Thursday, June 30, 2016

HP offers free Black Ink for every Ink cartridge purchased

Good news! You can now print twice as much, and more, with HP’s latest promo. For every purchase of HP black and tri-color original ink cartridges from any authorized HP resellers nationwide, you can get a free HP black original ink cartridge.

With the “Buy 2 ink cartridges, get 1 black ink free” promo, household consumers and micro enterprises can continue to enjoy the advantages of using reliable HP printers with original HP inkjet print cartridges—high-volume printing, quality black and white and colored print-outs, and minimum wastage.

Don’t have an HP inkjet printer yet? Get the HP Deskjet Ink Advantage 2515 and 2515e All-in- One Printers to enjoy twice as much quality prints and more.

Hurry and buy HP black and tri-color original ink cartridges to get your free HP black original ink cartridge. Promo ends July 31, 2016. Redemption of freebies is until

September 29, 2016. See posters and print ads for more details.

Monday, June 27, 2016

The Credit Card Industry Regulation Act

With less than a week left until the conclusion of Benigno Aquino III’s term as President of the Philippines, Congress has passed - pending his signature – a new bill to regulate the country’s credit card industry. It could very well be among the last pieces of legislation Aquino might be signing into law before he leaves office.

CNN Philippines reports that this bill, the “Philippine Credit Card Industry Regulation Act”, will place all credit card issuers, acquirers and transactions under the supervision of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. It aims to protect cardholders from harassment by debt collection agents, prohibit practices both abusive and unfair by card issuers, and empowers the BSP to issue rules of conduct or operational standards for the credit card industry as a whole.

For purposes of legislation, the bill defines a credit card as “any card or other credit device intended for the purpose of obtaining money, property, or services on credit”. A statement from the Lower House of Congress reveals that further regulations of the bill require a credit card issuer to maintain transparency, making available to potential and current cardholders all finance charges for their late payments, and giving warning to these same card companies against the unauthorized release of their cardholders’ personal information and data. The BSP would have oversight and the authority to impose penalties on institutions in the event of non-compliance to the uniform rules and standards of operation, with the Monetary Board determining compliance by the conduct of examinations. In conclusion, the Bangko Sentral may also limit or completely prohibit the charging of an annual membership fee for all credit cards that do so.

Companies or individuals violating the bill itself or any rules passed by the BSP Monetary Board could face fines of up to 200,000 Pesos, imprisonment of up to 10 years, or both. The “CC Industry Regulation Act” bill was introduced to the House of Representatives in May last year. The Senate passed it on its Final Reading this January 2016, with concurrence by the Lower House on May 23, the day before Congress adjourned. As of this writing it only needs President Aquino to sign it into law.

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Putin Welcomes Tech Giant to Russian Market while Russia FPM Visits China’s LeEco

Russia’s First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov met with Liu Hong, Vice-Chairman and Co-Founder of LeEco (left 3) and other top executives, including LeREE's President Xu Xinquan (Left 5) in Beijing

In preparation of Russian President Vladimit Putin’s state visit to China beginning Saturday June 25, First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov, who heads the Russian panel on the China-Russia Investment Committee, paid a visit to the corporate headquarters of Leshi Internet Information & Technology, also known as LeEco, in Beijing’s Chaoyang District the day before, on Friday June 24. There he was taken on a guided tour of the facilities and even got to try out the consumer electronics company’s various cutting edge products: from watching their Smart TV sets and virtual reality, testing the in-demand Le-series mobile “super-phones”, and even taking a ride on the LeSEE Super EV self-driving electric car.

Speaking to LeEco representatives, Shuvalov reiterated President Putin’s statement from the 20th St. Petersburg International Economic Forum last June 17 to guest attendee Jia Yueting, founder and chairman of LeEco, who had announced his company’s marketing plan for Russia during the event. 

The Russian president had been appreciative of the Chinese tech giant’s investment in the country and pledged his official support, guaranteeing a favorable environment for LeEco’s investment and future development. The first deputy prime minister then extended a welcome to other Chinese companies to invest in Russia, promising the same guarantees Putin gave.

During the hour-long tour of LeEco headquarters, Shuvalov and Economic Development Deputy Minister Stanislav Voskresensky, along with other Russian officials briefly met with LeEco Co-founder and Vice-Chairman Liu Hong at the company’s Product Experience Center. Also present was Xu Xinquan, who is to become president of a new subsidiary that LeEco shall be establishing in Russia: LeEco Russia and East Europe or LeREE.

The year 2016 has been LeEco’s time of globalization. Ever since entering India and North America, the online technologies giant has indicated several times that Russia, an important hub for its plans in Eurasia, would be its next designation.

In 3-5 years, LeEco plans to invest $50 to 100 million into Russia within 3 to 5 years and aims to bring their comprehensive “Le Ecosystem” online platform model for content, devices and applications to the country. With an enormous base of internet users, Russia is poised to become one of LeEco’s significant and strategic markets in its global expansion plan. First Deputy Prime Minister Shuvalov gave recognition to LeEco’s unique “Le Ecosystem”, and hoped that LeEco would bring its powerful content platform, products and services to Russia, with the Russian government’s promised policy support and investment environment.

