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Miss Universe 2016: Trivia Facts and Predictions

Miss Universe 2016: Trivia Facts and Predictions

The 65th Miss Universe pageant will be held for the third time in Manila, Philippines on January 29, 2017. This is also the second time a reigning Miss Universe from the Philippines will crown her successor in her home country.  There are 86 officially registered contestants. The candidates arrived two weeks before the coronation night, a bit shorter period of stay and length of preparations compared to the 1994 Manila hosting.  There will be no Misses Greece, El Salvador, and Ireland this year, even after consistently sending bets through the years. Most national pageants either lose their franchises, or fail to hold their own competition or casting calls – while Gabon completely scraps the possibility of joining due to current political turmoil and unrest in the country.

At 6’2, Miss Jamaica Isabel Dalley is the tallest contestant, while Miss New Zealand Tania Dawson is the shortest at 5’5. Only 6 candidates are teenagers, and there are several ladies who are in the ceiling age of 27, including Miss USA Deshauna Barber. Steve Harvey will return as host after the misreading incident of last year's winner.  Reportedly, there will be no Filipino telecast judge. At the 1994 hosting, Filipino publishing tycoon and philanthropist Emilio C. Yap was rightfully chosen.

Here are the 15 candidates we have prejudged based on our overall impression of their looks and resumé:

Barbados 9.80

Shannon Harris is the first Miss Barbados Universe in nine years! She is an international model who also works for I Am A Girl – a charitable foundation that inspires teenage girls to make great life choices.

Colombia 9.80

Andrea Tovar is described as goofy, and definitely a knockout beauty  from Quibdo who is the second woman of color to become Miss Colombia in 15 years. To date, she is expected to complete the record as the longest reigning Colombian queen in 16 months and 4 days.

USA 9.80

Deshauna Barber made history as the first woman actively working in the US Army to be crowned Miss USA.  She is the first African-American queen in eight years.  

Kosovo 9.80

Camila Barraza is an Argentinean-born queen who settled in Kosovo after many years of travelling as a model .  She becomes the first ever Miss Kosovo who wasn’t originally born and raised in the said country that was formerly part of Yugoslavia.

Kenya 9.75

This statuesque Nairobi girl has an upcoming novel to be published soon. Mary Esther Were is a Marketing Administrator for CNBC Africa and Forbes Africa whose longterm goal is to establish a foundation that affords accessible rehabilitation for drug dependents.

Netherlands 9.75

Zoey Ivory is a professional model and dancer who wishes to assist people who have difficulty reading and learning through books.

Sierra Leone 9.75

Hawa Kamara is the first ever Miss Sierra Leone-Universe!  Win or lose, this well-educated girl from Freetown promises to work as an advocate for HIV/AIDS awareness.

Dominican Republic 9.75

Rosalba Abreu used to raise cattles and sell pineapples before she was discovered to become a model.  She is a volunteer of various charitable foundations.

Bahamas 9.75

Cherell Williamson is a champion swimmer, a professional model, a makeup artist, and an entrepreneur who hires hearing impaired women to craft jewelry for her boutique.

Brazil 9.70

Raisa Santana is the first woman of color to be crowned Miss Brazil Universe in 30 years! She is a volunteer for foundations that primarily take care of the elderly, and plans to put up charitable organizations that focus on child adoption.

Honduras 9.70

Sirey Moran is a pageant veteran, having represented Honduras in international pageants at least twice. However, she figured in a controversy when she was threatened to withdraw her crown after a physical altercation with the national pageant organizer over claims of breach of contract and misbehavior.  After two months, everything was settled and she was given another chance to retain her right to represent Honduras once again, this time at the Miss Universe pageant.


Thailand 9.70
Chalita Suansane is a budding microbiologist and an active volunteer at a foundation house that helps children who inherited HIV/AIDS from their parents.

Venezuela 9.70

Mariam Habach is studying to be a dentist and she particuarly wants to bring the sweetest smiles among children. She currently volunteers in one of the biggest juvenile foundations in Venezuela.

