Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Meet the GV-CS1320; An All-In-One Entryway Access Controller

For companies and firms needing to set up ID recognition system that need a card reader, a secure door entry system and a camera to observe whoever is outside the office door requesting entry, USA Vision Systems Inc. and its international arm GeoVision Inc. are offering you this complete Security Entry System in a single compact package.

The GV-CS1320 is an all-in- one entryway access controller, with a card reader and built-in surveillance camera. It can recognize company-issued identification cards, granting access to up to 40,000 individual users. The wide-angle camera (180° panoramic view) set into the GV-CS1320 access controller body can also perform face detection simultaneously with card verification, so that when access is granted it does not take very long.

The 2MP camera is capable of picking up images even 0.02 lux low illumination, dual streaming from H.264 and MJPEG. It has a day-night function with IR filter option. There's a built-in microphone and speaker enabling those requesting entry to communicate to the operator inside the office.

The card reader has a 13.56 MHz capacity, able to tie ID cards with face detection for secure access – or you can choose to verify cards only. Network interfacing can connect up to two separate card readers as necessary. Every time an ID card is presented for verification, the system also takes a snapshot for record footage.

Finally, the access control unit can be set for one door with one- or two-way control and anti-pass-back support, with two dry contact inputs and one relay output. A bell function touch button enables card-less visitors to communicate and request entry. Operators using GV-ASNotify can watch a live camera feed of whoever is at the entry door and communicate with them as needed.

The GV-CS1320 and other ICT products are available for purchase and installation at Wireless Link Technologies, Inc. with branches in Manila (Main), Bacolod City and General Santos City.

Pnoy signs the creation of new Information and Communications Technology Department

Hoping to end his term of office with one last major instance of legislation, Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III has signed on May 24 the Republic Act 10844 to form a new executive department of the government: the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT). This has been acknowledged in most of the country’s national broadsheets to be in response to the widespread outcry over slow and subpar internet service compared to other countries in Asia, among other matters related to general information and communications technology (ICT).

Under the terms laid out in RA10844, The existing Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) will have all its departmental units with functions and responsibilities regarding communications abolished, re-organizing it into merely the Department of Transportation, dealing solely with transportation-related issues. Meanwhile, certain other minor agencies will now be attached to the DICT such as the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), the National Privacy Commission and the Cyber Crime Investigation and Coordination Commission (CICC). 

Under the new department’s oversight these agencies will carry on the coordination and implementation of the Philippines’ policies and programs regarding cyber security.

This is projected to be a boon to the maintenance and safety of the country’s financial systems and private databases, both of which recently have come under fire due to an international money laundering plot from Bangladesh and allegations of hacking the Commission of Elections during the just-concluded Presidential polls. The DICT is also tasked to cooperate and coordinate with the Department of Education (DepEd) and its constituent agencies in order to streamline ICT support in the schools while ensuring ICT competency in the nation’s large reserves of manpower.

In addition, the new department is set to light a fire under existing telecommunications and info-tech providers to greatly improve the quality and speed of their offered services, in light of reports by internet metrics providers who have ranked the Philippines’ internet speed as the second slowest in Asian nations, just ahead of Afghanistan. Already two of the largest telecom companies, PLDT and Globe, have announced their willingness to abide by the DICT’s mandate, even pointing out that they have long been taking steps to make faster quality service a reality for Filipinos. Manila-based Wireless Link Technologies, Inc. also ranks among the country’s foremost nationwide ICT providers, and has also expressed their support for the newly-minted DICT and added their calls for improved telecom and info-tech amenities nationwide.

It is expected that the full implementation of the Department of Information and Communications Technology’s duties and functions shall be done at the start of incoming Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s term of office.

The 66th Institute of Electronics Engineers of the Philippines (IECEP) National Midyear Convention

A week ago, the Greenleaf Hotel in General Santos City hosted the 66th Institute of Electronics Engineers of the Philippines (IECEP) National Midyear Convention. From May 18 to May 20, Groups and Associations of ECE’s as well as ICT companies gathered to discuss current issues on Philippine Electronics Engineering and showcase the latest trends on Information Communications Technology.

In attendance were government agencies such as the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC), public organizations like the Philippine Association of Government Electronics Engineers (PAGE), and private companies like HID Global APAC and Wireless Link Technologies, Incorporated

During the first day, a motorcade was held followed by a ribbon cutting ceremony for the convention and exhibit halls, as well as an opening program featuring the local Chorale Group from the Mindanao State University. Engr. Mishell D. Lawas, Governor of the IECEPSOCSKSARGEN Chapter gave the welcome address, with keynote and inspirational speeches from Gensan City Mayor Ronnel C. Rivera and Congressman Manny D. Pacquiao respectively, before the IECEP and other participants began the General Assembly.

