If experience is the best teacher, then actor Paulo Avelino has been its most devoted student.

by Jam Pascual

She totally won us over at the #ADB Interpellation.

by Isabelle Toledo

To make it easier for you to understand what’s going on.

by Jam Pascual

Will the long hours be worth it in the end?

by Ina Jacobe

NASA dropped some news that may bring us closer to that reality

by Isabelle Toledo

Contrary to popular belief, people can change.

by C.L. Garcia

If “haters gonna hate,” then allow us to indulge you.

by Jam Pascual

We know the divide is real. So how do we engage in a conversation with one another?

Slow down, dilettante by Jam Pascual

It can be hard (hehe) to discern between the facts and falsehoods that surround masturbation. Allow us to clear a few things up.

by Jam Pascual

A case on the next frontier in manufactured romance.

by Marga Buenaventura

With the 31st anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution coming up, the last thing we’re going to do is just move on.

by Jam Pascual

“You’ll never know if he or she is the one for you unless you give yourself fully to the other person.”

by Maine Manalansan

Change starts from within (and from the people you follow).

by Coco Maceren

How does the current political situation affect our dating lives?

by Vicky Marquez

Reality check: You can’t always be right

by Ina Jacobe

Ditch sleeping in, there’s a lot to do today.

by Isabelle Toledo

Now it’s the Grammy’s turn, tbh.

by Coco Maceren

Kid, step away from that desk. It’s time to de-stress.

by Isabelle Toledo

In case you need something to do on Feb. 14.

by Gaby Gloria

Need a good cry? We got you covered with more commercials to watch.

by Ina Jacobe

If you’re looking for a sign, this is it.

by Isabelle Toledo

Behind every man is a woman, so they say, and that woman is the best friend a guy can ask for.

by Neal Corpus

No one to shower with gifts on the day of hearts? Well, why not shower yourself?

by Neal Corpus

Screw S.A.D. and appreciate your solitude.

by Maine Manalansan

Wouldn’t Matilda and Eleven make such great friends?

by Gaby Gloria

Studying in an all-girls school is far from attending slumber party.

by Maine Manalansan

Being a band aid is totally worth it.

by Coco Maceren

Imaginary friends are the best kind of friends.

by Neal Corpus

“I thought maybe a picture of a sliced penis would speak louder than their objectifying words.”

by Gaby Gloria

What happens when you lose the person who pinky promised to be by your side forever?

by Maine Manalansan

Because tonight is the night when all of us become one.

by Maine Manalansan

Get in losers; we’re going dancing.

by Coco Maceren

Ease out from January’s retrograde with these February weekender plans.

by Ina Jacobe

Who would’ve known you could see (and feel) so much?

by Coco Maceren

It’s a brave new world out there.

by Raymond Ang

On a scale of ‘1’ to ‘Chito Miranda,’ how publicly do you express your affection online?

by Ina Jacobe

“I kept it because it reminds me good things don’t have to last forever and that’s okay.”

by Ina Jacobe

It’s not just because of Archie’s affair with Ms. Grundy.

by Gaby Gloria

Pick one: feeding your soul or your stomach?

by Maine Manalansan

Snoop Dogg isn’t the only dog who’s into reggae.

by Isabelle Toledo

We can always learn a thing or two from beauty pageants.

by Coco Maceren

No need to switch bodies with a handsome Tokyo boy for this tour.

by Gaby Gloria

Why aren’t pandas on the list in the first place?

by Ina Jacobe

Here are three unconventional workouts that might just be the perfect fit for you.

by Isabelle Toledo

When it comes to gearing up for the daily grind, cozy and cute is the way to go.

by Tin Sartorio

In a time of constant ugliness, sometimes we need a reminder of what beauty is, even in a world that sees much less of it.

by Pam Musni

Ashley Graham and Bretman Rock’s presence in this year’s pageant means so much more.

by Coco Maceren

Blessing you with luck and prosperity with new Telegram stickers.

by Ina Jacobe

It’s starting to look like another good year for indie cinema

by Isabelle Toledo

After this, you’ll be able to touch your toes again.

by Maine Manalansan

Martial Law is long over, but remnants of our past still haunt us in the most Imeldific ways.

by Neal Corpus

The star of Vince & Kath & James is well on his way to becoming one of the country’s biggest stars.

by Gaby Gloria

Reimagining our favorites’ first meal of the day.

by Ina Jacobe

There’s nothing wrong with being strong.

FAKING IT by Sam Lee

La La Land is everything we know about musical theater and somehow everything we don’t.

TOFF OF THE WORLD by Toff de Venecia

The movie “A Dog’s Purpose” is under fire for mistreating a dog actor on set.

by Ina Jacobe

Here are forgotten selfie poses that are way safer than the peace sign.

by Isabelle Toledo

Because when it comes to working out, a buddy is always necessary.

by Tin Sartorio

Because Jerry Spinelli’s Stargirl would look awesome in an anime.

by Coco Maceren

The new year always sees a spike in gym memberships, but is the hype real?

by Neal Corpus

The Filipinos behind 8-bitfiction talk anonymity in the age of online influence.

by Gaby Gloria

Because buying them is so last season.

by Isabelle Toledo

An attempt to document the waste we produce, and hopefully lessen it as well.

by Coco Quizon

There’s more to the Pantone Color of the Year than just being about nature.

by Sam Potenciano

We talked to five individuals from varying careers about earning, spending, and planning for the future.

by Neal Corpus and Tin Sartorio

Time to fill that eco-friendly starter kit.

by Arianna Lim

Proof that your trash can inspire someone else’s art.

by Isabelle Toledo

We never knew vegetables could get people #shookt.

by Maine Manalansan

As long as our money goes to the right place

by Team YS

Say goodbye to pink rice, and hello to a healthier lunch option.

by Coco Maceren

A Carly Rae x Michelle Branch track? Now that’s a song we need to hear.

by Coco Maceren

Technology has once again proven to be our most trusty sidekick.

by Isabelle Toledo

Going by their star signs, Kim and Kanye are made for each other.

by Ina Jacobe

This month’s issue of TYIOF will be all about starting anew.

by Gaby Gloria

Free art from The Youth is On Fire’s featured creative of the month, artist and designer Earvin Padua.

by The Young STAR team

This red panda is a 25-year-old passive-aggressive Scorpio.

by Gaby Gloria

So you’re into bullet journalling, huh? Here are easy layouts that you can try to keep your pages organized.

by Maine Manalansan

Hey Tito, are you really protecting the interests of children or something a little closer to home?

by Team YS

New year, new you — time to shed your skin and replace it with a brand new wardrobe.

by Neal Corpus

This year’s Metro Manila Film Festival was a great show of audiences coming together. But what happens after?

On Toff of the World by Toff De Venecia

When talking politics with family, how do you keep a healthy discussion from being a hurtful one?

Everything is Embarrassing by Marga Buenaventura

It’s never too late to say sorry, but that doesn’t mean you always should.

by Rogin Mae O. Losa

If it were up to us, here’s what 2017 would bring to the tech world

by Tin Sartorio

Do Mocha Uson’s entertainment credentials qualify her to be part of the MTRCB?

by Ina Jacobe

You’re going to want to add Ang Bandang Shirley’s new song to your #SelfLove playlist.

by Coco Maceren

If checklists pressure you, then this one might just save your year.

by Maine Manalansan

Let’s forget about 2016 and focus on all the good 2017 has to offer.

by The Young STAR team

UDD’s new song may just be your new love letter to your crush.

by Coco Maceren

Here’s a mixtape that will definitely get you in the swing of things. 2017 will be your year; claim it.

by Maine Manalansan

We’re calling it: 2017 will be a much better year than 2016.

by The Young STAR team

Time to leave some things in the past. Bye, 2016. Good riddance.

by Isabelle Toledo

A young OFW in New York finds ways to spend the holidays with his OFW father and the rest of their family in the Philippines.

by Tin Sartorio

Diary of a Wimpy Kid author Jeff Kinney dishes out the importance of humor and comics.

by Gaby Gloria

This year heralded the reign of a new president. How is he doing? We’ve got the year-ender report card.

by Pam Musni

Team magazine’s new web series gives us a picture of life post-coming out

by Neal Corpus

Every country has a different way of shooing away the bad juju every first of January. Here are five traditions from different parts of the world that might just pique your interest.

by Maine Manalansan

2017 is right around the corner. Here are the seven things to do while waiting for the ball to drop.

by Maine Manalansan and Tin Sartorio

Your TV guide just got better. We look back at the top trends and predictions from the 2016 Asia TV Forum & Market.

by Tin Sartorio

The world has lost another brilliant actress, mental health advocate, and overall badass. The force that is Carrie Fisher will always remain with us. #RIP

by Coco Maceren

It’s that time of the year when we make promises we just can’t seem to keep. Make way for real change in 2017 with these tips.

by Isabelle Toledo

Winning over the holiday weight gain is doable, especially when you discover that it’s not real.

by Coco Maceren

Just like a soldier in battle, use this Christmas sweater to protect you from unwanted elements (see: snooping relatives, etc.) during the holidays.

by Maine Manalansan

What do you do when someone asks you for the only thing you can’t give? A young writer tells her story.

FAKING IT by Samantha Lee

On exploring the peculiarities of the hallowed day we call Christmas.

Slow Down, Dilettante by Jam Pascual

All the late gifters in the back, stand up! We’ve got a simple last-minute DIY just for you.

by Gaby Gloria

An only child tells her story of spending Christmas alone.

by Maine Manalansan

The local film industry is changing before our very own eyes. But where do we go from here?

by Rogin Mae O. Losa

Christmas movies are a holiday staple. Get into the cheerful spirit with this year’s movie guide.

by Marga Buenaventura

We asked some of our Young STAR favorites to tell us when and why they started believing in jolly old Saint Nick.

by Maine Manalansan

A look at the typical Pinoy school Christmas party.

by Mich Cervantes

Christmas is fun until you find out that you totally forgot to get someone a gift.

by Coco Maceren

Who says giving only happens during the holiday season? The doors of these organizations are open year-round.

by Isabelle Toledo and Gaby Gloria

Here’s your chance to be part of Young STAR’s zine: The Youth Is on Fire.

by Isabelle Toledo

Shut up and let us go. We’re totally freaking out over the Wanderland Music and Arts Festival 2017 lineup.

Karpos Multimedia is back to make our wildest dreams come true by bringing The Ting Tings and The Temper Trap as the headliners for next summer’s biggest music festival. We first heard The Temper Trap live at the Wanderland stage back in 2013 and next year—on Wanderland’s 5th anniversary—they’re coming back with new hits from their latest album “Thick as Thieves”. The co-headliner set of English indie pop duo The Ting Tings in Wanderland will be their debut performance in Manila.

On March 4, the two big acts will also be joined by our other faves Yuna, Purity Ring and Fools and Foes at the Filinvest City Events Grounds in Alabang. The jungle fever is strong as these five acts complete the lineup for the much-awaited festival.

In case you’ve been hiding under a rock, Explosions in the Sky, LANY, Woodlock, and electronic duo HONNE are also getting ready to set the Wanderland stage on fire. OPM faves Up Dharma Down, and Gab and John of Urbandub are joining the roster together with Young STAR Fresh Produce Tom’s Story and singer-songwriter Reese Lansangan. Newbies Lola Amour, Banna Harbera, and Mickey Sulit are also in on the party. These bands fought their way through the Wanderland Jungle Battle to land a spot on the festival lineup.

For four years now, Wanderland Music and Arts Festival has been on everyone’s summer bucket list. Can you believe it’s already been 9 months since we finally got to bawl our eyes out to a live Bon Iver set? Kid Cudi surprised us a year ago, but it was in 2014 when we finally got to check “join a moshpit” off our bucket lists—all thanks to The Royal Concept’s epic set.

Next year, a jungle adventure awaits as Wanderland steps into new territory (literally) with a bigger venue down south and an even bigger musical lineup to match. Paws up and get ready to put your inner concert animal on the loose. It’s going to be wild.

* * *
Tickets are available at

In an alternate universe where Santa Claus isn’t as famous as he is, we’re pretty sure that Jose Mari Chan can (and would) replace him.

by Maine Manalansan

Veteran lensman Raymund Isaac pays it forward with tips on how to make it big and take the perfect picture in his new book ‘The Good Photographer.’

by Ina Jacobe

The Ransom Collective debuts the music video ‘Open Road’ exclusively on

by Gaby Gloria

Spending Christmas in the city shouldn’t be all bad. Through MasterCard, a holiday experience in Makati becomes one for the books.

by Isabelle Toledo

We’re making a list and checking it twice. Here are 10 things that made it to our naughty list and what we’re giving them for Christmas.

by The Young STAR team

Complete your holly, jolly Christmas with these tunes to pump you up for the festivities.

by Young STAR team

Four kids who go beyond the ordinary school us on fashion, beauty, and breaking stereotypes

by Coco Maceren

From pesky titas to your even peskier pet dog, here’s a list of folks who may or may not be on your Nice List this Christmas.

by Marga Buenaventura

A 20-year-old details the struggles of being baby-faced and shorter than average.

STRAIGHT, NO FLAIR by gaby-gloria

Visual artist friends Daniela Go and Shy Cabajar start a makeup blog for fellow prettyish girls.

by Coco Maceren

Book a trip and pray to the Uber gods that you get a Don Limon.

by Ina Jacobe

Minimalism isn’t about keeping a clean design aesthetic. Here are three tips to make more space in your life by clearing out your closet.

by Maine Manalansan

We’ve long frowned upon body hair – signs of being unkept, unfeminine, or dirty – but it’s time to ditch the ruthless razor of outdated societal standards.

by Carina Santos

Survive the Christmas madness (a.k.a. traffic as far as the eye can see) with a couple of books, albums, movies, and podcasts that’ll help you kill time.

by Margarita Buenaventura, Maine Manalansan, Tin Sartorio, and Neal Corpus

From pop-up stores to parties, a lot’s going on this weekend around the city.

by Coco Maceren

Confirmed: one foreign and one local act will be joining the already stellar Wanderland 2017 lineup. Can you guess which bands in the jungle map are performing next year?

by Maine Manalansan

The 72 hours of Everfilter and what transpired after.

by Isabelle Toledo and Coco Maceren

This week, we caught up with Jel Suarez to talk more about her process and her tips to her 20-year-old self.

by Maine Manalansan

The mannequin challenge never looked this good.

by Coco Maceren

As part of our editorial assistant roundtable, we asked some of the editorial assistants to share their embarrassing moments on the job.

by Maine Manalansan and Gaby Gloria

Editorial assistants from some of the Metro’s established publications let us in on some of the commandments of the publishing world.

by Maine Manalansan and Gaby Gloria

Not all heroes wear capes: Bestselling author Peter Lerangis help save the world by writing one book at a time.

by Ina Jacobe

A leap from the usual, Oh, Flamingo! sets a serious tone in their newest music video for “Inconsistencies.”

by Isabelle Toledo

In which we remember lessons on how to survive adulting from a visit to the toy store.

by Tin Sartorio

Ubisoft’s newly minted Philippine studio is ready to welcome the country’s next generation of topnotch game makers.

by Neal Corpus

Cheats kicked off #YSProm with a set perfect for a night of dancing, drinking, and having fun.

by Ina Jacobe

Buh-bye, Maria Clara. Say hello to the new ideal Filipino woman.

by Gaby Gloria

Reese Lansangan tells Young STAR how her Grammar Nazi music video came to be.

by Gaby Gloria

Young STAR catches up with Olympic silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz during one of her training sessions.

by Marga Buenaventura

Congresswoman Geraldine Roman is fighting for what is right and just.

by Marga Buenaventura

In the world of YA fantasy novels, Amy Ewing writes about girl power.

by Coco Maceren

It takes a lot of courage to jump into the creative world. These ladies show how passion can get them to where they want to be.

by Maine Manalansan

Four ladies shake up the publishing industry with work that transcend local media.

by Ina Jacobe and Marga Buenaventura

Who run the world? Young Star celebrates girl power with a list of kickass women in the fields of politics, sports, music, art, fashion, and so much more.

by Maine Manalansan, Ina Jacobe and Tin Sartorio

It’s quite easy to think we’ve heard everything there is to know about Kitchie Nadal. Young STAR catches up with one of the many great local artists of the early 2000s.

by Tin Sartorio

The morning of a birthday is always a weird feeling. It’s that mix between being anxious and pleasantly overjoyed, a little bit like that feeling when you smile at the ground and it ain’t hard to tell you’re happy.

by Neal Corpus

There’s no better way to greet the Big Two-Zero than a killer birthday bash.

by Isabelle Toledo

Bonifacio Global City (BGC) is one of the cities that almost every hip millennial aspires to be at. From convincing your whole family to try yet another “artisanal” restaurant to eat at to finally setting up shop your dream start-up company — BGC has all the fun and the functionality to accommodate all your needs.

by Ina Jacobe

“The best thing about being 20 is the fact that I’m no longer a teenager. I have to make responsible decisions and think about the impact I’m going to make when doing certain things,” says Benchsetter Angel Manzano.

by Maine Manalansan

Here’s a list of the 20 books we enjoyed reading in the past 20 years.

by Carina Santos

On our 20th anniversary, we asked the Young STAR family — and extended family — to chime in on their favorite shoots, collabs and what they love most about the section that helped jumpstart their careers and many others.

by Toff de Venecia

Your Christmas break never looked so, well, cinematic. Here are 20 of our favorite coming of age movies in the past 20 years.

by Maine Manalansan

Roberto Seña sets sail in a new sonic playground as St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

by Jam Pascual

With boy bands, Britney Spears and whole lotta MMMbop, they say that the past two decades are pretty iconic in the world of music. We listed down 20 of our fave albums to get you going even after #YSProm.

by Jam Pascual

By now, we’ve all probably come to know what to expect when one goes to Boracay: fine sand, glistening waters, and hangover-inducing nights — temptation island, basically. But it’s when you wake up with your head throbbing and limbs aching that your choices in lodging will make a difference.

Enter Coast Boracay and its restaurant, Cha Cha’s. The breezy, open and light-colored hotel and conjoined restaurant is not a groundbreaking idea, but what sets this combo apart is its focus on comfort. We all know that dreadful walk to and around D’Mall in search of somewhere to eat — especially during peak season — all while trying your best not to let your head explode. Cha Cha’s is only a few steps (okay fine, maybe 50 steps) from the hotel’s rooms, and effectively eliminates the harrowing experience of having to walk through throngs of people just to get a proper hangover meal. And that’s not even the best part yet.

Staying at the hotel gets you coupons to Cha Cha’s breakfast buffet. But no, this is not your usual crummy tapa, corned beef or tocino kind of buffet. The breakfast selection is pretty expansive but not overwhelming; just enough to ensure that ingredients are fresh and flavors are kept in tip-top shape. And boy, is the food good. There’s not a more accurate description other than it feels like a warm hug — and that’s only slightly exaggerating.

Poolside perks: You can dip right into the pool after a good lunch.

Chef Kalel Chan describes the restaurant as light and breezy, and they incorporated this feeling into the food as well. Better than an aspirin, if I may say so myself. A highlight of the breakfast buffet is the tapa, and no, it ain’t the crummy kind. Cut into thin slices reminiscent of Japanese gyudon, it’s a little bit sweet and not too salty. Best of all, it melts in your mouth. They also serve stone-fired breakfast pizza (because why not?) that’s light and airy, topped with a runny sunny-side up. There’s a whole lot more — breads, salads, noodles, ulam. Chef Kalel says they rotate the menu six times a week, so there’s never a dull moment and umay is not in its vocabulary.

