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Posted by Dexter Matilla - - 0 comments

Berta Rojas, a star in the international guitar community, will hold concerts in Manila and Cebu on May 15 and May 17 respectively.

Ms. Rojas is tourism ambassador of her native Paraguay, where she happens to be the most popular musician. It is her profile that greets visitors just coming out of the international airport in Asuncion, the country's capital.

The concert in Manila will be at 8 pm in the Meralco Theater. The concert in Cebu will be at 8 pm in the Marcelo Fernan Hall in Lahug. Jointly organized by the Independent Philippine Art Ventures, Inc., and the Arts Council of Cebu Foundation, the concerts will be the classical guitar events of the year in the country.

Ms. Rojas, described by the Wahington Post as "Guitarist extraordinaire," will play a mainly classical repertoire with a taste of jazz and salsa.

Special guests for the Manila concert are Ramoncito Carpio, the country's most internationally awarded classic guitarist and Triple Fret, a trio composed of Marga Abejo, Jenny de Vera, and Iqui Vinculado. Triple Fret play classical and more accessible pieces.

Carpio started to play guitar at age 12. He decided to study guitar formally at age 17 at the extension program of the University of the Philippines (UP) College of Music. He earned his Bachelor's degree under the tutelage of Prof. Lester Demetillo. He took his Master of Music degree at Philippine Women’s University (PWU) School of Music under the guidance of Prof. Benchito Cariño and is pursuing his doctorate in music with Dr. Angelito Agcaoili in the same school.

Triple Fret is an all-women classical-contemporary guitar trio that has captivated the hearts of music lovers all over the Philippines with their refreshing brand of music, performance and love for the classical guitar. Its members, Marga Abejo, Jenny de Vera, and Iqui Vinculado received training in the premiere music schools of the country, namely the University of the Philippines College of Music and the University of Santo Tomas Conservatory of Music. The women have brought the appreciation of the classical guitar throughout the country to new heights.

Prior to the concert, BERTA ROJAS will conduct a special MASTER CLASS on May 14, 2014 from 3-6 p.m. at Cedar Room, Richmonde Hotel Ortigas, the official residence of Rojas in Manila.

The master class will be open, free of charge, to six students and enthusiasts that qualify in a transparent and competitive process.

In a master class, open to a public audience, the student plays a chosen piece before a virtuoso. The latter evaluates technique, style, interpretation, posture. It is usually a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the student. Berta Rojas will spend 30 minutes with each participant. For further inquiries, please write Monch Carpio at or

The campus networking for the events is spearheaded by the University of Santo Tomas Music Conservatory Student Council, under the leadership of Mary Rose Luzande.

For ticket inquiries, call Ticketworld at 891.9999
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If there's one franchise film outside of the Marvel Studios that I look forward to, it's the one with the web-crawler. I am such a big fan of 'The Amazing Spider-Man' that saw Andrew Garfield as the new titular character and while I felt that while the film took a little time to establish a back-story once more (a problem with reboots), it had enough action, wit, and incredible camera-work to truly set the tone moving forward.

So I'll be the last person any one would need to convince to see the sequel. But last night I got to see in 3D exactly what 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' is all about. I'll break it down into segments and hopefully I don't miss out on some of the stand-out scenes that made me re-assess which holds the lead so far as being the best comic-book film of 2014 or maybe even in the past six years.

'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' will show more of Peter Parker's father, Richard (Campbell Scott) and the works he has done. Without giving anything away, I am impressed with how this character is portrayed and is as tough as they come. He is no pushover is what I would say and immediately, you get the idea where Peter's brashness comes from.

Now, I read the comic books and what is Spider-Man without his quips? The first few scenes will introduce one of the villains and as Spider-Man tries to foil his plans, we get some of that "humour" that thankfully doesn't go overboard. There's a particular sequence that was really impressive involving Spider-Man doing some juggling and web-shooting at the same time.

I'm still not a fan of 3D in films and I can count in one hand the films that I could suggest seeing in this particular format. But I may have to use both hands now as 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' has just been added in the list. I'll justify it later when I talk about the scenes with the next villain. The 3D scenes in this opening act is just a taste now that I think about how awesome the next ones are. I've been trying to think of the word to describe it but I guess "fluid" would suffice. And it's just the right amount of "fluidity" that will still make you see details despite all the swinging around. Your eyes can catch even small props that would have been normally lost in the screen unless shot to be intentionally focused on by the camera. Let's just say that while I can't say it's perfect, it's better than HFR 3D.

