Friday, May 12, 2023

andBeyond expansion lodge and impact footprint in Kenya's Laikipia region with exclusive tourism concession in partnership with global conservation charity Space for Giants

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

Luxury experiential and conservation company andBeyond has extended its lodge circuit in Kenya with the announcement of an Exclusive Tourism Concession over the 44 000 acre (approximately 18 000 hectares) Suyian Conservancy in Kenya in partnership with global conservation charity Space for Giants. The multi-decade long-term lease and partnership gives andBeyond exclusive access to over 44 000 acres of prime wilderness land on Suyian Conservancy in north-western Laikipia. As the sole luxury lodge and tented camp operator on the conservancy, the lease enables andBeyond to use its extensive lodge operating experience to build and develop, over time, the finest lodge, tented camp, sky beds and mobile camping experience in Kenya on this pristine and private wildlife conservancy. 

“Our expansion into Laikipia is the culmination of a long-held desire to increase our impact and lodge operating footprint in Kenya. Laikipia is a prime wilderness area that is home to a greater population of wildlife than anywhere else in Kenya outside of the Masai Mara. This includes a large number of globally threatened mammals that make it particularly important from a conservation perspective. Representing a critical piece of the Kenyan circuit, it not only offers a world-class game experience but also aligns with many of our ambitious impact objectives in terms of securing and protecting endangered wildlife and habitat ecosystems, as well as enabling conservation through empowered communities,” explains Joss Kent, andBeyond CEO and Executive Chairman. 

“In Suyian Conservancy and Space for Giants we have found the perfect partnership through which to bring our dream to reality. We are totally aligned in our goals to create one of the finest conservancy and lodge operations in Kenya and, indeed, Africa.”

Space for Giants was founded by Dr Max Graham ten years ago, off the back of research into the conflict between people and elephants in Laikipia, home to the second largest population of elephants in Kenya and one of the largest free-roaming populations on the continent. A key lesson from this research, the importance of removing the cost of wildlife to local people and replacing it with benefits, has driven a strategy of transforming private ranches into wildlife conservancies owned by not-for-profit trusts, attracting investment into enterprises that can ensure the region is valued, not just because it protects critically important biodiversity, but also because it generates employment and builds the local and national economy. 

“Space for Giants has grown immensely in the last ten years and now operates across eleven countries in Africa,” explains Dr Graham. “If Laikipia is the heart of the organisation, Suyian is its soul. Last year, through the generosity of the former owners of Suyian and a transformational gift by American philanthropist Louis Bacon, we were able to support the transition of ownership of the 44 000 acres to the Suyian Conservancy Trust, a Kenyan not-for-profit. 

This will ensure Suyian and its wildlife are protected in perpetuity for the benefit of Kenyans and, indeed, the world.”

The partnership between andBeyond and Suyian Conservancy represents an important milestone in the property becoming a leading financially self-sufficient model for Protected Area Management in Africa.

“In andBeyond we have a company that shares our values and has the capacity to ensure this magical natural ecosystem is not only protected but thrives,” concludes Dr Graham. “We could not have dreamed of a better partnership as a start to Suyian’s exciting journey.”

Forming part of a vital wildlife movement corridor and home to a huge diversity of wildlife, including a significant number of endangered species, Suyian boasts a variety of compelling landscapes that include grassland, savanna, rocky outcrops or kopjes, dense vechellia woodland and more than 16 km (10 miles) of river frontage alongside the Ewaso Narok River. A thriving wildlife population includes rarities such as the melanistic, or black, leopard and African wild dog, as well as northern Kenyan species like Grevy’s zebra, reticulated giraffe, gerenuk, desert warthog and more. Elephant and buffalo are present in healthy numbers, as are lion, leopard and cheetah, in addition to both striped and spotted hyena. General game includes dik dik, giraffe, Laikipia hartebeest, Beisa oryx and lesser kudu.

With its remarkable wildlife and varying landscapes, Suyian is the ideal destination not only for an exclusive safari experience but also less commonly found activities such as walking safaris, camel safaris and horse-riding safaris on a neighbouring conservancy. The diversity of flora lends itself to engaging botany walks and the rich cultural history includes evidence of cave paintings and artefacts from as far back as the Stone Age. Guests will also be able to interact with local pastoral tribes such as the Samburu and Pokot, as well as participate in conservation and research activities.

Easily accessed by air or road from Nairobi, Suyian is also a gateway to more remote adventures, such as helicopter safaris and visits to the Northern Frontier region of Kenya, including Samburu, the Matthews Range and the Endoto Range, Lake Turkana and the fabled Suguta Valley. The conservancy not only offers magnificent views of Mount Kenya but can also be used as a base for scenic flights or even fishing trips to this majestic and beautiful mountain.

Transformed from pure cattle ranching to land managed for conservation with a limited number of cattle, Suyian combines rapidly evolving conservation practices with the opportunity for community development. The conservancy utilises a unique model of limited cattle ranching that uses rotational grazing to improve soil health and biodiversity. In combination with wildlife conservation and tourism, this not only contributes towards the economic development of neighbouring communities but also ensures a more diversified income stream.

“As a partner of Suyian Conservancy, our intention is to make an impactful contribution towards the development of conservation and community projects in the fragile Laikipia ecosystem,” says Kent. “Over the past thirty years, we have learned a lot of impact lessons across our 29 lodges and 1 million acres of primary conservation land under management in Sub-Saharan Africa. It is our hope that we can share some of these learnings to support and assist in the various projects at Suyian.”

The andBeyond ethos of Care of the Land, Wildlife and People is directly aligned with the existing aims of Suyian Conservancy, which include land stewardship, wildlife protection and security, as well as community support for schools, health programmes and education. Being contiguous with other nature conservancies such as Loisaba and Sosian provides the opportunity to work on shared conservation projects, as well as the possibility of creating a larger ‘super conservancy’ at some time in the future. Suyian also shares borders with the research conservancy of Mpala, which is run by Princeton University and offers the option for andBeyond guests to learn about and become involved in a multitude of conservation topics.

“Suyian offers the perfect potential for andBeyond to make a contribution to community and conservation efforts in Kenya while creating an exceptional experience for our guests,” concludes Kent. “Its untouched nature and wild spaces, combined with our strict conservation ethics, will make this the ideal exclusive wildlife viewing destination, far from the large tourist numbers that can often be found in other parts of East Africa.”

andBeyond Suyian Lodge is expected to open in 2025. Log on to or follow andBeyond on social media for further updates.


Explore HallyUniverse 8: The Infinite Beyond with BINI & G22!

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

Are you ready to explore a world beyond what your eyes can see and what your ears can hear? Look no further because after four years of waiting, HallyUP’s flagship event, HallyUniverse is back with HallyUniverse 8: The Infinite Beyond!

On May 27, 2023, from 3:00 - 6:00 pm, K-Pop fans and enthusiasts are once again invited to join HallyUP at the Salazar Hall of the UP Bahay ng Alumni (Magsaysay Ave., UP Diliman Campus, Quezon City, Metro Manila). With various K-Pop games, booths, and performances for guests to see and enjoy, attending HallyUniverse 8: The Infinite Beyond will definitely be on your bucket list. Pre-order tickets are priced at ₱180.00 and available now through this link:

HallyUniverse’s Debut

HallyUniverse is an event brought to you by the University of the Philippines Society of Students for Korean Popular Culture. The flagship event first started in 2013 with HallyUniverse 1: The Kpop Takeover, and since then, the event has had seven successful installments.

Much like its name suggests, HallyUniverse is a convention, a world - a universe for all things Hallyu. Since its debut, it has become an avenue for K-Pop enthusiasts to gather and share their mutual love for Korean popular culture. Furthermore, it does not only feature show-stopping performances from K-Pop cover groups, HallyUP’s very own members, and local artists, but also provides K-Pop enthusiasts the chance to play games, visit different booths, win raffle prizes, and listen to talks about Korean popular culture.

HallyUniverse’s Comeback Stage

This year, HallyUniverse 8: The Infinite Beyond returns to Salazar Hall, UP Bahay ng Alumni in UP Diliman, Quezon City on May 27, 2023, from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm. It may not be a Music Bank or Inkigayo comeback stage, but HallyUniverse 8: The Infinite Beyond is sure to bring home all the awards for its on-site comeback this time!

To make up for the last four years, HallyUP made sure to deliver a HallyUniverse like you’ve never seen before. This year’s star-studded lineup includes performances by BINI, G22, Joshua Kim, and many more. HallyUniverse 8 will also be graced by the presence of its special guests, SFU Professor Dr. Dal Yong Jin and Tiktok star Junjun Salarzon, more commonly known as Ramburat. Moreover, the premier Korean Popular organization of UP Diliman has also partnered with several fanbases and K-Pop shops so fans of any K-Pop group or artist can enjoy, gather, and interact with one another and buy various kinds of K-Pop merchandise in this special convention.

A Concert for a Cause

From the get-go, HallyUniverse has always had an entire category of its own. It isn’t just a convention of different fanclubs, nor is it just a concert. It is also a fundraising event for Kopino Children Association Inc., a non-profit organization that has been helping disadvantaged children and youth of Korean-Filipino descent since 2004. Some of the organization’s programs include providing academic scholarships to Korean-Filipino students, transient housing, and helping them find and reunite with their Korean parents. 80 percent of the event proceeds and the donations that will be received from HallyUniverse 8 will be donated to the association.

To support and help its beneficiaries, HallyUP aims to raise ₱20,000.00 from HallyUniverse 8: The Infinite Beyond. Pre-order tickets cost ₱180.00 each and are available for purchase through this link: You may also visit HallyUP’s Facebook page for more information and details.

Help support the bright future of Korean-Filipino children while celebrating your love for K-Pop! Enjoy HallyUP’s HallyUniverse 8: The Infinite Beyond, and experience a Hallyu universe like no other!

HallyUP is the premier Korean popular culture organization in UP Diliman. Formed in 2011, they continue to organize events that promote K-pop and Korean culture within and outside the university. Stay updated with their latest happenings by following their official social media accounts!





Miss Grand Australia National Director Amber Sidney is now at the Gigantes Islands in Iloilo doing promotional videos

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

Rafael's Tapas Bar and Restaurant, located at Newport World Resorts, played host to a special welcome dinner for Miss Grand Australia National Director, Amber Sidney, on May 10, 2023. The event was attended by Binibining Pilipinas Grand International 2022 Roberta Tamondong, CEO of Gigantes Islands Tour and Services Rhett Paul Bolivar, and members of the media and vlogging community.

The evening was filled with excitement and glamour as Amber Dew was warmly welcomed by the attendees. She expressed her gratitude for the warm reception and the opportunity to once again visit the Philippines, which she described as a beautiful and welcoming country. Amber's last visit in the country was way back 2019 before the pandemic.

During the dinner, guests enjoyed a delectable selection of tapas and other Spanish-inspired dishes prepared by the culinary team of Rafael's Tapas Bar and Restaurant. The exquisite food, paired with a fine selection of drinks, added to the festive ambiance of the evening.

Binibining Pilipinas Grand International 2022, Roberta Tamondong, also took the opportunity to welcome Amber Dew to the Philippines and expressed her excitement about the upcoming Miss Grand International pageant. She shared her experiences and insights as a pageant titleholder, offering valuable tips and advice to Amber Dew as she prepares for the competition as it's new National Director. Amber and Roberta were co-candidates from last year's Miss Grand International pageant.

The CEO of Gigantes Islands Tour and Services, Rhett Paul Bolivar, also attended the dinner and extended his warmest welcome to Amber Dew. Bolivar highlighted the beauty and diversity of the Philippines and encouraged Amber Dew to explore and experience all that the country has to offer. They are now in Gigantes Islands in Iloilo to do a promotional video shoot.

The welcome dinner was attended by members of the media and vlogging community, who captured the exciting moments of the evening and shared them with their followers.

Overall, the welcome dinner was a great success, and a testament to the warm hospitality and friendship shared between the Philippines and Australia. We wish Amber Dew the best of luck as she prepares for the Miss Grand International 2023 pageant, and look forward to seeing her again in the future as I believe the plan is to bring the top three winners of the pageant here in the country so they could also appreciate the beauty of the Philippines.

Wazzup Pilipinas founder, Ross Del Rosario, facilitated the arrangement for the welcome dinner for Amber.

5th Global Biodiversity Finance Conference in Cape Town Highlights New Opportunities to Finance Conservation

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

Planet Earth needs approximately USD950 billion per year to restore and protect imperiled ecosystems necessary to people’s livelihoods, according to a 2020 study by the Nature Conservancy, Paulson Institute and Cornell University. However, only USD121 billion is spent on average per year to conserve biodiversity. To bridge this gap, the United Nations Development Programme’s Biodiversity Finance Initiative (UNDP-BIOFIN) convened over 180 biodiversity finance experts and government members for the 5th Global Conference on Biodiversity Finance.

Held in Cape Town, South Africa, the fifth edition of the conference ran from 9 to 11 May 2023 and covered a broad spectrum of opportunities to finance biodiversity such as finance sector engagement, positive incentives, impact investment, repurposing harmful subsidies and community engagement. Delegates from over 45 countries including the Philippines shared their respective insights and experiences to inspire more action to conserve life and nature in every corner of the globe.

“We’re honored to share our hard-learned strategies on finance and conservation,” said Nokutula Mhene of BIOFIN South Africa. Launched in 2015, BIOFIN’s South Africa Programme promotes seven finance solutions to address ecosystem restoration, protected area management and sustainable biodiversity use.

Globally renowned for wildlife reserves like Kruger National Park and Table Mountain, South Africa is the world’s third most biodiverse nation, hosting nearly 100,000 known species of plants and animals – ranging from the enormous African Bush Elephant (Loxodonta africana) to the tiny Cape Elephant Shrew (Elephantulus edwardii).

“South Africa features some of the continent’s best-known parks, but it is also a biodiversity hotspot with its own challenges. Water scarcity, loss of biodiversity through unsustainable economic practices, poaching and even the lack of adequate financing for protected areas expansion are issues we are tackling head-on. Through creative but practical finance solutions, we hope to help the country meet the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework targets and all biodiversity-related UN SDGs,” added UNDP South Africa Resident Representative Dr. Ayodele Odusola.

Changing Conservation Through Biodiversity Finance

Launched in 2012, BIOFIN is a global initiative supporting the development and implementation of national Biodiversity Finance Plans to transform how biodiversity finance is mobilized and allocated. The world's primary global conservation agreement, the Kunming-Montreal agreement, was adopted in December in Montreal and includes 23 targets to be met by 2030.

These include the repurposing of subsidies that harm biodiversity by at least USD500 billion yearly, the mobilization of USD200 billion in annual domestic and international biodiversity-related funding from public and private-sector sources, plus raising international financial flows from developed to developing countries by at least USD30 billion yearly.

 “Every USD1 billion investment reduces the total number of threatened plant and animal species by .57%,” explained BIOFIN Global Manager Onno van den Heuvel at a previously-held dialogue in Manila, the Philippines. 

“This is where BIOFIN comes in,” explained BIOFIN Global Manager Onno van den Heuvel. “We help local communities, civil society, national parks, private entities and government organizations to secure the financing they require to meet their biodiversity objectives on the ground.”

Over the past 11 years, BIOFIN has developed a 41-nation network covering biodiversity-rich regions across Africa, Europe, South and Central America, plus the Asia-Pacific Region. “We continuously refine our strategies, mechanisms and methodologies through national, regional and global learning exchanges such as the 5th Global Conference in Cape Town,” added van den Heuvel.

In South Africa, BIOFIN successfully enhanced investments into businesses that conserve nature by establishing a government-owned Biodiversity Investment platform while offering technical assistance to improve business proposals and facilitate negotiations with investors.

UN Resident Coordinator of South Africa Nelson Muffuh in his goodwill message at the conference opening emphasized the urgent need for actions from all sides – government and the private sector – and to share the responsibility to conserve biodiversity and close the gap for nature financing. UNDP South Africa is extensively working to address this and ensure the inclusion of communities and academia.

African Bush Elephants (Loxodonta africana) stand nearly four meters at the shoulder and are the largest land animals on Earth. South Africa hosts over 20,000 wild elephants, most of which can be found inside Kruger National Park. 

Cave Systems such as the Langun-Gobingob Cave in the Philippines are among the many diverse habitats BIOFIN helps conserve. BIOFIN has been helping the Philippine government stimulate ecotourism through its Year of the Protected Areas (YoPA) Campaign, which concludes this June.

Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment of South Africa Barbara Creecy encouraged participants and experts at the 5th Global Conference on Biodiversity Finance to think and keep in mind three critical factors to narrow the financing gap: the link between biodiversity and climate financing and how these can flow from both sides, opportunities to repurpose harmful subsidies in agriculture and other sectors, plus the need for a significant reform of global financial systems.

"Let this not be the third time that we do not meet the global conservation targets. BIOFIN can be the engine that can deliver, if we get it right," said UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen during her opening message. She encouraged governments to look at their policies on nature financing, engage the banking and private sectors and think about effective means of implementation. "We know that biodiversity is important. It defines our identity as humans. But policies matter and matter greatly - and this is what BIOFIN can help enable," added Andersen.

In the Philippines, BIOFIN raised over USD10 million for 107 Legislated Protected Areas by pushing for increased congressional financing. Over USD300,000 was raised for terrestrial reforestation through the Mynt and GCash GForest Programme. Its ongoing Year of the Protected Areas campaign aims to convince Filipinos to responsibly visit the country’s 247 protected areas in the wake of flagging attendance spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We must integrate biodiversity into mainstream finance mechanisms to ensure that line agencies such as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Bureau of Fisheries (BFAR) and our National Parks System can access funds when they need it the most,” concluded Philippine DENR Assistant Secretary Marcial Amaro Jr., who headed the Philippine delegation. “Creative fundraising, particularly from the private sector, can help restore our biodiversity and jumpstart responsible tourism, especially after the pandemic.”

Thursday, May 11, 2023

Instituto Cervantes contributes to the Heritage Month with an invitation to Rediscover and protect San Nicolas District

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

On Tuesday, May 16th at 2PM, Instituto Cervantes is presenting a lecture on the historical value of San Nicolas, and an exhibit by the Urban Sketchers depicting the neighborhood today. Scheduled during the Heritage Month, the said events will be held at Instituto Cervantes’ center in Intramuros (Calle Real, Plaza San Luis, Intramuros).

The district of San Nicolas, an area of Manila’s Historic Chinatown, was where the confluence of Spanish and Chinese interaction in the Philippines largely took place, a process that to a high degree contributes to the Filipino identity. Historically, its relevance is in its role in the Philippine revolution. Architecturally, its 19th-century buildings and its streets are evidences of this interaction and are the last vestiges of a bygone era. Regretfully however, the district has decayed.

The good news is that there is a growing awareness of the value of the said district. Instituto Cervantes is organizing the said lecture and exhibit in order to generate interest in the preservation of the heritage of the area and encourage activity there in order to bring it back to the dynamic place it was before, thereby increasing the value of the zone.

The conference is titled “Trade and Revolution: Historical notes on the Jeopardized District of San Nicolas in Manila”, and the exhibit is titled “San Nicolas through the eyes of the Urban Sketchers.” The San Nicolas heritage community was first chosen as Urban Sketchers Manila’s sketchwalk location back in 2022. Advocates then shared with participating artists their hope for this place to continue to hold the memory of old Manila that generations after can appreciate. The exhibit, which consists of some 50 artworks, will be available for viewing everyday, including Sundays, from 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM until July 31st.

