 2012

IRRI Web Day : Rice Science Research taps Online Social Media

Last January 16, 2012, I was invited by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in Los Banos Laguna to speak about how online media or blogging can help improve brand campaigns. The invitation was sent almost a month ago and I thought that I had more than enough time to prepare for it. But, as the date drew closer, I began to feel anxious about the topic on how blogging can, in anyway, be relevant on propagating the research on agriculture, specifically rice research.

Despite the bit of anxiety, I still managed to prepare my presentation in the best of my abilities that would somehow benefit the institution. Come the day itself, as much as I’ve already gone through my Power Point presentation several times, I felt that my material was not connecting-the-dots, so to speak. Nonetheless, I still proceeded as planned.

My colleague, Mr. Jeman Villanueva of Orange MagazineTV, and I arrived at IRRI and we were welcomed by Ms. Ria Dimapilis, IRRI’s visitors reception officer. We were ushered inside the cafeteria for an early morning breakfast with some of the other invited resource speakers. Among them were Mr. GJeff Lamigo and Mr. Jun Godornes of World Vision and a professor of Development Communication from the Visayas State University, Professor Monina Escalada. On the other side of the table were friends form Greenpeace, namely Mr. Chuck Baclagon and Ms. Jenny. We were hosted by the warm presence of IRRI’s Digital    and Online media strategist, Mr. Albert Borrero.

 From the conversations around the table, I tried my best to gather more information on what to expect in the event. Mr. Borrero was more than eager to share to me about IRRI’s programs and its efforts in their online campaigns. Somehow, I was comforted by the stuff I heard that helped me tweak some items in my presentation.

IRRI is an independent international institution dedicated to improve the lives and livelihoods of poor rice producers and consumers in the world. It is known to be at the forefront of rice research for almost thirty years, delivering new rice varieties and practices to rice farmers throughout Asia and the developing world. Although the bulk of IRRI’s work is focused on research, the institution also provides extension programs that basically benefit the people at the grassroots level, specifically, the farmers.

The research people or scientists seek to create various types of rice that can grow on different kinds of environment and develop better systems in rice farming. These are the essence of IRRI’s work but the next phase is bringing them to the lowly farmers, a challenge that contextualizes scientific work into practical, economical and feasible farming applications.  While I already find the extension work for the farmers very challenging as it is, bringing it to the internet and digital realm is the ultimate test of development.

The Web day was a whole day event and I was scheduled to talk in the afternoon. In the morning session, I had the opportunity to hear some speakers from the academe and scientific communities, people whose names are accompanied with titles and suffixes. Some of these prominent individuals are those responsible in the development of many fast growing varieties of grains such as a rice variety that can significantly withstand tropical monsoons which enable farmers to harvest more efficiently.

The speakers are among those who spend a lot of time in laboratories searching for new breakthroughs in rice agriculture. There was an old tagline that says farmers are the backbone of our country. However, the scientific experts are the ones who make sure that the backbone stays strong in order to support our country’s ever-increasing rice consumption.   

 As a marketing guy like me, I have considered staff in the production, tech, creative and accounting departments as the process and control freaks of any enterprise and they are the least people to have the certain costumer care persona, most especially the “old-school” types.  Making them adjust company finance protocols, bend some rules, or even to swallow a deliberate and painful criticism in the creativity of a layout artist just to conform to a client’s happiness and approval are blatant insults to their inert beings.     

 But lo and behold, among the academe and science personalities who presented their expertise in the event, I was awestruck by the profound wisdom of Dr. Gelia Castillo, recognized as one of the country’s distinguished national scientists in the field of rice agriculture and sociology. At the age of 70 plus, she was able to concretize the essence of my presentation about the core value of online and social media, a topic that many industrialists and CEOs of companies may still find hard to grasp. A very memorable phrase that stuck to me in the near end of her talk, “Make your website more human.” This statement was so surprising, coming from a person with a pure science background and a non-marketing individual. Yet, she has shown a full grasp of what online media and marketing is all about and she squeezed it in just one line!

