Friday, August 3, 2018

How Viber Built a Better Digital Space for its Users

Wazzup Pilipinas!

The global messaging app increased overall platform messaging by 15% thanks to an insights-driven product with user analytics platform Mixpanel

Rakuten Viber has continuously worked towards building a better platform by introducing innovative features that cater to its users wants and needs. In partnership with Mixpanel, the world’s leading user analytics platform, the global messaging has increased overall retention and time spent in-platform for its one billion users worldwide thanks to an insights-driven product development approach.

“What keeps users coming back to Viber is the fact that it’s a fun and seamless platform that keeps them feeling connected with their loved ones and favorite brands.,” said Danny Odes, Mobile Product Manager at Viber.

“I want to create products that help people make more meaningful connections, and I look to Mixpanel for quantitative evidence of where we need to improve the user experience, so people can truly express themselves on our platform,” he added.

With user insights, Viber can make improvements that allow users to spend more time in-app, make and receive more calls, and send and receive more frequent messages within the platform. For instance, Mixpanel Insights enabled the team to measure and see which buttons were most popular when users were texting their connections, allowing Viber to swap out certain stickers, the search icon, chat extensions, doodles, the gallery camera, and teddy bears.

Through its three-year partnership with Mixpanel, Viber has been able to increase overall platform messaging by 15% for its one billion users. The Viber team understood that user behavior patterns were foundational to product changes and gave users the most useful and relevant chat options, so they would have different ways to communicate with their friends, family, brands, and personalities.

“With user analytics, Mixpanel has enabled Viber to fulfill its first order of business: cultivate a cross-platform environment that helps people connect with their loved ones around the world,” said Danny Odes.

Messaging platforms are currently twenty percent larger than today’s social networks and are also ripe environments for brands to apply unique strategies for users to connect with them in a more engaging, authentic, and direct way. For example, Viber is the official communication channel of FC Barcelona, and the instant messaging and calling app partner of the Golden State Warriors.

“The companies that stay ahead of the curve are the ones that focus on delivering an outstanding and consistent experience across every user touchpoint including emails, ads, and customer service, as well as the app, website, and technology that make up a company’s product. Rakuten Viber is a great example of how our customers are reinventing themselves from the inside-out with the power of data-driven insights,” said Amir Movfaghi, CEO of Mixpanel.

Through their partnership, the Viber team will continue to use behavioral insights in Mixpanel to build out the entire user journey and brand experience for its users.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Playwright Shares Formula to His Palanca Award-Winning Play

Wazzup Pilipinas!

A visit to yields what you’d expect from a website with such a name.

It's a collection of confessions on how relationships ended, posted under usernames like “frankielemonade02” or “sidekickpunchblock.” One essay was written by a recruitment officer who found her—ahem, still charming—ex-boyfriend sitting in front of her for an interview. Another story is from a guy who read in the papers that his former girlfriend was arrested for swindling. And yet another is about a man who got dumped right when he was about to propose. They're amusing stories, exactly the kind you’d only find online, where “victims” could hide behind a pseudonym.

But that website is a ruse. These “submissions” were written by only one man, Dr. Joem Antonio, and he won a Palanca Award for them. That award was for a full-length play. And he wrote that full-length play entirely through his mobile phone.

A monologue-writing exercise

It all started when Christian Vallez, the writer known as “Juan Ekis,” asked him for a monologue-writing exercise. Without intending any puns, Dr. Antonio gave him an exercise that produced monologues on how exes became exes.

“I realized two things: one is that I had come up with a fun exercise for students to write their own monologues, and another is that with enough monologues, one can actually make a play out of the exercise results.”

And so he did. Taking advantage of short bursts of time, like when waiting for a ride or rocking a toddler to sleep, he did the exercise repeatedly on his mobile phone, using nothing but the extremely simple Google Keep app.

He wrote ten monologues that he tied together through a bigger story. An ex-couple created hoping that the stories help them understand what people seek in a relationship, despite the fact that there are only two ways that a relationship could end, and neither of them seem palatable. As one of them puts it: “It's either we wait to see who kicks the bucket first, or we walk away from this relationship while we're still alive." Why do we even bother, then?

Onstage and online

Dr. Antonio submitted to the 67th Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards and won his eighth Palanca Award, the Second Prize for Full-Length Play in English. An excerpt of was staged at the awards night. It was directed by former Dulaang UP artistic director, Dr. Alexander Cortez.

And of course, one doesn’t write a play called and not publish it online. Today, the website holds all ten monologues, the full-length play’s script, and the monologue-writing exercise. Dr. Antonio continues to write monologues using the same exercise and plans to add them to the site later on.

