Sinulog Festival 2017

Philippines – Cebu is celebrating the yearly Sinulog Festival, held each third Sunday of January.

Street dancing parade in Cebu

The city is the focus of the Sto. Niño Catholic celebrations around the country.

Foreign and local tourists congregate in Cebu City as it holds a rstreet dancing party and also a parade where devotees depict the centuries-old image of the Sto. Niño, an image of the beginning of Christianity in the Philippines, in their performances.

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Cebuanos traditionally shout “Viva Pit Señor!” to praise the child Jesus during the festival.

The event portrays Cebu’s rich culture and religiosity passed from generations to another.


Baby Antonio Primo gets baptized, son of Iya Villania and Drew Arellano

Manila, Philippines – Antonio Primo the son of Iya Villania and Drew Arellano was baptized on Sunday last November 13.


On Instagram, Sid Maderazo a friend of Drew who is a commercial and TV director, shared photos from the happy occasion, held at the Christ The King Church in Quezon City. Sid is one of Primo’s godfathers.

Other celebrities present in the event include Jericho Rosales and wife Kim Jones, Ryan Agoncillo, and TV host Paolo Abrera, who came with wife Suzi.

Drew thanked everyone for being there for his son on this important day.

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“Thank you ninongs, ninangs, friends and family for spending the afternoon with us,” he wrote.

Iya also posted a thank you message.

“Thanks to yesterday’s event, sumobra ako sa asukal at chika at napaos tuloy ako! (had too much sugar, chatting and ended up with a hoarse voice) Thank you to all the ninongs, ninangs, friends and family that spent the afternoon with us .Our boy is lucky to be loved by all of you Thank you Lord for allowing this to all come together for these rookie parents!”

Iya and Drew welcomed Primo last August 30, the couple’s first child who got married last January 2014.


Updates: Miss Universe 2016 in PH

Miss Universe 2015 titleholder Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach has been in the Philippines since last week to celebrate her 27th birthday with her friends and loved ones.


Aside from discussing her week-long celebration, the Filipina beauty queen additionally gave an update on the upcoming Miss Universe 2016 pageant through her latest Facebook Live video.

Last July, Tourism Secretary Wanda Corazon Teo affirmed that the prestigious international pageant will be organized in Pia’s “home court” on January 30, 2017.

When asked what her birthday wish was, Pia said, “I’m really hoping and praying that the pageant will be held here and we’re working very hard in making that happen. It’s always been a dream of mine to have the pageant here.”

According to Pia, even Miss Universe Organization’s president Paula Shugart wants the event to be staged in the country.

“It’s always been a dream of hers as well to have the pageant here. It’s kind of like everybody’s dream. We want the pageant to be in the Philippines. We’re waiting, working hard, and making sure everything’s okay. We’d get the approval of everyone so that it can finally happen,” Pia said.

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The Filipina beauty queen added, “I’m keeping my fingers crossed and if that happens, it’s gonna be historical. I may not have had my first walk but I will have my final walk here, at home.”

Before passing on the crown, Pia also plans to go back to her hometown.

“I will make sure, before I pass on my crown, I will go back to Cagayan de Oro and maybe do a quick pass by to Iligan City,” she said.

Starting July, the Department of Tourism has been looking at six possible locations for the pageant—including Cagayan de Oro.

According by Teo, “Kino-consider namin ang Davao, Cagayan de Oro, Boracay, Cebu, Palawan, and obviously, ang headliner would be in Manila.”

The Philippines is home to two different Miss Universe titlists — Gloria Diaz (1969) and Margarita Moran-Floirendo (1973) — and has hosted the coronation twice before, once in 1974 and again in 1994.



Actor Mark Anthony Fernandez arrested for marijuana possession

Actor Mark Anthony Fernandez was arrested for asserted possession of a kilo of marijuana in Angeles City, Pampanga.

Police recovered the illegal substance inside Fernandez’ yellow Ford Mustang after a car chase with authorities from Angeles City Police Station 6.


Chief Insp. Francisco Guevarra Jr. said Fernandez was signaled to stop at a checkpoint along Mc Arthur Hi-way route in Brgy. Virgen Delos Remedios because his car had no front license plate.

After inspection, police found a generally opened blue sack containing a torn plastic with suspected marijuana, but Fernandez sped away.

The actor was arrested in San Fernando City after a car chase with authorities who were forced to shoot at the tires to prevent Fernandez from getting away.

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He was brought to the Angeles City Police Station 6, where he is temporarily detained. Fernandez confessed to utilizing marijuana however said it’s for medical purposes only.

He went through a drug test at the Philippine National Police’s crime laboratory.

He is also scheduled to face inquest proceedings for violating Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

Authorities said the actor stayed calm and helpful after the arrest.

Fernandez, son of late actor Rudy Fernandez and actress Alma Moreno, already entered a drug rehabilitation center in 2004.

“We continue to carry out our anti-drug campaign regardless of who will be arrested,” Chief Supt. Aaron Aquino, Police Regional Office 3 director, said in a statement. “This only goes to show that, indeed, our all- out war against illegal drugs is not just lip service.”


