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A Voice on Arnold Arre’s Next Project

05/03/2013

I’m proud to be the voice of one of the main characters in Arnold Arre‘s upcoming short animated film. It was exciting to be the voice of someone completely different from who I am. I was also touched that Arnold thought that my voice would fit his character.

Mihk Vergara, Arnold Arre, Cynthia Arre, and I in the recording booth. I don't know what I'm doing with my arm.

Mihk Vergara, Arnold Arre, Cynthia Arre, and I in the recording booth. I don’t know what I’m doing with my arm.

I’ve always been slightly insecure about my voice because it’s an alto. I grew up in a family where high pitched = feminine = valued, and anything else was worth less than pond scum. In school and in church, it was always the sopranos who were the stars. Nothing musical seemed to have been composed for soprano 2s and altos. To add to that, my mom used to tell me to talk in a higher pitch and once, I overheard my grandmother tell her sister in a sad, resigned voice that I sounded like a boy.

It wasn’t until later that I was exposed to wonderful artists like k.d. lang and Joni Mitchell and Diana Krall, whose lovely altos were powerful and sexy and stood out on their own, not relegated to the background of the choir. And it also wasn’t until later that people began to tell me that they actually liked my voice, that it was soothing and could work well in media. One of the best times was when my professor in Broadcasting class asked if I wanted a career in radio.

So working with wonderful people aside, you realize why this is such a big thing for me. I’m excited to be part of Arnold’s project. He’s a wonderful storyteller, one of the best graphic novelists in the country, and an all around nice guy. He and his wife, graphic designer Cynthia Bauzon Arre (who is also the producer) are the most delightful couple, not to mention super talented. The other main character is director, writer, and character actor Mihk Vergara, also another nice dude. Other characters to watch out for are voiced by Esquire Philippines Editor-in-Chief Erwin Romulo; entrepreneur and TV personality RJ Ledesma, photographer Miguel Nacianceno, director Chris Costello, and the ultra-creative Denise Mallabo.

The recording session was fun, and we finished faster than expected. I’m very excited to see the final result. Arnold uploaded a dialogue test, so you can see what he’s up to. Just so you know, I’m the girl. I can’t seem to post the video so click here to hear the dialogue test.

 

Lemoni Cafe, Boracay

21/02/2013

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I don’t go to Boracay very often but when I do, I make sure to stop by Lemoni Cafe, my favorite restaurant on the island. I only order two things: A cup of brewed coffee (Php75) and a Classic Lemon Tart (Php150). I love the tart because it’s quite sour, enough to make your lips pucker just a teeny bit. The dense lemon filling is enclosed by a sturdy crust with just enough flavor to balance the tartness without diluting its flavor.

I get my love for tart desserts from my mom, who I took to the Cafe during her first trip to Boracay. She was a bit skeptical at first, because aside from Earnest Bakes’ calamansi tart, she’s never tried a tart dessert that’s met her asim requirement. I ordered her a tart and a cup of coffee, then watched as she spooned a bit of pastry into her mouth.

It’s true what they say about a person’s face lighting up during a moment of pure joy, because that’s exactly what happened. She had been feeling down because of the heat but when she tasted that tart, a smile appeared in her eyes and the rest of the tart was gone in an instant.

We ended up dropping by once a day during the duration of our trip (and on one day, we went twice), always ordering the same thing. I tried another lemon-based dessert (I forget which) but it didn’t come close to the lovely tang offered by the Classic Lemon Tart. My mom asked about it after we got back, and was disappointed to learn that it can only be found in Boracay.

I may not be in Boracay a lot, but every time I’m there, I have a list of go-to restaurants, and Lemoni Cafe is right there at the very top.

