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23 July 2006

kubrador wins in new delhi

Jeturian understands the pleasures of melodrama and gives The Bet Collector just enough delicious anguish to satisfy his audience. But his observational style opens up the hothouse atmosphere common to the genre. The film ranges through the streets and homes of working-class Manila, offering an up-to-the-minute portrait of life lived in the hope of one small victory. Jeturian's greatest asset here is Pareño: like Fernanda Montenegro in Central Station, she builds a deeply affecting portrait of a woman governed equally by necessary strength and overpowering emotion. She has a forceful physical presence, but remarkable delicacy and nuance of expression. Her performance is a revelation.
- Cameron Bailey, Toronto International Film Festival

Inevitably, this film outshines all the others for its mere as well as rare simplicity. As juries we do get to see various works of craftsmanship but hardly come across such a film which touches the core of everyone's heart in spite of our own cultural limitations. But, shouldn't this be the very essence of every film worth watching? Moreover, the film sincerely shows a lack of budget but the technicalities used reveals the power of digital technology. So, the following is the suggestion for the upcoming new breed of directors: try and use digital media and blow it into 35mm, which has already ushered a revolution in filmmaking. The film wins for its sincerity and, throughout the 98 minutes of projection, it swings and overlaps the reel life with the real ones. The subaltern class, with all its nuances, reigned supreme in this heart-ravaging tale. The film correctly symbolises a universal content and that makes the jury's work easier, as all of us almost unanimously agreed upon its award.
- Rwita Dutta, FIPRESCI 2006 (New Delhi)

The FIPRESCI jury in Moscow wasted little time in voting unanimously for the Filippino film The Bet Collector (Kubrador). True, its director, Jeffrey Jeturian, is not a new talent - this is his seventh feature - nor, at 47, a young one. But The Bet Collector has urgency, freshness and hidden depths; to paraphrase the poet Walt Whitman, it may not be a large film, but it contains multitudes within its rough-edged simplicity. It's also a most welcome sign of life from the Filippino cinema, from which not much has been heard on the international scene since the death of Lino Brocka fifteen years ago. In short, despite the dearth of other strong candidates for the prize, a very deserving winner.
- Sheila Johnston, FIPRESCI 2006 (Moscow)

The desperation, the repetitive quality of this life at the bottom of the totem pole of illegal organized gambling here in our country, is what the film focuses on and it’s a searing indictment of the "quality of life" much of our countrymen have to endure and take for granted as their plight in life.
- Philip Cu-Unjieng, Philippine Star
15 July 2006

LOCAL viewers today go only for feel-good romantic films (“All About Love”, “Moments of Love”) or horror films (“White Lady”, “Sukob”). That is why Director Jeffrey Jeturian’s “Kubrador” is the most daring local film we’ve seen in years. It’s not only politically brave, but also very daring on the part of producer Atty. Joji Alonso to produce a film that has very little commercial consideration....Kubrador is (Jeturian's) most thought-provoking work so far. The truth is it’s really more scary than “Sukob” or any other horror film, simply because it is REAL and we shudder at the thought of how the likes of Amy and the rest of our other marginalized countrymen are trapped in a society where the rich and the powerful continue to exploit them.
- Mario Bautista, People's Journal and Malaya
6 August 2006 and 12 August 2006

DIRECTOR Jeffrey Jeturian has always been a skilled cinematic storyteller. Even his sex romps, such as “Bridal Shower” and “Bikini Open,” proceed smoothly and contain biting social commentary that is worked in subtly and not pummeled into the viewer....But in “Kubrador,” he has shown the maturity of his gifts. Using naturalistic camera movements and working with live sound, he gives the film a documentary feel. He brings the audience into the seamy streets and dark alleys of a slum, neither disguising nor exploiting the squalor and the poverty.
- Rina Jimenez David, Philippine Daily Inquirer
6 August 2006

Rising action is not what makes the film engaging, in fact, even riveting. It is the film’s visual and aural textures that tell all in several levels, from the micro-story of a lowly slum-dweller valiantly struggling for survival, or of a bereaved family lamenting the senseless death of their recent college graduate, their only hope to lead them in their escape from a life of wretchedness, to the macro-tale of a society steep in corruption and injustice, where superstition is the people’s only cling to sanity and salvation. The film is replete with subtle potshots at foibles every ordinary Filipino is familiar with.
- Joven Velasco, Philippine Star
8 August 2006

