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Last Saturday (February 19, 2011), all roads are leading to SM Mall of Asia. Families from all walks of life prepared as the night will turn into a majestic show of lights with the 2nd Pyro Musical competition. It is a much anticipated week as it will be a great battle with Portugal and United Kingdom going head to head. I'm very privileged that I'm invited to cover this event (Thanks Melo and Christian) at the VIP section to witness this awesome event. MOA is really jam packed when I arrive at MOA with the entire audience anticipating the great show in the sky that night.
Portugal presentation last February 11, 2011
First to present is the representative of Portugal. It's actually my first time to watch a Pyro Musical competition and Portugal was really impressed me so much. Their style is really on 3 fireworks at the same time pattern. They turn the night sky as a canvass drawing flower-like images that any lady would truly adore. Their finale is really one of a kind as if you have seen the sun that my camera cannot handle.
A snapshot of United Kingdom's excellent finale
When everyone though Portugal's presentation was really awesome, then they haven't seen much. United Kingdom followed with also a spectacular performance. They have great blending of fireworks display and musical artistry at its finest. The audience was happy that United Kingdom even used the famous song of Katy Perry lately, Fireworks, to boast their excellent artwork in the sky. The intensity of their fireworks improve as the time goes by that we are really at awe most especially when their finale was shown. We should have brought our shades as the whole SM MOA bay was enlightened by the colorful fireworks. 
Excellent image of fireworks from UK
Over-all both countries are really great that the entire audience applauded all their effort. Personally though if I were to choose between the two, I will pick United Kingdom's presentation because of the variety of fireworks and nice blending of music. The choice of songs was also excellent that a lot of people can relate. The entire experience was really fantastic and I'm very excited to watch Week 3 of this competition. Too bad I missed the first week when Spain and Korea. I will share my thoughts for Week 3 after my coverage tomorrow

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Blue Bloods: When Law Means More Than Blood Ties
Photo courtesy of AXN Asia
When we think of "blue blood", we often think of royalty or kings and queens. In the Philippines, we can even connote blue blood for those who are die-hard Atenean. However, AXN has a different meaning for it, which will definitely something we should look forward.

Richards being interviewed by ABS-CBS reporter
Last February 17, 2011 we were invited at the Newport Ultra Cinema for a surprise event. When we arrived a lot of bloggers and people from the media are already at the venue awaiting the big event happening. A few minutes later, two familiar celebrities went out dressed in NYPD attire. These 2 hot cops happens to be the "Richards", which is the winner of Amazing Race Asia Season 4. They are wearing this attire as they will be hosting the press screening of AXN Asia newest program, "Blue Bloods".

Richard Herrera interviewing famous blogger Hannah Villasis
I really enjoyed the event with its perfect combination with the big venue for the event. As we are waiting the screening of the first episode, I am already curious of the entire program as they are showing trailer about it. I am also excited to see some great actors who will be part of the show like Tom Selleck, who used to be part of Magnum P.I..

My Verdict: After the screening, we really enjoyed the first episode of the show. I personally did not expect that I would like this TV program since I used to have indifferent perception with policemen. Blue Bloods was really great in showcasing the life of a policeman and understand it from a different perspective. We might think some of the scenes are just happening in Manila but it was shown to be also evident in NYPD, which is one of the best police force in the world. The first episode was really superb that I am really glued as every second there is an exciting scene that you shouldn't miss. I'm now excited to see the next episode of the show after a BIG revelation was revealed during the first episode that will definitely make the program even more exciting. I am now thinking of different scenarios revolving about it.

I will definitely recommend this new program and it is a big eye opener for everyone, especially for those who have a different perspective about policeman. I think Filipinos should watch this, and nothing could go bad with AXN shows. Every episode is really something to look forward. Catch the first 2-episode premiere later tonight at 9:05PM (PH) and 10PM on-going every Tuesday. Mark it already on your calendar and you will definitely be hooked.

