Shopee launches 2023 Graduate Programs to hone future tech leaders

As the e-commerce industry continues to evolve, Shopee seeks to train the next generation of young tech talents and prepare them for a career in e-commerce through its Graduate Programs. Composed of the Global Leaders Program (GLP) and the newly launched Fresh Graduate Accelerated Program (FGAP), Shopee’s Graduate Programs aims to fast-track the growth of fresh graduates and young professionals and prepare them to take on key leadership positions upon program completion.

With these, participants can receive direct mentorship from senior management, work on the end-to-end processes of highly impactful projects, and expand their leadership capabilities through local and regional exposure.

Global Leaders Program

GLP is a 2-year graduate program consisting of 2 local and 2 overseas rotations in different departments, designed for individuals who would like to immerse themselves in the different fields within the e-commerce industry. Since 2018, GLP has helped train numerous young professionals who continue to grow and make an impact in Southeast Asia and Taiwan’s leading e-commerce platform.

Fresh Graduate Accelerated Program

For young tech talents who are keen on honing their expertise in Marketing, Business Development, Logistics, and Operations, FGAP offers focused rotations to accelerate mastery in a chosen field. Participants of this 6-month program will undergo 2 local rotations within a single department before undergoing permanent placement.

Karen Perez, Head of People at Shopee PH said, “Nurturing and enabling local tech talent remains a priority for Shopee. We believe in using our resources to provide young talent with opportunities to access the digital economy. Through our programs, we aim to sharpen our participant’s ideas, hone their leadership skills, expose them to the different challenges surrounding the industry, and enable them to make impactful contributions to the industry early on in their careers.”

 

#Shopee #graduateprograms #rubyspreciousmoments #rubyasoyph

Make your ‘revenge travel’ easy with the first-ever Filipino-owned booking app

The pandemic disrupted life and plans, there were “lost time” as millennial and generation Z would describe it. It was time away from friends and family, away from different pursuits – one of which is traveling. But as COVID-19 restrictions have started to ease, travel, once highly restrictive and prohibitive, has become possible again.

If there’s anything better than traveling again, it’s the build-up. Daydreaming of the perfect destination, scrolling through unique places to stay, and browsing travel guides for the best hole-in-the-wall restaurants and local must-sees are all opportunities to start wanderlust before you’ve even packed your bags.

But when does the journey begin? While planning may sometimes be overwhelming – mapping out nitty gritty flights, connections, accommodation, and a whole lot of pit stops. But, for today’s travelers, expectations are always set by non-travel experiences. They want flexible solutions with a simple click experience.

Both local and foreign tourists are in for a treat as the first-ever Filipino-owned booking app is set to launch this year to help travelers explore the Philippines with ease. Happy Hotels will give you easy, accessible, and packed information about your favorite local destinations. They have teamed up with the best, budget-friendly, and most accessible hotels nationwide. Its features include but are not limited to comparing prices, finding hotels with your specific requirements, determining the best accommodation through the app’s rating and review system, and different activities you can do in your favorite destinations.

What’s even more exciting is that the app empowers local hotel owners to showcase what real “Filipino hospitality” is and at the same time gives the opportunity to local workers and communities. Happy Hotels aims to bring everyone a smile by giving a wide range of choices from hotels, resorts, restaurants, and destinations at the tip of your fingertips.

To know more about Happy Hotels and its official app launch, please visit their Official Instagram page and/or website.

 

#HappyHotels #rubyspreciousmoments #rubyasoyph

Watch the New Year unfold with Tia Belle’s sumptuous dishes

For Tia Belle’s, great food is a big part of how Filipino families brighten up the holidays and anticipate the unfolding of a new year.

The New Year’s celebration in the Philippines is always something to look forward to. Being a Filipino means that you get to partake in occasions that actively involve family spirit and fondness for one another. The New Year festivities, in particular, shine brighter than the others. Aside from our fun traditions and customs, Filipino food has a culture of its own. From our heirloom dishes to fusion food, the Philippines never runs out of recipes and twists that come with its diverse palate. In addition, each region has its holiday staples and specialty dishes – the New Year is absolutely a feast for everyone!

Relyenong Bangus

This is what Tia Belle’s offers for every Filipino family this New Year – a feast of sumptuous dishes that binds the family together. For Tia Belle’s, great food is a big part of how Filipino families brighten up the holidays and anticipate the unfolding of a new year. Their holiday menu consists of Filipino specialty dishes that evoke memories and hope for the coming year. Armed with their cozy ambiance and hospitality. They offer a variety of food that becomes the center of attention this holiday season. Whether for the whole clan or a family of three, Tia Belle’s got you back!

As a Filipino, one of the staples in each occasion is the famous Lumpiyang Bukid. Tia Belle’s version of this traditional dish is both satisfying and creamy and is sure to become the star of the table. They also offer regional favorites such as the delectable Laing enriched with coconut milk. Seafood fans can have a field day with their specialty Dinengdeng, an Ilokano favorite. Other seafood dishes include Steam Pompano and Relyenong Bangus, a healthy alternative to greasy dishes. Moreover, if the holidays prove to be taxing for your health, you can also try their Ampalaya Sotanghon Guisado, which combines healthy eating and tasty food. They also have Ginataang Sitaw Kalabasa for vegetarians or those who want a healthy detox for the New Year!

