Sunday, October 23, 2011

Kembali Coast

Residential Lots:

Kembali Coast will offer only 400 residential lots at 1,000 sqm, giving you the privacy and exclusively you desire.

Our View Lots, located along Samal's highest elevation, boast majestic views of both and sea and the entirely exhilarating island.

Our Ridge/Cliff Lots are sprawled over a rolling terrain that conveniently rewards you with easy access to the beach while still giving you an exquisite peek at the Sulu Sea.

Our Beach Front Lots offer a spacious retreat, each with a private path leading out onto the fine white sand.


Let your worries just float away with the rolling tide as Kembali Coast carries you in its sandy arms and watery lullabies.

Concrete roads with streetlights
electrical and water connections
perimeter fence
gate and guardhouses
storm drainage systems
sewage treatment facility

Monday, August 22, 2011

From strip clubs to the gym: Pole dancing in PH

Pole Academy Philippines creative director Ed Aniel (left) and instructor Merry Farnal-Ballinger. Photos courtesy of PAP

MANILA, Philippines - What would you think if you see a woman who wears sexy clothes dancing and climbing a pole?

A taboo perhaps for many, especially for Filipinos.

Contrary to what others believe, pole dancing is not just for strip clubs, said veteran dancer Ed Aniel, who aims to wipe out the stigma attached to the performance art.

Aniel, who began his dancing career at age 18, introduced pole dancing as a form of exercise in the country by founding the Pole Academy Philippines (PAP) in 2007.

He has 2 other senior instructors: Eisa Jocson and Merry Farnal-Ballinger.

Asked who can join his classes, Aniel said, "Sex, age, height and weight don't matter. As long as you are willing to learn and you are passionate about it, you can enroll in our pole dancing classes."

Pole dancing as fitness craze

Geri Gatchalian-Gil, managing director of PAP, said pole dancing is fast gaining popularity in the Philippines as a way to get fit.

She said students initially enroll in their classes as an alternative to gym sessions.

PAP associate director Eisa Jocson. Photo courtesy of PAP

"But eventually, they enjoy going to the classes especially since we don't just do tricks on the pole. We have dance numbers every night at the end of the class," she said.

Gatchalian-Gil, a 42-year-old mother of two, said she first had inhibitions in showing some skin, but this changed after enrolling at PAP.

The academy, she said, helped her learn not only to pole dance but also to express herself better.

"Some actually lose weight from pole dancing, and even tone their muscles in the arms, legs and abs," she said.

True enough, PAP students shared that attending pole classes under Aniel "brought out the goddesses in them."

With pole dancing gaining ground in the Philippines, Aniel dreams of elevating it to the stage and showing the public his "hybrid style" of theatrical pole art.

"Pole dancing is an art form. At PAP, we call our brand of pole dancing as 'Jazz Le Pole,' a combination of jazz, ballet and pole dancing, which sets our school from other pole dancing schools in the country," he said.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Taiwan hosts its biggest same-sex 'wedding' party

TAIPEI, Taiwan - About 80 lesbian couples tied the knot in Taiwan's biggest same-sex "wedding party" in a massive gesture that organizers said Sunday offered hope that the island will soon legalize gay marriage.

Many of the couples donned white dresses and veils for the "Barbie and Barbie's wedding", which was held overnight in downtown Taipei, attracting about 1,000 visitors, including friends, relatives and curious onlookers.

"I feel very hopeful that Taiwan will legalize same-sex marriage soon," said one of the brides, 32-year-old stylist Celine Chen, who plans a honeymoon in New York, which in June became the sixth US state to legalize gay marriage.

Even though same-sex unions are not legal in Taiwan, the celebrations went on smoothly without police interference or protests.

Many of the couples kissed, hugged and posed for photographs while receiving an unofficial certificate from the organizers that stated they were now "united in holy matrimony".

The event climaxed with a couple exchanging rings and saying "I do" amid roaring cheers from the crowd.

But in a brief moment of sadness, some of the participants acknowledged that the marriages were not bona fide.

"The wedding party is fun but it's not real," said Coral Huang, who has been with her partner for eight years and intends to go to Europe to wed legally.

"Getting a genuine marriage certificate is very meaningful as it shows that we are being recognized and accepted."

Taiwan is becoming more open-minded towards its homosexual population, and the island's gay rights groups last year said they had hosted Asia's biggest gay pride parade, with a turnout of 30,000.

In an opinion poll conducted in 2008 by the International Social Survey Programme, a global network dedicated to social science research, 17.5% of Taiwanese participants said that homosexual behavior was "not wrong at all".

While significantly lower than the United States, where 32.3% held that view, it was much higher than the 5.5% scored in Japan and 4.4% in the Philippines.

The cabinet in 2003 drafted a controversial bill to legalize same-sex marriages and allow homosexual couples to adopt children, the first in Asia to promise to do so.

But President Ma Ying-jeou has said that public consensus was needed to be reached before the government can move ahead with the legislation.

Cathay Pacific scandal tops PH Google search

MANILA, Philippines - Cathay Pacific caught the attention of Internet-using Filipinos last week after 2 of its employees were caught in a set of photos apparently engaging in oral sex on board an aircraft, according to Google Philippines.

Data gathered by the local unit of the Internet search giant from August 12 to 18 showed that "Cathay Pacific scandal" was the fastest rising news topic in the country after the photos were published on the Internet and in Chinese-language daily newspapers last Sunday.

The 2 members of Cathay Pacific's cabin crew who were shown in the photos have left the company. It was not clear whether the pair were sacked or if they resigned voluntarily.

The incident has caused Cathay Pacific to review a marketing campaign that bills the airline as "the team who go the extra mile to make you feel special."

Other top news topics last week include "Vietnam flag" after the country marked its veterans' remembrance day; "47.110579,9.227568," a location on Google Street View that shows a mysterious figure in the sky; and the controversial "Kulo" exhibit at the Cultural Center of the Philippines which was recently closed down.

Below is the full list:

  1. Cathay Pacific scandal
  2. Vietnam flag
  3. 47.110579,9.227568
  4. Kulo exhibit
  5. Final Destination 5
  6. Dengue
  7. Moves like Jagger
  8. Smurf
  9. Jetstar
  10. DFA

Meanwhile, here are the country's fastest rising newsmakers from August 12 to 18:

  1. Edgar Allan Guzman
  2. Mideo Cruz
  3. Paris Hilton
  4. Kate Middleton
  5. Barbie
  6. Angry Birds
  7. WWE
  8. Starbucks
  9. Rebecca Black
  10. Solenn Heussaff

Friday, August 5, 2011

New Spider-Man is black teen from New York

NEW YORK - Spider-Man peeled his webbed mask back Wednesday to reveal a new face -- and it's black.

In a revolution for one of the most enduring characters in comic books, Marvel Comics introduced a revamped Spider-Man whose alter-ego is a mild-mannered half-black, half-Latino teen from New York.

The new Spidey is called Miles Morales and he lives in Brooklyn with his parents, at least when he's not in his famous red and blue costume and battling world evil.

The previous incarnation, Peter Parker, was white, an orphan and came from New York's borough of Queens. He was killed off in June during a fight with his nemesis Green Goblin.

"The superhero genre has been dominated by Caucasian (white) superheroes from Superman to Batman," Axel Alonso, Marvel's chief editor, told AFP.

"When Spider-Man peels back that mask, there will be a whole new demographic of kids who we'll be reaching on a new spiritual level."

Alonso said the idea of a black Spider-Man first came up when President Barack Obama, whose father was African, ran for the White House, becoming the first president with African-American roots.

But Marvel needed the right occasion to make the switch and that came when the story ended up in Peter Parker's death. "In order to kill Spider-Man, we needed to know who to put in his place," Alonso said.

The decision to go mixed-race rather than plain black -- like the Black Panther superhero in the early 1960s -- was also important.

Alonso said his own father is Mexican and his mother British, while Spidey writer Brian Michael Bendis is Jewish and has two adopted children from Africa. "So I know for him it was definitely personal," Alonso said.

Spider-Man is one of the most hallowed characters in superhero universe. In March, a copy of the inaugural 1962 comic book sold at auction for $1.1 million. Originally the comic sold to fans for just 12 cents.

In the inaugural adventure of the new Spider-Man, a slender Miles Morales takes on a fearsome thug called the Kangaroo, ultimately delivering justice, then climbing in spidery fashion up onto a New York rooftop where he pulls the mask from his sweating face.

Crowds gather to watch the fight, which leaves windows and one car wrecked as the neophyte superhero struggles to overcome the much larger Kangaroo.

There's no love from the public either, as bystanders accuse the blue-and-red suited stranger of wearing the dead superhero's costume "in terrible taste."

"I -- I thought you died," one says. "How is Spider-Man alive now?"

In the final frame, when Morales takes off the mask, there is no one there to see his surprising new face. "Maybe the costume is in bad taste," the heavy hearted-looking teen says to himself.

Long life is in the genes: study

WASHINGTON - Israeli researchers studied a population of Ashkenazi Jews who have lived to age 95 and older and found that their eating and lifestyle habits were no better than those of the general population.

