|GMA Pinoy TV Stars: A Big Hit At
Phil-US Expo 07!
GMA Pinoy TV
The votes are in:
GMA PINOY TV stars DENNIS TRILLO, GLADYS GUEVARRA, and ARA MINA were a
spectacular hit at the PHIL-US EXPO 07! If you missed them at the expo,
get filled-in on what happened through the pictures below. For those who
were lucky enough to be there, I invite you to take a few moments to reminisce...
Kapuso stars Dennis Trillo of Super Twins
and SOP, Gladys Chuchay Guevarra of Magic Kamison and Eat Bulaga,
and Ara Mina of Bubble Gang and Lupin graced the two day festivities of the
Phil-US Expo 07 at the New Jersey Convention and Exposition Center
at Raritan Center, Edison, New Jersey on May 27 to 28, 2007.
The GMA Pinoy TV stars performed before a
jam-packed, standing-room-only, multi-cultural audience. Their individual
spot numbers were not only show-stoppers but spectacles that electrified
the already enthusiastic audience.
Gladys brought the house down and rocked the
convention center with her impeccable comic antics proving that she is the
sexiest diva comedienne of this generation. As Chuchay, the funny yet charming
character we all loved in Eat Bulaga, she was so hilarious and hysterically
funny that she left the audience rolling with laughter.
Dennis rendered several songs from his self-titled
debut album like All Out of Love, Lumilipad, and Love Is All That Matters
validating his newest moniker as the Crush ng Bayan. Everybody
loves this soft spoken debonair. His appeal left fans breathless that parents
of young ladies unabashedly asked him to be their son-in law.
Aras rendition of Ay Ay Ay Pag-ibig
and her version of Hawak Kamay made the crowd scream and sway.
The festival, aimed at celebrating and promoting
the great Philippine culture while creating an ideal networking event for
businesses, was a combination of exposition, trade, and entertainment.
PHIL-US EXPO 07 was brought to you by
Topnotch Electronics and GMA Pinoy TV. And, if you thought the thousands
of people who attended the PHIL-US EXPO 07 this past Memorial Day weekend
was big, wait until next year. Plans are already set in motion to leave an
even bigger impression! For more Phil-US Expo 07 photos, visit
Dennis Trillo, 1st Time In The U.S.A
With the end of Super Twins,
Dennis Trillo is taking
advantage of the brief reprieve from his busy schedule to go to the US. He
will have some shows there courtesy of the GMA Pinoy TV. Dennis promised
that he will take advantage of the opportunity to go around New York and
enjoy the sights.
Unang-una kong gagawin pagdating ko
ng America ay hahalik ako sa lupa tapos magpapa- picture ako. Kasi talagang
pangarap kong makapunta doon, according to Dennis.
Martin Nievera Livens Up the New
by: Steve Tuminello
Monday night at The Palms
hotel on the break in "The Lounge", I had the pleasure of meeting Martin
Nievera and Celia Geronimo through my friend Gabriel "Santana" Falcon,
percussionist with Santa Fe and the Fat City Horns. We were invited to see
"Martin Live" the show at the Planet Hollywood in the Miracle Mile.
I learned than Martin Nievera is a big star
in the Philippines and the large Fillipino presence in the audience was a
testimony to his popularity in his native country.
Martin opened strong with his 9 piece power
band with many familiar faces. Three of the Fat City Horns players Nathan
Tenouye on trombone, Danny Falcone on trumpet and Gerry Merra on saxaphone.
Gabriel Falcon on percussion and vocals, Mundo Juillerat on guitar, George
Bryant on drums, Ricardo "Cocho" Arbe on second keyboards, Adrian Garcia
on bass and Musical Director/keyboards, Lorenzo "Lorrie" Ilustre.
Martin had the audience in the palm of his
hand with his quick wit and versatile singing style. He even did some singing
impressions like Johnny Mathis. Dave Siefkes, Editor of Las Vegas at its
Best, really enjoyed the audience interaction. Martin actually turned the
lights up on the audience and had some dialogue interaction with Dave.
Martin, while interacting/interrogating with
two Fillipino audience members who had
been married for over 17 years was
able to develop enough personal information to spontaneously compose an impromptu
personalized song for the couple. He is truly amazing with his adlibs between
songs. His audience inclusion guarantees that no two shows will ever be the
Female Vocalist, Jenevi Bakch came out front
from singing backup and was featured while Martin took a brief break. She
tours with Wayne Newton when not on stage with Martin Nievera. The show which
is only one hour from start to end concluded after a fifteen minute encore
tribute to Broadway.
After the show Gabriel Falcon introduced me
to two friends that were in the audience. Music producer Steve Arnold and
Kathy Rich, daughter of famed drummer Buddy Rich were in the audience with
"Martin Live" is definitely a repeat for the
staff at Las Vegas at its Best.
Shows at the Steve Wyrick Magic Theater inside
The Miracle Mile (formerly Desert Passage) at the new Planet Hollywood start
at 5 PM every day but Friday.
Dingdong & Jessa "That Thing called
Review by: Karen De Castro
Stockton, CA - "That Thing Called Love", the
first-ever concert of Dingdong Avanzado and Jessa Zaragosa in the United
States, was a definite triumph last Saturday, Feb. 10th at the Bob Hope Theater.
Being respected solo artists in their own rights, Dingdong and Jessa were
in harmony in giving their audience an explosive performance!
Local Bay Area talents: Arnel Rosanes, Maria
Bordon and Felix De Castro, wowed and excited the crowd as each opened for
Dingdong and Jessa. This set the mood for everybody eager to see the real
life married couple for the first time.
Truly a Valentine
treat, love was in the air as the concert chronicled the couple's love story
through their favorite love songs and selected hit singles. Every one from
all walks of life enjoyed the repertoire of music offered by the couple.
Women swooned over Dingdong as he serenaded everybody with a medley of his
classic chart toppers. And the men were surely all eyes on Jessa each time
she was on stage. But together, they were more impressive. All the people
were moved on their feet by Dingdong and Jessa with their electifying band,
backup singers and dancers several times during the night.
