Another Viral “Let it Go” Cover To Give You Goosebumps

 

We thought the days of “Let it Go” covers had come to an end, but it looks like we may have spoken too quickly. Just last week, we showed you a girl group from the Philippines who left Korean Superstar K judges in awe with their version of the popular Frozen song.

Now, it appears we have yet another aspiring Filipina blowing us away with her vocals. Of course, 19-year-old Alisah Bonaobia is not singing to a panel of judges during a television show. No, she seems to have been uncovered in a far less likely place– a shopping mall in Manilla.

In fact, the shoppers surrounding this karaoke station are chatting away loudly and initially we can’t even hear the young girl. However, she quickly demands attention with her strong voice and she effortlessly belts out all the high notes of the beloved song.

The video was captured and uploaded by a YouTube user by name of Henrik Jensen and was re-uploaded by Bida Sa Kalokohan. Both videos have over 300,000 views and are capturing the attention of viewers worldwide.

Check it out for yourself below.

Want to be Part of Ariel’s World? This Philippine Academy Shows You How

 

Some fifteen years ago, little girls all over the U.S., myself included, had our eyes glued to the television watching The Little Mermaid and praying that one day we would wake up with the latter half of our bodies covered in colorful scales. Um hello, who doesn’t want the ability to live underwater and hang out with adorable fish all day? But then we experienced true internal conflicts as we watched Ariel give up her beautiful tail to be with the love of her life.

Now, even with raging hormones fighting against us, most of us (hopefully) know better than to change our appearances for some boy. Even if he has piercing blue eyes, an adorable dog and lives in a castle. Like whatever, we’re so over it.

But for those of you who aren’t quite ready to give up on your lifelong dream of becoming a mermaid, we have great news for you — the Philippines Mermaid Swimming Academy has just opened to turn your dreams into reality, at just $40 per session. According to Elitedaily, the classes are open to anyone regardless of age and gender, and they also offer mermaid water scooting and mermaid scuba diving classes. Boys, that means you too can swim around with a heavy rubber tail while being strapped to an oxygen tank.

 

Here are some pictures so you know what your getting yourself into:

 

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mer2

boys

merclass

 

And here’s a promo video to really get you into the mood:

 

Americans Taste Filipino Street Food and Are Pleasantly Surprised

 

Last month we all rolled our eyes at Americans overreacting to Asian food where, as you can guess from the title, a few taste testers made it seem like Asian food was the most horrible thing in human existence. Let’s not kid ourselves here. Asian food is amazing —end of story. (Am I biased? Maybe a little.)

So you can imagine our fear when these same Buzzfeed taste testers decided to try some Filipino street food. After all, we’ve seen this before and it wasn’t pretty. A controversial blogpost titled “I Would Rather Go Hungry Than Eat Filipino Street Food Again!” made its way onto the Web a few months ago and sparked some controversy for its writer, Agness Walewinder.

The story received nearly 700 responses and even led other writers, such as travel writer Nathan Allen, to allege that Walewinder was intentionally abrasive and offensive just to gain attention for her blog.

For instance, Walewinder comments, “No wonder why [sic], in the north, the vast majority of Filipino kids and young people are overweight. This is something we have noticed straight away. People in young age [sic] are huge and it’s due to poor quality of food.”

 

 

After such controversy, we couldn’t help but expect an even worse reception in Buzzfeed’s Filipino street food taste test. After all, these are the people who cringed at Japanese snacks. (Seriously, how do you not like jelly cups and green tea Kit Kats?)

So you can imagine our pleasant surprise to discover that Filipino street food was rather well received this time around. Although the tasters showed some hesitation before taking a bite, they were quick to admit that the street food was pretty good and even ended up enjoying many of the treats. Finally, we’ve found something they’re satisfied with!

Check out the video below and excuse me while I go indulge in some turon.