In fact, men in the long-lived group drank slightly more and exercised less than their average counterparts, said the findings in the online edition of Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

"This study suggests that centenarians may possess additional longevity genes that help to buffer them against the harmful effects of an unhealthy lifestyle," said senior author Nir Barzilai, director of the Institute for Aging Research at Yeshiva University's Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

The study involved 477 Ashkenazi Jews aged 95-122 who were living independently. A total of 75% were women. All were enrolled in an ongoing study that aims to uncover the secrets to longevity.

Ashkenazi Jews were chosen because they are more "genetically uniform than other populations, making it easier to spot gene differences that are present," said the study.

Overall, the elder group had similar habits in terms of height-weight ratio, smoking, exercise level and diet as similarly matched people in the general population.

Data on comparison subjects came from 3,164 people who had been born around the same time as the centenarians and were examined between 1971 and 1975 while participating in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

Twenty-four percent of long-living men drank alcohol daily, compared to 22% of the general population, while 43% of the older group exercised regularly compared to 57% of regular men.

While people in both groups were just as likely to be overweight, the longer-living group was less likely to reach higher levels of obesity. But researchers cautioned that the older set's secrets are not a good fit for most.

"Although this study demonstrates that centenarians can be obese, smoke and avoid exercise, those lifestyle habits are not good choices for most of us who do not have a family history of longevity," said Barzilai.

"We should watch our weight, avoid smoking and be sure to exercise, since these activities have been shown to have great health benefits for the general population, including a longer lifespan."

Pinay author breaks into US book market

MANILA, Philippines - Filipino mom Samantha Sotto wrote her first book, Before Ever After, to kill time while waiting for her son to come out of school.

After a year, she sent her story to literary agents abroad and eventually got a deal with Random House, one of biggest publishing houses in the world.

Before Ever After was launched in New York last August 2, and is available in North America through Barnes & Noble and across the globe through Amazon and iBooks.

Currently, the book ranks fourth in Amazon's "Hot New Releases in American Literature."

Bestselling authors in the US had nothing but good things to say about Sotto's first book.

"Before Ever After is one of those books that challenges the natural laws of fiction writing, but in a frisky and highly entertaining way," said Anne Fortier, New York Times bestselling author of Juliet.

"Exquisitely written and inventively told, Before Ever After is a beautiful, moving -- and quite fun -- exploration of what you think you know about your own life," said Melissa Senate, bestselling author of See Jane Date, The Love Goddess' Cooking School and other novels.

In an interview with The Philippine Star, Sotto said she is already "80% done" with her second novel.

She gave this advice to aspiring writers who dreams of being published by Random House: "Stop dreaming and pursue what you want. The amount of creative talent in this country is huge and there is absolutely nothing that is stopping us from showing the world what the Filipino can do."

Meanwhile, Sotto will be at the Philippine Consulate in New York on August 12 to sign copies of her first book.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Iconic artist Dali inspires chef to put up Spanish restaurant

Churros with warm chocolate sauce. Photo courtesy of Dali Restaurante y Bar de Tapas

MANILA, Philippines - There's much sophistication in Dali's art. Images of warped timepieces, forms with moustache--apparently self-portraits of the artist himself--seemingly random subjects contribute to the complexity and depth to the art's surrealism.

Chef Pia Herrera and her husband Jose are big fans of the Spanish artist. This is why they named their restaurant after him, to also lend authenticity to the place.

"Salvador Dali is a very iconic artist for Spain, so what better [choice is there] to be a figurehead for a restaurant? And he's always been a favorite of my husband and mine. And I think he represents the flavor and the drama of Spain," Chef Pia Herrera said on the "Taste Buds" segment of "Mornings @ ANC" recently.

Copies of Spanish artist Salvador Dali's paintings adorn the restaurant. Photo courtesy of Dali Restaurante y Bar de Tapas

True enough, that drama is evident in copies of Dali's works which are displayed prominently at Dali Restaurante y Bar de Tapas, lending atmosphere to the venue and character to what they serve.

The food is authentic Spanish, inspired by the many influences Chef Pia took from living with her parents in Europe, and driving around in a motor home during family vacations in Spain. She went to culinary school at the Center for Culinary Arts in Quezon City and continued in upstate New York where she refined her culinary skills.

Incidentally, one of their partners at Dali is no less than Don Pepe Rodriguez, director of Instituto Cervantes, who has become a consultant for the food they serve.

Classic Spanish cuisine

"We've decided to focus on classic Spanish cuisine rather than doing the fusion most Spanish restaurants seem to be doing nowadays. Our menu is made up mostly of the tapas and it's a fun way to eat. We have the croquetas in many different flavors: chicken, ham, tuna. Another best seller is dates wrapped in bacon, datilas con bacon. We offer many of the classics like lengua de Jerez and callos, arroz negra, paella valenciana, cochinillo--the Spanish version of the lechon," Chef Pia said.

Unlike other restaurants which use a cream based sauce, Dali uses a sherry-based sauce for its lengua con Jerez.

Tapas and paellas may be a staple of Spanish cuisine, but Spanish cooking also has its own artistic variations.

Pescado a la sal con salsa verde is fish encased in salt and baked in an oven.

Chef Pia showed us one of their best sellers: the pescado a la sal using fish that's in season.

"It's a whole fish encased in salt and we bake it in the oven. And it's pretty much steamed with the salt, so when it comes out, it's just running juices and it's very flavorful. We serve it with a very classic Spanish sauce, the salsa verde," Chef Pia said.

There's just a hint of salt, but all the flavors of the capers, and olives in the salsa verde do wonders for this dish.

Fusion drinks

Chef Pia noted that much of the innovation and fusion done in the restaurant plays out in their sangrias and wine cocktails.

"We've introduced some new flavors, a bit of Asian flavors, into some of our sangrias," she said.

Their Sangria Oriental, for instance, is concocted using basil, simple syrup and ice, guava juice, red wine, sangria, and sliced oranges, shaken and served with guava slices.

Soon, Dali hopes to open a deli outlet where they'll be marketing their homemade boquerones (pickled fish marinated in olive oil), salads, jamon serrano, chorizos and various cold cuts. They will also be retailing wines.

"We want this to be a total experience restaurant so we have many plans including our deli and wine retail. We are offering gourmet homemade ice cream. One of our showcase desserts are sangrias and churros con chocolate ice cream which they can even personalize.

"We plan to have our deli and wine retail area fully operational by the grand opening. We want to make ourselves a trademark name for Spanish food in Quezon City," said Chef Pia.

Dali Restaurante y Bar de Tapas is at 40 E. Lopez St. corner Sgt. Esguerra Avenue, South Triangle, Quezon City, tel. no. (632) 928-0971, e-mail:

Serves 4 to 6

500 grams lapu-lapu
1,000 grams rock salt
5 pcs. lemon


  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Clean the fish, remove gills and innards then place lemon slices inside and put on an oven tray.
  3. Moisten rock salt with water until it resembles wet sand.
  4. In a pan, place fish on a bed of rock salt and cover the fish entirely. Pat down firmly.
  5. Broil the fish in the oven for around 20 to 30 minutes.
  6. Remove the fish from the oven and carefully remove the top layer of salt crust.
  7. Serve with salsa verde sauce and garnish with lemons.

Salsa Verde

1 anchovy fillet
1 Tbsp capers
2 Tbsp green olives
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 lb garlic
1 lb lemon juice
1 tsp siling labuyo
1/2 cup parsley (chopped)

Put all ingredients in a blender to make a smooth sauce. Place in a bowl and serve with the fish.

Neil, Phil, Angel top PH searches last week: Yahoo!

MANILA, Philippines - Azkals goalkeeper Neil Etheridge, striker Phil Younghusband and the latter's rumored girlfriend, Angel Locsin, were top of mind for most Internet-using Filipinos last week.

Data from Yahoo! Philippines showed Etheridge is the country's most searched personality from July 4 to 10. He was seen crying after their win against the Sri Lanka Brave Reds on July 3.

The Fil-Brit goalkeeper also wore a shirt that showed a picture of him and his grandfather, who died weeks before the match.

Younghusband and Locsin, on the other hand, dominated the search logs last week after guests saw them cozying up to each other during the Azkals' victory party.

The striker even gave the actress a kiss.

"I'm happy to be with Angel and I'm happy she came to watch. It inspired me. I hope she will watch future matches," said Younghusband, who already asked Locsin to watch their next match in Kuwait on July 23.

Meanwhile, netizens reacted strongly to the removal of the Philippine rugby team's billboards along EDSA-Guadalupe last week.

The said billboards featured members of the team posing in colored underwear.

Other top Yahoo! searches last week include Australian pop singer Kylie Minogue who had a one-night concert in Manila last July 5; actress Emma Watson, whose last "Harry Potter" film premieres in the Philippines this week ; UAAP (University Athletic Association of the Philippines) Season 74, which kicked off last July 9; and former "Pinoy Big Brother" housemate Sam Pinto, who was voted as FHM Philippines' Sexiest Woman in the World this year.