If you want to know more about the show, here are the details of the show:

Photos during the event
AXN, Southeast Asia’s No. 1 international channel, is excited to be the first in Asia to premiere Blue Bloods and a special press screening will be held on Thursday Feb 17, 2011 at the Newport Ultra Cinema at 6PM. This latest offering is by the same award-winning producers of hit TV series The Sopranos, Mitchell Burgess and Robin Green; and the creator that gave audiences iconic TV series Charlies’ Angels, Starsky and Hutch and Fantasy Island, Leonard Goldberg.

Image during the event
Praised as “one of the season’s five best new shows” by Entertainment Weekly, Blue Bloods has indeed lived up to its promise. The series debut in the United States was CBS’ highest rated Friday night premiere in 6 years! Critics universally praise Blue Bloods for its compelling characters, brilliant writing and engaging plot lines. In fact, the show has done so well for CBS that its shift from Friday to Wednesday nights has been a stellar success, topping its best ratings since its premiere!

A drama about a multi-generational family of cops dedicated to New York City law enforcement, Blue Bloods marks multi-award winning Tom Selleck’s (Magnum P.I., Jesse Stone) return to prime-time TV. The stellar cast of young and seasoned actors include Donnie Wahlberg (Righteous Kill, Band of Brothers), Broadway luminary Len Cairou (Damages, The West Wing) and Bridget Moynahan (Coyote Ugly, Sex and the City).

Image during the event
Frank Reagan (Selleck) is the New York Police Commissioner and heads both the police force and the Reagan brood. He runs his department as diplomatically as he runs his family, even when dealing with the politics that plagued his unapologetically bold father, Henry (Cairou), during his stint as commissioner. A source of pride and concern for Frank is his eldest son Danny (Wahlberg), a seasoned detective and Iraqi War veteran who on occasion uses dubious tactics to solve cases.

The sole Reagan woman in the family, Erin (Moynahan), is a New York Assistant District Attorney and newly single parent, who also serves as the legal compass for her siblings and father. Jamie (Will Estes, Reunion, U-571) is the youngest Reagan, fresh out of Harvard Law and the family's "golden boy”; however, unable to deny the family tradition, Jamie decides to give up a lucrative future in law and is now a newly minted cop. Jamie's life takes an abrupt turn when he is asked to become part of a clandestine police investigation even his father knows nothing about and which might have been related to the death of his brother, Joe.

Indeed, what sets Blue Bloods apart from the run-of-the-mill cop drama is its focus on blood ties and the clashes that inevitably arise from having a family of cops and a daughter as a prosecutor. As Tom Selleck shared in an interview, “One of the key elements of the show almost every week is a family dinner. Frank is a patriarch of a family… They’re Irish and they’re Catholic and they argue a lot at family dinner but it seems to be one of the favourite parts of the show.”

Blue Bloods balanced combination of nail-biting detective drama and family struggles offers rich material rarely handled so well by both a cast of actors and writers. It invites you to fall in love and admire the men and women who struggle in and out of themselves to maintain order in New York City and their families. Sometimes, law enforcement means more than blood ties.

Blue Bloods debuts with a double-episode premiere on:
Image courtesy of AXN Asia
Tuesday, 22 February 2011 at 9.05PM (PH)
Subsequent episodes at 10PM

First and Exclusively on AXN

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Image courtesy of Max's Restaurant Facebook fan page (click to enlarge)
Cupcakes are now one of the favorite pastry dessert in town. Good thing Max's Restaurant/ Max's Corner Bakery have recently launched their set of cupcakes that you can enjoy right after your sumptuous favorite meal from Max's or you can just take-away at home, office or anywhere you like.

