COVID-19 Crisis: GMA News video shows patients frustrated during the launch of Sputnik V in Parañaque

To all the readers based in Parañaque City…were you able to avail of the free COVID-19 vaccine in your city lately? If you were vaccinated successfully, what type of vaccine was used on you? How long did you wait in line?

The reason why I’m asking this is because GMA Network published news videos that showed some people who waited long in line only to end up not getting vaccinated at a mall in the city the same day Sputnik V debuted there.

Before exploring the GMA News video, let’s put things in perspective that the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) published on May 5, 2021 a press release by the National Task Force against COVID-19 that stated that Parañaque City displayed logistical readiness related to the rollout of Sputnik V vaccines. It should be noted that vaccine czar Carlito Galvez, Jr. attended the Sputnik V launch in the said city.

To be clear, here are two excerpts from the PIA-published press release…

Excerpt 1

This city demonstrated its capability to efficiently receive and handle the administration of the Russian-made Sputnik V vaccines during a trial run held here on Tuesday, May 4, at the Ayala Malls Manila Bay.

Parañaque City Mayor Edwin Olivarez cited the unique characteristics of the Sputnik V vaccines, as he assured the national government and his people that the city is capable of handling the vaccines.

“Ito pong Sputnik V, special po ang logistics nito, kasi kailangan po natin dito at least negative 18 degrees centigrade ang storage. Ang City of Parañaque, through our City Health Office ay prepared na prepared sa paghandle nitong Sputnik V,” Olivarez said.

Excerpt 2

For his part, Secretary Carlito G. Galvez, Jr., chief Implementer of the National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 and vaccine czar thanked the City of Parañaque for agreeing to be one of the host cities for the pilot rollout of the Sputnik V vaccines.

“Through this pilot test we are conducting today, we will be able to see and address possible challenges that may arise before we begin to roll out the 485,000 Sputnik V doses that are expected to arrive this week,” Galvez said.

By reading the entire press release at PIA’s website, you would end up believing that things went well in Parañaque City and the launch of Sputnik V. What was completely missing in the press release were long lines and frustration (for those who waited so long and ended up empty handed) at the same venue on the same day as the Sputnik V rollout in Parañaque. Watch GMA Network’s news video below titled “Tempers flare at Parañaque COVID-19 vaccination site as not everyone receives jabs”

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What do you think about GMA Network’s news video on Parañaque and its Sputnik V launch? Are the organizers in Parañaque taking proper care of its citizens who are trying to get vaccinated for COVID-19? Is the City Government of Parañaque relying on media gimmicks (examples: fancy speeches, lots of show-off photography, etc.) while trying to serve as many citizens to the best of its abilities? Whether you got vaccinated or not, how many hours did you spend waiting in line in your city? How many vaccination sites are available in Parañaque right now that you know? Do you believe that Parañaque can achieve its goal of vaccinating 5,000 people per day?

Are you one of the frustrated people who appeared in GMA’s news video who waited so long in line only to end up without getting vaccinated?

Were the vaccine program organizers of Parañaque City transparent and took good care of you when you lined up?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

A man shot dead in Parañaque City

If you are living in Parañaque City, did you notice something wrong or suspicious near you recently? Did you sense you were being stalked by someone? Did you witness any gun-related violence in your local community? The reason why I asked is because the Manila Bulletin reported a tragedy:  a local was shot dead by an unidentified attacker while he was on his way home in Barangay Tambo along MIA Road. The victim died just days before his approaching birthday.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the Manila Bulletin’s report…

A man was shot dead by an unknown assailant while on his way home Monday night in Parañaque City just days before his birthday.

Police said the victim, identified as Darvin Baldovino, and a resident of Paranaque City, suffered several gunshot wounds in the body and died on the spot.

Baldovino was supposed to celebrate his 39th birthday on Saturday (May 8).

Investigation showed the incident happened at 8:35 p.m. along MIA Road in front of 711 Global Plaza, Barangay Tambo, Paranaque City.