We already have a best picture for 2006. And the winner is – drum roll – Kubrador!
- Butch Francisco, Philippine Star
10 August 2006

“Kubrador” is the kind of movie you watch and get lost in. That is what makes it brilliant. You become unaware that you’re watching a film—you feel like you’re watching the life of Amelita. And in the end, that is what filmmakers should do. It’s easy to call attention to one’s self, it’s effing hard to let go of your ego and realize it’s not all about you.
- Pepe Diokno, Philippine Daily Inquirer
11 August 2006

In Kubrador, (Jeturian) outdoes himself.
- Atty. Billy Balbastro, Abante
11 August 2006

Kubrador is not a film of sudden miracles and instantaneous changes, but of grim realism.
-Oggs Cruz,
16 August 2006

An intelligent and insightful commentary on the realities of our society, Kubrador is a brave attempt not only in experimental cinema -- having been shot entirely with a digital camera and straying away from the standards of Philippine moviemaking -- but also in conveying hard but honest messages that need to be heard.
-Jet Damaso, BusinessWorld Weekender
18-19 August 2006

Filipino wrong-side-of-the-tracks meller "The Bet Collector" (Kubrador) collected some heavy winnings Sunday at the closing ceremony of Osian's Cinefan Festival of Asian Cinema here. Pic, which revolves around a housewife who sells tickets for a numbers racket in Manila's slums, won best film awards from both the Asian Competition and Fipresci juries at the fest's eighth edition.
- Russell Edwards, Variety (Hollywood)

Here was a work which took you walking through the streets of the city, introduced you to its people in flesh and blood, and showcased the evils of an omnipresent but banned betting game, with collectors to regulate it in underground channels....unabashed by raids, threats, capture and crackdown....(Jeturian's) film showed humour, fellow feeling, compassion, and an endearing cock-a-hoop spirit in the midst of squalor.
-Gowri Ramnarayan, Frontline: India's National Magazine
Volume 23 Issue 16, 12-25 August 2006

Far from being a very typical Filipino film, Kubrador may be easily overlooked by someone who is looking for pure entertainment. Bleak but humane, it shows three days in the life of aging bet collector Amelita (brilliantly played by Gina Pareno) who goes around her povertystricken neighborhood convincing people to entrust their hard-earned pesos to luck – jueteng, a popular numbers game first introduced by Chinese traders to colonial Manila. Although illegal on paper, everyone plays it, even policemen who detain Amelita in order to place bets a huis clos. Day after day, year after year, Amelita wanders around the maze of her shanty town, the maze of her life – not in search of happiness (she has long forgotten what it is), but in search of more numbers which remain her Ariadne's thread.
- Passport Magazine (Moscow)

Amelita, known as Amy, is the family breadwinner. While her disabled husband watches TV all day, Amy tramps the alleys of their slum neighbourhood, in all weathers, taking small cash bets on the local underground jueteng game, a lucky-numbers draw. Her good heart, and the fact that everyone knows her, makes her also an ideal alms collector; whenever someone dies, she cajoles people into contributing to the cost of the funeral. The nearly plotless film follows Amy across three typical days, evading the cops, picking up and passing on local gossip - and narrowly avoiding stray bullets. Played by the great Gina Pareño, Amy is an indelible creation: religious, superstitious, deeply fallible and given to reading everything she sees and hears about as a numerological tip. Watched over by her late son, a soldier who died young, she's a one-woman spot-sample of resilience in very adverse circumstances. Already a prize winner at festivals in Moscow and Delhi, Jeturian's powerful film both reflects and boosts a sudden creative resurgence in Filipino film culture.
-Tony Rayns, 50th London International Film Festival (18 October-2 November 2006)

Jeturian avoids offering probing philosophical or psychological formulations that might serve to buttress Amelita during her journey through a few days in her life. This leaves her clinging to her faith (she is a devout Catholic), her sanity and her obligations as powerful, though perhaps inadequate, weapons with which she defends herself against the cruel and unreasoning ways of fate...Jeturian's masterful direction and the subtle but profound depth of Pareno's performance have made “Kubrador” a favorite on the international film festival circuit this year.
-Joseph Badtke-Berkow, 19th Tokyo International Film Festival (21-29 October 2006)

