Bacolod Masskara is It’s Showtime’s Inter-town Grand Champion

After 1 season of inter-town competition, It’s Showtime finally announced today its grand winner for this edition. Staged in It’s Showtime’s studio, the 8 contenders showcased their talents and local pride to capture the judges nod and the ultimate prize of 3 million pesos. And in the end it was Bacolod Maskara who was proclaimed winners of this season’s inter-town edition.

Their festive performance which is patterned to their famous Masskara Festival in Bacolod gave them the edge to get the judges perfect 10 score. The audience can’t help also but to get-up on their feet and cheer for their performance. They are really worthy of the title although I am really rooting for La Castellana Bailes de Luces. Bacolor Masskara went home with their 2 million prize for the performing groups and 1 million pesos for their town.

Another grand finalists includes Olongapo City’s Amazing Paper Dolls, our Laguna’s very own, San Pablo City’s Tiklad, Taytay Rizal’s Infinite Reform, Anda, Pangasinan’s Lahing Anda, Dumaguety City’s Dumaguete’s Pride, Caloocan City’s Next Level Octomix, and my favorite La Castellana Negros Occidental’s La Castellana Bailes de Luces.

What’s good about this edition is it’s promotion of local tourism. I liked how they were able to showcase the local products and tourist attractions of the towns that competed. For that I would say It’s showtime Inter-Town Edition is a success. Department of Tourism must have commended the show for its help for the country’s tourism campaign. Indeed they made us see that It’s really more fun here in the Philippines.

Jessica Sanchez enters American Idol Top 5

After her emotion filled rendition of Luther Vandross’ Dance with My Father yesterday on American Idol Top 6 performance, Jessica Sanchez again captured the votes of America as she now enters this season’s top 5.

She may not got high praises for her Bohemian Rhapsody performance from the AI judges but she redeemed herself via Dance with My Father. The 3 judges Steven Tyler, Jeniffer Lopez and Randy Jackson are all praises for her rendition of this Luther Vandross hit. One even said that, that was the most beautiful version of the song ever heard in years. The emotions are just right and the quality of her voice was really perfect.

Meanwhile the night was the last for Elise Testone as she became the newest evictee of the singing competition. Getting the lowest number of votes from the whopping 58 million votes cast, the lady rocker bids farewell from the competition. Among the bottom 3 this week together with Elise were Hollie Cavanagh and Skylar Laine.

Now the Jessica is in the top 5, I can really see that she will be in the finals. Hope all the Fil-Am community continues to throw their all out support for Jessica. And pray that she will become the first Asian-American Idol.

 Related articles

Lens Talk with Quincyjohn Yap Tampo

After featuring sir Wowie Pacsual on the first edition of Lens Talk series, here’s another photographer who amazed me with his captures. I also got to know him through the Pinoy Photography FB Page who eventually became an addition to my friends list. Lens Talk series on its 2nd edition presents Mr. Quincyjohn Yap Tampo and his works.

Quincyjohn or Quinkoy as he is fondly called by his friends was a graduate of Bachelor in Elementary Education. After graduating he worked as a technical assistant to a sociologist for the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction project and then to an economist for the Mindanao Basic Urban Sector Development Project in partnership with DILG in the many parts of Mindanao. He also became a research supervisor for a sociologist from Lichel Technologies, Inc in Pasig City. But since he was pretty much attached to his family and he missed their home, he left Metro Manila and decided to teach in a local college in their area. But then since all these past employments have some association with photographing people and events, he realized he was missing something out. And so he decided to go full-time in photography.

Quinkoy started taking photos in college when he became the Editor-in-Chief of their school publications. He was still using then a film-camera and when he realized they need to go digital he requested a compact digital camera from the administration and fortunately was approved. And that’s the start of his delight at taking photographs of people and events.

