Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Spotlight: Alvin de Castro

I decided to create this blog entry because this tells about one great experience I have last year, and actually one of the best experiences I had. August 13, 2011: I was in Manila to attend one of Alvin De Castro's master classes held in ACTS Dance and Arts Academy (Mezzanine Floor G.A. Tower 1 Bon
i Edsa Mandaluyong City). Now here's a short background of who he is.

Alvin de Castro (Dancer/Choreographer)

Nationality: Filipino

He is one of Australia’s most recognized urban choreographers and continues to turn heads internationally with projects in Asia and the United States. He become the first dancer on So You Think You Can Dance in the world to be invited as a choreographer whilst a contestant in the top 100. His choreography is featured in Season 3 of SYTYCD Australia (Hiphop routine, Down by Jay Sean danced by Top 20's Gaz Griffiths and Ivy Heeney). He is the founder of two-time Australian National Hip Hop Champions - "Beatphonik". His career in dance began following a successful run in Hip Hop dance competitions and an opportunity to support Sean Paul during his Australian tour. His background in both the crew scene and industry make him a favorable judge in dance competitions around the world. Alvin is now the resident Hip Hop coach at Brent Street Studios. He is based in Sydney, Australia.

Source: http://www.alvindecastro.com/ <-- direct link, visit his website =)

Me and colleagues at Alvin's last class for his Manila tour

I get to knew him from his Youtube video uploads including hiphop choreographies in his dance classes in Australia as well as his group Beatphonik. So when I knew he would provide dance classes in Manila, I never doubted to grab myself a plane ticket, travel to Manila and attend one of his classes. I said to myself it would be a once in a lifetime chance and I never regretted it. We were taught of a hiphop routine for Monica's Still Standing. Although I would like to post the class session (on video) that we had for the said class, I would like to ask permission first from him since he mentioned we cannot post it on either Youtube or any public websites (that was a 5 month ago reminder, dunno if it's still applicable now hehe). It was a quick 2-hour class with a very fast pace choreography.

Me together with Master Alvin DC =)

Monday, January 30, 2012

It's Raining PAINT! - The Dinagsa Festival 2012

It's my 6th year to attend the annual Dinagsa festival in Cadiz City, 65 kilometers north of Bacolod City. The festival name wa
s coined after an event in the past where several whales arrived in the shores of the said city; the word "dagsa" means driftage. This is also why Cadiz city is tagged "The city of Whales". Dinagsa Festival is also one of the country's celebrations in honor of Señor Sto. Niño.

Among the three festivals I have went to this January (Sinulog and Dinagyang were the first two), this was the most exciting festival I was waiting to happen. Other than the dance parade of Atis just like in Kabankalan and Ilo-ilo, this festival also offers another twist which is called "Lamhitanay Festival". This is celebrated on the day of the highlights where people roaming the streets will wipe each other with latex paint , this in contrast to Kabankalan's charcoal paste. This adds more color to the said festival.

It was only last year and this year that I wasn't able to go there a night before the highlights. The night before the main festival usually is filled with concerts from either local or international bands. We go drinking in different kiosks surrounding the plaza while jamming with music surrounding the vicinity. I remember two years back I was able to jam with Sponge Cola, one of the best rock bands in the country.

me and colleauges at work enjoying the Lamhitanay festival

This year, we went to Cadiz for lunch at a friend's house on the same day of the festival. We then started to join the crowd in painting each other with colorful paints. You usually see lots of people from Bacolod compared to a number in Kabankalan, more likely since Cadiz is accessible to the city than Kabankalan way down south. We went home early since we know that people will
flock by the bus stations usually during peak hours (6PM - 8PM) heading back to Bacolod since the next day would be a regular school and working day. We do not want to stand all the way from Cadiz to Bacolod just to get a ride home. Lucky we were able to seat in an airconditioned bus going home. I was unfortunate however for not being able to party Sunday night with the sexy model/DJ Ornusa Cadness. A friend informed me she was the guest for the night's closing ceremonies. Well, there will always a next year.

DJ Ornusa Cadness..too bad i wasn't able to party with her :'(

Monday, January 23, 2012

Hala Bira Ilo-ilo! My first Dinagyang Experience

January is filled with festivities in the Philippines in honor of the baby jesus or Santo Niño. A week ago, I was able to experiece again Sinulog Festival in Kabankalan City. This weekend, however, is my first time to visit Ilo-ilo for their yearly fiesta in honor of the same patron. It was a first time for me to experience Dinagyang Festival.

Dinagyang came from the Hiligaynon term "dagyang" or "to enjoy oneself". The festival is also held to celebrate the arrival on Panay of Malay settlers and the subsequent selling of the island to them by the Atis.

