MANILA, MAY 22, 2006 (STAR) WRY BREAD By Philip Cu-Unjieng - If you want to talk about the ultimate in cinema viewing, IMAX sets the global standard, there are only 265 IMAX theaters all over the world. And at the Mall of Asia, the SM Prime Holdings Group recently unveiled the 266th, the very first IMAX theater here in the Philippines. It was a 3D documentary on NASCAR and a 2D Everest short feature that had us appreciating the great difference IMAX provides moviegoers.

Donning the 3D glasses, the trailers of Ant Bully and Happy Feet were in themselves showstoppers, with the audience breaking out into applause. Previews of specially made 3D IMAX films, T- Rex and the Deep Sea, had me salivating for when they’d be shown, and I could bring the kids. You just can’t beat this! 3D glasses are much improved now, and with a screen that’s over seven stories high and wall-to-wall sound, the boast of being thrust into the film and not just being a passive viewer comes closer to truth than ever before. In the NASCAR short, sparks that flew from the lathe machine some mechanic was using seemed to fall on our laps; and when in the Deep Sea, a couple of lobsters approached the camera, it was like we were in their way!

A Canadian invention, IMAX utilizes 70 mm film – as opposed to the normal 35mm. This is still the largest film format, and when you project this on the aforementioned extra tall screen and complement this with a 12,000-watt, state-of-the-art multi-channel digital surround system, you need not guess how "immersed" in the film one can get. San Miguel Coca-Cola brought much-needed support to the theater, allowing tickets to still be sold at P150 for special shorts and documentaries, and P300 for full length IMAX-converted Hollywood films.

With the Mall of Asia opening its doors today, expect crowds galore to hie towards this latest SM showcase. There’s a Premiere Theatre that will feature Martin Nievera in June; and early on, given the vast floor area the Mall occupies, you can imagine what the shopping experience will be like. Rather than go vertical, the Mall consists of only two floors, but what floors! We’re talking some 398,000 square meters per floor, so this puts the word "sprawling" into a whole new dimension. The joke that used to go around was how Megamall would be busy with pregnant women walking from one end to the other for exercise – with the Mall of Asia, these women better be ready to deliver by the time they reach the other end!

So, with the sincerest of apologies to Ancient Rome Emperor Claudius, it is I-Max(imus) that gets my nod for pushing the envelope insofar as bringing the cinematic experience to the 21st century is concerned. And all hail SM for making the commitment to really establish the Mall of Asia as the one with the difference. Bora goes Volly-wood Without a doubt, the Nestea Beach Volleyball Challenge has now become a veritable Boracay Summer institution. Dragon boat races and nightly parties during the elimination stages, the celebrity games that has the crowd all excited, the Finals on Saturday afternoon that leave the audience with their mouths hanging open in appreciation of the skills on display, the eye-popping PMAP Fashion show and musical concert come Awards Night – Nestea Beach Volley may be on its 10th year now, but it is as fresh as the morning catch at the local wet market.

For a decade now, Nestea has made Beach Volley its very own. You don’t think of the sport without immediately associating it with Nestea. And the great thing is how the tournament has been organized to effectively create "grass roots" ripples within the various campuses in the country. From all over, colleges and universities would join the elimination stage that was held at the La Salle Greenhills grounds. Seventy- two teams from 43 colleges and universities, with 24 teams from 19 schools making it to Boracay. The Men’s Title and the Women’s Title meant a hundred thousand pesos for each team of two players. Adamson University copped the male category, while St. Benilde’s volley-girls emerged triumphant.

The celebrity matches are a hoot, the level of skill gets pegged down some notches, but excitement is maintained given the status of the players assembled, pure Volley-wood. Borgy Manotoc, Viva babes Maui Taylor and Jennifer Lee, Brad Turvey, Maxim features editor, Rovilson Fernandez, models Nicolette Bell, Ornusa Cadness, Mikee Carrion, Gary Dulatas, Bubbles Paraiso and Geoff Rodriguez – with them, it was fun and enthusiastic participation that ruled. In fact, against all expectation, it was the team of fellow Star columnist JR Isaac, Nicolette, Maui and Publicis Manila art director Mondo Armilleda that took the honors in this year’s celeb matches. The PMAP show had the models donning creations of local designer PJ Aranador (Nautilus) and Speedo. They were joined on stage by the winners of the Team 10 campus model search – students who Nestea had picked out to represent the brand in their series of activities. Once again, it was a perfect segueing by Nestea of their campus driven directives, with the desire to put on a professional show and event.

My free time was taken up with trying to get some kind of tan, and testing the new eateries that have sprouted on Bora. My favorites this time out were Lemon Café and Cyma at D’Mall, and Zuzuni. Zuzuni is Mati of Rockwell transplanted to Bora, while Cyma also has Greek cuisine as its theme. Lemon Café is the new venture of chefs Tom Hines and Buddy Trinidad; so you know, you’re getting very artistic food prep and fabulous desserts.

It is specifically Nestea consumer marketing manager Tina Samaco and PR guru Edd Fuentes that I have to extend my heartfelt thanks to. Time and time again, they go out of their way to make my trip that much more enjoyable and memorable. Without a doubt, the 11th year will once again be a charm! Boracay and Nestea know they have a good thing going!

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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