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Song Joong-ki to star in new drama

Raye Sanchez



After going off the radar for some time, Song Joong-ki will finally star in another drama entitled Vincenzo.

The upcoming tvN show tells the story of Vincenzo Cassano, played by Song Joong-ki, a charismatic Italian lawyer and mafia consigliere who is of Korean descent but was adopted by an Italian family at a young age.

Vincenzo will move back to Korea because of a dispute that will happen within his organization. Upon his arrival, he will discover a deep-rooted, villainous cartel where he will find himself solving an issue.

With this move, he will come across a tough lawyer named Hong Cha-young, and together, they will try to find justice and win the case together.

Its production team said, “Vincenzo is a black comedy about the dark heroes who punish the evil by using the ways of the villains. The synergy between the unique characters is just as crucial to the drama as its creative theme and dynamic plot. The perfect lineup of actors who will maximize each character’s traits and bring them to reality is now complete. You can look forward to it.”

Joining Song Joong-ki is 2PM’s Taecyeon (Bring It On, Ghost) who will take the role of Jang Jun-woo and Jeon Yeo-bin (Be Melodramatic) who will play Hong Cha-young.

Vincenzo is directed by Kim Hee-won (Money Flower, The Crowned Clown) and written by Park Jae-bum (Good Manager, The Fiery Priest).

Watch out for Vincenzo in the first half of 2021.



K-Drama gains more viewers

Louise Lizan



‘Do You Like Brahms?’ stars Park Eun-bin and Kim Min-jae. PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF SBS

The Korean romance drama television series Do You Like Brahms? has gained more viewers on its eighth episode, peaking in the national ratings at 6.3 percent — up from the previously recorded 5.8 percent.

Do You Like Brahms? stars Park Eun-bin as Song Ah, a young classical music student who experiences unrequited love, self-doubt, judgment from her younger peers and family opposition while pursuing her passion of playing the violin.

In her most trying moments, she meets elite pianist Joon Young, played by Kim Min-jae.

Meanwhile, the second batch of music artists in the series’ original soundtrack (OST) were revealed last 24 September by Nyam Nyam Entertainment.

They include EXO’s Baekhyun, K.Will, Gummy, Kim Na-young and Baek A Yeon, with Song Dong-woon as producer.

Song Dong-woon has also worked in the OST of the dramas Hotel del Luna, It’s Okay, That’s Love, Descendants of the Sun and Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo.

Other music artists who have previously participated in the Do You Like Brahms? OST were EXO’s Chen, Girls Generation’s Taeyeon, 10CM, g.o.d, Punch and Heize, with I*ZONE’s Jo Yu-ri.

SKY Fiber and VIU subscribers can catch the latest episodes of Do You Like Brahms? every Tuesday and Wednesday on VIU.

Ongoing shows like Alice, The Zombie Detective and Lie after Lie are also available for streaming.

New and existing SKY Fiber subscribers can add VIU Premium to their plan at no added cost through SKY Fiber’s First 3-months On Us promo to enjoy the latest episodes every week, ad-free. Avail of the first three months of VIU Premium access by visiting for more details. Promo ends on 30 September.

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Streaming soon: New films, TV series

Stephanie Mayo



‘The Boys in the Band’

The reopening of cinemas in the Philippines seems light years away, but thank goodness, new films and TV series are still coming to our homes through streaming services, providing an escape from our bleak, virus-conquered lives.

It’s wise to invest beyond Netflix so you can add more variety to your entertainment buffet. Here are some of the exciting films and series coming this September and October, which will arrive in your home theater, laptop — or whatever device you use to sit back, relax, and stream.

‘Welcome to the Blumhouse’ (horror anthology)

The month of October is upon us, which means we’re in for a slew of scary films. Amazon Prime Video is the best app to tap if you’re a fan of the horror genre.

Amazon Studios has teamed up with horror factory Blumhouse Productions to send chills down our spine with a series of anthology films all slated for next month.

Welcome to the Blumhouse promises four “unique” and “unsettling” flicks “under one roof” from internationally diverse casts and directors.