 

 

You’ll Be Seeing Gowns From These Top Filipino Designers on the Red Carpet Soon

As we ooh and ahh over celebs in their gorgeous gowns on the red carpet, we often forget about the creative minds behind the spectacle — the ones who’ve designed these chic creations. Though Asian American designers are having a serious moment, there are three designers from the Philippines who are taking the red carpet by storm and who you need to know.

1. Michael Cinco

Michael Cinco, left, with a model in one of his designs.

Michael Cinco, left, with a model in one of his designs.

Known for his couture gowns, especially in the Middle East, the Dubai-based Cinco impresses Arab royalty and onlookers alike with gowns intricately embellished with Swarovski crystals. Cinco has shown his collections at Dubai Fashion Week, Miami Fashion Week, Swarovski Shows and Philippine Fashion Week, and dresses celebrities like Sofia Vergara, Britney Spears and Lady Gaga.

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A look from Michael Cinco’s runway show at Philippine Fashion Week.

 


2. Oliver Tolentino

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Tolentino’s designs have been featured everywhere — from the Oscars to American Idol to everywhere in between. Not only are Tolentino’s designs gorgeous, he also specializes in eco-friendly fabrics that make his dresses environmentally conscious. He also dressed Jennifer Lee, the Academy Award winning co-director of “Frozen” at the most recent Oscars, the first Filipino designer to dress an Oscar winner in 53 years.

Gowns from Oliver Tolentino's Eco Couture line.

Gowns from Oliver Tolentino’s Eco Couture line.

3. Alexis Monsanto

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Monsanto is the designer and founder of West Hollywood-based fashion design studio, Alexis Monsanto Atelier. With his precise tailoring, Monsanto’s designs complement and enhance a woman’s body by showing off a woman’s natural curves.This savvy fashion innovator was also the first designer in the U.S. to create a 3D fashion show with his spring/summer 2012 collection that propelled his name into fashion headlines.

A look from Alexis Monsanto.

A look from Alexis Monsanto.

 

 

 

Tearjerker Alert: Cancer Patient’s Final Wish to Marry the Love of His Life

Get your tissues out. You’ll be needing it.

A video from the Philippines has just been released and has already gathered over 2 million views. What could get this much attention this quickly? The beautiful and painful story of a cancer patient’s last wish.

Just last month, Rowden Pangcoga was diagnosed with stage IV liver cancer. The disease took over quickly. Realizing his time was limited, Rowden made one final wish: to marry Leizl, his beloved girlfriend and the mother of his 2-year-old daughter.

Earlier this month, they fulfilled that wish. By the time preparations for the wedding were complete, Rowden’s state had gotten worse and he was unable to leave the hospital. This didn’t stop them. It was ultimately decided that the wedding would take place at the hospital.

The viral video shows footage of the beautiful and heartbreaking wedding. In a hospital room filled with tears from loved ones, the couple said their vows.

Less than 10 hours after the wedding, Rowden passed away.

“Our family would like to thank the Main Man up above, Jesus Christ, for orchestrating this very inspiring story. And for giving us enough time to give Rowden what he wanted, and show him how loved he was.”


(source)

Filipino Teen Creates Footwear That Can Charge Phones & Access Electricity

A fifteen-year-old Filipino teen named Angelo Casimiro has created a new way to charge a phone or flashlight with footwear that can generate electricity by walking.

He recognizes that this concept may not seem necessary for everyone. After all, who wants to walk when they can just plug their phone into a charger and go on with their full day of watching Netflix? Well, this is certainly not the average day for everyone.

“I’m a Filipino. I live in the Philippines. And just by looking around my surroundings, I can see that a lot of people are suffering from poverty,” explains Casimiro. “A simple source of light is a big deal for people who don’t have electricity.”

The footwear was Casimiro’s entry to Google’s Science Fair this year. He realized that the average human takes 7,000 steps a day and wanted to find a way to utilize that energy.