Below is the full list of the most searched topics and personalities from July 4 to 10, according to Yahoo! Philippines:

1. Neil Etheridge
2. Angel Locsin and Phil Younghusband
3. Philippine Rugby Team
4. Kylie Minogue
5. Emma Watson
6. UAAP Season 74
7. Sam Pinto
8. Ruffa Gutierrez
9. Kim Chiu
10. Temptation Island

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

FHM sexy women grace 'M.U. Live's' slumber party

MANILA, Philippines - ABS-CBN’s "Music Uplate (M.U.) Live's" slumber party episode on Tuesday became sizzling hot as lingerie-clad "FHM" women guested on the late-night musical variety show.

FHM models Karen Bordador, Jacq Yu, Jef Gaitan and Cristine Marquez were a hit among the predominantly male audience.

Karen Bordador, Jacq Yu, Jef Gaitan and Cristine Marquez unabashedly teased and bantered with the male hosts, Tutti Caringal and Martin Concio, as well as gamely answered questions throughout the program.

The questions ranged from wholesome (e.g., their biggest celebrity crush, what do they look for in a guy) to double-meaning queries (e.g., does size matter, or what do they prefer, front seat or back seat).

Would they want their men wearing boxers, briefs or bathrobes? Yu responded boxers, Gaitan, briefs, while Marquez teased, “nothing underneath the bathrobe.”

Good boy or bad boy? Marquez said she prefers good boy, “clean cut [and] nicely dressed.” Yu is happy with “bad boy on the outside, good boy in the inside.” Gaitan, for her part, said, “Good boy. Minsan kaya niyang maging playful at bad.”

Yu and Gaitan ranked No. 54 and No. 48, respectively, on the list of "FHM" 100 Sexiest Women in the World 2011. Jamilla Obispo, who is No. 92 on the list, also graced the show.

More than their physical looks, the women also displayed their wits.

Bordador, for instance, said she finds it more flattering to be called intelligent and with a nice personality. “Looks, they die out. Brain, it gets you out there.”

She also goes for a guy who has confidence and can take care of her, said Bordador, who also got to grace the cover of "FHM" Singapore.

The sexy women gamely answered questions such as "What does sexy mean?"

When asked to define what sexy is, the model-singer said: “For me, ang sexy ay ang taong happy at sobrang ganda ng personality. Why? Well, kasi ang mga taong ganoon, hinahanap-hanap mo. Regardless kung anong look niya, kahit hindi mo siya type, magiging type mo siya.”

Yu, meantime, said a guy has to be loyal and patient and that he should respect her. Beyond the looks, she said she looks for chemistry and a good sense of humor in a guy. “If you’re going to be with someone for the rest of your life, then you got to be with someone who can make you laugh.”

1 in 3 consumers in PH access the Internet

MANILA, Philippines - One in 3 consumers--or 33 percent--have been accessing the Internet in the country, a report by the global insights and measurement company Nielsen revealed Tuesday.

This is 5 percentage points below the regional average for Southeast Asia (38%).

The report, a pre-release of data from the company's Southeast Asia Digital Consumer Report, also noted that for the Philippines, younger people are more likely to go online rather than older ones.

Among consumers in the country in the 15-19 age bracket, about two-thirds (65%) use the Internet. Of those in their 20s, close to half of them (48%) go online.

Of those in their 30s, only 24% access the Internet; those in their 40s, 13%; while only 4% of consumers in their 50s go online.

Where they go online

The report also said that in most of Southeast Asia, consumers accessed the Internet from home more.

In the Philippines, however, 74% of the users in the 15-19 age bracket go online at Internet cafes.

For users aged 30 and above, they access the Internet from home more, with 86% of users in their 50s going online at home.

Fifty-two percent of Filipinos have high-speed Internet connection in their computers at home, said the report, which will be available on September 30.

Going mobile

Some 24% of Filipino Internet users are said to go online daily using their mobile phone, and 56% intend to do so in the next 12 months.

"The sophisticated capabilities, ease of use and overall user experience provided by smartphones like the iPhone and Blackberry is changing the patterns of behavior of digital consumers," observed Jay Bautista, Managing Director of Nielsen's media business in the Philippines.

"The anytime, anywhere access to digital media that smartphones and other Internet devices affords is stimulating online media consumption and will be a significant driving force for increased Internet usage in the future."

Social media and buying habits

Social media is huge among Filipino online users, the report noted.

"In the Philippines, communicating via social media has now overtaken email to become the most popular form of online communication--over two-thirds of Filipino digital consumers (67%) have visited social networking sites, compared to 40% who use email," Nielsen said in a statement.

Social media is also drawing Filipino consumers to interact with companies and brands.

Nielsen said the country emerged the 2nd highest (75% of Filipino users do) in the number of people who "liked" or followed a brand, company, or celebrity on social networking sites.

Most of them also trust consumer opinions posted online (61% of users, which is 7 points above the regional average).

In making purchasing decisions, Filipino consumers also trust online product reviews and discussion forums, next to recommendations made by family and friends. About two-thirds (64%) of Filipinos accessing the Internet turn to social media before making decisions to buy a product or service.

"The rise of social media platforms has facilitated more ways for word of mouth communication to take place and this presents both opportunities and challenges for companies," noted Bautista.

"Filipinos are increasingly looking to their fellow Internet users for opinions and information about products, services and brands, and engagement with online word of mouth communication is going to increase in coming years as social media plays an increasingly important role in consumer decision making."

High salt + low potassium = early death: study

CHICAGO - Put down the salt shakers. Eating too much salt and too little potassium can increase the risk of death, US government researchers said on Monday.

The findings from a team at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are a counterpoint to a fiercely-debated study released last week that found no evidence that making small cuts in salt intake lowers the risk of heart disease and premature death.

"Salt is still bad for you," said Dr. Thomas Farley, Health Commissioner for New York City, which is leading a campaign to reduce salt in restaurant and packaged foods by 25% over five years.

Most health experts agree with Farley that consuming too much salt is not good for you and that cutting salt intake can reduce high blood pressure, which raises the risk of heart attack and stroke. Salt intake has been rising since the 1970s, with Americans consuming about twice the recommended daily limit.

The CDC study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, specifically focused on growing research that shows a diet high in salt and low in potassium is especially risky.

Farley, who wrote an editorial on the CDC study, said it is one of the best yet looking at the long-term effects of eating too much salt.

"It is entirely consistent with what we've said all along about sodium intake," Farley said in a telephone interview.

For the study, researchers looked at the long-term effects of sodium and potassium intake as part of a 15-year study of more than 12,000 people.

By the end of the study period, 2,270 of the study participants had died; 825 of these deaths were from heart disease and 433 were from blood clots and strokes.

Potassium is key

They found that people who had a high salt intake and a low potassium intake were most at risk.

"People who ate a diet high in sodium and low in potassium had a 50% increased risk of death from any cause, and about twice the risk of death -- or a 200% increase -- from a heart attack," said Dr. Elena Kuklina of the CDC who helped lead the study.

She said consumers need to increase the levels of potassium in their diet by adding more servings of fresh fruits and vegetables, such as spinach, grapes, carrots, sweet potatoes, and low fat milk and yogurt.

The Salt Institute, an industry group, challenged the findings, pointing out that the CDC study found that the link between salt intake and heart disease was statistically insignificant.

"This is a highly flawed publication that reveals more about the anti-salt agenda being pursued by the CDC than about any relationship between salt and health," said Mort Satin, the Salt Institute's Director of Science and Research.

"The only significance is between low potassium and mortality," Satin said in a statement.

Dr. Robert Briss, director of the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion at the CDC, said the findings support the general weight of evidence and suggests that higher doses of sodium are linked with poor health consequences.

And it suggests "that higher potassium may be better for you," Briss said in a telephone interview.

"About 90% of Americans consume more sodium than is recommended. This impacts their blood pressure," Briss said.

"Most of that sodium is not related to the salt shaker but it is in foods and especially processed and restaurant foods that we buy and order from restaurants. Consumers, even motivated ones, don't have as much choice as they could," he said.

Kuklina said potassium often counteracts the effects of salt in the diet. This equilibrium is affected when people eat highly processed foods, which tend to increase sodium levels and decrease potassium content.

"If sodium increases your high blood pressure, potassium decreases it. If sodium retains water, potassium helps you get rid of it," she said.

Instead of focusing only on salt, Kuklina said researchers should focus on the balance between potassium and salt.

"We need to strive to do both -- decrease your sodium intake and increase your potassium intake," she said.

'Creatures' ad campaign wins at Cannes festival

MANILA, Philippines - An advertising campaign dubbed "Creatures" won the Silver Lion for the Outdoor Category at the 2011 Cannes Festival of Creativity.

The campaign is for Boysen and it was done by the agency TBWA\Santiago Mangada Puno (TBWA\SMP).

The 2011 victory is a second for both Boysen and the agency in the said awards.

In a statement, the agency said the "Creatures" campaign used high-speed photography, premium Boysen paints, meticulous shot choice, and design craft. It is a sequel to the "Flowers" campaign of 2010, which also won many awards, among them a Bronze Lion at the Cannes Lions Festival.

Behind "Creatures" is the creative team led by Creative Director Jake Tesoro, with Copywriter Bryan Siy and Art Director Nolan Fabular.

The agency also said the campaign is consistent with Boysen's thrust toward caring for the environment.

The paint company is currently spearheading a large-scale art project on the busy EDSA highway [] using Knoxout, a paint product that reportedly breaks down air pollutants.

