China’s Xiaomi launches three new smartphones

DUBAI: The world’s 4th largest smartphone maker, Xiaomi has launched three groundbreaking products on Feb. 21, at Four Seasons Resort, Dubai.
During the occasion, Xiaomi officials led by Senior Vice President Wang Xiang and Head of Expansion Marketing, Steven Wang announced the launching of Mi MIX, Redmi Note 4 and Redmi 4A in the region. It will be made available in March across the UAE through select retail partners. Mi MIX will be priced at AED 2,999; Redmi Note 4 at AED 659, and Redmi 4A at AED 389.
“We are very excited to bring Xiaomi’s top-quality smartphones to the Middle East and North Africa, as we believe that they will be a very attractive option for consumers here. Xiaomi has spent the past few years developing countless features and optimizations that enhance the way people use their phones, combining cutting-edge technological innovations and great design while defying price expectations. We are delighted to launch our latest range of devices in the Middle East through our partner TASK FZCO.” Xiang said.

‘Disney Princess: I Dare to Dream’ series to feature Pinoy kids

A 12-episode web series, produced by Globe Telecom in partnership with The Walt Disney Company Southeast Asia, will help six girls pursue their dreams with the help of their real life fairy godmother Disney legend Lea Salonga, host Janina Vela and various mentors.

The “Disney Princess: I Dare to Dream” participants will be staying in a house where they will be mentored individually and as a group to reach their full potential, reported Sun Star.

Quark Henares, head of Globe Studios, reportedly said that more than 500 kids auditioned for the new reality web series and they want to help turn the chosen ones’ dreams into a reality.

“Inspiration comes from within. These kids have big aspirations and we want to support them all the way,” Henares was quoted as saying.

The six lucky girls are Hya Leonardo, Sirach Catipay, Liana San Diego, Jaden Narvios, Stephanie Jordan and Alexi Tan, the report said.

Leonardo, who aspires to become a Broadway singer, will train under the tutelage of seasoned theater actress Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo, while Catipay, a future chef, and San Diego, who wants to be a veterinarian, will be mentored by Chef Jessie Sincioco and Dr. Nielsen Donato, respectively.

Twelve-year-old Tan hopes to become a future illustrator/animator and will get firsthand knowledge from animator Tito Romero while Jordan, an aspiring host, will learn techniques from YouTube personality Charisma Star, said the news portal.

Narvios, the youngest of the bunch, lists among current affairs and politics as her interests and wants to be the future president of the country. The nine-year-old will reportedly be mentored by social educator and 2009 CNN Hero of the Year Efren Penaflorida. Aside from their mentors, the girls will also be inspired by Disney’s iconic princesses and their incredible stories and qualities.

“Every Disney Princess is the heroine of a unique adventure story inspiring kids with messages of hope and optimism. What people love about the Disney Princesses are their incredible stories and the qualities that help them achieve their dreams,” Sun Star quoted Amit Malhotra, general manager of Disney Media Networks, as saying.

4 Visa-free countries in South America Filipinos can visit

Whether you opt for a backpacking trip in South America or a lavish getaway, it will always be relatively cheap compared to Europe and most Western countries. Chile, Argentina and Brazil are a bit pricey. But Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador can keep you going on a Dh80-backpack budget.
1. Brazil 
Brazil is the biggest country in South America. Philippine passport holders get 90 days to stay upon entry after flying in. Non-stop flight time from Dubai to Sao Paulo, Brazil is around 15 hours 15 minutes. Must see destinations are Christ the Redeemer, Iguaçu Falls, Copacabana and Amazon River. The annual average temperature in the region is 22 to 26 °C.
2. Bolivia
Bolivia is a dream. And it is great that Filipinos can enter Bolivia for 90 days visa-free. Bolivia is famous for its capital La Paz, the city of Potosi, Lake Titicaca, Yungas Road, the Madidi National Park and the partially excavated pre-Incan city of Tiwanaku. In Bolivia, you’ll be awed by a mirror like desert called Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flat. It’s so white and wide, it’s been attracting more and more tourists in the past 20 years. Non-stop flight from Dubai to San Jose, Bolivia is 20 hours 5 minutes. Weather year round is cool to mild, with the average temperature in summer being 22°C.
3. Peru
Peru is the land of Inca. The Inka Empire was the largest empire in pre-Columbian America, and possibly the largest empire in the world in the early 16th century. Filipino historians and even the curious minds can get to explore this part of the world for 90 days or 180 days (you’d just have to ask). Cuzco is the capital of the Inca world. It is an attractive city with a great nightlife and serves as the jump-off point to Machu Picchu.  Machu Picchu is one of the most desired sites to visit in South America; however there is a limit to the number of visitors allowed per day. It has the same atmosphere as that of the Banaue Rice Terraces in the Philippines. But of course, Peru’s version is not a rice field but rather dry-stone walls that fuse huge blocks. Peru is 18 hours, 55 minutes from Dubai. There’s no bad time to visit Peru. February is the hottest month with an average temperature of 24°C and the coldest is August at 17°C.
4. Ecuador
Ecuador is just like the Philippines – packed with jungles, mountain, beaches, and the land trapped in time: the Galapagos Island which looks like our very own, Hundred Islands. Filipinos have 90 days to explore this small country. You cannot leave Ecuador without going to The Galapagos Islands, travelers describe it as one of the magical places in the world. It is a volcanic archipelago in the Pacific Ocean. It’s considered one of the world’s foremost destinations for wildlife-viewing. Quito, on the other hand is also a must see. It is one of the highest capital cities in the world. And the view of the snow-capped mountain as a backdrop to the city is just super stunning.  Ecuador is 18 hours and 20 minutes from Dubai. Ecuador is typically warm with temperatures in the region of 25 °C.
South American countries flights start at Dh5000.