LeEco has also obtained exclusive all-media rights to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, and has reached a four-way agreement with the Institute of Internet Development (IID), the Russia Export Center, and JSC Digital TV Network.

Step Up becomes an online TV Series

The “Step Up” dance drama film series, which catapulted the likes of Channing Tatum to superstardom and earned more than $650 million at the box office globally, now has a new lease on life as an online TV series. YouTube Red, the paid subscription streaming service of the Google-owned video-sharing giant, has just purchased the franchise rights from Lions Gate Entertainment and ordered a full 10-episode season for production, according to an article by The New York Times.

In YouTube’s annual Vidcon conference in Anaheim, California, YouTube Originals global head Suzanne Daniels described the upcoming “Step Up” series as a “bigger, bolder” offering that will “drive subscriptions” for YouTube Red. On the other end, Lions Gate television chairman Kevin Beggs sees the collaboration as something multiple networks wanted: a “distinctive, noisy, platform-defining series”.

The powerhouse production will tap into multiple producers of the past “Step Up” movies - Adam Shankman, Jennifer Gibgot and Meredith Milton – to executively produce the series. They will be joined as executive producers by Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan Tatum, who both starred in the original “Step Up” film. Each episode in the initial season is slated to last 45 minutes, definitely much longer than the brief uploaded videos that were once the bread and butter of old YouTube. Production of the series is expected to begin later this year, and will debut as a YouTube Red exclusive on 2017.

The “Step Up” films began with the first in 2006 by Disney’s Touchstone Pictures label and Summit Entertainment. This partnership went on to produce the sequel in 2008 and “Step Up 3D” in 2010 before Summit, now a subsidiary of Lions Gate, took over for “Step Up Revolution” in 2012 and the final installment, “Step Up: All In” which was released in 2014.

Daniels has been a fan of the “Step Up” films and claims to have “chased” after the project after coming over to YouTube from a top position at programming in MTV. She sees YouTube Red as a natural home for the franchise, and an excellent first go by YouTube in Hollywood-level original programming.

Initial peeks into the “Step up” series production reveal a similar setting and tone to the Tatum- billed first film, such as the primary location being a performing arts school. It will also feature YouTube online stars as dancers and actors.

YouTube Red offers ad-free video viewing, exclusive shows and a library of licensed music. Daniels sees the upcoming series as YT Red’s answer to other major site’s big-budget online offerings such as “Transparent” on Amazon and “House of Cards” on Netflix.

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Jiangsu province in China found itself in the mercy of Mother Nature in one of her foul moods when they were hammered by a volatile mix of a tornado and hailstorm in the early afternoon of Thursday June 23. This cocktail of extreme weather conditions left at least 98 people killed and 800 wounded in its wake, according to CNN. Local Chinese authorities reported torrential rains accompanied by winds blowing up to 125 kilometers per hour, strong enough to wreck houses and collapse factories and even toss cars up into the air like toys in the city of Yangcheng.

BBC News adds that Chinese President Xi Jinping has ordered “all-out” rescue efforts after the Xinhua news agency described the tornado strike to be the worst that hit the country in 50 years, and one of the gravest disasters to occur in Jiangsu. Relief workers however were impeded by continuing heavy rainfall and the possibility of further hail and tornadoes.

Over a thousand local police officers were deployed to aid in the cleanup and restoring of order in Yangcheng and the rest of the province after a search for survivors trapped in rubble was completed according to provincial fire corps Chief Zhou Xiang, with more than 100 victims pulled out from debris and 2,000 evacuated. Emergency food and medical supplies have begun pouring in from as far away as Beijing.

Photographs and video footage from locals and rescue officials show a stark landscape in the aftermath of the tornado and hailstorm, with flattened homes and buildings, uprooted trees and broken streetlights and power line poles. Other places in the province that were badly damaged were Lixin town and Funing County, where the local hospital was filled to overflowing with wounded patients in recovery. A nearby factory of Canadian Solar and its attached employee dormitory was completely destroyed as well, with two of its personnel reported as missing.

Many of the residents interviewed by the Agence France-Presse (AFP) and state television network CCTV described the cataclysm they had lived through a something like the end of the world, and the resulting destruction was compared to another disaster China was familiar with: earthquakes.

This was but a mere highlight in a week-long deluge of rainwater in Jiangsu, causing floods that have already killed 22 and forced the evacuation of up to 200,000 others, conditions that are considered much worse than the 1998 rainy season, according to state media. Already an estimated 2.7 billion Yuan ($410) has been calculated in terms of damage to the national economy. 

China, like parts of the United States, is susceptible to the formation of tornadoes although they happen so rarely that most Chinese people are not quite aware of how to prepare for them. And while southern China is beset by rains during the May-July monsoon season, this year was exacerbated by the El NiƱo phenomenon according to Vice-Premier Wang Yang.

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The historic UK referendum on whether to remain a member of the European Union or to leave after years – the infamous “Brexit” choice – has come, the polling was done, and all the remains is to tally the votes for and against. Only a third of those votes have been counted at the latest, and the outcome is currently on a teeter-totter, earlier looking to remain, but now leaning obviously towards leaving at 52% against 48%.