His primary influence in photography was his grandfather Mr. Eddie Yap, who was his constant adviser on what photos to take and how to take them. But now since he’s into wedding photography, several photographer/artist here and abroad are influencing him like Jasmin Star, Dane Sanders, Jeremy Cowart, Jose Villa, and Jesh de Rox. Locally he admires the works of Dino Lara because of his accurate capturing of emotions, Oly Ruiz for his skewed angles, striking poses and post-processing, Nelwin Uy for his film photographs and timeless color, and Paul Vincent for his awesome strobist lighting techniques.

To know more about Quinkoy, I had a chance to ask him some questions and below is the transcript of our conversation.

Me: I know that you’re into wedding photography, why did you choose to specialize in that field?

Quinkoy: There are varied reasons but there’s one that I want to tell you. In the earlier years of my life, I lacked confidence. I can’t get along with different people so well. I often isolate myself in gatherings. I get insecure. So when I discovered wedding photography through a friend in the industry, I found out that this could challenge myself to overcome my lack of faith in myself. It indeed helped me through.

Me: Hmm Ok, so what is your most unforgettable wedding coverage so far?

Quinkoy: I guess the most unforgettable wedding is yet to come for YAP PHOTO. I often remember almost all the weddings I’ve covered since we started, because each wedding gave us uniquely wonderful couples. Each wedding covered gave us priceless learning lessons needed to push through. Each wedding covered was a stepping stone towards gaining more experience and knowledge to be even different in the industry. So I’d say, almost all those weddings we’ve covered so far are remembered because of that thought.

Me: Aside from wedding photography, what other field of photography do you like and would want to explore?

Quinkoy: I got frustrated for not being able to photograph people, food, culture and the places that I’ve been to, thus, I really want to do some travel photography if given a chance.

Me: Oh yeah it’s really nice to take pictures during travels because it will always remind the memories you had in that specific place. Ok another question. I know that you are still single now, when your wedding day comes, who do you want to take your wedding pictures?

Quinkoy: That I can’t answer for now. It would depend upon the budget, I guess. But I can wishfully say I would want either, Oly Ruiz or Nelwin Uy to photograph my wedding.

Me: Nice, who knows in the future your wish might be granted. I can see that for now you’re really enjoying your photography stint, but if you will choose a different career with no association to camera what would it be?

Quinkoy: I think I will finish my Masters degree and teach really few subjects in the College of Education of my Alma Mater. Few since I don’t want to be cooped in the four walls of the room. And I’d still do small-time business ventures. My brother and I desires to have a Play Station gaming in the city and a coffee bar with books for rent.

Me: Very business minded indeed, good to know that. Ok cameras and photos are very important parts of your life now, if it comes to a time that you need to save 1 thing from fire (God forbids) what will you choose to save, your treasured photos or your treasured camera?

Quinkoy: Oh, that’s tough! May God forbid. It wasn’t easy to accumulate these gears! I don’t have the luxury of resources to purchase them all over again, one by one. But anyway, I’d rather rescue my photos. They’ve been giving me bookings. I can just rent gears though and with God’s grace and the support of my family, I can purchase the gears again.

Me: That’s a tough choice, but I would agree, the memories captured in a photo cannot be replaced. Ok, let’s go down with the last question, I know that you are really devoted to photography so I would like to know from you what do you think is the best thing about photography or what do you like most about taking photos?

Quinkoy: I see photography as a ministry. A ministry of somehow bringing happiness from people’s faces through immortalizing their moments. During Christmas, our church and us in YAP PHOTO have a collaboration to bring indigents together. We provide food for the soul, give them gifts for the season and take their family portraits, print and give it to them for free. We don’t know if they have experienced that in their whole life and who knows if they have a family picture posted on their wall that could somehow remind them that they could smile despite the vicissitudes of life. It’s a great time and it’s precious.

Me: Wow great to know that photography for you is not just a hobby, not just a job, but a calling. A photography with purpose to make people happy through their photos. Thanks for the time and good luck.

After we knew what Quinkoy have to say about his photography. It’s now time for his photos to do the talking. So below are some of his captures, let’s listen to what his lens has to say.

