All posts by Web Master

Singer Career Step by Step in the Philippines

How to launch a singer career step by step in the Philippines? Sometimes when you thought you already know what to do, you would still put up a checklist that would guide you. Was it really that hard to launch a singer career? It often lies on the kind of passion you pour into it.

So you discovered that you can carry a tune. You are not tone deaf. And everyone around you is impressed at how your voice matched the music. And no matter how loud the karaoke machine is, you’re still in tune. How to launch a singer career step by step in the Philippines then?

Singer Career Step by Step in the Philippines
Screenshot from Musical Online’s YouTube channel

– Join a band for a singer career step by step in the Philippines

It sounded like a cliche on getting a singer career step by step in the Philippines. But I should know since I have been in a band myself. In case you didn’t know, years ago I was the lead vocalist for a Spanish rock band. It’s called Memento Mori. And we performed cover versions of mainstream hits like Metallica’s For Whom The Bell Tolls and Judas Priest’s Breaking The Law.

It got me into gigs I don’t usually get into. It also served as an opportunity to prove my versatility as an artist. My orientation may have been bel canto opera. But I enjoy other genres too. It inspired me strongly enough to front a band heavily influenced by rock music. I got to entertain fellow rock fans. And I get to do what I love most – singing.

Singer Career Step by Step in the Philippines
Screenshot from my YouTube channel

– Join a singing contest for singer career step by step in the Philippines

There are several singers and entertainers now that join contests not only to win. The exposure alone got them gigs that secured a singer career step by step in the Philippines. The main difference though with joining a band is that you get to strike out on your own. It also serves as an opening to be discovered. Singing in a different genre that more people can identify and relate to (like Top 40 Hits) gets the public’s attention.

But don’t do it for the sake of “relevance”. If you have been watching enough episodes of some singing contests like American Idol and The Voice, you know that some auditionees failed due to wrong song choice. Shift that situation to launching a singer career step by step in the Philippines and not everyone gets a second chance like in the Idol franchise. So sticking to your strengths would still be highly recommended. You wanted to prove that you can sing well? Sing songs from a genre that you are really good at.

I managed to get into a singing contest at Fisher Mall and get good reviews. I sang 2 songs that are available for you to enjoy. One is “The Impossible Dream”. The other is “This is the Moment”. Both songs are part of my standard playlist because I can sing both of them well. That is one of the crucial tips that you need to remember. You want to be remembered for a particular genre or repertoire, right?

Singer Career Step by Step in the Philippines
Image from my Facebook Fan Page

– Recordings for a singer career step by step in the Philippines

Be it a cover of a song or an original composition, having a clip to show around still works. I have an original composition, Wellfire’s “Hold Me”, on my Soundcloud account. Think of it as building your portfolio to have a singer career step by step in the Philippines. How can you explain best the proliferation of YouTube channels and stand alone websites of professional singers? Gigs and exposure work. But for future talent scouts, they would need documented proof of your talent too.

This brings me to other performances that I got cast into. Being a theater actor, I got cast in productions that showcased 2 of my talents. Add the bel canto training that I received early in my budding career. And you realize why I got cast into perhaps the longest running Filipino opera ever – Noli Me Tangere. Good thing some excerpts were uploaded on YouTube for everyone to see. It’s one of the strongest vocal performances so far in my career. And it served as the best reference for talent scouts everywhere that needed to see proof of my talent.

Singer Career Step by Step in the Philippines
Screenshot from Musicals Online’s YouTube channel

Finding success in a singer career step by step in the Philippines meant getting to earn from doing what you love. Don’t be easily discouraged when you don’t win contests. Capitalize on the exposure. Take advantage of the opportunity to record your own performances. It often serves 2 purposes. One is to observe where you need to improve. Two is to upload it online to market yourself for events that need performers.

Hopefully this article was of help to you. Chances are there are more tips to come. To get updated real-time with the latest articles, please like my official Facebook page, Kuya Manzano Fan Club. Follow me on Twitter @kuyamanzano too. Gracias!

Be A Philippine Politician

One of the worst misconceptions is how easy it is to be a Philippine politician. I have some relatives like Edu Manzano and Ms. Margarita Cojuangco that entered politics. It fascinated me. as to how to be one.

Serving by running for public office is often the reason behind an election campaign. Most Filipinos can serve the people without having to run and be a Philippine politician. But when new laws had to be made and others needed correcting, most of these tasks fall on the hands of the lawmakers. And the only way to be one of the lawmakers is to be a Philippine politician.

The same lawmakers that drafted our current set of laws are the same individuals that these political aspirants look up to. They refer to them for notes and information to be a Philippine politician because it has been used time and again to identify the steps needed. Some candidates only get to brush up on some of the laws when they get disqualification charges. So the best reference to look up to would be the law itself.

be a Philippine politician

One of the laws serving as reference for political aspirants and veterans alike to be a Philippine politician is the Election Code of the Philippines. Article IX is where you find the criteria used for identifying qualified candidates. Article IX Section 63 particularly enumerates qualifications for running for President and Vice President of the Philippines.

be a Philippine politician

Notice how educational attainment needed to be a Philippine politician is simply stated as “able to read and write”. This gave several non-degree holders to run for public office for positions as high as President and Vice President of the Philippines. The law was specific when it comes for age requirements and years of residency. The age requirement is easily interpreted as proof that you have earned enough experience in public service to give the presidency a shot. The number of years can be interpreted as having enough time spent in the locality to prove familiarity with the territory you intend to rule on. If the rule of law would be used, it is basically open season for everyone interested regardless of whether you finished school or not. Everyone that sees themselves ruling over the country can run.

