Tuesday, December 22, 2015


 Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Linus and the rest of the beloved Peanuts Gang make their big-screen debut, like they’ve never been seen before, in state of the art 3D animation.  Charlie Brown, the world’s most beloved underdog, embarks upon an epic and heroic quest, while his best pal, the lovable beagle Snoopy, takes to the skies to pursue his arch-nemesis, the Red Baron.  From the imagination of Charles M. Schulz and the creators of the “Ice Age” films, “Snoopy and Charlie Brown The Peanuts Movie” will prove that every underdog has his day.
                “Snoopy and Charlie Brown The Peanuts Movie” features the iconic music of Vince Guaraldi, who composed the beloved “Linus and Lucy” song from the television specials.  “Let me put your concerns to rest,” confirms Martino, “the ‘Linus and Lucy’ song and all the cues you know and love are in the film!”
                Martino turned to longtime Peanuts collaborator, jazz legend David Benoit, to perform the memorable title tracks for the film.  To bring to life the iconic “voice” of Ms. Othmar (the kids’ teacher) and all the other adult voices in the cast, the filmmakers tapped New Orleans jazz legend Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews. 
                At the helm of all the music is composer Christophe Beck (“Frozen,” “Ant Man,” “Pitch Perfect”).   In one memorable scene, Snoopy teaches Charlie Brown to dance (so he can impress the Little Red-Haired Girl).  Knowing the scene called for a song, Martino turned to one of the world’s top new musical artists, Billboard Music Award winning and Grammy nominated Meghan Trainor, to pen an original tune for the film.  “Meghan has written a wonderful song that expresses Charlie Brown’s optimistic attitude as he works with Snoopy to become a better dancer,” says Martino.  “She is such an amazing singer songwriter and a shining example of the thematic heart of our story.” 
                Trainor met with the team at Blue Sky and seemingly overnight captured the essence of the film in song.  “Musically, Meghan had me from her very first rough demo,” Martino says.  “My foot was tapping and I had a huge smile on my face as I could see this moment in the movie being lifted by her unique talents.”
                Trainor commented: “As a lifelong fan of Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the rest of the Peanuts Gang, I was thrilled to be offered the chance to see an early version of “Snoopy and Charlie Brown The Peanuts Movie” —and to then be inspired to write a song that captured the film’s spirit, energy and sense of joy.  And it was a pleasure to work with director Steve Martino to make sure the song did right by the incredible characters and world he’s bringing to the big screen.”
                Two-time Academy Award winner Randy Thom, Supervising Sound Editor and Supervising Sound Mixer on “Snoopy and Charlie Brown The Peanuts Movie,” is no stranger to the world of animation.  A legend in the craft of sound design and mixing, Thom, who is based at Skywalker Sound, has worked on over 20 animated films, including the “How to Train Your Dragon” and “Rio” films and “The Incredibles” (for which is won an Oscar).
                “Even though we used contemporary equipment we employed special techniques to antique them, incorporating characteristic sounds you’d recognize from the specials,” Thom continues.  In a nod to the classic specials and to the legacy of Charles M. Schulz, Bill Melendez and Lee Mendelson, the filmmakers were granted access to the library of Melendez’s recordings of Snoopy’s voice.  “It was really important for us to use Bill’s voice, so I approached his studio and secured a majority of the recordings he had made over the years,” says Craig Schulz.
                The warmth and merriment of the holiday season continue as “Snoopy and Charlie Brown The Peanuts Movie” opens January 8 (also in 3D) in cinemas nationwide from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.

Monday, December 14, 2015

UST Christmas concert at CCP

Press release

The University of Santo Tomas' Conservatory of Music, in cooperation with the Cultural Center of the Philippines, celebrates Christmas with a concert on December 15, 8:00pm at the Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (CCP Main Theater).

The Christmas concert features the UST Symphony Orchestra, band, choruses, UST Singers, vocal and instrumental soloists, and Russian guest violinists. Program includes excerpts from Handel's Messiah, Broadway music from the West Side Story and Sister Act; Veni, Veni Emmanuel (A Cappella); Brass Christmas Funfare, Silong/Calalang's Kampana ng Simbahan, Bach-Gounod's Ave Maria, Pietro Yon's Gesu Bambino, Adolphe Charles-Adam's O Holy Night, La Virgen Lava Panales, and Pablo Sarasate's Zigeunerweisen (Gypsy Airs), among other works.

For tickets, contact the CCP Box Office at 832-3704.

Sunday, December 13, 2015


Press release

Ayala Malls Cinemas recently unveiled its MET OPERA IN HD SEASON 3 at Greenbelt 3 Cinemas featuring the movie “La Donna Del Lago” that started last December 8. 

