omg! Philippines News Blog
  • Vice Ganda (NPPA Images)

    Vice Ganda soars anew this yearend, not only because his Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) entry Girl, Boy, Bakla, Tomboy has raked in over P200 million in the box office in just five days. The feat mimics the success of Vice’s previous MMFF film, Sisterakas, which earned over P340 million, making it the highest- grossing Filipino film of all time.

    If Girl, Boy, Bakla, Tomboy surpasses Sisterakas, it means moviegoers have spent nearly a billion pesos watching Vice Ganda’s films—a phenomenal roll starting from The Unkabogable Praybeyt Benjamin in 2011 that yielded about P331 million.

    This proves Vice’s incredible talent, immense popularity and all-encompassing influence in what he says, what he projects on TV, how he brings his golden touch on the silver screen, and recently, his stature as the 2013 top Filipino influencer on the microblogging site Twitter.

    After three straight years of bagging the Yahoo! OMG! Award for Best Male Comedian, Vice has clinched this new special
    Read More »from Vice Ganda is top Pinoy influencer on Twitter
  • Call it the biggest gathering of Filipino film directors in recent history.

    Cannes winners Brillante Mendoza and Raymond Red with the prolific master filmmaking team of Peque Gallaga and Lore Reyes. Veteran filmmakers Maryo J. De Los Reyes, Tony Reyes, Jose Carreon, Augusto Salvador, Kaka Balagtas and Mark Meily hanging with independent directors represented by Jim Libiran, Roni Bertubin, Jay Altarejos and Buboy Tan.

    The event that got them together? The Directors’ Guild of the Philippines’ Directors’ Night held December 8, 2013 at the Sequoia Hotel in Quezon City.


    Legends: Lore Reyes, Augusto Salvador and Peque Gallaga (Photo by Niña Sandejas)

    Indie directors Paolo Villaluna, Raymond Red and Rico Illarde (Photo by Niña Sandejas)


    Redefining the guild

    Founded in 1992, the DGPI aims to function as a catalyst and guardian of the integrity of filmmaking and protector the professional welfare of its members while addressing the needs of the Filipino audience.

    Being that it is a dynamic and progressive organization, it seeks to consistently redefine itself to the changing demands of the times not only in the country but also in the context of global cinema.

    Read More »from What lies ahead for vet and indie directors?
  • My journey in 2013 as a music photographer is summarized in the 15 photographs below. Although some of the photos may not necessarily come from the best gigs, I take the best of whatever it is I’ve been to. These photos are especially memorable to me because they evoked feelings of nostalgia and in some cases, became a catalyst for change in the scene.

    I saw an artist I waited decades to see, encountered one who plays on the soundtrack of almost everyone's favorite TV show, enjoyed the music of a star embroiled in a controversy or emphasized Filipino-American ties. There were pictures to capture the end of something great, a semi-reunion of sorts, daring public stunts and the fun and danger of a few gigs.

    Many moments big and small will always be part of live music, whether it’s pop, rock, hip hop and electronic music. These happen to be some of mine in 2013.

    1. Karen O of Yeah Yeah Yeahs at Big Night Out in Singapore (January 2013). (See lead photo above) She has a signature spit that I

    Read More »from My most memorable music photos of 2013
  • Seventeen photographers and music lovers choose their favorite music moments in the Philippines in 2013 and tell us why.

    1. Alicia Keys by Kris Rocha(See lead photo above).This photo is more than a decade in the making. To shoot and meet Alicia Keys was one of my biggest dreams as a photographer and as a fan. I became a concert photographer because of her. I am a huge Alica Keys fan since ‘Fallin'’ days in 2001 and her first Manila visit in 2004 was the first concert I've ever attended. I took few shots but they were all dark and grainy. My dream to meet and document Alicia Keys became my biggest goal and inspiration. And finally, the moment I've been waiting finally came last November 25, 2013!”



    2. Dougy Mandagi of Temper Trap by Cecilia Forbes. It was my first time shooting a music festival (Wanderland 2013) and since the Temper Trap was headlining, this photo was shot towards the end of the day. I was so drained from shooting but somehow regained energy from the enthusiastic

    Read More »from 17 local fotogs share their fave music moments in 2013
  • You are a high school junior, early eighties. It is around 7 p.m. on a weekday. The De La Salle Lipa campus is lit sparingly, the corridors eerily quiet. From the small conference room emanates rippling arpeggios played by the choirmaster on an upright piano riddled with a few out-of-tune keys.

    The rock & roll bug found you (or the other way round) and you join the glee club as one of the bass voices just to be able to get a taste of playing music, any music. You will soon rehearse with maybe 20 other people for an upcoming competition. You practice your assigned harmonies as you open the back door…

    And there it is: a black electric guitar you only see in pictures—a “Gibson Les Paul” guarding a tiny Fender Champ amplifier. You want to grab it, turn it up, even if you have no idea how to… but a tall senior spots the goodies and attempts the solo to “A Horse with No Name.”

    The moment I wanted to be in a rock band

    The senior then hands you what is equivalent to Excalibur but you resist and

    Read More »from Lomi in heaven: blaming PapaDom for my rock & roll life
  • I’ve always been curious about artists that come here from all over the region. Most of them tell me that the Philippines is one of the places that they’d want their music heard.

