Category Archives: Others

Book Review: Glass Sword (Red Queen, #2) – Victoria Aveyard

Published February 9th 2016 by HarperTeen
Format: Novel
Genre And Themes: Romance, Fantasy, Young Adult, Heroes, Slavery, Rebellion, Superpowers
Length: 464 pages, paperback
Ebook ISBN/ASIN: 1409159353 (ISBN13: 9781409159353)
Characters: Tiberias Calore “Cal” VII, Mare Molly Barrow, Maven Calore

Blurb: If there’s one thing Mare Barrow knows, it’s that she’s different.

Mare’s blood is red – the colour of common folk – but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.

The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from the prince and friend who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by the Silver king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red and Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.

But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat. Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?

After the shocking conclusion of the first book where Mare and Cal found themselves betrayed, outcasted and almost dying from the manipulation of the evil Queen Elara and the newly crowned Silver king Maven, the quest to find the “newbloods” became the number one motivation for Mare to become the face of the Scarlet Guard in order to topple the Silver royals and their allies.

I did enjoy the previous book’s intro about the Silvers, Red bloods and the Red bloods with Silver abilities. Here, we get to see more of the newbloods – a number of characters with said enhanced Silver powers. The book focuses mostly on finding these ‘newbloods’ with Mare convincing them to join their cause with the help of the very reluctant Calore.

Although I loved the whole exhibition of each ability from these newbloods, I find the whole narrative of the book a bit repetitive and rather uneventful save for its latter part . We didn’t get any juicy new sub-plots. It’s like more of a set-up for the upcoming events in the series that unfortunately didn’t unfold in this book.

It is still kind of interesting and fascinating discovering the abilities of the new bloods but there was detachment from the main characters.

What saved the whole book from being horrible is the fact that it build up a premise that may or may not break the series in the coming installments.

I don’t mind reading more from this world and these characters. One thing’s for sure, Ms. Aveyard is a very pretty inventive writer. Bravo!

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

I’ve actually finished the second and third book upon writing this review. For the record, I’m not a fan of the brothers. I am 100% #TeamKilorn.

About The Author
Victoria Aveyard graduated from USC, where she majored in screenwriting. RED QUEEN is her first novel. She splits her time between Massachusetts and Los Angeles. You can visit her online at www.victoriaaveyard.com.

Advertisements

America’s Next Top Model Cycle 24 Episode 12 Photoshoot – Beauty is a Comeback

SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT!

Not only is Jeana coming back to serve more tea for the other girls, we’re also blessed by Cycle 3 winner Eva Marcille (Gaaahh remember the epic face-off between Yaya and Eva, and Anne almost toppling her in the end?) and also one of the former longest judges of the show, Nigel Barker. They recreated one of the shoots in Cycle 3 that made Eva the one to beat in the competition during her time.

Erin and Khrystyana

Jeana and Rio

Liberty and Kyla

Shanice and Christin

Call Out Order
Kyla
Khrystyana
Shanice
Rio – Eliminated
Comback – Jeana

Photos courtesy of ANTM Facebook Page

Review: 2018 Binibining Pilipinas Grand Coronation Night!

It was a tension-filled Araneta Coliseum last Sunday but everything seems to go in favor of one candidate whose aspiration to represent the country in the biggest pageant stage in the world, the universe rather was not denied by the powers that be.

But let’s talk about that in a few. Let’s discuss first some other details of the grand coronation night of the biggest beauty pageant in the country.

The Stage:
I’m actually not a fan of this year’s stage’s set design. It looks cramped and the lighting wasn’t as good as the previous editions. Last year was definitely heaps better and the big screen for their backdrop looks cheap. I wished they could’ve done something similar to the Miss Earth 2017 staging at the Mall of Asia Arena. That’s just me though, some of my friends thought it was really cute.

And then there’s the horrible camera works! I mean, we’re not at the VIP or even the lower box sections so we rely heavily on the screens hanging at the dome’s ceiling and it’s so annoying when instead of focusing on the contestants, the cameras are lingering more on the audience’ s reactions. I mean, that’s cool and all but don’t let it linger too long because we want to see the girls do their thing!

