Lea Salonga as one of the Judges in Miss Universe

One of the Filipinos Pride, a Tony and Oliver Award-winning theater actress, the Disney legend and the Broadway star Ms. Lea Salonga has been chosen by the Miss Universe Organization President Paula Shugart and NBC Universal head Donald J. Trump to be one of the seven telecast judges of the 2011 Miss Universe pageant. This will be held in at the Credicard Hall, Sao Paulo, Brazil this September 12, 2011 as the preliminary judges selected the top 15 semi-finalist for the pageant’s night.

Lea Salonga is the fifth Filipino to become a judge in the 60-year history of the world’s most prestigious beauty pageant. The most recent Filipino judge for the Miss Universe beauty pageant was Manila Bulletin Publishing Corporation Chairman Don Emilio T. Yap when the contest was held in Manila in 1994. India’s Sushmita Sen won the beauty pageant. The first Filipino judge for the contest was the late Gen. Carlos P. Romulo when the Miss Universe contest was held for the first time in Manila in 1974. The late Amparo Munoz of Spain won the contest, only to give up her crown later. Fashion designer Josie Natori became the second Filipino judge in 1989; and later singer-actress Kuh Ledesma in 1991.

Miss Universe 2011, the 60th anniversary of the Miss Universe pageant. Ximena Navarrete of Mexico will crown her successor. Contestants from 89 countries and territories are participating in this year´s pageant, surpassing the previous record of 86 contestants in 2006.

Joining our very own Lea Salonga in judging the 89 delegates of Miss Universe 2011, are the following: Adrienne Maloof, from Bravo’s hit series “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills”. Amelia Vega, Miss Universe 2003. Connie Chung, U.S. broadcast legend. Helios Castroneves, three-time winner of the Indianapolis 500. Isabeli Fontana, Brazilian supermodel and Vivica Fox, actress & television producer.

Andy Cohen of Bravo’s “Watch What Happens: Live” and Natalie Morales of NBC’s “Today” will be hosting the event. Live performances will come from Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Bebel Gilberto and Brazilian native pop singer Claudia Leitte.

Miss Philippines Shamcey Supsup and the 88 other contestants were judged based on personal interview, evening gown, and swimsuit. The personal interviews were conducted for two days, ahead of the preliminary competitions on swimsuit and evening gown. A total of 16 semifinalists are expected to be announced in the finals. Telecast judges will then choose the Top 8 and Top 4 contestants.

The live coverage of the 2011 Miss Universe beauty pageant will be shown on ABS-CBN on September 13 in the morning.

Filipina, Angeli Flores part of Pan-Asian Girl Group “BLUSH”

BY: KRIS JOHN ENCOMIENDA

BLUSH

BLUSH

Hong Kong based Far-West Entertainment teamed up with British songwriter and record producer Eliot Kennedy who is known for his work songs for groups such as Spice Girls, S Club 7 and Five, to create “a pan-Asian, English-singing group composing of 5 beautiful, intelligent and talented young Asian women from Japan, Korea, China, India and the Philippines age ranges from 18-25 called “Project Lotus”.

Project Lotus aims to bring the next girl group band to the world. Part of the group is a Filipina singer Angeli Flores from Philippines, picked by FarWest Entertainment to become part of the 1st Pan-Asian girl group Blush, after its long wait from live auditions in Mumbai, Manila, Tokyo, Beijing, Seoul and Hong Kong, down to 25 Finalist to reality TV series intense training in Hong Kong to the elimination process and down to the selection of the Final Five.

To watch the elimination and selection process, Click Here!

Flores will be performing together with Victoria Chan (China), Alisha Budhrani (India), Natsuko Danjo (Japan) and Ji-Hae Lee (Korea). BLUSH after its successful launch in Asia, is all set and geared up to launch globally as they already started to record “Holding On To A Dream” which the girls recorded in Hong Kong with nine time Grammy Award winning producer / engineer Tal Herzberg and with their first single called “Undivided”.

