Tuesday, August 31, 2021



The premise of The CW series “Batwoman” has Bruce Wayne’s cousin Kate Kane (and after her, ex-con drifter Ryan Wilder) taking up the bat-mantle to protect Gotham City from violent crime and super-villains after the longtime disappearance of Batman/Bruce. The thing is, despite taking over Batman’s job, the two Batwomen were mostly focused on antagonists connected to them, while the classic Bat-rogues were no-shows. The season 2 finale hinted at their resurgence when various items of theirs held in the Batcave get out into the city. The most prominent character foreshadowing has been fulfilled with the casting of Poison Ivy.

Entertainment Weekly tells us that The CW has tapped actress Bridget Regan to portray the role of Batman villainess Dr. Pamela Isley aka Poison Ivy in the upcoming third season of “Batwoman.” The official character blurb for the new cast addition describes Regan’s role as a former Gotham University botany student, whose initial well-meaning ideals are twisted after a colleague experimented on her with modified plant toxins that turned her into a misanthropic eco-terrorist. Her borderline-genocidal plans have been foiled by Batman in the past. But with him gone, it may be time for Poison Ivy to return, with Ryan Wilder/Batwoman and her support team having to prepare for her.

Regan has a varied TV filmography, from straight drama like “Jane the Virgin” to more intense action epics like “Legend of the Seeker” where she starred as Kahlan Amell. She also has superhero TV acting under her belt, sort of, due to her role in ABC’s “Agent Carter” as Soviet sleeper agent (and Black Widow precursor) Dottie Underwood. The addition of Poison Ivy to “Batwoman” was hinted by show-runner Caroline Dries on social media over the weekend, where she teased news that will make other TV shows “green with envy.”

“Batwoman” goes into season 3 with Ryan Wilder having officially inherited the role of the female caped crusader of Gotham, after Kate Kane (portrayed by Wallis Day starting season 2) gives her blessing and leaves the city to search for Bruce Wayne. Aside from Bridget Regan as Poison Ivy, the third season introduces Victoria Cartagena as Renee Montoya (carrying over the Batman-affiliated role in a new iteration from Fox’s “Gotham”), Robin Givens as Jada Jet, and Nick Creegan as Marcus Jet. The series returns to The CW on October 13.

Image courtesy of Heroic Hollywood



The chorus of a 1997 song from an English alternative rock band goes, “I get knocked down, but I get up again.” Such a line can be taken up as a forceful mantra to fire oneself up during the COVID-19 pandemic. And it is one way to describe the Philippine Basketball Association this season. With high hopes the league began its 2021 season in July 16, hoping to squeeze at least two of its usual three conferences in that time. August 3 saw the Philippine Cup suspended when Metro Manila underwent ECQ, but with a new low-quarantine venue set, the games can resume next month.

CNN Philippines reports that the PBA has announced on Tuesday, August 31, the next set of games for this season’s Philippine Cup. It will be tomorrow, the first day of September, at the Don Honorio Ventura State University Gymnasium of Bacolor, Pampanga. This comes after nearly a full month that the country’s pro basketball league has again been compelled to halt its game schedule because of pandemic quarantine restrictions. Pampanga is not part of the NCR Plus area of concern, but is reasonably close to Metro Manila for PBA’s consideration.

Much like the season opening back in July 16, expect three games back to back when Philippine Cup play resumes on Wednesday. First on the program is a matchup between lossless TNT Tropang Giga and zero-win (this season) Blackwater Bossing at half-past noon. The 3PM slot will be filled by the San Miguel Beermen and Terrafirma, while the last game at 6PM will be played between the Meralco Bolts and the Magnolia Pambansang Manok Hotshots. The first five game days of the resumed season will see alternating three-game and two-game schedules, as the league tries to play all matches it can for the playoff bracket.

In hopes of making sure this conference is not met with another stoppage, the PBA is planning heightened health and safety protocol standards for players, officials and staff, for strict compliance and with stiffer penalties. COVID tests will be regularly implemented, with RT-PCR being given every Monday to all league members, and antigen tests every game day morning for all players, officials and staff involved. The 12 teams in conference are quartered in different venues across Clark Freeport Zone and nearby Angeles City, heading to the Ventura University gym when they are up to play.

Image courtesy of Inquirer.net – Sports

Monday, August 30, 2021

New, LIGHTER PLAYSTATION 5 Revealed to Have Revamped HEAT SINKS


Late last year, Sony Interactive Entertainment released the latest iteration of the videogame console line that solidified their position as a pillar of the gaming industry: the PlayStation 5. It seemed the company managed to put in all tech advances they felt the new console needed right when it came out, including shipping a basic model with optical disc drive and a cheaper Digital Edition variant. Aesthetically speaking the PS5 has an artistic bent in it shape, revealed to contribute somehow to its heat dispersal. That turns out to be relevant to the slight hardware upgrade that went into the release of a new PlayStation 5 that weighs slightly less.

According to Engadget, there is indeed a hardware-related reason for why the Sony PlayStation 5 consoles that have arrived in Japan, Australia and some US States since early August felt just a bit lighter when carried. At first, the design alteration seemed to be only some improved screws for the base stand accessory that can be inserted without using a screwdriver. But YouTube creator Austin Evans felt there was more to that. So he took apart a new-model PS5 Digital Edition unit to see what was up, and he found a changed internal heat sink.

Overheating has long been the bane of videogame systems, one that has only become high-priority as consoles become more powerful. The PS5 heat sink cools the system’s interior in conjunction with the console’s outer casing, which has a shape functionally similar to a vapor chamber. The original heat sink took a significant share of internal space in the PlayStation 5, while the replacement component in Evans’ torn-down new model was visibly smaller. All told, the new heat sink reduced the console’s overall weight by 300 grams, and is probably cheaper for Sony’s cost-cutting manufacturing purposes.

Having a lighter PS5 is all well and good, but as a savvy person can tell, there is a catch. The smaller heat sink means it is not quite as strong in cooling power. A comparison sees the new-model console’s running temperature to be around 3-5 degrees Celsius hotter than an original-run unit with the old heat sink. The difference is not that game-breaking, so to speak, but new-PS5 buyers better consider where they put their unit, or weigh the merits of upgrading the SSD. Then again, this was only the Digital Edition that Austin Evans examined. Whether the same holds for the PS5 optical-drive variant remains to be seen.