This is what artistas wear to the airport

Yes, you’ve packed your one-week travel #OOTDs – but have you considered your airport look?

No worries. We have listed some double-tap worthy celebrity-style pegs you can count on for your next trip. Get inspired by the stars’ airport style.
Erich Gonzales
1. Erich Gonzales likes to keep it carefree and comfy. She is all game to be glammed on stage and on-screen but she isn’t afraid to look “normal” when she’s traveling. Her style equation includes ripped jeans, plain tee, sneakers, oversized cardigan and her black Givenchy Nightingale.
Kim Chui
2. Kim Chiu’s style is very on-the-go. The kind you’d have no problem running or goofing around because everything you got is just intact. She opts for a black fitting top, blue jeans, sneakers, and a Louis Vuitton Cristopher PM monogram backpack.
Candice Swanepoel
3. Candice Swanepoel outfit is a perfect combination of style and comfort. She opts for a loose maxi skirt paired with a delicate and stylish lace top. Her beige handbag and studded gladiator shoes perfect wrapped up her look. Not too much, but just right.
Saab Magalona
4. Saab Magalona seems to be just like any of us. Her outfit is something we can all find in our closet: jeans, parka coat and combat boots and ta-da, we’ve found our comfy yet edgy fashionista selves.
Semi-Exclusive... Rumored New Couple Gigi Hadid & Joe Jonas Say Goodbye At LAX
5. Gigi Hadid doesn’t want to complicate things. She knows flight time takes hours and what better way to enjoy this than with white sweat shirt and leggings, and white sneakers?

Mariah Carey vows to woo Dubai with performance

Pop star Mariah Carey, who landed in Dubai on Monday 13 years after her last visit, visited Downtown Dubai on Tuesday to check out the Burj Khalifa.

The singer, who headlines the second night of the Emirates Airline Dubai Jazz Festival on February 23 (Thursday), was accompanied by her boyfriend Bryan Tanaka, reported Gulf News tabloid!

The couple arrived in a red Bentley and walked to the foot of the Burj Khalifa where they happily posed for waiting photographers, the report said.

Carey in an earlier interview had said that she was going to bring “the fun and glamour” to her Dubai show.

“I couldn’t be happier to be back in Dubai after all of these years,” she reportedly said.

Carey, who last performed in the city in 2004, would spend an extra two days to explore the Emirates, Gulf News tabloid! had earlier quoted the singer’s UAE hosts as saying.

“We are putting the finishing touches to a fun and cultural experience in the desert where Mariah and her party will visit the falcons, camels and spend time in the desert camp.

We are also planning a visit to the Gold Souq should time permit. She is staying for three nights in total so our team is here to en-sure that aside from having enough rest and preparation for the Emirates Airline Dubai Jazz Festival, that she also has a memorable visit,” they reportedly said.

Tickets to see Mariah Carey at the Emirates Airline Dubai Jazz Festival on February 23 start at Dh395 on, reported Gulf News.

Filipino horror movie, ‘Kaarawan’ bags title at 4 th Emirates Short Film Festival

Award-winning, young film director Archie Enriquez’

“Kaarawan” beat other foreign entries and directors at the 4 th Emirates

Short Film Festival, bagging the Best Film and Best Director awards

for his horror flick about a caregiver whose ward passed on as he was

celebrating his birthday while on duty.

“Kaarawan,” (birthday in Filipino) revolves around the life of a

Terrence (Dexter Dalisay), the mischievous caregiver, looking after

an old man (Emil Barcenilla) in a coma and near death.

As the night dragged on and became dull, Terrence, who was

celebrating his birthday, thought of livening up the place and decided

to throw a party. But due to apparent carelessness, the patient passed

away, bringing Terrence and his peers in a peculiar dilemma.

Kaarawan was produced by APE and company, led by Enriquez. The

production is composed of an all-Filipino cast and crew namely

Honey Cocson, Roland Arceo, Brad Aquino, Elisa Yana, Engelbert

Chua and Cristina Ferraris. Other members are Maria Dalma, Yaj

Mesina, Jake Javier, Bimbim Dalma, Zoey Dalma and Zack Dalma.

“I am pleased and humbled to be recognized as a promising Filipino

director in the UAE and to join past recipients who I have long

admired and respected,” Enriquez said.

