Maris Racal shows her introspective side on new single “Not For Me”

Aside from making a name for herself as one of the breakout young actresses of her generation, Maris Racal has successfully dabbled in writing her own songs and challenging industry expectations with her intimate and refreshing take on pop music. From penning the chart-topping confessional “Ikaw Lang Sapat Na” to collaborating with Rico Blanco on the city pop-influenced ditty “Abot Langit,” Racal is surprisingly an effective chronicler of love anthems for the modern age—a guitar-toting songstress known for balancing commercial appeal with artistic integrity.

Bursting with youthful fervor and charismatic edge, Maris Racal’s latest single “Not For Me” stretches her introspective side of music-making to interesting places, while retaining the accessibility of her recent crossover hits. Her resounding confidence translates perfectly into the musical output, but it’s her conversational and matter-of-fact songwriting style that earns the stripes, revealing a degree of self-assuredness that comes with experience.

Inspired by Britpop acts such as Aqualung and folk-pop chanteuses like Lily Allen and Regina Spektor, Racal wrote “Not For Me” not so much for intriguing unconventionality, but as an outlet to express herself in a way that feels truthful and inherently raw. The driving piano chords and the soaring arrangements give her storytelling a more authentic spin, lending it an effortless breeziness while making sure it doesn’t lessen the emotional impact of the song.

With “Not For Me” putting a spotlight on her songwriting strengths, Maris Racal explores the complexities of romantic uncertainty with a surprisingly nuanced approach—unfiltered, no longer afraid of possibilities, and ready to own the moment.  

Not For Me” is out now on all digital platforms worldwide via Sony Music Philippines.

Jannine Weigel drops new single “Passcode”

Jannine Weigel has officially released her new single ‘Passcode’ via innovative new label, RedRecords. 

Produced by the Grammy-nominated record producer Tommy Brown, renowned for his work with Ariana Grande, Chris Brown, Fifth Harmony and more, ‘Passcode’ is a euphoric dance-pop anthem. It was co-written by Canadian singer-songwriter Jessie Reyez and it’s a song equipped with the sort of irresistible chorus that’s bound to get stuck in your head. 

The single is accompanied by a dazzling music video directed by Philip Rom Kulleh. Some of Malaysia and Thailand’s biggest TikTok influencers feature amongst the cast of the video, shot and produced in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  

The single marks the arrival of a new wave of Asian pop music. A-Pop is ready for its moment in the spotlight. It’s a fitting global introduction for Weigel, who is already a superstar in Thailand. “I’m so excited for everyone to hear ‘Passcode’,” she says. “I love that it captures my personality perfectly – fun and bubbly, but with a little bit of an edge.”

Weigel is an artist who connects on a universal scale at the same time as forming an intimate bond with her fans. Her infectious personality has already helped her reach eye-popping numbers on social media. She has 3.6 million subscribers on YouTube, 3.2 million followers on Facebook, 1.7 million on Instagram and more than 500,000 on TikTok. She’s an artistic force of nature. Although she has only just turned 20, Weigel has already had a successful career as an actor, model and influencer. But singing has always been her biggest passion. “Singing is what truly makes me happy,” she says. “I love how music can affect people and how a song can evoke raw emotions in all of us.”

Born in Steinfurt, Germany, Weigel moved to Thailand when she was 10. She made her first musical waves when, as a teenager, she would upload cover versions of her favourite songs to her YouTube channel. A mix of her natural charisma and that mesmerising voice soon found a huge audience and Weigel became the first Thai singer to receive YouTube’s highly-coveted Gold Button.

Weigel is an apt first signing for RedRecords, the exciting new joint venture between AirAsia and Universal Music Group. The label is committed to shining a light on the talent that lies within ASEAN, devoted to developing Asian artists and putting Asian pop music on a global platform. It’s a region full of pop superstars waiting to be heard. RedRecords CEO Hassan Choudhury remarks, “When [CEO of AirAsia Group] Tony Fernandes and I became aware of Jannine, our backgrounds in music and entertainment told us that this was an artist primed for worldwide success.” He continues, “With the ambition we have for RedRecords, along with the extensive global marketing resources at our disposal, Jannine was the obvious choice as our first signing,” says Choudhury.