If you find yourself just hanging out at the hotel for the whole day (trust me, if you stay at Coast, you’re never gonna want to leave), the lunch and dinner menu is even more robust. The poke bowl is, for the lack of a better word, amazing, with a punchy-spiced salmon and fresh cucumber, avocado and Japanese pickles. Freshness is emphasized not only in this signature dish, but throughout the menu as well. The chef explains that they try to get as many ingredients sourced locally, so it doesn’t get stale and a feeling of lightness is kept throughout.

But what’s a beach trip without any seafood? There’s a plethora of sea-tasting offerings, but if you’re looking for home comfort on the beach, nothing beats the guava sinigang. Served with a variety of mouthwatering fish and shellfish, it’s enough to challenge your mom’s cooking, topped off with the freshness of Boracay’s breeze and sunshine. If you’re up for something a little bit more sinful, the Ilocos style bagnet will send you right up to nirvana, with the crispiest skin, succulent pork, and just the right amount of fat on each bite-sized piece. You’ll definitely want to order extra rice for this.

Speaking of sinful indulgences, Cha Cha’s bar serves up the perfect drink for any occasion on the beach. You can always get the classic Pale Pilsen while lounging on the famous sandy beach, but their cocktails elevate the experience ‘round the clock: whether it’s dinner and drinks, sipping mai tais by the pool, or even spiking that breakfast shake — they’ve got you covered. The Chotto Matte highball is the perfect all-day drink: light enough to welcome the day, but enough to get you buzzed while working on the night’s pre-game. Their Maui Mai Tai is great for when you’re just lounging by Coast’s dipping pool or by the beach, serving up just the right amount of pineapple and cherry while basking in the sunlight. If you’re feeling a little bit adventurous, the Beach Fuel should fire you right up: it’s a version of Rocket Room’s Rocket Fuel made for the beach, with a spicy kick at the end of each sip. A couple of drinks should be able to get you up and dancing (But hey, if you’re looking to get another hangover, no judgment). They’ve got a pretty wide selection to choose from — classic, safe choices are available too — but you’re on vacation. It’s okay to live a little.

Depending on how you look at it, going to Boracay is always a paradise or an extra challenge. It’s great that there’s an almost never-ending list of places to eat and drink at, but if you’re just looking to relax and have a good time — which is the whole point of even going — then Cha Cha’s and Coast should have that all covered for you. Light, open spaces? Check. Drinks by the beach (or the pool)? Check. Great food at your fingertips? Check. Headache? Nope, not here.

Cha Cha’s and Coast Boracay are located along the beachfront of Station 2, Boracay. For more information, visit and find them on Instagram @chachasboracay and @coastboracay.

by Neal Corpus

2 Cool is the latest film by director Petersen Vargas; it’s his first full-length feature for this year’s Cinema One Originals.

by Marga Buenaventura

Once a year, the Cinema One Originals festival, now in its 12th edition, comes around to prove us wrong; there’s lots of originality just waiting to be seen.

by Emil Hofileña

It’s 11/11, and for Young STAR’s 20th birthday, we’re bringing back the tradition and declaring that we have a free pass to wish for whatever we want.

by Coco Maceren and Gaby Gloria

Well, here’s a sound piece of advice: you don’t really need to travel far to learn something new. A quick break from your everyday routine is enough to get a fresh perspective. But it’s also not every day that a fashion exchange program takes you halfway across the world for a one-of-a-kind cultural immersion. What happens then? You might just end up with a set of new friends, techniques and innovative ideas for a fusion collection.

Last Oct. 27, six young Filipino and Dutch fashion designers showcased their unique 18-piece collaborative collection at the final show for the Manila Fashion Festival Now. This year marks the 65th year of diplomatic bilateral relations and 150th year of consular ties between the Netherlands and Philippines. As they aim towards building a stronger friendship, they tap into the fashion industry to foster a culture of innovation. “This collaboration between the talented fashion designers from the Philippines and the Netherlands provides an amazing opportunity to pave the way for sustainable fashion to be woven into the future of design,” said Netherlands Ambassador to the Philippines Marion Derckx.

Top left – Keep it whimsy: Damaris Chua’s collection is inspired by fairy tales.; top right – Stop and stare: Jeepney art can be seen in the designs of Zena Ankersmit.; left – Mix and match: Loes van Nijnatten puts together different prints.

As a celebration of the great Filipino-Dutch friendship, Filipino fashion designers Damaris Chua, Riza Bulawan and Nina Gatan, along with Dutch fashion designers Zena Ankersmit, Loes van Nijnatten and Britta Bentele, went on a three-phase exchange program. They were able to attend a series of lectures and master classes in both countries. Besides the workshops, they were also able to fully experience the fashion culture by attending Amsterdam Fashion Week and even visiting embroidery centers in Tagaytay and Lumban, Quezon. And what would an immersion in Philippine fashion be without sourcing fabrics in Divisoria amid all its chaos?

On the runway, what the designers showcased were skillfully constructed garments and even more beautiful stories of coming together. The program doesn’t aim to homogenize the style of the six designers. In fact, it highlights their unique personalities. The thing about getting inspiration from your travels is that you not only learn about another culture; it reminds you so much of your own, too. With the way the designs successfully came together, it’s easy to see that the relationship between the Philippines and the Netherlands is even more interwoven than ever.

by Tin Sartorio

If you weren’t tuned into the many Twitter kerfuffles last week, let me help you get caught up in as few words as possible. College boys find high school girl cute and talk about her in an obscenely sexual manner — complete with a penis drawn over her selfie, of course, and fantasies of masturbating to a young picture of her when they’re old — in a Facebook group chat. High school girl finds out about the conversation because college boys intentionally add her into the group at least three times. High school girl’s cousin posts screenshots of this conversation on Twitter, in an attempt to raise awareness of blatant misogyny, sexism and objectification, and while many rallied support behind the high school girl and her cousin, many still cried “foul” and claimed that public shaming of the college boys was “going too far” and “done for attention,” because obviously, women are just being their usual noisy selves and “boys will be boys.”

This may seem like a very small issue, when so many anti-women males are grabbing seats of power all over the world, but this is how sexism seeps into human consciousness. When we fail to stand up against “small” crimes like this one, we fail to stop sexism in its tracks, and we let it grow into a monster that’s even harder to fight. What is the message we’re sending to men, women, and to young boys and girls, when we say it’s okay to talk about women this way?

Much of the anger surrounding the issue likely escalated when unrelated parties jumped in to defend the college boys. We’re told: It’s not that big a deal. But it is. This is how sexist behavior develops and festers. When we say that it’s okay to engage in these “harmless” jokes that ultimately degrade and demean women, we say that it’s okay to do it on a larger scale. We can try and stop this from happening again and again by calling sexists out and debunking the myths surrounding the issue.

They’re doing it for attention. Even if they were doing it for attention, it’s not for the kind of attention defenders seem to think. The fact that this situation blew up means that, thankfully, more women have spoken up to say that this kind of behavior is not okay. And even though there are also women who spoke in favor of the perpetrators, at least it’s being discussed and the issue has come to light.

Why didn’t she go to the police? In this particular case, the high school girl and her family were already in the process of settling the matter in private. Unfortunately, we still live in a society where victims are generally compelled to prove their victimhood. Going to the police does not ensure justice, and many members of the police force, as with all other branches and industries, still hold sexist beliefs.

You don’t have control over the disrespect you get, only how you handle it. It’s really astounding how people seem to think that it’s okay to expect the victim to be the one to adjust to being victimized. How about we actually try to make sure that there is no disrespect that needs to be handled in the first place?

Boys will be boys, ganun talaga. Just because this is the current state of things, it doesn’t mean that we ought to keep living this way. Feminism has gotten a bad rap, because it’s viewed as an extremist movement where noisy feminists hate men and want to take over the world. It’s not that we hate men; it’s that we want to be viewed as equals, to receive equal rights, to be given equal respect. And what is so wrong with wanting that?

We have grown up in a world where men’s interests are favored over women’s, where making a sexual joke at the expense of a woman is acceptable because men need to be entertained, where the cause of rape is reduced to the victim’s clothes instead of the rapist’s actions, where we don’t even have the right words to explain male privilege to men. Because whatever we say will never be enough for them to stop and actually listen.

When we say “boys will be boys” as though it’s adequate explanation for sexist behavior, we say that men are above women, that it’s okay to keep disrespecting all women, even those in power. When we keep excusing the little things that make rape culture, workplace sexism, anti-women danger real, we say that it’s okay because this is the way it’s always been. It’s our job to keep saying, again and again, that it’s not okay and that it shouldn’t be this way.

Quiet Company by Carina Santos

Jasmine Curtis-Smith and her director Samantha Lee exchange thoughts on filming a full-length movie together for the first time and the lessons that come with it.

Ellipses by Jasmine Curtis-Smith

They say that Filipinos celebrate Christmas early. But I’m starting to think that we just like to prepare for the holidays in September because we’ve lived here long enough to know that December can be a nightmare. People are getting their gifting lists ready to avoid the impending traffic but everyone seems to be thinking the same thing. Christmas is here — as well as the traffic that comes with it.

Aside from preparing gifts, I’ve also heard about friends prepping their bodies for the Christmas food intake. Once your titos and titas text-invite you to the annual family Christmas party, you know you’re in for another night of lechon and queso de bola. I don’t know about you, but having a buffer for the parties is always a good idea. Plus, there’s nothing wrong with being active once in a while, especially when you’re going to be stuck in traffic for about four hours every day.

App all night: Nike Training Club adapts to your fitness level and needs.

Nike Training Club (NTC) set out a challenge to get back on the healthy track in time for the holidays. Scrolling through the all-new, relaunched app, I’ve seen some old favorites — Ellie Goulding’s Tighten and Tone is perfect for runners — and a bunch of new workouts. One of the new ones that stood out was the partner workout with Serena Williams and Kevin Hart. You can also invite your friends and keep track of each other’s progress if you really want to get that partnership going.

Another highlight of the new app is the monthly plan that you can start any day (you can’t let that rare workout motivation go to waste, can you?). NTC will customize it according to how active you currently are and how active you want to be. For starters, the app suggests workouts that will focus on mobility, instead of endurance and strength. It really eased us into the lifestyle and helped us build the stamina to endure higher-intensity workouts. And if you miss a week of your program, NTC will customize the program to help you get back on track. It will also sync your runs recorded through Nike Running Club so you don’t have to manually input your data every time you workout.

The best thing about NTC is it’s free. Say goodbye to your gym membership, because with the current road situation, you’ll never be happier to work out at home.

Nike Training Club is available in both Apple and Android devices.

by Maine Manalansan

Your #Laboracay just got cozier.

by Marga Buenaventura

When it comes to staycations, three things are essential: accessibility, entertainment and pampering options. Novotel Manila seems to have checked off three out of three.

Getting to Novotel is fairly easy. It’s located right at the heart of Araneta Center so you have plenty of options to get around. Within proximity are two shopping centers and Araneta Coliseum — always a good thing if you’re a concert fanatic.

As always, check-in is at 2 p.m. but somehow, on the day of our staycation, traffic was on my side so I got there earlier. I picked a random table at The Gourmet Bar, one of Novotel’s restaurants. There was an AFAM (A Foreigner Around Manila, in case you’re not in the loop) vlogging to my right. On the other side, there was a group of businessmen having a serious conversation involving charts and numbers. There was a good mix of business and pleasure in the environment.

Somewhere between ogling other people’s food and listening to their kickass early ‘00s playlist, the chef approached the aforementioned AFAM. “Are you ready?” the chef says. The AFAM said yes with enthusiasm. And right on cue, a waiter brought out a huge goblet filled with 15 scoops (I didn’t count, I overheard) of ice cream. Called Le Mont Gourmand, the challenge was to finish the entire thing. There seems to be no time limit so you’d think that it would be easy. But the struggle was visible on his face. So far, my overnight staycation at Novotel was already interesting.

My room’s view from 14th floor was unexpected. You’d think that Cubao was just a jump-off point for travelers who want to go out of town for their dream vacations. But from the hotel, it looked like a place where new adventures can take place. For the first time, I saw Cubao in a different light.

Their deluxe room was luxurious but it utilizes the space well. One of the highlights: the shower encased in a glass divider overlooks the bedroom, and the rest of Cubao. But if you’re not comfortable with taking a shower that the outside world can also see, you can always pull down the electronic blinds. (Pro tip from the manager: You can use the blinds as a timer for charades. If your team doesn’t guess the correct answer before the blinds reach the floor, then you lose.) Another fascinating feature is the double bathroom doors that were disguised as closet doors. I was so ready to get ready in the cold but my snooping paid off.

Of course, what’s a four-star hotel without a stellar Internet connection? I was lounging on the extremely comfortable bed watching Haters Back Off when Marga Buenaventura, Young Star’s editor, texted. She was apparently covering the A1 presscon that was set to perform in Araneta Coliseum that weekend. I promised her that I would do my best to find their hotel rooms (the concert venue conveniently located right next door!) but I was pretty sure that I’d just see other fangirls checked in. (Note to self: Book a room in Novotel if ever One Direction decides to hold the Manila leg of their comeback concert series in Cubao.)

A little more exploring in the hotel brought me to their premier lounge. It’s at the topmost floor, ensuring you of the best view while you’re having your morning coffee and getting some work done. The snacks table is also open all day so you don’t have to worry about paying for room service for a cookie and a cuppa joe. The lounge is only open to VIP guests, to maintain greater privacy.

Located at the sixth floor is their top-notch gym and pool. Their gym is quiet and well equipped with dumbbells, mats, medicine balls and so much more. The pool is quite huge and it can be seen from all the floors so make sure you wear your cutest swimwear if ever guests decide to take a Snapchat. The fifth floor is home to their InBalance spa where you can take your staycation to another level of chill. I tried their Swedish massage and it was one of the best I’ve ever had. Spa packages are also available and, for sure, something that I will go back for.

That night was peaceful to say the least. With unlimited Netflix choices (again: fast Internet connection) and a good room service selection (they’re vegetarian-friendly), I had a good night at Novotel. To cap off my stay, next day’s breakfast buffet at the Food Exchange Manila was remarkable. They have the basics: cereals, milk, yogurt, bread, juice, coffee and all that jazz. They have Filipino and Chinese food for those craving rice and soup. But best of all, they have hummus and a variety of dipping sauces. Two racks of spices and sauces were displayed in one of their counters and I just stared in fascination and appreciation. There’s no better way to start the day.

Short but sweet, our staycation was the perfect mix of relaxation and opportunities for exploration. Although it’s in the middle of a booming business and entertainment center, Novotel provides the much-needed peace and comfort for guests looking for a home away from home.

by Maine Manalansan

The funny (or not funny) thing about scary stories is that we love and hate them at the same time. Who loves deliberately scaring themselves? We certainly don’t. But when someone starts a tale with, “One time, something really weird happened…” we can’t help perking our ears up to hear the rest of it — especially when they claim that it’s 100-percent true. Whether it’s an urban legend about the girl’s bathroom in our grade school building or that creepy chest of drawers that our lolas refuse to get rid of or open, we love the delicious tingle that creeps up our spine whenever we hear of a good scare. So we asked each other some of the real-life creepies we’ve ever had, and the stories are a total scream. From moving objects, creepy ladies, to actual witches, here’s a bit of a fright to keep you up at night.

Which is witch?

It was about two weeks ago when I met up with some friends that I haven’t seen in the longest time (read: since I graduated college more than a year ago). In between talking about new jobs, burning out and happy crushes, one friend started her story by saying that their household helper is a witch. Yah, very casually. She continued talking about her guardian who’s been taking care of her ever since she was a kid. My friend and her mom have been travelling a lot lately and her younger sister is busy at school. That leaves the two helpers and a driver at home most of the time. While seniority — with all the perks and authority it merits — was expected from the older guardian, surely it wasn’t enough to prompt the driver to quit his job and leave. Later on, my friend found out that their driver got so sick that he went to an albularyo. He found out that he wasn’t just cursed but also poisoned for so long as well. (Think puking something mud-like. It’s so not normal.) It didn’t take much for my friend to be convinced to finally get their house checked when the senior helper was away. As the driver and my friend picked up another expert manggagamot to examine their house, she couldn’t help but recall the past instances that they shrugged off and dismissed as simply “weird.” Kinda like the time the helper would stare her down (my friend jokingly thought the helper had “hidden desires” for her), the many times she would be overly secretive about her belongings, or even something as simple as that constant feeling of negative energy in their home. The manggagamot easily confirmed everything. There were spells not just on every corner of the house, but on the people who lived in it as well. The senior helper had been casting them ever since she started working there. Now, my friend and her family continue to fight off the negative energy around them and it’s not really as simple as dismissing their senior helper. Defeating Filipino witchcraft often involves things like having an anting-anting, avoiding hospitals and cemeteries (apparently, witches harness their powers from dead bodies) and playing a lot of mind games (you have to make them want to leave on their own).

While I don’t necessarily believe everything the mangagamot said (I’m very particular with proof), my friend’s story did make me question my sensitivity to the energy of the people around me. After all, who knows how many supernatural beings are actually really close to us? — Tin Sartorio


My dad doesn’t believe in ghosts. It wasn’t that he’s never seen one; it’s that he’s always maintained that he doesn’t think they’re real. Years ago, my mom had a business trip to Japan, and my dad went with her. During a free day, he visited his childhood friend and his family who lived about two hours from the city by bus. Because of the long commute, my dad’s friend invited him to spend the night, but my dad declined, saying that he’d much rather accompany my mom instead.

Apparently, they were staying at an old hotel in Tokyo. The night before my dad’s visit, he was unable to sleep. Hovering over their bed was a long-haired woman staring at them while my mom slept peacefully. She had no idea that my dad was paralyzed in terror all night. — Marga Buenaventura

The following

It all started when I saw a figure drenched in blood watching me from the corner of my room. I was around four years old and still living in our old townhouse in New Manila. Since that time, the feeling that something, somehow, was always watching me never left me.

I spent most of my years in elementary plagued by night terrors. I woke up every night at the devil’s hour with my body drenched in sweat and my throat raw from screaming. I never remembered the dreams I had except one — and this dream has haunted me ever since.

I was baby-sitting this young boy who was six, maybe seven years old. We were seated on a wide white sofa positioned at the center of a living room. The living room itself looked pretty ordinary —there was a red Persian rug on the floor, and two armchairs flanking the sofa we rested on. When I remember this dream, the scene is always tinged with a sickly shade of yellow green.

The young boy and I sat in silence until I stood up to face him. He looked up at me very, very slowly.

“I need to go grocery shopping,” I told him.

The boy’s eyes twitched but he made no sound. I felt like something behind me, breathing down my neck, but I tried to ignore it. I waited a little longer for the boy to reply but he remained silent, so I turned around and began to head for the door.

Outside, I saw a dilapidated wooden bridge held up by decaying ropes. It swung back and forth, creaking slowly. As I stepped outside, something from behind me let out a high-pitched shriek. I stopped mid-step, echoes of the scream still ringing in my ears.

I whipped around and the young boy was missing. Instead, a little girl sat in his place. She had long messy hair, and wide eyes thirsting for blood. She leaped from the sofa and grabbed onto my bare ankle, digging her nails into my skin. I fell onto the ground, centimeters away from the door. Pain shot up from my leg. I trembled on the ground as I watched her nails draw more and more blood from my ankle.