Cutting costs with making the PlayStation 5 seems just right for Sony’s strategy. They originally sold optical-drive PS5 models at a loss since the November 12, 2020 release date then announced this early August that they have stopped doing so. This coincides with the introduction of the lighter, hardware-revised versions.

Images: Forbes and The Verge



Nothing perhaps excites an audience for music more than a prodigy. Johanne Morissette Amon, named by her parents after a Baroque German composer and her mother’s favorite singer, proved she was a prodigy from her start on TV5 at age 14, then hitting her stride and unlocking her full potential with ABS-CBN since 2013. Morissette became one of the Kapamilya network’s singing icons, gaining the moniker Asia’s Phoenix. That is not bad for having just one studio album (two others were re-releases of material she recorded at 14) and a boatload of singles, soundtrack contributions, and more recently an extended play that she produced herself.

“Signature,” the first EP from Morissette and self-produced at that, was released two Fridays ago on August 20. But as Inquirer.net would have it, that was more than enough time for the EP to make its mark on iTunes, both locally and worldwide. For iTunes Philippines, there was no shadow of doubt that “Signature” would climb its way to the top for a comfortable stay at number 1. But in the US counterpart, the EP would land in 30th place at iTunes’ Top 100 Albums – All Genres chart, trumpeted to be the highest position ever reached by an OPM artist.

The five songs comprising “Signature” all have great individual placements in iTunes Philippines Top 100 Songs chart. In ranking order, they are “Trophy” (2nd), “Mirror” (9th), “Will You Stay” (10th), “Love You Still” (22nd) and “Phoenix” (32nd). While longtime producers and collaborators Dave Lamar and Xergio Ramos were on hand to give her a hand, Morissette Amon could proudly say that she was the foremost creative force in this LP. Other notable global iTunes positions “Signature” has secured include rank 2 in Singapore, 3 in Malaysia, 4 in Poland and Austria, and 6th in Vietnam.

Image courtesy of VQS Studio.com



In September of 2018, NBC premiered a supernatural drama that cobbled elements from earlier series (like “Lost”) and managed to stand out to attract viewers. “Manifest” concerns the mysterious phenomenon that shunted a flying civilian airliner and its passengers five years into their future, with the world changing all that time without them, who were presumed dead. Things get even stranger when the passengers begin to have visions, seemingly foretelling events to come, as the government secretly investigates the incident and circumstances begin killing survivors one by one. The premise was solid enough to last three seasons, only to be cancelled by NBC when season 3 ended this past June.

But “Manifest” fans need not fret over the cliffhanger ending of the show on its original network. USA Today tells us that the show has been revived by none other than global streaming giant Netflix. There will be a fourth streaming season of “Manifest,” consisting of about 20 episodes, which will wrap up the storyline to a satisfying conclusion. Netflix announced as much this past Saturday, August 28, much to the excitement of the series production, the cast, and viewers who voted for it on USAT’s “Save Our Shows” poll.

The network might have had a solid reason to pull the plug on “Manifest” for their primetime lineup. Its inaugural 2018-19 season averaged about 12.61 million viewers in the US, ranking 9th in their programming. Its 2020-21 or third season had seen viewership shrink to just 5.35 million and rank 54. On Netflix, where it was put up for streaming rerun right on June 2021, it proved a consistent top-10 rated show, and for a potentially larger audience at that. Netflix sat in on last-minute talks between NBC and producer Warner Bros. Television about season renewal, and it seems the streamer came for the save.

“Manifest” executive producer Jeff Rake gave a statement over the weekend expressing his relief that the series would get a chance to tell its story to completion. "Never in my wildest dreams could I have envisioned the worldwide outpouring of love and support for this story, its characters, and the team who work so hard to bring it all to life," says Rake. "That we will be able to reward the fans with the ending they deserve moves me to no end." The cast members also took to Twitter to celebrate their streaming final season.

Netflix has become prominent for rescuing cancelled shows such “You” from Freeform and the DC Comics-based “Lucifer” from Fox, with its final season set to premiere on streaming next month.

Image courtesy of Netflix

Thursday, August 26, 2021



In the city of Koronadal, not too far from GenSan, there is a restaurant that has been serving Koronadaleños and visiting tourists for the past four years. Their signature dish: beef steaks. Many who have already had a bite or more there, would say that they have the best grilled steaks one could have in all of South Cotabato, well worth the trip a lot of food aficionados could make from GenSan or any part of the province. Nothing beats celebrating the best events of your life like having a prime steak meal from Gab's Yard.

The brainchild of master Chef George Morales, Gab’s Yard Steak House and Grill opened its doors back in 2017, and in that span of time they have cemented themselves as a prominent fixture of Koronadal’s culinary scene. It is easy enough when the steaks they offer come from imported high-quality beef. We are talking about American-raised Aberdeen Angus beef (originating from Scotland, UK) and Wagyu (from Japan, but crossbred with US beef cattle). They also have beef from Homegrown Australian cattle, locally raised in top ranches around GenSan and Bukidnon.

Whatever the cut of beef you want grilled as a steak, Gab’s Yard has got you covered, from Ribeye (boneless or bone-in) to T-bone and Porterhouse. You get a choice in steak doneness (rare to well-done) and serving, whether presented in a classic plate or the popular “sizzling style” hot plate presentation. All imported prime beef are approved by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) overseas, and on this end they are also certified Halal, so there really is no excuse to skip out of trying Gab’s Yard top steaks when you are in town.

But while Gab’s Yard is a Steak House first and foremost, they would not have lasted and thrived in the business for four years if they did not offer much in choice of meals. Another specialty of the establishment, thanks to their relative closeness to freshwater lakes and sea, is seafood. The Gab’s Seafood Platter Overload boasts no less than 8 kinds of seafood – crabs, shrimps, tuna (belly), calamari, squids, mussels, cream dory and tilapia – served with Paco ferns, seaweed, steamed Okra and fried eggplants, at group servings from 4 to a sizeable 10-15 people.

Are these signature dishes too “heavy” for you? No worries; they have great solo meals that will fit your budget. Here perhaps you will best see the wide variety of cuisine that Gab’s Yard has in store: beef, fish and chicken. Veggie-lovers will appreciate their salad menu, featuring healthy options from California Maki to their best seller, fruit and nut salad. Chicken steak is another absolute crowd favorite, while teriyaki and Inasal style can also be had, as are soups from tinola to sinigang and bulalo. And if you do not fancy a full beef steak, then perhaps you can go for these prime beef being made into burgers, single or double patties with fries and iced tea.