Laing

Tia Belle’s history of serving people Filipino food all goes back to the heart and soul of its owner, Evelyn Wise. “Every time I am in the kitchen, cooking and concocting sauces, I feel like dancing  — dancing with my wok,” she shares. To this Nueva Ecija native, being in the kitchen gave her power to produce dishes that became a core memory for her customers, which is what made her leave Europe after staying there for 20 years, a sacrifice she made to finally follow her dream to build her own restaurant. Tia Belle’s seeks to give people the homey vibes and hospitality they crave, which makes them feel like they belong, just like how Evelyn has wholeheartedly embraced Filipino cuisine.

Lumpiyang Bukid

Being hospitable is Tia Belle’s way of paying homage to the illustrious Filipino culture. “We want to be of service to our fellow countrymen while keeping and incorporating the important values and traditions of what being Filipino is all about,” Evelyn says. Tia belle’s also gives you the Filipino dining experience with their regional dishes, and great service, partnered with authentic Filipino architecture. “We make sure we provide an optimal dining experience for our customers by making sure that their dining experience is our responsibility the minute they step into our restaurant.”

Whether you want to dine in or celebrate at home, Tia Belle’s will surely make you feel like a true-blooded Filipino with its dishes. Tia Belle’s is waiting for you to make this occasion memorable. Let’s enjoy ourselves this New Year with Tia Belle’s mouth-watering menu– the Filipino way!

For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/TiaBellePansitMalabonAndPichiPichi or call 0956 470 8145.

 

#TiaBelles #NewYear2022 #filipinodishes #rubyspreciousmoments #rubyasoyph

A celebration of the season of giving at these leisure destinations

In the spirit of the Yuletide season, Landco BeachTowns Club Laiya and CaSoBe in Batangas and Costa Azalea in Samal Island, Davao simultaneously lighted up their Christmas trees to signify hope and give back to the community through a fundraising initiative for the benefit of local school children.

Guests staying at the accommodations managed by Millennial Resorts in the Landco BeachTowns have the option to purchase and hang holiday ornaments at the Christmas tree of each development. Proceeds will go to the learning assistance of children enrolled in government-run elementary schools close to the properties.

The fundraising activity is part of Millennial Resorts’ efforts for the learning recovery of children as they return to face-to-face classes which were disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic for more than two years.

The undertaking is aligned with Landco Pacific Corporation’s and Metro Pacific Investment Corporation’s sustainability commitment to help achieve the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable; and strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.

Christmas Tree Lighting was held simultaneously at Landco BeahTowns CaSoBe and Club Laiya, Batangas, and Costa Azalea, Samal Island, Davao. Photo shows the Christmas Tree Lighting at Club Laiya with the presence of (from Left): John Kemuel Gamil, Event Host at Club Laiya; Ailene Chua, CEO, A-List and Partners Consultancy Group, Inc.; Dianne Pagarigan, Sales and Marketing Manager, Landco; SJ Quizon, Marketing Communications Manager, Millennial Resorts; Khristine Joyce Gagarin, Marketing Communications Assistant, Millennial Resorts.

 

For its BeachTowns in Batangas, Landco was recently awarded as the Most Sustainable Luxury Real Estate Developer in the Philippines in the 2022 Pan Finance International Award.  With its sustainable operations, Millennial Resorts is the first EDGE (Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies)-Certified resort hospitality project in the country, highlighting its Crusoe Cabins at CaSoBe.

Millennial Resorts manage the hospitality and leisure facilities that make Landco BeachTowns attractive tourist and leisure destinations. The properties feature unique resort accommodations: Crusoe Cabins, the upcycled trailers with modern amenities and furnishings at CaSoBe and Costa Azalea; Cocoons, the cylindrical sleeping pods complete with contemporary amenities at CaSobe, Club Laiya, and Costa Azalea; and Camperisti, the modern “glamper vans” right next to the beach at Club Laiya.

Leisure facilities operated by Millennial Resorts are Laiya Beach Club at Club Laiya and Aquaria Water Park with a three-story giant slide at CaSoBe and Costa Azalea; the Canopy, a multi-purpose event space at CaSoBe; and Captain Barbozza restaurant and bar.  Soon to rise is The Isle — the venue for events at Club Laiya; and Colony, a beachside co-working space.

As a way to thank its guests for their participation, every purchase of the Christmas ornament entitles them to an entry for a chance to win the raffle draw prize of a complimentary stay on their next trip.

Landco Pacific Corp. is a subsidiary of Metro Pacific Investments Corporation. For more information about Landco and its Millennial Resorts and BrachTowns Club Laiya, CaSoBe, and Costa Azalea, visit https://www.landco.ph/ or FB page:  https://www.facebook.com/LandcoPacificCorporation.

 

#LandcoPacificCorporation #rubyspreciousmoments #rubyasoyph

Christmastime in the City: Irresistible Holiday Treats

A round-up of holiday treats to make your celebrations merry and delightfully unforgettable.  Indulge in these establishments’ many special Yuletide deals – ranging from superb accommodation, buffet feast, and a year-end party to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year!