It was very inspiring to see such a young
couple share so much love for each other that reflects in each and every
performance. This was more evident and amusing as the audienced laughed at
their antics and delightful banter because of their special guest, Ms. Rachel
Alejandro. Needless to say, Rachel and Dingdong had a bit of history together.
And so the audience were excited to see how all three on stage will play
out. After Rachel entertained the crowd with her special numbers, out came
Jessa to join her with a medley of duets. Such a great vision to see both
lovely, beautiful ladies, wearing exquisite gowns up on stage. As the old
saying goes, "If you have it, flaunt it"...both of them most definitely have
it. The audience anticipated Rachel and Jessa would try to outshine each
other until another secret surprise guest showed up and captivated everybody.
All three performers gave their Stockton fans a night to remember.
The highlight of the night was the duet of
song featured in their album, "Laging Ikaw". This 'historic' album features
the couple singing duet songs popularized as solo numbers, including "Basta't
Kasama Kita" (originally sung solo by Dingdong), "Sa Aking Puso", and "Laging
Ikaw, the carrier single. It was the first time that a married couple has
recorded a full album composed of entirely duet performances. The CDs available
at the lobby of Bob Hope Theater were immediately sold out after the concert.
You'll have another chance to see the most
romantic yet hilarious and entertaining concert of the year "That Thing Called
Love" produced by All Event Planners at The Alex Theater in Glendale, Ca
on Feb. 24th. And back in the Bay Area in Vallejo, Ca produced by Phenomal
Productions on Mar. 18 which also celebrates Dingdong and Jessa's 6th Wedding
For more information, visit
call (209) 640-1708.
Barbie rocks Los Angeles with a
by Joseph De Veyra
Balita, Feb. 12, 2007
ANGELESHow many people are onstage right now? pop star
Barbie Almalbis asked the crowd midway through her concert on Feb. 3 at Celebrity
Centre International in Hollywood. The crowd answered four because
simple mathematics revealed that it was the obvious reply. However it was
wrong. Were five
one of them is in my womb, she corrected.
As a result, the crowd applauded in utter delight.
In fact, in an exclusive backstage interview
with this writer, the rock icon said she had to sit down during some of the
songs because she is three months pregnant.
So what is she doing before her performance?
Just hanging out with Martin, she said with a gentle smile. Almalbis
and her hubby, Martin Honasan (son of former Senator Gringo Honasan) married
in May of 2006. Her love for her husband was evident even during her set.
Right before singing her love song Just a Smile, Almalbis spieled
out: I really didnt know [whom] I was writing this song for when
I wrote it but now I do.
She also had nothing praise for Glenn Jacinto,
producer of the show. I like what hes doing. Since he was with
a band [The Teeth] before, he knows how to take care of artists, she
said. Almalbis revealed that Jacintos vision is to bring the great
bands from the Philippines to perform for the Filipino American community.
During the concert, she was sporting a plaid
coat that exuded both simplicity and maturity. She even told this writer
the reason behind the getup: Ang lamig dito eh!
Her bandmates: keyboardist Adrian Morales,
bassist Richard Ramos and drummer Franklin Benitez complemented her to
perfection. There was no particular instrument that overpowered the other,
this is a testament to the intense harmony of their music. In fact, one notable
song they performed was High (originally sang by The Speaks)
wherein Benitez sang the male vocal part of the song with Almalbis.
Almalbis also sang her monster hits like
Tabing Ilog, and Torpe. Another highlight of the
show was when she said: Ito galing kina Ely. She was referring
to Ely Buendia of the Eraserheads before she sang her version of the bands
monster hit Overdrive.
After her last song, she was about to say
goodbye when the crowd roared more! Well, she treated her audience
to a bonus performance of Goodnight. It was here that Almalbis
displayed her musical spontaneity. At the end of the song, she suddenly pointed
to a little girl in the front row and said: This ones for you.
She suddenly sang the lyrics of the Alphabet and
Lullaby to the tune of Goodnight. She then ended
it with the words Jesus loves me yes I know. It was definitely
melancholic and spiritual at the same time.
Almalbis is definitely a breath of fresh air
in the Philippine music scene. Her guitar skills and sincere lyrics are often
eclectic that it becomes a form of musical therapy. Now, as she embarks on
another chapter in her career, Almalbis only becomes more endearing onstage
with her trademark of fusing religion with rock.
Almalbis will be performing on Feb. 17 at
Club Hide, 280 7th street, San Francisco, CA 94103. The tour is presented
by GJ Media. For more information, please call (323) 842-0883 or visit
(E-mail author at
Martin and Pops Concert
Still making beautiful music
by Nomar Hernandez
The crowd at the Mohegan Sun Arena last Sept.
23, 2006 were not disappointed. Everyone enjoyed and certainly got their
money's worth. Fans came from up north in New Hampshire and as far south
as Atlantic City and Washington,D.C. They went home ecstatic! Many of the
concert goers were seeing Martin and Pops for the first time on stage and
they were treated to a great performance of Filipino entertainers never seen
in New England before.
The question in everyone's mind was Pop's
question to Martin at the start of the
show "Martin, nagsisisi ka na ba?" (Martin, are you
already regretting). Everyone responded "Yes". One of the male admirers of
Pops replied "Kung ako si Martin, babalikan ko si Pops" (If I were Martin,
I would go back to Pops).
Well, it is a stage show, almost a fairy tale
and for more than two hours, the crowd was allowed to make believe, fantasize
their favorite singers as a couple "Together Again" on stage.
The show started with a nationalistic theme-a
video presentation promoting Philippine Tourism featuring 24 of the biggest
artists/singers in the Philippines-"Biyahe Tayo". This set the mood for what
was to follow.
A young Filipino-American, Anthony Salazar,
opened the show, with his magic- He is a magician and master illusionist
and entertained the audience with his awesome magic, never seen performed
by a Filipino before. He has opened for numerous mainstream performers. We
were truly proud of him!