He invites anyone interested to read the monologues and to give the writing exercise a try. All you need is to visit the website and to use your “writing weapon” of choice, which, if you're as busy as he is, could simply be your mobile phone.

A teacher, first and foremost

But why publish your award-winning work for free, with your own writing formula even, when some writers hope to live off book royalties?

The answer lies in how Dr. Antonio describes himself: he’s “a teacher by profession, a writer on occasion, a scholar by passion, and a writing teacher by vocation.” He’s a teacher before he is a writer. And more than just being a writer, he’s a writing teacher. “I had a concept, a lesson to share, a cause to uphold,” he says. For him, is mainly a teaching tool, and one that he’d like to share with the public.

He does offer paid writing courses through Storywriting School for those who want to learn the craft. Though the prevailing belief is that creative writing requires rare talent, he believes that anyone can learn how to write stories. “Some people have that gift of writing, but I don’t. I learned writing as a skill, just like any other skill is learned. That’s why I can teach others how to write.”

Dr. Joachim Emilio “Joem” Antonio is the Program Director of the MA Humanities Program at the University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P). He obtained his Ph.D. in Creative Writing from the University of the Philippines - Diliman. He’s a playwright and theatre enthusiast who espouses a philosophy he calls “compact theatre,” which aims to deliver substantial messages while maximizing the essential elements of theatre. He also has two children’s books published by Lampara Publishing. Find out more about him at

Carousell Seals Partnership with Xend, Elevates the PH Buying and Selling Experience

Wazzup Pilipinas!

Jamie Lee, Carousell’s Senior Manager for Growth Markets pointed out that the partnership deal allows the platform – now with 158 million listings across 7 markets – to enrich the experience of its Philippine-based users and better engage them through a strong logistics partner of choice.

“We are excited to work with Xend to make buying and selling more convenient. Shipping has been one of the most requested features from our users in the Philippines and Xend provides a unique, cost-friendly logistics solution for our users. With this strategic partnership, we hope to create more value for our community and deepen our presence in the Philippines,” Lee explained.
Xend Founder & CEO Bjorn Pardo meanwhile said that they are thrilled to forge this partnership as it allows both players to step-up their game in the e-commerce space at scale.

“The Philippine e-commerce landscape has fundamentally evolved. Sellers and shoppers are now more discerning and adoptive of coherent, frictionless experiences. This collaboration enables us to consolidate the mobile commerce segment and mobilize each others’ resources towards more customer-centric solutions,” said Pardo.

The deal will jointly offer preferential privileges to Carousell users who use Xend to have their sold items delivered, as well as mount co-branded promotions in each other’s channels, both online and offline.

With over 9.5 million listings on the Philippines marketplace, fashion and beauty remain as the most popular categories among its users in the Philippines. Xend, on its part, has already breached the 25 million mark for deliveries locally and abroad, and is known for its close to 500,000 user-base, Asia Pacific’s first Facebook Messenger booking bot, and a 6,000-strong integrated land and sea logistics network with PhilTranco, FastCat, Jam Liner, Ceres, and Quick Reliable.

“It’s all about unlocking localized synergies and generating incremental value. As a next-tier innovation, Xend and Carousell will be collaborating to offer district-oriented meet-up points that leverages the Xend Group’s “pick-up and drop-off” (PUDO) hubs of 350 Neighborhood Partner outlets and possibly the stores too of 7-Eleven, one of our formidable strategic partners,” said JT Solis, Xend’s Vice President for Partnerships & Business Development, who also led the negotiation and structuring of the deal.

BDO Private Bank Bags Awards from Alpha Southeast Asia, Finance Asia

Wazzup Pilipinas!

BDO Private Bank Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of BDO Unibank, remains unbeatable as the country’s best private bank, following awards from leading financial publications Alpha Southeast Asia and Finance Asia.

This is the 11th consecutive year that BDO Private Bank emerged as winner at both Alpha Southeast Asia’s Best Financial Institution Awards in Southeast Asia and Finance Asia’s Country Awards for Achievement.

“In a country where the biggest exports are its own people consisting of not only domestic workers but also lawyers, engineers, doctors, bankers, and innovative entrepreneurs, BDO Private Bank has carved out a niche to service an emerging segment of wealthy individuals,” Alpha Southeast Asia said in a statement.

The institutional investment magazine also lauded the bank’s flexible investment strategy for its clients, allowing them to maximize their returns.

“The fact that the bank’s balance sheet performance has improved during the awards period while global private banks had to deal with ways to overcome crippling cutbacks combined with an all-time-low confidence level in global private banks among high net worth individuals is perhaps the greatest proof why this business model inarguably works best, winning this accolade for the 11th consecutive year,” Alpha Southeast Asia added. The awards period covered deals and transaction volumes from June 2017 to May 2018.