“I hope this serves as an inspiration for my fellow Filipino overseas

workers to showcase their talents and skills and eventually open doors

in the film industry here and abroad,” he added.

Enriquez has won several awards in the field of film making. In

2015, his “48 hours” film project entitled, “Agent Who?” won three

awards including Audience’s Choice, Best Use of Character and

placed second runner-up at the Dubai International Film Festival. Last

year, his Anibersaryo (Anniversary) got the best actress award for one

of the film’s cast, Honey Cocson. The same film was selected at this

year’s IndieWise convention held on Aug. 25 to 27 at Miami Florida

where over 1,500 filmmakers, artists, and creative geniuses from over

75 countries are expected to be in attendance.

The 4 th Emirates Short Film Festival was held at the Emirates

Headquarters in Dubai on Feb. 17, 2017.

Pinoy wins Mister Star hunt 2017 tilt

Aspiring Pinoy model John Lorenzo bagged the Mister Star hunt 2017

title during a glamorous event held at Dubai Outlet Mall on Feb. 17.

Lorenzo and Luibo Didenko from Russia were both hailed as the big winners at

Star hunt 2017, an annual event organized by Dubai Outlet Mall, where the latter

was crowned as Ms Star hunt 2017. The two took home Dh 10, 000 each.

The two bested over 30 finalists from more than 10 nationalities, who competed

for the title after two weeks of rigorous training and grooming sessions with a

modelling agency. The 6th edition featured fresh local talents via a series of

runway shows and a Q&A portion.
MR & Ms. Star Hunt

In addition, for the first time, there was a tie for the title of Mr Congeniality

between Umair Bin Nisar from Pakistan and Mostafa Gallal from Egypt.

Ms Congeniality was Alena Dovnar from Belarus. Wael Kamel from Egypt and

Tanya Chopra from India won the Mr Popular and Ms Popular titles.

The contest was judged by industry experts. Shoppers also voted for their

favorite contestants via voting booths at the mall.

“Dubai is well-positioned to become the global fashion hub and we want to

contribute and help the emirate realize this vision. The contest aims to help

develop local talents and realize their dream of becoming the next top model,”

said Vishal Mahajan, Director, Dubai Outlet Mall.

The event was sponsored by V Brand Gallery Outlet (Gold), Al Jaber Opticals

Outlet, The Socks Collection Outlet, The Deal Outlet, The Shoe Deal Outlet ,

Riva Outlet, Lifestyle Outlet, Reliable Electronics Outlet, Rivoli Outlet, Diva

Modelling and Events Agency and Jashanmal Around the World Outlet.


Lorie Mae Furigay of Discovery Gardens poses with a mock copy of her prize for winning Chowking’s special Valentine’s Day promo: A four-day-three-night holiday for two to the Maldives. Furigay said she was with three of her friends, dining at the fastfood chain’s JBR branch on Valentine’s Day during which they were given a coupon each with hers having been picked in a raffle draw. “We were not expecting it. Naglolokohan pa nga kami,” said Furigay, who has not been to the Maldives. “Siyempre excited ako. I’ll take one of my friends with me,” she said.

Filipino-Am makes it to ‘Top Chef’ finals

Filipino-American contestant Sheldon Simeon has reached the final leg of the American reality cooking television show Top Chef.

Simeon, a son of Filipino immigrants, has consistently impressed the judging panel — comprised of Padma Lakshmi, Tom Colicchio, Gail Simmons and Graham Elliot — with dishes that embody his Filipino and Hawaiian heritage, reported The National.

Simeon — who was raised in Maui, Hawaii, where he currently owns a restaurant with his wife Janice — has often told his fellow chefs on the show that his cooking is inspired by recipes from his Filipino grandmother, the report said.

After 12 weeks of competition, only three of 16 contestants remain in the competition: Simeon, Californian chef Brooke Williamson and Chinese-American Shirley Chung.

During the show’s final episode, which will air in the US on February 23, the remaining chefs will reportedly battle it out by cooking a multi-course meal for the panel.

“I am so stoked to showcase my Hawaiian cuisine and Filipino roots at the Top Chef finale,” Simeon was quoted as saying.

Simeon previously appeared on the program’s 10th season in 2012, finishing in third place among 18 chefs and winning the “Fan Favorite” audience award, reported The National.

The current 14th season features eight returning contestants from previous editions competing against eight new chefs.

Filipino models shine at New York Fashion Week

Three Filipino models recently walked the runways of New York Fashion Week.

Beauty queen and model Janine Tugonon, who was the first runner-up at the Miss Universe pageant in 2012, appeared at the shows of labels Malan Breton, Denibi Fashion House and Theatre Productions, reported The National, adding that this season marks her first appearance in the New York catwalks.

Valerie Weigmann, another former beauty queen who won the Miss World Philippines title in 2014, walked for the Ane Amour and Prom Girl shows, the report said.

Another Filipino model, Stephanie Retuya, appeared at the Prom Girl show. Retuya, who finished as the runner-up in the first season of the reality programme Asia’s Next Top Model, also walked the runway of the fashion label House of Perdreams, it added.

The show was held from February 9 to 15, 2017.