Edit Dec. 2: Wanna win a copy of this magazine with Somedaydream's autograph on his feature? Read this blog post to find out how. Giveaway ends on December 20, 2011 :)

Here's sharing something that I think fans of both Champ Lui Pio and Rez Toledo of Somedaydream would be happy to know... 

Both gifted music artists are featured in the Sept-Nov issue of CodeRED magazine! This is a family-oriented publication that has sections for both parents and their children.

A few months ago, my editor asked me to look for a young celebrity who would be a good role model for our young readers. At the time, I've met Rez twice on two different occasions and immediately thought he has an inspiring story kids and teens would be interested to know more about. Aside from being very talented, Rez seems very down to earth.

I contacted Champ (Somedaydream's manager), asked if I could write Rez's story, and we agreed on an interview date. When we all got together and while I was talking to Rez and getting other inputs from Champ (who's another very talented musician), I discovered about TreeHouse Day Care, an advocacy close to Champ's heart. I also found out that he has been a volunteer firefighter for the past three years.

So, to make the long story short, I ended up with not one, but two wonderful articles: a feature on Rez as an emerging music artist, and a feature on Champ as an advocate for children and other causes :)

Read their inspiring stories in the pages of CodeRED magazine. It's available in National Book Store, Powerbooks, and the Merriam & Webster bookstore just outside Don Bosco, Makati

I've always been fascinated by the story of Peter Pan. I had this black and white comic book when I was a little girl and I remember feeling very sad for Peter when his pram got carried away by the wind and when he tried once to come home only to see his mother already enjoying taking care of another baby. (I even disliked the Little Mermaid back then because the story ended up very unhappily).

Fortunately, Walt Disney has made fairy tales more kid-friendly. I'm glad my boys grew up knowing those versions of Peter Pan and other classic stories. Although there are still some sad parts there, at least the endings are no longer as tragic and won't make a young child feel very depressed after.

A few months ago, I eagerly attended Repertory Philippines and Stages' press con about Peter Pan. There, they introduced to us the cast who delighted us with a few songs. The sneak peek only whetted up the appetites of avid theater enthusiasts like myself and several of my friends. We knew, just seeing Sam Concepcion (Peter Pan) and Michael Williams (Captain Hook) in costume and hearing them sing, that it would be a great show.

And what a marvelous production it is! I love everything about Peter Pan: A Musical Adventure. The lighting and set are marvelous and so are the props! Who'd have thought that buildings could turn into beds or that a house could instantly be built on stage with just a few card boards? Oh, and watch out for how they got Tinkerbell and dog-cum-nursemaid Nana in the scenes. That was very creative!

The songs are also very, very beautiful especially the ones Wendy (Tippy dos Santos who alternates with Cara Barredo) and her mother (Ms. Pinky Marquez) sang on different occasions. I guess moms, like me, would zero in on that lullaby's gentle melody more than anything else. However, you might also find yourself humming "Neverland" and "When I Kill Peter Pan" because these tunes are really, really catchy.

All the cast did very well. John (Nacho Tambunting), Michael (John Michael Santos), and the Lost Boys showcased the exuberance expected of young men while Smee (Robbie Zialcita) and the rest of Captain Hook's crew members were more silly than scary which was a good thing because very young audiences laughed in glee instead of being afraid. I love the energy of Tiger Lily (Kakki Teodoro) and the serenity of Ms. Joy Virata as she guided the audiences along the story as the narrator and as a surprise character towards the end.

When Sam first rose up in the air, poised to "fly", there was an audible intake of breath from a lot of people in the theater Seeing Peter Pan up in the air, confidently singing, and being followed by Wendy, John, and Michael seemed very magical. I'd guess that scene tickled in many of us that long forgotten dream of wanting to fly wherever we could when we were little.

Hats off to Peter Pan's directors, Mr. Jaime del Mundo (who also plays Mr. Darling) and Ms. Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo, one of my top favorite theater actresses, and the rest of the creative and technical teams for such an unforgettable show.

