Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Building a rapport with RK

RK Bagatsing at the Be My Lady finale presscon. I had a great interview with him!
During the Be My Lady finale presscon held last week at the Le Rêve Events Venue, RK Bagatsing—who plays mechanic Kuya Mackie on the show—was congratulated for winning the Best Supporting Actor award at the Urduja Film Festival earlier this year.

After the Q&A, I approached RK and asked if he would be willing to sit down with me for a quick interview. When he agreed, I led him to a nearby table and started to pepper him with questions. I had never interviewed him before that night, so I had a lot of ground to cover.

The 28-year-old RK is the kid brother of former Star Circle member Monina and actor Raymond. RK says watching them do their thing in movies and on TV shows inspired him to try his luck in showbiz when he got older. RK takes his craft seriously, so as an acting student myself, I had a blast picking his brain.

Normally I prefer not to write blog posts in Q&A format, but this time it seemed right. Why? Read on and find out.

Unfortunately, RK, hindi ko napanood yung movie for which you won the acting award. So tell me more about it and your character.
I won that award for An Ubo Sa Kawayanan, a movie I made in 2015. It was directed by Alvin Yapan and the female lead was Mercedes Cabral. I played a director na gumagawa ng documentary about Marcedes Cabral’s character. For some reason, nakatira yung character niya sa kubo na mahal na mahal niya and minamahal din siya pabalik nung kubo. Our director made sure the movie was shot in such a way that kapag napanood mo yung movie, ang dating niya is parang buhay yung kubo. Yung character ko parang love interest nung character ni Mercedes, but that wasn’t really the focus of the movie, eh. It was more about the relationship between her and the kubo. But I’m thankful na may naka-appreciate nung acting ko doon.

When you sign on to do a project, consideration ba yung tanong na, ‘Is this award-worthy?’ Do you ask yourself that every time you’re offered a project?
No. I want to be candid and say it’s hard to get work, especially on the indie side of things. For a newbie like me, it’s hard to get work. And for you to sort each project na dumating sa ‘yo na parang, ‘Uh, pwede bang maging award-winning ito or not?’ Hindi. You should take each project as it is and make the most of it kahit gaano pa kaliit role mo. Thankful ako kapag may opportunities for me to get nominated, because na-re-recognize yung work ko, but hindi yun consideration when I accept projects.

Why did you call yourself a newbie? When did you start acting?
I started back in 2012 for Cinema One Originals, and since then part na ako ng indie community. Be My Lady is my first mainstream project. And sa loob ng five years ko sa indie community, bilang sa kamay yung mga nagawa ko. Hindi naman ako yung tipong one project after another. Months pa ang pagitan nung mga projects ko. In between, it’s all about auditioning, auditioning, auditioning. I consider myself a newbie because I haven’t really done that much. I still haven’t found yung solid foundation of approaching each character or each project. Nangangapa pa rin talaga ako. Dahil sa mga nagawa kong pelikula, inisip ko that I’m ready for the mainstream na, but pagdating ko doon, kakaibang experience nanaman! Na-o-overwhelm pa rin ako.

Do you have a day job or is acting really your bread and butter?
Nag-focus na ako dito. Sabi ko nung 2012, I’ll give myself a timeframe to pursue acting. If it doesn’t work out in maybe one or two years, I’ll go back to my old job for an IT company. Dati kasi I asked myself, is this corporate thing what I want to do for the rest of my life? Eh hindi. So habang wala pa akong pamilya, wala pa akong anak, or whatever—ngayon yung perfect na time for me to explore other things. Kasi if this doesn’t work out, ako lang ang maapektuhan. Sa ngayon, pinagbubutihan ko kahit anong dumating sa akin. As Erich [Gonzales] said, hindi lahat tumatagal sa industriyang ito, so grab lang dapat ng grab ng mga opportunities and pagbutihan mo lagi.

BTW, Alvin Yapan—your director in An Ubo Sa Kawayanan—was my professor in college.
Oh, ayun! So you should watch it na. I’m surprised hindi mo napanood, sayang.

Well, 2015 was a very rough year for me personally.
Oh, OK. But you’re better now, right?

Yeah. I survived a suicide attempt in 2015. But you know, sabi nila if may emotional issues ka, or when you come from a place of pain, nakakatulong yun sa ‘yo as an actor. Do you find that’s true in your case?
Well, it’s hard to stay in that corner. It’s hard to explore. When I was filming Apocalypse Child—I don’t know if you saw it, but medyo mabigat yung role ko doon. There was a time that I tapped into a part of me na medyo madilim when I was doing this one scene. Nagawa ko naman siya but I cried for twenty to thirty minutes after. I couldn’t stop. So kaya sabi ko sa ‘yo hindi ko pa rin alam yung right approach to acting. I’m still experimenting.

Have you taken any acting classes?
Nag-workshop ako, I studied different acting methods, but it’s hard to choose what works for you. In the end naman your experience is what’s  important. Can I just say I’m liking this interview?

Why, thank you.
I like your questions.

I ended the interview shortly after that. Although we talked for while after he complimented me, he asked that I keep what was said “off the record”—in other words, confidential. Suffice it to say that we discovered we had a few things in common, which helped me build a rapport with him. Finding common ground with your subject is key. The interview ended on a high note, with RK wishing me luck on my acting classes (I start Star Magic Workshops' Advanced Level 2 today) and promising to stay in touch.

I like RK, and not just because he said he liked how I conducted this interview. He’s smart and very passionate about acting, which is typical of those who cut their teeth on indies. He’s been dubbed the next Coco Martin, but RK’s quiet intensity actually reminds me of JM de Guzman.

RK’s stint as Kuya Mackie on Be My Lady will end in a few days, but I have no doubt that Kapamilyas will see him in another mainstream project really soon. He’s way too talented a guy to be sidelined for long!

Photo courtesy of ABS-CBN News.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

A VKJ holiday from Direk Ted

Direk Ted Boborol's Vince & Kath & James is Star Cinema's official entry to the 2016 Metro Manila Film Festival. Yay!
I was pleasantly surprised to find that Vince & Kath & James, the Star Cinema adaptation of Queen Elly’s hit socialserye, was named an official entry to the 2016 Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF). Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who felt that way. When I sat down with the movie’s director Ted Boborol two days ago, he said he caused a scene in the middle of a mall when he got the news.