Born-and- raised General, Engineer Ralph Waldy Soguilon, General Manager of Wireless Link Technologies, Inc. presented a proposal for an ambitious Integrated Citywide Solar-Powered Wireless High-Definition Video Surveillance and Public Address System, a sweeping development for the future of General Santos City.

Some of the other topics discussed in the convention proper were issues regarding the electronics profession, keys to sustainable development, preparations of the country’s ECE community towards oncoming ASEAN Integration, updates on PRC services, and an entrepreneurship workshop for attending scientists and engineers. 

Meanwhile, the participating organizations and partner sponsors exhibited their functions, services, or products for purchase in the showcase hall inside the hotel. Wireless Link Inc. did not fall behind in their exhibit booth, as they displayed their product offerings, information on their company’s latest news and developments, and a visual guide to their planned Solar Power City Video/PA System.

The convention proper only lasted two days, with a presentation of certificates and achievement awards for the best, brightest and contributors during the afternoon closing ceremony. May 20 was reserved for a whole-day Industry and Plant visit for all interested participants.

Wireless Link Technologies, Inc. was also a Partner Sponsor of IECEP the National Midyear Convention 2016.

L - R: Bacolod Branch Manager, Mr. Francis William Ymbong; WLT General Manager, Engr. Ralph Waldy Soguilon; GenSan Branch Manager, Engr. Marc Erwin Regalado & Technical Consultant, Engr. Erwin Curva

US Memorial Day 2016

Yesterday all America looked back to honour all of its fallen in military service. Once merely a day of remembrance for the dead in the American Civil War, Memorial Day has since expanded greatly to include all American soldiers who have died in every conflict they have fought in throughout the history of the world. Such devotion to honor a hero was headlined by President Barack Obama placing a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Washington, DC as its custom. But this was merely the tip of the iceberg of celebration.

Everywhere there are touching and emotional acts of remembrance done in honor of those who have served and died for the country. The Denver Post relates certain events at the Fort Logan National Cemetery that could tug at the heartstrings. Take for instance 11-year old Felicity Bloom visiting the grave of one Lance Cpl. Gregory P. Rund. They were not related, but Rund was a very close friend of Felicity’s mother from their high school days at Columbine, where they were both survivors of the tragic mass shooting incident in 1999. Gregory Rund would be killed 2004 in Iraq and posthumously awarded the Bronze Star. Then there are the flowers, an American flag, a teddy bear, some Reese’s peanut butter cups and an unsigned child’s note of gratitude left at the headstone of Marine Cpl. David Sonka, killed at age 23 along with his K9 partner in Afghanistan on 2013.

But not everything happening about the holiday was uplifting and respectful. Fox News has taken note of several malicious acts of vandalism in veteran-related memorials throughout the country mere days before Memorial Day proper. In the Venice neighborhood of Los Angeles, a simple Vietnam War memorial painted in 1992 on a city-block stretch of wall that listed an estimated number of missing- in-action servicemen in Southeast Asia along with individual names was heavily defaced by graffiti along its bottom half for much of its length. Meanwhile, a Memorial Day cross display listing up to 5,000 names of veterans dating back to the Revolutionary War was wrecked by a motorist who drove through the crosses in Henderson, Kentucky just Saturday. Finally, the Petersburg National Battlefield outside Petersburg, Virginia was dug up by looters, with un-authorized excavation sites in multiple places all over the 2,700-acre battlefield where over a thousand Union and Confederate soldiers fought and died 151 years ago during the final days of the Civil War.

There were also the usual facets of Memorial Day other than the remembrance of the military dead, like mattress sales at shops and stores, and outdoor barbecues. After finishing with the solemn ceremonies, such light-hearted celebration seems in order as the end of Memorial Day signals the start of summer vacation season.

Photo Credit to MemorialDayUsa.net

Monday, May 23, 2016


As of this writing, nearly 16 years have passed since 20th Century Fox adapted one of Marvel Comics’ iconic and – at the time, leading – superhero franchises to the big screen. 

X-Men film came out July 2000, wowed critics and audiences, earned oodles of money and made superhero flicks cool again. The passing of years saw the rise of other big-budget extravaganzas, most of them featuring characters from the vibrant and varied Marvel stable. 

Ultimately this culminated in Marvel itself taking charge with its own in-house production studio and crafting a record-breaking multi-title film universe starring the other characters they have kept the movie rights to. And all the while Fox, and Singer when schedules permitted, built up the X-Men film series with a number of sequels and spin-offs; yet it seemed as if the story and characters seemed to be losing luster compared to their competition. Singer sought to revitalize the franchise by triggering a continuity reboot with 2014’s “X-Men: Days of Future Past”; now we get to “X-Men Apocalypse” the first X-Men flick set in the new timeline replacing the events of the first three films in the line. And despite having seen “Captain America: Civil War” mere weeks ago, I was still totally blown away.

