‘The Voice Kids’ amazing discoveries ensure steady supply of singing superstars

The Voice Kids Blind Auditions proved that indeed the Philippines is a rich, if not the richest, source of singing talents.


Young as they may – from eight to 14 years old whether boys or girls – homegrown talents can compare with the best of those overseas, not only with the franchises of the show in different countries but even with the The Voice main edition.


Since Day 1 of the telecast, not just two dozens or even four dozens turned out to be really vocally outstanding. Few came with training behind them, but majority performed armed only with their natural weapon – their voice in its raw, beautiful form.

There had been truly impressive ones who made all three coaches turned for them and then faced with the dilemma as to who they wanted to be their mentor.

However, early viewers’ favorites are those who did not necessarily get all three coaches say, “I Want You.”


Nine-year-old Lyca Gairanod, who sang Halik by Aegis, secured her place with Sarah Geronimo solely turning for her. Her teaser video on YouTube http://youtu.be/u8xmFBwq8Rs has reached 1,960,559 views so far and third in running. Full video is at http://entertainment.abs-cbn.com/tv/shows/thevoicekids/videos/2014/05/25/halik-by-lyca-gairanod.

Perky Juan Karlos Labajo from Cebu, who got Bamboo and Sarah turn for him with his rendition of Adam Sandler’s Grow Old With You, breached the two-million mark on YouTube for the The Voice Kids http://youtu.be/QRyU5oSuh14. His teaser video now has registered 2,231,579 views. Juan Karlos’ full audition video is at http://entertainment.abs-cbn.com/tv/shows/thevoicekids/videos/2014/06/07/grow-old-with-you-by-juan-karlos.


Darren Espanto set social media on fire soon after his performance of Domino. People became curious about this 12-year-old who was born and grew up in Canada but speaks Tagalog as if his family never left the country.

Because Darren auditioned (or his audition was telecast) later, his YouTube teaser video has lower hits with 1,712,494.

(See related story Canada-based Pinoy singing sensation Darren Espano sets social media afire with The Voice Kids blind audition, chooses Sarah G. as coach https://arloc888.wordpress.com/2014/06/03/canada-based-pinoy-singing-sensation-darren-espanto-sets-social-media-afire-with-the-voice-kids-blind-audition-chooses-sarah-g-as-coach/)

Click link for Darren’s full audition video http://entertainment.abs-cbn.com/tv/shows/thevoicekids/videos/2014/06/01/domino-by-darren and his interview before hitting the stage http://entertainment.abs-cbn.com/tv/shows/thevoicekids/videos/2014/06/04/host-luis-chats-with-darren-at-the-foyer.


Third-grader eight-year-old Angelico (or Echo) who sings a la Bee Gees with his Too Much Heaven audition piece had all three coaches turn for him but chose Lea Salonga as his coach. His teaser video is now #1 with 2,405,174 views http://youtu.be/jSr3e5pDuDA. Full performance video at http://entertainment.abs-cbn.com/tv/shows/thevoicekids/videos/2014/05/31/too-much-heaven-by-echo.


Of the latter auditionees, Grace Alade caught the fancy of both viewers and the coaches with her Try It On My Own piece, which made Lea say she out-Whitneyed Whitney Houston. Full video at http://entertainment.abs-cbn.com/tv/shows/thevoicekids/videos/2014/06/22/try-it-on-my-own-by-grace.

Even those who did not merit a turn by any of the coaches, like Nichole who sang the Ilocano ditty Dundunguwen, still has future in singing http://entertainment.abs-cbn.com/tv/shows/thevoicekids/videos/2014/06/21/dungdungwen-by-nichole.

The setback in this competition is that the best ones are pitted against each other where only one of three will advance to the next stage.


In the Battles starting this Saturday, Team Lea goes first – with Giedie vs Angel vs Grace, Angelique vs Rein vs Jimboy, Mariane vs Karla vs Darlene, Kobe vs Lorenzo vs Shanne, Eufritz vs Koko vs Camille, and Ton-Ton vs Genmarie vs Echo.

Whoever advances among the 18 will go to the Sing-Off on Sunday, until only two remain.

Coach Lea’s dilemma?

“The good news is I really have a strong team. The bad news is I really have a strong team,” she said.


With 18 members each team, all 54 passers ensure steady supply of singing talents for Philippine entertainment in the next many, many years.

No doubt, whoever wins deserves the title, distinction and accolades. The most refreshing news for everyone, though, is knowing that the country will never run out of future stars – be it on stage, recording or screen with these amazing discoveries.


Posted here are links to select Blind Auditions videos which would lead to the rest of the videos at http://entertainment.abs-cbn.com/tv/shows/thevoicekids/videos:


Since its initial telecast on May 24, The Voice Kids has been lording over the ratings not only for weekend programming but also in general weekly programming. As of June 23, the Saturday edition garnered 34.1% viewership and the Sunday edition even higher at 36.1%.

Updated 6/30/14: Shanne, Ton-Ton, Darlene, Eufritz, Angel and Jimboy advanced to the Battles. Then in the Sing-Off, Darlene and Ton-Ton advance to the Semi-Finals, waiting for the Top 2 from Coach Bamboo and Coach Sarah’s teams.

