Thursday, February 23, 2012

Spotlight: El Gamma Penumbra

It is exactly 4 months as of today that I felt a bit of frustration watching the grand finals results night of our very own franchise of Got Talent on it's 3rd season, which is basically called Pilipinas Got Talent. Despite the positive reviews and critics that were given by the media about the group El Gamma Penumbra sad to say but they were overshadowed by 3 finalists who were all singers. It was Maasinhon Trio from Leyte who grabbed the title. I may say I'm one of those who criticize the said show alot and often tag it as "Pilipinas got Singers" considering that all three grand winners for three seasons have the singing talent to garner public votes. Anyways, we have to deal with that since that's how the game is played. But I am happy to know that even if this group did not win, they are given project post-PGT that showcased their talent that we can proudly show the world. The plus factor is that they promote our country for tourism.

El Gamma Penumbra

El Gamma Penumbra is a shadow play theater group best known as one of the grand finalists in Pilipinas Got Talent Season 3 in ABS-CBN. The group hailed from Tanauan, Batangas City. The group is highly praised for their performances which focuses on promoting the Philippine tourism. During the grand finals of Pilipinas Got Talent Season 3, they landed 4th place (8.05% via public voting).

The video below is the newest video promotion of CHOOSE PHILIPPINES through the creative initiatives of ABS-CBN Regional Network Group that was first seen on national TV last Sunday, February 19, 2012 on ASAP 2012. It again showcased the dynamics of the group by adding new shadow plays to their presentation, with the return of their trademark figures such as the giant shoes, harana, carabao, etc. The most striking part for me was the representation of Muslims and Christians praying to Allah and God, respectively. This has a huge impact because despite different religions, the Filipino people are still one family.

The lyrics for "Piliin Mo..." were written by Robert Labayen, the vice president of ABS-CBN's Creative Communications Management (CCM). The song was sang by Angeline Quinto, grand winner of "Star Power: The Search for the Next Pop Superstar" and Vincent Bueno, grand champion of "Musical! Die Show" in Vienna, Austria.

Looking forward to see more about this group. This is one talent that we Filipinos should be proud of.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Madayaw Davao!

Among the many places I have traveled arou
nd the country, I was never given a chance to visit any cities down south in Mindanao. More likely because before when I was in my high school or college years, I was one of those afraid of being abducted by Abu Sayaff (feeling foreigner) or maybe just because I was not allowed by my parents to travel (with their shouldered expenses of course). I always wanted to visit at least two or three places in Mindanao, and this year, that dream finally came true.

One of the promotional posters of Davao featuring the Philippine Eagle

It was early August of last year when my girlfriend fo und seats for me, and two of our friends Janah and Godfrey (who are also in a relationship) via Cebu Pacific from Cebu to Davao; thanks to the Piso Fare promo. Our flight was scheduled originally 8AM of February 3th but was canceled and was changed to 8:45PM of the same day. so we decided to leave Bacolod 11PM February 2nd. It was a long bus trip, around 8 hours via Toledo City. We arrived at Cebu City around 8:30 AM.

The Heritage Monument of Cebu

The Magellan's Cross

Since our air flight is gonna be in the evening, we had our little side trips in the city by visiting the Heritage Monument of Cebu (where Janah's sister's apartment is near), Basilica de Sto. NiƱ0, Magellan's Cross and had lunch at Hukad in the Ayala Terraces. We went to the Mactan International Airport around 6 in the evening and just had our dinner there. As expected ther e was a short delay on our flight, but we arrived safe and sound in Francisco Bangoy International Airport in Davao. It was a bit late so we decided to rest in Green Windows Dormitel.

Arrived at the Francisco Bagnoy International Airport late at night

Where we stayed on our first night in Davao

Kuya Jeremy, one of my close friends in Davao, together with his friend Nom greeted as the next day and offered to join us in a city tour. We then transferred to Sampaguita Tourist Inn since the room we stayed in Green Windows were reserved for the weekend and there were no other rooms available. Kuya Jeremy then showed us the places in the metro like the St. Peter's Cathedral, Ilaw ng Kalinaw, Davao City Hall and Matina Town Square. We had our dinner at Jack's Ridge. The place was actually great at night for it's scenic view of the city lights but we decided to have lunch there since we are gonna visit the Davao Crocodile Farm and Tribu K'Mindanawon for a Fire Dance Exhibition show in the late afternoon. The show was spectacular. Not only that the dancers utilized the basic poi but als o had fire hoops and staves during the performance. The first day of the Davao trip was amazing but we called it a day after having a massage at Paradise Spa. We called it a day.