The surprise from the Philippines...
-Thessaloniki International Film Festival, 17-26 November 2006

Thanks to an extraordinary performance from Pareno...the robust and multi-layered Amy takes on extraordinary life and keeps the viewer totally absorbed...Experienced Filipino director Jeffrey Jeturian has made a film that remarkably combines the intensity of a melodrama with a completely convincing realism.
-Dubai International Film Festival, 10-17 December 2006

A captivating film that is on a triumphant tour of international film festivals. A small film with a big heart. The film is carried – and this is no empty statement – by Gina Pareño. Pareño is a Mama Manila the way Anna Magnani was Mama Roma...This is the seventh film by Jeturian and so he is certainly not a debutant. Yet The Bet Collector has the freshness of a debut. After several more commercial and industrially produced films, Jeturian has now made a small film on digital video and that pays for itself with its great authenticity. Jeturian has already been described as the new Lino Brocka. That may be exaggerating, but it just goes to show how much people have been impressed by this warm and original film.
-Gertjan Zuilhof, Programmer, International FIlm Festival Rotterdam (24 January-4 February 2007)

no mean feat.

just received sms messages from leo abaya (in manila) and jeffrey jeturian (all the way from india):

kubrador (see my post dated 15 july 2006 down below) bagged 3 major awards minutes ago at the 8th osian's-cinefan festival of asian cinema in new delhi:
*best picture
*best actress (for actress gina pareno)
*fipresci jury award for best film in competition

it can be recalled that kubrador had won its 1st fipresci award at moscow 3 weeks ago. with an entirely different panel at new delhi, a 2nd fipresci prize was too improbable.

jeff said that this year's main jury had decided not to give away any best actor prize. a special jury prize was later awarded to two girls by turkey's kutlug ataman.

new delhi's main competition jurors were: film director ryuichi hiroki (japan), film director adoor gopalakrishnan (india), film director xie fei (china), actress jajar c. noer (indonesia) and film director stanley kwan (hong kong).

on the other hand, the fipresci jurors were film critic/historian max tessier (france), film critic rwita dutta (india) and film critic lucy virgen (mexico).

i remember reading about maggie cheung winning a silver bear best actress at berlin for kwan's centre stage in february 1991.

aside from winning a best director prize (for a mongolian tale, 1995) at montreal, xie fei also bagged a golden bear (for the women from the lake of scented souls, a.k.a. sesame oil maker's family, 1993) and a silver bear (for black snow, 1990) at berlin. in 2001, he became berlin's first-ever juror from china.

without question, new delhi had very impressive jurors this year.

jeffrey and leo are delirious as i write this piece.

i am so thrilled for jeffrey, leo, bing, joji, joel, boy y, tita gina and kubrador.

cheers to independent cinema in the philippines!
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gina pareno delivers the performance of a lifetime
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jeffrey jeturian and gina pareno:
kubrador opens 16 august at sm north edsa, sm mall of asia, sm megamall, sm south mall, sm san lazaro, glorietta 4, gateway araneta center (cubao), market market, festival mall, robinson's place ermita and cinerama recto.
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gina pareno as darna (1969)
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gina pareno accepts her best actress trophy at new delhi
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jeffrey jeturian receives prizes for kubrador at new delhi
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jeffrey jeturian and gina pareno during the 2006 brussels international film festival
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kubrador's creative team

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someone (presumably from los angeles) had plagiarized my article on lian ramos in his/her blog.
shouldn't bloggers have some etiquette too?

15 July 2006

kubrador wins in moscow

i was thrilled to hear that jeffrey jeturian’s kubrador (screenplay: ralston jover and armando lao) had received the fipresci (fédération internationale de la presse cinématographique) prize for best film in competition during the xxviii moscow international film festival last 23 june to 2 july.

the 2006 fipresci jurors at moscow were: sheila johnston (uk), claire clouzot (france), larisa malyukova (russia), daira abolina (latvia) and charles stephane roy (canada). founded in 1930 and paris-based, fipresci is a highly-regarded international federation of professional film historians, critics and media practitioners. they usually honor groundbreaking cinematic achievements in major film festivals like cannes, venice, berlin, sundance, locarno, rotterdam and moscow. my former student joel toledo (now a highly-accomplished poet and musician) and his friend john torres earlier bagged a joint network for the promotion of asian cinema (netpac)/fipresci prize for todo todo teros (co-winner with ying liang's taking father home) at the singapore international film festival last 13-29 april.

