Reasons to visit Boracay

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Singapore events and attractions to kick start 2017 with a bang!

Singapore welcomes the Year of the Fire Rooster with a bang with an exhilarating line-up of exciting experiences at its world-class attractions, mouthwatering dining choices, adrenaline-pumping events, and retail treats perfect for both first time and repeat holiday seekers.

“Singapore always offers its visitors something new and unique to discover. From world-class attractions and entertainment events to delightful dining and retail offerings, a visit to Singapore brings fresh experiences that will surely make travelers ask for more,” said Lael Loh, Singapore Tourism Board Area Director for Philippines.


Eye candy attractions


A national garden and premier horticultural attraction, Gardens by the Bay celebrates the Year of the Rooster with a brand-new floral display called “Dahlia Dreams”. From 20 January to 19 February 2017, Dahlia Dreams features auspicious Dahlias in various hues and colors in a Chinese garden inspired landscape with a three-tier pagoda, a pavilion, moon gates and even intricate sculptures of adorable chickens to welcome the Year of the Rooster. In February, love is in the air at the Gardens as it celebrates the love month with an assortment of activities such as evening picnics and movie under the stars, perfect to share with family and loved-ones.


Resorts World™ Sentosa will dazzle Lunar New Year celebrants as it features a fantastic line-up of festive programmes with its ‘Gong Sea Fa Cai”, from 21 January to 11 February. Visitors can go on interactive trails and get up close to threatened sea creatures such as the manta ray and this year’s star animal – the Rooster Hogfish, and witness one of a kind Underwater Dragon Dance show with special lighting effects and a Chinese drummer to heighten the excitement. Also at Sentosa Island, visitors can rub elbows and take selfies with famous celebrities and personalities at Madame Tussauds™ Singapore, currently headlined by an exhibition of world-famous KPOP icons such as Lee Min Ho, Choi Si-Won and Nichkhun.


Eat to your heart’s content

As a melting pot of culture and influence, Singapore has made its mark in combining simple, distinct flavors to create unique dishes that provide a gastronomic experience for foodies, whether at Singapore’s well-loved hawker centers or at celebrity chef dining spots. The Singapore Michelin Guide, launched in July 2016, was the first in the world to recognize hawker food, and is a testament to the city’s varied dining offerings. Singapore is now home to the world’s cheapest Michelin-starred eateries, with the Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle (S$4 or PHP140) and Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodles (S$2 or PHP70), each being awarded 1 Michelin star.

Other must-try hawker favorites include Wah Kee’s best-selling big prawn noodle at the Esplanade, and the country’s beloved chicken rice at ROOST, located at the Centrepoint on Orchard Road.

For trendy foodies, Singapore’s Open Farm Community has produced food innovations sourced from local farms in and around the country—a sure hit for travelers seeking to consume fresh and organic farm-to-table ingredients. Janice Wong Singapore at Stamford Road, the only sweets boutique in Singapore that creates interactive and edible art, will be a delightful dining experience for all imaginative souls.


The night is always young

Making loud noises this 2017 is Singapore’s line-up of world-class performances. Headlined by Grammy® Award winning Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees Metallica with their Metallica Worldwired Tour 2017, happening on January 22 at the Singapore Sports Hub, and the legendary Guns N’ Roses with their Not in This Lifetime Tour, which will see the founder Axl Rose and former members sharing the stage for the first time in over 20 years on February 25 at the Changi Exhibition Centre, the Lion City is set to roar with excitement! British rock sensation Coldplay is also slated to return for a two-day performance on March 31 and April 1 at the Singapore Sports Hub for it’s a Head Full of Dreams Tour, while Grammy® Award winning English singer-songwriter Sting makes a return for his 57th and 9th Tour at the Singapore Sports Hub. Other artists to watch out for in Singapore are British rock band Bring Me the Horizon (February 2, D’Marquee), American rock bands Journey (February 10, The Star Theatre) and Yellowcard (February 12, The Coliseum).

The Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix, which will be celebrating a decade of night racing, is also something to look forward to this year. With engines revving and the crowd on their feet, the city streets will play host to another night of high-octane celebration on and off the tracks.


Retail heaven

A haven for shopaholics, Singapore is home the latest and unique finds whether at the malls along the world famous shopping strip at Orchard Road, the glitzy Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, the cozy vintage shops in the Bras Basah and Bugis area, or the relaxing lifestyle enclave at Dempsey Hill. Shoppers can uncover local treasures from local indie retailers in Haji Lane, or go old school in Scotts Square’s vintage design shops and boutiques. Bargain hunters should definitely not miss out the buzzing enclave of Bugis Village for affordable clothing, souvenirs and street food. From March 17 to April 16, the Orchard Road Style Festival will celebrate different passions and lifestyles, as it plays host to the works of local and international designers, stage art workshops, and live performances for everyone to enjoy. The all-new Dover Street Market outlet, the trendy fashion retail and concept store created by Comme des Garçons designer Rei Kawakubo, is also set to open in Dempsey in the spring of 2017.

With Singapore’s 2017 exciting line-up of experiences, what better way to kick start the year by booking your next holiday vacation in Singapore with your family and friends? For more details on upcoming events and activities, please visit


About the Singapore Tourism Board

The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) is a leading economic development agency in tourism, one of Singapore’s key service sectors. Working in close partnership with industry and community, STB aims to shape a dynamic tourism landscape and differentiate Singapore as a vibrant and inspiring destination through the “YourSingapore” brand.

For more information, please visit or or follow us on Twitter @STB_sg (

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CINEMATOGRAFO Originals Contest Announces Call for Entries

DALY CITY, CA, January 11, 2017 – The year 2016 was a banner year for Filipino filmmakers.  Among those who made a big splash in the international scene last year was 2009 Cannes Best Director Awardee Brillante Mendoza whose gritty slice-of-life film, “Ma’ Rosa”, won the 2016 Cannes Best Actress Award for lead actress Jaclyn Jose.

Meanwhile, Lav Diaz scored huge triumphs with the coveted Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Prize at the 2016 Berlin Film Festival for his epic eight-hour obra, “Hele Sa Hiwagang Hapis” (A Lullaby to the Sorrowful Mystery). Diaz also scored with “Ang Babaeng Humayo” (The Woman Who Left) starring the esteemed Charo Santos-Concio in a vengeful tale of a woman wrongly imprisoned.  It won the Golden Lion Prize for Best Picture at the 2016 Venice Film Festival.



Others who made entertainment headlines included Ralston G. Jover’sHamog” (Haze), a Cinema One Originals youth noir which won the Russian Film Critics’ Jury for Best Film Award at the Main Competition of the 38th Moscow International Film Festival.  “Toto”, a dark comedy drama about a nurse longing to chase the American dream, won for director John Paul Su the Best Foreign Film at the 19th LA Comedy Festival in Los Angeles and Best Actor for film lead Sid Lucero.

It also won the Audience Choice Award for Best Film at the 39th Asian American International Film Festival in New York City.

Today, Su is now among NBC Universal’s Emerging Director’s Program finalists.

The list is long, but the point is made: the works of Filipino filmmakers are shining around the world.  This is the context in which CINEMATOGRAFO Originals Contest was born.  This new competition, which launches today, aims to foster and nurture new filmmaking talent from the Filipino diaspora.

It is a platform to tell new stories and hear new voices of this generation.

CINEMATOGRAFO Originals Contest is a new annual competition that provides seed grants for full-length features, either documentary or narrative.

It is open to all U.S. citizens and/or U.S. permanent residents of Filipino descent, 18 years or older.And for budding filmmakers struggling to get funding for their projects,CINEMATOGRAFO awards more than $100,000 worth of production, marketing and distribution funds.  This is a path to have stories realized on the big screen.

The contest criteria are:

40% Story and Premise

20% Presentation

20% Plot and Pacing and

10% Theme.

