UST Receives 2021 Casa Asia Award for Education and Science


By Crispina M. Belen

UST Receives 2021 Casa Asia Award for Education and Science

Congratulations to my alma mater, the University of Sto. Tomas (UST), for bagging the 2021 Casa Asia Award for Education and Science during the latter´s 20th anniversary celebration on June 7, 2021 held at Pedralbes Palace in Barcelona, Spain.
UST, the oldest modern university in Asia, was recognized for its important role in education in the Philippines for more than 400 years, and for preserving in its library historical and cultural documents dating back to the 17th Century. Philippine Ambassador to Spain and the Principality of Andorra Philippe J. Lhuillier received the award on behalf of the University.
The other winners include Xulio Rios, for Culture and Society category, for his work in disseminating the Chinese reality throughout his professional career, and for his role in the construction of sinology in Spanish; Fawzia Koofi, for Diversity and Sustainable Development category, for advancing the rights of women and children and her role in the peace process in Afghanistan; and Satori Ediciones, for Economy and Business category, for promoting Japanese culture and literature to the Spanish-speaking world.
The awardees were selected from 52 nominees submitted in the four categories.
The Casa Asia Award was instituted in 2004 to recognize and disseminate the work of individuals and entities, both private and public, that have contributed towards promoting knowledge, dialogue, and relations between Spain and the Asia-Pacific region. Previous winners include philosopher Raimon Pannikar, the Department of Spanish at the University of Foreign Studies of Beijing, the Spanish Network for the Coordination of NGOs for Development, journalists Rosa Ma. Calaf and Miguel Frau Rovira, and Malaysian NGO, Sisters in Islam.
The award consists of a commemorative engraving and 1,500 euros per category.

Kapuso stars get vaccinated! 


By Crispina M. Belen

Kapuso stars get vaccinated! 

The vaccination program for the A4 category (those working outside their homes like those in the entertainment industry) has started.

And in lieu of this, more and more Kapuso personalities have gotten their anti-COVID-19 vaccines like Marian Rivera, Dingdong Dantes, Aiai delas Alas, Glaiza de Castro, Drew Arellano, Iya Villania, Wendell Ramos, Mike Tan, Suzi Entrata-Abrera, and  Boobay.

Their getting vaccinated will do a lot to convince the many people  who are still undecided about the vaccine, and especially those lacking enough knowledge about  vaccination procedures in their respective places.

Kapuso viewers and netizens were delighted to see celebrities having their vaccines to protect themselves from the corona virus and be able to help others too.


‘Heartful Cafe’ airs heartwarming finale today


By Crispina M. Belen

‘Heartful Cafe’ airs heartwarming finale today

Set to serve its last cup of coffee tooday, Friday, June 18, is GMA Network’s well-loved primetime series  “Heartful Cafe.”  

Julie Anne San Jose and David Licauco (2)On its final week, Heart Fulgencio (Julie Anne San Jose) attempts to juggle writing her movie script while contemplating on who to choose between her two persistent suitors – Ace Nobleza (David Licauco), her charming business partner in the cafe, and Uno Ynares (EA Guzman), her old flame who has returned to win her back. But right when Heart is ready to tell them her decision, the landowner – where the “Heartful Cafe” stands – arrives with a copy of the lease termination notice urging Heart to abandon her coffee shop. 

The series also stars Ayra Mariano as Mars, Victor Anastacio as Roco, Zonia Mejia as Sol Fulgencio, Jamir Zabarte as Buddy Portales. 

As the series comes to an end, Julie expresses her gratitude and delight to be part of the show, “Sobrang thankful ako na nagawa ko ang project na ito. It’s my first time to do a romcom na may kakaibang twist, na may breaking the fourth wall which is a rare technique na ginagamit sa serye. I’m also happy na nabigyan ako ng chance to execute it. More than anything else, sobrang grateful ako sa suporta na binibigay ng fans namin. Talagang lahat kami ay nag-take part sa show na ito, pinaghirapan namin ‘yung content and buong process. We treat each other as family talaga.” 