By this time, the crowd was really energized
for the main feature of the evening! Mr. Lorrie Ilustre, Musical Director,
and eleven of his Las Vegas band of chosen musicians, played the overture,
congas and bongos beating, putting the audience on their feet. Finally, Martin
and Pops appeared with their opening numbers, Pops so stunning in her beautiful
gown and Martin, as always, witty and funny. After their opening numbers,
Martin and Pops greeted the audience and started teasing each other and then
Pop's question "Nagsisisi ka na ba, Martin" which Martin found ways to avoid
Martin had a special guest, Jenevi Bakch,
a stunning Korean-American, who performs regularly in Las Vegas with artists
like Wayne Newton. She entertained and delighted the audience with her alluring
voice and dance movements.
The show proceeded flawlessly. Martin and
Pops, through video clips of their Penthouse Live where their romance started,
added nostalgia to the evening's performance. One could see Martin's "baby
face" but Pops was already an eye-catcher at such a young age!
The repertoire was a generous mix of Filipino
medley and mainstream hits, just what the crowd expected and requested. Pop's
medley of Filipino songs including George Canseco's hits was well received.
During her fast and dance numbers, Pops revealed that she is also a "Disco
Queen", moving and dancing like a Diva. Martin did an outstanding rendition
of some Broadway musicals which earned a standing ovation. Martin and Pops
showed much rapport to their fans-entertaining to their utmost and
showing professionalism and sincerity throughout
To answer the proverbial question "Martin,
nagsisisi ka na ba?" During the last few minutes of the concert, following
Pops off stage singing the tune "I just had the time of my life", Martin
in full view of the four thousand in attendance and as viewed in the large
screen, embraced Pops and shed some tears. We all have our own answer to
Martin and Pops- after all these years-are
still making beautiful music together. But stay tuned, because per public
demand, they may have more shows together.
Nomar Hernandez was the producer of the Martin
and Pops Concert "Together Again
on Stage" at the Mohegan Sun Arena
on Sept. 23, 2006. Comments may be sent to
This article previously appeared in The
Triumphant Nora Aunor concert in
by Gretheline Bolandrina
The Superstar Nora Aunor... Live in
Weston, MA: It was an evening that brought
husbands and wives together, an evening that bridged generational and cultural
gaps, where Filipino grandmothers reminisced, with their Americanized grandkids
beside them. An evening that elicited tears, laughter and shouts of joy from
the audience -- and an evening when the superstar herself, sang live for
her loyal fans. "But what a voice" as self-confessed Noranian, Ben R. Manzano
of Randolph, MA states, "although embarrassed, Nora was and still is my idol."
Yes, Nora Aunor's first Boston visit was the
extravaganza that it promised to be, a superstar event, so to speak. Filipino
Talent, LLC, made that night's show at the Casey Theater possible. Western
Union leads the list of event sponsors.
The Superstar still shines. She opened with
People/Sometimes. La Aunor effortlessly crooned through a repertoire of medleys
of Hits, Movie theme songs and Disco.
Singer/ Comedienne Fe de los Reyes gave the
night riveting moments during what seemed like unscripted and perhaps truly
they were, excerpts from her "Amerikana *Made in the Philippines" act. There
was de los Reyes, aglow amidst loud jeers as she switched from funny girl
to Broadway singer, and pranced across the stage then breaking into a
choreographed dance. De los Reyes brought the show more of a cabaret feel
and still had the audience in stitches due to her onstage banter. De los
Reyes was very funny and spontaneous. The crowd offered thunderous applause
during her humorous routines, and when she starts singing, one forgets that
she wasn't the main star of the show. She bellows and she draws wild applause
from the crowd. She almost got away with upstaging the Superstar!
Once the Superstar
was back on stage, the heels came off. Literally, she kicked off her shoes.
Her size 3 feet barely visible on stage, her barely 5 feet height making
her seem like a child, truly a Cinderella. Shoeless in Boston! It's noted
that "she's comfortable barefoot," and she delivered a message of humility,
her humble beginnings. She rendered a serenely beautiful "Kapantay ay Langit."
The audience's focus back on her, what they came for -- her voice, those
deep, sad penetrating eyes, one of the greatest Filipino female artists.
Her mere presence and sound, soothing as she sang "Saan ka man naroroon"
doesn't seem to have been affected much by her legal battles in California.
Though I've never ever heard her sing live
before, and much of what I expected is based on what I've read about her,
I felt that early on the show, she seemed to fall short of her full potential.
I don't even know if she had any signature songs. But the evening was full
of "parade of hits" and the very Filipino medleys. She did have a very stirring
performance of "Ikaw", a bouncy Manila Sound rendition. Then with numerous
(almost to a fault) audience participation, (one by one they came, to sing,
almost sing and recite or to hug her) in what was called "regional medleys",
turning the concert into a pseudo singing contest, the superstar shone brightly.
And the audience went along, politely. Amazed at how many dialects, La Aunor
can sing to. She seems to sing at a steady even keel. Where she belts out,
it appears effortless. She sounds great and she delivered, getting stronger
and bolder. And best of all, she connected with her audience. It helped that
she had a live band and talented back up singers (Luz Maurillo, Melissa Rodis
and Riandra Bhoge).
Kirstie Mae Urgasan opened the show and though
she apparently pleased
the crowd, the 11 year old's choice of
songs were grating at times. She would have had better showing if her songs
were age appropriate.
When Aunor was on stage, and most importantly,
when she was singing and surrounded by her adoring fans, she was mesmerizing.
Her rendition of "Greatest Performance" sung as her closing was poignant,
emotionally archaic, considering it comes from an entertainer who has spent
many years in the spotlight be it personal or professional.
Alas, there was no encore, as the concertgoers
rushed to line up at the CD sales table to purchase CDs and have their copies
signed by the Superstar.
"And just to let you know, my wife and I both
enjoyed the show" continues Ben Manzano of Randolph. "It may be called bakya
by others, but that show is rather different from the others that we had
watched before. This is indeed a show where we both enjoyed watching." And
spoken like a true "Noranian", we say amen to that.
Review of Bayanihan Dance Company
Mechanics Hall, Worcester, MA
by Patricia Aldaba-Lim Yusah
You asked what I thought of the show....
I liked it!
And I get it.
I get why the old standards were condensed.
I get why they introduced new numbers.
