EATS A CELEBRATION at Italianni’s with 50% off on all pizzas on February 23!

Buon giorno, Italian food lovers!

Your go-to Italian-American restaurant has cooked up something special for you to enjoy on its silver anniversary.

Italianni’s prides itself on giving you good food, conviviality and good service through the years from the opening of its first branch in Greenbelt 1 in 1996 to the present. Despite the restrictions brought about by the pandemic, it still strives to bring its signature blend of tasty Italian-American dishes in servings big enough for sharing, welcoming atmosphere that encourages conversation and bonding, as well as the cheery attention of its crew to its new and loyal clientele.

Italianni’s, Trinoma

Italianni’s 25th Anniversary

Even after twenty-five years, discriminating foodies still can’t get enough of its signature dishes such as Spaghetti and Meatballs,  Spinach Artichoke Formaggio, Seafood Cioppino, Sicilian Salad, Quattro Staggioni Pizza, Margherita Pizza, Tartuffo Cake and NY Cheesecake.

Italianni’s 25th Anniversary

Italianni’s 25th Anniversary

Italianni’s 25th Anniversary

Italianni’s lives by one of its credos: GRAND to imply “Guest Requests are Never Denied”. The staff go the extra mile to please guests with simple gestures such as providing an extra salad dressing or parmesan cheese, cooking items off the menu, to indulging kids to assemble their own pizza. It is a passion founded on Bistro’s genuine and authentic customer service.

This is why Italianni’s is giving back to everyone who has patronized it for the last quarter century. On February 23, 2021, all pizzas are available at 50% off for dine-in and take-out orders.  That means, you can enjoy their Classico, Margherita, Quattro Carne, Truffle Mushroom, Quattro Staggioni, Pepperoni, Tropicale, Shrimp and Mushroom Anchovy, Garlic and Cheese, and Quattro Formaggi pizzas…all at half the price!

Italianni’s 25th Anniversary

This is the restaurant’s way of saying “Grazie!” for sharing twenty five years of wonderful and fulfilling journey and Italianni’s expects many more years of bringing people together. The future is promising and Italianni’s is in this for the long haul.

Italianni’s 25th Anniversary

So celebrate Italianni’s silver anniversary with your loved ones by dropping by one of its branches and sharing a pizza or two, along with your favorite Italian-American food!

Italianni’s, Trinoma

Italianni’s branches are located at:

  • 4th Floor, Trinoma Mall, Bagong Pag-Asa, Quezon City
  • Second Floor, Eastwood Mall, Libis, Quezon City
  • Level 6, East Wing, Shangri-La Plaza, Ortigas, Mandaluyong City
  • Third Floor, Uptown Place Mall, 36th Street Corner 9th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City
  • B5, Bonifacio High Street, 9th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City
  • Ground Floor, Phase 2, UP Town Center, Katipunan Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City
  • Ground Floor, Venice Grand Canal Mall, McKinley Hill, Taguig City
  • Second Floor, Glorietta 4, Ayala Center, Glorietta Complex, Makati City
  • Level 1, Greenbelt 2, Ayala Center, Greenbelt, Makati City
  • Ayala North Exchange, Ayala Avenue Corner Amorsolo Street, Legaspi Village, Makati City
  • Second Floor, Newport Mall, Resorts World Manila, Newport City, Pasay City
  • Ground Floor, Midtown Wing, Robinsons Place Manila, Ermita, Manila
  • Level 1, S Maison, Conrad Manila, Seaside Boulevard Corner Coral Way, Mall of Asia Complex (MOA), Pasay City
  • Corte de Las Palmas, Alabang Town Center, Alabang, Muntinlupa City
  • Ground Floor, Evia Lifestyle Center, Daang Hari Road, Almanza, Las Piñas City

Promo details provided in a recent press release.

Three reasons why the SKY EVO Box will keep you glued to your TV screen

For many of us, the past year has made our home take center stage in our lives.

Instead of being just the place for rest and respite from our various occupations, it became the central venue for work and learning.

The large screen TV that used to take pride of place in our living rooms as our main source of entertainment may have been relegated to being just another screen by which we consume content.

If you look back with longing to the time when you can sit down in front of your TV to escape the stress and drudgery of daily life, SKY may just have what you need.

With the launch of its latest innovation, SKY Evo, it promises a host of enriching and larger than life viewing experiences that will make you rethink just what your TV is for.

SKY Evo is the newest Digibox, an equipment attached to your TV which decodes SKYcable’s digital signal, allowing you to access the channels in your cable TV plan. With this device, you also have the option to subscribe to additional channels and pay-per-view programs (take your pick from over 190 channels available), enabling you to personalize your cable TV service according to your family’s needs and preferences.

However, SKY Evo is so much more than that.

1. Built-in streaming apps expand your entertainment choices.

Watch the latest trending series on Amazon Prime Video or HBO Go. Learn from a new tutorial video on Youtube or listen to cool tunes on Spotify. You may also watch top local shows, iWantTFC Originals, Filipino blockbusters and classic movies on iWantTFC. Really, you get a wealth of entertainment options every time you turn on your TV.

2. Gaming apps extend the fun capabilities of your TV.

You can share the fun with the fam with over 5,000 apps and games available for download on Google Play.

3. A multitude of Google functionalities at your fingertips.

On top of the jam-packed entertainment offerings of SKY Evo, the device is also equipped with Google Assistant, a virtual assistant that can follow commands and answer questions with just a press of a button and speak through the remote control.

With Chromecast also built-in to SKY Evo, you can wirelessly cast your mobile device’s display onto your big screen TV.

With SKY Evo, getting glued to your TV is becoming a very attractive proposition, wouldn’t you think?

SKY Evo is best experienced with SKY Fiber Unli Broadband + HD Cable TV plans so you can enjoy fast and reliable connection with SKY Fiber and a plethora of content with SKYcable channels.

