Over iced coffee

To my greatest, sweetest, most beautiful, most special, my most favourite. To my epitome of beauty, grace and resilience; my rock and everyday hero. She’s an absolute reminder of how blessed I am in this lifetime, and how love is indeed unconditional. Love you forever and beyond! Happy birthday Mother!

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First #UNPLUGGED featurette

Here’s the first online video teaser for our November gig, #UNPLUGGED! We thought we’d give you a sneak peek at our rehearsals! Seriously, seriously exciting! Indulge on a soulful musical experience. Relive some of your most memorable stories.  Book your tickets now! Rie … Continue reading

In a new light

And so the time came that I wanted to invest (finally) in a pretty steep and interesting gadget. A few weeks ago, and just right before my birthday, I came across the Fujifilm X-Series cameras that apparently merges “traditional styling with cutting edge innovative technology.” Love how that sounds. But more than anything, it is the look and the physical design of the Fuji mirrorless camera range that got me—it’s chic, unique and relatively retro. And to be honest, I did not want to get a DSLR camera. Regardless of its prominent high-quality features and what not, it’s just too conventional, too conforming for me. georgina

Of course, I needed to spend some time researching; going to company websites and blogs; reading product reviews and related articles in order to make sure that it’s worth the spending. But hey, this post isn’t going to be a review. I’m not very knowledgeable of the ideals and standards in the photography spectrum. I just wanted a dang good camera that would please me and my love for taking and editing snapshots. I also did not want the frills of sophisticated professional photography–basically, the fuzzy stuff. I just want my camera to be modern and user-friendly; and all photos HD enough to be adored.

I was fortunate to get a very good deal online, and managed to purchase a Black Fujifilm X-M1 mirrorless camera, which was just fit for my current budget. What’s ridiculous is that I’ve always wanted a silver one, but I initially thought that only the black was available in the store I got it from. To my surprise, I found out that silver was also in store and would actually cost a few dollars more; but this was after my package arrived. Bonkers! And truth be told, processing an exchange and/or refund is just never fun and convenient. So, what the heck. I’m keeping the black.

So far, so good. Loving the captured photos. Now, I am spending some time trying to learn the features of my X-M1. To date, I’ve successfully transferred my first few shots wirelessly from the camera to my iPhone through the related app, which just blew me away honestly!

And so, I thought I’d share my first few attempts with you. They’re just random snapshots; don’t expect too much. Colours have been slightly enhanced through helpful filters. Also, check out my gorgeous model, my very fine subject. He’s beautiful. Such a natural.

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From my vault

I had a quick dig. I was riffling thru my virtual sketchbook, and realised how much stuff I got in there that I haven’t formally shared yet. And so, I got you some of my favourite works–nothing quite stupendous or virtuosic. You know I am not that (or trying to be) in this matter. These stuff fall under my “visual journals” created a couple of years ago. Feel free to leave comments and what not.

Dame by Rie Manaloto, Graphic line art, 2013

“Dame” by Rie Manaloto, Graphic line art, 2013. I remember doing this for Mother’s Day, and hence inspired by my mother. This was also a part of my 21 Project.

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Souled by Rie Manaloto, Graphic illustration, 2013

“Souled” by Rie Manaloto, Graphic illustration, 2013. I gotta say that I was obsessed with Yeng Constantino for quite a long time that she was the subject of every single illustration I did. She personally saw and double-clicked this on Instagram when I posted it.

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When Her Hair Was Red by Rie Manaloto, Graphic illustration, 2013

“Fiery as Red” by Rie Manaloto, Graphic illustration, 2013. Another Yeng-inspired illustration that was also viewed and double-clicked by Yeng on Instagram. This was also a part of my 21 Project.

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Strait-laced by Rie Manaloto, Graphic abstract, 2013

“Strait-laced” by Rie Manaloto, Graphic abstract, 2013. This was a self-portrait, influenced by what I can remember was a very strong feeling of suppression that surfaced during that time.

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See my other works here: Canvas and Sketches.

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Copyright © 2015 Rie Manaloto. All rights reserved.

