Plus: Filipino singers earn raves on West End’s Hamilton; The Portrait wins Best Picture at Metro Manila Film Festival; jazz legend Eddie Katindig passes away
Focus on the Philippines: Alisah Bonaobra looks back at X Factor journey
In her first major interview since her stint at The X Factor UK ended in late November, Filipino singer Alisah Bonaobra appeared on the Philippine talk show Magandang Buhay (Good Life) last week to look back at her journey on the reality singing competition.
The 22-year-old finished in eleventh place on The X Factor UK last month. She flew to London with her mother last summer to audition for the show, which welcomes contestants from around the world. On Good Life, Bonaobra revealed that her trip was made possible by financial contributions from almost 175 Filipino nurses working in England.
“We couldn’t afford the airfare to London. But then almost 175 nurses in the UK came together and made it happen for us,” she said.
According to Bonaobra, she tried her luck on The X Factor UK to support her family back home. She currently performs in live shows across the Philippines and appears on musical variety programmes on television.
“I don’t want to stop singing,” she said. “I hope my career takes off and I’m given an opportunity to continue doing this.”
Filipino singers debut on West End’s Hamilton
Filipino actresses Rachelle Ann Go and Christine Allado have been earning raves on social media from audiences and critics on West End for their performances on the musical Hamilton.
The show, which started previews on December 6 in London, is a hip-hop musical about the life of American founding father Alexander Hamilton — with music, lyrics and book by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Hamilton opened on Broadway in 2015 and received a record-setting 16 Tony nominations in 2016, winning 11, including Best Musical.
Go plays the lead female role of Eliza Schuyler, the wife of Hamilton. Allado plays two roles: Eliza’s sister Peggy Schuyler and Maria Reynolds.
A video posted this week by Broadway World features Go, Allado and co-star Rachel John performing one of the musical’s hit songs, The Schuyler Sisters. The video has garnered over a million views on Facebook.
Go and Allado have also been posting behind-the-scenes and backstage images on social media, including photographs with celebrity attendees such as Emma Stone, Jon Hamm and Stephen Merchant.
The Portrait wins Best Picture at Metro Manila Film Festival
The musical Ang Larawan (The Portrait) emerged as the big winner of this week’s Metro Manila Film Festival, bagging the Best Picture trophy and the Best Actress prize for lead star Joanna Ampil. It is the first feature film project of Ampil, an internationally-renowned theatre actress.
The Portrait is directed by Loy Arcenas and written by Rolando Tinio, based on the late National Artist for Literature Nick Joaquin’s three-act stage play A Portrait of the Artist as a Filipino. The film also won Best Musical Score (for Ryan Cayabyab) and Best Production Design (for Gino Gonzales).
Other top winners include Derek Ramsay (Best Actor for All of You), Jasmine Curtis (Best Supporting Actress for Siargao) and Edgar Allan Guzman (Best Supporting Actor for Deadma Walking).
In other film festival news, Filipino director Paolo Dy’s latest feature Ignacio de Loyola won the Best Picture prize at the Mirabile Dictu International Catholic Film Festival, held at Vatican City. The film depicts the life of the founder of the Society of Jesus, played by the Spanish actor Andreas Muñoz. Ignacio de Loyola also recently won the audience choice award at the Cine con Valores Festival in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Meanwhile, the coming-of-age drama Birdshot will screen at the Palm Springs International Film Festival, to be held in California from January 2 to 15, 2018. Directed by 25-year-old filmmaker Mikhail Red, Birdshot premiered at last year’s Tokyo International Film Festival, winning the Best Picture prize in the festival’s Asian Future Film section. The film follows the story of a young girl who accidentally shoots a rare and endangered Philippine eagle.
Jazz legend Eddie Katindig passes away
Filipino jazz musician Eddie Katindig, known as Eddie K to his fans, passed away on December 24 at the age of 80 after battling lung cancer.
Katindig was one of the pioneers of the Philippine jazz movement in the 1970s and 1980s. Born to a family of musicians, he performed as a teenager alongside his brothers, playing the drums and cymbals. At age 25, he discovered the saxophone, the instrument that he would eventually be best known for.
Katindig released his self-titled debut album in 1989 under the recording company OctoArts. It was the first purely instrumental album to be certified gold in the Philippines. He recorded two more chart-topping albums in 1989 and 1996.
According to the Philippine broadsheet BusinessWorld, Katindig’s two children Henry and Tateng have followed in their father’s footsteps and currently work as professional musicians.