courtesy of Mercator TVIn cooperation with Bluewater Day Spa and Spyder Philippines, the talents of Mercator Artist and Model Management have prepared a hot summer video ad campaign which sizzles with the participation of such familiar pageant faces like Venus Raj, Shamcey Supsup, Kimverlyn Suiza, Mariel de Leon and Cassandra Naidas plus showbiz personalities Benjamin Alves, Daniel Matsunaga, Fabio Ide and Wynn Marquez. Of course, some of their models – Kevin Redder and Ann Casas – are also in the vid.
Years after Bb. Pilipinas Universe 2010 and Miss Universe 2010 4th Runner-Up Maria Venus Raj brought the Philippines pageant honor in Las Vegas, she is now gazing at more charity and advocacy-oriented activities.
During a chat we had early last year, I remember her saying that she sincerely wants to put up a foundation for the education of streetchildren. So I was no longer surprised when she turned out to be one of the speakers during the Youth Convention organized by the Atty. Francis Padua Papica Foundation and attended by thousands of youth leaders from all over the country. Along with the Hon. Leni Robredo, mentor Jonas Gaffud, fellow Beauty Queen Ariella Arida, actor Benjamin Alves, Maestro Ryan Cayabyab, Jim Paredes and more, she spoke to the participants about her journey to success and inspired them to do everything to the best of their abilities to rise above the challenges today.
This speaking engagement should help Venus jumpstart her noble plans for the future. Her leadership skills cannot be ignored. And in just a few years from now, I wouldn’t be surprised if she joins politics in the Bicol Region, if not put into motion her long-cherished dream of putting out-of-school youth inside the classroom.
Your blogger is behind Venus in whatever good endeavor she plans to accomplish in the years to come. 🙂
In case some of you are wondering why I am giving a spot feature to the Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival, your blogger is also a self-confessed indie movie buff who enjoys watching flicks that have moderately off-mainstream appeal. This year, the line-up is particularly special with the presence of some big-name stars as well as plots that are both ground-breaking and innovative in appeal. Do check out seven of the more interesting opuses below:
courtesy of QuantumFilmsProdn
Vilma Santos stars in her first indie movie and Jeffrey Jeturian has the honor of directing her in this one. “Ekstra” (The Bit Player) is a socio-realist drama-comedy which follows a seemingly usual day in the life of Loida Malabanan (Vilma Santos) as she embarks on yet another shooting day of a soap opera as an extra. As the shoot goes on, we get a glimpse of the truth in the ruling system of the production as well as the exploitation on the marginalized laborers like her.
The project is made more luminous with the cameo appearances of Piolo Pascual, Marian Rivera, Cherie Gil, Cherrie Pie Picache and Pilar Pilapil playing their real selves.
courtesy of Christopher Ad. Castillo
The first directorial debut of Christopher Ad. Castillo (yes, he is the son of the late renowned director) takes pride in having Gretchen Barretto – another indie first-timer – in the lead. “The Diplomat Hotel” is about Victoria Lansang (Barretto), a popular news reporter who has been requested to mediate a hostage crisis. And in front of a national television audience, something horribly goes wrong and people are killed while Victoria suffers a mental breakdown. A year later, she’s eager to get back into the game but the only assignment she can get is to do a documentary on the last night of The Diplomat Hotel in Baguio City, a crumbling and abandoned building infamously known for its bloody past and its hauntings and has carved a place in Philippine ghost lore. Looking for redemption, she arrives there with her crew and they start filming. But as they get deeper into the night, the place starts to exert its will on them and they find out exactly what monstrous evil awaits at The Diplomat Hotel.
courtesy of QuantumFilmsProdn
What do you get with the combination of Cinemalaya favorite Eugene Domingo and Japanese actor Yuki Matsuzaki (who has starred in a string of Hollywood films like Letters from Iwo Jima)? Director Leo Abaya’s “Instant Mommy“!
In order to solve a personal predicament, Bechayda (Domingo), a wardrobe assistant in TV commercials, pretends to be pregnant.
The film is one summer’s journey with her as she reaches the fateful decision amidst a highly visualized world where the video screen not only reigns supreme but is also the frame within which a usually unsuspecting public accesses the content of image-makers.
courtesy of Joseph Israel Laban
This is going to be the most controversial entry for 2013, I reckon. Coming from one of GMA-7’s most prolific documentary filmmakers – Joseph Israel Laban – “Nuwebe” is inspired by the actual story of one of the youngest mothers in Philippine history. It follows the story of Krista who at the tender age of 9 got pregnant from the sexual abuse perpetrated by her own father. Her story is complex. Krista refuses to see herself as a victim.