David, in turn, also sends his appreciation to the team for allowing him to grow more as an actor while making this series, “The fact na nabigyan ako ng platform to showcase my acting abilities, I really poured my heart out for this project. Also, the past year talagang mas na-appreciate ko ‘yung craft ko and nagustuhan ko talaga ‘yung pagiging actor. Of course, thankful ako sa directors, acting coaches, and my co-actors for helping me sa character ko as Ace.” 

An original creation of the GMA Entertainment Group, Heartful Cafe is under the supervision of the Production team headed by SVP for Entertainment Group Lilybeth G. Rasonable, FVP for Drama Redgie A. Magno, SAVP for Drama Cheryl Ching-Sy, Program Manager Dennis Joi K. Bentulan, and Executive Producer James Ryan L. Manabat. 

Don’t miss the heartwarming finale of “Heartful Cafe” – under the helm of esteemed director Mark Sicat Dela Cruz – this Friday, June 18, on GMA Telebabad. 



GMA presents ‘Family History’ on Father’s Day


By Crispina M. Belen

GMA presents ‘Family History’ on Father’s Day

For the first time, the movie “Family History,” the directorial debut of Kapuso comedian and content creator Michael V. will be shown on TV. This will be on Sunday, June 20, in celebration of Father’s Day.

This was announced by Bitoy himself in his Instagram post: “FAMILY HISTORY” airs on GMA Free TV on June 20, Father’s Day.” 

 “Family History” tells how the life of Alex Dela Cruz (Michael V.) and his family was changed when his wife May (Dawn Zulueta) got sick of cancer.

It is recalled that the family drama was awarded as “Natatanging Pelikulang Pampamilya” in the 4th Guild of Educators, Mentors, and Students (GEMS) Awards last year.

Don’t miiss “Family History” this Sunday on GMA Blockbusters, after “All-Out Sundays!”


‘Finding Rizal in a Time of Barriers’ 


By Crispina M. Belen

‘Finding Rizal in a Time of Barriers’ 

A  new documentary entitled “Finding Rizal in a Time of Barriers,” directed by Floy Quintos, reveals little known aspects of Dr. Jose Rizal’s first trip to Europe. 


The project began when former senator Loren Legarda toured the small German town of Wilhelmsfeld in 2019 together with Dr. Fritz Hack Ullmer. Dr Ullmer is the great grandson of Pastor Karl Ullmer who hosted Rizal for three months in Wilhelmsfeld in 1886. The memories of that stay, as well as Rizal’s correspondence and memorabilia, have since become part of the Ullmer family’s legacy through three generations.

Finding Rizal photos (17)

In the middle of production plans, the project came to a halt due to the global pandemic that changed the world in 2020. However, with the perseverance of the Philippine Embassy in Berlin, led by Ambassador Theresa de Vega, the Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila and the Office of Deputy Speaker Legarda, the documentary took shape and was finished in time for the celebration of our national hero’s 160th birthday this June 2021.


Amidst the challenging circumstances, Legarda, who is the visionary behind the project, was inspired and uplifted by Rizal’s life. “Rizal lived in a time of barriers created by skin color, religion, political ideologies, and colonialism. Yet he broke through these barriers to affirm his humanity and his genius. His trip to Germany was marked by the completion and publication of the Noli Me Tángere. It was also on that first trip that he wrote the immortal poem, A Las Flores De Heidelberg. He was studying ophthalmology and he was also being introduced to the academic circles of Berlin as a culture bearer for scientists and humanists like Blumentritt and Virchow.  His time in Wilhelmsfeld, though short, was marked by the friendship and acceptance of the Ullmer family, who treated him as a friend. It was a challenging time for Rizal, but it was also a joyful and productive one.”

Creative director Floy Quintos explains: “In a way, the process of completing this documentary was our own way of coming to terms with the barriers that the pandemic had imposed on all of us.” 

Historians Ambeth Ocampo and Dr. Mila Guerrero annotated aspects of this significant journey of Rizal through Germany, giving context and meaning to the facts often regarded as mere trivia. But the documentary also becomes a more personal one through the voice of Dr. Fritz Hack Ullmer, who tenderly recounts the memories passed on to him by his grandfather, Friedrich, who was only fourteen at the time of Rizal’s stay in their home.

