Philippines, Hailed as One of the World’s Best Destinations in 2013

MANILA, Philippines — Looks like all of our hidden beaches will no longer be oblivious to foreigners as Condé Nast Traveller, an American travel magazine, ranked Philippines as second among the top 10 destinations to watch out for in 2013.

On its magazine online site, author Laura Fowler believes that it is the undiscovered beaches and the incredible underwater life that makes the Philippines particularly popular among serious divers. She also mentioned some of the country’s finest destination sites such as Bicol, Siargao, Palawan and Amanpulo.

Among the ”Top 10 hot destinations that will be big news for travelers in 2013″, Brazil ranked 1st. The Netherlands’ city of Amsterdam was ranked 3rd; 4th is Africa; Galapagos Islands, 5th; Kashmir, 6th; Mayan Riviera, 7th; New Zealand, 8th; Panama, 9th; while Oman placed the 10th spot.

As the author put it,  ”Sorry, Maldives… We love you, but we’ve got a new flame.”

With the country’s unexplored beaches and vast underwater wildlife, looks like Philippines already has the edge among its tropical neighbors.

Binibining Pilipinas Beauties Crowned

Janine Mari Tugonon, 22 years of age, a cum laude graduate with a pharmacy degree from the University of Santo Tomas, outdone 29 other candidates and was crowned Miss Philippines-Universe 2012 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum last April 15, 2012 (Sunday).

She got the most desired title after finishing first runner-up in the same beauty pageant last year.

Nicole Schmitz, 23 years of age, from Cebu City secured the title of Binibining Pilipinas-International 2012, she also won the Nestlé Fitnesse Best in Swimsuit award and Best in National Costume. Schmitz is set to graduate with a double major in Law and Psychology in Australia at the end of the year.

Meanwhile, Katrina Dimaranan, 18 years old, was announced as Binibining Pilipinas Tourism 2012. She recently graduated from High School and also gotten the Miss Talent award.

Completing the winners’ circle were a 19-year-old, Annalie Forbes (1st runner-up) and 20-year-old Elaine Kay Moll (2nd runner-up).

The Big Dome was filled with a lot of enthusiasts and supporters of the 30 candidates who prepared hard for the big night over the past four months.

The pageant was hosted by Xian Lim, Iza Calzado, Venus Raj and Georgina Wilson which was started by a cheerful number as the girls whirled to heavy beating in a “more fun in the Philippines” mode.

The program then was followed by the swimsuit competition and the long gown parade interposed by the sounds of DJ Callum David and performances of Arnel Pineda, the Journey frontman who did a U2 song, and bamboo with a flashy version of the Anakbayan song “Probinsyana.”

The winners of other special awards were Chloe Zanardi (Bb. Friendship), MJ Lastimosa (Bb. Philippine Airlines and Ms. Avon), Roxanne Tadique (Manila Bulletin’s Readers Choice), Giselle Muñoz (People’s Binibini), Karen Gallman (Bb. Photogenic), and Angelee de los Reyes (Best in Long Gown).

Last year’s conquerors Shamcey Supsup, Dianne Necio and Isabella Manjon walked the Binibini stage as queens for the last time in a demonstrative sendoff.

The judges’ panel was composed of an elite mix of businessmen from empowered women, government personalities, diplomats, and leading multinationals.

They comprised of US Ambassador Harry Thomas Jr., Spanish Ambassador Jorge Domecq, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Rizal Gov. Junjun Ynares, former congresswoman Risa Hontiveros, STAR columnist Babe Romualdez, actor and sportsman Richard Gomez, Azkals striker Phil Younghusband, banker Olivier Gougeon, Avon Philippines’ Ashley Ferguson, Nestlé Philippines CEO John Miller and Miss International 2005 Precious Lara Quigaman.

The event was also attended by Binibining Pilipinas Charities Inc. Chairwoman Stella Marquez Araneta, Araneta Group Chairman Jorge Araneta and the BPCI executive board was composed of Conchitina Bernardo, Pitoy Moreno, Eddie Ocampo and Betsy Westendorp.