CINEMATOGRAFO Originals Contest winners will actually highlight the CINEMATOGRAFO International Film Festival to be held this October in San Francisco.  What we want to do is to provide a platform for a new generation of U.S.-based Filipino or Filipino American filmmakers to bring their films to the world stage.

CINEMATOGRAFO International Film Festival will be the premier event for that purpose,” said Film Festival Director John-D Lazatin, also the Global Head of Theatricals of ABS-CBN International.

There are three deadlines for submission to allow ample time for filmmakers, including students, to submit the best versions of their entries:

January 31, 2017, Early Bird;

February 15, 2017, Regular; and

February 28, 2017, Late Deadline.

For more information, please visit

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More points to see more places and a chance to win a Honda Mobilio

GetGo members can travel faster to their dream destinations with the Points to Fly, Points to Drive promo! Cebu Pacific’s exciting lifestyle rewards program, GetGo, gives away 25% bonus GetGo points and raffles off three Honda Mobilio cars.

Simply earn from GetGo partners now until January 31 to automatically get 25% more points and e-raffle entries. Each GetGo point, including the bonus points, is equivalent to one (1) e-raffle entry. WithGetGo’s Gold and Platinum Credit Cards and GetGo Debit Card, shopping has never been more rewarding.

Earned a lot of points with your credit card this holiday? Make the most out of those points when you convert them to GetGo. Convert your AUB, BDO, BPI, Citibank, RCBC Bankard, Security Bank, Metrobank Robinsons MasterCard, and Unionbank Reward points today.

On top of using your credit card, shopping at Robinsons Department Store, Robinsons Supermarket, Robinsons Selections, and Robinsons Easymart earns you both points and e-raffle entries. You may also gas up at Petron; stay at Go Hotels and Summit Hotels and Resorts; book at Kaligo and; shop using your DragonPay credits; avail of Travelling Connect, Ring Rob Concierge services; or earn Zap points from partner merchants.

Visit for the standard earn and conversion mechanics for GetGo partners.

So hurry, shop, gas up, and convert your loyalty points to earn more GetGo points and e-raffle entries. Fly faster and be the lucky winner of a brand-new Honda Mobilio!


Not yet a GetGo member? Visit or call +632 71-GETGO (43846) to discover how you can avail of a GetGo membership card, learn about the loyalty program, its partners, promos, and how to start redeeming rewards points. The latest updates are also on GetGoPH’s official pages on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


GetGo members can win these brand-new Honda Mobilio cars by simply converting their rewards points to GetGo points in the Points to Fly, Points to Drive promo!

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Maxine Medina gears up for Miss Universe pageant

Miss Universe Philippines Maxine Medina during her send off event hosted by the Binibining Pilipinas Charities Inc.

Miss Universe Philippines Maxine Medina was showered with all the warm wishes during the ceremonial send-off party hosted by Bb. Pilipinas Charities Inc. held at the Versailles Tent of the Novotel Manila Araneta Center last Tuesday, January 10, 2017.


Brimming with beauty and confidence, she warmly greeted and thanked members of the press and everybody came to show their love and support for the 24-year old beauty queen.


The excitement builds up as the 65th Miss Universe season comes into full swing. The send-off event set our representative Maxine up for the 65th Miss Universe pre-pageant activities starting January 14.

Bb. Pilipinas Charities Inc. chair Mrs. Stella Marquez Araneta, and her fellow Binbining Pilipinas 2016 winners gave their heartfelt messages, hopes and best wishes to boost Maxine’s confidence for her fight on the Miss Universe Pageant.


Maxine’s family, friends, and boyfriend Marx Topacio were also present at the send-off.


She’s very grateful for all the support she has been getting, especially from the filipino netizens who actively root for her online. She’s now asking for further support from everyone by using the pageant’s official hashtag #4M4MU


“The pressure to win is at its greatest now, but yoy words of encouragement relly help strengthen me a lot. I did what I could do in preparing for it and I really hope that It will pays off come pageant night,” Maxine says.