For more of his works you can visit his website www.yapphotographyblog.com and his Facebook page www.facebook.com/yapphoto

SC affirmed previous decision on Hacienda Luisita

In a 14-0 decision, the Supreme Court en banc has affirmed its previous rulings on the issue of the distribution of Hacienda Luisita lands to the farmers. Promulgated at the Supreme Court office in Baguio City, the high court upheld its rulings last July 5,2011 and Nov 22, 2011 giving the farmers the right to own the land that they till.

Now the the SC have decided and its assumed to be final and executory, the 4,900 hectares of lands will now be distributed to the 6,296 farm workers beneficiaries of Hacienda Luisita Inc. It can be remembered that on Nov. 22 the Supreme Court revoked HLI’s stock distribution plan. It ruled that all of Luisita’s agricultural lands should be awarded to the farm workers thus junking the stock distribution option.

Another issue resolved with the decision is the valuation of government’s compensation to HLI. In the partial motion for reconsideration and clarification filed by the HLI Management they are asking for a compensation of at least 5 billion pesos or based on fair market value as of January 2, 2006, the date when the Notice of Coverage for the sugar estate’s compulsory land distribution was issued.

But on a vote of 8-6, the SC en banc denied HLI’s plea and affirmed its earlier ruling that the date of valuation should be from Nov 21, 1989 up to the date of issuance of the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council’s (PARC) Resolution approving HLI’s stock distribution plan. Voting in favor of the 1989 valuation were Chief Justice Corona and Justices Presbitero Velasco, Jr., Teresita Leonardo-De Castro, Arturo Brion, Roberto Abad, Martin Villarama, Jr., Jose Perez, and Jose Mendoza. The 6 justices on the other hand who opted to refer the land valuation to a special agrarian court were Justices Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Mariano Del Castillo, and Pres. Aquino’s 3 appointees: Maria Lourdes Sereno, Bienvenido Reyes, and Estela Perlas-Bernabe.

Meanwhile the HLI said they will abide by the Supreme court decision. Speaking in behalf of the company HLI spokeman Antonio Ligon said the company has always believed that “the purpose of the law is to give justice and equal rule for everyone.The application of law in this case is no exception. The Supreme Court has spoken and if that is the guidelines as to the determination of just compensation, then we will  abide and will do whatever is required of HLI”.

*Source
SC affirms lower Hacienda Luisita valuation

Hatid Karunungan 2012 : An Appeal for Help

For more than 4 years now, our organization (HKC Inc.) has been doing outreach programs to fulfill our mission of helping our less fortunate kababayans. In our 4 years of existence, we were able to help 3 children orphanages, 1 home for the aged and 1 public elementary school. We are also currently sponsoring 6 children in Aklan through the sponsorship program by the World Vision Foundation Inc. And for this year we are again gearing up to help another public elementary school for our Hatid Karunungan 2012 outreach project.

In continuing our Balik-Eskwela program which we have started last year in Jose A. Gallardo Sr. Elementary School in Magdapio Pagsanjan, Laguna, we will now extend our hands to Cabading Elementary School in San Jose Antipolo City.

Cabading Elementary School is a public elementary school located at Sitio Cabading Brgy. San Jose Antipolo City. It operates kinder to grade 6 with double emergency classes for grades 3 and 4 due to lack of classrooms.

We chose this school because as you can see in the pictures, they really need help considering the situation of their classrooms. They don’t have strong school buildings which is an important factor for an institution to be conducive to learning. Teachers also said that since their pupils came from not wealthy families they also lack some school supplies like pencils and papers which the teachers often times took from their own money just to give to them. Slippers is also one problem to some students who came to school with worn-out feet covers mainly because most of them just walk their way to school.

Part also of the school’s program is their feeding program. To help their pupils achieve daily nutritional needs, the teachers are providing them with foods, but their problem is lack of cooking materials and utensils. They are currently utilizing just 1 cooking pot for all the students, that is why they have to resort to several batches of cooking. If they could only have more than 1 cooking pot, then their feeding program will be more efficient and fast.

