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SHOWBIZ NEWS THIS PAST WEEK
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

MARIAN RIVERA IS PH QUEEN OF FACEBOOK


Marian Rivera with daughter Maria Letizia Dantes who was born on November 23, 2015. Rivera first met husband Dingdong Dantes in 2007 and the two tied the knot in December 2014. (Photo from Marian Rivera's Facebook) Kapuso primetime queen Marian Rivera is also the country’s queen in Facebook!
Marian Rivera is also queen to her princess Maria Letizia Dantes who was born on November 23, 2015. Rivera first met husband and Kapuso primetime king Dingdong Dantes in 2007. The two tied the knot in December 2014. (Photo from Marian Rivera’s Facebook) With 14,930,783 likes, Marian Rivera’s official Facebook page is the most liked Facebook page for any celebrity in the Philippines. This was according to social media analytics site Quintly, which ranked Rivera’s Facebook page at the 19th spot in the Top 20 Public Figure Facebook Pages in the world. The 31-year-old actress was the only Filipino who landed in the top 20. READ MORE...

ALSO: Say Chiz…straight from the Heart


The couple with Chiz’s twins Chesi and Joaquin during their trip to Japan. Says Chiz, ‘Heart is doing well as mom to the kids, who call her Tita Heart. That’s how Heart wants it to be.’  ‘Heart and I live in separate houses. It’s a weird set-up. Our places are only 128 steps apart, to be exact. I live with my twins in the townhouse I’ve been staying in since 1999 and Heart is renting a place nearby.’ 
In this exclusive interview, Sen. Chiz Escudero explains why. Taking time out from the grueling campaign, Sen./Vice Presidentiable Chiz Escudero dropped by The STAR offices yesterday. Offered lunch, Chiz begged off and asked only for coffee, saying in jest (in his self-deprecating style), “Ayokong lumaki ang tiyan ko baka iwanan na naman ako ng asawa ko,” referring to his first failed marriage. He and wife Heart Evangelista have been living happily ever after since they got married on the exclusive Balesin Island in Quezon Province on Feb. 15 last year, a day after Heart turned 30 (Chiz is turning 47 on Oct. 10) ­— living apart, that is (find out why in a while). After tackling hard issues during his session with the STAR editors, columnists and reporters, Chiz made a 12-minute stopover at the Entertainment Section office for a “lighter” session. He was game as usual, mincing no words in answering even the most personal questions. You celebrated your first wedding anniversary last Feb. 15. Are you still in your adjustment period? “The adjustment continues especially now that, technically, we live in separate houses.” READ MORE...

ALSO: How Pope Francis opened doors for this seminarian


Seminarian Kenneth Parsad — Facebook/kenneth.parsad
When seminarian Kenneth Parsad sang the Responsorial Psalm at a Mass for Pope Francis during his visit to the country in January last year, there were a lot of things he never expected to happen. For one, he didn’t count on becoming a viral sensation. And second, he didn’t think that becoming one would open up more opportunities, and in mainstream entertainment at that. Thanks to all the publicity his singing for the Papal Mass generated, Kenneth — who now also teaches Theology at his Alma Mater, the University of Santo Tomas — was recently signed up by Universal Records and has released an album titled Still. The album contains inspirational tracks like Kenneth’s cover of Gary Valenciano’s Natutulog Ba Ang Diyos, Far Greater Love, My Soul Finds Rest, Ang Ganda, I Will Be Here For You and God Gave Me You. Actually, prior to the offer, Kenneth and one of his spiritual and musical mentors, identified only as Ferdinand Bautista, planned to make an album of his psalm compositions. But when Bautista suddenly had to leave for France, the plans came to an unexpected halt. That was when the UR offer landed on the table. It was like God was giving him a second chance to go out and reach more people. “I eventually saw it as God’s re-offer for evangelization.” In the beginning, says Kenneth, doing this sort of thing didn’t even cross his mind. “During the Papal Mass at the Cathedral, I just desired to deliver the message of the psalm. But it generated many things such as this (album). I feel happy and blessed for all the opportunities that have opened up for me, most especially the friends I have met. They are amazing. God truly reveals himself through the people and events in our life!” Kenneth, who hails from Abra and who was born to an Indian father and a Filipina mother, reveals that he has always loved music. His favorite songs include I See Fire, I’m Yours, The Man Who Can’t Be Moved while he counts Ed Sheeran, Jason Mraz and The Script among the many musical artists/bands he looks up to. READ MORE...