it is rather unfortunate that i couldn't be in manila to personally capture the film’s progression from planning to completion. but leo abaya (previous credits include: itanong mo sa buwan, misis mo, misis ko, jose rizal, muro-ami), the film’s production designer, has been sending out sms messages about the film’s wonderful accomplishments.

other friends have remarked that kubrador is possibly jeff’s best film to date. leo says that, in a way, the film problematized the everyday life of ordinary folks back home. it revolves around an aging bet collector (gina pareño as amelita) and her daily flirtation with jueteng. jueteng is an illegal game of numbers dating back to the period of spanish colonization in the philippines (1521-1898).

the bet collector is frequently held by the police. but immediately after being arrested, she returns to her wayward proclivities. one day, she learns that her soldier-son had been killed. paradoxically, she takes advantage by collecting more money from people in the slums. days later, the bet collector takes a break from work. then she visits the tomb of her soldier-son. there, she cheats death from a stray bullet.

pareño apparently did very well. at moscow, she gave julie walters, monica bellucci and salma hayek some fierce competition for the best actress trophy. of course, walters won for driving lessons. but that didn't mean that pareño's rendition was less powerful. the judges simply ventured towards a hollywood/eurocentric flair. kubrador was just different. still, it won a prize for being proudly filipino.

kubrador should also be interesting because pareño's co-stars are accomplished thespians nanding josef (father buboy), soliman cruz (policeman) and fonz besa (eli). visual artist/director and abs-cbn official johnny manahan makes a rare appearance too as a jueteng cashier.

of the film, critic joven velasco says that “the ghost of the son is a brilliant imagery for all-encompassing faith: someone watches over and protects small lives. that is how the wretched of this earth cope. this, to them, is the reality, no matter what the more privileged among us may think or say.”

meanwhile, kubrador has been formally accepted for exhibition by the following film festivals:
from 14 to 23 july, it will be competing at the 8th osian's-cinefan festival of asian cinema in new delhi, india. the film will have its north american/canadian premiere at toronto international film festival from 7 to 16 september.

from toronto, the film will cross the atlantic for its turkish premiere at the 2nd international eurasia film festival in antalya from 16 to 23 september. the festival coincides with the 43rd antalya golden orange film festival, turkey’s first and most prestigious domestic film festival. from 28 september to 13 october, the film will be moving to vancouver international film festival. kubrador will have its bollywood premiere at mumbai's 5th asian film festival from 12 to 19 october. from 12 to 20 october, it will be screened at the pusan international film festival in korea. from pusan, kubrador will have its iberian premiere at the sección oficial of spain's 51st valladolid international film festival from 20 to 28 october.

from 18 october to 2 november, the film will have its uk premiere at the 50th london international film festival. from 19 to 29 october, it will go to the louis vitton hawaii international film festival. in honolulu, kubrador will be seen by american audiences for the first time. over there, the film will also have a hollywood exposure because members of the hollywood foreign press, organizers of the annual golden globe awards, will be in attendance.

from 21 october to 3 november, kubrador will go brazilian at the 30th são paulo international film festival / 30ª mostra internacional de cinema. from brazil, the film will be crossing the pacific for the 19th tokyo international film festival from 21 to 29 october. the movie will compete at the 2006 cinemanila international film festival from 3 to 15 november. then it will be screened before greek and balkan audiences at the thessaloniki international film festival from 7 to 24 november. the film is set to make its western european premiere at the 33rd brussels international film festival of independent film from 7 to 12 november.

kubrador will have its french premiere in competition at the 26th festival international du film d'ameins (in competition) from 10 to19 november. after crossing the alps, it is set to have its italian premiere at the asiatica film mediale in roma from 18 to 26 november. from rome, the film will go to cairo international film festival from 28 november to 8 december. from cairo, the film will go to the 8th international film festival bratislava, slovak republic from 1-9 december. simultaneously, the film be exhibited at the panorama section of the tallinn black nights film festival in estonia from 1 to10 december. from 10 to 17 december kubrador will grace the 3rd dubai international film festival at the united arab emirates.