By the way, even in the midst of the ongoing pandemic, Koronadal residents and what limited tourists can appreciate how Gab’s Yard has kept on serving the community even in such trying times. What is more, they actually introduced their newest hit menu item: rice bowls. Three distinct Asian tastes in Japanese, Korean and Singaporean, can be had in Gab’s Asian Bowls. Meat-filled Japanese beef bowl, flavorful Kimchi beef rice bowl (their top item to order via Foodpanda) and spicy hot Laksa are all available for your international tastes. When we said they have all corners of food covered, we mean it, and some.

For Gab’s Yard Steak House and Grill, steak is their passion as is part of their very name. Their specialty beef steaks are a fine balance of true quality and reasonable affordability, backed by a robust seafood selection and an expanded short- and solo-meal menu, and they always have new items to tickle your fancy. Chef Morales is very hands-on with his work, and can assure customers of always having quality ingredients for their steaks and other dishes in stock.

Drop in for a hearty meal at Gab’s Yard Steak House and Grill, located at Arellano Street beside Agan Homes, Roamsceville in Barangay Santa Cruz, Koronadal City. If you would like more information on what gastronomic delights you can expect there, visit Gab’s official website at www.gabsyardsteaks.com, or check out their official Facebook page for updates, promos and menu additions. You may also contact them at (083) 877 9151 (landline), 0917 701 0529 (mobile), or at gabsyardsteaks@yahoo.com (email) to inquire about catering and events. Gab’s Yard is open from 11AM to 9PM every day. For online delivery in Koronadal, they are also listed on Foodpanda.

Images: Gab’s Yard Facebook page

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

TOKYO SUMMER PARALYMPICS Begin with PH Team DOWN One Athlete and AFGHANISTAN Flag in Display


It was with some pride and much relief that Tokyo bid farewell to their delayed Summer Olympic Games in August 8. But that was actually just the first half of their city’s international multi-sporting obligations this year. There is still the Summer Paralympics, the counterpart event featuring athletes with various physical disabilities. From a small athletic gathering of disabled British WWII veterans in 1948, to its official start in 1960, the Paralympics sought to elevate parasports and handicapped athletes to Olympian dignity, even using the same facilities as Olympic Games since 1988. The start of the Tokyo Paralympics this past Tuesday featured international solidarity, and challenges for the Philippine delegation.

CNN Philippines reports that the similarly-delayed 2020 Summer Paralympic Games in Tokyo held its opening ceremony on August 24, a mere 16 days after the Summer Olympics ended. The capital of Japan, still reeling from COVID infections arguably intensified by the previous games, can still be proud of being the first city to host the Summer Paralympics twice (last in 1964). International Paralmypic Committee (IPC) president Andrew Parsons admitted during his opening address his fears that this event would be cancelled, adding, “But thanks to the efforts of many, the most transformative sport event on Earth is about to begin.”

The Philippines was also on the parade, Tokyo 2020 being their eighth Paralympics participation. It was also a poignant occasion, seeing as their original six-athlete lineup lost Achelle Guion (women’s power-lifting), who along with three other delegation members tested positive for COVID-19. The Filipino determination to go on was exemplified by flag-bearer Jerrold Mangliwan (men’s wheelchair raising), who held the Philippine flag in his left hand while raising his right with a clenched fist in the air. Only two other Pinoy Paralympians were able to join him for the march.

One more international poignant moment in the Paralympic parade of nations was the display of the flag of Afghanistan, which officially withdrew from participation in August 16, when the government collapsed following the seizure of the capital Kabul by a resurgent Taliban that has reclaimed control over the country. While thousands of Afghans have fled the regime, the participant Paralympians have been left behind, sending messages calling for assistance to travel via social media, particularly the female athletes who fear being targeted by the Taliban.

All told, the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics have 161 National Paralympic Committees participating, with each fielding at least one athlete for a total of over 4,000 Paralympians competing in 22 sports with 539 individual events. It will run until September 5. So far, the Philippines has only won two Paralympic bronze medals (2000, 2016) since its first participation in Seoul 1988.

Image courtesy of Inquirer.net – Sports

Sunday, August 22, 2021

STUDIO TRIGGER Celebrates 10 Years in ANIME Production with VIDEO, MESSAGE


In 2007 Gainax, the Japanese anime studio that brought the iconic 1996 series “Evangelion” (and its “Rebuild” movies during 2007-21) released the over-the-top space opera “Gurren Lagann,” the visuals of which were realized by an animation team led by “Evangelion” veteran Hiroyuki Imaishi. Shortly after finishing “Panty & Stocking w/ Garterbelt” in 2010, Imaishi left Gainax with many of the animators who worked with him, forming Studio Trigger in 2011. Trigger quickly shot to fame with its own breakout anime hits such as “Kill La Kill” (2013) and their 2018 adaptation/spinoff of the 1993 Tsuburaya tokusatsu series “Gridman.” And did we not mention Studio Trigger was formed back in 2011?

That means, as Comic Book Resources tells us, Studio Trigger is celebrating their 10th anniversary in the anime production business, as of this past Sunday, August 22. To celebrate, the studio has released a special anniversary video, showcasing all of the productions they have released to significant international acclaim since parting ways from the older and legendary Gainax. Scenes from the aforementioned anime series that Trigger worked on plus anime films like “Little Witch Academia” were showcased in the studios signature frenetic action scene editing.

Aside from the anniversary video, Trigger also put up a message to their fans on social media over the weekend. A Twitter post, dated August 22, depicted an original Studio Trigger character and mechanical design along with a few words from the their Representing President Masahiro Otsuka. Otsuka thanked Trigger’s fans for their 10 years of loyalty, adding that with their continued support, the studio will be able to continue “firing bullets of animation for the foreseeable future.” “While we cannot better the situation physically, we hope that our animation will bring everyone enjoyment and joy, even if only in a small way,” says Otsuka.

