Friday, August 19, 2016

Casa Santa for your daily dose of Christmas!

The Philippines is one country that is crazy about Christmas. It is often said that the longest celebration happens in this mostly Catholic country. 

So if you are already excited about Christmas then you should head to Jardin de Miramar. Inside is where you an experience Christmas in a house called Casa Santa

The outside looks like a ginger bread house, something again associated with the holiday There are Santa's already on the outside with pine cones hanging from the ceiling. 

Once you go in, you will marvel at the scale of the collection. Everything you see is Santa. In all shapes and sizes. Truly amazing!

Sunday, August 7, 2016


Starring Belinda Davids

This breathtaking production, featuring the impeccable vocal talents of South Africa’s Belinda Davids, is a beautifully crafted tribute to one of the world’s most revered singers. Accompanied by a full band and dancers, Davids performs over two hours of Whitney Houston’s best loved pop hits live on stage.

And there is no person better equipped to do so. In addition to having a voice described as “jaw-droppingly similar” to the pop diva, Davids openly acknowledges that Houston is her personal idol and was the original inspiration for her own career when she began singing at the age of 14.

“I want people to come and remember Whitney when she was at the top of her game and when she was fabulous”, says Davids.

And people all over the world have done exactly that, with South Africa, New Zealand, Singapore, Canada and the USA already hosting sold-out performances in the show’s first two years of touring.

The show includes 20 of Houston’s most popular tracks taken from the full span of her career, including ‘I Will Always Love You’, ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’, ‘Didn’t We Almost Have It All’, ‘I’m Every Woman’, ‘Exhale (Shoop Shoop)’, ‘Million Dollar Bill’ and more.

Davids is directed by Showtime Management Creative Director John Van Grinsven Snr. and joined on tour by the production team responsible for the worldwide hit tribute show Michael Jackson HIStory.

Belinda Davids

Belinda Davids was born in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, and began performing professionally at the age of 14. She has never had vocal training and is blessed with a 4 octave vocal range, and hence the ability to sing any genre. Her musical heart has always been R&B; Belinda's inspirations as a child were Aretha Franklin, Anita Baker, Chaka Khan, Donny Hathaway, Michael Jackson and the one artist whom she still, to this day, honours in every show she performs – Whitney Houston.

As a young girl one of the very first LP’s Davids ever owned was a song called “Hold Me” by Teddy Pendergrass and Whitney Houston. The quality and style Whitney portrayed in this song struck a cord and Davids’ fascination with the icon grew. She sang Whitney’s music at every chance: at family gatherings, talent competitions and to friends whilst playing on the street. Like many young girls at that time her bedroom walls were plastered with posters and magazine cut-outs of the icon. Whitney’s influence was so strong it inspired everything from her dress sense to her hairstyles.

As a young woman Belinda had the burning desire to live out her dreams and follow in her idols footsteps. She took on the club circuit and her performances left many people amazed at how similar she sounded to the icon.

In the mid 90’s Belinda caught the eye of record executives at Tusk Records, which spawned the album “Belinda Davids”. Three of the songs on this album, which Belinda wrote, were released as singles: “This I Swear”, “This Is My Life” and “We Go Together”. The latter was number one for six weeks in South Africa.

Davids promoted her album all over South Africa for a number of years at various hotels, clubs & cabarets. She opened shows for many international acts when they visited South Africa including Michael Jackson’s History Tour, The Manhattans, The Temptations and Peaches and Herbs. Years after her debut album Davids decided to travel abroad to expand her musical career, which took her to Dubai, London and Hong Kong to perform in major hotels and clubs, with renowned success.

Whilst performing “I Will Always Love You” at a hotel in Hong Kong she was requested by the audience to sing acapella as they thought she was lip-syncing to the original Whitney Houston song, after which she received a standing ovation.

After many years on the road she finally settled in Los Angeles where she started to focus on getting her solo career back on track. In L.A she collaborated with R&B singer/producer Sam Salter who worked on a couple of her promotional tracks. She also caught the attention of many R&B artists who asked her to perform and tour with them, such as Keyshia Cole, Monica, Johnny Gill, Kelly Price and Keri Hilson. She appeared on The Jay Leno Show and The George Lopez Show as a back-up vocalist for Monica.

In 2015 Belinda Davids will once again showcase her exquisite voice as she takes on the lead role in the Showtime Management production, The Greatest Love of All – The Whitney Houston Show, a show dedicated to keeping alive the music and spirit of the late, great and incomparable Whitney Houston.


“The soul of Whitney Houston is not only alive on the Mandela Stage but its effortless, mesmerizing and in full voice. Don't believe me? You will.”
- Rave Review

“If you had walked into the iZulu Theatre blindfolded and listened to the opening song, you would be forgiven for thinking you were listening to Houston herself, Davids is that good.”
- ToNight

“The iconic Egyptian-like shake of the head, the smile, the clicking fingers and open arms that accompany the countless high notes, all attest to David’s knowledge of the character is she portraying.”

“I saw Whitney live in concert twice. Belinda Davids’ show featuring her songs was, dare I say, better.”
-       Kay Sexwale

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Somewhere in Nueva Ecija

Here is another adventure with the Lakad Pamana guys.

It starts at this great place to eat, Arki's Tambayan. They have great food, good people and a really nice and cozy environment. With a price that won't make you poor.

Then this ordinary looking house at the front hides something amazing. The owner told us that the house was cut in half in order to give way to a road that was built at the back. By the way, at this part of the tour we have already reach Gapan, Nueva Ecija.

Some pictures are ugly because I was just using my phone camera, which is not so good with certain kinds of lighting.

Then we move to the heart of Gapan. We started with the old abandoned municipal hall. I wish they can do something about it. It was once used as a school and then  abandoned again.

Then we see this house said to be owned by Jay Taruc. Don't you want to tear down those ugly campaign banners? They are such an eyesore to heritage.

Here is a much more wonderful house said to be owned by Eula Valdez. Now that is one fine house with a family with also a name to boast of.

Then we go to the Church. We start at the old convent turned into an event hall. Since this is not a congregation run Church expect a lot of interesting things happen since original plan.

This is the National Shrine of the Divina Pastora. The Church also gives honor to the Three Kings.

The Church's foundation was laid in 1856 by the Agustinians.

There is this wonderful house of the Cuison Family near the Church.

Then we have this monstrosity of a place called Minalungao Park.

The place is overcrowded and badly planned. The parking is crazy and its over crowded. Maybe because it was summer.

The area has signs of destruction due to reasons beyond me. I think its because of mining for its rocks.

But lets for get that for now and enjoy another wonderful meal.

At least the view gets better when you go deeper. The water much clean.

There is also a thousand step climb to a cross nearby. It's a challenge to do for a person like me but if you are determined you can see the top and experience a wonderful view.

Sorry I was too tired to take a picture of the cross. Midway there is also a tomb of a Korean who donated money for such a journey.