Philippines 9.65

Maxine Medina was crowned as the successor of reigning Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach during the Miss Philippines pageant. She is an in-demand model and also actively working as an interior decorator. She is focused on helping children who cope with cancer and other illnesses.

Turkey 9.65

Tansu Sila Cakir is a nutritionist and a kickboxer on the side. She is focused on helping foundations that build hospitals for children and people with eating disorders. 

Archie Del Mundo

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Ayala Malls Cinemas screen Filipino Cinema Classics at UP Town Center on Jan 11-15

Ayala Malls Cinemas screen Filipino Cinema Classics at UP Town Center on Jan 11-15

Ayala Malls Cinemas, in partnership with ABS-CBN Film Restorations group, goes back in time reflecting the best of Philippine cinema with the upcoming “Cinema Classics – Filipino Films in Retrospect” at U.P. Town Center from January 11 – 15. The first installment for this year, reviving the classics at U.P. Town Center, the restored Filipino classic films will also soon takeoff in other Ayala Malls Cinemas.

“We are proud that Cinema Classics opens at U.P. Town Center which features the works of Filipino master filmmakers in different genres”, said Rowena M. Tomeldan, President of Ayala Malls. You can expect to watch films such as Ishmael Bernal’s Himala (Nora Aunor); Mike De Leon’sHindi Nahahati ang Langit (Lorna Tolentino, Dina Bonnevie, Edu Manzano and Christopher De Leon), Kung Mangarap Ka’t Magising (Christopher De Leon and Hilda Koronel) and Kakabakaba Ka Ba (Charo Santos, Jay Ilagan, Christopher De Leon); Laurice Guillen’s Kasal? (Christopher De Leon and Hilda Koronel); Chito S. Roño’s Dekada ‘70 (Vilma Santos, Christopher De Leon), Patayin sa Sindak si Barbara (Lorna Tolentino, Dawn Zulueta); Olivia M. Lamasan’s Sana Maulit Muli (Lea Salonga, Aga Muhlach); Jose Javier Reyes’ Batang PX (Patrick Garcia, Zsa Zsa Padilla); Peque Gallaga’s and Lore Reyes’ Magic Temple and Peque Gallaga’s Oro Plata Mata. 

“Cinema Classics” opened last January 10 at U.P. Town Center featuring the Marvin Agustin – Jolina Magdangal movie “Labs Kita...Okey Ka Lang?” by Jerry Lopez Sineneng about a girl who falls in love with her best friend. The 1998 romantic comedy film follows the story of a girl named Bujoy (Magdangal) who is torn on expressing her love to Ned (Agustin) who seems to only have his mind and heart on his band.

In recent interviews, ABS-CBN’s Leo Katigbak is grateful for Ayala Malls Cinemas’ support, “We are lucky that our Sagip Pelikula Film Preservation Advocacy has strong support from the Ayala management and it is very critical for us that our partners are just as passionate and committed to making this effort viable and sustainable. We have restored more than 120 titles already but unless people get to see them, we can’t really say we have succeeded in preserving our legacy. We are hopeful that the partnership with UPTC is the start of more tie-ups with Ayala Malls,”said Leo Katigbak, head of ABS-CBN Film Restoration Project.

It was a nostalgic starry night as director Jerry Lopez Sineneng with screenwriter Ricky Lee along with the movie’s lead stars Marvin and Jolina graced the opening night of “Cinema Classics” at U.P. Town Center. Also present at the event were Ayala executives and noted celebrities Mika Dela Cruz, Kyla, Jay-R, Rochelle Pangilinan, KZ Tandingan, Mark Escueta and Jayson Dy. “Mar-jo” were warmly welcomed by their fans with cheers and squeals reminiscent of their love team days. Some of the fans even came from nearby provinces to reminisce with their idols and see the movie once more now in its digitally remastered format.

Setting out at the Ayala Malls, this program will be featured in various Ayala Malls Cinemas this year. U.P. Town Center begins to showcase the best from the past in Philippine cinema this week until January 15. Tickets cost P220, with a discounted rate of P180 for students. Check out Ayala Malls Cinemas’ and social pages - Ayala Malls Cinemas (Facebook), @ilovesureseats (Twitter) and @iloveAyalaMallsCinemas (Instagram) for the latest updates and schedules of the classics.
Dale Bacar

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Step into the City of Stars with Golden Globe Best Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical 'La La Land'

Step into the City of Stars with Golden Globe Best Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical 'La La Land'

Step into the city where the biggest and brightest stars are made in this year’s Golden Globe Best PIcture Musical musical “La La Land” starring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling with John Legend in his first major screen role.