According to a witness, Baldovino was walking when an unidentified suspect suddenly appeared and shot him several times in the body.

Baldovino’s wife, Janice, told the police that prior to the incident, her husband asked for her permission to go out of the house to buy a cellphone and failed to return home.

Janice also said that she learned from Rose Diestro, a desk clerk at Barangay Tambo, that her husband came from the barangay before the incident.

Diestro told Janice that a man filed a complaint against her husband in the barangay and that Baldovino had a confrontation with the complainant, walked out, and left.

The report ended that the police are exploring the possibility that the motive behind the killing could be connected with the complaint (filed against the victim).

But there is more! Watch these related YouTube news videos by GMA Network and ABS-CBN. The GMA Network news video even has certain details not found in Manila Bulletin’s report.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What do you think about the Manila Bulletin’s crime news report? Did you notice something strange going on in your local community there in Parañaque City? Are the local police and barangay tanods doing enough to secure your local community from criminals?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

COVID-19 Crisis: Muntinlupa and Parañaque to receive Russian vaccines

It has been reported by GMA News that the initial batch of COVID-19 (China Virus) vaccines from Russia called Sputnik V has finally arrived and the South Metro Manila cities of Muntinlupa and Parañaque are among the five National Capital Region (NCR) to receive them. To be clear, the said vaccines are only 15,000 doses and the five NCR cities will get an equal share of three thousand doses each.

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the news report. Some parts in bold…

In an interview on “Dobol B TV,” Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje said the five cities in the National Capital Region (NCR) were chosen because they have “appropriate” cold storage facility for the Sputnik V  vaccine.

She said the five cities are Makati, Taguig, Muntinlupa, Manila, and Parañaque, which will get 3,000 doses each of the vaccine.

“Mayroon silang (five chosen cities) cold-chain ready facility na mag fit (that is desirable),” said Cabotaje, adding that  Sputnik V needs to be stored in a temperature of -18 degrees Celsius.

Also, Cabotaje said simulations for the vaccines will be conducted by the Parañaque City government in partnership with the private sector.

Further, she said the Makati City LGU has partnered with Makati Medical Center to deploy the vaccines.

On the other hand, Cabotaje noted that Sputnik V can be administered to Filipinos ages 18 and above. She said there were no side effects reported from other countries, so far.

Sputnik V’s second dose must be given 21 days after the first shot was injected, Cabotaje added.

Asked when the remaining 485,000 Sputnik V doses will arrive, Cabotaje said: “It will depend on the vaccine availability and shipping logistics.”  The national government earlier said that it expects the remaining batches of Sputnik V to be delivered this May.

Moreover, Cabotaje said the ordered doses would be sent in batches to allow Russia to study the country’s vaccine deployment process.

“They sent small doses first because they want to know how we administer their vaccines so that the drugs won’t be wasted,” Cabotaje said in Filipino.

On Saturday, the plane carrying the trial-order doses of Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute vaccine landed in Manila. Its arrival was delayed twice due to logistical concerns.

Meanwhile, Sputnik V’s importation has recently been flagged by a Brazilian health regulator’s technical staff over “critical issues” on its efficacy rate and safety.

But earlier, the Philippine FDA said Sputnik V has a 91% efficacy rate.

Those are very interesting details. The Russian vaccine had a high efficacy rate from the local Food and Drug Administration although the regulators of Brazil rejected it resulting a potential lawsuit. Brazil’s regulators defended their decision. The report published by Science Magazine states: A confusing and unusually nasty fight broke out this week over the safety of a Russian COVID-19 vaccine known as Sputnik V after a Brazilian health agency declined on Monday to authorize its import because of quality and safety concerns. The stakes escalated yesterday when the Twitter account officially associated with the vaccine said “Sputnik V is undertaking a legal defamation proceeding” against Brazil’s regulators.

