Best of the Week: Four Pinoys and a supposed funeral

Alleged arrest of the week: Dingdong Dantes
MANILA, Philippines – What seemed like a regular blind item on TV5’s Paparazzi spun out of control when host Zoren Legaspi named Dingdong Dantes as the actor who was arrested in Las Vegas. According to reports, he was in a bar with girlfriend Marian Rivera when he had to step outside for a moment. Upon returning, he wasn’t allowed to re-enter because he forgot to have his wrist stamped. He lost his temper and was involved in a brief scuffle until the police were called and escorted him off the premises. While tragedy has struck the T.G.I.S. star, the Las Vegas doormen should have been thankful they didn’t have to deal with his feisty girlfriend.

Game of the week: David Beckham’s L.A. Galaxy vs. the Philippine Azkals

In a move that will excite more bekis than football aficionados, David Beckham and the rest of the L.A. Galaxy team will fly to Manila for a friendly match against the Azkals at the Rizal Memorial Stadium today. The visit will be part of an Asia-Pacific tour and will include a football clinic and a glimpse of the star players. When asked why the team chose to play in the Philippines, Galaxy president Tom Payne said “The timing worked out and it will be good to come to a market that doesn’t have these matches often.” The venue, which can seat up to 18,000 people, will surely be filled with fans of the Azkals, the Galaxy, football, and Posh.

Tribute of the week: Tara Macken
In the highly-anticipated film The Hunger Games to be released in early 2012, one Filipina is playing the tribute from District 4. Her name is Tara Macken, an Irish-Filipino gymnast-model who works as a stunt actor in Los Angeles, California. Born in Kuwait, she moved to the Philippines after grade school to study in the International School Manila, where she joined dance groups that sent her and her team to compete internationally. She moved to California after high school to pursue Political Science and Theater Arts, and since then, it can be assumed that she moved to Panem where she participated in The Hunger Games, thus proving the fact that we Filipinos are everywhere.

Subpoena of the week: Teddy Boy Locsin

It was a sad day for designer Kenneth Cobonpue, interior designer Budji Layug and architect Royal Pineda when their pro bono design on the remake of NAIA was set aside in favor of Leandro Locsin’s work with the help of the people behind Changi Airport, one of the best in the world. Cobonpue and the team revealed that several Cabinet officials approached them about the design. The situation worsened when Teddy Boy Locsin, in his segment TEDitorial announced that the three designers should be given a subpoena to reveal the names of the Cabinet members who hinted they could remodel the airport if they refurnished their homes for a “deep discount or” for “free,” adding that the homes of Cabinet officials should be searched for furniture coming from the internationally-renowned group. He even went as far as saying that “nobody who is anyone notices the airports they pass through,” and that as long as “it performs immigration and customs functions, who cares if it does not do anything else?” Uh, maybe the people who care about cleanliness, hygiene, and corruption-free operation?

Farewell of the week: DJ Mo Twister

Notorious DJ and host Mo Twister faced his own controversy when he announced on Paparazzi that he will be flying to New York City to escape the drama and “negative vibes” being linked to him. Though he refuses to comment on the details, many believe his decision involves ex-girlfriend Rhian Ramos. It can be remembered that in May, the couple broke up on Twitter when a hacker allegedly broke into Rhian’s account to tweet that they’ve broken up, even before Mo found out. Just recently, the two started talking again until Mo posted mysterious tweets about abortion — prompting readers to wonder what he meant and who he was alluding to. Perhaps the DJ has bitten off mo’ than he could chew, but according to Jay-Z, if he can make it in NY, he can make it anywhere.

Sexiest Pinoy of the week: Manny Pacquiao

Online magazine Salon recently named pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao as one of its sexiest men of 2011. The magazine chose Pacquiao as its eighth candidate because aside from being one of the best boxers in the world “with a Bieber-esque moptop,” he has an ability to “croon romantic ballads that are just as deadly.” The site also mentions his humanitarian efforts in fighting poverty and his position as the country’s greatest national icon in the world (surely an exaggeration?). Salon’s annual list includes men with unconventional charm whose cultural relevance, intelligence, principles, and talent outweigh hard-rock abs and blindingly white teeth.