Admission is FREE and open for all on a first come, first served basis. For more information, please visit our website at or our Facebook page at You may also contact Instituto Cervantes at 8526-1482 or at

SSS welcomes new acting SSC member Robert Joseph De Claro

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

The Social Security System (SSS) welcomes Commissioner Robert Joseph M. De Claro, one of the new acting members of the Social Security Commission (SSC) representing the Employers’ Group.

As a member of the SSS’ highest governing board, De Claro shares in the responsibility for the governance of the SSS in terms of providing policy directions, monitoring, and overseeing management actions with powers and duties specified in Section 4 of Republic Act No. 11199 or The Social Security Act of 2018.

De Claro has extensive experience and expertise in spearheading, establishing, and managing startup and operating entities.

Prior to this, he has held various executive positions for different companies such as President and CEO of People4u, Inc.; Operating Partner of FutureNow Business Services Inc.; President and General Manager of JMango Philippines, Inc.; General Manager, APAC of GlobalOne Solutions, Inc. and Cloud Sherpas; among others.

He started his career with Nestle Philippines in 1993 and was an Expat in Australia and the Nestle Headquarters in Switzerland.

He earned his Bachelor of Science in Computer Science with specialization in Information Technology at the De La Salle University in 1992.

Other members of the SSC include Secretary of Finance Benjamin E. Diokno (ex-officio Chairperson); SSS Acting President and CEO Rolando L. Macasaet (Vice-Chairperson); Secretary of Labor and Employment Bienvenido E. Laguesma (ex-officio member); and Commissioners Diana Pardo Aguilar, Anita Bumpus-Quitain, Jose C. Julio, Manuel L. Argel Jr., and Eva B. Arcos.

DepEd starts early registration for SY

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

The Department of Education (DepEd) started the conduct of early registration of incoming Kindergarten, Grades 1, 7, and 11 learners in public schools starting on May 10 to June 9, 2023.

In the recent order, DepEd reiterates that all incoming learners enrolling in Kindergarten and Grades 1, 7, and 11 in all public elementary and secondary schools shall pre-register or participate in the early registration to allow the Department to make the needed preparations and adjustments of plans for the incoming SY.

On the other hand, incoming Grades 2-6, 8-10, and 12 learners from public schools are considered pre-registered and do not need to participate in the early registration. In the case of Private schools, they are encouraged to conduct their respective early registration activities in the same time frame.

For the conduct of the early registration, face-to-face transactions with schools are preferred, but schools may continue to implement other means of collecting registration forms. Schools Division Superintendents and School Heads will lead advocacy campaigns in their respective jurisdictions and encourage Out of School Children (OSC) and parents/guardians of prospective learners to participate in the early registration.

Furthermore, the policy orders all public elementary and secondary schools to update or encode daily in the Early Registration facility in the Learner Information System (LIS) using the school head or administrator account.

The schools will then use the print or electronic copies of the Basic Education Enrollment Form (Revised as of March 27, 2023) to ensure necessary information in registering incoming Kindergarten, Grades 1, 7, and 11 learners, and other data are appropriately captured.

In addition, the schools may also encode in the Early Registration facility, the prospective enrollees for other grade levels (Grades 2-6, 8-10, and 12) based on the previous school enrollment to get the overall picture of the expected enrollees for the next enrollment.

For more information on early registration, please contact the Planning Service-Education Management Information System Division through email at

FDCP unveils Philippine delegation to Cannes Marchédu Film 2023

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

The Film Development Council of the Philippines. (FDCP) is leading the Philippine delegation to Marché du Film 2023, the business arm of the prestigious Cannes Film Festival, which will be held in France from May 16 to 27.

The Philippines will be represented by six feature-length films at Marché du Film and three projects at Festival de Cannes, along with 17 production companies, four Filipino producers, and a Filipina juror in the independently-sponsored Queer Palm award.

Filipino Film Screenings at Marché du Film Four Filipino films will have exclusive screenings at Marché du Film from May 16 to 26, namely: TOPAKK by Richard Somes, Her Locket by J.E. Tiglao, Grace by Ato Bautista, and I Am Ninoy by Vince Tañada. Documentary films Tens Across the Borders by Chan Sze-Wei and Asog by Sean Devlin are also included in the Cannes Docs 2023 program.

TOPAKK (English Title: Trigger), directed by Richard Somes, will be joining the genre-oriented Fantastic Pavilion Galas at Marché du Film. This action-drama film follows the story of a security guard, afflicted with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from previously serving in the army, who finds himself involved in another deadly war.

J.E. Tiglao’s film Her Locket is also included in the Marché du Film Market Screening. It tells the story of Jewel, a mother with dementia, who suddenly recovers an old locket that causes memories from her previous life to return.

Grace by Ato Bautista is a crime thriller film about a college student who decides to seek revenge on men who are involved in his girlfriend’s death, regardless of their powerful positions in the country. Meanwhile, Vince Tañada’s musical drama I Am Ninoy follows 11 characters whose lives resemble that of the late Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino.

Across the Borders, directed by Chan Sze-Wei, is part of the Cannes Docs - Marché du Film showcase as a co-production project between the Philippines, Singapore, Germany, and United Kingdom. This documentary feature follows three individuals from Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines as they explore the ballroom scene in New York City and expand the queer community across Southeast Asia.

The Cannes Docs-In-Progress program also selected Sean Devlin’s documentary entitled Asog, a film about a non-binary teacher who embarks on a road trip for a drag pageant and meets communities that are still reeling from the aftermath of previous typhoons in the country.

Filipino Projects and Representatives at Festival de Cannes RIA, directed by Arvin Belarmino, is part of the La Fabrique Cinéma 2023 selection. La Fabrique Cinéma is an initiative to support emerging filmmakers who are working on their first or second feature-length films, and selected candidates will receive individual coaching sessions and funding opportunities for their next projects.

Jan Carlo Natividad’s The Art of Detaching One’s Memory is one of the six chosen projects at the Focus WiP (Work in Progress) 2023 program of Cinéma de Demain. The Focus WiP endeavors to promote short films, currently in production or post-production, to potential distributors and producers who can provide support to filmmakers in the development and finalization of their short films.

Award-winning Filipino filmmaker and writer Don Josephus Raphael Eblahan is also invited to be part of the Cannes Cinéfondation Résidence, which offers directors a personalized program that will aid them in scriptwriting and production. Their respective projects will be presented to producers and distributors after the program.

Moreover, renowned Filipina filmmaker and actress Isabel Sandoval is selected as one of the jurors in Queer Palm, an independently-sponsored award given to films exhibited at Cannes Film Festival that have made significant contributions to LGBTQIA+ cinema

Filipino Production Companies at Marché du Film

Seventeen (17) production companies have been officially selected by the FDCP to represent their respective companies at Marché du Film to explore possible partnerships with their international counterparts. The FDCP will sponsor their Market Badges which will grant them access to the following:

● Cannes Film Festival’s full screenings and exclusive reruns

● Marché du Film screenings and online platforms

● Free one-year subscription to Cinando and its database of film industry professionals

● Speed meetings for the duration of the event

● Marché du Film publications with chosen delegates’ professional contact details Cannes Producers Network 2023

The Filipino producers chosen by the FDCP to be part of the Cannes Producers Network from May 17 to 22 are Lino Cayetano, the founder of Rein Entertainment that produced. critically acclaimed television series such as Bagman and Betcin, and Benedict Mique, the CEO of Lonewolf Films Inc. that produced the film ML starring Eddie Garcia and Tony Labrusca

Selected producers will receive a Marché du Film and Producers Network accreditation sponsored by the FDCP, as well as a PHP50,000 reimbursable stipend including flight, accommodations, and allowance, subject to proper liquidation, auditing, and accounting.

They will also have access to the following: Cannes Film Festival’s full screenings and reruns, Marché du Film online and in-person screenings, priority badges for both events, exhibitor booths and pavilions, free one-year subscription to Cinando, and conferences, panels, and masterclasses during the festival.

Launched in 2004, the Cannes Producers Network has become an established venue for film producers around the world to foster long-lasting connections and business partnerships, making it a highly anticipated event for the global film industry.

Spotlight Asia

Four Filipino producers have been selected to be part of Spotlight Asia from May 16 to 24, namely: Benedict Mique, Lino Cayetano, FUSEE founder Wilfredo Manalang, and filmmaker and writer Kyla Romero.

Spotlight Asia is a newly launched program that aims to strengthen connections and collaborations between Asian and European film markets. This program includes presentations and panel discussions on future co-production initiatives between Asia and Europe.

The FDCP will be hosting a series of events at Marché du Film such as the Film Philippines Incentives Talk, Philippine Cinema Night, and Full Circle Lab Philippines on Spotlight.

Moreover, the FDCP will organize a Philippine Pavilion shared with the Singapore Film Commission, where Filipino delegates can gather to discuss potential partnerships and expand their networks with film industry professionals from different countries.

The Marché du Film is one of the biggest film markets in the world that is attended by more than 12,000 professionals in the film industry. It aims to promote business partnerships and collaborations involving financing, co-production, and distribution of films, as well as networking opportunities among film industry experts.

This year’s participation of the Philippines in Marché du Film is in line with the national film agency’s mandate to further develop the Philippine film industry and provide opportunities for homegrown talents to be recognized globally.

To know more about the country’s participation in Marché du Film, follow FDCP’s official pages on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Marcos govt must reprimand NGCP for poor performance and grid outages

Wazzup Pilipinas!? is calling on the Marcos administration to reprimand and revisit the franchise of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) for its repeated failure to secure reliable electricity for the public. Roland Vibal, National Coordinator of, said:

“The Congress must call for a public hearing and review the NGCP franchise before things get worse. The Department of Energy (DoE) must stop its kids-glove approach to NGCP and administratively reprimand it for its failure to fulfill its duties. The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) needs to disallow NGCP’s petition for a transmission rate increase in its 4th regulatory period review as it fails to comply with its obligation 14 years after securing its franchise.

“The NGCP continues to remiss in its obligations and responsibilities to ensure a reliable and safe transmission backbone for the country. The unexpected red and yellow alert in Luzon last Monday is similar to the power outages in Panay a few weeks ago, and to the massive power blackout in Mindanao in 2015 has become a recurring problem that NGCP has miserably failed to address.

“Despite its billions in profit, NGCP has been slow in linking the three main island grids to ensure a stable electricity supply nor has fully upgraded all the transmission assets causing unexpected tripping’s and outages. Worse, is its continued failure to secure a stable firm based ancillary power reserves.

“The power outage we experienced in the sweltering heat of the country’s dry season is not an accident but a result of NGCP’s failure to fulfill its obligations as a private corporation responsible for operating, managing, and ensuring that the country’s grid provides reliable, sufficient, and safe electricity. Without a sufficient, reliable, sustainable, safe, and affordable electricity supply our road to economic growth and sustainable development will be at naught.”

SSS welcomes appointment of Eva Arcos to Social Security Commission

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

The Social Security System (SSS) welcomes the appointment of Commissioner Eva B. Arcos as an acting member of the Social Security Commission (SSC), the highest governing board of the SSS.

As part of the SSC, Commissioner Arcos, who represents the Workers’ Group, is a member of the Information Technology and Collection Committee, and Risk Management and Investments Committee. She also served the SSC in 2015 and 2016.

Arcos dedicated more than three decades of service to workers and their families, women, the abandoned and homeless, children, and victim – survivors of gender-based violence, which include, among others, providing education opportunities; conducting research; participating in policy and program formulation; international solidarity; organizing communities; serving as a labor representative, delegate, adviser, panelist, or resource person in national and international activities; engaging in social dialogues and decision making-structures; providing psycho-social interventions, and psycho-spiritual accompaniment; and participating in relief and fact-finding missions in armed conflict areas.

She is concurrently the National Vice President for Education and Information of the Associated Labor Unions (ALU), Associated Philippine Seafarers Union (APSU), and the Associated Philippine Supervisory, Office, Technical Employees Association; and a Member of the Global, and Asia-Pacific IndustriALL Executive Committee, and Women’s Committee.

Arcos holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Economics from the University of the Philippines, Diliman. She has also earned 41 master’s units in Labor Policy and Administration, and Psychology from the same university.

She obtained diplomas and certificates in the areas of psychology, theology, spirituality, and labor from various institutions including Notre Dame University, Indiana, USA; Mexican American Cultural Center, San Antonio, Texas; Turin International Training Centre; Asian Productivity Organization and Iranian Productivity Organization, Tehran, Iran; Centro de Enseñanza para Extranjeros, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico; and International Institute – Histadrut, Israel.

Arcos joins Secretary of Finance Benjamin E. Diokno (ex officio Chairperson); SSS President and CEO Rolando Ledesma Macasaet (Vice-Chairperson); Secretary of Labor and Employment Bienvenido E. Laguesma (ex officio member); and Commissioners Diana Pardo Aguilar, Anita Bumpus-Quitain, Manuel L. Argel Jr., Jose C. Julio, and Robert Joseph M. De Claro in the SSC.

Celebrate the many sides of mom this Mother’s Day with Samsung devices!

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Score the best gifts at incredible prices for moms this month

It’s the month of May and there’s one person in this world who deserves the utmost appreciation for the unconditional love we receive from them - our moms!

Whether she’s the fashionista, Kpop and Kdrama fangirl, active and sporty, tech-savvy, or always on-the-go mother, Samsung has the gadget to delight the many sides of mom. For the hubby and kids looking for the perfect gifts for their moms, or even for moms to treat themselves, Samsung has the perfect device and fantastic deals to make your day (or month!)


Give an epic surprise for your partner with the Galaxy S23 series and the Galaxy Z Fold4

For the woman who does an epic job of caring for her family, give her any device from the newest Galaxy S23 series and get discounts and freebies worth up to PHP 8,000, including a free phone case and a 25W travel adapter when you shop now until May 31. If you are on a budget, you can also trade in your older phone for a Galaxy S23 series phone and save up to PHP13,000.

The newest Galaxy S23 series offers fresh new colors that are inspired by nature and perfectly define any version of a strong woman you have as a partner – choose between Lavender, Cream, Phantom Black, or Green. Besides its epic design, the latest Galaxy S series offers the most high-resolution camera system of any Samsung device equipped with the new Adaptive Pixel 200MP sensor for Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, while a 50MP main camera for Samsung S23, which allows your partner to capture moments, from small crisp details to core memories of your whole family at about any light conditions.

Aside from the Galaxy S23 Series, the Galaxy Z Fold4 also makes a great gift for your hard working partner. The Galaxy Z Fold4 also comes with a free Galaxy Watch5 44mm worth PHP18,990 when you buy it until May 31.

If your significant other loves watching clips or drama series and always checks documents using their phones, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4’s 7.6-inch Main Screen is the perfect thoughtful present you can give to them. The Galaxy Z Fold4 is also fantastic when it comes to productivity and multitasking as it has two batteries that total 4400mAh, which can definitely keep up with the busy schedule of a multifaceted mom.

Get the latest Galaxy A series devices as an awesome gift for the best Mom

Awesome moms deserve an awesome phone this Mother’s Day and the latest Galaxy A series devices have arrived to offer premium features at a great price. Get a free 25W travel adapter and free clear phone case when you purchase the new Galaxy A54 5G and Galaxy A34 5G from May 12 to May 31.

Does she always take a lot of random photos? Watch videos on social media platforms? Call you every chance there is? Samsung always has your back when it comes to giving awesomeness with the new Galaxy A54 5G and the Galaxy A34 5G. Choose from slim and sleek designs of Awesome Lime, Awesome Violet and Awesome Graphite - whichever fits mom’s vibe. The phones have immersive Sup er AMOLED displays, 6.4-inch on the Galaxy A54 5G and 6.6-inch on the Galaxy A34 5G, deliver stunning images with clear quality and come with a variety of creative editing tools for awesome photos and videos.

With fast 5G connectivity, your moms can browse and download documents, photos, videos, or even games conveniently as well as enjoy uninterrupted video playbacks with its super-fast charging battery – get up to 50% within only 30 minutes of charging and also guarantee up to four generations of OS upgrades and five years of security updates.

Treat Yourself: Go flip or go bigger

And if you are a mom looking to treat yourself this May, a brand-new gadget is the perfect gift. Reward yourself and flip your energy with the Galaxy Z Flip4 which comes with a free Galaxy Buds2 Pro when you purchase now until May 31. You can also go bigger with any of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 or A8 series and get a free tab keyboard worth up to PHP 17,599.00.

The Galaxy Z Flip4 is definitely a style statement with chic and stylish colorways available in Bora Purple, Graphite, Pink Gold, Blue, and the new bespoke editions of Indigo Black and White Gold. Capture great content with its enhanced OIS and VDIS for better video stabilization and hands-free selfie features. You can also enjoy worry-free adventures with its splash-resistant coating and outstanding durability, being the only flip phone on the market with an IPX8 rating. It is also constructed using the unique Corning® Gorilla® Glass Victus®+ and Samsung's toughest aluminum frame, the Armor Aluminum hinge frame.

Meanwhile, the Galaxy Tab S8 lets you maximize your “me” time for games and leisure apps with its 11.0-inch WQXGA display with a high refresh rate of 120Hz with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor and an 8000mAh battery with 45W charging speed. As the largest screen in the Samsung Galaxy Tab S, the Galaxy S8 Ultra is the perfect gadget for refreshing alone time or unforgettable bonding moments with your kids over cartoons, TV shows, or online games. It also comes with an ultra-wide front camera in a tablet with a 14.6-inch AMOLED display where you can write, sketch, doodle, or draw all your ideas into reality.

Surprise mom with gifts that cater to each of her unique traits with Samsung's latest offers. Various freebies await you from May 1 until May 31 of 2023. Visit your Samsung Experience Stores and authorized stores this May!

For more information, visit

Angat Buhay Chair Leni Robredo launches Tayo Ang Liwanag book on People's Campaign anniversary

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To commemorate the first anniversary of the people’s campaign on Tuesday, Angat Buhay Chairperson Leni Robredo launched her very own coffee table book titled “Tayo ang Liwanag” and signed several pre-sold copies at the Museo ng Pag-asa. The limited edition coffee table book features iconic moments, behind-the-scenes photos, and inside stories from the people’s campaign in 2022.

“If I have to go through it all over again, I will. Kasi sa tingin ko, marami tayong na-achieve na on the day I announced my candidacy, I never thought na ma-aachieve natin,” Robredo said, referring to the overwhelming spirit of volunteerism that was sparked during the people’s campaign in 2022.

As a beneficiary of the proceeds from the book, Angat Buhay, through its Executive Director Raffy Magno, expressed their gratitude to individuals who continue to go out of their way and express their support.

“Hope and bayanihan create a virtuous cycle. It is the hope of our volunteers, partners, and supporters that continue to push Angat Buhay in its work to help alleviate poverty, which in turn inspires even more Filipinos to volunteer what they have and what they can do,” Magno said.

The book launch and signing was followed by a mini-concert in the evening that featured performances by Nica del Rosario, Gab Pangilinan, and Rivermaya, as well as messages from former senators Kiko Pangilinan and Bam Aquino.

“Tayo ang Liwanag” is also available for pre-order through this link:

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