“Hopefully,” Legarda adds, “this documentary will open our own eyes to the admiration that other countries, like Germany, have for our national hero. There are markers everywhere that trace Rizal’s journey, streets named after him, plazas in Paris and Madrid and Germany which bear his name. As Filipinos, we should have that same appreciation for Rizal’s genius and contributions to world culture.”

“This story had to come home. It is so resonant for all of us whose lives have been changed by the pandemic. We draw inspiration from Rizal, a Filipino travelling through Europe in the late 19th century who overcame many obstacles. In this documentary, that first trip of Rizal through Europe shows that while these obstacles were not easy to overcome, he gained knowledge of his own humanity and his limitless possibilities. He grew—as an intellectual, a scientist and doctor, as a human being in the company of other human beings who valued his personhood and intellect more than they did his race or skin color. Hopefully, through Rizal’s story, we find the means to overcome the barriers that we face today.”

“Finding Rizal in a Time of Barriers” was conceptualized and envisioned by three-term Senator, Deputy Speaker and Antique Congresswoman Loren Legarda in collaboration with the Department of Foreign Affairs-Philippine Embassy in Berlin and produced by Light Vision Films. The documentary will air on the ABS-CBN News Channel on June 19, 2021 at 7pm with a simultaneous broadcast on the ABS-CBN News YouTube channel.




FDCP leads biggest delegation  to Annecy Animation Festival 2021


By Crispina M. Belen

FDCP leads biggest delegation  to Annecy Animation Festival 2021

The Annecy International Animation Film Festival in France, the world’s biggest and most prestigious animation festival, is being held from June 14 to 19, and it has strong representation from the Philippines. The largest country delegation is led by the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP). With them is the country’s first competing film, four projects, and more than 50 animation workers from 29 animation studios.

02 - “Hayop Ka! The Nimfa Dimaano Story” by Avid Liongoren“Hayop Ka! The Nimfa Dimaano Story” by Avid Liongoren has been selected for competition, making history as the first Filipino competing film in Annecy. The first Filipino Netflix animated film was a project of First Cut Lab 2019, co-organized by the FDCP and Tatino Films. The full length feature, where animals are portrayed as true to life adults, is about Nimfa the cat who searches for true love and happiness and must decide between the two dogs in her life.

At Marché international du film d’animation d’Annecy (MIFA) or Annecy International Animation Film Market, three Philippine projects, along with projects from Malaysia and Thailand, are part of the ASEAN Pitch on June 15. These are “Ella Arcangel” by Mervin Malonzo, “Kampilan” by Cris Dumlao, and “Hayop Ka! Universe” by Manny Angeles.

“Ella Arcangel” is a series about a girl from the slums of Manila who fights monsters to protect her neighborhood, only to find out that there are things in the world that are much worse than monsters. “Kampilan,” which got to pitch at the virtual Kre8tif! Conference and Content Festival in Malaysia in 2020, is a feature film about an insecure prince who is faced with an invading threat. With the help of his loyal friends, he must find a way to save the tribe and preserve their way of life.

“Hayop Ka! Universe” features a spin-off and a sequel from the world of “Hayop Ka! The Nimfa Dimaano Story.” The spin-off series “Papa Jorge’s Bedtime Radio Confessions” is about radio love doctor Papa Jorge and the sequel full-length feature “The Jerry Action Bonanza: Hayop Ka Din!” is about a newbie museum security guard thrown right into the heart of the action, battling robbers and goons who are pawns of his own scheming boss.

FDCP Chairperson and CEO Liza Diño will also present the national film agency’s film incentives programs at the ASEAN Pitch in MIFA, which is the foremost event in terms of co-production, purchasing, selling, financing, and distributing content for all broadcasting platforms, drawing 13,000 industry professionals. FilmPhilippines Incentives Unit Manager Mil Alcain will discuss in detail the Film Location Incentive Program (FLIP) and International Co-production Fund (ICOF).

07 - “Rage Radio” by Mark Lenard MendozaAnother project, “Rage Radio” directed by Mark Lenard Mendoza and produced by Friendly Foes Studio, is included in Partners Pitches: Southeast Asia Focus @MIFA 2021 along with projects from Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Southeast Asia Focus is organized by the French Embassy in Singapore and MIFA to offer young and emerging talents the chance to acquire funding, work collaborations, and co-production deals for their projects.