ALSO: Is Paul Soriano ready to be a dad?


Paul Soriano said that if God blesses him and Toni Gonzaga with a child he'll be ready to be a father. Instagram/ Toni Gonzaga
Paul Soriano said he's ready to be a father if he and wife Toni Gonzaga will be blessed with a child. "I was prepared even before we got married," he said in an interview on Wednesday. "I was ready then and I'm ready now. Whenever God wills it, we will embrace it."
"With life you just have to listen to God and sometimes you're just not in control," he added. "Just like when we told you about our engagement and wedding, there's a right time and place for it." It was in February when reports about Toni's pregnancy came out. However, the couple remained mum about the issue, saying there's a "right time" to answer the issue. Watch Soriano's full statement in the video below. Soriano is busy promoting the film"Hele sa Hiwagang Hapis," where he's one of the producers. He admitted that producing the eight-hour film was "risky," but he thought that "it was just a beautiful screenplay." "Very challenging, but every film naman is very challenging," he added. READ MORE...

ALSO: Krista Ranillo is Sexiest Mom Alive


Krista Ranillo and husband Niño Jefferson Lim are hands-on parents, never too busy to spend quality time with their children Nate (four years old), Nolan (three years old) and Natalie (one year old) — PHOTOS from Krista’s Instagram
CANYON COUNTRY, California — Sunset at this part of California, some two hours drive (inclusive of mild traffic) came a little late. From the elevated part of the place, immigration lawyer Jemela Nettles and I were awed by the panoramic view of the sun slowly turning from blinding yellow to a delicious orange and then to a mix of yellow and orange against the light-grey sky. To paraphrase the popular song, heavenly shades of night were falling, it was twilight time. The dying day left a certain sadness in your heart even as you look forward to the promise of a moonlit night. It was way past seven o’clock. Jemela and I retreated to the waiting area of the Piccolo Trattoria as customers started arriving. Must be a favorite high-end Italian restaurant because, soon, the reserved tables were filling up. Ours was nestled at a more private corner. A few minutes away from where the Lims live (Valencia), Piccolo Trattoria was where Mr. and Mrs. Niño Jefferson Lim (nee Krista Ranillo) were treating us to a leisurely dinner, the same place where Niño hosted a recent birthday get-together with friends. It’s always a pleasure meeting the Lims whenever I am in California. The other “regulars” had begged off. Tim Evans (of the US Immigration) couldn’t extract himself from his post at the L.A. Tom Bradley Airport because, he said, “the line of arriving passengers are getting longer and longer;” while STAR’s L.A. correspondent Raymond Lo was tied up at the accounting company where he works. Raoul Tidalgo was on extended vacation in Texas. Oh well, there’s always a next time. READ MORE...

ALSO: Frontview - The making of a Presidential Debate


The March 20 Presidential Debate in Cebu will be moderated by TV5 News and Public Info head Luchi Cruz-Valdes (center). She will be joined by a panel of distinguished media professionals (from left) lawyer Tony Abad, The Philippine STAR editor-in-chief Ana Marie Pamintuan, Lourd de Veyra, Erwin Tulfo, STAR news editor Marichu Villanueva and lawyer Ruphil Banoc.
I attended the alignment meeting of TV5’s coverage of the second Presidential Debate and was amused to witness how the spokespersons and representatives of each presidential candidate were trying to ensure that his or her candidate come out with the most “pogi or ganda” points for his or her boss. To say that it was intense is an understatement and I am hoping that we get the same unbridled passion, not just rhetorics, from each candidate as they answer or clarify the issues presented to them.
On March 20, from 5 to 8 p.m., TV5 joins the entire Filipino people in a closer and more intimate look at the presidential candidates and their vision of where the Philippines should be heading. It is a turning point in our history as the third decade of the 21st century comes into view. This is what the COMELEC-sponsored debates are all about and the second in the series is going to be held at the Performing Arts Hall at the University of the Philippines campus in Cebu City. This series of COMELEC-initiated debates was the first ever since 1992 and in line with the provision of the Fair Election Act. TV5 president and CEO Emmanuel Lorenzana said, “The coverage of the March 20 debate is the centerpiece in our Bilang Pilipino program to provide Filipino voters and the general public, with the most extensive and in-depth coverage of the 2016 national elections.” Lorenzana stressed that “it is important that the electorate should be made fully aware of the consequences of their choices — for their future and their children’s children as well.” READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Marian Rivera is PH queen of Facebook!