 

  • Awesome holiday experience at Richmonde Hotel Ortigas

Richmonde offers value-for-money holiday room rates for bookings until January 14, 2023 (except December 24 & 31), starting at PhP 3,600 nett (room only) and PhP 4,200 nett (with breakfast for two) for stays from Sunday to Thursday; and PhP 3,800 nett (room only) and PhP 4,400 nett (with breakfast for two) for Friday and Saturday stays.

On Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, you can celebrate with a comfortable and convenient city staycation complete with sumptuous buffets and fun activities. Invite family and friends to Richmonde Café on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve to bond over the dazzling Noche Buena and Media Noche feasts. The Christmas Eve Dinner Buffet is priced at PhP 1,595 nett and will be served from 6 pm to 10 pm.

RHO’s Deluxe twin room.

Give 2023 a hearty welcome with the generous gourmet indulgences at the New Year’s Eve Gala Dinner Buffet and glitzy cocktails at the New Year’s Eve Countdown Party at the hotel lobby. The dinner buffet is priced at PhP 1,880 nett per person while tickets to the countdown bash are priced at PhP 1,280 nett each, inclusive of three drinks, a cocktail buffet, party favors, a glass of sparkling wine at the countdown, and live band performance. To make it a total celebration to remember, New Year’s Eve Dinner Buffet and Countdown Bundle is available at a special discounted rate of just PhP 2,550 nett.

For inquiries, table reservations, and countdown ticket purchases, call (632) 8638-7777, SMS or Viber (63) 917 534 4352, email fbsup@richmondeortigas.com, or message @Richmonde Hotel Ortigas on Facebook and Instagram.

 

  • Festive buffets at Eastwood Richmonde Hotel

Have a wonderful time with an array of awesome room offers for your holiday break. On December 24 & 25, 2022, rates start at PhP 7,500 nett and come with a delightful breakfast buffet for two. To include a filling Noche Buena buffet good for two at Eastwood Café+Bar, book the Christmas Eve Room Package, valid only on December 24, which starts at PhP 10,500 nett, inclusive also of a special breakfast buffet for two.

Eastwood is the place to be on December 31st  and you can have a stylish welcome to 2023 with the New Year’s Eve Room Packages at rates starting at PhP 9,600 nett inclusive of brunch buffet for two, and PhP 12,600 nett for a night of revelry with two tickets to the New Year’s Eve Countdown Party and buffet brunch for two.

ERH Christmas Eve Buffet.

Indulge in fabulous banquets to celebrate the season and make your table reservation now to delight in the mouthwatering dishes specially prepared by Executive Chef Victor Barangan and his talented kitchen team. On Christmas Eve, feast your eyes, ears, and palate on the special spread highlighted by lechon roast, pork muscovado ham, beef short plate, Swedish meatballs with truffles, baked scallops, savory bonbons, and so much more, with live cello music in the background, at a rate of PhP 1,999 nett that comes with bottomless iced tea, coffee or tea, and a glass of red or white wine. The Christmas Eve Dinner Buffet is served from 6pm to 9pm on December 24th.

Bid 2022 adieu with a fun blast from the past at the Rockin’ Retro New Year’s Eve Countdown Party happening at the hotel lobby from 9pm to 12mn on December 31st. For only Php1,799 nett, revel in flowing drinks and a filling international-themed cocktail buffet.

For inquiries and bookings, call (632) 8570 7777 / (63) 917 531 6867 or email stay@eastwoodrichmonde.com. For table reservations, call (63) 917 821 0333 or send a message via Eastwood Richmonde Hotel’s official Facebook page.

 

  • Happy homecoming at Richmonde Hotel Iloilo

Have a happy homecoming or relaxing staycation at Richmonde and enjoy the most spacious rooms in the city with its splendid amenities and friendly service. Book from December 16, 2022 to January 26, 2023 at rates starting at PhP 5,700 nett (room only) and PhP 6,200 nett (room with breakfast buffet for two).

On December 24 and 31, have a Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve stay for as low as PhP 6,000 nett (room only) and PhP 6,500 nett (room with breakfast buffet for two) with all the above-mentioned perks.

The Granary’s Holiday luxe buffets Roast Turkey

This year’s festive feasts at The Granary are extra delectable with an impressive spread of holiday dishes the whole family will surely love! The Holiday Luxe Dinner Buffets happening on December 24, 25 & 31, 2022 and January 1, 2023, overflow with flavorful gourmet fare lovingly prepared by Executive Chef Ariel Castañeda and his kitchen team.

For those long-awaited family reunions and much-anticipated face-to-face parties, Richmonde has Holiday Banquet Packages to let you safely gather as you revel in style.  Rates start at PhP 59,000 nett for thirty (30) persons, and include a delectable lunch or dinner buffet with a round of drinks; coffee and tea; five (5) bottles of wine; four (4) pool passes each good for two persons; a gift certificate for an overnight stay for two persons in a Deluxe room with breakfast buffet; plus discount vouchers for room accommodations and food & beverage orders.

For inquiries, reservations, bookings and orders, call +63 33 328 7888 or contact stay@richmondeiloilo.com for room accommodations; +63 917 563 3973 / sales@richmondeiloilo.com for banquet bookings; and +63 917 563 3558 to order holiday goodies. Bookings and order of goodies may also be made online at Richmonde’s official website, www.richmondehoteliloilo.com.ph.