Opening Number:
We’re a bit late for the opening number but I was able to see it online and I thought it was wonderful! I loved how you can easily discern the most comfortable on stage early on in the competition! As for the cocktail dresses they’re wearing – it wasn’t my favorite but it wasn’t that bad. I guess, I just want more colors or solid bright colors unlike the ones they wore Last Sunday.

On Richard Gutierrez and Pia Wurtzbach as hosts.
I loved how Pia’s more comfortable now than her last year’s almost robotic hosting that made me cringe by simply being reminded by it. This year, she’s more bubbly and doesn’t sound scripted (or reading from the teleprompter) half the time. And she looks gorgeous! Truly, she’s a Miss Universe through and through.

As for Richard – he looked good on stage but it seems like he’s always shouting when he’s speaking. I reckon that he needed to work on that. He could actually learn a thing or two from his twin, Raymond.

Coincidentally, Richard was the host of the Miss World Philippines when Catriona Gray won the title in 2016.

On Nicole Cordovez – I’ve always known that Nicole is a good communicator but I didn’t know that she’s actually this good. She should come back next year and be one of the main hosts. She’s even better than Pia if I may say so.

Special Awards:
Best in National Costume: Catriona Gray
I voted for her several times because she rightfully deserves it. She was phenomenal during the NatCos presentation and her Jason Demavivas Muslim princess-inspired ensemble was just to die for!

Miss Ever Bilena – Catriona Gray
JAG Denim Queen – Catriona Gray
These two major sponsors’ awards were already a bit expected to go to Catriona. Truth be told, Catriona’s every advertisers’ dream! Prior to the pageant night, it should be noted that she also won the Pizza Hut and Dairy Queen promo where the contestants with the most likes wins, proving her star-power and how big a following she’s got.

Manila Bulletin Reader’s Choice – Samantha Bernardo.

Miss Philippine Airlines – Muriel Orais. Her win is already a given as she’s actually THE current face of the Philippien Airlines. You can actually see her life-size standee at airports and ticketing booths.

Miss Photogenic (Face of Binibini) – Eva Psychee Patalinjug
This wasn’t that surprising. Along with her, I was only eying two other girls to possibly win this award and they are Karen Gallman and Catriona Gray.

Miss CreamSilk – Michele Gumabao.

Miss Friendship – Marie Sherry Ann Tormes

Best in Swimsuit – Catriona Gray
She has a really good pasarela and she strutted that icky-yellow two piece bikini in a flirty yet classy way! I’ll be honest, I wasn’t expecting her to win this award but looking back and watching the video, her bearing was just fabulous!

Best in Long Gown – Catriona Gray

She was such a vision in that princess cut Mak Tumang Swarovski crystal-covered body hugging gown! Her projection and overall aura just screams Miss Universe. And did you guys notice her ear crawlers? It has this pretty details of the sun and three-stars! She totally owned the stage last night!

Top 25 – This was only the second year they did this format of cutting down the contestants from 40 to Top 25 to Top 15. I actually liked it because it makes the whole proceeding faster. I wished they would just trimmed it down right away to Top 15 tho. It’s a pity that we didn’t get to hear the likes of Ena Velasco, Kayesha Chua and Sigrid Grace Flores answers questions in the next round.

Top 25
4 – Ana Patricia Asturias
7 – Sigrid Grace Flores
8 – Shane Quintana Tormes
9 – Agatha Lei Romero
10 – Kayesha Chua
13 – Kristie Rose Cequena
23 – Ena Velasco
34 – Mary Joy De Castro
37 – Patrizia Garcia
39 – Trixia Marie Marana

Top 15 Question and Answer

20 – Catriona Gray – She gave a very solid answer. The way she articulated her answer was just awe-inspiring. She’s calm and sincere all throughout so it’s very easy to see why she would top this round.

17 – Maria Ahtisa Manalo – Ahtisa was a joy to watch last night. I wasn’t that big of a fan but I liked her enough to place her as my alternate for Binibining Pilipinas – International. She surprised me during the Question and Answer portion and I expected her to win a title and she did!

31 – Jehza Mae Huelar – I am so glad that Jehza pulled through last night. I am not a fan but I loved her perseverance and determination to chase her dreams. She gave a good answer and she was rewarded for it. Bravo girl!

32 – Eva Psychee Patalinjug – Although a bit pageant patty, I loved how she exudes grace under pressure.