The SKY Evo with SKY Fiber Unli Broadband + HD Cable TV plans is available for a one-time installation fee of Php2,000. It is also available on SKYcable plans for a one-time installation fee of Php2,500.

Know more about SKY Evo and its bundle offerings here.

Disclosure: I work for SKY and part of my job is promoting its products and services, especially the content it provides to its subscribers. I consider being able to share my love for TV shows and movies and the experience of watching and talking about them with like-minded people some of the biggest perks of my job.

Valentine’s Day celebrations at the New World Makati Hotel

New World Makati Hotel beckons couples for a romantically indulgent all-you-can-eat  lunch or dinner at Café 1228 on 14 February, as well as a decadent array of swoon-worthy sweet treats at The Shop, ideal as gifts for that special someone.

Romantic Indulgence at Café 1228

Couples are in for a delightfully decadent dining experience as Café 1228 offers an extensive all-you-can-eat a la carte selection on 14 February for lunch or dinner. The restaurant’s signature slow roast prime ribeye, Rosemary lamb chops, Pork cassoulet, Braised leg of lamb in red wine, and Seared salmon with parmesan crisp and dill cream sauce are just some of the enticing items guests can enjoy along with a complimentary glass of red, white or sparkling wine.

Cafe 1228 Valentine

Salads and light bites to start off the gustatory experience are Parma ham with brie and grape chutney, Cambozola with roasted cherry tomatoes on pesto crostini and Salami Milano with cocktail onions, beet cured salmon, horseradish, dill and cornichons, to name a few.

Seafood served hot-off-the-grill include shrimps, blue crabs, clams and mussels prepped with an array of sauces – garlic butter, salt and pepper, garlic and cheese, white wine, and sweet chili. These would go nicely with the Italian selection of pasta and pizza such as Pesto cream, Puttanesca, Marinara, and Carbonara sauces, as well as Frutti di mare, Margherita, Parma ham arugula, and Mediterranean vegetable, respectively.

Cafe 1228 Valentine

For desserts, there is Truffle cake, Strawberry shortcake, Bread and butter pudding, Mandarin crème brulee, Mango sago pudding, White chocolate sable, Chocolate bonbons, and more.

Delectable Chinese, Japanese, regional, and local dishes complete the indulgent spread.

Cafe 1228 Valentine

Valentine’s Day lunch is priced at PHP1,188 nett, while dinner is PHP2,500 nett.

Swoon-worthy Sweet Treats at The Shop

Sweets special someone are available at The Shop. Decadent treats such as a box of six dark chocolate and lemon-flavored Madeleines (PHP350), a box of ten Lavender-infused cocoa truffles (PHP1,000), a box of four large Mandola cookies (PHP450) and a one-pound or petite-sized Strawberry Rose Cake (PHP1,600) and (PHP450) are sure ways to make hearts and tastebuds flutter with delight. All prices are nett.

Cafe 1228 Valentine

For information and reservations, guests may call New World Makati Hotel at +63 2 88116888 ext. 3679, send a Viber message at +63 9178884194, or send an email.

Those interested can stay updated and follow New World Makati Hotel’s social media accounts, on Facebook and on Instagram.

About New World Hotel Makati

New World Makati Hotel is a world-class deluxe hotel located in the heart of Makati. With a thoroughly modern vibe and hints of Oriental influence, the hotel features 580 guestrooms and suites with Residence Club executive floor accommodation, a business center, sophisticated dining options, a well-equipped fitness center with sauna and spa, an outdoor swimming pool, and 1,800 square meters of dynamic function space for meetings and conferences.

The hotel is located directly across Greenbelt, the country’s premier lifestyle shopping center. It is also nine kilometers from Ninoy Aquino International Airport and within steps of many embassies, as well as Manila’s top business addresses and upscale shopping venues.

Details as well as photos for header and The Shop were provided in a recent press release.

Sweet Valentine surprises for your sweet someone at The Manila Hotel

Sweets to the sweet, or so they say.

So on the day of hearts, treat your special someone to something special from The Manila Hotel.

Chocolate gifts have long been a staple of Valentine’s Days for decades, so what better way to show your love than with handcrafted chocolates. Two new items from The Manila Hotel Deli will surely make your Valentine’s night all the sweeter. Surprise your loved one with either the Valentine Praline Bouquet or the Chocolate Strawberry Bouquet.

For only P980 nett, the Valentine Praline Bouquet is exactly that—a round bouquet of hazelnut gianduja-based pralines, with highlights of rolled pistachio nuts. Timeless and popular, round bouquets are popular in weddings, but this artisanal chocolate bouquet is one that will surely add a sweet touch to Valentine’s Day.

Manila Hotel Valentine 2021

The Chocolate Strawberry Bouquet, which sells for only P1,380 nett, combines the taste of juicy strawberries and the comforting sweetness of chocolates loved by many. Dipped in artisanal Belgian chocolate and interspersed with pink variant, this is a perfect gift that says a lot.

Manila Hotel Valentine 2021

These sweet surprise variants can be pre-ordered starting February 8, 2021 from The Manila Hotel’s Delicatessen, or by calling 85270011 or 09989501912.

And just in time for the day of hearts, the Valentine-inspired Raspberry Delight heart-shaped cake combines three ingredients that make the perfect combo: Chocolate Mousse brings sweetness and mellowness; raspberries an acidity note; and pistachio biscuit just the right crunch. For only, Php1,300 nett, this indulgent dessert is just what you need to satisfy your sweet tooth without going overboard. One-day pre-order is recommended.

Manila Hotel Valentine 2021

The Delicatessen also has a host of other chocolate gift items in regular boxes and collectible boxes like heart-shaped sinamay containers. From Belgian chocolate bars to assorted pralines to heart-shaped concoctions, you have numerous options to choose from.

Details and images provided in a recent press release.

Chef Jessie says it with Cakes this Valentine

Express your love this Valentine’s Day with gloriously delicious and amazingly beautiful cakes by Chef Jessie Sincioco.