And indeed, Studio Trigger’s plate looks full for the rest of this year and the next. Having just released “SSSS.Dynazenon” this past April, they are now hard at work on two episodes of the anime-inspired “Star Wars Visions,” a collaborative production between Lucasfilm and several top Japanese anime studios including Trigger, Production IG, Science SARU and more. Next, they will produce an anime spinoff to CD Projeckt’s 2020 action RPG “Cyberpunk 2077,” itself based on the “Cyberpunk” tabletop game series. “Cyberpunk: Edgerunners” is slated to premiere on Netflix in 2022.

Image courtesy of Collider

Friday, August 20, 2021

RACHELLE ANN GO Returning as FANTINE for “LES MIZ” on London WEST END Starting AUGUST 31


The world of stage theatre was yet another high-profile sector of entertainment that felt the blow of COVID-19 since last year. Quite the number of productions ended up being closed by the pandemic, and even as theatres around the world strive to bring things back to normal, many of the aforementioned closed musicals and such would never reopen. But the productions that did resume playing on stage will need performers. And if it is a returning production then as many of its cast would need to come back. That is the case for “Les Miserables” on West End, as actress Rachelle Ann Go again makes ready to “dream a dream.”

As Inquirer.net would have it, Rachelle Ann Go is returning to the stage as part of the cast of iconic musical “Les Miserables,” which will be playing at London’s West End starting at the very end of this month. That means, of course, that she will reprise the role of Fantine which she first portrayed in 2015, from the Queen’s Theatre, West End and even briefly in The Theatre at Solaire, Manila in 2016. This was announced by the official “Les Miz UK” Instagram page this past Thursday, August 19.

In response, Rachelle Ann has been very excited as she reacted on her own IG account. “Oh my! I wasn’t able to finish my @lesmizofficial run last year,” she gushed, referring to the cancellation of theatrical productions in 2020 upon the onset of the pandemic. “So I’m really excited to do Les Miz Concert on my birthday! What a treat!” She then adds cheekily that she hopes her son Lukas by husband Martin Spies will not be upset that she would be away for several days, adding that she needs to start training her vocals (Fantine is easily remembered for singing “I Dreamed a Dream”) and saving up breast-milk for her son before opening night.

Rachelle Ann Go has had the magnificent fortune of being part of no less than three top theatrical productions from West End to Broadway in the previous decade: “Miss Saigon” (Gigi), “Les Miz” (Fantine), and then Eliza Schulyer-Hamilton from “Hamilton.” Her comeback as Fantine is not really difficult travel-wise as it seems, considering she, Martin and Lukas live in London. She will carry the role anew from August 31 to September 4, with Lucie Jones (formerly Cossette) stepping up for the finale performance September 5.

Image courtesy of YouTube

“WHAT IF…?” TCHALLA as STARLORD Episode Pushes the “WHAT-IF” Envelope Further


Last week, Marvel Studios released their MCU animated anthology, “What If…?” on Disney+ streaming. The show features episodic vignettes of how certain characters and events in the Marvel Cinematic Universe timeline can be altered by points of divergence, creating new versions of familiar faces and happenings. Their debut episode, about Agent Carter getting the super-soldier serum and becoming Captain Carter, was the original teaser visual for “What If…?” when introduced, but the actual product was deemed “too safe” and less divergent than advertised. Any doubts about just how alternative the series can get with the MCU may have been laid to rest with the second episode, which came August 18.

“What If T’Challa Became a Star-Lord?” is as said in the title, a divergent story where T’Challa of Wakanda took the place of the would-be founder of the Guardians of the Galaxy. That comes about at the time when Yondu Udonta of the alien Ravagers goes to Earth on a job for Ego, to abduct his son. He leaves the task to his flunkies, who instead of taking the boy Peter Quill abduct the young Prince of Wakanda instead. T’Challa is surprisingly cool about what happened, asking Yondu to let him join the Ravagers so he can explore the galaxy.

Two decades later, T’Challa has become a famous space mercenary, dubbed Star-Lord. Unlike the explorer-bounty hunter-rogue that Peter Quill was, T’Challa is very humanitarian in his endeavors, helping planets in need and saving them from threats. He even manages to convince Thanos that his plan to erase half of all life in the Universe using the Infinity Stones was flawed. Shortly after finding the Power Stone on Morag (per “Guardians of the Galaxy” canon), T’Challa and the Ravagers are approached by the mysterious Nebula, who offers them a heist job.

Their mission; to steal from The Collector’s treasury an artifact called the Embers of Genesis, capable of fast terraforming and thus has the potential to end galactic hunger. Of course, due to the divergences the Collector’s collection is even more heavily guarded than before, in the form of Thanos’ former lieutenants the Black Order. T’Challa also has been working all these years under the false assumption (planted by Yondu) that his home Wakanda had been destroyed, leaving him no immediate reason to return to Earth. Should he discover the deception, what would T’Challa do? And will the theft of the Embers of Genesis even succeed?

As long advertised by Marvel Studios, this episode of “What If…?” had the bittersweet fortune of featuring the last voice-work of Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa before he died of cancer back in 2020. Quite the number of MCU cast members also returned to reprise their characters here no matter how significant their screen-time might be. Notable performances include Josh Brolin as a “chill” Thanos and Karen Gillen as a femme-fatale Nebula instead of a bitter cyborg hunter. This time, the “Guardians” cameo of Disney-problematic character Howard the Duck even gets voiced courtesy of Seth Green.

More impressive, perhaps, is how this “What If…?” episode really delves into the “what-if” of its plot. One criticism of the “Captain Carter” episode was that in spite of all the changes the narrative still follows “Captain America: The First Avenger.” This time, the divergence really throws the world-building off the rails. How about that Thanos becoming a Ravager after a talk with T’Challa? Who would have thought that possible? “What If T’Challa Became a Star-Lord?” has done a good job with viewers in assuring that the premise can work to deliver a still-familiar but more-new experience to the MCU.

“What If…?” stars the voice of Jeffrey Wright as narrator/presenter The Watcher, who observes the various alternate universes the episodes are set in, but cannot and does not interfere. Check out the MCU series more every Wednesday on Disney+ streaming.