Clink link to watch Ton-Ton’s performance in the Sing-Off http://youtu.be/ykZUF-zsLBg

Click link to watch Darlene’s performance in the Sing-Off http://youtu.be/Zgq3lknKH7M

The Voice Kids is hosted by Luis Manzano and Alex Gonzaga and airs Saturdays at 6:45 p.m. and Sundays at 7:30 p.m. on ABS-CBN.


MU2014 Watch: US vs PH reprise seen; Thais push delegate to online votes lead; Latinas and Europeans coming strong

Some 46 countries have already selected their delegates to the Miss Universe 2014 Pageant. Others are still in the process of sifting the chaff from the grain as to who should be sent to contend for the Nexus crown after Gabriela Isler of Venezuela.


Miss Philippines Mary Jean Lastimosa

USA holds the record of having the most Miss Universe wins (8 – 1954, 1956, 1960, 1967, 1980, 1995, 1997, 2012), followed by Venezuela (7 – 1979, 1981, 1986, 1996, 2008, 2009, 2013), Puerto Rico (5 – 1970, 1985, 1993, 2001, 2006) then Sweden (3 – 1955, 1966, 1984).


Miss USA Nia Sanchez

The Philippines is one of only four countries from Asia and Oceania with two winners – 1969 and 1973.

The other three are Japan (1959 and 2007), Australia (1972 and 2004), Thailand (1965 and 1988) and India (1994 and 2000).


Miss USA and Miss Philippines were 1st Runner-up and Miss Universe respectively in 1973

In 1973, Miss USA Amanda Jones was First Runner-Up and Miss Philippines Margarita Moran became the second Filipina Miss Universe after Gloria Diaz in 1969. USA was in Top 15 when Gloria won.


Miss Philippines and Miss USA were 1st Runner-Up and Miss Universe respectively in 2012

In 2012, Miss Philippines Janine Marie Tugonon and Miss USA Olivia Culpo were the last two girls standing before the announcement of the new Miss Universe. Everyone knows that Olivia won and Janine was First Runner-Up.

Although there had been rumors that the American beauty was two months pregnant on the day she was to crown her successor (and if it was indeed true then Janine should have been given the crown) in Moscow, Russia no dethronement happened and Olivia finished her reign without missing a second.

In 1999, Miss Philippines Miriam Quiambao and Miss Botswana Mpule Kwelagobe were the two left standing on centerstage at the Chaguaramas Convention Center in Trinidad and Tobago. Miriam was First Runner-Up and Mpule became the fourth Black woman to win the title after Miss Trinidad and Tobago Wendy Fritzwilliam in 1998, Miss USA Chelsi Smith in 1995 and Miss Trinidad and Tobago Janelle Commisiong in 1977. Kwelagobe was the first Black African to win Miss Universe.

By record, the Philippines is by far the only country that entered the Top 5 for four consecutive years – Venus Raj 4th Runner-Up to Miss Universe 2010 Ximena Navarrete of Mexico, Shamcey Supsup 3rd Runner-Up to Miss Universe 2011 Leila Lopes of Angola, Janine 1st Runner-Up to Olivia in 2012 and Ariella Arida 3rd Runner-Up to Miss Universe 2013 Gabriela Isler of Venezuela.


Miss Peru Jimena Espinoza

Miss Philippines Mary Jean Lastimosa is among top picks of beauty pageant aficionados worldwide (including Latin powerhouse Venezuela) except in Peru where their own candidate is their pick to wear the Nexus crown next and MJ is not even in their Top 16.

With the crowning of Miss USA Nia Sanchez of Nevada, many see that there could be a reprise of what happened in Las Vegas in 2012 or in Athens, Greece in 1973.

Second chances and more

Both MJ and Nia are believers and shining exemplars of second chances, or even more.

The first time she joined Binibining Pilipinas (the springboard to Miss Universe, Miss International, Miss Supranational and Miss Tourism Queen International), MJ placed 2nd Runner-Up. The second time she joined she was only in Top 15. Then this year, already at 26, supporters pushed her to try again the third time – and so she won, with no less than MUO (Miss Universe Organization) president Paula Shugart among the judges and Gabriela Isler with Ariella Arida crowning her.


Miss Russia Yulia Aripova

Nia was said to have joined Miss California three times but did not make it. She secured a place in Nevada and fulfilled residency requirement then joined the state pageant on the way to the Miss USA crown. She’s 24.

Both professionals and tempered by experience, MJ and Nia are touted to be the most ripe for the 2014 Nexus crown.

Let’s take a look at how the Philippines fared in the other years when Miss USA became Miss Universe and how each placed when the pageant was held in the Philippines two times.


Miss Colombia Paulina Vega

USA first won the crown in 1954. PH did not place (representative was Blesilda Ocampo). In 1956, the second time USA got the crown, the Philippine rep (Edith Nakpil) chose not to go. USA got its third crown in 1960 and PH had no delegate. In 1967, USA got its fourth title, and Miss Philippines Pilar Pilapil did not place.


Miss Puerto Rico Gabriela Berrios

In 1980, USA got its fifth crown with Shawn Weatherly and Miss Philippines Maria Rosario Silayan was 3rd Runner-Up. In 1995, USA got its sixth Miss Universe title through Chelsi Smith. Joanne Quintas did not place. In 1997, Brook Lee won USA’s seventh crown and Miss Philippines Abbygale Arenas was Miss Photogenic.