    So when Ferry Febriansyah, a singer and songwriter from Indonesia, came here to fulfill his dream of playing in the Philippines, he put together a group of top-notch Filipino musicians to be his bandmates. It was a collaboration of two cultures and different tastes that one needed to see come alive.

    They called themselves Kaya.

    Dream team

    Indonesian singer-songwriter Ferry Febriansyah during his performance at the Craft bar in Manila. (Photo by Niña Sandejas)

    Ferry Febriansiah has had experience of success in his homeland. He’s been part of a jazz-blues group called Bluey who performed at the Java Jazz Festival in 2008. He also formed a pop group, art2tonic, combining digital and acoustic music and selling 150,000 copies in 2005.

    He said of playing in Manila: “I have always dreamed of bringing my music and playing outside of Indonesia. I know the Philippines is one with the best musically talented people here in Asia, and it would

    Read More »from Kaya: an Indo-Pinoy fusion of island music and jazz
  • ‘We want to be around forever,’ says Tegan and Sara

    Once indie darlings, Tegan and Sara are now bonafide pop stars

    There I was, in a coffee shop in Makati, about to interview twins Tegan and Sara, who were here recently for a concert.

    I’ve read a lot about them and know for a fact that they’ve been asked about being twins or siblings and working together so much that you wonder if they can muster up answering another question about it.

    Tegan and Sara Quinn are an indie act from Canada, formed in 1995. Their songs have been covered by The White Stripes and they’ve collaborated with DJs Tiesto and David Guetta to bridge the pop, dance and indie worlds.

    ‘Almost-perfect single’

    They’ve sold close to a million records and their song “Closer,” from their seventh album “Heartthrob,” has been called “the almost-perfect single” by Spin Magazine.


    Tegan and Sara cross from indie to pop (Photo courtesy of Warner Music Philippines)

    When they sat to talk to me, I was struck by how alike they were, style-wise—both petite, with short hair and wearing all-black clothes—that I could only imagine how it would magnify their power on stage.

    Before we began the interview, I took a mental note of who was who

    Read More »from ‘We want to be around forever,’ says Tegan and Sara
  • Read Part I here: Welcome to the camp

    At the Elements Singing/Songwriting Camp held in Dumaguete recently, mentor Annabelle Regalado Borja elaborated on music publishing and musicians’ rights and what managers look for in an artist.

    Christina Luna emphasized the importance of social media.

    And Noel Cabangon talked about FILSCAP. Cabangon was also a part of the lyric writing panel with Contreras, Gloc-9, and Quest.

    Audie Gemora gave performance tips and also managerial concerns, warning everybody to be wary of anybody who has a “casting couch.”

    The amazing maze

    The Racing Maze was probably the most involved module: 10 stations spread out over the resort, each with a physical, mental, and musical challenge.

    The goal was to earn a card with a written musical note per station, and at the end, the 10 notes together would reveal a song. Each group would need to name the song and composer (it was “Rainbow” by Jay Durias).


    Individuals but also collaborators: campers Reese Lansangan, Earl Laga and Niki Colet (Photo by Francis Brew)

    The activity had most of the campers and some mentors in fits of panic.

    Read More »from 2013 Elements Songwriting Camp: The business of music making
  • Read Part II here: Elements Songwriting Camp: The business of music making

    The energy began on the morning we flew to Dumaguete.

    By the end of the day, it exploded near the sea in a melange of rhythms and melodies spontaneously produced by at least 60 young musicians injecting a hint of their personalities in the jam.

    The results could have been cacophonic but it was surprisingly focused, the call-and-responses bouncing back and forth like a good tennis match.

    The individual personalities will come to the fore in the next three days, but for now, 60 throats and 240 limbs became one voice, one body.

    In its fourth year

    And the 2013 Elements Singing/Songwriting Camp hadn’t even begun yet.

    It’s the fourth year of the camp produced by 7101 Music Nation led by Tao Corporation CEO Julio “Jun” Sy, Radio Republic’s Twinky Lagdameo, and creative director Maestro Ryan Cayabyab.

    Armi Millari and Jay Durias were mentors. (Photo by Francis Brew)


    The idea seems simple enough: look for the best 60 young singer/songwriters and put them together in educational and

    Read More »from Welcome to the camp: songwriters descend on Dumaguete
  • She might be facing her worst crisis in her otherwise immensely successful showbiz career.

    A terrible public relations disaster that could potentially affect her phenomenal career, if not possibly end it.

    But, Anne Curtis seemed unfazed in responding to a report on the Philippine Entertainment Portal that shocked everyone who knew her, even this blogger. Yet you could feel the remorse in her apology. And, in my view, it was brave of Anne to address the issue on Twitter, to her nearly six million followers, instead of keeping quiet and making matters worse by letting people speculate.

    Anne goes ballistic

    That incident at Privé Luxury Club in the early morning of Saturday, November 23 is now the talk of the town, understandably because the people involved in the incident are A-list artistas and prominent personalities.

    While slapping is a common device used in movies, used to humiliate characters in dramatic fashion, delivering a whack to the face in a public place is definitely uncommon,

    Read More »from Anne Curtis faces crisis with slapping incident in club


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