This project is dubbed EDSA or Everyone Deserves Safe Air. Under the project, EDSA's walls will feature giant art pieces by 7 artists and TBWA\SMP.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

8 Metro Manila film fest entries named

MANILA, Philippines – The 8 entries for this year’s Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) were announced on Friday.

The competing films, in alphabetical order, are:

· "Enteng Ng Ina Mo"
· "Hototay"
· "Mr. Wong"
· "My House Husband"
· "Panday 2"
· "Segunda Mano"
· "Shake, Rattle and Roll 13"
· "Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow "

“Enteng Ng Ina Mo”, a joint movie effort of ABS-CBN Film Productions, Inc., M-Zet TV Productions, APT Productions and Octo Arts Films, is top-billed by Vic Sotto and 2010 MMFF Best Actress Ai-Ai delas Alas. The film is directed by Tony Y. Reyes.

Regal Entertainment and SMDC’s entry “Hototay”, a comedy film directed by Joel Lamangan, stars John Lapus, Ruffa Gutierrez and Lovi Poe.

“Mr. Wong” is RP Studios’ entry, starring Robin Padilla. The film is directed by Trina Dayrit and Rechie del Carmen.

Octo Arts Films’ “My House Husband” stars real life couple Ryan Agoncillo and Judy Ann Santos. The romantic-comedy film is directed by Jose Javier Reyes.

Bong Revilla and director Mac Alejandre returns with a second serving of “Panday” with Imus Productions and GMA Network Films’ “Panday 2”. Also starring are Phillip Salvador, Marian Rivera and Iza Calzado.

“Segunda Mano” of MJM Productions features Dingdong Dantes and Kris Aquino in a horror flick.

The 13th installment of Regal Entertainment’s “Shake, Rattle and Roll” features 3 directors known for their indie films: Chris Martinez, Richard Somes and Jerrold Tarog.

Studio 5’s entry is the drama film “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” directed by Rodolfo "Jun" Lana Jr. The film stars Dennis Trillo, Heart Evangelista, Carla Abellana and Ritz Azur.

This year’s MMFF is the festival’s 37th edition, set to begin on December 25.

Rachelle Ann mum on break-up with John

MANILA, Philippines – Singer Rachelle Ann Go has decided to keep her mum over her recent break-up with actor John Prats.

In a text message, Go told "Cinema News" on Friday that she would rather not discuss the situation in public. "Di po muna ako magsasalita sa ngayon. Medyo magulo pa lahat eh.. Sana po maintindihan niyo. Pasensya na," she said.

Go also refused to speak up when asked if she is angry with Prats or if there is truth to reports alleging beauty queen Bianca Manalo as the reason behind their decision to separate ways.

Asked if she is still hurting, the singer replied: “Secret... hehe... when I'm ready nalang po ha. Hindi ko naman isasarili lahat.”

Manalo, on the other hand, was surprised about Go's statements.

“Ay may ganoon? Bakit may ganoon? Hindi ko po alam. Silang dalawa na lang ni Pratty ang mag-usap. Sila ang magklaro sa sambayanang tao. Sana ilabas ako kasi wala talaga akong kinalaman,” she said.

Manalo added that she never wanted to become a third party to a relationship.

Prats also chose to remain silent about the matter after he admitted on “Happy Yipee Yehey” that he and Go have broken up.

Ateneo kicks off celebrations to commemorate Rizal's 150th

MANILA, Philippines - In celebration of the 150th birthday of its most famous alumnus, the Ateneo de Manila University on Friday launched its commemoration of the sesquicentennial of Jose Rizal's birth.

The university launched "A Legacy of Service: Rizal for the 21st Century," a series of historical exhibits, academic lectures, and other events commemorating Rizal's 150th birthday, at the Leong Hall of the university's Loyola Heights campus.

In attendance were descendants of Rizal's siblings, in particular descendants of Saturnina, Narcisa, Lucia, Olympia, Maria, and Paciano.

The event served as a kick-off of the celebration of the sesquicentennial of Rizal's birth, with events scheduled until December.

Two Rizal-related exhibits, focusing on his days in the Ateneo and his writings, were also opened during the event.

"Rizal in the Ateneo/The Ateneo in Rizal" is an exhibit of original artifacts associated with Rizal and his days at the Ateneo.

Among the artifacts on display are photographs of 19th century Ateneo, which was then located in Intramuros; a statuette of the Sacred Heart carved by Rizal in 1875 out of batikuling wood; a Card of Excellence awarded to Rizal; the seal of the Ateneo Municipal de Manila; and even a silver quill which he won in a literary contest in 1879.

The exhibit also shows photos and artifacts of Rizal from his days in Europe, as well as during his days in exile in Dapitan.

Also opened on Friday was "Rizal, The Literary Genius," an exhibit of select books by and about the National Hero, from the collection of the Ateneo's Rizal Library.

Among the books and writings on display are Rizal's iconic works, such as 19th century editions of Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo; the "Mi Ultimo Adios"; letters and correspondence; and biographies, adaptations, and other works about Rizal.

Also on display are photographs of Rizal and his milieu, and a chronology of the life of the National Hero.

Both exhibits are housed at the Rizal Library of the university, and is open to the public Mondays to Saturdays.


Aside from the exhibits, the Ateneo de Manila's different units also have other exhibits and events scheduled to commemorate Rizal's 150th birthday.

Among the events scheduled are lectures and a conference about Rizal; book launches; lectures and screenings on films about the National Hero; a revue of songs inspired by or composed by Rizal; a play by the Tanghalang Ateneo about Rizal and the youth; and a 2-hour cultural gala.

The university's grand alumni homecoming in December will also take a Rizal-inspired theme.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Puppy on clothesline photo sparks online ire

MANILA, Philippines - What started as a joke has turned into an online firestorm.

Through social networking sites, netizens condemned a young man's act of hanging his puppy on a clothesline and uploading a photo of it on Facebook.

Jerzon Senador, who is likely to face animal cruelty charges from the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), made it to Twitter's trending topics on Tuesday.

Senador has already posted a letter of apology on his Facebook page, but is still receiving several hate messages from concerned pet owners.

Several netizens continue to protest in their own virtual spaces.

"Isabit si Jerzon sa clothesline ng upside down (Hang Jerzon upside down on a clothesline)," said Twitter user KenTuriano.

"Well I guess you can't even go outside now because of your abusive act," said Twitter user IamRHEA16.

"Wag ka papakita sakin 'kaw ang isasampay ko sa sampayan ng kapitbahay namin (Don't show yourself or I'll hang you on my neighbor's clothesline)," said user Jon MacAsaet on's Facebook page.

Others said they do not tolerate Senador's behavior, but stressed that the public should not be too hard on the young man.

"Enough na let the PAWS handle this (That's enough. Let PAWS handle this)," said Twitter user thePrinceJayR.

"Sa totoo lang mas marami pang cruel sa animals kumpara kay Jerzon (There are many people who are more cruel to animals than Jerzon)," tweeted SirHodge.

Twitter user Charlesrainer, for his part, said, "Jerzon Senador has apologized and promised not to do what he did again. Forgive the man! Next step, stop other more cruel animal abusers."

Last May, a physics major from the University of the Philippines was fined P2,000 and sentenced to 2 months' volunteer work for killing a cat inside the state university and then bragging about it on his blog.

The case is the first successful conviction of a person accused of animal cruelty in the Philippines.

TV time tied to diabetes, death

NEW YORK - People who spend more hours in front of the television are at greater risk of dying, or developing diabetes and heart disease, with even two hours of television a day having a marked effect, according to a US study.

Every day, US residents spend an average of 5 hours watching television, while Australians and some Europeans log 3.5 to 4 hours a day, said researchers led by Frank Hu, at the Harvard School of Public Health.

"The message is simple. Cutting back on TV watching is an important way to reduce sedentary behaviors and decrease risk of diabetes and heart disease," Hu said.

People who sit in front of the television are not only exercising less, they are likely eating unhealthy foods, he added.

"The combination of a sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy diet and obesity creates a 'perfect breeding ground' for type 2 diabetes and heart disease."

This is not the first study to associate TV time with ill effects. Many studies have found a strong link to obesity, and one 2007 report found that more TV time was associated with higher blood pressure in obese children.

Another study that same year found that overweight children who watch food advertisements tend to double their food intake.

For the new study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Hu and his team reviewed 8 studies examining the link between television time and diseases, that in total followed more than 200,000 people, for an average of 7 to 10 years.

Hu and his colleagues found that for every two hours of daily television that people watched, their risk of diabetes increased by 20%, while their risk of heart disease rose by 15%.

Each two hours of television per day increased the risk of dying by 13%.

Based on those results, Hu and his team estimated that, among a group of 100,000 people, reducing daily television time by 2 hours could prevent 176 new cases of diabetes, 38 cases of fatal cardiovascular disease, and 104 premature deaths -- every year.

All of the studies in the analysis made sure that participants didn't have a chronic disease, because people who were generally less well might be more likely both to watch many hours of TV and to experience diabetes, heart disease or premature death.

But Hu and his team cautioned that it's possible some people had undetected forms of disease at the start of the studies, influencing the findings.