Miss Panama Yomatzy Hazlewood

In 1974, Manila hosted the pageant with Miss Spain Amparo Munoz winning the crown. Both USA (Karen Morrison) and PH (Guadalupe Sanchez) made it to Top 12.

Twenty years after first hosting the event, Sushmita Sen of India was crowned Miss Universe 1994 in Manila. USA (Lu Parker) and PH (Charlene Gonzales) were in Top 6.

Thais propel candidate to online voting lead

If Thai people can topple their governments they, too, can pressure their beauty queen to resign, which was what happened to Weluree Ditsayabut.


Miss Thailand Pimbongkod Chankaew

Upon proclamation as Thailand’s official candidate to Miss Universe 2014, 1st Runner-Up Pimbongkod Chankaew immediately was propelled to the #1 spot dislodging Miss Philippines in both Beauty Pageant Grand Slam (BPGS) and Missosology’s Miss Universe People’s Choice Poll online voting.

In 1965, Thailand got its first Miss Universe title through Apasra Hongsakula. Miss USA Sue Downey was 2nd Runner-Up and Miss Philippines Louise Aurelio was Top 15.

In 1988, Portnip Nakhirunkanok won Thailand’s second Miss Universe crown. Miss USA was in Top 10 and Miss Philippines Perfidia Limpin did not place.


Miss Indonesia Elvira Devinamira

Another candidate getting strong support in online voting is Miss Indonesia Elvira Devinamira, who’s third in both polls.

Latinas, Europeans coming strong

Latinas and Europeans almost always dominate world beauty pageants. As in previous editions of Miss Universe, this year is no different with the candidates from these continents coming strong: Venezuela, Colombia, Panama, Peru, Mexico, Russia, Ukraine, France, Netherlands. Italy will choose its delegate on July 6.


Miss Ukraine Anna Andres

South Africa, Angola, Australia and New Zealand are also making noise or drawing a lot of attention among beauty pageant aficionados.

Date and venue TBA

Miss Universe 2014 was first announced to be held in Brazil (which hosted the pageant in 2011) in Fortaleza but by late March, MUO said the pageant would not be held in said city anymore.


Miss South Africa Rolene Strauss

One of the reasons seen why Paula Shugart came to Manila to attend the crowning of Miss Universe Philippines 2014 was the possibility of Manila hosting the event again. But Filipino fans have been saying they don’t like the idea of their candidate winning the crown in the host country if ever.


Miss New Zealand Arielle Garcillano

China is considered as possible host country, but Miss Universe may also go back to Las Vegas, Nevada (home state of Miss USA).

The date is said to be sometime in November.


Miss France Flora Coquerel

For updates, visit www.missuniverse.com, https://www.facebook.com/BeautyPageantGS and https://www.facebook.com/missosology.info



Related stories in this blog: Beauty powerhouse Philippines ends 2013 with a big bang, starts 2014 with aplomb https://arloc888.wordpress.com/2014/01/01/beauty-powerhouse-philippines-ends-2013-with-a-big-bang-starts-2014-with-aplomb/ and Philippines sure to sustain winning streak, maintain powerhouse position with newly-crowned queens https://arloc888.wordpress.com/2014/03/31/philippines-sure-to-sustain-winning-streak-maintain-powerhouse-position-with-newly-crowned-queens.

Of International Male Pageants And The Filipino Man

There used to be only one acknowledged international contest for men, and that was Mr. Universe – a bodybuilding competition that produced winners and eventual screen heroes Lou Ferrigno (Incredible Hulk) and Arnold Schwarzenegger (Conan, Terminator).


Mr. World Philippines 2014 John De Lara Spainhour

In the ‘90s, the game changed. There came a proliferation of male international pageants. If there is always a celebration for woman pulchritude, why not for the dominant species of the human race?

In the Philippines – in campuses, barangays and towns – if there is maganda (beautiful), there is the corresponding makisig (handsome). They come out and are displayed during fairs, foundation day celebrations, fiestas and Santacruzans.

Spearheading national male pageants was Ginoong Filipinas. However, it was (and still is) seen as display of the male body to satisfy the ogling eyes of the gay population.

Then came other pageants of international scope, like Manhunt International which started in Singapore in 1993. The inaugural competition was won by Mr. Germany Thomas Sasse. Mr. Philippines Aaron Small was 3rd Runner-Up and also won Mr. Physique.

In 1994, Greece won and Philippines did not place, same as the following year when South Africa won the title. There was no pageant held in 1996.

In 1997, New Zealand won, and Philippines ended 2nd Runner-Up with Vincent Pinto, who was also adjudged Mr. Talent. In 1998, Sweden won; no placement for Philippines.

In 1999, Mr. Venezuela won and Mr. Philippines Alexander Judilla could only bring the Best National Costume award. Australia won in 2000, with Philippines bannered by Richard Stewart ending no placement. India won in 2001, and Philippines’ Rick Cayzer was adjudged Mr. Personality. No placement for the country in 2002 when France won. There were no contests in 2003 and 2004.


Manhunt International 2012 Winner June Macasaet with his Runners-Up

In 2005, Turkey won and Philippines’ Ronald Brent Javier winning a special award as Mr. Internet Popularity. In 2006, USA won and Philippines’ Iago Raterta making it to Top 15.