In an online press conference several hours later, the Brazilian Health Regulatory Agency (Anvisa) defended its decision, maintaining that documentation from some of the Russian facilities making Sputnik V shows that one of its two doses contains adenoviruses capable of replication, a potential danger to vaccine recipients. The vaccine uses two different adenoviruses, which cause the common cold, to deliver the gene for the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVD-19. Both are supposed to be stripped of a key gene that allows them to replicate.

The Monday announcement left many scientists and media outlets believing Anvisa had directly tested Sputnik V for replicating adenoviruses, which would be unusual for a regulatory agency. But Anvisa has since clarified—it had not and was relying on information provided by the Gamaleya National Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology, the Moscow-based developer of the vaccine.

For more information, I encourage you to read the article in full. Lots of really technical information to read and understand.

In closing this, let me ask you readers from Muntinlupa and Parañaque…if you have not been vaccinated for COVID-19 yet, are you willing to get injected with Sputnik V vaccine when your turn happens? Why?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

COVID-19 Crisis: New isolation facility to open soon in Las Piñas City

Even as the City Government of Las Piñas continues with its COVID-19 (China virus) vaccination program, the Manila Bulletin reported recently that the local authorities announced that a brand new isolation facility will open soon.

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the news report. Some parts in bold…

Mayor Imelda Aguilar said the new isolation facility will be called the Ligtas Center 2 located along Talon Dos with a 120- bed capacity.

Aguilar said the city government has two existing isolation facilities — Ligtas I located in Barangay Daniel Fajardo with 100 beds, and Ligtas 3 located in Barangay Almanza Dos with 88 beds.

She said the City Health Office (CHO) reported that due to the city government’s intensification of its isolation efforts, Ligtas 1 is already 70 percent occupied while Ligtas 3 now has an 85 percent occupancy.

The mayor said that Ligtas 2 is now ready to open to help residents who have contracted COVID-19 virus and need to be placed in a quarantine facility.

Do the math, the addition of the new isolation facility will push the total bed-count from the current 188 to 308. That’s a jump of 63.8%! As much as possible, there should be available beds for people in the city who got infected with COVID-19. This is really good news for people of the city.

Las Piñas residents who want to get vaccinated are encouraged to get registered digitally or manually. Click right here for information.

In case you missed the news, our nation will be receiving many millions more vaccines from overseas in the months to come.

Meanwhile overseas, Israel has made tremendous progress with its widescale vaccination program and already a second round of COVID-19 vaccination is being planned. Already the mask mandate in Israel has been rescinded. Schools have been reopened and more people are moving around without masks. With regards to being in indoor public places like stores, malls and churches, masks are still required.

Going back to Las Piñas City, something happened that should remind you all to avoid getting scammed. According to GMA Network News, three suspects were apprehended in the city as a result of an entrapment operation in relation to the alleged issuance of fake RT-PCR test results for COVID-19.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

COVID-19 Crisis: Las Piñas City Government released P154.4 million in cash aid payout so far (according to Manila Bulletin)

Hey readers! You heard about the local government units (LGUs) doing what they can to release to their respective constituents the cash assistance provided by the national government in relation to the ECQ (enhanced community quarantine) that happened in recent times?

Recently the City Government of Las Piñas was reported by the Manila Bulletin to be doing its job. To be clear, distribution is not the only thing that the LGU should do but also avoid the temptations of using the politician’s name, photo or image in the said distribution. The fund is popularly referred to as ayuda.

Going back to Las Piñas City, posted below is the excerpt from the Manila Bulletin report. Key details in bold…

The Las Piñas City government completed a 30.82 percent payout to a total of 126,000 qualified beneficiaries of the P1,000 up to P4,000 financial assistance coming from the national government.

Mayor Imelda Aguilar said the city government received P501 million from the national government for distribution to beneficiaries listed under the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) and approved by the Department of Social Welfare and Development Office-National Capital Region (DSWD-NCR).

Aguilar also said the other beneficiaries were those from the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).

Based on the financial assistance report provided by the city government, it has already released a total of 154,402,000 to about 44,043 beneficiaries coming from 20 barangays in the city affected by the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ).