Angeli Mae Flores from the Philippines (center)

Angeli Mae Flores (at the center) from the Philippines

To see the rehearsals of the Final Five, Click Here!

Lea Salonga, was one among the judges in the search for the Next Asian Girl Group, and said the newly-formed group “exciting” and the possibilities for it “endless“, “I don’t believe that a Pan-Asian girl group has ever been formed. There is such diversity in the group that was formed, not only in their features, but also in their personalities,” Lea added.

This Pan-Asian Girls experienced a development academy with some of the industry’s biggest names, record music, DVD’s and a TV special and a Film documentary of their journey in this reality search in English across the Asia this April-May.

Angeli Mae Flores, native of Marikina City is a face of Talent Search here in the Philippines. She competed in the talent show Star for a Night, hosted by Songbird Regine Velasquez in which Sarah Geronimo won as Grand Winner, together with Mau Marcelo (Grand Winner, Philippine Idol) participated. Flores, together with Star for a Night Finalists, released an album under Viva Records and recorded, “Sabi mo lang pala.”

Flores also joined the Search for the 1st Pinoy Idol which aired on GMA Network but she just made it to the top 11 spot.

Maria Continues to Soar Up High

BY: KRIS JOHN E. ENCOMIENDA

YouTube sensation Fil-Canadian wonder Maria Aragon now also known as Baby Gaga, is still soaring up in clouds as she still continuing to ride her dreams after her “Born this way” duet with her discoverer Lady Gaga.

Maria Aragon is non-stop, besides her guest appearances in radio stations in Canada and a number of covers post on YouTube that from time to time is collecting thousands of likes and comments, also had the time meeting her idol, a Tony Winner, and a Filipino pride Lea Salonga at The Inn at the Forks last March 17, who is so much excited to express her big impression with Maria’s acapella rendition of Lady Gaga’s hit that merited million likes and recognition all over the world.

Young girl Maria is also seen at the hunk actor Piolo Pascual’s first solo concert at Toronto, Canada.

“Now that I’m gonna be singing with Piolo Pascual and I have his signature on this hat. This hat is really very special. I have a lot of family there. I can see he’s really very nice,” she said in an interview aired on “Bandila,” March 29.

Aragon, who was born and raised in Canada, hopes to visit the Philippines soon. The Aragons have not visited the country since they migrated to Canada in 1997.

“I’m kind of giving it a thought, too. We have a lot of family there,” Aragon said. (from mb.com.ph)

The young Maria express her gratitude, long thank you and love you message to Lady Gaga, as the singer celebrated her 25th birthday, March 28, by singing her own version of the pop superstar’s hit “Born This Way.” Having this lyrics:

“Your mama told you when you were young you were born as superstar, coz you’re beautiful on your way coz god makes no mistake, you’re on the right track baby you were born on this day, mother must say you were born on this day, …ohh there ain’t no other day, gaga you were born this day, gaga you were born this day,(born this day), ohh there ain’t no other day, gaga you were born this day, ‘right track baby you were born on this day. Your mama told you when you were young you were born as superstar,”posted also that day.

to see the video CLICK HERE!

“Happy birthday Lady Gaga and I hope you enjoyed my little fixed version of ‘Born This Way’ a little bit of happy birthday. I hope you enjoy your 25th birthday and I hope that you have more than 25 years to come. I just really love you for the way you are. I hope you really stay Gaga and hopefully I get to see you again. And I wanna wish you more luck, more support and I just wanna say thank you because without you I would be nothing here playing my piano. I wouldn’t have been wearing this shirt or I wouldn’t get this hat. I wouldn’t post this video up. Just thank you and I love you and happy birthday,” as she added after singing.

Also, Prime Minister Stephen Harper with his wife Laureen also had a surprise visit at the Aragons to sing with the eleven-year-old uprising celebrity. The PM performed John Lennon’s “Imagine” on the piano together with Maria Aragon.

source: http://mariaaragon.cahttp://www.mb.com.ph

One Star, Two Dresses; Monique Lhuillier in People Magazine

BY: KRIS JOHN ENCOMIENDA

In Latest issue of People Magazine dated March 14, 2011, Filipino-American designer Monique Lhuillier, was once again acclaimed for her creations.