Chef Jessie’s creations come infused with dark rich chocolate, stuffed with fresh, sweet mangoes, pressed with chopped pistachios, topped with bright berries, filled with strawberry cream or iced with ube halaya.

On top of the list is the Award Winning My Tita’s Special Treat, a delicate and moist cake sponge with puree of ripe Philippine mangoes filled with buttercream and mango slices, iced with cream cheese frosting and decorated with Chef Jessie’s signature mango rose.

Chef Jessie’s Valentine’s Day Cake

Princess Carmen is Chef Jessie’s version of sans rival with layers of luscious pistachio meringue and French butter cream filling topped with vanilla cream Chantilly and chopped pistachios.

Chef Jessie’s Valentine’s Day Cake

Strawberry Shortcake is a towering moist vanilla sponge cake filled and iced with light strawberry cream, top glazed with homemade strawberry gelee and adorned with fresh strawberries.

Chef Jessie’s Valentine’s Day Cake

Chef Jessie’s Baked Cheesecake comes with a hint of vanilla and fresh lemon with cornflake crust topped with your choice of cherry, blueberry, mango or a combination of your favorite fruit topping.

Chef Jessie’s Valentine’s Day Cake

You cannot get more chocolate than Chocolate Gateau “A La Teddy Keng” with layers of dark chocolate sponge cake filled with dulce de leche chocolate ganache, covered with a rich chocolate icing and decorated with soutache and dark chocolate flower.

Chef Jessie’s Valentine’s Day Cake

Another creation is Chocolate Fudge Cake, a sponge cake with chocolate ganache and light vanilla cream covered with dark chocolate icing and topped with fresh fruits.

Chef Jessie’s Valentine’s Day Cake

Something light and chocolaty is “All Occasion” Chocolate Mousse Cake. A light chocolate sponge cake filled with equally light chocolate mousse iced with vanilla cream Chantilly and decorated with fresh fruits in season. Sugar Free “M” Cake is for those looking for a healthy yet still delectable option. This elegantly simple cake is sugar free and gluten free, topped with a thick layer of sugar free dark chocolate mousse and laced with toasted almond flakes.

Chef Jessie’s Valentine’s Day Cake

A nod to local flavors is Ube Macapuno Cake which is ube chiffon cake filled and iced with homemade halaya mousse and generously topped with tender macapuno strips.

Chef Jessie’s Valentine’s Day Cake

For Valentine, Chef Jessie can personalize your cake of choice with your own sweet sentiments.

Chef Jessie’s Valentine’s Day Cake

Place your order 2 days in advance for pick up or delivery. Text or call 0917-896-7880, 0917-833-0797 and 0977-0976-649 or email chefjessiesplace@chefjessie.com. Pick up is at Chef Jessie’s Place located at 1997 Pililia St. corner Obrero and Tanay Streets, Makati and is open everyday for pick up and delivery from 9am to 6pm.

Ten Shopee Valentine’s Day Sale gift ideas you need to add-to-cart now!

Surprise your loved ones with gifts from Shopee’s Valentine’s Day Sale

Valentine’s Day isn’t just about romantic love. It’s also a time to recognize other equally important relationships—those we share with our family and friends.

Whether you’re celebrating the occasion with a significant other or not, remember to show your appreciation to other loved ones as well. Let them know that they’re on your mind this special day. The world could always do with a little more love to go around!

On February 14, surprise them with the thoughtful gifts below. You can get up to 90% off on these gifts and more at Shopee’s Valentine’s Day Sale.

Cowin Wireless Sweatproof Earphones

Shopee Valentine's Day Sale

Has your brother ruined several earphones while working out? Get him the Cowin Wireless Sweatproof Earphones. It touts water-resistant earbuds, superior sound quality, and up to six hours of playtime.

Xiaomi Mi Band 5

Shopee Valentine's Day Sale

Encourage your dad to get started on his fitness journey with the Xiaomi Mi Band 5. This smartwatch tracks steps, distance, and calories burned. It also monitors the heart rate and sleep cycle. The battery can last up to 20 days on standby.

Pineng Powerbank

Shopee Valentine's Day Sale

Is your sibling’s phone constantly running out of juice? Get them the Pineng Powerbank, which has built-in battery protection to prevent overcharging and short-circuiting. It runs on a capacity of 3.7V/20 000mAh 74Wh and can charge two devices at a time.

Sesame Street Sleepwear

Shopee Valentine's Day Sale

Treat your pamangkin to cute new jammies. Each pajama set is made of cotton spandex, so it’s breathable and comfortable to wear. This also comes in adult sizes perfect for kids at heart.

Bling Light 3D Night Light

Shopee Valentine's Day Sale

Know someone who’s obsessed with all things hallyu? Buy her this adorable finger heart-shaped Bling Light 3D Night Light! This compact lamp comes with three light color options: yellow, white, and warm white.

Vice Cosmetics Kavouge Everyday Palette

Shopee Valentine's Day Sale

For your makeup junkie pal, the Vice Cosmetics Kavogue Everyday Palette features 12 multi-purpose powders for filling in the brows, adding color to the cheeks, and creating flawless eye looks. This product also comes with a handy makeup mirror.

CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser

Shopee Valentine's Day Sale

If you’re tired of your sister constantly rummaging through your skincare stash, it’s time to help her build her own regimen. CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser is non-comedogenic, non-irritating, and fragrance-free. It effectively removes dirt, oil, and makeup while retaining moisture.

Eco Natural Bamboo Toothbrush

Shopee Valentine's Day Sale

Help a friend through their sustainability journey with gifts that won’t end up in landfills. The Eco Natural Bamboo Toothbrush is made of a durable bamboo handle and petroleum-based plastic bristles that will biodegrade within months.

Gun Massager

Shopee Valentine's Day Sale

Your super mom works hard to take care of the whole family, so treat her to a well-deserved massage. This Gun Massager alleviates muscle stiffness and enhances blood circulation. It also features four massage heads and six variable speeds.

