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Constellation Prize: ‘Miss Bulalacao’ to premiere at this month’s Cinema One Originals Festival

With his face suffused in shadows by the dim lighting, he stood nervously on the stage that evening, in a dress. It was Biliran’s town fiesta and amassed before him—or her, as he would prefer—was a crowd of uninterested men and women and giggly children. Dodong knew this final question was pivotal to the pageant’s Q&A, one that could possibility hold the key to dreams coming true.

“Motherhood,” he replied, without realizing that his answer to what makes a woman had birthed a bundle of extraordinary events for the new Miss Bulalacao.

Directed by Ara Chawdhury, winner of the grand prize at the Sinulog Short Film Festival for her Operation Prutas earlier this year, Miss Bulalacao is a finalist—and the only entry from Cebu—for the 2015 Cinema One Originals Film Festival.

Miss Bulalacao director Ara Chawdhury (Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, October 2015: photography by Mark Philip Dales/makeup by Romero Vergara/hair by Jessie Egos/shot on location at Qube Gallery featuring Insidious by Geovanni Abing)

Miss Bulalacao director Ara Chawdhury (Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, October 2015: photography by Mark Philip Dales/makeup by Romero Vergara/hair by Jessie Egos/shot on location at Qube Gallery featuring Insidious by Geovanni Abing)

Teaming up on this project are award-winning cinematographer Christian Linaban and producers Jill Anoba-Yap and Bianca Balbuena through Cinema One Originals, Panumduman Pictures, Above the Line Productions and Epic Media. Ara wrote and directed Miss Bulalacao with inspirations from several indie films, the popular video God-game The Sims, and her own childhood experiences in her hometown in Naval, Biliran, where the movie was shot.

Pregnant and bored, the young filmmaker was looking around her mom’s village for something to shoot. “Our helper’s family was living with us; and an addition to the household was the maid’s stepson, a flamboyant and proud boy,” Ara recalls. “I was aware that the husband beat up his wife time and again. It wasn’t hard to imagine then why the boy had stopped singing à la Regine Velasquez every morning, knowing his father had a short temper and heavy hand. I thought to myself, maybe if he were the pregnant one, his dad would go easy on him.”

BEHIND THE SCENES: Shooting at the director's hometown in Biliran. (Photo credit: Panumduman Pictures)

BEHIND THE SCENES: Shooting at the director’s hometown in Biliran. (Photo credit: Panumduman Pictures)

Miss Bulalacao is a black comedy featuring a young drag queen (Dodong) who joins a barangay gay pageant with the hope of gaining acceptance in his father’s eyes and in his community. When he does win, Dodong’s dad remains hostile and the nod of approval he had anticipated never came. Instead the father runs after Dodong, who flees to a jungle where he cries his heart out to a single shining star. Instantly, there’s a flash of white light. What follows are the strangest nine months of his life as Dodong finds himself pregnant. The whole barangay, now abuzz with rumors of a miraculous encounter or an alien abduction, ridicules him.

Ara says the satire intends to send a message of respect—for all people, their individuality and their roles in society. The film depicts the effects of community sentiment (whether positive or not) on an individual, as well as the culture and attitudes of the people of Region VIII. “Regional stories are important fibers in Philippine cinema because of the little stories that we don’t hear in the cities we live in,” says Bianca, one of the producers. Ara adds that Region VIII is one of the poorest in the country, even before typhoon Haiyan. “I am hoping this film sheds some light on the culture and attitudes of people who have to survive on family bonds and community spirit, and how the individual suffers for this imbalance.”

BEHIND THE SCENE: Director Ara Chawdhury films one of the movie's pivotal scenes. (Photo credit: Panumduman Pictures)

BEHIND THE SCENES: Director Ara Chawdhury films one of the movie’s pivotal scenes. (Photo credit: Panumduman Pictures)

The film stars Cebuano performer Russ Ligtas in his first lead role in a film. Russ says of the experience, “Even as someone who is part of the LGBT, shooting the film revealed so many things about my own prejudices. I am humbled to be part of it.” The cast includes Chai Fonacier, Ferdinand Mesias, Tessie Tomas, Nanette Inventor, Mon Confiado, Jeff Ogario, Nikki dela Paz, Ronyel Compra, Paz Tabueldan and Tita Cris. Tomas, who is a native Waray speaker, says it was a chance to reconnect with her heritage. “Miss Bulalacao is a cleverly wacky story that challenges our beliefs on faith. I am proud to be a part of it,” she says.

Miss Bulalacao will premiere at the Cinema One Originals Film Festival on November 9-17, 2015. See screening dates below:


Miss BulalacaoWednesday, November 11, 2015 (gala premiere)
7:40 p.m., Trinoma

Thursday, November 12, 2015
12:30 p.m., Glorietta
10:00 p.m., SM Megamall

Saturday, November 14, 2015
1:10 p.m., Resorts World Manila
2:45 p.m., SM Megamall
4:50 p.m., Glorietta

Monday, November 16, 2015
12:30 p.m., SM Megamall

Tuesday, November 17, 2015
12:30 p.m., Glorietta
3:30 p.m., Trinoma

by Rusel Apa-ap sittings editor Patty Taboada photography Mark Philip Dales
makeup Romero Vergara hair Jessie Egos locale Qube Gallery
Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, October 2015


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St. Patrick’s Day Celebration at Marco Polo Plaza

Marco Polo Plaza will be celebrating St. Patrick’s Festival with the rest of the Irish community! It’s not only a feast of greens and four-leaf clovers but of good food too! From March 17 to 19, dig in and enjoy traditional Irish dishes and delights such as Irish Stew, Potato Nachos, Cheesy Reuben Loaf, Guinness Beef Stew Pot Pie, Beer Mac N’ Cheese and many more. These on top of the international lunch and dinner buffet at Cafe Marco. Complete the experience in true Irish fashion with an ice-cold mug of Irish Beer, also available at Cafe Marco.