“Sobrang napasigaw ako,” Direk Ted says of his reaction. “I was in SM, trying to find a green polo shirt to wear to a presscon. Napatingin yung mga tao sa akin kasi sumigaw ako. I wasn’t expecting it. I knew the new executive committee of the MMFF would really make a statement by choosing quality movies after last year’s controversy. I do believe that we made a good movie, but I also know the rom-com genre is much maligned. So sobrang liit ng expectations ko. Kaya nung nalaman ko na nakapasa yung movie namin, tumili ako at umiyak.”

Soon after, Direk Ted received a phone call from Joshua Garcia and began an ecstatic exchange on Viber with Julia Barretto. (Joshua and Julia play the roles of Vince and Kath in Vince & Kath & James, respectively.) 

“I didn’t save Joshua's number after we finished the movie, so when he called to congratulate me, I had to ask, ‘Who’s this?’” Direk Ted says of Joshua. “Si Julia naman, siya yung naunang nag-message sa akin, and we just laughed kasi during shooting we would joke na pang-MMFF yung ginagawa namin, na we’d end up riding on a float in the parade, mga ganun. Kaya ang nasabi na lang ni Julia sa Viber was, ‘Paano nagkatotoo yung biruan natin, Direk?’ So yun. We’re all just so happy.”

I asked Direk Ted what it was like for him to work with Joshua, who will be making his debut as a leading man in a movie in Vince & Kath & James. Unsurprisingly, he had nothing but good words for the young actor from Batangas, who came to his set fresh from a star turn in KathNiel's box-office hit Barcelona: A Love Untold. 

Direk Ted reveals that he looked at directing Joshua as a challenge. “Si Joshua kasi, he was coming from great reviews in his last movie. So in a way, I was challenged because I wanted to keep his momentum going. On the first day, he was nervous kasi he isn’t at all like his character. When the movie starts kasi, parang sidekick lang siya nung character ni Ronnie. So ang nangyari sa character ni Joshua is parang Vhong Navarro to Rico Yan ang transformation niya. Eh he’s not like that in real life. So pareho kaming na-te-tense nung first day.”

Luckily, Joshua’s strong work ethic saved the day. “But the thing with Joshua is he works really hard. He asks questions and he’s mindful of kung ano ang gusto and iniisip ko. No, hindi masama yung matanong siya. It shows he’s thinking. Lahat ng natutunan niya kay Inang, he brought to this movie. For example, ‘You don’t just say your lines. If wala kang dialogue, wag kang tumunganga. React. Learn to listen, be instinctive, be intuitive.’ So nakikita ko yun sa kanya. I predict a big future for him as an actor,” says Direk Ted.

Direk Ted is also all praises for Ronnie Alonte. When he first met the Hashtags member—on the set of a Maalaala Mo Kaya episode that starred Julia Montes in the lead role—they didn’t get off on the right foot.

“He was just a talent back then, and we had a bad start because he was a bad actor. Sobra siyang stiff, madaling araw na kami na-pack up kahit hindi pa tapos yung eksena,” Direk Ted says of the first time he worked with the actor-dancer billed as this generation’s Kilig King. “Kaya when Ronnie auditioned for Vince & Kath & James, pinaalala ko sa kanya yun. But ang laki-laki na ng pinagbago niya from before. He confided to me that mas nagkaroon siya ng confidence when he joined the Hashtags. Nakatulong sa acting niya yung pag-perform niya araw-araw sa TV.”

Direk Ted promises moviegoers they will see a new Julia Barretto in this movie. 

‘Iba yung tingin ng tao sa kanya sa totoong siya. May disconnect. We see Julia kasi as a Barretto, as a goddess, but in real life, she’s actually very childlike. May pagka-komedyante. Yun ang makikita nila sa movie na ito. Julia has a natural flair for comedy na nakuha niya from her father. Sobrang na-shock ang mga taga-Star Cinema when they saw the rushes. But ayoko siyang i-hard sell. Kasi I want her performance in the movie to speak for itself.”

Direk Ted with Daniel Matsunaga and Erich Gonzales on the set of the top-rating daytime teleserye Be My Lady.
When the lineup of this year’s MMFF was unveiled, some expressed their dismay at the absence of so-called “commercial” movies. Direk Ted offered the following as a response to their comments:

“I haven’t seen any of those films, so I can’t say if they’re artsy, commercial or indie. But the thing is, klaro din naman kasi kung ano yung hinahanap ng MMFF ngayon. So I guess ang pinili ng mga nasa selection committee ay yung pasok sa criteria na ni-release nila. I don’t know if kikita ba or hindi. I do agree, medyo kakaiba nga na walang big stars or mainstream movies, but kung ang purpose naman ng MMFF ngayon is to showcase quality Filipino movies, I guess I trust them that they made the right choices. I’m just so thankful to the selection committee dahil pinili nilang isama ang Vince & Kath & James.”

Personally, I think having a Julia Barretto starrer to look forward to on December 25 will make my Christmas that much merrier! Congrats to the cast and crew, especially Direk Ted!

First photo courtesy of Star Cinema, second photo courtesy of ABS-CBN Entertainment.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Teen fright fest

I thought Janella Salvador acquitted herself well in her horror film debut.
I grew up on the Shake, Rattle and Roll films, so I have the highest regard for Regal Films when it comes to producing horror movies. They have a history of putting together spine-tingling flicks with images that stay with me long after I’ve left the movie theater. For the most part, they succeeded in doing the same with Haunted Mansion. 

I was excited to watch it because I’m friends with most of the cast. I wanted to support my girl Janella Salvador in her first MMFF movie as a headliner. I wasn’t disappointed. She delivered a great performance. Fear is one of the hardest emotions to display as an actor. Fear has physiological manifestations—dilated pupils, heavy or ragged breathing, and goosebumps on one’s arms—and I really saw genuine fear written all over Janella’s face in some scenes. Also, the camera loves her. As my mother put it in her own review of Haunted Mansion, Janella is a cinematographer’s dream. She registers well onscreen. 

MarNella, Janella's onscreen team-up with Marlo Mortel, showed promise. 
You know who else looked good onscreen? Marlo Mortel. His chemistry with Janella was palpable in this movie. When his character Adrian was shown pining after Janella’s character, I actually felt his longing. Nice one, Marlo. I wish Regal Films would give their tandem a follow-up project. MarNella is already a proven commodity on TV—having been given exposure in Be Careful with My Heart and Oh My G—and they could do well in the movies too, given the right material. Throw in Jerome Ponce (who also has lots of chemistry with Janella) as a third wheel and you’ve got the makings of a nice love triangle in a feel-good teen movie.