Anti-Aging Eye Patches

Shopee Valentine's Day Sale

Everyone has that one busy tita. She’ll love using these Anti-Aging Eye Patches during her downtime. These soothing, moisturizing collagen patches are great at reducing puffy eyebags and dark circles.

Don’t miss out on the chance to score big discounts on these gifts and more at the Shopee Valentine’s Day Sale. Enjoy up to 90% off until February 14.

For more deals, don’t forget to top up your ShopeePay! Until February 28, enjoy 10% cashback on all cashback shops when you use ShopeePay.

Download the Shopee app for free via the App Store or Google Play.

Images and details provided in a recent press release.

Worth a listen: January 2021 in Music

The local and international music scene continues to evolve and thrive despite the limitations resulting from the global pandemic. In this post, I have listed the hottest news in music for the first month of 2021 for you music lovers to enjoy.

In 2020, Bryan Estepa released two new songs, continuing on from the success of his exceptional 2019 album Sometimes I Just Don’t Know. The second of those singles, ‘Admit Now, Pay Later’, received a video premiere on Rolling Stone Australia, was featured on NME Australia and had strong national radio airplay – including selection as one of the featured Singles of the Week on 2ser FM in Sydney. Now the Sydney-based Filipino songwriter reveals the second of his collaborative efforts with multi ARIA and APRA award-winning Australian songwriter Josh Pyke.

Estepa has always had an undeniable ear for hooks. Combined with classic pop and rock arrangements, (like his heroes You Am I, The Beatles and Wilco) his songs always possess a timeless quality. He’s proved it over and over again across six acclaimed albums and live shows in Australia, Japan, the USA, UK, Spain, Sweden and the Philippines.  

On ‘Trick of the Light’, Estepa combines heavenly melodies and a melancholic air on this irresistible slice of indie guitar pop, singing about acceptance, letting go and allowing yourself to feel whatever it is that comes out while you’re treading new waters. As always with his songwriting, there are layered poetic brushstrokes in the way Estepa blends and informs his songs with multiple meanings, as he explains. “I also like the idea that the presence of light does not necessarily signal happiness or life but can also mean that emotions and perception can be blurred by its appearance.”

Working with Pyke, Estepa was impressed with the producer’s instinct and ability to enhance the inherent strengths of Estepa’s songs. “It’s exciting watching Josh work! You sense that his creative light is always on and he needs to get his ideas out quickly before it starts to flicker. He takes on what I think the song’s direction might be but adds a couple of detours that are normally right on the money.”

Pyke is quick to reciprocate the praise. “Bryan’s a great writer and collaborator. He’s got a classic pop sensibility but is really open to feedback and experimentation which made my job as producer really fun and free.”

Sonically, there’s a beautiful weightlessness to the production and instrumentation that gracefully carries the song. Guitars sparkle and lightly jangle amid some sublime piano, backing vocals and percussive elements that add unique detailing to the melodic richness of the track.  

ZAYN scores another No.1 album in the Philippines with ‘Nobody Is Listening’

January 2021 in Music

ZAYN’s third studio release Nobody is Listening makes history once again as it debuts at No. 1 on iTunes Philippines Top 100 albums chart a few hours after its release. Co-written by ZAYN, the project highlights his R&B influences and showcases deeply personal lyrics. Nobody is Listening sees ZAYN in complete creative control, from designing the album cover art to his sound, he has created a moment in music that is all his own.

The album contains the previously released singles “Vibez” and “Better,” both of which were embraced by fans and critics alike, with Wonderland proclaiming ZAYN was here to “save 2021” with the release of “Vibez” and Billboard calling “Better” a “straightforward R&B track, expressing love in spite of disagreement and designed to showcase one of the most skilled voices in modern pop.” The latter single has accrued over 105 million streams across all platforms, and upon release the video received a half a million views in the first 10 minutes.

ZAYN’s critically acclaimed debut album Mind of Mine saw him become the first male solo artist in the world to simultaneously chart at #1 on the UK and US album charts in the first week of release. The album’s lead single “Pillowtalk” hit #1 in 68 countries around the world and was recently included in Billboard’s “Songs That Defined the Decade” list.

His follow up, Icarus Falls, captivated fans and garnered over 5 billion worldwide streams across all platforms in less than a year, a staggering feat for any artist. Alongside his solo success, ZAYN has also collaborated with a variety of artists, including Taylor Swift and SIA and most recently lent his vocals on “Trampoline” with Shaed, which received an iHeart Music Award for “Best Remix.” Alongside building a reputation as a world class music artist, ZAYN has become one of music’s biggest fashion icons. He has graced the cover of every major magazine from Highsnobiety to Vogue. In addition to being named “Most Stylish Man” at the GQ Man of the Year awards, he also was awarded “New Artist of the Year” at the American Music Awards and “Top New Artist” at the Billboard Music Awards. Nobody is Listening was released via RCA Records.

American recording star MAX and SUGA of BTS drops a star-studded remix of “Blueberry Eyes,” feat. Lil Mosey and Olivia O’Brien

After the global success of their maiden collab smash, Acclaimed pop sensation MAX and SUGA of BTS are committed to redefining the top 40 landscape with the release of “Blueberry Eyes” remix, featuring breakthrough hip-hop star Lil Mosey and singer-songwriter Olivia O’Brien.

“Having Lil Mosey, the mastermind behind ‘Blueberry Faygo,’ add his story to ‘Blueberry Eyes’ felt too iconic not to create the ultimate blueberry hit song,” said MAX. “The cherry on top is getting to add the legendary voice of my friend Olivia O’Brien. I’m so excited for this final chapter of ‘Blueberry Eyes’ with my brother SUGA and honored to work with all of these incredible artists on this new version of the song.”