Peter Pan flies until October 30 at the Meralco Theater in Pasig City. For inquiries and other information, call Repertory Philippines at 571-6926 and 571-4941 or email info@repertory.ph. Tickets are also available at Ticketworld at 891-9999. 

One of the snacks I've always enjoyed since childhood is Leslie's Clover Chips. I think I'll never outgrow the fondness for those cheesy and crunchy chips. I also like to eat potato chips and oftentimes try different brands for variety.

Last Blogapalooza, I was pleasantly surprised to receive a big bag from Leslie's. I thought my favorite Clover Chips would be inside but I'm still happy about the contents. 

My kids and I enjoyed trying out the four different flavors of Farmer John's  Premium Potato Chips. It's actually hard to choose just one flavor because everything is light and crispy and flavorful! It's said to be made from the freshest and finest imported, farm-grown potato. No wonder the smell alone would already make potato chip lovers drool.

Then there's Real American Chicharrones from Wild Willy's. My bubble thought then was, "Americans like chicharon? I thought they prefer jerky?" LOL. Anyhow, grab a bag or two of these the next time you're in the supermarket and check out this very tasty and crunchy variant.

 As usual, Leslie's did not disappoint in offering consumers some of the tastiest snacks you'd ever taste. But don't just take my word for it. Buy some and see for yourself :) 

Freaky Friday, Hot Chick, Like Father Like Son, Vice Versa, and Face Off are some of the movies I could recall where people switch souls or bodies. Although they have the same themes, each of them have memorable moments and characters that made them fun to watch anyway.

The Change-Up, starring Jason Bateman (Dave) and Ryan Reynolds (Mitch) is another entertaining movie where best friends accidentally switched bodies when they peed on a magic fountain and wished for each others' lives. Here, an accomplished lawyer and married father suddenly found himself in the body of his irresponsible buddy whose idea of a great day is to get high on drugs and star in low-budget porno movies.

Chaos ensues after the switch takes place as they try to perform each other's daily tasks with initially disastrous results. Pretty soon, they get the hang of pretending to be someone they are not and eventually find out more about themselves and each other's lives.

I enjoyed the acting of both Bateman and Reynolds. They are funny guys. Leslie Mann was cast well as Dave's long-suffering wife while Olivia Wilde plays Sabrina, Dave's bombshell legal secretary, who became Mitch's love interest towards the end.

Watch how the two friends got in and out of mischief and mayhem until they finally found a way to switch back to their own selves again. You will laugh at a lot of scenes but there are also touching moments when you'd appreciate being reminded of the value of friendship and family.

It was a fun night when bloggers got together for Orange Magazine TV’s website re-launch in Gweilos at the Mall of Asia last September 24. It became a sort of double celebration since it was also the birthday of Jeman Villanueva, Orange’s founder and publisher. 

Around 40 guests came and we enjoyed a nice dinner while the prizes started flowing. Thanks to several generous sponsors, everybody got to bring home something. Team Orange raffled off some items and gave away others during a few fun games.

The festivities were momentarily suspended when MOA fireworks started exploding outside. Majority of the guests went out to watch the aerial display while some of us stayed seated to catch up and chat. Suddenly, an unexpected “gatecrasher” arrived running past the open doors, looking for a corner to hide.

Some of us took turns holding the cute little dog that was shaking in fright because of the loud bangs outside. If the owner didn’t come looking for it, there were several of us there who would have gladly volunteered to bring it home :)

The jokes and laughter went on for a few hours as we were served appetizers with the free-flowing beverages. Since I don’t drink alcohol, I left the towers of cocktails alone and asked for Dole juices instead. I think a few got quite tipsy from the punch but, in general, it was a jovial crowd. We even had a lot of fun having our photos taken by Click in the Box!

Congratulations Orange Magazine TV for the website’s new look and for another successful event! More fun gatherings to come! :)

Thank you very much to those who provided everyone with cool stuff and goodies: Perlas & Luna Group, BrandSpeak Asia, Stratworks, Cando and Florenda Marketing & PR Consultancy, Campaigns & Grey, No Seat Affair!, Dole, MCA Music Inc., Universal Records, PolyEast Records, FMCC, BND Hair Gallery, 6000Goonz, WoW! 103.5 FM, Clara International, and BenMore.

