We celebrate Christmas and New Year’s Day with all the food and drinks in the dinner table, the fireworks in the skies, and the noise of revelry all around. However, there are many things that we tend to overlook during this month of joyous celebrations and endless merrymaking.

Here are the things that we should avoid during the holidays:

1: Firecrackers

Fireworks in the skies are public spectacles but getting your fingers blown off by firecrackers of different sizes and explosive power is something that you should think about. Whether you’re the one using the firecrackers or just watching other people doing it, you really have to be ready from an errant firecracker thrown. Don’t gather the unexploded pieces because these may end up blowing in your hands nor collecting the gunpowder of unexploded firecrackers because you get burned if accidently lit up. Aside from that, firecrackers may also cause fires so make sure you have buckets of water ready to put out flames.

2: Alcohol

When there are parties, there are lots booze and drunk people. Don’t drink when driving home or going to another party. Avoid arguments with drunk people because it’s difficult to deal with them.

3: Bulging Up

During the holidays, we celebrate Christmas and New Year’s Day on a long orgy of parties and feasts. Because of these celebrations, we always take for granted our health and fitness by eating high-calorie foods, sweet desserts, sodium-enriched sauces, alcoholic beverages, and carbohydrate-rich pastas. No wonder it is especially difficult to keep track on our strict dietary regimen and even eat healthy if we are tempted and surrounded by these types of foods.

4: Health First

If you are keeping track of your cholesterol, the first food that you should avoid is lechon. Unfortunately, it is also the centerpiece for every Christmas and New Year’s Day dinner table. The crunch skin of the roasted pig is enough to make your mouth water. Just drink more carbonated drinks to dissolve all the fats you ate and of course, eat moderately and avoid the fatty parts. Take into consideration certain food allergies that people may have.

5: Exhaustion

Celebrating the holidays can be enjoying but doing it too much can be exhausting because of lack of sleep or too much partying. Exhaustion may lead to a fatal death when asleep, also known as “orom.” This caused by eating too much and falling asleep because of exhaustion and as a result your gall bladder burst thereby poisoning yourself by your own body waste.

6: Fire

As we have fun during the holidays, we have to make sure that we are prepared for possible fires. Firecrackers and stray fireworks may land in our house and cause fire. Aside from that, we have to check if the electrical sockets are safe and extension cords don’t get loaded by our electrical appliances that may short-circuit anytime. The Christmas lights are especially dangerous since most of these products are made of substandard materials.

One of the perks of being young, rich, and famous is you can date with the hottest ladies in town. You must be a lucky guy if you managed to hook up with up-and-coming celebrities that may help raise your celebrity profile. That is the life of R&B boy wonder Justin Bieber.

Just turned 16, Bieber is believed to be dating 18-year-old singer-actress Selena Gomez and “That’s So Raven” star Jasmine Villegas. Aside from that, he was also linked to teenage hitmaker Miley Cyrus.

Gossip columns and paparazzi have covered the series of snack and lunch dates between Justin and Selena and many believe that their relationship is more than just “buddies.” Though Bieber has been mum about the details of his relationships with today’s hottest young stars, it was Gomez who shut down the intrigues and rumors by saying to People magazine “…we just like to hang out.” She also added, “They shouldn't be stopping us from going out to dinner and things like that.”

Now that Bieber is rich and successful, it is not a surprise for him to be dating older than him. As entertainment reporters tailed on them on their “friendly” dates, an onlooker said that Selena “grabbed Justin's hand… and they held hands as they left” with their frozen yogurt while enjoying their day in Encino, California. Discussing her closeness with him, she said: "I love him, he's one of my best friends. I would do anything for that kid."

Gossips also circulated that the Canadian hit sensation had a makeout session with Villegas inside a car while parking in Venice, California. Paparazzi had a field day as TMZ got exclusive pictures of Justin planted a romantic smooch on Jasmine’s lips. Villegas later appeared on Bieber’s music video “Baby.” Both keep silent about their “love life” and insisted that they were just friends but the snapshots proved otherwise. Justin calmly admitted their kiss-fest with Jasmine in an interview with Barbara Walters and said, "I was just kissing her. That's about it... I think every 16-year-old kisses a girl, right? So that's nothing out of the ordinary."