The FDCP, which held an Open Call for Animation Projects, is spearheading the Philippine Delegation’s participation in Annecy. “Boosting the animation industry has been part of the FDCP’s priority programs since 2017. Through our participation in Annecy, we aim to expand the already thriving service sector of the animation industry and elevate the skills of animation workers through participation in various conferences and workshops in MIFA,” said FDCP Chairperson and CEO Liza Diño.

“We also seek to continue to support the global track of original Filipino Intellectual Property (IP) creations by giving them a platform to find industry partners in MIFA. Additionally, we wish to explore further the potential of the Filipino comics community by providing a space for them to promote their IPs in MIFA, especially with the recent success of ‘Trese’ in Netflix,” added Diño.

Also at MIFA 2021, the FDCP brings together a record-breaking number of more than 50 animation workers from 29 companies and organizations to showcase the Philippine animation industry’s various sectors. The animation workers are not just from Manila as there are representatives from Cordillera, Cebu, and Davao.

The Philippine delegates are from the Animation Council Of The Philippines, Inc. (ACPI), Philippine Animation Workers Association (PAWA), SIKAP (Creative Content Creators Association of the Philippines), Animation Vertigo Asia, Inc., Amaya Films, Ateneo De Naga University – Digital Arts And Communication, Blissful Fun Animation, Inc., Clayshop Inc., De La Salle – College of Saint Benilde, Enigma Kai, Friendly Foes, IAcademy, Ikigai Animation Studio, Kampilan Productions, Kino Arts, and Komiket Inc.

Completing the list of participating companies and organizations are Luminait Pictures Inc., Meowsmouse, Toon City (Morph Animation Inc.), Puppeteer Animation Studios Inc., Rocketsheep Studio, Silver Media Group, Storykitchen Animation Studio, Studio Nonego, Teamapp, Inc., Toei Animation Philippines Inc. (TAPI), Top Peg Animation And Creative Studio, Inc., Twenty Manila, and VPF Creative Marketing Communications.

The delegates will be given access to MIFA’s database, virtual stands and pavilions, online meeting platforms, Matchmaking, Work in Progress, Masterclasses, Pitches, Partners Screenings, and the Mifa Campus. The Annecy International Animation Film Festival runs from June 14 to 19, while the MIFA is from June 15 to 18.


Beauty Gonzalez now Kapuso contract artist


By Crispina M. Belen

Beauty Gonzalez now Kapuso contract artist

Beauty GonzalezLast June 11, GMA Network warmly welcomed versatile actress Beauty Gonzalez as its newest contract artist.

Present during the virtual signing ceremony were Senior Vice President for Entertainment Group Lilybeth G. Rasonable, First Vice President for Drama Redgie A. Magno, First Vice President for Business Development Department III Darling de Jesus-Bodegon, Vice President for Corporate Affairs and Communications Angel Javier Cruz, Senior Assistant Vice President for Alternative Productions Gigi Santiago-Lara, Senior Assistant Vice President for Drama Cheryl Ching-Sy, Senior Program Manager Anthony Pastorpide, and Arnold Vegafria of ALV Talent Circuit Inc.

Beauty extended her gratitude to the Kapuso Network for entrusting her with a timely and promising project. “I’m very thankful and very happy because GMA gives me this chance to work with them and to do a collaboration project with them. At the end of the day, gusto ko lang magpasaya ng mga tao, magpasaya ng mga fans, and I’m happy that I get to do these with GMA.”

Furthermore, she described this new chapter in her showbiz career as an exciting change, saying “With all the changes that’s been happening right now, I think it’s time for me to have a change also, to do collaborations with other people, other talents. All I really want to do is to make people happy. I want to prove to them that it’s going to be worth it.”

Rasonable expressed her eagerness in working with the actress. “Ngayon, we’ve lined up a soap project for her, a very interesting one, kakaibang istorya. Ikukuwento natin as the days pass, it’s a unique love story. Sa GMA, gusto natin palaging may tinatahak na bagong story, bagong tema. Beauty will be a part of that.”

Beauty will be starring in her first-ever Kapuso program “Stories from the Heart: Loving Ms. Bridgitte.”