The mayor said the city government still has P346,598,000 for distribution

Aguilar said the payout of the financial assistance is being held simultaneously in 20 distribution sites at the covered court of each barangay.

To put things in perspective, P154,402,000 (note: did you notice the lack of a Peso indicator in Manila Bulletin’s report above?) out of the grand total of P501,000,000 (this figure based on the above details) is equivalent to 30.82%. The City Government still has a long way to go before all the national government-provided funds have fully been released. For her part, Mayor Imelda Aguilar said (in the Manila Bulletin report) that her administration expects to finish the payout of the funds before the deadline given to each LGU. For insight, watch this news video.

If anyone of you reading this is a certified resident of Las Piñas City and if you have received (or are still trying to receive) the so-called ayuda, you might want to share to me your experience or observations about the distribution by contacting me directly online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

SMC President Ramon S. Ang clarifies Skyway Stage 3 remains open to motorists

Are you a motorist who needs to go way north, or way south or somewhere in between in the heart of Metro Manila? Here are some good news for you all: Skyway Stage 3 remains open to motorists as confirmed by San Miguel Corporation President Ramon S. Ang.

Very recently, there was confusion when it was announced that Stage 3 of the elevated expressway would close down on March 16, 2021 starting 5PM. Below is the excerpt from the GMA News report…

“In accordance with the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) directive, the Skyway Stage 3 will be closed indefinitely starting 16 March 2021 at 5PM,” the Skyway Stage 3 management said in a post on Twitter on Monday night.

The elevated expressway will be reopened once all ramps are completed, as ordered by TRB, it said.

“Apologies for the inconvenience. SMC Infrastructure has no choice but to comply,” management said.

However, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) issued an advisory on Tuesday saying the TRB has not issued a decision or directive ordering the closure indefinitely of Skyway Stage 3.

“This is to inform the public that the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) DID NOT ISSUE a decision or directive ordering the indefinite closure of the Skyway Stage 3 starting 5 p.m. of 16 March 2021,” the DOTr said.

“The Toll Regulatory Board DID NOT ISSUE a decision or directive ordering the indefinite closure of the Skyway Stage 3,” it added.

“TRB’s position is to keep Skyway Stage 3 OPEN for the benefit of motorists,” the DOTr added.

“The TRB is composed of the Department of Transportation, Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of Finance, National Economic Development Authority, and a representative from the private sector,” it said.

“Yes, I have just talk[ed] to [Transportation] Sec. [Arthur] Tugade. He will take care of TRB (Toll Regulatory Board),” Ang told GMA News Online.

As you can see above, things got really confusing and it was a major relief that Ramon Ang clarified that Skyway Stage 3 would not be closed. To put things in perspective, the 18-kilometer long Skyway Stage 3 was fully opened toll-free to motorists this past January and the TRB has yet to approve the proposed toll rates for it.

Now that the issue has been resolved, keep using Skyway Stage 3 for as long as you need it to move around. Please share this article to fellow motorists and other Skyway travelers you personally know. Thanks.

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For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

In a Time of Crisis and Quarantine, Love-Love Tioseco Gives Food to the Frontline Personnel

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from Love-Love Tioseco by means of an interview and research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

All photographs used in this article are properties of Love-Love Tioseco and were approved for publishing.

In a Time of Crisis and Quarantine, Love-Love Tioseco Gives Food to the Frontline Personnel

It’s really mind-boggling how microbes in the form of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) stopped much of the world. Not only have most economic activities stopped, people have been advised by their respective authorities to stay at home in order to avoid getting infected.

Here in Metro Manila in the Philippines, enhanced community quarantine and a 24-hour curfew (specifically in the cities of Muntinlupa, Las Piñas and Parañaque) have been implemented around which severely limited people from traveling out of their homes. Checkpoints have also been set up along national roads while businesses that were allowed to operate had to use thermal scanners and set up sanitizers for people to use.