Éponine

Chilling on Pinterest and I was surprised to find my sketch from not more than 2 years ago. It’s a fan art I submitted to the Les Miserables page, which gained some public attention. Find it here.

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A very simple, minimalist, designer’s sheet-inspired digital watercolour art. (That line has used at least 5 adjectives)

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Screen-capped from the Les Mis page. All in all the post gained more than 1K ‘likes.’ Not that ‘likes’ still matter.

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Here’s the second artwork that didn’t make it to the page.

Éponine by Rie Manaloto

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I don’t always Tumblr

I don’t always Tumblr. But when I do, it looks something like this. (LOL, You know that popular tagline?)

Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 10.14.23 amFilOz-Art Youth’s got a Tumblr page. We thought it’d be an easier way to share our photo sessions, silly moments and what not in a photo blog. Facebook couldn’t contain them apparently. So, if you got time, visit our Tumblr page, and perhaps give us a sneaky Follow.

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Wait For It. Coming Soon. January 2015. FilOz-Art Youth.

Rie Manaloto

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Let me have an I-know-that-person moment.

Let me have an I-know-that-person moment. Incredibly proud of this star on the rise, real newsmaker, Marlisa! This photos was taken in January this year for a charity concert. God bless all your paths! This is just the beginning.

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Rie Manaloto Marlisa Punzalan

8th of October

I’m pretty sure all of us have that one friend (or maybe a bunch of them) who’s long gone but is never forgotten. And this friend, who’s been probably gone for some ten long years now, still owns a very special place in my heart. Her smile and her sweet voice remain strongly in my memory. And every time the calendar tells me that it is her birthday, I can never take it for granted. I will always have to make sure I think about her, and let all our friends know, and tell them to do the same. It’s always been like that in the last ten years. And we miss her just the same.

Happy birthday to that long-gone-never-forgotten-and-forever-missed friend who has gained early citizenship in heaven, Pam! You may be dimensions away from us but we know that you are at home with our Lord. (Pamela Jean C. Luarca, 1992-2004)

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Photo from Pinterest.

Rie Manaloto

Trends, trends.

OK. One interesting thing about the social media today is the existence of what I can call the “nomination trend” (I don’t know the perfect way to call it, and I don’t care). It is when one online user gets to do something cool or funny or ostentatious, and then share the fun (or the sorrow) with their peers by “nominating” them. The lucky nominees (or the hapless victims) do the same thing, and thus, a whole phenomenon arises.

A few examples of the “nomination trend” includes the famous ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, which originally was initiated in order to create awareness about ALS disease (but eventually used as a perfect excuse for fame-wh*res to flaunt their bodies and some MMK-ish play-acting). Then there’s Jam Nomination (getting nominated to sing any song you like); the Thankful List (getting nominated to write ten things you’re thankful for); your Favourite Bible Verse (getting nominated to write your favourite Bible verses); and then there’s the Facts challenge (getting nominated to write 20 facts about yourself).

Pretty thankful that I haven’t been nominated to do any of these until last weekend when I got nominated to the Facts one, then the Scripture one. Since I was kinda bored and got nothing too important to do, I actually gave it a try. It wasn’t too bad, and I did it in more or less than five minutes. And so, here’s what I wrote:

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20 FACTS

1. A Minimalism freak. Because less is more.

2. I have ailurophilia. Google that for yourself.

3. I sing random songs so randomly any time I feel like it. Throw me a word or a phrase, then I’ll sing it back to you.

4. Like singing Soul, Jazz and R&B.

5. Ultimately love Alex Gonzaga like mad. Like head over heels for her.

6. An education student. Teaching is one of my passions in life.

7. Actually think that I have a talent for graphic design, painting, photography, and anything Visual Arts.

8. Believe that watermelon is disgusting.

9. Sort of aspiring to become (as I know I would make) a good film scorer/sound designer/composer for screen.

10. Could be very snobbish, bur really friendly on the inside.

11. I only learn things that interest me and stuff that I find relevant.

12. Dreaming to actually work behind the camera one day.

13. I listen to Kyla and Ariana Grande everyday. They’re just some of the most important items on any of my playlists.

14. I love musical improvisation. I think it’s the real art in music.

15. Love BLACK. Black looks good on anything.

16. I drink about 2-3 litres of water everyday.

17. The Tomorrow People is seriously the first American TV series I got so massively infatuated with!

18. I make sure that I always engage in a super casual, real and honest conversation with God everyday.

19. I am a fan of Black music.

20. My most favourite people in the world are teachers, mothers and singers.

BIBLE VERSES

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV)

Visit my Instagram account to actually find out who nominated me and who I nominated to do these things. I was pretty hesitant to conform but I thought it’s just this one time anyway.