Duterte’s reasons for allowing Marcos burial

President Rodrigo Duterte repeated his purposes behind permitting late president Ferdinand Marcos’ burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in the midst of opposition from a few groups.

While visiting the wake of soldiers killed in conflict with communist insurgents in Davao City, the President said the late president is qualified for burial at the heroes’ cemetery in Taguig City being a soldier and previous president.

Former first lady Imelda Marcos and her late husband president Ferdinand Marcos

“I will allow Marcos to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. He was a soldier. He was there to fight for his country,” he said, and that he will let the Marcos family choose when to bury their dead.

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A report from the Philippine Star said the family plans to bury Marcos on September 18 after he gave the go signal.

Former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. explains that the burial of his dad is still in the “planning stage.”

Duterte said that he will fulfill his campaign promise of permitting Marcos’ burial at the Libingan.

The younger Marcos even met Duterte in Davao City around a month after winning the presidential elections.

The remains of Marcos have been lying in his hometown of Batac, Ilocos Norte since his death in 1989 which is open to the public to see.

Different groups demonstrate disapproval to Duterte’s proclamation and spoke to the president to rethink his position.


US Summons PH envoy over Duterte’s “Gay” remarks

WASHINGTON – The US State Division summoned Philippine embassy Charge d’Affaires Patrick Chuasoto to look for explanation of what it said were “inappropriate remarks” made by President Duterte against US Representative Philip Goldberg.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, right, greets U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Philip S. Goldberg, left

The director of the State Department press office, Elizabeth Trudeau, said Chuasoto was brought in for a clarification of Duterte’s comments however declined to give further details.

Duterte has openly called Goldberg “gay” and “a son of a bitch.”

Duterte’s dislike for Goldberg goes back to the campaign period when the ambassador called him out for making a joke about the rape and murder of an Australian minister during a 1989 Davao City jail riot.

Trudeau said at a news conference, the State Department was worried about the extrajudicial killings of suspected drug dealers urged the Duterte administration to guarantee law enforcement efforts do not violate human rights.

She said US authorities were in discussions with Filipino powers to stress the significance of the rule of law, a fundamental democratic principle.

“We strongly urge the Philippines to ensure its law enforcement efforts comply with its human rights obligations,” she said.

In answer to a question, she said a $32-million assistance package reported by Secretary of State John Kerry during a recent visit to Manila to help the Duterte administration’s strengthened law efforts was intended to promote human rights through training as well as promote professionalism, due process and rule of law. The cash should not be utilized in activities involving extrajudicial killings, she said.


SC Acquits Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo

The legal spokesman of former First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo, Ferdinand Topacio, on July 19, 2016 said they are thankful for the Supreme Court’s decision to absolve former president and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of plunder charges.

Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, now Pampanga Representative

The acquittal only proves that the case of Macapagal-Arroyo is politically motivated, Topacio said.

“The Supreme Court has once again proven itself to be the final bastion of justice and the rule of law,” Topacio said in a statement.

“Its ruling today has validated what we have been saying for six years now: that the charges against former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo are nothing more than disingenuous attempts at political persecution by a corrupt and inept Aquino administration intent on covering up its gross lack of accomplishments by harassing its political opponents,” he added.

The former first gentleman reverberated Topacio’s announcement saying the past administration took away six years of his wife’s life by detaining her.

“Thank God. We’re very happy. They took away six years of her life. An innocent woman,” Arroyo said.

Topacio said Arroyo “would like to thank their family and friends who have shown unwavering loyalty to Macapagal-Arroyo and the Arroyo and Macapagal families in their hour of deepest darkness, through the trials brought about by unrelenting prosecution and defamation perpetrated by the previous regime”.

“Their continuous moral support and prayers have seen Atty. and Mrs. Arroyo, their children and grandchildren, through what have been the most trying of times for them,” Topacio said.

Topacio said in a televised phone interview, that they are expecting the former president to “be home, in time for dinner.”

GMA is happy with SC’s decision.

In the mean time, the Macapagal-Arroyo’s legal counsel Estelito Mendoza, affirmed that the previous president would go straight to her home at La Vista after her discharge. He also hailed the SC ruling.

He added that the former president is “very happy and feels vindicated.”

Mendoza also dismissed rumors that President Rodrigo Duterte played a part in the choice.

“Walang kinalaman si President Duterte sa kasong ito o sa proseso ng Supreme Court.”

Arroyo through Topacio, convey optimism that the Duterte administration would give positive changes and voiced their support for the president’s advocacies.

“The dawn of a new administration has brought about new hope for great positive change, which includes freedom from false and malicious accusations and unceasing lies and disinformation. We all join the new government in its fight against criminality, corruption and its economic and political reforms that will surely usher in a new golden age for our country and people,” Topacio said.

On Tuesday afternoon, the SC en banc rejected the plunder case against Macapagal-Arroyo over her alleged abuse of the intelligence funds of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office because of absence of proof.

Source: PhilStar