Marian Rivera with daughter Maria Letizia Dantes who was born on November 23, 2015. Rivera first met husband Dingdong Dantes in 2007 and the two tied the knot in December 2014. (Photo from Marian Rivera's Facebook)

MANILA, MARCH 21, 2016 (MANILA BULLETIN)  by Rap Torres March 15, 2016 - Kapuso primetime queen Marian Rivera is also the country’s queen in Facebook!

Marian Rivera is also queen to her princess Maria Letizia Dantes who was born on November 23, 2015.

Rivera first met husband and Kapuso primetime king Dingdong Dantes in 2007. The two tied the knot in December 2014. (Photo from Marian Rivera’s Facebook) With 14,930,783 likes, Marian Rivera’s official Facebook page is the most liked Facebook page for any celebrity in the Philippines.

This was according to social media analytics site Quintly, which ranked Rivera’s Facebook page at the 19th spot in the Top 20 Public Figure Facebook Pages in the world.

The 31-year-old actress was the only Filipino who landed in the top 20.

READ MORE...

Other international celebs and personalities who made it to the list include Nicki Minaj (#2), Kim Kardashian (#3), Ellen DeGeneres (#4), Hugh Jackman (#5), and First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama (#18).

Mr. Bean topped the list with 64,868,209 likes.

On March 14, 2016, Rivera acknowledged the feat and thanked her fans on Instagram.

She posted the screenshot of the rankings by Quintly and said, “Wow! Maraming salamat ❤️”

On other social networking sites, the most followed Filipino celebrity is Anne Curtis (@annecurtissmith).

Curtis has 8.33 million followers on Twitter and 4.6 million followers on Instagram.

Rivera has no official Twitter account while her Instagram has 2.5 million followers.  


PHILSTAR

Say Chiz…straight from the Heart FUNFARE By Ricky Lo (The Philippine Star) | Updated March 16, 2016 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


The couple with Chiz’s twins Chesi and Joaquin during their trip to Japan. Says Chiz, ‘Heart is doing well as mom to the kids, who call her Tita Heart. That’s how Heart wants it to be.’

 ‘Heart and I live in separate houses. It’s a weird set-up. Our places are only 128 steps apart, to be exact. I live with my twins in the townhouse I’ve been staying in since 1999 and Heart is renting a place nearby.’

In this exclusive interview, Sen. Chiz Escudero explains why.

Taking time out from the grueling campaign, Sen./Vice Presidentiable Chiz Escudero dropped by The STAR offices yesterday. Offered lunch, Chiz begged off and asked only for coffee, saying in jest (in his self-deprecating style), “Ayokong lumaki ang tiyan ko baka iwanan na naman ako ng asawa ko,” referring to his first failed marriage.

He and wife Heart Evangelista have been living happily ever after since they got married on the exclusive Balesin Island in Quezon Province on Feb. 15 last year, a day after Heart turned 30 (Chiz is turning 47 on Oct. 10) ­— living apart, that is (find out why in a while).

After tackling hard issues during his session with the STAR editors, columnists and reporters, Chiz made a 12-minute stopover at the Entertainment Section office for a “lighter” session. He was game as usual, mincing no words in answering even the most personal questions.

You celebrated your first wedding anniversary last Feb. 15. Are you still in your adjustment period?

“The adjustment continues especially now that, technically, we live in separate houses.”

READ MORE...

How far apart?

“128 steps away from each other, to be exact.”

Why apart?

“It’s a weird set-up. I stay at Woodside (Quezon City) with my kids (twins Chesi and Joaquin). I’ve been living there since 1999 while Heart is renting a townhouse nearby. Her stuff won’t fit in my townhouse, and my stuff and my kids’ stuff won’t fit in her townhouse.”

How long do you think will that “weird” set-up last?

“She has been constructing her house for the past three years…even before we got married. When I say ‘her house,’ I mean it’s her house, not mine. Hopefully, matatapos na ang house niya next year.”

So the “weird set-up” involves only sleepovers.