BDO Private Bank is the only domestic private bank in the Philippines providing expert and professional wealth management services to the country's high net worth and modern affluent markets using the “open architecture” approach.

Despite challenges posed by larger foreign private banks, changes in regulations, technology and commoditization of investment products, BDO Private Bank manages to keep its market leadership through a unique relationship with clients, offering them customized solutions for their specific needs and issues.

“Being a local market leader, we do not sit on our laurels,” said BDO Private Bank president Albert S. Yeo. “We are upgrading our internal systems and are constantly looking for more efficiency and operational scalability to maintain our highly regarded client service. We also strive to be competitive internationally, and we are opening our platforms to more global investment opportunities with a local service flair.”

Speciality & Fine Food Asia and Restaurant, Pub & Bar Asia Conclude 2nd Year with Bigger &Betyer Results

Wazzup Pilipinas!

The focus on innovation, industry partnerships and increased onsite programming spelled success for the three-day trade event

Now in its second year, Speciality & Fine Food Asia (SFFA) and Restaurant, Pub & Bar Asia (RPB Asia) welcomed more than 3,300 visitors from the food and beverage and hospitality industries across Southeast Asia, with 160 local and international exhibiting companies and eight national pavilions from 20 countries for the three-day shows and related events.

The trade-only shows saw buyers and exhibitors in a focused environment – making valuable contacts, signing multi-million dollar deals and learning from industry experts through a series of engaging panel discussions, cooking demos by star chefs, and beverage masterclasses by sommeliers, bartenders, sake and tea masters.

“It was a truly invigorating experience at SFFA and RPB Asia this year,” says Christopher McCuin, Managing Director of Montgomery Asia, which organised the shows. “We listened to visitors’ and exhibitors’ feedback from our first year and improved on creating more onsite programming, and finding the right experts to speak on topics that were important to them. For the first time this year, we collaborated with industry partners such as FoodBev Media, The Bar Awards, Restaurant Association of Singapore and Singapore Halal Culinary Federation to co-organise competitions and workshops at the shows which provided more depth and relevance to the F&B industry. It’s exciting to see the shows go from strength to strength and we look forward to creating an even bigger impact in 2019.

2018 Show Highlights

Inaugural Investor Pitching Series – SFFA launched a new Investor Pitching Series to provide a practical springboard for companies with exciting, innovative ideas to pitch their concepts and products to a panel of industry judges for real-time feedback. Split into two tracks – ‘Innovative F&B Products’ and ‘Productive Business Solutions for the F&B Industry’, the latter designed in collaboration with Restaurant Association of Singapore to solicit actual business and product proposals that will allow local businesses to thrive above the global competition – the sessions drew packed audiences across the two days.

Over 10 companies live-pitched their ideas to a panel of industry leaders including representatives from MasterCard, Golden Equator Consulting, The Lo & Behold Group, UOB, Enterprise Singapore, and more. The top three winners in the ‘Productive Business Solutions for the F&B Industry’ track were Good for Food, Beekeeper Communications and TAB – all local companies that leveraged technology to solve real-life challenges faced by the F&B industry.

Inaugural Asia Food Innovation Awards by FoodBev Media – Designed to celebrate excellence across every category of the global food industry and offer brands an exciting way to showcase their R&D achievements, this was the Asian edition of the globally-recognised Food Innovation Awards.

This year, there were 14 winners, a number of whom were also exhibiting at the Shows, including LUVCACAO, who won ‘Best Artisan Product’ for their Azzan White Chocolate; Coco & Lucas’ Kitchen, who took home ‘Best Children’s Product’; The M Plot, who clinched ‘Best Confectionery’ for The M Plot Macarons; and local company Foodie Drools, whose F.EAST Potato Chips in flavours like Chicken Rice and Laksa were the talk of the town at SFFA, and was named ‘Best New Brand’. A full list of winners can be found at: Restaurant, Pub & Bar Asia Bartender Invitational 2018 – Show Partner, The Bar Awards, introduced their first regional competition, which saw four Bartender of the Year award winners from four cities battle it out with a series of tough challenges in an intense three-day competition for the ultimate title of Bartender of the Year 2018.

