2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 140,000 times in 2014. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 6 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.


Dethroned for bad attitude: Miss Myanmar loses MAPW 2014 title, runs off with crown; new queen chosen Nov. 8

Were the protests and hullabaloo about Miss Myanmar winning the Miss Asia Pacific World 2014 crown and title right after all?

May Myat Noe coronation night Miss Myanmar waves to the audience upon proclamation as Miss Asia Pacific World 2014

(Click thumbnails to enlarge pics)

Shortly before midnight on August 28, Miss Asia Pacific World Talent Organization announced that May Myat Noe has been dethroned for bad attitude.

However minor the Korea-based contest is, Miss Noe is the first ever international winner from the military-ruled country.

Also known as That Htet Aung, she has lied, according to organizers, and her mother illegally attempted to get three months visa when she was accorded an invitation to Korea until August 29.

MAPW dethrones Mss Myanmar

Miss Asia Pacific World Talent Organization official statement

Miss Noe was crowned on May 31, with Miss Korea Kim Eea placing First Runner-Up, Miss Macau Hio Man Cha (said to be managed by one of the judges) as Second Runner-Up. The Myanmar beauty queen was trained in Manila, Philippines before proceeding to Korea.

Miss Philippines Hillarie Danielle Parungao was 3rd Runner-Up. She also won the Grand National Costume Award.

Hillarie Parungao MAPW Miss Philippines NatCos

Miss Philippines Hillarie Danielle Parungao

(See related story Miss Myanmar is Miss Asia Pacific World 2014; Miss Philippines 3rd Runner-Up https://arloc888.wordpress.com/2014/06/01/miss-myanmar-is-miss-asia-pacific-world-2014-miss-philippines-3rd-runner-up/)

The official announcement cited other issues which the organizers said they could not mention in details but her ungrateful attitude and (un)trustworthiness is what made them (along with their lawyers) to dethrone Miss Noe.

Supporters of the beauty queen, particularly her countrymen, said though that the organizers had been forcing her to have breast implants, the reason why Miss Noe rebelled.

There’s also an issue that Miss Noe stole the crown, said to be worth between USD42-100K. Reports coming from her own country said she has run off with the bejeweled tiara.

MAPW winners 2011-2014

MAPW 2011-2014 winners

On Saturday, Diana Starkova, proclaimed replacement to dethroned Florima Triber of France, posted on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/dianastarkovaofficial?fref=photo which was shared by Miss Asia Pacific World Super Talent Organization) saying she was sad to announce that Miss Asia Pacific World 2014 Queen May Myat Noe got dethroned.

(See related story how Diana became the first Miss Asia Pacific World in 2011 Miss Philippines Hillarie Danielle Parungao top pick to win Miss Asia Pacific World 2014 crown in Korea https://arloc888.wordpress.com/2014/05/28/miss-philippines-hillarie-danielle-parungao-top-pick-to-win-miss-asia-pacific-world-2014-crown-in-korea/)

“Everything has its price and if you are beautiful and rich Queen you may see your family sometimes just few times per year… This job is similar to sailor, you just travel the world and working,” the Ukrainian beauty intoned.

Diana Starkova2

Diana Starkova

Miss Starkova’s announcement also clarified that not a Runner-Up will take the place of May Myat Noe as Miss Asia Pacific World 2014.

“The new Queen this year will be chosen in a new pageant on November 8th in Jeju Island. The panel of judges will try to be more careful and interview contestants with maximum attention to choose the best and right ones for the crown of Miss Asia Pacific World 2014. Never forget that Queen is not just beauty, it is also an attitude, and being a successful celebrity is not a magic, it is a result of hard work and cooperation with a team. MAPW is a great chance, but only for people who (are) ready for it and can understand the value of this chance, for girls who really need it, who has not just beauty, but a talent and ability to work hard being a celebrity,” she said.

It will be a new equal battle for the Miss Asia Pacific World 2014 crown on November 8, 2014 to be held at ICC in Jeju Island, South Korea.

MAPW super talent venue

New Miss Asia Pacific World 2014 contest venue

Even with the controversies hounding the fledgling contest, representatives from all over Asia and the Pacific Rim have been readying for this event.

See related stories in this blog:

Miss Myanmar is Miss Asia Pacific World 2014; Miss Philippines 3rd Runner-Up

Miss Myanmar May Myat Noe was crowned Miss Asia Pacific World 2014 at the Grand Hilton Hotel in Seoul, Korea Saturday.

This marks the first time Myanmar (formerly Burma) has ever won an international beauty title.


Miss Asia Pacific World 2014 May Myat Noe of Myanmar with her court

Proclaimed 1st Runner-Up was the home country’s representative Kim Eea, while Miss Macau Hio Man Cha was 2nd Runner-Up.