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Rie Manaloto

The Nightingale Returns to Sydney

World-class chanteuse, one of OPM’s finest, Asia’s Nightingale Lani Misalucha dazzles and sparkles as she returns to Australia for a series of shows across different states. Her tour has kicked off in Sydney, opening up the month of August with an astonishing bang and a concert experience to remember.

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It is indeed a dream come true for me to watch her perform live, and actually witness what the entire of Vegas is having a conniption on. And I definitely did. It may just be a taste of it, but it has been extremely delightful you would surely beg for more. I missed her first show back in 2011 where she actually did the whole impersonation material. What a loss for me.

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Lani’s amazing backup singers. Seriously good. The third in the string is actually her sister, May Bayot.

Hailed as the “Siren of the Strip”, Lani has showcased more than what the crowd has expected of her, and certainly epitomised world-class brilliance and vocal excellence. She is just insanely amazing, for the lack of concrete words to use. It is so hard to explain the feeling of just being mesmerised and flabbergasted at the same time by what this singing machine is able to do.

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Her voice would just blow you away and I couldn’t figure out where all that power is coming from. I might sound exaggerating or perhaps, naive about great singing talents, but trust me she is exceptional. If you’re a fan who saw his idol perform live for the very first time, then you’d understand where I’m coming from.

She is very gorgeous. An astonishing truth is that she is already a ‘Lola’ (but a sexy and feisty one) to her second daughter’s newborn. But obviously, no traces of it at all!

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This is her ‘whistling’ position. So compelling!

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Lani’s version of “flooring”

The pop diva had a remarkable (and tasteful) repertoire of songs, ranging from classics to contempt stuff, showing how she can masterfully straddle pop music and classic tunes. It was fantabulous.

My favourite items on the list include the opening where she starts off the show with Whitney Houston’s “Queen of the Night.” For many years now, Lani’s version is known to be the best, if not one of the best renditions of this song as it incorporates Lani’s coloratura aria which was just dumbfounding as always. Almost chilled my blood.

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Musical director, Jimmy Antiporda. Brilliant man of music!

She also did a snippet from her all-time signature hit “Loving You” (originally by Minnie Riperton) where she tried to get the audience to sing the whistle part, and obviously failed to do so. It was hilarious! But dude, she was astounding. It’s something I’ve been dying to hear her do live all my life.

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Singing “Saan Darating Ang Umaga” and talking about how they shot the music video situated along the streets of Manila.

The show cannot be complete if she didn’t perform the Pinoy smashers that she popularised like “You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me” (originally by Dusty Springfield); and most especially, her signature hit, “Bukas Na Lang Kita Mamahalin” that made Lani a very important OPM bastion. It is like an unspoken law to perform these songs.

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The highlight of the night was Lani’s rendition of Puccini’s aria, “Nessum Dorma”. She comes out of the stage in this very beautiful and stunning gown designed by Rocky Gathercole. Nobody’s seemed to have anticipated it but lo, there she was singing probably one of the hardest songs to sing in history. (I mean, d’oh, you gotta have the guts, and the gift so you can get through this one). And man she nailed it! She has suddenly become a different being all the while. Vocals, impeccable. Interpretation, moving regardless if I didn’t understand a word in a song that’s high above the clouds. It was just poignant. One of those songs that still ring in my head even up to now. It’s a haunting melody.

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This is the breathtaking aria!

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Lani sang a number of popular songs like “If I Ain’t Got You” (originally by Alicia Keys); the breathtaking Beyoncé hit, “Love On Top”; the terrific Whitney-MJ-Donna medley; another medley of well-loved movie theme songs; and an electrifying rendition of “Bohemian Rhapsody”, to name a few.