I kicked her off and sprinted outside toward the bridge.

And then I woke up.

I switched on the lights and focused on calming myself down when I noticed a sharp pain in my ankle. I stretched it out and saw a cut, drops of blood decorated the ravaged skin. The wound was still fresh. — Maia Puyat


When I was younger, I was always at my lolo’s house. It was a single-storey house with around five rooms, so the size always made it seem cozy and safe. Little did I know that we were wrong.

In the 1990s, my lolo and lola wanted the house sealed from evil spirits. They got a priest to come over and bless the place. The priest started blessing the house, and when he reached an aparador with antique china in it, the things inside started to shake. The priest started praying over it, and then it stopped. Then he went to a large Chinese antique jar that had snake designs on it, and it also started to shake. He told them that there were oppressive spirits in the house, and that they targeted the person who was weakest spiritually. At the time, my lolo was getting sick a lot, but he was completely fine after the blessing.

Another time, my tita who also lived there told me her story: “There was this Mama Mary statue that I had from when I was little, it was part of my altar in my room. One night, I noticed that it moved. At first I thought I saw it in a certain position before going inside the bathroom, but when I would look again, it was facing a different direction. So I put the rosary I got from Rome around the Mama Mary, but then the other santo statues on the shelf turned around too. During that time, I would have dreams in between being awake and asleep. There was a dream that I was in the shower, and parang pinu-pull ako up and down. And then there was another [dream] where I heard this voice that told me “I’ll give you anything that you want.” That was the scariest. As in, you’d really feel like you were getting tempted. What was scary was usually, when I pray, instant mawawala. Pero that time, it felt like forever before my prayer was answered. It was really scary.” — Gaby Gloria

by The Young STAR team

You know that we have truly reached the peak of modernity when people willingly pay to get locked in a room for an hour. That’s the kind of new age entertainment that Mystery Manila offers; they feature an array of themed rooms that two to six people need to solve in order to escape. I am personally one such fan of locked room scenarios — take the key and throw it away until I weasel my way out. In fact, I’ve already tried three Mystery Manila rooms with various friends and family: from the X-Men room in their Century City Mall branch, the Aztec-themed room in Libis, to the Harry Potter room in their Jupiter outpost. It was time for me to rope in more fans to this low-key addiciton.

Mystery Manila’s themed rooms thus felt like the perfect way for the Young STAR team to test its ability to work together and not kill each other in under an hour. The Mystery Manila team let us try out one of their more difficult rooms in the Century City Mall branch called the Sinister Sensorium. Without giving away too much info about the room, the room’s storyline involves an evil mastermind called Enigma who has “kidnapped” us and taken one of our senses each. As we were a group of six, there were two people each who were blind, deaf, and mute. (The game blindfolds, covers your mouth, and makes you wear noise-cancelling headphones.) We have to cooperate and help each other communicate any clues, which is a lot harder than it sounds. It was an absolute riot, of course — the deaf among us were yelling, the blind were walking around aimlessly, and the mute were, well, really quiet.

Thankfully, we were able to get out of the room with two minutes to spare — mystery thankfully solved. We enjoyed ourselves so much that we were almost willing to try the other, more frightening themed rooms that Mystery Manila has to offer. (Almost being the operative word. We could hear the background music of Debbie’s Doll, which is inspired by the horror movie Annabelle, while we were playing. And it was effin’ scary.) If I ever had to play again, I would love to try out another Harry Potter themed room — maybe even Lord of the Rings or Star Wars for a bit more geekiness — and challenge myself and my friends even more.

Perhaps the greatest lesson we learned during our pseudo-team-building exercise in Mystery Manila is that teamwork is truly an underrated trait. It takes a lot of patience, cooperation, and (surprisingly) fun in order to get moving as a group. Our next goal now is to finish a room in under 20 minutes, because you get to win a shirt that says “Mystery Solved.” (Want. So. Bad.) So if you ever want to find out how bonded your squad can really be, this is the ultimate test.

Because we’d love to try out even more rooms in Mystery Manila, we asked the team behind this renowned escape room brand about coming up with room designs, future plans, their most memorable puzzle-solvers (it’s a funny one.)

YOUNG STAR: What sets Mystery Manila apart from other breakout rooms available right now? Is it about the stories or the challenges within the room?

MYSTERY MANILA: Mystery Manila always makes sure that there is a concrete story behind every mystery and the flow of the game is coherent to the story. It’s both about the challenges and the stories. We also make sure that our staff is fully trained to deal with customers and their inquiries. Given that there’s a unique way for each group to solve a mystery, we ensure that however their approach is, our game keepers will be able to give them the best experience possible.

Take your pick: From sci-fi to horror, here’s a selection of rooms you can try at Mystery Manila.

How do you guys come up with the stories for every room? I know that they’re all very detail-specific. Is it a collaborative effort?

Mystery Manila is owned and created by four individuals who collaboratively conceptualize each room down to the puzzles used, clues given, and overall story. We spend days after days of brainstorming and throwing ideas off each other. Each room was conceptualized from scratch with clues that we came up with ourselves. We get inspiration from the series or movies we watch as well as the games we play.

Which of the rooms did you guys enjoy designing the most?

Well, we can’t really identify just one because each room was created in the most unique and enjoyable ways. Since we opened May 2014, we’ve created 23 mysteries and we enjoyed the creative process behind each of them.

Do the difficulties of each room vary? How do you determine how hard it will be to solve the puzzle?

Yes. The difficulty levels vary but we make sure there’s a good mix of different difficulty levels per branch. We test each room internally first before we release it to the public. We do tweaks here and there if the puzzles are too difficult or easy.

Have you guys had any memorable puzzle-solvers yet? Any group who’s been able to solve a room in under 15 minutes?

Oh, there are so many memorable players. We had one group who quit after 30 seconds inside the room because they were so scared. This is for one of our best selling rooms, Rebecca’s Room, which is at the Jupiter branch.  So far no group has solved it in under 15 minutes for their first time playing that room.

Do you guys plan on changing or adding rooms soon? What can we expect from future Mystery Manila rooms?

In Mystery Manila, we change our rooms all the time. Not only does each branch have totally different rooms but each room lasts only for six to nine months. We change it up after so that players always have something new to look forward to. Right now we have three branches open in Metro Manila but we are opening a fourth one real soon.

Mystery Manila has branches in Libis, Jupiter, and Century City Mall. For more information on rooms and bookings, visit

by Marga Buenaventura

Picture this: Denim jacket-clad folks lounging on throw pillows and Persian carpets while snacking on fries and drinks. Going by that description, you might think that we were talking about a chill house party.

Don’t be fooled though, because this was actually the scene at co-working space Warehouse Eight last Oct. 7 for The Maker’s Setup. Attendees listened to established names give tips on how to start passion projects in their respective fields of design, food, entrepreneurship and non-profit. They gathered for a series of talks that brought together business founders Brian Cu of Grab PH, Dan Matutina of Plus63 Design Co, Camille Meloto of Human Nature, Jericson Co of EDSA BDG and The Curator and Prim Paypon of The Dream Project.

Listening to all of these people speak about their beginnings was a humbling experience, to say the least. They are living proof that you can make a living doing what you’re passionate about.

While the speakers all had plenty of inspiring things to say about their businesses, we couldn’t help but point out a few common words of wisdom. (Hint: all of them require a lot of hard work and a strong sense of dedication). Read on to get inspired!

1. Make your message clear and allow it to evolve — Jericson Co, co-founder, EDSA BDG and The Curator

Jericson started EDSA BDG with one simple aim: “We should all drink better.” With a bar and a café under his belt, he’s still in the process of making that happen, and he stresses that remembering your original message and improving it as you go on is the key to staying on track.

 2. Focus is the golden key — Brian Cu, CEO, Grab PH and co-founder, Zalora Philippines

Brian stressed that you need to focus on one thing and give it 110-percent if you want your business to succeed. In the beginning, many of Grab PH’s drivers had to park and patiently wait for customers to book them. It took a while, but by focusing their efforts, they were able to grow the business into the in-demand service it is today.

 3. Don’t dig up in doubt what you planted in faith — Camille Meloto, co-founder, Human Nature

When asked about the challenges that she faced when she started Human Nature, Camille was honest when she detailed the problems that they had with sourcing materials and dealing with dishonest employees. She said that this quote from Elisabeth Elliot sums up the work very clearly — it’s important to believe in your idea in order to keep powering through.

4. Necessity is the mother of social innovations — Prim Paypon, founder, The Dream Project

It was Prim’s dream as a kid to start an NGO, and he made it a reality with The Dream Project, a non-profit, volunteer-based community initiative that aims to help the youth. One of their first projects came about after they noticed that students in a part of Negros Occidental weren’t doing well academically. After getting to the root cause (they found that students were too tired to study, after having to swim across a river just to get to school), they partnered with other organizations to donate bancas to the affected communities.

5. You can never be too old or too established to experiment — Dan Matutina, founder, Plus63 Design Co.

Dan believes that settling isn’t something that a creative person should do, no matter how long he or she has been in the industry. Though he’s contributed to big places like Wired and Fast Company, he said that he still finds himself playing around with different techniques and styles every once in a while.

by Gaby Gloria

In celebration of’s fifth anniversary, designer and author Alessandra Lanot held a Pattern & Paper exhibit during Design Week Philippines last week. It was also there that she launched her Blank Slate Sketch Pad. is Alessandra’s creative space for her foray into art experiments and other crafts. Drawing inspiration from her travel and surroundings, Alessa sketches and paints her favorite local florals and later on digitizes her patterns for print. A collage showcasing her different styles of work was proudly shown at the Creative Marketplace last October 20-22 at HallOne, Pasay City.

Alessandra Lanot has been encouraging creativity by teaching watercolor, calligraphy, and other craft workshops for many years now. Blank Slate, her sketch pad for art and calligraphy, was created in partnership with International Fine Paper Exchange (IFEX).

In bloom: Life After Breakfast’s Alessandra Lanot launched a planner for crafty kids.

Aside from seeing her presence online, Alessa regularly holds one-day intensive workshops in watercolor, crafts, and calligraphy at her restaurants, Pipino Vegetarian, Hillside Cafe & Juice Bar, and Pi Breakfast and Pies.

The Blank Slate black pad is available at SM Stationery, National Bookstore, and FullyBooked branches.

by Ina Jacobe

It’s been 11 years since we last saw Angel Locsin don the red helmet-bikini combo, swallow the White Stone of the Adranika and shout “Darna!” on primetime TV. Soon, we’ll be seeing her do the same thing as she reprises her role as the crime-fighting heroine in a Star Magic film slated for release next year.

If reading those last two sentences made you sigh and remember your childhood days, then that’s just one proof that Mars Ravelo’s characters have a nostalgic effect on generations of Filipinos.

Ravelo is known as the “King of Komiks” because of all the work he did for the local comic industry. Many of us were too young to read the original comics from serial publications and magazines in the ‘50s, so the nostalgia mostly comes from seeing his name plastered above the logo titles of all the superhero teleseryes that we grew up watching. Primetime TV in the early 2000s was action-packed thanks to Vhong Navarro’s Lastikman in 2007, Richard Gutierrez’s Captain Barbell in 2006 and 2011, Marian Rivera’s Dyesebel in 2008.

Most of these characters were originally inspired by Western superheroes, but as a writer, Ravelo usually found a way to put a spin on their stories by placing them in a Filipino context to make them more relatable to readers.

Darna! Ernest Concepcion with his work, D for Divitiy.

Narda was just an ordinary girl living in a small barrio when she encountered Darna’s stone, while Teng was a skinny, asthmatic boy who happened upon the magic barbell that would transform him into Captain Barbell. Ravelo’s Rita gained popularity because readers saw her tsismosa characteristic in people they knew, while Facifica Falayfay pushed boundaries by being one of the first to display an openly gay Filipino man.

These stories of both extraordinary and ordinary beings served as escapes from the hardships of real life, which is something that we look for now when scrolling through our feeds to procrastinate.

Mars Ravelo’s influence has endured to this day as seen in the works of younger artists. Relatable slice of life comics about awkward situations (see: Huhsmile), relationships (see: Uy Si Crush!), and even history (see: Dead Balagtas) are what strike a chord with modern readers. The Pinoy komiks scene is thriving with indie artists posting their work online and occasionally getting together for conventions like Komiket and Komikon. The scene is also much younger with social media making it easier for people to showcase and read comics.

Catch the Mars Ravelo Reinterpreted exhibit at the CCP’s Bulwagang Juan Luna until Nov. 13. Exhibit viewing hours are from Tuesday to Sunday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

by Gaby Gloria

It is everyone’s responsibility to be accountable for what they say on the Internet, and blogger Mocha Uson is no exception. She was recently accused of cyberbullying the editor in chief of Matanglawin, the official student newspaper of the Ateneo de Manila University in Filipino. The publication lampooned her popular Facebook page on the cover of their annual satirical issue (which has lampooned former President Benigno Aquino III and online media outlet Rappler) typically entitled “Tanganglawin,” but this year it was entitled “Mochang Tanga Blog.” Mocha obviously wasn’t pleased about this, and reacted by deciding to post the editor in chief’s Facebook profile on her page — effectively threatening his privacy and potential safety. This came across as an act of pride and cowardice, and is as disgusting as the slut-shaming and intellect-shaming Uson is subjected to on a daily basis. This is an incident that shouldn’t be forgotten, and shouldn’t be forgiven until she apologizes.

While Uson’s original post (which included the editor’s personal details) has been taken down, she continues to bash Matanglawin as of press time without any sort of acknowledgement of or remorse for the fact that she publicly threatened a student. But this wasn’t just a spontaneous outburst by an immature public figure. It’s clear from the way that Uson’s post was worded that she knew exactly what she was doing. She wanted her 4.3 million followers to get even angrier with Matanglawin, so she manipulated them into spewing vitriol against a magazine many of them may have never read. It’s as if she knew that putting the security of Matanglawin’s editor in chief at risk would also serve as a threat to all student publications — warning them that they are not allowed to even suggest criticism against her or the current administration lest they be publicly attacked.

She has now made it seem especially risky for student-run publications and newspapers to speak up about relevant issues. Suddenly, there is pressure and fear that wasn’t there before — pressure to tread a little lighter around hot-button issues. There is now fear that these students’ dreams of journalistic integrity and honesty can be so easily trampled on by angry, ignorant Facebook users who refuse to give them a chance to speak. I have no doubt that these student journalists are strong in their resolve, but a relentlessly angry mob can strike fear into the hearts of anybody.

There is now fear that these students’ dreams of journalistic integrity and honesty can be so easily trampled on by angry, ignorant Facebook users who refuse to give them a chance to speak.

Uson has managed to do all this by literally judging a book by its cover. The actual contents of “Mochang Tanga Blog” (which Mocha clearly hasn’t read) ultimately don’t even have all that much to do with Mocha herself. It would seem that all she had as evidence was the issue’s cover, and yet she spun it into a reinforcement of the narrative that mainstream media is oppressing her — instantly winning the sympathy of her followers. The language that she employed in the post also made it difficult for Facebook to take down her post on the grounds of cyber-bullying.

I genuinely believe that Mocha Uson is intelligent. It’s just that her intelligence takes a more sinister, manipulative form. As much as many of her critics would like to consider her harmless, she has clearly demonstrated her capacity to silence anybody she disagrees with. Even if these people are speaking within their own circles — Mochang Tanga Blog was, after all, only circulated inside Ateneo —, she has the power to force them from their private spheres and into the public, where she can falsely label them as libelous. And before anyone can point out that these publications are satirical, she will already have 4.3 million angry followers on her side, ready to punish the so-called “presstitutes” with verbal abuse and invasion of privacy. That makes her potentially very dangerous. For all her actions, she needs to be made accountable.

To anyone trying to shed light on places where others will not allow them to go, may you never succumb to the oppression of silence. So long as you remain committed to honesty, your voices are the ones we need to hear.

by Emil Hofileña

The city ward of Shibuya is famous for its scramble crossing. Located near another tourist attraction, the famed Hachiko statue, the crossing is an overlapping pattern of pedestrian lanes that allow the area’s inhabitants to efficiently navigate its intersecting roads from all sides. Lanes cut through the intersection’s arms and even its center. It’s amazing to watch this system smoothly at work: the pedestrian lights turn green, the bodies pooling at the surrounding streets disperse into the stretch of concrete, and nobody bumps or shoves. Shibuya Community News even displays the crossing on live cam. It’s almost like bragging. Like: look at us, both vehicular and foot traffic are steady here, all day, every day.

You get the impression that, with such a system in place (and it’s good to remember that here, concrete systems only work when people actually cooperate), Shibuya’s population is generally content. The spaces that Shibuya’s citizens navigate are orderly, thus the interiority of their lives is orderly. The favorite noun to attach to the adjective “urban” is “jungle,” but it doesn’t really feel like a jungle there. Unlike here, where even if you don’t have to rub sticks together to start a fire, it still feels like you’re stressing every cell in your body to live another day.

In episode 227 of the podcast “99 Percent Invisible,” Henry Petroski, professor of civil engineering at Duke University, defines infrastructure as “just about everything that makes civilization physically possible.” Now there’s a word gentler than jungle: civilization. Not utopia, which expects perfection, but something a little more humble. It asks for a place to dwell where we don’t have to feel like feral castaways. Not euphoria, but mental stability.

Not going insane is the least we can expect from our city and the authorities who maintain it. But that isn’t what we’re getting. Getting stuck in EDSA doesn’t just mean being late to work. Daily exposure to heavy traffic has been linked to depression, anxiety and chronic stress, which isn’t surprising. One thing to understand about how heavy traffic affects mental health is doing away with the notion that once you’re out of the traffic, you’re fine. The stress accumulated during those daily periods of being stranded for what seems like eternity on a single spot of road during rush hour bleeds into other aspects of your life. There’s less time to sleep, to play, to nurture relationships. Impatience follows you like a phantom, mucking with the way you deal with other people. Your temper gets a little shorter. Helplessness oozes into the corners of your life you prefer to keep pristine.

Civilization — and its network of roads — is the container in which our existences are allowed to thrash about, from birth to death. So what kind of life are we left with when, in getting from point A to point B, the in-between time feels like a demo trial of hell? It certainly doesn’t help that the taxi drivers that aren’t under Grab are always asking for a little extra on the fare.

Daily exposure to heavy traffic has been linked to depression, anxiety and chronic stress, which isn’t surprising.

When Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade says “A state of mind adds to the problem of traffic,” we can say he’s right, but not for his reasons. When those words came out of Tugade’s mouth, it demonstrated a severe lack of nuance, and betrayed a poor understanding of how actual citizens and their infrastructure interact on a daily basis. Yes, we should cooperate, and yes we shouldn’t use traffic as an excuse. But asking for people to adjust their states of mind when they’ve grown so accustomed to the norm of gridlock demonstrates a kind of willful ignorance. The people who go through heavy traffic every day are fed helplessness and now they’re expected to say it tastes just fine? It’s like asking your brain to produce its own painkillers. To say that traffic is a state of mind, following Tugade’s meaning, is as dumb as saying that the poor can stop being poor if they work harder. Or simply look on the bright side. Neither belief sees the bigger picture.

So let’s twist it a bit. Tugade would be right to say that traffic is a state of mind, if his intended meaning was, “Traffic is responsible for driving us nuts.”