To put things in perspective, the people who work for long hours each day at the checkpoints, at the village gates, on the roads, and inside the commercial joints still operating are referred to locally as the frontliners. At the frontline, they work not only to serve and guide people but also provide security in accordance to the guidelines of the declared quarantine. Such work is undoubtedly hard and tiring, even risky since any person infected with COVID-19 could approach them any time of the day. The frontliners definitely deserve support from anyone blessed who is generous to be a blessing to them.

Very recently, I saw my very dear college buddy Love-Love Tioseco share via social media images of her generous act of giving food to the frontliners. I was very touched by it so I immediately reached out to her and publish this exclusive article for you all.

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Love-Love Tioseco with the hard-boiled eggs provided by The Rustic Kitchen.

Introduction

Again, to put things in perspective, Love-Love and I were classmates at Colegio de San Juan de Letran in the late 1990s. We both finished Communication Arts there. She was a member of the Philippine TaeKwonDo Team for 11 years and, along the way, she was a 3-time gold medalist in the Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games), a 3-time bronze medalist in the Asian Games and a 3-time 5th placer in the World Games.

Back in college, Love-Love was a working student in the media and the entertainment industry. After graduation, she worked as a bartender at Italianni’s restaurant for 3 years but still continued working for the media and the entertainment industry.

Love-Love went on to become an advocate of safety oriented driving. She also engaged in motorcycling and competed for a time which ultimately paved the way for the acceptance of women who ride and drive motorcycles. Love-Love also appeared on TV in some entertainment programs as well as motoring-related shows.

Today, she is in the business of selling batteries of Imarflex Battery and is the current Secretary of the Luzon Motorcyclists Federation, Inc. (LMFI). To this day, she is still active in the motoring industry and continues to emphasize the essence of driving safely and following traffic rules to make local travel safer for everyone. Below is a 2017 Alisto video which involved her as a guest traffic analyst. Love-Love starts appearing at 0:20 on the timer.

Being blessed and being a blessing to others

Going back to assisting the frontliners who have worked so hard and long during the quarantine, I asked Love-Love what inspired her to make a move.

“During this time of the quarantine period, I asked God how can I show my appreciation in my own little way to heroes or frontliners who have been on duty while risking their lives being exposed to the virus,” Love-Love said. “Then one of my scooter friends Micar Briones Santana of The Rustic Kitchen sent a message that she had hard-boiled eggs from her bakery up for donation but she needed someone who can help her give away those eggs, so I told her right away that I will do it and, yes, I did it.”

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Emergency personnel were pleasantly surprised with the eggs offered by Love-Love.

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A soldier grabs something to eat.

Clearly the God answered Love-Love’s question paving the way for the opportunity to help the frontliners. After getting supply of hard-boiled eggs, she organized things first. The hard-boiled eggs with broken shells were made into egg spread sandwiches (as energy food for the garbage collectors). With the help of a fellow LMFI club member named Willy Lopez (Takaz Boyz), she received onions which became a key ingredient of her egg spread recipe.

Subsequently, Love-Love went around the metro to feed the MMDA Patrol Team on both the northbound and southbound lanes of EDSA, feed the MMDA Rescue Team under the EDSA flyovers, feed the personnel at the Mandaluyong checkpoints, feed the Makati City police officers on patrol, feed the security guards at an Army Navy branch, feed the Transportify delivery drivers, the motorized drivers of Grab Food and Food Panda, feed the attendants at a Caltex fuel station, feed the manpower staff at Bel-Air Village, and feed a truck-full of Philippine Army soldiers.

I asked Love-Love how the frontliners reacted when she first approached them with the prepared food.

“At first, they thought I was selling eggs to them but when I told them the eggs were free, some of them got more than three eggs, and I did not have time to count how many people got free eggs because my mind was focusing on giving to the deserving ones,” she recalled.

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Frontline personnel outside an Army Navy were happy to receive free eggs from Love-Love.

Love-Love’s generous move is a clear example of her being blessed by the Lord as well as being a blessing to others. To put things in perspective, read the words of Lord Jesus in the following scripture from the Holy Bible.

