MMFF 2020 Goes Virtual starting December 25

Presenting this year’s entries to the virtual Metro Manila Film Festival. The festival entries can be streamed online via GMovies and via a new streaming platform called Upstream starting December 25 at P250/film.

THE BOY FORETOLD BY THE STARS (BL-Romance) — directed by Dolly Dulu, starring Adrian Lindayag and Keann Johnson

FAN GIRL (coming of age) — directed by Antoinette Jadaone, starring Charlie Dizon and Paulo Avelino

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Starbucks brings back a PH Christmas Tradition with the 2021 Planners and Organizers

In an uncertain time when activities are still limited due to a global pandemic, many people question the need for planners and organizers. But the thing is, our lives keep going even if our world has drastically changed. We may have to cancel our travel plans, we may be forced to work from home or even lose our jobs, and we may need to overhaul our whole lives but beyond all that, life goes on. There is no pause button. We do the best that we can and move forward. If we are lucky, we get to throw in a semblance of normalcy by having that regular cup of Starbucks or celebrate the holidays the way we used to.

For my friends and I, collecting the Starbucks planners and organizers is part of the holiday tradition. They do end up more as notebooks nowadays but then the fun part is in collecting and getting them. We weren’t sure we were getting them this year but luckily, Starbucks just unveiled their best looking Philippine-exclusive designs yet.

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PPP recycles films for its first online edition starting tomorrow

Although the pandemic remains to be a threat anywhere in the world, most particularly to countries such as ours, with erratic government practices in mitigating any crises,  its film media arm, Film Development Council of the Philippines is pushing through the 4th Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino (PPP) with its all-new online edition, and according to the agency is a response to the restrictions on the operations of cinemas given the current situation. The films can be watched on their film channel: www.fdcpchannel.ph

More than 100 films will be screened for one week. Liza Dino Seguerra flashily reported that in the last three years, the PPP has showcased 37 full-length feature films to more than 2.5 million audiences, which grossed over P420 million. Dino Seguerra, a former bit actress, proudly declared that the festival’s well-received top grossers are “100 Tula Para kay Stella” (2017) and “The Day After Valentine’s” (2018) both by the contentiously fluff filmmaker Jason Paul Laxamana, and “The Panti Sisters” (2019) by Jun Robles Lana. Some PPP films have been chosen as the country’s  representative  to the Academy Awards which include “Birdshot” by Mikhail Red in 2017, “Signal Rock” by Chito Roño in 2018, and “Verdict” by Raymund Ribay Gutierrez in 2019.

Accordingly, PPP will also feature Sine Kabataan short features from young filmmakers which focus on societal themes that in reality the present government fails to address.

“We certainly had high hopes and grand plans this year for PPP 4, especially since it would have coincided with the closing of the Philippine Cinema Centennial celebration. Although cinemas remain closed and there are no press conferences, premiere nights, PPP Grand FanCon, and block screenings, we at the FDCP still resolved to push through with the PPP no matter what. Tuloy na tuloy ang Pista!,” Dino Seguerra indicated in her press statement.

Amid the pandemic, the national film agency wishes to showcase the diversity of our local films. And as the country officially closed the celebration of One Hundred Years of Philippine Cinema in September, the FDCP aims for the PPP to be the platform to gather the entire film industry together as it looks to the future of the next hundred years.

Aptly dubbed “PPP 4, Sama All!” the festival will recycle 145 titles (67 full-length films and 78 shorts) films previously screened in other local film festivals  such as the Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival, QCinema International Film Festival, Cinema One Originals Film Festival, Sinag Maynila Film Festival, CineFilipino Film Festival, ToFarm Film Festival, and Metro Manila Film Festival.  Films from CineMarya Women’s Film Festival will also be re-screened.

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NATIONAL PAGEANT-FIRST: Miss Universe Philippines front-runner comes out as bisexual


A former college cheerleader, and someone who would rather choose to fly domestic as a flight attendant to enjoy more free time for herself, has publicly come out as bisexual during the pageant’s preliminary interview rounds currently being held in Baguio City.

Kimberly “Billie” Hakenson, Miss Universe Philippines Cavite, is the first national-pageant contestant in the Philippines to come out as LGBTQ during the contest. Previously, Beatrice Luigi Gomez came out as gay during the Q and A portion of Binibining Cebu 2020. Coincidentally, Hakenson is also Cebu-based, although she is representing her hometown of Cavite.


“I am Billie Hakenson, and I am bisexual, and I’m proud to be here,” Hakenson proudly declared in front of a judges panel and while being filmed for the Episode 6 of the Ring Light Series of the Miss Universe Philippines.

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Miss Universe Philippines Ring Light series reveals backstage stories

I was commissioned to write the scripts of the 5-episode documentary primer for the Miss Universe Philippines in December 2019. As early as that – a month before the first COVID case in the Philippines was tested positive, I had already started writing preliminaries and outlines for what would become the Ring Light Series, which officially premieres tonight at 8pm-ish on www.empire.ph .