Catedral de San Pedro

Ready for lunch @Jack's Ridge Resort

A view of Davao City from Jack's Ridge

Davao Crocodile Park

Tribu K'Mindanawon fire dancers

The next day was Beach day! Although I wished it was either Pearl Farm or Maxima (where they have the longest water slide), we opted to visit Paradise Island. Samal Island is a five to ten minutes boat ride from the city. We had our lunch, and did a 30-minute kayaking. We went back to the city in the afternoon, took a quick rest and had dinner to NCCC mall for dinner. We then tried some the food and drinks Davao has to offer, from Durian Halo-Halo by Aling Foping, as well as Durian Coffee in Blugre Coffee. Even if most of the people I know doesn't love the smell and taste of the "king of fruits" . But I am one of those who greatly appreciates the odor precisely, thus it is one of my favorite fruits I may say. We then visited People's park at night.

Kayaking @ Paradise Island Beach Resort, Samal Island

Durian Halo Halo ni Aling Foping

Durian Coffee @ Blugre Coffee since 1988

People's Park

I also had the opportunity to meet up with some of my Davao friends for the first time. We were introduced via online networking sites and had been friends for a number of years so I took the opportunity to meet them since I was already there. I was able to meet Rgem, Nat, FG, Renz, Doods, a nd was introduced to one of their friends Agnes. We had small chats in Starbucks Abreeza, and decided to go back to Matina Town Square to continue the small chats, this time with bottles of beer.

Nate, Renz, Agnes, me and Rgem

The next day, the four of us decided to visit the Butterfly Garden and get a ride in Davao's Zorb Park, unfortunately the later was closed during Mondays. It was at the same time also that we received a bad news back in Negros that they were struck with a magnitude 6.9 earthquake, but fortunately our loved ones were safe. We shook off the worries and continued with our city tour by having lunch at Penongs Chicken BBQ, just a five minute walk from our hotel. We also decided to purchase our pasalubong in the afternoon at the ALDEVINCO Shopping Center where we purchased malongs, sarongs, Davao key chains as well customized Davao tees for ourselves. We had a buffet dinner at Wild Safari Grill, were I indulge myself to unlimited durian ice cream.

getting up close and personal with a butterly @ Butterfly House

Unlimited Durian Ice Cream @ dinner buffet in Wild Safari Grill

Tuesday was our last day in the city. Me and my girlfriend went to G-Mall, one of the largest malls in Davao to check for any other pasalubong we can purchase. Went back to the hotel and decided to go to Abreeza to have lunch and spend the whole afternoon before going to the airport for our flight back to Cebu. To kill the time, we watched a movie (Journey 2 starring The Rock and Vanessa Ann Hudgens) in 3D which is 50Php cheaper than in Bacolod, played arcade games in Timezone, and purchased the last pasalubong for my brothers back home. We then went to the airport and was bound for Cebu then. We arrived in Bacolod the next day Wednesday.

Davao was really a stress reliever from all the hard week's work we had at the office. It was really a great way to unwind for all of us. Here are some things I really like about Davao.

1. Traffic rules are implemented. No jaywalking. Every street has its own pedestrian lights to give a go signal to cross the street or not.
2. It's safe to roam around even at night. Every now and then police are roaming the streets to secure the areas
3. The routing system is much easier than Cebu. Taxi drivers are very honest. No transactions for fare, they follow what's on the meter
4. Durian heaven!

Davao city has really lots to offer. These are the reasons why I still need to visit Davao again this year:
1. Zip Line in Eden's Paradise. The resort is an hour away drive from the city so due to time constraint we were not able to visit it.
2. Jack's Ridge at night. Wanna try having dinner while looking over the city lights.
3. Night life. I wasn't able to experience partying with my Davao friends.
4. Kadayawan Festival. Although we have specific plans to go to Manila this August, hopefully the festival in Davao would not fall on the same date.
5. Maxima or Pearl Farm. I want to experience the long water slide and scuba diving as well.
6. I wasn't able to visit the Philippine Eagle Institute. I was planning to buy a stuffed toy eagle for my brother as he requested but it can only be bought there.
7. Mt. Apo. we'll I might be able to go for a hike there in the future.

It may be a short list but it would definitely something I would watch for once I decided to revisit the "Crown Jewel of Mindanao".