Photo courtesy of MET Opera
                Ayala Malls Cinemas brings the world-class experience opera in the country, presenting operatic productions to a wider audience.  Its debut feature on its third season, “La Donna Del Lago” tells about a time when Scotland under King James V (reigned 1513–1542) was in a state of unrest.  Amongst the rebels were Douglas (Elena's father), Rodrigo (to whom she has been betrothed) and Malcolm (whom she loves).  The King is in the habit of going about his lands disguised as Uberto.  Seeing Elena he instantly falls in love with her, but she repels his advances stating that he is confusing hospitality and friendship for romantic interest.  In the meantime he has realized that she is related to his enemies.  The clans gather to overthrow the king, and Rodrigo and Douglas discover Elena's secret love for Malcolm.  She tries to keep the peace, but the call to arms diverts the soldiers.  The battle does not go well, and Rodrigo is killed. Again the king in disguise encounters Elena and gives her a ring to take to the king if she is ever in trouble.  She decides to use it and goes to Stirling Castle where she finds that both Malcolm and Douglas are prisoners.  She pleads their cases, and the king magnanimously pardons them and blesses the union, now unimpeded by Rodrigo, between Elena and Malcolm.

                Bel canto superstars Joyce DiDonato and Juan Diego Flórez join forces for this Rossini showcase of vocal virtuosity, set in the medieval Scottish highlands and based on a beloved novel by Sir Walter Scott.  DiDonato is the “lady of the lake” of the title, and Flórez is the king who relentlessly pursues her, their vocal fireworks embellishing the romantic plot in this Met premiere production conducted by Michele Mariotti.

                Succeeding shows will be on January 12 (“Tosca”), February 9 (“Iolanta/Bartok’s Bluebeard’s Castle”), March 8 (“Carmen”),April 12 (“The Merry Widow”) and May 10 (“Macbeth”).

                Log on to www.sureseats.com for more details of MET OPERA IN HD SEASON 3 AT GREENBELT 3.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Revolution is happening

In celebration of the World AIDS Day, a music festival is dedicated for the awareness. This is not just for anyone who likes music but it is also to spread awareness about the campaign. Most are still not aware especially those who are judgmental, self-righteous people who knows nothing but stooping people down who are considered HIV+.

Because most of these people are not oriented about HIV and AIDS because most of them are either conservative or religious. But if you have seen the HBO movie or the theater production The Normal Heart, you could understand.

I know I am sounding too preachy this is still a problem not only because of the epidemic but socially. This event may lead you to a more positive outlook without being infected and it's happening this Saturday December 5 at SM MOA concert grounds. For more updates, follow this blog and like L.E.N.S. blogs on Facebook.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

The Bridges of Madison County the musical Manila: A Review

Note: Just for the record, this is an unsolicited review. The local production has no influence on the author of the blog. My tickets were purchased.

I first heard about the musical when one of the actors, Mig Ayesa, was interviewed in a segment on local television. I've seen the movie but that was long ago and I haven't read the book yet. When I found out that Joanna Ampil is playing Francesca, I figured this may be good since she was also in Miss Saigon and I've watched her recently in an original Pinoy musical Chuva Choo Choo.

The story is about a love story between a housewife and a photographer of a known publication on assignment in Madison County, Iowa. Because of her personal issues and drawn affection between two wandering souls that resulted in an affair.

If you are not familiar with the book and the movie, don't worry. There are no spoilers in this review. The set appears simple before the act started. It appears like artworks of different sizes that looks like a puzzle showing landscape of Iowa. What makes the background unique is part of the artworks are also part of the props. One frame is part of Francesca's kitchen. One frame is where the bed was kept.

For the other props like chairs and ladders, they were being put to place by the cast especially the ensemble that only sits in the background when they don't have a part. The ladders were also used as arches or doors depending on the scene. Blocking of the props is also hard because the ensemble doubles as props custodians for the scenes.

The songs captures the Iowa setting of country music and slow rock. But there are some song that combines local Iowa tunes to opera that is why the role of Francesca and Robert Kincaid is so unique among the cast.

Mig Ayesa and Joanna Ampil created their own version that will not remind you of Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood. They gave a different attack on their roles since it is a musical. I realized why they are fit for the roles because their voices fit the songs and they also have specific physical appearances needed.

Unlike any musical, it didn't have much dance choreography which is good. Otherwise, you won't be concentrating on the songs which is essential for the story. It also has some dialogues that were not sung which is also necessary. It's been a while since I had a new Broadway song favorite and Before and After/One Second and A Million Miles became my new favorite because it captures the point of the relationship between Robert and Francesca.

What I like about this story is how liberating it was for the characters even though it may appear taboo since Francesca is married and Robert is a total stranger. It is still taboo even in the modern age but if you can see Francesca's situation, it is like she is in a prison in her own life and Robert was the only liberation she needed. This is something universal since not all marriages lasts forever.

Relationships really don't last forever. It is also part of the cycle. Even to marriages. Most couples are still together because of obligation to family and most because of financial need. But the love and affection is already gone. Which is why there are advantages of divorce law.

I was able to watch this production because a family friend was able to purchase seats but was unable to watch because of changes of work schedule. The seats I got were really expensive and I cannot even afford the lowest rates. Productions like these is for specific audiences who can afford. But if you can afford it, this is the best production you shouldn't miss.