Confession the week: KC-Piolo breakup

The whole country (at least on Twitter) feigned surprised when news broke out that KC Concepcion and Piolo Pascual have called it quits after a year-long whirlwind romance. The cause of the breakup was kept mum, but KC revealed on The Buzz that the rift began two to three months ago and that she can’t take it anymore, calling the relationship a “tug-of-war” — between her and who else, nobody knows exactly. The interview was vague, but people couldn’t get over her cryptic statements, especially “May mga hinahanap ako na basic lang na hahanapin ng isang babae sa isang boyfriend,sa isang lalaki,” and “Hindi ko mabigay sa kanya ‘yung kailangan niya.” Fill in the blanks.

Conspiracy of the week: “Put The Little Girl To Sleep”

The Philippines has never been home to conspiracies. What seemed to be an American pastime has hit the nation as the camp of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has received word that there is a plot to kill her, codenamed “Put The Little Girl To Sleep.” According to CGMA spokesperson Elena Bautista-Horn, a reliable source from President Aquino’s camp has informed them that there is a threat to the Pampanga representative’s life and that they should be careful with the food and medicine provided to her. While the operation has a poetic name, Budget Secretary Butch Abad denied the allegation and advised Horn to see a psychiatrist.

Deal of the week: NBA lockout

After 15 hours of talks, a tentative deal was reached to end the four-month lockout of the National Basketball Association. The fourth lockout in the history of NBA began when a deal in 2005 regarding issues such as basketball-related income (BRI) ended in June 2011. The agreed settlement detailed the new percentage in BRI for players and the reformation of the union, and as soon as all the other issues have been settled, the 2011-2012 season can officially begin, or what we like to call beer-and-chips season.

Lawsuit of the week: Camp Hell

A movie poster for Camp Hell prominently featuring the face of The Social Network star Jesse Eisenberg has caused him to sue the production company for $3 million for alleged misappropriation of right of publicity and unfair business practices. In the suit, it states that contrary to the poster, “Eisenberg is not the star of the film” and appears for less than five minutes, receiving $3,000 for the role, which the actor’s camp claims is substantially less than what he typically receives. Some may say it is an underhanded way of attracting viewers, some say it’s advertising genius.

Best of the week: Leave EDSA, Gloria, Taylor and the Biebs alone!

Anorexic of the week: CGMA
MANILA, Philippines – Former First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo told The Philippine STAR that his wife, Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has possibly developed anorexia nervosa after being arrested for electoral sabotage and plunder at the St. Luke’s Medical Center in Taguig City. According to her husband, she became depressed and has lost her appetite because she was not allowed to leave the country for a medical consultation in Singapore. Alleged mugshots have floated on the Internet but conflicting camps argue over its authenticity. Currently, the former President is staying in the presidential suite (costing P50,000 a day) that has amenities “comparable to those found in presidential suites of luxury hotels,” where she spends her time writing about her body issues in her diary. Kidding!

Gadgets of the week: The Google Chromebook and the Facebook Phone

Two of the biggest websites have decided to branch out by creating gadgets that will stroke their vanity and excite trolls around the world: the Google Chromebook and the Facebook Phone. Tagged as the “computer for people who hate computers,” the Chromebook is essentially an operating system that vows to make things easier for the user by providing an 8-second bootup, built-in Wi-Fi and 3G, and thousands of web apps. However, it comes with no desktop and is purely Internet, making its users heavily reliant on the web (kind of like crack). On the same note, Facebook will be releasing a phone (codenamed Buffy, after the vampire slayer, for some reason) with a modified version of Android that will deeply integrate its services as opposed to a single button, which apparently is not enough. The Chromebook will be manufactured by Acer and Samsung while Buffy will be created by HTC, trolls can’t wait.

Move of the week: Sharon Cuneta

In a surprise move, megastar Sharon Cuneta jumped fence and transferred to TV5 after spending 23 years in ABS-CBN. The news came after rumors of her switching surfaced in October, but she denied the news then, saying that she had no reason to leave ABS-CBN but that she’d like to give herself a chance if someone talked to her. The megastar is one of the many celebrities who have transferred to TV5, and there are rumors that it came with a price: a five-year contract worth P1 billion. When asked about this, Sharon and Kapatid executives merely laughed, with Viva Entertainment’s Vic del Rosario saying that the fee is “commensurate to her stature in the industry.” A day after her contract signing, Sharon was quoted as saying that she vows to “work her famous behind off,” leaving us speculating if she will host a show similar to The Biggest Loser.