Speaking of Jerome, he also gave a decent performance in this movie. I thought his delivery of certain lines was good, and he came off as quite believable as Jacob, the big man on campus with a heart of gold. The rest of the ensemble cast also did well, so props to Devon Seron, Eliza Pineda, Ingrid dela Paz, and Phytos Ramirez. Paolo Gumabao also had a great moment—in fact, his death scene was my favorite. 

Jerome Ponce went from playing Janella's TV brother to a love interest in this movie.
I do have some quibbles with the movie, though. The actors (including veterans Dominic Ochoa, Iza Calzado and Janice de Belen) did the best they could with the material they were given, which I thought was a bit problematic. I actually felt the veterans could have used more screen time—they were underutilized, particularly Ms. Janice. You have one of the icons of Philippine horror cinema and you don’t play with that onscreen? What a missed opportunity. 

I also think the movie took too long to get to the real action. You could have cut a lot out of Haunted Mansion’s first two acts, which would have tightened the story a bit more and made it even more effective. But the movie took way too long to get to the action, which is why the back half felt a little bit rushed—like a bunch of characters died in the span of five minutes. I would have preferred the deaths to be spaced out, so they would each have had a greater impact. 

That said, I’d watch it again. I like that it reminded me of classic 90s barkada horror movies like I Know What You Did Last Summer and the original Scream trilogy. Congratulations to all involved!

All photos courtesy of Regal Films.

This review was originally posted on December 26, 2015 at @JulianMauricio.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Wake up, women—and men!

Today, American voters proved why Olivia Jordan's answer to the final question at Miss Universe 2015 was on point.
At the 2015 Miss Universe pageant, Miss USA Olivia Jordan was asked why she should bring home the crown. Part of her answer went, “I want to work to bring equality towards men and women. It is time to step up into power, women, and I want to empower women all over the world!”

I remember some people criticized Olivia for focusing on equality between the sexes. They said that as far as issues go, equality is passe because men and women are on equal footing now. They said women are already empowered. But I disagree, considering how the 2016 presidential election in the United States is going.

As of this writing, Donald Trump is well on his way to the White House with 264 electoral votes to Hilary Clinton’s 215. That a man like Donald Trump is poised to become the leader of the free world scares me. He was backed by the Ku Klux Klan. The KKK has, at different points in the history of the United States, advocated anti-Catholicism, anti-immigration, anti-Semitism and white supremacy, as well as other extremist schools of thought.

That the KKK saw fit to throw their support behind Donald Trump should tell you what kind of man he is, and why I’m extremely heartbroken. Right now, I’m trying really hard to understand how this could’ve happened, and the only answer I can come up with is Olivia Jordan was right. The battle against sexism is far from over. If anything, Donald Trump’s success proves that you can be better educated, more qualified and yet still be passed over for the job because you’re a woman. The way this election is going indicates that more American voters believe a man's transgressions are less grave than a woman's. They condemned Hilary Clinton for the Battle of Benghazi and her leaked e-mails and, despite the Billy Bush scandal, rewarded Donald Trump by voting for him.

I think it was rather poetic how Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton ended up battling it out for the presidency of the United States. A man who has little to no respect for women up against a woman whose victory would be a big step forward for her gender? I honestly think Shonda Rhimes couldn’t have come up with a better premise for a political drama if she’d tried. But if she did, I’m sure she would want the woman to come out on top. Shonda Rhimes has always put strong women front and center in all her shows—Grey's Anatomy, How to Get Away With Murder and Scandal. 

But I digress.

I’m aware that Hilary Clinton isn’t perfect. But in an ideal world, one where people hate bigotry and racism more than the thought of a woman in the Oval Office, one where sexism isn’t a thing, she would’ve won handily. Unfortunately, this isn’t a ShondaLand TV show. Sexism is alive and well in the United States, which is why the whole world is now facing four years of having a pussy-grabber prance around the White House.

Sexist attitudes may be changing in many parts of the world, but Donald Trump is living proof that they’re not changing fast enough. The United States presidential election may be over, but the fight against sexism is just beginning. I'm just as heartbroken over the results as the next guy, but I sure as hell am not going to roll over and drool for the next four years. My inner feminist may have been hibernating before today, but I'm waking him up and I won't let him go back to bed anytime soon.

As Olivia Jordan said, it's time to step up into power, women! Go on, I'll be doing whatever I can to support you in your battle against people like Donald Trump and everything they stand for. Who's with me?

Photo courtesy of Missosology.

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Darren's reminder

Tickets to Darren Espanto's One Music PH digital concert The Other Side of Darren were sold out in two hours. Wow!
Darren Espanto may not have won the first season of The Voice Kids, but in the years since his time on the show, he has proven himself to be a world-class performer. So when Darren announced that he would do a One Music PH digital concert titled The Other Side of Darren, I found myself counting down the days until October 30. I could hardly wait to see exactly what he had in store.

Darren kicked things off with covers of “Can’t Stop the Feeling” by Justin Timberlake and “Sax” by British singer Fleur East, who came in second on The X Factor UK in 2014. Honestly, I enjoyed both performances—Darren put on a good show, as usual—but I have to admit I was taken aback when he started singing. His voice was much deeper than it was the last time I watched him live, which was at the launch of his second album Be With Me at Market! Market! several months ago.

Despite the fact that his voice has changed, he can still sing big songs like nobody’s business, which he proved by segueing into a cover of Adele’s “Hello.” He also sang some originals, like “Home,” a beautiful ballad he wrote himself, and the Jungee Marcelo composition “Alam,” which is Darren’s second single from Be With Me.

“Home” is a song about missing his loved ones in Canada, and every time Darren sings it he goes back to the same emotional place he was in when he wrote it. The Other Side of Darren saw him laying into “Home” with everything he had, emotionally and vocally. When he was finished, Darren took a moment to compose himself, after which he apologized for choking up. I kind of wish he didn’t, because his losing control made the performance so much better. I love when singers wear their hearts on their sleeves like he did in that moment.