And if that’s not all, Bieber had an “intimate dinner” with Miley Cyrus in West Hollywood even though both have dislike for each other’s music. Asked about their meeting, Miley said “Bieber fever... I'm not necessarily a fan. I don't listen to that kind of music.” Gossip columnists admit that both don’t have any romantic involvement but some may attribute it to Cyrus’ breakup with Australian boyfriend Liam Hemsworth.

The baby-faced singer was also sighted having a good time with gorgeous women who were 8-10 years older than him. Just ask socialite Kim Kardashian, “California Gurls” rocker Katy Perry, and R&B star Rihanna how it feels like kissing the ‘Biebs.’ Most celebrities want to have their time with the kid and it is not surprising to see the ladies kissing the ‘wunderkid.’

Whether his love life is secret or not, most columnists agree that his accessibility to fellow celebrities is one way of raising his celebrity profile.

As we say goodbye to the year of achievements and failures, we are now winding down the days till we open the New Year in 2011 with a big bang. A new year is a new beginning for each and every one of us. Of course, it’s always our best interest to have our own set of New Year's resolutions.

Let us stop living on the mistakes of the past and start thinking of what we can do in the days ahead. It’s about time to reflect on each New Year’s resolution that we want to achieve and make sure we follow these changes in our life so that we may become a better person in 2011.

As the final hours, minutes, and seconds of our New Year’s Day countdown tick away, let us examine the top 10 New Year’s resolutions for 2011:

10: Getting the Work Done!

We all want to organize everything because the reason why our plans fail is we never set our goals properly. Whether we want to organize our workstation, setting up our own stuff at home, or meeting monthly sales quotas, organizing everything is our top priority. We want to maximize our time and reduce stress so that we can enjoy more of our time.

9: Be a Good Samaritan

People who want to give back to others may want to volunteer in various fields of endeavor to help people in need. Some may donate money to charitable organizations and various fundraisers for disease prevention and social causes. The emergence of volunteerism may be attributed to people having the urge to make a difference in life. On New Year’s Day, start the day by giving gifts to people who deserve to receive – the poor, the sick, and the homeless.

8: Learning New Things

It’s a typical New Year’s resolution for people who want to better themselves in life and learn new skills and competencies aside from the formal education and vocational experience they had. Some may consider career change while others want to dabble in culinary arts or learning graphics design. As the New Year kicks off, then you can break off your daily routines and meet new challenges by testing your comfort zone to the limit.

7: Be Debt-Free

Every day we work to meet our financial obligations but sometimes our budget will fall short and so we incur debts. Mobile phone and credit card bills can always stress us and that’s why people would always want to manage their finances properly as part of the New Year’s resolution ritual.

6: Bye Bye Alcohol and Cigarette

Most people would repeatedly break this New Year’s resolution quite so often. In fact, becoming sober or quitting smoking is a life-changing resolution that may help your health, relationships, finances, and your sense of self-esteem. Resolving it would be giving up what you love but at the same time fixing your relationship with other people. Take it slowly until you make it.

5: Finding True Love

One of the things that most people would look forward in the New Year is finding their true love while most couples would want to have their fairy-tale wedding that they always dream of. It would make sense for people to make the effort to find a compatible life partner while some people work on their personal issues to make their relationship stronger.

4: Quality Time with Family and Friends

Since most of us are busy with work and other personal obligations, we tend to overlook our family and friends. For this reason alone, it is quite normal for people to have this New Year’s resolution. This could mean that many are conscious about improving relations with the people they care.

3: Career Change

Some people may not like their jobs while others may want to start new and fresh. We always dream of having the perfect job we want and we keep on looking for the next big job opportunity in the coming year. Reflect upon your current work and evaluate if your interests, needs, and skills fit the job you are on.

2: Good Health

For 365 days in a year, there are always days that we feel sick, tired, and weary. When the New Year starts, we always want to stay fit and healthy by eating well and relieve our stress. Of course, we also want our loved ones to be in good health too!