In the US, RedRecords have partnered with iconic label Def Jam Recordings, where artists such as Kanye West, Justin Bieber and Alessia Cara are continuing its illustrious history, to release Jannine’s music. It’s the sort of lineage to which Weigel belongs. “I want to be able to inspire people out there,” she says. I feel like I’m proof that as long as you never give up, anyone can have a shot at achieving their dreams, no matter where they come from.” A daring new talent in pop music has arrived. ‘Passcode’ is just the beginning for Jannine Weigel and RedRecords.

Image and details provided in a recent press release.

It’s Hero Time with the new Ben 10 movie on Cartoon Network on 10.10.2020

8.8? 9.9? How about 10.10? The entire galaxy will come to a grinding halt as Cartoon Network’s Ben 10 takes over your screen right on the dot of 10am with the worldwide premiere of “Ben 10 vs. The Universe: The Movie”. Pinoy fans of the much beloved series are expected to experience the most exciting interstellar adventure as they prepare to join Team Tennyson once again!

On Saturday, October 10, fans of the Emmy Award-winning show from across the globe can catch the highly anticipated movie on Cartoon Network, as well as on WarnerMedia channels HBO, HBO Family, Boomerang and Warner TV, and via the streaming service HBO GO.

The action-packed TV movie will focus around a blast from Ben’s past returning to do double the damage on Team Tennyson and planet Earth itself, forcing Ben to go interstellar to save the day. Meanwhile, Gwen and Grandpa Max team up to help protect the world in Ben’s absence. But when our boy hero is confused for the villain in space, Ben must figure out a way to get back to Earth to help save it!

Leading up the movie’s premiere, loyal fans can also enjoy the Ben 10 “Power of 10” stunt airing every Saturday on Cartoon Network. These special episodes feature riveting moments with several of Ben 10’s most forceful adversaries such as Kevin 11, Steam Smythe and Vilgax, the insufferable intergalactic alien warlord. For more fun intergalactic activities, check out the https://ben10.cartoonnetworkasia.com

The series is produced by Cartoon Network Studios and created, and executive produced by Man of Action Entertainment (Big Hero 6, Generator Rex), with John Fang (Mixels, Generator Rex) as executive producer.

Tune in to “Ben 10 vs. The Universe: The Movie” on Saturday, October 10 simulcast on Cartoon Network (SKYcable ch 43SD), HBO (SKYcable ch 54SD), HBO Family (SKYcable ch 102SD), Boomerang (SKYcable ch 42SD), Warner TV (SKYcable ch 34SD) and HBO GO. Just remember – it’s hero time at exactly 10am on 10.10.2020!

Not yet on SKYcable? To subscribe or for more information, fill up this form.

Show details and image provided by Warner Media in a recent press release.

Chinese dinner feast from Eat Fresh Famous Hongkong Street Food, Maybunga

Back when I used to spend a lot of time in San Juan for work, one of the potential highlights of the day would be a visit to Eat Fresh Famous Hongkong Street Food along Jose Abad Santos Street.

This unassuming resto is famous for serving tasty and affordable dimsum, street food and claypot rice toppings.

Since my office moved locations a few years ago, I haven’t been able to go back there for a Chinese food trip, and when the quarantine was effected last March, a trip to San Juan became all the more unlikely.

Imagine my delight when I discovered that a new branch opened right in my hometown of Pasig City. Better yet, it delivers via GrabFood!

Eat Fresh Hongkong Street Food, Maybunga

Eat Fresh Hongkong Street Food, Maybunga

So I took advantage of GrabFood’s FREE delivery promo for my Friday night dinner with the kiddos, and we feasted on:

Salt and Pepper Spareribs (Php322). One of my favorite Chinese dishes made with pork spare ribs seasoned with salt, chili peppers and five spice powder, then deep fried until the outside is crispy to complement the tender meat inside.

Eat Fresh Hongkong Street Food, Maybunga

Eat Fresh Hongkong Street Food, Maybunga

Lemon Chicken (Php322). Crispy lightly battered chicken breast pieces doused in a sweet and tangy sticky sauce. For my daughter, a Chinese meal is not complete without this dish.