One of the things I liked most about Darren’s digital concert was that it saw Darren interact with his fans in a more meaningful way than the usual autograph signing or meet-and-greet. Some of the Darrenatics are talented dancers and singers themselves, and that night, they got the chance to perform alongside their idol.

Darrenatic Kate Fernando sent in an audition video and ended up onstage with the Total Performer. I liked her voice!
A girl named Kate got to sing Darren’s hit single “Stuck” with him. I liked her voice—it was nice and throaty—but Darren couldn’t help but overpower her towards the end. I got goosebumps when they held their mics out to the audience, who sang the song back to them. When your fans do that, that’s when you know you have a hit. (BTW, I just want to point out that I told Darren’s record label MCA Music that “Stuck” had the makings of a hit long before it was released as a single. Hehe.)

Darren’s rendition of the Gary Valenciano original “Gaya ng Dati” was also a winner for me. I started crying in front of my laptop after Darren sang the first two lines because it made me think of my mother. She’s recovering from a hemorrhagic stroke so she didn’t get to watch The Other Side of Darren, but I’m sure she would’ve enjoyed “Gaya ng Dati” too. It was beautiful and nuanced.

His interaction with Star Music’s Next Big Diva Morissette—who duetted on “Makita Kang Muli” by Sugarfree and Meat Loaf’s “I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)” with Darren—was fun to watch, as was the finale, “Where is the Love” by the Black Eyed Peas.

Darren has always been a polished performer, but his dancing is even snappier now, and his vocals are more controlled. Case in point: his cover of Noel Cabangon’s “Kanlungan” was very tasteful. He did throw in a couple of runs towards the end, but he did it without detracting from the song’s sweet and simple message. That means he’s become quite an intelligent singer. Having said that, there were times it seemed like Darren struggled with certain songs, but I blame that on his voice changing. I think the challenge for him now is to maintain the quality of his voice as he gets older.

I also think he should have delved deeper into a different genre for this concert if he really wanted to show people another side of him as a performer. We all know by now how good he is with pop, but I was disappointed he didn’t sing more rock songs like he said he would at the blogcon for The Other Side of Darren. But I still enjoyed the show.

Overall, the show wasn’t so much an introduction to a new Darren as it was a reminder that he’s startlingly talented and in his hands, the future of OPM looks very bright indeed. I’m already looking forward to his next concert!

"I'm still young, but I want to explore new things," Darren told the enraptured audience during one of his spiels.
Set list:

“Can’t Stop the Feeling” – Justin Timberlake
“Sax” – Fleur East
“Hello” - Adele
“Gaya ng Dati” – Gary Valenciano
“Kanlungan” – Noel Cabangon
“Makita Kang Muli” – Sugarfree*
“Throwback” (Morissette solo)
“Chandelier” – Sia*
“I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)” – Meat Loaf*
“Where is the Love” – Black Eyed Peas

* - with Morissette

All photos courtesy of One Music PH.
Special thanks to Sir Aaron Domingo and Rae Ducut of ABS-CBN Corporate Communications.

Friday, September 23, 2016

The best gift

Me and my mother chilling after one of her therapy sessions. This is our latest photo together.
When I was a little kid, I read a story about a girl whose parents threw her a circus-themed birthday party with all the trimmings, including a cake shaped like a clown and a ringmaster’s costume for her to wear. Sadly, despite all her parents’ efforts, no one came to party with her. I can’t remember why because it has been years since I last read that story, but that’s not the point.

That story stayed with me, and I grew up afraid the same thing would happen to me. It never did—my fear of being rejected on my birthday remained unfounded year after year, but it kept coming back anyway. It got worse when my anxiety disorder took hold. Things got to a point where even the mere thought of my birthday would turn me into an anxious, sobbing mess.

One year my mother took it upon herself to throw me a birthday party. She saw how worked up I’d get about having to text people and invite them myself, so she did it all instead. She didn’t want to see me so miserable over something that should have made me happy. She did that the next year, and the year after that. Because she had a stroke last June 2, my mother wasn’t able to do that for me this year. I didn’t mind—honestly, partying on my birthday was the last thing on my mind when September began. I was too busy worrying about other things.

Days before my actual birthday, I visited my mother. She asked me how I was planning to celebrate, and I told her, “Most of my friends are out of the country or busy working. I didn’t have time to text anyone, so no celebration for me this year.” 

She teared up because she knows how much my birthday means to me, but I stopped her before she could say anything.

“Mom, it’s OK. I don’t mind not celebrating. Honestly, this year all I want is for you to get better as soon as possible so our lives can get back to normal,” I said, squeezing her hand.

Both our eyes filled with tears when she squeezed back and said, somewhat haltingly but clearly, “I want the same thing, believe me.”


On September 19, the day before my birthday, the power and water in my house got cut and I came down with a high fever. I wallowed in my misery for a bit until my friend Erica Abello sent me a kick in the pants via Facebook. 

Long story short, I ended up at UP Technohub, where I snagged a table at Starbucks. In my haste to leave the house, I forgot to bring a jacket. Despite that, I ignored the cold and sat there writing until midnight, at which point I bought myself a slice of chocolate cake. I couldn’t bring myself to eat it, though; I just sat there and stared at it while tears trickled down my cheeks.

I was 31 and I had never felt so alone.

I was 31 and it was the first time I got older without my mother by my side.


I spent my actual birthday paying bills and running errands. I didn’t get to visit my mother until well after nightfall. When I arrived, she pressed an envelope into my hands. I opened it to find this:

To say that this touched me would be a gross understatement.
She tried to write a birthday message for me, but since she’s still re-learning to use her right hand, this is how it turned out. She also put some money in the envelope with the note. “Treat yourself,” she said when I asked her what I should do with the money.

I nearly burst into tears when I saw the card and money. Even in the midst of a tough battle, she still wanted to be sure I’d have fun on my birthday. That’s how my mother was before she had a stroke—she always went out of her way to ensure my happiness, even if that meant sacrificing her own—and for me, the card and money were a sign that she’s going to be fine.

I didn’t get to throw a party, but upon reflection, I got the best gift I could ever have gotten.

Happy birthday to me.

Another solid week

I was really tickled pink by the video greeting from Simon Cowell that opened last Saturday’s Pinoy Boyband Superstar episode. Most of what I know about critiquing contestants on shows like this, I learned from years of watching Simon.