SHOPEE Scores Advertising Masterstroke by Making JACKIE CHAN Brand Ambassador for “9.9 SUPER SHOPPING DAY”


To wrangle up celebrity endorsers and brand ambassadors for their online marketplace platform, Singapore-based e-commerce juggernaut Shopee has so far been taking from the same playbook as its other contemporaries like rival service Lazada. That is to go young and hip, from K-Pop acts to K-drama stars and maybe a local celebrity from every country Shopee operates in. For their latest ambassadorship however, Shopee did an opposite turn of sorts. Their next endorser is quite the entertainment veteran, but still memorable and very iconic. You cannot be more legendary than the Kung Fu, comedy and stunt master Jackie Chan, right?

As The Manila Standard tells it, Shopee has tapped none other than Hong Kong movie superstar Jackie Chan to be their latest brand ambassador. As such, he features in a wild commercial advertising the e-commerce platform’s next monthly sale on September 9 (9.9 Super Shopping Day). The ad was also geared for Philippine Shopee sellers and customers, considering that the 67-year-old cinematic giant drops a few words of Filipino in the end. Already the commercial’s YouTube video and local social media as a whole is flipping their lid with reactions to the quirky Shopee ad.

The commercial starts conventionally enough with a bamboo grove set and two Kung Fu martial artists challenging Jackie Chan to fight (he is identified right from the get-go). He beats his opponents around, but they try to charge him again when a Shopee alert tone interrupts, followed by Jackie waving them off while he pulls out his phone. A quick Shopee-orange jacket costume change later, Chan and a whole line of backup performers dance to the online marketplace’s jingle, itself using the tune of another famous meme (“Baby Shark,” as if you did not know). When it was over, Jackie says, in Tagalog, “Buy now at Shopee. Thank you, Shopee.”

In a follow-up statement, Jackie Chan expressed his enthusiasm for partnering with Shopee to hype their 9.9 Sale event. “It’s exciting to partner with Shopee to celebrate the action-packed year-end festival and bring more joy to my fans and Shopee users,” he says, “I had a lot of fun working with Shopee and I think people of all ages will enjoy the activities and content that we have prepared together. I hope everyone can join us to make the year-end shopping season a memorable one.”

Image courtesy of Marketing Interactive



Despite being increasingly slammed by members of the real-life House of Windsor in more recent seasons, Netflix’s streaming series “The Crown” about the reign of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom remains a rating and critical darling, a top choice for Netflix binge-watchers wanting heavy content. Its fourth season, which debuted November last year, introduced Lady Diana Spencer, the future Princess Diana, into the narrative, chronicling her troubled marriage to Prince Charles. The fifth season is due next year, but it seems Diana’s actress Emma Corrin will only play the part in S4, with her (and Charles actor Josh O’Connor) being replaced in S5.

The Hollywood Reporter tells us that Sony Pictures Television and Netflix’s “The Crown” revealed a first look at the new cast members to portray older versions of Prince Charles and Princess Diana for its fifth season. As season 4 was set primarily in the 1980s, season 5 will cover the reign of Elizabeth II in the following decade, wherein Princess Diana’s involvement with the British Royal Family will reach a momentous and tragic climax. To help carry that story development across are new Prince Charles actor Dominic West and new Princess Diana actress Elizabeth Debicki.

West has been in a variety of roles, such as supporting characters in “Star Wars: The Phantom Menace,” “Chicago,” “300” and the upcoming “Downton Abbey 2.” Debicki meanwhile might be remembered recently by MCU fans as Ayesha from “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.” Her casting was confirmed in August last year, while West was confirmed only this April.

The Australian actress has issued a statement about her casting as Diana, praising the late Princess of Wales’ words and actions and looking forward to ably depicting them as she takes on the role in “The Crown.” “It is my true privilege and honor to be joining this masterful series, which has had me absolutely hooked from episode one,” says Debicki.

When originally conceptualized by creator and show-runner Peter Morgan, “The Crown” was supposed to run for six seasons, only for Netflix to agree for just five. Morgan did manage to prevail on the streaming giant to green-light season 6 as the finale, which actually is expected to cover up until the 2000s. “The Crown” season 5 is expected to premiere on Netflix sometime in 2022.

Image courtesy of Variety

Thursday, August 19, 2021



The Philippines has been battling the COVID-19 pandemic for about a year and a half now, and even with health and safety protocols, incoming vaccines and quarantines or lockdowns of significantly affected communities, the number of new positive cases – and worse, deaths – have been worryingly high. Not helping are the appearance of the mutated strains from overseas like the Delta variant, and even the rise of local mutations like the Theta variant. In response to this, Metro Manila was put back under enhanced community quarantine two weeks ago. This past Thursday their next quarantine level and that of nearby Laguna has been announced: modified ECQ.

CNN Philippines reports that the National Capital Region and Laguna will transition to modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) effective this coming Saturday, August 21. This was announced August 19 by President Rodrigo Duterte upon his approval of the motion from the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF), and barring any resurgent spikes of COVID infections, it will remain so until the end of the month. In addition, the province of Bataan which has been under similar ECQ status will downgrade to MECQ starting next Monday, August 23 until August 31 also, according to presidential spokesperson Harry Roque.

This easing-down of quarantine levels in the nation’s capital and neighboring provinces comes following some of the highest single-day new COVID case counts since the pandemic began, while the Delta variant infection figures now stand at more than 800 of the total 1,791,003 cases thus far. Then again, even with the impending return to MECQ (last declared for Metro Manila last April), the original regulations from months ago that gave allowances to outdoor dining-in (50% capacity with diagonal seating and acrylic dividers) and religious gatherings (10% capacity with LGU-approvable 30% max) remain scrubbed in favor of complete prohibition, with religious gatherings being strictly virtual only.

But there is some loosening of restrictions all the same. Metro Manila Council Chairman Mayor Edwin Olivarez of Parañaque announced that as soon as MECQ arrives in NCR this weekend, there will no longer be implementation of quarantine passes for local residents. Next, each Metro Manila LGU now has its own discretion on whether to maintain or lift the Liquor Ban, and enforce granular lockdowns on any neighborhoods with high COVID cases. Lastly, any ECQ financial assistance or “ayuda” that has not been distributed to Metro Manila recipients are still mandated to be given out even when MECQ sets in.

The OCTA Research Group advises caution on the ECQ-MECQ shift in the NCR, adding that to capitalize on earlier quarantine effects, COVID infections in neighboring provinces must be curbed quickly. These LGUs have been tasked to intensify vaccination drives and enforcing health and safety protocols.