By January, I have finished writing spiels for what supposed to have been the first episode, the runway challenge, which would culminate on February 2020 by the sidewalks of Uptown Mall in BGC, Taguig City.  The coronation night was originally intended to be held in May.  It was also my last time before the lockdown to socialize in Manila, or anywhere. Two weeks later, one of the strictest pandemic lockdowns in the world happened in our midst for at least 3 months, and now six months later – we are on the verge of reopening the business centers to the new normal.

Technically, as I share this, I am still supplying some cells on the script of the last episode, which would all have been uploaded and streamed by October 11 and the weeks after that. If writing and story producing for the Ring Light seemed a tough endeavor to accomplish during the pandemic – given how scarce and limited the exchange of contents there have been – filming the actual clips for the episodes have been extra-challenging for the contestants and the filmmakers themselves.  At least a few runs before the lockdown, the contestants have already retreated to their provincial bases. Only about two dozen are based in the NCR – and they could only be scheduled a few times, with all health safety protocols strictly monitored, on the Empire BGC headquarters of the Miss Universe Philippines.  The girls who are in the provinces as far as Zamboanga and Batanes have been teamed up with their local videographers to finish their submissions.

The contestants will be featured proportionately in at least 3 episodes, the remaining two will also be participated in without as much sound-bytes compared to those who are assigned for their special episodes.  One episode is devoted for each girl for their on-camera spiels, 2 questions each for the sit-down interviews, and a substantial amount of camera sessions that would feature them beyond the usual pageant core drills. Indeed, the Ring Light series is about their combined personal and MUP journeys. We can see them in their earlier pageant training, at home doing other activities, aside from doing workouts and participating in online training sessions and workshops.

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Social Media Apps that share money

Why share your digital content for free when you can earn from them with every time you post, and each time a follower hits the like button, or rates it, or supports you by watching the ads clipped to it. You don’t even have to be a largely-followed celebrity. You just need a striking original content, enough to gain attention and support.

Back in the day, advertising inserts are targeted to audience’s online behavior. With the introduction of the click-per-post schemes, content creators are given a portion of the allotted profit from every ad budget, once the target viewers are encouraged by their own interests to click.

TSU: The Social That Pays

Now, whether a viewer is targeted or not, regardless of their processed internet activities; they are now compelled by their own accord to click the ads and even finish the whole 45-seconders without even skipping. That seems to be the appeal of TSU, which prides itself as “Social that Pays.”

TSU was actually founded in 2013 and headquartered in Norwalk, Connecticut, USA. Tsū was oddly comparable to Facebook in terms of their integral features and user interface. The unique proposition of Tsu, however, is its exceptional ability to share ad revenue among its users. The original compensation structure “was to keep 10 percent of the total ad revenue for itself, while half the remainder went to users and the other half to the network that brought the content creator to the platform. It was re-launched in September 2019, after a brief decline and complaints by other social networking platforms as “spam.” Having experienced such major setback, TSU incorporated a virtually “spam-free” protection guarantees.

Subscribers can earn from “supported contents” from other subscribers and “dividends” from every ad revenue. A usual heavy user can earn at least a dollar a week. We have tried TSU (account: archiemarx) and in a span of 2 weeks, we earned about 50 cents. The key seems to engage your followers to #support you by asking them for a mutual cooperation. We are not very particularly certain if such activity is platform-supported, but given its purpose and nature – there isn’t oddly any discord or technicality to speak of at the moment.

When it comes to social media networking gratification, it almost seems instant as followers have always been energetic to “support” every post on the timeline feeds – because each click and share may almost always guarantee a returned favor. This is why TSU harbors a sentiment among subscribers as “tsufamily.”

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Gameboys BL Pair Reteams for a Movie Premiering in South Korea

While it’s greatly apparent that the exciting proliferations of gay-themed stories on digital screens, via boys love (BL) series, have renewed our burning interests on LGBTQIA issues and experiences – we may have to analyze how things have been since its original inception, at least in the dawning periods of digital cinema in the Philippines. 

Cris Pablo’s Duda/Doubt, for the record, was the first longform narrative feature in digital format – which happened to be an interweaving tale of gay sex, love, and relationships – quite in extent made it all seem possible for all independent filmmakers to literally shoot the stars and achieve a sense of goal and aspirations that filmmaking can be democratized beyond the dictums of the old and mainstream studio system.  While Pablo’s Duda interestingly seeded the cloud and rained profusely over a period of at least 7 years with the explosion of gay soft core Indies – they weren’t exactly focused on the experience of young love and coming of age. They were, in all straight-talk, a spa and splash of sex parades – which in turn became a hotbed of welcomed nudity and other unapologetic physicality on screen. Duda/Doubt was no BL. The first true-gay feature in Asia, South Korea’s Road Movie (2002) is about the experiences and confusions brought upon by the Asian Market Crash, and indeed was no BL. The harangue of criticisms later on to Pablo’s prolific churn-outs, although featuring younger characters, was more directed towards the lower-class experiences; and somewhat the highlighted centering on psychosexual fixations. When Senedy Que’s Dose tested the censorship to its core a few years later– it had a chilling effect on which particular age-group to sidestep, if the trend had to remain and survive. Even the unsolicited fetishism on visual soldering features becomes tamed and oblique. It had officially folded up as the film industry was entirely eaten up once and again by the commercial escapism of the mainstream market.

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