Taking place story-wise some 10 years after the past events of “Future Past” (sounds complicated but bear with me), it is now the 1980’s and, at least on the surface, the super-powered mutants of the world now seem to have a chance at living together and getting along with ordinary humans that used to hate and fear them. This is thanks to the heroism displayed on national television by the blue-skinned shape-changing Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) who not only called off her own assassination attempt on anti-mutant government officials but protected President Nixon against the mutant supremacist and terrorist Magneto (Michael Fassbender). Wheelchair-ridden mutant telepath Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) has been able to reopen his school for the gifted – mutants – where he enjoys happily teaching his mutant pupils how to master their powers and be responsible people. But discord still lingers in the shadows, and a chain of events in Egypt awaken an ancient multi-powered body-snatching mutant with a god complex, En Sabah Nur (Oscar Issac). Having ruled the world eons ago, he is very unimpressed with the world of that time with its superpower nations and nuclear weapons etc., so he sets in motion a plan to destroy the world and recreate it according to his wishes, a place where only the strongest survive. 

It is in this background that the storyline drives itself forward. Lawrence’s character of Raven travels the world protecting discretely persecuted mutants, but due to the notoriety of her natural form is constantly going about as a hot blonde – serving the dual purpose of banking on J-Law’s star power by constantly showing her real-life face, and minimizing the time she spent in the blue makeup and scaly bodysuit which she has confided in interviews to be uncomfortable. Whatever the reason, it does work as Lawrence gets emotions across better without the constricting facial prostheses, though comic book fans may raise eyebrows, along with how divergently heroic she is compared to the comics and even the original film trilogy (where she did go through with her assassination plan and eventually became the monstrous Mystique played by Rebecca Romjin-Stamos). Fassbender’s Magneto tried to go low-profile and even start a family, but a tragic consequence of using his powers to help others quickly revert him to a violent and vengeful misanthrope, the perfect pawn for En Sabah Nur to turn into one of his four lieutenants in destroying and remaking the world. This includes weather-controlling Cairo thief Ororo (Alexandra Shipp), winged fight clubber Warren/Angel (Ben Hardy) and psychic-telekinetic bodyguard Psylocke (Olivia Munn). These three are mostly there to provide muscle for their overlord Nur and while portrayed competently enough are pretty much relegated to elite mooks for the heroes to fight.

Fassbender meanwhile plays his character with the tempered fury of one who seems to find himself forced into and stuck in a fixed role of being a bad guy to the audience. There’s even a scene where he uses his supercharged magnetic powers to destroy the Auschwitz death camp where he suffered as a boy in past film flashbacks, serving as a taste of what he’s set to be doing in the movie’s climax.

Set to oppose these would-be harbingers of the Apocalypse are McAvoy’s Xavier, who finds his optimism for the future broken again by Nur’s plan and the involvement of both his old friend and ideological counterpart, as well as his foster sister who once took his frenemy’s side against him. 

Here is where the film sort of stumbles: this has happened before. The struggle of ideals between Xavier and Magneto has been happening since 2000. Every X-film has touched on it, with the added wrinkle of Raven/Mystique’s involvement since the 2011 distant prequel “X-Men: First Class” and “Future Past”.

Every time it has been a rehash of their conflicting views and even here, where En Sabah Nur is supposed to be the main villain the old argument seems to steal the spotlight. It’s to the film’s good fortune that it never does, completely. Subplots abound with the various student mutants caught up in the battle. Tye Sheridan plays a younger version of another iconic X-Man, Cyclops. This time he is no “boy-scout” leader as in the comics and the original trilogy, but a rebellious teen slacker. Kodi Smit-McPhee is the demonic-looking teleporter Nightcrawler who comes off more as a sweet kid. Evan Peters reprises his one-scene wonder from “Future Past” as the super-fast Quicksilver (with an effects-driven action sequence here that is both awesome and hilarious). Rounding the cast are Lucas Till, Nicholas Hoult and Rose Byrne who, at times, were just there for the sake of being “there”.

But perhaps the most compelling performance comes from Sophie Turner – aka. Sansa Stark from “Game of Thrones” – as the young telepath Jean Grey, who has yet to reach the maturity portrayed in past films by Famke Janssen and is therefore still deathly afraid of losing control of her powers. She gets something of a kindred soul in Cyclops who also has problems with his non-stop eye beams, and thankfully Professor Xavier is avoiding the mistakes he made in the original movie timeline by encouraging her as she goes. Her development while not the focus is a significant portion of the movie’s best parts, and plays off magnificently in the final battle of the story, a truly global calamity unlike anything seen before in the film franchise, with fantastic visuals and fight choreography. This certainly proves that Fox and Singer can still tangle effectively with the Marvel Cinematic Universe juggernaut. X-fans ought to be rightly pleased.