from united arab emirates, the film will go to the suchitra film society international film festival in chennai, india from 15-22 december and in bangalore, india from 22-29 december. from india, the film will proceed to palm springs (california, u.s.a.), goteborg (sweden), and tromso (norway). from scandinavia, it will be have its dutch premiere at the 36th international film festival rotterdam, which will take place from january 24 to 4 february 2007.from the netherlands, kubrador will be exhibited at the 30th göteborg international film festival from 26 january to 5 february 2007.

from sweden, kubrador will have its iranian premiere at the 25th fajr international film festival from 1-11 february 2007. from iran
, the film will proceed to the 35th belgrade international film festival from 23 february 23rd to 4 march 2007. from serbia, the film will go to the 2006 cleveland international film festival in ohio, u.s.a. from 15 to 25 march 2007. from america, the film will be featured during the inaugural hyderabad international film festival (hiff) from 23-29th march 2007. from southern india, the film with have its danish premiere at the natfilm festivalen 2007 (18th annual film festival of denmark) from 23 march to 8 april.

many other film festivals around the world are still asking for screeners of
kubrador from mlr films producer joji alonso antonio. for instance,
the film will be competing for the golden kinnaree award for best film in competition at the 5th bangkok international film festival in july 2007. my thai friends said that the festival will be held at royal paragon hall of siam paragon complex on king rama I road, thailand's dramatic shopping mall and convention center. for 2007, there will be a long and winding red carpet (surrounded by cascading waterfalls and lush tropical foliage) for celebrities to walk on. hollywood and european stars, film artists, critics and media people have been invited to meet their asia-pacific counterparts next year. i reckon, bangkok will be another memorable trip for jeffrey. sawasdee khrap indeed! kubrador has also been invited to have its west bengal premiere at the 12th kolkata (calcutta) film festival from 10-17 november 2007. then there's guadalajara (mexico) and vilnius (lithuania). certainly, there will be even more festivals to come.

i can only hope that kubrador gets to win more awards. if possible, the film should make money. clearly, the film's premise is devoid of formula. just like jeffrey's other films (sana pag-ibig na, pila-balde, tuhog, bridal shower, bikini open and minsan pa), kubrador would surely be raising some ante. for one, it wouldn't have any lacrimonous ("pang-award") moments. i've already had enough of local cinema's screaming-and-slapping fares. jeffrey's films would always say: it's time to move on.

joji alonso antonio is indeed "crazy" for producing kubrador. jeffrey and his team should be commended for struggling over the realm of micropolitics. for leo abaya, the film becomes even more important because it refers to analyze, elaborate and bring into question the inescapable problems of ordinary filipinos.

these days, films shouldn't just be entertaining. viewers are now beginning to push for an even more distinctive style of cultural politics. there has to be more support for the subaltern. committed viewers should be watching films like kubrador.

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production designer leo antonio abaya, actor gina pareño and film director jeffrey jeturian at the blue carpet of the xxviii moscow international film festival last 2 july
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film producer/lawyer joji alonso antonio, actor gina pareño and film director jeffrey jeturian in moscow
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jeffrey jeturian at a press conference after winning the fipresci prize during this year's moscow international film festival
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by the marquee of the xxviii moscow international film festival
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johnny manahan as jueteng cashier
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jeturian directs manahan
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director of photography boy yniguez takes a shot of jeturian and manahan
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pareño and yniquez by the slums of sikatuna