Our beauty queen is confident of back-to-back PH win for Miss Universe. Maxine says she is 100 percent ready to fight for the crown. She shared that her training has been comprehensive and the only thing she asks for are prayers from all Filipinos to guide and see her through each step of the way.


Miss Philippines Maxine Medina waves at her fans and members of press at her send-off party organized by the Binibining Pilipinas Charities, Inc., January 10, 2017.


Maxine confirms she will wear Rhett Eala for her national costume and evening gown.


Best of luck to the upcoming Miss Universe Coronation Night, Miss Maxine Medina. We can’t wait for you to be crowned as the ultimate Queen of the Universe 2017!


For more updates and more news on Binibining Pilipinas, visit :


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65th Miss Universe Updates


The 65th Miss Universe organized by the Miss Universe Organization along with the Philippine Department of Tourism (DOT) and LCS Group of Companies, The Miss Universe coronation night will be held at the Mall of Asia Arena on January 30.


65th Miss Universe: Schedule of Events Released (Updated)

Kicking off the festivities of the upcoming international event, the DOT (Department of Tourism of the Philippines) Secretary Wanda Teo informed the local media about the tentative schedule of events for the 65th Miss Universe pageant.

Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach (center) waves to the crowd as she leads the Miss Universe candidates during its kick off event at the Conrad Manila, Pasay City on Saturday night.
(Photo: Jay Ganzon)

65th Miss Universe Schedule of Events


Jan 12-14: Arrivals, Fittings and Registration

Jan 14: Group taping in Boracay, arrival of last contestants

Jan 15: Visit to Vigan City – Welcome Event with Terno Fashion Show

Jan 16: Governors’ Ball, SMX Convention Center, Manila, 6:30 pm

Jan 17: Parade at Sinulog Festival, Cebu / Swimsuit Fashion Show, Jpark Island Resort and Waterpark, Cebu

Jan 18-19: Visit to Baguio (Street Motorcade), Davao, Batangas (separate groups)

Jan 20: Return to Manila

Jan 21: Fashion Show, SMX Convention Center

Jan 22: Women Empowerment Night, SMX Convention Center

Jan 23: Visit to Malacañang Palace for courtesy call with President Duterte (morning) / National Gift Auction, Conrad Hotel (evening)

Jan 24: National Costume Competition, World Trade Center

Jan 25: Preliminary Interviews (Group 1), Rehearsals

Jan 26: Preliminary Interviews (Group 2), Rehearsals, National Directors’ Meeting

Jan 27: 65th Miss Universe Preliminary Competition, Mall of Asia Arena: All delegates will compete in Cocktail Dresses, Swimsuits and Evening Gowns (to be confirmed)

Jan 28: On-Camera Rehearsals, MOA Arena

Jan 29: On-Camera Rehearsals, MOA Arena / Final Dress Rehearsal, Mall of Asia Arena, 7-10 pm (to be confirmed)

Jan 30: 65th Miss Universe Live Telecast, Mall of Asia Arena, 8:00 am (Jan 29 at 7 pm EST) / Coronation Gala, 8:00 pm


Jan 31: Departures


*Schedule subject to change


Tickets for the Final Gala are being sold through SM; and tickets for the Governor’s Ball are being sold through the telephone.


Tickets for other events such as National Costume Competition, Presentation Show, Dress Rehearsal and Coronation Gala are not out yet to the general public. Information about these should be available any moment now.

Steve Harvey and Ashley Graham are officially confirmed to be the pageant’s hosts for the live telecast on FOX.

The official Host Hotel in Manila will be the Conrad Hotel.

85 beauties from all over the globe are expected to arrive in Manila in only two weeks, in what is expected to be a big celebration in one of the planet’s leading nations of beauty pageant enthusiasts: The Philippines.
The 65th Miss Universe competition will be held Jan. 30, 2017, at the Mall of Asia Arena, Pasay City.
Visit for event updates. For tickets, visit



* Updated after visits to Albay and Iloilo were cancelled due to the effects of Typhoon Nina

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Discovering the gems of the Philippines

Travel Blog Exchange (TBEX) Asia Pacific 2016 participants from across the world had the opportunity to experience the many wonders of the Philippines as part of the full-packed itinerary prepared for the world’s largest annual gathering of travel bloggers, writers, content media creators and industry professionals.
Presented by the Department of Tourism (DOT) and the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB), the tours provided not only an exciting visit to the world-famous white-sand beaches of Boracay and Palawan, but also a unique experience of Filipino culture, people, food and nightlife through equally tantalizing destinations from north to the south of the country.