Of course, this will still take quite some effort. During Casimiro’s experiments, he was able to give his phone about 10 minutes of battery life after two hours of playing basketball. None the less, this is clearly a start to something extraordinary.

Learn more about his invention with the video below.

 

Destination: Manila, Philippines

Story by Kristine Ortiz.

Often considered by many tourists as a place to just “skip over,” Manila is slowly changing such impressions by emerging as the heart of Philippine development and by reflecting a strong Filipino spirit (Haiyan relief efforts were still going strong here). It’s a place where you can now find the traditional and the modern side by side, from the quaintest coffee shops to the most luxurious high-end boutiques (Hermès, Louis Vuitton and Prada to name a few), if you just know where to look. Though it may not be perfect, Manila is one of the most fascinating places in Asia today. Here are some of my favorite picks.


EAT

xocolat

Xocolat
Satisfy your sweet tooth at this cozy Quezon City cafe, which specializes in everything chocolate. Some personal favorites include the Xoco Latte, Churros and Chocolate, and the Chocolate Fries. With its charming, hand-painted decor and too-cool outdoor seating (popular with nearby university students), it’s the perfect place to spend a lazy afternoon. Details: Xocolat.com.ph.

Conti’s Bakeshop & Restaurant
Open since 1997, Conti’s has combined traditional, homestyle Pinoy cooking with a contemporary dining environment. Expect attentive service and mouthwatering meals. Be sure to get the mom-approved fresh lumpia (my mother is a fan), lechon kawali (fried pork belly) and a generous slice of their famous cakes. Details: Contis.ph.

 


PLAY

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Intramuros Walking Tour
Former theater actor Carlos Celdran guides both locals and tourists alike on this two-hour tour of the “Walled City.” Undeniably entertaining and brilliantly thought-provoking, Celdran provides new insight into Manila’s history. As an added bonus, there’s free halo-halo at the end of the tour! Details: Celdrantours.blogspot.com.

19 East
Wanna hear what OPM (Original Pilipino Music) is like? Then look no further than 19 East. This music bar is the top spot to catch some of the best acts in the Manila music scene today. Besides the great music, this bar has a mean food and drink menu. Details: 19east.com

 


SHOP

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TeamManila
Started in 2001, this modern lifestyle brand has become a local favorite by taking cues from the distinct imagery that makes up life and culture in Manila. Expect to find prints, shirts and mugs emblazoned with the images of national hero Jose Rizal, jeepneys, Philippine catchphrases and iconography. Details: Teammanilalifestyle.com

Sunnies by Charlie
The brainchild of It-girl Georgina Wilson, Sunnies by Charlie is a too-cool boutique that features a quintessential Manila must-have — sunglasses. With on-trend offerings (we spotted some great Karen Walker and Prada dupes) that are also affordable ($12 or less), it’s hard not to pick up a pair or two. Details: Sunniesbycharlie.com.


STAY

soft
Sofitel Manila

This luxury resort is a true oasis amidst Manila’s infamous hustle and bustle. Looking to really treat yourself? Consider booking the 1,800-square foot Opera Suite, which features an incredible panoramic view of Manila Bay. Looking to indulge? Their buffet, Spiral, is hands down one of the best in town. Details: Sofitelmanila.com.

This story was originally published in our Spring 2014 issue. Get your copy here

The World’s Most Selfie-Obsessed City is in Asia

Philippines and Malaysia can pat themselves on the back. Both countries have earned two spots each on the list of top ten selfie-obsessed cities in the world.

We’re not 100% sure when the rise of selfies began. We’re positive some of the older social media sites like Friendster and MySpace have a thing or two to do about it. After all, the infamous “MySpace angles” began the obsession with utilizing angles and lighting to compliment one’s face.

But then selfies began to explode. With the rise in popularity of Facebook and Instagram, the selfie-trend started spreading. In fact, The Guardian recently tried to explain how selfies became a worldwide phenomenon. 