The five challenges that each bartender went through were to test Bar Theory, Classic Cocktail, Pop-Up (where they organised and managed their own event or guest shift at a bar in Singapore), Masterclass, and Cocktail Party. Jay Khan, owner of COA in Hong Kong emerged victorious and took home Bartender of the Year. Full list of awards can be found at:
Launch of e2i ULeap F&B Modules – SFFA 2018 also saw the launch of e2i’s new F&B mobile modules on ULeap, a mobile learning app, for quick, bite-sized learning on the F&B industry. ULeap is a mobile learning platform, with short multimedia content on various topics contributed by Knowledge Partners (e.g industry partners, Institutes of Higher Learning and Professional Associations, etc.), allowing learners to stay up-to-date on current trending issues and participate in various learning communities to discuss best practices and exchange knowledge.

Instead of a typical 3-to-6-month time-frame needed for the development of new courses, Knowledge Partners can harness the sharing by the various learning communities to curate and construct just-in

time bite-sized lessons on ULeap to meet current demands. They will also take the roles of moderators and validators in the learning communities.

The topics of the new F&B modules range from practical tips for hands-on learners; tools and content for business owners; as well as guides for learners who like to know where their food comes from, and insights into the future of F&B technology, or “culinology”.

Chef Demos and Hot Topic Panel Discussions at Fine Food Live – A core component of SFFA, Fine Food Live is the mainstage where chef demos, panel discussions, and more took place. Chef Isaac Mchale of Michelin-starred The Clove Club – also the highest ranked UK restaurant on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants – headlined the show for his first official visit to Singapore. Chef Mchale demonstrated two signatures dishes, even bringing in haggis from his hometown of Scotland.

Presenting chefs this year included renowned cookbook author, Christopher Tan, Javad Ahamad from Punjab Grill, and Alexander McKinstry from Viceroy Bali. Chef Neo Jun Hao, the newly-minted winner for Singapore’s Disciples Escoffier Young Talent – the culinary competition for young chefs under the age of 25 – conducted his live practice run at the Show before representing the country at the Asia Finals in Hong Kong this September.

There were four panel discussions held over the three-day show, with experts including Chef Julien Royer from two Michelin-starred Odette, World’s 50 Best Restaurants TasteHunters Cheryl Tiu and Lennard Yeong, Dinesh Balasingam, Chief Operating Officer of Chope, and representatives from DHL, Edelman, Ernst & Young, GrabFood, KPMG, Zenith Global and more who took to the stage.

Captivating the audience with their engaging discussions and insights, the panelists shared real-life experiences and views on practical issues ranging from ‘The Fine Art of (Conscious) Dining’ – where they explored the definition of conscious dining and how that fits into the fine dining space, ‘Global F&B Outlook’, ‘Going Digital’ and ‘From Farm to Kitchen’.

The rich content and innovative highlights drew in quality visitors which delighted the exhibitors. First-time exhibitor Healsi Water sealed one of the largest deals in the company’s history at the show. “[The shows are] very impressive,” says Pedros Simar, Director, Healsi Water. “We’re definitely coming back next year with a bigger presence!”

Luc Fabry, Investment and Trade Commissioner of Flanders Investment and Trade commented: “The show was valuable for Flanders Investment and Trade – Embassy of Belgium. We represented 11 companies and each of the companies had a number of valuable leads. It is worth it to come back next year!’

Clay Jenkin, Events Manager of NCR Silver echoed similar sentiments. ‘It has been an excellent show and I can now say that we will be back again next year! We have definitely benefited from exhibiting at the show and our products were viewed by many visitors, which was our ultimate objective. We also generated new business leads, which have led to sales. On top of that, we have raised our industry awareness, and we are expecting to build on this in the months and years to come!”

Speciality & Fine Food Asia and Restaurant, Pub & Bar Asia will take place again next year from 17-19 July 2019 while the 2018 UK edition will take place from 2-4 September 2018 at Olympia, London.

For future updates, visit the official show websites – and, and follow the shows on social media:
Speciality & Fine Food Asia Restaurant, Pub & Bar Asia

Golfers Flock to Enjoy a Game in Paradise As Golf Industry Booms In Philippines

Wazzup Pilipinas!

101 golf courses, and counting, are spread across the 7,107 islands that make up the Philippines. It is no surprise that golfing has become such a booming industry in recent years in the Philippines, as the tropical paradise makes the perfect backdrop for a golf course. 

As such, the Philippines now plays host to some of the world's finest courses, which has caused a boom in the industry and the business it attracts. So much so, in fact, that in April of 2018, more than 200 golf tour operators from around the world participated in the largest series of golf tours ever undertaken in Asia when the Philippines hosted the area’s annual gathering of golf tourism professionals. 

So, if you're ready to take in the natural beauty of the Philippines, and contribute to one of the country’s largest growing sectors and sports, it's worth doing some preparations so that you can make the most of your time in paradise.