Prep yourself for a screamfest beginning 6 October with Black Box, about a single dad who undergoes experimental treatment for his memory loss, and The Lie, where two parents desperately attempt to cover up their teenage daughter’s morbid crime.

On 13 October, make sure you have a blanket nearby to cover your eyes (or a towel, in case you wet your pants) with the romance-turned-deadly-and-horrific Evil Eye, and a story about a sinister notebook in Nocturne.


‘Welcome to the Blumhouse’s’ ‘Black Box.’

‘Time’ (documentary feature)

Another reason to subscribe to Amazon Prime Video is Time, the critically acclaimed 2020 Sundance-winning documentary from Garrett Bradley, which will premiere globally on 23 October.

Fuel your passion for justice and human compassion as you follow abolitionist and entrepreneur Sibil Fox Richardson as she fights for the release of her husband Rob, who is serving a staggering 60-year prison sentence.

It scored a 92 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. And it’s shot in black and white. Critics around the world are calling it gripping, moving, vibrant and stunning. I’m sold.

‘The Forty-Year-Old Version’ (comedy film)

In these dark times, we need a hearty laugh more than ever. Dropping on 9 October on Netflix is Radha Blank’s 2020 Sundance-winning comedy The Forty-Year-Old Version, with a 95 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s also shot in black and white, set in New York City, with Blank herself playing a struggling playwright.

If you’re currently an anxiety ridden artist, or an aimless creative seeking relevance and motivation, or simply a fan of American indie, then this might be the movie for you. As the protagonist Radha nears her 40th birthday, she grapples to find her true artistic voice.

The film, which teeters between the worlds of theater and hip-hop, has been regarded as smart, hilarious and crowd-pleasing.

‘The Boys in the Band’ 
(LGBT film)

Missing Jim Parsons? Catch him in the 2020 remake of the LGBT tale The Boys in the Band, which will pop up on Netflix on 30 September. Both the 1970 original movie and this modern-day makeover are based on Matt Crowley’s 1968 Broadway play of the same title.

Joe Montello is at the helm, and Parsons is flanked by an all-star cast, which includes Zachary Quinto and Matt Bomer. The premise? A group of gay friends find themselves in a reunion at a birthday bash. When the host’s college roommate (and a closeted gay) crashes the party, the night takes a tumultuous turn. Sounds like a comedy because Parsons is in it, but the film is actually a drama.


‘The Boys in the Band’

‘On the Rocks’ (Comedy film)

Apple-using cinephiles will have something to look forward to on 23 October on their Apple TV+ app. Celebrated director Sofia Coppola reunites with Bill Murray after 2003’s Lost in Translation for the “bittersweet comedy” On the Rocks. Murray plays a playboy dad who helps his distraught daughter (Rashida Jones) follow her husband (Marlon Wayans), because something doesn’t feel right in her marriage.

On the Rocks is a production of A24, the indie house that brought us American indie gems nominated in the Academy Awards, like Lady Bird, Moonlight, Uncut Gems and more. And given it’s a Coppola film, this should definitely be on your must-see list.


‘On the Rocks’

‘Tehran’ (series)

If espionage thrillers are your thing, then head on to Apple TV+ on 25 September and indulge yourself in the high-rated foreign-produced series. It’s not in English, which makes it more authentic, as the setting is in Iran. It follows an undercover Mossad agent on her first mission. Yes, a girl spy, which makes it more exciting.

There’s been a lot of applause for this dramatic spy thriller and we are lucky enough that Apple TV+ is bringing it to the international audience, including here in the Philippines. So, check it out later today — grab your iPhones and see what the fuss is all about.

‘The Undoing’ (miniseries)

Nicole Kidman will grace your devices on 25 October in a drama series based on Jean Hanff Korelitz’s 2014 novel You Should Have Known. So make sure you’re subscribed to HBO Go for this.

Kidman plays Grace, a therapist who will soon be releasing her first book. But weeks before her book is published, her life turns upside down (of course). Kidman is surrounded by an exciting cast that includes Hugh Grant, Noah Jupe and Donald Sutherland, which is enough to give this a look-see. It’s directed by Susanne Bier, the Danish director behind Bird Box and the hit TV series The Night Manager.

‘The Undoing’

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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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