“In a way.”


With a copy of Conversations Pa More, the third book by your Funfarer published by Viva Publications and now available at National Bookstores. Chiz and wife Heart Evangelista are among the 29 ‘Dynamic Duos’ featured in the book.


At The STAR’s Entertainment section office with (from left) artist Phoebe Marquez, sub-editor Bot Glorioso, Ang Pilipino Star Ngayon Entertainment editor Salve Asis, your Funfarer and artist Emerson Salvador. — Photos by JOVEN CAGANDE

Is that why you are delaying having a baby?

“We want to enjoy our life together first. Tiis-tiis muna.”

In the meantime, are you practicing birth control or self-control?

(Hesitating) “Birth control on her part.”

When you sleep together, which side of the bed are you on and…

“…I’m on the left side simply because it’s closer to the door. A guy always has to sleep on the side where the door is to be able to protect his wife.”

In bed, does one of you read and the other watches TV?

“We don’t read before we sleep. We watch TV together. Usually siya ang unang nasusunod which channel to watch. Later on, ako na.”

Who snores?

“According to her, ako. But I have denied it up to this day.”

Who sleepwalks?

“Neither of us.”

Lights on or lights off?

“Lights off but sometimes ‘on’ on rare occasions…but not that well lit, yellow light but never white light…tamang ambience lang.”

Okay lang “lights off” because I suppose you have memorized parts of each other’s body already.

“Dim light lang.”

Do you shower together?

“Hmmmm, not often because we observe different hours. But before, yes, when she had less work and I had less work.”

Aside from taking a bath, what do you usually do in the bathroom? Do you sing together?

“No singing. We do our thing separately, never together inside the bathroom because some things we have to preserve and keep private.”

How many times do you say “I love you” to each other?

“Let me see…‘say’ and including texts? At least 10 times a day.”

When one of you wakes up earlier, how do you wake up the other…with a kiss, with a tickle, or with what?

“With a kiss usually. Hindi ginigising, nagpapaalam lang. I usually wake up at 3:30 or 4:30, and she wakes up at 5 o’clock especially when she has a shoot or taping.”

Do you still send each other flowers, chocolates, notes or whatnots?

“Flowers, yes; chocolates, no. Notes? Yes, on occasions. That’s what texting has destroyed ­— exchanging notes. Sometimes, it’s more convenient just sending text messages.”

Why did you scrap your plan to celebrate your first anniversary with another wedding (renewal of vows, that would have included Heart’s parents who were absent during the first wedding)?

“We scrapped the plan because Heart’s mom was in the States while her father wasn’t feeling well, for quite sometime actually. But there was nothing wrong. We are okay. We still went to Sorsogon and spent time bonding with friends, and reminiscing our proposal.”

So you’re okay already with each other’s in-laws?

“Yes, we are. Very much.”

How is Heart as a mom (to the twins)?

“She is doing very well. They have adjusted quite well.”

How do the kids call Heart?

“Tita Heart and Heart wants it that way because from her point of view, she will always be their second mom and she can never replace their mom, according to her. She’s okay with that and the kids are okay with that, too. In fact, nang magpaalam ako sa mga anak ko that I was getting married, Chesi said, ‘It’s okay.’ I was not satisfied with her saying ‘it’s okay,’ so I asked her why. And Chesi said, ‘At least magkakaroon kami ng mommy dito sa Woodside,’ and not just a mommy when they visit their mom. That’s how they see it.”

How often does Heart help you in the campaign? (Yesterday, reported Chiz, Heart was with good friend Lovi Poe campaigning in Laoag.)

“Once a week because she has taping already.” (Heart’s new show on GMA is Juan Happy Love Story, with Dennis Trillo.)

Did you know that Heart and Dennis have a kissing scene?

“She has explained that to me already. Inuunahan na niya palagi. Like what happened in Sosy Girls where she did a kissing scene. Funny but when we watched the movie, para kaming mga bata. She was trying to cover my eyes when the kissing scene was shown but I tried to remove her hands.”

At home, do you ever rehearse Heart’s love scenes?

“No, never! According to her, she fakes them. Hahahaha!!!”

Don’t you impose any do’s and don’t’s on each other?

“No. We don’t meddle in each other’s careers. We trust each other.”

On the campaign trail, women hug and kiss you. Doesn’t Heart get jealous?