1: Losing Extra Tonnage

Of the countless number of New Year’s resolutions we always have year by year, losing weight and getting in shape may be the perennial favorite. We always bulged up after all the Christmas parties and drinking sessions we had during the holidays so it is quite natural for us to lose all of it by next year.


She is “…the most talented girl in the world,” that’s what Oprah Winfrey said on Filipina teen star Charice Pempengco.


Never in her wildest dreams that a little girl with superstar dreams have made it so far before her 18th birthday that many Americans know her for her big powerful voice that captivated audiences around the world. Charice is the teenage singing sensation that is now living a celebrity life and detached from the anonymity and obscurity she had back in her hometown.

The Filipina singer's rise to superstardom began when she lived the life of a simple provincial girl who grew up singing hits from her idols Celine Dion and Mariah Carey. She lost and won countless singing contests she joined and eventually appeared in various local television shows and commercials. She eventually faded into the limelight until her stint at a South Korean talent show “Star King” on October 13, 2007 where she sang “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going.”

Her awe-inspiring performance was uploaded in Youtube where it caught the attention of Ellen DeGeneres. The video ultimately received more than 13 million hits thereby cementing her as a Youtube sensation. She made her U.S. debut by appearing on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” where she also sang the Whitney Houston classic “I Will Always Love You.”

Charice Pempengco’s successful appearance on DeGeneres’ show landed her another stint at the Korean talent show that helped her gained fans. Her celebrity status grew as she appeared on”The Oprah Winfrey Show” for the first time where she was introduced to legendary music producer David Foster after delivering the same song she sang at Ellen’s show.

At the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Charice made her debut on the international concert stage in Foster’s tribute concert “Hitman: David Foster and Friends.” She even got to sing a duet with the famous tenor Andrea Bocelli at his birthday concert at the Teatro del Silenzio in Italy where she sang “The Prayer.” Her subsequent performances have captured the imagination of many.

In the domestic scene, she also released successful albums that include her self-titled debut album “Charice” that achieved platinum status and her certified gold album “My Inspiration.” Her growing celebrity status allowed her to collaborate with today’s hottest singers like David Archuleta, Iyaz, and Leah Michelle.

Perhaps one of the greatest achievements in her relatively young career, Charice landed the role of Sunshine Corazon in the hit television musical “Glee.” Getting a role of Sunshine Corazon is like being her in real life. A relatively obscure recurring character that immediately burst out from the scene that may have stole the limelight of the lead character.

Her debut with the show created a buzz on the Internet where she (Sunshine Corazon) dueled with Michelle (Rachel Berry) in a key bathroom scene by singing Lady Gaga’s “Telephone.” It became a Youtube as many people watched the video over and over again.




How can you sum up the life of teenage singer heartthrob Justin Bieber in one sentence?

Well this boy wonder has a platinum album in less than two months of release, a debut album that includes seven hit singles hitting the Billboard Hot 100, various music awards and nominations to boot, and countless world concert tours and live performances. Well that’s just for starters as this sixteen-year-old Canadian singer has a lot things yet to offer in his very young yet eventful music career.


Considered as a music prodigy, Justin Bieber taught himself to play various musical instruments from piano to drums and guitar to trumpet. By the time he was twelve, he sang Ne-Yo’s “So Sick” at a local singing competition at his hometown in Stratford, Ontario. Though he only placed second, his performance was recorded in video and was posted by her mother on Youtube so that his family and friends can see. As his mother continued to upload videos of him singing covers of various R&B hits, Justin Bieber’s popularity on Youtube continued to rise.

Is it about Justin Bieber’s signature mop top?

Celebrity hairstyles are usually imitated by fans and the “Bieber hairdo” is one good example that helped made him popular. Well Justin Bieber burst out from scene when his video was discovered by ex-So So Def marketing executive Scooter Braun where he was later introduced to R&B singer/songwriter Usher. His debut single “One Time” was initially released on radio but went on to become certified platinum in Canada and the U.S. and gold in Australia and New Zealand. His first album “My World” became platinum in the U.S. and the U.K. and double platinum in Canada.