In the magazine article, “One Star, Two Dresses”, written by Alexis Chiu, the US-based Filipino designer who dresses American singer-songwriter, actress and fashion designer, Mandy Moore in recent 83rd Academy Awards ceremony, Oscars, last February 27, 2011, at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles, talks about the gown she created for Moore.

Monique Lhuillier creations for Mandy Moore

Monique Lhuillier creations for Mandy Moore

Mandy Moore wore two creations of Monique Lhuillier. The singer-actress excitedly walks on the red carpet with Lhuillier glittery frock named nude mermaid dress. The gown is filled with 2,500 citrine crystals, gold beads and matte gold sequins. Moore walked stunningly the shining gown with Chopard jewelry and Jimmy Choo “Zafira” shoes. The other one is a strapless cobalt blue full skirt and corseted top dress, for her performance along with her co-star from the film, Zachary Levi for the nominated song “I See the Light” from the Disney Rom-Com animated feature Tangled.

In an interview in a red carpet walk the 26-year-old Mandy Moore said “It was the first one I tried. I was like, ‘Okay, I’m done!

“What girl is not going to feel great wearing a dress like this?” Moore said about her red carpet dress, and likened her blue gown to a “big cupcake, but in the best way possible!” Lhuillier said she wanted to highlight the small waistline and feminine shoulders of the singer, and that her creations looked “beautiful on Mandy because she’s so statuesque and elegant,” according to PEP.ph.

According to the magazine, more than 10 workers spent 550 hours finishing Moore’s two gowns. The frocks of Lhuillier earned critical praise, and Moore herself felt happy because wearing the gowns was like fulfilling the fairytale fantasy of her childhood. “I just really took it all in and enjoyed it as much as I possibly could. It was a full-on girlie day, getting to play dress-up at this level. When you look at just how much work goes into pieces of art like these, you can’t help feeling both lucky and beautiful for the moment.”

Lhuillier also designed Moore pieces for 2011 Critic’s Choice Awards in a maroon strapless gown and Golden Globe Awards in a gorgeous mermaid fit royal blue gown, which accentuates her romantic brunette waves and peachy glow, InStyle.com said.

Along with Moore, Hollywood actresses Anna Paquin and Odette Yustman also wore a Monique Lhuillier creation in other past Oscar events.

Lhuilleir had long been supported by so many well known Hollywood personlaities. Some of them are stars Catherine Zeta-Jones, Angelina Jolie, Natalie Imbruglia, Janet Jackson, Demi Moore, Anne Hathaway, Kimberly Williams, Marcia Cross, Sarah Jessica Parker, sisters Jessica and Ashlee Simpson, Anna Paquin, Olivia Wilde, Sophia Bush, Kristen Stewart, Eva Longoria, Shania Twain, Kelly Clarkson, Kate Welsh, Jamie Lee Curtis, Rebecca Gayheart, Hayden Panettiere and Taylor Swift.

Monique also designed the bridal gowns for our national stars Lea Salonga and Regine Velaquez’s.

NEWS SOURCES: www.pep.phphilstar.commb.com.ph,

PHOTOS: malibumag.comundisputedinc.comnydailynews.comfashaddictblog.co.uk,

Lea Salonga helps raise P9.3M in Hawaii for cyclone victims

Lea Salonga has lifted up the image of Filipinos through her artistic achievements. She did it one more time for leading Filipino volunteers in Hawaii in raising millions of pesos for victims of recent cyclones in the Philippines.

Philippine officials in Hawaii thanked world-renowned Salonga and Filipino volunteers there for raising more than P9.299 million for victims of recent tropical cyclones Ondoy (Ketsana) and Pepeng (Parma).

