Blog Posts by VERA Files

  • Book power perks up the movies

    Cast of Diary ng Panget directed by Andoy Ranay.

    By Pablo A. Tariman, VERA Files

    Book authors in the popular category are now having the good times of their lives with movie executives jumping on the first opportunity to get film rights of bestselling books.

    Bob Ong’s “Aba, Nakakabasa Na Pala Ako” landed in the stable of Viva Films which made a well-received movie version of the book starring Jericho Rosales and Andi Eigenmann, among others.

    Young author Bianca Bernardino penned a love story, “She’s Dating The Gangster” in the social media-based publishing site, Wattpad, and it became a bestseller. It is now the title of a Star Cinema film starring Daniel Padilla and Kathryn Bernardo.

    Another teenage story entitled, “Diary ng Panget” -- also published in free literature website, Wattpad and authored by a teenager known only as Who Is That Girl -- logged 12 million reads and it landed once more in the Viva Films creative group and is now a movie of the same title starring young stars Nadine Lustre as the insecure diarist, James Reid

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  • Largest PH solar power plant to rise in Palawan

    master plan Sabang plant

    By Norman Sison, VERA Files

    Palawan will soon be home to the Philippines’ largest micro-grid solar power plant, generating 1.3 megawatts of clean renewable energy.

    Costing P325 million, the plant will have 5,000 solar panels that will provide power to over 600 customers — homes, businesses and hotels — in Puerto Princesa City’s Sabang district. It will also have a battery pack, the largest in the ASEAN region, that will release stored energy during heavy cloud cover or bad weather.

    To put that in perspective, a mobile phone battery has about 4.6 watthours, while the Sabang plant’s battery pack is 782,000 times bigger, packing 3,600,000Wh.

    To provide nighttime power, the plant will also be equipped with diesel generators that can produce 1 MW of electricity. Atem Ramsundersingh, chief executive officer of Singapore-based WEnergy Global, said the generators will run on diesel fuel for the meantime. WEnergy has a 40-percent stake in the project.

    “Hopefully these machines will run on

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  • Text and photos by Elizabeth Lolarga, VERA Files

    A sabbatical from his work as a professor at the University of the Philippines Baguio has enabled Delfin Tolentino Jr. to see that the poetic muse had fled although this may be temporary. The passion for books, however, remains like the constant wife it is to bibliophiles like him.

    Among the reasons he cited for that year-long leave was a desire to return to creative work. In his artist's statement to "Bric a Brac," his latest exhibition of book art at Mt. Cloud Bookshop, he describes how "years of doing research and administrative work had throttled me. Writing memos, official letters and scholarly papers in often turgid prose had brought on a form of disquiet. It was time I stilled the soul."

    From what he called "the accumulated impedimenta of many years" that he found in his study, he has re-applied old but unforgotten skills in constructing books that are one of a kind or in limited editions of two or five.

    Briefly, the interest in

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  • Racquel Villavicencio as best actress awardee in Jeffrey Jeturian's Bisperas.

    By Pablo A. Tariman, VERA Files

    The lady -- who won the Best Screenplay trophy for Mike de Leon’s “Batch ’81,” Best Production Design for Ishmael Bernal’s “Himala” and Best Actress for Jeffrey Jeturian’s “ Bisperas” -- is looking for words to describe her more than 30 years in show business.

    “It’s masalimuot (complicated) but a happy one as well and quite fulfilling,” Racquel Villavicencio finally finds the words. “On the whole, I like the work in showbiz because I am able to test my own creativity. Compared to the other industry, showbiz is not boring. I can work as actor, writer and production designer and see finished projects that I know will find their way in local film history.”

    After three decades in showbiz, she has remained slim, tall and gracious and oblivious of her achievements. In this encounter, she has just written the screenplay for TV 5’s “Bawat Sandali” and recalls her working relationship with director Joel Lamangan who megged the TV movie with Eric Quizon.


    Read More »from The making of a screenwriter, actor and production designer
  • Liberian President Sirleaf honors Zhao. (Liberian government website)By Tessa Jamandre, VERA Files

    China is sending a new ambassador to Manila at a time of strained Philippine-Chinese relations, with the Philippines preparing to step up its territorial claims against China before the international arbitral tribunal.

    Ambassador Zhao Jinhua, a 48-year-old diplomat who carved his career from the Asian Affairs Department of China’s Foreign Ministry, is arriving Sunday (Feb. 23) to take up his new post.

    A tough challenge awaits Zhao in the Philippines, which is embroiled in a territorial dispute with China over a cluster of isles, reefs, shoals and atolls in the South China Sea. The two countries, along with Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan, have overlapping claims there.

    The Philippines is due to submit its Memorial, a very detailed presentation of facts and evidence, to the arbitral tribunal where it brought its case against China in January 2013. The bone of contention is China’s 9-dash line claim over nearly the whole South China Sea, so-called

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  • Waiting for just wages

    Negros Oriental fishermen return home from a fishing expedition.