“Not at all. She doesn’t have any reason to be jealous.”

Are you faithful?

“Of course! Nakakahiya namang maghanap ka pa ng iba kung ganyan kaganda ang asawa mo.”


PHILSTAR

How Pope Francis opened doors for this seminarian DIRECT LINE By Boy Abunda (The Philippine Star) | Updated March 17, 2016 - 12:00am


Seminarian Kenneth Parsad — Facebook/kenneth.parsad

When seminarian Kenneth Parsad sang the Responsorial Psalm at a Mass for Pope Francis during his visit to the country in January last year, there were a lot of things he never expected to happen.

For one, he didn’t count on becoming a viral sensation. And second, he didn’t think that becoming one would open up more opportunities, and in mainstream entertainment at that. Thanks to all the publicity his singing for the Papal Mass generated, Kenneth — who now also teaches Theology at his Alma Mater, the University of Santo Tomas — was recently signed up by Universal Records and has released an album titled Still. The album contains inspirational tracks like Kenneth’s cover of Gary Valenciano’s Natutulog Ba Ang Diyos, Far Greater Love, My Soul Finds Rest, Ang Ganda, I Will Be Here For You and God Gave Me You.

Actually, prior to the offer, Kenneth and one of his spiritual and musical mentors, identified only as Ferdinand Bautista, planned to make an album of his psalm compositions. But when Bautista suddenly had to leave for France, the plans came to an unexpected halt. That was when the UR offer landed on the table. It was like God was giving him a second chance to go out and reach more people. “I eventually saw it as God’s re-offer for evangelization.”

In the beginning, says Kenneth, doing this sort of thing didn’t even cross his mind. “During the Papal Mass at the Cathedral, I just desired to deliver the message of the psalm. But it generated many things such as this (album). I feel happy and blessed for all the opportunities that have opened up for me, most especially the friends I have met. They are amazing. God truly reveals himself through the people and events in our life!”

Kenneth, who hails from Abra and who was born to an Indian father and a Filipina mother, reveals that he has always loved music. His favorite songs include I See Fire, I’m Yours, The Man Who Can’t Be Moved while he counts Ed Sheeran, Jason Mraz and The Script among the many musical artists/bands he looks up to.

READ MORE...

He has what could be called a very normal life. Aside from his interest in music, Kenneth plays basketball and reads theology books. His current read is Pope Francis’ The Name of God is Mercy. When he was a child, he remembers playing street games with the other neighborhood kids. “We played paway, tumbang preso, texts and (Yugi-Oh) cards, tagu-taguan, etcetera. And during the afternoons after class, I would go home immediately to watch animé like Dragon Ball Z and Ghost Fighter. It was not yet a computer world, but it was fun!”

Then the religious life came calling, but Kenneth did not forget his interest in music. “Ever since I entered the seminary, music has been a huge part of my personality. I love music. I love singing and playing the guitar. However, it was not my (ultimate) dream to be a singer who performs on stage. Nevertheless, I enjoy performing, especially with friends!”

But he clarifies that despite having recorded and released this album, being a priest is still his ultimate dream.

“I believe singing will not cause any conflict with my intentions to be a priest. In fact, it is a wonderful instrument that could be used for evangelization for the Catholic Church! I say this because singing is just a means for me. It is never an end in itself. What I mean to say is that my identity as a Christian precedes my talents, that my talents are only there to serve one ultimate purpose: To proclaim God’s reality and goodness.”

When they began recording the album, he was nervous and felt like the proverbial fish out of water.

“Honestly, I felt nervous at first,” he recalls. “But as I progressed with the songs, I felt more comfortable and confident. It was quite a hard process since we needed to find time to record since I also teach Theology in UST. In this, Universal Records graciously adjusted to my available time for which I really am grateful.”

 
Seminarian Kenneth Parsad
GMA7 Specials Responsorial psalm at papal mass at Manila Cathedral


PHILSTAR

Is Paul Soriano ready to be a dad? By Joyce Jimenez (philstar.com) | Updated March 16, 2016 - 6:42pm 24 0 googleplus0 0


Paul Soriano said that if God blesses him and Toni Gonzaga with a child he'll be ready to be a father. Instagram/ Toni Gonzaga
Paul Soriano said he's ready to be a father if he and wife Toni Gonzaga will be blessed with a child.