Numerous historical Bb. Pilipinas beauty queens and showbiz personalities also graced the event, including Boy Abunda and Mateo Guidicelli. Binibining Pilipinas 2012 was presented by the Araneta Center, ABS-CBN, Nestlé Fitnesse in cooperation with Nestlé Fruit Selection Yogurt, Avon, JAG jeans as the official jeans, Manhattan Garden City, the Department of Tourism, Philippine Airlines as the official airlines, and Resorts World Manila as the official residence.

Other partners are the Manila Bulletin, Pizza Hut, Charter Ping An Insurance Corp., David’s Salon, Gold’s Gym, Entrepreneurs School of Asia, Dale Carnegie Training, Picture City, TicketNet, and the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Raymond Saldaña is the official photographer of the affair. Joylong Philippines is the official transport partner of Binibining Pilipinas 2012.

Bela Padilla under attack on Twitter for supposed ‘racist’ magazine cover

Bela Padilla is the talk of Twitterland due to her touchy magazine cover issue

MANILA, Philippines – Actress Bela Padilla is making much noise with her first-ever appearance on the cover of a popular men’s magazine – but not for the right reasons.

Apparently, many Tweeps find the cover – which has Padilla wearing nothing but a tiny, red bikini surrounded by women covered in what seemed to be soot – quite ‘racist’ in tone.

Twitter user ‏ @AinjTorres actually deemed Padilla herself a “racist” for agreeing to appear in such.

“The girl in @FHMPhils discriminating cover. She herself must be a Racist then,” he posted.

Other Twitter users like @LadyCachola, @sarhentosilly and @pitradactyl went on to directly tweet Padilla about it.

“@belavly you looked great in the cover of FHM, I’m a tad offended as I’m not light skinned like you, but your (sic) just doing your job,”

@LadyCachola posted.

Apart from the cover, @sarhentosilly hit Padilla on being a “writer.”

“@belavly I can’t believe you’re a writer and you don’t even know how to read between the lines. You’re a disgrace to the writing community,” he said.

@pitradactyl on the other hand assailed Padilla for saying: “the only racists in the world are the people who think racism exists.”

This was followed by @radikalchick who directly tweeted Padilla, “@belavly oh honey, don’t talk about things you don’t know about.”

@jjjjjjjjjjjjjn meanwhile said, “REALLY? THAT’S HOW YOU DEFINE THE WORD RACIST? Dyusko teh. Ikaw magbasa, at wag lang FHM.”

The hapless Padilla tried to defend herself and the magazine cover to the utmost of her efforts, answering each and every tweet the best that she can and in a very sensible manner.

“Let’s take something positive and see it positively. Not see something positive and find the smallest flaw to make it negative,” she posted.

She apologized to those who were seemingly offended by the cover explaining that the concept was about her “stepping out of MY inhibitions, MY fears, MY shadows. Not bashing a certain race.”

“Please read the article to understand the cover,” she pleaded at one point.

The brouhaha reached another level when former boldie Rica Peralejo attacked the cover.

“Grabe I don’t know why they did a peg like that. I personally think that it’s being insensitive to racial issues,” she posted.

She went on to address the matter with Padilla herself, going on to advise the actress to not just agree to anything and everything offered to her.

“Hope u can talk to someone also who can open your eyes to how bad the concept of the cover was. Para na din next time,mas aware ka and make informed decisions to say yes or no to offers that will come your way. :) ,” she said.

Padilla replied with a curt, “@ricaperalejo yup! Ill keep that in mind, thank you. :)

The publishers of the magazine are yet to speak about the issue.


Ruffa’s Single Status

Ruffa’s annulment case has been the talk-about this weekend. Ruffa is now legally single after three years of waiting for the court’s decision. Psychological incapacity for the part of Yilmaz Bektas was the court’s basis of voiding their marriage. Ruffa Gutierrez gets the custody for their two daughters, Lorin and Venice.

“I have sole custody of the kids. I’m taking care of the kids on my own. If he wants to come and visit, he’s more than welcome to do so.”

Ruffa further expressed her side on her show “Paparazzi Showbiz Exposed” last February 25.

“Well, it is an emotional time. Actually, the annulment has been long overdue kasi I filed three years ago at ganun kahaba ang panahon na nilakbay ng kasong ito.

“Actually, ngayon lang ako naging emotional nung tinitignan ko yung VTR [na ipinalabas bago ang interview sa kanya].

“Kasi you know, siyempre may pinagsamahan kami, may dalawang anak kami.

