MABUHAY!!! It's our way of greeting visitors to the Philippines. It means "to life" or "long-live". In one word, it encapsulates who we are as a nation. Nowhere else in the world will you find a people with such a zest for life. In times of war or peace, the Filipino will always come out on top. We make light of everything... bad politics, showbiz scandals...even natural disasters... But that is what makes our country UNIQUE. It's the ever present smile on the Filipinos faces that helps us survive. So if you're interested in what makes the Philippines and the Filipinos tick... feel free to read on...


Just like the risen Lord, I've decided to resurrect my blog..Sometimes there will be a lot to say... other times just images will do...

let's just say... I'm gonna try and re-invent myself and try and turn professional with my blogging... so expect a lot more of me in the coming days

On Board Again

It's been awhile since I've blogged...

I've been busy with Tours with the Mabuhay Guides... I've also been busy designing productions...

The first production I accomplished was the CCP Dance School's recital this December at the Main Theater on December 12, 2010. Next came the production design for Perry Sevidal Ballet's Christmas recital. This one will be held at the CCP's Little Theater at a prior date... December 6 to be exact. Finally, the last production I designed was that of Elizabeth Seton's

In between the designing and costume checks and fittings and costume runs, I was busy with the Mabuhay Guides tour of significant churches in Bulacan, Laguna and Cavite for the Visita Iglesia with the College of Saint Benilde students. I'll be posting the photos in succeeding blogs to update you all with where I've been and who I went with...

Meantime, it's 22 days till Christmas... watch out for my blogs on the Misa de Gallo and other Filipino traditions...

The Bottomline Experience

Let me categorically state that it wasn't my first time on camera.

I've done the whole scene of performing before a live audience of more than 3,000 pax. I've shot many a TV commercial. I've posed for print a couple of times. I've lent my voice to a few radio commercials. I've also done ramp... Yeah, I guess you can say I've had more than my share of 15 minutes of fame.

But being invited to a show where I would have to be asked about my opinion on national issues and having to exchange banter with Boy Abunda was quite a challenge. I know he's pretty well known and I have seen The Bottomline at least once or twice. So I more or less knew what I was up for. I didn't know, however, that the show was also aired on the Filipino Channel and broadcast to other countries abroad. That was what gave me the jitters.

After fellow Mabuhay Guide handed the assignment to me, I thought it was just one of those things. So I called up the contact person Anne Mirabelles and made the necessary arrangements. I was at the ABS-CBN studios at least half an hour before call time. Two p.m. was the appointed schedule for the staff to meet me at the Starbucks outlet. I was ushered in a few minutes after two. While waiting during the set-up, some of the staff were making small talk with me and I felt that was a good way to start.

One by one the panelists started arriving. First was Nini Borja who is a friend of the host and who runs her own printing company. Then it was Mike Lopez, who I learned is Cebuano and related to Congress representative Cutie del Mar and who flies in every two weeks from Cebu just to tape for the show. Mon was another panelist who is still an undergrad taking up Nursing and is set to take the board exams soon so he was silently reviewing for the exams in one corner of the studio. Then Xian Chua arrived. Xian teaches History at De La Salle University and is also a blogger and an armchair photographer of sorts. then Bianca Lapus arrived and the panelists were complete.

Now if only they could start on time, then my ordeal would be over soon. I kept wondering: "who'd be interested in what I have to say?" After all, I usually keep to myself. I'm the one who usually keeps quiet until someone gets me going... either that, or I totally withdraw from all the attention (which is paradoxical, since I've been in the performing arts for years). At nearly four p.m. I was called into a small glass paneled area and asked to hit a gong twice... apparently the scene is used whenever a panelist's questions are asked. Then all of us were ushered in and made to sit around a glass topped table...

Enter Boy Abunda... I really didn't know what to expect... His reputation precedes him as far as I'm concerned. Then he looked at me noticing that I was an unfamiliar face... I guess he's used to seeing the five other panelists on taping days. With a big smile I was welcomed and put at ease. Ok. Then the cameras started grinding. I was used to TVCs so I was half expecting for some director to scream "cut!!!!" somewhere. Didn't happen! The discussion continued from the time the cameras started rolling till the first gap was called. I was in the midst of a group of lively,intelligent, opinionated (and I mean this in a good way) people all of whom were younger than me and more seasoned in terms of TV appearances.

