Sunday, January 31, 2016

Alice Romero Laga: BFF from Bohol and Beyond

Your Roving Eye has been asked a million times if he has a BFF. Yes, of course, there are two. You will meet them in two separate features. One is based in Illinois and the other is based in Toronto, Canada.

Let’s begin with the Canadian- based friend. Our friendship actually started when we were in Grade One. Yes, we were classmates from Grade One to Grade Six then high school and all the way to senior high.
Her name? She is Alice Romero Laga and why am I writing about her now? Well, she just came home for a wedding that also served as their family reunion.

She is the real definition of a survivor. A beautiful survivor at that. Inside and out. If there’s someone who is very happy for what is at present, that would have to be me for I have been privy to her heartaches and disappointments in life.

Alice during grade school & high school graduation
After those carefree and innocent years of high school where we became groupmates in science projects to being cheatmates uhm seatmates rather, it was time for high school graduation  and the obligatory goodbyes and the promise to keep in touch.

becoming a a nurse was the realization of her dream

Those years after high school were such a blur and the next time we met again during those instant class reunions, we have become older but definitely wiser.

 Her Precious Gems: Aga.Al.Aljin.Aljun

We went  back to our separate ways but there were the occasional hi’s and hellos. And yes, just like any friends, we also had our share of misunderstanding and petty spats as well and we always swear never to see each other again and we even unfriend each other in Facebook but the moment we see each other, everything flies out the window and it's back to usual. 

Friends after all these years
Anda, Bohol, Jan 2016 

I then found out that she was in already in Canada and starting to live her life again.

I am so delighted to know that she is doing good and getting a second chance at life and very happy that she is with her three sons and a daughter with her in Toronto. 

A high- paying job, a successful career, a serene & peaceful life are what she has right now

After meeting and catching up with Alice the last time she was here last January, it is with much relief that she hasn't changed at all. 

If there is a change, it's a change for the better.

Thank you Alice for the gift of friendship.

Remembering Rebecca del Rio: Acting Great from Bohol

 Rebecca del Rio 

Did you know that the first Filipina to win a Best Actress Award from the Asia Film Festival is a Boholana? 

Rebecca del Rio, a top movie star during the 50’s received the Golden Harvest Award in Japan (the equivalent to Best Actress in the 1958 Asia Film Festival) for her riveting performance in Malvarosa where she had to deglamorize herself. 

She also received a Famas Best Supporting Actress award for the same role in 1958.

Born Ma. Lourdes Busbus Buslon, Rebecca was the daughter of Judge Teofilo Buslon, former congressman (of the third district of Bohol 2nd national assembly, 1938-1941) and Demeteria Buslon, a nurse, who was the first elected woman mayor in the Philippines. 

She is the sister of the late Bohol provincial lawmaker Dr. Socorro Buslon-Tallo, the aunt of glamorous & gorgeous Dr. Aida Buslon Tallo, selected Most Beautiful Doctor during the 1998 National Convention of Family Physicians held in Davao City and the grandmother of Miss Bohol 1997 Atty. Socorro d Marie “Talie” Tallo- Inting.
  Rebecca del Rio with Nestor de Villa & Charito Solis
After finishing her secondary studies at the Holy Spirit School, she enrolled as a college student at the Philippine Women’s University in Manila when she was discovered by Sampaguita Pictures and the rest as they say, is history.

She made life miserable for Gloria Romero, Delia Razon, Charito Solis & other leading ladies as the glamorous Cherie Gil of her generation.

  Deglamorized Rebecca with  Charito Solis
in award- winning "Malvarosa"

Here are some of the movies she did during her active & prolific years in Philippine movies:


After two decades in showbiz, Rebecca quietly and without so much fanfare left for the US with her American husband. After coming home for her niece’ s wedding that also served as a family reunion, she went back to the US where she passed away peacefully on March 11, 2010.


Her legacy is paving the way for Boholanos to make their mark in showbiz armed with nothing except real acting talent, dedication to one’s craft and professionalism. 


January 31 is the best day to remember and give her this long overdue recognition for today would have been her 87th birthday! Happy happy birthday Nang Nena!

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Sleep Walk: The Greatest Rock Instrumental of All Time

I have been enamoured with the haunting melody of the song ever since I first heard of Larry Carlton’s jazzy cover of Sleep Walk. I started listening to Sleep Walk’s many cover versions. From Santo & Johnny’s original to Joe Satriani, from the UK’s Shadows to the US’ Ventures. 

  Santo & Johnny
I then realized that this instrumental classic has spawned a lot of cover versions and is now used as a barometer of a guitarist's mastery of the instrument.  The song's popularity even inspired the master writer of the macabre, Stephen King , to pen the screenplay for the horror movie "Sleepwalkers" 

"Sleep Walk", the instrumental steel guitar-based song that propelled its young composers to the top of the musical heap, is considered as the definitive rock instrumental during the early years of the rock and roll era.
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Santo & Johnny plays in Italy, 1972
Sleep Walk’s distinctive sound and melancholic pacing influenced a generation of musicians who have been recognized & celebrated for pioneering new music.

Sleep Walk was the first & biggest hit of Italian- American musician brothers Santo & Johnny Farina. Santo was 22 and Johnny was 18 when they recorded the song.

 Santo & Johnny were only 22 and 18 years old when
they recorded the song
It was released in 1959 and entered Billboard’s Top 40 on August 17, 1959. Sleep Walk occupied the number-one spot for two weeks in September (the 21st and the 28th) and remained in the Top 40 until November 9.

Here now is my tribute to the musical genius of the Farina brothers, Santo & his kid brother Johnny.

  Renee Olstead: sexy version
This compilation includes a bewitching & smoky version from chanteuse Renee Olstead and the 1959 version from Betsy Brye. 

Although Santo & Johnny wrote lyrics for "Sleep Walk", they never recorded a version with the lyrics. Betsy’s version includes these lyrics.

It was the last instrumental to hit number one in the 1950s and earned Santo & Johnny a gold record and assured the Farina brothers a hallowed spot in rock & roll history. 

What about you? What’s your favorite version of Sleep Walk?

Friday, January 29, 2016

What Does Annie Corrales Have in Common with Pia Wurtzbach, MJ Lastimosa and Maricar Balagtas?

Everyone has been talking of how Pia Wurtzbach had to hurdle Bb Pilipinas thrice in 2013, 2014 & 2015 before she could make it to the Miss Universe Pageant. Ditto for Mary Jean Lastimosa who also competed in the 2011, 2012 & 2014 editions of Bb Pilipinas before she finally triumphed.
Third Time’s a Charm for Maricar, Pia & MJ 
But did you know that they weren’t the only ones who joined thrice? We have quite a number but the aforementioned are just two of four ladies who made three attempts before winning the crown that would bring them to the world’s most prestigious beauty competition.

 The belief that the third attempt is more
 likely to succeed  than the previous two tries.

 Maricar in controversial Pintado
costume during Miss U 2004

In her third and final attempt, Maricar Manalaysay Balagtas ultimately got her wish to represent the Philippines in Miss Universe. Her first attempt at Bb Pilipinas was in 2000 where she got only the Miss Close Up Smile special title and didn’t make the semifinals. 

The next year, she enlisted again and this time, she was Best in Swimsuit and made it all the way to the Final Five. That same year, she was appointed by Madame Stella Marquez to be RP’s bet to the Miss Globe International Pageant which she won thus making her the first Asian to win the said title (not to be confused with the Miss Globe 2015 crown by Ann Lorraine Colis)

But Maricar’s ultimate dream was to compete in Miss Universe, considered by most Filipinos as the mother of all beauty pageants. She was crowned Bb Pilipinas- Universe 2004 and flew to Quito, Ecuador for the Miss U pageant. Although a hot favorite, she was shockingly excluded from the list of Top 15 semifinalists.

But long before Maricar, MJ and Pia made their mark in Philippine pageantry, there was Mary Ann Carmen Philipps Corrales who started it  back in the 50’s. Here is the story:

ANNIE CORRALES: Tried Three Times

Annie's Attempts for Miss U
She first competed in the 1955 Miss Philippines Pageant won by Yvonne Berenguer de los Reyes and placed as Miss Mindanao, the equivalent to  3rd RU or fourth place.   

She decided to skip the pageant  the following year but Edith Nakpil, the 1956 Miss Philippines winner, decided not to go to the 1956 Miss Universe Pageant at the last minute. 

A special search was then organized to select the Philippines’ official candidate for the international pageant and this time, Ms. Corrales changed her mind and signed up for the pageant. 

Despite being a pageant veteran and who was already a Miss Aviation 1955 titleholder (a prestigious pageant in the 50’s), Annie experienced what Pia and MJ would also experience half a century later; a heartbreaking loss the second time around, this time to Isabel Escobar Rodriguez.

RP First Lady Leonila D. Garcia crowns
Annie Corrales as Miss Philippines 1957

Eventually, the perseverance, persistence and patience of Mary Ann Carmen Philipps Corrales or simply Annie Corrales paid off. 

On her third attempt, she finally got what she had been aiming for during the last three years. She was crowned the 1957 Miss Philippines on June 23, 1957, the same year that a Boholano assumed the presidency of the Philippines. 

In fact, Annie was even crowned by Pres. CPG's wife, First Lady Leonila D. Garcia during the pageant's finale.

Ms. Corrales then represented the Philippines in the controversial 1957 Miss Universe Pageant in Long Beach, California.

She may not have placed in the international pageant but she surely won a lot of friends with her grace and humility and knew how to get noticed by the press. She did this in a photo opp with World War II mortal enemies tuned Miss Universe BFF's, Miss Japan & Miss USA who would later be disqualified after being found out to be married and had two kids!

 Photo Credits: Tony Paat

She displayed her breeding & sense of sportsmanship in a post- pageant newspaper interview when she described her Miss Universe Pageant experience as a wonderful and unforgettable experience that money cannot buy.  

Here's another anecdotal trivia about Annie: She is the first & only Miss Philippines who brought her own stylist/ hair & make artist to the Miss Universe Pageant. Talk about covering all bases before facing the competition.

That’s Annie Corrales dear blog readers and thanks to her, many other Pinay beauties followed her footsteps and did well on their second and third attempts.

After all, quitters never win and winners never quit.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Meet the Mr & Ms SHOTS 2016 Campus Personality Winners!

The pageant scene is alive and well in Cebu colleges and universities where personality searches are the springboard & training ground for bigger pageant. Small wonder then why most Cebu- trained candidates for regional, national & international contests almost always do well.

  Charming Cuties Corres &  Calunia are the
top winners of Mr. & Ms SHOTS 2016
One such contest, Mr. & Ms. SHOTS 2016 culminated its five- month long contest with the grand finale staged at the Rudolf Rahmann Cultural Center, University of San Carlos, South Campus last January 23.
 MR SHOTS 2016:  1st RU Mr.Alfafara, Mr. Calunia & 2nd RU Mr. Roble.
MR. SHOTS 2016 is # 12 Mr. Jose Rinan Calunia, a BSHRM-AQF-4 student hails from Tubigon, Bohol. The very charming & articulate Mr. Calunia, the reigning Ambongan sa Tubigon 2015 winner also  clinched five special titles, namely; Best in Talent, Mr.Male Model, Mr. Photogenic, Peoples Choice Award and the Best in Semi Formal. Named 1st RU was # 9 Andrew Alfafara and 2nd RU # 13 Keith Roble.

 MS SHOTS 2016: 1st RU Ms. Ricote, Ms.  Corres & 2nd RU Ms.  Sabando
MS SHOTS 2016 was # 6 the tall, pretty & smart Ms. Shaznay Corres. Named as 1st RU was #1 Mattea Amber Ricote and 2nd RU was  # 2 Marybel Sabando

 Mr. Ms SHOTS 2016 & Runners Up 

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 BATCH 2016: We Are Family!
All 14 candidates were highlighted in the opening dance number and then competed in semi-formal, casual interview and formal wear before the  judging panel composed of Miss Cebu Wynonah Buot, Blinky de Leon & Sir Jojo Espellita, DHM Chairman whittled down the field to the final six. 
 LAST TWO GIRLS: This photo of Ricote & Corres as
they await the final announcement reminded me of
the 2015 Miss Universe crowning fiasco. Thank God
for the smooth proceedings & good emcees!

 Pageant emcees Gabriel Reyes & Princess Datoon

 FACE OF THE NIGHT: Alexandra Calvo
Now in a contest where judging is subjective and based on a set criteria & judges’ preferences & tastes, there would always be dissenting opinions with the outcome.  And when there is a surplus of strong & competitive candidates, there would always be a favorite or two who won't make the cut  

The exclusion of candidate # 7 Alexandra Brissa Calvo was a bit unexpected. She had the beauty, the charm & the refreshing appeal & rawness of a newcomer in pageants. 

I expect her to learn from this experience, undergo further training and compete in other pageants. She has the potential. 

Paging KF and A & Q. Here’s your raw diamond.

The final Q & A was followed by the proclamation and crowning of winners.

Congratulations again to the winners, to the pageant emcees Gabriel Reyes & Princess Dato-on, to the project chairs Mark YbaƱez & Nikki Angeles and to the organizers, student group SHOTS or the Students for Hospitality Organizations and Tourism Services (SHOTS) for a job well done.

SPECIAL THANKS: Noel Inez for all the outfits

Good luck to Mr. Calunia and Ms. Corres along with their respective 1st RU  Andrew Alfafara and Mattea Amber Ricote as they represent the Dept. of Hospitality Management in the search for Mr. & Ms SBE 2016, interdepartmental search of the School of Business & Economics of University of San Carlos, Cebu City

 Brigitte was Ms SHOTS & Ms SBE 2013 when she won Ms Bohol 2013
See separate story
TRIVIA: Did you know that  Brigitte Tanoja Burato is a former Miss SHOTS and was the reigning Miss SBE 2013 when she was crowned Miss Bohol 2013?

Photo Credits: 

June Escudero of Today's Carolinian 
Students for Hospitality Organizations and Tourism Services

Extra Special Blog Feature

Part 1: The Tragic Story of Amparo Munoz

  no fairy tale ending SPAIN CONQUERED THE PHILIPPINES AGAIN. Whenever discussions and debates center on who is considered as the ...