 

  • Holiday offerings at Crowne Plaza Seven Corners and Xin Tian Di Restaurant

Rediscover the warmth and joy brought by this Yuletide season as you dine at Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria. Bask into the sumptuous feast from its season’s selections with your loved ones and friends.

In celebration of Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve at Seven Corners, they will be highlighting the following dishes: The signature Ribeye Steak, savory Roasted Turkey with Bread Stuffing, festive Holiday Ham and our succulent Salmon Wellington. You can enjoy these astounding dishes only at Php 3,300 nett per person.

Xin Tian Di has prepared a special set menu for Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve that will surely complete your holiday celebrations. For as low as Php 1,888++ per person, you can enjoy authentic and luxurious Chinese flavors personally crafted by their in-house Chinese Executive Chef.

As we welcome the year 2023, celebrate Media Noche at Seven Corners Restaurant for a special rate of Php 2,500 nett per person. For inquiries, contact us at (02) 87900 3100, or email fandb.reservations@ihg.com.

 

Let us fill our hearts with gratitude for the past year and toast for good luck and prosperity in 2023!

 

#holidayoffering #christmas #newyear #richmondehotels #sevencorners #xintiandi #crowneplaza #rubyspreciousmoments #rubyasoyph

 

Wondrous places to visit this Christmas Season

Most of us spend Christmas at home while others like to spend theirs in once-in-a-year exclusive places where they can enjoy it with family and friends. Here are some of the places that will surely light up your Christmas season!

Star City, Pasay

After 2 years of closure, Star City Manila has once again opened its gates and it’s never been better. Star City is an amusement park located in Pasay, Philippines. This Christmas, build a snowman and explore inside the Snow world with your family and friends, or if you want something extreme to ride you will surely enjoy “Surf dance”!

Courtesy: Star City Official Website

If you want to feel the jungle breeze, be sure to have fun riding the “Jungle Splash” and be prepared to be soaked. Don’t forget to bring extra clothes or you may buy some souvenirs too! Other fun rides await you!

Star City is open from Friday to Saturday from 1:00 pm to 10:00 pm. Don’t miss out on their Christmas promo! For only Php 699.00, you’ll be able to buy a star pass which includes access to the park and all rides. For more information, you may also visit the official website of Star City.

 

The Lights of Christmas, Taguig

Christmas by the lake Taguig is by far the biggest light park in the Philippines. It is a 6-hectare park and Christmas attraction that opened to the public starting on December 1, 2022. Christmas lights and attractions that use new technology are featured making them eco-friendly and sustainable.

Courtesy: I Love Taguig Facebook Page

Taguig is only 17.5 km. from Manila and is more convenient for families who want to travel within Metro Manila only. The Lights of Christmas, Taguig is open from 5:00 p. m. until midnight.

 

Fountain of Lights, Nuvali Park, Sta. Rosa, Laguna

Nuvali Park is located in Santa Rosa, Laguna, Philippines. It is a growing eco-city development owned by Ayala Land. Nuvali Park is most famous for its Fountain of Lights which pays tribute to the traditional Filipino Christmas celebration with wonderful, vivid, and blissful lights and sounds.

Courtesy: Majoy Siason

Entrance is free and there is no reservation needed. Nearby malls and restaurants are open from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. while the fountain of lights show is available to the public for viewing from Friday to Saturday only from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

 

Okada Manila

Okada Manila is Asia’s largest Forbes five-star ultra-luxury integrated resort. Located at New Seaside Dr, Parañaque, Metro Manila, it is best known for its grand Christmas tree, decorations, and luxury every December. Don’t miss out on their Christmas promos, holiday buffet, and many more waiting for you and your loved ones!

Courtesy: OKADA MANILA

 

The Night of Lights, San Fernando, Pampanga

San Fernando Pampanga is also known as the Christmas Capital of the Philippines. Their Christmas Village is only one of the many Christmas attractions in the city. Get to experience their gigantic Christmas trees, colorful Christmas lights, and joyful and nostalgic Christmas carols together with your loved ones for only 50 pesos each.

Courtesy: Kara Santos

The Christmas Village is open from Monday to Sunday from 5:00 in the afternoon until midnight. The entrance fee is free for 1-year-old and below. Don’t miss the chance to experience Christmas like no other!

Above all, let us not forget the real reason why we celebrate Christmas and always follow health protocols in the fight against COVID-19. May we all get to experience a wonderful Christmas celebration this year!

By Princess Friel Lontoc

 

#placestovisit #christmasseason #Philippines #rubyspreciousmoments #rubyasoyph

 

Bakuchiol is the next big thing in global skincare trends

While Bakuchiol may appear new and unfamiliar, Ever Bilena Cosmetics, Inc. (EBCI) is the first Filipino cosmetics company to have introduced this innovative ingredient to the Philippines as early as two years ago. EBCI is the corporation behind household names like Ever Bilena and Hello Glow.

 

Bakuchiol, pronounced, buh·koo·chee·owl, is a plant-derived extract found in the leaves and seeds of the Psoralea corylifolia plant, nicknamed “Babchi.” The vegan ingredient has been heralded as a retinol alternative for those looking for anti-aging benefits sans the irritation.