Stay updated about your favorite Kapuso shows and artists by logging on to 


‘All-Out Sundays’ kicks off GMA’s 71st anniversary this Sunday


By Crispina M. Belen

‘All-Out Sundays’ kicks off GMA’s 71st anniversary this Sunday

The biggest and brightest Kapuso stars will convene and usher in the celebration of GMA Network’s 71st anniversary this Sunday, June 13, in the hit musical-comedy-variety program “All-Out Sundays.”

Spearheading the spectacle are Kapuso prime stars Dingdong Dantes, Heart Evangelista, Jennylyn Mercado, Dennis Trillo, Alden Richards, Lovi Poe, Carla Abellana, Tom Rodriguez, Aiai delas Alas, Eugene Domingo, and Michael V.

Also gracing the show are the stars of Kapuso shows Bubble Gang, Pepito Manaloto, Daddy’s Gurl, Dear Uge, Catch Me Out Philippines, iBilib, Centerstage, Mars Pa More, Sarap ‘Di Ba, Taste Buddies, Farm To Table, and Eat Bulaga; plus the cast of First Yaya and upcoming GMA series Legal Wives, Nagbabagang Luha, Las Hermanas, and The World Between Us.

GMA News pillars Mel Tiangco, Mike Enriquez, Vicky Morales, Arnold Clavio, Howie Severino, and Jessica Soho will also share their anniversary greetings to our loyal Kapuso viewers.

Kicking off the party with a medley of all-time favorite OPM dance music are Lani Misalucha, Julie Anne San Jose, Barbie Forteza, Christian Bautista, Mark Bautista, Ken Chan, Rita Daniella, Ruru Madrid, Miguel Tanfelix, Kyline Alcantara, Mavy Legaspi, Kim de Leon with Kapuso stars Rhian Ramos, Benjamin Alves, Sanya Lopez, Katrina Halili, Winwyn Marquez, Jeric Gonzales, Kate Valdez, Ysabel Ortega, and Cassy Legaspi.

Meanwhile, GMA Telebabad’s “First Yaya” Sanya Lopez takes the spotlight as she goes all-out on her first concert on the AOS stage.

The Queendom Divas – Julie Anne San Jose, Aicelle Santos, Rita Daniela, Jessica Villarubin, Thea Astley, Jennie Gabriel, Hannah Precillas, and Lani Misalucha – will also spice up the party as they give their flavor and rendition to classic OPM hits.

Watch out for the new comedy-fantasy-musical series “I’m Byerna” which follows the story of Virna, a young woman who shifts into her ugly and ill-tempered alter-ego Byerna every time she gets infuriated. Byerna is forced to become a superhero when supervillain Chillax begins to sow terror in the city.

“I’m Byerna” features Denice Barbacena as Virna, Buboy Villar as Byerna, together with Edgar Allan Guzman, Yasser Marta, and comedians Mike “Pekto” Nacua, Tuesday Vargas, and Kakai Bautista.

And finally, tune in for great deals, special promos, and a lot of big prizes that await Kapuso viewers!

Join in the fun and catch “All-Out Sundays,” this Sunday, 12nn, only on GMA-7.

Viewers abroad can also catch the program via GMA’s flagship international channel, GMA Pinoy TV.

For more stories about the Kapuso Network, visit


‘Amazing Earth’ celebrates third anniversary; moves to a new time slot this Sunday


By Crispina M. Belen

‘Amazing Earth’ celebrates third anniversary; moves to a new time slot this Sunday

Dingdong Dantes (1)

Kapuso Primetime King Dingdong Dantes explores more unchartered territories and discovers fascinating stories told through the work of local heroes in the three-part anniversary special of GMA Network’s award-winning infotainment program, “Amazing Earth,” beginning Sunday, June 13. 

Admirably, since the advent of the program, Dingdong has impressed Kapuso viewers with his utmost commitment to deliver exciting adventures and stories every week as he treks dirt roads, wades in rivers, and climbs mountains. Even with the pressing concerns brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, Dingdong proves to be a faithful eco-warrior through and through. 