Videoke time for Vince's birthday

I arrived in Iloilo City afternoon of Saturday, January 21, where I immediately witnessed a dance parade competition between differnet business establishments and schools of the city. My friends Jake and Vince fetch me and went to Robinson's as well as SM to have a little snack. The picture taking began then since most malls have their employees in their dinagyang costume, matched with black paint all over their skins to resemble an ATI. Had a little rest at Jake's home and off to party at night. It was also Vince's birthday so we went to have videoke night at Smallville 21. The party continues while me and some friends went to the Philip Morris booth for unlimited drinks. We went home at around 4 in the morning.

Due to heavy partying, we woke up up late in the morning, thus the reason why we are not able to watch the dance parade live (Jake's house is 30 mins away from the city proper via car). So while having breakfast, we watched the live telecast instead. It was then afte lunch we went to join the people on the streets. Picture taking time again, this time with the contenders for the tribal dance competition. The partying never stops Sunday night, as we went back to Smallville and meet some new friends, as well as familiar faces from Bacolod City.

I went home Monday afternoon with another smile in my face. Another event to add to my list this year. Although I was a bit disappointed not able to watch the tribal dance competition live, this definitely gave me a reason to go back next year to experience it with my own eyes. And yes, I had my last song syndrome with this year's Dinagyang chant.. ♫ Hala Bira! Iloilo ♫

Thursday, January 19, 2012

It's more fun indeed in the Philippines

Even though the new slogan for the Department of Tourism's was
questioned for its originality (since it was discovered that Switzerland has used this in the 50's), I never failed to smile thinking of how many things we can relate to this simple one liner. Indeed, the country has lots to offer due to the fact that being separated into more than 7000 islands, the culture is dynamic and diverse, providing colorful experience to every tourist that visits our country. I myself has just started to visit some parts of the country last year, and indeed, it was an amazing experience to travel in your own land. I really did appreciate its wonders and beauty.

I have searched the net and saw some funny "more fun
" photos created by unknown users. Shows to prove how Filipinos can be witty as well as imaginative in these aspects.

Here are some of my top 3 picks online among the thousand search results I found in Google.

The picture below was taken from the Blue Lagoon, Pagudpud Ilocos Norte where I tried (trying hard LOL) to have yoga. I also wanna join along with the trend. I think our Department of Tourism should continue to push more on this since it received mostly positive reviews from critics.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Last year I started a Facebook album of all random captures I have using different cameras (most photos are shot using my girlfriend's Nikon D3000). It is growing quite a number so I decided to create another blog page solely dedicated for all these photos. Please visit my photo blog (click on the link)

I used the word Maniniyot since it is the tagalog term for photographer. It also means "tagakuha ng litrato". "In the Making" since I am still an amateur to this ; just started for a few months but I am starting to love the craft. So this is where you can see my photo collections.. Enjoy!!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Getting Dirty. More fun in Kabankalan

The time of the year has finally arrived. Having only 3 hours of sleep from the previous night's videoke/despidida party for my two colleagues from work, I forced myself to get up early in the morning to prepare myself for a long day. A two-hour travel via bus down south of Bacolod City, it is one of the most anticipated events in Negros Occidental. This is a yearly celebration in Kabankalan City that we , together with friends, usually go to. The celebration in honor for the Santo Nino or the Baby Jesus for helping the people in driving away the Moro Pirates, is called SINULOG festival, but to differentiate from the more famous Cebu City festival of the same name, the festival offers an exciting twist to use soot (charcoal paste) to rub over everyone who is part of the festivities, not only the participants for the tribal competition.

It was my 4th year in a row to attend the festival. I woke up around 6:45AM and immediately went to Kabankalan via bus. I arrived around 10:30AM just outside the city and it was hell of a traffic so I opted to walk together with some other people who were impatient to wait, just like me. I was late for the dance parade, since I was only able to watch and take photos from tribes number 8-14. But the good thing was I saw my best friend Basho on the way, and had lunch at his friend's house. It was like a typical barrio fiesta, were almost everyone is invited in every house for a banquet, even those that the household have just meet during the festival. It was a dilemma on my part, since there were four invitations for me to attend lunch with, but I decided to join Basho instead.

The fun starts after lunch. While strolling around the public plaza, the same time the tribal dance competition is held, expect to be covered with soot as people you know (and whom you had not known of) will smother and wipe charcoal paste on any bare skin that you have, may it be your face, shoulders, hands or even legs for the girls. Don't fret, since this is part of the celebration. One word of advice though: DO NOT say no or get angry, for people will eventually be pushed to put some more charcoal paste on you. There are also raining beers, literally raining..from those you drink and those that were thrown away and spilled all over the place. And yes, we ourselves aren't exempted, we are all in greasy black.