Directed by Damien Chazelle, who also helmed the phenomenal and unforgettable “Whiplash,” “La La Land” is a breathless, thrilling romance that intertwines the worlds of Sebastian and Mia who are trying to find their place in a city known for crushing hopes and breaking hearts. Set in modern day Los Angeles, this original musical about everyday life explores the joy and pain of pursuing your dreams.

The jazz pianist Sebastian, played by Academy Award® nominee Gosling, has a near-miss with the greatest love of his life. A defiantly retro jazz diehard who doesn’t believe in compromising his convictions for anyone or anything, at first he brushes off Mia (Stone) as just another person who will never comprehend him or the gravity of his dreams – but that does not go as planned. An equal magnet for Gosling was the intrigue of playing a man who worships with his very being an artform that seems to be dying on the vine of a ruthlessly fast-changing pop culture.

“Sebastian has dedicated his life to being a great jazz pianist, but in his mind the world around him is saying those days are over. His heroes were born 70 years ago, and in this day and age, a great piano player playing real jazz is destined to work in bars where people don’t even stop their conversations to listen to you,” Gosling notes. “So how much do you compromise to be the artist you want to be?”

The aspiring actress Mia (Stone) seems to be caught in an endless loop from her barista job to dead-end auditions when she finds herself repeatedly bumping into the same ill-mannered pianist in a convertible – who breaks the spell. Playing Mia is Academy Award® nominee Emma Stone, whose roles have ranged from “Superbad” and “Easy A” to “The Help” and “Birdman.”

Stone faced a one-of-a-kind challenge with the role – playing a character who has to be at once anchored in very real goals and feelings, while also able to erupt into musical fantasia at a moment’s notice, combining the two seamlessly. It helped that Stone has not only explored the depths of dramatic roles, but also has the skills of a Broadway veteran who recently starred as Sally Bowles in the revival of Cabaret.

Mia’s yearning for something beyond the ordinary also hit home with her. “Mia is driven by something that maybe she doesn’t completely understand,” says Stone. “She wants to be an artist in a city of so many people who seem to be just like her. She feels that there's something special inside her but she doesn't quite know what it is. I could relate to her being an actress and going on auditions but even more so, there was something so exciting about taking her into this musical world where you can suddenly spin down the street or burst into song. That was a wonderful challenge.”

“La La Land” is screening now in PH cinemas from Pioneer Films.

Dale Bacar

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Giga-fy your Sinulog Festival Experience with Smart

Giga-fy your Sinulog Festival Experience with Smart

Celebrate Sinulog Festival with Giga-sized offers from the country's leading network. From the most awesome offers and prizes to exclusive perks, here are 5 ways you can level up your Sinulog experience:

1. Top up with Giga Surf for all your #SmartSinulog moments by texting GIGA50 to 9999. 

Giga Surf 50 comes with 1GB data that you can use for your favorite apps such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter, among others – at only P50 valid for three days. As bonus, it also comes with 300MB data for streaming on iflix, YouTube, and more – perfect for when you need a quick distraction while going around the Queen City of the South. 

2. Hit the festival’s giga-sized LifeDance and Invasion Sinulog parties. As in previous years, Smart is hosting Sinulog’s biggest dance parties, starting with LifeDance at City Di Mare on January 13. For the first time, LifeDance is featuring three stages with simultaneous performances of homegrown beatmakers, international DJs, and indie bands, including Smart ambassadors and urban party scene staples DJ Ace Ramos, MC Pao, and Nix Damn P, as well as DJ Carnage, Lookas, Deuce, Up Dharma Down, The Ransom Collective and Jensen and the Flips, among many others. 