Uncertainty over the outcome has major British print publications doubling down on front page options to cater to whatever the result may be. BBC which has predicted a final, if narrow, Brexit victory, has taken note of newspaper editors throughout the nation being crazy prepared to either sigh with relief at staying or jubilating at exiting. The Metro and The Sun had covers in the evening depicting either Nigel Farage of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) with a defeated look, while those of the following morning were of Brexit supporters with hands raised in victory. The Daily Mirror on the other hand went the artistic route, with the “remain” cover depicting a couple with face paint kissing – he the UK and she the EU, and the later “Brexit” cover being a solo UK-face guy.

Not to be ignored are the fates of certain entities in the wake of a now seemingly inevitable vote to quit the EU. Most telling are predictions of pro-remain Prime Minister David Cameron losing his position in the following months, as the UKIP moves to secure their position. And while England (with the surprise exception of London itself) and Wales were united in their choice of Brexit, strong calls to Remain were in force in both Scotland and Northern Ireland. With Scots Remain campaigners and voters calling out the unfairness of the Brexit vote taking the entire UK out of the Union, and with recent memory of the 2014 Scottish independence referendum, unconfirmed talks that another push to take Scotland out of the United Kingdom (and rejoining the EU) have surfaced. Similar rumors have sprung up in Northern Ireland as well.

Already this uncertainty of what the future holds for the UK has resulted in the Pound Sterling suffering a near-vertical drop in value in the financial market, the lowest it’s ever been since 1985. In fact, the repercussions of Brexit have been so far-reaching that according to CNBC even Asian stocks have plummeted at the news.

The effects of Britain’s departure from the EU have affected a wide spectrum of things, even the production of HBO’s hit TV series “Game of Thrones”, which is primarily located in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Where before, the production team benefitted from the European Regional Development Fund and its subsidies, with the UK independent of the Union the show may have just lost a significant amount of funding. That’s bad news when HBO is projecting that they need two more seasons after the soon-to- show-finale sixth in order to complete the story.

Outside Britain, voices are varied in their opinion over the referendum and its outcome. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has called it right on Brexit pulling through though he never endorsed nor opposed it, while American actress, London resident and pro-Remain pundit Lindsay Lohan must be very disappointed. Whether or not she would still carry out her intention to be re-naturalized as a British subject after all this has yet to be revealed.

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When you’re travelling to Phuket and would like the ultimate resort experience, far above the rest, then look no further in booking your place to stay than at THE VILLAGE Coconut Island Resort. Located exactly where it says it is, on Coconut IslandKoh Maphrao in Thai – just off Phuket’s East Coast in Phang Na Bay, this tropical island getaway offers 5-star accommodation and amenities, as well as fantastic atmosphere, while remaining relatively close to mainland Phuket and all the best places of interest within. You’ll find yourself utterly spoiled silly by THE VILLAGE Coconut Island Resort’s laid-back relaxation facilities, waited on by their highly professional yet contagiously smiley service. And if you still have some reservations holding you back, let’s get your questions out of the way so you can see why there really is no other place to compare when in Phuket.

The Villas

Right of the bat, you’ll definitely fall in love with THE VILLAGE Coconut Island Resort, thanks to their luxurious accommodations, from 116 right-sized Tropical Jacuzzi Suites to 110 large and comfortable private pool villas. Every location has been beautifully positioned to make sure at any place you’ll have a wonderful view of the tropical surrounding and the very inviting beach. These are exquisitely designed to evoke traditional Thai architecture, a distinctive reminder of where you are. As stated, each suite has its own private Jacuzzi, and each villa – whether beachfront or elevated sea-view – has its own pool.  All accommodations have a personal safe for guests, air conditioning, flat-screen TV with DVD and satellite television. Definitely feels like home away from home.

The Restaurants

If you need to grab a bite, THE VILLAGE Coconut Island Resort has a dizzying variety of restaurants to eat; they don’t call themselves a village for nothing, because it does feel like one. Take advantage of their In-Villa dining and have choice International or Asian dishes delivered right to your villa or suite’s doorstep up until late at night. You can also call for private evening dining under the stars, perfect for couples, family or groups, and you’ll get your own dedicated attendant taking your orders and bringing your picks. If you’d prefer going out for a meal, you can go eastern cuisine with The Tamarind Restaurant and Beach Bar, or western food with The Deli, offering the best authentic pizza in Phuket.

Finally, you can drop by the Cocomart, the Village’s own market shop, to stock up on your travel necessities or buy from their top selection of meats and other food items to bring back to your villa or suite to prepare and cook just the way you like it.

Business with Pleasure

The best part about THE VILLAGE Coconut Island Resort is that, for all its considerations for pleasure and relaxation, they are just as well equipped for visits of a more professional and business-like nature. Whether you’re just spending a day with your work crew for team-building activities, or a large group holding a major convention, their Business Conference Suite especially set aside for your purpose has all the facilities you need to hold a comfortable conference with the people accompanying you, or teleconference with your associates anywhere in the world. And when your work is done, there’ll be no stopping you all from kicking your feet up and partying just as hard.