For more reviews about musical productions, follow this blog and like L.E.N.S. blogs on Facebook. Thanks to Picket Fences Creatives for the tickets.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Paglayang Minamahal: A Review of a modern sarsuela

What is a sarsuela? Long before the kalyeseryes and reality shows, this is one of our very own entertainment. If Shakespeare is now a specific theater genre, the Philippines has the sarsuela. Although it is not originally ours since we got it from Spain, we adapted it in our culture and written many sarsuela pieces.

What makes sarsuela different from any staged performance? It is a lyric-dramatic genre that alternates between spoken or sung scenes. But there are also different variations from different Spanish colonies.

From what I watched, a sarsuela is always sung and it is always stuck in one period of time. Pinaglayang Minahal is not an old sarsuela piece but a winning work of George de Jesus III for the centennial celebration of the Philippine revolution.

The story is set during the revolutionary campaigns of the Katipunan and in a household of a Philippine upper class family, there is a secret love between an Illustrado and a commoner. It may appear like a material from today's modern tele-novela which the modern audience can appreciate. I was also oriented that this sarsuela material is a shortened version of the original material which can run for 4 hours. This was only 90 minutes since the purpose was a technical theater thesis. There are also symbolic interpretations of some parts like the oversize Moriones-type head of the Spaniard civil guards.

This production is part of a thesis for Technical Theater course of College of Saint Benilde. This was the last batch presentation of the course by Batch 112 and they will be graded according to their technical aspect of this production. Although the purpose of the production is purely academic, the students are already given professional exposure because there are professional theater actors and a professional theater publicist working in this production for proper exposure. You can say that this student batch was given an immersing experience how to work in the real theater production.

I never got to see other batch presentations but I can see a fully-polished production that can be done in a professional theater. Whatever is the verdict of the panel for this presentation, I am sure it is for their improvement because they could do more than what they did.

I was glad that I was able to watch this since it is my first time to see a thesis work in a theater course. For more theatrical reviews, follow this blog and like L.E.N.S. blogs on Facebook.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Majastic Concert At The Arena

I will list reasons why you should see the biggest concert of Maja Salvador.

#This is her first concert in a bigger area like The Arena. Her last concert was held at the Music Museum.

#She will be performing with six of the hottest men in the industry.

#Maja requested for Piolo Pascual because he is considered a prince in the industry. It's her first big concert.

#The concert was originally planned for October but moved to November when Piolo was still out of the country.

#Besides the guys, she is also having Kakai as the only female guest not because she is doing great in the show Your Face Sounds Familiar but she is really a good performer.

#There will be lots of surprises in store.

#The throne in the poster was custom made for the shoot. Kinda similar to the Iron Throne.

#This is probably the best concert to end this year.

Catch her Majastic at the SM Mall Of Asia Arena on November 13. The show starts at 8PM. Her guests are Paulo Avelino, Enrique Gil, JC De Vera, Enchong Dee, Piolo Pascual and much more. For more concert events, follow this blog and like L.E.N.S. blogs on Facebook. Tickets available via SMTickets.

Thursday, October 29, 2015


Press release

Set for release on November 13th via Asylum Records, ‘x’ Wembley Edition is the repackaged album from Ed Sheeran.

This album repack product comes just in time for the festive season with both a CD and DVD portion. The CD portion not only features all the hits taken from Ed’s multi award-winning, second studio album ‘x’, but also boasts an amazing five new tracks, including Lay It All On Me’, which sees Ed lend his vocals over Rudimental’ s timelessly produced number. ‘English Rose’‘Touch and Go’, ‘New York’and Make It Rain’the additional new tracks on this album, were once again (like ‘x’) recorded across the globe from LA, to New York and back to London, with Ed sticking with the formula that made his second studio album the biggest-selling LP of 2014.

He calls on assistance from producer Rick Rubin (Eminem, Jay-Z, & Red Hot Chilli Peppers) on Touch and Go’ and links up with Emile Haynie (Bruno Mars, Eminem, Lana Del Ray) on ‘New York’.

The DVD portion titled ‘Jumpers For Goalposts Live at Wembley Stadium’ features the breathtaking footage taken this summer as Ed made history, becoming the first solo artist to sell-out three consecutive nights at Wembley Stadium, playing to over 240,000 people! It features electrifying performances of all of the hits: ‘The A Team’‘Don’t’‘Sing’‘Thinking Out Loud’ and we even get a glimpse ofSir Elton John as the two undertake a one-off duet. Aside from the live performances, Jumpers For Goalposts Live at Wembley Stadium gives viewers an insight into life on the road with Ed, giving an honest and intimate window into the journey he’s taken thus far.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Chuva Choo Choo: D' Mr. Kupido musical review

Mr. Vehnee Saturno is been in the industry of writing songs in a span of 35 years including the present but what if these songs tells a story. This is where Chuva Choo D' Mr. Kupido musical comes in.

If you don't know Vehnee Saturno, you will admit that you are familiar with the songs he wrote for many singers and sang it. Most of his songs are also the usual Karaoke selections. It is also Vehnee Saturno's dream to create a musical but never got to start until theater group Stages  offered to do one. It is also fitting since most musical materials are usually from either West End or Broadway but only few musical productions are originally and can be appreciated by Pinoys.