With an almost documentary style, “Nuwebe” follows Krista’s story as she demonstrates a level of resilience uncommon to her age. Her mother on the other hand is torn between her love for her child and her love for her husband.
The movie stars TV child performer Barbara Miguel as Krista, with the support of Anita Linda, Jake Cuenca and Nadine Samonte.
courtesy of MyCinemalaya
Mando, a Bikolano devotee of Ina, Virgin of Peñafrancia, Patroness of Bikolandia, injures himself in the middle of the forest at the foot of the Mayon Volcano. He will be nursed back to health by a mysterious woman, Salome, living there. They will fall in love with each other. But when Mando invites her to come with him to the plains, Salome refuses, saying a curse prohibits her from leaving the forest. Salome holds a secret that will devastate Mando’s love for her. Mando relies on his devotion to the Virgin of Peñafrancia to lift the curse, making him realize just how inextricably linked are the virtues of love and faith.
courtesy of Jerrold Tarog
From one of my favorite indie film directors who has successfully crossed mainstream, Jerrold Tarog is bringing “Sana Dati (rough literal translation: Wish Before) to the festival. Lovi Poe, Benjamin Alves, Paulo Avelino and TJ Trinidad star in this one.
Andrea Gonzaga (Lovi Poe) has accepted her fate by agreeing to marry a man she does not love. But a few hours before her wedding, someone arrives to remind her of the true love she once had and lost. “Sana Dati” is a love story about bittersweet compromises and real-life decisions. It is the third part of Jerrold Tarog’s Camera Trilogy after Confessional and Mangatyanan.
Lastly for this group, there is “Quick Change” which is the second directorial effort of Eduardo Roy, Jr. who brought us the memorable “Bahay Bata” a couple of years back.
courtesy of B0nfire Productions
“Quick Change” casts newcomer Mimi Juareza in the role of Dorina. He is joined by Miggs Cuaderno and Junjun Quintana.
Cinemalaya 2013 (Philippine Independent Film Festival) will run from July 26 to August 4, 2013 with the main venue at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) plus simultaneous showings at select Ayala Mall cinemas. If you’re up to it, then better plan on buying tickets to the more anticipated movies (like Ekstra, Instant Mommy and The Diplomat Hotel) ahead of time so you don’t have to get stuck in long lines for the same.
Do watch out for it, and let’s keep on supporting the local indie filmmaking industry! 🙂
Coffee Prince will premiere. The original version of the hit Koreanovela was aired in Korea back in 2007, and the Philippines a year after. Since then, talks of a Philippine remake circulated throughout various fansites and message boards. Finally, it all came together and with the loveteam of Aljur Abrenica and Kris Bernal playing the lead roles of Arthur and Andie, respectively. Lending major support to the two are Benjamin Alves as Errol and Max Collins as Arlene – two important characters in the series.
courtesy of GMANetwork
Directed by actor Ricky Davao, Coffee Prince takes pride in assembling an impressive cast to make the romance-comedy more appealing to the masses. There are senior artists Leo Martinez, Celia Rodriguez, Tessie Tomas, Ronnie Henares and Ces Quesada, together with Boy2 Quizon, Fabio Ide, Sef Cadayona, Steven Silva and Kim Komatsu.
Watch Coffee Prince on GMA Telebabad. It will start at around 9:30PM. 😉
Mercator Artist and Model Management, Inc. is to fashion, entertainment and beauty pageants as MercatorTV is to virtual and visual appreciation of the outstanding talents that the company has to offer. The new website takes things two steps forward by proudly putting together the past and present achievements that define how far its services have evolved as the ‘go-to’ specialists in the highly competitive sectors they have flourished in.