Clocking more than two hours, “X-Men Apocalypse” is jam-packed with events yet does not feel lengthy or dragged-out. It hits all the appropriate emotional buttons at one point or another and gives audiences the kind of comic-book superhero fights they’ll enjoy. Fox and Singer may have retread some familiar ground once more to tie things up, but at least they were able to make it interesting. The X-Men film franchise is still up and running so stay tuned for the follow-up to the post-credits scene next year in the third “Wolverine” movie. Speaking of which, the Hugh Jackman appearance was a highlight. Almost forgot about that.

Dawn of Justice: Batman vs. Superman

Lets talk about the Dark Knight fighting the Man of Steel. Can’t go wrong, right? Millions of moviegoers would agree but if you step back and look over it again very carefully, you might see a hiccup or two.

This highly anticipated superhero extravaganza is a direct sequel to 2013’s Superman film franchise reboot, and the second part of a planned multi-picture epic by the production collaboration of Warner Brothers and DC Comics, the so-called DC Extended Universe (DCEU). Under the direction of 21st century SFX-CGI epic maven Zack Snyder, the movie follows an original storyline taking choice bits and pieces from classic comic yarns featuring its two super-characters such as Frank Miller’s “Dark Knight Returns” mini-series and an early 90’s Superman comic storyline. The end result however, comes off as being something of a disjointed mishmash of separate events that are united by a generally dark atmosphere coupled with somber and brooding dialogue.

Now this is understandable considering it has always been how Batman was portrayed in movies, but the same grimness that is his bread and butter has also bled into the other half of this crossover. I suppose it doesn’t help that its predecessor “Man of Steel” did inject some darker and edgier into Superman and his supporting cast, but now this double whammy ends up making the film less an exciting action adventure that is expected when superheroes are involved and instead grinds down into a tedious slog.

We start off with a cliff’s notes flashback prologue of Batman’s origins to bring the audience up to speed since he’s coming in without his own introductory solo flick – that’s for in the future apparently, but as a sequel. Fast forward to a sequence where a grown Bruce Wayne portrayed brilliantly if not comic-accurately by Ben Affleck, gets involved in the climactic battle in Metropolis in “MoS” that sours his impression towards the godlike Superman for being such a destructive saviour. Said alien unbeknownst to him is living a double life as well-meaning country boy and now newshound Clark Kent, played by returning actor Henry Cavill with the same not-great but not-bad middle ground performance from 2013. 

More attention thus goes to Affleck whose character has actually been an active hero for far longer story-wise than Supes, and must now gear himself as an ordinary if highly fit and trained man against a super-powerful being that he believes to be a threat to humanity. In the role of main antagonist for the story we get Jesse Eisenberg as young CEO and genius Lex Luthor who secretly manipulates the Cape of Metropolis and the Cowl of Gotham City into open hostility against one another. Contrary to his comic counterpart, this Lex is pretty manic and excitable with a dash of eccentric mad scientist, although his quirky comments and mannerisms, if they were an attempt at humor, were sadly not up to snuff.

Anyway, due to circumstances and plotting, we get Batman and Superman finally coming to blows, but this money shot grudge match is a noisy and shadowy affair, while Bruce Wayne’s dream sequence where he imagines himself as a rebel leader fighting against a tyrannical Superman in a post-apocalyptic Earth turns out all dusty and drab, like it got lifted from cut scenes of “Mad Max: Fury Road”.

Almost every scene just seems to drag on as if to extend viewing time. Zack Snyder’s subpar directorial control over the story is usually compensated by lush visuals like in many of his previous films but here it’s just too dark most of the time.

Some good can be found in the brief appearances of Gal Gadot as the third of DC’s hero trinity, Wonder Woman. She makes her small role effective at least. Also look out for cameos of other would-be DC superheroes all over the place; it’s all setup for the “Justice League” movie that would be the highlight of the DCEU. In summary, “Dawn of Justice” was a surprising letdown given the hero vs. hero subject. 

CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR Hits $1 Billion Worldwide

To start off, I am TEAM CAP all the way!

This year, moviegoers with an appetite for superhero films are getting to experience on the big screen a trend in comic book storytelling that has been making waves – and I mean that both positively and negatively – in the original print form for several years now. I am talking of course about large-scale conflict and battles between superheroes, either as individuals or as groups, usually over opposing views on what being a superhero is really about or how to do superhero-ing right. 

We got our first taste this 2016 from the tandem of Warner Brothers and DC Comics in “Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice”, their second offering in what both companies hope to be their very own “story universe” of films featuring the many costumed personalities from the DC stable, but all presented as dark, edgy and kick-butt violent.

It was a practical choice on their to release this epic showdown between two of the world’s most well-known superheroes when they did, so as not to be steamrolled by the blockbuster juggernaut that is “Captain America: Civil War”, the latest chapter of the by-now well-established ‘Marvel Cinematic Universe’ from WB-DC’s very own rivals, the partnership of Disney and Marvel Comics through their Marvel Studios label.