His baby-face look do make him the teenage heartthrob that every young girls love but it is his star power and magnetic smile that allowed him to perform in various live shows like MTV’s Video Music Awards, Lopez Tonight, X Factor, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Good Morning America, Saturday Night Live, and The Late Show with David Letterman.

What about people’s perspectives on Justin Bieber’s image?

As Usher’s “protégé,” Bieber adopted and mimicked some of the mannerisms of his favorite rappers. There are many advisers that helped him handle his fame and public image. Most teen magazines such as Tiger Beat and People often feature and label Bieber as a “teen heartthrob.”

Because of his rising popularity, security measures are ramped up in most of his events. With regards to safety concerns, crowd control were enforced while some events were cancelled. Stories on Justin Bieber often fill the celebrity gossip columns as he is criticized for looking and sounding younger than his age, his effeminacy, his teen pop music, and frequent media attention. As a result, Bieber is targetted by pranksters in public and on the Internet.

Rumors are circulated in the Internet about Bieber getting killed by an accident, having contracted syphillis, or posing topless in Playboy magazine. An Internet campaign was launched by 4chan, digg, and reddit users wherein the voted North Korea as the country Bieber would perform in his My World Tour destination.

Celebrity gossip columns puts Bieber on a relationship with Selena Gomez and Jasmine Trias. Aside from that, the young crooner also appeared on the hit TV crime drama CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. Everything seems to go right for Justin Bieber nowadays and his music remains at the top of the music charts.


Football, soccer as we know it, is the most popular sports in the world and everybody plays the game from vacant parking lots to open fields from the four corners of the planet. However, the game is a really an enigma in a country that placed basketball in the sports pedestal.

The basketball-crazy Philippines has always been the football minnows even though the country is one of the pioneering football country in Asia. Unfortunately, soccer has never took root in the 7,107 islands and until today, the Philippine football team never became a serious contender in various football tournaments. We have yet to qualify the FIFA World Cup or even won a major football event for quite some time.

The Azkals, as the Philippine football team is popularly known, has been reinforced by Fil-foreigners with extensive football playing experience. The likes of Fullham goalkeeper Neil Etheridge and the dynamic Younghusband brothers with the help of English coach Simon McMenemy have turned the fortunes of this struggling team.

The recent edition of the AFF Suzuki Cup has become a coming out party for the Philippines because for the first time, we have a football team that is contending for the title. Unfortunately, the corrupt sports organizations and non-existent soccer programs may put the Philippine football team under tremendous pressure. We don't have the international-accredited stadiums that FIFA wanted and our grassroots program is in shambles because of the political infighting. Sponsors are rare since major corporations only supported sports like basketball, boxing, and to a certain extent, billiards.

The Philippine football team is on a tall order to become champions of this tournament because they have to get past the eye of a needle to book a semifinals seat. Though the Azkals' qualification was not really impressive as marked by draws with Singapore and Myanmar, the lone bright spot was a surprise victory over defending champions Vietnam in their own stadium.

The victory over Vietnam have made many soccer fans overnight as the 23-man squad became celebrities overnight. Media has started to notice the exploits of these gallant men. The adulation of the Smart Gilas Pilipinas basketball team may have spilled over to the Azkals. However, the unfortunate state of football in the country is the fact that we keep on relying on Fil-foreign players. Its not because local talents are not good but they have teams to play on the domestic scene and we don't even have our own professional league here. Aside from that, the Etheridges and Younghusbands that will beef up our national squad is way too costly unless Manny Pangilinan would personally bankroll the Azkals just as what he did for Smart Gilas.

Tomorrow's semifinal showdown with powerhouse Indonesia, which swept the eliminations against Laos, former champions Thailand, and regional rival Malaysia, is one of the anticipated match of the tournament. Aside from matching up against a formidable opponent, the Azkals would be on a disadvantage because they can't host the opening leg of this home-away series since the Panaad Stadium in Bacolod City is deemed 'not playworthy' for this all-important semifinal fixture. In other words, the Philippine football team will have to play its “home” game at the 90,000-seater Gelora Bung Karno stadium in Jakarta.