Hawaii Councilman Romeo Cachola, Vice Speaker Michael Magaoay and Senator Robert Bunda gave Certificates of Appreciation to Salonga for enhancing the prestige and image of Filipinos through her artistic achievements and for her humanitarian contribution to the typhoon relief drive, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

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Lea Salonga saves the best for her Pinoy fans this December

Lea Salonga

Although international theater actress and singer Lea Salonga’s forthcoming concert “Lea Salonga…Your Songs” is her only one in Manila in 2009, she intends to make it worth the wait by ensuring it will be the ultimate crowd pleaser.

Calling “Your Songs” the concert for the fans and by her fans, concert producer AmbientMedia and Lea are currently conducting an online poll via www.LEAyoursongs.com through which people could request for songs they want to hear from the superstar.

“We will choose songs that I don’t usually sing in my concerts or those that are already on DVD or CD. If I have to learn an all-new repertoire, I’ll do that just so my fans are happy,” she said.

Not one to hold a generic type of concert, Lea always comes up with an interesting concept for every show she does. Some of the themes she has used in the past are Broadway, OPM and standards.

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What Lea will sing for you

Barely two weeks after the website (www.LEAyoursongs.com) was published, AmbientMedia got more than 1,300 songs fans (and other interested parties) are requesting Lea Salonga to sing at her Lea Salonga…Your Songs concert on Dec. 11 and 12 at the PICC Plenary Hall.

“But it’s impossible for me to sing all of them even if I want to,” admitted Lea whose repertoire will consist of, as Funfare earlier mentioned, your and my favorite songs which Lea will very gladly sing for you and for me, for us. Produced by AmbientMedia, the concert will have Bobby Garcia as director and Lea’s brother Gerard as musical director, with Ai-Ai delas Alas, Richard Poon and the dance group Philippine All Stars as co-performers.

They will go by “gut” feel.

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Millions bid President Cory goodbye

Wednesday’s final ceremonies for the late former President Corazon Aquino was a fitting tribute to arguably the country’s most adored public figure in modern Philippine history.

The two-hour grand concelebrated requiem mass led by the Aquino family’s close friend, Bishop Socrates B. Villegas of the Diocese of Balangue, was moving, both in terms of its solemnity and tributes in song rendered by some of the country’s most popular artists, including world-renowned stage and music performer, Lea Salonga whose rendition of “Bayan Ko,” left no dry eye inside the Cathedral.

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ABS-CBN Foundation anniversary concert

MANILA, Philippines – ABS-CBN Foundation, Inc. (AFI) held a star-studded 20th anniversary concert recently at Meralco Theater dedicated to the donors, volunteers and beneficiaries of the foundation.

AFI, led by managing director Regina “Gina” Paz Lopez, is behind the programs Bantay Bata 163, Bayan Foundation, E-Media, Bantay Kalikasan, Sagip Kapamilya, BayaniJuan and Kapit Bisig Para sa Ilog Pasig. Each addresses the different needs of Filipino communities, with one common goal. “The mission of the ABS-CBN Foundation is simple. We want to transform the world into a better place for children to live in,” Lopez said.

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An easy skincare alternative

The road to a healthy, glowing complexion is as easy as 1,2,3 says Filipina icon Lea Salonga.

As much as many women find it very necessary to pamper themselves, go to salons and get facials in spas every week, truth of the matter is, they simply can’t, as their ever-so-hectic schedules and their tight budgets won’t let them. But however tough the times are and  demanding work could be, there is no escaping the apparent that women need their dose of beauty and confidence pick-me-uppers. Why? Nowadays, it’s more shameful to go in public with a wrinkled and pockmarked skin than to make a major fashion faux pas—and many have taken notice.

Achieving such perfectly clear, healthy, and smooth skin may seem unattainable especially to ordinary women who can’t afford to break the bank with ludicrously exorbitant professional anti-aging skin treatments. But at a recent Avon event at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza, performer and Filipina icon Lea Salonga begged to disagree.

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