Chuva Choo Choo's story is set in Pangasinan where two sisters who witnessed a murder and fled to Manila to hide and found refuge in a gay bar called Mr. Kupido. Although it shares similarities with Victor Victoria, it is still different.

I never thought that I'd see the day that songs interpreted by different recording artist would tell a story. It makes you say, "I know that song. He wrote that too?"  The stage set up is not only colorful, it is also flexible. It can be switch to three places without any effort in the props. The production also has audience interaction in some scenes.

Since this is the first production held at Power Mac Center Spotlight, I compare it to CCP's Tanghalang Huseng Batute but it is not as cramp. Just like the Batute, it is also a non-traditional theatrical facility. You can adjust the stage depending on the production. I look forward what else they can do with the Power Mac Center Spotlight.

If you miss the initial run of Chuva Choo Choo, watch out for its full run in January. It is a must-watch. You may never know what surprises awaits in each performance. For more theatrical productions, follow this blog and like L.E.N.S. blogs on Facebook.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015


Press release

CULVER CITY, Calif., September 8, 2015 – Albert R. Broccoli’s EON Productions, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, and Sony Pictures Entertainment today confirmed that Sam Smith has recorded “Writing’s On The Wall,” the theme song to SPECTRE, the 24th James Bond adventure.  SPECTRE will be released in the UK on October 26 and in the US (and the Philippines) on November 6.  The song, released by Capitol Records, will debut and be available to purchase and stream on September 25.

Multi-platinum selling artist Sam Smith has co-written the title song, “Writing’s On The Wall,” with fellow GRAMMY® Award winner Jimmy Napes.  It is the first James Bond theme song recorded by a British male solo artist since 1965.  Smith’s debut album In The Lonely Hour launched at No. 1 in the UK and bowed in at No. 2 in the US, and has since earned five No.1 UK singles, four GRAMMY® Awards, three Brit Awards, six MOBO Awards, Q and AMA Awards.

Commenting on the announcement, Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, the producers of SPECTRE, said, “Sam and Jimmy have written the most inspirational song for Spectre and with Sam’s extraordinary vocal performance, ‘Writing’s On The Wall’ will surely be considered one of the greatest Bond songs of all time.”

Smith said: “This is one of the highlights of my career. I am honoured to finally announce that I will be singing the next Bond theme song. I am so excited to be a part of this iconic British legacy and join an incredible line up of some of my biggest musical inspirations.  I hope you all enjoy the song as much as I enjoyed making it.”

The 23 previous James Bond theme songs make up some of the most memorable movie music of all time.  The previous Bond theme song, “Skyfall,” was performed by Adele, and was honored with the Academy Award® and Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song, the Brit Award for British Single of the Year, and the Grammy Award for Best Song Written for Visual Media. 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

"We Are Your Friends" OST

Press release

It may be very easy to associate Zac Efron with music that sets up a romantic mood, what with his breakout movie, High School Musical.  But now, the 27-year-old heartthrob is about to raise heartbeats to a new level as he spins EDM (electronic dance music) in his latest film, “We Are Your Friends”. 

Efron plays Cole Carter, a struggling DJ who spends his nights working on a track that could get the world pumped up and may lead him to an illustrious career.  In the movie trailer, Carter calls it the DJ’s job “to get the crowd out of their heads and into their bodies”.  He further reveals, “I like to start them off at 125 beats per minute...and start bringing them up, song by song.”   This is how he catches the attention of a charismatic but damaged older DJ named James (Wes Bentley of “The Hunger Games”) who takes him under his wing.  But it turns out that love for music is not the only thing they have in common as Cole falls in love with James’ girlfriend Sophie (Emily Ratajkowski of “Gone Girl”).  Now, Cole must choose between love, loyalty, and the future he’s always longed for.

To make sure that Efron is convincing as a DJ, the actor was mentored by no less than DJ Alesso, who started to gain popularity in 2012, prompting pop icon Madonna to call him “the next big thing in dance music”.  In 2014, DJ Alesso ranked 15th on DJ Magazine’s list of Top 100 DJs. Hard work is an important aspect of this film, and Efron did just that in his lessons with Alesso.  The latter revealed in an interview that Efron trained with him *twice or thrice a week for three months before filming began.  Sometimes, the actor would even visit Alesso’s gigs to see what it’s like in the booth.  There were even times when Alesso would allow Efron to hit the turntable, to the amazement of the people in the club.

“We Are Your Friends” marks Max Joseph’s (MTV’s “Catfish: The TV Show”) feature film directorial debut.  To capture the EDM craze at its purest, Joseph and everyone involved in the film actually threw a block party music festival in Downtown L.A. called “Summerfest”.  *“We invited everyone to come for free, and all they had to do was RSVP.  They came and we had a blast.”  

We Are Your Friends: Music From The Original Motion Picture is out now via MCA Music (Universal Music Philippines).

Sunday, August 30, 2015


Press release

Jesse Lucas set to music a poem by Maningning Miclat titled  “Ginugunita Kita”  and was welcomed by viewers when first aired on TV and was passed online by hundreds of netizens last May.