The study cannot prove that TV watching alone raises the disease risk, nor can it identify what about TV watching might have an impact.

"It's true that people who watch a lot of TV differ from those who watch less, especially in terms of diet and physical activity levels," Hu said.

He added that people who watch a lot of television are more likely to eat junk food. But unhealthy diet and inactivity are also consequences of prolonged television watching, so they explain some of the adverse effects of the sedentary behavior.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Gerald Anderson courting Jewel Mische?

ANILA, Philippines – After confirming that his breakup with fellow young star Kim Chiu has seen a closure, has Gerald Anderson finally moved on with a new girl?

Despite rumors spreading regarding his courtship of former "Bagwis" leading lady Jewel Mische, Anderson was quick to deny the issue.

“Hindi kami nagkikita eh. Nakaka-miss siya actually,” Anderson said in an interview with "Showbiz News Ngayon."

He said he is not running after another girl at the moment.

“Wala akong liniligawan ngayon,” he said, stressing that he is concentrating on an upcoming ABS-CBN project.

“Sa ngayon, I’m just gonna be focused sa work,” Anderson said.

“Sa sino mang liligawan ko, kawawa din kasi ‘di ko mabibigyan ng oras,” he added.

Withholding some details, Anderson said his next project will be a soap opera, which he called “kakaiba.”

“Ang daming aabangan sa show na ito,” he teased.

Fans mob 'In The Name of Love' premiere

MANILA, Philippines – The cast of Star Cinema’s 18th anniversary offering “In The Name of Love” was at a loss for words as hundreds of fans and showbiz personalities flocked at SM Mega Mall in Mandaluyong City on Tuesday for their movie’s grand premiere.

Talking to “Showbiz News Ngayon,” lead stars Angel Locsin, Aga Muhlach and Jake Cuenca said they were grateful that they were given the chance to make the project possible.

“If you want something nice, you really have to work for it. Noong nangyayari na kasi, minsan reklamo ka ng reklamo sa hirap, yun pala ganun talaga dapat... Yung pelikula, wag niyo nang pansinin ako, si Angel, si Jake. Pansinin niyo rito yung storya, kung paano ginawa ni Olivia Lamasan yung storya,” said Muhlach.

“I’m lost for words after seeing the movie. Like what I said over and over again, to be in a frame with Aga Muhlach, to be directed by Olive Lamasan and to have Angel Locsin as your leading lady, siguro may nagawa akong tama. Napakasuwert ko na nailagay ako sa pelikulang ‘to,” Cuenca said.

Locsin, on the other hand, confessed that it is an honor to have worked with Muhlach.

“Yung mga pelikulang ginagawa niya talaga, walang patapon. Yung makasama ka sa mga magagaling na listahan ng kanyang leading ladies, isang malaking karangalan yun. Hindi lang yung honor na makasama mo sa isang poster yung pangalan niya, yung makilala mo siya in person yung mas masarap,” she said.

Spotted in the red carpet premiere were Bubbles and Paolo Paraiso, Jericho Rosales, Gab Valenciano, Carla Humphries, Ruffa Gutierrez, and Gary Valenciano who sang the movie’s theme song.

Locsin’s “Imortal” co-stars, Senator Miguel Zubiri, his wife Audrey, Lea Salonga and her husband Robert Tien, were also there.

Muhlach’s wife Charlene Gonzalez and Muhlach’s son with Janice de Belen also attended the premiere.

The movie’s cast, including Carmi Martin, Kat Alano, Emilio Garcia, Ryan Eigenmann, Smokey Manoloto, Michael Flores, Joshua Zamora and Maliksi Morales were also seen.

Also present to grace the event were Star Cinema executives led by Star Cinema managing director Malou Santos.

Meanwhile, in behalf of the cast, Muhlach urged the public to see what their movie has to offer.

“May 11, bukas, not only tomorrow, in the days to come, in the weeks to come, please give time. Panoorin niyo ang pelikulang ‘to. Sayang for you guys to miss this event. It’s not just a movie, it’s an event. It’s Star Cinema’s 18th anniversary presentation, so just expect for the best,” he said.

“In The Name of Love” is directed by Olivia M. Lamasan and was graded B by the Cinema Evaluation Board.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Princess Diana dresses sell for $276,000 at auction

LOS ANGELES, United States - A pair of dresses worn by Princess Diana sold at a pop culture auction in Beverly Hills for a total of $276,000, a spokesman for the auction house said on Sunday.

The two dresses, which have been held in climate-controlled storage since her death in August 1997, were auctioned to a prominent museum for $144,000 and $132,000, respectively, said Darren Julien, president and CEO of Julien's Auctions.

"We did have bidders from all over the world participating, and it's great to have them go to a museum where they are going to be on display and appreciated by the public," Julien said.

Julien said he could not name the museum without permission from officials there.

The dress that sold for $144,000 was described by the auction house as a black crepe evening gown that Diana wore during a state visit in 1992.

The princess wore the second dress, which is silk chiffon and strapless, to the Cannes Film Festival in 1987 as well as in a portrait sitting that year and to a 1989 performance of "Miss Saigon" at Theater Royal in London.

The two dresses had been auctioned by Diana for charity three months before her death, Julien said.

The owners, WeTV and Wedding Central, decided the time was right to auction them again to coincide with the April 29 wedding of Britain's Prince William to Kate Middleton.

He said a portion of the proceeds would be donated to one of Diana's charities.

Diana, who married Prince Charles on July 29, 1981, died after a car crash in Paris on August 31, 1997.

Coke celebrates 125 years of being the real thing

WASHINGTON, United States - Exactly 125 years ago an Atlanta pharmacist mixed up a cure for headache and fatigue and stumbled upon the recipe for what has become one of the world's most recognizable drinks and brand names.

Coca Cola is celebrating the moment when on May 8, 1886 John Pemberton made his way into American culture, creating a soft drink now sold in more than 200 countries and earning the company a place among the world's top 100 firms.

Regular Coke, as opposed to its numerous offshoots such as Diet Coke, remains the world's favorite soda with a whopping 17% market share, trouncing its rival Pepsi.

The recipe is a closely guarded secret passed down through the generations, and according to legend safely stashed away in a company vault.

"The Coca Cola saga has been reverentially preserved and nurtured over the years," writes author Mark Pendergrast in his book "For God, Country and Coca-Cola" which relates the history of the drink.

The official version of events in this rags-to-riches story "has all the earmarks of the class American success myth."

According to the legend which has grown up around Coke the poor but kindly Pemberton was transformed from a dishwasher into a millionaire.

But in reality Pemberton was no grumpy, herbal doctor who unwittingly brewed up his magic potion in his backyard, Pendergrast maintains.

Coca-Cola was a typical by-product of "the golden age of quackery" at the end of the 1800s when many doctors were trying to patent all kinds of cures and medicines for a variety of ailments.

Pharmacists and quacks offered their wares for sale on every street corner amid a growing clamor in the developing industrial age for effective cure-alls at the infancy of modern medicine.

The original Coca Cola most likely tasted different from the liquid today, Pendergrast notes. "It was like many such other nostrums, a patent medicine with a distinct cocaine kick."

Pemberton is thought to have discovered his new "miracle" medicine on May 8, 1886, and dubbed it Coca-Cola. But at the start the public eschewed his marvelous new elixir and in the first year he only sold on average nine glasses a day.

It was in 1888 that business began to bubble when entrepreneur Asa Chandler bought the rights and began to mass produce this "medicine" as a refreshing soft drink.

Within just a few years, Coca-Cola was a favorite beverage around the United States. The brew only made it across the Atlantic and into Europe in 1919 where it first appeared on shelves in France, before arriving in Germany in 1929.

But apart from its business success, Coca-Cola is above all a cultural phenomenon.

It remains one of the world's favorite drinks despite concerns over its sugar content, amid rising obesity levels especially among children.

Last year the company had a net revenue of about $35 billion, leading to profits of almost $12 billion.

Selling more of the soft drink to children would be a "public health disaster," says Michael F. Jacobson from the Center for Science in the Public Interest lobby group.

But it's hard to defeat such nimble marketing and overturn a brand image which has turned Coke, which its distinctive red and white label, from a mere consumer product into an object of desire, argues Constance Hays in her book "The Real Thing: Truth and Power at the Coca-Cola Company."

"Through relentless advertising, clever marketing and sometimes plain old luck, Coke came to stand for the glamorous, prosperous, flag-waving side of America, the part that always looked forward, not back," she writes.

Coca-Cola is celebrating its birthday with a huge concert on Saturday in Atlanta streamed live on the Internet.

And the secret recipe? That remains firmly under lock and key even if some people claim to have already discovered the right ingredients.

Muhtar Kent, chairman and chief executive, said in February that Coca-Cola was entering 2011, its 125th year in business, "with solid momentum."

"While we recognize that challenges remain in our worldwide marketplace, we are confident that we are advancing our global momentum to deliver long-term sustainable growth and value for our shareowners," he said.

Are gay men more at risk for cancer?

NEW YORK, United States - More gay men reported being cancer survivors than straight men in a new study from California.