Image from Business World Online



At the end of Marvel Studios’ “Avengers: Endgame” in 2019, it seemed the time came for the MCU fandom to bid Captain America goodbye. True, his shield was left in trust to his sidekicks Sam/Falcon (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky/Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), but for a time it seemed there will no longer be a costumed Avenger with shield in the franchise’s future. Then Disney+ streamed “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” and in that MCU limited series Sam Wilson stepped up to take the Captain America mantle (like he temporarily did in the comics). Rumors in April that Mackie will star in a “Captain America 4” have been apparently confirmed.

According to Variety, Anthony Mackie may have already signed a deal where he will star as his MCU character Sam Wilson after becoming Captain America in “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” for an upcoming movie about the Star-Spangled Man. No other details were spilled by the notorious secretive Marvel Studios, although the insiders that broke the news above also cemented the rumors from months ago that “TFWS” show-runner Malcolm Spellman is co-writing the script for the planned “Captain America 4” along with Dalan Musson, who wrote episode 5 (“Truth”) of the Disney+ streaming series.

Before suiting up as the Falcon for the MCU beginning with 2014’s “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” Mackie already had some solid acting credentials under his belt. He costarred with Eminem in Universal’s “8 Mile” (2002) and with fellow MCU veteran Jeremy Renner in Summit’s “The Hurt Locker” (2009). Both films scored wins at the Academy Awards, meaning Mackie is a solid for prestige films. And while superhero movies are not exactly Oscar bait beyond technical categories, having him take up the legacy title of Captain America can be quite the heady stuff to shoulder.

No further details can be gleaned on what “Captain America 4” could be about, although there are always possibilities of Anthony Mackie’s costars on “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” to appear: Sebastian Stan (whose Bucky also briefly became Cap in the original Marvel Comics), Wyatt Russell as John Walker/US Agent, Emily VanCamp (Sharon Carter) and Julia Louise-Dreyfus (Valentina Allegra de Fontaine) are all likely cast additions, even if Louise-Dreyfus might be involved in the future “Hawkeye” MCU series and might have scheduling conflicts. For now, MCU fans must wait.

Image courtesy of Screen Rant

CAMILLE PRATS Returns for More “HEALTHY Eating with Kids” on GMA7’s “MAKULAY ANG BUHAY” Starting SATURDAY


Actress Camille Prats can be said to have undergone a showbiz career that mirrors the legendary Star for All Seasons, Vilma Santos. She too started young as a talent in ABS-CBN’s one-time youth comedy variety show “Ang TV,” then became a child star by being a live-action “Princess Sarah” in 1995. She then transitioned to teen roles and finally grown-up ones in films and TV series on the two major networks. Most recently she channeled her experience in motherhood to play host Mom C in GMA7’s edutainment show “Makulay Ang Buhay,” which aired in 2020. With a second season produced and ready to premiere soon, Camille cannot contain her excitement.

The Manila Bulletin has it that Camille Prats will once again entertain and educate young Kapuso viewers as Mom C on the second season of “Makulay Ang Buhay” which will begin this coming weekend. Now aged 36, the actress and mother of three has held fond memories of when she hosted the inaugural season that premiered last year, describing it as an unforgettable experience especially as it was shot when Philippine studios were still getting used to produce content during the pandemic and strict protocols.

“I am truly grateful to be part of a program that is not only informative but also teaches Filipino children about the benefits of eating healthy,” notes Prats of “Makulay Ang Buhay,” which as the title implies is also co-sponsored by Knorr Philippines. “Children will always have a special place in my heart, being part of a project that teaches our kids to better take care of themselves is really something I am grateful for.”

“Makulay Ang Buhay” has Camille Prats/Mom C and her puppet companions Benjie and Penpen sing and dance in music videos, tells stories, play games, and demonstrate cooking “Nutri-Sarap” recipes while teaching children about the positive benefits of healthy eating, particularly of vegetables (when made tastier by Knorr products), as well as the effects of various everyday things on one’s health. The show on its second season airs twice a week on mornings, on Saturday starting August 21 and on Tuesdays.

Image courtesy of Abante.com.ph



In nearly 30 individual games spanning some two-and-a-half decades, Nintendo’s “Pokémon” franchise have taken gamers from childhood to adulthood, across eight colorful regions of a fantastic world filled with the titular pocket monsters to catch, befriend and battle with. It is understandable that some fan nostalgia for earlier days happen, such that the first Gameboy games (1996) set in the Kanto Region were remade for the Gameboy Advance in 2004. The latest to get the remake treatment is the 2006 Nintendo DS titles “Pokémon Diamond” and “Pokémon Pearl,” announced earlier this year for a November release. This past Wednesday, the first full teaser of features for the remake was shown.

IGN tells us that Nintendo released on August 18 a goodly-length trailer for “Pokémon Brilliant Diamond” and “Pokémon Shining Pearl,” the next-gen remakes of the original “Pokémon Diamond/Pearl” games on the Nintendo DS, coming this time for the Nintendo Switch. The preview showed off the revamped visuals of the games as seen on Nintendo’s hybrid portable/console gaming system, not to mention some gameplay mechanics and perks, both old and new. It also highlights the style differences between these games and previous Switch “Pokémon” releases, namely “Let’s Go Pikachu/Eevee!” and “Sword/Shield.”

For one thing, “Brilliant Diamond/Shining Pearl” takes on more throwback aesthetics in showing the game overworld of Sinnoh Region with super-deformed character designs. Only when characters get into battle with their Pokémon do life-scaled versions of themselves appear. Familiar mini-games such as putting stickers on a Pokeball, Pokémon Contests and the Underground multiplayer are back and better than ever. They are also joined by new features such as the Style Shops to customize the trainer character similar to “Pokémon GO.”

“Pokémon Brilliant Diamond/Shining Pearl” takes players back to Sinnoh, aesthetically inspired by Hokkaido in Japan, where they choose between male character Lucas and female Dawn (Ash’s companion in the anime season adaptation) as their trainer avatar, to challenge the Gyms and the Sinnoh League as well as foil the sinister plans of Team Galactic. These games will also get special Nintendo Switch Lite editions patterned after their signature legendary Pokémon Dialga or Palkia. These custom-color Switch Lites will be released on November 5, before the “Brilliant Diamond/Shining Pearl” games themselves come out on November 19.