While Bakuchiol may appear new and unfamiliar, Ever Bilena Cosmetics, Inc. (EBCI) is the first Filipino cosmetics company to have introduced this innovative ingredient to the Philippines as early as two years ago. EBCI is the corporation behind household names like Ever Bilena and Hello Glow.

In 2020, Hello Glow released its best-selling Hello Glow Advanced Rejuvenating Set, a dermatologist-recommended anti-aging kit that incorporates Bakuchiol into its Night Cream.

EBCI’s Chief Sales & Marketing Officer, Denice Sy-Munez shares that most skin care sets in the local market “use illegal and undisclosed dosages of hydroquinone and tretinoin. These can cause burning sensations and intense visible peeling that could result in severe skin damage.”

Thus, her Research & Development Department collaborated and consulted with numerous formulators and dermatologists before deciding to utilize Bakuchiol for their set’s rejuvenating benefit instead.

The British Journal of Dermatology has referred to Bakuchiol as a very “promising” active ingredient for preventing and addressing signs of skin aging such as wrinkles and hyperpigmentation. Studies from the same journal have shown that topical bakuchiol and retinol have produced the same benefits in photoaging

According to Sy-Munez, “Research shows that Retinol formulated with Bakuchiol boosts the former’s efficacy.” And this is precisely the objective of Hello Glow when it developed the “advanced” skin set.

“The Hello Glow Advanced Rejuvenating skin set does so well, selling over 500,000 per year! We’ve sold almost 70,000 sets on Shopee alone!” exclaims Sy-Munez. “And what the majority of customers, skincare experts, and influencers rave most about it is our night cream!” The confidence in Bakuchiol led to the creation of the Ever Bilena Plus Bakuchiol Lifting Night Serum, finally giving the ingredient its own spotlight! “It is the most affordable pure Bakuchiol serum in the market,” adds Sy-Munez. Other international brands sell their Bakuchiol-infused serums at the equivalent of Php 1,800 up to Php 9,000 apiece. EB Plus’s Bakuchiol Serum is only Php 395 each and is made in Korea!

In its latest makeup release, EB Plus also integrated this superstar ingredient in its EB Plus Good Skin Day Serum Infused Skin Tint! The newest easy-to-blend sheer-to-medium coverage base product contains Bakuchiol paired with Hyaluronic Acid to ensure skin is firm and amply moisturized while revealing a natural filter-finish glow.

As gentle as Bakuchiol can be though, make sure to always patch test beforehand so to avoid potential allergic reactions! Hello Glow and Ever Bilena products are available in all leading department stores, Watsons, and online at their official flagship Tiktok, Shopee, and Lazada E-commerce stores.

 

#Bakuchiol #HelloGlow #EverBilena #rubyspreciousmoments #rubyasoyph

Ricky Lee: From Multi-Awarded Scriptwriter to National Artist for Film and Broadcast Arts

As scriptwriter-director Bibeth Orteza said, “Ricky Lee is a remembrance of all that makes the idea of writing romantic: a lonely childhood, collegiate years without money to spend, a term in jail even. And then an enviable body of work.”

 Ricky Lee has spent a good chunk of his career writing scripts for films. Like his screen films, he assumes multiple forms and shadows, complexity, and simplicity in one sleek package.

Filipino film buffs have bought this package, making Ricky, one of the best and most multi-awarded scriptwriters in the Philippines today. Some of his finest Filipino films include Himala, Moral, Brutal, Salome, Madrasta, Curacha,  and Miguel/Michelle, among many others.

Aside from his many years of teaching at UP and the Ateneo, he has been conducting scriptwriting workshops, proof of his generosity in imparting career secrets to aspiring and upcoming writers.

Ricky is also a well-known fictionist, having won several literary awards. He has published an anthology of some of his works in 20 years in fiction, journalism, and film (Si Tatang at Mga Himala ng Ating Panahon.)

Revise, revise

Ricky recalls that his scripts of Brutal and Moral had five to seven drafts before he finally perfected them.

Talagang madugo, hindi bawat revision may nabago lang, talagang overhaul ng skeleton,” he shared during a past interview. “Kasi ‘yong first sequence ng Brutal walang makaintindi kundi si Marilou (Diaz-Abaya). So you have to be patient and concentrate para mag ugat ang mga paa mo. Kailangan mayroong matatag na foundation.”

In writing a script, Ricky follows not just his own judgment. “Natanggap ko na na magkakaroon ng sariling buhay yong script. Whatever will be good for the script doon ako susunod,” he said. “I’m willing to adjust to the popular taste of the audience. Dahil gusto kong ma-reach ang audience ko kaya ako nagsusulat.”

He culled most of his ideas from real-life experiences; some from his imagination. “The ideas in terms of the situation, characters, and images are mostly from outside influences and the environment. Then the inside which is the emotion.”

Length of time

In his early years as a scriptwriter, Ricky could finish a script in a month (the longer script took three months at the most). Now he can finish a script in one or two days.

For instance, the script of the movie Mapusok (starred by Rosanna Roces) was written for two days. As well as Malikot na Mundo (1997) and Sinner or Saint (1984). “I wrote Sinner or Saint on the airplane while going home from Brazil. Pagbaba ko ng airport, may script na ako,” shared Ricky.

The film Andrea by Superstar Nora Aunor was written in less than seven days. The longest material he wrote was Moral. “Hanggang nag shooting na nag-revise pa ako. Nagdidikta ako ng lines kay Marilou over the phone,” said Ricky, “because we wanted to find the best way of telling the story.”