Smart is also presenting this year’s Invasion Sinulog at the SHSG Grounds on Mango Ave on January 15, featuring a cutting-edge music festival production with Smart ambassadors DJ Inno, Nix Damn P and MC Pao, along with top spinners like Jason Dewey, Kat DJ, Martin Pulgar, Victor Jao, Chad Fajardo, Hans Congmon, and Maxie Perez. 

Get a chance to score tickets to these two parties at select Smart Booths around the city and by following Smart official accounts on Facebook and Twitter! 

3. Hang out at the Smart Dome for your DIY Facepaint and Spinshot photos. In both LifeDance and Invasion Sinulog, you can hang out at the Smart Lounge for engaging activities with the whole barkada, such as getting your own DIY Facepaint, Spinshot photos, and claiming your cool LED whistles and Sinulog shirt for every purchase of Giga Surf products. 

At the Smart Dome, you can also recharge your gadgets for free, as well as get the much-coveted chance to meet and greet local and international artists, and Smart ambassadors. 

4. Make the most of Smart’s giga-sized offers with the latest perks and products. Head to the Smart Dome to learn many ways you can make the most of Smart’s giga-sized offers, such as binge-watching on your favorite TV series and exclusive content on the iWant TV app, buying discounted load and enjoying other perks via Smart Mastercard powered by PayMaya; and getting your latest dose of digital content on the Smart Life app, among others.

5. Win new gadgets with Giga Surf. Every purchase of Giga Surf offers at designated Smart booths in LifeDance and Invasion Sinulog gives you a chance to win a brand new Samsung Galaxy S7 edge and a GoPro camera – so don’t forget to top up!

Keep tabs on the latest Sinulog Festival experiences by downloading the Sinulog Guide App, the festival's official guide app made by Smart and Innopub in collaboration with the Department of Tourism and Cebu City Government. Also follow Smart’s official accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@LiveSmart).

Dale Bacar

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MMFF 2016 Box-Office Report

MMFF 2016 Box-Office Report

Update 01102017

Sunday Beauty Queen's Best Picture win has given it a bit of an earnings push even when it was pulled out from some cinemas. Meanwhile, the festival's commercial charmer - Vince & Kath & James has maintained its lead making it the overall top grosser of the festival.

1. Vince & Kath & James 117M
2. Die Beautiful 116M
3. Seklusyon 97M
4. Babae sa Septic Tank 50M
5. Saving Sally 28M
6. Sunday Beauty Queen 8.9M
6. ORO 4.5M
7. Kabisera 4.3M

Update 01042017

Here are the overall box-office earnings for this year's Metro Manila Film Festival as reported by a reliable industry insider source.

1. Vince & Kath & James 94M
2. Die Beautiful 91M
3. Seklusyon 70M
4. Babae sa Septic Tank 40M
5. Saving Sally 24M
6. ORO 4M
7. Kabisera 4M
8. Sunday Beauty Queen 4M

Despite the disparity in earnings from previous festivals that featured big-named stars, this year's MMFF is a resounding success if only for all the positive feedback that most of the entries have been getting. It has regained the trust of those who have given up on the Filipino film industry and has made converts out of those who used to prefer foreign entertainment.

Meanwhile, the usual suspects have retained their audiences outside of the festival making it a win-win for producers and audiences alike. Vice Ganda's Super Parental Guardians has earned a whopping 550M, while Vic Sotto's Enteng Kabisote and Regal Film's Mano Po have earned 70M and 30M respectively.

As the festival aims to continuously improve, we hope that stricter screening guidelines would be implemented to prevent the entry of abusive films. We also hope that they answer to the audience's clamor for more children-friendly movies and even have the big stars and familiar blockbuster draws featured in films that would pass the committee's updated criteria.

Original post 12292016

Here are the box-office results from the the first three days of the Metro Manila Film Festival. The figures are partial/unofficial received from a reliable industry insider. 

Good online feedback has boosted earnings for films like Saving Sally and Sunday Beauty Queen. And while the overall earnings are not as substantial as the previous festivals, the quality of films have greatly improved. Cinema queues have also been growing each day but these films still need a wider audience. 