Speaking of the Conference Suite: looking for the perfect place to start forever with your love and soul-mate? THE VILLAGE Coconut Island Resort will be most happy to give you your pick of the most favourable wedding package for you. Their very own special events theme can help you set your dream wedding in the perfect location. The Conference Suite? The beach? Or maybe the garden of your honeymoon villa? What an awesome way to start your life together.

Things to do

Now if you’re in the mood for doing other things, leave it to your gracious hosts to provide you with just about anything and everything you’ll want or need to keep busy, in a fun way of course. The island boasts a couple of huge infinity pools – with water slides, natch – for you to swim and lounge about in. You can also work off your little eating gains at their very own fitness gym, with qualified instructors to also teach you Yoga, Muay Thai or just to make sure you don’t pull a muscle on the weight machines. All around you’ve got courts for various sports: beach volleyball and tennis or Giant Chess.

You can also rent out mountain bikes, with tour if you’d like, or charter your choice of speedboats or sailboats to coast around the waters. Then again you can also just grab a book to read away the day in The Village’s library. Yes, they have one too!

Even better, you can leave it to TTHE VILLAGE Coconut Island Resort to arrange for special trips within Phuket just for you. You can also avail of either their daily boat trips to nearby Kho Rang Island, or extended trips leaving twice a week for some major island-hopping around the other islands in Phang Na Bay, including Khao Phing Kan, the so-called “James Bond Isle” that was used as a filming location in two James Bond movies. Thankfully they have a dedicated desk for information and booking these trips, if they catch your fancy.

Some Important Reminders

In closing, you‘ll be happy to know that the water taxi service between THE VILLAGE Coconut Island Resort and Laem Hin Pier runs regularly 24/7, so you’re never stuck either here on on Phuket for too long. And as with all 5-star establishments, they accept major credit cards: Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Diners Club. Unfortunately however, traveler’s checks are a no go, so keep that in mind.

It doesn’t matter if you prefer to go on adventure, or hold a convention or dream wedding, or just relax and unwind like nothing else matters; you’ll find that The Village Coconut Island Resort, is just the ultimate escape from the maze of life if only for a few days of Paradise on Earth. Now what are you still doing reading this? This once-in- a-lifetime treat you’ll never forget for the rest of your days.

For more details visit their site at

Sunday, June 26, 2016


Banco de Oro Unibank Incorporated or BDO, the Philippines’ largest bank and a member of the SM Group of Companies, announced last June 14 that it has accepted the offer to acquire the rights to become the exclusive issuer of Diner’s Club International (DCI) credit cards in the country from SB Cards, the credit card subsidiary of Security Bank Corporation.

SB Cards, which had offered to sell their Diner’s Club Int’l exclusivity recently, will also include in the transfer of rights along with their existing DCI portfolio, their base of active Diner’s Club cardholders. The formality of the handover deal is expected to take, after some approval, no later than three months. The exact details on the acquisition’s financial value were not disclosed to the public. The move was, according to SB Cards president Ma. Cristina Tiongson, a strategic move to streamline their own credit card portfolio with only MasterCard to focus on as their main credit card offering. Despite the loss of their rights to DCI card issuance in the Philippines, Security Bank’s card business is still a vital component of their Retail Bank and an important thrust in their total growth. Tiongson also pledged their company’s systems and operation support to BDO to guarantee a smooth changeover of the portfolio and cardholder base between them during the interim.

BDO is the country’s top issuer of the largest variety of credit card brands, holding issuance rights for Visa, MasterCard, American Express, China UnionPay and JCB. The new partnership with Diner’s Club International is but another feather in its portfolio cap to deliver new customer benefits to BDO card members, according to BDO executive vice president Rolando Tanchanco.

Photo Courtesy of

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Wolverine 3: One Last Time

There is still a long way to go before we even start seeing teasers or trailers on cinemas of the third “Wolverine” "Wolverine III" 'Wolverine 3: Weapon X' solo movie from 20th Century Fox. But that doesn’t stop massive movie fan and comic geek communities from speculating away as to what filmgoers could possibly expect when the finished product tentatively hits theaters March next year. 

And really, such early hype is only understandable with the news that this would be the very last time that the iconic and extremely popular Marvel Comics mutant anti-hero will be portrayed by his (thus far) only ever live-action actor –Australian superstar Hugh Jackman – who stated as much in his Instagram when he posted “Wolverine…One Last Time” way back in 2015.

Well now with “X-Men: Apocalypse” out and about hitting it big at the box office worldwide, Fox has kept to its announced production schedule and started working on “Wolverine 3” (title may change).

Details are being revealed bit by bit on multiple online sources: They said the story is taking place in the “not-so- distant future” timeframe of the X-Men film universe (when the original trilogy, “The Wolverine” and the future segments of “Days of Future Past” take place), and even the news that Sir Patrick Stewart would again be reprising his role as Professor Charles Xavier alongside Jackman’s Logan / Wolverine

To wit, pictures of the two allegedly taken on the production set have begun making the rounds in the internet, some again at Hugh’s Instagram as pointed out by Comic Book Resources, Inquisitr, and sites such as Just Jared and Nerd Fit. Some of these photos depict a bearded Logan pushing a somewhat sickly-looking Professor X on a wheelchair accompanied by a female character.