Finally went home at around 7 in the evening. And the bus going back to Bacolod as expected was jammed pack. By the end of the day, there were no regrets. Tiring but it will always be one of the most exciting festivals to attend to here in Negros Occidental. Hoping for another great experience next year.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Spotlight: 2NE1

I remember when I was in my early college years when I first watch Sandara Park on TV as this "krung-krung" on Star Circle Quest. She was my bet then, although it was her ex-bf/on screen partner Hero Angeles who grabbed the title. She left the Philippine show business and went home to her homeland South Korea for a career move. And she made the right choice.

Now this blog entry is not all about Sandara. Although I will be tackling about one of my favorite Korean group in which she, now know as DARA, is part of 2NE1 (pronounced twenty-one or to anyone). The group the attention of all KPOP music lovers as well as the world for breaking the cliche of Korean girl bands having always the sexy image such as Girl's Generation, Brown Eyed Girls, etc. They were even name the New Best Band in the World by MTV Iggy last year.

2NE1 is a combination of "21st Century" and "New Evolution".

The group was formed by YG Entertainment in 2009 and popularly tagged as the female counterpart of BIG BANG, another group produced by the same music company

Musical Style and Image
2NE1 is known for a "unique and edgier style" Most of their songs falls under genre of hiphop. 2NE1's music explores independence and female empowerment

Current Members
2NE1 is a quartet girl group. Current members are:

Name: CL (씨엘)
Birth Name: Lee Chaerin (이채린)
Birthday: February 26, 1991
Position: Leader, Main Rapper, Lead Vocalist
Musical Influences: Teddy Park, Uhm Jung Hwa, Madonna and Beyonce
Trivia: Her father is a physics professor and travels a lot so she was able to live in South Korea, Japan and France. She knows how to speak English, Japanese and French.

Name: Bom (봄)
Birth Name: Park Bom (박봄)
Birthday: March 24, 1984
Position: Main Vocalist
Musical Influences: Mariah Carey, Beyonce
Trivia: She had her early education in the US and took Psychology as a major in college. It took three years (and multiple rejections) before Bom was accepted as a YG trainee.

Name: Dara (다라)

Birth Name: Park Sandara (박산다라)
Birthday: November 12, 1984
Position: Vocalist, Visual
Musical Influences: Uhm Jung Hwa, Jennifer Lopez
Trivia: Dara was featured in a TV drama The Return of Iljimae as Rie. She also won the 21st PMPC Star Awards for Movies for Best New Actress in her movie Bcoz of U while she had her career in the Philippines.

Name: Minzy (민지)
Birth Name: Gong Minji (공민지)
Birthday: January 18, 1994
Position: Maknae, Main Dancer, Lead Vocalist, Rapper
Musical Influences: Michael Jackson
Trivia: Minji is the granddaughter of Gong Okjin, a legendary folk dancer in South Korea. She is also the youngest member of 2NE1.

Notable Awards

Asian Newcomer's Award - Asia Song Festival
New Artist - Melon Music Awards
Best New Female Artist - MNET Asian Music Awards
R&B Artist of the Year - Rhythmer Awards
"Fire" Best Music Video - MNET Asian Music Awards
"I Don't Care" - Song of the Year

2010 Top 10 - Melon Music Awards
Best Female Group - MNET Asian Music Awards
Artist of the Year - MNET Asian Music Awards
"To Anyone" Album of the Year - MNET Asian Music Awards
Can't Nobody "Best Music Video - MNET Asian Music Awards

New Artist - Japan Record Awards
"To Anyone" Best Dance & Electronic Album - Korean Music Awards
"I Am The Best" Song Of The Year - MNET Asian Music Awards
"Lonely" Best Vocal Performance Group - MNET Asian Music Awards
Artist of the year - MTV Daum Music Fest
"Go Away" Favorite K-pop Video Award - MYX Music Awards
Best New Band In The World - MTV IGGY

Here are the list of songs I prefer to listen from this group:

Lollipop (feat. Big Bang)
I Don't Care (and it's reggae version)
Pretty Boy
Clap Your Hands
Can't Nobody (used this song on one of our dance routines)
I Am The Best

Thursday, January 12, 2012

It was a blast in 2011

It has been my hobby that as the year ends, I will be able to create a year-ender album in my Facebook account (I started 2009, choosing some of the best photos that describe the events that happened in my life). This year I decided to try something new, while practicing my video editing skills in Windows Movie Maker 2010. The software is very simple to use since it provides you all the things you need.. from effects, animations, as well as the common drag and drop functionality for text and audio.