The Azkals, named after typical street dogs, typified strength and resilience despite great odds. Whether they would win the tournament or not, the Philippine football team would instill some sorts of football renaissance in a country in need of sporting heroes.

Our fearless forecast, the Azkals would probably hold the Indonesian team to a scoreless draw in the first leg and may have chance to pull a mighty upset in a one-nil win in the return leg.

It's only 10 days to go before Christmas and most of us are already excited to receive our Christmas gifts from our friends and loved ones. With all the cut-off sales and promotions in the shopping malls right now, it is quite irresistible to have our favorite gadgets that we always want. Besides giving gadgets as Christmas gifts is perfect for people who really want to show off.

Here are the lowdown on the latest gadgets that are perfect gifts for Christmas.

10: Sony Alpha DSLR-A230
Perfect for people who really want to take topnotch photographs, this high-quality camera has fast autofocus, high magnification viewfinder, dual card slots, simple operation, built-in wireless flash and image stabilization, and SteadyShot indicator. Another great gift ideas that go along with it would be a good sling bag, tripods, and extension lenses.

9: Apple Iphone 4
One of the best touchscreen phones in the market, the Iphone 4 remains the dream phone for most people nowadays. It crisp graphics and smooth animations are good eye candies to every mobile phone users who really love good applications and user interface. Powered with a reliable GPS and WiFi system, its the perfect phone.

8: Apple MacBook Air
The qualities of perfect gadgets for Christmas gifts: powerful and portable. That is exactly what Apple MacBook Air is all about. Loaded with the best software and applications, its perfect mobile companion for people who want casual computing work on the go.

7: Alienware Area-51 ALX Desktop
Many people say that powerful computers would be perfect gift ideas for techie people. Giving the Alienware Area-51 desktops as Christmas gifts would the best thing a computer geek would like. With an anodized aluminum chassis and powered with the most powerful graphics card and processors, what's not to like with this baby?

6: Sony Bravia KDL55HX800
Sony is already a household name in the electronics industry and it comes to that, they have the best LED televisions. Great gift ideas for people who want to set up their entertainment center at home. Nowadays, 3D is now a must have for the latest line of televisions and this model is one of the cheapest ones in the market right now.

5: Nintendo Wii
Giving Wiis as Christmas gifts is perfect for young and old. This motion control powered device can be addicting to many since most of its games are very simple to play and it involves your flexibility and dexterity. If you want to lose the pounds of the food and drinks you ate on Christmas parties then the Wiis are the perfect gadgets for everyone.

4: XBOX 360
One of the best video game console in the market right now, XBOX 360s are good Christmas gifts for hardcore gamers but to make it complete, make sure include the Kinect system. Most gaming gadgets nowadays implement motion-control systems that allow gamers to control the console with the joystick. Move the way your own character move.

3: Sony Playstation 3
Unlike its competitors, Playstation 3 is the all around gaming and entertainment system in the market right now. People who want to play games, surf the Internet, and watch Blu-Ray movies should have PS3s in their homes. Christmas gifts like these should also include the Playstation Eye and Playstation Move so that gamers can have a different gaming experience that using the controllers.

2: Sony Playstation Portable 2
Kids are lining up in gaming stores in malls because they are asking their parents to buy them PSP2 as gifts for Christmas. Just like the PS3, the PSP2 is the portable version of this popular gaming system. Don't forget in include a headset, camera extension, and protective pouch as add-ons.

1: Apple Ipad
Its a must have for technology enthusiasts, the Ipad is somewhat a cross-breed between a typical MacBook and the Iphone 4. It has powerful applications that are used in most laptops and awesome graphically-powered multi-touch games.

Counting down to Christmas, use these gift ideas as guide but the main essence of giving Christmas gifts is making our friends and loved ones happy. In gift-giving, its the thought that really counts.

Unlike the volatile presence of Lindsay Lohan, Miley Cyrus remains the sweet little girl that we always love to like. Yet in recent months, Miley seems to follow her footsteps and started to flirt with disaster, Hollywood style.