Eat Fresh Hongkong Street Food, Maybunga

Eat Fresh Hongkong Street Food, Maybunga

3 Kinds Mushroom (Php270). This dish is the answer to this mommy question: “How do I get my kids to eat more healthy food?” Well, this delectable dish made with three different kinds of mushroom braised in flavorful oyster sauce got my kids to expand their palates to non-meat dishes.

Eat Fresh Hongkong Street Food, Maybunga

Eat Fresh Hongkong Street Food, Maybunga

Special Fried Rice (Php138). Filipino comedian Jo Koy tells how his dad said “Rice is rice.” Well, I beg to differ. This rice dish is special: cold day-old rice is tossed with meat, seafood and scrambled in a wok and flavored with soy sauce, aromatics and other seasonings. It goes so well with almost any Chinese dish that I can’t imagine eating Chinese food with any other type of rice dish.

Eat Fresh Hongkong Street Food, Maybunga

Eat Fresh Hongkong Street Food, Maybunga

So foodies, if you’ve got a craving for Asian flavors, bring out your phone and check your food delivery apps. There might be an Eat Fresh branch that delivers in your area.

Eat Fresh Hongkong Street Food, Maybunga

Eat Fresh Hongkong Street Food, Maybunga

This Eat Fresh Famous Hongkong Street Food is located along C. Raymundo Avenue, Maybunga, Pasig City, open daily from 10am to 7pm. For delivery, call +63 915 5827695 or course your order through GrabFood.

Download the Grab App and get a discount on your first food order when you use my code: GRABJELLYBEANS.

Other branches are located at:

  • 691 Jose Abad Santos Street, Little Baguio, San Juan City
  • 92 Jose Abad Santos Street, Behind Little Baguio City Hall, Little Baguio, San Juan City
  • 32 General Ordoñez Corner Bayan-Bayanan Avenue, Marikina Heights, Marikina City
  • 100-A Maria Clara Street, Santo Domingo, Banawe, Quezon City
  • 48 President’s Avenue, BF Homes, Parañaque City

Eat Fresh Hongkong Famous Street Food Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my reviews of other Asian restaurants:

Singapore hip-hop producer Wovensound drops brand new single “Sickleberry Sunsets”

Singapore hip-hop producer Wovensound has released his new single “Sickleberry Sunsets” via indie label Umami Records.

With its exquisite fusion of lo-fi, jazz, and hip-hop, Wovensound’s latest jam exudes a feel-good summer road trip vibe while leaning towards a classic, stylistic lineage in terms of production and overall sound.

According to the underrated producer, the song was recorded during the lockdown period in Singapore, with no access to the studio. He collaborates extensively and roped in 4 artists from Singapore on this track, including rappers Ihasamic!, SHAK, Andrew Marko, and singer Raina Sum. “I just love how this song takes different turns throughout its different sections, with each
artist bringing their own flavour to the table and bouncing off each other,” Wovensound shares.

Lyrically, “Sickleberry Sunsets” doesn’t adhere to bland compromises. It’s a slickly produced hip-hop anthem that tackles two sides of a familiar persona. “In the song, there are two stories playing simultaneously: a cynic’s struggle with staying optimistic as a realist, and an optimist’s struggle of dealing with a loss of innocence and ignorance”, shares Wovensound. “I was in a very Nujabes mood when creating the track. The horns at the end is me paying some tribute to an artist I love dearly.”

“Sickleberry Sunsets” is the lead single of Wovensound’s 6-track debut EP Vertigos Fulfilled, dropping in June 2021.

Listen to Sickleberry Sunsets via Umami Records.

About Wovensound
Singapore hip-hop producer Wovensound weaves his love for music with other artists, collaborating extensively and producing
something unique every time. Wovensound AKA Vinod Dass is also a veteran of Singapore’s underground metal scene, playing guitar in various bands including Truth Be Known and Mucus Mortuary. He decided to establish this moniker in order to pay tribute to his love for other forms of music, mainly hip hop and rap. Wovensound’s 6-track debut EP Vertigos Fulfilled drops in June 2021.

About Umami Records
Umami Records is a Singapore-based indie record label founded in 2013. Much like the “5th taste” reputation of its namesake, the label strongly believes in discovering new, interesting sounds that run underground and away from the mainstream. The label’s tight-knit, curated roster includes releases from Linying, The Steve McQueens, brb., Evanturetime, CampFire, Martin Baltser, Phoria, Oriental Cravings, and more.

Image and details provided by Umami Records in a recent press release

Donut takeout from Krispy Kreme, SM Megamall

As some of you may have gathered from my previous blog posts, my kiddos are avid Krispy Kreme fans. Since the start of the quarantine, we have been relying on delivery services to get our hands on these donut treats.

However, when Hubby and I recently went shopping for school supplies at SM Megamall, our first visit to this mall since March, the opportunity to grab a box or two of Krispy Kreme donuts presented itself.

Krispy Kreme, Megamall

As required among all mall-based retail outlets, Krispy Kreme’s branch at SM Megamall adheres to safety and sanitation protocols such as requiring patrons to wear face masks and face shields, answer a contact-tracing questionnaire and sanitize hands prior to entering the store premises.

Krispy Kreme, Megamall

Dining in is no longer allowed, so unlike during my previous visits before the quarantine, there were no customers hanging out inside the store. In fact, only a handful of customers are allowed to be inside the store to maintain physical distancing.

All those restrictions are well worth following to keep ourselves safe. Plus, Hubby and I were still able to bring home a dozen Krispy Kreme donuts for the kiddos (which I paid for using GCash, again, to minimize physical contact).

Krispy Kreme, Megamall

I got a Box of 12 (Php425) which contains Krispy Kreme’s “light as a cloud, melt in your mouth, pillows of goodness” yeast-raised donuts. Since the fam fave is still the Original Glazed donut, the package included nine of those.

Krispy Kreme, Megamall

Krispy Kreme, Megamall

Krispy Kreme, Megamall

I just added a piece each of Red Velvet, New York Cheesecake and Kreme-filled with Gold Sprinkles for variety and to complete the dozen.

Krispy Kreme, Megamall

Krispy Kreme, Megamall

Krispy Kreme, Megamall

Krispy Kreme, Megamall

Krispy Kreme, Megamall

Krispy Kreme, Megamall

Needless to say, the kiddos were delighted with our pasalubong and the fam demolished the donuts in no time.

I’m glad that despite the pandemic and the restrictions brought about by the quarantine, we are still able to enjoy simple and delish delights such as these.

Krispy Kreme, Megamall

This Krispy Kreme branch is located at Upper Ground Floor, Building A, SM Megamall, Ortigas, Mandaluyong City.

To get your box of donuts, call +63 2 88879000, order online or via GrabFood.

Download the Grab App and get a discount on your first food order when you use my code: GRABJELLYBEANS.

Krispy Kreme Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my reviews of other dessert shops in the metro:

Buyers’ guide for charcoal grills on a budget

If the sight of dancing flames giving way to glowing red charcoals, the smoky aroma of the barbecue tickling your nostrils and the satisfying sound of sizzling food as they cook on a gridiron make your mouth water, then grilling is for you!

There’s something so primal about creating and tending a fire in the great outdoors to cook your food. It seems to harken back to when our cavemen ancestors would gather around bonfires to cook the spoils of their hunt. That prehistoric experience is mirrored in backyard barbecues, with people gathering around in a festive atmosphere while most of the action takes place on top of the grill.

Charcoal Grill

Charcoal grills comprise the most popular category of outdoor grills, dominating pop culture images of barbecues from movies to TV ads. While some cooks would cite the time it takes to stoke a fire up to the temperature required for cooking as a disadvantage, expert grillers would argue that the authentic smoky flavor it brings to grilled food as its strongest appeal.

Charcoal Grill

Even if you’re considering to buy a grill on a low budget, you still need to consider other factors to help you choose the right one for your needs, such as:

How many people you plan to grill for.  This will help you choose the size of charcoal grill to buy. A small one (26 inches at the widest point or less) is suitable for grilling for two or for a small family.  Medium-sized grills (between 27 to 33 inches) are perfect for grilling for larger families, while large ones (34 inches or bigger) are appropriate for large clan gatherings or neighborhood cookout parties.