    By Irma Faith Pal, VERA Files

    Dumaguete City – Some 278 fishermen from Negros Oriental have been waiting for nearly two-and-a-half years for P13.424-million in back compensation from a fishing company that was found by the National Labor Relations Commission in 2011 to have violated Labor Wage Standards.

    The fishermen served as crew in a paaling fishing expedition in 2008 for Pesca Maharlika Marine Resources, Inc., a Navotas-based fishing company.

    The NLRC, in a decision released on Oct. 12, 2011, awarded P13,424,437 to the fish workers who were deducted 20 percent of their contracted rate during their 10-month fishing expedition in Palawan.

    Sandra Delfin, the Department of Labor and Employment’s representative to the Negros Oriental Provincial Inter-Agency Council against Trafficking (PIACAT), said the NLRC decision on the labor aspect of the case entitles each fisher about P40,000 to P50,000, whether or not they filed a case against the fishing company.

    The action was brought about

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  • Love and passion with unlikely denouement

    Derek Ramsey and Angel Aquino in Bawat Sandali.

    By Pablo A. Tariman, VERA Files

    The thing with movies made for TV audiences is that you don’t expect much.

    You are offered star values, you are expected to be tickled pink by romantic trailers and you hope you catch it in your free time.

    But when you are 60 and above, romantic flings are not likely to appeal to you. You leave the “kilig” factor to the very young but you secretly hope a kind of déjà vu happens in your TV viewing.

    Because like it or not, you identify with the characters when it touches or resembles a part of your private past.

    Director Joel Lamangan.Given this reality among one sector of TV audiences, TV 5’s “Bawat Sandali” directed by Joel Lamangan and written by Racquel Villavicencio, is a big surprise because the senior citizens in the preview audience were hooked by it to the very end and rooting for the married heroine gone bad and the single swain gone hopelessly in love.

    A clue that a film has sunk on the viewers’ consciousness is when they start reacting on the predicament of the

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  • The demise of the Manila Seedling Bank

    By TheMitch Meñez, VERA Files

    Photos by Little Wing Luna

    The once lush plant life of the Manila Seedling Bank is now a thing of the past. Last month, the demolition of plant nurseries, vendors’ stalls and other structures inside the seven-hectare property pushed through despite the absence of a court order.

    Now enclosed by makeshift gates and fences, the view is gray and grim. Inside, the greens are replaced by upturned earth---brown and black. Tractors and workers continuously are digging through every inch of the land preparing the area for whatever the Quezon City government has in store for it; the property is reportedly being developed into a mall.

    The city government claims that the property has been forfeited in its favor due to non-payment of real taxes. However, the Transfer Certificate of the compound (Title No. 309814-309816, T-004-2012005017) shows that the owner of the property is still the National Housing Authority.

    The city government has not shown any proof that it has

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  • Guiuan rises with a lot of help from mining firm

    By Ellen Tordesillas, VERA Files

    Photos by Mario Ignacio IV

    Yolanda survivors Lito G. Abucejo, 47, a carpenter and his wife, Rebecca, 44, marked the 100th day after the super typhoon slammed into Manicani Island in Guiuan, Eastern Samar, in a newly-built house.

    The Abucejos have folded their United Nations-donated tent, which was their shelter the past three months, and are now living in a new structure built where their old house once stood.

    The Abucejo’s new house is one of the more than 400 being built by Nickel Asia Corporation (NAC), which owns a non-operating nickel mine in Manicani.

    Coco lumber felled by Yolanda are being used for the 30-square meter houses. They are expected to last four to five years .

    NAC and the local government will be working on a long-term rehabilitation and development of the island, where Yolanda made its first landfall last Nov. 8.

    Aside from the houses in Manicani Island, NAC will also be underwriting the construction of 10 barangay halls in Guiuan

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  • Andre Paras: The son also rises

    Andre Paras during MTV Pinoy presscon.

    By Pablo A. Tariman, VERA Files

    At 6”4’ and every inch looking like a matinee idol, Andre Paras towers over the rest of his contemporaries namely model-actress Sam Pinto, television find Yassi Pressman and singer Gino Padilla’s son, Josh Padilla.

    The four youngsters are the newly recruited video jockeys (VJs) of MTV Pinoy, which was launched last February 14 by Viacom International Media and Viva Communications, Inc.

    The new music channel will be different as it promises original content and equal airing of OPM music and latest overseas top hits.

    The good-looking VJs with assorted backgrounds all look forward to the new challenge as they project what is exciting about their generation.

    Andre Paras with father, Benjie Paras.“I came from the movies and so becoming video jockey will allow me to meet people who make news in the entertainment scene,” said Pinto.

    As for the younger Paras, Andre admits being VJ is another challenge outside of basketball and he intends to make the most of it.

    Andre, now with the UP Maroons, is

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