Pinoy pride of the week: Johnny Bravo

Kids born in the ’90s would definitely remember Johnny Bravo, the arrogant, funny, and irreverent character in the show on Cartoon Network. In a recent phone interview with The STAR, it was revealed that the creator, Van Partible, is Fil-Am. Though he was raised in California (he was born in Manila and still has relatives in La Union), he kept in touch with his roots by hiring Filipinos to voice-over his Johnny Bravo characters ­ some of them including Tia Carere, Dante Basco (who also voiced Jake Long in Disney’s American Dragon) and Lea Salonga. The Filipino references subtly pepper the series, especially the titular character: his inflated confidence, breezy swagger, unwavering love for women, and fear of his “momma,” which reminds us of the comic traits of some of our local men. In the interview, Partible also says that many could relate to the show because “there’s a part of Johnny Bravo in every guy, he’s just looking for someone who notices him and who thinks he’s cool”  makes you think of someone you know, eh?

Bill of the week: EDSA to Cory Avenue

A bill filed by a Bohol representative is seeking to rename EDSA to Cory Aquino Avenue (CAVE?) to commemorate the former president and icon of democracy. According to the bill, one usually associates EDSA with Aquino, who brought back democracy by replacing Marcos and ending his dictatorial rule. Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago and Bayan Muna Representative Teddy Casiño have disputed the bill with Casiño saying it is a mega-epal case, referring to the pending Anti-Epal Bill. While politicians are on the matter of honoring historic places to the Aquinos, someone should think about replacing Luneta Park to the Kris Aquino Park.

Video of the week: Midas Marquez

Supreme Court spokesman Midas Marquez has received attention for his moral fiber, integrity, eloquence, and style. He has appeared many times on TV, talking about current events in that sleek, calm, and unhurried way of his. He has that aura of respectability that many should admire. However, in a live telecast of a press briefing in the Supreme Court, Atty. Marquez had a less-than-ideal reaction to a microphone falling off the podium, betraying a side to the spokesman many would consider effeminate. The video of the reaction has gone viral, but regardless of alleged orientation (the attorney is married and has two children), many of us would like to continue trusting him on his fierce take on political issues, but not when a flying cockroach enters the room.

Reunion of the week: Lola Aurelia and Lolo Luis

A photo circulating on the Internet caught the attention of 60,000 Facebook users and helped an old woman find her missing husband. Lola Aurelia Matias was photographed one afternoon with two pieces of paper pinned to her front and back, with a picture of her missing husband and her contact information. According to her, she has been relentlessly searching for her husband, who may be suffering from dementia, for over two weeks, who disappeared one morning while she was doing the laundry. He was found sleeping near the Quirino Station of the LRT, and the way he was found using social media makes us wonder if Ramona Revilla could be found the same way.

Winner of the week: Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift was the star of the night at the 39th American Music Awards held on Nov. 20 at the Nokia Theater in LA, where she won Best Female Artist, Best Album in the country music category, and the coveted Artist of the Year award. Her win didn’t come as a surprise as the singer was recently placed in the 2012 Guinness Book of World Recordsfor Fastest Selling Digital Album by a Female Artist for “Speak Now” and Most Simultaneous US Hot 100 Hits by a Female Artist. Her acceptance speech was uneventful as Kanye West did not make a special appearance, probably for fear it would bolster her fame after she writes another song about him. Unfortunately for Justin Bieber, he did not win anything, but he joined LMFAO in the closing number, dancing to Party Rock Anthem while David Hasselhoff joined the duo in Sexy and I Know It, reminding everyone why he was the captain lifeguard in Baywatch.

Exam of the week: Justin Bieber’s paternity test

Justin Bieber’s baby drama continues as he finally took a paternity test on Nov. 18 to prove that he’s not the father of Mariah Yeater’s baby, even though he was not required to do so. According to TMZ, the test was done under “very controlled circumstances” so Yeater’s camp can’t contest the results should they come out negative. It is also interesting to note that Yeater, who has quietly dropped the paternity suit, also pinned her baby boy on her ex-boyfriend, who denied the allegations. The next step is for Yeater to provide a DNA sample of the baby to see if it matches, and if it doesn’t, Bieber’s lawyers have threatened to sue her for defaming his good name and reputation, and for taking the song that made him famous to heart.