Where you plan to use it. If there is a designated area in your patio or backyard for it, you can choose free-standing grill that can stay in a fixed position.  If you don’t have a fixed spot for it or you plan to bring it along when you travel, you would need one that’s more lightweight and portable.

How to manage temperature. Maintaining the right temperature can spell the difference between a juicy piece of premium steak that will get your tastebuds tingling to one that’s all wasted potential.  Temperature is managed in a charcoal grill by manipulating the fire: features that facilitate stoking the coals, adding fuel or adjusting airflow will make grilling so much easier.

How easy to clean and maintain. Buying a charcoal grill is quite an investment so you would want to have it around and functioning well for a long time.  Proper clean-up becomes really important as wet ash left in your grill can wear the metal away over time and can accumulate to become an unmanageable mess, so be sure to look for features that facilitate easy ash removal. Check on the availability of accessories that will prolong the life of your charcoal grill such as a cover to protect it from the elements. You may even opt for a disposable charcoal grill so you won’t have to worry about cleanup and maintenance!

Buying a charcoal grill may be your first step towards many tasty food adventures so be sure to take the time and the effort to weigh your options and choose carefully.

This post contains affiliate links.

Bryan Estepa deals with life’s curveballs on new song “Admit Now, Pay Later”

Filipino-Australian singer-songwriter Bryan Estepa navigates the process of understanding and coming to terms with life’s curveballs on his brand new single, “Admit Now, Pay Later”—released on September 18, Friday under Lilystars Records / Rock Indiana.

Stripping everything down to essentials while exploring a more sonically adventurous approach to musicality, Estepa deflates any kind of conceit for a song that touches on hindsight and self-reflection. He strives to keep his narrative distinctly more intimate and closer to home without sounding contrived at all. 

“Lyrically this song touches on how quickly life can change both for the good and the bad,” the folk rock artist explains. “But just as importantly is how we react to it. There’s never gonna be a perfect response to life’s curve balls but we just deal with it the best we can.”

Having been inspired by phrases and passages that he encountered or read on a daily basis, Bryan Estepa remembers being instantly drawn seeing the sign “Admit Now, Pay Later.” He particularly likes the incongruity in its meaning: the idea of diving into the deep end, of being courageous and dealing with what may come from it later on. He shares, “It was also one of the few songs that was born during the heaviest period of the COVID lockdowns here in Sydney and I had a really unexpected creative burst. When that happens, I try to ride the wave as long as I can.”

Driven by intricately playful instrumentation and wistful alt-country melodies, “Admit Now, Pay Later” feels more like an extension of Bryan Estepa’s remarkable consistency as a songwriter and musician. With guidance from multiple ARIA and APRA-award winning producer, Josh Pyke, Estepa’s new track blends tenderness with immaculate precision, revealing its charm even the first time you listen to it.  He reveals, “The final version is a lot more layered than my original idea but that’s the beauty of music and the way it can evolve in beautiful and unexpected ways.” 

“Admit Now, Pay Later” is out now on all digital and streaming platforms worldwide via Lilystars Records. 

The Manila Hotel joins Manila Restaurant Week from Sep 20 to 27

Manila Restaurant Week is an event under the “Manila, Support Local” Campaign, which aims to promote local food establishments in Manila that have been affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

Great food and great company are two of life’s simplest pleasures. So mark your calendars and get ready to feast on scrumptious food as The Manila Hotel’s famed Café Ilang Ilang participates in Manila Restaurant Week happening from September 20 to 27, 2020.

Indulge in a choice of starters like the savory Spinach-Ricotta Ravioli in light Parmesan Cream Sauce or Pomelo-Prawns Lumpia in Calamansi Honey Dressing; main course of sumptuous Beef Tenderloin in Balsamic glaze with marble potato and market vegetables or Pampano cooked in Tandoori Oven with Peas Pilaf rice and stir-fried Asian vegetables; and dessert of Fresh Fruits Salad with Ube ice cream or Mango panna cotta as dessert. The starter-main-dessert set is offered at only P980 nett per person, but cannot be availed of in conjunction with other promos or discounts. 