China won in 2007, with no placement for Philippines. In 2008 Morocco won, with Philippines’ Marvin Wijangco making it to Top 15 and adjudged Mr. Personality. There was no contest in 2009.

In 2010, Slovak Republic won; Philippines’ Carlo Morris Galang did not place. China won the title in 2011, with PH’s Ron Marvin making it to Top 15.


Manhunt International Philippines 2013 Jamiel Ventosa

2012 was the biggest year for the Philippines when June Macasaet of Batangas got the New Urban Male special award and the Manhunt International title held in Bangkok, Thailand. No contest was held in 2013.

Jamiel Ventosa, a 6’2” tall hunk from Sta. Rosa, Laguna is the country’s bet to the next contest, which should have been held in China during the first quarter of 2014 but still no word from the organizers about the exact date. It can be a back-to-back win for the Philippines.

Mr. World was started by the Miss World Organization in 1996 as a biennial contest.


Mr. World 2014 Nicklas Pedersen and Miss World 2013 Megan Young

Held in Torbay, England last June 15, Nicklas Pedersen of Denmark won the Mr. World 2014 title with Mr. Nigeria Emmanuel Ikubese as 1st Runner-Up and Mr. Mexico Jose Pablo Minor as 2nd Runner-Up.

Pedersen was also Sports Challenge winner and Ikubese winning Mr. Fashion & Style.

The Multimedia Challenge was won by Mr. Netherlands Demian Overduijn, with Mr. India Pratik Jain in 2nd place and Mr. Denmark in 3rd.

Extreme Sports Challenge was won by Mr. Moldova Valerie Gutu. Declared Mr. Talent was Mr. Curacao Zuemarik Veeris.

Mr. Philippines John Spainhour did not make it to Top 10, but was Top 10 in the Extreme Sports Challenge and member of the Blue Team that emerged group champion in the challenges.

(See related story Fil-Am model John Spainhour happily banners Philippines in Mr. World 2014; Reigning Miss World Megan Young to co-host pageant https://arloc888.wordpress.com/2014/06/08/fil-am-model-john-spainhour-happily-banners-philippines-in-mr-world-2014-reigning-miss-world-megan-young-to-co-host-pageant-in-uk/)


Mr. World 2012 Francisco Escobar and 1st Runner-Up Andrew Wolff

2012 was the biggest year for the Philippines in the Mr. World Pageant when Andrew Wolff ended as 1st Runner-Up to Mr. Colombia Francisco Escobar. Mr. Philippines was also the winner in the Multimedia Challenge. Mr. Ireland Leo Delaney, the Sports Challenge winner ended 2nd Runner-Up.

The first Mr. World was Tom Nuyens of Belgium. Christopher Celis was the first Mr. World Philippines. In 1998, Sandro Finoglio of Venezuela won the title; the Philippine bet was Rico Lee Miguel.

In 2000, Mr. Uruguay Ignacio Kliche became the third Mr. World. A full-blooded Igorot, Roderick Dilla Salvador, represented the Philippines.

Mr. Brazil Gustavo Narciso Gianetti won the title in 2003. Marco Antonio Tamayo was Mr. Philippines. In 2007, Juan Garcia Postigo of Spain won the title. It was Emmanuel Balon Mago who represented the Philippines that year.

In 2010, Kamal Ibrahim of Ireland was declared Mr. World. Alvin De Joya represented the Philippines in the pageant held in South Korea.

(Cory Quirino’s CQ Global Quest took over the Miss World and Mr. World franchises from Binibining Pilipinas Charities in 2011.)

In this year’s Mr. World Pageant, the event was hosted by Miss World 2013 Megan Young of the Philippines and last edition’s Mr. World Talent Frankie Cena of Canada. They took over the chores from British media personality Myleene Klass and Kamal Ibrahim.

Mr. World boasts of turning contestants from boys to men after two weeks of rigorous challenges, especially in extreme sports held at Royal Marine Commando Training Centre.

Next in prestige and longevity is Mister International organized by Mister Singapore Organization in 2006.


Gil Wagas

2013 was the best placement for the Philippines when Gil Wagas, a former UE (University of the East) Red Warriors basketball player from Cebu, ended 4th Runner-Up to Jose Anmer Paredes of Venezuela.

In the debut staging of the contest, Mr. Philippines Ken Escudero made it as semi-finalist and was adjudged Mr. Photogenic. In 2008, Jeff Surio made it to Top 10. Raphael Cruz Carlos also was semi-finalist in 2010. In 2011, Fhrancis Oliver Lopez of Las Pinas was Mr. Internet Popularity and Top 16.


Mark John Gutoman

In 2012, teacher Mark John Gutoman from Marikina City represented the Philippines in the pageant held in Bangkok, Thailand. It was won by Mr. Lebanon Ali Hammoud.

An international male pageant called Mister Universe Model started in 2008 in Dominican Republic. It has been renamed Men Universe Model in 2013.

