Focus on the Philippines: James Reid and Nadine Lustre visit Burj Khalifa, go skydiving on date

Also, 4th Impact return to Manila; Filipino designer wins Fit for Fashion; and Les Misérables composer thanks the Philippines.

It took a trip to Dubai last week for Filipino acting and singing couple James Reid and Nadine Lustre to find time for some quality alone-time. The duo performed a sold-out show at Al Nasr Leisureland, which was attended by thousands of fans. It was the duo's second stop in an international concert tour that kicked off in Doha on March 18.

According to reports, fans were spotted at the Dubai International Airport at 3am, waiting for the arrival of the stars.

One of the most popular on-screen couples in the Philippines today, Reid and Lustre recently wrapped up their romantic-­comedy television series On the Wings of Love, which was broadcast worldwide, including in the Emirates, via The Filipino Channel.

Last month, Reid and Lustre confirmed rumours that they were a couple in real life. In an interview with the UAE radio station Tag 91.1, Lustre said their team gave them one whole day – last Monday – to explore Dubai.

“Finally, we can go on a date together,” quipped Reid. “Back in Manila, we’re too busy. We were working every day, so we don’t really have time to go on a date.”

The couple said they visited Burj Khalifa and went skydiving.

“It’s been really fun seeing all the fans here in UAE,” said Reid. “It’s such a warm welcome and we are so happy to see everyone.”

Lustre added: “We didn’t expect it. There were so many people – it was packed. Because of the great crowd, we didn’t feel any pressure – it just felt so good to perform.”

Reid and Lustre’s next concert is in London on Saturday, March 26, and in Milan on Sunday, March 27.

4th Impact return to Manila

4th Impact received a heroes welcome when they returned to Manilla for a series of shows this week,

The Filipino girl group and The X Factor UK sensation performed on the popular variety programme ASAP last Sunday with pop star Sarah Geronimo. The quartet, which comprises sisters Almira, Irene, Mylene and Celina, paid tribute to Geronimo and described her as one of their biggest influences.

“Sarah is our inspiration. We are so honoured to perform with her. She’s our idol,” said eldest sister Almira.

This week it was announced that 4th Impact will be one of the main headliners of the Paradise International Music Festival, which will be held in Manila on April 9. The star-studded line-up features Kanye West, Wiz Khalifa, Austin Mahone, Rudimental and Afrojack.

Filipino designer wins Fit for Fashion

A New York-based banker has won the reality television programme Fit for Fashion. Jackie Zapata beat out compatriot Kyle Ramirez, a 23-year-old model in Manila, in the show's finale.

Broadcast on Star World, the third season featured 14 contestants from all over Asia. Billed as the first reality show that brings together fitness and fashion, Fit for Fashion saw contestants face weekly physical, mental and creative challenges that included creating their own fashion film and being hoisted up into the air for a fashion shoot.

The 32-year-old won US$100,000 (Dh367,000). She said her Filipino-American boyfriend Rusty Thompson, a contestant on the first season of Fit for Fashion in 2014, encouraged her to try out for the show.

“I’m living proof that any regular person can make a change to improve his or her life one day at a time,” Zapata said upon being crowned the winner. “Start by making a change, believe in yourself and remember the two rules in life: rule number one, never give up. Rule number two, never forget rule number one.”

Les Misérables composer thanks the Philippines

Les Misérables opened in Manila last week with a star-studded gala show. Claude-Michel Schönberg, French composer of the hit musical, expressed his gratitude to the country for being home to numerous talents who starred and continue to headline international productions of Les Misérables and Miss Saigon, both of which he co-wrote with fellow French lyricist Alain Boublil.

Schönberg recalled that when Lea Salonga auditioned for Miss Saigon in 1988, she performed the ballad On My Own, which was sung by the heroine of Les Misérables, Eponine. "We realised that far away in the East there was a country where Les Misérables was already popular," said Schönberg.

He told the audience: “For being so kind with our work for many, many years, I just would like to say, salamat po, Pilipinas [thank you, Philippines].”

The Manila production of Les Misérables is headlined by Filipino actress Rachelle Ann Go. She stars as Fantine, the role she has been playing in London's West End production of Les Misérables. When the Manila shows wrap up on April 24, Go will return to the United Kingdom to reprise the role in the West End production.

Meanwhile, Miss Saigon ended its West End run earlier this month. It is scheduled to open on Broadway in New York next year. Filipino actor Jon Jon Briones will reprise his critically acclaimed turn as the Engineer.