XXVIII Moscow International Film Festival
23 June to 2 July 2006
Grand Prix, Golden St. George
OM SARA / ABOUT SARA, Director: Othman Karim, Sweden, 2005
Grand Jury Prize, Golden St. George
DRIVING LESSONS, Director: Jeremy Brock, UK, 2006
Best Director Silver St. George
Bertrand Blier, COMBIEN TU M'AIMES? / HOW MUCH DO YOU LOVE ME?, Italy / France
Best Actor Silver St. George
Jens Harzer, DER LEBENSVERSICHERER / RUNNING ON EMPTY, Director: Bulent Akinci, Germany, 2005
Best Actress Silver St. George
Julie Walters, DRIVING LESSONS, UK, 2006
Special Prize for Achieving Perfection in Acting and for Loyalty to the Principles of the Stanislavsky Method
Gerard Depardieu, actor, France
The Perspectives Competition Prize
SPRING / CHASHMA, directed by Yolkin Tuychiev, Uzbekistan, 2006
The prize of The Russian Federation of Film Clubs for the Best Film of the 28th MIFF Russian Films program
NANKIN LANDSCAPE, Russia, 2005, directed by Valery Rubinchik
The prize of The Russian Federation of Film Clubs for the best film in Competition
KLIMT, Austria / France / Germany / UK, 2005, directed by Raul Ruiz
Special mention and a diploma of The 28th MIFF Jury of the Russian Guild of Film Critics
DER LEBENSVERSICHERER / RUNNING ON EMPTY, directed by Bulent Akinci, Germany, 2005
FIPRESCI (Fédération Internationale de la Presse Cinématographique) Prize for Best Film in Competition
KUBRADOR, directed by Jeffrey Jeturian, Philippines, 2006

(Photo Credits: Vice Consul and Third Secretary Deric Atienza of the Philippine Embassy in Moscow and Director of Photography Boy Yniguez)

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13 July 2006

on lian ramos

based in new york's empire state building, the filipino reporter is the only filipino-american weekly newspaper listed in the "working press of the nation". to date, it is the only ethnic newspaper belonging to the new york press club as regular member. it was founded on 2 july 1972 by veteran filipino journalist libertito pelayo.

edmund silvestre, the paper's news editor, was my seatmate in college. he asked me to write an article enticing filipinos and filipino-americans to support lia andrea ("lian") ramos, the current miss philippines. edmund provided the "make-over" angle in my article.

by sheer coincidence, lian was a blockmate of my former students at the university of the philippines (u.p.). born and raised in davao city, she was discovered at u.p. diliman by geographer/stylist jonas gaffud, philippine house of representatives officer roentgen ("nad") bronce and businessman fidelio ("boyet") blas. gaffud and bronce were student leaders in u.p. during the mid-1990s. blas is the youngest son of film mogul emilia blas. mrs. blas operated lea productions. lea produced quality filipino films (e.g. lino brocka's santiago, stardoom, tubog sa ginto, ano ang kulay ng mukha ng diyos?) from the 1960s till the 1980s. along with arnold orosa, gaffud, bronce and blas are the movers behind the hugely-popular mabuhay beauties website.

jonas and nad had been convincing lian to join bb. pilipinas since 2001. but lian had too many organizational commitments as a student leader. most importantly, she wanted to finish her political science degree. and when she finally did, she began working as a visa officer for the royal norwegian embassy in manila. soon after, she became assistant program officer for asia foundation. at asia foundation, lian embarked on numerous projects with the supreme court of the philippines involving sustained information technology (i.t.) learning and skills enhancement among court judges nationwide.

another friend, zorayda ("zora") andam, now works with angara, abello, concecpcion, regala and cruz (accra) law offices. she completed her law degree at u.p. and passed the bar exams immediately after she completed her reign as bb. pilipinas universe 2001. recently, she figured prominently as part of the all-woman prosecution panel in the high-profile subic rape case involving six united states servicemen. arguing that celebrities like zora can use their high visibility to work on certain advocacies, jonas and nad finally convinced lian to join this year's bb. pilipinas.

lian arrived yesterday at the wilshire grand hotel in los angeles to compete as philippine representative to the 2006 miss universe pageant. pageants are a big thing in the philippines, thailand, korea and in many latin american countries. very few people would remember that two australians won titles 34 years ago. in 1972, perth's kerry ann wells became miss universe while sydney's belinda green was crowned miss world. pageants lost their popularity in australia until jennifer hawkins (current host of channel 7's the great outdoors) became miss universe in 2004.

i have attached below an early draft of the article edmund will be publishing for the filipino reporter's print edition (year 34, no. 30 / july 7-13, 2006, p.1). friends have remarked that i have been writing too many serious narratives lately. for this week, i have decided to write something light and easy. i wouldn't mind doing this occasionally for friends like edmund, lian, jonas, nad and boyet.

