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  • Lea Salonga with Il Divo live in Manila. Photo by Lisa Macuja Elizalde.

    By Pablo A. Tariman, VERA Files

    Wednesday night at the Newport Performing Arts Theater at Resort World, Manila’s music lovers heard the pop opera quartet, Il Divo, for the second time around and loving every minute of it.

    The group was apparently conceptualized to appeal to all races and thus the different nationalities of the members of the quartet namely tenor Urs Buhler of Switzerland, baritone Carlos Marin of Spain, pop artist Sebastien Izambard of France and tenor David Miller from the United States.

    The evening’s repertoire consisted of songs from the musical theater starting with “Some Enchanted Evening” from “South Pacific” and ending with “Impossible Dream” from “Man of La Mancha” and “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from “Carousel.”

    The songs are nothing new but they remain an audience favorite through the years and given new arrangement to showcase the four voices and a guest singer who happens to be Lea Salonga who thrilled with seldom heard high notes in “Music of the Night”

    Read More »from The making of a pop opera quartet
  • LENTE presentation of Project Teacher

    By Melissa Luz Lopez, VERA Files

    Election duties should be open to non- public school teachers and Persons with Disabilities (PWD), poll watchdog The Legal Network for Truthful Elections (LENTE) recommended based on a study it conducted during the 2013 barangay elections.

    In a presentation Wednesday of “Project Teacher,” LENTE said during the October 28, 2013 barangay elections, various election officers actually appointed non-teachers to the Board of Election Tellers (BETs), a three-person team tasked to carry out the voting process in polling precincts nationwide.

    LENTE volunteers monitored the conduct of elections in 20 precincts across the country to compare the performance of BETs made up of teachers with those with a non-teacher volunteer serving as third member. Both groups carried out the voting process properly, the group said.

    “Having non-public school teachers render election service does not affect the outcome of the elections,” said Atty. Ona Caritos, LENTE acting

    Read More »from Include non-public school teachers, PWDs for election duties: poll watchdog

  • Text and video by Neca Reyes, VERA Files

    Officials of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) remembered the Jabidah Massacre by visiting Corregidor Island in Cavite where some 60 young Muslim men were killed 46 years ago.

    ARMM officials also built a Mindanao Garden of Peace in honor of the fallen Muslims, who had been recruited to the Philippine Army and had trained for a secret mission to invade Sabah. The story goes that soldiers killed the recruits when they reportedly refused to fulfill their mission which would have pitted them against fellow Muslims in Sabah.

    “We know about Jabidah Massacre and we know that it happened here in Corregidor but we took that one big step forward in commemorating the Jabidah Massacre by coming over here in Corregidor… to properly keep honor to the martyrs of Jabidah,” said Rep. Turabin Hataman, Anak Mindanao partylist representative.

    On hand to witness the commemoration were 32 of 39 living founders of the Moro National Liberation Front. The

    Read More »from Jabidah massacre remembered
  • Anne Curtis as the new Dyesebel.

    By Pablo A. Tariman, VERA Files

    “Dyesebel” the new teleserye of ABS CBN is off to a good start with a strong message to save the sea and get rid of dynamite fishers.

    The unlikely love affair between a mermaid and a merman finds distinct possibility in the roles portrayed by Dawn Zulueta as the fisherman’s daughter who attracts a prince of the sea played by Albert Martinez.

    As usual, the villain of the teleserye – played by John Regala as the head of a band of dynamite fishers – makes a strong impact with Eula Valdez as Dyangga building up strong motives to take over her husband’s ocean turf. It turns out she had a taste of man’s inhumanity and is determined to get back at her land tormentors by any means possible.

    But how can she go ahead with the prince of the sea falling in love with the fisherman’s daughter? From that union of creatures of the land and sea will emerge the new “Dyesebel” played by Anne Curtis.

    Meanwhile, the grand presscon for the new edition of Mars Ravelo’s

    Read More »from New Dyesebel tackles global warming
  • BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin shoal:Test for MDT

    Commentary

    BRP Sierra MadreBy Ellen T. Tordesillas

    The rising tension at the Ayungin shoal, just 21 nautical miles from Mischief Reef where China has built fortifications, could be a test on the usefulness of the 1951 PH-US Mutual Defense Treaty

    In its statement issued last Friday, the Department of Foreign Affairs said: "The BRP Sierra Madre, a commissioned Philippine Naval Vessel, was placed in Ayungin Shoal in 1999 to serve as a permanent Philippine installation in response to China's illegal occupation of Mischief Reef in 1995. This was prior to the signing of the Declaration of Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea in 2002. The Philippines reiterates that Ayungin Shoal is part of its continental shelf over which the Philippines has sovereign rights and jurisdiction."