“But I’m also relieved na we can both move on and I’m officially single again. I’m closing a chapter in my life and yet I’m opening a new chapter.

“I’m very blessed that God has given me another chance for happiness.”

Ruffa is now focusing on her career and family, and sets aside her romantic relationships.

Juday to play a role in Indie film

A first-timer in Indie film, Juday admitted she is nervous but excited about her new movie. This is her first time to do an independent film for Cinemalaya where in people are keener with their opinions and observations in terms of acting and story.

Judy Ann plays the role of Mariel in “Mga Mumunting Lihim.”

“Iba siya sa iba pang movies na ginawa ko… hindi naman dark pero may misteryo yung character niya,” Juday explained.

“May sarili siyang pananaw sa mga kaibigan niya at sinusulat niya iyon sa journal niya.

“Ang mga Pilipino mahilig sa diary, mahilig magkuwento sa mga kaibigan.

“It’s a good movie kasi makaka-relate lahat ng tao.

“Lahat naman tayo may kaibigan at lahat tayo nagkakaroon ng tampuhan sa mga kaibigan natin,” she added.

Meanwhile her tax evasion case which was filed on 2002 has not yet been resolved. Juday prays for the best.

“I’m hoping for the best.

“Hindi mo naman maibabalik ang panahon na wala kang kaso. It’s already there.

“Wala ka nang magagawa kundi pulutan ng magandang aral.

“Ako, naniniwala na nangyayari ang mga bagay dahil may rason. Sadya siyang mangyayari dahil kailangan siyang mangyari sa iyo.

“At the end of it all, ang sisisihin mo lang ang sarili mo, kasi bakit mo hinayaan? Bakit ka nag-trust?

“Pero at the end of the day, bata ka, e. Akala mo tama ang ginagawa mo.”

Juday wants her case to be a lesson for other celebrities especially to the young stars that they must be responsible and they must know how to handle and pay for their taxes.

Rhian comeback appearance in PP

After getting the vacation she needs, Rhian finally came back, as she made a song number in Party Pilipinas last February 19.

“Siyempre, na-miss kong mag-perform on TV, lalo na kapag live, nakikita mo ‘yong mga mukha ng audience.

“Kasi nakikita ko ‘yong fans ko, nando’n sila.

“Mero’n pa silang banner ko. So, nata-touch ako kapag gano’n, e.

Her fans will no longer miss her because they will see their Idol on various projects and movies. “The Road”, a film by Direk Yam Laranas and Rhian as one of the cast, will have an international screenings in US and Canada.

“Ipapalabas ito sa U.S. at sa Canada. Mero’n kaming red-carpet premiere doon.

“I think ang pupunta… ako, si TJ [Trinidad], si Alden [Richards], si Louise [delos Reyes], at siyempre si Direk [Yam],” Rhian said with excitement.

She will also have a movie with Aljur Abrenica this coming march called “My Kontrabida Girl.”

“And also, ‘yong movie namin ni Aljur [Abrenica] na My Kontrabida Girl, natapos na naming i-shoot. At malapit na itong ipalabas.

“Sa lalong madaling panahon, ipapalabas na ang My Kontrabida Girl sa March.

“So, ayun… kakaibang pelikula siya.

“At saka na-enjoy ko ‘yong company at saka ‘yong working experience ko with Aljur.”

So it is safe to say that Rhian has finally moved on from the issue with his ex-boyfriend Mo. A braver and stonger Rhian Ramos has come up to face what she has left behind.

Pauleen Luna: “ Hindi po ako buntis.”

Viewers of Eat Bulaga’s segment “Juan for All, All For Juan”, witnessed how Pauleen Luna fainted while interviewing their contestant on the show. All the people on the remote and either in studio were shocked and panicked seeing Dabarkads Pauleen fell on the floor. But Pauleen denied the rumors that the reason she fainted is because she is pregnant.

“Hindi po ako buntis,”Pauleen answered on “Showbiz Central” last February 19.

The rumors became viral because of Vic said on that moment she fainted, “Hindi ba naghahanap ng maasim o ano?”

Pauleen Luna defended Vic’s statement, “Bossing is just making things lighter kasi, of course, the whole studio was panicking, sila lahat. Even sa remote lahat nagpa-panic.” Pauleen made it clear that she has a history of fainting and it was not the first time.