Beauty powerhouse Philippines came out 3rd Runner-Up with Hillarie Danielle Parungao also given the Grand National Costume special award.


Miss Philippines Hillarie Parungao: 3rd Runner-Up and Grand National Costume winner

It was an Asian domination as the rest of the Top 7 were Miss India, 4th Runner-Up; Miss Singapore, 5th Runner-Up; and Miss Thailand, 6th Runner-Up.

Completing the Top 15 from among 47 entrants were Miss Trinidad & Tobago, Miss Pakistan, Miss Czech Republic, Miss Ecuador, Miss Germany, Miss Honduras, Miss Slovakia and Miss Sri Lanka.


The lovely contestants in their National Costumes

Special awards were also given out to Miss Honduras, Grand Swimsuit; Miss Australia, Grand Multimedia; Miss Armenia, Grand Vocal; Miss Pakistan, Grand Dance; Miss Georgia, Grand Supermodel; Miss Romania, Grand Fashion; and Miss Slovakia, Grand Talent.

The last two previous winners were Indian beauties – Srishti Rana in 2013 and Himangini Singh Yadu in 2012.

Miss Myanmar also won Missosologists’ Choice Award by garnering 223,133 online votes as against Miss Philippines’ 151, 971 and far third placer Miss Ecuador’s 23,645.

Along with other Myanmar’s representatives to international pageants, May Myat Noe was trained in Manila the way Filipino beauty queens are being prepared for their stints abroad.


Miss Myanmar’s crowning moment

Click video link to watch the coronation of Miss Asia Pacific World 2014 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=muUj8aVDfD8&feature=youtu.be

See related story Miss Philippines Hillarie Danielle Parungao top pick to win Miss Asia Pacific World 2014 crown in Korea https://arloc888.wordpress.com/2014/05/28/miss-philippines-hillarie-danielle-parungao-top-pick-to-win-miss-asia-pacific-world-2014-crown-in-korea/

Photos from Miss Asia Pacific World Super Talent Organization, Miss Asia Pacific World Philippines, Missosology and Beauty Pageant Grand Slam.

Sam Woolf leaves ‘AI XIII’ sans tears; Malaya digs having no braces

Heartthrob Sam Woolf finally leaves the American Idol XIII stage as the Judges’ Save was already used on him in Top 8.

Unlike last week when CJ Harris turned the studio into a big weeping room, the only one seen teary for Sam was Jena Irene, touted as one of the two strongest contenders, along with Caleb Johnson.


Host Ryan Seacrest with the Top 4 huddle around Sam Woolf as he leaves ‘American Idol XIII’

CJ was not able to finish his song, Jennifer Lopez was in tears, fans were sobbing, so with the others in Top 6.

In Sam’s case, his elimination was greeted with acceptance, except maybe for Keith Urban, who signified his disapproval by his gesture. However, Keith sang along as Sam performed his final song, Imagine DragonsI’m Never Changing Who I Am.

On Wednesday (Thursday morning in Manila), the Top 5 sang two songs each chosen by America for them with the hashtag #IdolRequest. Jason Mraz mentored the contestants with surprise appearances of Ariana Grande for Sam and Zooey Deschanel for Alex.


Mentor Jason Mraz

There was a twist in the results. The contestants themselves had the option to send home the one in the bottom immediately or send two next week instead. As it was not unanimous, Ryan Seacrest announced that when the votes were in it was Sam Woolf going home.

Sam was supposed to have been sent home ahead of Malaya Watson but was given another chance when the judges unanimously decided to keep him another week. He survived again when Dexter Roberts bade goodbye after the Fil-Am teener from Southfield, Michigan and still made it to Top 5 when CJ Harris packed his bags.

Season 13 becomes more tense with the Top 4 slugging it out who will be proclaimed American Idol 2014—resident rocker Caleb Johnson, country cool Jessica Meuse, steady Alex Preston or chanteuse Jena Irene.


Keith Urban, who took the challenge of wearing coat and tie last week, takes a selfie with co-judges Harry Connick Jr. and Jennifer Lopez

Jessica had been in the Bottom 3 once and in Bottom 2 twice. The other three have never in the bottom yet.

Generally, it is seen that Caleb and Jena will be the last two standing come finale.

Meanwhile, Malaya Watson excitedly shared her selfie Thursday smiling saying she’s really diggin’ the no braces deal.


Malaya Watson digs having no braces

Harry Connick Jr. commented in one of the earlier episodes that Malaya made wearing glasses and braces look cool.

Now that Malaya no longer dons braces, will she be wearing contact lenses instead of glasses soon? A lot of her fans think she’d be more beautiful sans the glasses.

Early this week, Malaya welcomed questions sent thru Instagram but because of the volume she fell asleep and apologized she can no longer answer all the messages. However, she’d love to interact by mail. For those interested, you can write to her at:

Malaya Watson
PO Box #725376
Berkley, MI
48075 USA

Photos from http://www.americanidol.com and Malaya’s Facebook page.

