Focus on the Philippines: Girl band 4th Impact celebrate ‘life-changing’ year since X Factor

Plus: Matt Damon learns Filipino martial art for Jason Bourne; Khavn de la Cruz joins Korean festival jury; DJ Chacha quits on Pinoy Big Brother

4th Impact. Courtesy ITV
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Filipino girl group 4th Impact have been nominated for the Music Artist/Band of the Year award at the Beam Awards, which recognise entertainment, sport, music and political figures from black, Asian and other minority ethnic groups. The ceremony will be held on October 12 in London and broadcast on the British ITV network.

Meanwhile, the band took to social media this week to mark the first anniversary of their audition for The X Factor UK.

“The day we experienced this life-changing moment of our lives,” they posted on their official Facebook page. “We never thought it would be the biggest break we will ever have.

"We remember during the final minute before we were called on The X Factor stage, we prayed hard and reminisced all the failures we had in past ­competitions."

The band members – sisters Almira, Mylene, Irene and Celina Cercado – flew from Manila to London last summer to audition for the reality-TV singing contest on July 21. They received a standing ovation from all four judges. Simon Cowell said: “In terms of first auditions, this is probably one of the best I’ve ever seen.”

Their audition performance of hit track Bang Bang by Jessie J, Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj has now racked up close to 58 million views on YouTube.

Mentored by pop singer Cheryl Fernandez-Versini, the sisters became fan favourites, reaching the show’s final rounds and finishing in fifth place.

“Thanks for all your support, guys,” the sisters posted on Facebook. “For being with us through this whole year. From the bottom of our hearts, ‘Maraming salamat po!’ Thank you very much for welcoming us in your hearts.”

Currently based in England, 4th Impact have been performing all over the world, including a sold-out concert in Dubai in April. They performed this week in Oslo, Norway, and gigs are scheduled in Gibraltar on August 4 and London on August 6.

Matt Damon learns Filipino martial art for new Bourne film

Actor Matt Damon revealed that he trained in the indigenous Filipino martial art called "kali" for the fight sequences in his latest film, Jason Bourne, which is in cinemas from Thursday, July 28.

Also known in the Philippines as arnis, kali is a form of hand-to-hand, weapon-based fighting that uses sticks, knives and improvised weapons.

Damon told ABS-CBN News: “Some martial artists came in and did a demonstration. Suddenly they started doing this thing that was so cool – it looked exactly like what we wanted, which was really destructive, really close, but economic. It was everything we wanted in Bourne’s style.”

The use of kali in the movie was organised by the film’s fight coordinators, Damon Caro and Jonathan Eusebio, who is ­Filipino.

Directed by Paul Greengrass, Jason Bourne is the fifth instalment of the film franchise. Damon co-stars with Alicia Vikander, Tommy Lee Jones and Julia Stiles.

Khavn de la Cruz joins Korean festival jury

Acclaimed independent filmmaker Khavn de la Cruz is serving as a jury member at the ­Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival in South Korea, which runs until Sunday. He is joined by Cannes Film Festival deputy director Christian Jeune, actress Jang Mi-Hee and producer Garrick Dion ­(Whiplash).

In addition to helping to choose the winners of the competition, the 42-year-old director will also screen his latest film, Alipato: The Very Brief Life of an Ember, at the festival, its Asian debut.

DJ Chacha quits Pinoy Big BrotherPinoy Big Brother is off to a dramatic start, with one of the reality-TV show's nine celebrity contestants quitting after only 14 days in the house.

DJ Chacha Balba, a popular radio host, left this week, blaming severe homesickness.

“I miss my child. That’s it,” said the 28-year-old. “I’m also thinking about my job in the real world because I’m a single mother and I can’t really lose my job.”

On Monday, after leaving, she said: “It was so difficult – I was going crazy. One thing I realised, I bow down to overseas Filipino workers because they’re so far away from their families and they can survive. I don’t know how they do it.”

The latest edition of Pinoy Big Brother is taking place in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, the first time in its 11-year history that it has been outside of Manila.

Remaining in the competition are eight housemates, including actress Yassi Pressman, teenage pop star JK Labajo and model Hideo Muraoka.