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lian ramos' make-over shots in bogota
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lian ramos gets a warm welcome from miss universe organization representative william prendiz de jurado
(5 july 2006)
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lian ramos gets a handshake from mabuhaybeauties.com los angeles correspondent alvin paris
(5 july 2006)
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lian ramos arrives at wilshire grand hotel in los angeles for the 2006 miss universe pageant
(5 july 2006)
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lian ramos' latest swimsuit shot
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lian prepares for her photo shoots at wilshire grand hotel
(6 july 2006)
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lian's photo for the 2006 miss universe official program
(6 july 2006)
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lian's official miss universe 2006 swimsuit photo by fadil berisha
(6 july 2006)
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lian with miss indonesia nadine chandrawinata and miss universe 2005 natalie glebova of canada during the cocktail party at tadashi's pasadena mansion
( 8 july 2006)
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lian meets donald trump at the residence of japanese designer shoji tadashi in pasadena
(8 july 2006)
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celebrity basketball at staples centre
(9 july 2006)
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lian at the ritz carlton afternoon tea party for make-a-wish foundation
(9 july 2006)
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lian at "young hollywood" sunset party with martine jonassen (norway), priscilla perales (mexico), alessandra mezquita (panama), elizabeth gray (new zealand), francys sudnicka (poland) and zuleyka rivera (puerto rico)
(10 july 2006)
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lian at the miss universe 2006 welcome dinner at wilshire grand hotel with lauriane gilieron (switzerland), ekaterine buadze (georgia) and sanita kublina (latvia)
(11 july 2006)
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lian's official miss universe 2006 headshot taken between filming and rehearsals
(11 july 2006)
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lian at universal studios with charm onwarin osathanond (thailand), natialie ackermann (germany), lauriane gillieron (switzerland) and fatimih davila (uruguay)
(12 july 2006)
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lian during the miss universe 2006 delegates swimsuit tableau photo shoot at the trump national golf course in rancho palos verdes, california
(12 july 2006)
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lian during the thai dinner hosted by singha beer by alvin paris
(13 july 2006)
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lian during the 2006 miss universe charity auction at oakmont country club by robert ryan
(14 july 2006)
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lian with fatimih davila (uruguay) and rocco ragazzo
(14 july 2006)
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lian ramos during the charity auction night by rocco ragazzo
(14 july 2006)
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lian during the mikimoto-sponsored event at south coast plaza mall by alvin paris
(15 july 2006)
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lian with fiorella vinas (peru) and francys sudnicla (poland); the mikimoto event was hosted by filipino-american cher calvin of nbc's ktla morning news
(15 july 2006)
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lian, with fabriella quesada (costa rica), katty lopez (ecuador), magali romitelli (argentina), priscila perales (mexico), melissa ann tan (malaysia), carol cheong yim foon (singapore) and charm onwarin osathanond (thailand), listening to a mariachi band at la huasteca in lynwood,california
(16 july 2006)
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lian at key club on sunset strip, west hollywood with betina faurbye (denmark), fatimih davila (uruguay), nadine chandrawinata (indonesia), sif aradottir (iceland), martine jonassen (norway), judita hrubyováczech (slovak republic), renata langmannová(czech republic), ying hui gao (china) and angela asara (ghana)
(17 july 2006)
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lian during the 2006 miss universe preliminary fitness (swimsuit) competition at l.a.'s shrine auditorium by sam mircovich for reuters
(18 july 2006)
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lian during the 2006 miss universe preliminary style (evening gown) competition at l.a.'s shrine auditorium
(18 july 2006)
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lian in her controversial manton de manila-inspired "national costume" by colombian designer alfredo barraza during the 2006 miss universe presentation show at l.a.'s shrine auditorium; lian looks graceful here but she was gliding along the stage with an 8" bakya (philippine clogs) underneath
(18 july 2006)
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lia andrea ramos receives the 2006 photogenic prize
(23 july 2006)

07 July 2006

miss universe bet gets a makeover

when lia andrea “lian” ramos arrives in los angeles for the 55th annual miss universe pageant this month, filipino fans and supporters may be in for a surprise.

the reigning bb. pilipinas-universe has undergone a month-long dramatic makeover under colombian pageant gurus javier murillo (stylist) and alfredo barraza (designer).

not that she has undergone surgery (she did not).

but lian, 25, certainly looks different from the girl who had won the miss philippines-universe crown at the araneta coliseum in quezon city four months ago.

it was the idea of miss international 1960 stella marquez-araneta, miss universe franchise holder for the philippines, to send lian to bogota.
after winning on march 19, lian was immediately rushed to undergo a more difficult fitness regimen at gold’s gym-glorietta (makati) for two months.

she also received personality development training from dale carnegie, as well as catwalk, fitness and styling tips from her mentor-discoverer jonas gaffud, and from her friends boyet blas (scion of aling miling blas of the now-defunct lea productions) and nad bronce.

several former bb. pilipinas titleholders also took turns in training her.
lian said miss international 2005 precious lara quigaman’s advice was: “be confident and natural, and believe in yourself. there will be a lot of beautiful candidates. you have to believe you are as beautiful as those other women.”

still, the people behind bb. pilipinas charities Inc. (bpci) felt that there’s something missing.

a colombian makeover may indeed be the missing link to make miss philippines stand out more against the usual latina and blonde favorites.
but there are critics back home who countered that a trip to colombia was totally unnecessary. after all, the philippines has more beauty titles than colombia.

to date, the country has produced two miss universe winners — gloria diaz won in 1969, while margarita moran bagged the crown in 1973.
both winners had achieved victories even without training overseas.

in contrast, colombia has produced only one, luz marina zuluaga (1958).
aside from winning miss universe twice, the philippines has also won the miss international crown four times: gemma cruz in 1964, aurora pijuan in 1970, melanie marquez in 1979 and quigaman last year.

the country has also won countless other titles, runner-up finishes and special awards in international pageants.

only venezuela, the united states, puerto rico, brazil, india, australia, the united kingdom and sweden have approximated or exceeded the philippines’ track record in winning pageants.

in addition, the philippines has many world-class designers (joji lloren, monique lhuillier, among others), stylists and creative artists who can prepare our local delegates. but even these talents have never been tapped.

from 1999 to 2006, the philippines has been sending delegates to colombia with mixed results.

only miriam quiambao (miss universe 1999 1st runner-up) turned out to be the big winner among the overseas-trained filipino beauties.

with so much infighting among fashion stalwarts in the country, there were those who believed that it may be a total nightmare to handpick which luminary should be given the responsibility of training filipina delegates.

everyone’s going to be just-too-thrilled to take the job. It may also be logical for araneta to tap her friends murillo and barraza for lian’s training to avert such controversy.

it remains to be seen whether colombia has increased lian’s chances at winning the philippines’ 3rd miss universe crown.

for lian, her dramatic makeover is certainly not enough. she is counting on her filipino and filipino-american fans and supporters (especially those who live around the u.s. west coast) to cheer for her during the miss universe presentation night on july 23 (sunday) at 7 p.m. at the shrine auditorium in los angeles, since the judges will be selecting the semifinalists on that day, not during the finals.

(The finals will be aired live in the U.S. on July 23 on NBC.)

“it is more important to have gazillions of philippine supporters during the presentation show,” lian's mentors declare. “the decision to narrow down the delegates to the top 15 will happen there.”

reports on lian’s makeover began circulating in newspapers and pageant websites. she has generated mostly positive reviews from local and international pageant fans.

photos reveal a leaner, perkier lia andrea ramos.

murillo and barazza may have perfected the ideal make-up, hairstyle and fitness regimen for her.

her new look made her appear as a cross between sophia loren and miss universe 2000, india’s lara dutta. an oriental latina, she has become.
pageant experts noted that lian’s chances will also get a boost from her impressive credentials.

lian has a b.a. political science degree from the university of the philippines in diliman, where she was an officer of several campus social and political organizations.

immediately after graduation, she worked as a visa officer for the royal norwegian embassy in manila.

a few years later, she became an assistant program officer at asia foundation. one of her notable projects at asia foundation involved the supervision of sustained learning and skills enhancement in information technology (i.t.) among philippine court judges, which enabled her to develop further awareness on pressing issues such as jail decongestion, trafficking of women and children and hiv awareness.

born and raised in davao city, the 5’7 ramos is also an alumna of ateneo de davao primary school and high school.

lian is doubly excited to compete in los angeles since her parents ferdinand ramos of davao city, and rosalia aquino from cagayan valley are now l.a.-based. most of her siblings will be there too.