On the day of its release, MAX and Suga were featured on the cover of Apple Music’s New Music Daily playlist and the song went No.1 on iTunes in 66 countries as well as trended No. 1 worldwide on Twitter and No.1 on YouTube’s Video Hot List. “Blueberry Eyes” has also been featured on several of Spotify’s coveted playlists including Today’s Top Hits, Pop Rising and Mood Booster, to name but a few.

The song follows the release of MAX’s “Blueberry Eyes” feat. SUGA of BTS [Steve Aoki Remix], which has more than 5 million global streams and 2 million views on YouTube.

MAX has been labelled a “Young Pop God” by GQ and named a “top popstar to watch” by Billboard. Since the breakout success of his debut album ‘Hell’s Kitchen Angel’, he has garnered more than 1.2 billion streams and toured the world multiple times over. He yielded an inescapable smash with his 3x platinum hit “Lights Down Low,” which generated over half a billion streams globally, soared on the Billboard Hot 100, reached No. 7 at Top 40 radio and earned him an iHeartRadio Music Awards nomination for “Best New Pop Artist.” Most recently, MAX released his sophomore album ‘Colour Vision’ featuring his current single “Blueberry Eyes” feat. SUGA of BTS.

Ritt Momney’s “Put Your Records On,” now a hit in the Philippines!

Ritt Momney’s rework of Corinne Bailey Rae’s “Put Your Records On” is now a certified smash in the Philippines. The sleeper hit that catapulted the 21-year-old producer and singer-songwriter into global fame, has now reached a top 10 peak on Spotify Philippines’ Top 50 this week, and continues to impact mainstream radio stations such as Monster RX 93.1 (No. 8), 99.5 Play FM (No. 8), and more.

Jack Rutter, the man behind the Salt Lake City-based music project, is amazed by the attention that his take on the 2006 classic is receiving. “I didn’t expect the cover to be anything more than a fun little release in between albums,” he shares in a statement. “I was super surprised to see it taking off on TikTok. It’s been the coolest thing ever to see people from other countries enjoying it.”
The hip-hop-flavored, electro pop tune initially gained significant traction via online video platform, TikTok before it blew up on several music markets worldwide, including a top 10 placement on Australia and New Zealand’s official charts, and a No. 1 peak on Spotify US and Global Viral 50 charts late last year.

Released a few weeks ago, its music video finds Jack Rutter “imagining himself as a future pop star stuck in a psychedelic dreamscape.”

Ritt Momney’s version stays truthful to the pop sensibility of Corinne Bailey Rae’s hit record, but his trademark lo-fi production somehow gives the track a fresh, contemporary spin. “I really didn’t change much, and I think it’s really important to remember that what makes it good is the songwriting that Corinne and her co-writers did on the track,” says the multi-talented crossover act. “I may have modernized it a bit, but I hope people don’t give me too much credit for that.”

Corinne Bailey Rae, the original artist behind the soulful track, gave Ritt Momney her blessing in an intimate Zoom chat sometime last year. Like Ritt Momney, her original version became a huge hit when it first came out, peaking at No. 2 in the UK Singles Chart, and becoming a staple in several singing shows across the globe.

Details and images were provided in recent press releases.

Get started on your wellness journey with Sunlife’s GoWell Studio

We’re halfway through the first month of the year and if you haven’t gotten around to making good on your New Year’s resolutions to live healthy, here’s a good place to start.

GoWell Studio is an on-demand holistic wellness platform launched by Sun Life Philippines as part  of its commitment to help Filipinos live healthier lives.

GoWell Studio

In this site, you can find top-notch content such as follow-along exercise programs, guided meditation sessions, various masterclasses, short courses, and healthcare awareness and education. These will be led by some of the country’s leading fitness coaches, doctors, allied health professionals, and educators.

GoWell Studio

Got a question for a specialist?  Using the platform, you can look up from a directory various experts from whom you can seek personalized health and wellness advice. The line-up includes Ginastica Natural Philippines Founder Mark Cupino; Bukodon, Yin and Vinyasa Yoga Instructor Anna Manalastas; Myotherapist and Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner Filbert Tan; Pilates Coach and Animal Flow Instructor Trisha Buhat; Founder of Awake.ph and Modern-day Kriya Yogi Neil Salang; Sound Healer Coach Yeyette San Luis; World Kettlebell Club Strength and Conditioning Coach Tim Ayson; Alab Pilipinas, UP men’s basketball, and Petrogazz Angels Volleyball team’s Strength and Conditioning Coach Chappy Callanta; and Sports Performance Specialist and F45 Functional Strength Coach Andro Amador, among others.

Access to the GoWell Studio may be enjoyed exclusively by Sun Fit and Well, Sun Senior Care, and Sun Cancer Care policyholders simply by registering in the GoWell website (gowell.com.ph).

GoWell Studio

“We take pride in GoWell Studio’s team of highly credible experts and carefully curated content, all of which a member can access in the comforts of his own home,” Sun Life Chief Marketing and Client Experience Officer Gilbert Simpao said. “Taking care of ourselves remains crucial now that we are still in the middle of the pandemic. We invite everyone to become members of GoWell, Sun Life’s community that promotes holistic wellness through a fit and active lifestyle, healthy eating, and living a healthier life.”

Those who wish to know more about Sun Life’s health and accident insurance products are encouraged to consult a Sun Life advisor or visit sunlife.com.ph. For more about Sun Life’s health and wellness initiatives, visit gowell.com.ph and follow @SunLifePH and @GoWellPH on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Details provided in a recent press release.

Sponge Cola releases “Siguro Nga,” a song inspired by K-drama series, Start-Up

Sponge Cola is no stranger to writing music inspired by their love for cinema and pop culture. In fact, the four-piece alternative rock outfit named their debut full-length album, Palabas to acknowledge the compelling impact of shows—be it a theatrical play, a dramatic film, or an episode in a television series—in making us understand our own lives, the lives of those around us, and the lives of people whose contributions to humanity deserve to be celebrated at all cost.