1. Vince & Kath & James 17M
2. Die Beautiful 10.5M
3. Babae sa Septic Tank 9.4M
4. Seklusyon 8.5M
5. Saving Sally 1.8M
6. ORO 600K
7. Kabisera 450K
8. Sunday Beauty Queen 4K (?)


1. Vince & Kath & James 13.7M
2. Die Beautiful 11M
3. Seklusyon 9.3M


1. Vince & Kath & James 12.5M
2. Die Beautiful 9.2M
3. Seklusyon 8.1M 
4. Babae sa Septic Tank 4.2M 
5. Saving Sally 3.3M 
4. Sunday Beauty Queen 527K

For anyone who ever complained about the quality of Filipino films of late, here is your chance to see that we do have good ones. We are not going to keep having them if people do not go out and see them. We understand that some of you may hate change or the committee's choice of Ambassador. Get over it! The festival is about these films alone. Most of them are really good! The MMFF runs until January 4th. Go out and watch. We guarantee that they are worth your buck. 

Dale Bacar

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Best Performances of 2016

Best Performances of 2016

Essentially, there are at least 20 leading female performances we cited last year, but we had to cut the list down to just 7. The decision is specially heartbreaking, but we must give special mention to Rhed Bustamante for her searing portrayal of a fake child-prophet in Seklusyon, most of Nora Aunor’s 2016 filmography, Arci Munoz’s most entertaining and equally memorable turn in Always be my Maybe, Cherry Pie Picache’s matriarchal woman of the streets in Pauwi Na, and Irma Adlawan’s tour de force portrayal in the most controversial Oro.

On the other hand, we are just as surprised that we did not have enough listicle entries for the Leading –Male category, although it does not mean we experienced a sort of drought. J.C. De Vera’s performances in Best Partee Ever and Tisay are highly commendable but we thought he could give us some more in the future. Without a shadow of a doubt, Paolo Ballesteros’ wonderful performance in Die Beautiful is nothing short of precision, but we have to uncheck our ticker box.

Again, our choices are based on our own preset biases and preferences. We are sure that we missed a lot of names and favorites, but we are most definitely proud of this year’s harvest of better performances. Here they are in random order.


Angeli Bayani – Ned’s Project
Jaclyn Jose – Ma’Rosa
Hasmine Kilip – Pamilya Ordinaryo
Charo Santos – Ang Babaeng Humayo
Ryza Cenon – Ang Manananggal sa Unit 23B
Laila Ulao – Women of the Weeping River
Angelica Panganiban – The Unmarried Wife


Gerald Anderson – How To be Yours
Gerald Anderson – Always Be My Maybe
Alex Medina – Echorsis
Rocky Salumbides – Lily
Christian Bables – Die Beautiful

Maxine Eigenmann – Ned’s Project
Chai Fonacier – Pauwi Na
Meryll Soriano – Pauwi Na
Aiko Melendez – Barcelona
Antoinette Taus – Every Room is a Planet
Mercedes Cabral – Oro
Sue Prado – Oro


John Lloyd Cruz – Ang Babaeng Humayo
Noni Buencamino – Ang Babaeng Humayo
Jordan Herrera – Best Partee Ever
Jess Mendoza – Purgatoryo
Taha Daranda - Women of the Weeping River

Archie Del Mundo

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Best Filipino Films of 2016

Best Filipino Films of 2016

2016 was indeed a very fruitful and exciting year for Filipino films. Bannering the harvest of thought provoking, genre-bending, audiovisually arresting, anger-inducing, and shooting without a warning collection of images that attempt their mighty to simulate a sort of real-life narratives, or at least an enveloping thematic discourse. We hope that we did not just make a sweeping description of the independent films. As we all have seen, having full control of your filmic material does not guarantee of turning up good work. As always, we are eagle eyed for the resurgence of mainstream fares the soonest time possible.

But what films do we consider best among the many features released last year? In some lazy yearender efforts – we see countless listmaking bonanzas of the best of local and international cinema splashed across social media platforms. This effort is no different to any of them. Subjective, and blatantly biased – yet there’s plenty of rooms to justify our choices with pride and candor.