Yet, it was the most fulfilling movie for Ricky.

Working with the best directors

His first year in the industry was a big advantage for Ricky because it was during this period that he got the chance to work with the local cinema’s best directors.

Nakatrabaho ko agad sina Ishmael Bernal, Mike De Leon, Marilou Diaz-Abaya, Mel Chionglo, Lino Brocka, para akong nag workshop ng todo,” he said.

When he was working with Marilou he learned a different technique. “Expand. Push. When you develop the characters huwag kang nakakahon. Let’s go unstructured. Most of my works with her are mostly on women, like the trilogy of Brutal, Moral, and Karnal. We clicked because she’s a woman. Hindi ko kailanman ma-approximate ‘yong mga alam niyang nuances, malinaw sa kanya ang pagkababae.”

With Ismael Bernal, he learned how to go “classical and structured.”

Meanwhile, Mike De Leon was very conscious of details.

Whereas, Lino Brocka was grounded in one kind of social and political philosophy. “Laging malinaw iyon kay Lino. That’s very reassuring kasi alam mo ang direction,” he said.

Working with dexterous directors (with different approaches) has stretched Ricky’s creative side to the most. From 1979 up to now, Ricky is full-time in the movies. There may be ups and downs in his career, but there will always be people around who will pull him back from leaving the industry.

Nowadays, half of his time is spent writing scripts; the other half he devotes to writing literature, journalism, and theatre. And of course, teaching.

“I will never stop teaching even if it’s difficult to teach because I’m always grounded with reality,” he explained. “Kung puro showbiz ako, lulutang ako, maaaburido ka, o mababaliw ka kasi ang daming humihila sa iyo sa iba’t ibang sides. Mawawalan ka ng perspective.

Working with the stars

Among the stars he has worked with, he particularly cherished the times when he became close with Nora Aunor. He first worked with Nora in Himala. But they became good friends while they were doing Andrea.

“Kasi trabahong kaibigan talaga ‘yon. We’re still friends up to now, but not as close as before,” he disclosed. Ricky related that he’s not close with celebrities. He keeps a distance from them as much as possible.

Turbulent childhood

Ricky’s turbulent childhood has taught him to face life’s challenges and to excel in one’s talent.  He endured many hardships in his struggle to become the country’s multi-awarded scriptwriter.

Courtesy: Mell T. Navarro FB

He typifies the rags-to-riches story. He was born into immigrant families originally from Fujian, China, and was raised in Daet, Bicol. He had a desolate childhood after his parents died when he was still young. He grew up under the care of a relative.

He excelled in school both in Daet and UP. His college days were something for the books. He experienced hunger and loneliness and was jailed for one year during Martial Law for his student activism.

He didn’t resent his past. Rather, he became selfless. He uses his life experiences, struggles, idealism, and intelligence to create over 70 screenplays that have stimulated many Filipino moviegoers. For those pieces of work, he earned more than 30 (and counting) trophies from all the award-giving bodies in the local movie industry.

Because of his upbringing, Ricky related that he became a very shy person. However, he got over his shyness when he entered show business. “I was extremely shy because my father was also extremely shy. We hardly talked. But he loved me. I was very sure of that,” he intimated.

Behind his reserved manner are his witty punchlines. “Defense ko ‘yon para hindi nila ako tingnan sa likod,” he said. “I’m very trusting, but deep inside I’m afraid to trust people. Kasi ilang beses na akong nauntog.”

As a child, he was wont to read almost everything.  “Ang feeling ko noon parang inaarmasan ko ang sarili ko. So I accumulated a lot of knowledge. Basa ako nang basa ng libro since I was seven years old.” But he always wanted to become a writer.

When he was in his fourth year of high school at Daet Chung Hua High School, he wanted to run away from home but there was no chance. He had no money.

“Then I read an ad from Free Press (Filipino) that they would accept the short story. Pinadala ko ‘yong story ko (entitled ‘Mayon’) and it was accepted. Every week, binabantayan kong lumabas ang story ko. Finally, when I saw my byline, na reaffirm ‘yong pag-alis ko sa Bicol. I was paid Php50 for my story. That was the happiest time for me as a writer. Then I came to Manila.”

Ricky said that he experienced the most personal growth during his Bicol and UP years. “Those were the happiest years of my life. And also the starvation years for me,” he said.

As scriptwriter-director Bibeth Orteza said, “Ricky Lee is a remembrance of all that makes the idea of writing romantic: a lonely childhood, collegiate years without money to spend, a term in jail even. And then an enviable body of work.”

By Ruby Asoy-Lebajo

(Based on the feature article published in the old Mirror Weekly magazine by the same author)

#RickyLee #scriptwriter #fictionist #teacher #upcloseandpersonal #exclusiveinterview #nationalartistforliterature #rubyspreciousmoments #rubyasoyph

Featured photo courtesy of Shandii Bacolod FB

Upclose and personal with Ara Mina

“Ara Mina has a certain innocence and is in a category completely her own,” according to Direk Carlitos Siguion-Reyna. It helps that the actress is sexy and charming in person. She titillates readers with candid remarks on her sexuality. Meanwhile, this interview reveals a half-child, half-woman excited and eager to give her best shot.