With this creative pursuit comes a tribute to the blockbuster K-drama series, Start-Up, which is currently heaping praises all around the world for its gripping story on young entrepreneurs aspiring to make it big in the competitive world of Korean high-tech industry. Sponge Cola released “Siguro Nga” as a song born out of vocalist and guitarist Yael Yuzon’s love for Han Ji-Pyeong, a prominent character whose unconventional upbringing and misfortunes in life enabled him to become a principled, self-made man with a tough exterior and unbeknownst to everyone—a tender heart.

“Immediately after the shock of episode 9, I literally picked up a guitar and began writing the song,” Yuzon shares in a statement. “I didn’t know how the story was going to unfold, but at that point, I felt like it wasn’t going to work out for Han Ji Pyeong’s character. And while heartbreak wouldn’t ravage him, it leaves him with an undulating kind of pain.”

“Siguro Nga” builds on this nuanced character study of a man realizing that he’s lost the love of his life, after spending a great deal of time living a lie to protect the person he’s pining for, from emotional harm and trauma. It’s a soaring acoustic number that is propelled by a genuine reverence for empathy and romantic yearning, but never quite reaches a climatic run arrangements-wise, as it ends on a miserable note, with the subject of the song stuck in a rut, hoping to relive his past to undo his mistakes.

According to Yuzon, the song arrived in the middle of recording phase for their forthcoming album to be released next year. “The process was a bit more theatrical than what we’re accustomed to,” he admits. “As a singer, I had to be in character, which made the recording process a bit grueling.” In order to capture the very essence of the song, Yuzon had to experience some of Han Ji Pyeong’s crucial scenes in the series, including having to bask in the rain for minutes and reliving the memories of standing next to a corn dog stall. “I also had to face someone looking at me with ‘those eyes’ while pretending to be fine. Couple that with the idea of multiple takes, it was tiring but ultimately fulfilling.”

Armo Armovit, the band’s lead guitarist explains how the arrangements for “Siguro Nga” came to play. “Like most of our songs from the previous albums, we started by recording a very basic acoustic guitar as a foundation. Yael himself played the rhythm to make it consistent with how he initially wrote the song and his melody. Everything else on top of that are layers of sound to decorate and enhance the song’s emotional content.” Bassist Gosh Dilay adds, “We tried some experimentation in terms of overall sound– but we reserved a version specifically for future live performances of the song.”

“Siguro Nga” was recorded at Love One Another studios, and was mixed and mastered by Joey Santos. Armovit, who praised Santos for doing an excellent job in designing sounds and layering them to tell a story, was very much happy with the final product. “His familiarity with a wide range of music, and ability to create the appropriate textures for the song was a very welcome and refreshing addition to the production process. Everything you hear that isn’t the usual drums, bass, vocals, and guitar are all him.”

Sponge Cola’s “Siguro Nga” is out now on all digital platforms worldwide via Sony Music Philippines.

Lea Salonga, Kuh Ledesma and others featured in The Manila Hotel’s 2021 Countdown with a Cause

Artists like Lea Salonga, Kuh Ledesma, world-renowned soprano Rachelle Gerodias, Korean baritone Byeong-In Park, Richard Reynoso, UP Concert Chorus, and others join The Manila Hotel in a virtual countdown event to mark the coming of the New Year.

In keeping with the long-standing annual tradition that has been in place since pre-war times, The Manila Hotel will still hold a New Year Countdown this year albeit in a different space. Due to the restriction on gatherings, this year’s welcome to the New Year will be done virtually via a Zoom viewing. with amazing raffle prizes to be given away.

Guests and customers of The Manila Hotel can join the Zoom party on December 31 from 10pm to watch artists share messages of love and hope through songs, words of encouragement from the hotel’s president Atty Joey Lina, and a chance to win the amazing prizes at stake. To join, anyone with a purchase from the hotel is eligible to a raffle ticket for every P3,500 in a single receipt. This includes dining bills from Café Ilang-Ilang, the Lobby Lounge, Roma Salon, and even The Manila Hotel’s signature grill restaurant Cowrie Grill in Greenhills; purchases from The Delicatessen, Lobby Shop, and Christmas corner; room bookings for FIT guests; promo purchases; and even Take Out from the regular or the festive menu. Promo period is from Dec 17 to 31, 2020, with cut-off at 10pm on the last day.

The Grand Prize is an overnight stay at the world-famous MacArthur Suite, worth P500,000 (not convertible to cash). A lavish room in the historic Manila Hotel where war hero General Douglas MacArthur stayed, the stately room has received many illustrious guests over the years, including kings and queens, world leaders, and heads of state. Renovated and modernized, the suite can be booked for special occasions like private dinners and parties, and a luxurious overnight dwelling. The rest of the prizes are suite room and dining vouchers, Prestige memberships, and many others.

The Covid-19 pandemic put a halt to many events this year so an online gathering such as this also gives The Manila Hotel a platform to continue its service to Filipinos that it began in March with the Mabuhay Meals Food Drive for Frontliners; and its partnership with groups like the Rotary Club of Makati Central and others to donate food and PPEs to government-run hospitals like PGH and the Manila Medical Center, among others.

With this event, the hotel is making all its valued guests partners in an endeavor that has no extra cost to them or separate purchase needed. Part of the proceeds of guest purchases eligible in the 2021 Countdown with a Cause and the raffle will be pooled together to brighten the holidays of displaced workers in the city of Manila affected by the pandemic through a partnership with Manila Bulletin’s Bag of Hope.  

For more information on The Manila Hotel’s 2021 Countdown with a Cause, you may call 85270011 or 09989501912. Info and raffle mechanics are also posted on the Manila Hotel’s Facebook and Instagram accounts.