 After two more speakers, I was up. I carefully pointed out the details of how online media improves brand campaigns. In between sub-topics, I tried to segue it to IRRI’s campaign in promoting their own brand to their targeted constituents. During the middle of my talk, I took the liberty of conducting a short raffle by giving away some small tokens I brought. The activity is actually a kind of simulation of how a blog site can increase its readership.

After the event, we were treated to a small cocktail dinner where I was able to meet some of the IRRI staff involved in their online and print publications. Our conversations gave me a clearer picture of where IRRI can actually have a niche in the realm of online media and I’m looking forward to more engagements with them in the coming days.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

AXE Survival Kit : End of the world may not be as bad as you think

For the past two years, there has been a media hype which caused a lot of public hysteria in some parts of the globe believing that the world will end in 2012. This rumor was based on ancient hieroglyphic artifacts of the Mayan calendar discovered by experts. This “end of the world” issue was so hyped; a number of production outfits even capitalized on these rumors and made a film about it. Now that 2012 is already at hand, it seems that there still aren’t any cataclysmic signs that our world will end anytime soon.

However, given the hypothetical thought that the world might end this year, let me ask you: What are the things you want to do in order for you to survive this catastrophic event?  

To put it more specifically, what are your most desired fantasies? If you are given the opportunity, would you jump right into it and make the most of it in case the end- of- the world luckily has spared you from death? I guess most people could not even comprehend where to start to explore the last adventure of their lives. If you can’t decide on the tons of things you want to do, here are recommendations from AXE’s END OF THE WORLD SURVIVAL KIT.

Below are details of its contents with helpful instructions.


A rope can have many uses. It can help you build a shelter by tying some scrap and debris together to shield you from the harshness of a cold dark environment. But a velvet golden rope can provide a much better use. Be mindful of some wandering HOT FEMALE survivor where you can bind her or better yet, bind yourself together so the two of you can have hands-free, post-apocalyptic wild escapades … or you can just use it to play jump rope to escape boredom.

After a nuclear blast comes nuclear winter. The environment can be very, very cold. You can use the fuel to burn wood and twigs to keep warm and it will attract other survivors wandering around to the fire as well.

The fuel is menthol-scented with therapeutic properties so you can also use it to massage hot chick survivors and soothe their aching bodies.  But, remember that the environment will be pitch-black with zero visibility so make sure that you pour the fuel to the wood first. That way, you can have a source of light and then you can apply some to the girl after. Otherwise, in your confusion, you might end up igniting the girl and not the wood. And that would be bad.


In the event that you survived with a handful of individuals, starvation will eventually create chaos over salvaged food available and the few hot damsels left around. It’s survival of the fittest and you should do whatever you can to subdue other males by placing them in handcuffs.

On the other hand, you can use the handcuffs to prevent a hot damsel from leaving you and trying to find much attractive male survivors.    


This is a piece of black cloth with many uses. If you’re wounded, use it as a tourniquet to prevent you from bleeding to death. You can also wrap your wounds with it for faster healing. The air can hold toxic fumes so use it, too, to cover to your mouth and nose to filter what you breathe.

Aesthetically, this cloth can likewise make you look fashionable if you use it as a scarf around your neck. If you think you’re not that good looking, use it to cover your face as you seek other surviving female companion that might surface up from the rubbles.  If you find her face not as hot, use it to cover hers. It works both ways.

AXE the Final Edition

While everything is in ruins, your top concern is your physical sustenance by finding food wherever you can and the least of your concerns is grooming and bathing. Forget about hot showers because you’ll not find them easily. If all of the other useful utilities didn’t work in salvaging the few remaining girls to make your post-apocalyptic living a more pleasurable one, spraying the AXE Final edition all over your body guarantees to do wonders in attracting them. It is so effective that even in their physical immobility or in their zombie-like, half-dead condition brought about by injuries, girls would sniff the AXE scent and practically drag themselves to you.