"I was prepared even before we got married," he said in an interview on Wednesday. "I was ready then and I'm ready now. Whenever God wills it, we will embrace it."

"With life you just have to listen to God and sometimes you're just not in control," he added. "Just like when we told you about our engagement and wedding, there's a right time and place for it."

It was in February when reports about Toni's pregnancy came out. However, the couple remained mum about the issue, saying there's a "right time" to answer the issue.

Watch Soriano's full statement in the video below.

Soriano is busy promoting the film"Hele sa Hiwagang Hapis," where he's one of the producers.

He admitted that producing the eight-hour film was "risky," but he thought that "it was just a beautiful screenplay."

"Very challenging, but every film naman is very challenging," he added.

READ MORE...

Soriano is also not worried that their showing date is the same with the foreign film "Batman v Superman."

"Well, how I look at it, let's see how much Filipinos loves their own," he said. "Hopefully, on the 26th that they will prioritize the local culture."

He also noted that "Hele" and "Batman v Superman" are "two contrasting films."

"There's no competition. There's pop-culture for Batman and there's history for 'Hele,'" he concluded.

"Hele sa Hiwagang Hapis" stars Piolo Pascual, John Lloyd Cruz, Angel Aquino and Cherie Gil. It's directed by Lav Diaz and will be in selected cinemas starting March 26.

 


PHILSTAR

Krista: Sexiest Mom Alive CONVERSATIONS By Ricky Lo (The Philippine Star) | Updated March 13, 2016 - 12:00am 4 0 googleplus0 0


Krista Ranillo and husband Niño Jefferson Lim are hands-on parents, never too busy to spend quality time with their children Nate (four years old), Nolan (three years old) and Natalie (one year old) — PHOTOS from Krista’s Instagram

CANYON COUNTRY, California — Sunset at this part of California, some two hours drive (inclusive of mild traffic) came a little late. From the elevated part of the place, immigration lawyer Jemela Nettles and I were awed by the panoramic view of the sun slowly turning from blinding yellow to a delicious orange and then to a mix of yellow and orange against the light-grey sky. To paraphrase the popular song, heavenly shades of night were falling, it was twilight time. The dying day left a certain sadness in your heart even as you look forward to the promise of a moonlit night.

It was way past seven o’clock. Jemela and I retreated to the waiting area of the Piccolo Trattoria as customers started arriving. Must be a favorite high-end Italian restaurant because, soon, the reserved tables were filling up. Ours was nestled at a more private corner. A few minutes away from where the Lims live (Valencia), Piccolo Trattoria was where Mr. and Mrs. Niño Jefferson Lim (nee Krista Ranillo) were treating us to a leisurely dinner, the same place where Niño hosted a recent birthday get-together with friends.

It’s always a pleasure meeting the Lims whenever I am in California. The other “regulars” had begged off. Tim Evans (of the US Immigration) couldn’t extract himself from his post at the L.A. Tom Bradley Airport because, he said, “the line of arriving passengers are getting longer and longer;” while STAR’s L.A. correspondent Raymond Lo was tied up at the accounting company where he works. Raoul Tidalgo was on extended vacation in Texas. Oh well, there’s always a next time.

READ MORE...

It wasn’t hard to spot Krista when she walked in, tugging along Nate Jacob (named after Krista’s favorite actor in Gossip Girl), the eldest (aged four) of the couple’s three children including Nolan (three years old) and Natalie (one year old). She looked the same, as fit and as fabulous and as sexy as she was when she graced the cover of FHM. (If Jennylyn Mercado is considered The Sexiest Mom Alive in the Philippines, no doubt Krista Ranillo is her counterpart in the States.) The eternal smile on her face seemed to underline her current state of being — yes, happy ever after far, far from maddening showbiz which she quit sans regret (“Niño finds it so magulo,” Krista told The STAR earlier in their marriage, sealed at a very private Jewish-interfaith wedding in Long Beach on Aug. 8, 2010; they scrapped their plan to get married in Christian rites in the Philippines.)

“I’m pregnant again,” Krista happily announced as we settled at our table (Niño was coming shortly). “I’m on my third month,” that was in early February, “and I might give birth in August.”