That suggests they may need targeted interventions to prevent cancer, the researchers said, but more studies are needed to answer lingering questions. For example, are gay men more likely to be diagnosed with cancer than straight men? Or, are they just more likely to survive if they do get cancer?

"A lack of hard data" on how sexual orientation affects the risk of cancer is "one of the biggest problems we have," said Liz Margolies, executive director of The National LGBT Cancer Network. Margolies, who was not involved in the research, told Reuters Health, "It's critical that we know that for funding and for program planning."

As a step toward addressing the lack of data, researchers looked at three years of responses to the California Health Interview survey, which included more than 120,000 adults living in the state.

Among other health-related questions, participants were asked if they had ever been diagnosed with cancer and whether they identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or straight.

The findings are published in the journal Cancer.

Out of 51,000 men, about 3,700 said they had been diagnosed with cancer as an adult. While just over 8% of gay men reported a history of cancer, that figure was only 5% in straight men. The disparity could not be attributed to differences in race, age, or income between gay and straight men.

About 7,300 out of 71,000 women in the study had been diagnosed with cancer, but overall cancer rates did not differ among lesbian, bisexual, and straight women.

However, among women who were cancer survivors, lesbian and bisexual women were more likely to report fair or poor health than straight women.

Ulrike Boehmer, the study's lead author from the Boston University School of Public Health, said higher rates of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) may be related to the increased risk of cancer in gay men, but the study couldn't address that question specifically.

Margolies thinks there is more going on. "Gay men as a group have a bunch of risk factors for cancer," she said.

For instance, gay men and lesbian women are more likely to smoke and abuse alcohol than straight men and women. They're also more likely to avoid going to see their doctor for routine physicals or cancer screening, Margolies added - since healthcare providers may not all be tolerant and accepting of their identity.

"I don't think that we're going to get people to have early screening or see doctors except in emergencies ... until they can be guaranteed a safe and welcoming experience" at the doctor's office, she said.

Margolies said that while the new findings are "very important," she cautions about generalizing them too far beyond this individual study. Partially that's because she suspects lesbian women may also have an increased risk of cancer compared to straight women, because they have some of the same risk factors as gay men.

But Margolies and Boehmer agree that there is still an important message to take away from the findings: gay, lesbian and bisexual people need more attention from the healthcare community, specifically when it comes to their cancer risks.

"Because more gay men report as cancer survivors, we need foremost programs for gay men that focus on primary cancer prevention and early cancer detection," Boehmer told Reuters Health in an email.

And, "Because more lesbian and bisexual women than heterosexual women with cancer report that they are in poor health, we need foremost programs and services that improve the well-being of lesbian and bisexual cancer survivors," she added.

"Health care facilities and social service agencies -- any organization that addresses the needs of cancer survivors -- must understand the extra challenges that lesbian and bisexual cancer survivors and gay men have," Margolies concluded.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Superman threatens to renounce US citizenship

LOS ANGELES, United States - Superman, citizen of the world?

The Man of Steel, in the latest issue of Action Comics which hit newsstands on Wednesday, said he intends to renounce his US citizenship in a speech before the United Nations.

"I'm tired of having my actions construed as instruments of US policy," Superman said in a short story in the issue, Action Comics No. 900 from the Time Warner Inc unit DC Comics.

In the comic, Superman never actually renounces his citizenship, he only talks about his plans to do that.

But conservative commentators reacted with disgust to the new storyline, given that the fictional superhero has long proclaimed he stood for "Truth, Justice and the American way."

In a blog post at The Weekly Standard, senior writer Jonathan Last questioned Superman's beliefs, now that he seems to have rejected the United States.

"Does he believe in British interventionism or Swiss neutrality?" Last wrote. "You see where I'm going with this: If Superman doesn't believe in America, then he doesn't believe in anything."

The new plot twist for Superman comes as the superhero visitor from a distant planet, who was raised by a Kansas farmer and his wife, looks to take on a more global mission for his battle against evil.

"The world's too small. Too connected," Superman said in the comic book.

Superman, who was first introduced in the 1938, has a long association with the United States. But Joe Shuster, the artist who helped create the character with writer Jerry Siegel, was born in Canada.

And critics have described Superman's life story as a metaphor for the immigrant experience, because he is an alien.

DC Comics co-publishers Jim Lee and Dan DiDio seemed to downplay their landmark superhero character's latest declaration, in a joint statement.

"In a short story in Action Comics 900, Superman announces his intention to put a global focus on his never ending battle, but he remains, as always, committed to his adopted home and his roots as a Kansas farm boy from Smallville," they said.

Profiles: Prince William and Kate Middleton

MANILA, Philippines - The long wait is over.

In a few hours, Prince William will marry Kate Middleton at the Westminster Abbey in London, England in a grand ceremony to be watched by millions all over the globe.

Here is a quick look at their lives before they become husband and wife.

Prince William

Prince William is the first son of one of the world's most famous parents -- Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana -- and the second in line to the British throne. He has a younger brother named Harry.

Born on June 21, 1982, he was given the title "His Royal Highness Prince William Arthur Philip Louis," but went by the nickname "Wills" to a curious public.

He studied at Eton College, a prestigious boarding school near London. Here, he excelled not only in academics but also in sports, playing football and polo and becoming captain of the school's swimming team.

The prince then took a year off and went to Chile and Africa where he taught children and did household chores. He returned to the United Kingdom for his college education at University of St. Andrews in Scotland.

After graduation, William decided to pursue a military career as a search and rescue pilot with the Royal Air Force. He also began his royal duties, going on overseas trips on behalf of his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II.

Following in his mother's footsteps, he is patron to several charities, helping the homeless and preserving the African wildlife.

Kate Middleton

Catherine Elizabeth Middleton, nicknamed Kate, was born on January 9, 1982. She is the eldest child of then airline officer Michael and Carole, a flight attendant. Her ancestors on her mother's side were coal miners.

Kate's parents eventually became millionaires by setting up Party Pieces, an online party supplies business. So, although born a commoner, she grew up privileged.

She studied art history at the prestigious University of St. Andrews in Scotland, where she met and fell in love with Prince William.

After college, Kate had a stint as an accessories buyer for fashion chain Jigsaw, but mostly helped her parents run their business.

Much rests on her shoulders as she becomes part of the British monarchy. She is expected to support her husband in his royal duties, focus on charity work, and more importantly, give birth to an heir.

Friday, April 22, 2011

3D porn film beats Avatar at Hong Kong box office

HONG KONG - A Hong Kong movie billed as the world's first 3D porn film has broken the city's first-day box office record previously set by Hollywood blockbuster Avatar.

"3-D Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy" took in HK$2.8 million ($360,000) on its first day last week, outpacing director James Cameron's science fiction epic which drew HK$2.6 million, the porn movie's publicist told AFP Thursday.

The film has taken more than HK$15 million since its release, she added.

Curious movie-goers from all walks of life -- office workers, retirees and students -- stood in long queues outside Hong Kong cinemas on the film's first day last week, eager to catch an eyeful of the steamy 3D action.

Loosely based on a piece of classical Chinese erotic literature, the $3.2-million Cantonese-language movie features orgies, swinging and some very graphic sex scenes.

Set in the Ming dynasty, the film chronicles the story of a young man who, after being introduced to the erotic world of an aristocrat, realizes his ex-wife is the love of his life.

The film stars Japanese adult actresses Yukiko Suo and Saori Hara.

The movie, which opened in Taiwan last Friday, and has sparked strong interest in many Asian markets, including Japan and South Korea, as well as Europe and the United States, according to the producer.

Travel operators were reportedly organizing movie-going excursions to Hong Kong and Taiwan for tourists from mainland China, where strict censorship rules prevent any screening of the film.

"3-D Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy" opened ahead of reported plans by other filmmakers to produce similar 3D porn movies.

Italian director Tinto Brass has announced he is to produce a 3D remake of his 1979 erotic film Caligula, while Hustler plans to release a pornographic spoof of Avatar, the top-grossing movie of all time.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Dior taking its time to replace Galliano

PARIS - French fashion house Christian Dior is in no hurry to replace disgraced designer John Galliano as it relies on existing teams for new collections, its head said on Thursday.

Dior, one of the biggest brands within luxury goods group LVMH, sacked Galliano earlier this month following publicity over a video of him shouting abuse in a Paris bar and saying he loved Hitler.

Dior Chairman and Chief Executive Sidney Toledano said the company was studying possible replacements and the brand's creative development had not been interrupted.

Fashion magazine Elle reported this week that Dior might not announce Galliano's replacement before the autumn.

"(The announcement) could come at any time, after (the autumn) or before," Toledano told Reuters after LVMH's annual shareholder meeting in Paris.

"It requires a period of study of various projects. As our internal teams are working perfectly well, we have time."

Toledano said the brand's teams were working on a new cruise collection and that there would be a Dior haute couture show in early July as planned.

"There is no interruption at all," he said. "No blanks in the calendar of creations."

It is not clear, however, what will happen to the John Galliano brand of which Dior owns 92%. Toledano said it was for Dior to decide its future but he declined to elaborate.

Fashion critics said Galliano, known for his theatrical and dramatic styles, had grown out of touch with minimalist, sober and conservative designs favored after the financial crisis.