Gastronomic adventures await at Café Marco! For inquiries and reservations, you can call (032) 253-1111. For real time updates, like the Facebook page at facebook.com/marcopolocebu or follow on Twitter at @5StarInCebu. Visit the website at www.marcopolohotels.com.

For inquiries and reservations, call 253-1111 or email hospitality.ceb@marcopolohotels.com.

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La Liga Henerales: Shaping History Awareness Back Again in Cebu

La Liga Henerales is a community of young talents passionately promotes historical awareness through periodic costumes carefully researched for its authenticity and accuracy and promoted as well in events and schools.

Only few individuals before were into pursuit in this historical awareness project until the age of communication where internet is convenient in the palm of our hands through our gadgets. New information travel fast and data is retrievable, yet also possess a disadvantage with the plethora of different social media platforms carried by various makers as well. In a daily basis, historical backgrounds are unearthed making its trend until now as new discoveries are released, but the idea of these information being shown and shared is as close as not valuing or commemorating to its sources leaving this information just a trend.

There is a certain community of Cebuanos that are taking a quest to rewrite and restructure what was in the past, filling the gaps in facts with further research of variable sources that are made debatable but sticks to it true cause, to unveil the truths of our heritage and our origins, as Cebuanos and as Filipinos as well.

La Liga Henerales is a Cebu-based, non-profit organization composed of a group of talented, committed and respectable individuals from different walks of life, schools and profession whose primary aim is to promote both, Cebuano and filipino culture and heritage that was depicted before in pre-colonial and colonial eras via re-enactment with costumes vested in proper research and investigation to achieve authenticity. They also push their cause on schools and other social gatherings promoting and spreading awareness about our local, and national heroes that we look up to. With these said, they also portray a closer look of the lifestyle of the past to where they perform stories, perform forgotten dances and rituals and portray their individual roles, vital in the fight of our country’s future during those challenging times, and in honor to spread awareness of the lost practices we had in those times.

The Founder

Combining passion and education. Louis Villaflor re-enacts his way patriotism through his periodical costumes and expresses his love for Cebu and Philippines as a culture-centric country.

Louis Kenneth Villaflor, an entrepreneur and an avid history enthusiast and costumer, founded the group on the purpose of re-educating the youth about real local and national history, he saw the opportunity to combine his favourite hobbies which is costuming and story role-playing and the process to instill the historical awareness and value among the youth and in schools, along with a group of fellow enthusiasts who shares his passion about research and history, they took it among themselves to be purposeful in the advocacy in spreading historical awareness in schools or events by wearing periodically correct costumes and sharing the stories and its value to the youth.

Behind the Garments

With the its senior expertise of fashion design and a teacher of the field, his passion also of history caters also in his designs as he pushes through sustainable fashion and historical awareness combined.

Meet Rodney “Pee-Wee” Senining, who has been in the fashion industry since the late 90’s, strives  in concepts of avant-garde, innovation and cutting edge-fashion forward design. And also a teacher of Architecture, Fine Arts and Design of University of San Carlos, he had grown into research of books like the holy grail in the Library Resource Center and is always fascinated of the periodical times and how to preserve it; Hence, his interest had grown for the affinity of Periodical Costumes and Sustainable Fashion.

 Being part of the group La Liga Henerales, he was tasked to instantly be their mentor for the young talents and as the organization is still new and developing with limited funds, resourcefulness and research were done to come up with a good output of photo shoot and was quite proud of it and still promise on the next editions of pieces to be more historically accurate. Even as teacher for Fashion Design in SAFAD, his expertise comes hand in hand with the members as he helps them do research as well. His passion and interest somehow led him with enough knowledge to key the insights of the significant periods and historical backgrounds of it.

Historical Awareness in Cebu

The strength and progress of a country is anchored on how well they know and honor its history. The means of historical awareness in Cebu is almost non-existent among the Cebuanos, although we push forward in tourism and promote beauty through sceneries and other aspects of culture yet never commemorate deeply on historical icons such as our other local heroes, and ancient cultures as well that is almost been forgotten in an urban Cebu. Nevertheless, as long as communities’ like La Liga Henerales are now evolving in a learning state by real discovery by multiple resources, this will always reflect of how we appreciate love, patriotism and honor to our country and would look forward to progress.


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Christmas in Colonial Cebu: A Themed Exhibit by Teresin Mendezona and Eva Gullas for Stylescapes 2019

Ever wonder how the yuletide season is celebrated in colonial times? This year at Stylescapes 2019, Teresin Mendezona and Eva Gullas collaborated to showcase the elegance of Christmas during the colonial period, specifically most of the Spanish regime.
This pop-up radiated the ambience of Christmas in the colonial times through the various details used within the setting. Specific pieces like the gansilyo table cloth, oil lamp, and the sketches were from Ms. Mendezona and Gullas themselves.
Aside from that, various table and living room pieces were sourced from Rustans and Metro Ayala, and was curated by Doro Barandino.

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