Focus on the Philippines: Gerald Santos shoots music video in UAE

Plus: Dubai rock band Gatilyo signs with Warner Music Philippines; domestic helper wins National Geographic photo contest; Elha Nympha performs on Little Big Shots France; Filipino films win in international festivals

Gerald Santos. Courtesy GMA Records
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Filipino pop singer Gerald Santos has filmed the music video of his latest song, I Am Yours, in the Emirates. According to ABS-CBN News, Santos filmed scenes in multiple locations across Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Al Ain, including the Dubai Fountain, Zabeel Park, and Jebel Hafeet.

The music video is set to be released in March. I Am Yours is the first single from his forthcoming new album, which is still untitled.

Scenes for the video were also filmed in London, England and Edinburgh, Scotland. Santos is currently based in London, where he stars in the UK tour of the musical Miss Saigon, playing the role of Thuy. The Miss Saigon tour also features four other Filipino actors: seventeen-year-old newcomer Joreen Bautista plays the lead role of Kim, while Red Concepcion plays the character known as the Engineer. Ela Lisondra and Christian Rey Marbella are part of the musical's ensemble. Santos, 26, catapulted into fame in the Philippines after winning the reality singing programme Pinoy Pop Superstar in 2006. He has since released five albums.

Dubai rock band signs with Warner Music Philippines

Gatilyo, a Filipino rock band based in Dubai, has signed a record deal back in their homeland with the major label Warner Music Philippines. The four-piece band is comprised of Mark Legaspi (vocals), David Ojeda (guitars), Axzell Florida (drums) and Clyden Bonifacio (bass).

The band flew to the Philippines on Thursday, to begin a nine-day trip where they will be performing shows across music venues in Manila. Their first show is scheduled was on February 9, at Saguijo Cafe and Bar, where they will perform alongside popular Filipino bands Razorback and Kjwan.

“See you this Friday, Manila. Let’s make noise,” the band posted on their Facebook page. Gatilyo was formed in Dubai in 2015.

Domestic helper wins National Geographic photo contest

Joan Pabona, a Filipino domestic worker in Hong Kong, won second place in a photography competition organised by National Geographic. Her black-and-white photo, titled Sacrifice, features a construction worker surrounded by safety nets used for bamboo scaffolding. It can be viewed at the competition's official website.

Pabona took the photograph from the eighth floor of the residential building where she and her employers live.

In an interview with Esquire Philippines, Pabona said: "Sacrifice has a similarity with my daily life as a domestic worker, who works very hard and sacrifices to have a better future and reach greener pastures."

Her photograph appears in this month's Chinese edition of National Geographic magazine. "I'm very happy because I'm the only non-Cantonese and the only woman among all the awardees," she said. The competition attracted 3,518 entries.

Elha Nympha performs on Little Big Shots France

Thirteen-year-old Filipino singing sensation Elha Nympha appeared on the French edition of Little Big Shots, a children’s talent show, last week.

Nympha, who won the reality singing programme The Voice Kids Philippines in 2015, performed a cover of Sia's hit track Chandelier. She flew to France last October to film the episode.

Last year, Nympha flew to Los Angeles to appear in the American edition of Little Big Shots, where she performed the same song. Little Big Shots is produced and created by American talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres.

Prior to winning The Voice Kids Philippines, Nympha used to work as a market vendor with her mother.

Filipino films win in international festivals

Filipino director Shireen Seno's latest feature, Nervous Translation, won the Netpac Award  (Best Asian Film) at the 47th Rotterdam International Film Festival, held last week in the Netherlands.

Nervous Translation tells the story of an eight-year-old girl growing up during the politically unstable climate of the Philippines in the 1980s. It is the first Filipino film to win the Netpac Award since its launch in 1995.

The jury praised the film’s “singularly original representation of childhood that captures a unique view of the world — one that is full of contradictory interactions, introspection, social and political dissonance”.

In other festival news, Zig Dulay's film Bagahe (The Baggage) took the top prize at the Vesoul International Film Festival of Asian Cinema in France.

Bagahe chronicles the story of an overseas worker's efforts to return back home to the Philippines. The film is headlined by actress Angeli Bayani.

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