Anyone who has watched Simon on TV for as long as I have knows he normally gets it right. He was right when he said that not only would Carrie Underwood win American Idol season four, but she would also go on to sell more albums than any of the show’s previous winners. He also turned out to be right when he said Filipinos would love Pinoy Boyband Superstar, as evidenced by the pilot week’s ratings.

Congratulations to the Pinoy Boyband Superstar team on a strong debut!
About last week, I still think Niel Murillo was the strongest singer of that group, with Ford Valencia coming in second. Allen Cecilio, Keanno dela Cruz and Markus Paterson need to step up their game. As for the twins, they’re talented, but they may not be right for the boyband this show is aiming to form. Bjorn and Jayvee Mendoza are too different—which isn’t a bad thing per se, but that may make fitting in as part of a five-piece hard for them. I would prefer seeing them strike out on their own, as a duo. They’re certainly entertaining enough to do so.

I went into this week hoping to see a contestant as entertaining as the aforementioned would-be boybanders. The first one to take the stage last Saturday definitely fit the bill.

Joao Constancia, 19, “Grow Old With You”

He reminds me of Ryan Potter, the voice actor of Hiro Hamada in Big Hero 6. If I had to compare him to anyone in the local showbiz scene, I’d say Joao reminds me of Alex Diaz. Furthermore, Joao strikes me as someone who loves a good opportunity to cut loose, but knows when to get down to business. The girls in the live audience found Joao striking, period, because they sent him on to the judges with 94%.

He’s very charming and handsome, which is great because I didn’t find his vocals super impressive. I think he needs to learn proper voice placement. When you know how to place your voice properly, you’ll have an easier time opening up what they call your vocal cavities—and than in turn will help you amplify your voice more efficiently. It sounded to me like he was singing from his throat too much, which not only limits how far Joao can go and what he can do vocally, but it could also hurt him in the long run. A few singing lessons would do him a world of good.

That said, I agreed with Pinoy Boyband Superstar judge Yeng Constantino. A boyband is like a pie chart. Joao isn’t the strongest singer, but he has oodles of charisma. I’m happy they gave him four yeses. Not just because I like his lip ring, but because he seems like a good guy who’s willing to work hard to improve.

Gabriel Umali, 16, “Torn”

When Gabriel hit the stage, he came across as shy, but my gosh, he transformed when he danced. Unfortunately, Gabriel didn’t seem so confident when he sang. That’s understandable, because he’s had more experience as a dancer. I do love his voice, though. In fact, I got goosebumps when he hit the pre-chorus of Natalie Imbruglia’s biggest hit. It was then that he opened up vocally—however slightly—and showed everyone how his voice can soar. He sings well; he just needs help working through his issues.

During his audition, Gabriel’s face was a stiff mask, which I think hampered his singing. For a singer, relaxing the muscles in one’s cheeks, forehead and jaw will go a long way towards helping him or her develop a beautiful and powerful voice. Gabriel stiffened up because he was so nervous. It’s adorable that he doesn’t seem to know how good he really is, but he needs to believe in himself more if he wants to go far in this competition. Aside from relaxing his facial muscles, I’d say he needs to become as confident a singer as he is a dancer. That said, he’s an early favorite of mine.

Mike Villamor, 19, “Gusto Kita”

Mike’s rendition of this OPM classic was quite pitchy. But the real problem with Mike is that as a performer, he’s good but not great. He’s average. He’s charming and talented, but whatever charm he had couldn’t make up for what he lacked vocally, unlike Joao. So although I liked his smile and the fact that he’s a rakitero, I understand why the judges turned Mike down.

That said, my ears perked up when he talked about his father who does construction and plumbing work. I’ve been looking for someone to fix things at my house. Can someone please put me in touch with Mike’s father? I want to hire him. Seriously! I identified with Mike’s desire to help his parents, so if I can help him do that by paying his father to do some work for me, I will.

Rollo Espinos, 23

I liked the look of this professional chef-turned-commercial model from Bacolod. Unfortunately, the girls in the live audience found Rollo wanting and gave him only 73%. What a shame. He could’ve served up some tasty vocals pa naman.

Kokoy de Santos, 18

This guy should be a familiar face to Jane Oineza and Janella Salvador fans. Kokoy did a Maalaala Mo Kaya episode with the former last year and he was in Oh My G with the latter. I know he can sing well, which is why I was disappointed when the girls gave him the boot with only 73%. I bet Kokoy would’ve impressed the judges had he been able to sing for them.

What happened to Kokoy in particular illustrates that letting the girls decide who gets to sing for the judges can be dangerous. Good singers could end up slipping through the cracks if the girls don’t see fit to put them through. Luckily, the guy who went onstage after Kokoy was able to charm the girls into putting him through so he could show everyone how good he is vocally.

Wilbert Rosalyn, 19, “Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You”

I can so identify with his wanting to make good to show his father that he missed out on something special when he walked away. Good thing the girls gave Wilbert 95% and the opportunity to stick it to his father.

I like his voice. It’s powerful without being overwhelming. I liked the little runs he put in. He does have a slight tendency to mumble—which I heard in the verses—so he should improve his diction because sayang yung ganda ng tone niya if he doesn’t. I agree with Vice Ganda; Wilbert is cute, but his isn’t the kind of cuteness that will make you take a second look. Sakto lang, kumbaga. That said, he’s one of the better singers in this competition, so I’m glad he got through.

Host Billy Crawford promised “heartwarming family stories” in the next episode, so I braced myself before I watched it. Mababaw ang luha ko sa mga ganyan ngayon, eh.

Jay Kim, 20, “Fire” and “Ikaw”

I don’t find him as handsome as some of the previous contestants, but there’s something about him I find vaguely charming. I had a big smile on my face while watching him talk to Sandara in Korean. I’m not a fan of his voice, but I’ll give him props for having enough guts to sing songs by Sandara and Yeng in front of them. I’ve watched a lot of reality shows, and I haven’t seen many contestants brave enough to do that. But while I commend his bravery, I don’t think he’s strong enough vocally to be in a boyband. He has major pitch and timing issues.

Sean Cruz, 18

His backstory made me cry. When Sean was four, he lost his father in a car accident. That tragedy greatly affected his mother, so Sean had to step up and be the breadwinner of his family, which is something I can relate to. I was disappointed when the girls didn’t put him through. Aga Muhlach was right when he said this show can be heartbreaking. I felt really bad for Sean.