Best of the Week

Catholic scandal of the week: Vatican forces Benetton to pull Pope Benedict kissing ad
MANILA, Philippines – The Vatican is showing no love for Benetton’s new campaign, “Unhate” which featured a scandalous ad of Pope Benedict XVI sharing a friendly smooch with Muslim cleric Mohamed El-Tayeb. The photograph, one of many digitally altered ads of world leaders kissing, was created by the Italian clothing company to promote tolerance for love in all of its many forms. Unfortunately, Benetton’s good intentions were not enough to save the company from the wrath of God’s church. Instead of praying the problem away, the Vatican resorted to man-made forums of conflict resolution, threatening the international retailer with legal action. The ad was pulled from the lineup immediately after. — Veronica Gutierrez

Failed attempt of the week: The Arroyos

We’ve all heard the story of how ex-President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo developed a rare bone disorder that can only be treated abroad and how the government is trying to stop her from leaving, even offering to pay for her medical expenses and flying in specialists to see her. The government’s motives may be seen as an attempt to keep her in the country after rumors spread that Arroyo and her family obtained Dominican Republic passports and planned to seek political asylum there to avoid criminal charges. Drama ensued when the DOJ barred her from leaving after being allowed by the Supreme Court to seek foreign medical advice. As an assurance, Atty. Ferdinand Topacio offered one of his testicles if his clients don’t return from the trip, raising the ante from potentially promising to potentially disturbing.

Sporting competition of the week: The 2011 Southeast Asian Games

The Philippine teams made a great start at the 26th SEA Games that began on Nov. 11 and will last until Nov. 22 in Jakarta and Palembang, Indonesia. Proving that the country does not only produce topnotch boxers, the Philippines has the sixth highest number of medals with 16 gold medals, 28 silver, and 34 bronze for a total of 78 awards as of Nov. 16. Host country Indonesia leads the pack with a total 222 medals and Vietnam comes next with 168 medals.
Awakening of the week: Occupy Wall Street

It seems like Occupy Wall Street has another problem besides the social and economic inequality: sanitation. Police arrived at New York’s Zuccotti Park on Nov. 15 to clear the area after local residents and merchants complained of the negative impact the group has been receiving. Police sent notices to the protesters, saying that they should temporarily vacate the premises so that it could be cleaned. This was met with some hostility, leading to the arrest of 70 protesters, including a group who chained themselves together. The mission of the movement sounds noble, but perhaps the protesters should leave Wall Street alone and occupy health centers instead?
Crybaby of the week: Juan Manuel Marquez

Juan Manuel Marquez faced Manny Pacquiao for the third time in an attempt to settle the seven-year-old question: Who is the better fighter? In their first two matches, Pacquiao won by a draw and then a split decision, prompting the Mexican fighter to wear shirts emblazoned with the statements “We were robbed” and “Marquez beat Manny Pacquiao twice” in the Philippine streets. In the tradition of Pacquiao matches, crime rate dramatically decreased but the tension was sky-high as Pacquiao beat Marquez yet again, this time with a majority decision. Many were frustrated as they believed Marquez should have won – either way, he followed Pacquiao’s lead by singing a song after the match: a possible swan song.
Record-breaking movie of the week: Praybeyt Benjamin

There is a certain charm attached to Vice Ganda and it was proven by his hit movie Praybeyt Benjamin, which earned P320 million in ticket sales in the span of 20 days, making it the highest-earning Filipino movie of all time. The record was previously held by No Other Woman, starring Cristine Reyes, Derek Ramsey, and Vice Ganda’s gal pal, Anne Curtis. The film’s success relied heavily on his permanent stay on the wildly successful noontime variety show Showtime and his effective self-promotion. In an interview, Vice Ganda was quoted as saying, “May ibang magic ang Diyos.” Yes, Vice. Both you and Jesus are “un-kabogable.”