Perfect your Swing
If you want to play on the Masters course at Manila Southwoods, you'll want to have a swing worthy of the green. The best way to do this is to practice. And, there's no better place to do so than a driving range. Even though you're standing mostly stationary at a driving range, you can practice and prepare your swing for every occasion. Talk to an expert and learn how you can utilize your local driving range to prep from everything between being stuck in the sand to getting off the perfect long shot.

Choose your Clubs
While you can certainly rent equipment from courses, there's nothing like having your own clubs with you. If you haven't yet purchased your own set of clubs, practice with several styles at your local courses. Once you find what you're most comfortable with, go for it. Bringing along a range of irons and a putter, on which you have logged several hours of play time, to your trip to the Philippines will help ensure that you are putting your best swing forward.

Buddy Up
Golf is a game that is meant to be shared. And, it would be a waste to enjoy the scenic views on the courses of the Philippines on a game you have to play alone. Plan your trip ahead and bring along your best golfing buddies, making sure to select those ready to commit to the game. Together, you can plot out your journey across the islands, hitting up the best courses along the way.

As the Philippines continues to host some of the sport’s finest and most competitive tournaments, you’ll likely be tempted to head off to paradise for a few rounds. A little preparation will go a long way toward ensuring that your trip across the golf courses of the Philippines swings just the way you want it to. Grab your clubs and putter up, the greens await you.

History Maker Awards 2018's Stellar Line-up Include Sharon Cuneta, Vilma Santos, Aga Muhlach, Christopher de Leon, and More!


Wazzup Pilipinas!

HISTORY Maker Award Ceremony will take place on the second day of HISTORY CON 2018, 11th August 2018 at the World Trade Center Manila.

In partnership with Philippine Star, A+E Networks Asia announced today the stellar line-up of Filipino luminaries who will be honored for their significant contribution to the nation’s life and culture with the HISTORY Maker Award. This year’s distinguished recipients are Victor Consunji, Jessica Soho, Lea Salonga, Nora Aunor, Christopher de Leon, Albert Martinez, Sharon Cuneta, Vilma Santos, Aga Muhlach, and The Philippine Azkals. HISTORY CON 2018 ticket purchasers are welcomed to join in the celebration to honor these extraordinary Filipinos at the award ceremony, which will be conducted on 11th August, the second day of HISTORY CON 2018 at the World Trade Center Manila.

HISTORY Makers are a special few whose talent, efforts, dedication and sacrifices illuminate and inspire the lives of many others. The inaugural HISTORY Maker Award was launched in 2017 with distinguished dignitaries, namely, Pia Wurtzbach, Anne Curtis, Hidilyn Diaz, Himalayan Adventure Team, Ryan Cayabyab, Illac Diaz, Brillante Mendoza, Reinabelle Reyes, and Romi Garduce.

HISTORY CON 2018, Manila’s biggest entertainment convention will be held at the World Trade Center Manila from 10th to 12th August 2018. Katheryn Winnick of HISTORY’s Emmy-winning series, Vikings will make her first special appearance in Asia as the headlining international celebrity alongside Giorgio A. Tsoukalos of HISTORY’s hit series, Ancient Aliens. The star-studded extravaganza also include Manila’s favorite local celebrities Xian Lim and Diego Loyzaga starring in HISTORY Asia’s award-winning original automotive reality series, Celebrity Car Wars, Jamie Dempsey (Ride N’Seek), Simon Yin (Hidden Cities Extreme and HISTORY Hustle) and popular Singaporean social media influencer, Yeoh Mong Chin of LIFETIME Asia’s latest digital-first original series, Who Runs the World.


HISTORY CON 2018 tickets are available in three different categories with exclusive privileges for the HISTORY MAKER VIP pass at PHP 10,000, limited to 100 tickets for sale only. Other ticketing categories include the HISTORY MAKER pass at PHP 2,500 for a three-day admission and GENERAL ADMISSION pass at PHP 350 for a one-day access to the mega entertainment convention. Tickets are available for sale exclusively on SM Tickets.


Every purchase of the HISTORY MAKER VIP pass or HISTORY Maker Pass allows the ticket purchaser to request a slot to attend the Ancient Aliens ‘LIVE’ Session with Giorgio A. Tsoukalos”. More details on HISTORY CON 2018 website. Terms and conditions apply.

Visit for more information.

Ancient Aliens explores the theory that extra-terrestrials have been visiting the Earth for millions of years. The series is produced by Prometheus Entertainment.


Victor Consunji
Victor Consunji, 38, is a Filipino marathoner, businessman, and the CEO of Victor Consunji Development Corporation. In two and a half years, he ran in each continent, including the Antarctica and Arctic region and became the first Filipino to marathon in all seven continents after he finished the North Pole marathon in December 2017.