Pauleen explained what happened that day.

“Nu’ng may tinawagan na sina Bossing at palakad na kami sa contestant [ay] wala na akong naintindihan. Umiikot na talaga ang paningin ko. Tapos tumatawa sila, nakikitawa na lang ako,” Pauleen recalled.  I didn’t wanna naman…ayoko namang mag-inarte just because nahihilo ako. ‘Pag about face, parang gumagano’n gano’n na ako talaga [motioning a circular movement in the air]. Biglang parang isang mabilis, wala na ako talaga, blackout.”

Pauleen said she fainted because of lack of sleep, food intake and fatigue.

Lucy Hale, a new endorser of Bench

The Pretty Little Liars star is the new face of HerBench clothing line.

An event was organized in SMX Convention Center last February 11 to announce Lucy as the new endorser of HerBench’s new Americana style clothing.

“It perfectly describes my style,” said Lucy.

The young Hollywood actress said that playing the role of Aria, made her absorbed the fashion style of the character.

“I think that since I started the show, I’ve seen Aria’s style. It’s sort of Lucy may have transformed in Aria.

And just like any other girl, Lucy loves to shop. She said that she’s open to endorsing Bench accessories if it has its own line. Speaking of shopping, being an endorser means you can shop at Bench anywhere at any cost. Lucy and his stylist Scott Cunha shopped at one of Bench stores and they bought a lot.

“You mean, what did I not get? I got swimsuits, underwear, bras, jeans, shirts, hats, skirts, and this jumper thing. And Scott got all the men’s underwear, every single pair — maybe 20 pairs of underwear (laughs). He seriously needs to be the next endorser for Bench Body.”

Lucy Hale also gave tips to petite girls like her.

“I know for me, I can’t wear certain lengths because of proportions, like I can’t wear over-the-knee boots cause I want to appear taller. So I guess it’s all about finding what works for your body but at the same time — and it all sounds contradictory — but don’t be afraid to take risks, don’t be afraid to try new things. That’s sort of like my motto.”

Lucy told Pretty Little Liars fans that this season will be an exciting one because they will get to know finally who is “A.”

“I think some will be surprised, some will probably be not surprised at all. But we’re gonna know who ‘A’ is. I think you guys cannot wait to see the finale.”

Carla Abellana finally decided to transfer

After Iza Calzado transferred to ABS-CBN, there are speculating rumors that Carla will be the next Kapuso Star to transfer. In an interview with PEP, she said that she knew there was an offer but she hasn’t read it. She said that as much as possible she doesn’t want to leave GMA.

“Wala pa… Wala pang umaabot sa akin na kontrata or plano kung anong gagawin.

“Pero nasabi ko na rin naman, my heart is in GMA.

“But, I will be honest naman, kailangan kong i-open ‘yong mind ko sa ibang offers.

“I’m not saying, babay [sa Kapuso network]. Hindi naman.

“Kumbaga, at this point in my life, ano, e, kailangan mong i-open ang mind mo.

“Na i-consider ‘yong iba, ‘yong plano ng iba, ‘yong offer nila.

“So, that’s why I asked for some time off para makapag-isip talaga ako. Iyon!”

But on the recent news, tables were turned, as Carla Abellana finally made a decision of transferring to ABS-CBN. It was a hard decision for her and for her manager Arnold Vegafria, but what had made them leave were the priorities of GMA when it comes to giving projects to its talents. The most prioritize are, Marian Rivera, Barbie Forteza and Bea Binene.

“Sabi ko nga, hindi na ako bumabata. Hindi naman ako puwede na teeny-bopper forever. Career, roles… ano pa ang ibang magagawa ko? Sino pa ang ibang puwede kong makatrabaho?” she clarified.

Is it over between Dra. Vicki Belo and Hayden Kho, Jr?

Isang nakakaintrigang mensahe ang inilabas ni Dra. Vicki Belo sa kanyang Twitter account ngayong hapon, Pebrero 10, tungkol sa fiancé niyang si Hayden Kho.

Ayon kay Vicki, “nancycastilogne you can now openly date @haydenjr . You have my blessings . Hope you’ll both be happy .”

