#MH17 site : “the biggest crime scene in the world”

Update: Malaysian Airlines releases passenger manifest of those onboard MH17.
It also announced it will retire flight number MH17 for its Amsterdam-Kuala Lumpur route. This will be replaced by MH 19 – AMS/KUL

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Like many others, am following with great interest the updates on MH17. Luckily, an old friend from the 1990s, former journalist Michael Bociurkiw (or BBQ, as we called him in Manila) is right there at the scene now as the spokesperson of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). I just have to follow his Facebook updates to know the situation in the crash site itself.

Here are some snippets of Bociurkiw’s interview with CNN last Saturday:

“We were able to see the tailfin and we counted dozens of bodies. We are starting to see decomposition.”

“Armed guards limited the amount of area we could observe. It’s a very difficult, complicated and dangerous environment.”

The news further quoted him as saying: “It basically looks like one of the biggest, or the biggest, crime scenes in the world right now, guarded by a bunch of guys in uniform with heavy fire power, who are quite inhospitable.”

Bociurkiw (@mikeybbq on Twitter) said the crash site of MH17 is in same area in Donetsk “where four of our international civilian colleagues were kidnapped more than a month ago.” He posted this photo an armed man guarding the place-

donetsk

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Airline employee and Pinoy family perished in #MH17 flight

I went to work this morning shocked that another Malaysian Airlines flight perished in midair near Ukraine. This can’t be true. How could another B777 from the same airline company be targetted? Are the days of flying as a safe means of transport over?

A few days before, a friend intimated to me that she was still flying Malaysian airlines because the probability of another MH plane going down or meeting an accident was nil. Like 1 in 11 million. Then the MH17 shootdown happened. It makes me think that travellers are entirely helpless from being protected against the double threats of war and terrorism. We can only pray.

Like most people following the news, I was interested about the identities of the three Filipinos onboard flight MH 17. Maybe they were seafarers or contract workers? I tried finding the flight manifest online but it seems the names haven’t been released yet.A little investigation on Facebook revealed that the fatalities of the plane crash included Budy Janto Gunawan, his Filipino partner Irene Nene Pabellon and their two grown-up kids Sherryl Shania Gunawan, 15, and Darryl Dwight Gunawan, 20. Budy is a long-time Malaysian Airlines employee stationed at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam. Irene is from Quezon Province.

MH17

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Oishi Make Your Own Snack 2014

Oishi’s Make Your Own Snack event at the Glorietta 2 Activity Center was the highlight of our July 6 weekend. A few days before, I received the official invite which was in the form of a personalized giant sack filled with Oishi goodies. Who can resist? It was taller than my 4-year old daughter :)

Oishi

On that Sunday itself, my kids were more excited than me. It was because they knew that their crushes, Daniel Padilla and Kathryn Bernardo were going to be there.I can’t tell you enough how popular this celebrity tandem is, and it’s good that they’re Oishi endorsers. Glorietta 2 was filled to the max with poster-toting, screaming fans!

This was the crowd when people were just starting to arrive in the venue…

Glorietta 2

Okay, here it is: Kathniel! They did a song number.

Kathniel

The five members of Team O on stage (from left): Slater Young, Daniel, Kathryn, Elmo Magalona and Ramon Bautista.

Team O

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Miss Scuba Philippines 2014: call for applications

Saturday night at Nuvo in Greenbelt, I was glad to be acquainted with a very unique beauty contest: Miss Scuba Philippines. Its aim is to raise awareness for the preservation of the oceans. To be qualified, a participant of the pageant must not only be gorgeous. She must have basic diving skills; not to mention, sufficient knowledge of marine conservation and scuba tourism. Way to go!

Miss ScubaPhilippines2014

Miss Scuba Philippines 2014 is the local edition of Miss Scuba International founded by businessman Robert Lo, proprietor of the Sipadan Mabul Resort and Mabul Water Bungalows in Malaysia. The pageant was held for the first time in 2011, followed by Bali in 2012. In the 2013 event, Philippine representative Christine Paula Love Bernasor placed first runner-up to Jamie Lee Faulkner of the United Kingdom.

Christine Bernasor

For 2014, everyone’s wish is to have a Filipina to be proclaimed Miss Scuba International. This hope was intimated by no less than the Cebu-based organizers led by Charles Lim of SELRAHCO, the official event manager.

Miss Scuba Phils. 2014

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Kathryn Bernardo for Smart C+!

One of today’s hottest young stars, Kathryn Bernardo, is the newest endorser of Smart C+! We think it’s the right choice because Kathryn is one of the most refreshing faces around. She showed up in the presscon at Aracama wearing this printed top & bright yellow skirt. My son later castigated me for not tagging him along (go figure!) Every young boy in town seems to be dreaming of Kathryn Kathryn :)

kathryn

The presscon had a travel theme. It’s easy to see why: when we’re on the go, we need to be hydrated always. Smart C+ is the right choice with its delicious citrus flavors: Lemon Squeeze, Orange Crush, and Pomelo Grapefruit.

From Kathryn, we learned that she likes to travel when her busy schedule permits -from river rafting in the Cagayan Valley to swimming with the whale sharks in Oslob Cebu. We’re excited to see what kind of adventures are lined up for her and the rest of the Smart C+ gang which also includes her onscreen partner Daniel Padilla, Elmo Magalona, Slater Young and Ramon Bautista.

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Society Lounge chef at The Maya Kitchen

Chef-owner Patrice Freuslon of Society Lounge or S Lounge topbills The Maya Kitchen’s demo for the month tomorrow , May 17, Saturday, from 9am-1pm at Liberty Building in Makati City.