This big-budget SFX flick, loosely adapted from the controversial comic storyline of 2006, is put together by co-directors Joe and Anthony Russo, and stars Chris Evans in what is also to be his final contractual lead role in a solo film as Captain America – barring future team movie appearances – alongside Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, who now finds himself at odds with Evans’ character over the issue of international oversight over superhero action, and finally outright come to blows over a dark and terrible secret. While Evans has already expressed willingness to extend his contract for more Cap films, he definitely gives his A-game performance as Steve Rogers, who must deal with the fallout of an Avengers mission gone bad that leads to numerous civilian deaths. In the wake of this debacle comes a UN accord designed to place his team at the whims of a committee that would decide when and where they would be called into action to fight future threats.

Cap refuses to sign this accord, having bad memories of government agencies being corrupted by evil organizations from “Captain America: Winter Soldier”; the incredible Downey Jr. however, portrays like only he can, a Tony Stark who is wracked by tremendous guilt over his responsibility for creating the super-villain they fought during “Avengers: Age of Ultron”, as well as the destruction left by this and their other battles across the MCU films, and thus sees government control as the only way they can properly do their hero work. This initial disagreement spirals out of control when the UN summit to ratify the accord is hit by a terrorist attack, seemingly at the hands of the Winter Soldier, who is also Steve’s old pal Bucky Barnes played by Sebastian Stan. Cap must protect his friend from the authorities and help prove his innocence even as Iron Man and the “registered” heroes come after them both, dividing the Avengers in preparation for an epic clash.

That’s not to say that all is grim and serious from here on. In true Marvel Studios fashion, a lot of humor can still be had. Particular mention goes to Paul Rudd as shrinking superhero Scott Lang from last year’s “Ant-Man”, and 19-years- old Tom Holland as Peter Parker, a.k.a. Spider-Man, finally joining the MCU after five Sony Pictures films. Between the two of them we get the lion’s share of laughs with Ant-Man’s fighting tactics and Spidey’s motormouth. Speaking of the fight scenes, kudos goes to the production team for the action pieces. They easily transition between gimmicky shenanigans to brutal beatdowns.

Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige had said that this film would change the MCU, and with the bittersweet ending, it would be difficult story-wise to put the band back together in time for the next Avengers outing. Despite, or perhaps because of the dark shadows hanging over the end, “Captain America: Civil War” cements its place as one of the most solid instalments of the MCU. Warner-DC sure wishes their DCEU could be this.

By the way, if you are only ever a Marvel movie-watcher and are curious as to what is going on in the actual comics now, there’s actually a “Civil War II” brewing on the horizon of some Marvel titles at present. Again the super community in the comics is on the verge of suffering the hassles of another hero vs. hero divide. And you’re not the only ones to catch on the timing of another comic Civil War on the heels of the movie Civil War. But that’s another story outside of this review.

As of press time, CIVIL WAR already hit 1 Billion Dollars Worldwide.

Photo Credit to Comicbook.com

Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Woven

As the summer heats up, the Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Summer Woven is here to help you keep cool. This unique canvas weave structure is hand woven and allows for superior breathability and comfort. Available in classic colorways, the Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Summer Woven also features a minimally lined interior that allows the silhouette to move and flex with the foot.

Available Colors: Dolphin, White Multi 

Suggested Retail Price: Php 4,390 , Php 3,990

The Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Summer Woven is available in Converse stores nationwide. Visit www.converse.com.ph or facebook.com/ConversePhilippines for more sneaker designs!

Philippine Elections 2016: What's Changing and What's Staying

Last week, the Philippines went to the polls in order to once again choose new leaders on both the local and national scenes for the next three and six years. Well I might have said new, but in this country that means “same old, same old”. This has been how elections tended to go for generations, that last part also being a key word. Government officials almost always go for re-election, and once they hit the consecutive term limit, they could run for another office then leave their previous post to spouses, children, or relatives, only to return later. Politics in this case is both lifetime career and family business; no laws are in place against such practices and likely never will. Yet somehow, even in this status-quo- driven landscape, there are some openings which have given way to changes and new faces that can affect the future in some different ways from what the Philippines is used to.

Nowhere else is this change more plain to see than in the now certain victory of presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte. While in terms of local government he is not exactly “fresh”, being the long-running mayor of Davao City for the better part of three decades, upon answering calls to join in the presidential race his relative “newness” in the national campaign has enjoyed unprecedented popularity in regularly conducted surveys up to the May 9 Election Day. Duterte has also gained an immense number of guaranteed votes from the Mindanao and Visayan electorates, having been born in Leyte but living in the Davao region since age three, and thus inflamed desires all over the Philippines’ southernmost island group to see one of their own leading the whole nation. Personality-wise he is one of the most assertive, abrasive and sharp-spoken people you could meet, sort of like a Samuel L. Jackson character who just happens to be Filipino and a politician. Never hesitating to lambast people and events he does not like and cultivating a harsh law enforcer image and may condone extrajudicial “hit squads” to cut down on crime, such is his charisma with the Filipino people that despite criticism for numerous verbal jabs and ill jokes, for every instance his survey ratings actually jumped. Another factor of his success was his different political platform; voters tired of the same poverty alleviation espoused by the other candidates were willing to give his law and order focus as well as possible change to a federal government system a try.