Anne Curtis out of hospital, glad she survived jellyfish sting

It could be because the jellyfish that stung Anne Curtis smelled her flesh is not really of the ocean even if she was sporting the tail of a fish.


For the risk and danger of playing the beloved mermaid Dyesebel of Philippine folklore (created by Mars Ravelo), Anne is just glad she survived the fatal attack and now out of the hospital.

In her successive tweets and Facebook status updates on Sunday evening, she said:

“It’s official! I can go home today! Thank you for all your prayers and wishes! Most importantly, Thank you Lord for saving me and being with me during one of the scariest moments in my life. It has opened my eyes and has put things into perspective. I certainly feel lucky and blessed. Thank you to all the visitors that came to visit & everyone that sent their get-well-soon messages. Thank you. So it’s our responsibility to try & avoid them, to keep an eye out & be careful. Very thankful that Dyesebel will be back to work soon.”

Just two minutes later, she again posted:

“Finally, I’m out! Thank you to all the Doctors & Nurses that took great care of me! See you all later this week for my check up.”


While in the hospital she updated her millions of fans and followers:

“I’m lucky it wasn’t fatal. This summer be careful when swimming in the ocean and keep an eye out. Thank you for the ‘get well soon’ messages!”

“Good Morning everyone!!!! Feeling a bit better today! Praise God! After reading some of the other articles you guys found & tweeted me, I really feel I’ve been given a 2nd chance at life. The doctors told me I’m very lucky. The last case they had come in with the same case, a box jellyfish sting, the girl was out straight into the ICU. It’s quite a scary thought. When we were on our way to the local and closest hospital near our set, I noticed that I couldn’t feel my legs & slowly couldn’t breathe properly. I thought I was going to die.”

“Thank you Lord for giving me and my heart the strength to survive this. Thank you to everyone that has sent their well wishes and messages of concern.. Means a lot to me. This is the closest I’ve ever been to death and I’ve never been so afraid in my life..Thank you again Sweethearts for all the love & support. (love).”


Early last week bashers had a great time when PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) reported that Anne gave sis Jasmine’s boyfriend Sam Concepcion a dressing down in an upscale venue, after co-hosting the Binibining Pilipinas 2014 Pageant on March 30, which she and Sam both denied it ever happened.

To set things straight she even posted a photo of hers along with her friends and Sam taken in the reported event and location.

Dyesebel rates higher that the other mermaid teleserye on GMA7.

The Philippine social media queen (with 6 million+ followers on Twitter) has this to say:

“I can now sincerely say, lahat ng puyat, pawis, dugo at jellyfish bites makes it all worth it, dahil sa suporta (na) binibigay nyo sa Dyesebel.”


Anne is set to mount her second solo concert AnneKapal on May 16, 2014 at the Araneta Coliseum as follow-up to her successful AnneBisyosa concert two years ago.

‘American Idol XIII’: Malaya Watson safe, Emily Piriz gets the boot

Unlike last week where 16-year-old Malaya Watson was in the Bottom 3, this week she’s safe with her soulful rendition of the gospel song, Take Me To The King.


Malaya with host Ryan Seacrest after her performance

Emily Piriz gets the boot for garnering the lowest number of votes. Jena Irene and MK Nobilette were the other two in the Bottom 3. MK was also in the Bottom 3 last week which saw Kristen O’Connor packing her bags early.

Malaya, a tuba player from Southfield, Michigan, said that Take Me To The King was the first gospel song she ever learned, that whenever she sings it she’s reminded of Home, which was the theme of the sing-off this week.

Judge Keith Urban gave Malaya a standing ovation and said he had goosies (goosebumps) and asked Jennifer Lopez if she had goosies, too. Jennifer answered she had goosies all over her body and had tears in her eyes at the end of Malaya’s performance, and added, “because I was so proud of you.”


Emily Piriz performs during the ‘Home’ sing-off

Harry Connick Jr. commented that Malaya was focused this time. The girl, whose name means freedom in Filipino (her mother is from the Philippines), started singing while playing the piano then stood and hit the high notes towards the end of her performance. She also donned a straightened hairstyle this time.

Click http://youtu.be/i4fb_7dyiZw for Malaya’s performance and Emily’s elimination at http://youtu.be/9aaHchn1WjI.

The Top 11 includes Alex Preston, Ben Riley, Caleb Johnson, CJ Harris, Dexter Roberts, Jessica Meuse, Majesty Rose and Sam Woolf.