So make every spray count and use it sparingly to attract female survivors so you’ll end in blissful ecstasy as you spend time in each other’s company watching the world in ruins. Without the AXE Survival Kit, Armageddon can never be as pleasurable. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Movie Review: We Bought A Zoo

A much-awaited movie for 2012 is finally here in Philippine big screens brought by to us by 20th Century Fox PH.

Based on a true story, We Bought a Zoo is about a father who is trying to recover from the death of his wife, juggling all the roles of a parent for his two children, and making efforts to self stress-debrief from the traumatic loss in the company of wild animals.

The film stars the very versatile actor Matt Damon as Benjamin Mee. He never fails to tweak amazing characters from playing a tough agent assassin in the Bourne series to a soft and mellow yet adventurous old school newspaper journalist, burnt-out from a lowly desk-job who ventured out into a career in zoo keeping. This great movie with smart casting by acclaimed director Cameron Crowe fits Damon’s character perfectly.

Another great actress, Scarlett Johansson, plays Kelly, the dedicated zookeeper who frantically works her butt out just to keep everything in the zoo intact and see to the welfare of the animals. At first she questions Mee’s motives of acquiring the property but was later inspired by Mee’s resilience in conquering all adversities just to keep the zoo and his family together.

Another adorable person who adds to the films charm is Rosie, played by seven year old Maggie Elizabeth Jones, whose character is packed with a powerful sharp intelligence combined with pure honesty, innocence and love of life. Elle Fanning, who plays Lily, definitely developed into a more charming young lady. However her role in the story was not something to celebrate, to the point that her acting talents did not fully surface.

Movies like these are where one can appreciate the story more without so much CGI and death-defying stunts but just pure and unadulterated powerhouse acting of great talents.

We Bought a Zoo film is a great family movie that teaches the reality of grief and loss, and the courage to live by every detail of small things that come with a memory. The Mee family thought that the geographical transfer and the radical change of lifestyle would give them a sudden breakthrough to recover from the loss but it made them miss the wife and mother more. Fortunately, their fate somehow allowed them to move forward by dwelling on the family’s love for one another and their new life with new friends and wild animals.

We Bought A Zoo is a production of 20th Century Fox distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures Philippines. It is now showing in all major cinemas in the metro.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Movie Review: Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

There is nothing like starting the year by seeing a great movie.

Finally, one of the most awaited movies for the New Year is now in Philippine cinemas for everyone to enjoy. The second installment on the most amazing mystery novels of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle  storms the big screens with another cunning chapter dubbed Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.

Yesterday, Warner Bros. Pictures Philippines launched the Philippine Media Premier of this Sherlock Holmes movie which was graced by friends from the media community at the Glorietta 4, Makati City.

Directed by acclaimed British filmmaker and Madonna’s ex-husband Guy Ritchie, I consider this movie as Guy’s best film ever directed.

The first Sherlock Holmes in 2009, which was given due acknowledgments and nominations, has attracted a solid fan base among Doyle’s novel loyal followers and of course Robert Downey Jr.’s hardcore admirers. With the success of the first installment, the production was prompted to take another run of the story. This time, the movie offers a much more mind-boggling plot and action packed scenes.

This Sherlock Holmes sequel features another twist to the mystery-solving skills of Holmes and his ever loyal sidekick Watson played by the very versatile Jude law. The villain in the story is the diabolical genius Professor James Moiriarty played by another promising British actor, Jared Harris, whose wit seemed to surpasses Holmes’ deductive intelligence that led to dozens of close to death encounters that took every audience at the edge of their seats.

While almost every moment was a heart pounding and thrilling ride, there were also some pockets of comic relief made by the usual funny antics of Holmes and Watson. The hilariousness was multiplied by some humorous scenes courtesy of the funny British comic actor Stephen Fry as he played Sherlock Holmes’ brother Mycroft.

As most of the Sherlock novels end up with feel-good exit where you expect to find the dynamic duo saving the day, this one sends the happy ending story to the “grave”. However, since this story is flooded with twists and mystery, it is better for readers of this review to watch the movie for themselves and make their own deductions.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows will be shown in all major cinemas in the Philippines starting January 8, 2012. This film is presented by Warner Bros. Pictures Philippines.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...