Image courtesy of Nintendo Soup

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

ERIK MATTI’s “ON THE JOB: THE MISSING 8” Showing at VENICE FILM FEST September; Star DENNIS TRILLO Attending the Event


In 2013 Star Cinema released an action drama film that completely contrasted their usual fare of rom-coms and big-budget blockbusters. “On the Job” was the brainchild of director Erik Matti and co-writer Michiko Yamamoto, about the seedy underbelly of crime and political corruption seen through the eyes of imprisoned convicts temporarily released to perform contract killings and rewarded by politicians and other societal elites. The movie got some serious nods from international film festivals, and it was assured of a sequel by Matti, produced during the pandemic. Its first premiere will be at the Venice International Film Festival, with its lead actor attending the event.

GMA News reports that actor Dennis Trillo is making plans to travel to Italy next month where the Venice International Film Festival will exhibit “On the Job: The Missing 8,” Erik Matti’s sequel to his 2013 crime noir sleeper hit “On the Job.” The VIFF has made known its list of film entries back in July, with the theme of this year’s film fest being “Cinema at the Time of COVID.” As for Trillo, his travel papers are being processed so he could make the trip in time for the festival period of September 1-11.

Having the movie make its debut in an international film-fest echoes the journey of its predecessor, which was exhibited first at the 2013 Cannes Film Fest, receiving a two-minute standing ovation from its audience even if it won no prizes. Matti noted back in June that having “On the Job: The Missing 8” do likewise will help gauge viewer reception to the 3-hour-28-minute film (originally conceptualized as a multi-episode streaming limited series), and determine if dividing the running time into two movies would work for local audiences once cinemas reopen.

As for Dennis Trillo, he is happy that “On the Job: The Missing 8” will soon get to run on the big screen, because COVID-19 has kept Philippine theaters shut. “I’m happy that the film will not only premiere, but is also part of the competition,” says Trillo. “The fact that our movie is included is already a reward for all of us. The film also stars John Arcilla, Dante Rivero, Ricky Davao, Vandolph Quizon, Christopher De Leon and more. The film returns to the setting of a crime-ridden and corrupt Philippines with prisoners being hired by powerful figures to assassinate targets outside prison, with John Arcilla’s reporter character investigating the disappearances of his colleagues and Trillo portraying the crook temporarily freed to kill him.

Image courtesy of Esquire Philippines

WINDOWS 11 DEFAULT APP Settings Worry BROWSER Developers of Being Minimalized


If everything goes as planned, then computing giant Microsoft hopes to end the year with the release of their latest iteration of their Windows NT operating system: Windows 11, successor to Windows 10 which came out back in 2015. Retaining the Win-10 aesthetics while adding a lot of new things, Win-11 has been shaping up to be a worthy follow-up to its predecessor. Not everything is wine and roses however; Windows 11 is going to be compatible with fewer, newer PCs and laptops than 10. Another issue noticed by Windows Insiders testing the upcoming OS is the resurgence of a practice by Microsoft prioritizing their internet browsers over the competition.

As The Verge would have it, the lucky members of the Windows Insider program that have been able to check out Microsoft Windows 11 over the previous weeks have discovered that the operating system has made the selection of default applications for tasks to be a more complex procedure, and one that skews in favor of Microsoft’s own apps. This is especially telling with internet browsers. If a user installs a different browser and opens it for the first time, they better remember to set it as default during the automatic prompt. Changing it later on will prove a hassle.

Developers of other browsers such as Mozilla, Opera and Vivaldi have expressed concern that Microsoft is freezing them out of being used over Edge with the new default app assignment interface. This time, default app must be selected for handling file and link types rather than for single purposes. Meaning: rather than set a default browser, Win-11 forces users to choose individual defaults for opening HTM files, then HTML, then PDF, WEBP, et cetera. The same probably applies for choosing a default email app, online maps, media players and more.

Worried statements have been issued by higher-ups for the other Windows browsers: Firefox senior VP Selena Deckelmann, Opera browser head Krystian Colondra, an anonymous Vivaldi spokesperson and even Hiroshi Lockheimer, Google head of Android, Chrome and Chrome OS. The theme of their complaints is common, that Microsoft is echoing the days from their previous Windows OS’s wherein they tried to give their Internet Explorer a higher default priority over rival browsers. Microsoft has countered the allegations saying that assigning defaults by file type gives users finer control on which apps they want to open which files, rather than a blanket default setting. They do welcome customer feedback for Windows 11.

Image from Review Geek

HIDILYN DIAZ Receives TAGAYTAY HOME; Fellow Medalists Attend GROUNDBREAKING for Theirs


At present, the only true rival that 8-division boxing champion Manny Pacquiao has for the greatest Philippine athlete right here and now is weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz. No other name but hers will ever be attached to her achievement of winning the first ever Olympic Gold Medal for the country in Tokyo late last July. Her victory has earmarked her for plenty of bonuses and incentives from the national government, related agencies and the private sector. Also included are promises of a condominium unit in Davao City (close to her hometown) and a house and lot in Tagaytay, the latter she and her family received Wednesday.

As The Manila Bulletin tells it, Tokyo Olympics 2020/21 gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz has officially received her promised house and lot in Tagaytay City in the morning of August 18. Diaz and several members of the family were present in a simple handover ceremony (for COVID considerations) at their new house and lot at Isabelle Heights Subdivision in Tagaytay’s Barangay Kaybagal Center. Representatives of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) led by Chairman Abraham Tolentino awarded Hidilyn and her family the ceremonial key to their new home, on a lot occupying 220 square meters in area.

Perhaps it is only natural that Diaz would receive her house and lot incentive already built and possibly furnished. But the same rewards were also promised to her fellow Tokyo Olympic medalists, who between them all have brought home the largest total Olympic medals for the Philippines yet, breaking the record from 1932. However, boxers Nesthy Petecio, Carlo Paalam (both silver) and Eumir Marcial (bronze) will have to wait for their houses to actually be built, at Barangay San Jose also in Tagaytay. They did get to attend the groundbreaking ceremony for their future homes, which happened earlier in Wednesday.

The planned houses (2-bedrooms, attic) for the boxing medalists will be erected side by side on a roadway of Brgy San Jose that has been named Olympic Lane. Each valued at P5 million in building costs, construction of the homes for Petecio, Paalam and Marcial are expected to be completed by the coming Holidays in December. Once done, the medalists will also have their cash incentives to furnish their houses with, as Hidilyn Diaz will probably be doing to her own completed 2-storey home nearby. Petecio already plans to title her allotted house and lot to one of her siblings.