She's tough, very determined, can speak several languages, kills without blinking an eye, and she is just 16 years old. Hanna, directed by Joe Wright, is an extraordinary story of a young girl who was raised in a very remote area surrounded by unforgiving landscapes. Thanks to the training she got from her father, she can hunt for her own food, watch her own back, and survive on her own.

Saoirse Ronan played Hanna flawlessly. This is one of those rare times I've seen a very young actress hold her own in an action thriller movie against veteran Hollywood superstars like Cate Blanchett and Eric Bana.The choreography of the fight scenes were very smooth and for someone so young, Ronan effectively portrayed the young assassin she was supposed to be.

If you want to see a film that will surprise you with its twists and ending, see Hanna. It's very different from the usual noisy action movies full of fanfare. Here, you'll simply be able to appreciate the fluidity of movements and soak in the scenery of different countries. Watching Hanna will definitely be a new experience. I hope a sequel will be in the works soon.

I am very fond of food and love trying out new dishes that please the eye and tickle the palate. However, when I am food tripping with friends, I make sure not to go all out and stuff myself until I couldn’t stand up after. That rule was broken when I, and several friends, got first dibs at the Western-Asian-inspired dishes that Chef Vince Rodriguez would be serving at the Red Garlic Bistro Cafe when it opens this coming October 2nd.

Below are some of the tastiest treats you should expect to encounter when you on a gastronomic journey at Red Garlic like we did that night.

For starters, order one of these refreshing drinks: the Gummy Worm Cocktail, a White Castle whiskey shake with banana, milk and grenadine decorated with a sugary gummy worm on the side; Red Garlic’s Signature Iced Tea; or the Lychee Mojito. I loved how they all tasted but went for the red iced tea. Since I have a very low tolerance for alcohol, I only took a couple of sips each from the cocktail drinks else I feel dizzy and be unable to enjoy the food. But the cocktails are so good, they don’t seem to include stuff that can make you drunk if you’re not careful. The guys enthusiastically emptied their glasses though.

To whet your appetite before the main course/s arrive, order the flavorful Potato Wedges with its accompanying country mayo dip. Kids who love to eat French fries should be encouraged to try these! Really, really yummy!

If you prefer something hot, go for the Santiago Chili Poppers filled with chili con carne and comes with cheese and pepper dressing. I’m not really into spicy foods so I only took a wee bite off one end of a chili popper. My companions though finished the whole batch quickly.

Like some greens? Try the Hanoi Shrimp Pomelo Salad with crispy adobo flakes on top served with Saigon sweet and chili sauce. 

I am a sushi lover so I welcomed the next dishes that came out of Chef Vince’s kitchen with (figuratively) open arms. The Alaskan Salmon Roll, which is deep fried and served with wasabi dressing and mango salsa is a dream dish that every sushi aficionado should try.

There’s also the Tornado Roll, a mix of Japanese and Indian sushi that has chicken tikka, seaweed, cucumber, cilantro, and wasabi. Like the salmon roll, this one also looks and tastes really good!

As to the pizzas, I have to say I loved everything I sampled! We got to try the Torre del Griego, a concoction composed of basic tomato sauce, arugula tossed in lime vinaigrette, and sun dried tomatoes. 

Then there’s the double pizza with flavors called Basilica with Italian garlic sausage (this one is my top pick!) and Philly Cheese Steak. Red Garlic’s pizzas are offered in 12 flavors and you could request for two-in-one or three-in-one orders. This is really neat especially if you want to savor as many flavors as possible.

The pasta dishes are already good for two to three persons. Order more than one in various flavors so you’ll get to find out which ones you like best. We were served three: the olive oil-based Alborro Pasta with prosciutto and bacon, the tomato cream-based Santorini Penne with crab meat and shrimp (I think I’d be able to finish one order of this if I am not eating anything else!), and the slightly spicy Sardinia Pasta with Spanish sardines.

After having more than one bite of all the dishes I already tasted above, we were still in for more surprises when the main courses were served! See, I wasn’t kidding when I mentioned earlier that I broke my rule of not eating too much in one meal!