You might be curious on how delicious these cupcakes are. Then, you can easily have 1 box of Max's Corner Bakery cupcakes absolutely FREE by joining their online contest. It is very simple and no purchase required. Here's the mechanics for you to join:

  1. Like “Max’s Restaurant” on Facebook.
  2. Download this Facebook promo picture (above).
  3. Upload this picture on the Max’s Restaurant fan page wall.
  4. Tag twelve (12) friends that you’d want to share the Max’s Corner Bakery Box of 12 cupcakes with on this picture. This picture must have 12 friends tagged to qualify as an entry.
  5. Fourteen (14) winners will win one box of Max’s Corner Bakery cupcakeseach via a raffle draw.
  6. Post as many picture entries as you can. Just tag different friends every time you post another entry.
  7. Deadline of submission of entries is on February 16, 2011 WEDNESDAY at exactly 12 noon (Philippine local time and date).
  8. Max's will send an FB private message to the lucky winners on how to claim their prizes.
  9. Employees of Max's Restaurant, its advertising/PR agencies, and its accredited service providers including their relatives up to the second degree of consanguinity or affinity are disqualified from joining the said promo.
What are you waiting for? Upload and start tagging your friends now!

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Nokia President and CEO, Stephen Elop (left), and Microsoft CEO, Steven Ballmer (right) shakes hand to symbolize partnership of the Nokia and Microsoft last Feb. 11 at London, UK.
Last Friday (Feb. 11, 2011), many are anxious on a special announcement from Nokia from London. Later it was announced that Nokia and Microsoft plans to form a broad strategic partnership that would use their complementary strengths and expertise to create a new global mobile ecosystem.

Nokia and Microsoft intend to jointly create market-leading mobile products and services designed to offer consumers, operators and developers unrivalled choice and opportunity. As each company would focus on its core competencies, the partnership would create the opportunity for rapid time to market execution. Additionally, Nokia and Microsoft plan to work together to integrate key assets and create completely new service offerings, while extending established products and services to new markets.
Image courtesy of Nokia
Under the proposed partnership:
  • Nokia would adopt Windows Phone as its principal smartphone strategy, innovating on top of the platform in areas such as imaging, where Nokia is a market leader.
  • Nokia would help drive the future of Windows Phone. Nokia would contribute its expertise on hardware design, language support, and help bring Windows Phone to a larger range of price points, market segments and geographies.
  • Nokia and Microsoft would closely collaborate on joint marketing initiatives and a shared development roadmap to align on the future evolution of mobile products.
  • Bing would power Nokia’s search services across Nokia devices and services, giving customers access to Bing’s next generation search capabilities. Microsoft adCenter would provide search advertising services on Nokia’s line of devices and services.
  • Nokia Maps would be a core part of Microsoft’s mapping services. For example, Maps would be integrated with Microsoft’s Bing search engine and adCenter advertising platform to form a unique local search and advertising experience
  • Nokia’s extensive operator billing agreements would make it easier for consumers to purchase Nokia Windows Phone services in countries where credit-card use is low.
  • Microsoft development tools would be used to create applications to run on Nokia Windows Phones, allowing developers to easily leverage the ecosystem’s global reach.
  • Nokia’s content and application store would be integrated with Microsoft Marketplace for a more compelling consumer experience.
“Today, developers, operators and consumers want compelling mobile products, which include not only the device, but the software, services, applications and customer support that make a great experience,” Stephen Elop, Nokia President and CEO, said at a joint news conference in London. “Nokia and Microsoft will combine our strengths to deliver an ecosystem with unrivalled global reach and scale. It’s now a three-horse race.”

“I am excited about this partnership with Nokia,” said Steven A. Ballmer, Microsoft CEO. “Ecosystems thrive when fueled by speed, innovation and scale.The partnership announced today provides incredible scale, vast expertise in hardware and software innovation and a proven ability to execute.”

Please visit www.nokia.com/press for press materials.