Possible contenders to replace Galliano include Peter Copping at Nina Ricci and, within the LVMH group, Riccardo Tisci at Givenchy and Phoebe Philo at Celine.

Oscar-winning actress Natalie Portman, now promoting Miss Dior Cherie perfume, publicly condemned Galliano for his comments and said she no longer wanted anything to do with him.

LVMH, the world's biggest luxury group, this month agreed to buy Roman jeweller Bulgari for 3.7 billion euros, its biggest acquisition in a decade.

The group, which makes 9% of its sales in Japan, on Thursday said the nuclear crisis in the country had only affected trading in the east and north of the country.

But overall, LVMH Chief Executive Bernard Arnault said: "The impact should be quite limited, despite everything."

Arnault said the group had made a donation of 500 million yen ($6.03 million) to help rebuild Japan.

3 Pinay supermodels join Levi's NY fashion show

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - When these Filipina supermodels in New York went to a go-see casting call for Levi's, they had no idea all 3 of them would make it.

To their surprise, Charo Ronquillo, Charlene Alvarez, and Danica Magpantay were 3 out of the 24 models who made it to the Levi's Fall/Winter Fashion Collection Preview in New York's Soho District yesterday.

It's an exclusive and private preview that showcases different Levi's lines worn by live models presented in various installations.

"Sobrang na-surprise po kaming tatlo, as in, 'Na-gets mo? Na-gets mo? Na-gets mo?' 'Yeah, na-gets ko! Go!' Then nagkita-kita po kami ng call time as in ang saya-saya namin. Hug kami," said Ronquillo, 2nd runner-up in the Ford Supermodel of the World contest in 2005.

Magpantay made Filipinos proud when she was crowned Ford Supermodel of the World 2011 in New York last January.

Since then she has been working nonstop but she's happy to find out that more and more Filipinos are getting into the New York fashion scene.

The Levi's show is extra special for her because she got to work with 2 of her Pinay supermodel friends.

"Ito 'yung first time naming tatlong mag-work. Si Chat I’ve been with her in some presentations and some shows which is fun kasi makikita mo talaga na certain designers really like our look and hindi mahirap na makapasok ang Filipino ngayon. Ngayon tatlo kami. It’s Levi’s, it's big!' Magpantay said.

Levi's Jeans publicist Melissa Ladines said they want models from different kinds of ethnicities.

"I think most brands are going global. We sell Levi’s all over the world, so we wanna cast all models from different kinds of ethnicities just so we have a lot of representation," Ladines said.

While many people see the glitz and glamor side of the fashion industry, these Pinay supermodels say it's all hard work, sweat, and tears, especially during Fashion Week where many of them have to attend 15 castings a day scattered in different parts of the Big Apple.

"Takbo ka ng takbo all over the city. Tapos pagkatapos nung araw, may paltos paltos ka. Tapos hindi mo alam kung makukuha mo 'yung job or ano. Mahirap. Mahirap bago mo makuha ang isang trabaho," said Alvarez, 1st runner-up in the Ford Supermodel of the World 2010.

Looking fabulous and glamorous is key to making supermodels look even more stunning on and off the catwalk.

Albee Franson, the head makeup artist for the Levi's preview who made these girls ready for their close-ups, happens to be Filipino-American.

"My gosh, I was in awe when I found out there were 3 Filipino models out of the 20 models that we have here. I actually had to come up and ask them, 'What are you?' because I didn’t believe they were Filipinos. I love that they bring a different kind of look to the set. So pretty," said Franson.

The achievements of these Filipinos in New York's fashion scene is only making it easier for future Filipino supermodels to make their dreams come true in the Big Apple.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Poverty not an excuse to humiliate Jan-Jan: columnist

MANILA, Philippines - On Sunday, mom and columnist Cathy Babao Guballa wrote a letter to Jan-Jan, the 6-year-old boy who was made to dance in a lewd manner in television show Willing Willie in exchange for P10,000.

Since then, the letter has been making the rounds on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, and has been causing netizens to react strongly to the issue.

In the said letter, Guballa stressed that a child shouldn't go through humiliation for any reason, not even money woes.

"It's not all about the money, Jan-jan. The dignity of every child must be upheld. By allowing you to perform that way, they trampled on you and made you feel so small. I could see the fear and embarrassment in your eyes. It was undeniable. If there was only some way to rescue you from that moment, I'm sure every parent worth their salt would have done so," Guballa wrote.

"Poverty must never be an excuse to humiliate people. A child must be allowed to be a child. This terrible experience has probably left a mark on your soul and my prayer is that you will not be damaged by it forever. And this is why this insanity has to stop," she added.

Guballa, a columnist for The Philippine Daily Inquirer, said there are many people to blame for the humiliating experience that Jan-jan went through -- the child's guardians, the studio audience and host Willie Revillame.

She scored Revillame in particular for egging on the crowd and comparing Jan-jan to a "burlesque dancer."

"Willie had the power in that moment to stop, no, to prevent you from even performing your dance number. Had he done so, he may have even redeemed himself in a way. But what did he do? He gave you the money that you perhaps came for so that you could give it to your parents who for the life of me perhaps did not know any better than to send you there," Guballa wrote.

She continued, "Willie, a parent many times over, and a grandfather -- did not see the faces of his children or of his grandson when he was egging you on to dance a second or a third time? That he found enjoyment in watching you, and poking fun at you as you cried and looked so miserable was to my mind inexcusable. You are a child, and you are supposed to be loved and protected. Your right to protection is provided for under the law. I am so sorry that we failed to do this for you."

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has stepped into the controversy involving Willing Willie and Jan-jan, saying that the episode aired March 12 is a "clear case of child abuse."

DSWD has asked TV5 to not allow children to appear in shows like Willing Willie and other programs that "capitalize on poverty as a source of immediate entertainment."

The agency will also get in touch with Jan-jan's family, determine the incident's effect on the child and determine if necessary counseling should be given to the child and his parents.

Below is the full letter written by Guballa to Jan-jan.

Prince William holds stag night in private: palace

LONDON, United Kingdom - Prince William has given the press the slip and has held his stag night in private, palace officials confirmed Monday.

The 28-year-old, who marries long-term girlfriend Kate Middleton at Westminster Abbey on April 29, reportedly marked the end of his life as a single man with a low-key party at a rural retreat at the weekend.

"It has taken place. We are not saying when, or where," a spokeswoman for the prince told AFP.

When William announced that his younger brother Prince Harry would be his best man and would therefore organise the stag, commentators suggested he gear himself up for a big night at some of Harry's favourite London hotspots.

But wary of a potential media frenzy, William held a low-key party with about 20 of his closest friends at a country estate outside London, according to the Daily Telegraph newspaper.

But the newspaper could give no details of where the stag night took place.

William and Kate's wedding is the biggest royal event in Britain since the marriage of his parents, Prince Charles and Diana, in 1981 and has sparked a frenzy of excitement around the world.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Pagcor settles endowment for National Museum

MANILA, Philippines – The country's National Museum will live through any hurdles.

This is what the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) vowed after finally promising to pay its P178 million balance to the National Museum of the Philippines.

PAGCOR signed the agreement with the Museum to compensate for the P250 million endowment fund bound by law. Partial remittances had been made in the past, with only P178 million left as balance.

In a signing ceremony attended by PAGCOR Chairman Cristino Naguiat Jr., National Museum Director Jeremy Barns and Assistant Director Cecilio Salcedo, and Senator Edgardo Angara of the Museum's Board of Trustees, PAGCOR pledged to finally pay the balance between April and December this year.

The Museum is authorized to use endowment funds "necessary for the preservation of its art collection" under Republic Act No. 8942 or the National Museum Act of 1998.

Aside from the fund from PAGCOR, the Museum is also bound to receive another P250 million from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.

The Museum shall receive the endowment funds within a period of three years until completed, its charter dictates.

Perfect timing

Barns said PAGCOR's settled endowment fund will help in the Museum's agenda for revitalization.

“We are in the process of creating a new and improved National Museum that every Filipino can be proud of. We have been working hard to modernize, expand and upgrade our facilities for the general public as well as enhance the general appeal of the Museum. We have not had the resources that we need to make any big moves, but that has changed significantly now," he said.

Angara, an ex-officio member of the Board, commended the move as "a huge milestone for our country."

"It will foster cultural and artistic literacy. The National Museum has not acquired any large collection in the last few years, and now it finally can. This is the largest amount that any government agency has given so far, and the National Museum can use every penny of it," the head of the Senate Committee on Education, Arts and Culture said.

Meanwhile, apart from completing the endowment, Naguiat said PAGCOR is also consistently working to raise funds for the governments’ socio-civic and national developmental efforts.

78-year-old man graduates from college

CEBU, Philippines - “It’s never too late.” This is Miguel Lajos’s frequent answer when asked about going to college.

This March, Lajos, now 78 years old, will be graduating with a degree in AB Political Science from the University of the Visayas-Dalaguete campus in Cebu.

And it's not the end yet for Lajos's education. In fact, he plans to go to law school in June.

Lajos believes that age cannot be a hindrance in pursuing his dream. He said that ever since he was young, he had dreamt of becoming a lawyer.

Miguel Lajos plans to enrol in law school this June.