Anyways, the story of course has the boy and the girl in Peter and Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone). They haven't seen each other in a while and there's a very sweet scene that I felt worked greatly and will be one that I will think back to if and when the eventual happens to Gwen in this film or the next (oops not too spoiler-free if you don't read the comics). But the conversation they had, being in front of one another once again was just too touching. I really felt their love for one another.

Enter Electro. I can't not name this villain, I guess because I will have to talk about how awesome this portrayal is. When Jamie Foxx was revealed to be Max Dillon a.k.a. Electro, people were naturally "shocked". Foxx is a really good actor and as the bumbling mumbling Max, he delivers. When he turns into Electro, well you really focus less into the acting and more into the action. The CGI is really, really, really good in bringing this villain to life. You easily understand his power and how he sees the world. This is not the goofy Electro in the comics. This is a bad-ass who is essentially an immortal in this film especially when he and another villain decide to team up.

I particularly enjoyed one of Electro's display of power. It had me going "wow" as they utilized a bullet-time effect that likewise lets you see just how fast Spider-Man thinks. It's the details really, and it was just too good.

Then there's Dane DeHaan. First publicity images of him in this film gave you the idea that this is a rich, spoiled, emo kid and how can he be a goblin? Well, let me tell you that his Harry Osborn is evil. The maniacal look in his eyes is every bit the Norman Osborn in the comics.

And what is a Marvel film without a Stan Lee cameo? I think this is the best "wink" to the audience cameo so far by the man believed to be the-one-above-all.

So there, I hope I didn't give away too much, just enough to get you excited to head to the theatres for "The Amazing Spider-Man 2", which opens April 30 in the Philippines, ahead of the US showing.
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The patriotic superhero led the Philippine box office to victory as Marvel's “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” opened at No.1 with a nationwide, five-day opening weekend gross of a staggering P155.51-million.

This according to Victor R. Cabrera, Managing Director of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Philippines which distributed the film.

Propelled by through-the-roof, positive reviews from critics and excellent word-of-mouth, the record-breaking bow claimed the biggest opening weekend for the year for a foreign title (dethroning “300: Rise of an Empire”) as well as the biggest March opening ever in the industry.

The debut of “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” also glaringly surpassed the openings of previous Marvel titles, specifically its predecessor, 2011's “Captain America: The First Avenger” (P90.8-M), 2010's “Iron Man 2” (P104.9-M) and 2011's “Thor” (P59.5-M).

Overseas, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” grossed a stellar $75.2 million from 32 territories (incuding UK, France, Germany, Italy, Korea and the Philippines), representing approximately 57% of the overseas market place. By comparison, the original “Captain America” grossed only $40 million from the same group of countries in 2011. The film opens in the U.S. and North America on April 4.

Back in the Philippines, “The Winter Soldier” rolled out in 453 screens, including 8 IMAX theaters. The SM Group claimed the three biggest opening receipts, led by SM North EDSA (P8.41-M), SM Mall of Asia (P8.33-M), SM Megamall (P7.62-M).

The top four to ten slots are occupied by Trinoma (P5.16-M), Glorietta 4 (P4.90-M), SM Cebu (P4.36-M), Alabang Town Center (P3.96-M), Greenbelt 3 (P3.87-M), Power Plant (P3.79-M) and Greenhills Promenade (P3.70-M).

Rounding out the top 11 to 20 rankings were SM Aura (P3.63-M), Newport (P3.39-M), SM Southmall (P2.83-M), Shang Cineplex (P2.72-M), Robinsons Magnolia (P2.543-M), Gateway (P2.541-M), Eastwood (P2.53-M), Ayala Cebu (P2.46-M), SM Fairview (P2.34-M) and SM Marikina (P2.15-M).

Marvel's “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” which continues the big screen adventures of Steve Rogers aka Captain America, picks up after the cataclysmic events in New York with The Avengers, and finds Steve Rogers living quietly in Washington, D.C., and trying to adjust to the modern world.
But when a S.H.I.E.L.D. colleague comes under attack, Steve becomes embroiled in a web of intrigue and mystery that threatens to put the world at risk. Joining forces with Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow, Captain America struggles to expose the ever-widening conspiracy while fighting off assailants sent to silence him at every turn. When the full scope of the villainous plot is revealed, Captain America and Black Widow enlist the help of a new ally, the Falcon. However, they soon find themselves up against an unexpected and formidable new enemy—the Winter Soldier.