It’s an infrastructural problem, yes. But until people in power understand that issues of traffic are psychologically damaging, we (pun intended, I guess) can’t move forward. I’m waiting for those lights to turn green. Until then, I’ll be spending rush hour in EDSA trying not to blow my brains out.

Slow Down, Dilettante by Jam Pascual

Let’s admit it. Not everyone can survive the pressures of Halloween. Between wracking our brains to come up with a costume that’s cool yet still unique (you can’t always be a mouse, duh!) and creating a new movie marathon lineup every year, it takes a lot of creative effort to participate in the festivities. Let’s not forget to mention the mental distress that we put on ourselves for an entire weekend of horror. But turning it into a competition always makes things a little more interesting. After all, who doesn’t like winning, right?

Back for a third year, Ayala Museum opens its doors for another unforgettable Halloween experience. If you like haunted houses minus the running and the screaming then “Midnight Museum 3: Murder in the Museum” happening on Oct. 28 might just be your thing. In partnership with the geniuses behind the Mystery Manila escape room games, all four floors of the museum will be transformed into a “crime scene,” investigating the death of the senior curator of Ayala Museum. Guests get to pinpoint whodunit based on clues hidden all over the museum.

But if mind games are not your thing, purchasing a regular admission ticket gives you access to the Ayala Museum at night and to some interesting Halloween activities as well. Go trick or treating at the Brew Kettle and Taters booth or simply treat yourself at the Artwork Silkscreen Station where limited-edition designs will be available. Take notes for next year by going on the Spooky Shorts Marathon where crowd-sourced one- to five-minute horror/suspense/Halloween-inspired short films will be screened. But if you’d rather do the scaring, the one-minute horror stories open mic might just do the trick. If all else fails, coming in your best costume should be just as fun. You might even win the Young STAR Best In Costume award, and who knows what kind of treats will come with it?

To get into the Halloween spirit, Young STAR sits down to talk to Errol Magdato, one of the partners for Mystery Manila, and Spike Acosta, marketing associate of Ayala Museum about the inspiration behind the game and what to expect.

YOUNG STAR: We just really have to know: is the storyline of the murder mystery game based on a real-life scenario?

ERROL MAGDATO: The storyline isn’t true but the characters and their positions, their job descriptions, are.

Criminal minds: Strategize your way to solving the mystery.

SPIKE ACOSTA: Well, no one has died here in the museum. (Laughs) Each time we have a midnight museum event, it’s not just about people having fun. We also want the people to know more about the museum. Before, it was more about the exhibits that we have here, but this time with Mystery Manila, we want guests to know how things are done here and the people behind it.

How is this murder mystery similar or different from a regular game at Mystery Manila?

ERROL: Instead of being locked inside a room, you’re locked in an entire museum with four floors to explore. There are a lot more things to examine and decide on. At the same time, we had the pleasure of having some actors that you can interview and interrogate. That adds a new element to the mystery solving experience. The game mechanics are kinda similar. You have to use your wits to solve some puzzles. But the story and the way you solve (the mystery) are not as linear because you’re free to explore to arrive at a solution. There’s no one way to solve it. You can do it in any order and still end up with the right answer.

What are some of the costumes the guests can come in?

SPIKE: The obvious one is Sherlock Holmes. Actually, anything as long as it’s comfortable to wear since there’s going to be a lot of walking around. If you guys are coming as a barkada, you can even dress up as the group from Scooby Doo.

Give us one clue on how to prepare for this year’s Midnight Museum?

ERROL: Come with a group that you’re comfortable with and have good dynamics with. It really helps if you have someone you can throw ideas at and bounce around solutions with.

SPIKE: Have fun with the mystery. Don’t overthink it too much. It’s an opportunity to explore the museum in a different light and get to know the people in the museum. The mystery is just part of the fun.

Midnight Museum 3: Murder in the Museum is happening on Oct. 28 at the Ayala Museum starting 7PM. Tickets are available at P850 in Ayala Museum and Mystery Manila branches. For more information, visit

by Tin Sartorio

To say that my emotions are cranked up to 11 for Doctor Strange is an understatement. So much anticipation and excitement has been boiling inside me these last few months waiting for the next Marvel movie to drop — especially since the last one that came out, Captain America: Civil War, was the best one yet. And judging from the trailers released for Doctor Strange, it’s clear that the studio is going all out, boasting the most ambitious visual effects Marvel has done so far. But as a comic book fan, I can’t help but also feel an equal amount of trepidation for Doctor Strange. The character Doctor Strange is clearly not one of Marvel’s household names and the genre of magic itself is not something Marvel is particularly known for. So I’m anxious to say the least, and all these feelings went up another notch last week when I got the chance to go to Hong Kong and join the first leg of the Doctor Strange international press tour.

On our first night in Hong Kong, the international press got to see several scenes from Doctor Strange. It was the first time any of this footage was shown and while I was a bit worried about spoilers (and there kind of were some), the scenes we got to watch showed everything that made Doctor Strange such an endearing character. There were scenes that depicted his arrogance and eventual comeuppance, detailing just how fragile his life was before meeting The Ancient One. And speaking of The Ancient One, from the key scenes shown, it seems like Tilda Swinton’s portrayal could potentially steal the show — her take on the character is so unique and utterly endearing that I could watch a whole trilogy focused on the life and times of The Ancient One. From the amazing visual effects, intricate set designs, and intense action sequences, there’s a lot more going on in Doctor Strange than simple hocus pocus.

Here are five other things we learned about Doctor Strange and the man playing him, Benedict Cumberbatch.

Masters of magic: The Ancient One and Baron Mordo are played by Tilda Swinton and Chiwetel Ejiofor, respectively.

1. Benedict Cumberbatch never dreamed of being a superhero.

During the red carpet event for Doctor Strange, Cumberbatch admitted that he never dreamt of being a superhero (let alone playing one). Unlike most of us growing up — as well as for most actors in Hollywood today — he didn’t waste his days away pretending to wear capes and fight super villains. Even if he never fantasized about the idea, there were a lot of us hoping and dreaming he’d play Doctor Strange. And while his revelation was a tough truth to swallow, he did offer some comfort, saying that after playing Marvel’s mystical superhero, he can now see why it was such a dream role for so many fans.

2. For Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige, there was no one else who could play Doctor Strange.

The Marvel character also known as the Sorcerer Supreme was created back in July of 1963 in the pages of Strange Tales #110 by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, and since then, the character has been one many artists have tackled to varying degrees of success. Stephen Strange is a very particular character in the comic universe, owing so much to his ’50s and ’60s origins that it’s hard to allow Doctor Strange to honor the past and at the same time be fully part of the modern world. That’s why for Feige, there was no one else who could play Stephen Strange except for Cumberbatch. “Our guiding principle is always to find the best actor and the truth is for many years, Benedict was our number one choice without question. In fact, we moved the schedule of the movie around and the release of the movie around specifically for Benedict. We’ve never done that before but clearly he is the perfect Doctor Strange.” Benedict is sort of a throwback actor, earning his stripes on stage and playing roles from classic literature. But as he’s proven on the beloved BBC TV series Sherlock, he has the ability to reinvigorate any classic character and make them feel new, modern and relatable at the same time — all qualities needed to play such a specific role as Strange. According to Feige, he was adamant about casting Cumberbatch and judging from the scenes we’ve seen, Feige was absolutely right.

Trick and treat: Doctor Strange is the supernatural Marvel movie we’ve all been waiting for.

3. Cumberbatch had to play Doctor Strange while injured.

As we got the chance for an intimate roundtable interview with Cumberbatch, one of the questions raised was how he managed to get through his performance while recovering from an onstage injury. Just like the title character he played, Cumberbatch rose to the occasion despite the difficult demands. “I had an injury from doing Hamlet which played into a lot of the training, unfortunately. I didn’t break my toe but I did some damage to my foot,” reveals Cumberbatch. “I also had some arm issues and neck issues from the stunts and wire work but, you know, you’re very well looked after. What can I say? They are fun obstacles to have. I naturally have tight hips and flat feet. (Laughs) It’s difficult to kick, it’s difficult to do a lot of stuff. I mean, running is fine, but it affects the rest of my body because of my flat feet.”

4. The coolest person on set was Benedict’s son, Christopher.

When asked about any fun memories while on set, Cumberbatch, Swinton and Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson quickly jumped in to talk about Benedict’s son, Christopher. Swinton said that Christopher “was a great distraction” on set and Derrickson added that “whenever he’s around, the set would just stop.” It seems like as much fun as the cast had playing superheroes, it was the one-year-old Christopher who gave the whole crew the most joy.

5. It turns out Benedict Cumberbatch is a pretty badass action star.

For someone not known for doing big action movies, Cumberbatch surprised and impressed the whole crew with his physical stunts. According to Derrickson, he couldn’t have been more pleased with the actor. “When an actor does his own stunts, like Benedict did in this movie, it’s very physically demanding,” the director says. “So when I think about the production, a lot that comes to mind is Benedict being in physical pain and having to perform in situations where he’s sparring or fighting and getting hit, kicked, beaten. (Laughs) That’s what happens when you do your own fight scenes, being in the harnesses and doing difficult things. It’s all very physically demanding. He was a total trooper and just got better and better as we went along. He’s definitely an action star.”

Doctor Strange opens in cinemas nationwide on Oct. 26.

It's A Trap by Jonty Cruz

We sometimes forget that the culinary arts are precisely that: a form of art. Perhaps it’s because we’d rather engorge ourselves with food than appreciate it for anything other than taste and value-for-money. But forgetting the “art” in “culinary arts” can also mean forgetting that the people who prepare our food are artists — as creative in their practice as painters, musicians, performers and designers. And as in any form of art, there is energy in youth — in young chefs with bright vision, big aspirations and unique ideas to bring to the kitchen. Louise Mabulo, Edward Mateo and Dave Dource are artists of that sort. They’re also the new brand ambassadors of Australian culinary appliance brand Breville, representatives of a new generation of culinary artists — young, driven and equipped with the tools for success.

Louise Mabulo, 18

Chef Louise Mabulo is only 18 years old but she’s already cooked up a long list of international awards and credentials, including that of Junior Master Chef finalist in 2011. Chef Louise hails from Camarines Sur, but grew up in the United Kingdom. At 15, she was accepted into the Watson Institute, where she graduated with a degree in Social Entrepreneurship. Today, chef Louise hosts workshops and cooking demos at her culinary lounge in CamSur, where she also runs a restaurant along the beach and looks after a farm which will soon be producing its own cacao for artisanal chocolates.

YOUNG STAR: How did you get into the culinary arts?

I was five years old when I first started liking to cook. I used to bake blueberry muffins in our house in the UK where I grew up. My uncle was a chef so he used to drag me into the kitchen, and I guess eventually it became a family thing. We all loved to cook, we all loved to spend time in the kitchen together and make all sorts of family meals.

Was your time in the UK a big influence on you as a chef?

I’m really a nationalistic kind of person; I love Filipino food. Although yes, I think the techniques and the finesse in terms of plating and cooking — the British cuisine and the British outlook on food really did affect me growing up.

Can you tell us about the dish you prepared?

It’s Hainanese chicken rice. It’s sort of traditional, but in a way it’s also modernized. It’s chicken and rice, which is steamed in an assortment of vegetables and spices, served in a banana leaf, and then topped with cilantro, tomatoes and cucumber, with traditional condiments on the side: dark soy sauce and ginger oil. I wanted something families could easily do at home for their kids, if you’re on the go, or if you’re simply in an enclosed space — like for example, if you live in an apartment or condominium, you don’t have much cooking space. So I wanted recipes where it’s all in one pot. So you could present it nicely and it’s really easy to make.

Edward Mateo, 28

Edward Mateo just wanted to buy some fireworks. Back in his high school days, Edward was so fond of the New Year festivities that he baked and sold banana cakes in the Christmas season so he could save enough to light the sky on the first of January. But baking those cakes brought Edward to his passion: pastries. After graduating from Centro Escolar University with a degree in HRM, Edward went on to apprentice under the chef of Malacañang Palace, eventually finding work as a pastry chef at EDSA Shangri-la, and then at Pico de Loro’s Hamilo Coast. When he finally decided to branch out to start his own business, Edward put up La Royale Patisserie, La Royale Kitchen Studio, and La Royale Commissary. These ventures have since earned him several awards and recognitions, including the opportunity to bake for Resorts World Manila.

YOUNG STAR: Do you have a signature pastry, or a style of baking you prefer?

I want a twist on pastries. I want to construct it. I want something new and innovative lagi, to make a new flavor, a new balance of taste. I always make different kinds of pastries.

What have you learned in your five years as a pastry chef?

First is to be humble. Second is to be innovative with different kinds of ingredients. Don’t focus on one ingredient. Especially now here in the Philippines, we have new ingredients from the different provinces like the kinds of chocolates from Davao. We can use those — not the chocolates from the States or other countries. We need to use our local ingredients.

Can you tell us about the cake you prepared?

This moist banana cake is an eggless banana cake. We use sour cream to activate the baking soda and the baking powder — the leavening agents — because of the acidity of the sour cream. This dish comes from (my time at) Pico de Loro. Ito yung ginagawa namin at that time. Inadopt ko ‘to, but now we put cream cheese on top with cinnamon powder and almonds.

Dave Dource, 28

Of the many people who so publicly proclaim their love of coffee (“I need #coffee in my life,” or “I can’t function without #coffee”), how many actually know anything about their beloved black beverage? Dave Dource definitely does. He’s an award-winning barista and latte artist, which are actually two different things: baristas prepare coffee and know the drink in its entirety, while latte artists specialize in froth design. He is also certified by coffee institutions in America and Europe and is on a mission to preach the good word about specialty coffee in the Philippines. Dave started out as a mechanical engineer for a company that distributed coffee machines. But as he got to know the machines he fixed, he became enamored with the drink they produced. Today, when he’s not throwing down at latte art competitions, Dave is a consultant for many different coffee shops, while also setting up his own roastery in Quezon City.

YOUNG STAR: What does is take to be a good barista?

You need to be knowledgeable about your coffee. The elevation of the coffee, where it’s planted, the soil quality, the water quality, the wind patterns — you need to know those things. Different countries have different taste profiles in their coffee. If you go to Africa, they’re well known for lemony acidity, winey flavors, very floral and light-bodied coffee. If it’s Central America, it’s very fruity. Here in the Philippines, it’s more like a woody flavor.

What advice do you have for young people looking to become baristas or latte artists?

Learning about coffee and being a barista is not complicated, but it’s also not easy. Because you just focus on one thing — you just need to know the origin of the coffee, how to prepare it, the standard procedures. And also, you need to practice your communication skills. Being a barista is offering the coffee, talking to the customer — it’s not just preparing it and giving it to the customer.

Can you tell us about the drink you prepared?

It’s a local coffee beverage — we call it café mocha de batirol. I use local coffee from Davao, and I also use Malagos chocolate. I use a blend of Arabica from Benguet and Robusta from Cavite. You need to melt the dark chocolate with hot water. I use a six-ounce cup, and we’re going to put in half an ounce of that chocolate and one ounce of your espresso. You add a quarter ounce of coconut sugar. Then you have to steep pandan leaves, for the aroma. Then you steam the milk and then you pour it.

Sittings by NEAL CORPUS

by Miguel Escobar

In 1993, a group of six boys went from private jam sessions to opening for the Eraserheads, effectively jumpstarting their musical careers. Now, 23 years later, Parokya ni Edgar remains a household name — a legend in the Filipino music scene. This week, the nation’s favorite neighborhood barkada is set to release their latest studio album, the much-anticipated “Pogi Years Old.”

“We’re always excited naman whenever we come up with a new album,” said Chito Miranda. “Medyonerve-wracking din kasi we’re not sure kung paano magrereact yung mga tao sa Ashes. But we’re really excited because we’re very happy about the songs.”

When asked about the inspiration behind their latest album, band members joked it wasn’t inspiration that drove them, but necessity. “We weren’t inspired, we just had to,” Chito chuckled. It’s been six years since their last studio album, “Middle-Aged Juvenile Novelty Pop Rockers.” They quipped that it was either they come up with new songs, or settle for performing “the same old sh*t” for five more years.

Jokes aside, the six agreed that they’re still working with the same tools and sticking to the classic sound they’ve become famous for. That’s exactly what their fans should expect from this album. “Same banana,” they said, laughing. Gab Chee Kee shared that rather than the album itself, what made this experience unique was the process of making it. “The journey that we went through to finish the album was the biggest part of it. It took a while to get there,” he explained.

Scene stealers: Screencaps from Parokya Ni Edgar’s latest music video for Lagi Mong Tandaan, a single from their new album.

Thankfully, after working with each other for more than two decades, they’ve become what Vinci Montaner describes as a “well-oiled machine.” If, in the past, it took the band five days to record a song, and a full day to record the drum tracks, now they can do all that within a single day, no producer required.

Though their struggles are continuous, Chito says there are three main reasons why Parokya ni Edgar has managed to stay together for as long as they have. The first, he said, is their mutual love of money, causing the other members to guffaw, nodding their heads in agreement. The second is on a more serious note: Parokya lacks the musical differences that often lead to a band’s eventual demise. They’re all on the same wavelength when it comes to the sound they’re going for, so they never fought about what they wanted for their new album. The last is their relationship: the six of them have known each other all their lives, and they’ve grown to embrace all their individual differences. “Naeenjoy na namin yung nuances kada tao,” he explained.

The strength of their relationship is what helps them power through all the difficulties thrown at them and survive for as long as they have as a band. They likened their journey to a video game: every level gets harder, but they know that, no matter how difficult it gets, they can overcome each level until they’ve beaten the game and they’re ready to do it all over again.

As for what they want their fans to feel when they listen to this album, the band has continued to do what they’ve always done — taking it easy without overthinking and simply focusing on creating something that they like and would want to listen to. “We just want them to enjoy the album, that’s it.”

The easygoing air Parokya Ni Edgar has about them is what makes them transcend generation gaps. Someone once tried explained to them why they stood out from the rest of the music industry. He said that, before, people used to see them as the neighborhood barkada, and now, kids look at them like the cool, “bad influence” titos, which the band fervently agreed with. The allure of Parokya ni Edgar has gone beyond their songs and even past the whole idea of a band. The barkada that people watched grow from kids to men has also become one of their major selling points.

Having been part of the music industry’s shift from analog recording to digital, Parokya ni Edgar is excited about using Spotify and other social media platforms to make their music more accessible to the public. “Sobrang saya ng music scene ngayon,” Chito said. Where before, artists were dependent on mainstream radio to popularize their music, now all a musician needs is a laptop and a stable WiFi connection. To them, it’s all about adjusting to the new things and avoiding worrying too much about the small things. The important things to them are recording, composing new songs, and performing to the best of their abilities.

Parokya ni Edgar’s new album “Pogi Years Old” will be available on Spotify and other digital platforms starting Oct. 17.

by Maia Puyat

It’s hard to work in a job you hate, but even harder to chase down an elusive dream. That’s the impression I got at the start of Tick, Tick… Boom!, the new musical staged by 9Works Theatrical. An eerie ticking-bomb sound plays in the background as the protagonist Jon (Jef Flores) talks about the pressure of giving up his dreams of becoming a composer for musical theater. He compares himself to his successful roommate Michael (Ariel Reonal), who has a cushy job in Manhattan. Jon’s girlfriend Susan (Tanya Manalang) is a dance teacher who pleads with him to trade in their New York life for a quieter one in the suburbs. Of course, this would derail his dreams of making it on Broadway — and so begins his journey towards realizing the true purpose of his musical talents.