I’m starting to realize that my taste in guys—as far as looks go, anyway—is vastly different from that of the girls in the live audience. I liked Sean’s eyes and smile. I would buy a condo from him any day. Hehe.

James Ryan Cesena, 18, “Boyfriend”

I love that he’s a songwriter. He wants to write songs that give people hope, which I think is nice. I’m always on the lookout for new people to write with, so I hope to be able to collaborate with James sometime. But I digress.

James’ take on this Justin Bieber track reminded me of American Idol season eight champion Kris Allen’s own reworking of “Heartless.” James is the first guy who impressed me vocally since Gabriel Umali. I get Vice’s concern about James potentially holding the final five back because of his inability to speak Filipino, but that’s what Tagalog lessons are for. In the meantime, someone can help James understand the meaning of a Filipino song by going over it with him line by line if need be. Honestly, that doesn’t seem like too much of an inconvenience to me.

Some of the guys the judges have put through aren’t up to snuff vocally, so I honestly think they should have gone a little easier on James, who’s one of the best singers Pinoy Boyband Superstar has found thus far. Kudos to Yeng for seeing his determination and welcoming him to the show.

Miko Juarez, 20, “Ngiti”

Vice compared him to James Reid, but with respect to him, I disagree. I actually think Miko looks like a cross between Ahron Villena and Paulo Avelino. Miko’s voice is good but not remarkable pero sige na nga, pweds na rin.

Mark Oblea, 21, “So Far Away”

Ang gwapo niya. I loved his earring and leather jacket. But he became so much more appealing—to me, at least—when he professed his love for his mother on national TV. Naka-relate ako sa kanya. Like Mark, I wasn’t always a good son. I made plenty of mistakes, but now I want to make up for that however I can. But I digress.

This episode saved the best for last. I flove Mark’s voice. There’s something about him that reminds me vocally of Dalton Rapattoni from American Idol season 15. (Incidentally, Dalton used to be in a boyband called IM5.) Dalton is one of my favorite singers of all time, so coming from me, that’s pretty high praise right there. There’s a slight rasp in Mark’s voice that comes out when he pushes himself, which is great, in my opinion. I think he’s a real star. Like Aga, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Mark in the final five.

Even my mother liked Mark. When I went to visit her on Monday night, we streamed this episode on iWant TV. Check this out:

Mom and I bonded over the show. She didn't like Mark's pick-up line, but she loved his voice.
Overall, I think Pinoy Boyband Superstar had another solid week. Gusto ko yung timpla ng palabas na ito. The contestants’ sob stories are given just enough airtime to make viewers root for them, but not enough for all their tales of broken families and reversals of fortune to overshadow their talent—or lack thereof. Kudos to the show’s team for striking the right balance between backstory and talent!

First two photos and videos courtesy of Pinoy Boyband Superstar.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

A strong debut

Niel Murillo of Cebu blew me away on the pilot episode of Pinoy Boyband Superstar. This kid should go far. He's great!
I’ve always been a big fan of boybands. When I was in the fifth grade, the first album I bought with my own money was the Backstreet Boys’ international debut album. So when I heard that ABS-CBN greenlit a Philippine version of La Banda titled Pinoy Boyband Superstar, I was excited. La Banda is a Latin American reality-based talent search created by music mogul Simon Cowell and produced by singer Ricky Martin, with an eye towards putting together the next Menudo. (If you don't know who they are, click here and here to find out.)

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to watch the Pinoy Boyband Superstar pilot as I was at Metrowalk for my mother’s benefit concert—which I’m pleased to announce was a success. Anyway, I decided to wait until both of this week’s episodes were available on iWant TV so I could catch up on the show. Now that I have, I think it’s safe to say that I found my newest favorite show.

I loved the format of the auditions. Instead of simply walking up to the judges and singing for them, the boys have to charm a roomful of girls first. The boys will only be allowed to perform for the judges if they get a score of 75% and above from the girls. Charm is key in the first round, which makes a lot of sense. After all, the success of boybands like One Direction was built largely on the charm of its members as individuals and as a unit. Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson and Zayn Malik radiated charisma on their own, which made them downright unstoppable when they became a group.

The four judges of Pinoy Boyband Superstar are Aga Muhlach, Sandara Park, Vice Ganda and Yeng Constantino. Theirs seems like a really good combination. I do believe they’ll be able to put their combined expertise to good use in creating a successful boyband.

As a heartthrob himself back in the day, Aga alone knows what it’s like to be a young man making his way in showbiz. He can relate to all the boys on a completely different level. Sandara, Vice and Yeng are all performers, but I do think Yeng has the most technical knowledge as far as music is concerned. I expect that’s what Yeng will bring to the table. 2NE1 star Sandara is the only one on the panel who has been part of a girlband, so in that sense, her perspective will be invaluable too. As for Vice, he’s judged competitions before, so he definitely has an eye for talent.

All the boys who took the stage this week definitely had that, as evidenced by the first one on deck.

Allen Cecilio, 17, “Yakap Sa Dilim”

He’s very cute, and he has a fraternal twin, which is cool. Allen reminds me of a cross between the Hashtags’ McCoy de Leon and Nikko Natividad. Allen looked comfortable onstage. When he danced, it was as if he was just busting a move in his bedroom as opposed to performing for 500 screaming girls. When he sang, his vocals were a bit shaky, but I think that was because of nerves. I’d advise Allen to drop his jaw a little more when he sings and work on his breath support to avoid being "sintunado," as Yeng said.

Also, I must say I enjoyed Allen’s song choice. I don’t think it was inappropriate at all. Boybands have sung about sex before, and it’s not as if today’s teens know nothing about the birds and the bees. Besides, Allen sang that APO Hiking Society hit in a way that was more sweet than sleazy. Overall, I love him. He’s cute, talented and he knows it, but somehow he doesn’t come off as cocky.

Alfonso Avila, 19

Alfonso is a good dancer but he’s a little over the top, which makes him somewhat painful to watch. Also, he’s cute and he knows it, which some may find a little off-putting. I know I did. Also, he didn’t interact with the girls as much as he should have, in my opinion. His time onstage was more about him showing off rather than winning the girls over, so they gave Alfonso the boot with 68% of the votes. Future contestants need to make more of an effort to connect with the girls to make it to the judges.