Based on the ever-popular Marvel comic book series, first published in 1941, Marvel’s “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” returns Chris Evans as the iconic Super Hero character Steve Rogers/Captain America along with Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow, Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier, Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson/Falcon, Cobie Smulders as Agent Maria Hill, Frank Grillo as Brock Rumlow, Emily VanCamp as Agent 13, Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter, with Academy Award® winner Robert Redford as Alexander Pierce, a senior leader within the S.H.I.E.L.D organization, and Samuel L. Jackson as S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury.

“Captain America: The Winter Soldier" is now playing across the Philippines and is distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.

In addition to "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," Marvel Studios will release a slate of films based on the Marvel characters including "Guardians of the Galaxy" on August 1, 2014; "Avengers: Age of Ultron" on May 1, 2015; and "Ant-Man" on July 17, 2015.
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WWF's Earth Hour broke all records of participation in its eighth year, as Spider-Man last night joined millions of everyday Super Heroes from across the world in the world's largest celebration for the planet.

The event that has evolved into the world’s largest movement for the planet began its journey across more than 154 countries and territories from New Zealand, now sweeping across Asia with Spider-Man and the cast from the upcoming blockbuster “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” including Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone and Jamie Foxx, sending a message to the world that anyone can be a Super Hero for the Planet from the global flagship Earth Hour event from WWF-Singapore.

WWF's Earth Hour event in Singapore saw lights switched off across the famous Marina Bay skyline, joining the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House, the Bird’s Nest in Beijing, Taipei 101, The Wat Arun Buddhist Temple in Bangkok, the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur and more that have already taken part in the global celebration for the planet.

In The Philippines, official Earth Hour representatives, celebrities and Spider-Man fans gathered at the Eastwood Mall Open Park and SM Mall of Asia’s by the Bay to lead the switch-off.

In Australia, a massive candle lit display on the lawn of Parliament House in Canberra spelt out, ‘It’s Lights Out For The Reef’ as thousands across the country witnessed a special documentary about the impact of climate change on the threatened natural wonder the Great Barrier Reef.

As the lights now switch off at India Gate, the beyond the hour focus for children will be felt with WWF-India’s year-long education campaign for a monumental 15,000 schools across India who are switching off for Earth Hour and switching on to more energy efficient practices.

Lights also went off at Swayambhunath Temple in Kathmandu where WWF-Nepal will begin targetting 500,000 people in the country to lead environmental change through a Generation Green Campaign.
Jamie Foxx who plays Electro in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, said “It’s time to conserve, protect, and enjoy this planet of ours. Never underestimate your power, never underestimate what you can do.”

This year, WWF-Nepal also has the enlisted the help of none other than Spider-Man himself to support their Earth Hour Blue crowdfunding project, ‘A Flame Called Hope’. This project supported by Andrew Garfield aims to provide clean biogas energy to villages in Nepal’s Terai Arc.

“Earth Hour is a fantastic movement that has been created about conservation of our planet, which is something that should be on the top of our list as human beings. Let’s remember that the Earth is not ours, we are of this Earth. We all have a responsibility to each other in preserving our home, so it’s amazing to be a part of Earth Hour to help send that message,” said Andrew Garfield.

Earth Hour trended worldwide, with participants sharing their event experience and commitment for the planet across social media platforms that connect the world.

At the heart of the movement’s digital growth is Indonesia, where Earth Hour has become a massive, year-round youth led movement enlisting the support of more than 1.5 million people across more than 31 cities in the country. Creating simple and creative environmental actions through film, performances, social media and public gatherings, the teams promote environmental activities related to saving electricity, reduction in use of plastic, using less paper and tissue, planting more trees and using public transportation throughout the year.

“Earth Hour is much more than an hour. Every person can do their part no matter how big or small to save the planet,” said Emma Stone.

