x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 14 December 2017

Focus on the Philippines: Maine Mendoza in world’s most tweeted list

Plus: Bailey May records first performance with global pop group Now United; filmmaker Cathy Garcia-Molina to retire in 2019; Sunday Beauty Queen wins in London film festival

Filipino actress Maine Mendoza. Courtesy GMA
Filipino actress Maine Mendoza. Courtesy GMA

Filipino actress Maine Mendoza ranked as the fifth most tweeted celebrity in the world in 2017, according to a list published this week by the social media company Twitter. Mendoza, 22, is a film and television star who catapulted into fame on the musical variety programme Eat Bulaga! (Lunchtime Surprise) in 2015. She currently has 4.6 million followers on Twitter.

The list was topped by South Korean boy groups BTS and Seventeen, Cuban-American singer Camila Cabello and American pop star Justin Bieber. Mendoza came in fifth place, followed by former One Direction members Niall Horan and Harry Styles.

Meanwhile, the list of top ten most-followed Filipino accounts on Twitter was dominated by film and television stars, led by Vice Ganda (with 10.2 million followers), Anne Curtis, Angel Locsin, Kathryn Bernardo, Yens Constantino, Bianca Gonzalez Intal and Daniel Padilla.

Bailey May records first performance with Now United

Young Filipino actor and singer Bailey May features in the first recorded performance of Now United, the new global pop group formed by Simon Fuller, the English producer known for creating the Idol reality singing competition franchise and managing the career of the Spice Girls.

The 11-member singing and dancing group, set to be officially launched in 2018, also features members from the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, India, South Korea, Japan, Senegal, Finland, Russia and Brazil.

In a clip uploaded on the group’s Instagram page, the members of Now United perform an untitled pop-dance track “supporting climate change awareness across the globe”, according to a posting.

A post shared by NOW UNITED (@nowunited) on

May, 15, flew to Los Angeles back in September to audition for the group. He was joined by Filipino actresses AC Bonifacio, Jane de Leon and Ylona Garcia, but the three did not make the cut. May rose to fame after appearing on the reality programme Pinoy Big Brother in 2015. He went on to star in the romantic comedy series On the Wings of Love and to release his debut album, titled Bailey, recorded under Star Music.

Filmmaker Cathy Garcia-Molina to retire in 2019

After a three-decade career in cinema, Filipino director Cathy Garcia-Molina announced she is ready to retire from the industry in February of 2019, when her contract expires with the media and production company ABS-CBN.

During the press conference for her latest film Unexpectedly Yours, headlined by Sharon Cuneta and Robin Padilla, Garcia-Molina said: “My retirement is final. I have to take care of my children. My children are important, that’s why I’m giving the rest of my years to them. Since I got married, I’ve dreamt of becoming a housewife — I’ve dreamt about it for 25 years but it has never come true.”

Garcia-Molina, 46, has two children with her late husband Epoy Molina. She is known for her blockbuster romantic-comedies, including A Second Chance (2015), which is currently the highest-grossing Filipino film of all time.

Earlier this year, she directed My Ex and Whys (starring Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil) and Seven Sundays (featuring an ensemble that includes Aga Muhlach and Cristine Reyes), which were both commercial and critical successes.

Sunday Beauty Queen wins in London film festival

Director Baby Ruth Villarama’s Sunday Beauty Queen took home the Best International Documentary prize at the recent London Labour Film Festival. The documentary chronicles the lives of a group of Filipino domestic workers in Hong Kong taking part in a beauty pageant. The acclaimed feature premiered at last year’s Busan International Film Festival and won the top prize at the Metro Manila Film Festival.

Villarama told the Philippine Daily Inquirer after her big win: “We were competing with great films … and we were not there to campaign for it. But Filipino communities in the UK and British nationals championed it.”

Several other Filipino films triumphed in recent international festivals, including Imago, which won for Raymund Ribay Gutierrez the Best Director award at the Sulmona International Film Festival in Italy.

Mary Joy Apostol, the young lead of Mikhail Red’s thriller Birdshot, won as Best Actress at the Asian Film Awards held in Vietnam. Birdshot is the official Philippine entry to the Best Foreign Language Film category of the forthcoming Academy Awards.

At the Torino Film Festival in Italy, Filipino director Carlo Francisco Manatad was awarded the Jury Prize at the Torino Film Lab for his latest project Whether the Weather is Fine. The laboratory hands out monetary prizes for directors working on their first and second fiction feature films.

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Read more:

Focus on the Philippines: Nadine Lustre, James Reid begin shooting new film

Focus on the Philippines: Bailey May joins Simon Fuller’s new pop group

Filipino foodie favourite Little Manila comes to Abu Dhabi

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