Paparazzi guys have snapped compromising celebrity pictures of Miley showing her having a blast with bong just five days after her eighteenth birthday. TMZ and various celebrity gossip columns have plastered every pictures of this former Disney star online.

Despite being the daughter of country music legend Billy Ray Cyrus, the Hannah Montana actress has built a name of her own. Her 'cool' and 'hip' image plus his father's musical pedigree propelled her to stardom especially in her Disney TV role. Because she was introduced to new music audiences in diverse genres particularly in adult contemporary and country music.

When 2009 hit off, Miley began to reinvent herself as she slowly transitioned her adult image to her growing legion of fans. The year following that marked great deal of changes for her with the release of “Time of Our Lives,” which now showcased a more mainstream pop sound, and her coming-of-age film “The Last Song.” The release of her 2010 studio album “Can't Be Tamed” is somewhat attributed to her new image as she portrayed a more sexualized image.

However, fame and fortune are always magnet for controversies and celebrity gossip talks. Her life is scrutinized by general public and the press including the impending divorce of her parents. The fact that her mother Tish played a vital role in her early career, the divorce definitely had an impact now that her acting and music career finally took off.

Being a teenager that everyone looks up to, Miley generated controversies that made headlines in celebrity gossip columns. Her provocative outfit and pole dance act during her “Party in the U.S.A.” performance at the 2009 Teen Choice Awards became a paparazzi cannon fodder. For a teen role model showing off her “risque image,” entertainment writer Ian Drew have even mirrored her to controversial ex-teen popstar Britney Spears. Being a daddy's little girl, Miley's rockstar father defended her for her act and even went on to say that his daughter was only “having fun” because “it's what people her age do.”

Aside from that, Miley's personal life and relationships took a hit as well. She had a high-profile relationship with Nick Jonas ended for two years while her nine-month relationship with model Justin Gaston was criticized because he was five years her senior. She's currently split with Australian actor Liam Hemsworth.

Celebrity gossip on Miley Cyrus remain eventful in 2010 as TMZ recently released a video of her, then 16 years old, doing a lap dance on “The Last Song” producer Adam Shankman. Paparazzi mags released a video of her smoking a psychoactive plant salvia divinorum despite the fact that it was legal to use it in California. Her dad expressed his sadness regarding the matter and even tweeted ”Sorry guys. I had no idea. Just saw this stuff for the first time myself. Im so sad. There is much beyond my control right now.”

Those accomplishments for a young girl like her make it even remarkable as compared to his dad's legacy. Miley Cyrus is not just daddy's little girl.

 
When you browse for the most viewed music videos on Youtube, “Poker Face,” “Bad Romance,” and “Just Dance” are the ultimate viral videos in the Internet that immediately comes to your attention. Of course, the woman who started this craze is Lady Gaga. From ordinary people to Israeli special forces soldiers, they are already doing their own rendition of this pop culture phenomenon.

Regarded for her bizarre yet outlandish sense of style in homage of glam rock artists like Freddie Mercury and David Bowie, Lady Gaga also made herself known in her live performances and music videos. She has transcended music into pop culture and it seems everybody is following her act.

She picked up her name from a Queen hit song “Radio Ga Ga” and from that moment on, she has revolutionize pop music the way Madonna did it 25 years ago. Her musical style immediately draw comparisons to the Material Girl and Gwen Stefani as well. Unlike her predecessors, Lady Gaga has combined music, fashion, art, and technology.

Under the Haus of Gaga, her own creative production team created her own style of clothes, stage props, and even hairdos. Her flamboyant, provocative behavior has stirred both admiration and controversies. Her “blood soaked theme” in the Monster Ball Tour in Manchester, England, has triggered protests in the aftermath of a taxi driver rampage that killed 12 people. The infamous “meat dress” at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards also drew flak from PETA and animal rights activists.

To add more controversy, Lady Gaga has treated her fans as “Little Monsters.” Despite the Internet meme and highly commercial nature of her music and image, 'The Sunday Times' writer Camille Paglia went on to say that Lady Gaga “is more an identity thief than an erotic taboo breaker, a mainstream manufactured product who claims to be singing for the freaks, the rebellious and the dispossessed when she is none of those .”