38 – Karen Juanita Gallman – She’s got a pretty controversial question on whether or not a third bathroom should be built for Trans people. Her question was under the same umbrella of what her camp sister Chanel Thomas diplomatically answered last year.

Karen’s answer however didn’t sit well with the crowd at the Araneta that is why it’s baffling to some how she usurp the ones who answered their questions better.

Now, here’s the thing – you guys have to remember that the results are cumulative scores of each girl from swimsuit, evening gown and the crucial question and answer. I reckon that she was at the upper tier of the scoreboard during the SS and EG competition, hence her high placement overall.

19 – Michele Gumabao – I thought Michele looked absolutely divine during the swimsuit round and she was just pure class in the evening gown competition so I have to wonder what went wrong at the deliberation when she actually gave one of the most cohesive albeit scripted-sounding answers amongst the Top 15. I mean, Miss Globe is nothing to sneeze about but I was maybe expecting her to garner the Binibining Pilipinas – Supranational (presumably the third highest title of the night) because I feel like she’d definitely do well there with her sunny personality and tall frame!

I’ve two theories: One is that she may not have that high of a score in both Swimsuit and Evening Gown rounds to garner a higher title or she may be number two with the judges overall but THE Stella decided that she’s best suited to follow through Nelda Ibe’s footsteps. I am leaning towards the latter.
At the end of the day, a crown is still a crown!

1 – Vickie Marie Rushton – I was so disappointed when Vickie failed to nab one of the crowns. I was hoping that she’d get the Intercontinental title who went to Karen but I guess, the powers that be decided that she’s not ready enough to compete internationally. I am hoping that she’d try again because she’s definitely got what it takes to win it all the next time around.

14 – Samantha Mae Bernardo – I’ve polarizing feelings towards Samantha. I find her too polished and too pageant patty. She did well last night so it probably boils down to getting lesser votes than, say Jehza and Karen to deny her a crown.

3 – Murielle Adrienne Orais – Winning Miss PAL, it looks like she was poised to enter the winners’ circle but after a rather lackluster evening gown presentation and an a-okay q&a, it’s certain that she will be going home empty-handed.

11 – Maria Andrea Abesamis – Okay, first let me just say that I owe Aya an apology for putting her in a negative light in one of my hot picks where I mentioned her family connections and related it to winning a crown. It was uncalled for and for that, I publicly apologized to her. Aya was pure class last night. Her polarizing beauty was truly mesmerizing on stage. She had this quiet dignity about her that made me realize that Aya wasn’t just competing because she knows that she could easily win this due to family connections. No. She’s actually competing because she is a beautiful Filipina who is proud of her achievements and the achievements of her Mother and perhaps dreams of representing the country in the same stage where her Mother competed. My hats off to you, Aya. You are one classy lady!

15 – Juliana Kapeundl – I was actually surprised that Juliana made it all the way to the top 15 over Flores and another favorite, Ena Velasco.

21 – Anjame Magbitang – This girl is a diamond in the rough. She’s young and she’s got tons of potentials. Just a little polishing here and there – make her read a lot of books, expose her to different things and she’ll go all the way to the Miss Universe stage the next time we see her.

24 – Edjelyn Joy Gamboa – She was very beautiful on stage but she kind of lacks charisma for me.

26 – Wynonah Van Joy Buot – Okay, Wynonah may have answered her question on point because that’s her belief. Also, I don’t think some of the judges especially a couple of foreign dignitaries knows who Toni Gonzaga is. My theory is that she was at the bottom half of the Top 15 of the SS and EG round rendering her high Q&A score useless.

35 – Sandra Lemonon – Poor Sandra. She was robbed the opportunity to shine through because she got one of the most difficult questions of the night. I loved how candid she was about not knowing what the Build, Build, Build project was. It just felt that she just gave up easily. I wished that she just gave a message of some sort for her to use her 30 seconds to answer. Nevertheless, her courage as she painfully admitted not knowing such project was commendable. I’d definitely want to see her rock it next year! Two words – CLASS ACT.

New crowns: In pictures, they looked tacky but if you look really up close, they are actually very beautiful! I’m super glad that Madam SMA and co finally listened to pageant fans wishes for new crowns!