I get why they would hybrid two different dances.
Need I say more?
Well, I will, anyway. On to other things.
Bayanihan's gig in Worcester (locals call it woos-tah), Massachusetts was
a challenging venue. The Mechanics Hall, known as the nation's finest pre-Civil
War concert hall is internationally regarded for its superb acoustics. The
Hall boasts a celebrity list that includes local son YoYo Ma and others like
Itzak Perlman, Mel Torme and Ella Fitzgerald. Last night Bayanihan was not
informed of its capabilities. When the rondalla played on - even for a
non-cultured ear like mine, I knew basag (cracked) ang sound. They should
have just dropped the microphones and let the aural waves do their thing.
The singer had the pipes for it- she did not need to amplify. Did I mention
this? The place is one of the worlds finest concert halls.
It was nostalgic for me when I first saw the
stage at Mechanics Hall. I thought uh-oh, next challenge: no wings, no fly
tower, no proscenium. (In 1973, with one more college semester at Assumption,
San Lo they let me go w/ Bayanihan if I made a thesis on "theatres of the
world" while on the World Tour. During that trip I wrote about the most high
fallutin' stages from New York's Lincoln Center to the aging Theatre des
Champs Ellyses in Paris to smelly bullrings in Cartagena, Spain. Making do
with what venue you were booked in was a Bayanihan area of expertise. Tito
Lardy made sure we did it right. Again, they did right last night.
And while they were at it- why not make it
a clean slate? Their exits were meticulous and systematic. Their Vinta dancers
plus the Singkil Prinsesa perched on bamboos on steroids had to go down steps
and through a thick curtain. Not one slip nor did they flinch! They flowed
pass those thick drapes as natural as walking through electronic doors. All
credit goes to the dancers discipline. I am a stickler for details
like this- being up in the balcony- I was the inspector-general!
The other unfortunate challenge of the evening
was that it was a Monday night. Hard-working Boston-Filipinos do not go out
on a work night. Monday at that. So the audience was 90% white bread. You
could literally count the Pinoys sprinkled in between all these season ticket
holders. It was a curious mix of aging suburbia folks and young hip artistic
theatre goers with a curious mind. It would have been a great night for the
local Pilipinos to see a new interesting folk dance repertoire (i.e. Tiboli,
subli, bakya) and not the inevitable gamut of the same-old, same-old mom
and pop Pinoy dance companies do in the US (who btw copy Bayanihans'
Of course, you also want the good old standards
and that they did (pandango, tinikling, bangko)- always a crowd pleaser.
The costumes, as usual, were fabu! Whispers on the way out of the auditorium
were really raves about the stunning garments. Tita Bills, at age 85, did
it again. She looked as enduring and enthused as she did in 1973!
It was a mini-reunion to meet with Helen-
I shared my recurring nightmare: Me re-joining Bayanihan at this age and
weight. The frightful part of the dream was I, frantically waiting at the
wings and no one could zip my Jota costume- the gap was 12 inches apart and
then I awake. I call out to embrace her and say "Helen, kasya pa ba ang Jota
ko?" She answers back "oo, kasya pa rin!" Speaking of waking up from a nightmare,
we meet Toffee and Rey Ardiente's son Elmer. Egad. I look at Marijo
Castro-Fadrigalan (member 1969-1973), are we that old? Yes, we were because
Susie Moya B. introduced us to her daughter too. Oh yeah. We're officially
Bayanihan has pioneered in many ways. When
they interpret and stylize our dance culture- you're fodder for the critics'
ire. Par for the course. I bought tickets to this show for 2 reasons: to
be entertained and to see what was new. I got what I wanted: I had fun and
I was updated. From the critics' corner, that's my take.
Patricia Aldaba-Lim Yusah
Bayanihan Member 1969 -1974
Bayanihan - The Philippine National folk Dance
Pops and Martin together again.
. . On Stage
by Grethel Bolandrina
Couple reigns supreme on stage at the
Mohegan Sun Arena, proves end of marriage did not end singing careers.
Uncasville, CT: Seemed like it was not too
long ago when they were together, people wanted to break them up. Now that
they've broken up, people want to put them together again. Such is life for
the pearl of the orients Concert King and Concert Queen. Entertainment
royals also dubbed First Class Filipino artists. New England concertgoers
are deeply grateful, for Group Oles Drs. Ramon and Ching Legarda and
Mohegan Suns Juliet Dayrit-Dizon and Teryl Ann Santos for making the
In the Philippines, Martin Nievera and Pops
Fernandez have jointly
made themselves champions at their singing careers.
In the process having gone through friendship, romance, magic, marriage,
children, heartbreak, annulment. They however, remained friends
post break up. Not the quintessential type, from this side of the planet,
there seemed to be no stings to the bitterness of the split. None until
Connecticut saw a newer, older and more passionate entertainer in Nievera
at the massive Mohegan Sun Arena. A sexier, more attractive, very confident
Fernandez asked Nagsisisi ka na? (Are you sorry now)? Nievera
was quick to make a joke by translating sisi (sorry) to English
see, see complete with doing the doublemint looks. This warms
up an almost awkward first number. The show was complete with all the makings
The wonderful venue, where else can you play,
stay, wine, dine, be pampered and entertained under one roof? To borrow a
line from the companys website, A world at play and a world to
its own, Mohegan Sun.
There was magic in the air, the opening act,
Filipino magician and Atlantic City regular Anthony Salazar who, was, to
say the least, entertaining.
There was chemistry. Leading individual careers
have done nothing to repel the ex-couples chemistry in joint performances.
The 4000 some crowd of mixed nationalities (majority, Filipino) finds the
novelty of having both Fernandez and Nievera together on stage, after however
many years, after everything that has happened (the most recent being a media
feud re: Fernandez posing for FHM Philippines). Its bringing back exactly
what they used to do. Their song choices were very personal and very passionate.
Fernandez regally dressed in what initially appears to be the same low cut
Lilac gown on the promotional materials, but no, almost the same exquisite
cut but different details. They did songs to fall in love with.
