Duterte and Miss U

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and Former Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go pose for a selfie with Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray, who paid a courtesy call on the President at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City on December 20, 2018. KING RODRIGUEZ/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

Catriona Gray named Miss Universe 2018

MANILA – Catriona Gray became the fourth Filipina to be crowned Miss Universe after she won the prestigious beauty pageant in Bangkok, Thailand on Monday.

Gray redeemed herself from her runner-up finish in the 2016 Miss World by living to the hype of her being the heavy favorite to win it all as she prevailed over South Africa’s Tamaryn Green and Venezuela’s Sthefany Gutierrez.

She takes over the crown from her predecessor Demi-Leigh Nel Peters from South Africa.

Clad in a fiery red evening gown, Gray gracefully walked into the pageant’s runway as she was named the new Miss Universe.

Gray’s answer in the final question-and-answer portion virtually clinched the title for her.

When host Steve Harvey asked the finalists about the most important lesson they have learned in their lives and ways to apply it should either of them becomes Miss Universe, Gray replied, “I worked a lot in the slums of Tondo, Manila; and the life there is very… it’s poor, and it’s very sad. And I always taught myself to look for the beauty in it — to look for the beauty of the faces of the children; and to be grateful. And I would bring this aspect as a Miss Universe to see situations with the silver lining. And to assess where I could give something, where I could provide something as a spokesperson. And this I think if I could teach also people to be grateful we could have an amazing world where negativity could not grow and foster, and children would have a smile on their faces.”

In the question-and-answer portion prior to that, Gray was asked about her stand on marijuana legalization, and she said that she supports its legalization solely for medicinal purposes.

Joining Gray in the final three of the pageant were Tamaryn Green of South Africa and Sthefany Gutierrez from Venezuela, who were crowned first and second-runner up, respectively.

Gray earlier stunned netizens with her “slow-motion twirl” during the preliminary competition of the pageant.

Gray is the fourth Filipina to win the title, after Pia Wurtzbach (2015), Margarita Moran (1973) and Gloria Diaz (1969).

Salvador Panelo, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel & Presidential Spokesperson, also released rhe following statement on the 2018 Miss Universe Pageant:

“The Palace wishes to congratulate newly crowned Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray.

Ms. Gray truly made the entire Philippines proud when she sashayed on the global stage and showcased the genuine qualities defining a Filipina beauty: confidence, grace, intelligence and strength in the face of tough challenges. In her success, Miss Philippines has shown to the world that women in our country have the ability to turn dreams into reality through passion, diligence, determination and hard work.

Ms. Gray’s triumph sets the bar high in empowering more Filipino women to believe in themselves and to fight for their own place in the universe. We salute and admire her victory.

Catriona’s crowning glory is placing the Philippines in the world map again for its beauty and elegance that matches the world renowned attraction of the many scenic and mesmerising islands in our country.”

(Ivan Saldajeno/ Benjamin Bondoc/PNA)

Go calls for intensified crackdown vs. movie piracy

QUEZON CITY— On Monday evening, long-time Philippine showbiz fan and former Special Assistant to the President (SAP) Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go called for an intensified crackdown against piracy victimizing the local movie industry.

Speaking at the 2018 Walk of Fame induction ceremony held at the Eastwood City Walk in Libis, Quezon City, Go lamented the decline of the local movie industry “because of technology and foreign movies which have heavily influenced our moviegoers nowadays.”

Even worse, Go said pirates and unscrupulous businesses have preyed on the “fruits of sweat, love, and labor,” of local film industry.

A candidate for senator in the 2019 polls, Go said that if elected: “I will push for strategies to crack down on these illegal businesses and strengthen the campaign against piracy.”

Go said the urgency of this action can be summed up in the timeless words of Vilma Santos in the film Sister Stella L, where she said, “Kung hindi tayo kikilos, sino ang kikilos? Kung hindi ngayon, kailan pa?”

Recalling the heyday of the Philippine cinema that inspired and entertained entire generations of Filipino fans, Go said there is no doubt of capability of the local film industry to create stories with depth and value and at par with foreign production, given proper support and protection.

Go said he is privileged to be part of the induction ceremony honoring the outstanding achievements of personalities in the fields of film, television, as well as news and broadcasting.

Among those inducted in the Walk of Fame were Pia Wurtzbach for TV, Vhong Navarro-Movie, Derek Ramsay-Movie, Julia Barretto-Movie, Director Chito Roño-Movie, Dr. Jose Perez (Posthumous)-Movie, Marichu Vera Perez-Maceda-Movie, Rico Hizon-News and Public Affairs, and Ken Chan-TV.

Arriving at Eastwood City in Libis and was warmly welcomed by Mr. Kevin Tan, Chairman of the Board, Federico Moreno, President; and the Board of Trustees all of the German Moreno Walk of Fame Foundation.

Former Undersecretary Isko Moreno, Rachel Arenas, MTRCB chairperson;-Boots Anson-Rodrigo, President of MOWELFUND, Alice Eduardo, President /CEO of the Sta. Elena Construction and Cecilio Pedro, President of Lamoiyan Corporation also joined in welcoming Go.

Go said he considers it a great honor to be part of the event at Eastwood City. “I, for one, would also like to have a star, maybe when I get like a cameo role in the local movies or maybe in some teleserye but I leave that to wishful thinking,” he said in jest.

He recalled how, during his younger years, his parents allowed him to watch the films of FPJ and Dolphy at the local cinema in Davao. He also bared his association with actors like Epi Quizon, Dolphy’s son, and Jeffrey Santos, whom he used to drop off at Broadway Centrum for That’s Entertainment rehearsals.

Go hoped that in the future he can work together with the film industry to keep it strong, even as he noted that our movies depict our culture such as the lives of each and every Filipino around the world.

“We need to amplify the quality of Philippine cinema, especially to our youth. If we are to uniquely identify ourselves as Filipinos, we need more Filipino-made films,” Go said.

Spookingly cute Halloween at the White House

It was an afternoon of spookiness and cuteness as the White House Fusion Cuisine and Wine Lounge located inside the Camella Northpoint compound along Bajada, Davao City was invaded by cute monsters from the crypt.

Kids were dressed as the White Lady, The Skeleton, The Demon, while others were garbed in their superheroes and Disney characters like Spider Man, Captain America, The Hulk, Cinderella, fairy and many more as they joined the Halloween Trick or Treat party of the White House on October 28.

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Magical show and parlor games started off the afternoon party for kids before the much-awaited trick or treat where candies and goodies were given to the participating kids who clearly enjoyed the venue and the games.

Halloween Trick or Treat is going to be an annual event at the White House that serves the best European and Japanese fusion cuisine in the city.

On November 3, a Halloween dance party aptly dubbed as Bewitched 2.0 will in turn cater to the millenial and the yuppies.

Popular DJ’s like Supreme and dj Torch will be joining the party along with Jed Ignacio as the emcee of the said event. Party starts at 8 in the evening this Saturday.


The artistical and musical legend that is Nora Aunor may not have passed the critical eyes of a select juror and the awarding authority to be bestowed the National Artist award but her enrapturing film artistry and musicality and mass acceptance surpass any technical recognition given by any entity or authority. Her phenomenal rise to movie and musical stardom that counted a generation of shrieking and adoring fans unparalleled in the movie and music industry is a walking testament to her mesmerizing artistry and singing voice and the people’s acceptance. She truly is the crowned people’s artist.

Ms. Nora Aunor is still young and in God’s perfect time we are optimistic that she will be proclaimed as a National Artist. Her non-inclusion does not diminish her iconic stature as the country’s Superstar and her significant contributions to film, theater, television and music industries.

Her non-inclusion should be viewed as to spare Ms. Nora Aunor from the emotional and psychological torment she will go through as a result of the barrage of mixed reactions the award will bring. As she herself stated in her statement:

“Ano ba naman ang isang award kung ang kapalit neto ay paulit-ulit na paghamak sa pagkatao ko at sa mga taong naniniwala sa akin.”

“Sapat na po sa akin ang respeto natatanggap ko sa mga kasamahan ko sa trabaho.”

Salvador S. Panelo
Presidential Spokesperson &
Chief Presidential Legal Counsel