    This is the first time that the Philippine government admitted that the 100 meter-long Sierra Madre, a World War II vintage LST that had served the United States as USS Harnett County during the Vietnam War and acquired by the

    Read More »from BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin shoal:Test for MDT
  • Cast of the high-rating teleserye, Honesto. Photo from Nonie Bencamino's Facebook.

    By Pablo A. Tariman, VERA Files

    The most watched teleserye that ended last week was “Honesto” which is about a young boy whose nose gets swollen every time he tells a lie.

    “Honesto,” played by child actor Raikko Mateo, is capable of looking at people’s past by just holding the hands of anyone who has problems squaring off with his past.

    The teleserye is also about government officials stealing from government coffers and killing people (both kith and kins) who get in the way. The soap opera ended with corrupt officials changing ways and coming to terms with their family and willingly accepting prison terms.

    Eddie Garcia represented the good public servant Samuel Galang while the one who virtually worshipped the Golden Calf was played by seasoned actor Joel Torre who played the part of Governor Hugo Layer. The character did a lot of crying in the last episode to show he has changed his wicked ways.

    The man robbed of gold bars, Felipe Lualhati and grandfather of Honesto (played with

    Read More »from ‘Honesto,’ Cudia and the public officials’ honor code
  • Sixth round of EDC talks

    By Johnna Villaviray Giolagon, VERA Files

    Philippine authorities will have limited access to areas American forces are to occupy within the country’s military camps under an agreement the Aquino government is entering with the United States.

    “It is safe to say that there will be language that will provide that the Philippine authorities would have access to the areas provided to the U.S. armed forces,” Defense Undersecretary Pio Lorenzo Batino, head of the Philippine panel negotiating with the U.S. on increased American military presence in the country, said Friday.

    Eduardo Malaya, a career diplomat who is a new member of the reconstituted Philippine panel, said jurisdiction of Philippine authorities over erring United States military personnel will be governed by the existing Visiting Forces Agreement.

    He elaborated that while Philippine access to U.S. facilities within military camps is “assured,” it will be regulated.

    Access to locations with American forces will be through “the

    Read More »from PH has limited access to US sites in military camps under new accord
  • Water is good for the kidneys

    By Johnna Villaviray Giolagon, VERA Files

    Today, March 13, is World Kidney Day.

    Dr. Susan Anonuevo-dela Rama of the Philippine Society of Nephrology (PSN) asks everyone to do a favor for your kidney and for all the kidneys in the world: raise a glass of water, take a selfie, and post it on the any social networking sites.

    De la Rama said “Water is a good preventive measure to avoid many kidney diseases like infection, dehydration; and, if one drinks water rather than beverages with sugar, diabetes is not worsened.”

    So, if diabetes is better controlled, renal disease from diabetes is also prevented,” she said.

    World Kidney Day is “to raise awareness of the importance of our kidneys to our overall health and to reduce the frequency and impact of kidney diseases and its associated health problems.”

    Worldwide, about one in 10 adults is suffering from kidney disease. In the Philippines, about six million people are suffering from kidney damage.

    One of them is Emman Hernandez who was 25

    Read More »from Do your kidney a favor: Take a selfie raising a glass of water
  • By VERA Files

    Stage actress Monique Wilson is this year’s Hildegarde Lifetime Achievement awardee.

    The Hildegarde Awards is administered by St. Scholastica’s College “to celebrate women’s achievements in the mass media and its allied fields.”

    The award ceremonies are held during the International Women’s Month.

    St. Scholastica’s program said St. Hildegarde, a German Benidictine nun, “was an accomplished artist who translated her visions into artistic forms that included musical compositions, poetry and paintings.”

    Wilson’s acceptance speech:

    Good morning Ladies and Gentlemen. It is an incredible honor to be standing here with all of you today, and I am so privileged to be in the company of amazing women and men who are changing the world for women.

    I was born in the Philippines 43 years ago. My great grandfather on my mother’s side had been a Spanish civil guard.

    My father’s father meanwhile, had been a child of an American serviceman. He left the Philippines when my father was

    Read More »from The empowerment of Monique Wilson

  • By Mitch Meñez, VERA Files

    Photos by Little Wing Luna

    It was a fine Saturday morning.

    A group of women gathered at Plaza Salamanca on Taft Avenue, some carrying musical instruments, others placards and signs. Instead of preparing lunch for the family or watching noontime shows, these women have decided to brave the hot sun and forego their daily routines. Instead of spending time with their children, they have come to be with other women.

    They stood proud. They raised their voices. They bravely set an example for their daughters and sons by being socially aware and active women---those who not only nurture their families, but also stand up for their country.

    It was the 104th commemoration of the International Women's Month. Coincidentally, the day also marked the 4th month since Yolanda ravaged Eastern Visayas.

    These women rally to tell the world they were standing up to the oppression they encounter everyday. They were protesting, among other things, the rise in basic goods. "It is

    Read More »from The power of women

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