Sunday, May 2, 2021

Mother-daughter artists IWI and NICOLE LAUREL will launch their duet song 'SPECIAL MEMORY' on May 9 via Spotify.

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

As a special Mother's Day tribute, noted mother-daughter artists IWI and NICOLE LAUREL will launch their duet song 'SPECIAL MEMORY' on May 9 via Spotify. The music video will be launched on May 14 via Facebook Live. 


How can a 19 year old Iwi Laurel juggle her love for theatre, multiple singing stints, a restaurant job and a pre-law college course, unknowing that she would encounter a simple melody that would change her life forever. The year: 1983.

“It was during a rehearsal for a play we were doing with Repertory Philippines when a friend of mine, Raymond Lauchengco asked me if I could sing one of the songs on the soundtrack of a movie he was working on with Gary Valenciano called “Hotshots."

It was a song meant to appear in the dream sequence of the movie. I said yes, and immediately they gave me the study material on casette tape. 

They sent the tape at 11:00AM and by 1:00PM that day, I found myself in the studio. 

The music and lyrics were composed by Cecile Azarcon and arranged by Homer Flores and I did my little bit and after one take they dismissed me, and that was it. 

This song really took me by surprise because way back in 1983, I was singing, working and studying at the same time, so when I was offered this song, I thought my mind was set on becoming a lawyer, but then the film became a hit and the song garnered awards, and so I guess I became a singer, not a lawyer.”

It was three years after Iwi’s serendipitous first encounter with the Cecile Azarcon masterpiece that she had become a mother to Nicole.

Raising Nicole as a single mother had its many challenges, but ultimately, an unbreakable bond between them, through blood, unconditional love and music was forged. 

Nicole recounts her utmost gratitude through a musical tribute.

“ Growing up I was familiar with “Special Memory” because everyone knew my mom 
for it and I would constantly run into people who would ask me: “So, you are Iwi’s daughter…. Can you sing her song?” I grew up around that beautiful melody, but it was only as I got older that I realize how much more "Special Memory" meant to me than a song my mother once sang. It was the last song she recorded before changing her life entirely to raise me. I saw how tough things were for mom when I was growing up around her, how she worked tirelessly making ends meet, how she made countless sacrifices to ensure me a better life. I relished every home cooked meal and home baked cake. I saw the tears and I saw the happiness, I am forever grateful.”

Fast forward 2021:

Nicole found herself taking shape 
in familiar shadows, nestling her feet in the sand beneath her mother’s footsteps, after all…. so much of history, though unplanned,  
seemed to repeat itself. 

“It was Mom who encouraged me to be independent and move out when I turned 21.I found that like her, I also had aspirations to be a lawyer, grew up doing a couple plays with Repertory Philippines, spent my college days doing bar gigs at night and even worked part time in a restaurant just like her. We never talked about it, but it seems that so much of her was ingrained in me. 

The parallelisms were undeniable. Years later, after Dad passed away, it was just the two of us left, and it really makes me look back on the years she raised me. I just felt an overwhelming desire to thank her somehow. 

It was then when I first attempted to reach out to Ms. Cecile Azarcon’s publisher to ask permission if we could remake the song and re-arrange it as a duet. Through the wire, Ms. Cecile gave her blessing and my heart 
was full. It was during those days that 
I was also in constant talks and jam sessions with my regular keyboardist and arranger, Nikko Rivera. I was absolutely delighted 
to find out that the prolific Mr. Homer Flores had arranged the original version of “Special Memory. ” 

He is like a father figure of sorts to Nikko and I thought it would be an interesting twist to have a stellar and greatly accomplished “father and son-in-music” 
arrange the 2021 version of the song as a tandem. Thankfully Nikko immediately said yes. 

A week later I had bumped into Mr. Homer at Nikko’s wedding and mustered up the courage to ask him if he would be willing to arrange it. I could not be more grateful that they both said 'yes,' and the arrangement that came of these two great musical forces was sensational. 

Mr. Homer, Nikko and the rhythm section recorded in their homes, and as soon as I had the tracks, we immediately booked Wildgrass studios where the horns section and vocals were recorded. The tracks were then mixed by award-winning engineer Angee Rozul and mastered in Abbey Road UK.” 