Education is indeed an important need of everyone. It should not be a privilege but a right of every individual. As Dr. Jose Rizal said “Ang Kabataan ang Pag-Asa ng ating Bayan” and there’s no better way of achieving that but through education.

So let’s help Cabading Elementary School and its students realize their dreams. Let us help them achieve the rightful education entitled to them. Let us give them the chance to experience a more convenient learning environment.

Interested donors and sponsors may contact us at hkcfinc@yahoo.com or you can also contact me through my personal email addresses available at the About NiteWriter page. You can also check us at our FB Page. Any donations big or small will be greatly appreciated, because it will be a contribution to the kids future.

*The event will be on June 2, 2012 and anyone who are interested to join us for the turn-over of donations are most welcome to be with us on that day.

———————————————————————————————————————

“Education is more than a luxury, it is a responsibility that society owes to itself” – Robin Cook

Jessica Sanchez joins American Idol Top 6

After being almost eliminated last week for having the least votes from America, Jessica Sanchez was able to survive this week as American Idol bid goodbye to Colton Dixon. Sanchez was also a no show at the bottom 3 which was composed of Hallie Cavanagh, Ellise Testone and the eliminated Dixon. This is evident that after the shocking surprise last week, Jessica’s fans gave all their efforts to make sure their idol will be safe from elimination this week.

One proof of this is the Campaign for Jessica being done by different Fil-Am communities in the US to help Sanchez get the votes she needed to continue with her American Idol journey. Emmy Award winning producer Michael Carandang is also one of those people who is supporting this campaign for Sanchez and calling on all Fil-Ams to throw all their support for the 16 year old Fil-Mexican contestant.

Now that Jessica enters the top 6, Fil-Ams should continue the way they’ve voted for her. If ever they should double their efforts to assure that she will continue with the competition till the finals. Who knows, with the concerted efforts of the Filipino communities and their American friends, Americal Idol may have their first winner of Asian descent.

Saranggola

Maligno, Maligno, ayan na yung maligno, magtago tayo, ayan na sya, magtago tayo dali”

Mabilis na umakyat sa kanilang kwarto si Anne dahil sa narinig na sigaw. Dinatnan niya duon si Marco na nakaupo sa isang sulok at mistulang larawan ng isang batang takot na takot at nagtatalukbong pa ng kumot.

“Magtago ka, may maligno dyan, kukunin niya tayo”

Nilapitan ni Anne si Marco at niyakap. Kinausap niya ito nang mahinahon at pinakalma.

“Walang maligno Marco ‘wag kang matakot. Hindi nila tayo masasaktan.”

Pagkatapos magsalita ni Anne ay nahimasmasan na ang kasintahan. Tumayo sila sa pagkakaupo sa sahig at lumipat sa kama. Dito ay kinausap muli ni Anne si Marco at ina-sure ito na wala na ang maligno na kanyang kinakatakutan.

Normal na para kay Anne ang makitang nagkakaganon si Marco. Sa maraming taon ng kanilang pagsasama ay hindi na siya nagugulat kapag bigla itong inaatake ng kanyang sakit. Mabuti na lamang at may pension na nakukuha si Marco mula sa kaniyang mga magulang at maayos naman ang trabaho ni Anne kaya nabibili nila ang gamot na kailangan ng kasintahan.

———————-

Isang araw ay binisita ng isang kaibigan si Anne sa kanilang apartment at lingid sa kaalaman nito ang sitwasyon na dinadanas ni Marco. Pagdating sa apartment ay agad itong kumatok upang ipaalam kay Anne na andun na sya.

“Anne, tao po, Anne, Anne, tao po”

Nasa kusina nuon si Anne at nagpiprito ng galunggong, kaya hindi nito agad narinig ang tumatawag sa may pintuan.

“Anne, tao po, andyan ka ba? Anne…” muling tawag nito habang kumakatok.