Many of you roll your eyes at selfies. I’m specifically pointing a finger at hipsters who say they’re too cool for selfies, the older generation who disagrees with anything millennials do and those who have become annoyed because “that one friend” has to post up a selfie every single day. Despite any negative emotions you may harbor about selfies, there is no denying that the world is still in love with them.

TIME magazine decided to find out just how much love we have for selfies and where this love was coming from. They investigated the geography of selfie-taking and created a list of top 100 selfiest cities in the world. As you may have expected, there are quite a few Asian cities on this list including the #1 selfie-crazed city.

1. Makati City and Pasig, Philippines
258 selfie-takers per 100,000 people

2. Manhattan, N.Y.
202 selfie-takers per 100,000 people

3. Miami, Fla.
155 selfie-takers per 100,000 people

4. Anaheim and Santa Ana, Calif.
147 selfie-takers per 100,000 people

5. Petaling Jaya, Malaysia
141 selfie-takers per 100,000 people

6. Tel Aviv, Israel
139 selfie-takers per 100,000 people

7. Manchester, England
114 selfie-takers per 100,000 people

8. Milan, Italy
108 selfie-takers per 100,000 people

9. Cebu City, Philippines
99 selfie-takers per 100,000 people

10. George Town, Malaysia
95 selfie-takers per 100,000 people

Check out the full list here. 

Mitch Albom’s Inspiring Efforts To Rebuild Libraries in The Philippines

Mitch Album, author of works such as The Five People You Meet in Heaven, For One More Day and Tuesdays With Morrie, is on a mission to rebuild some of the Philippine libraries that were ravaged by Typhoon Haiyan in November.

Early this week, Albom visited Tacloban and quickly found himself emotionally invested in the Philippine citizens. Upon arriving, the author donated 40 boats to help fishermen in the region.

Most importantly, Albom says he was touched with the way literature is viewed in the Philippines.

“I have been here since early this past week and have seen 11-year-olds embracing paperback books like prized possessions,” Albom writes. “In fact, readers here cover their paperbacks in plastic to preserve them. In the U.S., we rarely bother to do that with hardbacks.”

“I’ve seen my own books pulled from the flood-damaged homes, mouldy, discoloured, yet brought to me to sign,” Albom said. “It’s incredible and heartwarming.”

Joining forces with the National Book Store Foundation, the largest book and stationery chain in the Philippines, Albom has pledged to raise $160,000, including his own contribution of $10,000 for the libraries. (Click here to read the heartwarming story of Mitch Albom meeting Socorro Ramos — the woman who started the National Book Store in 1942 despite Japanese soldiers censoring and banning publications in the Philippines during World War II.)

Earlier today, Albom posted the following picture and caption on his Facebook page:

albom


I’m back in the U.S., but miss the Philippines already. What an amazing, loving, resilient country. My deepest thanks to my new Filipino friends – and thousands of readers. Rarely have I been as moved as by seeing the ravages of Typhoon Yolanda. It inspired me to launch “D.R.Y. Libraries” (Donated Reading for Youth) a campaign to raise $160K to rebuild and restock school libraries in the typhoon-affected areas. National Book Store is matching each dollar. Asked authors—like Jeff Kinney, JK Rowling, John Grisham, Stephen King and so many more—to donate their books and they have. If you’d like to support and see which of your fav authors have contributed, go to www.mitchalbomcharities.org/dry

 

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In addition to his generous donation and inspiring efforts, Albom has also pledged hundreds of copies of his own books to start filling the library bookshelves. He has asked other writers to join him and the following authors have already contributed their books directly to restock the libraries.