“You will always be a special part of me.”

The Cecile Azarcon classic masterpiece is truly a “Special” one. It spans generations, it forges an unbreakable bond between a mother and a daughter, who through their unique voices, sing together, creating wonderful moments to cherish.

“I’ll put together all of your laughter like a symphony.”

Everything my mother did through 
the years is God’s ultimate blessing 
to me, and not a day goes by that I try to give thanks for it. I wish there was more I could do to thank her, but for now, I hope this simple celebration of love will do. 
I love you mom. Happy Mother’s Day.”



Saturday, May 1, 2021

Instituto Cervantes online discussion tackles the place of Spanish in international relations

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

On Thursday, April 29, at 6pm, Instituto Cervantes de Manila will be holding an online panel discussion about the role of Spanish in international institutions and relations. Titled “La importancia del español en las relaciones internacionales", this event will bring together four ambassadors to discuss the importance of Spanish in global institutions and its weight in international relations.

Last April 23 was not only the International Book Day but also the day of the Spanish Language, a commemoration declared by the United Nations in 2010 to highlight the global relevance of Spanish, which even Google celebrated with a special doodle featuring the characteristic Spanish letter “ñ”.

In line with this, Instituto Cervantes de Manila has invited H.E. Carlos Rojas, Ambassador of Chile in the Philippines; H.E. Marcela Ordóñez, Ambassador of Colombia in the Philippines; and H.E. Jorge Moragas, Ambassador of Spain in the Philippines, who will join H.E. Celia Anna Feria, Ambassador of the Philippines in Portugal, to measure the importance of the Spanish language in the international context and address commonly asked questions, such as the reasons for a Filipino aspiring to be a diplomat to learn Spanish.

The discussion will be conducted in Spanish but simultaneous English interpretation will be available. Admission is free and open to all on a first come, first served basis. The link to access the event is

This event is organized by Instituto Cervantes de Manila, in collaboration with the Embassy of Chile in the Philippines, the Embassy of Colombia in the Philippines, and the Embassy of Spain in the Philippines.

For further information about the webinar, please visit to Instituto Cervantes’ website (, or Instituto Cervantes Facebook page

Kidlat Tahimik, FDCP Spotlight Lesser-Known Heroes in Unsung Sariling Bayani Short Film Competition

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

There are spectacular hero stories in Philippine history, and there are also simple accounts of heroism that are just as inspiring. Such unheard stories of heroism also deserve the spotlight, and these will be showcased at Kidlat Tahimik's Unsung Sariling Bayani (USB) Short Film Competition.

Through the inaugural USB, National Artist for Film and Broadcast Arts Kidlat Tahimik, hopes that this cinematic movement for the youth will balance the influence of foreign comic book superheroes on the Filipino youth’s mindset with compelling engagements with the glorious stories of our very own heroes.

“Balik tayo sa simple storytelling. I think we are all, even at a high school age, we are intelligent enough to see a positive value in somebody older or chosen as a hero who can really bring out the best in us,” he said.

The USB Online Film Festival was launched on April 27 by the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) in partnership with the National Quincentennial Committee (NQC). The Bureau of Learner Support Services - Youth Formation Division of the Department of Education is in support of this FDCP project.

April 27, 2021 is a significant moment in Philippine history as it marks the 500th anniversary of the Victory at Mactan as well as the 500th anniversary of the Philippine part in the first circumnavigation of the world.

Kidlat Tahimik, 78, remarked, “I think it is very timely, itong 500 years after to let this be a catalyzer. Para sa akin, magandang catalyzer itong pang-udyok para maka-focus tayo on heroism but maybe also on redefining ‘Ano ba talaga ang heroism?’”

The competition for Filipinos accepts shorts of any genre as long as they feature a story depicting the life, times, and achievements of documented and verifiable unsung local heroes. The entries must be 5 to 8 minutes long, including the credits.

The USB has three categories: Youth Category - Senior High Student (Public School), Youth Category - Senior High Student (Private School), and Adult Category (Aged 18 and above). The deadline for the submission of entries is on October 11, 2021.