And while that is the scary part of this show — the realization that your quarter-life issues are relatable even to someone back in 1990 — it’s also a nice peek into the mind of a theater icon. Tick, Tick… Boom!happens to be an autobiography of sorts. Apart from being a multi-awarded musical, it was written and created by Jonathan Larson — the same guy who created Rent. After Larson’s death in 1996, the show was brought Off-Broadway and developed into a three-character show (it was originally intended to be a rock monologue.)

That is probably my favorite part of this show: the way Flores, Reonal and Manalang played off one another’s strengths to produce a stellar ensemble performance.

Tick, Tick… Boom! is explicitly about Larson’s life, and moments within the play hint at what inspired Larson to write his beloved Broadway musical. Did we hope that Jon’s character would start playing the first few notes of Seasons of Love?

Of course, because we’re total suckers for 525,600 minutes, but the original songs in Tick, Tick… Boom! (Green Green Dress is a personal fave) echo the same punchiness, emotion and rawness that later made Rent such an enduring favorite. And, most importantly, the whole cast is made up of just three very talented actors.

That is probably my favorite part of this show: the way Flores, Reonal and Manalang played off one another’s strengths to produce a stellar ensemble performance. Consider that Reonal and Manalang had to play multiple characters throughout, and Flores was pretty much in every scene with no intermission. They managed to switch from high emotions to pure comedy with the simple addition of a scarf or a leopard coat. It helps that they work so well as a team onstage — even as they switch characters within a scene (to portray a busy restaurant), it still feels natural.

So come for the existential crisis, but stay for the pure heart that they put into producing this show. Because while Jon begins his story with a strong sense of bleakness, he does realize that passions cannot be tempered quite so easily. And this show, in every respect, proves just that.

Tick, Tick… Boom! has a limited run at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Plaza, until Oct. 23. For tickets and information, follow @9wtonline on Instagram and visit them on Facebook /9workstheatrical.

by Marga Buenaventura

You know you’re in a for a good horror movie if you don’t know what it’s all about. The jumps and scares are very real if we haven’t seen the trailers at all. Imagine how much more effective this can be in a live production setting.

We entered the black box theater at College of St. Benilde School of Design and Arts with absolutely no idea what Mulagat was about. By the looks of the poster, it seemed scary. But how scary can a play be, really? I mean, they’re up on the stage and you’re down there at the audience. And I haven’t really seen enough scary plays to set a standard in my head.

“The best seats are on the mat,” one of the ushers told us with a smile. Whether that smile was of excitement or pure evil, we later found out when the lights turned off completely. We sat on the floor approximately six feet away from the stage. Suddenly, there was a kid laughing on the stage but there was also the sound of feet running around us on the mat, dribbling a ball. I swear, at one point, something brushed past my hair and I freaked out the tiniest bit. Mind you, the play hadn’t even started yet.

Mulagat tells the story of architecture student Nico who wakes up in the middle of the night to investigate strange noises from outside his bedroom. Directed by Eric Villanueva, Taxi Theater’s Mulagat is a show where the unexpected happens. The story may be simple but it will still leave you screaming — both in fear and, if you’re a theater and technology geek, in awe — because of the effective light and sound direction. Like most horror movies, it’s all a matter of misdirection. Villanueva didn’t have the luxury of blocking out spaces from a camera’s view to misdirect the viewers from the next jump scare. He uses everything that he has instead — the actors’ gaze, spotlights and sounds — to distract you from the ghost creeping up from the other side of the stage (and at times, even from right behind you!)

By the end of the show, most people were left breathless from screaming. I, on the other hand, was left breathless by the technical beauty of the show. The production design was genius, the lights and sounds were so in sync (the jump scares got me every single time), and the cast was charming. If you’re planning on watching a horror movie in the theaters, spend your money on this instead. There’s nothing better than actually experiencing a horror movie while supporting the local arts at the same time.

You can catch Mulagat until Oct. 29 at the SDA Black Box Theater. Visit for tickets and for the show schedule. Tickets are available at P500.

by Maine Manalansan

When I think of South America, three things usually come to mind: chiseled bodies; sandy beaches and lush forests; and that girl from Colombia who was robbed of a Miss Universe crown by Steve Harvey. Rarely do I associate the region with food, because one, I’m not exactly an adventurous eater; and two, I’d rather have my mother’s cooking any day of the week. The latter is something I apparently share with the owners of Naxional — a new South American diner in UPTown Parade, BGC. Anyone thinks their own mother’s cooking is the best. What I discovered, however, is that sometimes another mother’s cooking can be just as good as yours.

Originally conceptualized by Raymund Magdaluyo of the Red Crab Group, Naxional brings traditional, home-cooked Latin flavors into the spotlight. Many of the restaurant’s partners grew up in South America, including Vanessa Matsunaga. She brought her brother and mother — Daniel and Gege Matsunaga — on board and it became a full-fledged family affair. Lei Norwood, fellow Naxional partner and wife to Fil-Am basketball player Gabe Norwood, shared that their collective passions for South American food fueled the birth of the diner. “All our experiences were put together, and allowed us to have a unique and exciting concept of bringing the Latin American culture to Manila. We are excited to share our favorite flavors with everyone.”

TOP –  Paella and Steak Elote: Hearty main course options to fill you up; LEFT – Pão de Queijo: Traditional home-made cheese bread

And boy, do those flavors pop. The menu is a wide array of flavors that are splattered with hints of lime, chili and healthy doses of corn and chips. A great starter is the Elote (P195), a popular street food made with corn (either shredded or on the cob), slathered on with mayo lime and dipped in chili butter and crumbled cheese. The taste of sour and spice leaves you salivating for more. But trust me, it’s best to hold your tongue for the rest.

A must try, no matter the occasion or time of day, is the Pão de queijo (P195), a mysterious cheese bread that’s right smack in the middle of every flavor profile: not too sweet, nor too salty; not at all bland, either. The bread is traditionally made with cassava root or flour, which gives it a soft, chewy texture that hides a cheesy surprise inside. It’s quite hard to describe it, but make sure you have a mirror or someone watching you while you eat it, because your face is definitely going to conjure a bewildered expression after your first bite.

When your appetite is raring to go and run a marathon, the following should get you through to the finish line and warm your stomach like the smell from your mother’s kitchen on Sunday mornings. The Patacones (P220), Naxional’s signature dish, hails from Puerto Rico and is made of fried plantains, guacamole, and topped with either pork, beef, or shrimp (which are all cooked to soft and juicy perfection), drizzled with just the right amount of sofrito sauce to send your taste buds into a dizzying state of nirvana.

Elote: Corn dipped in mayo lime, chili butter, and crumbled cheese

If you’re left wanting more, or if your stomach is simply a black hole like mine, the Guacamole and Chips (P395), Fish Tacos (similar to the Patacones, P310), and The Steak Elote (steak served with greens and corn, P759) should fill you to the brim. The servings are just right for the price, good for sharing and celebrations. Speaking of celebrations, their al fresco bar offers an interesting lineup of cocktails to get you liquored up in between bites. Whether it’s dinner with your friends, lunch with your family, or even a date by the bar, Naxional should make you feel right at home. Just make sure to wear elastic pants or get ready to unbutton those jeans, because if you thought your mom or your grandmother feeds you a lot, Naxional takes it to a whole new level — all with that Latin flair, no less.

Naxional is open Monday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m., and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. at 2/F UpTown Parade, BGC. Find them on Instagram at @NaxionalDiner.

by Neal Corpus

My spoken-word career began (and promptly ended) at a high school writing club meeting. I was 14 years old — a self-confessed introvert who struggled with public speaking. So when my club moderator told us that we’d have to write a poem and perform it in front of the entire class, I was scared. I ended up performing a piece called “Sitting alone at a lunch table” (cringe) and hating myself afterward for exposing my own truth.

Simple conversations with friends and family were also mini struggles because I always found it hard to speak up. When I was still discovering the wonders of feminism, I would always hesitate to point out issues with my brother and male cousin during casual family lunches for fear of being accused of promoting my “feminist agenda.” They always argued that there’s a double standard in society, and our conversations would end up as long discussions that ultimately went around in circles. At one point, I decided not to waste my time, eventually choosing not to speak up at all.

We now live in a world where people aren’t afraid to show off their interests and beliefs, parading them around like they’re this season’s hottest fashion item. We even see feminist statements on fast fashion T-shirts and fashion week catwalks (remember that spring/summer 15 Chanel show?).

Getting artsy: Prints by Sab Diegor

Speak up: Stacey Gutierrez of PLUMP PH, advocate for body positivity.

There’s no denying that women empowerment is in vogue right now, and there’s nothing wrong with that. What matters is that we don’t stop at just declaring ourselves feminists because it’s cool — we need to voice out our beliefs as well.

Last Oct. 8, Woman, Create held a woman empowerment-themed open mic as a means for people to share their perspectives in a room filled with open minds and hearts. “Here I Am” brought together a bunch of women (and men!) to perform different stories of struggle and triumph through spoken word poetry, storytelling and music.

Stacy Gutierrez performed a piece on cool girls, while her sister Danah served up a sassy monologue, aptly titled “Di Ka Cheap, Teh.”  Young STAR’s resident Larry stan (and art director) Maine Manalansan was also there to read a letter to her eight-year-old pink-loving self. In between, there were musical numbers by ethnic jazz musician Ja Quintana, among others.

If I thought that standing up in front of a crowd was hard, what more speaking up about your insecurities? Watching these brave women bare their souls in front of strangers, I thought, This doesn’t show vulnerability — it shows strength.

My takeaway from the event was best expressed by Isa Garcia of The Better Story Project, who ended her spoken-word performance with these words: “You are a woman. Occupy space.”

by Gaby Gloria

In a tropical country, a never ending summer is not that impossible. “We’ve got the ocean, got the babes, got the sun, we’ve got the waves,” says California band Best Coast about the Philippines (okay, it was about California). The ‘-ber’ months might be here but nothing should stop your from going out of town (especially out of traffic), for a quick relaxation. And of course, it wouldn’t be complete without a summer read.

Under the Batangas sun and over mango shakes, I found myself giggling through Morgan Matson’s The Unexpected Everything. It tells the story of Andie Walker, daughter of a congressman and, according to Morgan herself, a Virgo. She and her friends wanted to make the most out of their summer vacation. They apply to their dream internships and got in. That is until Andie’s offer was pulled out because of the controversy surrounding her dad. So, she became a dog walker. Looking back at it, I don’t think it’s not that bad. You’re surrounded by furry animals and a cute dog owner; I don’t see why that’s not an ideal way to spend your summer vacation.

Like most teenagers, Andie becomes conflicted and she finds herself in the middle of a drama. Not just with her family, but also her friends and relationships. That’s one thing that I liked about the book: it doesn’t sugarcoat or overdramatize any problems of a real-life teenager. Life will not wait for you to “fix yourself” before you’re overcome with another hurdle. And I think that’s what make Andie a good hero.

We sat down with the author to talk about her inspiration behind Andie’s character, how to deal with rejection and making it big despite all of it.   

What’s your inspiration behind Andie’s character?

I think the real inspiration just came from being in Washington and kind of just sort of playing out that idea of if you would grow up sort of always being aware (of your surroundings) and always having to monitor everything you said. And then I really sort of consciously wanted to do a story that was about relationship, family and about friendship. And not to have one be more important than the other. I feel like sometimes, the friends get sidelined and the family’s just kind of in the background and I really wanted it to be all driving the story equally.

I think that makes it more realistic because as a teenager, you have to deal with so many things.

Right. I feel like that’s sort of what life is. I feel like it’s not that things take a backseat when it’s convenient. It’s like, generally everything’s happening at the same time at the worst possible time. So yeah, I did want it to feel more like life in that way.

One of the things you explored in the book is how to deal with rejection in terms of career. Of course, Andie didn’t get her dream internship and how she dealt with this was so inspiring. Do you have other tips for kids maybe on how to deal with it.

You know, it’s always tough, but I do think that sometimes it can lead to something much better. If for whatever reason it’s not a good fit, it’s better to not be part of something because then you could find something that might be. I think your whole life, unfortunately, is getting rejected in one way or another. The sooner you can learn to roll with it and realize that maybe it’s not personal, that’s just sort of one of those things that happens, it’s a great quality to have. I think sometimes you get so focused on if you got rejected, you kind of can’t see that there’s something great over here that you wouldn’t have been free to do if you were still at that other place.

Speaking of careers, do you have any tips for aspiring writers?

One of the best things you can do if you want to write is to read a lot. You can sometimes learn more from a book you don’t like than a book you love. So if you want to be a writer and you’re reading a book and you don’t like it, take a step back and ask why you dislike it.

I always say that writing is a skill; you get better at it with practice and by doing it a lot. And I would say if you really want to write –– if you can finish something ––that’s great. Because I, when I was beginning, I kept starting at stuff and then abandoning it, and starting it and then abandoning it. And I think the first time you actually see a story through to the end is really helpful because then you can make it better, you’ve finished it and haven’t just like, left it halfway through which is what I always did.

Morgan Matson’s The Unexpected Everything is available in all National Book Store branches nationwide. 

by Maine Manalansan

No question about it: these days, most of us live our lives online. And who can blame us? Work and play is done more and more on our smartphones, but as our lolos and lolas would argue, getting out of the house is still a necessity. Google Philippines aims to combine both.

Last week, Google Philippines, in partnership with Ayala Malls, launched the first YouTube Lounge in Greenbelt 5, a physical space where users can watch and discover videos on the platform IRL. If you’re thinking that you can just as easily do this in the comfort of your own room, there are actually a couple of benefits to hauling your butt out of bed.

First, users can take advantage of the Formula 1-speed Internet. The lounge uses Accelerator, which allows for faster-loading videos through the free Wi-Fi of Ayala Malls. Yup, this means no more having to see that annoying buffering circle while waiting for your video to load. And the great thing about it? It’s free. All you have to do is look for the teal Accelerator logo and you’re good to go — Accelerator cuts the loading time of about 100,000 to 200,000 videos daily, so users are sure to never miss a beat. “Filipinos are increasingly spending more time on their smartphones. The YouTube Lounge is our way of recognizing the need of our users to access their favorite videos even while on the go,” says Gabby Roxas, the country marketing manager of Google Philippines.

Part of that huge chunk of accelerated videos is content from our very own local YouTube creators, including Janina Vela, Say Tioco, Kristine Roces, Erwan Heussaff, Chris Cantada, Bogart The Explorer, Joyce Sola and more. The goal of YouTube Lounge is not just to enjoy videos, but to interact with these creators and other viewers as well, says Roxas. Beginning this month until December, there will be a YouTube Creator Roadshow, where viewers can meet and greet their favorite content creators. The roadshow will coincide with the opening of other YouTube Lounges in Ayala Malls around the metro, including UP Town Center, TriNoma, Glorietta, Greenbelt, Market! Market!, and Alabang Town Center.

To know more about the YouTube Lounge and the meet-and-greet schedules, check out Google Philippines on Facebook and @GooglePH on Twitter.

by Neal Corpus

Every artist aspires to have his or her work recognized. Truth is, only a few really get that opportunity. But now, your days spent hunched over your desk trying to ink your Iron Man fan art won’t be a total waste. And that’s thanks to Marvel’s Creative Day Out held recently at UP Diliman. Marvel invited aspiring comic artists from different universities here to share their work and get tips from the best of the best.

According to Marvel’s executive vice president C.B. Cebulski, there are three elements that make Marvel what it is today: content, character, and community. He mentioned that they make it a point to keep their stories timely and relatable. As much as possible, they create stories set in the real world (a little shade thrown to DC’s Gotham) and based on real characters. This brought me back to my first Marvel comic-reading experience not too long ago when I picked up Miss Marvel for the first time. I saw her story unfold page by page and found myself giggling at familiar problems (i.e., family being strict, unruly friends, boy problems, etc.). Maybe this is the reason why Marvel movies are spectacularly successful at the box office: we gravitate towards content that we can identify with.

Crash course: V.P. for Marvel brand management and development C.B. Cebulski gives the low down on Marvel’s creative process.

The Marvel cinematic universe is also a good example of their second element to achieving success. I am no comic book expert but there’s something about watching their superheroes that makes me feel like I’m part of their squad. I know them well enough to call out their next move while watching The Avengers. And their personal branding is just enough to make any graphic designer sigh with contentment.

Thirdly, Marvel takes pride in building a community around their fandom. As seen in this year’s Marvel Creative Day Out, they make an effort to get to know up-and-coming talent all over the world. The UP Diliman Theater was the gathering place for aspiring comic book artists. Visiting artists gave talks on creativity and workshops on how to make it big in the comic universe. They even invited Filipino comic artists Stephen Segovia, Harvey Tolibao and Leinil Yu — their own discoveries — to share their Marvel experiences and show their creative process.

Wonder trio: Marvel comic artists Stephen Segovia, Harvey Tolibao and Leinil Yu share tips on how to make it in Marvel.

At the end of the day, everyone left Diliman inspired and more determined to be part of the Marvel universe. Who wouldn’t be? With valuable words on creativity, an exhibit to get their juices flowing and personal tips from Cebulski himself, it shouldn’t be surprising if we see a Filipino Marvel superhero in the near future.

by Maine Manalansan

What is it with Colombia these days? The beautiful South American country seems to be a hot destination lately — and I’m not just referring to its abundance of the Lord’s greatest gifts: natural resources, magical realism, and Miss Universe candidates. No, we’re all about Colombia right now because of one particular show, the Netflix Original series called Narcos, which chronicles the beginning and end of Colombia’s errant middle child, Pablo Escobar.

Escobar became famous for being a narcotraficante, arguably the most famous drug lord ever. He’s been immortalized in so many ways since his death — through books, films, television series — but it wasn’t until actor Wagner Moura played him in Narcos that we asked ourselves, “Why am I actually rooting for this truly horrible person to win?”

Netflix just dropped the second season of the series, and we gotta admit, we were just as hooked on seeing his downfall (spoiler, sorry) as we were addicted to watching his rise to power. Granted, the Narcos version of Escobar isn’t exactly historically accurate (the producers make no secret that they took liberties in depicting certain events and characters) but it has certainly caught our attention. So much so that we began to wonder what it would be like to put the late, great Señor Escobar against another man whose fiery personality, temper, and controversial methods rival even his own: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. After all, President Duterte’s foremost platform is to eradicate drug addiction — unequivocally, completely — and should their paths ever cross, Escobar would be at the top of the food chain.

We decided to pit these two men against one another in a few choice rounds to see where their differences lie, but upon doing so we realized that they also have a few things in common. Both Escobar and Duterte came from humble beginnings, which was what endeared them to the masses. In their own ways, they’re charismatic and inspire loyalty without ever having to ask for it. And perhaps the most interesting thing in common? They both had their eye on the presidency in their respective countries. Although we kind of know how that played out for both of them, we’d still like to find out: in a fair fight, who would actually win?

Round one: Coolest Nicknames

Since announcing his presidency, Duterte has inspired many nicknames among his admirers, chief among them: P-Diggy, DU30, Pigong (from his actual nickname Digong), or simply Mayor, which harks back to his days as the chief of Davao City. Escobar, meanwhile, is addressed by his army of sicarios (hired guns) in a choice set of honorifics befitting a mobster: Don Pablo, El Padrino (literally The Godfather), and my personal favorite, El Patrón.

Who wins? Escobar. Nothing makes me happier than hearing Escobar’s sicarios answer him with a deferential “Sí, Patrón” like they totally have no choice but to shoot down a bunch of people in that barrio. Meanwhile, Duterte’s nicknames aren’t exactly cute. P-Diggy? My little cousin can do better than that. And he’s eight.

Art by Ina Jacobe

Round two: Cussing ability

Both Escobar and Duterte have mouths you wanna scrub with soap. In every episode of Narcos, you will hear Escobar spew a string of beautifully accented cuss words whenever he doesn’t get his way. Which, let’s be real, happens a lot when you’re a bajillionaire with a ton of enemies. On the other hand, Duterte has been in hot water — both in the local and international media — for cussing out a number of prominent individuals and organizations, which include but are not limited to US President Barack Obama and the United Nations. Has there ever been a time our nation has dissected the true meaning of p—g ina more than we have in the last few months?

Who wins? Duterte. Sure, Escobar gave a new flavor to the classic hijo de p—a, but no potty mouth has ever gotten an entire country in trouble as much as Duterte’s has. So in a roundabout way, he actually wins. Well, f**k that.

Round three: Biggest fans

When Escobar was just beginning his drug lording career, he also needed to earn the trust of Colombians in order to fortify his operations. Key to that is dirty journalist Valeria Velez (a fictional character in the series, but based on the life of reporter Virginia Vallejo) who not only smushed booties with Escobar on the side, but helped shape public opinion about him — calling him the Robin Hood of his neighborhood. Similarly, dancer-turned-Duterte-advocate Mocha Uson may not have been in an extramarital affair with the President, but certainly contributed to his campaign. Apart from singing his praises in her Facebook page called MOCHA USON BLOG (yes, all in caps), she has regularly discredited legitimate media sources and has championed the Duterte administration’s many, er, questionable causes.

Who wins? (I can’t believe I’m saying this, but…) Mocha Uson and Duterte do. While both Velez and Uson are clearly ill-equipped for their chosen professions, it’s Uson’s fearless defense of a man she hardly knows personally that is admirable. Consider her the Stan to Duterte’s Eminem, minus the cool peroxide blond hair.

Round four: BFFs and worst enemies

Honestly, Duterte should keep a running tally of whom his government is friends with on a particular day. Sometimes he hates the Jews, then he sucks up to China. On other days, he hates the UN for butting their heads into his business. Then he’ll sometimes plays nice with the communists, but won’t let exiled Communist Party of the Philippines founder Joma Sison fly back to the Philippines. But — always, always, always — he hates Americans. Escobar plays a similar game of shady associations. He allied with Colombia’s communist party to help destroy evidence against him, and he’s teamed up with his fellow crooks to murder the same communists who helped his cause. But true to form, Escobar also hated the United States, particularly for their threat to extradite him to America.

Who wins? Escobar, but barely. While Duterte and Escobar hate the United States with so much irrational passion, they’re undeniably reliant on America’s soft and hard power — from military and culture to commerce. (For Escobar, his biggest customers are in Miami, Florida. For Duterte, it’s everything else.) Try as they might to beat the specter of white privilege, it seems that they’re both actually kind of powerless before it. Which probably explains why they have both acted like overgrown toddlers once the topic comes up.

In order to run an empire, one need not surround one’s self only with yes men, something that Duterte has unfortunately done since becoming President.

Round five: Muscle of choice

Duterte’s proverbial battering ram in the war against drugs is Philippine National Police Director General Ronald de la Rosa. Bato, as he’s usually called, possesses a temper as fiery as his boss’s. He’s been known to incite anger among his police force by encouraging them to douse the houses of drug pushers with gasoline and burn them down. (Way harsh, Gretch.)

For Escobar, it’s his cousin Gustavo Gaviria, his right-hand man in every way. Gustavo is known to be the only one who can quell Escobar’s temper and make him see reason when he mostly sees red. Until Gustavo’s death, Escobar had said that his cousin was a huge reason that their coke business was so successful.

Who wins? Escobar, hands down. In order to run an empire, one need not surround one’s self only with yes men, something that Duterte has unfortunately done since becoming President. Let’s not get started on his bungling Cabinet to prove that point even further…

Round six: Incorruptibility

Escobar and his gang were known to threaten members of government (or anyone in their way, really) with a simple question, “Plata o plomo?” which implies that they either let themselves get paid off or they meet their bloody end with a gun. Duterte has explicitly said that he is sick and tired of the systematic corruption in the Philippines and has refused all sorts of lavishness by wearing simple clothes and sleeping under a mosquito net. He’s a simple guy, he says. However, a number of his political appointees seem to reek of patronage politics — chief of which is his close association to defeated veep candidate Bongbong Marcos.

Who wins? Escobar, by a hairsbreadth. Look, both men have admitted to and have been accused of doing some awful stuff. But Escobar made no secret that he was kind of an effed-up guy. Duterte, at least for now, may pretend to be some kind of rugged hero from an action movie, but maintains his innocence on the subject where his honesty matters the most.

Round seven: Audience impact

In many respects, both Duterte and Escobar are hometown heroes, beloved in their own barangays and barrios more than anywhere else. Davaoeños praise Duterte’s decades-long terms as Davao City Mayor. Meanwhile, Escobar has inspired so much loyalty from Medellín, where he grew up, that everyone would cover for him whenever Colombian police would come looking.

Who wins? Duterte, literally. Both men may have wanted to become president, but only one of them actually got to be one.

So who actually won?

By a mere one-point win, the man from Medellín actually bested Davao’s finest. What does it say about Duterte’s bloody war on drugs? Not much, to be honest, but perhaps it’s high time to rethink strategies if the feared head of state can lose to a dead guy on paper.

Everything is Embarassing by Margarita Buenaventura

This week, new Young STAR editorial assistants Neal Corpus and Gaby Gloria rounded out the current crop of editorial assistants from both print and digital to talk about the good, the bad and (maybe) the ugly.

by Neal Corpus and Gaby Gloria

In my 23 years of existence, I think this is the only time I’ve seen a school production before (High School Musical not included). As I sat in the Fine Arts Theater of Gonzaga Hall inside Ateneo, I looked around for familiar faces. I saw a few colleagues from previous shows in the past. While I saw some friends, I have to admit, I still didn’t know what to expect. I knew that Real-Life Fairytales was an original play — by Ejay Yatco of Dani Girl, Friction and Sa Wakas, no less — about, well, real-life fairytales. What unfolded in front of my eyes was totally unexpected.

Brutally honest and at times uncomfortable, Real-Life Fairytales confronts us with our worst nightmares. It’s told in a series of vignettes that explore insecurities, anxieties and fears that we human beings struggle to cope with — all through well-known but deconstructed fairytale tropes. Shows like this can actually help people feel like they’re not all that different. In fact, feeling it proves your humanity. They say that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and in this blueRep production, that’s truly the case.

From an insecure Cinderella to a depressed Peter Pan, Real-Life Fairytale uses classic fairytales to tell stories of real life. “We sublimate trauma into art. We put it in a higher realm. (We want people to) see these experiences here and to know that they’re not alone,” says director Missy Maramara. With the show’s original songs and comedic touches, Real-Life Fairytales is like that hug you get from a friend after your worst day ever. It makes you face your worst nightmares, but at the end of every vignette, it tells you that everything will be okay. Because it will. We’ll all live happily ever after somehow.

Catch Real-Life Fairytales until Oct. 1 at the Fine Art Theater, Gonzaga Hall, Ateneo de Manila University. For tickets, call 0906-5745545 or go to

by Maine Manalansan

Just like a barkada, a band is the coming together of different people and personalities. And just like the instruments they play, a band works together to create a song that works, no matter how different the members may be. This was the goal of this year’s Greenwich Ultimate Bandkada Search. Now in its second year, the contest goal is to find a group of musicians who blend different genres into one unique sound.

This year’s winning group is Plethora, which won over the judges with their rendition of the Ultimate Barkada Experience with a neoclassical metal and rock sound, augmented by a reggae and alternative twist. The group is composed of LJ Herrera on vocals and bass, Aldrin Isaguire on keyboards, Jesser Pello on drums, and Andrew Isaguire on lead guitar. Plethora bested seven other Bandkada finalists earlier this month at Valkyrie at The Palace. Coming in second and third place were ABCG and Happy Ending, respectively.

Apart from winning the top prize, Plethora also took home the Favorite ng Barkada award, garnering the most number of votes from an online poll of the competition. The grand finals were judged by Civ Fontanilla, Yumi Lacsamana and Sheyee of Viva, along with Up Dharma Down’s Armi Millare and Denise Manahan of JB Music. The band took home a sweet prize of P100,000 and a recording contract with Viva Records.

The competition also included a mentoring program, along with the on-ground auditions and concert finale. “This Ultimate Barkada experience is not only evident tonight, but throughout the duration of the search,” shares Viva Communications VP for production Val Del Rosario. “We are thankful that Greenwich is supporting OPM this way.” Greenwich and Viva’s partnership have been successful for the past two years, and expect more in years to come, says Del Rosario. — Neal P. Corpus

Check out #UltimateBandkada online and go to for more info.

by Neal Corpus

Something changes when you realize that depression doesn’t pick any particular age to strike. No matter how old you are or how young, it can get you. It got me at a young age but that doesn’t make me a prodigy or anything. When you excel at a young age, it’s celebrated. When you deal with depression when you’re young, it’s not celebrated; you’ll be lucky if people around you even accept it. Suffering from it as early as the age of 13, I can say it is nowhere near the word “glamorous.” It’s not as chic as the posts in Tumblr portray it. They have those Halsey and 1975 lyrics in Futura plastered on a photograph of the night sky. They make having depression seem fashionable. They even had me fooled for a little while. It’s not like that, though. I doubt feeling absolutely robotic and pushing away people who love you will become the latest trend.

People who go through this have different ways of dealing with it. For me, it was lots of tears, strained relationships, depriving myself of opportunities, and failed attempts to end my life. I learned firsthand that it isn’t just sadness intensified. Sadness can lead you to moving on. Depression can lead you to literally moving on from this life. Growing up with it, and reaching the age of 19, made me realize that what I was looking for was to be understood. I wanted to understand myself. But having the people I love understand me is somehow better. They provide this feeling that you’re not alone.

Yes, Suicide Awareness/Prevention Month is almost over, but the lack of understanding about depression and suicide isn’t. Why not broaden your understanding with the help of someone who goes through it?

1.   We don’t come in uniforms.

It’s like when people talk about “gaydar.” Just because a person dresses like a certain stereotype, like a post-emo kid or in an artsy manner, it doesn’t mean they’re going through depression. It’s not something you could detect from physical attributes easily. Most depressed people are better at hiding it. Maybe even some Filipinos are better at hiding it, since it is, after all, a taboo.

Depression isn’t really choosy. The happiest people could be dealing with the darkest crap you’ve ever witnessed. They’re just good at hiding it. (Case in point: the late comedian Robin Williams.)

2. Depression isn’t a synonym for sad.

Sadness is something you usually get over within a day or two, maybe even less. Depression can follow you through your whole life. There’s no easy way of saying it, but it ruins you not just emotionally, but physically as well.

Sadness is one of the usual indications that someone’s depressed. But according to Dr. Stephanie Smith in the PsychCentral article “Why Depression and Sadness Are Not the Same” by Margarita Tartakovsky, some people going through depression don’t even experience sadness.  They feel totally indifferent about activities that used to give them pleasure. They don’t feel sad, happy, or anything. It doesn’t give them anything anymore.

3. Sad is a feeling while depression is a cycle.

Ice cream and a hug could turn your frown upside down. With depression, it’s like you’re happy now, then something unexpectedly hits. It could be a memory, a song, a person, or anything. Any of that could just pull you back down to the bottom. Getting help from a professional or with the help of your loved ones could make breaking the cycle easier.

Google “depression cycle” and your search engine will be on fire. According to the site Mind Health Development by Dr. Rick Norris, the cycle starts with depression, then on to reduced activity, demotivation, negative thinking, and feeling worthless.

4. Getting treated is not shameful.

You are what you are. The taboo about this mental illness doesn’t just exist in the Philippines, but also in other countries. But here, the tendency of parents or loved ones to downplay mental illness is bigger. There is this fear of being judged by others or being branded as “baliw” easily. But does being judged matter more than your mental health?

There’s also a negative outlook on people who undergo pill treatment for their depression. Taking anti-depressants isn’t a bad thing if your psychiatrist strongly recommends it. The well-known YouTuber Anna Akana talks about this in her video “My Experience With Anti-depressants.” She clarifies that taking medication didn’t remove her depression; it rather helped her deal with it so she could live her life.

5. You can’t just “snap out of it.”

No, you can’t follow T-Swift’s advice and “shake it off.” The closest thing you could compare to is the climate. If it’s the weather, it could be raining right now and then sunny the next. But if it’s the climate, it’s… just there. It’s just a part of the country. In this situation, it’s a part of you.

Exercising to release endorphins can help, or might not. Being around people you love could help, or you might not even want to see them. There are types of depressions where you can get out of it completely or you just deal with it.

Point being, depression is nothing to be ashamed of because it’s a part of you. It’s the suckiest part of you. But it’s still you.

by Rogin Losa

Apple recently launched the new iPhone7 and the iOS10. It looks cool and all, but we always view new updates — or new things in general — with a little bit of resistance. Whenever we get a new software update, we’re always hesitant to click that little “install” button because we never really know what we’re going to get. But when Instagram introduced its own version of Snapchat, everyone was intrigued. Instagram basically copied Snapchat’s interface, but with better font choices and a smoother pen tool. “The interface is ugly”; “It doesn’t load fast enough”; “There are no face filters” went the initial feedback. But now the Snapping — er, Instagramming — demographic is split. Some people explore Instagram’s features, while others stick to the real OG of Stories.

To settle the debate once and for all, we asked the Young STAR team to discuss their choice: #TeamSnapchat or #TeamInstagram. In the battle of story-sharing apps, only one will emerge the most worthy of our mobile data. — Maine Manalansan

Maine Manalansan, art director: Welcome to the big Snapchat vs. Instagram Story debate. To start, please state your name and team.

Marga Buenaventura, editor: Snap

Tin Sartorio, assistant editor: #TeamSnapchat

Ina Jacobe, online art director:  #TeamI’mOnlyOnBothSoICanSeeMyFriends’Stories

Gaby, online editorial assistant: #TeamSnapchat

Neal Corpus, editorial assistant: #TeamIGKasiConvenient

Maine: Team Snap, please make your case.

Marga: Privacy. Ease. Filters. I feel freer in Snapchat.

Tin: I’m #TeamSnapchat because I like the filters, memories and the strict time stamp. I can also filter my viewers.

Neal: You can also filter people on Instagram! There’s an option to hide it from certain followers.

Tin: It’s easier to miss the stories of people on IG ‘cause the order of appearance on your list isn’t based on time. It’s more on how much you interact with a person.

Marga: I just feel like on Snapchat I only let me true friends see the real me…

Ina: Yeah, this is true. I’m not ready to disappoint my Instagram followers. (Again, just joking.)

Gaby: And in Snapchat, you can send snaps directly to people.

Maine: Let’s think like an “online influencer” for a bit. Which is better? Snapchat or Instagram?

Ina: There are purists that think Instagram is for the curated stuff and then on Snapchat, you’re crazier. Developed behaviors in social media.

Marga: Instagram has always felt like putting up a better version of yourself versus Snap na parang the shitty side of you.

Maine: So would you say you see a lot of people do that now? Like they have different personae for each platform?

Ina: As an introvert, I’m very picky where I express myself online. My Instagram has the most number of followers I don’t know. Like I’m still the same but… filtered. Does this make sense?

Gaby: I feel like Instagram would be better for people who would want to reach a larger audience. I think that Snapchat generally has more users (in terms of stories) so we get to stalk more people. Haha! I feel like IG stories might work better for brands and publications so they don’t have to keep on switching.

Maine: I just feel like there’s resistance right now against IG Stories cause it’s still new. And our normal feed viewing got disturbed. That’s why people hate it.

Ina: I guess the culture Snapchat cultivated is really for our true selves because it disappears after.

Maine: So the branding for each app affects how we use it also?

Marga: Yes.

Maine: It’s like we have our use for each app. Before IG stories, our walwal and crazy selves go on Snapchat. And Instagram has a reputation for being the go-to app for curating images, getting followers, blah blah, blah. That whole Instagram-worthy culture. But then now that IG Stories is here, it’s hard to transfer our Snap selves to Instagram because we’ve established another “self” in our Instagram feeds. Do we fear being judged by our current viewers?

Marga: Not being judged. But more like, the spectatorship makes me less inclined to show the dumber side of me. Not because I don’t want to get judged, but it feels intimate?

Ina: Does being uncomfortable sharing our real selves to strangers immediately equate to fearing they’d judge us when they see our real selves?

Maine: Not really. This is another reason in itself. There are others who are uneasy to share on IG what they’ve been sharing on Snapchat because there might be a disconnect between their true selves and curated self.

Ina: The “curated” term brings so much negative meaning. It’s like it’s wrong to be filtered.

Maine: I don’t know how else to put it. Because some people really edit and filter what they post on Instagram because they have to uphold a certain personal branding. (Not that there’s anything wrong with it.) So I guess they’d be more careful to post on their Instagram story since the same audience is viewing their content. I think it’s all a matter of transitioning properly?

Gaby: Even though I don’t use IG stories, I personally don’t want there to be a disconnect between my Snapchat self and Instagram self (based on my feed and not the stories) since it can get tiring to maintain. So I guess that’s why I’m not really scared of being judged? But I get that a lot of people like to keep their IG feeds cleaner.

Neal: I feel the same way.

Maine: Yeaaahhh. I agree. I think it’s simpler for us since we don’t get that pressure of staying “on brand.”

Neal: Honestly, it loads faster on my phone, that’s why I end up using it more.

Maine: Instagram??? NO WAY!

Marga: Really? It’s so laggy for me. I just close it because katamad.

Maine: But if ever it loads faster, with all its functionalities (better font, colors, etc.), would you try to get to know it?

Marga: I’m also old and I’m starting to be suspicious of new technology.

Maine: OKAY. Let’s say IG Stories introduces face filters, would you transfer? Or no?

Ina: No. I want Snapchat to sue them because lantaran na nilang ginaya.

Maine: How about user interface? Like the flow of it. Yung MEMORIES (which I think is kinda useless). And maybe the fact that we can all save the snaps one time, big time. Compared to IG na you have to do it one by one.

Neal: I would put geotags. It’s the only thing I miss from Snapchat.

Ina: Also for the stalkers, you can watch their stories (on Instagram) without the need to follow them! Kaso nga lang makikita pa din name mo.


Neal: Loltru.

Gaby: I second the screenshot thing!

Maine: Any final thoughts?

Ina: Vine was the best.

Neal: #TwitterParin.

by The Young STAR team

There’s something about the Hamilton mania that confuses me. How can there can be so many rabid local fans when the show hasn’t even left Broadway yet (and tickets are sold outfor the next two years)? Where did these Filipinos watch the show? Was there a Broadway recording circulating in the deep web? Or is their love for the musical entirely based on what they hear on Spotify? “It’s so badass,” my friend told me. “How can you not love it? It’s rap music in a theater musical. That’s dope.” I’m not the biggest fan of rap music but I do understand the complexity of trying to write a musical as influential and groundbreaking as the “classics.” Lin-Manuel Miranda is a genius for writing Hamilton. This made me wonder about the journey of other Broadway composers.