The firs winner was Ivan Cabrera Trigo of Spain, then followed by Joshua Day of USA. In 2010, winner was from Bosnia & Herzegovina, Tarik Kaljanac. In 2011, Mr. Venezuela Juan Pablo Gomez was the winner. It was only in 2012 when the Philippines joined, but Jhon Marlon Marcia did not place or win any special award. The winner was from the home country, Erik Jimenez Sabater. Mr. Riviera Maya Rafael Armando Chavez Velazquez won the title in 2013 with no delegate from the Philippines.


Mark Glenn Del Rosario

This year, held just recently, Mr. Brazil Bruno Mooneyhan won the title with Mr. Philippines Mark Glenn Del Rosario getting the Best National Costume award and also declared Mr. Popularity. He did not, however, make it to the semis.


Alvin De Joya

Mr. World Philippines 2010 Alvin De Joya represented the Philippines in Mr. Asia 2013 and ended 2nd Runner-Up.

The first edition of Mr. Global was held in Thailand last March 27 and was won by Mr. Myanmar Marco Myat Thuya Lwin. Mr. Philippines Wilfred Placencia Jr. was 4th Runner-Up.


Mr. Global 2014 winners

Another male pageant, Mr. Tourism International, with its seed germinating in Panama, was first held in 2001. The contest died after its second edition in 2002 and got resurrected in 2010. Philippines sent its first representative to the contest held this year on May 31 in the person of an OFW in the UK, Erwin Mateo Trinidad, who made it to Top 9 and awarded Best Fashion Style. Winning Mr. Tourism International 2014 was Mr. Brazil Andrio Frazon with Mr. Spain and Mr. Venezuela as 1st and 2nd Runners-Up respectively.


Erwin Mateo Trinidad

When the Miss World franchise was acquired by CQ Global Quest in 2011, its first winner, Miss World Philippines 2011 Gwendoline Ruais, placed 1st Runner-Up to Ivian Sarcos of Venezuela.

The following year, Miss Philippines Quennierich Rehman managed to get to Top 15 and #5 in the Performing Talent Challenge. It was held in China and won by Miss China Yu Wenxia.

2013, as everyone knows, was the biggest year for the Philippines in beauty pageantry when Megan Lynne Young became the first Filipina Miss World in the 63-year history of the contest.

(See related story Beauty powerhouse Philippines ends 2013 with a big bang, starts 2014 with aplomb https://arloc888.wordpress.com/2014/01/01/beauty-powerhouse-philippines-ends-2013-with-a-big-bang-starts-2014-with-aplomb/)

Relating that to Mr. World, for the first time in 2012, the Philippines made it to Top 10 with Andrew Wolff ending 1st Runner-Up. This year, in the second edition of Mr. World under CQ Global Quest, though the delegate did not make it to Top 10, he was actually #7 in the Extreme Sports Challenge.


Mr. World Philippines 2015 Sam Adjani

Mr. World Philippines 2015 Sam Adjani has a lot of time to prepare. Supporters saw that it’s not enough to get the highest number of Likes on Facebook or get the highest number of views of the Intro video on YouTube. It’s more than that, as shown by the work of Mr. Netherlands who won the Multimedia Challenge. Also, just a little tweak on the suit can win for the delegate the Fashion & Style nod from the judges as Mr. Nigeria showed this year and Mr. Vietnam last year.

Mr. World is not just a contest for male pulchritude but also of strength, stamina, energy, willpower and intelligence. Yes, indeed it is the contest for The World’s Most Desirable Man. And Sam Adjani be better ready for it in 2015.

(NOTE: For those questioning the eligibility of the country’s representatives to international pageants or sporting events, the Philippines [and most of Asia and Europe] is governed by jus sanguinis or nationality law of the blood – where citizenship is acquired when one or both parents are of Filipino citizenship. Other countries, like the USA and Canada, are governed by the jus soli principle or law of the soil. It simply means that citizenship is automatically acquired when one is born within the country’s territorial jurisdiction. So enough of those uneducated [or maybe just miseducated] bashers who swear to high heavens when Miss Philippines or Mr. Philippines has a foreign-sounding name. As long as the mother is a Filipino national then this should not be an issue at all.)

Francis Padua Papica: Finding genuine patriotism amid this selfie generation

Becoming a US citizen is the dream of majority of Filipinos (and other nationalities) in America.

The minority of those who don’t seek US citizenship – although they have been laboring there for decades – is a very small fraction, so small that you can count them with your fingers.


Francis Papica on the set of his GMA show

Among those few is one who can be called a genuine Filipino patriot: Francis Padua Papica.

A native of Goa, Camarines Sur, Francis was compelled to follow his family in the US right after graduation from high school. He took Art History at UCLA (University of California at Los Angeles) and graduated Cum Laude. Then he took Law (Juris Doctor) at Syracuse University in New York, also graduating Cum Laude.

His credentials are pretty impressive, but he had been forged then honed to what he is today by the hardships, challenges and discrimination he had gone through.

His family was well-off in the Philippines so adjusting to domesticity when he got to the US was the first challenge. The following year his father died, and as the eldest of three siblings he had to take on the responsibility of padre de familia.

Succinctly, he shares his story.

“Migrating to the US was very hard as I have lived a good life in the Philippines. I was 16 years old then. My parents went there first. I had no choice but to follow them. Less than a year after I followed, my father died.

“There are three of us siblings, I’m the eldest. My father had no life insurance when he died. We had nothing. Burying my father was even hard. So I was the first one that said that I really have to work. That’s the reason why I started working,” he shared.