The FDCP Channel will host the USB Online Film Festival from November 11 to 17 and will stream the Awards Ceremony on November 14. Aside from the festival proper, USB will hold the FDCP Film School Basic Workshops on Filmmaking as well as the “Storming with Kidlat: Usapang Bayani Forum” wherein participants can consult with the National Artist himself.

FDCP Chairperson and CEO Liza Diño and National Artist for Film and Broadcast Arts Kidlat Tahimik ‘take a selfie’ with the acclaimed filmmaker’s bamboo camera.

A total of 30 finalists will be selected for the USB, with equal representation from the National Capital Region (NCR), Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao, and Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

Finalists will receive cash prizes and free access to all educational events to aid in their filmmaking process. After the competition, USB winners and finalists will get the chance to attend more free training sessions and workshops to be conducted by the FDCP.

“Through the guidance of National Artist and Father of Philippine Independent Cinema Kidlat Tahimik together with other esteemed Filipino filmmakers, I am confident that the USB finalists will take inspiration and motivation from Tatay Kidlat’s ‘bamboo camera filmmaking’ to promote the appreciation for lesser-known local heroes through short films,” said FDCP Chairperson and CEO Liza Diño.

The bamboo camera has been a symbol of Kidlat Tahimik’s remarkable local storytelling through the years. “Let the bamboo cameras guide our filmmaking,” said the National Artist born Eric de Guia who has received accolades from Cinemalaya, Gawad Urian, Prince Claus Fund, Amiens International Film Festival, and Berlin International Film Festival, among others.

“Sa dami ng mga bagong kuwento, I think yayaman ang kasaysayan ng Pilipinas and we, the small filmmakers, can contribute to the archives of our relevant local history,” noted Kidlat Tahimik.

For more information and to download the application form, visit and for inquiries, contact Mr. Mark John Pamintuan at with the subject heading “Query: USB 2021.” 

Below are the UNSUNG SARILING BAYANI Mechanics and Guidelines: 



  • Time limit: Minimum of five (5) minutes to a maximum of eight (8) minutes, including credits

  • Genre: Any, in live-action, documentary, or animation

  • Language: Preferably Filipino. English or any native language is allowed, provided that there are subtitles in Filipino. 

  • File format: Complete final cut and trailer must be submitted in 1080p, mp4 format, mixed in 5.1 audio format. 


Stories that depict the life, times, and achievements of Filipino heroes (documented and verifiable - local heroes).

Lesser-known Heroes from History

  1. Local heroes recognized by the local government or by the provincial government units.

  2. Local heroes that have significant acts or noble contributions to the country or their own communities, such as, but not limited to:

  • An initiative that has contributed to achieving the nation’s freedom

  • An initiative that has helped an individual or community achieve a life of freedom, peace, and prosperity

  • An act that helped save the life of an individual, especially one that involves risk to physical comfort, social stature, or quality of life

  • A notable form of service that helped an individual or community in times of adversity

  1. A significant figure that has made relevant contributions or has introduced a positive change in his/her field. 

These people must have appeared at least once in literature, such as reference books, newspapers, journals, etc. 

NOTE: Nationally recognized heroes who are not covered in the Festival are Jose Rizal; Andres Bonifacio; Emilio Aguinaldo; Apolinario Mabini; Marcelo H. del Pilar; Sultan Dipatuan Kudarat; Juan Luna; Melchora Aquino; Gabriela Silang; Lapu-Lapu; Antonio Luna; Gregorio del Pilar, etc.


The competition is open to all Filipinos and will have the following categories: 

  1. Youth Category - Senior High Student (Public School)

Open to all public senior high school students who are currently enrolled in the academic year 2020-2021(2nd semester) or academic year 2021-2022.

  1. Youth Category - Senior High Student (Private School)

Open to all private senior high school students who are currently enrolled in the academic year 2020-2021 (2nd semester) or academic year 2021-2022. 

  1. Adult Category

Open to all filmmakers from ages 18 and above.