Kiss, Sometimes When we Touch. A Connecticut fan
who refused to be identified for this article exclaimed may pag-asa
pa sila! (they still have hopes), asked to elaborate, she said for
reconciliation. Alas, Fernandez quickly exits the stage.
Theres the other woman, performer that
is. From Las Vegas came Korean native Jenevi Bakch in a yellow embroidered
gown who joined Nievera in Sway.
Ikaw ang Lahat sa Akin, (you are everything
to me) was Nieveras solo and a prelude to Fernandez rejoining him onstage
in a sleek black gown showing off skin, very elegantly so. After two kids,
shes got abs to kill for and thank goodness, no rings.
There were Medleys, Have you ever heard
so many medleys in your life? quips Nievera. The songs ring in your
early 80s ears and the visuals are even complete with old Penthouse
Live clips. Born Again, Tonight I Celebrate, Never Gonna Give Up, Perfect
Combination, Almost Paradise, Long as We Believe, Honesty, You and I.
Nieveras much applauded number . . . Be My Lady, Say That You Love
Me (in Spanish) You Are My song (ever heard so many people singing his songs),
Forever. Nandito Ako and Bakit Ngayon Ka Lang, OPMs, Fernandez in another
elegant gown, off shoulder, glittery blue, quite conservative with an "up"
hairdo. She plugs her latest CD (Covers) does one of her favorite songs,
something about till the stars fall off the sky, till theres
no tears left to cry. She sang Panaginip Lang, Sana Wala ng Wakas,
Kailangan Kita. And there were dance medleys, which Fernandez would have
done so much justice with had she not been wearing a gown, Locomotion, Finally,
Dancing Queen, Walking on Sunshine. Nievera did a Broadway medley and promoted
his new yearlong singing contract at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas.
There were kids dancing, some even made it
on stage. There were fans shaking their hands, taking photos, and tons of
They thank the band, the back up vocals, sponsors.
The finale aptly was Time of My Life. The whole concert was an
emotional experience. It was an escape and a release. Theres so much
professionalism and respect. And theres teasing! All in good clean
fun. Just ask Emmanuel, a fan who got to share the stage with Fernandez.
He was thanking her and he had tears of joy. Fans really did want to see
Fernandez and Nievera together, even just on stage, even for just a few hours
and from all the clamoring heard, they want them back soon too.
for pics from the show!
MARTIN & POPS -the magic
By MIKE QUANE
Filipino Reporter Online Edition
Sept. 29 - Oct 5, 2006
The Philippine Concert King and Queen
may no longer consort together in the royal bedchamber, but they continue
to reign supreme on stage together in their Sept. 23 concert at the Mohegan
For the second time in six months, Filipino
entertainers held court in the massive Connecticut venue, and again a crowd
of more than 4,000 wasnt disappointed.
Pops Fernandez and Martin Nievera said they
were responding to fans clamor that they reunite in a show and, on
the whole, their fandom was right. The two delivered a classy show that was
The two superstars, however, avoided talking
about their recent feud in the media after Pops posed for the mens
magazine FHM Philippines. Mabait naman ako, ikaw lang naman ang umaaway
sa akin, was all Pops could say to a tight-lipped Martin.
Despite a tepid entrance and awkward first
few minutes, the ex-lovebirds got in gear with their third number,
Sometimes When We Touch, a duet that got the crowd going. The
song brought some nostalgia about the couples past from the time they
met as co-hosts of Penthouse Live.
Previous to that, their Kiss Medley
duet was distracted by a video presentation showing them hamming it up in
After his lively solo of Van Morrisons
Moondance, Martin joined up to sing the Latin standard
Sway with Las Vegas performer Jenevi Bakch, who seemed to be
there mostly for her, ah, physical attributes.
The crowd went wild when Martin sang the Tagalog
classics Ikaw Lang Ang Mamahalin and Ikaw Ang Lahat Sa
Pops also heated things up with her rendition
of an upbeat medley that included I Want You Back In My Arms Again.
She displayed her comedic touch trading antics with Emmanuel, a fan she invited
onstage, whose over-the-top reactions were almost too hilarious to be true.
(Pops assured at a post-concert meet that it was all completely unscripted.)
Martins vocal range and funny spiels
never fail to mesmerize the audience. He also used the opportunity to promote
his new yearlong singing contract at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas, a milestone
for a Filipino performer.
Later, Pops reemerged on stage in a sparkling
form-fitting blue gown that got the audiences and Martins
Are you sorry now? Pops asked
Martin, to everyones amusement.
They then performed a duet of Nandito
Ako and Bakit Ngayon Ka Lang before Pops took the stage
solo with Flash Dance and Dancing Queen.
Martin later returned for a medley of Broadway
standards that may have betrayed some ambitions beyond Las Vegas. The two
superstars were ably served by the orchestration of the Las Vegas
All-Stars, although in their zeal they sometimes drowned out the
performers, including Chapter 2, which was impressive as vocal backups.
The finale, The Time of My Life,
gave the two-hour-plus show a rousing finish. The audience called for an
encore, which the two, of course, obliged with some more Filipino favorites.
The nights opening act, Filipino magician
and Atlantic City regular Anthony Salazar, was brief but highly entertaining,
knowing what the audience was there for.
Kudos to producers Dr. Ramon and Ching Legarda
for again proving to the Mohegan Sun management that Filipino entertainers,
especially Martin and Pops, are a winning combination.
The Other Side of Sarah Geronimos
Concert: A wild success!
by Dawn Manangan
Editor-in-Chief, PJUsa Magazine
From the same producer who brought you last
years concert hit: Return of the Champions, JSCamins
Productions once again proved that Filipino concert scene in the Bay Area
is still alive and kicking.
With the auspicious
business sense of Joey Camins, veteran producer and the brainchild of JSCamins
Prod, he strategically marketed the event as the concert of the summer to
reckon with, alongside his co-producer Magic Wand Entertainment.
Reckon it is as Sarah Geronimo proves
her mettle in her first major solo concert in the U.S. Thousands of adoring
fans filled the 3,000 seating occupancy of the Nob Hill Masonic Auditorium
and gave Sarah her first standing ovation performance in the Bay Area, a
feat only Regine Velasquez, Pops Fernandez, Lani Misalucha, Gary Valenciano
and Martin Nieverra had achieved in the past.