Regency era romance series “Bridgerton” based on Julia Quinn novels premieres today on Netflix

From Shondaland and Creator Chris Van Dusen, Bridgerton follows Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor), the eldest daughter of the powerful Bridgerton family as she makes her debut onto Regency London’s competitive marriage market. Hoping to follow in her parent’s footsteps and find a match sparked by true love, Daphne’s prospects initially seem to be unrivaled. But as her older brother begins to rule out her potential suitors, the high society scandal sheet written by the mysterious Lady Whistledown casts aspersions on Daphne. Enter the highly desirable and rebellious Duke of Hastings (Regé-Jean Page), committed bachelor and the catch of the season for the debutantes’ mamas. Despite proclaiming that they want nothing the other has to offer, their attraction is undeniable and sparks fly as they find themselves engaged in an increasing battle of wits while navigating society’s expectations for their future.

Bridgerton is a romantic, scandalous, and quick-witted series that celebrates the timelessness of enduring friendships, families finding their way, and the search for a love that conquers all.

This is the first project among many of writer-producer Chris Van Dusen with streaming service Netflix. Together with Shonda Rimes and Betsy Beers through Shondaland, Van Dusen adapted, show-ran and executive produced the series.

This smart feminist take on Regency England romance unveils the glittering, wealthy, sexual, painful, funny and sometimes lonely lives of the women and men in London’s high society marriage mart as told through the eyes of the powerful Bridgerton family.

“I couldn’t be more excited about being a part of the creative powerhouse that is Shondaland at Netflix,” said Van Dusen. “Bringing these irresistible books by Julia Quinn to the screen, with the fearless and talented team of storytellers I’ve been so fortunate to have worked alongside for so long, is a dream come true. I am grateful to have a home at Netflix, whose commitment to innovative, groundbreaking storytelling is unmatched.”

The series also stars Golda Rosheuvel, Jonathan Bailey, Luke Newton, Claudia Jessie, Nicola Coughlan, Ruby Barker, Sabrina Bartlett, Ruth Gemmell, Adjoa Andoh, Polly Walker, Ben Miller, Bessie Carter and Harriet Cains and Julie Andrews as the voice of Lady Whistledown.

Bridgerton premieres today on Netflix.

Want to lose yourself in the Regency world of the Bridgertons? Check out the best-selling novels by Julia Quinn that inspired the series.

Image and series details courtesy of Netflix.

This post contains affiliate links.

Check out my blog posts about other Netflix shows.

Become a millionaire with Shopee Milyonaryo’s Christmas Special!

Shopee, the leading e-commerce platform in Southeast Asia and Taiwan, brings back the massively popular Shopee Milyonaryo for the third time. Shopee Milyonaryo is an interactive lucky draw contest on Shopee Live, where Shopee users stand a chance to win up to ₱1,000,000 in cash, ₱5,000 worth of ShopeePay vouchers, and other prizes—just in time for Christmas and New Year!

From December 17 to January 4, users can participate by logging on to the Shopee app and claiming their raffle code. Users can collect raffle codes daily for more chances of winning.

They also get additional entries per draw when they purchase mobile load or data via the Shopee app. Each completed order qualifies as an additional entry. The same raffle code will be used for users with additional entries.

During daily draws, users with the winning raffle codes can get ShopeePay vouchers worth ₱5,000.

Grand draws are on December 21, December 28, and January 4. Users with the winning codes will be called on air via Shopee Live to choose among nine bags. Four bags will contain ₱10,000; two with ₱20,000; one with ₱30,000; one with ₱50,000; and one with the ₱1,000,000 jackpot prize. These users will also receive a ShopeePay voucher worth ₱5,000.

Before each grand draw, users can play Guess-the-Box on the Shopee app, where they guess which box contains ₱1,000,000. They will receive one free token, which they can then use to spend on the option they want to guess on. Users who guess correctly get the chance to share a coin pool of up to ₱50,000.

Martin Yu, Director at Shopee Philippines, said, “Shopee is happy to announce its third run of Shopee Milyonaryo. We saw the joy and excitement with which our Filipino users received the past two iterations of our raffle, and want to continue spreading the holiday spirit of giving with Shopee Milyonaryo’s Christmas Special. We also want Filipinos to enjoy the festivities and end the year on a good note. This 2021, Shopee remains committed to engaging and uplifting its consumers by creating more initiatives that let them enjoy the benefits of e-commerce.”

More details about Shopee Milyonaryo here.

Download the Shopee app for free via the App Store or Google Play.

Get in the Christmas spirit with Lilystars Records’ compilation album, IN REVERIE

Philippine indie music label Lilystars Records brings festive warmth to music listeners all around the world with the release of IN REVERIE: A Lilystars Christmas Compilation.

In keeping up with the tradition of spreading Holiday cheers, the 11-track album offers heartfelt music that evokes the reassuring comfort of home and togetherness even in the unlikeliest of circumstances.

According to Clem Castro, the CEO of Lilystars Records, the compilation release is more than just a reflection of longing, hope and love. “It’s a call to keep our spirits alive no matter what we are facing. There are also tracks about celebration, optimism, loneliness and even dismay.”

While Christmas can mean a lot of things to different people, IN REVERIE: A Lilystars Christmas Compilation isn’t afraid to explore themes that indirectly address the current pandemic situation. “We can’t say if this release will have an impact for those who are having a difficult time with the pandemic, but we are hoping it does make a difference, Clem shares. “This serves as our gift to music fans this holiday season.”

Helmed with Hallmark-inspired melodies, vibrant arrangements, and intimate songwriting, the songs in Lilystars Records’ IN REVERIE offer an alternative listening experience for discerning music fans who want their Christmas jams a little bit on the obscure side. It covers a diverse selection of tunes with genres spanning pop, folk, blues, jazz, indie rock, twee, electronic pop, post-punk, and alternative music.

Clem admits that there was no selection process for the compilation album. Instead, he challenged some of the artists in the roster to write and produce their own original Christmas songs. “We have a high regard with the capacity of our artists and their contribution exceeded our expectations. We commend their commitment to produce the tracks on their own, either recording at home or with help of friends or people they work with to bring life to their record.”