Sa pagkakataong iyon ay narinig na ni Anne ang tumatawag sa may pintuan kaya tinungo niya ito. Pagbukas ng pinto ay nagulat siya at natuwa sa nakita. Nagyakapan at nagbeso-beso ang magkaibigan na matagal-tagal na ring hindi nagkita. Pinapasok ni Anne ang kaibigan sa loob at pinaupo sa sofa.

“Kumusta ka na Marga? Kelan ka umuwi ng Pinas? Teka saglit lang ikuha lang kita ng meryenda”

Pagbalik nito sa sala ay may dala na itong isang pitsel ng juice at ilang piraso ng sandwiches. Tinabihan niya ang kaibigan at nag-umpisa silang magkwentuhan. Sa tagal nilang hindi nagkita maraming baon na kwento ang isat-isa. Sa gitna ng kwentuhan nila ay biglang nagsisigaw si Marco.

“Wag, wag mo kong barilin. Maawa ka wag mo akong patayin, maawa ka”

Nagulat si Marga sa narinig at napakapit sa kamay ng kaibigan.

“Ano yun Anne, sino yun?”

“Saglit lang akyat lang ako sa taas, wag ka matakot dyan ka lang”

Pagkatapos ay bigla nang umakyat si Anne sa kanilang kwarto para pakalmahin ang kasintahan. Samanatala dahil sa kaba at pagkagulat ay hindi napigilan ni Marga ang mapahawak sa kanyang dibdib habang nakatingin sa kaibigan na umaakyat sa hagdanan. Dinatnan ni Anne si Marco na nasa ilalim ng kanilang study table na animo’y takot na takot. Nilapitan niya ito at pinalabas sa ilalim ng mesa. Nung una ay ayaw sumunod ni Marco dahil mistulang takot na takot pa rin ito, ngunit dahil sa malumanay na pag-aya nito ay nakumbinsi rin niya ang kasintahan na lumabas at lumapit sa kanya. Agad na pinainom ni Anne ng gamot si Marco para magtuloy-tuloy ang pagkalma nito at pagkatapos ay pinahiga muna sa kanilang kama.

Pagkababa muli ni Anne sa sala ay agad itong inusisa ni Marga kung sino yung nagsisisigaw sa taas. Dito na nagsimula ang seryosong kwentuhan ng magkaibigan tungkol kay Marco.

“Sino yun Anne? Nakakatakot naman” tanong ni Marga

“Si Marco, yung boyfriend ko since 3rd year high school. Natatandaan mo ba sya?” sagot ni Anne

“Yung Marco na nangungulit sayo nung 2nd year tayo?”

Dahil sa pag-uusisang ito ni Marga ay hindi na napigilan ni Anne ang magbalik-tanaw sa mga nakaraan nila ni Marco hanggang sa sapitin nito ang sitwasyon nito ngayon.

“Oo sya nga yun, di mo na kasi naabutan na naging kame kasi after ng 2nd year ay nagtransfer ka na. Naalala mo ba nung nililigawan pa niya ako sa school, madalas sa silid-aklatan kame tumatambay. At sa kakulitan niya lagi niya akong binibiro bakit daw may No-Littering duon eh kapag ni-rambol yung aklatan ay magiging silid-kalatan na ito. Sa mga ganung hirit niya, lalo akong nahulog, dahil sa mga biro niya palaging magaan lang ang pakiramdam ko. At alam mo ba kung pano niya ako napasagot? Dahil sa saranggola. Isang araw kasi, inaya niya ako sa bukid kung saan maraming kulisap para mamasyal at para nga magpalipad daw sya ng saranggola. Nagulat na lang ako na sa paglipad nito ay nakita ko ang nakasulat duon na ‘Will You Be My Girl’. Dahil sa tuwa ko sa kanyang ginawa, wala na akong ibang nasambit kundi Yes. At pagkatapos niya marinig yung matamis kong oo ay nagsisigaw siya sa tuwa. Tandang-tanda ko na dahil sa sobrang tuwa niya noon ay nagtatalon ito at nagpagulong-gulong pa nga sa damuhan“.