Qualifications to run for members of Congress (referred to as Batasang Pambansa) is almost the same except for the age requirement. This is where I realized that while qualifications for the district and sectoral representatives are found in Article IX of the Election Code of the Philippines. I found the qualifications to become Senators of the Philippines in the 1987 Constitution. Article VI Section 3 of the 1987 Constitution enumerates them as follows.

be a Philippine politician

Again, no mention of any degrees earned to be a Philippine politician by virtue of serving in the Senate. This is in recognition of members of this so-called “august body” that contributed positively to the law-making process without even having to finish college. It is often the exception rather than the rule. But most of the decorated and accomplished Senators have bills enacted into laws. Their decisions are highly influenced by their experience as legal practitioners. Nevertheless, being a member of the Senate means participating in creating laws that help the nation.

From where does the Senate gets the laws they decide upon? They get it from the House of Representatives. To be a Philippine politician on a local level as one of the lawmakers, qualifications are stated on Article IX Section 64 paragraph 1 of the Election Code of the Philippines. Compared to the Senate, age requirement stated here is younger as stated below.

be a Philippine politician

Now when it comes to representation in the House of Representatives, it includes sectoral representatives. They are better known as Party-List Representatives. To be a Philippine politician under the Party List banner, aspirants should read Article IX Section 64 paragraph 2 of the Election Code of the Philippines.

be a Philippine politician

 To be President or Vice President  To be a Member of the Senate  To be a Member of the House of Representatives (Districts)  To be a Member of the House of Representatives (Sectoral)
 A natural-born citizen of the Philippines  A natural-born citizen of the Philippines  A natural-born citizen of the Philippines  A natural-born citizen of the Philippines
 A registered voter  A registered voter  A registered voter in the constituency in which he shall be elected  In case of a representative of the agricultural or industrial labor sector, a registered voter
 Able to read and write  Able to read and write  Able to read and write  Able to read and write
 At least forty (40) years of age on election day  At least thirty-five (35) years of age on the day of the election  At least twenty-five (25) years of age on the day of the election  At least twenty-five (25) years of age on the day of the election
 A resident of the Philippines for at least ten (10) years immediately preceding the day of the election  A resident of the Philippines for not less than two (2) years immediately preceding the day of the election  A resident thereof for a period of not less than six (6) months immediately preceding the day of the election  A resident of the Philippines for a period of not less than one (1) year immediately preceding the day of the election

Here’s to hoping that this article was of help to everyone aspiring to be a Philippine politician. Or public servant, in case the word politician still leaves a bad taste to the mouth. Bottom line is that you want to make a difference in the Philippines by having the power to correct some laws. Either some of them are obsolete or they need to be updated. I don’t see this as the last time writing about it. So I highly recommend that you like my official Facebook page, Kuya Manzano Fan Club, and follow me on Twitter @kuyamanzano. You immediately get updated in case new articles become available. Gracias!

How to be a Philippine Politician

Watching the news long enough provides some viewers an idea on how to be a Philippine politician. As you may have noticed, the kind of politics found in this country changed only in terms of technology. But when it comes to practices, it is still the same. Enumerating them would be an interesting foray to other aspiring politicians.

How to be a Philippine Politician

– Sponsor projects

It is one of the easiest ways to earn recognition. Getting your name out in the public is how to be a Philippine politician by establishing name recall. All you need to do is take a walk down the street. You will easily find posts that say “Donated by [Insert name of political candidate here]”. Some will go “Through the efforts of [Insert name of political candidate here]”. You see them on waiting sheds, lamp posts, steel gates or walls of public schools and circumcision drives.

Even politicians currently in public office do these. The main difference on how to be a Philippine politician on their part? They use taxpayers’ money to fund government projects and post their name on the billboard. Credit is given to where it is due once the project becomes successful.

How to be a Philippine politician even if you end up losing in the election? The drive is still there but an overhaul regarding sponsorship strategies should be set in place. Some of them still has the drive to sponsor projects and events to gather enough votes for the next election. What is 3 years to someone serious in entering politics? It can mean more time to plan projects. Those with funds to spare get back in the game earlier than the competition expects them to do so.

– Be high-profile

It is not enough to be talented. How to be a Philippine politician using your talent? Be high profile and make the most of the exposure that you receive. This is why rumors still circulate on whether Manny Pacquiao will run for president. He still has a massive following. They believe that Pacman is smart enough to lead the country out of poverty. There are other talented boxers in the Philippines. But Pacman commands massive website traffic and mainstream media mileage.

The same analogy is applied to the late Senator Renato Cayetano. Before winning a seat in the Senate, he was the lawyer representing Lauro Vizconde in the Vizconde Massacre Case in the 90s. How to be a Philippine politician using the media mileage in this case? The brilliance he presented in the courtroom made him a memorable figure. He ended up looking like a hero defending the weak by virtue of criminal justice. That image resonated in the electorate come election time.

This is why most politicians today would do whatever in their power to be on broadcast media. How to be a Philippine politician when you are not exposed enough? It only becomes a problem when you try to be everything to your constituents. When you do not have a consistent image, you don’t present a politician with convictions to stand up for. This brings us to the next pointer.

– Be associated with an advocacy

How to be a Philippine politician when it seem like the Philippines never ran out of problems? Pick an advocacy with which you can easily resonate your image with. It can be the environment, human rights, good governance or reproductive health. This was how current Senator Pia Cayetano ended up establishing an image distinct from that of her father, the late Senator Renato Cayetano.

Youth empowerment is associated with current Senator Bam Aquino. This meant a focus on job generation and community development. He managed to put this advocacy into practice through his social enterprise Hapinoy. Just like Senator Pia, Senator Bam carved a positive image distinct from his more high-profile relatives. This brings us to our last point.

– Be part of a dynasty

How to be a Philippine politician when you will always be compared with more accomplished relatives? Comparison is inevitable. Efforts at being different are welcome. But other politicians would use the instant last name recall to get the electorate voting for them too. With the public recognizing them as the son/daughter/nephew/niece/distant relative of a prominent politician. All that is left for them to do is stage events or projects. It would benefit the community. At the same time, it would provide positive media mileage for them.