Except for Nolan who was born on July 19, the rest of the Lims are April-born: Niño, April 25; Krista, April 27; Nate, April 5; and Natalie, April 24. The children’s names all start with the letter “N” (as Niño wanted them to be) and the name of the fourth one will definitely follow “tradition.”

That night, Nolan was left with his yaya at home while Natalie was being taken care of by her grandparents, Mat Ranillo III and Lynda Tupaz, who live two minutes away. (Trivia: Mat is scheduled to play Christ at a Lenten presentation in San Francisco during the Holy Week end of this month. He has played Christ back home so many times that, even if he has played landmark roles in movies directed by Lino Brocka and Ishmael Bernal, people remember him for “being Christ.”)

“This is my hardest pregnancy; I keep throwing up every morning,” said Krista who delivered the first three the natural way. “I’m not infanticipating (naglilihi), though. I think okey na sa amin ang apat. Actually, we planned to have only three, kasi may girl na,” adding with a laugh, “pero lumalampas na kami sa quota.”

“You are blooming,” Jemela told Krista, “so the fourth one could be another girl.”

A summa cum laude Business graduate from the University of Southern California (USC), Niño heads Island Pacific Supermarket, the family business which had just opened its 15th outlet (in Seattle, Washington), adding to the others mostly in Northern/Southern California. More are opening, adding up to 20 outlets by end of the year.

“I was teasing Niño,” said Krista after she ordered dinner (steak which she shared with Nate, same for Niño, and pasta for Jemela and me). “You should open more stores kasi dumarami ang mga anak natin. Soon, they will be in college. It’s expensive to study in the States,” adding still joking, “Niño is hands-on in minding our business and he’s also hands-on in making babies.” Kidding aside, “Niño is never too busy for the children. I’m a hands-on mom, busy with the kids although I do help at the stores every now and then. I raise our children on Filipino values. In fact, Nate speaks good Tagalog. I try to be strict, but not too strict. They like to be with their lolo and lola kasi ini-spoil sila.”

New offerings at their stores include food-to-go and prepared food.

Krista asked Nate, who is now in pre-school, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” The boy said chef. “Okay, you will be in-charge of the stores’ food section. Nolan and Natalie are showing signs of being showbiz. Mahilig kumanta at sumayaw.”

It was Nate who suffered a seizure while the family was on the way to Las Vegas, a horrifying experience for any mother.

“He was just quiet, not talking at all, just staring blankly,” related Krista. “Nakatingin lang, he wasn’t shaking, tulala lang, and we had to call 911. We rushed him to a children’s hospital and the doctors found nothing wrong with him. Siguro daw pagod lang. He has been seizure-free for one year already.”

Asked if she missed showbiz, Krista admitted, “Minsan, but not too much. Nakaka-miss pero hindi masyado. Before we got married, Niño asked me if I still wanted to be in showbiz kasi kung gusto ko pa daw, baka hindi mag-work ang marriage namin. He doesn’t understand showbiz, eh. I made a choice, the right choice, and I haven’t regretted it.”

A day in Krista’s life: She wakes up early to prepare the two older kids for school. Then, she does Pilates. Soon, she’s fetching the kids from school. Evenings at home, she helps the boys with their homework before tucking them in bed.

“Their dad speaks fluent Chinese,” said Krista, “so we will let them study Chinese.”

As soon as Niño arrived, still in business attire because he just came from the opening of the store’s Seattle outlet, he broke the good news that he was among the 40 Under 40 entrepreneur awardees, the only Filipino in the batch.

“I checked on the (two other) kids at home on my way here,” he said.

Does he agree with Krista that, so far, four are enough?

Niño smiled between bites of his steak.

“Palagay ko masusundan pa.”


The kids celebrate the Chinese New Year (of the Monkey) in character, much to the amusement of their mom and dad. Left: Your Conversationalist and immigration lawyer Jemela Nettles with Niño and Krista and son Nate during the dinner interview.


PHILSTAR

Frontview: The making of a Presidential Debate KAPATID DAY By Peachy Vibal-Guioguio (The Philippine Star) | Updated March 18, 2016 - 12:00am


The March 20 Presidential Debate in Cebu will be moderated by TV5 News and Public Info head Luchi Cruz-Valdes (center). She will be joined by a panel of distinguished media professionals (from left) lawyer Tony Abad, The Philippine STAR editor-in-chief Ana Marie Pamintuan, Lourd de Veyra, Erwin Tulfo, STAR news editor Marichu Villanueva and lawyer Ruphil Banoc.