Critics, music lovers and avid fans watched it, and seven other Lucas songs of Maningning poems, at the Aldaba Recital Hall of the UP Diliman Theater on the fifth and last Saturday of the same month. Said songs, and more, will be featured at the Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino of the Cultural Center of the Philippines on September 3, back to back with the 2015 Maningning  Miclat Trilingual Poetry Awards featuring Kammerchor Manila. It is aptly entitled “Ginugunita Kita.”

Lucas is a multi-awarded composer for film, television, theater and dance. Miclat was a trilingual poet, award-winning visual artist and art teacher. Directed by film and theater actor Roeder Camaňag, the performance will feature soloist Banaue Miclat-Janssen and master cellist Renato Lucas, together with singer Al Gatmaitan and artist Delphine Buencamino. 

            Maningning Miclat was a poet, fictionist and essayist in English, Filipino and Chinese as well as a painter in Western and Chinese genre. A Bachelor of Fine Arts graduate in UP Diliman, she was a fellow of the U.P. National Writer's Workshop,  Silliman Writer's Workshop and Rio Alma Poetry Clinic. Her Chinese poems made her one of the top-rated women poets in Beijing.

            With Ryan Cayabyab and Chino Toledo as mentors, Jesse Lucas won awards from FAMAS which catapulted him to the Hall of Fame, and from the Gawad Urian, Young Critics Circle, Gawad Tanglaw and Aliw. In 2005, he won an award from the Screamfest International Film Festival in Los Angeles, USA. CCP’s Tanghalang Pilipino, Dulaang UP, Dramatis Personae, Gantimpala Theater Foundation, Ballet Philippines and the Philippine Ballet Theater have adapted his music.

            Lucas was deeply inspired by Maningning’s book of poetry, Voice from the Underworld (Anvil Publishing House, 2000,  2002, 2015). He says, "I immediately connected with the words and verses. The words used form their own cadence. Each word seemed carefully selected to form a given rhythm that supports its theme.” He further says, “The poems of Maningning Miclat are almost melodious that I can hear the music through the poetic images. They spoke and at the same time sang to me poignant thoughts about life, pain and love. These are the foundation of Ginugunita Kita’s music.” 
            He adds, “The experience in writing the music was really meditative and cathartic at the same time. It feels like I have discovered a new language, a language that speaks directly to the soul."

Lucas set to music Maningning’s poems such as Ginugunita Kita, Tawag, Duet (nina Rizal at Bracken), Kulay sa Bagyo, Ang Naliligaw, A Stare, Verses # 2,  To Catch a Second and Turn it to Forever, Panibugho and Shi Bu Shi (in Chinese, translated “Isn’t It?). They will be sang by Banaue Miclat-Janssen with Renato Lucas on the cello and Jesse Lucas on the piano.
            Miclat-Janssen sings the opera, acts and dances on stage and hones young artists as  professor of theatre arts at UP Diliman. She obtained her Master of Fine Arts from the City University of New York and her Bachelor of Arts from UP Diliman. In New York, she attended voice lessons from Evelyn Mandac, Robert Carpenter, and CUNY's Judylee Vivier. She had a stint at the Metropolitan Opera in such productions of Salome, Faust, La Boheme, Don Carlo, I Puritani and La Traviata. She has performed at the CCP, UP Abelardo Hall, UP Theater and Ateneo de Manila University.

            Renato Lucas is one of the finest cellists in the country. His schools included UP Diliman College of Music, San Francisco Conservatory of Music (USA), Royal Northern College of Music (England), Hochschule fur Musik Detmold (Germany), and Universitaet der Kunst Berlin (Germany). He has been the principal soloist of the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra for three decades. He has performed as soloist with the Manila Symphony Orchestra, Manila Chamber Orchestra, and UST Symphony Orchestra, as well as the CCP's Filipino Artist Series, Pundaquit Arts Festival, Las Piňas Bamboo Organ Festival, and the Maningning Poetry Awards.
Kammerchor Manila and the Maningning Awards

            Kammerchor Manila (KM) stormed the Czech Republic by  becoming the  Absolute and Grand Prix winner in the 42nd Festival of Songs Olomouch last year. 

It garnered four gold medals in such categories as superior mixed adult choir  (earning 98 pts), mixed adult choir (100 pts), folklore a capella (100 pts), and the spiritual, gospel and pop category (100 pts). Its three perfect scores bested such finalists as Mesani Pevski Zbor Pomlad  of Slovenia, Vocalisti Rostochienses  of Germany, Temasek Junior College  of Singapore and Mesani Pevski Zbor Svoboda of  Slovenia. A nation’s pride indeed for a church-based choir in the Hearts of Jesus and Mary Parish in West Triangle, Quezon City.  

KM will herald the winners of the 2015 Maningning Miclat Trilingual Poetry Awards.
            The Maningning Miclat Art Foundation, Inc. (MMAFI) was organized in 2001 to encourage creativity and to recognize, award, and nurture outstanding and talented young poets and artists 28 years old and below. Maningning Miclat passed on at age 28.

