‘Misis Hanep Buhay’ Builds 100 Pilot Livelihood Centers Nationwide

In her bid to provide jobs to more Filipinos even those outside her city, Las Piñas, former Rep. Cynthia A. Villar, now senatorial contender, has established a total of 100 pilot centers in various provinces across the nation to duplicate the livelihood centers (or green social enterprises) that she initiated in her city.

Mrs. Villar, who has earned the moniker "Misis Hanep Buhay," has successfully provided livelihood to over 500 families in Las Pinas through her family's Villar Foundation. She noted that livelihood projects in Las Piñas have been very successful and sustainable.

"So I thought I should share these experiences with other communities all over the country," she said during a meeting with friends from the entertainment press held at Starmall in Mandaluyong City.

We've been to Las Piñas for the launch of her various projects, starting with handicrafts made of water lily as materials. There was even a time when bets of a beauty contest in the place were required to wear gowns made of water lily. The gowns were truly creative and very impressive.

"I thought that building more livelihood centers across the country will be my opportunity to expand the reach of my livelihood projects. I want to make a lot of difference in people's lives," she said adding, "And because the Philippines has 1,600 cities, we still have a long way to go."

She also wants to provide jobs even to those who failed to finish elementary schooling. "There should be a balance wherein all will be afforded the opportunity to have a decent job and earn a living." She noted that under the present condition, employers require that even factory workers should be high school graduates. "So how about those who are not even elementary graduates?"

Mrs. Villar also recently established the Villar Social Institute for Poverty Alleviation and Governance (SIPAG) to serve as center of all her efforts and endeavors in reducing poverty in the country.

No Celebrity Endorsers

Mrs. Villar notes that showbiz celebrities are crowd drawers and that's why many candidates tap their services. But she said she does not intend to get celebrity endorsers to help in her senatorial bid. "I'd rather run on the basis of my achievements and projects," she said.

Camille Off To Spain

Mrs. Villar said Camille and her family were happy with her showbiz stint, albeit short. She enjoyed very much her hosting job on Willie Revillame's top-rating show, now aired noontime. Camille already said goodbye to viewers of TV5's "Wowowillie" because she is bound for Barcelona, Spain where she will take up her master's degree in senior management.

"That's my dream for her, na maka-MBA siya," Mrs. Villar said.

• • •

Jonathan Manalo Scores A Feat

Songwriter-record producer Jonathan Manalo is still on cloud nine thinking about the success of his composition "Patuloy Ang Pangarap" which launched singer Angeline Quinto to stardom.

The piece is now a teleserye theme song, prolonging its victory run. "I'm so glad it inspired a new series starring two new singing wonder kids of ABS-CBN, Lara and Julia," Jonathan said.

In 2011, Star Awards for Music chose "Patuloy Ang Pangarap" as "Song Of The Year" while the Catholic Mass Media Awards picked it as their "Secular Song Of The Year." Radio station Tambayan gave it "Song of the Year" honors at the Tambayan OPM Awards, apart from ranking it as its No. 1 song.

"Siguro po ang mga blessing sa career ko would have been impossible if wala akong mentality na 'hindi pwede ang pwede na 'yan," Manalo said.

Last year was especially good for Manalo as he worked on eight of those in the Top 10 best-selling albums. He was behind Angeline Quinto's two well-followed albums, as well as two volumes of "Walang Hanggan" soundtrack.

Both Awit Awards and Star Awards for Music also recognized Manalo's work as he took home a total of 11 trophies from the award-giving bodies. He took home five from Awit as producer for various recordings including "Best Ballad Of The Year" for the Sam Milby song he wrote and produced titled "Hindi Kita Iiwan." He bagged six from Star, including "Album of the Year" for his work on Aiza Seguerra's "Songs From The Vault" and the Erik Santos recording "Kulang Ako Kung Wala Ka."

• • •

Isabela Theater Arts Festival

Young Isabelino talents will showcase their artistry in the upcoming Isabela Arts Festival to be held on Feb. 23 at the Isabela State University Echague Campus (ISU). With the theme "Isabela: Kahapon, Ngayon at Bukas," the festival aims to promote the culture and history of the province, aside from developing the talents of Isabelino students.

At stake are awards in Best Presentation Production, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Scriptwriter, and Best Director. Winners will become the Theater Arts Ambassadors of Isabela to different colleges, universities, provinces and cities nationwide. They will also get the chance to perform in a TV network.

The awarding of prizes will be held on Feb. 28 at the ISU Roxas Campus. The festival is spearheaded by ISU with its president, Dr. Aleth Mamanuag, in collaboration with the Isabela Culture and the Arts Council headed by ICAC-Executive Director Dr. Constante Andress and the Alias Lambojon Theater Arts Academy.

• • •

Tidbits: Happy b-day greetings today, Feb. 21, go to Tony Gloria of Unitel Pictures, Jinky Llamanzares, Mike Alunan, Lilia Duldulao, Clark Howell Arcinas, Raphael Tiongson, Girlie Guillen, Beth Virtucio, Dr. Delia R. Barcelona, Doreen Belen of Hawaii, Paolo Perez, Severiano "Boy" Velasco, Gigi Paras, Jennifer Fong, Clark Howell Arcinas, Rangi Paila G. Mercado, Rocelle "Raki" Vega, and GMA-7's Love Añover and Don Morales...

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