My view: Many people have been waiting for this announcement to come. There has been numerous rumors buzzing before this speculating that Microsoft will either have a Android or Windows 7 phone to be competitive at the market. I think it is really a strategic decision for both parties, especially for Microsoft, to have this partnership given the current competitive market on mobile technology. I think the two companies are a great fit to start this healthy competition in the industry. There has been some Symbian fans though not that happy with the decision of Microsoft but for my end I think it is really needed by the 2 companies to form an alliance against these network giants. Some are guessing it might not work but I believe there has been the same doubts before with Apple and Google and yet they were able to succeed. I am very eager to see the first phone that will be released with this partnership and if it can topple what the current market leaders have. I hope I can be one of the first to review this soon. Net, at the end I think it is the customers who will benefit from this partnership giving them more choices on the gadgets that will fit their lifestyle.

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It is a common headache for guys in a relationship where to treat their special girl this valentine's season. Most of the known establishments are fully booked or they are way too expensive to celebrate it. You don't have to worry as here are some of the compiled treats you can choose from if you haven't reserved one yet:

Amici Restaurant:
Photo courtesy of Amici Facebook fan page
If you are into Italian and want pasta and pizza, then Amici's treat this Valentine's season is for you. They have a set dinner available until Feb. 14 which consists of beverages, antipasti, pasta, pizza and dessert for as low as Php 788 only. If you want your beverage to be with wine instead, then you just need to add 200 pesos. It is a sure treat plus I heard there are live acoustic bands playing at their branches today to make the place more romantic.

Haagen-Dazs Fondue
Image courtesy of My Indulgence Facebook fan page
If you and your partner have sweet tooth, then this treat from Haagen-Dazs is the one you should go for. You have their very own ice cream fondue for only Php 500. You can go to their SM MOA, SM Megamall, Robinsons Ermita, EDSA Shari-la, Greenhills, and Glorietta 3 branches to try this treat. You only have today to catch this deal.

Papa Johns Pizza
Image courtesy of Papa Johns Facebook fan page
Want to show how big is your heart for your special someone? Here's a new Pepperoni Love Pizza from Papa Johns. If you're not into Pepperoni, you can have it in Hawaiian, Margherita or Simply Cheese variety and it will be served with 2 glasses of FREE Coke. 
I first tried Papa Johns when I was in China and I was really full after eating at this resto. I know this pizza will really taste good and very special with its heart shape. You can order this specially crafted pizza until February 20 but it will be for dine-in only. :)

Max's Restaurant
Image courtesy of Maxs Restaurant Facebook fan page
If you're a big fan of Max's restaurant, then you can have your date there and enjoy their classic quality food. If you forgot to buy a gift, you don't need to worry as Max's is giving FREE Max's Corner Bakery Box of Chocolates to end your date with a sweet surprise.

Rockwell Center
Image courtesy of Powerplant Mall Facebook fan page
If you have the budget, why not spend the night at Powerplant mall with their wide variety of full-serve restaurants at the Rockwell center. For sure, there is a restaurant that will fit the taste buds of you and your partner there. What's make it interesting is that you have a chance of winning a Samsung Galaxy Tab upon dining at their participating restaurant.

Araneta Center
Image courtesy of Araneta Center
Aside from the previous mall on my post, Araneta Center is also giving their customer a chance to win tablet PCs if they celebrate the season of love with them. They also have a great line-up of concerts, performances from famous bands and fine dining options to choose from. If both of you are movie buff, then you might want to spend the night watching the highly-anticipated movie "Black Swan" as they have an exclusive movie screening at Gateway Complex this Feb 14.

Ayala Triangle

Image courtesy of Ayala Land
If you are just in Makati area, then you can have your date at the Ayala Triangles. There are lot of restaurants at this area or you can even just drop by at the newly opened Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf store. Aside from this, there is a concert tonight at 6PM, where Karylle will be performing live. See my previous post on this.

Reyes Barbeque
Image courtesy of Reyes Barbeque
 If are on a budget, then you can try the sweet Valentine's treat from Reyes Barbeque. For only Php 325, you can have a full meal plus a free Choco Merengue. See my previous post for the full details as well

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