Lady Gaga attributed her rise in the music industry to her gay fans because it was the LGBT community that helped her get into the airwaves. Now the rest is history. Her influence to the LGBT community makes her a rising gay icon and helped bring about change to pop culture and public perceptions to gay people.

With the world going gaga over Lady Gaga, the University of South Carolina has even offered a course called “Lady Gaga and the Sociology of Fame” as a nod to her influence on modern culture and society. Ever wondering taking your sociology class at this prestigious educational institution just unravel the sociologically relevant dimensions of her fame with regards to her music videos, avant-garde fashion, and other artistic achievements.

Just recently, Lady Gaga became the first artist to surpass one billion video views with “Poker Face” netting 375 million viewers, “Bad Romance” getting 360 million views, and “Just Dance” streaming to 273 million users.

Whether if its an Internet meme or viral videos, Lady Gaga is totally a cut above the rest.

Ever heard of the song on the FM radio like “Just The Way You Are” or “Billionaire”? Chances are, you may be listening to popular American singer-songwriter Bruno Mars but the fact of the matter is that he has Filipino blood.

Unlike fellow “Filipino-Americans” like Pussycat Dolls' Nicole Scherzinger, Black-Eyed Peas' apl.de.ap, The Journey's Arnel Pineda, and Charice, Bruno Mars has its own brand of music. Every time you search Bruno Mars on Google, you always stumble upon queries about his ethnicity. Of course some may say that he's Hispanic from the way he looks. Well his name is Spanish sounding but he's not Mexican and not totally Puerto Rican – he is half-Filipino thanks to his mother Bernadette.

Born in Hawaii to a mixed Puerto Rican-Filipino household, Bruno Mars (nee Peter Gene Hernandez) was exposed to a diverse musical background with a mix of rock, R&B, reggae, and hip-hop. The young boy who would later popularized hits like “Grenade” and “The Other Side” would start his career as an Elvis Presley impersonator. He would also perform songs from Michael Jackson, The Isley Brothers, and The Temptations.

The singer-songwriter would gain lasting musical impact from the musical gigs of his family because every member of his family sings and plays musical instruments. By the time he graduated high school, he was already ready to pursue a musical career in the spotlight of the competitive music industry.

His musical pedigree can be attributed to Filipinos' love for singing and because of this it served him well in the big stage. But before he was able to become a successful figure in the industry, he first wrote songs for Travie McCoy, Brandy, Adam Levine, Alexandra Burke, and Sean Kingston. His collaboration with Flo Rida ultimately paid off as they had the international hit single “Right Round.” Bruno Mars also co-wrote the Sugababes' hit song “Get Sexy” and helped provided backup vocals on their album “Sweet 7.”

His collaboration with various artists from different genres helped build his resume as a songwriter but he was nowhere near as a successful solo singer. Bruno Mars debuted with the album “Doo-Wops & Hooligans” and immediately reached the top of Billboard Top 100. He also teamed up with Cee Lo Green, B.o.B., and Hayley Williams and produced a couple of hit songs like “Just The Way You Are” and “Billionaire.”

Bruno Mars' distinctive style can be attributed to his rich Filipino-American culture and Puerto Rican musical heritage. Mikael Wood of 'The Village Voice' would mention in his article that Bruno Mars is “soft” as the Filipino-American singer-songwriter would admit that he is “singing to girls back in high school.” 'The New York Times' writer Jon Caramanica would praise him as “one of the most versatile and accessible singers in pop, with a light, soul-influenced voice that’s an easy fit in a range of styles, a universal donor.”

Whether we have difficulties understanding Bruno Mars' music or ethnicity, one thing is for sure, the singer-songwriter has Filipino connection indeed.

 

On a dark evening of December 8, 1980, the music world was shocked to hear the untimely assassination of Beatles legend John Lennon by Mark David Chapman. Hours before the Lennon death, RKO Radio Network DJ Dave Sholin and his crew had an exclusive final interview with the Beatles icon. In commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the Lennon assassination, this article provides an in-depth look on the people’s reactions on the legacy he left behind.