Image courtesy of Filipino.news



Where DC Comics and Warner Bros. are concerned, they have a lot of audiovisual media formats covered when it comes to churning out adaptations of DC superhero adventures. One market they have been remarkably dominant in is direct home video, and later digital media. Over the years they have released plenty of animated films, first in the DC Animated Universe, and then the DCU Animated Original franchises. These films tended to hew to older audiences as well, usually those who grew up to the animated DC series that did air on TV. And now, a new DC Animated film is coming, starring not a major hero, but a similarly-iconic antihero.

The Hollywood Reporter has it that the next home-media animated film to come from Warner Bros. Animation, DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will star DC’s most famous phantom thief, Selina Kyle aka Catwoman, in the upcoming “Catwoman: Hunted.” Where most DC Animated Original films were visualized using anime-like motion and character design, this movie will be full-on anime in aesthetics, even having Japanese anime director Shinsuke Terasawa in the chair. Terasawa has worked on some famous anime series such as “Gintama” (episode director) and “Yo-Kai Watch” (animation director).

He will be directing a script developed by none other than Greg Weisman, who brought Disney’s “Gargoyles” and DC Animation’s “Young Justice” to the world. It also features a stellar animation voice cast, led by singer-actress Elizabeth Gilles (The CW’s “Dynasty” reboot, and “Winx Club”) playing Gotham City’s resident cat burglar, Catwoman. She is joined by Stephanie Beatriz (“Brooklyn Nine-Nine”), Jonathan Banks (“Breaking Bad”), Kelly Hu, Steve Blum and many others. Notable are former cast members of Weisman and Disney’s “Gargoyles” in Keith David and Jonathan Frakes (“Star Trek: TNG”).

“Catwoman: Hunted” sees Gilles’ Selina Kyle undertake a seemingly routine jewel burglary. Doing so however puts her in the sights of three pursuing parties: Interpol, a Gotham Crime syndicate under Richard Sionis/Black Mask (Banks), and Gotham crime-fighter Batwoman (Beatriz). Of course, Selina is not the slippery Catwoman for nothing. She will try to evade her hunters and get away with her prize, but will she? And to what lengths will she go to remain at large? Regular viewers of the DC Animated Originals will have to wait until “Catwoman: Hunted” releases in 2022, though no month or date has been slated for it just yet.

Image from Comic Book.com



Their secret wedding in February 2020 was one of the happy major local events which transpired on that year before the Philippines was shut down for the first time by the COVID-19 pandemic. The union of heartthrob Matteo Guidicelli and contemporary Pop icon Sarah Geronimo created one of the newest power couples in Pinoy showbiz, one that serves as cross-network politics with Guidicelli hosting TV shows on TV5 even as his wife does the same on ABS-CBN productions airing in cable’s Kapamilya Channel, with block-time simulcasts of some stuff on TV5. Aside from their television commitments not much has been mentioned regarding their home life…until Matteo teased Sarah’s possible pregnancy.

It all started, as told by the Philippine Star, with a rather innocent social media post by Matteo Guidicelli this past Monday, August 16. Captioning two Instagram photos of him, one leaning against a playground jungle gym and another playing traditional game Piko, Guidicelli mentioned considering the purchase of a “new family SUV.” With SUVs becoming the Philippines’ top choice for family transportation since the previous decade, the implications seemed rather on-the-nose. It has been over a year and a half since he and Sarah Geronimo were married; that seems to be plenty of time.

And all the baby-hinting between Matteo and Sarah G has been going on for quite a while. Back in July they posted a video of her birthday celebration on social media. It showed Mrs. G about to blow the candles on her birthday cake when Guidicelli, standing to one side, abruptly reminded his wife what to wish for: “Babies! Babies, okay?” Back to Matteo’s recent IG post, it does seem suspicious that a mention of a family SUV would go with a pic of him playing a children’s game. If the baby signaling is for real, then perhaps some advanced congratulations are now in order for Matteo and Sarah G.

Image courtesy of Cosmo.ph

Tuesday, August 17, 2021



It has been said many times before, and a fan will never get tired of pointing it out: “The Mandalorian,” a spinoff series from the massive “Star Wars” space opera film franchise, managed to prove that shifting the Galaxy Far, Far Away from its original movie format to a multi-episode live-action series can work splendidly. Its inaugural season can be considered one of the killer contents for the 2019 launch of Disney+ streaming, so a second season that came out in October 2020 was no surprise. Neither was the announcement of a season 3 in the works, and one of the main cast reveals that it could start filming soon.

According to Comic Book Resources, “The Mandalorian” will begin principal photography for its third season as early as next month in September. This comes straight from the mouth of veteran actor Carl Weathers, who portrays Bounty Hunters’ Guild leader Greef Karga, when he was a featured guest at the 2021 Steel City Con in Monroeville, Pennsylvania, which ran from August 13 to 15. Weathers, better known as Apollo Creed of “Rocky” fame, simply remarked during a panel segment, "And so now, we're gonna start a new season of ‘The Mandalorian,’ within the next month. Yeah."

Weather’s Karga is the titular Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal) bounty hunter’s technical superior in the Guild based on planet Nevarro. Circumstances during the show see him shift from ally to antagonist. He gives the Mandalorian the job that leads to him meeting Grogu, a Force-sensitive child of the same species as the late Jedi Master Yoda. Karga then directs the Bounty Hunter’s Guild to pursue the Mandalorian in order to deliver Grogu to the Imperial remnants searching for him, only to change his mind when Grogu ends up saving his life.

One other thing that Carl Weathers shared about “The Mandalorian” season 3 during Steel City Con was that, similar to the previous season he will again get to direct an episode of the “Star Wars” spinoff. In season 2 that was the 4th episode (12th overall) “The Siege.” And while the S3 episode number has not been revealed yet, the actor notes, "I get to be in front of camera again, and I get to direct again." “The Mandalorian” fans might want to hold their breath on this, however. Disney+ looks to push season 3 to premiere next year, 2022, while giving late 2021 over to another “Star Wars” spinoff, “The Book of Boba Fett.”

Image courtesy of The Direct