The award-winning actor-TV host shares that a great deal of destinations await Kapuso viewers in their three-part anniversary episodes. “Team Amazing Earth has a lot in store for our viewers in celebration of our third anniversary. We know na with the pandemic, hindi lahat ay nakakapasyal to explore the many beautiful sights that this planet can offer. Kaya naman our program is very much excited to take our viewers to more breathtaking destinations across the country and around the world.”

Dingdong also expresses his take on how their program can be of help in advocating environmental protection, saying “We feature local heroes para makita natin kung ano ba ‘yung mga puwede nating gawin for our environment and it’s not just limited to tree planting; it could be as simple as educating everyone tungkol sa mga kuwentong bayan na may kinalaman sa kalikasan.”

Now on a  new primetime timeslot, “Amazing Earth’s” special episodes feature wildlife stories from the BBC nature documentary “Seven Worlds, One Planet,” presented by renowned narrator David Attenborough and filmed across 7 continents in 41 countries. 

This Sunday, get warm and cozy with the wildlife living in the European hinterlands – from the mountainous regions of Italy and Spain to the forests of France and Finland to the freezing Arctic Circle. Discover the suspense-filled ways of female brown bears, male musk ox, wolves, red deers, and Barbary macaques in their natural habitats. 

Don’t miss Dingdong’s exclusive interview with Mayor Vico Sotto in the Pasig Rainforest Park. The millennial mayor talks about the inroads they are making environment-wise in Pasig, spearheaded by their constituents’ floating farm concept. 

Meanwhile, revel in the beauty of Bohol and discover the mysterious Tambuko cave and underwater lagoon! How true is the folklore that diwatas or fairies watch over it?

Make it a family habit to explore, enjoy, and learn about our only planet in “Amazing Earth” – under the helm of esteemed director Rico Gutierrez – Sundays, 7:40pm, before “Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho,” on GMA-7. 

Viewers abroad can also catch the program via GMA’s flagship international channel, GMA Pinoy TV.

For more stories about the Kapuso Network, visit



#MPK presents an extraordinary love story this Saturday via ‘Mahal Kita, Mahal Mo Siya’


By Crispina M. Belen

#MPK presents an extraordinary love story this Saturday via ‘Mahal Kita, Mahal Mo Siya’

An extraordinary love story involving four individuals is told in “Mahal Kita, Mahal Mo Siya,”  the all-new episode of GMA Network’s award-winning drama anthology “Magpakailanman” this Saturday, June 12. 

The fresh episode features Kapuso stars Dion Ignacio as Jon, Maxine Medina as Anne, and Yvette Sanchez as Kim, with Arny Ross as Roxy.

Both Jon (Dion) and Anne (Maxine) are trapped in a toxic relationship. Jon has a younger live-in partner named Kim (Yvette) who is regarded by others as his sugar baby, while Anne is committed to a lesbian named Roxy (Arny). 

When their paths crossed, the physical attraction between Jon and Anne is undeniably strong. Jon shoots his shot but was rejected by Anne straight away. Five years passed, Anne agrees to go on a date with Jon but the latter discovers that the woman already has a lesbian lover and learns that the couple wants him to be their sperm donor. 

Jon declines the offer and avoids Anne since then. He tries to fix his relationship with Kim but soon finds out about her illicit affair. When they bump into each other again, Jon witnesses that Anne is being maltreated by Roxy and comforts her. He attempts to court her again but his efforts are still in vain.

Devastated and disheartened, Jon flies to another country and pursues his career as a DJ. After realizing that her relationship with Roxy is hopeless, Anne also goes abroad and crosses paths with Jon once again. 

The two finally confess their feelings and after a year, Jon and Anne decide to go back home and get married. Unbeknown to them, Kim and Roxy are conspiring to break them up. 

How will Jon and Anne fight for their love now that their exes are conniving to tear them apart? Will their love be able to overcome this hurdle or is this the end of their relationship? 

Don’t miss the all-new episode of #MPK: Mahal Kita, Mahal Mo Siya – directed by Neal del Rosario, researched by Karen Lustica, and written by Vienuel Ello – this Saturday, 8pm, on GMA-7. 

Viewers abroad can also catch the program via GMA’s flagship international channel, GMA Pinoy TV.

For more stories about the Kapuso Network, visit