Of course, there is a pressure that comes from hailing from one of the prominent dynasties. How to be a Philippine politician when political will and diplomacy does not actually run in the family? The offspring gets to decide that on their own. The burden of whether they deserved to be elected in office lays on the electorate now.

How to be a Philippine Politician

Lessons on how to be a Philippine politician come from everywhere. Not just the primetime news but everywhere where information can be sourced. Chances are this will not be the last time I will be discussing it. Presidential elections would be next year. So might as well have this discussed for future reference.

If you would like to be alerted on the upcoming articles, subscribe to my online newsletter. Like my official Facebook page, Kuya Manzano Fan Club, and follow me on Twitter @kuyamanzano. Gracias!

Fidel Castro Playing Baseball – Meet The Family

Can you imagine Fidel Castro playing baseball in his youth? Let me share with you how Fidel Castro, one of the toughest state leaders the world has ever known, is also a relative. He is my grandmother’s cousin, so suffice to say that he is a distant grand-uncle. And if he wasn’t more interested into politics than sports, he would have not ruled that long in Cuba.

Fidel Castro Playing Baseball
Screenshot from YouTube

Every dictator is discovered to have an “eccentric hobby”, an effort to present leaders as human beings with peculiar interests. The image of Fidel Castro playing baseball is occasionally discussed whenever topics that tackle “what ifs” are mentioned. Like “What if Fidel Castro is not the president of Cuba? What career he could have ended up with?”

Fidel Castro playing baseball is often an amusing discovery for Cuban history enthusiasts. Baseball is as American as apple pie. And here is one of the most durable politicians that ever lived on Earth surviving 638 assassination plots (stats provided by being good at a sport that Americans enjoy. Then again, if you really enjoy playing the game, it does not matter where the game originated.

American influence in Cuba was evident in the 1940s. The administration at that time was backed by the United States government. Castro then was a student playing baseball at the University of Havana. He was so good at playing baseball. Soon, word got around high profile leagues like Major League Baseball of his talent.

Some scouts from teams like the Pittsburg Pirates came over to see Fidel Castro playing baseball.There was no internet then, just news sent through wires most of the time. So imagine that kind of hype for the top dogs to invest time in proving the kind of talent they have heard. Eventually, the Pirates had to send some players for an authentic critique. True enough, the future Hall of Famer that bore the brunt of Castro’s pitching skills was Hank Greenberg – three strikes and he’s out.

With Fidel Castro playing baseball at that caliber, the New York Giants eventually came in and gave him an offer that (they thought) he couldn’t refuse. $5000 signing bonus once he plays for them in the US. It took awhile for him to think of turning this offer down. Besides it was at this time that he’s starting to be critical of the US foreign policy then. The word used was “imperialism”.

It turned out to be a decision that worked well for him. A decade after refusing the Giants’ offer, Castro himself has overthrown the US-backed government. This was Fidel Castro playing baseball no more. This was Fidel Castro leading Cuba himself. 638 assassination attempts later, as of this writing, he is still alive.

Fidel Castro Playing Baseball

Interested to know who else might be related to me? You can never tell how interesting a person’s family tree is until some research is done. And you simply have to like my official Facebook page, Kuya Manzano Fan Club, to keep an eye which relative will I write about next. You can also follow me on Twitter @kuyamanzano. Fidel Castro playing baseball is definitely not the last distant relative that I would be writing about. So stay tuned.

Spanish Philippine Language Influence

The Spanish Philippine language influence is apparent the moment I started on my Tagalog lessons. I was hoping that some of the terms I learn would mean the mean the same thing in Spanish too. That would make the lessons earlier. I came up with a list that got embedded into the Filipino vocabulary. Do they mean the exact same thing in Spanish?

Spanish Philippine language influence

10. Suffixes like “-ista” in Spanish Philippine Language Influence

One speaking pattern that the native Filipinos learned by assimilation from their Spanish colonizers is attaching suffixes at the end of Filipino words. It converts nouns to adjectives, making words easier to use in describing people. The Spanish Philippine language influence has a way of making grammar easier. “Periodista” to refer to someone that works in a “periodico” (news journal or newsletter). “Arsonista” to refer to someone accused or guilty of arson. And today “fashionista” to refer to someone who may or may not be someone working in the fashion industry. But someone that knew how to handle his or her looks in a magazine level and look good doing it.

9. Suffixes like “-ero” or “-era” in Spanish Philippine Language Influence

Then we have another speaking pattern that was more Spanish in the equation involving Spanish Philippine language influence. Why? Because suffixes just made nouns and adjectives gender-sensitive. A man working in the “cocina” (kitchen) is called “cocinero”. A woman working in the “cocina” is called “cocinera”. A man playing mahjong is called “mahjongero” and a woman playing mahjong is called “mahjongera”. And mahjong is not a Spanish word. Still, when describing people, some native speakers would resort to this shorthand instead of saying “yung naglalaro ng mahjong” (someone that plays mahjong). Gender-sensitivity and cultural amalgamation in one situation.

8. Buena mano in Spanish Philippine Language Influence

Most businessmen would occasionally mention to their potential buyers “Buena mano na kita ha?”  (Be my buena mano okay?) This is the cultural shift I noticed demonstrating the Spanish Philippine language influence. “Buena mano” literally means good hand. But in the Philippine business setting, it refers to the first sale of the day. There is a hint of superstition in it. I prefer to think of it that if you closed a sale early in the morning, there is more than enough time during the day to close sales too. As the cliche goes, the early bird catches the worm.

Spanish Philippine Language Influence

7. Suerte/Malas in Spanish Philippine Language Influence

I put “suerte” and “malas” side by side because “malas” turned out to be an abbreviation of “mala suerte” in the Philippine context. “Suerte” alone means luck. To say good luck is to say “Buena suerte”. Some Spanish teachers say this to their students to improve on their proficiency. On why it became just “suerte” and “malas” is to understand the Spanish Philippine language influence. The Filipinos living during the Spanish occupation may have heard these terms from their Spanish friars. Then it got ingrained into the Filipino language. And since Pinoys have this penchant of abbreviated names and words. “Buena suerte” became “suerte” and “mala suerte” became “malas”.