I attended the alignment meeting of TV5’s coverage of the second Presidential Debate and was amused to witness how the spokespersons and representatives of each presidential candidate were trying to ensure that his or her candidate come out with the most “pogi or ganda” points for his or her boss. To say that it was intense is an understatement and I am hoping that we get the same unbridled passion, not just rhetorics, from each candidate as they answer or clarify the issues presented to them.

On March 20, from 5 to 8 p.m., TV5 joins the entire Filipino people in a closer and more intimate look at the presidential candidates and their vision of where the Philippines should be heading. It is a turning point in our history as the third decade of the 21st century comes into view. This is what the COMELEC-sponsored debates are all about and the second in the series is going to be held at the Performing Arts Hall at the University of the Philippines campus in Cebu City.

This series of COMELEC-initiated debates was the first ever since 1992 and in line with the provision of the Fair Election Act. TV5 president and CEO Emmanuel Lorenzana said, “The coverage of the March 20 debate is the centerpiece in our Bilang Pilipino program to provide Filipino voters and the general public, with the most extensive and in-depth coverage of the 2016 national elections.” Lorenzana stressed that “it is important that the electorate should be made fully aware of the consequences of their choices — for their future and their children’s children as well.”

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TV5 has acceded to the request of the viewers that a two-hour debate is a short time to really get to hear what the candidates have to say, thus the network has decided to make the program into a three-hour show. It would be telecast live from 5 to 8 p.m. and will be carried nationwide and in multi-platforms by the network in partnership with PLDT; Smart; Cignal; RadyoSingko; InterAksyon.com; Bloomberg TV Philippines; BusinessWorld; and The Philippine STAR/Ang Pilipino Star Ngayon/The Freeman Cebu.

This next round of debates would focus on issues of concern for the Visayas region, namely climate change, disaster reduction and preparedness, corruption, health, education and youth. The format will be a panel discussion and the candidates will be given longer talking time.

The first hour of debate will allow each candidate two minutes to answer and another two minutes for follow-up questions. The second hour will be a toss-up for the five presidential bets to question each other with the same two-minute rule.

The Cebu debate will be moderated by the multi-awarded broadcast journalist and head of TV5 News and Public Info, Luchi Cruz-Valdes. She will be joined by a panel composed of highly-respected and distinguished media professionals: Veteran journalist, Aksyon anchor and Radyo 5 commentator Erwin Tulfo; News 5 anchor, multi-awarded public affairs host and digital influencer Lourd de Veyra; DYHP RMN Cebu commentator lawyer Ruphil Bañoc; STAR associate editor/news editor Marichu Villanueva; Bloomberg TV PH host and lawyer-economist Tony Abad; and STAR editor-in-chief Ana Marie Pamintuan.

According to Cruz-Valdes, “For the first time, they’ll see a real Presidential Debate, not another open forum. Historically, in past elections, leading candidates (based on surveys) don’t bother showing up. This election is different. The race is so tight that all candidates must have realized that the debate can help tip the odds in their favor.”

Patrick Paez, head of News Production added, “We want a real debate. Not a ‘debate’ only in name that’s really nothing more than another open forum. Luchi Cruz-Valdes will moderate, and I can’t think of anyone else in our industry with both the skill and credibility to pull this off. A panelist will ask a question, a candidate will answer, the other candidates can react. It’s that simple and straight forward,” he added.

The Kapatid network’s coverage of the Cebu debate has turned into a logistical, organizational and diplomatic feat according to Paez. He said, “The challenge is that we will have to move equipment and manpower to Cebu for this debate. That is the logistical nightmare. But I guess the bigger challenge is to get the five campaign teams to agree to the common set of rules and mechanics. And this was what I saw during the meeting as they try to jockey/lobby for what is convenient or what will be most suited to his/her own candidate.

“At some point, when the discussion was becoming heated, Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) board member Rey Hulog pointed out that the ‘presidential race is like a job opening wherein the applicant is applying for the job and the interviewer gets to ask him questions to assess if he/she is suited for the position.’” Indeed, if this was the preview of the March 20 Presidential Debate, I am looking forward to watching and being informed by these “applicants” for the highest position in public office.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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