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Quite effortless singing. Paradoxical that her singing is so relaxed, so composed while her voice is just so big and powerful! Mind=blown.

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The pop diva also graciously sang a couple of songs from her new album “The Nightingale Returns” (i.e., a collection of some of the greatest Filipino songs of all time exquisitely rearranged and revived), like “Saan Darating Ang Umaga” (originally by Raymond Lauchengco) that presented an incredibly stirring arrangement. She also sang “Starting Over Again” (a bonus track from the album; originally by Natalie Cole), which was the theme song for the most recent Piolo-Toni movie with the same title.

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All these songs got the crowd singing; some even losing themselves; and a lot applauding on their feet simply because of the indubitable excellence and artistry of this diva extraordinaire.

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The Nightingale has closed the night on a high note with a medley of dance music, which people danced to and sang along with.

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Chit-chat moments

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Overall, it’s been an awesome experience. It got me craving for more actually. It’s like after the show, I’ll never listen to Lani the same way again. She’s really got my full respect and admiration. Another reason to be more proud to be Pinoy, and to value and appreciate the wealth of talents Filipinos got.

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My only photo with Lani. Out of all the photos that could go crap, this had to be it. Epic!

Rie Manaloto 

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Ate’s!

 

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Amazing, amazing album. Major, major amazement! You seriously should get yourself a copy! My fav cuts: “Paano”, “Bulag, Pipi, Bingi”, “May Bukas Pa”, “Ikaw Lamang”, and “Muli”. Exquisite arrangements.

 

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Finally got a couple of decent photos with Lani! Thanks to Darryl O’Brien!

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Rie Manaloto

Frisky at Fifty!

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Must be frisky at fifty! Happy, happy 50th birthday to the “Mr Pure Energy” of Philippine music history, Gary Valenciano!

Congratulations on the new milestone! Time to bask in your massive achievements, your successes, fruitful years and all the miles you racked up.

It’s still so hard to believe that you are on the majestic 5-0, which means you covered half of a century! (Whoops!) But, see, you just look too good (and too young) for it!

Here’s to a second half century of vibrance, brilliance and excellence! May this new milestone continue to be filled with the relentless love of God, your family, loved ones and friends. And may you just continue to inspire more lives and touch more souls through your music and your life.

 

 

Love and peace,

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Rie Manaloto

My Sassy Señorita

alexg4Smitten like a perky kitten. I am just head over heels for this woman that she is on the top spot of my classic “Indefatigably-thinking-of” list alongside JLaw, Sarah G, and Toni G among others.

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She is simply one-of-a-kind. Her beauty and charm can’t be easily described as they are stitched together in a very unique and exceptional way, not to mention her smashing wit and sparkling personality.

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Fervently wishing of meeting her one day to maybe have a jam or two, or perhaps a D&M sesh as it seems like she is someone you’d really love to chat and share insights with.

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Insomuch as I didn’t want to instigate anything about this matter, Alex has pretty much all the qualities I love and are ideal in a woman. And to get to know her or someone like her would be an extraordinary delight.

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All original photos by Miguel Miranda from this article in StyleBible.ph.

Follow Alex on Twitter @MsCathyGonzaga and Instagram @CathyGonzaga.

 

 

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Rie Manaloto

Gary V in Sydney!

Seriously, seriously one of the best Filipino artists to have graced the Australian concert stage ever. Talk about blowing the roof off a concert hall by an enormous amount of energy and brilliance, and relentless cheers and shouts from the crowd.

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Dubbed as “Mr Pure Energy” Gary Valenciano has come back to Oz for a series of shows in celebration of his 30th year in show business. The tour has kicked off in Sydney, the first of his five destinations all around Straya. The concert was a sell-out!

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After those three fruitful decades of superstardom, THE Gary V has proven that he still is the unbeatable and insurmountable “Mr Pure Energy”—a powerful, whirling force of nature; energy personified.