Miss Universe Philippines 2018 20 – Catriona Gray
Bb. Pilipinas – International 2018 17 – Maria Ahtisa Manalo
Bb. Pilipinas – Supranational 2018 31 – Jehza Mae Huelar
Bb. Pilipinas – Grand International 2018 32 – Eva Psychee Patalinjug
Bb. Pilipinas – Intercontinental 2018 38 – Karen Juanita Gallman
Bb. Pilipinas – Globe 2018 19 – Michele Gumabao
Bb. Pilipinas 2018 1st Runner-up 1 – Vickie Marie Rushton
Bb. Pilipinas 2018 2nd Runner-up 14 – Samantha Mae Bernardo

Overall, this was an interesting production which needs a bit of improvement. Although I’ve to say that we’re lucky because I think this is the best batch of winners from this decade. I’ve high hopes that six of them will either win their respective competition or place in the semis at the least. But no matter what, we’re already proud of you girls!

Good luck! Mabuhay kayong lahat!

Rally for SOGIE Equality Bill – Fight for Love & Equality!

Let our voices be heard as we convene together for love and equality!

ICYMI: Maureen Wroblewitz is now with Storm Model Management!

Asia’s Next Top Model Cycle 5 winner and the first Filipino to win said title was recently welcomed by Storm Model Management in the agency’s Instagram post last week.

This is part of Maureen’s prizes from winning the region-wide modeling competition. Here’s to hoping she’d book more jobs overseas! 🍾🎉

Congratulations, Maureen!!! 💕

Emma Watson for Vogue Australia – March 2018

Here’s the beautiful and ever delightful Emma Watson gracing the cover of the Australian Vogue for it’s next month’s edition. 

Watson guest-edited the issue which she said is dedicated to sustainability and ‘designing the future.’
Truly, Emma is one of the few young actors in Hollywood that up and comers should emulate. Attagirl!

Binibining Pilipinas 2018 Specials: My Second Hot Picks!

I’ve had a hard time selecting the girls for my second hot picks. After seeing them in person during the talent competition and their sponsors tour, there are some girls who went up from practically nowhere to the top of my list. Catriona is still a force in the competition. I firmly believe that she’s still the one to beat for the top plum at this point but there are girls who are peaking at this point and are challenging her claim to the most coveted crown.

It’s not going to be easy for Catriona to maintain her stronghold to the Miss Universe Philippines title but her international exposure, gift for gab and universal beauty are still the main factors that’s keeping her afloat amongst these bevy of beauties. She is still my Top Pick at this point.

Trailing behind her is the formidabble rallying of Ena Velasco. She’s slowly and surely becoming one of those girls that may pose a greater challenge to Catriona. She is beautiful, moves like a gazelle and her background as a doctor will play well to her advantage. For now, she is my alternate pick for the top title.

We cannot easily discard beauty over brains. This is a beauty pageant after all. Ma. Ahtisa Manalo is arguably the prettiest in this batch and her beauty alone could catapult her to the top. She is undeniable. A Miss International prototype to the hilt.

Vicky Rushton may just be Ahtisa’s biggest rival for the International crown. She’s like a ray of sunshine with that effervescent smile. Her presence has been widely felt in the competition since the beginning and I’m expecting her to peak real soon.

I am quite certain that if Michele Gumabao will be fielded to the Miss Supranational, there’s a big chance for her to bring the crown back to Asia. I’m still not discounting her to win the top plum but she’s kind of fading for me.

Karen Gallman is at a disadvantage because of her height but like Catriona, her gift of gab may just give her one of the coveted crowns. For now, I am delegating her as Katarina’s succesor.

***

I am delegating Aya Abesamis and Samantha Bernardo as my 7th and 8th placer for now. Both have polarizing yet similar auras. They are also in the ‘oldest’ contestants category so I am expecting that they will either go home crownless or one of them will do an upset.

To complete my Top 10 are Wynonah Buot and Loren Mar Artajos.
Wynonah because of her facial beauty alone. I’m still not sold by her overall packaging but I think she’s still got a lot to offer. Artajos’ experience will be a huge advantage for her but up to this point, I’m not seeing her advancing into the winners’ circle but she’s definitely part of the upper 50% .