In the afternoon of that day, Sholin and his fellow interviewers Ron Hummel, Laurie Kay, and Bert Keane  were privileged enough to have taken part in the last interview of John Lennon and Yoko Ono at their Dakota building residence in New York. In an unprecedented first, the public gets an inside look on the key conversations with Lennon and how the immediate aftershocks of his assassination changed them and the world that mourned his death.

In the build-up to the interview, the crew reminisced in great detail as to how the Lennon-Ono residence looked like as if they were there. They admit that it took them about a month just to set up that historic interview with John and Yoko. As the anticipation builds up, the crew talked with Yoko while John just finished their iconic Rolling Stone pictorial with Annie Leibovitz.

Yoko vividly recalled the tingling sound of glass just like how “Just Like Starting Over” epitomized the sexual revolution and the counter-culture movement of the 70s just as they were getting started with their interview and John Lennon enters the scene. Sholin recalled that Lennon’s presence ‘put him at ease’ as if he is like ‘an old friend he knew’ while Hummel felt at awe as if he was a little boy meeting his favourite idol.

Lennon even poked fun at Keane as if he was just a character at Sesame Street while Kay was concerned about the previous Lennon interview with Playboy that John may not talked about his Beatles past. Apparently, she was wrong and viewed him as the ‘nicest human being’ she ever known. Lennon’s sabbatical provided him the inspiration for his last album “Double Fantasy” and really solidified his solo career thereby separated him from the John Lennon of Beatles fame to the John Lennon we know as Yoko Ono’s partner. To put in perspective, his hit single “Woman” is believed to have encapsulated his adoration to Yoko.

Lennon relished his times as father to Sean and his domestic lifestyle as the father he wanted to be. He sacrificed his music career and enjoyed his role as a ‘house-husband.’ Despite his five-year self-exile, Lennon still managed to find his creative talent and get back again to the business he knows best – making his own music.

All the women from John’s life from his mother Julia to Yoko played an important part in his creative process. In fact, Sholin can relate how John and Yoko are perfect for each other as to how they made eye contact and finish each other’s statements. In a rare moment in their discussion despite John’s jovial mood and optimism, he displayed an apparent sadness as he opens up aspects of his personal life including his haunting 18-month ‘lost weekend” where his relationship with Yoko hit rock bottom and how he tried to fixed things up.

As the consummate storyteller that he was, Lennon has showed how he grown up and overcame the challenges in his career and personal life. Hummel recalled Lennon’s animated response to the socio-political dynamics of the turbulent decade of the 60s and 70s as shown in “Across the Universe” and “Imagine.” He espoused the philosophy of ‘music is love’ to counter the horrors of the Vietnam War and the political climate of the time.

Hummel would recall an ironic twist to the waning moments of the interview wherein John talks about his own mortality. “...I realised that all my work won’t be done until I’m dead and buried...” is an eerie statement on what the Lennon death might become. Yet he was hoping to be still making record but it’s unfortunate that his life would end by the bullets of a Charter Arms .38 Special revolver used by Chapman hours after the interview.

Ride the time capsule and recall key moments of John Lennon’s life and career by listening to his two-hour final interview.

Just wandering why people in Facebook have decided to change their profile pictures into their favorite cartoon characters. Getting curious about this cartoon madness, I decided to join in. At first, I was quite confused on which character I would use since most of them have already used it. I decided to choose between the diabolical He-Man villain, Skeletor, and Dragonball Z's favorite nincompoop Mr. Satan. Well Mr. Satan is the best choice I think everyone would recognize him.

Have fun changing your profile pictures.

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{picture#https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-AgIZYN7u_Hg/VZvLmrA0hpI/AAAAAAAARt8/mscbLJ1All4/profile%2Bpic.jpg} JP Canonigo is a historian, professional blogger and copywriter, online content specialist, copywriter, video game junkie, sports fanatic and jack-of-all trades. {facebook#http://www.facebook.com/istoryadista} {twitter#http://www.twitter.com/jpthehistorian} {google#http://plus.google.com/+JPSakuragi}
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