They got to visit UNESCO World Heritage sites including the historic town of Vigan, Ilocos Sur and the Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras in Ifugao. Their itinerary also included Pampanga, Batanes and Tagaytay.

The participants had a glimpse of the country’s rich history with a tour of Intramuros and Corregidor Island. A pubcrawl was also prepared for them to promote Manila’s nightlife, which is considered one of the best in Asia.

They also visited the historical Magellan’s Cross and Basilica de Santo Niño in Cebu and travelled to Siquijor – a province that is famous for its folk healing, myths of sorcery, and the supernatural.

The participants sampled adventure while traversing the rural land trail towards Mayon Volcano in Legazpi on ATVs, Kayak along the Bulusan Lake in Sorsogon, and white-water rafting and river trekking in the rapids of Cagayan de Oro. Taking a leisurely getaway, they were also given an A-list treatment in the picturesque towns of Siargao and Davao.

TBEX 2016 was made possible with the support of Philippine Airlines, Globe Telecom, Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA), and Duty Free Philippines. Other sponsors included Amorita Resort, The Lind Boracay, Fort Ilocandia Resort Hotel, Limketkai Luxe Hotel, Shangri-La’s Boracay Resort & Spa, Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort & Spa, Pearl Farm Beach Resort, Primer Group of Companies, The Funny Lion Palawan, Merrell Philippines, Lakan, Banana Peel, Le Spa at Sofitel, Park Inn by Radisson, Hotel Luna, Bluewater Maribago Resort and Spa, Sonya’s Garden, Museo Orlina, and Grab Philippines.

The event was also made possible through the participation of volunteers from the University of the Philippines, Centro Escolar University, University of Santo Tomas, and Philippine Women’s University.

By hosting international events such as TBEX in the country, the Philippines is eventually becoming one of the most sought-after destinations among travel experts and industry professionals.


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British singer George Michael dies aged 53


George Michael (Photo: Michael Putland/Getty Images)

LONDON | British pop singer George Michael, who rose to fame with the band Wham! and sold more than 100 million albums in his career, has died aged 53, his publicist said on Sunday.

“It is with great sadness that we can confirm our beloved son, brother and friend George passed away peacefully at home over the Christmas period,” his publicist said in a statement.

“The family would ask that their privacy be respected at this difficult and emotional time. There will be no further comment at this stage,” the publicist said.

Michael was due to release a documentary in 2017 after years of living as a virtual recluse in which he hit the headlines for a series of bizarre incidents linked to drugs.

He was best known for his hit songs “Club Tropicana”, “Last Christmas”, “Careless Whisper” and “Faith”.

“2016 – loss of another talented soul. All our love and sympathy to George Michael’s family,” the band Duran Duran, which were 1980s contemporaries of Wham!, said on their official Twitter account.

Former BBC Radio One disc jockey Tony Blackburn said: “Unbelievable, George Michael has died at the age of 53. RIP. This dreadful year goes on and on. So sad, a real talent”.

Several iconic British musicians have died in 2016 including David Bowie in January and Status Quo guitarist Rich Parfitt, who died in a Spanish hospital on Saturday.

Michael was born Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou to a Greek Cypriot father and English mother in north London in 1963.

He met Andrew Ridgeley at high school and the pair went on to form Wham! in 1981.

With their good looks, permatans, highlighted hair and hedonistic image, the duo captured the go-getting spirit of the age and fast became one of Britain’s biggest pop acts.

In 2011, he spent several weeks in hospital in Vienna after contracting pneumonia, later saying he had been close to death.

—–Agence France-Presse

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