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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 13 December 2018

Focus on the Philippines: Kris Aquino insists no plans to run in 2019

Plus: Khalid enjoys Filipino fast food Jollibee in California; Philippines third happiest country in the world; Rachelle Ann Go 'freaks out' meeting Keira Knightley; Barcelona wins big at Famas Awards

Kris Aquino. Courtesy ABS-CBN Entertainment
Kris Aquino. Courtesy ABS-CBN Entertainment

Kris Aquino, one of the biggest names in the Philippine entertainment industry, has insisted that she has no plans to run for public office during the 2019 elections.

Rumours emerged in recent weeks that Aquino will run for a seat in the Philippine senate in 2019, following in the footsteps of her parents and brother.

Aquino, 46, is the daughter of the late President Corazon Aquino and Senator Ninoy Aquino, and the sister of President Noynoy Aquino, who led the country from 2010 until 2016.

“I have no 2019 ambitions,” she posted on social media this week. “So please mess with me about politics around February 14 in 2021 – perfect 50th birthday celebration for me.”

In recent months, Aquino has persistently quashed rumours concerning her political aspirations. But in November, she hinted that she may be open to working in government in the future.

“I am comfortable and was born for the political arena,” she said.

“But it's not yet my career path for one important reason – before she died, my mom told me something regarding my entrance into politics: my children must come first. Our home must be stable.”

Aquino will next be seen on the Hollywood adaptation of Crazy Rich Asians, co-starring with Constance Wu, Michelle Yeoh and Filipino-American actor Nico Santos, who currently appears on the NBC comedy series Superstore.

Khalid enjoys Filipino fast food Jollibee in California

A photograph of American singer-songwriter Khalid eating at a California branch of the Philippine fast food restaurant Jollibee went viral on social media this week.

On New Year's Day, Filipino-Mexican model Justine Biticon (who previously appeared on the reality competition programme America's Next Top Model) posted on Twitter a photograph of Khalid eating at at the Jollibee in Panorama City, California.

“My lil bunso's (youngest child),” she quipped.

Khalid posted on his own Twitter account: “I love Jollibee.”

The two friends shared fried chicken, hotdog sandwiches, Filipino-style sweet spaghetti and french fries.

Khalid, 19, is up for five awards at the forthcoming Grammy Awards, including for Song of the Year and Best New Artist.

Philippines third happiest country in the world

The Philippines is the third happiest country in the world, according to a global survey by the American firm Gallup International.

Fiji ranked first, while Colombia placed second in Gallup's 41st Annual Global End of Year Survey. Completing the top ten are Mexico, Vietnam, Kazakhstan, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, India and Argentina and the Netherlands, which tied for last place.

The survey's respondents were asked the question: “In general, do you personally feel very happy, happy, neither happy nor unhappy, unhappy, or very unhappy about your life?” Each of the five possible responses were assigned a numerical score.

According to the survey, 86 per cent of Filipinos said they were happy, 10 per cent were neutral and 2 per cent unhappy, resulting in a net score of +84.

Gallup International said a total of 53,769 persons were interviewed globally, with around 1,000 respondents interviewed in each country.

Rachelle Ann Go 'freaks out' meeting Keira Knightley

Since Hamilton started previews on London's West End on December 6, the hit musical's Filipino star Rachelle Ann Go has been meeting the show's celebrity fans backstage, including Emma Stone, Jon Hamm and Stephen Merchant.

On December 30, Go posted on social media her photograph with actress Keira Knightley, who went backstage to meet the cast after their performance.

“What a way to end the year,” wrote Go, who plays the lead female role of Eliza Schuyler, the wife of titular character, American founding father Alexander Hamilton. “I have to be honest … I freaked out.”

Go co-stars in the musical with another Filipino actress, Christine Allado, who plays her sister Peggy Schuyler.

Featuring the music, lyrics and book by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton opened on Broadway in 2015 then went on to receive a record-setting 16 Tony nominations, winning 11, including Best Musical.

Go started her singing career in the Philippines at age 11. She moved to London in 2014 for the West End revival of the musical Miss Saigon.

Barcelona wins big at Famas Awards

The romantic drama Barcelona: A Love Untold brought home the Best Picture award at this week's Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences Awards, also known as Famas Awards. The movie also won the Best Director prize for Olivia Lamasan and Best Actor for Daniel Padilla.

Angelica Panganiban was honoured as Best Actress for her performance in The Unmarried Wife. The film also bagged the Best Screenplay award for writer Vanessa Valdez.

Veteran actresses Susan Roces and Amalia Fuentes were both given the Lifetime Achievement Award for their contributions to the Philippine film industry.

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