From her opening upbeat original Filipino
danceable tune that includes her hit song Lumingon Ka Lang, and
Sa Iyo, Sarah appeared confident, playful and magnetic in a pink
sequined suit. Greeting the obviously delighted audience, she launched into
a personal spiel about what the concert means to her, her struggle early
on, her milestone achievement in her growing career and her 18th birthday
Her guests were impressive and clearly abound
with talent as well. Opening up is the crooner from the south city of Cebu,
Jimmy Marquez, who was this years first runner-up for Search
for Star in a Million. He captured the audience attention,
particularly when he sang Gulong ng Palad, a sentimental ballad,
of which he added a soulful rendition of the song. His style is a mixture
of pop and ballad and judging from his performance, he sure will have a
successful career ahead.
Next up, is Kris Lawrence, the grand champion
of Search for Star in a Million, and if anything, he just proved
that he is. His R&B style was hip, young and at times touching and sexy.
He could dance to the groove as well and his looks are as pleasant as his
Mark Bautista was introduced as Pop
Heartthrob of the Philippines and with thousands of girls agreeing,
his monicker was undisputable. His version of Lonely No More
was in the words of Paris Hilton, Thats Hot. He was also
moving as he sang standard ballads like Breathe among others.
His duet with Sarah blended perfectly, sounding like a very seasoned performer.
But the night belongs to the pop princess,
Sarah Geronimo. She has truly arrived. The girl, who used to sound like Regine
Velasquez, found her true style, which was oh so powerful and distinctly
hers. Her repertoire of songs was eclectic and showed her versatility as
a performer. This was evident in the medley of classic Filipino songs by
Pilita Corales and Sylvia de la Torre, mixed with popular R&B tunes of
Beyonce and Fergie. The audience was in rapture as she convincingly bridged
the gap of the tunes of two generations.
Paying tribute to her idol Michael Jackson,
she did an out-of-the-box performance, moonlight dancing and singing, to
the tune of Man in the Mirror, Billy Jean and You
Were Not Alone.
She also sang songs culled from her new album:
I Want to Know What Love Is Forever is Not Enough
and If Only.
The much awaited number of songs from her
highly-watched soap series Bituing Walang Ningning was a crowd
pleaser of the night, giving her two well-deserved standing ovations, as
she sing soulfully, Kung Nasan Ka Man, and Sanay Maghintay
Ang Walang Hanggan.
At this point, Sarah was visibly moved as
throngs of fans adored her with gifts and flowers. There were 18 young kids
who surprised her with stems of red roses as the audience spontaneously sang
a birthday song for her.
For her finale, she did the song that started
it all, cover of Celine Dions To Love You More, her winning
piece for Star of the Night contest.
Sarah Geronimo, singer, budding actress, product
endorser, and youth model is now a certified Concert Princess
of the Philippines. Who knows? The Filipinos today, the world tomorrow!
Viva Vina, The Other Concert
Filipino Reporter, NY - May19-25, 2006
With all due respect to Pops Fernandez, Vina
Morales should be anointed The Other Concert Queen.
The very lovely actress/singer proved Saturday
night, the 13th of May at the
but shabby Landmark Loew's Jersey Theater in Jersey City that she is the
Philippines' definitive female concert artist today, more than all the
otherswho shall remain namelesscombined.
We went to "Vina in the Fast Lane" without
expectations of being enthralled, let alone entertained, not having watched
a Vina show before but, from her very first number, it was clear this woman
was no miniscule performer.
What a terrific entertainer!
What a versatile performer! Vina did them
all, did Britney Spears, Beyonce, J-Lo, Janet Jackson and all others, but
she put her own stamp on the borrowed numbers sometimes almost succeeding
at making them sound like her very own.
Vina had something for everyone, she hip hopped,
rocked, boogied, even cha cha'ed, OPMed. What she could not fit into the
tight repertoire, Vina medleyed.
But alas, why did she only skim through her
hits? Her Pilipino songs, like "Pangako Sa Iyo", "Kung Magkikita Tayong Muli"
and other standards like "Kailangan Kita" and "Kahit Isang Saglit" were lumped
under a longish medley making the audience, us specifically, bitin.
However, her compilation of 70s disco hits
was a killer. Most concert artists resort to this medley thing but they all
sound harried and look spent. Strange, but under Vina's magic pipes and exquisite
moves, the medley never sounded more nostalgic and danceable. When Vina launches
into "Bonggahan" it doesn't make you think Sampaguita, the originator.
Watching a Vina Morales show is like riding
a roller coaster. She brings the audience to peaks and lows with so much
ease, in split second shifts, it leaves you, the listener, almost breathless.
She has amazing energy; she almost makes Gary
Valenciano look limp. There's a certain athleticism to her numbers but it
doesn't rob her sexiness, speaking of which, that clinging white gown she
had on, the last of three wardrobe changes, was sensual as sensual could
get. Watching her sashay to "Last Dance" in that dangerously low cut attire
entertained fears of wardrobe malfunction, which (un)fortunately, did not
The production did Vina a great disservice
by backing her up with canned music, a minus one if you will. But if you
did not look at the empty orchestra pit, you wouldn't have known she had
no live accompaniment. Vina made the audience forget she needed a live band,
the true mark of a total entertainer.
for more pics from the show!
The Sun shines brightly on Pinoys at
Pops, Regine & Jose Mari Chan wow concertgoers
UNCASVILLE, CTPops Fernandez and Regine
Velasquez have never performed at
Mohegan Sun before; neither has
Jose Mari Chan. The three artists performed for the first time at Mohegan
Sun's nearly packed Arena, April 2nd to a delighted Filipino-American audience.
Although the concert wasn't dubbed as Queens on Fire II like the rest of
their shows on this US concert tour, it is and it has lots of shades of the
Queens on Fire concert as I saw it in Atlantic City last year. From most
of the songs to even some of the costumes, it's the same but in a quirky
sense, a tad different. Nevertheless, it still is not your typical back-to-back
concert where the majority of the show allow both artists to do solo acts.