6. Basura in Spanish Philippine Language Influence

Not many people may realize this but “basura” is a Spanish word. It was so common as a Filipino word that now people get it mistaken for being a native word. It literally means garbage. But it doesn’t get used as a derogatory word for people in the past as it is now. When people say to someone they hate (“Basura ka!”) is where the Spanish Philippine language influence sets in. Because they say this instead of “Wala kang silbi!” (You are useless!) The harshness of the term has started to wear off ever since it became one of the common expressions used in battle raps like FlipTop.

5. Maldito/Maldita in Spanish Philippine Language Influence

Lately, the term “maldito/maldita” is more often heard in Pinoy teleseries even in advertising features that promote new productions. When one is cast as the antagonist in a story the word “maldito/maldita” is used instead of “evil”. Apparently, most Pinoys, when they use the native Filipino word in describing a person, it comes across as too deep or too harsh. So instead of using “masamang tauhan” (literally “bad character”), the word “contravida” is used. The effect of Spanish Philippine language influence, for some native speakers of Filipino, is that when you use a foreign-sounding term, it sounds less negative or harsh. It sounds less offensive compared to using the native terms. You may have sensed where this article is going.

Spanish Philippine Language Influence

4. Punyeta in Spanish Philippine Language Influence

“Punyeta” is an abbreviated term for “puñetazo”. It means to punch. I understand that Pinoys like abbreviating words and expressions they borrowed from the Spanish vocabulary. But the story involving the word “punyeta” are not very clear. Those who learned of this piece of Spanish Philippine language influence would attribute it to Ambeth Ocampo, Philippine historian, professor and author of several history books like “Aguinaldo’s Breakfast and Other Stories”. Maybe somebody heard the Spaniard wrong. Maybe he thought the word said was “punyeta” when in reality he or she did not hear the whole word “puñetazo”.

3. Puta in Spanish Philippine Language Influence

In Spanish, “puta” literally means “whore”. Apparently Filipinos and Spaniards use this word as one of those “inappropriate” expressions to attach in the tradition of saying “fuck”in English. Some young people say “Ay puta!” when shocked or perplexed. Others say “Ay putangina!” on national TV whenever they trip or start on the wrong foot. People occasionally are heard saying “Putangina mo!” when cussing the person they hate. Just the person they hate; the mother is excluded. What they actually mean in English is “Fuck you!” Some say “Putangina ka!” for the sake of being grammatically correct. Where does the Spanish Philippine language influence factor here? Both Filipinos and Spaniards (and other nationalities that speak Latin American Spanish) insert the word “puta” in any sentence that helps them release anger, frustration or negativity.

2. Leche in Spanish Philippine Language Influence

In yet another case of “misheard”  Spanish words, we have the word “leche”. “Leche” means milk. But some Pinoys exclaim “Leche!” (with an exclamation point) when exasperated, angry or upset. Individuals not used to cussing get confused. It is okay to say “leche flan” but not “Leche!” Once you realize the Spanish Philippine language influence in the way words are used, translation is thrown out the window. The intention becomes the factor instead. “Leche” is the Spaniards’ creative way of saying “Fuck you!” It is a shorthand for “I shit in the milk of the mother who bore you”. It is such a long sentence. But Spaniards immediately understand the insult by saying “Leche!” alone, al least in the old days. Pinoys? They know it’s a bad word but don’t get why, at least initially. But they senses that it does not mean something good when exclaimed in the context of the Spaniards. Nowadays if you say Leche alone in Spain, it can mean a surprise or anger expresion.

Spanish Philippine Language Influence

1. Coño in Spanish Philippine Language Influence

And we finally arrived at one of the borrowed words that summed up best the Spanish Philippine language influence – the word “Coño”. Those who actually knew the literal translation of the word would be horrified upon hearing youths say the word as if it doesn’t mean anything grave or harsh. It was even mentioned occasionally on national TV in some talk shows. Others would snap at the folks who said “Coño” by saying “Watch your words”. But they don’t think it meant what it really meant especially when context comes into play again.

The word “coño” was used in the award-winning film “Jose Rizal” when they showed Rizal’s days as a young college student. He and his fellow “ilustrados” would get into verbal tussles with the “peninsulares” and the “creoles” that are enrolled in the same university. And the word “coño” would be thrown at them because it’s what irritates them Spaniards the most.

When used in today’s context, the word “coño” would mean a mean-spirited joke on Filipinos that have difficulty speaking Filipino – those who were raised abroad and came to the Philippines only to find themselves struggling while trying to speak their supposed native language. In not finding the right Filipino word to complete a sentence, their sentences end up sounding like “I am so kawawa. I cannot make tiis any longer this sunlight”. Worse, some students, even when born and raised in the Philippines, have started faking the inability to speak Tagalog so that they would look richer than they actually are. It made the word “coño” even more derogatory. In Spain, it is already a derogatory word meaning “cunt”. No wonder Rizal’s Spanish schoolmates would flare up every time they get called “coño”.

Spanish is an interesting language to learn because most Filipinos already know so many Spanish words. They just need to realize which among those words are borrowed from the Spanish vocabulary. I might end up writing more about them in the future. So to keep yourself updated with my latest articles, please like my official Facebook fan page, Kuya Manzano Fan Club. Follow me on Twitter too @kuyamanzano. Hasta luego.

Theater Workshop in Manila

Whenever you get invited to participate in a theater workshop in Manila, what ideas come to mind? You need to know something in case you have never been in one – a career in the performing arts is always optional. When you know that you have the talent but not the confidence, you need a major push to put that talent to good use

Theater Workshop in Manila
Image by Kuya Manzano

I conducted the Confidence Through Theater workshop in Manila last Easter Sunday, April 5, 2015. It was sponsored by the Humanist Alliance Philippines International (HAPI) and held here at iChill Theater Cafe. Here I found a way to share the kind of confidence I learned in a workshop in Spain of a similar format. It was called “Theater for Shy People” where I discovered the confidence I needed to push for a career in the performing arts. The kind of confidence I earned there applied in other areas of my life too like managing a business and handling my employees.

The participants consisted of different individuals coming from different backgrounds. I appreciate it that they were open-minded enough to give this a try since some aspects of theater can be applied in their respective careers even if they don’t take the theatrical route. If ever there would be participants that could relate the most to some of the pointers I shared, it would be the sales people.

If theater people are always expected to deliver believable performances, salespeople are always expected to deliver excellent sales presentation. Both endeavors involved going onstage and saying your lines. The audience may be concerned with what you have to say. But they are also looking forward on how you are going to say it. How confident are you in what you do or say? If the best actors and actresses are those that succeed in producing believable performances, it is because they found something in the performance to believe in.

Theater Workshop in Manila
Image by Kuya Manzano

Apply that analogy in salespeople and you will realize that the best salespeople are those that believe in their products the most. Now that’s confidence. Apply that confidence in other areas in your life and you can convince anyone of anything that you believe in. It will secure the kind of convictions that you have in life. It’s one of the primary goals of this theater workshop in Manila.

This is why in between activities, I encourage participants to talk about the things they did in the tasks given. I highly discourage statements like “I can’t”, “I am not comfortable”, “I am not used to doing this” and similar causes. I want to make sure that all participants imbibe the confidence that I wanted to instill in them. So I watch even the words they say.

Whatever you tell yourself, your mind will believe. If for every activity you get into, even activities outside this theater workshop in Manila, you say “I can’t”, then you end up not doing it. You think it does not affect your attitude towards any endeavor you get into? Think again. Sometimes you are your own worst enemy because you condition your mind into a negative result before you even perform the task. I had to remind some participants not to say “I can’t” occasionally so they would attain this “can do” attitude.

Theater Workshop in Manila
Image by Kuya Manzano

This “can do” attitude earned extra emphasis the moment the theater workshop in Manila has arrived at the postcard activity. This is where I give them a scenario and I leave it to them to take any role in the given scenario. They went onstage and assumed a role based on how they imagined themselves in it. I discouraged them from explaining their roles. It’s useless to explain when the performance ends up coming out differently from how they explained it.

Some of the participants attempted to change their roles midway into assembling the postcard assigned. I just let them. I explained the consequences that come with it after the postcard activity was over. Imagine. What if this scene in the theater workshop in Manila is real life? What if you are given or assigned a role and you realize that it’s not the role you wanted in the first place? Do you have enough time to switch roles?

Confidence becomes an issue again since it seems like the uncertainty got them panicking. And it made them switch to another role that they seem like more fitting for them. Here in this theater workshop in Manila, they have enough time to do that because it’s a simulated situation. But in real life, you get into a situation with a role you already accepted. When you realize that you are not confident enough in that role, do you switch roles? No.

You own the role. Play it. Mistakes will be unavoidable. But the way you played and owned the role will keep your resolve durable. It will strengthen your confidence. Eventually, you learn the art of being proactive as a consequence of strengthened confidence. And you will not attain that resolve until you have mastered the role long enough before you switch into bigger roles.

I loved the theater workshop in Manila that I facilitated. Everyone was participative. There were less inhibitions and, even if some are still shy in between discussions, the sincerity in expressing themselves is felt. It pushed all of them out of their comfort zones in a liberating way. And it made even the participants with a theater background view theater as a way to handle life. I look forward to doing the theater workshop in Manila again here at iChill Theater Cafe.

Theater Workshop in Manila
Image by HAPI Executive Director Don Paez

There is a request to stage another theater workshop in Manila using this format. I am very thankful to HAPI for letting me facilitate this memorable workshop. When would it be? This blog would be one of the first sits where you get to learn when. Just click “Like” on my official Facebook page, Kuya Manzano Fan Club, and follow me on Twitter @kuyamanzano to keep yourselvs posted for the latest updates. Gracias!

Aly Borromeo Philippine Azkals – Meet The Family

Fast Facts: Aly Borromeo, Philippine Azkals
Height: 6’1″
Weight: 190 lbs
Position: Skipper

Aly Borromeo of the Philippine Azkals gets mentioned in some sports articles whenever some folks would like to know the rest of the team. Sure, the Younghusbands (Phil and James) gave the Philippine Azkals mainstream media mileage. But my cousin Aly was there from the very beginning.

Aly Borromeo Philippine Azkals - Meet The Family
From Aly Borromeo’s IG account

As reported by GMA News, Aly Borromeo mentioned how they got the name “Azkals”. While initially viewed as an effort to assume a local image by earning a monicker based on Tagalog slang (“askals”, short for “asong kalye” meaning “stray dogs”), it was more about how the team had little support as if they were literally strays.

In previous tournaments, we would sleep in facilities that had no cushions and smelled like piss. One time, in Iloilo, we stayed in the middle of nowhere. It was really bad.

Aly Borromeo’s love for the game prevailed and every opportunity served as a challenge. For a decorated football veteran, the competitive spirit remained. His stint as team captain with Kaya FC helped a lot in strengthening his resolve. This explained best the exhilaration he felt when the ultimate game changer came along – Suzuki Cup 2010. At the end of 80 minutes, the score was 2-0, Philippines def. Vietnam.

I’ve cried several times in games but this is different. On the 80th minute, the scoreboard said 2-0. I looked at [fellow Azkal] Anton [del Rosario] and we were both like ‘Are you serious?’ After the game, I just hugged them all.

For a self-confessed competitive player, this served as the ultimate payoff for Aly Borromeo’s contributions to Philippine sports. Being the take-charge kind of guy, he is always motivated to play knowing the kind of performance he can deliver to his game.

I always want the ball and take command. I get pissed if you don’t give it to me. I mean I know my skills, and I’m asking for it because I know I can do something for the team. And I don’t like seeing the opponent with the ball.

Aly Borromeo’s no-nonsense-slash-no-BS attitude became more evident the moment he got the role as team captain for his current team, Kaya FC. The way he ended up with that position may have been accidental but the kind of dedication he poured into it is relatively exceptional.

It’s a kind of funny story. The captain back then, Bagets Pinero, and I both went up for a corner kick to head the ball out. I accidentally broke his nose. I broke my own teammate’s nose. So he gave me the armband right there and said ‘O, ikaw na captain’.

[On handling teammates’ mistakes] On second time, I’m probably gonna shout at them. They’re gonna get scolded. I get pissed off with slight errors where they do things without thinking, and when they try to force things.

For a team captain that infused the competitive spirit into his team, Aly Borromeo made sure to share with those in need. It’s their way of giving back to society. Their participation in charity housing efforts like that of Gawad Kalinga are displayed on his Instagram account. Just click the image to enlarge

Aly Borromeo Philippine Azkals - Meet The Family
From Aly Borromeo’s IG account

Just when most folks thought that basketball and boxing are the only sports that Filipinos patronize, Philippine football is slowly taking its foothold into the mainstream fan base. Sports as a unifying factor for communities to get to know each other and build confidence still holds true today and football has become the new sports to go to for exposing kids to a healthier lifestyle. With dedicated athletes like Aly Borromeo, the Philippine Azkals are rest assured to keep their legacy secure in Philippine sports.

Aly Borromeo Philippine Azkals - Meet The Family
From Aly Borromeo’s IG account

Interested to view more about Aly Borromeo? His most updated social media account is his Instagram account that you can follow here. Even his exposure to Kaya FC and diet regimen are displayed there for everyone that needed inspiration for their sports-based fitness regimen. If you would like to read more about my relatives, my work and other things related to me, please like my official page, Kuya Manzano Fan Club, and follow me on Twitter @kuyamanzano. Gracias!

TingTing Cojuangco UNA Senatoriable Candidate – Meet the Family

TingTing Cojuangco Fast Facts:
Celebrated socialite and philanthropist
Coronel with the reserve force of the Philippine Army
Known and associated with the social and political elite
Married to business tycoon and former Tarlac representative Jose (Peping) Cojuangco, Jr
Served as governor of Tarlac from 1992 to 1998
Known for her humanitarian projects and her work among Muslim communities
An avowed scholar on Mindanao issues with several books published (images attached)
Participated in peace talks with the Moro National Liberation Front
Pushed for an organic act for the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao

Margarita “TingTing” Cojuangco UNA Senatoriable Candidate
Screenshot from ANC’s YouTube archives

How do I explain having former Tarlac governor Margarita “TingTing” Cojuangco as an aunt? She managed to explain in her own article from the Philippine Star

I have the distinction of being related by marriage to presidential candidate Noynoy Aquino; by blood and marriage to presidential candidate Gilbert C. Teodoro; and by blood to vice-presidential candidate Edu Manzano. First, everyone knows Noynoy is Peping’s nephew from his elder sister Cory; Noy is the only son of Ninoy, a national hero, and Cory, the mother of Philippine Democracy. Gilbert is the only child of former SSS administrator Gilberto de los Reyes Ortiz Teodoro and former Batasang Pambansa representative Atty. Mercedes “Ditas” Murphy Cojuangco-Teodoro. Edu is the son of the brother of my mother Adriano “Adi” Manzano y Hernandez and Nenita Barrios. I am truly proud to have them as my kin.

And I am truly proud to have them as kin too. You have people that earned more than enough experience in the academe, charity works and government service to see themselves as qualified to run for higher office. In this case, I would analyze TingTing Cojuangco as the senatorial contender since the most recent elections proved that we would be seeing more of her as a public servant eventually.

As reference person for Muslim Mindanao

It was around the time when TingTing Cojuangco was campaigning as one of the senatorial candidates for the United Nationalist Alliance when the issue of the Philippine claim to the island of Sabah (formerly North Borneo) came up. She turned out to be one of the few reference persons for this topic. And it showed when she was interviewed on ANC’s Headstart with Karen Davila. How much has she learned way back when she was still writing her college thesis about Mindanao itself?

It was in 1685 there was what was coming to a war between 2 cousins, Mudin and Muadin. And Muadin sought help from the Sultan of Sulu, Bakhtiar, then and this was in 1682. And so the Sultan of Sulu sent 5 ships and 6000 warriors and his mean killed Mudin. As a grateful gesture, Muadin gave North Borneo [now Sabah] to the Sultan of Sulu.

Around this time, there was already confusion regarding the claimants as there were as many as 9 administrators. TingTing Cojuangco differentiated claimants from the administrators.

Well they are not claimants. They are actually administrators. And this is in the Royal Court of Sabah. 9 went to the Royal Court because the Malaysians wanted to know “Are these claimants or not?” And so I did investigate the matter because Malaysia says they were claimants. Maybe they were the claimants in the eyes of the Malaysians. But in the eyes of the Philippines as Sultan, they were merely administrators. And one of them is who accepts the money. And so I’m told. But I’m also told in Manila that it is accepted by the Kiram family.

Now, since she ran for public office, the voting public is watching as to whether TingTing Cojuangco would play it safe. She is after all the current president’s aunt-in-law. So having a relative speak out on whether you’re doing it right or not as head of state would get the public’s attention indeed.

Before you know all the facts, don’t speak. And you know that, they should know that this is a historical perspective. It’s a cultural perspective, you know. It’s not all military might. This requires humanitarian  delegates to visit them – understanding of who they really are and what they represent and what they want. You know what has been studied for decades and decades. 1685, you know, until the present and like I said you don’t just assume that you know it in a day.

Margarita “TingTing” Cojuangco UNA Senatoriable Candidate
Screenshot from ANC’s YouTube archives

TingTing Cojuangco knows what she’s talking about. She even knew the legal bases that would cover the claims surrounding Sabah. Territories acquired and colonies are mentioned.

Well there is the International Court. But there is also the 1947 UN Charter that states how acquired territories should now be given their freedom. 1947 UN Charter and another one is 1950.

I say acquired only on the sense the occupancy is now Malaysian with Filipinos. But what really concerns me is that you know, kawawa these madi-deport. We already have 5 million Filipinos out of jobs [as of 2013 at the time of this episode’s airing]. You know there are 900 or 850 Filipinos in Sabah. You know if the Malaysian government gets mad at all that is happening – well, obviously they’re mad, … – and then the question is “Is this terrorism or is this war?” Okay. And then that has to be received by Malacanang, you know. They have to know this. They all come from Tawi-Twi or into Sulu and Basilan. This is a national security problem. And it leads to my tagline: “Una sa Lahat, Safe Kayo”. How safe can you be? Poverty, joblessness, no food, no livelihood and separated families.

As much as TingTing Cojuangco turned out to be one of the best resources today when it comes to solutions that are applicable to Mindanao today, some of her most prominent accomplishments come from being governor of Tarlac for 2 terms. Details were shared in an interview she granted to GMA Network’s “Powerhouse” by Kara David.

I took care of the farmers. I increased the yield kasi nung ako ang nag-assume, it [pertaining to the production] was only 80 cavans per hectare. But after the years, it became 150 cavans per hectare with additional fertilizers, additional seedlings, water system and farm-to-market roads.

This is where TingTing Cojuangco gave her comments regarding the current agrarian reform system in Hacienda Luisita as one who used to take over the operations and as one who saw what else needs to be improved for the sake of quality public service.

The government should support the farmers. You don’t give them the land and leave them alone. But what has happened to land reform is that they’ve taken it only in giving away land, not a comprehensive agrarian reform. And that’s what we’re saying. I give out a lot of land titles as governor but we have to support them.

As of this writing, TingTing Cojuangco is a registered voter of Maguindanao, an effort seen as a move towards taking her brand of public service to Mindanao to help in any way she could to keep the peace talks running. With the linkages she has established in the area, she published several books with some of the original copies found in her library at her Makati home. What started out as an academic approach to make her mark in the world eventually became an advocacy.

Both inteviews – the one from ANC and the one from GMA News – turned out to be gold mines of information about TingTing Cojuangco. For a personality that was initially known as one of the 100 Most Beautiful Faces in the World according to Harper’s Bazaar during the 60’s, TingTing Cojuangco has really gone a long way indeed.

Exploring the family tree had never been this interesting. This must have been one of the first things TingTing Cojuangco herself felt when she wrote that detailed genealogy on her Philippine Star article. And I see myself writing more about them too. You get to see them too a lot earlier than others the moment you liked my official Facebook page, Kuya Manzano Fan Club, and followed me on Twitter @kuyamanzano. Gracias!


Meet The Family – Justin Quirino

I have another cousin, Justin Quirino, and just like the other cousin I wrote about, Andi Manzano-Reyes, he is also an events host and radio DJ. While Andi is usually heard on Magic 89.9, Justin’s turf is on Play 99.5 (formerly 99.5 RT) where he hosts a program entitled “Mid Morning High” with fellow DJ Inka

Unlike Andi though, Justin Quirino tried it out to be a VJ on the Philippine music channel, Myx. Since they have this annual VJ search, he then tried his luck knowing that opportunities like these don’t often come by. His audition piece uploaded on Myx’s YouTube channel turned out to be a nice trove of information about him. And it also gave me an idea about his major influences as a music lover.

Justin Quirino
Screenshot from MYX’s YouTube account

Why would Justin Quirino want to be the next Myx VJ?

Well it has always been a dream job even as that sounds cliche. But then I always wanted to travel all around the Philippines kahit all around Metro Manila, okay na rin yun. To different malls and stuff, to interview different people, meet interesting people. Have a good conversation. Maybe get some freebies. That’s also cool di ba? So I’d like to have a lot of fun being a VJ.

Who is Justin Quirino’s favorite among Myx’s roster of VJ’s? Truth be told, no surprise there.

Siguro the one I look up to the most is VJ Luis. Because he’s a veteran and I really admire how he’s so comfortable with how he hosts the show. And now everybody is, parang, may affinity siya with everybody eh. Like no matter what he does, everybody is just connected to him. So that’s something that I definitely want to, that’s an attribute that I really want to acquire as well.

Justin Quirino
Screenshot from MYX’s YouTube account

Now while everyone knew Justin Quirino as an aspiring VJ here, he was once part of Ballet Philippines’ production of Peter Pan. And he gets to share this little known fact about him on the Myx try-out itself.

I was a tap-dancing crocodile for the Ballet Philippines’ production of Peter Pan. It was super fun because I had a mask in it. And when you are behind the mask, you can do anything and people don’t know what I look like or anything. So they don’t expect anything. It’s like I’m not making a fool out of myself. So as long as I give them a good show, at the end of everything, I take it off and when I bow parang wow [claps hands]. So it was fun.

Interesting that Justin Quirino once got into ballet prior to following a career that is close to his other passion – listening to music. What kind of music is he into? He managed to be articulate about it while being spontaneous at the same time. He has an adorable way of explaining it that it comes out naturally.

I’m a big, para ngang I’m stuck in the past eh, like I still love Dashboard Confessional, Paramore, Fall Out Boy. John Mayer like I love his first album talaga or actually no, it was the second album. Basta ‘Room For Squares’ – I love ‘Room For Squares’ and then his album after that ‘Any Given Thursday’, the live album. I love a lot of different kinds of music. But for some reason, as long as it’s really popular, I can get into it. So that’s why I like pop music.