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

Matthew 5: 16 (NKJV)

Unsurprisingly, the frontliners thanked her for the eggs as it provided them some much needed relief from the stress they accumulated. To Love-Love’s surprise, there were delivery personnel who took selfie shots with her for them to post on Facebook.

What is even more astonishing was that no less than Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman General Danny Lim expressed his praise and gratitude to Love-Love for her valuable assistance.

In an April 3, 2020 Facebook page post, Lim stated: Maraming salamat sa lahat ng mga sumusuporta sa serbisyo ng #MMDA, lalo na ngayong panahon ng #COVID19! Salamat kina Ms. Micar Briones Santana ng The Rustic Kitchen at Ms. Love-Love Tengsico Tioseco para sa malasakit na binibigay niyo. Kahit sa simpleng paraan man, laking tulong ito sa pag-boost ng morale ng ating mga kawani. Makakaasa kayong paiigtingin pa natin ang ating frontline at emergency services. Patuloy ang pagtutulungan natin laban sa krisis na ito.

I asked Love-Love if she will repeat her moves of generous assistance to the frontliners.

“Yes, of course. I hope there will be more generous sponsors soon for me to distribute their donations again,” she said.

CONCLUSION

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MMDA personnel worked so hard, Love-Love’s giving of eggs proved to be a major relief for them. They were very thankful to her.

Love-Love’s special message to those who could help

“Spread the love, action speaks louder than words especially with helping others, and share the simple joys of life.”

Love-Love’s special message to those who are affected by the quarantine

“Please be a prayer warrior and pray that the virus will be gone already instead of being paranoid or being a basher, which is no help at all with the crisis we are all experiencing now.”

In closing this, here is a video of the Hillsong performance of Thank You, Lord (my Christian Music Appreciation of it right here) that will remind you to be thankful to the Lord who is the source of opportunities, happiness, protection, prosperity, provision and so much more. God is the source! Enjoy!


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

Is a Darna movie still needed?

This past summer, the production of the pending Darna movie project suffered a major setback when Liza Soberano dropped out due to a serious injury of her finger. I wrote about that months ago and the fact that Soberano cried during the ABS-CBN interview (she admitted she let the fans down) only showed how heavy and painful the loss of the Philippine pop culture icon was to her deep inside. Not only that, the original director Erik Matti is no longer involved and has since been replaced by Jerrold Tarog.

As of this writing, the filmmakers are still quietly searching for a suitable replacement for Soberano.

As the search goes on in this age of social media and Hollywood-produced superhero movies that dominated the Philippine box office, the hot question remains – is a Darna movie still needed?

To understand things better, let’s go back to the beginning.

The past

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Darna with the Philippine flag on display at the Ravelo Komiks Universe booth during the recent Toycon.

Created by the late Mars Ravelo, Darna debuted in 1950 in illustrated print media and went on to appear in comic books, comic strips, magazine special features, television and movies to name some. Through the decades, Darna went on to become a Philippine pop culture icon and there were those who even compared her with Wonder Woman.

In Philippine cinema, Vilma Santos (who is now a public servant) made her mark with the public when she played Darna more than once. Other actresses who played the superhero in other movies were Sharon Cuneta, Anjanette Abayari and Regine Velasquez to name a few.

The 21st century

In the 21st century, Darna was unsurprisingly modernized in a TV series starring Angel Locsin and produced by GMA Network. The series became a hit nationwide and helped keep Ravelo’s icon relevant to Filipinos while also boosting Locsin’s popularity. A few years later, GMA lost Locsin to its rival network ABS-CBN and “replaced” her with then newcomer Marian Rivera who went on to become a star. While still holding the rights to Darna, GMA launched in 2009 a new series with Rivera as the superhero. Like the 2005 series before it, it became a hit as well.

While it was a success, the deal between GMA and the surviving members of Mars Ravelo came to an end. Unsurprisingly, in 2015, the Ravelos signed up with rival network ABS-CBN with upcoming Darna projects in mind. What made this new deal different was that it was in the form of a motion picture project through its movie-making arm Star Cinema.