American Idol XIII Top 12

See related story From ‘American Idol XIII’ Top 3 to Bottom 3: Malaya Watson must perform right songs to rally votes and stay on competition https://arloc888.wordpress.com/2014/03/01/from-american-idol-xiii-top-3-to-bottom-3-malaya-watson-must-perform-right-songs-to-rally-votes-and-stay-in-contention/

Photos from www.americanidol.com


Fil-Am composer Robert Lopez joins elite EGOT circle with Oscar win for ‘Let It Go’

Days before the 86th Annual Academy Awards, Filipino-American composer Robert Lopez was interviewed by US-based PDI (Philippine Daily Inquirer) columnist Ruben Nepales.


Husband-and-wife winning tandem: Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez

When told that he could be the first Fil-Am to win an Oscar, Robert said, “I was not aware of that! Wow. I hope, win or lose, that Filipino artists everywhere take my example as proof that you don’t have to look a certain way for your dreams to come true. It just takes hard work, perseverance and some luck.”

Actress Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit) and cinematographer Matthew Libatique (Black Swan) were the previous Oscar nominees of Filipino descent.


Now that Robert won for his song (co-written by wife Kristen Anderson) Let It Go, theme of Frozen, which won Best Animated Film, he has not just set an example to Filipino artists but has joined the elite EGOT circle.

EGOT stands for Emmy (Television), Grammy (Music), Oscar (Film), Tony (Stage). The musician, whose paternal grandfather is pure Filipino and whose paternal grandmother is Filipino-American-Scottish, is only the 12th individual who has won in all four entertainment award-giving bodies.

Audrey Hepburn, Helen Hayes, John Gielgud, Jonathan Turnick, Marvin Hamlisch, Mel Brooks, Mike Nichols, Richard Rodgers, Rita Moreno, Scott Rudin, and Whoopi Goldberg were the eleven that have that distinction until Lopez joined on March 2, 2014. He’s also the youngest to be “inducted” into the circle at 39.

The father of two daughters (Katie, 8 and Annie, 4) is an active member of the Filipino community in New York. The girls also have voice parts in Frozen. He also said that Katie and Annie had been singing Let It Go even before the movie was released commercially.

In an interview with Janet Nepales (wife of Ruben) for the Manila Bulletin, he said that he noticed the musicality among Filipinos. Although his parents are not particularly into music, “I have so many Filipino friends who are amazing singers, writers and composers in New York City.”

Robert received his first Tony in 2004 for Avenue Q. In 2008 and 2010, he won Daytime Emmys for Wonder Pets.

In 2011, the prolific composer won both a Tony and a Grammy for his work in The Book of Mormon.

Robert is happy of the many versions of Let It Go and particularly like the Africanized Tribal Cover on YouTube http://youtu.be/DAJYk1jOhzk with almost 22 million views.

The most popular though is Demi Lovato’s version http://youtu.be/kHue-HaXXzg with more than 88 million views.

“That means we’re going to sing Let It Go in a long, long time,” one viewer commented after Let It Go was declared Best Original Song.

According to reports, Robert told Agence France-Presse: “Filipino pride. I’m so excited, I’m just sending love to the Philippines. I know they’ve had a tough year and I just send out my feelings to them.”


The selfie that ends all selfies by host Ellen DeGeneres

CNN Poll predicted Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Director winners

For the four most important categories in Oscars 2014, CNN ran a poll and predicted 3.

Poll: What film should win the Oscar for best picture?

“American Hustle” (11%)

“Dallas Buyers Club” (13%)

“Captain Phillips” (6%)

“Gravity” (22%)

“Her” (2%)

“Nebraska” (3%)

“Philomena” (2%)

“12 Years a Slave” (29%) — Winner

“The Wolf of Wall Street” (13%)


Best Actor Matthew McConaughey, Best Actress Cate Blanchett, Best Supporting Actress Lupita Nyong’o and Best Supporting Actor Jared Leto

Poll: Who should win the Oscar for best actor?

Christian Bale, “American Hustle” (8%)

Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Wolf of Wall Street” (33%)

Bruce Dern, “Nebraska” (5%)

Chiwetel Ejofor, “12 Years a Slave” (18%)

Matthew McConaughey, “Dallas Buyers Club” (36%) — Winner

Poll: Who should win the Oscar for best actress?

Amy Adams, “American Hustle” (27%)

Sandra Bullock, “Gravity” (35%)

Cate Blanchett, “Blue Jasmine” (20%) — Winner

Judi Dench, “Philomena” (9%)

Meryl Streep, “August: Osage County” (9%)

Poll: Who should win the Oscar for best director?

David O. Russell, “American Hustle” (8%)

Alexander Payne, “Nebraska” (4%)

Alfonso Cuaron, “Gravity” (39%) — Winner

Steve McQueen, “12 Years a Slave” (28%)

Martin Scorsese, “The Wolf of Wall Street” (21%)


Power couple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Pitt is co-star and producer of Best Picture winner ’12 Years A Slave’

Below is the complete list of winners in the 86th Annual Academy Awards: