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Talented yet broke

Kathleen A. Llemit



There are plenty of cautionary tales about famed artists gone broke in our country. There are far worst stories of some who struggle financially throughout their careers, a few ending up destitute and terminally ill.

In a country teeming with talent, why are our artists broke? It doesn’t seem right to hear of artists constantly embroiled in financial struggle especially if their potential seems limitless.

Hollywood is prime example of a community of thriving creative entrepreneurs. Many of their talents are well-compensated. Even after death, successful artists like Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley continue to earn through royalties from their countless bestselling albums. Ditto for English acts such as The Beatles. By extension, many of their kin benefit.
The Philippines, on the other hand, does not present a pretty picture. Despite the talent, there are many artists who cannot thrive in their own soil.

Those who seek better lives choose ‘greener pastures’ in other countries like the United States and Europe. We have heard of successful Filipino animators or creatives involved in the production of Hollywood’s latest animated movies. Imagine if we had all those brilliant brains in our shores ─— we could have made a distinctly Filipino animation at par with Hollywood!

The others who stay make do with opportunities that come their way. These do not necessarily pay well, but they cope with this set-up because they chose to stay.
Apl de Ap knows this very well. The Amerasian boy from Sapang Bato, Angeles, struck it big when he had the opportunity to live in America and pursue his dream of becoming an artist.

Creating an industry

One of the founders and faces of the Grammy-winning Black Eyed Peas sat down with select members of the press recently to share a passion project that he and his collaborators hope would serve as a catalyst for this systemic change.

“There are so many creative Filipinos, but with really no opportunity. I would like to help out and create that opportunity and awareness. It’s a trillion-dollar industry, and Filipinos are some of the most creative out there, but we’re still broke. We’re so talented, but we’re still broke. There is no industry for it in the Philippines,” began Apl de Ap.

When I prodded him about what he thinks is the biggest hurdle that prevents the creation and sustenance of a creative industry in the Philippines, he offered a reality that has long failed the notice of most of the ‘industry’s shakers and movers.’

“It’s having the right curriculum, entrepreneurship and the proper way to manage our monies because we always seem to be running out of money all the time. The hurdle is there is no business plan. You can be as creative as you want, but no one pays attention to your creativity,” he explained.

I recall a past conversation with an esteemed entertainment editor. On the two occasions that we were seated in one table, he commented about the non-existence of a showbiz industry. Surprised by his comment, I asked why he thought local showbiz is not considered an industry. Those two occasions proved to be thought-provoking as he basically lectured me about filmmaking and TV production. His observations led him to conclude that there is not an industry that we can call our own. Instead, he proposed that the proper term should be ‘content creator’.

I guess his assertion could be a case for the players involved to heed. Take a look at how Hollywood has been successful in sustaining its industry. At the core of their best practices is taking care of their artists ─ their biggest investment. There would be no Hollywood if there were no actors, directors, producers, et al.

Program for creatives

So where do we begin? According to Apl, it begins with the awareness of what’s lacking and needed to be done.

This is exactly why he collaborated with like-minded individuals and institutions whose primary goal is to cause a ripple effect.

His Apl de Ap Foundation, together with Thames International, the Department of Trade and Industry, Design Center of the Philippines, Philippine Trade Training Center and the British Council of the Philippines, have formed a partnership to create the Creative Innovators Programme.

“The programme will help the next generation of creative community leaders in the Philippines through one year of fellowship of creative hub managers. It includes mentorships, grants and network opportunities in the Philippines, Asean and the UK. Selected fellows, through their creative hubs, will also support hundreds of creative entrepreneurs all over the Philippines and abroad,” shared Nicholas Thomas, country director of the British Council of the Philippines.

“Why does this matter? Why is this important? Creative hubs in many different ways provide space, support and network for the creative and cultural sectors to flourish.

Examples include coworker spaces, makerspaces, design studios, fablabs and art collectives. These organizations enable and support professional development, product development, community engagement and much, much more,” added Thomas.

Simply put, the group aims to educate artists or creatives on how to maximize their potential through education. It all boils down to education ─ not just the technical aspects of their chosen field, but the practical aspects of it.

Technicalities are often easy to learn, but applied and practical solutions, most especially spending, investing and saving money for present and future use, are often taken less seriously. That is why we have many of these stories of artists who go broke.

Joel Santos, president of Thames International, shared an Ernst&Young study that states that the global creative industry is estimated at US$200 trillion. Data from the British Council revealed that the creative economy makes up 3 percent of the world’s gross domestic product(GDP) and employs 29.5 billion people.

In the local context, the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines has estimated that the creative economy makes up$12.5 billion or 7.34 percent of the country’s GDP from copyright-based industries such as design and visual arts, literature, music, theatre, film, the media, photography, software and advertising services.

The Philippines’ figure could improve if stakeholders would begin to act. And this collaboration is just one of those that are hoped to succeed.

The group has carefully considered how to make the most of their plan. They are going to choose 15 fellows who will undergo the program from August 2018 to October 2019.

Among the requirements for these fellows is a 10-year experience as a creative hub manager. The logic behind this is that this fellow will, in turn, teach all those who are part of his hub the knowledge and skills he has learned from the fellowship.

If this scheme proves successful, then artists/creatives will form not just a legitimate industry that safeguards the artists and stakeholders’ artistic and financial interests, but in time contribute to the development and sustainability of a creative economy in the Philippines.

“I’m a direct product of the creative industry so I would like to bring it back. I would like to help as many creative Filipinos as I can. There are so many creative people here, but so little opportunities. If the industry is doing so well, then people don’t have to leave the country to make a living,” related

Interested applicants may submit applications to [email protected] on or before July 8, 2018. More information can be accessed at



Ji Chang-wook,  Kim Ji-won pair in new drama

KakaoTV is producing the original drama that tackles the reality of dating amid living busy lives in the city.

Kathleen A. Llemit



Ji Chang-wook / Photograph courtesy of getty images

Two of Korea’s biggest names in K-Drama are teaming up in the first season of the multi-season series City Couple’s Way of Love: My Lovable Camera Thief.

Reports have confirmed that Ji Chang-wook is set to play opposite Kim Ji-won in the series’ first season.

KakaoTV is producing the original drama about couples dating while living busy lives in the city. The first season premieres later this year.

My Lovable Camera Thief runs for 30 minutes. It’s directed by Park Shin-woo (It’s Okay Not to Be Okay), and co-written by Jung Hyun-jung (I Need Romance).

Kim Ji-won / Photograph courtesy of wikipedia

City Couple’s Way of Love is Ji-won’s first drama this year after starring in Netflix’s Arthdal Chronicles. She rose to fame after starring in the hit drama Descendants of the Sun.

City Couple’s Way of Life also marks
Chang-wook’s new project after Melting Me Softly (2019) and Backstreet Rookie (2020).

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New online entertainment channel

In a groundbreaking move to further expand its digital footprint and engage shoppers, Puregold shall use Facebook and YouTube to house its own program offerings aimed at bringing entertainment that caters to a wide variety of interests.





Get a chance to be chosen as home partners and live out your game show contestant dreams on ‘Playtime Panalo’ hosted by Luis Manzano. / Photographs courtesy of Puregold

Challenging and trying as the times may be, it is probably in our nature to try and find something to lift our spirits.

Whether it’s getting busy with newfound hobbies, reconnecting with friends or simply binge-watching movies, it’s about finding that pleasant diversion to hope that better days will come soon.

Puregold recognizes this sense of hope as it continues to look after the Filipino’s welfare amid these uncertain times. As online consumption grows due to the “stay home” lifestyle, Puregold wants to further reach out to the public.

It is going beyond being a retailer, as it explores bringing entertainment to Filipinos.

In a groundbreaking move to further expand its digital footprint and engage shoppers, Puregold will use Facebook and YouTube to offer its own entertainment programs to cater to a variety of interests.

It will also provide opportunities for branded messaging and segments, sale offers and an instant link to frictionless transactions.

‘The Ha Ha Hour’ is a comedy-themed show featuring Alex Calleja.

Viewers will have access to content recurring in a weekly time slot — from a cooking show, to a comedy show, to a full-on game show.

Many people have recently tried their hand at cooking. Online instruction videos notwithstanding, The Puregold Channel introduces “Luto Mo, Negosyo Mo, Panalo!” as a unique way of presenting culinary lessons.

Hosted by TV personality Arra San Agustin, the show features easy-to-follow recipes. Done in a casual and light manner, even the “non-experts” should be able to relate and stay on track.

A part of the program is about how to get into the entrepreneurship side of food preparation, a growing trend these days.

It is often said that “laughter is the best medicine.” The Puregold Channel sees the value in looking at the lighter side of life with a show called “The Ha Ha Hour.”

The comedy show will feature popular stage comedian Alex Calleja.

But of course, who doesn’t want to win prizes? To make it more exciting, how about joining an actual game show contestant in the comfort of your own home?

Puregold Channel introduces ‘Luto Mo, Negosyo Mo, Panalo!’ hosted by TV Personality Arra San Agustin.

The Puregold Channel will also feature Luis Manzano hosting “Playtime Panalo.” Online subscribers will have the chance to be chosen as home partners and live out their game show contestant dreams and play for exciting prizes.

Joining Luis are equally entertaining co-hosts — their hilarious banter alone will surely knock the socks off of even non-contestants.

Look for The Puregold Channel shows on Facebook and YouTube.

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DEAR DIARY DAY: 10 films about or based on diaries

Sundy Locus



Not only an escape, but diaries are among the greatest sources of stories.

It is where one gathers his deepest thoughts and feelings, translating them into words and phrases that describe his experiences. It is where reality and fantasy often divulged, and where secrets are whispered.

Writers, musicians, and artists have taken inspiration from this universal experience, giving birth to endless novels, films, and songs based on diaries.

In celebration of ‘Dear Diary Day’, we listed some of the best movies and novels straight from one character’s journal to another:


1. Diary of a Young Girl (Anne Frank)


History junkie or not, Anne Frank’s name surely resonates.

The young Jewish girl lived through the Holocaust and started writing in her diary when she was 13.

Addressed to her friend ‘Kitty’, Anne’s journal became her haven during the World War II and where she documented the story about her and her family’s life while in hiding.

It landed on the hands of Miep Gies after her death, who gave it to her father Otto — the only survivor in their family.

Entitled ‘The Diary of a Young Girl’ or ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’, her book of writings was published in 1947 and is now considered as one of the most popular books of all time. It is translated into 60 languages and has sold over 30-million copies worldwide.

It was also adapted into a movie in 1959 where Millie Perkins acted as the young Anne.


2. Memoirs of a Geisha (2005)

Based on the 1997 novel of the same name by Arthur Golden, Memoirs of the Geisha is about Chiyo Sakamoto, a young Japanese girl who was sold by her impoverished family to a geisha house in order to support them.

The film centers around the sacrifices and hardship faced by pre-World War II geisha, and the challenges posed by the war and a modernizing world to geisha society.

The movie stars Ziyi Zhang, Ken Watanabe, Gong Li, Michelle Yeoh, Youki Kudoh, Suzuka Ohgo, and Samantha Futerman.


3. The Diary of a Wimpy Kid

This is one relatable story about growing up, the book series from author Jeff Kinney tells the tale of middle-school student Greg Heffley.

Wanting to become popular at school, he wrote down his misadventures in his journals and shared the lessons he learned along the way.

First published in 2007, the ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’ book series remained on the New York Times bestseller lists since its publication.

It is currently available in 76 editions in 64 languages and was adapted into four films: Diary of A Wimpy Kid (2010), Diary of A Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rule (2011), Diary of A Wimpy Kid: Dog Days (2012), and Diary of A Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul (2017).


4. Diary ng Panget (2014)

The movie that launched JaDine or the loveteam of James Reid and Nadine Lustre into fame.

‘Diary ng Panget’ tells the story of the main character ‘Eya’ and how she met Cross Sandford– straight from her diary.

It was based on the romantic-comedy novel of the same title by ‘HaveYouSeenThisGirl’ or Denny R. in real life.


5. The Notebook (2004)

Based on the Nicholas Sparks-classic ‘The Notebook’, the 2004 film adaptation stars Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams as a young couple who fell in love in the 1940s.

Their story is read from a notebook in the present day by an elderly man (played by James Garner), telling the tale to a fellow nursing home resident (played by Gena Rowlands).


6. Mara Clara (1992-1995)


Talking about plot twists, the biggest revelation in the hit Filipino television series Mara Clara revolved around a diary.

Mara and Clara were switched at birth, and the details of this event were recorded by Kardo, a hospital staff, in his diary.

Mara (Judy Ann Santos) lived as the poor daughter of the couple Susan (Susan Africa) and Gary Davis (Eruel Tongco/William Martinez) while Clara (Gladys Reyes), their real daughter, was brought up by the rich couple Amanthe (Juan Rodrigo) and Almira Del Valle (Beverly Vergel).

This was reprised in 2010 by then teen stars Kathryn Bernardo ang Julia Montes.

Mara Clara is considered as one of the most popular television series in the country, with over 300 episodes airing for three years.


7. Vampire Diaries (2009)

The Vampire Diaries is a supernatural teen drama television series based on the popular novels of the same name by L. J. Smith.

It centers around the lives, loves, dangers and disasters in the fictional town of Mystic Falls in Virginia as told through the journal entries of Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev).


8. The Carrie Diaries (2013)

The prequel to the popular movie series “Sex and the City”, The Carrie Diaries foretold the adventures of 16-year-old Carrie Bradshaw after landing an internship in New York.

She recorded her internal musings in her diary and documented her growth both as a writer and as a person.


9. Princess Diaries (2001)

The coming-of-age film from Garry Marshall revolves around the life of Mia Thermopolis, who has just found out that she is the heir apparent to the throne of Genovia.

With her friends Lilly and Michael Moscovitz in tow, she tries to navigate through the rest of her sixteenth year.


10. Bridget Jones’ Diary (2001)

Bridget Jones (played by Renée Zellweger) wants to fall in love and her diary surely knows it.

The romantic-comedy film released in 2001 is about her entries and how she improved herself while she looking for love.

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Xian Lim takes the strings

Danny Vibas



XIAN Lim dabbles in directing movies with the Filipino puppeteery film, ‘Mala.’ PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF IG/XIANLIMM

Film-TV actor Xian Lim is about to make history (in the Philippines). He is all set to direct a pioneering Filipino puppetry film. (Yes, there are puppeteers in the country who are not with a foreign government and are also non-oligarchs. They are mostly little-known artists from hardly known cultural groups.)
Xian will direct a film with puppets as main characters for the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), specifically for the program Sining Sigla of the CCP Office of the President, whose occupant was a film-TV director for many years, though he started his career as an artist as a theater director: Arsenio “Nick” Lizaso.

Foremost puppetry practitioner in the country Dr. Amelia Lapena Bonifacio of the University of the Philippines has acknowledged Xian’s work, which will be the first ever the country.

The actor will make not just one film, but two, though both will be adaptations of literary masterpieces of the Philippines: Florante at Laura and Ibong Adarna. The screenplays were written by ventriloquist-puppeteer Ony Carcamo who was once entertainment editor of a tabloid attached to a broadsheet (not the Daily Tribune).

Ony’s alter-ego puppet Kiko in his ventriloquist act may appear in any of the two films — with Ony himself giving voice to the puppet, as all ventriloquists do.

The puppetry films belong to Sining Sigla’s MALA project. The acronym stands for Modern Adaptation of Literary Arts. But as Ony explained at the virtual media conference for Sining Sigla, when MALA is written in lower case, it becomes the Tagalog prefix that means “resembling” or “like.”


“The films will be mala-Florante at Laura and mala-Ibong Adarna. They will not be the full-length versions of those literary masterpieces we inherited from our ancestors. Those two works have dozens of characters, long-winding plots that take hours to stage. So we’re doing film adaptations that can be viewed on a shorter time.

Our versions will be just mala,” explained Ony at the Zoom media huddle.

Xian has directed only one film so far, and it must be familiar to CCP officials and personnel. Tabon, a suspense-drama, was an entry in the 2019 Cinemalaya at the CCP. It had mixed reception, but a film is a film and not everyone can conceive and direct a film to qualify as an entry to a festival as prestigious as Cinemalaya. That acceptance must be more than good enough qualification for Xian to be asked to direct what is expected to be a historic film.

The films will be shown online for free at the CCP Facebook page in either October or November.


Other components
Sining Sigla is actually a festival in its own right. One component will be historic for actor-director Ricky Davao because it will be his first time to helm a project for the CCP. And it is a mini-festival in itself: Isang Pagbabalik-Tanaw sa Hari ng Balagtasan. That hari (king) is Jose Corazon de Jesus, more popularly known as the poet “Huseng Batute,” after whom a laboratory theater at the CCP is named.

It’s the third time that a mini-festival for the versatile literary man (he also wrote plays, essays, editorials and even screenplays for which he also acted) will be held at the CCP. Its format is a cultural variety show and this year’s edition will be hosted by GMA 7’s star comedian Michael V. Among the performers will be John Arcilla and soprano Lara Maigue.

Sining Sigla also has a jazz festival component that will be shown on the Facebook pages of the CCP and the CCP Office of the President on 25 to 27 September and 2 to 4 October 2020, all at 7:30 p.m. Among the artists performing will be saxophonist Tots Tolentino and Michael Guevarra, singers Nicole Asensio, Lorna Cifra, the all-female group Baihana, the Simon Tan Trio and pianist Pipo Cifra.

Aside from individual performances, there will be one grand performance for all of them to be directed by Stanley Seludo, a member of the CCP Board of Trustees who is a musician himself.


As of this writing, dramatic and messy events have broken out off-camera among showbiz idols, such as Liza Soberano getting upset by a female netizen’s Twitter comment that she is “sarap ipa-rape sa ano,” followers of former child star Xyriel Manabat howling at netizens’ nasty comments about the seemingly oversized breasts of the now 16-year-old Civil Engineering student. Also, Miss Universe Catriona Gray has filed a case against the (female) editor and (female) writer of a tabloid who published the world beauty queen’s alleged nude photo.

If those stories still sizzle by weekend, I’ll be able to deal with them in my Sunday column.

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New K-Pop group ENHYPEN

Louise Lizan



THE seven boys who survived the world of ‘I-Land’ find a new beginning in ENHYPEN. PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF VLIVE/ENHYPEN

A day after the 18 September final episode of the South Korean survival reality show I-Land saw the seven winning contestants prepararing to debut as new K-Pop group ENHYPEN.

The show was produced by Belift Lab, a joint venture between entertainment companies CJ E& and Big Hit.

Three months of intense training in I-Land trimmed the aspirants from 23 to nine. The show had the nine finalists vying for a spot in the new septet.

Jungwon, Jay, Jake, Niki, Heeseung, Sunghoon and Sunoo emerged as the chosen seven.

I-Land’s final test was a performance of a new original song, “Calling (Run To You).”

BTS and TXT, both managed by Big Hit, were present to give support and advice to the new group, along with Big Hit founder Bang Si-Hyuk. Rapper-producer Zico and superstar singer-dancer Rain were both mentors on the show.


‘I-land’ winners (from left) Ni-ki, Sunghoon, Jake, Jungwon, Heeseung, Jay and Sunoo.

Past trainees also graced the I-Land stage one last time and reunited with the finalists to perform their signal song “Into the I-Land.”

“Similar to the ‘hyphen’ that connects one word to another, ENHYPEN means that seven different boys connect to discover one another and grow together,” said BELIFT Lab. “They also have an ambitious plan to connect people and the world through their music.”

Jungwon, Jay, Jake, Ni-Ki, Sunghoon and Heesung were chosen by the global viewers, while member Sunoo was the producers’ choice.

Three days after joining social media, ENHYPEN was warmly welcomed by the fans who have been watching the trainees’ growth and progress in the observation reality program. As of this writing, the group’s Twitter account (@ENHYPEN) has gained half a million followers already while its Instagram (@enhypen) is nearing 600,000 followers.

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Pinky Tobiano returns with online show






Chemist Pinky Tobiano is back with a new show, Grateful Tuesdays, with its first episode airing on 22 September, 7 to 8 p.m. on Cornerstone Entertainment’s Facebook page with a simultaneous streaming on CSTV’s Kumu account.

Pinky first drew attention via online show, Essential Cleaning Tips, which provided important information to households.

This led to new opportunities to serve the public’s interest.

Grateful Tuesdays, which has replaced Essential Cleaning Tips, aims to help people affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Each episode will choose one barangay as recipient of food packs from the show’s sponsors.

Charm Aranton, grand winner of the reality talent competition Witty 101 and now part of Cornerstone’s roster of artists, will visit the chosen barangay.

Grateful Tuesdays will also feature inspiring stories on social media that depict Filipino resilience in these trying times.

The household cleaning tips will still be part of Grateful Tuesdays. Joining Pinky in the show as cohost is singer Yeng Constantino.

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Piolo to produce Robin, Angelica, Sam Netflix animation starrer





Piolo Pascual has kept mum on all the recent controversies that hound him but he’s got good news for his fans.

The hunky actor is the executive producer of the adult animation Hayop Ka! The Nimfa Dimaano Story.

It will feature the voices of Angelica Panganiban,  Sam Milby, and Robin Padilla and is set to premiere on 29 October.

Netflix released its look on 21 September.

Additional voice cast include Empoy Marquez, Piolo Pascual, Arci Muñoz, Eugene Domingo, Yeng Constantino, Moira dela Torre and Joyce Bernal.

It is directed by Avid Liongoren and produced by Rocketsheep Studio and Spring Films owned by Piolo and his partners which includes Bernal.

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‘Virtual’ Emmys open with cardboard cutouts, remote video calls

Agence France-Presse



Host Jimmy Kimmel opened the Emmys on Sunday from an empty Los Angeles theater filled with cardboard cutouts of the nominees, marking the start of Hollywood’s first major Covid-era award show.

“Hello and welcome to the pand-Emmys,” said Kimmel, as producers cut to archive footage of a star-studded audience, before revealing the venue’s empty seats.

Nominees for the 72nd Emmys — television’s version of the Oscars — are beaming in remotely from their homes, with only a handful of special guest presenters appearing in person including Jennifer Aniston.

After last year’s hostless Emmys, Kimmel joked: “You can’t have a virus without a host.”

The first prize of the night, best actress in a comedy series, went to Catherine O’Hara for “Schitt’s Creek,” who was handed her award by a presenter in a hazmat suit at a socially distanced event for the show’s cast in Toronto.

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Alden, Ruru inspire cancer warriors





VETERAN journalist and ‘Bright Side’ host Kara David.

Their bedimpled smiles are set to brighten up the days of cancer warriors as Alden Richards and Ruru Madrid guest in GMA News TV’s Bright Side, airing on Tuesday, 22 September at 9 p.m.

Alden is known to have a soft spot for children with cancer. Even during lockdown, he tried finding means to reach out to these children to bring them joy and hope. Like Alden, Ruru also considers cancer warriors close to his heart because his grandmother has colon cancer. Bright Side will share the stories of cancer warriors who, instead of giving up, made it a point to inspire and help others.

Meanwhile in Batanes, which remains coronavirus-free until now, it is said that there is a vaccine against the virus — discipline and bayanihan. The province closed its border to tourists as early as February and the Ivatans themselves help each other so that everyone has food and livelihood. They came up with a project called “Walang Sayang” where farmers are supported so that their harvest do not go to waste. They also have “quarantine resorts” to accommodate those who got stranded in the province.


Aside from Batanes, Balangkayan in Eastern Samar also remains COVID-19-free. With rich marine resources, Balangkayan’s abundant sea produce keeps its residents secure in terms of food and livelihood. Discipline and bayanihan also help them keep the virus away.

And in “Good Eats” segment, COVID-19 survivor Donita Nose joins host Kara David in a cooking face-off featuring Pork Talong Binagoongan.

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