Making a live-action Darna movie turned out to be tricky and time-consuming. In 2017, the project generated a lot of buzz and excitement when the young and pretty Liza Soberano was hired to play Ravelo’s creation. She was easily referred to as the “Millennial Darna”.

Of course, in this age of social media and smartphones, Filipinos expressed their reactions online. While there were those who welcomed Soberano as Darna, there were some who had problems with the actress’ American accent and heritage (note: Soberano was born in the United States) and some even claimed that she was “not Filipina enough” to play Darna who in the realm of fantasy is Narda, who is often portrayed as a simple Filipina.

And then there were some people who preferred Angel Locsin over Soberano. Take note that almost a decade before Soberano signed up to play Darna, Locsin was hired by ABS-CBN and starred in many big projects with the network achieving lots of success in both television and movies. As such, it was no surprise that there were still many craving for Locsin to play Darna under the banner of ABS-CBN.

Before losing the role, Liza Soberano worked really hard to play Darna. Videos and images of her physically training for the role were released online and it has been reported that she researched the icon behind the scenes. Soberano, by the way, studied at SISFU (Southville International School Affiliated with Foreign Universities) in BF International, Las Pinas City.

Do people really want to see a Darna movie at all?

While Star Cinema is slowly making the Darna movie, it is only fair to ask if people really want to see the movie at all. Do Filipinos, who collectively paid a good amount of money to enjoy Hollywood-made superhero movies in local cinemas since the year 2000, really need to watch Darna on the big screen?

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Pick a Darna.

Now I am not a filmmaker nor have I gotten involved in the nation’s film industry but as a long-time geek, observer and former journalist, I should say that the odds are against Star Cinema.

Traditionally here in the Philippines, local film productions that became hits were the romantic comedy and horror types of movies. There were a few historical epic films that became hits along the way. A few fantasy movies were released and made some good money. Given the fact that these kinds of films became hits with Filipino moviegoers and given the fact that the Filipino action film genre has faded away since the early 2000s (note: Filipino action movies have been rarely produced since then), it comes to show that Filipino moviegoers are not that interested in locally made action scenes.

Action scenes combined with computer-generated images (CGI) are among the most attractive features of Hollywood superhero movies to Filipinos. There is nothing like watching Spider-Man’s classic fights with Doctor Octopus in Spider-Man 2 (2004), Wonder Woman leading the fight against the Germans in the No Man’s Land scene in Wonder Woman (2017), Batman fighting a gang of thugs in the warehouse in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), and the massive battle between the superheroes and the evil ones in plains of Wakanda in Avengers: Infinity War (2018) all happen on the big screen!

Definitely those forms of spectacle look great, feel intense and were enjoyable to watch again and again. Moviegoers here in the Philippines paid good money to experience those sequences. For sure, all those on-screen action sequences were carefully crafted, choreographed and painstakingly laced with CGI at a high cost.

That being said, what can the Darna movie offer local moviegoers in terms of spectacle? Can the filmmakers come up with something stylish (if not original) with the action with Darna that can convince moviegoers to come back for more? How much money can the filmmakers afford to invest in such spectacle? For sure, there will be moviegoers who can’t help but make comparisons with Darna’s on-screen spectacle with those of movies from Marvel and DC.

There is also the challenge for the Darna filmmakers to tell a compelling story and have the moviegoers connect with the characters. Sure there is Darna (Narda is her civilian identity) but who else could they add as key cast members? The least the filmmakers could do is involve supporting characters who would end up annoying moviegoers. If the Darna movie would have humor, the producers should make sure that the comedy players should avoid annoying the viewers as they try to make comic relief.

Challenging also is the implementation of the villain to give Darna problems and compel her to act heroically. There is the long-time enemy Valentina but how can the filmmakers make her relevant and not look corny to the locally viewers who have gotten so used to villains in Hollywood superhero movies. Creating a brand new, all-original villain for Darna on the big screen could be a last resort if ever none of the Mars Ravelo-created villains would fit in. A weak cinematic villain is a big no-no.