The thickly-sliced Grilled Pork Chop with mango chipotle and cranberries was spicier than I could handle so I left it to the guys to finish it off.

I’ve always liked eating pork ribs but I think this was the first time I got to try Barbecued Beef Ribs that’s perfectly cooked; the oh-so-tender meat easily fell off the bones. The serving is also really big so make sure you have family or friends with you when you order one. This dish got a perfect 10 from me.

Not to be outdone is Chef Vince’s famous Tomahawk, a huge Angus rib eye weighing one kilo that comes with a red wine sauce and peppermint dressing. When I took the first bite, I felt it figuratively melting in my mouth. This particular dish will make every meat lover glad they are not vegetarians, promise!

If you’re overwhelmed at the size of the Tomahawk, go for the Salpicao Medallion instead. This is a serving of two US Angus tenderloin wrapped with bacon and served on a hot granite slab to keep the tasty sauce warm. I predict that this will climb up the favorite dishes’ chart fast as well.

I thought the three steak dishes would cap off our so-far fabulous night but we were wrong. Out from the kitchen came the Salmon Duo topped with two sauces: Basil Pistachio and Smoked Javanero cream … 

… and the Batanes Roulade made with rolled up Cream Dory meat with a laing and prawns filling. These are definitely new ways to enjoy salmon and cream dory so if you like eating fish, order one, or both of these, when you visit Red Garlic.

If you prefer chicken, on the other hand, there’s the Green Chicken Curry with Ripe Mango that is a nice companion to the Thai Bagoong Fried Rice with Sweet Pork.

By this time, I was teasingly waving the white napkin to the friendly waiters to signify my surrender. One of them replied with a smile that we still have to try the delicious desserts. I have to confess, I fell madly in love with the Warm Bread Pudding. It’s unlike any bread pudding I’ve ever tasted before! Served warm, this pudding leans more on the flan side rather than the pie-type offering I was expecting. I shared the small container with a friend because, by then, I was already really, really full.

My eyes widened when the Hush Puppies came out. I didn’t think I could take another bite but this one invited tasting. It is a round, buttermilk Danish pancake with vanilla ice cream that would probably drive my second son, the one with the sweet tooth, crazy.

We were further served with Creamy Panna Cotta topped with various fruits. I appreciated that there was a good amount of fruits to accompany every spoonful of the panna cotta unlike the ones served in most restaurants where there’s only ¼ of a strawberry or a pinch of mango on top.

The Carrot Cake, one of my favorite desserts, was the finale to our amazing dinner. If I didn’t feel I was already about to burst from all the food, I would have taken more than the one tiny forkful I managed to chew. It was heavenly! 

For sure, I would have to come to Red Garlic when it’s already open so I can revisit the dishes that opened my taste buds into a whole new world of dining. If you’ve missed Chef Vince at the Torch (he’s no longer connected there), you don’t have to pine for his perfectly cooked masterpieces anymore. 

The Red Garlic Bistro Café has an 80-100 pax seating capacity with two private rooms for meetings.  It is open from 7am to 12 mn and serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Go visit it starting this October at 218 Katipunan Ave. Blue Ridge A, Quezon City. For reservations, call 682.1869. Like it too on Facebook. For catering inquiries, call 633.0329 or 216.1873 or email peppermillmanila@yahoo.com.ph

Read, Eat, and Drink at the Red Bistro Café soon! You will not regret going there :)

Before, people only get information from what was called Tri-Media: television, radio, and print publications. Now, there's Quad-Media which includes online pages such as websites and blogs. Even businesses are taking notice that the internet does help today's tech savvy consumers decide where to go, what to buy, or how to do stuff. 

I have been writing professionally for print publications for almost a decade now but I have long since acknowledged that the World Wide Web can and do influence people's thoughts and actions. Thus, I blog because I want my own voice to be heard more. I want to change perspectives and perhaps contribute to making this world a better place.