Ford Valencia, 21, “All of Me”

The girls gave Ford 83% and sent him on to the judges. I like Ford. He has what my old vocal coach would describe as a "full, round, warm" sound to his voice. He just needs to improve his diction a little bit. That said, I want him to do well in this competition because like my mother, Ford’s father also had a stroke which left him partially paralyzed. I want Ford to strike a blow for sons of stroke victims everywhere.

I’m glad Aga, Sandara and Yeng put him through. With respect to Vice, I disagree with him about Ford looking too old to be in a boyband. If my memory serves me correctly, Kevin Richardson was 20 when the Backstreet Boys were starting out. The rest of his bandmates were all still teenagers. I don’t think Ford’s age will be an issue.

Jormiel Labrador, 25, “Kiss”

When Jormiel lifted his shirt to show off his washboard abs, I was all, “Whoa, keep your clothes on, dude. This is a family show.” I applaud him for advocating a healthy lifestyle, but overall I found him a little off-putting. I agreed with Sandara when she deemed Jormiel too sexy for Pinoy Boyband Superstar. Although should they decide to put together a Masculados-inspired group, Jormiel would be perfect for it.

No lie, when Jormiel started singing, the word “Chippendales” popped into my mind—which is why I laughed uproariously when Vice said it seconds later. (Just so you know, the Chippendales are an all-male dance troupe best known for their sexy choreography and costumes.) Yeng voted to put Jormiel through, but the other judges outvoted her.

Niel Murillo, 17, “Mahal Na Mahal”

Niel is cute too. Aga thought he gave off a Richard Gutierrez vibe, but for me, something about Niel reminds me of my good friend Jon Lucas. Niel is a real musician—not only can he sing, but he plays the guitar too. He’s unassuming and shy, which I think only heightens his appeal. Niel auditioned for Pinoy Boyband Superstar to help his family, particularly his kuya, who was shot in the head four years ago.

Niel had me from the run with which he opened his performance. Anyone who’s had vocal training will tell you that runs are actually hard to pull off. You have to start well and end well, and Niel did that. I love the texture of his voice. It’s so rich and velvety. Niel is by far the best singer from the first episode. Like Yeng, I’m so looking forward to seeing more of him in the future. I like him not just because he sings well, but also because he wears his heart on his sleeve—which is a good thing if you’re a performer.

On to the second episode!

Tonio Banach, 15, “Hahahasula”

My first impression of Tonio was that he looks a little like Bailey May from Pinoy Big Brother 737. He had me in tears when he talked about his relationship with his mother. I like the way he charmed the girls with that gimmick. I wonder if that girl held onto the ring he gave her? Probably. Tonio’s voice cracked here and there during his performance (brave song choice, BTW), and as my old vocal coach would say, masyado pang kulob yung tunog niya—most likely because he was nervous. That said, I like his tone. When he sang a capella, I was impressed. Tonio has a good set of pipes; he just needs some guidance, which is why I can’t believe the judges sent him home.

Markus Paterson, 18, “Tadhana”

OK, I admit it, his smile went straight to my heart. Unfortunately, Markus picked an emotionally and vocally demanding song, and I don’t think he pulled it off. I actually think his pitch was slightly under throughout his performance. Also, this Up Dharma Down original has so much yearning in it, and Markus’ rendition was a little wooden. That said, he does have a nice enough tone and, as Sandara pointed out, he looks like a proper pop star. I hope he does better in the next round.

Miggy Campbell, 24

This guy looks familiar. Hehe. Too bad the girls didn’t put him through. I think Miggy deserved to at least sing for the judges. Malay natin, magaling pala siya kumanta. We'll never know now, will we?

Keanno Dela Cruz, 15, “Night Changes”

The girls didn’t put this guy through; luckily Sandara saw fit to throw him a lifeline. He says he’s a seasoned performer, but honestly, I wasn’t impressed with Keanno’s acting. I thought his face and eyes weren’t expressive enough. His singing wasn’t the best, either; his diction could use a lot of work and he was pitchy in spots. I don’t understand why the judges put him through when they sent Tonio home. I would’ve picked him over Keanno. I can identify with Keanno’s hunger to make it big in showbiz, though. He’s a dreamer, which I like.

Bjorn and Jayvee Mendoza, 22, “Pak Gayown”

I’m not quite sure how to feel about Bjorn and Jayvee, to be honest. They remind me of Jedward from The X Factor UK. They’re not vocally outstanding—their diction needs work—but they have a certain playful quality that makes them compelling to watch. Not my cup of tea, but they deserve credit for that mashup they did. If they arranged it themselves, that actually says a lot about their musicality.

In conclusion, I enjoyed the pilot more than I did the second episode. But overall, this week was a strong debut for Pinoy Boyband Superstar and I look forward to seeing the rest of the competition!

All photos and videos courtesy of Pinoy Boyband Superstar.

Thursday, September 01, 2016

The price of strength

The main cast of Supergirl, circa the show's first season, which aired on CBS from 2015-2016.
An hour ago, I was lying in bed with a fever. I felt totally weak and I didn’t have any energy to fix something for myself, much less my two golden retrievers. I really needed help. I honestly don’t mind skipping dinner if I have to, but I so didn’t want Cheesestick and Muffin to go hungry on my account. So I swallowed my pride and texted my grandmother for help. I asked if she could spare the day maid she hired to help her take care of my mother, even for just a couple of hours. I just needed someone to help me make dinner for me and my furkids.

Long story short, my grandmother said no, and I was left to ponder my predicament. Eventually I went on Facebook and Twitter to look for someone who might be willing to help me. But seeing everyone’s posts only made me feel even more alone and frustrated.

Before my mother suffered a stroke last June 2, and before my Filipino-British parabatai (more on what that means in a future post) Tim Macardle returned to his hometown of Norwich earlier this year, I would’ve been able to ask them for help. But my mother is in recovery and Tim is thousands of miles away, a distance made easier but no less painful by social media. My other friends are busy with their own lives. Some are en route to New York City for ASAP, others are shooting or taping, and the non-showbiz ones are taking care of their own families. Even if they want to help—and I’m sure they do—they may not be able to, and I don’t blame them for that.

As the minutes ticked by, my frustration and loneliness morphed into anger. Not at anyone in particular, mind you; just at the situation I was in. Eventually I tossed my phone aside and used my emotions to propel myself out of bed. I slowly made my way downstairs and into the kitchen. (OK, I tripped and fell down the last couple of steps, but at least I made it, right?)