His first job was as a janitor, which he said is a good thing because he realized how important money is.

“You can’t just give away money or squander it. That’s why I realized it was a blessing in disguise that I learned the importance of handling money, and hard work.”

The untimely death of his father made him persevere, maybe more than anybody else.

Possessing a brilliant mind with calculated frugality and a kind heart, Francis resolved to pay back – or in broader terms, pay it forward – thru a foundation he established to primarily support poor but intelligent students to finish college in his home province.


With some friends and one of his scholars Miss Universe 2010 4th Runner-Up Venus Raj

Established in 1997, the Francis Padua-Papica Foundation, Inc. (FPPFI), a non-profit, public benefit corporation is guided by three principles – Leadership, Scholarship, and Community Service. It encourages and acknowledges the outstanding individual achievements of young Filipino men and women.

One of the successful scholars of FPPFI is Miss Universe 2010 4th Runner-Up Venus Raj, who took Communication Arts Major in Journalism and graduated Cum Laude at Bicol University in Albay.


Big smile, big heart, big things to come

As a practicing lawyer in the US, Francis has had his share of racial discrimination.

Accompanying his client, although he looked good and well-dressed, he was asked by the lawyers around if he was the interpreter.

“I really didn’t know what to say at that point. Absolutely, no doubt about it, it was discrimination. So, next time around, I told myself, I gotta come out with something more witty. So when they came around, I said, if I were black you would have thought I was the accused. That may have stunned them so they really apologized. But that was one experience I’ll never forget,” he recalled.


A temporary schoolhouse that Francis wanted rebuilt permanently

Aside from the scholarships undertaken by his foundation, Francis also wants to build sturdier and permanent school buildings especially that the Bicol region is one of the most typhoon-prone areas in the country. A lot of these schoolhouses are made of wood and bamboo with nipa or cogon roof.

Last February, FPPFI spearheaded the 11th Annual Leadership Convention at the Jose M. Robredo Coliseum – a gathering of students and youth groups from the Province of Camarines Sur, focusing on the theme “Youth: Frontliners for Change.”

Francis believes that amid the challenges Filipinos experienced following last year’s super typhoon Yolanda, Bohol earthquake, economic turmoil, political and social issues, the youth are at the frontlines for change and need to face challenges that will still come head on.

FPPFI also runs the READ TO LIVE: Libro Ko Para Sa ’Yo program, a reading awareness project designed to encourage young people to devote time to read.

Francis said he has no formula for success, but his secret is hardship.

“The secret is hardship. You know, when you are poor, you have to strive and persevere hard. I never really considered myself as an intellectual, I never did. I never considered myself as really smart. I just work harder than most people do, ten times harder actually.

“You know, I believe in God more than anything else. Everything I wanted in life, all my dreams have been fulfilled because of my faith in God.

“I consider myself an OFW (Overseas Filipino Worker). I want OFWs to never give up. There is always hope. If you persevere and you have faith in God, things will happen. That has always been the guiding force in my life,” he said.


On Independence Day, Francis declared:

PROUD TO BE PINOY. Happy 116th Philippine Independence Day. In all the 29 years that I have lived in the United States, I have never felt the need to change my citizenship. I AM and WILL ALWAYS BE, a proud FILIPINO. Proud to be carrying my brown Filipino passport anywhere in the world. Happy Independence Day.

Independence Day is a somber reminder that we need to be more vigilant as a people and not be complacent to the problems that plague our country. We need to act, and not complain; we need to be part of the solution and not as witnesses to the problem. Change must come from the people. Together, we will work toward a better tomorrow.

While there had been others who showed patriotic fervor – like Edu Manzano who tore his US passport when his Filipino citizenship was questioned when he ran for public office, or one who shows blatant unpatriotism like chess player Wesley So who wrote his federation that he is renouncing his Filipino-ness so he can make it to World’s Top 10 – no one is truly like Francis Padua Papica.


May his tribe increase amid this selfie generation, and his story inspire others to be patriotic whatever part of the globe they may be in at this time.

(Note: The author met Francis thru then-basketball superstar Vince Hizon around 10 years ago for a joint fundraising event for their respective foundations. The write-up came out in the Manila Times and Francis guested in the author’s program on Radio Veritas. Through Facebook, ties had been reconnected and each consider as pals as if there was no lull in the friendship at all.)

MAFBEX and SIAL ASEAN: More than just a taste of finest flavors –happening June 11-13, 2014 at the World Trade Center

Food is as basic as air and water. Love for food is a great equalizer and unifier of many worlds and cultures. It also foments friendship and understanding among nations. Furthermore, the scent and taste of flavors soothe and energize both body and soul.


MAFBEX gathers gastronomists and players in the food and beverage industry around the country and the region

Happening again this June for the eighth straight year is the most exciting kaleidoscope of offerings for everyone’s taste buds – the Manila Foods and Beverage Expo or MAFBEX.

For the first time in the ASEAN region, global food marketplace SIAL (Salon International de I’Agroalimentaire), the world’s largest food innovation observatory, is happening simultaneously with MAFBEX at the World Trade Center from June 11-13, 2014.