Its poetry competitions in Filipino, English and Chinese which started in 2003 are held during odd-numbered years and the painting contests in even-numbered years. The grand winners receive P28,000.00, a Julie Lluch trophy and books such as Voice from the Underworld by Maningning; Beyond the Great Wall: A Family Journal by Mario, Alma, Maningning & Banaue Miclat,which won the National Book Award for biography in 2007; Secrets of the Eighteen Mansions by Mario Miclat which made it to the list of the Man Asian Literary Prize; and Fairground: A Literary Feast.

The prizes reflect the Foundation's commitment to young talents. Founding MMAFI board member, Edna Manlapaz, likens them to young plants which "shoot up from the ground to reach for the sun and drink in the rain (and) grow into strong saplings. In time they stand tall on the hills, trees that mark our horizon."

Ginugunita Kita is presented by the Cultural Center of the Philippines, MMAFI, the Talent Factory, Inc and the Artists’ Playground. 

For inquiries, please contact, 0917-8478489; 0936-7097154. Tickets are available at the CCP Marketing Department (832-1125 loc. 1806), the CCP Box Office (832-3704) or Ticketworld at National Bookstore (891-9999). #

Saturday, August 29, 2015


Press release

Seven of the country’s finest theater artists are set to join forces on September 1 for PHILSTAGE’s fundraiser. Entitled “Mundong Entablado”, the show is part of the One Night Stand monthly cabaret at 12 Monkeys Music Hall, and features songs from eleven contemporary Filipino musicals.

Theater veterans Bituin Escalante, Cris Villonco, Sweet Plantado, Nonie Buencamino, and OJ Mariano take the stage with rising stars Kim Molina and Sandino Martin in this unique celebration of Manila’s vibrant performing arts scene. Under the direction of Topper Fabregas and musical direction of Ejay Yatco, the program consists of songs from Rock Supremo, Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah, Bituing Walang Ningning, Lorenzo, Noli Me Tangere, El Filibusterismo, Maxie the Musical, Kung Paano Ako Naging Leading Lady, Sa Wakas, Rizal X, Isang Panaginip na Fili, and Rak of Aegis, all re-arranged for this cabaret.

Proceeds of the event will help fund PHILSTAGE’s projects such as theatre workshops, master classes, and the annual Gawad Buhay! Awards.

Founded in 1997, the Philippine Legitimate Stage Artists Group (PHILSTAGE) is the country's only organization of professional performing arts companies. Member companies include 9 Works Theatrical, Actor’s Actors Inc. (AAI), Ballet Manila (BM), Ballet Philippines (BP), Full House Resorts World Manila, Gantimpala Theater Foundation (GTF), Philippine Ballet Theater (PBT), Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA), Philippine Opera Company (POC), Red Turnip Theater, Repertory Philippines, Tanghalang Pilipino (TP), Triumphant People’s Evangelistic Theater Society (Trumpets).

“Mundong Entablado” will be on September 1, 2015, 9:00PM at 12 Monkeys Music Hall, located at Century City Mall, Kalayaan Avenue, Makati City. Tickets are priced at Php 1000, and may be purchased through any of the PHILSTAGE companies or at the venue. 

Friday, August 14, 2015

Chuva Choo Choo: D' Mr. Kupido musicale excerpt video

Mr. Vehnee Saturno's music has influenced us Pinoys for many decades now regardless of social class, gender, etc., and worked with many recording artists up until now.  I had an opportunity to talk to him on one occasion during a presscon of one recording artist that he worked with more than a year ago.

Imagine if all those songs from those years are compiled to tell a story in a musical. This is what Stages Production Specialist Inc. is going to stage next month for 4 performance and then in January next year.

The plot of the musical was conceptualized two years ago. The story started with sisters Dina and Darla who witnessed a murder and went to Manila to hide and found refuge in a gay bar called Mr. Kupido where they pretend to be gay impersonators.

The musical is originally Pinoy so the target audience are local. There are only few musicals that we can be proud of and this is one production to add on that list. Vehnee Saturno always ponder about doing a musical but he didn't get a chance to start until Stages provided the right material and choice of songs to be included in the musical.

Here is one of the featured songs as interpreted by Joanna Ampil during the media launch. For more musical productions, follow this blog and like L.E.N.S. blogs on Facebook.

Friday, August 7, 2015

A Night for Voices of Healing

Press release

The University of the Philippines Medical Alumni Fund, Inc. (UPMAF) will hold a concert called “Ang SOAP Opera ng Buhay Ko” (The Concert: Voices of Healing) at the new Marriott Grand Ballroom on August 26, 2015 to riase funds towards the creation of the New UP College of Medicine Academic Center,  a 7-story multi-million peso undertaking.

The dinner concert will feature several of the biggest names in the international and local concert scene, including the 50-piece ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Gerard Salonga, this special night will bring together Lea Salonga, Ryan Cayabyab, Jed Madela, Vice Ganda, Mark Bautista, Cris Villonco, Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo, Bituin Escalante, Pinky Marquez, Franco Laurel, The Tux, Caisa Borromeo, Baihana, Catherine Fisher, among others, as they join the community in a collective voice of healing. A 70-strong chorus composed of The Mass Appeal, Ateneo Chamber Singers and UP Medicine Choir will also fill the grandiose ballroom.