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The concert royalty also revealed that he will be turning 50 this year, which I find really astonishing as he does not even look or sound like it. His moves remain fiery and electrifying. His voice still reflects his dynamic and beautiful soul. His energy is just as infectious and dumbfounding as always. All those put together, Gary V has won over the crowd, singing some of his most popular hits ever like “Di Bale Na Lang” that has set the concert hall on fire; “Di Na Natuto” (which, clearly, fired up the women in the audience, I must say); “Babalik Ka Rin” that got everybody nostalgic about the good ol’ days back home; and many more.

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Gary performing “Babalik Ka Rin”

One of the most special parts of the concert is when Gary seamlessly and soulfully sang a medley of soap opera theme songs that he popularised (and probably made successful) or “Gary-fied” as he’s absolutely had his own way of personalising these old OPM tunes, breathing new life to these compositions, and making them sound new, majestic and glorious. The songs have got the crowds singing along to them (which was good, but really annoying); some were left in tears (and that includes my mother because she loved all those teleserye’s that Gary sang the theme songs of).

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He is gifted on the piano, too! He has amazing improv skills. No wonder he’s a great composer.

Gary proudly introduced his eldest son, Paolo Valenciano who has been making a name in the music industry by being the band vocalist of “Salamin”, and by co-directing Gary’s “Arise Gary V 3.0” anniversary concert at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in the Philippines a few months ago. Accordingly, Paolo will also be directing Toni Gonzaga’s anniversary concert at the Mall of Asia Arena this coming October. What I am most excited about is that he is set to release his first solo album quite soon (which I already had a preview of, and dude, we all gotta watch out for this man!). All these must have really made the music icon an extremely proud dad.

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I am a fan of this artist!

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The father-and-son tandem sang a medley of popular Beatles’ hits, high-powered, melding pop, rock and a bit of funk with so much intensity and authority. They also did an inspirational ballad mashup featuring Gary’s all-time popular hit, “I Will Be Here”, and Martin Nievera’s “I’ll Be There.”

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The father-and-son duet!

The arrangements for all the songs he performed in the concert were astounding and compelling. Thanks to the genius of Mr Pure Energy himself who has redesigned and revivified these classic tunes. The audience were thrilled and mesmerised to hear his very own classics rearranged, infused with mainstream beats and dance-flavoured sounds, like his “Hataw Na”, “Look In Her Eyes” and “Eto Na Naman” (arranged by his other son, Gab Valenciano) that had the audience on their feet, jumping and dancing along while trying to capture each moment on their tech gadgets. Incredible multitasking, I must say.

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Filipino musical director and arranger, Mon Faustino.

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When everybody realised that the show was nearing its end, the crowd clamoured for “More! More!” after every song that finished. And just like any other show, some unexpected glitch (like a major one, i.e., power failure of some sort) tried to ruin the show and stopped Gary from performing with a backing track. But the concert icon managed the predicament very professionally and proactively, and came back for more upbeat singing and grooving.

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That’s like one of his signature poses.

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Special filming for “SayTay”. Interesting.

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He has a thing for percussion, too! Incredible.

Saving the best for last, Mr Pure Energy sang his popular Christian hit, my personal favourite, “Take Me Out of the Dark” with a message about trusting and committing our lives to God while sharing his life’s experiences, miracles and important lessons.

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Overall, it has been an unforgettable experience. It was very unfortunate that there wasn’t an album signing sesh, and it really frustrated me because I was really looking forward to meeting him and Paolo face to face. Nevertheless, I know and I am quite sure that that wouldn’t the last time I’d see them.

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Taking his last bow.

It has been a massive privilege to have watched a great Filipino icon perform live and showcase his immense gift of singing and performing, alongside his great gift of inspiring people and communicating God to them. Genuine excellence. Natural cool-ness. Incredible talent. He makes me more proud to be Pinoy.

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So surprised to see Maki Ricafort in his band. I am a huge fan of this guy! He’s awesome!

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With Maki!!!!!!!! Didn’t get to take a photo with Gary and Paolo, but at least I have one with Maki!

(Photo redisplayed) Here’s Paolo Valenciano’s pre-release, sample copy (or like a preview copy) of his first solo album. Man, I’m loving it! The songs are sounding quite terrific. Can’t wait for the full version! Watch out for this guy!

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Rie Manaloto