This spicy Bicol Express was one of the favorites of local food enthusiasts last year

ASEAN or Association of Southeast Asian Nations is composed of Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei Darussalam, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar.

This synergized event gathers 500 exhibitors from 20 countries showcasing the best and the latest in the food and beverage industry with international pavilions from Europe, USA, Taiwan, Japan and Korea – equipment, cooking implements, ingredients, processed food and all other gastronomic-related items.


There’s no doubt Malaysian fare attracts Filipino food lovers and tasters

MAFBEX and SIAL ASEAN offer more than just a taste of the finest flavors, as it brings together the big and small-time players in the food and beverage industry with organizer WSI’s (Worldbex Services International) recipe of good trading opportunities.


Hurom Juicer demo by Chef Kel Zaguirre

Cooking demonstrations by esteemed (not steamed) chefs, ethnic delicacies, regional dishes and global ingredients are mixed and stirred evenly with interschool and professional contests to spice up palatable daily servings.

After Manila for its ASEAN leg, SIAL is scheduled to happen in Sao Paulo, Brazil on June 24-27 dubbed as SIAL Brazil 2014; Fine Food Australia 2014 on September 15-18, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia; SIAL Paris 2014 in Paris, France on October 19-23, 2014; IFEA (Africa’s International Food & Drink Event) in Johannesburg, South Africa on November 5-7, 2014; SIAL Middle East 2014 in Abu Dhabi, UAE on November 24-26, 2014.


Grilled Prawns always a favorite in any local or international gathering

Year 2015 starts with PRODEXPO 2015 in Moscow, Russia on February 9-13, 2015; then FOODEX Japan 2015 in Tokyo, Japan on March 3-6, 2015; IFE 2015 in London, England on March 22-25, 2015; SIAL Canada 2015 in Toronto, Canada on April 28-30, 2015; SIAL China 2015 in Shanghai, China on May 6-8, 2015; SIAL Brazil 2015 in Sao Paulo, Brazil on June 22-25, 2015; Fine Food Australia 2015 in Sydney, Australia on September 14-16, 2015; IFEA 2015 in Johannesburg, South Africa on November 4-6, 2015; and SIAL Middle East 2015 in Abu Dhabi, UAE on November 22-24, 2015.

Photos from MAFBEX and Yahoo Search

Fil-Am model John Spainhour happily banners Philippines in Mr. World 2014; Reigning Miss World Megan Young to co-host Pageant

Filipino-American model John De Lara Spainhour finds that the most supportive country ever known is the Philippines, and he’s glad to represent the country he grew up in and his present residence in the Mr. World 2014.


John, whose mother hails from Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental, was Century Tuna Superbods 2012 winner and Bench image model.

He served in the US Marine Corps as sniper in Iraq for five years. He moved to Manila after completing his service in 2011 and his international standard looks got him modelling stints immediately one after the other.

John was the first delegate to be interviewed by the organization how he got involved in the Mr. World experience.


John Spainhour with Ms. Cory Quirino and Mr. World Philippines 2015 Sam Adjani

“Actually, the Manila bloggers and people in the industry had been throwing my name out there for who they wanted at Mr. World. The word was spreading around, so I entered the competition in Manila and I ended up winning it,” the amiable Fil-Am model said.

At the selection of Mr. World Philippines 2014, Ms. Cory Quirino of CQ Global Quest, franchise holder of Miss World and Mr. World in the Philippines, also announced the country’s representative to the next competition – 23-year-old 6’3” tall Sam Adjani, a Filipino-Iranian-Japanese ramp and commercial model like John.

Clink link to view John’s intro video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h0Otg-1Xh40&feature=youtu.be


Miss World 2013 Megan Young

The Miss World Organization (http://www.missworld.com), the same organization that runs Mr. World, announced that the Mr. World 2014 Final is to be presented by reigning Miss World Megan Young of the Philippines and Mr. World 2012 Talent Competition winner Frankie Cena of Canada.

It will be held in Torbay (the English Riviera), the United Kingdom on June 15, 2014 live across the planet on the Mr. World YouTube Channel.


John’s first selfie in Torquay posted on Facebook

(Also, Like the Mr. World Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/MrWorldFinal for link and instructions.)

Megan and Frankie will take over the hosting chores from English singer and media personality Myleene Klass (herself a half-Filipina) and Mr. World 2010 Kamal Ibrahim of Ireland.

Before becoming a beauty queen, Megan had been an active TV and movie actress who also dabbled as host.

“I’m so excited to be hosting again! I have missed it so much that I’m excited to do my first ever international hosting gig. Looking forward to meeting the guys and seeing who has what it takes to be the next Mr. World,” the beautiful Miss World from the Philippines said of her new role in the organization.


John poses with a group of Filipinas he met in England

John admits he’s a little bit pressured not only because of compatriot Megan Young’s win as Miss World last year but more so of Mr. Philippines Andrew Wolff’s second place finish to Mr. Colombia Francisco Escobar in the Mr. World 2012.

“Yeah, I feel a little bit of pressure, not only from Megan Young but from the past Mr. World contestant, Andrew Wolff. He set the bar pretty high for me, coming in as first runner-up at the previous Mr. World. So, yeah, I have a lot to live up to,” he said.