This will be Lea Salonga’s last concert before she flies to New York to star in a show called “Allegiance,”  which previews in Broadway on October 20!

For ticket and sponsorship inquiries please contact, Dr. Melfred L. Hernandez (0917) 815-2029), Overall Chair, Dr. Karin Estepa (0922) 825-3146, Chair, Business Committee, or Ms Kareen Tapia (0923) 8568043 of UPMAF (02) 5264255, upmaf.secretariat@gmail.com

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Never The Strangers releases new album in four years

Album release

After four years, Never The Strangers returns to the local record industry with the release of their new album “Screenburn,” their first album with Universal Records.

The release of this album also marks the introduction of its new members. Never The Strangers is now composed of original members vocalist and keyboard player Ace Libre, guitarist JP Del Mundo, and new members bassist Gab Palanca and drummer Nash Ignacio.

Asked how the change in line-up affected the music of the band, Ace considers the different experiences of Gab and Nash contributed to the new sound of the band. He also notes JP’s uncanny ability to play guitars like a “chameleon.”

Ace also notes maturity in the way the band deals with each other, “we seek to serve the song rather than our egos, which I believe is a sign of maturity. We hear one another out, whether it's one reaffirming the opinion of another or opposing it.”

Ace expressed that this open communication has helped make the music better.

“The fans can expect a new sound from the new single,” Ace shares. “The single features the band having a go at electronic sounds.”

Ace also describes the upcoming album as having a “more narrative-based showing dressed in a bigger yet more nuanced sound from screenburn.”

“Screenburn” will be launched this June 19Friday7:00 p.m., at the Eastwood Central Plaza.

“Screenburn” Tracklist:

1. The Light
2. Mundo
3. Showbiz
4. Machine Heart
5. Bones
6. Tiwala
7. Meant To Be
8. Sabay
9. Elisa
10. OK
11. So Long
12. Glass

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Jed Madela's new album ICONIC

Jed Madela has a new album titled ICONIC. Jed Madela does covers from different iconic singers like Madonna's Like A Prayer which he considered the hardest of the track he done in this album.

What anyone does not know about Jed Madela is that he is Supernatural fan like me. His favorite character there is Dean Winchester.

Jed Madela is currently one of the judges for Your Face Sounds Familiar. For more album launches by following this blog and like L.E.N.S. blogs on Facebook.

Friday, May 15, 2015


Press release


The Talent Factory, Inc., Artist Playground, and the Maningning Miclat Art Foundation, Inc. proudly present " GINUGUNITA KITA," a one-night unique musical experience featuring new works by noted composer Jesse Lucas based on selected poems written by the late trilingual poet, award-winning visual artist, published author and art teacher, Maningning Miclat.

Directed by multi-awarded film and theater actor Roeder Camaňag, “GINUGUNITA KITA" will feature respected actress and soprano, Banaue Miclat-Janssen together with opera singer and theater actor Al Gatmaitan and multi-talented artist Delphine Buencamino. 

The by invitation only art performance will be held on May 30,  2015. 7PM  at the Aldaba Hall, University Theater, U.P. Diliman, Q.C.


Eight poems by Miclat  set to music by Lucas are in her trilingual book of poetry, Voice from the Underworld  published by Anvil Publishing, Inc. in 2000. The book was  a National Book Award finalist for poetry in 2001.

The eight poems are: Ginugunita Kita, Tawag, DUET (nina Rizal at Bracken), Kulay sa Bagyo, Ang Naliligaw, A Stare, Verse # 2, and To Catch a Second and Turn it to Forever.

According to the composer, Jesse Lucas,  inspiration came easily to him after reading Maningning Miclat's Voice from the Underworld. He wrote: "I immediately connected with the words and verses. The words used form their own cadence. Each word seemed carefully selected to form a given rhythm that supports its theme. The poems of Maningning Miclat are almost melodious that I can hear the music through the poetic images. It spoke and at the same time sang to me poignant thoughts about life, pain and love. These are the foundation of  Ginugunita Kita’s music.”  He added, “for me, the experience in writing the music was really meditative and cathartic at the same time. It feels like I have discovered a new language, a language that speaks directly to the soul."

Monday, April 27, 2015

Nikki Gil sings When I Met You from her new album Love Revisited

Nikki Gil just released her new album, Love Revisited consist of cover songs of love. For Nikki Gil, it is not just about heartbreaks but also finding love and being in love.

I was able to make a video sampler on one of her featured songs "When I Met You" as popularized by Apo Hiking Society during the press launch at Brentwood Hotel in Quezon City. For more album launches, follow this blog and like L.E.N.S. blogs on Facebook.