Manila Restaurant Week is an event under the “Manila, Support Local” Campaign, launched by the Bureau of Permits and City Government of Manila. The city-wide project aims to promote local food establishments in Manila that have been affected by the COVID-19 crisis. About 80 restaurants will be offering prix fixe menus at affordable prices during Manila Restaurant Week.

Launched on September 15, The Manila Hotel played one of the hosts of the multi-venue simultaneous kick-off, which was livestreamed on social media platforms. The other hosts were Bayleaf Hotel, Lucky China Town Mall, and Robinsons Place Ermita. The virtual launch was marked by an online performance of Lea Salonga who sang her new single, “Dream Again,” the official theme song of the campaign. 

“I believe we can do a lot in restoring the City of Manila back to its former glory under the leadership of Mayor Isko Moreno. We in the private sectors will always support you in this very worthwhile undertaking. Soon, Manila will be great again,” said Atty. Joey Lina, The Manila Hotel President, in his opening remarks during the launch. 

Manila Mayor Isko Moreno and Vice Mayor Honey Lacuña gave their respective speeches before checking the 11 restaurants that showcased their dishes at The Manila Hotel’s Roma Salon—namely Café Ilang Ilang, Century Park Hotel, Scorched, Golden Fortune, Luneta Park Hotel, Ilustrado, Tanabe, Jus & Jerrys, Patio de Conchita, Pares Kimchi, and Harbor View—and visiting the other venues, which was watched by thousands via livestream.

The Manila Hotel and all its outlets operates in strict compliance to health protocols, so our guests are assured of the highest standards of food safety and sanitation measures in accordance with the government guidelines.

For more information, you may check us out on Facebook or Instagram (@TheManilaHotel), or call 85270011 or 09989501912. For reservations, email resvn@themanilahotel.com.

Image and details provided by The Manila Hotel in a recent press release.

Project Orange chronicles the growing pains of romance on “Play Pretend”

In less than three years, Project Orange has slowly but surely gained traction outside of Bacolod City’s relatively small but thriving music community. Thanks to their maiden singles “Ctrl + Esc” and “Sputnik Sweetheart,” the promising quartet earned their chunk of streaming listenership on cities such as Taipei, Manila, and Hong Kong—a proof that their brand of music sees no boundaries, and resonates on a universal level. 

Formed by vocalist/guitarist Diana “Moose” Mapa, guitarist Ann Marie Pillado, bassist Martin Garces, and drummer Miguel Gabriel San Miguel, Project Orange returns with a distinctly laid-back affair that chronicles the growing pains of young love and the unsteady circumstances that define it.

Their new single “Play Pretend” captivates listeners with their sophisticated blend of bedroom pop and indie rock. The four-piece outfit employs a lush and dream-like palette in terms of musical approach, fully embracing a deceptively simple arrangement that wouldn’t feel out of place side by side with the breezy pop sensibilities of Clairo and Boy Pablo. 

“Too many people get caught up with the immense amount of music elements these days and I try to avoid that,” lead vocalist Diana Mapa shares in a statement. “The additional portions like the distorted guitar and synths were suggested by the producers in the studio and it added a stunning perspective to the song.”

Steeped in melancholic pulse, “Play Pretend” provides glimpses of a promising music act informed by the sound of its time, but never allowing trends to envelope the finality and packaging. It’s all heart, less feels: the more you immerse to the song’s intimate revelations, the closer it hits home.  

Lyrically, “Play Pretend” demands to be felt. With its wandering verses, a bridge that makes you feel like you’re at a wit’s end, and a chorus that hits you with a sanguine yet somber tune, the song represents built up feelings that will never see the light of the day. Mapa shares, “It’s like you’re running out of time, but at the same time you aren’t. And that distorts what you think of love, whether it be imaginary or reality.”

“Play Pretend” is the third official single of indie pop collective Project Orange under Lilystar Records. Stream their new track here.

Image and details provided by Lilystar Records in a recent press release.