Chef-Owner Patrice Freuslon of Society Lounge (2) (1)

Chef Patrice will demonstrate how to cook the following gourmet French dishes:

Foie Gras Crème Brûlée, (duck liver, crème, eggs, spice)

Shitake Mushroom Risotto with Coriander Pesto (Arborio rice, chicken stock, fresh mushroom, dry shitake, fresh cream, parmesan, fresh coriander, nuts, olive oil, parmesan)

Seared Scallop with Apple Cider (scallop, fresh apple, apple cider, butter)

Roasted Duck with Mango and Black Pepper Sauce (filet of duck, fresh mango, black pepper, demi glace)

…. and Chocolate Chips Chouquettes (pate a choux and chocolate chips)

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Up close & personal with Luis Manzano for #Sensodyne

I’ve been hobnobbing with lots of showbiz stars for blogger coverages lately (one of the perks of the trade). And of those I encountered, I find Matteo Guidicelli and Luis Manzano to be the most well-bred, articulate of the bunch.

On Luis: interviews with him these days naturally center on his girlfriend Angel Locsin who he has reconciled with recently.He said he is “happy, content and secure” with the relationship, “communication is open,” and he admits that marriage may be in the horizon.

Luis Manzano

“We have talked about the future in a casual way because we are not getting any younger. I’m 32 and she’s 29. But these things, you gotta prepare. I attended Iya Villania’s wedding recently and found out that engagement rings can cost from P 2 to P3 million so malamang, sa Adoration Chapel na lang ako ikakasal nito..hahaha.” (FYI Luis… the rock Catherine Zeta-Jones got from Michael Douglas indeed cost 2.5 million..in US dollars, LOL)

One thing Luis share with his gf Angel is the passion for worthwhile causes.He has the Luis Manzano Foundation (LMF) which provides free medical-dental missions, scholarship grants to poor children and assistance to calamity victims. Among his foundation’s beneficiaries so far are the Quezon City Jail Female Dormitory in Camp Karingal, Bantay Bata 163, the East Avenue Medical Center and the National Children’s Hospital.

Most recently, Luis signed up as an ambassador for Sensodyne’s ‘Say No To Ngilo’ campaign (pangingilo is the Pilipino word for sensitive teeth, such as the sharp, quick pain one feels in the mouth when ingesting something hot, or cold).

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Behind the scenes at the Bb.Pilipinas 2014 coronation night

By now, you guys already know who the winners of Bb. Pilipinas 2014 are. We’re proud to say that our predictions, as contained in this post, were right on 100%! The sad exception was Pia Wurtzbach who was in the semi-finals but did not place this year. However, if it’s any consolation, Mary Jean Lastimosa – this year’s Bb. Pilipinas Universe – won on her third try in the pageant.

Here’s an original photo I took of Mary Jean (middle) and the whole court of beauties after the winners were announced.A lot of people were saying this year’s contestants were really gorgeous. We agree: they’re getting better every year!

Note: aside from knowing how to play the violin, MJ Lastimosa has a 21-inch waist! :)

Bb Pilipinas 2014

From left: 2nd runner up, Hannah Ruth Sison; Bb.Pilipinas Tourism Parul Shah; Bb. Pilipinas Intercontinental Kris Tiffany Janson; Lastimosa; Bb. Pilipinas International Bianca Guidotti; Bb. Pilipinas Supranational Yvethe Santiago; and 1st runner-up Laura Lehmann.

Anyway, it was my first time to see a Miss Universe in real life. I was this close to Gabriela Isler. At least she looked human because I saw a lot of freckles on her neckline. hehe.

Gabriela Isler

Bb. Pilipinas Universe 2010 Venus Raj in a Francis Libiran studded gown and Russian pop star Emin

Emin & Venus Raj

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Bb. Pilipinas 2014: our final top 13 picks!

It’s that time of the year again! One or twice a year, am persuaded by my gay friends to be beauty queen-obsessed for this blog. Thanks to them, I’ve developed this radar for sensing who’s got the X-factor and possessed of those ‘winnable looks.’ It helps that for the past three years, I’ve also covered the Bb. Pilipinas pageant live at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. This year won’t be any different. Am so excited for Sunday when Bb. Pilipinas 2014 unfolds! Thanks in advance to Bb. Pilipinas Charities Inc. for our front row tickets :)

During the Cream Silk gala dinner this week at the Puerta Real Gardens in Intramuros, it was a pleasure seeing all outgoing Bb. Pilipinas titleholders. They really did the country proud by getting world beauty titles last year. From left: Bea Rose Santiago bested 71 beauties from around the world to win Miss International in Tokyo, Japan in December; Joanna Cindy Miranda finished in the Top 10 in the Miss Tourism International tilt held in China; Ariella ‘Ara’ Arida placed 3rd runner-up in Miss Universe; and Mutya Datul was proclaimed Miss Supranational in Belarus, Eastern Europe.

Bb. Pilipinas 2013 winners

In a previous post, I named the following as our strongest bets for the Bb. Pilipinas crown in 2014:

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Free Bruno Mars concert tickets via Max’s

2014 Project BM Web Ad

It may seem like a tall order but here’s your last chance to score free tickets to the Bruno Mars concert happening at the SM Mall of Asia MOA Arena on Saturday, March 22.

All-Filipino restaurant Max’s has been giving away the free tickets in its Facebook page the last few weeks in line with its role as the official restaurant of ‘The Moonshine Jungle Tour: Bruno Mars Live in Manila’ concert.

Just ‘like’ Max’s on Facebook and fill up the online entry form to win free concert tickets. Every day, one fan will be chosen to win 2 Moonshine Jungle tickets for free!

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