20. Echorsis

Lem Lorca’s high octane gay comedy with a horror throwback demands emotions all too close to home

19. Ang Manananggal sa Unit 23B

Tight and solid storytelling coupled by splendid visuals and knockout performance by Ryza Cenon as an urban millennial who shifts to a folkloric monster when urged by anger and revenge.

18. Pamilya Ordinaryo

Edong Roy’s all familiar and ordinary peep-through to the lives of the marginalized and distraught juvenile couple looking for their stolen firstborn in the  misfortune-frenzy open roads of Manila.

17. Ned’s Project

Lemuel Lorca’s idyllic dramedy about a lesbian tattoo artist who desires happiness and completion as a woman as she struggles desperately to become pregnant.

16. Manila Scream

Rox Lee, et. al’s brilliantly unswerving urban shoutout piece to social decay.

15. Simmer by Michael Manalastas

Intense, vivid, unapologetic piece on social injustices through the horrific images and sounds of extra-judicial killings.

14. Every Room is a Planet

Morose, but comically morose. Romantic, yet perfectly against the tides of genres, narrative limits, and conventions. Exemplary, even.

13. Seklusyon

The most aurally-visual film of the year about the influx of evil incarnations under the guise  a saviour. A very apt commentary on our current political state. 

12. Lily

Keith Deligero deconstructs the legend of an urban monster with feminist ideals by placing the misogynist figure front and center of the narrative to challenge the myths of false dichotomies and gender politics.

11. EJK

Brilliantly executed short feature on extra judicial killings as a comedy of errors. Kelvin Vistan’s comedic sensibilities are prodigious. 

10. Ma’Rosa

Brillante Mendoza’s most solid and excruciatingly painful dramatic roundelay to date. Jaclyn Jose displayed one of the most memorable screen portrayals of her career.

9. Sunday Beauty Queen

A social realist documentary about the plight of our domestic workers in Hong Kong. More cinematic than most fictional features produced last year.  

8. Mitatang

In less than 5 minutes, this animated feature tugs at your heartstrings with its completely rounded narrative and visual splendors about child abuse.

7. Pauwi Na

A perpetually entertaining but often painful feature about urban diaspora in reverse. Paolo Villaluna reclaims his royal indie seat. Powerful screenplay and heart-rending “dramedic” executions with European flair. 

6. Ang Babaeng Humayo

Lav Diaz’s most accessible feature film to date. It is a point by point, fiber by fiber, with some tinges of melodrama and opera adaptation of Tolstoy’s most memorable literary piece.

5. People Power Bombshell

This documentary feature about an epic film gone kaput attempts to transfigure nonfictional filmmaking on its feet.  God, did it succeed so splendidly! Crafted with meticulous eyes and heaps of passion and energy

4. Women of the Weeping River

What seems to be most powerful part of the film is how it open-ended the viciousness of tribal wars in the Mindanaoan forest with an agonizingly emotional stalemate, punctuating it further by revealing the much bigger picture: the endless horror of militarization and denudation. Laila Ulao is the next indie superstar!

3. Baboy Halas

Bagane Fiola’s almost entirely lyrical presentation of this chromatic masterpiece challenges our views and feelings on how we all should be concerned about the plight of our forests and the IPs.

2. Piding

Paolo Picones and Gym Lumbera’s hybrid docufiction (or observational fake fiction documentary) Piding is not named after what self-proclaimed crag experts would easily dismiss as one fictional highland.  It is, after all, the local name given to the extremely rare species of birds initially found (and now believed to be extinct) on Calayan Islands situated between Batanes and Cagayan, which was the central subject/object of the Picones/Lumbera film.  Naturally, the year’s most astonishing pageant of vivid images and thematic timeliness.  

1. Singing in Graveyards

Often, we choose the film with the most original and refreshing take on the given subject as our Best Film. Directed and produced by one Malaysian Bradley Liew and co-written and produced by one Filipina Bianca Balbuena, SIG is a silent ode masterpiece about a music living legend who parodies his iconic self while portraying the semi-fictional role of an aging one-man cover band as he slowly and completely usurps the identity of the washed-up icon – likening the whole thing to a folkloric kapre.

Archie Del Mundo

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