“But I fell in love with my first wife. So I ran away with her after high school,” Lajos explained. He knew that his parents could not afford to send him to college so he decided to get married instead.

“I had it all planned. I said to myself, I will get married. I will have a dozen children. I will raise them and send them to school so later on, they will spend for my tuition fees,” Lajos said.

Lajos worked as a plumber after he learned the skill in a vocational class when he was in first year college.

He had 13 children with his first wife. When his first wife died, he got married again and had another 5 children.

Lajos raised all 18 of his children. Some of them are now professional teachers and architects. These children are now paying for Lajos’s school fees and tuition. They also give him his weekly allowance.

“When my second wife died, I felt that it was time for me to do something for myself, and all I can think of was pursuing my dream to become a lawyer,” he said.

Lajos said that he did not have any doubts about what he wanted to do. Aside from achieving his dreams, he thought that going to school will help him stay away from Alzheimer’s disease.

“I still have good memory. I can easily remember our professors’ discussions,” said Lajos. He said that he likes participating in class debates. He also loves studying criminal law.

Lajos’s professor can attest that even if Lajos is the oldest in class, he can keep up with his younger classmates. Prof. Ricardo Dinawanao, Lajos’s adviser in Political Science, said that Lajos consistently participates in class.

“He is a good example for everyone that education is for everybody. No age, gender, or color [can be a hindrance],” said Dinawanao.

Facing challenges

Lajos also shared that the only struggle he has in college is having the required books and references he needs to study. He said the books are too expensive so he has to borrow from friends and photocopy the other books. But this did not weaken his resolve to continue with his studies.

“If there is something you really want in life, you have to fill your heart with passion and determination, and you have to always be ready to face the challenges,” he said. Lajos studies every night after dinner. He wakes up at 3 a.m. to study again until 5 a.m. before going for a jog.

Lajos will be graduating this March 30, but he cannot get his diploma yet because he has to enrol in Physical Education (PE) this summer.

He is currently asking the school for a humanitarian consideration that he be allowed to march with his graduating batch. Lajos said he did not enrol in PE because he thought he did not need it to become a lawyer. He also said that at his age, it’s hard for him to play sports.

But Lajos is positive that by June, he will be able to enrol in law school. His children are all willing to support him financially until he takes his bar exam. Lajos will be spending another 4 years in law school.

“I will be 82 years old by the time I finish proper law. I will take the bar exam and I will pass it. I’m sure I will still be a strong man and I will practice law. It’s never too late for me. God will help me realize my dreams,” he said.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Kate to be transported on gold carriage used by Diana

LONDON, United Kingdom - Prince William and Kate Middleton may be banking on dry weather for their April wedding, but many royal watchers are hoping for rain and the appearance of Diana's famed horse-drawn bridal carriage.

The Glass Coach, which carried William's mother to her 1981 wedding, will only be used in the event of wet weather, with the open-topped gold 1902 State Landau set to be used if conditions are fair.

The carriages will only be used to transport the couple from the wedding venue of Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace after Middleton decided she would arrive for the April 29 service in a Rolls-Royce.

Speaking of the Glass Coach, Martin Oates, senior carriage restorer, said: "It has been used over the years as the bridal carriage.

"This was the carriage that Diana and Sarah Ferguson used to go from Clarence House to their churches.

"Because we're only doing one way this year, we won't be actually using it as what they class as the bridal carriage, but this is the carriage that everybody wants to see," he added.

The carriage, weighing almost one tonne, was originally designed as a sheriff's town coach when it was built by Peters and Sons in 1881.

It came into royal hands when it was purchased for George V's coronation in 1911. The State Landau was built by Hoopers for Edward VII's coronation.

The responsibility for the coach's appearance rests with Oates, who admitted he was apprehensive about the big day.

"It's been a lot of preparation, and obviously it's just nice to be part of the big day and hopefully everyone will be watching what I do," he said.

"It's a bit of a worry as well because if something does go wrong, I'll be in trouble."

FHM brings 'Bikini Heaven' to Bora

MANILA, Philippines – It was a showdown of Philippines’ sexiest celebrities.

Wearing their best bikinis, female celebrities flaunted their curves on Sunday as they strutted on stage during FHM’s “Bikini Heaven” show on Boracay island.

Among the celebrities who graced the event were "Banana Split" star Nina Jose, model actress Regine Angeles, former Pinoy Big Brother housemates Wendy Valdez and Sam Pinto, and Filipino-French model-actress Solenn Heussaff.

In the middle of the show, a dancer’s bikini top accidentally came undone, exposing her breast. She, however, was able to fix the so-called wardrobe malfunction right away.

Meantime, despite the glitz of the night, 2 of the sexy participants turned emotional.

In an interview, sexy star Katrina Halili burst into tears when she recalled the biggest challenge she faced in 2009 – the sex video scandal.

Halili said she is thankful that, despite the scandal, blessings continue to come her way.

"Siyempre thankful ako sa lahat ng nangyari sa akin. Thank you po sa second chance na ibinigay ninyo sa akin, sa lahat ng tao na naka-appreciate sa akin, sa lahat ng tumatanggap sa akin at sa mga prayers ninyo para sa akin... Thankful ako na naka-survive ako," she said.

"Mas iba na ‘yong utak ko ngayon, hindi na pang-sarili, pang-lahat na… Mas priority ko ibang tao kaysa sa sarili ko... Kailangan kong ayusin 'yong sarili ko, kailangan kong mag-catch up," she added.

On the other hand, sexy actress Aubrey Miles said she’s worried about her family living in quake and tsunami-hit Japan.

“’Yong dad ko half-Japanese actually, kaya lahat ng buong side ng dad ko nasa Japan. So naga-update kami, then may isa pa kaming relative, family member na hindi namin ma-contact... So ‘yon ‘yong ginagawa namin –updating. Tumatawag kami sa embassy kung puwedeng gawan ng paraan para makauwi.. Ngayon inuuna ko muna ‘yong family ko na makauwi,” she said.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Larger, brighter super moon tonight

MANILA, Philippines - The moon will be "larger" and "brighter" on Saturday, March 19, as the distance between the moon and the earth becomes nearer.

According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the moon will be 14% bigger and 30% brighter this weekend. It will be the biggest the moon has ever been in 20 years.

This will happen as the distance between the moon and the earth becomes smaller during perigee.

The phenomenon has been dubbed "super full moon" or "super moon" and superstitious people aired concerns this can be a sign of a coming disaster, such as an earthquake.

There is no truth to that belief, according to a local astronomer, Prof. Edmond Rosales.

"Walang kinalaman ang buwan sa lindol," he said.

In fact, he said, people won't even notice that the moon would seem bigger and brighter as the effect is negligible.

"Napaka-negligible para makita natin ang pagbabago...Kung hindi susukatin ang high tide, hindi natin mapapansin," he said.

As to the belief that people's behavior changes during full moon, Rosales said there is no truth to that too.

"Mas mabait pa nga ang tao 'pag buo ang buwan," he said, citing that because the moon is bright, there are less accidents and burglars do not want to go out for fear of being caught.

Food Bowl Night Market opens at Eton Centris

MANILA, Philippines - A new food market featuring healthy fresh produce and products has just opened in the northern part of Metro Manila.

The Food Bowl was formally launched on Friday, March 18 at the Eton Centris Walk on EDSA corner Quezon Avenue in Quezon City.

Vegetables, grains, animal and fish products good for one's health are sold at the market which is open every Friday and Saturday from 4 p.m. to 12 midnight.

Organizers describe the Food Bowl Night Market as "a marketplace that works on the concept of accessibility, sustainability, and fair trade practices to capture the bulk buying demand and promote sustainable lifestyle."

“We have invited almost everyone in the organic and natural industry to join us in this endeavor. Big groups of organic and natural farming practitioners have signified their interest to support by joining the market," said Sharon Tan, co-organizer of the Food Bowl Night Market.

Among the groups participating in the market are: Organic Producers Trade Association (OPTA), One Organic Movement of the Philippines with the Agri-Aqua Network International, Inc. (AANI), Sibol ng Agham at Teknolohiya, Inc. (SIBAT) Peoples' Store, Go Organic Philippines, Intercontinental Network of Organic Farmers Organizations (INOFO), and the Philippine Development Assistance Program, Inc. (PDAP).

They are joined by Kasama Ka Organik Cooperative, Aquarius Agricultural Source Corporation (AASCORP), Magsasaka at Siyentipiko para sa Pag-unlad ng Agrikutura (MASIPAG), Philippine Natural Farming, Inc. (PNFI), Organic na Negros Organic Producers and Retailers Association (ONOPRA), Agrikultura Natural, Inc. (ANI) Mo, Cosmic Farm of Benguet State University in La Trinidad, the agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) under the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and the Agribusiness Marketing Assistance Service of the Department of Agriculture (DA-AMAS).

"The potential for the organically grown produce and foods is growing both domestically and abroad due to the increasing health, environment and social concerns. Food Bowl Night Market will highlight crops and commodities of Philippine 'sustainable agribusiness'," added Tan.

Aside from natural, organic and biodynamic farm produce, the market will also have booths for food operators, wellness organizations, ornamental and herbs producers, and eco-friendly product manufacturers.