On Oct. 1, local audiences will take a look at one such journey in Tick, Tick… BOOM! Staged by 9 Works Theatrical, it tells the story of good ol’ Jon, an aspiring composer for musical theater and his career decisions. The show takes us behind the scenes: how composers get their inspiration, the writing process, the struggles and, of course, the decision to continue or jump ship to the upside down (read as: a more practical and stable job).

It’s the age-old question: passion or money? In the end, it’s really the journey that will give you the answers. No matter how much time you spend shaking a Magic 8 Ball or reading your horoscopes — both new and old — on Astrology Zone, you will never know the answer unless you try. And in Tick, Tick… BOOM, Jon does. Because whether or not the character made the right decision, playwright Jonathan Larson’s follow-up musical, Rent, was a huge hit. That’s right: in a plot twist, “Jon” is actually Jon Larson. So he wrote an award-winning show about himself. And he even managed to snag Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda to play Jon in the 2014 Encores! Off-Centre revival. If that’s not success, then we don’t know what is.

9 Works Theatrical’s Tick, Tick… BOOM! opens Oct. 1 starring Jef Flores, Ariel Reonal and Tanya Manalang and directed by Robbie Guevara. For tickets, call 09175-545-560, 586-7105 or Ticketworld at 891-9999. Follow 9 Works Theatrical on Twitter and Instagram @9wtonline for more details.

by Maine Manalansan

In the spirit of all things embarrassing, I hope against all hope that Anna Todd can’t tell that I’m trembling. She, of course, is perfectly calm about meeting another journalist for yet another interview, but I am straight-up freaking out. All cool lost, I gush as we talk about our One Direction pairings (she’s a Ziam, I’m a Zarry) and Russian love stories. I refrain from telling her that I’ve been up till five in the morning every day for a week because I’ve been finishing her bestselling After series — and just like that, I never felt more like my 10-year-old self, staying out late at night to read fan fiction in our family desktop.
You see, Anna’s writer origin is quite unconventional; the After series actually started from One Direction fan fiction she posted on Wattpad that was eventually turned into an original novel. The plot revolves around college students Tessa Young and Hardin Scott (who was originally Harry Styles in the story) who get into a tumultuous relationship that is borderline nuts. But Anna somehow reels it back from crazy territory — full of dark themes like alcoholism, betrayal and broken dishes — with unapologetic honesty on every page. After is such an affecting story because it’s pure indulgence of our deepest desires, one where the best and worst versions of us get the happy ending we’ve always wanted.

Anyway, enough about my feelings. The After has a pretty legit following. Aside from being a wildly popular story on Wattpad, where anyone can read it for free, it also happens to be one of the most prominent young adult/new adult books right now. It’s been translated into several languages, and has inspired a spinoff series based on a supporting character. Even more amazing is that Anna continues her writing process on Wattpad despite being a published author — she says that it’s what keeps her writing genuine, by keeping its development close to her readers, and has hardly affected book sales.

I got to meet Anna at the recently concluded 2016 Readers and Writers Festival, hosted by the nice folks of National Book Store. During our interview, we discussed many things, including our shared love for Harry Styles, her new muse, and the thrill of reading fan fiction about the fanfic phenomenon she created.

YOUNG STAR: Hey Anna. I’m curious, why is Harry (Styles) your favorite member? Why’d you start writing fan fiction with him in mind?

ANNA TODD: I don’t know, I never thought of writing about anybody else. It always felt like a natural thing. I love all of them, of course, but he was the first one who I was like, “Oh, I love him now.” He seems like a gentle soul. Something about him is so charismatic and you can’t help but love him.

Did you still have Harry in mind when you finally turned the character into Hardin?
I did at the beginning. It was weird, because I read so much fan fiction that it was easy for me to distinguish actual Harry from the book. I never thought about real Harry. I don’t know how to explain it. He just looked like Harry, but it wasn’t Harry. I just thought of that for a long time, but the readers — now it’s kind of split between people who like One Direction and people who don’t like them. Once the readers started saying that they wanted Daniel Sharman as Hardin, I was like, that’s literally perfect. Everything about that is so perfect. And when I met him it just furthered my feeling that okay, he is Hardin. So now that I’m writing Nothing Less, which is Landon’s book, when Hardin’s there, it’s Daniel. It’s kind of like the Harry thing. I can picture Daniel, but it’s not actually Daniel. It’s really not about Harry anymore.

Have you ever read any fanfic about your books? How does that feel like?
I do, actually. I love it. I think it’s so cool. One of my favorite ones is about Emery, Hardin and Tessa’s daughter. And it’s like, when she’s in high school. Her personality there is not exactly how I would write it, but it’s interesting to see how well they know these characters. And some of the things that Hardin says as a dad of a teenager — yeah, he would say that, he would totally feel that way. And there’s one about Steph… there’s so many of them. There’s one that only has about four chapters, and it’s what would happen if Hardin is a good guy, and Tessa is a bad girl. I think it’s cool that my books have inspired its own fan fiction. I love it so much.

The After series is available in all National Book Store branches nationwide.

Everything is Embarassing by Marga Buenaventura

A trip to the beauty section of a department store usually ends in two ways. For some, it means stepping out with a handful of swatches and a purse filled with product samples. When you’ve talked to the sales clerk long enough, they tend to give you small packets of products you really wanted to try. (Yes, even a small bottle of that expensive serum if you laugh at all her jokes.) But let’s be honest. While samples are there for a lot of good reasons (read: testing if you’re allergic, matching with your skin tone, shamelessly retouching our lipstick after eating a burger), we can’t survive by hauling freebies alone. (Jk, we can but we don’t want them to know that.)

For others, a trip to the beauty department means business. It’s coming in with the goal of investing in skincare but also going home with more products than what you intended to buy and an even longer credit card bill. The struggle — and guilt — is real, my friends.

But last Sept. 3-4, everyone was schooled in style at Belle de Jour’s Luxe Camp: Discover Beauty Around the World. The Palm Grove in Rockwell Club was transformed into a beauty department where young girls and grown ups alike bonded over items from brands like Shiseido, Guerlain and Elizabeth Arden. If there’s one thing we like more than free samples, it’s anything that is on sale. Lucky for us, every item was sold at a discounted price. There were even makeover stations with professional makeup artists that helped us try out the products.

Pamper session: Some of the goodies that you can score at Belle de Jour’s Luxe Camp.

But after endlessly debating whether to get a red lippie or a pink one, we felt like we deserved a little more pampering. Thankfully, there was a hand massage station by Elizabeth Arden and a signature facial station by Shiseido. And as if that wasn’t enough, your usual over-the-counter consultations just got a little bit better with a full tutorial from beauty expert Charmagne Garcia-Laconico. Some of the other workshops included perfecting skin routines and achieving that day-to-night look. The beauty-filled weekend taught us that there’s more to building a beauty routine than just fearing our credit card bills or leaching free samples. We can actually be pretty smart about it (read: not be a hoarder) if only we know more about the things we spend on.

After experiencing Belle de Jour’s Luxe Camp, trips to the beauty section will never be the same again.

by Tin Sartorio

Nowadays, when YouTube gives us easy access to dance performances from all over the world, it gets kinda hard to tell which crews really are the best. Unless, of course, you look at the Hip Hop International (HHI) Dance Competition in Las Vegas. Different groups have different dance styles but all of them fight their way to the HHI stage; it is considered the Olympics of street dance, after all. But once again, a young Filipino dance crew proves that having a big heart and a strong identity can take you further than any kind of skill or trick can. Fresh from their gold medal finish at this year’s MegaCrew division of HHI, Young STAR sits down with Chips Beltran of UPeepz to talk about their vogue-Filipiniana choreography and the future of street dance in Manila.

YOUNG STAR: Hi, Chips. Congrats on your championship. But before anything else, would you mind letting us know what exactly UPeepz is and how can someone be a part of it?
CHIPS BELTRAN: UPeepz is a professional dance group based in University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman. We started in 2011. Since people started recruiting (more dancers), I handpicked my best students — I coach a lot of teams from different schools — and eventually we became an open organization in UP. Right now hindi lang siya exclusive to UP students unless we are competing for UP.

Well, the street dance community in Manila has grown a lot in the past few years.
Yes, it’s really different now. Before the only groups you looked up to were The Philippine All Stars — they had the good concepts — and The Crew, which is the team that I wanted to join. Nowadays, lahat nalang sumasayaw na. Si Sir Jerome Dimalanta yung pinaka parang “Plato” ng street dance and coaching dito sa Pilipinas. He made UP Street Club. He molded different coaches and choreographers and luckily, isa ako sa mga last na naturuan niya. When the time came, all these heads made their own teams kase feeling nila it’s the right time to mold different people.

B-boy: Chips Beltran, 26, choreographer of UPeepz

The street dance culture in Manila is very much alive but why is it still important to make your mark internationally as a crew through competitions like Hip Hop International?
Put it this way, HHI is the competition to win. Some say it’s the Olympics of street dance. If you want to gain a certain name and credibility, you compete there. It has a very specific criteria developed through the years. Sobrang objective and they get judges from different parts of the world that are trained specifically for each criteria. So kung gusto mong objectively masabing magaling ka, you compete in HHI.

Would you mind telling us more about the history of UPeepz in HHI?
This is actually our second year in HHI. The first was back in 2014. Since group of friends lang kami nun, hindi pa kami masyadong established as a team. Yun din yung first time namin so nangangapa kami. In the semi finals, we placed seventh but they only got the top six crews for the finals. We only had a 0.03 point difference from Academy of Brothers from Australia so sobrang heartbroken namin. We decided to take a break from HHI for a year and we gunned for World Supremacy Battlegrounds instead. We placed fourth during the prelims so we decided to go for the finals and we won. Yun na yung naging confidence booster namin so we decided to continue our unfinished business in HHI. Kung iisipin mo, two years in the making itong HHI championship namin ngayon.

What was it like to compete against established dance crews like Royal Family? Are you guys big fans of them as well?
That was crazy. Ang goal namin nun is bumawi kase diba may 0.03 kaming kinulang last time. Nung napanuod namin yung Royal Family, nakita din namin yung mga dancers nila na nasa Sorry music video ni Justin Bieber. Yung mga teammates ko sobrang nagulat kase siempre idol nila. Pero sabi ko nalang na at this time, kalaban natin sila. Tapos they had the same last song with us, yung They Don’t Really Care About Us by Michael Jackson. Eventually, nakita namin na solid naman yung routine nila but iba din naman yung approach namin eh. But yung pinaka challenge dun was the haters after kase sasabihin nila na kami yung gumaya kase Royal Family yung mas sikat.

Lil Peepz represented the Philippines in the Junior Division of World Supremacy Battlegrounds in Australia last Sept. 9-11.

What was the inspiration for your HHI 2016 choreography?
For the longest time, I’ve been trying to find my style as a choreographer but then, cheesy as it sounds, yung inspiration ko comes from my teammates and my choreographers. I know UPeepz has the best vogue choreographer. We also have a Filipiniana dancer. So sabi ko kay Carlo and Michelle mag-collaborate sila ng vogue na mala Filipiniana yung dating. Sobrang naging unique character yung vogue namin. We also have Brod who is this choreographer that specializes in popping and isolations. Also si Pax, nag-specialize naman sa girly and waacking choreography. Gumawa din ako ng ibang parts but essentially, ako yung nagtahi ng lahat. Yung biggest inspiration ko talaga is all of our choreographers and teammates.

As a coach and as part of UPeepz, how do you shape the future of the street dance culture in Manila?
Eye-opener yung Lil Peepz, our junior team. They are the first local junior team who made it to the finals of HHI and nag fourth place sila. I’ve been hearing na marami ngayong may gusto gumawa ng junior teams and that’s good. Ang dami ko talagang nahawakan na teams from different schools so marami akong micro team. Dun ako nag-spread ng learnings and style ko. Parang naging biglang future-proof yung community as long as these kids are headed to the right direction and people. Karamihan kase sa mga bata ngayon gusto lang sumikat.

Which is more important: the crew or the choreography?
It goes hand in hand. You have to have a solid choreography because that’s what’s being graded objectively and creatively. That’s what’s going to inspire future choreographers and dancers. If you have good choreography with a bad crew — panget yung work ethic — hindi nila made-deliver yun. But kung yung choreography mo so-so lang but yung crew mo sobrang solid — nagtutulungan, maayos yung work ethic, nagtr-train ng maitndi, yung puso gusto talaga manalo, nakikinig — then I guess makakalayo yung group na yun. Eventually, magi-improve din naman yung choreographers. If you have a good choreographer with a dedicated team, then I think that’s what makes a champion team.

by Tin Sartorio

Starting a business is easy. Creating a legacy is another story entirely.

by Marga Buenaventura and Martin yambao

A case for Chris Hemsworth’s ultra-ditzy ‘sexytary’ character as pop culture’s newest icon for female representation.


Most iconic paintings in world-famous museums aren’t completed overnight.

by Maine Manansalan

A long-running television show reminds us of the importance of humility and willingness to learn.

Toff Of The World by Toff de Venecia

In a city where traffic jams can last for an hour, it’s best to have other tranportation options. This week, we test out which one is the fastest and most efficient.

by Young STAR team

Hearing stories and debating about victim shaming has become repetitive. No week goes by without it being discussed in our news feeds, either on Facebook or the local news.

by Rogin Mae O. Losa

This 16-year-old student-athlete is turning his love for tennis into a legit advocacy.

by Marga Buenaventura

It’s a regular school day, and I’m sitting in van along with five of my carpoolmates. We’ve been stuck along C5 for over an hour, but aside from the stress, we aren’t so bothered because we’ve got the aircon on full blast and One Direction’s entire discography on repeat.


Compared to the horror stories I encounter on social media — of ticket queues spiraling down and out of MRT stations, of an FX driver robbing and raping female passengers on what would otherwise be a regular commute, or of a man exposing his genitals in a crowded jeep — it all seems unfair.

Granted that the robberies and rape cases are all isolated, yet they still serve to show us what can happen. It’s sad to know that horrible things happen even if all you want to do is get to your destination.

When it was time for me to start going to a University three years ago, my main problem was the travel time. My school in on the opposite side of the Metro from where I live, so getting there usually means crawling through the parking lot that is EDSA. On a good day, it takes around an hour and a half of travel time, while on a bad day, it could end up at least four.

To be honest, I didn’t realize how far my new school was until my mom drove me there to submit my enrollment documents. We crossed numerous bridges and a river, enduring a bit of traffic and even taking a short lunch break before finally getting there. To say that the trip was tiring would be an exaggeration, but the thought of going through all of that for the next four years already gave me a headache. So when it was time for school to start, my parents encouraged me to look for alternate ways to get there.

After comparing gas/ticket expenses and travel time (and testing everything out by driving there and back during rush hour), we figured that carpooling would be much more practical than getting dropped off every day or having to commute. For those who only know about carpooling from James Corden’s “Carpool Karaoke” series, a carpool is basically a group of people (sadly, sans celebrity status) who regularly ride in the same car to a common destination, or destinations that are close to each other, usually to save gas and money. That’s not to say that there won’t be any singing involved (because there definitely is).

My friend referred me to a big carpool with an organized system that ensures that a car leaves every hour, so I signed up, not knowing what to expect. Now, after almost four years in the same routine of getting in other peoples’ cars, I can say that the up side to it was that I get to meet lots of new people. There’s nothing that bonds you more than sitting in a car trapped along EDSA or C5 for hours. You play car games, you talk about the latest celebrity tsismis, and sometimes, you make a short McDo or Burger King run just to make the traffic bearable.

I acknowledge it’s a privilege to even have a carpool option, when so many others out there have no choice but to take a train, bus, taxi, jeep or other public means just to get to school. What I hate is that braving the traffic along EDSA in a car has come to be a more practical option than public transportation. Everyone should have the right to efficient transportation.

Joining a carpool saves time and gas, and it’s also much safer since you know the people you’re riding with. Starting one should be simple — all you have to do is gather friends or co-workers who are heading to areas that are close to each other.

by Gaby Gloria

Recipes by Gab Bustos of 12/10

MANILA, Philippines – While there are restaurants and establishments that welcome animals — and even cafés where you can pet as many cats as you want — most of these places still primarily cater to people who regard the surrounding animals as a quirk or gimmick — something simply for extra IG appeal. So what’s a cat lover to do? To paraphrase the old adage, “If you can’t bring the cat to the restaurant then you bring the restaurant to the cat.” For this week’s “Pet Issue,” we asked one of the city’s top young chefs Gab Bustos, himself a father to cats Oskar and Nikka, to create food for our feline friends.

In between taking part in Negroni Week in his restaurant 12/10 (50 percent of its sales will go to the Philippine Animal Rescue Team) and finalizing The Girl and The Bull’s move to Legaspi Village (look for it in the next two months), Gab spent a Tuesday afternoon creating not one but two dishes specifically for cats. “I wanted to make something healthy and fresh,” he explains, adding that this was the first time he’s ever had to make something for cats, let alone animals. Understandably, he made it a point to study and learn what ingredients not to use — like grapes and avocados, which could prove harmful to cats. He also read up to learn that cats aren’t all that particular when it comes to taste, but since this was no ordinary cat food he was making, Gab made sure that the dishes would still pack the right amount of flavor.

 Fish Skin Chips And Bonito


Salmon skin, scaled and cleaned (or any other fish skin, like tilapia, red snapper or cod)

Katsuobushi /dried bonito flakes

Mayonnaise (pre-made is fine, preferably Kewpie)

Olive oil salt

Other things you’ll need:

Sheet pan

Parchment paper (or a silpat)

Palette knife

A brush


1. Pre-heat your oven to 250°F.

2. With a sharp knife, cut skin lengthwise into 1”-1.5” strips (approx. 4 
strips per large salmon skin).

3. Line your sheet pan with parchment paper (or your silpat) and brush 
with a thin layer of olive oil.

4. Lay the skins flat on the sheet pan, then brush another thin layer of 
olive oil onto the skins and sprinkle with a little bit of salt (make 
sure there’s about half an inch of space in between the skins).

5. Place the tray into the oven and bake for one hour and 30 mins, or 
until crisp.

6. In a small mixing bowl, combine the mayonnaise and katsuobushi (a1:1 ratio should be fine).

7. Once the skins are done, take the tray out of the oven.

8. With a palette knife, gently transfer the skins onto cooling racks.

9. Sprinkle with salt, let cool, then serve with bonito mayonnaise.


• While olive oil is safe for cats, it’s best that they consume no more than a teaspoon (5ml) a day. Keep this in mind while preparing this recipe, and try to use as little oil as possible.

• The same goes for salt, as the safe amount for cats is 42mg per day.

• Most types of mayonnaise are high in fat, and you should only feed it to your cat on rare occasions. The safe amount is half a teaspoon per five pounds of body weight.

• On the other hand, these fish skin chips can be prepared ahead of time and stored in airtight containers for about a week or even more. They’re the perfect treats for your cats!

Flame-Grilled Sanma, Cantaloupe, Cucumber, Dill


Sanma / pacific saury, filleted or mackerel


Peeled and seeded
cucumber, cut into 1/2” cubes

Fresh dill and dill flowers

Black sesame

Ground raw honey
olive oil

Other things you’ll need:

A charcoal grill

A blender or juicer

Water from the first wash of rice (if you find yourself cooking rice that same day)


1. Place the coals into the grill and ignite, set a wire rack above the coals cut the cantaloupe into 1/2” cubes, just make sure to reserve about 25-30% of the cantaloupe for juicing.