Cover Thursday: Sufjan Stevens’ Mystery of Love by Elisa Jane

Since “Call Me By Your Name” just had its commercial release last week in Manila, I thought of featuring this beautiful and haunting song by singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens from the movie. But since this is a Cover Thursday, I present to you Elisa Jane’s wonderful cover of the song.

Enjoy!

Listen / Buy: iTunes & Spotify 

Watch Out: Metro Manila Pride March and Festival – June 30, 2018!

Save The Date!

Yup, be sure to pencil this in on your calendars this year! I will be posting more updates regarding this as we go along! See you there!

Binibining Pilipinas 2018 Specials: The Frontrunners

Whilst Katarina Rodriguez is currently competing in Egypt to bag the elusive Miss Intercontinental crown for the Philippines, the pageant season in the country has officially started with the announcement of this year’s Binibining Pilipinas official candidates.

As per our tradition, we catapult girls to the all-so-important and perhaps the most difficult position to be in – the frontrunners pedestal where there is intense pressure from every pageant fans and pundits.

This year, we’ve a few frontrunners who are mostly crossovers and returnees, although there are also some newbies amongst them. Rest assured though, that these girls have the experience, the hype and the power to lord it over the other girls. The only question is – will they be able to maintain said status until the pageant night?

These are the seven considered frontunners based on the hype, connections, experiences or whatever you wanna call it. They have it.

We’ve been hearing Aya Abesami’s name since 2014 as a possible contender for the nationals but it’s only now that she decided to try out under the tutelage of Aces & Queens allegedly leaving behind a very stable job from the Big Apple.

For all of you unaware of her beauty queen pedigree, Aya is the daughter of Miss Universe 1984 3rd Runner-Up Desiree Verdadero and the niece of Miss World 2003 finalist Mafae Verdadero Yunon. Pretty formidable connections yeah?

She is now being touted by many as the flag bearer of her beauty camp but does she have what it takes to win the top plum? Her beauty is a polarizing one but we have to remember that Aya before her beauty pageant quest is a model first and foremost. Will she be able to carry on her legacy this year?

Former DLSU Lady Spiker and Pinoy Big Brother housemate Michelle Gumabao is also gunning for one of the national titles this year as the lone sportswoman who applied and made it through the Top 40. Daughter of veteran Filipino actor Dennis Roldan, Gumabao is one of the tallest from this batch and is all ready to power it up under the Aces & Queens banner.

This is Jehza Huelar’s third attempt to win a crown after her 2nd Runner-Up title in 2016 and disheartening Top 15 finish last year. This Davaoena beauty is still as fresh as ever and she’s now hoping that she’d be able to do a Maricar-MJ-Pia comeback! Mind you, all three of these ladies went eventually won the Miss Universe Philippines title.

Karen Gallman made the semis back in 2012 and won the Miss Photogenic award. After a long hiatus in the pageant world, this beauty from Brisbane is all set to snatch one of the crowns at stake. Her height maybe her most disadvantageous quality at this point but we’ll see if the she’d be able to do a David against her Goliath competitors.

Vickie Rushton is a budding actress and a former Mutya ng Pilipinas 2011 grand winner where Miss International 2013 Bea Rose Santiago was also a co-winner. In 2011, she was unable to represent the country in Miss Intercontinental because of scheduling conflict between the local and the international pageant. Now, she’s back stronger than ever in the pageant stage hoping the represent the country in the international arena!

Like Vickie, Eva Patalinjug was also a Mutya ng Pilipinas grand winner back in 2014 and was supposed to represent the country for the comeback staging of Miss Asia Pacific Quest. Unfortunately for her, the organizers of the pageant were unable to stage it on time until last year so Eva was left without a pageant assignment but retained the title anyhow. Now older and more beautiful, this Cebuana queen is consider to be the flag bearer of the Kagandahang Flores camp, the same camp of reigning Miss Universe Philippines Rachel Peters.

Without question, Catriona Gray became the one to beat the moment she declared her intention to try out for the nationals. Now, as part of the official 40 candidates, this Miss World 2016 Top 5 finisher is more than ready to conquer the universe. Will the stars align in her favor come March 18?

Who for you are the frontrunner/s this year?

 

 

photos courtesy of Official Binibining Pilipinas Facebook Page.