Here’s where we go into speculation territory, as we try to determine what Wolverine-centric storyline from the X-Men comic books is being adapted for the film. The fact that the star is sporting a beard might offer a hint. CBR and Marvel writer Mark Millar have implied it could be a retelling of his post-apocalyptic “Old Man Logan” storyline, depicting an older Logan who has retired the Wolverine identity, living in a devastated America divided up by super-villain overlords. That sounds intriguing enough, although it’s not the only possibility, as seen in the post-credits scene of “X-Men: Apocalypse” where Logan makes a cameo appearance, escaping from the Weapon-X facility as in his back-story, but with the help of the student X-Men. After the credits have rolled, some men in suits enter the wreckage of the Weapon-X lab to take a stored blood sample of Logan’s for the “Essex Corporation”.

That particular teaser points to two comics characters that have yet to be seen in the films: the super-villain geneticist Nathaniel Essex, aka. Mister Sinister, and Logan’s teenage female clone Laura Kinney, codenamed X-23. The latter might possibly be the girl following Logan and Xavier around in the production pictures, though of course it has not been proven. Still, it does make for an interesting course of the storyline as Hugh Jackman is retiring from the Logan / Wolverine role, and now his clone is possibly showing up to take up the mantle (as in the current Marvel Comics line, X-23 did take up the Wolverine identity). But then this would also factor another, more recent Wolverine storyline being adapted for the film: Wolverine’s death.

If so, it could easily be such an epic sendoff to both Jackman and Logan’s character in the film universe – despite rumors that Tom Hardy might be taking over as Logan instead. More information will surely be made public as the year chugs along and 2017 comes around for “Wolverine 3”.

Photo Credit to

STAR TREK Actor Anton Yelchin dies at the age of 27

The rebooted “Star Trek” franchise lost a core member of its cast Sunday, June 19, when 27-year-old actor Anton Yelchin, who portrayed the starship USS Enterprise’s navigator Pavel Chekov, was found dead in his Los Angeles home early in the morning. He was a victim of a “freak accident” involving his car.

A Los Angeles Police investigation covered by CNN reported that Yelchin, on the way to an early morning band rehearsal, had stepped out of his Jeep Grand Cherokee and moved to the gate of the enclosed driveway of his Studio City residence. LAPD spokesperson Jennifer Houser stated that while standing behind his SUV, the vehicle suddenly rolled backward, pinning the actor against a security fence and a brick mailbox pillar, crushing him to death by “blunt traumatic asphyxia”, or cutting off his breathing. When his friends from the rehearsal realized that he was late, they went to his address and discovered Yelchin trapped between the pillar, fence, and the Grand Cherokee with engine running, already lifeless.

Said friends notified the authorities and informed Yelchin’s family about his death. The actor’s Jeep Grand Cherokee, according to a report by BBC News, has been included among several other car models that were part of a recall order to their manufacturers by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration last April 2016. All the vehicles in question use a particular electronic gear shifter that does not go – or would not remain – in the “park” position if the engine is running, even when purposely set by their drivers. Consumers reported leaving their car engines running while setting their gears to park, only for their vehicles to roll away on their own. Some 41 injuries have been reportedly come about because of this issue.

Fiat Chrysler, which owns Jeep, had already recalled 1.1 million units of the 2014 and 2015 Grand Cherokees, like the one Yelchin drove and ultimately caused his demise. They have thusly extended their “deepest sympathies” to the actor’s family and friends. They have also been in touch with the NHTSA regarding a federal investigation on Yelchin’s passing. 

On the entertainment sector, cast and productions members of Paramount Picturesreboot “Star Trek” film series have expressed their condolences on Twitter and other social media. Paramount itself released a statement regarding his death: “As a member of the Star Trek family, he was beloved by so many and he will be missed by all. We share our deepest condolences with his mother, father and JJ Abrams, director of the first two reboot “Trek” movies and producer of July’s upcoming “Star Trek Beyond”, Tweeted a photo of a handwritten condolence note saying, “Anton, you were brilliant. You were kind. You were funny as hell, and supremely talented. And you weren't here nearly long enough.”

Born in Leningrad in the former Soviet Union (now St. Petersburg, Russia) in 1989, Anton Yelchin’s family sought political asylum in the United States when he was six months old. He started his showbiz career as a child actor, eventually turning out impressive and critically acclaimed performances in films such as “Like Crazy” and “Alpha Dog”, before being tapped to play Ensign Chekov in the “Star Trek” movie reboot.

Star Trek Beyond” hits theaters July 22, and will likely be dedicated to Yelchin’s.

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Lebron brings NBA Title to Cleveland after 52 years

In an astonishing series rally, the Cleveland Cavaliers fought back after an embarrassing performance in the initial games in the 2016 NBA Finals to stretch the battle up until Game 7, where they wrenched final victory from the formerly favoured defending champions, the Golden State Warriors, 93-89.

The Cavs have been hammered by the Warriors in the first two games of the series, which did set a record for the largest combined victory margin – at 48 points – through two games in NBA history, thanks to a home court advantage and an ensemble powerhouse of regulars and bench players on Golden State’s side. This was answered by Cleveland, led by the indomitable LeBron James, sweeping games 4 to 7, establishing their own record as the first NBA team in Finals history to become champion after a 3-1 series win deficit.