Justin Quirino
Screenshot from Candy Magazine’s YouTube account

Apparently, I’m not the only person that finds him adorable. Justin Quirino appeals a lot to the teen crowd. Just ask Candy Magazine since they like having him as their host for the Candy Fair. By the time he’s doing it, he’s already a relatively well-known DJ. So asking him for advice on how to make it seem so easy and fun being a DJ, he told Candy Magazine:

The best advice is, know who you are first, and to practice expressing how you feel, through words of course. And your intonation, up and down and everything. Keep it interesting. Next, choose a station that you would like to go to like 99.5. Play FM, for example, listen to the kind of music that hey play and try to copy the DJs, but put your own flavor into it, alright?

Even When In Manila liked Justin Quirino. When they compiled a list of the 15 Sexiest Male DJ’s, Justin Quirino ranked at #4. This IG post summed up best how thankful he is for the compliment complete with the comment “Sexy daw ako!”

Justin Quirino
Image from his IG @justinquirino

And in case you want to see more of him online, you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram. Make sure to tune in to the “Mid Morning High” as well on Play FM 99.5, 9am to 12nn to hear more of his good-natured humor. Chances are I get to attend an event that he gets to host. When would that be? You’ll never know unless you are constantly updated through my social media accounts. Follow me on Twitter @kuyamanzano and like me on my Facebook page, Kuya Manzano Fan Club. I would appreciate it a lot once you do. Gracias.

JM Rodriguez – Meet The Family

Some fans online once wondered “Whatever happened to JM Rodriguez?” It was only recently when I learned about my cousin, JM Rodriguez, as a pop culture reference personified prior to becoming a regular in the events’ scene. I am referring to the fan base he has established when he worked in ABC5, the former network name of TV5. In case you don’t remember that era anymore, let’s take a walk down memory lane. Who is JM Rodriguez?

JM Rodriguez
From his Instagram account @jm_ro

There was this comedy program on ABC5 called “On Air”. Produced by Ideal Minds Corporation, one of the block-timers for the said network, it featured people doing stuff in front of a camera whether for fame or just to send several greetings to the world. (It occasionally includes “Hoy! Magbayad ka na ng utang mo!” and similar announcements) The program was hosted by JM Rodriguez. As you may now realize, long before there was “Web Soup”, there was “On Air”. Main difference is that the people are just doing it for kicks in front of a camera inside a booth probably in a mall, not in front of a webcam connected to some gadget. JM Rodriguez’ “studio” consisted of a green screen that popped up that animated TV. That may have been the inspiration behind TV5’s former slogan “Shake Mo TV Mo”.

Being a host, JM Rodriguez managed to popularize some expressions on his program in between clips of ordinary people goofing in front of a camera. Sometimes they get used in comments about the clips themselves. A few of the expressions are as follows:

– ‘stig!

This is an abbreviated term for “astig” which is actually a “reversed” pronunciation of the word “tigas” (hard or tough). “Astig” is a Tagalog slang often attributed to people deemed badass. JM Rodriguez would then greet his viewers for a time with /’stig/ every time he gets to read a comment that found to be badass.

– ‘muzta?

“Muzta” (with a /z/) is  short for “kumusta”, a Tagalized form of the original Spanish greeting “Como esta”. JM Rodriguez would mention this either at the beginning of the program or after reading the name of a viewer that send his or her comment through SMS and printed on paper.

– Steady Lang

“Steady Lang” is JM Rodriguez’s response whenever it’s the viewers’ turn to greet him “Muzta”. It literally means “just steady” which is a way to say “I’m good”. He would say it while waving his hands sideways with the palms facing the floor. Think of some rappers expressing how everything is under control by swiping their hands sideways.

– Wazzapening?

It’s like “Muzta” except that it was an expression derived from “What’s happening?”, commonly heard in some parties when something badass is going on. If ever there was an expression that served as a premonition to the kind of career shift that would happen to JM Rodriguez, it might be this.

JM Rodriguez turned out to be such a memorable host because he’s really, really funny to the point of letting his viewers make fun of him too. Just mention his nose. For viewers of “On Air” that loved sending their comments by SMS, one surefire way to catch his attention is by mentioning his nose. Both viewers/commenters and booth semi-regulars would end up talking about his nose whenever they run out of punchlines. On the other hand, it does not look bad. Maybe it’s more about the person and less about the nose. Still, it doesn’t make him any less adorable.

JM Rodriguez
From Gibb Cadiz’ YouTube clip

Occasionally during or after the “On Air” stint, JM Rodriguez would be seen at the Sunday variety show “ASAP” singing with other talents of the program. Apart from gigs like this, he gets invited to concerts like “The Music of Dreams” by ABS-CBN and the Ayala Foundation. No wonder it turned out to be a pleasant surprise to see him in the Sundance Audience Choice Award-winner “Metro Manila“.

But JM Rodriguez really proved his mettle in organizing events. Feedback is good regarding his bars Prive and 12 Monkeys. There is life after “On Air” after all since he enjoys life the way he plans his events. He has a career after hosting a show that developed a cult following. He’s one of the reasons why that experimental program was a hit to begin with. For a multi-talented man, he then found his niche in the bar scene. Partying as a career? He’s the guy.

JM Rodriguez
From his instagram account @jm_ro

In case it’s been awhile since you sent JM Rodriguez comments about “On Air” even if it’s more than a decade since the show folded up, you can still tell him what you think on Twitter and on Instagram. Much better if you try coming over to his establishments. You might end up meeting more people too. Just know how to hold your drink. Everyone would thank you for it.

Hopefully I get to be in one of those bars one day. You get to know it first if you are following me on my social media accounts, Kuya Manzano Fan Club on Facebook and @kuyamanzano on Twitter. It can be any reason like an awesome event that JM Rodriguez himself organized. Who knows? I’d be expecting your comments on social media. Gracias!