John happy on his 27th birthday

Nonetheless, John said, “I’m really relaxed. I’m really chill. I like to goof around but I know when to use my gifts where they should be. Please support me and the rest of the contestants on our journey, and I hope the best man wins.”

Mr. World is a biennial contest that started by Miss World Organization in 1996. First winner was Mr. Belgium Tom Nuyens. It was followed by Mr. Venezuela in 1998, Mr. Uruguay in 2000, Mr. Brazil in 2003, and Mr. Spain in 2007. There were years that the contest did not happen as planned. However, since 2010 it became biennial again.

John celebrated his 27th birthday last June 6. The outpouring of support from the Philippines and from Filipinos all over the world made him say:

“I just want to let everyone know that it’s very obvious, amongst everyone here, who the most supportive country is.
PHILIPPINES!!!  Thank you everyone, for all the awesome support, likes, and comments you all are giving me. You guys are great!”


John with the rest of Blue Team

The candidates get additional points for the Likes on their official Facebook pages and YouTube videos. Although Mr. Philippines is leading in both categories, supporters of other countries work as hard as Filipinos.

Click link to be counted https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mr-World-Philippines/1556386714587963


Then US Marine John with mom Josefina De Lara Spainhour

More facts about John De Lara Spainhour

  • He was born in South Carolina, USA but grew up in Manila, Philippines
  • In his spare time he likes to be in the outdoors, going camping, snowboarding and hiking
  • He is also a scuba diver and likes to play video games
  • He is the youngest of three brothers. One brother also works as model in Thailand
  • He’s a fan of all genres and styles when it comes to pop culture
  • He describes himself as disciplined, hardworking and dedicated
  • His personal motto is “Find something that makes you happy”


The official candidates of Mr. World 2014 at the Sailing Event

Photos from the Official Mr. World, Mr. World Philippines and Miss World Facebook Pages

‘PBB All In’: Ranty saved from eviction; Aina leaves house; Alex sure to go next week

Did the strategy to allow Joshua open his prison cell ahead work for Ranty?

It looks like it did and how good it was for the Maginoong Marino Ng Quezon.

(See related story ‘PBB All In’ 4th Eviction: Will Joshua’s supporters save Ranty the Redeemer? https://arloc888.wordpress.com/2014/06/05/pbb-all-in-4th-eviction-will-joshuas-supporters-save-ranty-the-redeemer/)


4th ‘PBB All In’ evictee Aina Solano

Getting 67.53% of the votes compared to Aina’s 32.47% guaranteed Ranty’s longer stay in Big Brother’s house while the Dancing Bombshell Ng Boracay can now pursue her showbiz career with aplomb.

Aina’s eviction elicited varied reaction, bordering on good wishes to hatred.

The tweets made #PBB4thEvictionNight the #1 Twitter trending topic in the Philippines as it’s always been for PBB the previous weeks.


Ranty Portento: Thanks to Joshua’s army?

“Si Aina pala na-evict? Owww… No more major bullies!”

“Bye Aina, lumangoy ka na pabalik sa Bora!”

“Bye Aina. OK lang yan, at least di ka plastic!”

“Pwede kayong gumawa ng movie ni Julia (Montes). Turuan mo siyang mag-sirena, tapos title ng movie nyo ‘Kambal Sirena’!”

“Si Aina natanggal? No! Dapat si Ranty na lang para nabawasan ang corny!”

“Bye Aina, nabawasan ang mga backfighter sa loob ng bahay.”

“Why Aina? Why not? The decision has been made and it’s fair!”

“I hope Aina will be an actress soon. I can’t wait.”

“Goodbye and I love you Aina. Your hilarious and contagious laugh will forever be missed.”

“Pretty Aina, you already have future in the outside world. You have what it takes.”

“So Aina is evicted? Good thing. I’ll watch PBB again and I’ll follow.”

“I still admire Aina for being real and not afraid to be hated as long as she’s on the right side.”

“Mas totoo si Aina kay Ranty. I don’t believe Ranty’s act, especially when he cried for Aina. It looked so fake!”

“In all honesty, only Aina has a future in showbiz among the non-celeb housemates, so her exit’s special.”

“OMG I didn’t think I would be this sad with Aina leaving. She gave the show so much spunk.”

“Bye Aina. Like Cess we won’t miss you!”


Aina is seen to have edge over other non-celeb housemates

With all these praises and tirades, the pretty dancer-swimmer who grew up in Switzerland seemed to have everything balanced out.

“I’m happy po, pinagdasal ko po na si Ranty na lang mag-stay,” she told Big Brother of her eviction wholeheartedly.

Meanwhile, celebrity house guest Alex Gonzaga stays for another week and sure to be out next eviction night.


Alex Gonzaga sure to be out next week as ‘The Voice Kids’ to go live soon

Already there are comments like, “The house will never be the same without Alex. She’ll be deeply missed. Expect crazy tears and lots of hugging next week” and “I hope Alex stays longer. She’s the reason I watch PBB.”

A different angle is anticipated next week.

Someone said, “On the 5th Eviction Night, Fifth will surely miss Alex.Ugh. It hurts…” insinuating closeness beyond friendship between Luis Manzano‘s The Voice Kids co-host and Fourth Pagotan‘s twin brother.

Photos from http://entertainment.abs-cbn.com/tv/shows/pbb/main