Perfect host that he is, Boy Abunda would ask me questions periodically if only to hear my two-cents worth. He then proceeded to another set where he interviewed... no ... grilled Vice-Mayor Isko Moreno regarding the horrible hostage-taking at the Quirino Grandstand. Meanwhile we remained in the booth amongst ourselves with the cameras taking in reactions from whatever nuggets we gathered from the interview.

Another gap was called and then Boy Abunda came back to sit with us and discuss our reactions. Then the recap came. All in all, 38 minutes for the first discussion, another 40-45 minutes for the interviewee and then the recap took about another half an hour. Then the whole process was done with... I skipped the invitation to partake of the buffet on the set and made my polite leave fro the guests and staff then I was ushered to the exit. I was out the door sooner than expected. I learned that they tape 2 episodes every other week. So I didn't stay to watch them tape next episode with BIR chief Kim Henares.

The episode of Isko Moreno taped at midnight of Saturday... this is probably why I don't get to watch it as often. I'm usually asleep by ten p.m. I had an enjoyable time meeting the other panelists and Boy Abunda, no less. Then I saw the Facebook reactions... Apparently, I didn't do too badly...


Holy Angels Tour Sept 7 & 8

Date of Tour: 7/8 September 2010

Time of Tour: 1200h-1500h
Type of Tour: Metro Manila Bus Tour
Mabuhay Guide: Dennis Maristany, Chito Tayag, Candie Cobiao
Dustin Ancheta, Jeff Velasco and Yael Fernandez
Visitor’s Profile:
Main Guest: 2nd Year HRIM Students
Nationality: Filipino
Age Range: 17-19
Language: English / Tagalog

Planned Itinerary: Standard Metro Manila Bus Tour

Actual Itinerary: Planned Itinerary was followed.

Tour Details:

Tour Preparation:

1. Coordination with client conducted by MG Dennis. Assignments were given a week ahead of planned schedule.

2. Agreed time and date settled with HAU and type of tour to be conducted was agreed upon.

Actual Tour:

07 September 2010

• MGs Dennis, Chito and Candie were at Traders’ Hotel around 10:30 a.m. and we discussed the itinerary at the lobby while waiting for the tour party to check out.

• It turns out there were only two busses and one coaster. I took the coaster and designated it as the lead bus for the convoy.

• By noon, the party had boarded the busses and then we started the tour. Commentaries were started enroute to Intramuros.

• We were right on schedule and we arrived at the Club Intramuros at half past noon for the students to have lunch.

• After lunch, we gave the students a last call for a washroom break as there weren’t any lavatories along the way to MOA.

• We passed through Manila Hotel and to Quirino Grandstand. The spot had inadvertently become a tourist spot.

• Students were taking photos of the site. But I had to warn them not to post the pictures they were taking on social networking sites to prevent any issues from cropping up.

• Some of the students were asleep by the time we had reached Roxas Blvd. enroute to CCP Complex. To keep them awake and listenng to the commentaries, the organizers were giving away small items for prizes to questions asked by the MGs.

• This was a ploy to keep them interested in the commentaries.

• We passed by MOA and then towards EDSA to Market Market!! Traffic was smooth so we got to Makati in no time.

• Students were interested in the homes in McKinley parkway and they were looking through the gates from the height of the busses.

• We reached market Market at around 4:00 pm and we ended our tour on the bus and took our leave.

8 September, 2010

• MG Dustin, Jeff and Yael reported in at Traders Hotel 10:45 as agreed with the client.

• MGs waited until they were approached by HAU tour coordinator Tin.

• After confirming itinerary with Tin, MGs later settled on an itinerary and bus assignments were given.

• Tour began exactly 1203h. Rolling tour was conducted to Club Intramuros for lunch.

• Lunch at club Intramuros for clients. MGs were reserved seats and joined the faculty advisers of HAU students in their table.

• Lunch ended approximately 1315h and itinerary was continued.

• Rolling tour of CCP, MOA and Metro Manila surrounds followed.

• Rolling tour ended without event or incident at Market-Market at expected time.

• Guides were paid immediately after the tour and were relieved of service 1525h.