Best of the Week: Finding Ramona, tapping Georgina, and giving it up for Gaga

Beauty queens of the week: Gwendoline Ruais  and Dianne Necio
MANILA, Philippines – This week, Gwendoline Ruais finished as first runner-up at the Miss World competition, the second Filipina to do so since Evangeline Pascual 30 years ago, while Dianne Necio made it to the Top 15 at Miss International, and took home the People’s Choice Award. For the uninformed (like Chris Lao), the two pageants were held last Nov. 6, with Miss World in London and Miss International in Chengdu, China. Miss Venezuela won Miss World (no surprises there!), while Miss Ecuador was crowned Miss International for the first time. If you haven’t had your fill of pageantry this month, watch out for the Miss Earth pageant on Dec. 3.   — Cai Subijano

Twitter hashtag of the week: #ReplacemovietitleswithRamona

Twitterverse was abuzz with the news that Ramona Revilla, a prime suspect in the murder of brother Ramgen Revilla, has fled the country to Turkey. In an unprecedented sweep, the hashtag #replacemovietitleswithRamona became a worldwide trending topic, inviting users, from celebrities to the masses, to participate. While the DOJ, the Revilla clan, Interpol, and the media speculate on her clashing stories and questionable behavior, the people on Twitter kept things light with titles like Panic Roomona from Pia Magalona (@piamagalona), I Know What Ramona Did Last October 28, courtesy of Cristine Reyes (@EVAFONDA2008), and Finding Ramona by Carmen Soo (@carmensoo). Other titles included Patayin Sa Shokot Si RamonaPraybeyt RamonaDespicable Ramona, A Crazy, Little Thing Called Ramona, Catch Ramona If You Can, and Nightmare On Ramona Street.

Pinoy pride of the week: Georgina Wilson

Former supermodel and media mogul Tyra Banks seems to have caught the Filipino spirit by tapping local model Georgina Wilson to guest as a stylist and model in her hit reality television show America’s Next Top Model. The news comes as a pleasant surprise after fellow members of the fashion industry Michael Cinco and Oliver Tolentino have guested and provided gowns for the challenges. Announced by Wilson herself on Twitter, she also revealed that Cinco will be back to supply the clothes for the season’s finale and Bench Body will sponsor the clothing for the semifinals. The episode will be shot in Greece and will air in the Philippines on Nov. 14, adding ANTM stylist/model to Wilson’s already impressive resume that includes model, DJ, and Borgy Manotoc’s girlfriend.
Biggest (and craziest) fanbase of the week: Lady Gaga

At the recently concluded MTV Europe Music Awards held in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Lady Gaga took center stage, winning four EMA’s: Best Song (Born This Way), Best Video (Born This Way), Best Female (Justin Bieber won Best Male in a move that confused many), and Biggest Fans. The last award comes as no surprise as Gaga is seen by many as a born-this-way-proclaiming messiah, resulting in her becoming the first person to have reached 10 million followers on Twitter. However, her mass appeal comes at a price, as legions of fans excuse their fashion choices on Gaga, making “be yourself” one of the worst pieces of advice given to impressionable teens everywhere.
Gift of God of the week: YouTube’s K-pop channel

Days after the announcement of YouTube Philippines, news broke out that the video-sharing site will create a channel exclusively for Korean music. The move was done to create a more visible presence in the country, although it seems that not only Koreans will benefit from the channel. As one of the nations who obsessively follow K-pop groups, Filipinos welcomed the creation, bringing their love for the musicians to a whole different level. Right around the report is the release of a video guide by the Philippine Embassy in South Korea that details the lives of current and soon-to-be married migrants. While many Filipinas dream of marrying their Koreanovela crushes, common marriage problems between Koreans and Filipinos include language barriers, culture shock, and even domestic violence, though we expect Rain will make a much better husband than that.
Quack doctor of the week: Conrad Murray

King of Pop Michael Jackson’s personal physician Conrad Murray was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter and branded as a “danger to society” after a two-day trial that ended on Nov. 7. Fans, friends, and family members rejoiced as the doctor could face up to four years in prison, and the loss of his medical license. Murray’s lawyers are not shocked about the decision, but will request another hearing before the sentencing on Nov. 29. While we may never get Michael back, we’re pretty sure he’s doing the moonwalk up there in heaven to celebrate the victory.
Geek guide of the week: 9gag

Ever wonder where those Internet memes come from, or those inspirational (or downright offensive) wordart creations? A lot of them are products of 9gag, the website that features a wide variety of things from Steven Seagal emotion charts to random comics that feature emoticons, like Me Gusta, Poker Face, and Y U No! The beauty of the site is that it doesn’t really make any sense; it’s just pure, unadulterated comedy in small doses. A caveat: Don’t come here if you’re expecting Shakespeare or Eco. You’ll probably end up like the Y U No! Guy whose face is frozen in perpetual annoyance.