 

Rabih Aladeddine
Isabel Allende
Dave Barry
Sam Barry
Roy Blount Jr.
Lisa Brown
Michael Chabon
Stephen Chbosky
Mark Childress
Harlan Coben
Billy Collins
Suzanne Collins
Sarah Dessen
Alexandra Enders
Pamela Erens
Amanda Fortini
Ted Habte-Gabr
Arthur Golden
John Green
John Grisham
Daniel Handler (Lemony Snicket)
Robert Hass
Amy Hempel
Brenda Hillman
Alice Hoffman
Khaled Hosseini
Greg Iles
Walter Kirn
Stephen King
Jeff Kinney
Sophie Kinsella
Sheila Kohler
Yiyun Li
Meredith Maran
James McBride
RJ Palacio
Ann Patchett
James Patterson
Ridley Pearson
Matthew Quick
Dawn Raffel
Jason Roberts
JK Rowling
Lisa See
Joan Silber
Nicholas Sparks
Maggie Stiefvater
Amy Tan
Scott Turow
Ayelet Waldman

National Book Store Foundation will match funds raised by Albom until the goal is met. Albom and the National Book Store Foundation said their goal is to begin construction on the first three libraries by late spring.

CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT MORE INFORMATION. 

(Source 1, 2, 3)

The Sacrifice of Skating: Martinez makes Olympic debut for the Philippines

Story by Olivia Ouyang.

After one of the strangest men’s short programs in the history of the Olympics, Michael Christian Martinez, finds himself in 19th place, thus fulfilling his goal to qualify for the men’s free skate. Martinez is the only athlete from the Philippines to compete at these Games as well as the first figure skater to represent a Southeast Asian country in the event. Only seventeen years of age, Martinez is the youngest men’s competitor. However, he is also one of the most hardworking.

Born in Paranaque City, Martinez skated for the first time at the age of eight when he went to a shopping mall in Manila. He essentially taught himself how to skate through watching videos and mastered his first few triple jumps all on his own. In 2010, he started making trips to Los Angeles to train with esteemed coaches John Nicks and Ilia Kulik. A month before this Olympics, he headed to Moscow to train with Viktor Kudriyavstev. In Sochi, Martinez was the very first skater to step foot in the practice rink.

Despite his visible potential, Martinez has questioned whether he should continue skating. Last year, his family’s farm in Luzon was devastated by the typhoons that hit the region. Had he not qualified for the Olympics at the 2013 Nebelhorn Trophy, Martinez would have quit skating. Now, he is hoping to garner enough support to continue to train for the 2018 Olympics in South Korea. In order to raise funds for this Olympics, Martinez’s family mortgaged their home. His friends and skating club have also been supportive, helping to pay for his training trips to Los Angeles. Because of the lack of facilities (Martinez still practices on public sessions) and coaching expertise in the Philippines, these trips are necessary for Martinez’s development as a skater. With a good showing in Sochi, he is hoping to garner more support from the government.

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Martinez started off his Olympic debut strong. Choreographed by Phillip Mills, Martinez’s short program to Romeo and Juliet exemplified his potential to be a threat in the sport. He skated an almost clean program, just botching his triple-triple jump combination. However, he has a knack for spins and a natural musicality that cannot be taught. Before Martinez finished his short program, the crowd was already cheering.

Having skated in the first warm-up group, Martinez had a long wait to find out whether or not he had made it to the long program. That wait was filled with a number of high, low, and strange moments. Four-time Olympic medalist and gold medal contender Yevgeny Plushenko from Russia withdrew after aggravating an injury in warm-up. U.S. Champion Jeremy Abbott came down hard on a quad toe attempt, slamming into the boards and requiring a substantial amount of time to recover. On the other hand, Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan became the first skater to ever break the 100-point mark in the short program, garnering a 101.45 for his clean skate.

The men’s free skate promises to be an exciting event. While the battle for gold will most likely be between Hanyu and Patrick Chan of Canada, only 3.5 points separates third and eleventh place currently. In that mix are Jason Brown from the U.S., Han Yan from China, Denis Ten from Kazakhstan, and two Japanese skaters, Daisuke Takahashi and Tatsuki Machida.