• HAU faculty coordinator requested signed acknowledgement receipts with Mabuhay Guides Logo. MGs on-site did not have any prepared and so HAU faculty requested it be sent via courier by Sept. 11, 2010. MGs complied, saying that MG team coordinator at that time (Dennis) will provide the request at the soonest possible time.

• Acknowledgement Receipts of all the tours undertaken with Holy Angel University; 19/20 August, 2010 and 7/8 September, 2010 were sent by LBC courier service to Ms. Chriselle Yambao, HATS Coordinator of HAU on 11 September, 2010.

Conclusion: The tour went smoothly. HAU is becoming a favorable client which may help create a continuous stream of tours. Nurturing the relationship with this client may prove to be a worthwhile long term investment.

* Nothing Follows *

Tour with Holy Angels HRM Students

• I was informed of the tour by Ms. Susan Calo-Medina of the Tour around 10:00 a.m two days prior to scheduled tour.
• She partially informed me of the tour at which I accepted and instructed me to get in touch with the contact person.

• I immediately got in touch with Ms Chay Lao to ask about the details of the tour and I sought information regarding the guests, their interests and background. I was informed my guest would be tourism and HRM students, of varying interests and was given the details as to pick-up, time, et. al.

• I agreed to meet them at Trader’s Hotel at 10:00 a.m. on the appointed day/s and said they can’t miss me as I will be wearing a barong. The assigned guides for the 19th were: myself, Yael Fernandez, Chito Tayag, Dustin Ancheta. For the 20th: myself, Chito Tayag, Dustin Ancheta, Jeff Velasco.

• We were very early at the venue on both days. On the 19th however, there was a mix up as one of their coordinators got in touch with DOT. Apparently another set of guides was sent although there was no confirmation on the part of the guests to avail of their services. Ms Chay apparently thought that they were Mabuhay Guides because one of them was in a barong.

• The issue was resolved with the guests using the Mabuhay Guides while the other group was informed that there was no confirmation for using them as guides.

• I started my commentary at the bus and gave the usual commentaries. There were no microphones on the bus so the MGs stood middle of the bus at the same time directing the coach captains to stay in a convoy.

• The tour of Roxas Blvd. to Intramuros went without any hitches. We had to circle back to see Fort Santiago as the last stop before lunch. Lunch was at the Club Intramuros where the kids were treated to a sumptuous buffet and they were given the opportunity for photo ops on the tee off area to the greens.

• From lunch, we boarded at 1 p.m. and proceeded to Manila Hotel, Quirino Grandstand, Roxas Blvd., CCP complex, Buendia Ave., Ayala Ave., McKinley Parkway turning right towards the various camps to Resorts World.

• Busses weren’t allowed to park in Resorts World so all the coaches were on stand-by as the guests took a washroom break. That done, we went back towards Fort Bonifacio as the last stop for the day was the Venice Piazza.

• At McKinley Hill, we were again stopped by security as there was no written request by the party to visit the establishment. With much negotiation on our part, they were allowed to visit and do an ocular inspection of the place. We ended our tour here and bid our leave.

• The 20th was basically the same except the itinerary was altered the evening prior to the tour.

• The rolling tour would take us to Intramuros, MOA, Market! Market! From the Trader’s Hotel, the students boarded their respective busses. And we left at around half past ten in the morning.

• Apparently, the itinerary was altered as there was little to see at Venice Piazza. Ms Celle called to say that they needed to shorten the rolling tour as they needed to be on the way back to Pampanga by 4:00 p.m.

• We were early for the lunch appointment at Club Intramuros but they students welcomed the early arrival. They had more time to enjoy and appreciate the club.

• We left at one p.m. again passing through Manila Hotel, Quirino Grandstand, Army-Navy facilities, Roxas Blvd. The CCP complexwas more of an in-depth rolling tour as we passed all the important buildings in the area.

• We proceeded to Diosdado Macapagal Ave., MOA and then took EDSA to the Global City. Traffic was heavy at EDSA which took longest near the Pasay City/Makati boundary but once we reached McKinley, traffic got better.

• We reached Market! Market! By 4:00 p.m. and we waited for the other busses to arrive. We ended our tour at this point and bid our farewells to our coordinators.