USA Today reports how an impressive performance by “KingJames – 27 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists, 3 shots blocked, and 2 steals – became the foundation for the Cavs overcoming the Warriors, winning their rematch of last year’s finals. Aside from receiving his third careers Finals MVP award, James by his own hand gave Cleveland something it had longed for since the year 1964 – a brand new professional sports championship title and the breaking of the city’s “sports curse”. That year, over half a century ago, the Cleveland Browns won the National Football League championship game, the last before the curse’s 159-season title drought.

It was a herculean task to turn a dire situation around for Cleveland, with certain elimination threatening had they lost Games 6 or 7. A lucky break came when Golden State’s formidable offensive lineup began to stumble in the middle of the series. Two Warriors, center Andrew Bogut and defensive player Andre Iguodala were sidelined by injuries and a third, Draymond Green, slapped with a one-game ban barring him from Game 6 when the Warriors’ best were needed most. With their dwindling might, Golden State’s remaining big names Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson were powerless against a LeBron on a mission.

When Cavs guard Kyrie Irving sank a 4th quarter 3-pointer with 53 seconds left, it was all but over. James’s 10.6-second mark free throw became nothing more than a formality as the Oracle Arena’s Golden State crowd was devastated. Irving himself contributed 26 points for Cleveland. 

As the game clock hit zero, LeBron James became a mythical hero for his team and city. He had done what he had set out to do when he left the Miami Heat in 2014 after a 4-year stint to return to the “I’m home. I’m home"; James told USA Today. "This is what I came back for. I’m at a loss for words. This is unbelievable. It doesn’t feel real right now…“I understood what everybody in northeast Ohio had been through the last 50-plus years, and I’m happy to be a part of history. I can’t wait to get back home. I’m ready to get to you guys." 

James also said “We’ve been through so much adversity these last two years. I just knew what we were capable of even being down 3-1 vs. the greatest regular-season team ever, you know, 73-9. Everybody counted us out, and that’s when we strived the most.”

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Saturday, June 11, 2016

Doctor Strange: Most Prominent Magic-Using Superhero

The superhero movie bandwagon just keeps on going this year. Already we’ve gotten a taste of Fox-Marvel’s “Deadpool” in February, Warner-DC’s “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” in March, and a double-whammy of Marvel Studios’ “Captain America: Civil War” and Fox-Marvel’s “X-Men: Apocalypse” in May. 

The next big thing on the silver screen is August’s “Suicide Squad” from Warner-DC for the summer and in November with the release of “Doctor Strange”. It remains to be seen if either will skyrocket to the top of this year’s box office records.

The last marvel film this year, directed by Scott Derrickson and starring new hotness British actor Benedict Cumberbatch, will relate the origin story of Marvel’s most prominent magic-using superhero, as neurosurgeon and man of science.

Here's a little background: Dr. Stephen Strange is injured in an accident and, on a journey to find a way to heal his damaged hands, encounters the mystic sage The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) who teaches him magic instead, leading to his eventually becoming the world’s Sorcerer Supreme.

Much like Stephen’s journey to enlightenment, the film’s production had not been smooth and easy. Despite the awe generated by the first teaser trailer released last April, there had been some serious criticism leveled at Marvel Studios for whitewashing, as Swinton’s character of The Ancient One was a Tibetan male in the comics (not casting an Asian was reportedly to avoid troubles with the Chinese who claim Tibet as part of their territory). Swinton herself tells The Hollywood Reporter that her character as she portrays it is not Asian. Producer Kevin Feige has elaborated how the title of Ancient

One is instead more of a mantle that has been passed down for centuries, which would explain why a Caucasian woman would be addressed as such in the film. In preparation for the movie’s release, there is also the expected product licensing to bring out “Doctor Strange” related merchandise worldwide for moviegoers’ consumption. Vandor is already offering beautifully illustrated mugs, tumblers and lunch-boxes portraying a badass bearded Cumberbatch ready to lay a magical smack-down on the dark forces of evil. Even better, the upcoming licensed Lego play set may have unintentionally spoiled details of the movie before both come out, as it depicts the Doc’s magical residence the Sanctum Sanctorum being attacked by a creature that resembles a villain of the comic books that might be familiar to fans, although it may also be a red herring like some Lego Marvel play sets have been before.

Doctor Strange” also stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong and Mads Mikkelsen, with a score by Oscar and Grammy-winning composer Michael Giacchino. It air November 4 in North America.

Suicide Squad: A solid action adventure of super villains

Less than two months are left before Warner Brothers and DC Entertainment unleash the latest feature length chapter of their cinematic DC Extended Universe, and this one is something even more completely different from “Man of Steel” and “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”. This time around, it is super-villains – criminals, murderers and psychos – who will take big screen as they follow a totally dysfunctional team adventures in “Suicide Squad”.

And WB is really going to need all positive feedbacks for this flick, especially after the not so hot box office performance of “Dawn of Justice” (considering it starred two of the most iconic superheroes ever created and guest-starred a third). They’re certainly pulling all the stops to make “Suicide Squad” a killer (figuratively speaking) summer blockbuster, to the point that the stars were called back to perform some additional reshoots of several scenes, ostensibly to brighten the general mood of the film narrative (again, compared to “BvS”). The results may be worth it so far, as Yahoo! Movies relate the fact that a May 20 test screening got so much love from its audience, and an even more recent advance screening in Sacramento got more positive opinions for the movie.

For those who have yet to understand what this super flick about DC super-villains are all about, it is based on the same titled DC comic book series appearing in some for since 1959. If you have seen this year’s Fox-Marvel runaway hit “Deadpool” then you’ve got an inkling of what’s in store here. A deep-classified government agency, ARGUS, led by pragmatic and unethically extremist spymaster Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) decides to put together a deniable covert special operations tea officially called “Task Force X”. Its purpose: to perform high-risk black missions on behalf of the US government.

Its recruits come from the best of the worst of America’s imprisoned criminal population, from mundane crooks to freaky super-villains, and if they do their job well and behave as much as they possibly could, they could get their jail times reduced. Any insubordination however is punishable by death with body-implanted bombs.

The “team” put together for this movie include marksman-for- hire Deadshot (Will Smith), criminal psychiatrist turned pyscho super villainess Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), quirky assassin Boomerang (Jai Courtney), pyromaniac El Diablo (Jay Hernandez), and the monstrous cannibal Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje). Rounding out the roster is team leader Rick Flagg (Joel Kinnaman) and his personal bodyguard Katana (Karen Fukuhara). The flick also stars Cara Delevigne as the mysterious magical Enchantress and Jared Leto in a twistedly evil and epic portrayal as classic Batman foe. There is already much hype going for the movie everywhere according to especially given that good word of mouth from the test screenings are coming from non-comic book fan moviegoers who see “Suicide Squad” as a solid action adventure even without recognition of the DC characters in it. With descriptions such as “mind-blowing” and “genius”, along with praise for Robbie and Leto’s performances, other theater-goers can hardly wait for August 5 to finally arrive.

And to give you an idea of just how big “Suicide Squad” is, there is already a stand-alone film for Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn in development, and plans for a sequel is also floating about, one that would be rated R like “Deadpool”. It sure looks like a return to fighting form for Warner-DC after “Dawn of Justice”. Let’s see if the rest of the world agrees.

Photo Credit to

Friday, June 10, 2016

Mitsubishi Montero Sport 2016: A Surefire Cost-Effective Choice

I had a hard time choosing between the Mitsubishi Montero Sport 2016 and the Ford Everest Titanium. But after reading some reviews for few weeks and considering the experience I had with my Montero Sport 2010 model, I ultimately decided to “stay in the family”.

It is probably the best decision I’ve ever made vehicle wise. And my new Sedona Red baby does not disappoint, not at all. Either way, you can look at it as very handsome, very sexy, sophisticated or too fierce.

I get quite the giddy feeling as I look at my new Montero Sport 2016 parked right next to his beige big brother, though in terms of dimensions my new ride is a little bit longer, just a tad taller. The design contours on its exterior that car enthusiasts and websites have commented on are totally geek-worthy, with the way they give the 2016 Montero Sport a little edge. The new “Dynamic Shield” corporate grill up front is unbelievably rugged. And let’s not forget the tube-style tail light configuration that gives a sort of impression of Tron lines when illuminated, by brilliant LED.

And I did mention it was bigger, yes? That of course means a truly spacious interior, even more comfy than my old GLS. The mostly-black finish is elegant, seven airbags all over the place for optimal safety, the steering wheel is just the right size, the instrumentation display is bright and clear with nice large fonts, the touchscreen has perfect sensitivity – not too much – although I’ve yet to fiddle with all its available options, and might not even use them regularly. Seriously, Mitsubishi’s designers have outdone themselves with their work on the new generation Montero Sport’s creature comforts.

Of course, these are only part of what has already proven itself to be a totally awesome package. That of course was already made plain even before this magnificent SUV became available on Philippine shores January this year. It first made a splash in Thailand the year before, and since then the most hardcore car experts all over the world have figured its specs and put the Montero Sport through its paces.

Needless to say, the driving performance was everything good about the Montero Sport Line, and more so. I’m no number-cruncher of vehicle stats myself, so I may just end up parroting what more knowledgeable men and dedicated websites have to say about my brand new 2016 Mitsubishi Montero Sport.

Known outside the Philippines as the “Pajero Sport”, “Nativa” and “Challenger”, this Montero Sport 2016 is of the third generation in its production line. First rolled out in 2015, some seven years have gone by from that date since the advent of its preceding second generation, my old ride. Many would say that this generation is a sort of redemption of the last, significantly fixing some of its previous shortcomings and, some would say, grave flaws. Most of this is true, although claiming that the third generation made sure to correct whatever systems from the second that were responsible for the allegedly over 20 cases of “Sudden Unintended Acceleration” incidents in the country (which is not even 1% of total units sold) is frankly, just not buying me. It might have just been over sensationalized by the media, since I heard, (I’m not sure if it’s true) that an anchor and some TV network upper management officers are stockholders of the competitor brand.

I’ve driven my old Montero Sport for years and never suffered a loss of control. And it’s quite curious that no further incidents have made the news for quite some time now. But I digress.

Like the websites and experts say: a powerful 2.4-liter turbo diesel engine that can crank out 181 horsepower and 430 Nm of torque (at RPMs of 3,500 and 2,500 respectively), 8-speed AT, off-road mode, hill start assist and descent control, EBD anti-lock brakes with assist system, blind spot sensor and even a reverse camera. And while I don’t think I’ll find myself driving through floods or bodies of water any time soon, the wading depth of 700mm can be very reassuring.

So, really, I’ve pretty much joined the chorus proclaiming the Mitsubishi Montero Sport 2016 as the leader among SUVs / PPVs. It is a surefire cost- effective choice.

Here are some photos I have when I got it the other day. Taken at DOLE Plantation in Polomolok. It was gloomy! The Calm before the Storm!

Monday, June 6, 2016

PLDT buys San Miguel Corporation’s nascent telecom assets

With the recent news of PLDT and competitor telecom joining forces to nip a potential third major telecommunications company from emerging by buying up all of San Miguel Corporation’s nascent telecom assets, customers of both companies are waiting cautiously for what this turn of events could mean and what more could happen next.

Critics of the transaction are already crying foul on the two companies working together to nip an alternative telecom service in the bud with SMC’s Vega Telecom, Inc. and minor firms New Century Telecoms and eTelco, Inc. being sold between the two for a staggering 70-billion peso total, which is seen as a brutal maintenance of PLDT and competitor’s duopoly. San Miguel’s telecom assets were on the verge of launching a mobile high-speed internet service sometime this year, but have had trouble acquiring permits from the government in order to build up the necessary support infrastructure such as cellular sites. Now these businesses have been snapped up by the Philippines’ pair of telecom giants, who even now are struggling with the usual barrage of complaints regarding the country’s slow as molasses internet speed, the second slowest in Asia just ahead of war-torn Afghanistan.

But just as there are naysayers over the deal, there are also those who defend it, and analysts who see PLDT’s and competitor’s acquisitions from SMC as a major “win-win” for everyone involved. The fact that San Miguel’s telecom assets include their vaunted 700-megahertz spectrum means that, in the hands of both PLDT and its competitor, they’ll be likely to get a solution to the perennial slow-speed internet problem. The added capacity of the 700 MHz spectrum – only lightly tapped in SMC’s hands – would serve to boost the two telecoms’ internet performance, so taxed by the sheer number of users, with around 2,200 for every single cell site of each company (ideally a cell site should only have to handle anywhere between 500 to 800 users).

That’s only one facet of the problem however. There is still the matter of building more cell sites to service the growing number of internet users in the Philippines, something that stymied San Miguel’s own subsidiaries before they were bought out. Permits for construction and operation of cell site were gotten from the local government unit (LGU) in which the sites are to be built, but the bureaucratic hurdles have proven too much at times. It is now hoped that with the establishment of the new Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) can make a significant difference in the drive to expand cellular coverage for the customers of  PLDT and its competitors.

Speaking of which, PLDT President Manny V. Pangilinan has already expressed his commitment to have his company offer better services, with a stronger and wider internet to give more people access to information and greater opportunities through connectivity, something that its new assets can make a big contribution to making a reality. It’s the least that can be done for the country that is arguably the “Social Media Capital of the World”.

As for San Miguel Corporation, analysts opine that with the sale of its telecom assets the conglomerate can go back to focusing on its core businesses of food, beverage, packaging and oil.

Wireless Link Technologies Inc opens First Visayan Branch in Bacolod

Wireless Link Technologies Inc, (WLT), one of the Philippines’ premier providers of information communications technologies for security, wireless communication, solar power and networking solutions, has just opened its new branch office in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental. It is the first in the Visayan Islands, offering services to the Western Visayas region in general and Negros Island. WLT was first established in 2009 with its main office in Manila to provide competent and affordable wireless networking solutions to its clients, ranging from private individuals to companies, schools, commercial establishments and government agencies. Over the years, it strove to provide the best end-to-end solutions to its customers by broadening its product line and increasing its available services, thanks to its business partnerships with some of the most well-known brands in wireless ICT, such as the venerable Icom, Welltech, Ubiquiti Networks, Cisco and others.

For the convenience of its customers, WLT goes beyond being a mere product distribution company but a total solutions provider, with its pool of highly-skilled and internationally qualified electronics and communications engineers handling installation and upgrade, graciously allowing its clients to simply focus on their business goals without worrying about how their ICT products are put

The newly opened Bacolod branch is the third in the Philippines, after the Manila head office and its affiliated two-way radio store, and a branch in General Santos City opened in 2013.

Wireless Link Technologies, Inc. Bacolod branch is located at Door 6, Vertland Corporation Building at San Juan St., at the back of the 888 Premiere Shopping Mall. It’s open Mondays to Saturdays, from 9 in the morning to 6 in the afternoon. Drop by to see the latest bleeding edge on wireless networking and security solutions available in the market today.

The opening and ribbon cutting were headed by Wireless Link Technologies Inc CEO Ralph Waldy Soguilon, Admin Manager Ethel Sanchez, Bacolod General Manager Francis Ymbong and wife Jane Lester Ymbong.