Pops and Regine were together most of the time. They sang 70-percent duets
and songs turned into duets. Having Jose Mari Chan was a welcome bonus. The
"Filipino Jimmy Webb" sang his original compositions albeit all in English,
tickled the crowd's funny bones, did his famous duet with Regine (Please
Be Careful With My Heart, recorded 16 years ago!) and stated having a dream
come true, that of performing with Pops ("My Girl, My Woman, My Friend,"
originally recorded with Janet Basco). Now, the Songwriter and the Concert
Queen waxed a verbal agreement to work on not just a song but everyone heard
the promise of a love song for Pops. Wait, this is getting way ahead. I'd
like to share with you my observations at the meet and greet, the day before
The e-mail message I received reads, " Meet
and greet on Saturday, April 1, 2006 about 7 PM, very intimate-by invitation
only". The buzz was that, the event starts actually around 9ish, so, our
happy medium was 8 PM. My husband Joe and I met with Drs. Ramon and Ching
Legarda at the hotel waiting area, along with Mrs. Philippine Centennial
USA Elizabeth Arca and hubby Rommel, Jose Mari Chan and his lovely wife Mary
Ann, Ms. Dina Maningas of Odina8888 Inc., and Regine's parents Mr. and Mrs.
Gerry Velasquez. Onwards to the ballroom, smaller in comparison to the Uncas
Ballroom we were at for the Concert launch a few months ago, but not any
less impressive. Tables laid out in royal blue, drinks flowing from the open
bar, an enormous sushi spread, a hot buffet of oriental dishes (noodles and
all) plus what seems to be an army of waitresses with trays of various tempting
hors d'oeuvres. Jose Mari Chan was introduced and as he entered the room,
he quickly disappeared in a sea of excited fans. The intimate gathering swelled
into about roughly 300 people! Shortly thereafter, Pops and Regine arrived
with their entourage. Amidst what seemed to be a never ending flash of cameras,
both found their way to their seats. Knowing how Pops and Regine are two
very different performers, I've noticed how very differently both mingled
with the meet and greeters. Pops appeared friendlier while Regine was very
task oriented. Sign, smile, sign, pose for shots, sign again, smile again,
repeat numerous times. Mohegan Sun's Director of Asian Marketing Juliet
Dayrit-Dizon welcomed everyone, announced that 99% of tickets are sold out
and thanked the whole Filipino-American community for their support. Announcing
future Pinoy concerts planned reciprocated by loud approvals from the crowd.
Dr. Ramon Legarda of Group Ole also expressed his gratitude to the artists
for agreeing to perform together; to Mohegan Sun management for all that
they have done and echoed the same appreciation for the Filipino-American
community and the press. Considering Pops, Regine and their entourage were
up since 2 AM, as I was told and traveled directly from Edmonton, Canada,
they were in good spirits. Pops even held a fan's hand, walked side by side
with her so their photo could be taken en route to being ushered out of the
ballroom to rest for the evening. Teryl Ann Santos, Executive Host of Asian
Marketing was a busy bee, checking in on everyone, friendly as can be. The
meet and greet set the stage for the concert, a lot of enthusiasm and genuine
welcome. Mohegan Sun was primed for the Pinoy performers!
April 2, 2006the entrance to the Arena
by the Casino of the Earth was as close to a fiesta atmosphere as you could
get. Friends greeting each other, some lining up at the box office to pick
up reserved tickets, others purchasing tickets on the spot. It was about
2:35 PM when the show actually started. Opening song was Cristina Aguillera's
"Stronger." Pops and Regine wore the same glittery, skin toned outfit (low
cut, short, displaying ample chest and lots of legs) from last year, very
Hollywood-ish. I'm seated second row to the left of the stage, between Ezra
Aldea, a charming young lady from Groton, CT and an equally charming woman
I'll call Millie (she made me promise to maintain her anonymity). Still the
same comedic line opening ala ReyCards duet (Pops stated she'd have to be
Rey!) Laughter throughout the Arena, which I noticed had extra sections opened
(making it more than 99% sold out.) Pops sang and danced to a medley of "Love
you baby, Feeling sexy and Baby boy". She did a remake of "You take my breath
away" giving what appeared to be sincere smiles and her signature regal curtsy.
Quickly establishing rapport with the audience, explaining how the show is
about love, how life is good and how life is also how we choose to live it.
Millie, to my right, verbalized being a bit disappointed, this being her
first Pinoy concert, "why are they singing all English songs?" Ezra on the
other hand, a self-confessed Regine fan now excitedly says she likes Pops
Regine comes out in a low cut, fitted apple
green gown, singing "Hold me," hitting the highest notes. Pops (in a conservative
flowing teal gown) rejoins her and they joke about Regine's nose. Their very
special guest, Jose Mari Chan joins them at this time, sings duet, then solo
after which Millie smiled and said, "I'm not disappointed anymore!"
They sang "Fever" with the same grit and passion
(same glittery tux, short shorts complete with hat and cane to the Kelly
sisters' Chicago). There too was the cabaret style of "Oops! I Did It Again"
ending with both exposing naked upper bodies a fraction of a second before
the lights went out (initially behind heart shaped, high backed chairs).
This time, I saw their flesh colored tubes. The cornball-style dancing of
Regine and her comic "money collecting spoof" earned a lot of laughs. And
a few extra dollars for the children (Sam & Libby!) Ezra gleefully welcomes
all of Regine's antics and had her in stitches. Ezra keeps saying "she's
sooo cute". Pops did a Tagalog medley "Kaya pala", "Hanggang kalian" (gaano
kita kamahal), "Magmula ng magkalayo" (hindi ko kaya) of Mulawin.