If you look at the topmost part of this page, you'll read: "I write because I find humor in the absurdities of daily life. Sometimes I feel sadness too, and I find I can write my tears away. I write when I'm angry and feel I must right a wrong. I write when I'm touched and want others to see beauty and gentleness. I write, as many others do, because I must." And that's how I honestly and personally feel about writing down my thoughts on whatever medium is available.  

So, it was with interest that I signed up for Blogapalooza, an event created by bloggers and digital online specialists who recognize the rising clout and influence that members of the new online media have. The gathering aimed to connect online influencers with businesses who'd like to have their stuff tried, tested, and blogged about. 

I had fun during Blogapalooza last Sept. 17 at Fully Booked in Boni High Street because I got to be with some of my blogger friends, meet some very nice business owners, as well as get first dibs on some of the newest and not-yet-very-known products, services, and other stuff that's already out in the market today that more people still have to know about and which we can share with our individual online networks.

Please visit this blog in the coming weeks because I'll be reviewing a lot of the new things I learned about and found to be quite good :) To know who were the sponsors of Blogapalooza, check out the complete list here.

Thank you and congratulations Blogapalooza organizers for the very successful event!

Terranova, the store that portrays a strong Italian fashion image and offers fashionable clothes for young people, has re-opened its newly renovated and largest store in the Philippines at the Mall of Asia. Terranova is known for its competitive prices and having the highest number of flagship stores in the world.

I was among those who got to take a first peek at Terranova’s fabulous Fall/Winter Collection for 2011-2012 during the grand opening last September 15. The clothes explore a variety of on-trend going out dresses, skirts, jackets, and multi-purpose cardigans. They even have a section for little kids and the pint-sized clothes there are adorable! It was quite overwhelming actually to choose which ones I liked best because there are so many great combinations one can come up with.

The event was headed by Mr. Alessandro Pagliarani, I.T. Head of Teddy s.P.A Italy and Mr. Steven Tan, SM Vice-President for Operations. Aside from emphasizing its young brand for the youth, the popular Italian clothing line has come up with a new campaign called “We Are Terranova”. Although they are targeting young people, those who are young-at-heart would also find stuff there that they can wear. I did! :p I was quite surprised that Terranova does have a wide variety of clothing styles that range from casual day wear from funky party getups.

During the opening, guests were entertained by a live performance from Rez Toledo of Somedaydream, one of Terranova’s newly-appointed brand ambassadors along with Laureen Uy, ABS-CBN talent, fashion blogger, and the younger sister of Liz Uy (P-Noy’s stylist); and Chino Lui Pio, MYX VJ and younger brother of Champ Lui Pio, former lead vocalist of the band Hale and who is now Somedaydream’s manager.

The celebration was well-attended by a lot of popular personalities from the music, entertainment, and fashion industry including Champ Lui Pio, Luke Mejares, Kyla, Zia Quizon, Raymond Gutierrez, Empress Schuck, Rich Alvarez, past GMA Starstruck winners, Isabella Gonzales, and the Opera Belles.

Terranova is owned by Teddy S.p.A, a multinational brand that has been in the clothing industry since 1961. It now has more than 422 stores around the world and is increasing its network in 32 countries. Based on the long lines at the counter that day, it can be safely assumed that Terranova will maintain and broaden its appeal to attract young and free-spirited shoppers by creating more stylish clothes at affordable prices.

Mr. Adamson Bactat, President of Remini Italia Corp.—master franchisee of Terranova in the Philippines, expressed how thrilled they are to unveil Terranova’s newest concept. “And it's the perfect time since we're introducing pieces from our Fall/Winter collection. Terranova has been growing year on year and we’re really proud. The unveiling of Mall of Asia store is exciting for us because this is an opportunity for us to offer Filipinos the best in today’s Italian fashion.”

*The brand was first launched in the country in Glorietta 4 in 2003. Terranova SM Mall of Asia opened in 2006 and was later on renovated into a bigger place to cater to a vibrant market. Other Terranova branches can be found at SM North Edsa Annex, Robinsons Place Manila, Festival Super Mall Alabang, SM Southmall, Ayala Center Cebu, SM Mall Cebu, and Abreeza Mall Davao. For more information, visit http://www.facebook.com/TerranovaPhilippines.

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