Meanwhile, The Philippines – one of the movement’s staunchest supporters – has since 2009 topped town and city participation levels to earn the title of Earth Hour Hero Country. Last 14 March, over 40 local government officials, city planners and environmental officers attended the Liga Para sa Klima, a multi-year WWF, Smart Communications and ArthaLand initiative to help local communities deal with climate-spurred storms, floods and droughts. The participants pledged not just to switch off their lights this Earth Hour – but to strive towards energy, water and food security. Other national and local government arms, plus corporations and communities have committed to support the switch off.

This year sees Earth Hour launch a new crowdfunding and crowdsourcing platform for the Planet, asking people to use their power to back a project or add their voice to solution based environmental projects across the world.

From donating to build climate smart fiberglass boats for Typhoon Haiyan affected fishermen in the Philippines, to giving Rangers in Indonesia better equipment to protect the forests and wildlife of Borneo and Sumatra and even helping fund indigenous communities in Colombia to generate sustainable means of livelihood that prevents deforestation in the Amazon – Earth Hour is calling on participants across the world to be Superheroes for the Planet by getting involved in Earth Hour Blue when the lights come back on.

Earth Hour next hit the Middle East, Africa and Europe, where the Sultan Ahmed Mosque (Blue Mosque) turned off its lights for the first time, joining the world’s tallest building Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the Kremlin and Red Square in Moscow, South Africa’s Table Mountain, St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican City, The Eiffel Tower in Paris, La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Buckingham Palace in London, Edinburgh Castle in Scotland before the hour of inspiration made its way across the Atlantic to South America.

There, the Christ the Redeemer (statue) in Rio de Janeiro, The Angel of Independence in Mexico City are key landmarks taking part in the continent, and The Empire State Building and Times Square in New York City, Niagara Falls, Los Angeles International Airport, the Las Vegas Strip and more joined in the world’s largest celebration for the planet from North America, before Earth Hour wrapped up on the island of Tahiti in French Polynesia.

Earth Hour in 2014 sees the completion of the shift from event to movement status across the world, with the celebration cementing its place as a platform for beyond the hour activities for amazing environmental outcomes to protect parts of the planet including the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, the Arctic in Finland and the Amazon Rainforest in Colombia.

The focus on outcomes was inspired by Earth Hour’s success in past years that led to better legislation through the Russian Parliament to protect seas from oil pollution, the creation of a 3.4 million hectare marine protected area in Argentina and the world’s first Earth Hour Forest in Uganda to fight against massive deforestation in the country. All of these outcomes were powered by the crowd, showing that change for the planet can be achieved when the individual and collective realises their power.

People are encouraged to use their power by backing a project or add their voice at and sharing their #EarthHour activities on Instagram.

From script to screen, the environmental efforts in the making of “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” have been supported at every level and made the film the most eco-friendly tentpole in the studio’s history. Sony Pictures has extended these efforts in making the production and publicity tour carbon neutral, as well as “EcoSpidey” external outreach with a sizzle reel, game and Twitter campaign. Internally, the studio co-developed a unique online experience for employees to learn about Earth Hour and take action with the partnership, which has been made available to hundreds of thousands of employees at over 14 of the world’s largest corporations, powered by Practically Green.

About “The Amazing Spider-Man 2”

We’ve always known that Spider-Man’s most important battle has been within himself: the struggle between the ordinary obligations of Peter Parker and the extraordinary responsibilities of Spider-Man. But in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Peter Parker finds that a greater conflict lies ahead.

It’s great to be Spider-Man (Andrew Garfield). For Peter Parker, there’s no feeling quite like swinging between skyscrapers, embracing being the hero, and spending time with Gwen (Emma Stone). But being Spider-Man comes at a price: only Spider-Man can protect his fellow New Yorkers from the formidable villains that threaten the city. With the emergence of Electro (Jamie Foxx), Peter must confront a foe far more powerful than he. And as his old friend, Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan), returns, Peter comes to realize that all of his enemies have one thing in common: Oscorp.
Directed by Marc Webb. Produced by Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach. Screenplay by Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci and Jeff Pinkner. Screen Story by Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci and Jeff Pinkner and James Vanderbilt. Based on the Marvel Comic Book by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. The film will be released in Philippine theaters April 30, 2014, and in the U.S. on May 2, 2014. #SpiderMan
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I just received this official statement via email from the Embassy of Israel here in Manila.

Israel is one of the countries that helped our country in the Haiyan aftermath and I personally know other outreach efforts the embassy in Manila have done here. I also have friends in the embassy and I hope this gets sorted out soon.
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