Having a great body makes her more confident. Ara Mina described herself as “dibdib manok. Medyo hiwalay siya (referring to her breasts), so you need to push it, to achieve a cleavage. Sometimes it depends on the dress or bra I’m wearing.”

To maintain her 36-24-35 shape, Ara Mina said she works out at a gym twice a week and observes some dietary restrictions. “I have my dumbbells,” she volunteered. She said she has not eaten rice for two months now. Also, soft drinks have not been in her diet for two years.

Courtesy: Ara Mina FB page

Her liberal view of woman-to-woman relationships

Back to her past movie “Tatlo,” Ara Mina admitted she felt uncomfortable kissing another girl.

“I was tense, especially with my kissing scene with Ate Rita,” she said. “Ingat talaga ako. Mayroong torrid kissing scene pero hindi naman labas ang tongue. Actually, na-tense din siya.”

Ara Mina, however, confessed that she has a liberal view of woman-to-woman relationships in real life.

“It’s fine with me. In “Tatlo,” you can’t blame Elsie (my character in the film) if she falls in love with another woman (Rita Avila). She’s looking for something that she cannot find in her husband (Tonton Gutierrez).”

She recalled how she experienced difficulties doing a love scene with Rita. She called it the “Scandinavian style” ( a pumping scene between lesbian lovers, but she did not explain it in detail).

“We tried to relax . . . Nakakangawit talaga, pinagpawisan ako,” she relates. “Biniro ko pa nga si ate Rita na ituloy na namin sa kuwarto. Sa eksenang yon naisip ko, parehas naman kaming babae. So I decided not to wear any plaster. Pero talagang makikita ang boobs namin doon.”

Ara Mina admitted that she can be attracted to members of both sexes.

“I think there’s nothing wrong with having a relationship with another woman as long as there’s no sex involved. I couldn’t imagine myself having sex with another woman. I have best friends who are all girls. Sometimes I develop a crush on them. Sometimes, I feel I like a woman, and sometimes I like a man.”

But she denied being bisexual.

“Hindi ko masasabi,” she says. “Minsan gandang-ganda ako sa babae. Minsan nagsasabi pa ako, ‘Ang seksi niya.’ Wala naman akong nararamdamang feelings for her. It’s like an admiration.”

Reflected Ara Mina: A man is completely different from a woman when it comes to expressing affection.

“Ang lalaki siyempre medyo brusko; ang babae tender ang dating . Kaya lang nakaka-ilang kung humahampas ang boobs níyo,” she laughed.

In real life, Ara Mina said she has had lesbian suitors.

“I treat them as friends. Natatawa nga ako dahil kapag nanligaw sila, itsura nila babae, tapos inaamin nila na may boyfriend sila, pero may gusto sa akin at nag-I I love you,” she related. “They write love love letters, send flowers, chocolates, and stuffed toys. I entertained them kasi kung iniiwasan mo minsan delikado. Grabeng ma-in love ang mga lesbians; they’re very posessive, parang nakakatakot.”

Portraying meaty roles

Now that she gets to portray meaty roles, Ara Mina hopes that she will be noticed for her acting ability and not just her ability to show off those curves.

“Kahit na naghuhubad ako, gusto ko namang mapansin nila ang acting ko lalo na sa mga pelikulang ginagawa ko, para irespeto rin nila ako. Natutuwa naman ako dahil hindi nila sinasabi na bastusin ako, kahit na naghuhubad ako.”

She said she’s only daring in the movies. But she emphasized that she hasn’t experienced doing her onscreen love scenes in real life.

“That’s one good thing about me. At first, it was really difficult for me because I used to portray sweet roles. Like the scenes in my previous movie, “Sagad Sa Init” na nakipag-laplapan ako sa bubungan at sa kotse. As of now, ‘yong mga wild things na nagawa ko sa movies pa lang.”

Career transition

Ara Mina’s life changed when she junked her sweet image. But the transition was not easy. Going the bold route made it possible for her to land her first starring role in “Maldita.”

But it was in the movie “Curacha, Ang Babaing Walang Pahinga” that film critics began to pay attention to her. Before this, she became a supporting player in such movies as “Roller Boys,” “Butch Belgica Story,” and the “Flor Contemplacion Story.” She entered showbiz at the age of 14 via the teenybopper show That’s Entertainment.

Ara Mina said she couldn’t imagine herself portraying bold roles or posing nude for pictorials. She was conservative then, she said. She recalled how she would react negatively to the bold pictures she saw in the newspapers.

“Now, pagbukas ko ng dyaryo, ang sinasabi ko, Okay lang naman as long as ang mga shots mo na hubad ay artistic ang pagkakakuha,” she smiles.

Because of the attention, she’s getting at the moment, she vowed never to let success get into her head. She said she is especially thankful to her parents for understanding her when she decided to go bold without their permission.

In the near future, she hopes to bag an acting award, “Para masabi ko na rin na may narating yong paghuhubad ko,” she said.

Real-life

Ara Mina is Hazel Reyes in real life. Her mom combined the names of her two sisters Ara Christine and Mina Princess to come up with the name Ara Mina.