Regine, effortlessly rendered soaring ballads
"color me/call me", Mariah Carey's "Butterfly," "My all." The entire show
still encompassed many musical genres: rock, pop, dance and OPM. From what
I gather, Filipino Americans on this side of the US yearn for more OPM. "Have
You Ever Really Loved A Woman" rendered sensual, exotic and bold as both
Regine and Pops were in their red gowns. They did the "Power of Love". The
encore had Pops and Regine, still in their red gowns doing a medley of '80s
favorites "Gloria," "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun," "What Have You Done For
Me Lately," "I'm So Excited", "How will I know", "Wanna dance with somebody",
"Lucky star", "Borderline", "Holiday", "Chip off my shoulder", "Jump" and
"Telephone". Both were in their element, stepping off stage on
speakers/partitions to have their photos taken by very eager fans. Silver
and gold confetti showered the audience who lingered a bit longer after curtains
closed. I thanked the ladies I sat with, promising Ezra I'll send her a copy
of my review. I had a photo op with the elegant Consul General Cecil Rebong,
the gracious Teryl Ann Santos and the powerhouse of ladies Dr. Ching Legarda
of Group Ole and Juliet Dayrit-Dizon who reminded all the concertgoers that
the $1000.00 winner will be announced at 6 PM over the entire Mohegan Sun.
Looking forward to coming back to Mohegan for another Pinoy concert or sooner
to even just to see the world at play and maybe bump into some more "Kababayans".
HERE FOR MORE PHOTOS!
'Idol' alters the fame game:
Trias cashes in on instant stardom, but not all can
By John Wilkens
San Diego Union-Tribune, March 27, 2006
It's one thing to look at the TV viewership
numbers soaring past 30 million every week and recognize that American
Idol is a pop-culture juggernaut crushing everything in its sight.
It's another to go out to Sycuan and see the
phenomenon in action.
Although singer Jasmine Trias, 19, finished
third on "American Idol," she's a
winner to her fans. Among them is Ched DeLarosa
of Chula Vista, who snagged her autograph during the singer's sold-out concert
Jasmine Trias was there Friday night, playing
the Showcase Theatre. You may remember her from Idol's 2004 season
as theHawaiian girl who wore a flower in her hair.
She finished third in the competition, more
than enough apparently to make her famous. The Showcase Theatre, with tickets
$45 each, was sold out.
OK, the place only seats 457 people. And most
were Filipino-Americans who adore Trias so much she probably could have come
out in sweat pants and a torn T-shirt and sung the Oscar Meyer weiner song
and they would have clapped.
A sell-out is a sell-out. Her first one, as
she happily told the audience. Twice. I can't believe it.
She's probably not the only one. But
American Idol is so big and so relentless it's altering the landscape
of fame.The people on the show really are overnight sensations.
The interesting question, with the program
now in its fifth season, is whether they can have lasting, significant careers.
Idol is a launching pad that casts an enormous shadow, and not
everything can grow in the shade.
Kelly Clarkson, who won the first year, already
has a couple of Grammys (and enough confidence to not mention Idol
once when she accepted them), so she looks like she's on her way. But her
runner-up that year, Justin Guarini, is famous now mostly as a flop.
Some are carving out niches a country
singer here, a Broadway performer there. Jasmine Trias is learning Tagalog.
That gets spoken in the Philippines, where
Trias is huge. Her first album there, released last September, has already
gone gold. At McDonald's restaurants in the Philippines, they carried for
a while an item on the menu called the Jasmine Trio, which included fries,
a strawberry float and a CD single, Love Ko 'To.
She was born in Hawaii, but her parents are
Filipino, and as soon as she made her first appearance on Idol,
as a17-year-old high school student, thousands of viewers with ties to the
Pacific islands adopted her as one of their own.
They backed her faithfully, a powerful bloc
that maddened critics who felt people were voting with their ethnic pride
and not their ears. They ranted that Hawaii had an advantage because of the
time zones, or claimed its residents had an easier time getting through on
phone lines that, in more populated mainland areas, were jammed.
Simon Cowell, the show's notoriously acid-tongued
judge, once referred to the controversy when he told Trias after a particularly
rocky performance that she'd better hope everyone in Hawaii had five phones.
She survived that week anyway, but it wasn't just because of Hawaii.
We voted for her all the time,
said Priscila Gil, a Chula Vistan who was at the Sycuan show Friday night.
I would tell all my friends, and we would vote 10 times or more every
Michael Cayanan, a San Diegan who was also
at the show, said he liked her because she's putting Filipinos on the
map. You don't hear Filipinos on the radio, and she's trying to give it a
It wasn't just her roots that moved people,
I like everything about her, said
Babie Geske of Rancho San Diego. Her personality, her looks, her voice.
Geske said she has family and friends who
send her the singles that have been released in just the Philippines or Hawaii.
And she's proud that her four grandchildren all know who Jasmine is.
The grandkids weren't at the show too
young. You had to be 18 to get in, which eliminated a huge swath of the
Idol constituency. Judging by Internet chatter, that bummed out
more than a few fans, including one who wondered out loud about a picket
line. None materialized.
And if it struck anyone as odd that they were
waiting in line to see a singer who herself wouldn't have been allowed in
at the time she first became famous, nobody mentioned it.
The crowd instead was dotted with knots of
folks in their 40s, 50s and 60s. At the end of the show, when Trias tried
to get the audience to dance to one of her upbeat songs, only three people
But she expressed respect for her fan base
she was introduced as Your Filipino-American American Idol
and she spoke gratefully about having such loyalty behind her as she
starts her career.
She sang several Filipino songs, including
a love ballad to a 20-year-old audience member who admitted he doesn't understand
Tagalog. Many in the audience did, and they giggled at certain lines while
he stood there a little awe-struck holding Jasmine's hand.
Unlike some other Idol finalists,
she didn't try to distance herself from the program. She joked about it in
an understated way after the first song, saying, You may have seen
me on that show.
Understatement doesn't often work in a casino,
what with all the lights and bells, and with her standing there in a flagrantly
red dress and spiked heels, but people laughed this time.
She introduced a couple of songs with
Idol references, and her encore was the chorus of I Will
Always Love You, which she sang during her audition for the show.
The crowd, in turn, acted like it was at an
Idol taping. They cheered in the middle of songs at the long,
theatrical notes. Several said they thought she was singing better now than
she ever did on TV.
When it was over, some of the Sycuan regulars
went back to the slot machines and card tables. Others headed over for an
autograph session with the singer, outside the Pai Gow room.