Despite the fact that my forehead was beaded with sweat and I was standing on two shaky legs, I managed to feed my dogs and fix myself a plate of rice and Libby's vienna sausage. Now, buoyed by a full stomach and the sweet sounds of Britney Spears’s new album Glory, I’m in front of my laptop, writing this post. Having eaten their fill of dog food and Purefoods sisig, Cheesestick and Muffin are curled up on either side of me.

In the months since my mother’s stroke, I’ve been told by many that they’re very proud of me for making the best of my situation. At first, that made me really happy. After all, I took over running the house in my mother’s absence because I wanted her to be able to focus on her recovery, and I’d like to think I’ve done a good job despite my mental illness. But to be honest, today I realized that being strong comes with a price.  

When you go through life like a superhero, people forget that you also need help sometimes. For the most part, I’m self-sufficient now and I'm proud of that. But not even superheroes can do it all by themselves all the time. On the TV show Supergirl, Kara Danvers is backed by the Department of Extranormal Operations, as well as her CatCo boss Cat Grant and her friends James Olsen and Winn Schott, Jr. The truth is, I need my own DEO, Cat, James and Winn, and no, I don't think I should be judged for admitting that I do.

To paraphrase an obscure pop song about the Girl of Steel back in the day, I don’t mind being Supergirl, as I do relish being able to save the day when I have to. In fact, I’m looking forward to the day that my mother is well enough to come back home so I can do more for her.

But the question still remains: who’s going to save me when I’m the one who needs saving?

Photo courtesy of Movieweb.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Tulong para kay Tinna

My mother Tinna Bonifacio and I during a trip to Baguio City last year.
In an episode of Grey’s Anatomy’s seventh season titled “The Golden Hour,” resident Lexie Grey fails to realize that her patient’s migraine is actually indicative of a stroke. Luckily her big sister Meredith, the show’s titular character, saves the day and their patient’s life. Later on in the episode, the elder Dr. Grey was shown scolding her sister.

“I know you know the signs of a stroke. How could you miss this?” Meredith asked a horrified Lexie. “You know this kind of headache can be a precursor to a stroke.”

As you all may know, my mother Tinna Bonifacio, the Senior Editor of StarStudio magazine, had a stroke as well last June 2. She was rushed to St. Luke’s Medical Center in Quezon City by two of her officemates, Sey Palma and Zeny Orfano-Gonzales. Because they got her to SLMC in less than four hours—which doctors refer to as the “golden period” for stroke patients—the risk of my mother sustaining long-term brain damage was significantly reduced.

Sey and Ms. Zeny’s quick thinking went a really long way towards saving my mother’s life. But now that I think about it, maybe this whole thing could’ve been prevented if I hadn’t pulled a Lexie. You see, a day or two before my mother had the stroke, she was complaining that she had a splitting headache herself. Looking back, part of me feels that if I had insisted she see a doctor when all she had was a splitting headache, maybe she wouldn’t be in the state she is now.

Unfortunately, I didn’t remember what happened in “The Golden Hour” until yesterday evening, long after I got home from visiting my mother at the hospital. If only the events of that episode had come back to me earlier, maybe I could’ve prevented this. I also feel like the stress of helping me recover from my mental illness while trying to earn a living finally got to her. People have told me that this isn’t my fault, but I still can’t help feeling responsible.

These feelings of guilt and loneliness have been plaguing me since my mother was admitted last June 2. She spent most of the last three weeks in SLMC’s Neuro Critical Care Unit, until her doctors pronounced her well enough to be transferred into a private room. She’s been there since Monday, June 20.

For the most part, that development is cause for celebration, as it means she’s on the mend. But I feel lonely because I’m so used to having her around 24/7. We do almost everything together. We even sleep in the same room because some nights I wake up crying due to an anxiety attack and she’s the one who calms me down. But now that she’s in the hospital and I’m not allowed to spend the night in her room, I have to fend for myself.

So far I’ve been managing to keep the house and myself in order, but I honestly do feel like I’m down an arm or a leg because my mother isn’t here to help me with those things. Daily life was difficult enough for me when all I had to deal with was my mental illness. Imagine how much harder it has become now that I have to do without my mother’s sage advice or warm hugs—at least for the time being.

Tbh, it would’ve been easier for me to give in to my guilt and loneliness by taking to my bed and refusing to leave it for anyone or anything, but I haven’t. I want to make my mother proud of me, so I’m doing my best to push past my own condition. There are days when that comes easily to me and there are days when it doesn’t, but the important thing is I’m trying.

My mother is trying as well. Now that she’s in a private room, her therapy has begun in earnest, and her doctors tell me she’s doing really well. One of her private duty nurses even told me that her recovery is progressing faster than most stroke patients. (I’ve been holding on to the doctors' and nurses’ encouraging words like a shipwrecked person would to a life preserver.)

Although my mother never lost consciousness at any point during the last three weeks, she’s much more awake and responsive now compared to when she was admitted. She can now eat ice cream, soup and yogurt, and she was even able to scroll through Facebook when I gave her cell phone to her yesterday. Sure, I had to hold it for her while she used her left hand to navigate the site, but I was thrilled when I saw her do that, as I was when I asked if she remembers certain things, and she indicated that she does.

My mother’s a fighter—which I’m told is very important, because the more a stroke patient wants to recover, the better—but she needs lots and lots of help, specifically with all her medical expenses. After nearly three weeks in SLMC, the bill has reached astronomical proportions. I’ve done what I can to help out and so have some of my relatives (which I appreciate), but we still have a long way to go financially.

Whoever is reading this can help us keep my mother on the road to recovery by depositing any amount to my maternal grandmother Boots Bonifacio’s account. Every little bit goes a long, long way. Her banking details are as follows:

Ma. Victoria Bonifacio

BDO Acct. # 140163794

BPI Acct. # 9603001637

After you’ve made a deposit, please let me or my Lola Bu know by texting us at 09157160469 and 09175361708.

My mother is getting better, but she’s not out of the woods yet. Unfortunately, the kind of medical care SLMC has been giving her is costly. She and I can’t win this battle alone. We need your help. Kailangan talaga namin ng tulong para kay Tinna. Kahit magkano makakatulong.

Thank you very much in advance.
© Jules Explains it All
Maira Gall