Patuloy lang ang pagkukwento ni Anne tungkol sa istorya nila ni Marco. Naikwento rin niya ang hindi niya malimutang first monthversary nila, kung saan kinuntiyaba ni Marco ang mga classmate nila sa isang klase ng panitikan upang sorpresahin ito.

Masayang masaya si Anne habang ginugunita ang mga nakaraan nila sa school, ngunit bigla itong nalungkot nang dumako na sila sa kwento kung bakit nagkaganon ang kasintahan. Ni wala nga daw sa hinuha niya na magkakaganon si Marco dahil masaya naman ang kanilang pagsasama. Ngunit lingid sa kaalaman niya noong nasa college na sila ay nabarkada pala ito sa mga may bisyo ng droga. Nalaman na lang niya ito ng minsang maiwan ni Marco ang kanyang wallet at nang usisain niya ito ay nakita niya ang isang maliit na pakete na naglalaman ng shabu. Dahil sa nadiskubre pinagtalunan nila ito na muntik nang mauwi sa hiwalayan. Ngunit dahil sa sinabi ni Marco na ititigil na niya ang bisyo ay pinaniwalaan naman ito ni Anne at binigyan pa siya ng pangalawang pagkakataon. Subalit hindi rin nagtagal at muling nabarkada itong si Marco at bumalik sa bisyo. Isang beses nga ay napatakbo pa sya sa kagawaran ng pulisya dahil inireklamo ang mga ito ng minsang masangkot sa gulo.

Ngunit ang nakapagpaluha sa kanya habang nagkukwento ay yung tungkol sa araw kung saan isinugod niya sa ospital itong si Marco dahil nasobrahan sa paggamit  ng droga. Takot na takot siya noon ng makita itong nanginginig at nawalan ng malay. Buti na lamang at tinulungan siya ng mga kapitbahay at agad nila itong naisugod sa ospital. Pagkatapos ng mga pagsusuri sinabi ng doctor na malala ang naging epekto ng sobrang droga kay Marco kaya’t naapektuhan ang pag-iisip nito. Pagkatapos mailabas sa ospital ay nagsama na ang dalawa sa apartment upang mabantayan at maalagaan niya ito ng husto. Sa umpisa ay nahirapan siya sa pag-aadjust lalo na kung madalas sumpungin si Marco. Nakailang palit din sila ng kasambahay dahil hindi kinaya ng mga nauna ang hirap sa pag-aasikaso kay Marco. Napilitan din muna siyang tumigil sa pagtatrabaho pansamantala upang matutukan nito ang kasintahan.

Sa puntong iyon ay nagtanong si Marga “Bakit hindi mo na lang sya iniwan? Maganda ka at matalino, marami dyan magkakandarapa sayo na matinong lalaki”.

“Sinabi na rin yan saken ng pamilya ko, pero sobrang mahal ko sya Marga. Sabay kaming lumipad sakay ng saranggola nung sinagot ko sya at hindi ko sya kayang iwan nuong mapatid ang pisi nito at bumagsak siya. Sinabi ko sa sarili ko na sabay kaming lilipad at sasaluhin namen ang isat-isa kung sino man ang unang babagsak”.

Dito napaluha na rin si Marga at inakbayan ang lumuluha na ring kaibigan.

“Sobrang bait mo talaga, bilib na talaga ako sa’yo Anne. Pedeng-pede mo naman siyang iwan ngunit pinili mo pa rin siyang makasama sa kabila ng kanyang kalagayan. Isa kang bayani. Ikaw ang bayani sa buhay ni Marco”

———————————————————————————————————————

*Ito ay lahok para sa “Bagsik ng Panitik” contest ng Damuhan.

Sunset by the Bay

In my more than 2 decades of existence in this world, this is the first time that I saw the famous Manila Bay Sunset. Known around Asia (or even the world) as the most beautiful sunset spot, I finally got to experience its beauty. Indeed it was really an awesome view that every Pinoys can be proud of. The sunset view of Manila is another attraction we can market why It’s More Fun In The Philippines.

So now, hear what the lens has to say about sunset by the bay.