The eldest in a brood of six (two boys and four girls), Ara Mina is a product of a broken family. She was only seven years old when her parents separated. However, she was not disheartened by what happened to her parents. Although both have their own individual families, they maintain open communications. “They are on good terms now,” she notes.

Ara Mina is a high school graduate of Morning Dew Montessori. If her schedule permits, she said she plans to take up Interior Design or Fine Arts at the University of the Philippines (UP).

Off-camera, Ara Mina is a sweet, simple person. She doesn’t talk much during interviews.

“Hindi ako palaaway,” she relates, “gusto ko lahat ng tao kasundo ko. Tapos sweet pa rin, nando’n pa rin ‘yong pagiging childish ko. Sa set nga, nagugulat ang iba dahil parang ang lakas kong maghubad sa eksena. Then after the scene para akong bata. They are confused. That’s who I am. Trabaho lang.”

Her type of man is someone who resembles actor Matthew Mendoza. “Parang hindi siya makabasag pinggan, tipong hindi ka lolokohin. And he’s a gentleman, baby face talaga, she notes. “Yong guy dapat mabango ang hininga, malinis sa katawan, sweet, and understanding.”

Although she admits she has had two boyfriends before, one from showbiz, and one from non-showbiz. She prefers to stay at home during her free time and shuns the nightlife.

Ara Mina feels that her job is quite fulfilling at present. In her five-year stay in the business, she has been able to buy a condominium unit, a car, and jewelry. The other earnings go to her savings (time deposit) and her family. She rewards herself by shopping for signature clothes and accessories.

“Nakakatuwa dahil at my age, nakakabili na ako ng mga ganitong bagay sa sarili kong kita. . . kung baga sarili kong pagod.”

Older men go for her. Ara Mina reveals that she has received around five “indecent proposals” from different men.

“May nag-alok pa nga sa akin ng house and lot with matching brand new car and allowance. Siyempre ang kapalit no’n iiwanan ko ang career ko,” she revealed. “Yong tipong ibabahay ka. Hindi ko pinapatulan ang mga offers nila kasi kaya ko namang kitain sa sarili ko. Besides, I don’t want to experience what my parents had experienced in the past.”

(Based on the same writer’s exclusive article published at the now-defunct Mirror Weekly Magazine.)

As of a recent update, Ara Mina is experiencing a new “journey” in her personal life. She is now married to her non-showbiz husband, Dave Almarinez, CEO of Philippine International Trading Corporation (PITC). 

Featured photo courtesy of Ara Mina Almarinez Facebook

‘We Proudly Serve Starbucks®’ Coffee elevates service at the Holiday Inn and Suites Makati

The first hotel in the Philippines to bring guests’ favorite Starbucks® coffees within the hotel premises.

Hotel guests in the Philippines can now enjoy Starbucks® favorite handcrafted beverages personalized the way they liked them. This has been made possible with the introduction of the “We Proudly Serve Starbucks®” Coffee Program, which is helping hotels such as Holiday Inn and Suites Makati to elevate their guest experience.

Holiday Inn and Suites Makati recently launched the We Proudly Serve Starbucks® at Citron Café and is proud to share that it is the first hotel in the Philippines to have the We Proudly Serve Starbucks® in the hotel lobby bar.

Awarded as Philippines Leading Business Hotel 2022 by World Travel Awards, Holiday Inn & Suites Makati, an IHG hotel, is a 5-star deluxe hotel perfectly located in Makati’s Central Business and Entertainment District. The hotel’s ideal location provides both business and leisure travelers the convenience of staying in a Makati hotel with its direct access to Ayala Center’s Glorietta Shopping Mall and other commercial establishments.

Mr. Andy Belmonte, General Manager of Holiday Inn and Suites Makati said, “We are very excited to offer this as we elevate our guests’ experience. We believe that this will create a positive response from our guests as they now can enjoy their favorite handcrafted and iconic beverages every day. We are the first hotel in the Philippines and we are proud to offer The We Proudly Serve Starbucks® at Citron Café.”

Holiday Inn and Suites Makati Team together with the Nestle Professional Philippines.

 

The Citron Café has been a favorite spot for morning and afternoon meetings and even walk-in guests can enjoy their Starbucks® coffee any time of the day at the lobby lounge. With the We Proudly Serve Starbucks®, the hotel is elevating its guests’ experience with the premium coffee brand by also making it available for in-room dining and meetings and events. Hotel guests can now enjoy a cup of the We Proudly Serve Starbucks® at the comfort of their rooms or meeting venues, delivering personalized beverages that guests and visitors know and love.

We Proudly Serve Starbucks® at Citron Café is open daily from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm from Sunday to Thursday and 8:00 am to 12:00 am on Friday and Saturday located at Holiday Inn and Suites Makati, lobby level. For more information, visit www.holidayinn.com/makati or call + 63 2 79090888. Find us on Facebook or Instagram at HolidayInnMakati.

Not a member yet? Join the IHG One Rewards to enjoy exclusive discounts and benefits. To download the new IHG One Rewards app, visit the Apple App or Google Play stores.

Starbucks® and Nestle have formed the Global Coffee Alliance to grow the reach of Starbucks brands in food service. Under the alliance, Nestle is an authorized distributor of Starbucks® products in food service channels.

 

#WeProudlyServeStarbucks®   #HolidayInnMakati #rubyspreciousmoments #rubyasoyph