Eleven artists from Lilystars Records participated in the call for submissions, which is more than enough to complete a proper album. The result is a unique collection of songs, defined by the sound of each artist and their own personal sentiments about the season. The track list includes:

  1. Christmas Daydreams – Orange & Lemons
  2. Blue For Christmas – Meagan Trees
  3. The Kids Are Out – The Bloomfields
  4. 1225 – Project Orange
  5. Feliz Navidad (I’m Falling Apart) – Dey Rose
  6. This Christmas Time – Dustybuns
  7. A December Afternoon – Parasouls
  8. Yo! Santa! – The Charmes
  9. Christmas Mourning – The Geeks
  10. Xmust – Kubra Commander
  11. Good Night – Starry Eyed Cadet

IN REVERIE: A Lilystars Christmas Compilation is now available on all digital platforms worldwide via Lilystars Records.

Shopee shoppers embrace digital payments on 12.12

Adoption surges in North and South Luzon as ShopeePay provides shoppers across the Philippines with easy access to digital payments

ShopeePay, an integrated mobile wallet that offers users easy access to digital payment services, saw more consumers adopt digital payments at the recent Shopee 12.12. It was highlighted by a 50 times increase in ShopeePay transactions in the first hour of December 12 compared to an average day, as people turned to digital payments for their convenience and ease of use.

Martin Yu, Director at Shopee Philippines, said, “I am happy to see more people enjoy greater convenience and rewards with ShopeePay at the Shopee 12.12. Our integrated mobile wallet allowed users to check out purchases more quickly and securely while also accessing exclusive deals. It’s heartening to see more people using digital payments as their preferred payment method. It is a positive trend as digital payments become increasingly important in driving digital inclusion and the acceleration of our region’s digital economy.”

Rising confidence in digital payments in the Philippines

Filipinos used ShopeePay to discover exclusive deals, earn rewards, and complete orders at the Shopee 12.12. The most popular categories checked out using ShopeePay were Home & Living, Health & Personal Care, and Women’s Apparel, showing that people are now more comfortable using digital payments for various essential and lifestyle needs.

Key trends for the use of ShopeePay on December 12 included:

  • Growing digital adoption in cities: North and South Luzon saw the most significant uplift in ShopeePay transactions on Shopee than an average day, showing that ShopeePay offers users easier access to digital payments.
  • ShopeePay adoption increases across different generations: Millennials aged 18 to 34 continued using ShopeePay to conveniently shop for various needs such as kitchen essentials, mobile accessories, and makeup. Gen X users above 50 also saw a surge in adoption, with orders paid via ShopeePay increasing 24 times from an average day.

Yu closed, “As users become more accustomed to digital payments, we are committed to further growing our ecosystem of partner merchants so all users benefit from the convenience both online and offline, while businesses enjoy better growth in the future.”

About ShopeePay

ShopeePay is an integrated mobile wallet that offers users easy access to digital payment services. Launched in 2015, ShopeePay enables a seamless shopping experience by allowing users to make online payments on Shopee, top-up their wallets, transfer and withdraw funds, and make payments offline at thousands of merchants.

ShopeePay makes it easier to shop and do business. It provides users with a convenient, secure, and rewarding payment option; it empowers businesses and helps them to capture new opportunities.

ShopeePay is part of SeaMoney, the digital financial services arm of Sea Group. A leading digital payments and financial services provider in Southeast Asia, SeaMoney’s mission is to better the lives of individuals and businesses in the region with financial services through technology.

For more information on ShopeePay and SeaMoney, please visit seamoney.com.

Finn and Jake return to the Land of Ooo in Adventure Time special

The Emmy and Peabody Award-Winning series Adventure Time returns to Asia with Adventure Time: Distant Lands – four new one-hour original specials. The first, entitled BMO, is now available to stream on HBO GO.

These long-awaited new specials will continue Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time stories that captured imaginations and introduced unlikely heroes and best-buds – Finn the dog and Jake the human – who traversed the mystical Land of Ooo and encountered its colourful inhabitants.

BMO follows the lovable little robot from Adventure Time. When there’s a deadly space emergency in the farthest reaches of the galaxy, there’s only one hero to call, and it’s probably not BMO. Except that this time it is!

En route to Mars, BMO gets sucked into a wormhole and crash lands on an unknown alien world. On this decaying distant land, BMO finds competing alien races mired in a conflict over dwindling resources and appoints himself sheriff of this seemingly lawless outpost.

He deputises a reluctant new friend, Y5, but Y5’s family has other plans for BMO: complete dismantling! Realising BMO’s importance, Y5 joins forces with our robot hero to save this alien world and uncover the real reason her people are on the brink of extinction.

In Southeast Asia, the remaining three episodes will be available on Cartoon Network and HBO GO in 2021.

Obsidian features Marceline and Princess Bubblegum as they journey to the imposing, beautiful Glass Kingdom—and deep into their tumultuous past—to prevent an earth-shaking catastrophe.

Wizard City follows Peppermint Butler, starting over at the beginning, as just another inexperienced Wizard School student. When mysterious events at the campus cast suspicion on Pep, and his checkered past, can he master the mystic arts in time to prove his innocence?

Together Again brings Finn and Jake together again, to rediscover their brotherly bond and embark on the most important adventure of their lives.

Created by Pendleton Ward and executive produced by Adam Muto, Adventure Time is a critically decorated show that garnered numerous entertainment awards and cultivated a generation of talent who have helmed such hits as Steven Universe, Over the Garden Wall, and Clarence. Adventure Time: Distant Lands is produced by Cartoon Network Studios and is an HBO Max Original series.

HBO Original Series as well as live channels are also available for streaming to SKYcable subscribers on HBO GO for as low as Php99/month. To subscribe, call your local SKY office or fill up this form.

Show details and images provided by HBO in a recent press release.

Disclosure: I work for SKY and part of my job is promoting its products and services, especially the content it provides to its subscribers. I consider being able to share my love for TV shows and movies and the experience of watching and talking about them with like-minded people some of the biggest perks of my job.