2. Set the chopped cantaloupe aside with the chopped cucumbers.

3. Then using a blender (or juicer), puree the reserved cantaloupe until smooth and pass through a fine sieve — set aside.

4. In a small saucepan over high heat, reduce the rice water to about 10-percent of its volume (expect this to look like glue or paste), then set the heat to low.

5. Add cantaloupe juice about double the amount of rice liquid into the saucepan and mix thoroughly (there shouldn’t be any change in taste, but the texture / consistency should be slightly thicker and appearance should be a bit more opaque), then set aside.

6. Per cup of cantaloupe liquid, add 2 tsp raw honey.

7. Once everything is ready, take the sanma fillets then brush lightly 
with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.

8. Lay fillets skin side down on the grill, and cook until crisp and 
charred (at this point you won’t really need to flip the fillets anymore, but if you prefer to cook the meat all the way through, then feel free to do so), then set aside and rest for a few minutes.

9. While the fish is resting, place the chopped cantaloupe and cucumbers in a mixing bowl then drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt.

10. Arrange the sanma with the cantaloupe and cucumbers on the plate, then pour a few spoons of cantaloupe liquid around the fish and onto the cantaloupe/cucumbers.

11. Garnish with black sesame, fresh dill, and dill flowers.


While olive oil is safe for cats, it’s best that they consume no more than a teaspoon (5ml) a day. Keep this in mind while preparing this recipe, and try to use as little oil as possible.

The same goes for salt, as the safe amount for cats is 42mg per day.

Cats who are tasting honey for the first time can take up to half a teaspoon (2.5ml), and if there are no allergic reactions, they can take up to one and a half teaspoons (7.5ml).

Jonty Cruz by Jonty Cruz

It doesn’t really take much to be famous these days. Give someone a camera and the WiFi password and you’ll be amazed by the content that they come up with. There’s no doubt there have always been talented people out there, but technology has made it a lot easier for us to discover them. People can easily get all the likes and the views that they want, but talent coupled with a lot of hard work is still what makes a true artist.


As one of the notable musicians in today’s indie scene, Clara Benin has an album, an EP, and thousands of loyal fans to back her up. While one can only imagine where else she’ll go from here, it’s good to also reflect on the amazing musical journey she has taken so early in her life. As a celebration, Stages Sessions Presents: “Coming Home: A Clara Benin Concert” — her first and last major concert before she goes on hiatus. On July 29 and 30, great music from Clara and special guests such as Reese Lansangan, Rizza Cabrera and Keiko Necesario will fill Teatrino theater in Greenhills. It will also be a thanksgiving for the people who helped her get to where she is — so we guess we’ll see you there, too? — Tin Sartorio

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Stages Sessions Presents: Coming Home ‘A Clara Benin Concert’ is happening on Jul 29 and 30, 8PM at Teatrino, Greenhills. For more information, visit

by Tin Sartorio

Looks can be deceiving, especially if you’re looking at a building that was built in the 1930s. History will tell you that the Pérez Samanillo Building was designed by Andres Luna de San Pedro (the son of painter Juan Luna) and that the ground floor used to be Berg’s Department Store, a once-bustling shopping center. It will also tell you that the structure was damaged during the 1945 Battle of Manila, along with the other buildings on Escolta. But these days, the building now known as First United Building is more than the sum of its parts — so much more.

Located a stone’s throw away from the university belt in Manila, Escolta is actually a pretty interesting place to explore during a long break between classes. Instead of killing time in a coffee shop, why not walk the streets of old Manila instead? You don’t need to know much to be able to make your trip worthwhile. A quick tour of the First United Building is enough to convince you to stay awhile and maybe even plan your next visit, too.


1/0 Design Collective is mostly known for winning the Clark Podscapes Building Accessible and Livable Ecologies competition and for transforming First United’s first floor into a shopper’s heaven. But we know them as the tenants of one of the coolest office spaces in Escolta. Their office at the top of the building is truly Pinterest-worthy and it is said to be the late comedy legend Dolphy’s former office. If you can, visit their office and ask them yourselves. They’re pretty friendly and if there’s anyone who knows the secrets of Escolta, it’s probably those who go there every day. Say hi to the Dolphy standee for us.


While there are many more museums and establishments to visit when in Escolta, you don’t need to look further than the First United Building to find little details to help you fall in love with the Old Manila charm. If you’re up for the cardio, the spiral staircase is already an Insta-favorite on its own. But a quick elevator trip up to the fifth floor can also lead you to the other non-functioning lift that’s straight out of a Wes Anderson film. There’s not much besides the brown panels, green floors, metal stool and speakers playing music that’s probably older than most of us, but it’s the kind of retro look we never really see much of these days. The fifth floor balcony has a great view of both the Sta. Cruz streets and skyline as well.


Admittedly “a home for serious drinkers,” this famous bar in Cubao X finally opens a second branch and interestingly, they choose to do so in Escolta. Besides the quaint design, cozy atmosphere and punchy character (the copies plastered all over the place literally say it all), Fred’s Revolucion actually does drinks well. They have everything from craft beers and whiskeys to their signature cocktails. But there’s really a lot more to its expansion in the southern part of Manila. Fred’s Revolucion easily attracts and becomes a second home for the kinds of creatives that frequent the revived Escolta. Because if there’s anything that can consistently bring people together to this side of town, you can bet it’s something straight from the bar.


The HUB: Make Lab at the ground floor at First United Building is one of the newest curated bazaars in the metro. It houses a lot of local independent shops and is becoming known as a good starting point for young entrepreneurs. From statement tote bags to rare vintage treasures, The HUB is another destination to include in your shopping itinerary.

Gen. Mdse.

Gen. Mdse. is like Muji, but so much cooler and craftier. The quaint space is maximized with racks and racks of tea imported from Japan, homegrown barako coffee and plants fit for your next Instagram mission. Local art is also a big influencer on the store’s aesthetic, as they carry zines and postcards from local talents.


It seems that toting a leather item is now a new essential for your sleek Everyday Carry (or EDC, as they call it nowadays). From leather journals to cardholders, Raqsified is a little leather haven in the middle of HUB. They also offer weekend workshops for those who are interested in learning how to make their own leather items at home.

Forever Ugly

It’s hard to miss Forever Ugly’s store. As soon as you enter HUB, you’re greeted by kitschy totes that say silly things like “Stuffs” and “Pagod na beh.” It’s Internet culture in a tote bag and we’re definitely buying it. They also sell a variety of zines and canvas pouches for your Chickenjoy money.

by Tin Sartorio & Maine Manansalan

MANILA, Philippines – I was packing a year’s worth of belongings during the frantic days after Christmas. My mother was about to have an aneurysm. In a few days, her irresponsible bunso was relocating to Siargao, an island on the northeastern tip of Mindanao. Frustrated by my usual cramming, Mother savored the last chance to berate me. I countered with eye rolls and a well-practiced, “Ugh, whatever.”

 “Don’t do that,” she said. “Don’t do that at all when you get there.” Her tone shifted from stern to cautious.

 I knew what Mom meant: They’ve always known about me, but I was not to rock the baroto in Siargao.

 Small Town Gurl

 For all her exasperation, my mother has been an amazing woman. She and my dad had built a household where it was okay for an 11-year-old son to print Legolas’ face on A4, just because “his face looked nice.” I have grown up in the big city and all its liberations. Boy Abunda was respected, past boyfriends were introduced to family, and straight friends imagined my future wedding. Our tipping point was near and there was no need to hide.

 Yet arriving in a small town in Surigao del Norte, I shared my mother’s uncertainty. For the locals, the tall, lean Tagalog in jeans and T-shirt could not possibly swing for the other team. I kept a balance between blending in and adjusting.

 The town mayor introduced me as a consultant during an assembly. Without missing a beat, he asked the audience to find me a girlfriend. I smiled while crying inside. My Platinum Gay status was about to be challenged.

 A few weeks later, a group of giggly colegialas invited me to Friday night disco at a local restaurant. Yes, disco has not yet died on our side of the archipelago. I excused myself from attending the best — and only — party in town.

 My newfound straightness peaked when I was drafted into the liga. There was talk of jerseys, practice drills and team positions. At no point I was asked if I preferred to be a cheerleader instead. To this day I have avoided liga members. My height could not be counted on to bring glory to our purok.

 Beshies and Bashers

 I tinkered with dating apps for a while just to check the online gay scene. The nearest guy was 67 miles away. While company would have been nice, no meet-up was worth a three-hour ferry ride.

 I did not find a connection either with the local gay 20-somethings who called each other “beshie.” They sang Katy Perry songs on karaoke, rode their bright red habal-habals, and ruled the dance floor with every remix of Dessert. Sometimes the beshies invited me for drinks, a way of recognizing the ping in their gaydar. But I have always been of the paminta geek variety — glasses, books, and misspent youth online.

 To my disappointment, we were different for another reason. I noticed the sneers from shirtless tambays.Their attitude towards the beshies was neither harmless nor playful. The squints were sharper; “bayot”was whispered with palpable dislike.

 “Anong problema nila?” I asked a beshie my age as we worked together on a field project.

 “Wala ‘yon, sir. Huwag niyo na pansinin,” he said, acting small and embarrassed.

 That day I became aware of my privilege back home. I was a bromo to my roughhousing, basketball-playing friends. They checked NBA scores and I checked out Jeremy Lin. The few moments when they exclaimed “Ang bakla mo!” were only in jest.

 To see discrimination that vicious was sobering. The big city was the exception after all, not the rule. Beshies still have to hide from bashers. A newcomer like me could only do so much.

 Coming Out Again

 I’ve been more open to my colleagues five months into my assignment. The tourism officer has noticed that I jump at the chance to interact with hunky surfers. My gay boss has been cajoling me to share my “Makati stories.” I’ve been shedding the obscurity of being a Manileño in their tight-knit town.

 But there was one moment when coming out again mattered. I was eating late dinner at a hole-in-the-wall restobar. I shared a table with two beshies and a tipsy woman in her 40s. That night’s topic was politics. The newly elected president was open to civil union — much to manang’s dismay. She laid down her bigotry as the two beshies quietly drank. When my patience had finally snapped, I couldn’t help jumping in: “Sa sinasabi niyo po, parang mas matimbang ang karapatan niyo kaysa ‘yung sa aming tatlo.”

 Her drunken defense was as irrational as her intolerance. My mother would have been livid at me. But seeing the two beshies follow my lead, I knew that some boats were meant to be rocked. Beshie or bromo, we were meant to row this baroto to shore

by Jake Rivera

Last Sunday, Orlando, Florida became the site of a massacre, a targeted attack against the LGBTQIA+ community, when a hateful man opened fire at Pulse, a known gay club, killing 50 people and injuring at least 53 more. This senseless killing happened in June, Pride month, 47 years after the landmark police raid at the Stonewall Inn in 1969 that sparked the American gay pride movement.

The Orlando shooting is currently the deadliest mass shooting in US history. Much of the discourse outside queer communities has revolved around firearm regulation, the gunman’s possible links to ISIS/Daesh (and the terrorist groups subsequent claim over the incident), religious motivations (though it’s been reiterated that the gunman was not religious), and possible mental health issues and instability, with the arguments from all sides skirting the real issue, and avoiding calling it what it is: a hate crime.

The LGBTQIA+ community is a minority group that has consistently been the target of unwarranted vitriol. We are hated because we exist in a way that many cisgender heterosexuals do not understand or accept.

Taking Pride

The first pride parades happened in June 1970, a year after the Stonewall riots, a pivotal moment in the gay liberation movement of the United States. First proposed as a “demonstration” and as a “nationwide show of support,” the first pride marches were solemn and politically charged, seen as an act of protest against recurring brutality and discrimination against the LGBT community.

Since then, pride parades have evolved into a celebration of existence and inclusion, more like big parties than protest marches. These gatherings have spread into parallel events all over the world. In the years that followed the first marches, pride parades have grown to feel hokey, manufactured and privatized. What had felt like something vital and an important milestone to the queer community now feels a little corny to some, sort of like an elective, something not worth going out of the house for. An affectation. Pointless.

I have never been to a pride parade. The experience now doesn’t feel like “me,” or like something I would be into. It feels like, by going, I’m drawing too much attention to myself. I’ve reasoned that, like many other LGBTQIA+ individuals, I prefer to live my life out in relative peace, away from potential danger or violence by simply being at the wrong place at the wrong time.

The truth is that sometimes we forget the kind of violence that people are capable of in real life, outside pride marches or gay clubs, because they hate who we are. Some people are better at hiding the hate, insistent that they’re progressive because they’re “tolerant,” that they don’t hate you; they simply don’t agree with your “lifestyle.” That they “accept” you — but that they’re also praying for your soul.

In the presence of violence — like a dead man wrapped in packaging tape, sporting a sign that claimed he was a thief, when he was simply gay — we forget that casual homophobia exists. There are “jokes” and thoughtless insults, that moment of hesitation to connect because they think you’ll hit on them, or worse — that you’ll take advantage of what they perceive is their kindness. Casual homophobia is insidious, and it cuts us more deeply than you know.

Casual homophobes will leave you alone, if maybe you don’t speak out enough, or if you don’t look toogay or queer. If you pass as a normal enough person, in other words. They will look at you with a gaze reserved for the Other, undeserving of consideration as a real person.

They won’t ask, you don’t tell; everyone lives in what passes as peace.

The Safest Space

In light of the Pulse shooting, though, it feels like we need visible and vocal pride more than ever — in all the ways that it manifests. We need to reclaim the spaces we’ve lost to fear. We need to create a safe space to truly be who we are, without the looming threat of violence. The warmest corner to be as queer as we want to be, without being maligned or shamed into silence or shot to death, simply because other people don’t see the point of looking beyond themselves.

The point of pride is that we shouldn’t have to hide at all. We shouldn’t have to tuck the most special parts of ourselves away because people have not confronted their discomfort about something they haven’t ever tried to understand.

Pride is an assertion of our existence, that we are not ashamed of who we are, that we are proud to be who we are. Life is precious and fragile, and as much as we need to take care of ourselves, we need to make sure we live the way everybody else is allowed to in a society.

Pulse had been considered just such a safe space for hundreds of members of the LGBTQIA+ community, as well as allies who have deemed it worthy to support the people they love. This space was desecrated by a man who couldn’t come to terms with his hatred.

But the point of pride is to persist, despite the hate and the violence. We are here, we are free, and hate will not scare us away.

Quiet Company by Carina Santos

A quick visit to the PAWS Animal Rehabilitation Center (PARC) is all it takes to school us on what we can do to help the animals in our own little way.

by Gaby Gloria

MANILA, Philippines – How do you know you’re in the presence of a cat lady? Thick glasses. Check. Oversized sweater. Check. Unkempt hair and maternity pants. Check and check. It’s a tired and outdated stereotype, to be honest. Today’s cat lady, we have found, isn’t as oddball, or, for lack of a better term, identifiable. While still bordering on the eccentric, today’s cat lady is someone you’ll have to get to know personally before you can tell. That means co-mingling and then hearing statements like, “It’s not just that I have cats. It’s that I love them.” Or “You can just stay at home with your cat every day, forever.”

For Young STAR’s pet issue, we sat down with four women to learn what it means to be a legit cat lady in the modern age. Manic pixie girl. Goth girl. Hallyu girl. Cali girl. Huh? Told you there’s no particular type. — TDV

Katie Abesamis, 21, with Pang-pang

I’ve become more affectionate towards people now that I own seven cats.

One time, my ex-boyfriend broke up with me. And I cried on my cat until she was drenched in tears. I was so gigil at that time. I remember licking her throat because I was so upset. So the fur got in there for a few days.

All my cat lady friends, if you’re familiar with MBTI, they’re all INFP.

Samantha Aquino, 19, with Momo

With the Internet, the whole cat phenomenon helped (change the stigma). People who were scared of cats before understand them better now.

Literally my Snapchat is just my cat. I write about my cat on Twitter.

I was petting the cat and I had a little bit of food. When I walked to the car the cat followed me. He jumped onto my lap and kinda just stayed there. I shut the door and drove home with the cat on my lap and that’s how I got Momo.

Alex Bichara, 20, with Oreo and Furball

I’m an only child. I didn’t have a lot of friends in high school. And that’s when I got him during my sophomore year. He was my best friend, my son, my child.

(I noticed that) in Ateneo, a lot of cat ladies had dyed hair and tattoos.

You don’t have to walk them outdoors. You can just stay at home with your cat —  every day, forever. It’s a very tempting lifestyle.

Erin Noir, 30, with Ninja

Why would you get a cat tattoo, or cattoo, if you don’t like cats?

Apart from food, give them what they want. Cats are clingy when they want to pero at the same time, if they don’t want human contact di ka nila lalapitan.

Photography Cenon Norial

Produced by Toff de Venecia and Tin Sartorio

Assisted by Maine Manalansan

by Toff De Venecia and Tin Sartorio

The life and times of a certifiable dog lady, and how being a pawrent is pretty much like raising a human.

Everything Is Embarrassing by Margarita Buenaventura

MANILA, Philippines – More than a decade ago, Laurindo Garcia’s doctor told him a) he was probably going to lose his job, and b) he was probably going to get deported from Singapore. Not exactly the “It’s going to be OK” you expect to hear after being diagnosed with HIV. Instead of being offered the services he needed, he was shunned by the very system that was built to help people like him. So what was he to do? Yet for Garcia, the bigger question was what were others like him to do? What were the future HIV-positive to do?

This pivotal moment would lead him to found B-Change, a social enterprise that advocates LGBT rights and sexual health. B-Change marries the tech savvy of the youth with the concerns of the LGBT. Through the online communities they’ve formed—like support groups and Q&A forums among others—they’ve helped a ton of LGBT and HIV-positive to find inclusive medical centers, schools, workplaces, and even restaurants where they know their time and money won’t go to waste. Just think of it as a social Waze where all the jerks don’t show up on the map.

After five years of intensive research, B-Change is ready to venture into the mobile app world. The app will have three core features: 1) forums where users can share and exchange information, 2) tools for rating the inclusivity of institutions (at the same time, institutions can declare their inclusivity—to be verified by the users themselves, of course), and 3) maps and directions to the said institutions. The app will zero in on five major cities in Southeast Asia, namely Manila, Singapore, Jakarta, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur. Pretty damn cool—except cool things cost money. To make this app happen, B-Change is rallying its allies from all over the world and embarking on a year-long fundraising campaign.

For his work, Ashoka welcomes Garcia as their newest Fellow and inducts him into their international network of more than 3,000 social innovators. In the words of Ashoka Global Rep and Ashoka Fellow Dr. Ashwin Naik, “An Ashoka Fellow is someone who doesn’t wait for permission to change the world.” Garcia is the sixth Fellow from the Philippines. So far.

It ain’t easy for the Filipino LGBT in a country where naturalized heteronormative standards often lead to unconscious discrimination, homophobia, and denied entrance to certain establishments with pools. So four for you, Laurindo Garcia. Four for you!

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Think you know the next Ashoka Fellow? Think you are the next Ashoka Fellow? Nominate at For more information on Laurindo Garcia’s B-Change Group, head over to

by Helene Enriquez

Talent and sheer determination are all it takes to let out all of that potential. This year, Young STAR presents a new roster of individuals who are stepping up to use their tools to create and inspire. Here are the faces of Fresh Produce 2016.

by Maine Manansalan & Gaby Gloria