For the Youth Categories (Public and Private):

  • Best Short Film - P30,000 + certificate each

  • Best Director - P20,000 + certificate each

  • Audience Choice Award - P10,000 + certificate each

For the Adult Category:

  • Best Short Film - P50,000 + certificate

  • Best Director - P30,000 + certificate

  • Audience Choice Award - P15,000 + certificate

The 21 non-winning finalists will be given consolation prizes of P5,000 each + certificates.

The winners and finalists will also get the chance to attend free training and workshops to be conducted by the FDCP after the competition.


The following must be submitted online in an organized Google Drive folder with shared viewing setting:

For the Youth Categories (Public and Private Senior High Schools):

  • Duly accomplished Application Form which can be downloaded from the website (

  • A secured direct link (either in Vimeo or Google Drive) to a high-resolution copy of the short film, available for download

  • Movie trailer, maximum of 90 seconds. (This may be included in the Vimeo or Google Drive link.)       

  • Poster design in JPEG format (27”x41”, 300dpi)

  • School ID, enrollment form, or any proof that the student is enrolled in the current academic year (2nd Semester of AY 2020-2021 or 1st Semester of AY 2021-2022)

For the Adult Category

  • Duly accomplished Application Form which can be downloaded from the website (

  • A secured direct link (either in Vimeo or Google Drive) to a high-resolution copy of the short film, available for download.              

  • Movie trailer, maximum of 90 seconds. (This may be included in the Vimeo or Google Drive link.)       

  • Poster design in JPEG format (27”x41”, 300dpi)

  • Resume with two (2) 2x2 photos

  • Copy of a government-issued ID

All requirements must be emailed to With the subject “FDCP_USB_(TITLE OF THE FILM)”.


By entering the competition, the participants agree to abide by the competition guidelines and rules as follows:

  1. The  submitted films must meet the short film format as stated in the mechanics.

  2. The submitted films must not have been released on any platform, festival, or event before submission.

  3. Participants must submit complete and correct application requirements on or before the deadline of submissions. Films with incomplete requirements will not be accepted to apply. 

  4. The use of original literary sources, music materials, artwork, photography, etc., in the films, must have proper clearance from their respective copyright owners. The competition organizers shall not be liable for any costs related to claims of performing rights organizations.

  5. Any modification will not be allowed for final entries except the addition of necessary subtitles.

  6. Revised or re-submitted films, whether using the same or a different title, are not eligible to apply.

  7. The organizers shall not be required to return any submitted material.

  8. In case of any violation of the guidelines and rules or if any participant is found to have committed plagiarism or has undertaken fraudulent practice and/or activities harmful to the competition event or the submission process, the organizers reserve the right to disqualify the participant and their film, remove them from the program, or forfeit any prize from a participant at any point in the competition.

  9. The USB Selection Committee will determine ten (10) finalists from each of the three categories, totaling 30 finalists. 

  10. The USB Jury will determine the winning films from the thirty (30) finalists. All entries will be judged based on the official criteria given. 

  11. The thirty (30) finalists will be viewed by the USB Jury that will judge the films based on the same official criteria and will decide the winners of the competition.

  12. FDCP shall have non-exclusive non-commercial rights to screen the films in schools and educational institutions, various public events, and platforms for educational and cultural purposes for free, for three (3) years after the last day of the competition.

  13. FDCP reserves the right to create, revoke, and modify at any time, in any way its entry requirements, rules, and regulations at its absolute discretion without prior notice. Finalists and submitted entries shall be bound by any amendments or addition to the entry requirements, rules and regulations herewith.

  14. The decision of the USB Jury is final and irrevocable. The organizers and the judging committee are not obliged to explain the results.


Entries must be submitted on or before 11:59 pm on October 11, 2021 (Indigenous Peoples’ Day).



Impactful composition of visuals and sound that effectively communicate the film’s story and objectives.



Promotes deeper familiarity and love for our own heroes, their lives, and achievements for our country.



Good, practical filmmaking with technical efficiency and cohesiveness.





The 30 finalist films will be screened during the USB Online Film Festival via FDCP Channel on November 11-17, 2021.


An Awards Ceremony will be held on November 14, 2021 (Sunday).


All queries can be sent to with the subject heading “Query: USB 2021.” 

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