And then there is the challenge of dramatizing and modernizing the origin of Darna on the big screen. This can make or break the movie because emphasizing the origin requires a good amount of build-up and however the story is written (with the expected big battle near the end) the movie should have balance. It is key to entertain the viewers, to connect them with the characters and make the plot relevant to them. If there is way too much build-up (read: Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice), moviegoers will end up getting burned out and the spectacle won’t save the movie. If the film has too much social commentary, it could turn off moviegoers.

Another issue is maintaining the relevance of Darna with the Filipinos as time passes. Each year that passes, a superhero movie of Marvel or DC Comics gets released in cinemas nationwide and adding more to the relevance of the superheroes in those movies is the presence of comic books and trade paperbacks of superheroes in retailers. I’m a comic reader and no matter how hard I try, I could not even find a Darna comic book at the retailers (including the comic book specialty stores) and not even reprints of old comics are available. As for the past TV series and movies of Darna, they can be viewed on YouTube but those productions are not too appealing to me.

Merchandise of Darna and the other Mars Ravelo heroes Lastikman and Captain Barbell are not that common commercially. The Ravelos however, in partnership with ABS-CBN, sell such merchandise (under the title Ravelo Komiks Universe) online.

During my time at the recent Toycon, there was a Ravelo Komiks Universe at the main exhibition floor which showcased statues and some merchandise of Darna, Captain Barbel and Lastikman. There were even hired models portraying the Ravelo superheroes in full costume.

One last issue to discuss here is movie competition. Hollywood superhero movies pretty much made tremendous commercial, and even social, impact here in the Philippines since the year 2000 when X-Men proved that superhero films can be taken seriously and be enjoyed for what they are. There is no denying that Marvel and DC Comics movies are major moneymakers among Filipinos. Wonder Woman grossed over P520 million nationwide in 2017. The disappointing X-Men: Apocalypse made over P400 million in 2016. Iron Man 3’s gross in 2013 was over P625 million. Lastly, Avengers: Endgame made over P1.6 billion this year!

Superhero movie competition is already tough and for sure moviegoers will compare Darna to those foreign superhero flicks on every detail. As if that was not hard enough, there is also movie competition with non-superhero flicks like Jurassic World (over P500 million) and the Star Wars movies to name a few. Some comedies and romantic comedies occasionally sell a lot. There are also those computer-generated animation films as well not to mention some Filipino movies that sometimes turn into major blockbusters.

Conclusion

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I wonder if this classic Darna design will actually be used in the delayed movie. Whoever gets hired as the star should be ready to wear this swimsuit-type costume.

With these issues discussed, making a Darna movie is hard to do and selling it, if ever it gets made at all, is an even bigger challenge for Star Cinema. As a movie market, the Philippines and its moviegoers have an undeniable appetite for foreign movies and if it is spectacle they crave for, they search for it from Hollywood from the superhero movies, the sci-fi movies, the hard action films, fantasy movies, etc. Adding further to the challenge of making the Darna movie succeed is the advanced publishing of schedules of releases of future movies like Wonder Woman 1984 which will be released worldwide on the first week of June 2020.

If ever the film will be made, could Star Cinema’s Darna turn out as the complete package of really special superhero fun, engaging storytelling, memorable characters and great spectacle in the near future? Will it be released during the Metro Manila Film Festival or during the January-November period? How can Star Cinema make Darna relevant to young moviegoers, geeks and the many Filipinos who love watching Hollywood superhero movies?

The answers should unravel in the near future. There is, however, the possibility that the Darna movie would end up getting cancelled. Personally, I would not be surprised if that happens.

Don’t get me wrong. While I am not a fan of Darna, I still am interested to see a modern day film adaptation of Mars Ravelo’s superhero and hope it will happen with an engaging story, characters worth connecting with and carry lots of entertainment value. While I enjoy watching Hollywood superhero movies, I still will give the Darna movie a chance if it ever gets made as a solid film.

How about you, readers? Do you want to see a Darna film on the big screen?


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