Celebrity-models? or Model-Celebrities? How do you categorize thee? Consider the names Venus Raj, Shamcey Supsup, Mikael Daez, JC Tiuseco, Benjamin Alves, Daniel Matsunaga, Fabio Ide, Akihiro Sato, Benjo Leoncio, Lemuelle Pelayo, Ervic Vijandre, Kerbie Zamora and more. You see and hear them on the boob tube or the big screen. And if that’s not enough, the company makes playing field of the country’s three big networks – ABS-CBN, GMA-7 and TV5. They have representative personalities in each station which only goes to show that the seed of trust has already been planted in its’ talents. In the film industry, Regal Entertainment signed up quite a number of them to star in both commercial & indie movies. Most notable are Venus Raj in “Pridyider” which opened this week, Benjamin Alves in the recently-released “Guni Guni” plus JC Tiuseco/Fabio Ide in the soon-to-open “Ride to Love” and Mikael Daez in last year’s “Temptation Island” remake.
The catwalk and glossy pages of fashion magazines reign supreme here. Be it for high-profile fashion spreads, mainstream TV commercials or well-placed print advertisements, Mercator provides the best possible models to fill in the project. What sets them apart is the fact that crossing over to show business or beauty pageants has become a continuous option for individuals initially molded as photographic subjects and/or skilled ramp gliders.
Aces & Queens
I must admit. Aces & Queens is my personal favorite among the three branches of MercatorTV. I’m a pageant blogger, after all. Truthfully, this is where the people at Mercator pour their labor of love. Plucking raw and unpolished ladies and turning them into gems of world-class beauty standards is not the easiest thing to do. But train hard they continue in the efforts of coming up with Filipinas who can make us proud in the international stage of competition. As a result, their track record for more than one decade now is nothing short of enviable – eight (8) Miss Universe representatives, four (4) Miss World delegates and two (2) Miss International entries.
Things can only get better from this point for Mercator. Aside from becoming more aggressive in building its pool of talents, Mercator Artist and Model Management, Inc. is ready to diversify their interests in the years to come.
See, read and watch what the fuss is all about. 🙂
At 9:00AM sharp last Saturday, September 15, Mercator Artist and Model Management, Inc. opened its doors to young men and women who have expressed their interests in pursuing a possible career in modeling and showbiz, plus a chance to become one of its’ future beauty queens. The 2nd Floor of Renaissance Bldg. in Legaspi Village was abuzz with activity, what with the continuous presence of young wannabes from all walks of life.
Brapanese TV actor/model Daniel Matsunaga and the beautiful MJ Lastimosa headed the morning team, while the more loaded afternoon session was placed in the hands of beauty queens Venus Raj and Queenie Rehman with the help of actor Benjamin Alves and Mercator Head Jonas Gaffud. Altogether, they warmly accepted all comers, giving everyone a fair shot at the opportunity of being handled by one of the more successful award-winning talent management companies in the country today.
As the saying in the fashion world goes, if you can talk the talk, then you must be able to walk the walk. Girls who can stand on their high heels and navigate a long straight line without slipping should be able to move beyond the reception area as sign of advancement. The same goes on the male side. If the body rhythm falls within set standards, then off to the next level of consideration they go.
Calling out prospective aces from a long line-up of jacks (both locally-based and fly-ins) can be a daunting task – a cute face here, nice abs there, piercing looks over there and meaningful smiles everywhere. It’s not enough that an applicant has one or two best assets to cover for distinct flaws. A marked charm and appeal should be inherent, helped of course by clear skin, nice manly built and a face that is evidently more masculine than androgynous.
A small handful of the male aspirants hang on to guts in search of their share of glory. They were rewarded with a few minutes of time from the panelists and a heartfelt ‘thank-you’ afterwards. The obvious picks have already been selected.
Flashing their pearlie whites, ladies blessed with trim and decently-shaped figures and preferably sporting long tresses joined the queue. Knowing that they may also be shortlisted for training in beauty pageant participation, these hopefuls tried their best to step up to the plate and leave a lasting impression to the judges. Good height & posture and stand-out facial features plus that ever-so-indefinable ‘X’ factor were used as parameters. A few vertically-challenged ones were brave enough to pull in some attention, but only to the extent that their taller counterparts started firming up their clear advantage.
And just so you would know, Mercator reached out to transgender applicants as well. It won’t be long until you see one or two landing a key project under its wings.
By early evening of September 15, the dust has settled. A successful go-see saw off its last eager beaver to the door. The shortlist has been filled up. Let me add that the faces you see in this post are just samplings of what Mercator may (or may not) groom in the months to come. There are more prospects who – for now – will remain under wraps. Call them the best of the day’s lot, or future ‘secret weapons’ if you will. 😉