Here are the list of things included, in order of appearance of the videos I made:

** The last mountain hike I did together with team ATI (All Tract Individuals)
** Sinulog Festival in Kabankalan City
** Dinagsa Festival in Cadiz City

** A chance to meet face to face with the Philippine National Football Team, the Azkals

** My new account, Adobe, in Teleperformance had it's 1 year anniversary; performed 2 dance numbers: one with the fellow agents and one with the supervisors. I was awarded then with the Best Technical Support agent and Agent of the Year
** TP Unity Opening, our yearly sportsfest at the office; danced with TP Dance Crew

** Boracay getaway during the Holy Weeks with my girlfriend and friends. Had meet several celebreties and partied with Ethel Booba ;p

** joined the ABS-CBN's Star Magic Dance Workshop. Trainer/Facilitator was choreographer and ex Pinoy Big Brother housemate Mickey Perz.
** joined my girlfriend and her teams island getaway in Bantayan, Cebu. It was a first time for me and the place is really amazing

** first time to organize a competition for Dance Dance Revolution. Held June 11, 2011 at Quantum Amusement Center @ Robinson's Place Bacolod.
** TP Unity Volleyball games started where I joined as one of the players for our account. We ended 2nd runner up among 5 teams.

** First time to be invited as an official judge for Pump It Up National Tournament for the Freestyle Category. Held July 8, 2011, this was the national qualifiers for the World Pump Fest that was held in China a month after.
** We conquered the north and south of the Ilocos provinces, visiting some of the famous tourists spots like the Bangui Windmills and Calle Crisologo in Vigan.

** Had a short get together with my co-administrator in our Facebook group for Pokemon trainers.
** Attended Alvin de Castro's hiphop workshop in ACTS Academy in Manila. he is a renowned hiphop choreographer for SYTYCD Australia.
** After 7 years, Kuya Jeremy, a good friend of mine from Davao had finally arrived in Bacolod. And finally met him in person.

** Among the many office rally we had since I started in Teleperformance, none is unforgettable with the "Back to the 70's". I had to wear some of my dad's clothes plus I won the best dressed male for the night ($$$) hahaha
** After a few years, I finally set my foot back again in the USLS Coliseum to dance in front of the students. Was invited to be a part of an All Stars dance for the College of Nursing for their acquaintance party.
** Me together my colleagues joined a worldwide contest in our office called TP4Fun Festival in the Dance Category. We made it to the semis and performed in Manila but unfortunately did not grab our dream trip to Brazil for the finals. But the Manila trip was all worth it. All expenses paid by the company.

** DDR All Stars Weekend was held in Tanauan, Batangas where I was invited again as a judge. then a time to relax with my co DDR players in a mountain getaway.
** Masskara Fever in Bacolod. Kuya Jeremy went back to celebrate the festival for the first time. Went to the Opus Black Party in L'Fisher Chalet tower and the next day, took dance parade pics together with amateur and professional Photographers.

** The closing and awarding ceremonies for our TP Unity where TP Dance Crew was invited again to dance. Adobe grabbed 2nd place overall for the Sportsfest this year.

** Our company Christmas party was held at the office garden where me together with Adobe colleagues dance for the inter-account dance showdown. Landed 1st runner up for third time in a row this year.
** Had my first half Filipino, half French godson JA (Jean Antoine)
** The year always ends with the high school reunion at St. Joseph's High School where me and my classmates reunite after having a very long and busy year.

As for the song, Moves Like Jagger was one of my fave songs in 2011. So I think it's the most catchy song I can incorporate with my video.. 2011 was definitely a rockin' year..

My Starbucks 2012 Planner

after 17 cups of sweet caffeine, finally got this.. thanks for those people who helped (late post actually, got this since last week)

and guess what? I have a new card, 7 more coffees to go and I’ll be having my second planner. Good thing they have double stickers per one coffee now..

I was chatting through Facebook with Anton, an online friend and also a blogger, about sharing his blog site (www.pusangkalye.net) when I remembered I have this before. Due to a very busy (and crazy..) year last 2011, I was not able to keep this blog up-to-date. Thanks to him, I may be able to go back to this blogging hobby. I transferred to Tumblr where most of my posts were photos since I also do some practice shots using my girlfriend's Nikon D3000. I was surprised my last post was way back February 20, 2011..almost a year of being inactive on this site. So let this be one of my new year's resolutions for 2012, I will keep this site updated just as long as I am not busy.

So as of today, I will have to dig my Tumblr history and retrieve all of my posts and repost this here..