With his unbelievable fortitude and steely ambition, his incredible determination to conquer all continents has garnered him the utmost respect and the merit of being a HISTORY Maker.

Jessica Soho
Jessica Soho, 54, is an award-winning and one of the country’s most credible journalists. She is the first Filipino to become a finalist for the Best News Anchor category in the New York Festivals Television and Film Awards.  She has been one of the most awarded news pillars in the Philippines, garnering over 300 local awards and more than 30 international awards including the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award for her excellent issue-oriented documentaries. Renowned for her grit and commitment to delivering the truth to the public, this veteran journalist transformed the way stories are told, captured and shared in Philippine media.

With her impeccable track record, she continues to be one of the most trustworthy names in journalism, and is truly deserving of being named a HISTORY Maker.

Lea Salonga
Known across the world for her powerful voice and perfect pitch, Lea Salonga, 47, is a singer and actress who is best known for her Tony Award winning role in Miss Saigon. She made history as the first Asian woman to receive a Tony Award, and has also won the Olivier, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Theatre World Awards, in the field of musical theatre. She was also the first Asian to play Eponine in the musical Les Misérables on Broadway and returned to the beloved show as Fantine in the 2006 revival.

With decades of bringing Filipino talent to the global stage under her belt and counting, there is no doubt she will be remembered and revered for making HISTORY—not just as the first Kim, but as the only Lea Salonga.

Nora Aunor
Nora Aunor, 64, is a veteran actress, recording artist, film producer, and one of the biggest stars in Philippine cinema, with nearly 200 awards to her name over the course of her 50-year career. She received 17 FAMAS Award nominations and was elevated to the "Hall of Fame" after winning five Best Actress Awards, is the most nominated actress of Gawad Urian Awards with 20 nominations, winning seven, and has more nominations as Best Actress than any other Filipino actor in both FAMAS and Gawad Urian award giving bodies. Known as Philippine cinema’s “Superstar,” she broke all stereotypes of a typical movie star as her gripping performances, famously expressive eyes and undeniable relatability won the hearts and admiration of the masses.

As the People’s National Artist, there’s no doubt that Nora Aunor is a historic icon—a HISTORY maker—like no other.

Christopher de Leon
Christopher "Boyet" Strauss de Leon, 61, is a Filipino film actor, director, producer, singer, endorser and politician. He has appeared in over 120 films and soap operas in a span of four decades, and has won the FAMAS (The Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences Awards) Best Actor award five times. The latest FAMAS award he was nominated for was in 2016 under the category of Best Supporting Actor (for Tragic Theater) and the latest award he won was the Cinema One Legend Award in 2009—all markings of a talented, versatile performer and public personality who deserves to be named a HISTORY Maker.

Albert Martinez
Albert Martinez, 57, is a Filipino actor, director, and producer. Through his long career, he has worked hard to overcome all challenges and difficulties in the industry, and has emerged a much-admired talent in a myriad of roles. In 2010, he won a FAMAS award (The Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences Awards) as Best Director for his film, Rosario, which was an official entry and was shown in the 2010 Metro Manila Film Festival.

This HISTORY Maker remains to be one of the most widely recognized actors of his generation and continues to be a formidable performer today.

Sharon Cuneta
Sharon Cuneta, 52, is a Filipino singer, actress, talk show host, commercial ad endorser and a reality show judge. In 2009, she won Film Actress of the Year for the film, Caregiver. She holds the record of having the most number of Box Office Queen of RP Movies titles (9 titles from 1984-1996). She was elevated to the Box Office Hall of Fame in 1990. She was also hailed as the Top Female Box Office Star of 1985 "Bida sa Takilya" given during the FAMAS Awards, 1986, for the success of her movie, "Bituing Walang Ningning" and was also awarded as the 1991 Box Office Record Award for the movie "Maging Sino Ka Man" given by the Greater Metro Manila Theater Association. She has gone out to conquer every single role she has tried: Her movies have earned over P3 billion at the box office. She has received at least 30 best actress nominations—winning over a dozen through the years. She has at least 15 Gold, Platinum, Double Platinum and Triple Platinum awards for her music. Through it all, her charm and star power has never dulled.

Her name continues to bring thrill and awe to Filipino audiences of all ages, and she will go down in HISTORY as the Philippines’ one and only “Megastar.”

Vilma Santos
Vilma Santos-Recto, 64, commonly known as Ate Vi, is a Filipino actress, former mayor of Lipa, Batangas and former governor of Batangas. She is part of the FAMAS Hall of Fame, and in 2006, she won as Best Actress in a Single TV Performance for Maala-ala Mo Kaya: 'Regalo' episode - Star Awards for TV. Last year, she won PEP Female Movie Star of the Year for the movie, Everything About Her.  She rose up to become the versatile actress that has been given the fitting title of “Star for All Seasons” because of her capacity to adapt to the changing mores and values of the Filipino woman, giving a face to their plight and struggles, albeit in success both critically and box-office wise in some of Philippine cinema’s classics. She brought this care and concern for Filipinos as a public servant, and her tenure was sterling and successful.

One of the pioneer Philippine movie queens, she is one of the greatest actors of her generation and remains widely recognized today as an icon whose work will be remembered throughout HISTORY.

Aga Muhlach
Aga Muhlach, 48, is a multi-award winning Filipino actor. He's been nominated several times for the FAMAS Awards and won in 1993 for the movie, Sinungaling Mong Puso. He is also claimed as a multi-media product endorser, a role model to Filipinos of all ages, a supporter of underprivileged children, a matinee idol, and multi-award-winning actor.

This HISTORY Maker remains one of the top dramatic actors in the Philippines, and is known for being one of Philippine cinema's leading men of romantic dramas.

The Philippine Azkals is the Philippine National Men’s Football Team. The group’s name which means “stray dog” is derived from two Filipino words “aso” and “kalye.” It was coined by passionate Filipino fans from all over the world.

The group aims to make the country proud and ignite the Filipinos’ interest in football. In 2018, the team achieved its highest spot of 111th in the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) rankings, the highest rank the national team has achieved since the introduction of such rankings in 1993. The team also ranked top among the South East Asian countries in the last couple of years. Last May, the Azkals made history and qualified for the AFC Asian Cup for the World Cup, continuously raising the country’s flag high on the global playing field.

Their inspiring team spirit, talent, and passion has united millions of Filipinos—known to be some of the most rabid basketball fans—around football and Filipino excellence. The Philippine Azkals are truly HISTORY Makers.

Benilde Films Make it to Vertical Shorts Tilt

Wazzup Pilipinas!

Three short films produced by digital filmmaking students and recent graduates of the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde (DLS-CSB) School of Design and Arts were selected as finalists to the Cinemalaya Nespresso Vertical Shorts Competition.

"iTay" by Gian Arre, "Kasama" by Ira Lastrilla and "Pedro Pasahero" by Paulito Del Mundo Parohinog and Beatrice Molina are among the entries which will vie for awards in the new competition organized by Novateur Coffee Concepts, Inc., CCP and Cinemalaya Foundation. 

A tribute to fathers and children, "iTay" follows a lonesome young woman who becomes overwhelmed with attention when a father learns how to use a new phone as a means to be a parent in this age. The film explores how some parents find their purpose in taking care of their children and how they may feel stripped of this purpose when they lose their family.

"Kasama" tells the story of Rica, played by Benilde film alumna Beatrice Ramos, who has just lost her job. On her way home, she recalls the moments in her life when friends and family lifted her spirits. She tries to figure out the reasons behind their actions until a chance encounter gives her a hint. Apart from Ramos, Lastrilla also got the support of fellow Benilde film alumni Remil Baylon as co-writer, Jaig de Guzman as cinematographer and Rachel Esperon as co-producer.

Meanwhile, "Pedro Pasahero" is about a breadwinner who faces the pressures of providing for his mother and little sister. When he decides to rob a utility vehicle, every passenger reminds him of what he is taking away from them. Benildean filmmaker and recent graduate Yves Publico served as cinematographer. 

Completing the list of finalists are "Ratsky" by Ruby Rosa Baldevarona, "The Door" by James Edward Golla, "Takipsilim" by Benny Yunsay Pioquinto, "Love Others As You Love Your Selfie" by Arjanmar Rebeta, "SLN" by Brian Spencer Reyes, "Ako" by Jonel Revistual, "Kapit Lang" by Christian Borras Tan, "Braveheart" by Kevin Tuason and "Yakap" by Michael Sy Yu.

All participating films were shot using a mobile phone, with a maximum length of three minutes and in a vertical format (9:16). The theme for this year's contest is "pagmamalasakit" or empathy, which is a value most honored by Filipinos.

Competition finalists will be shown at the Tanghalang Manuel Conde (CCP Dream Theater) on August 11, 10 a.m. There will also be a talkback forum after the film screenings to give the audience a chance to ask questions on aspects of film production. Moreover, it will serve as an opportunity for members of the production team to interact with the viewers.

The grand prize winner will receive 50,000 pesos in cash. The second and third placers will get 30,000 and 20,000 pesos, respectively. All of them will also take home state-of-the-art Nespresso machines and coffee capsule packages. Winners will be announced during the Cinemalaya Awards Night on August 12. 

Apart from serving as a challenge to young filmmakers to share their stories through vertical video, the contest is also a celebration of innovation, passion, and excellence in filmmaking.  

ONE Championship Moves to Heighten Japan’s Glory in Martial Arts

Wazzup Pilipinas!

Several traditional forms of martial arts could trace its origins in Japan, but many people tend to forget that the country likewise served as one of the starting points of mixed martial arts.
Japan was once considered the apex of modern-day mixed martial arts, but it has largely fallen out of context over the past decade.
In the early 1990’s, mixed martial arts was growing all over the world as several locations across the globe were beginning to lay the foundation.
With Brazil and the United States indoctrinating the beauty of style versus style in the west, the sport’s old stomping ground in the eastern hemisphere was in Japan.
Japan has a strong history of mixed martial arts as the nation has given birth to heaps of legendary combat promotions such as Pancrase, Shooto, DREAM and PRIDE.
From fearless strikers to elite submission grapplers, it likewise provided the sport with a long list of extraordinary mixed martial artists with the likes of Caol Uno, Hayato Sakurai, Norifumi "Kid" Yamamoto, Takanori “Fireball Kid” Gomi and Kazushi Sakuraba.

However, the Japanese mixed martial arts scene drastically lost its luster with the fall of PRIDE and DREAM.

Japan is poised to reclaim its position among the top mixed martial arts countries in Asia and the world as ONE Championship plans to make its first venture into “The Land of the Rising Sun” in 2019.
A mixed martial arts organization that was established in Singapore seven years ago, ONE Championship is out to reestablish the nation's former glory in the sport.
“Japan has been waiting for a top global martial arts organization for a long time to revive the scene. I’m going to make sure that ONE Championship’s goal to redevelop Japan into a powerhouse is realized in 2019,” ONE Championship head honcho Chatri Sityodtong stated.
ONE Championship has taken mixed martial arts in Asia into greater heights, broadcasting to over 1.7-billion potential viewers across 136 countries around the world.
Since its inaugural card in September 2011, it has staged nearly 80 live events and has visited 11 different countries, including United Arab Emirates, China, Chinese Taipei, the Philippines, Myanmar and Cambodia.
With a highly-active fan base that is engaged in both digital and social media platforms, the biggest local and global brands in the world have been attracted to ONE Championship.
Forming a number of key partnerships, ONE Championship is at pace for a billion dollar valuation and an initial public offering in the next couple of years.
In line with ONE Championship’s strategy of developing local and homegrown mixed martial arts athletes, the promotion ventured and scouted talents in new markets like Thailand, Malaysia, Brunei, India and Vietnam as well as untapped areas of the Middle East, China and Russia.
To further cement its stature as the frontrunner of mixed martial arts in Asia, ONE Championship seeks to set foot on Japanese soil.
“Japan has the right history of martial arts of Aikido, Kendo, Judo, Karate,” Sityodtong stated. “So we want to showcase the best martial arts in Japan. We want to do it in the bushido way, with honor, with respect, with humility. Not the way our Western counterparts do it. We want to show real Asian values, real Japanese values.”
ONE Championship houses the best and brightest Japanese competitors as they form an integral part of the roster, with exciting combatants such as Koji Ando and Kotetsu Boku, as well as the legendary Shinya Aoki and ONE Strawweight World Champion Yoshitaka Naito.
Other Japanese members of the ONE Championship locker room are Mei Yamaguchi, Hayato Suzuki, Riku Shibuya, Tetsuya Yamada, Yuki Kondo, Kazunori Yokota, Nobutatsu Suzuki and Masakazu Imanari.
One of the first steps towards making inroads in Japan was the establishment of a partnership with AbemaTV, a streaming service developed by media company CyberAgent and broadcaster TV Asahi.
The joint venture will cover more than 20 events of ONE Championship in 2018, as well as offer a reality television series called “Surrogacy Battles” that aims to discover and develop Japanese talent.
The promotion will also work closely with Dentsu, the country’s largest advertising agency brand that will be responsible for assisting ONE Championship in its operations in the Japanese market.
According to Sityodtong, ONE Championship possesses the perfect blueprint in catapulting Japan back into the international mixed martial arts limelight.
“We have the right Japanese partners in Japan to succeed and make it even bigger than PRIDE was, and take martial arts back to the mainstream, where it belongs in Japan,” he expressed.
ONE Championship is set to hold its first press conference in Tokyo, Japan on August 23.
For more updates on ONE Championship, please, follow us on Twitter and Instagram @ONEChampionship, and like us on Facebook at
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