Sa naturang mensahe, tila ipinahihiwatig ng celebrity cosmetic surgeon na hiwalay na sila ng nobyo.

At ang dahilan: ang aktres na si Nancy Castiglione.

Mas lalong umingay ang alingasngas tungkol sa umano’y hiwalayan ng dalawa dahil agad na sumagot si Hayden sa mensahe ni Dra. Belo gamit din ang Twitter account.

Ani Hayden, “Before things go out of hand: Vicki and I are just having a misunderstanding. Don’t make conclusions. There’s NO infidelity issue here.”

Kani-kanila lang ay muling nag-post ng mensahe si Hayden sa kanyang Twitter account:

“I feel that the public doesn’t have to get involved in this but since names have to be cleared and this issue involves the welfare of two innocent toddlers, I will have to speak out my piece, but at the right time. Thank you.”

Totoo nga kayang hiwalay na ang magkasintahan?

Kahapon, una nang lumabas sa PEP Alerts na hindi na raw interesado ang beauty doctor sa kasal nila ng doctor-turned-entrepreneur.

Ano naman ang kinalaman ni Nancy Castiglione sa isyung ito?

NO SIGNS OF TROUBLE? Nakapagtataka ang bagong yugtong ito sa relasyon nina Hayden at Vicki.

Nito lamang kasing Sabado, Pebrero 4, ay nakita pa silang magkasama at malambing sa isa’t isa sa isang children’s party na ginanap sa NBC Tent sa The Fort.

Masaya rin silang humarap sa media noong Martes, Pebrero 7, sa Skin party sa Genting Club, Resorts World Manila.

Sa interview ng dalawa sa media ay sinabi nilang matutuloy ang plano nilang pagpapakasal ngayong taon.

THE HAYDEN-NANCY CONNECTION. Kung pagbabasehan ang Twitter posts nina Nancy at Hayden, masasabing magkakilala at magkaibigan ang dalawa.

May ilang beses na rin kasi silang nag-usap gamit ang naturang social networking site.

Nito lamang Enero 10 ay nagpalitan ng tweets ang dalawa na nagsimula sa pagpo-promote ni Hayden ng isang skin-rejuvenating product ng Belo Medical Group.

Nagkainteres sa produkto si Nancy at nauwi ito sa pagbigay niya ng kanyang cell phone number kay Hayden upang ma-i-refer umano siya sa isang nagngangalang Dr. Lipana.

Ipinakilala pa ni Hayden si Nancy kay Dra. Belo gamit ang Twitter nang i-tag nito ang username ng kanyang nobya.

May ilang ulit pang nagkausap sina Hayden at Nancy sa Twitter mula noon, lalo na kung ang paksa ng usapan ay tungkol sa pagpapapayat at pagpapa-sexy na isa sa mga pinagkakaabalahan ngayon ni Nancy.

Kahapon, Pebrero 9, ang huling public interaction nina Nancy at Hayden sa Twitter.

Nag-post si Nancy ng larawan niya kasama ang dalawang anak niya sa isang restaurant.

May nakakaintriga namang sagot si Hayden tungkol sa ipinost na larawam ni Nancy.

Sabi ni Hayden: “@vickibelo and I will have the one on the left.”

Taong 2008 nang pansamantalang lisanin ni Nancy ang showbiz upang pagtuunan ng oras ang pagbubuntis niya sa kambal na anak nila ng kanyang non-showbiz boyfriend.

Noong nakaraang taon ay nagpahiwatig ito ng intensiyong balikan ang naiwan niyang singing career kung saan ginagamit niya ang screen name na Nancy Jane.

Samantala, hindi pa matukoy sa ngayon ang tunay na dahilan ng pagkakalabuan nina Hayden at Vicki, at kung ano ang kinalaman ni Nancy sa isyung ito.

Sa text message na natanggap ng PEP mula kay Carlo Orosa, manager ni Hayden, kakausapin pa lamang daw nito ang kanyang alaga tungkol sa naturang isyu.

Kinokontak din sa ngayon ng PEP ang manager ni Nancy na si Arnold Vegafria upang magbigay-linaw sa isyu.

Nananatili ring bukas ang PEP para sa panig ni Dra. Belo at iba pang sangkot sa isyu.

Abangan ang susunod na update tungkol sa balitang ito.