Saturday, March 28, 2015


Press release

Backstreet Boys, acclaimed as the best-selling boy band of all time which dominated the music and recording industry from the early 1990s onwards, is coming to Manila to do a major concert on May 5 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

            The group is loved for its many huge hits like “I Want It That Way,” “Everybody (“Backstreet’s Back”),” “As Long As You Love Me,” “I’ll Never Break Your Heart,” “Anywhere For You,” “Larger Than Life,” “Show Me The Meaning Of Being Lonely,” “This Is Us,” “Never Gone,” “Unbreakable,” and many more. With over 130 million records sold worldwide, Backstreet Boys has left its mark in the music and recording industry as one of the world’s top-selling music artists.

             Formed in 1993 in Orlando, Florida,  Backstreet Boys first attracted worldwide attention with its self-titled debut international album (1996),  its second international album, “Backstreet’s Back” (1997),  and its debut album in the US.

On April 22,  2013, the multiple award-winning and Grammy-nominated group received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

In commemoration of its 20th anniversary in the music and recording industry, Backstreet Boys came out with a full-length movie documentary titled, “Backstreet Boys” Show “Em What You’re Made Of,” which was filmed over two years and chronicles its musical journey by delving into the extremes of fame and fortune that each member has undergone.

            An emotionally open and honest documentation of the biggest and most successful musical group in history, the film documentary stars original group members Nick Carter, Howie Dorough, Brian Litrell, AJ McLean and Kevin Richardson, who also produced the film along with Mia Bays.

Ihe film opened last Jan. 30 in theaters and video-on-demands throughout the US through Gravitas Ventures, released  in February in the United Kingdom and Europe and on March 28 worldwide.

The documentary will have its worldwide television premiere as part of the Emmy Award-winning “VH1 Rock Docs” franchise scheduled to debut on VH1 in the Spring of 2015.

(“Backstreet Boys Live In Manila 2015!” is presented by Ovation Productions through Live Nation.  Tickets prices are P7920, 6870, 5810, 4760, 3700, 2640, 930 available at all smtickets outlets and online at www.smtickets.com.)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

KZ's First Solo Concert

I first met KZ in person when she had a presscon for her Valentine show and now she is having her first solo concert on April 17. The first champion of Philippines' pilot season of The Voice is known for her singles like Mahal Ko O Mahal Ako, Scared To Death, and Wag Ka Ng Umiyak will have her concert at the Music Museum.

Unlike her Valentine show, she will have 19 production numbers and will do different music genres. Unlike before, she was an opening act for concerts. Now, she will be joined by Richard Poon, Ebe Dancel and the Harana Boys.

For KZ, her biggest challenge is doing jazz. Be part of the milestone for KZ concert. For more updates on the concert scene, follow this blog or like L.E.N.S. blogs on Facebook.

Friday, March 6, 2015


Press release

PHILIPPINES, MANILA, March 6, 2015 – Walt Disney Studios Southeast Asia has chosen top Filipino recording star and award-winning West End actress Rachelle Ann Go to sing and star in the music video of the beloved Disney song “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes” in conjunction with the launch of the new live-action film, “Cinderella.”

In the 1950 animated film, Cinderella sang “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes” as she encouraged her animal friends to never stop dreaming. This theme of “never stop dreaming” continues throughout the entire classic fairy-tale. The ballad was written and composed by Mack David, Al Hoffman and Jerry Livingston.

Disney is reviving the song with a new arrangement and music video to deliver the inspirational and positive message of the new “Cinderella” movie, which is to believe in your dreams, be positive and most importantly “Have Courage and Be Kind.”

We were looking for someone special, not just to sing the song beautifully but to also deliver the message reliably and inspire audiences. We chose Rachelle Ann Go as she embodies the positivity and inspirations of Cinderella, and is a living idol for young Filipinos everywhere who never stopped following her dreams,” said Amit Malhotra, General Manager of Walt Disney Studios, Southeast Asia.

In the video, Disney also produced a touching segment – a memorable moment where Rachelle was surprised by a visit from her mother who flew all the way from Manila to surprise her during the studio recording. Fans can look forward to a heart-warming video as well as various interactive segments with Rachelle regarding this very special project.

The music video of “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes” premieres on Disney Channel and Disney Channel Asia YouTube Channel on Saturday, 7 March, 2015.

Disney’s decision to cast Rachelle Ann Go in the music video - “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes” is in line with the company’s approach to dream, create and celebrate the most magical stories and adventures, each woven around a relatable, empowered local idol who delights everyone and especially inspires girls to realize their full potential.

As a child, Rachelle always dreamt of becoming a singer and recording star, frequently joining national talent competitions from an early age. Her breakthrough came when she was declared the grand winner of the highly-coveted “Search for a Star” singing contest in 2003 in Manila. What followed was a sensational realization of Rachelle's dream – expressing herself through music, gaining fame and ardent fans, releasing top-selling albums, headlining sold-out concerts, and winning awards for her craft around the world.

Her dream of attaining international stardom also came true when she was cast last year for the West End revival of the musical “Miss Saigon” where she received Best Featured Actress and Best Supporting Actress accolades from London award-giving bodies.

Disney’s “Cinderella” opens in cinemas nationwide on Thursday, March 12th and will also be available in IMAX.

Disney’s “Cinderella” will also feature the much anticipated short “Frozen Fever” and popular princesses Elsa and Anna at the start of the movie.