Compared to the presidential race, the vice-presidential one has turned out to be hotly-contested, with Camarines Sur – Third District Rep Leni Robredo and Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. fighting for domination, Robredo leading over Marcos by only hundreds of thousands or a vote percentage of 1.5%. This had sparked calls of possible tally shenanigans when the formerly leading

Marcos was overtaken by an upsurge of Robredo votes, but nothing has been found to substantiate these claims. So it was that the battle for the second highest national position has been picturesquely described as a “remake match between a Marcos and a Widow in Yellow”, calling to mind the Senator’s father, the late strongman Ferdinand Sr. against Corazon Aquino, now embodied by Leni, widow of former Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo and herself a newbie for national office.

On the senatorial front however, it was “more of the same”, mostly a who’s who of familiar faces who just never seem to go away. But a big new name on the Top 12 is Sarangani Rep and recently retired champion boxer Manny Pacquiao. Having capped off his professional career with an impressive unanimous victory over American Timothy Bradley, as well as coming down from two consecutive congressional terms since 2010 – second one unopposed – Manny is set to take his political career to a higher level. Other senatorial rookies among the veterans are Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, Technical Education & Skills Development Authority (TESDA) head Joel Villanueva and Valenzuela City Congressman Sherwin Gatchalian, with the latter two zooming up the senatorial survey ratings from under 20’s to a solid “magic 12”.

To give an idea of a local election scene, in Mindanao’s General Santos City, most elected officials are re-electionists and old hands. Most of the winners are under the People’s Champ Movement party led by Manny Pacquiao, who also saw two of his brothers getting local offices in the polls. The city voters have voted overwhelmingly for Duterte as President over anyone else, despite Pacquiao’s alliance with incumbent Vice-President Jejomar Binay’s Presidential bid.

It’s been said that “the more things change, the more they stay the same”. As the 2016 Philippine Elections showed however, it’s more “some things change while others stay the same”.

Hopefully what changes there are will be good for this country’s tomorrow.

Photo Credits to Comelec Website

Jaclyn Jose bags Best Performance by an Actress at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival

It was a proud moment for Philippine showbiz as Jaclyn Jose won Best Actress in the 2016 Cannes Film Festival for her lead role in fellow Filipino auteur Brillante Mendoza’s latest drama feature “Ma Rosa”, the Daily Mail Online reported yesterday.

Accompanied to the podium by her co-star and real-life daughter Andi Eigenmann as well as director Mendoza, the visibly stunned Jose declared that she was “moved and surprised” at receiving the stellar honor, the first time a Filipino has ever received an acting award in Cannes Film Fest history.

“Thank you so much to the jury,” Jaclyn Jose said in a tearful speech after being at a loss for words. “Thank you that you liked our film. Thank you to Mr. Brillante Mendoza; I was just following whatever he was telling me to do. He’s such a brilliant director and a genius.” She then acknowledged and saluted her fellow Filipinos in the Festival, the Philippines and around the world, dedicating her victory to them all.

The 52-year- old actress plays a destitute mother who uses her sari-sari (small general) store in a Metropolitan Manila slum as a front to deal narcotics on the side with her husband. When the couple is arrested in a drug bust and extorted a large sum of money by corrupt police to avoid jail time, she must rely on relatives and her own children to buy their freedom.

Although she has worked with Mendoza before in two films – one of which, “Serbis”, competed in Cannes 2008 – this was the first time in which Jaclyn Jose was presented the challenge of “not acting at all”, the better to deliver a real and star portrayal of her character in a very gritty movie. It was a great departure from her previous roles on film and television soap operas, where her characters tend to get hammy and bombastic.

Her performance has certainly caught the eye of international media. Variety cited her “naturalistic grace” while The Hollywood Reporter noted her acting to be “resilient yet understated”. In fact, Cannes 2016 jury member Madds Mikkelsen explained to The Guardian why he and her fellow jurors ultimately decided to award Best Actress to Jose. “We found her to be a master of her skills,” he remarked during a backstage interview. “It was a beautiful performance for a lead actress. That’s why she got it.”

Already, fellow Filipino thespians are flooding social media sites with effusive congratulations. Jaclyn’s daughter Andi Eigenmann, who also plays one of her on-screen children, has put up two congratulatory posts on Twitter. “Filipino Pride!” declares her second tweet on the event. “Ma’ Rosa Herself Wins Best Actress at the Cannes Film Festival! Congratulations to My Mom, the Jaclyn Jose!!!” 

More of Jaclyn’s co-stars, showbiz friends and even her talent management have led the deluge of well wishes on Instagram.

While Brillante Mendoza did not win any new accolades this year, he already holds the distinction of being the first Filipino to win a Cannes award in 2009 with his film “Kinatay”.

Photo Credits to Yahoo.com

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Supergirl Moves to Canada

There’s good news for fans of Superman’s cousin on the boob tube as “Supergirl” gets renewed for a second season, although Variety reports that this also comes with a network move. As CBS decided not to renew the somewhat expensively produced TV show – despite being their number one rated new drama series – it has been deemed necessary to transfer over to The CW and its younger viewership.

The show, which stars Melissa Benoist as the peppy powerful Girl of Steel, cost an average $3 million per episode, prompting CBS to drop it due to flagging episode ratings and not being able to perform as well as the network’s previous Monday night comedy lineup. In order to cut costs for the new season with the move to The CW, “Supergirl” is thus transferring production from Los Angeles to much cheaper Vancouver, according to Cinemablend. This is the same shooting location as “Arrow” and its various spin-off series, already running in Supergirl’s new home network for some time now. It would also necessitate a scaling down of the amount of special effects used for shows of superpowers, which could mean less flying and displays of super-strength from Benoist’s character of Kara/Supergirl.

But what exactly does it mean for ‘Supergirl Season 2’ being in the same network as the edgier and more grounded ‘Arrow-verse’ TV show adaptations of DC Comics heroes, when its previous season has been bright and cheery and more fantastical with its super-strong high-flying heroine? Comic Book Resources asks some questions that may shed light on the show’s future direction in its new home.

There’s the issue of whether the general atmosphere of ‘Supergirl’ will remain the same or shift towards that of the well-established Arrow-verse. Fans supporting both options argue the merits of retaining the show’s unique and sunny feel or integration with the shared universe of the other shows spun off from the drab and gritty “Arrow”. Regardless of the outcome there, another question lies in the possibility of more crossover appearances and storylines between “Supergirl” and its new neighbor series. The season 1 episode “World’s Finest” last March 28, which featured The Flash (Grant Gustin) from the same-named CW show, has already proven how awesome the concept could be when done right (and illustrate how not every meeting between DC heroes could go like “Batman v Superman”), so now speculations of characters from “Arrow”, “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow” and even “iZombie” are really abound.

The most hard-hitting issue however would be the possibility of retaining the whole primary cast of “Supergirl” for the next season, as the network move due to budget cuts might necessitate previous season regulars to appear less, or get recast, or dropped entirely. The greatest fear is whether the show could retain one of its most vital characters, Kara’s boss Cat Grant, played by its most expensive cast member, Calista Flockheart. Lastly, with CW retaining its entire existing primetime schedule and picking up a few other new series, one wonders when exactly season 2 is going to lift off with so few open programming slots.

Many concerns about how “Supergirl season 2” will settle in its new network will be answered when The CW makes its fall program schedule announcement and presentation this coming Thursday, May 19. We can only hope that despite the projected smaller scale of adventures and a jarring change of shooting location, Kara Zor-El will continue to soar high on television screens as she fights for truth and justice, be it regularly alongside her new CW compatriots or not.

Photo Credits to CBS.com

Black Mamba Kobe Bryant, A True Shooting Guard

When the final buzzer rang at the end of the regular-season Lakers-Jazz battle that April 13, 2016, it signaled the curtain call in the 20-year basketball love affair of longtime Laker Kobe Bryant. As he gave his final address to the fans, his team, the NBA and his family, the Black Mamba of basketball was at that moment an unquestionable hero to Los Angeles and basketball fans all over the world, an uplifting conclusion to a decades-spanning career that while full of victories and records, was also battered by obstacles, trials and bad circumstances that threatened to ruin his performance, his reputation and his personal life. None of this was evident ever since he announced his retirement at Regular Season’s end November last year. As the day of his final game drew closer, Kobe was not merely respected but utterly loved, with tributes and feature pieces following one after another, more so now that he has officially retired.

So it was that the day after his last game, April 14, the LA Times posted on their website a statistical chart graphic detailing almost all of Kobe Bryant’s 30, 699 individual field goal shots, as laid out on a half-court diagram dotted with the approximate locations of each shot made in his career. The markers cover the diagram in an interesting pattern illustrating Bryant’s shooting habits and tendencies, with the purple dots indicating made shots and the gold ones denoting misses. Hovering over each dot with your mouse pointer opens a pop-up text box describing the type of shot made or missed, the distance from the basket, the name of the team opposing Bryant’s own and the date of the game where he shot it. All this interesting data was gathered from official game statistic provided by the NBA website, although the graphic also notes that the stats do not include two of the over thirty thousand field goals from the 2012-13 NBA Season that were not accounted for and are therefore not displayed.

The chart also includes a navigation tool that enables viewers to navigate the shot distribution in more detail. They can choose to follow a brief seven-page tour of Mamba trivia, such as how over one- third of his career points come from free throws (which, not being field goals, are not on the chart), and highlighting areas of interest like his strong side of the half-court (45% of his shots); or they can opt to explore on their own by sorting through shot results, shot types, opposing team and season. In addition, three special buttons display shots from Kobe’s career buzzer beaters, his 81-point game (vs. Raptors, January 22, 2006), and finally his triumphant swan song against the Utah Jazz last month.

Only three days after the chart appeared on their site, a hardcopy version appeared on the April 17, 2016 Sunday edition of the print LA Times. Laid out as a commemorative editorial graphic (“A True Shooting Guard”) over a two-page spread, this much larger chart also includes a diagram of shots the Black Mamba made from beyond mid-court (some 30-40, only with one sunk near the half-court mark), bar graphs detailing field goals per season in his career, a comparison with fellow high-scorer Michael Jordan, and his placing in the All-Star NBA Rankings by minutes played, total points, per-game points and field goals. All these meticulous and painstaking research drive home some of the facts that built the legend of Kobe Bryant and assured him his place among the best ever in the NBA.

You can view the interactive graphic version of Kobe’s shot chart at the LA Times website (http://graphics.latimes.com/kobe-every- shot-ever/). Also, the 2-page spread hardcopy version can be ordered from their online store. Printed in broadsheet poster paper, hardcore Kobe Bryant fans can frame it on their wall and look over their retired hero’s long career in a glance.

Photo Credits to JM Yang Youtube account

Blake Lively stars on The Shallows; Also expecting 2nd Baby with Ryan Reynolds

A month after the news first came out, looks like it would be safe to say that Blake Lively’s pregnancy with her second child with actor husband Ryan Reynolds is coming along very nicely. So swimmingly, in fact, that the 28-year- old actress strutted her stuff, proud baby bump and all in a rather appropriate baby blue gown, last May 14 during the premiere of Steven Spielberg’s The BFG at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, as reported by “The Examiner” just the following day.

Lively, who is also promoting her own flick, the survival horror thriller The Shallows, has been in glowingly stunning form in all her Festival appearances while dressed in the most elegant maternity fashions. The fact that the L’Oreal Paris ambassador wore blue on her first appearance with her growing belly plain to see has excited gossip among fans who think it may be hinting on Baby #2’s gender.

Smart money goes to “probably not” however. Lively and her hubby Reynolds have been something of a privacy power couple, what with their super-secret 2012 wedding ceremony in South Carolina and the rather effective efforts they made to seclude from prying eyes their eldest daughter James, named after the actor’s late dad, yet to many of his fans almost calls to mind the wacky and strange humor of Reynolds’ currently most famous film role, the medium-aware superhuman mercenary and Marvel Comics character, Deadpool. It should be recalled that James, born December 2014, did not have her arrival announced to the public until a month later, her name for months still, and her specific birthdate until after a year! Photos are even rarer save for un-authorized paparazzi snaps; though despite facial blurring it’s a sure bet to say their little girl is simply adorable, and bodes well for the looks of baby number two.

Despite all the hush-hush in details regarding their family life, both Ryan and Blake have both stated in several interviews just how much they enjoy parenthood. Reynolds in fact explained to UK’s “Glamour” magazine last year how the secrecy regarding their daughter’s name was to help prepare to break it gently to James when she inevitably grows up and asks “Why?” The few pictures already shared over their individual social media accounts clearly cement just how much the couple love their baby and each other over their bundle of joy. Things are only sure to look up when their second child arrives and James also gets into the family act as a big sister.

The Shallows by Columbia Pictures and starring Blake Lively is set to release internationally on June 29, 2016. Ryan Reynolds also features in Millennium Films’ Criminal, released last month and still showing.

Photo Credits to EOnline.com

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Converse releases New Sneaker Collection by John Varvatos

Rock is very much alive and well in the newest Converse by John Varvatos sneaker collection. Launching this spring, the collection celebrates the 40th Anniversary of punk, a defining moment in music history. Worn-in leather, metal studs, zippers and rock-inspired colors -- some of the archetypes that exemplified punk style years ago -- have collided to create a collection that synergizes the world of fashion with music.

With its subtle edge, the Deck Star Slip ’67 silhouette in rusty leather offers an easy alternative to a lace-up sneaker for the summer. Skinny leather stitching adorns the heel and frames the laces of the Chuck Taylor All Star Artisan Stitch. A metal zipper winds around the Chuck Taylor All Star Tornado Zip and comes in perforated sand-colored suede and burnished red and black leather for an unafraid, street-inspired look. The All Star Multi Stud sneakers get the rock star treatment with gradient clusters of studs wrapped underneath a soft, black leather upper.

Punk is more than just music: its fashion, style, culture, and lifestyle. And no one knows more about the rock’n’roll culture than John Varvatos. The new Converse by John Varvatos footwear collection is available now at Converse stores. Visit www.converse.com.ph or www.facebook.com/ConversePhilippines for more sneaker designs!