Lemoni Cafe and Restaurant

D’mall Square, D’mall D’Boracay
Boracay Island, Malay, Aklan, Philippines 5608
(+63 36) 288 6781 to 288 6782 ; lemonicafe@yahoo.com.ph

Monday to Sunday from 7:00 am to 11:00 pm

Manila Hotel and Sun Cruises’ Experience Corregidor

20/02/2013
Battery Way in Corregidor

Battery Way in Corregidor

Corregidor Island has always carried a hint of mystery. Also called “The Rock”because of its terrain, the tadpole-shaped island takes its name from the Spanish word ‘corregir,’ which means ‘to correct.’ It was used as a customs area during the Spanish period, when all ships entering Manila Bay had to stop by the island to have their official papers ‘corrected.’

The island’s current fame comes from World War II, when its strategic location at the mouth of Manila Bay made it an excellent place to build fortifications. Corregidor, also called Fort Mills, played a big part in the liberation of the Philippines. The structures and weapons that the Americans built in WWII still stand today, a doorway to the past.

Now, you can visit The Rock in style as Manila Hotel and Sun Cruises launches Experience Corregidor, a package that combines history with luxury. Take a tour of the historic island, then relax overnight in Manila Hotel, where you can also take a peek into the MacArthur Suite, which Gen. Douglas MacArthur called home while he was in the Philippines.

Read the rest of my Spot.ph article.

Rambling in Romblon and other happy accidents

29/01/2013
My friend's swimming pool.

My friend’s swimming pool.

I landed in Romblon by accident.

A surprising number of visitors discover the province, which, despite its strategic location between Luzon and Visayas, isn’t part of the tourist trail and is almost-but-not-quite bypassed by the nautical highway.

Many foreigners end up in Rombon because they took the wrong boat getting to nearby Boracay. Most of them end up staying.

I was on the island on the spur-of-the-moment invite of a friend, whose family makes it a point to visit the province during fiesta season.
Biniray is perhaps Romblon’s biggest annual festival, it celebrates Sto. Niño, the Child Jesus. Held in early January in the provincial capital of the same name, the fiesta is marked by parades, pageants, and a procession headed by a 400 year-old replica of the Sto. Niño of Cebu, which was commissioned by an Augustinian friar.
Read the rest of my GMA News article here.

Dumaguete: Gentle place with a pirate legend

28/01/2013
Antulang Resort in Dumaguete

Antulang Resort in Dumaguete

Many visitors to Dumaguete City in Negros Oriental tend to leave their hearts there. But once upon a time, outsiders raided it for its beauties.
The city’s name is derived from “daggit,” the Visayan word for “to snatch.” Legend has it that passing pirates had the habit of stealing gorgeous women from Dumaguete’s shores, inspiring its dramatic name.
Read the rest of my GMA News article here.

 

Five reasons to visit Cagayan

24/01/2013

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Not many people think of Cagayan as a vacation spot, and they are missing out on a lot. The province is home to many attractions, both natural and man-made. There are beautiful beaches, wonderful vistas, delicious local cuisine, and impressive churches that date back to the Spanish era.
Tuguegarao City, the provincial capital, is a modern city with restaurants, hotels, and shopping areas. One can get there via bus or plane. Victory Liner plys the Manila-Tuguegarao route, while AirPhilExpress and Cebu Pacific fly back and forth regularly. With Tuguegarao as a starting point, it’s easy to get to other parts of the province.
Read the rest of my GMA News article here.

Fo Guang Shan Monastery: A place of calm in the mountains of Taiwan

23/01/2013
The Gates of Fo Guang Shan

The Gates of Fo Guang Shan

Taiwan has been gaining popularity as a destination because of its culinary haunts and tourist attractions. But it offers a different kind of R&R as well.

Everyone knows about Taiwan’s night markets and burgeoning food scene, but what many are now discovering is that the country has a spiritual side that draws more and more people every year.

The Fo Guang Shan monastery is in what was once a bamboo forest on a mountain in Dashu, Kaohsiung province. The monastery was established in 1967 by the Venerable Master Hsing Yun, with four goals: to propagate Buddhism through culture, to foster talent through education, to benefit society through charitable programs, and to purify the mind for Buddhist practice.

Read the rest of my GMA News article here.

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