LAST Saturday, the 12 candidates for Miss Cebu 2014 gathered at the inner roof deck of Harolds Hotel to sign the sponsorship contract to the prestigious beauty pageant sposored by GT Cosmetics Manufacturing.

The company’s founder and chief operating officer, engineer Leonora Salvane, said that their “products are proudly Cebuano.” She turned over a check worth P100,000 to Miss Cebu 2014 chairperson Jaja Chiongbian-Rama.

A Ms. GT Cosmetics will also be chosen and will receive a one-year supply of its products. Miss Cebu 2014 will be crowned on Jan. 15.

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While Cebu is now on its toes in preparation for the Pista Senyor and the Sinulog grand parade, other Cebuanos who are based in Dubai are also busy preparing for the second edition of the Sinulog sa United Arab Emirates.

I met one of the activity’s moving forces, Teresa Binghay, who told me about the event which they expect to be much bigger than last year’s. She narrated that the event moved to tears Cebuanos who have been based there for years but have been unable to visit Cebu for one reason or another.

Teresa is optimistic that companies, which their group approached for sponsorship, will be generous enough to support their endeavor. More of this next time.

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The Kim Chiu-Xian Lim tandem proved its box-office strength in the movie Bakit Di Ka Crush ng Crush Mo, one of Star Cinema’s money-makers last year. The tandem is coming back in Bride For Rent, which is predicted to outdo their previous film in terms of box-office returns.

After winning the Pinoy Big Brother Teen Edition some years back, Kim has metamorphosed into a versatile actress and proved her worth in both drama and comedy.

Bride for Rent will be shown on Wednesday, Jan. 15. Kim and Xian will also have a mall show today at the SM City Cebu Event Centre.

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Last Christmas (no, I did not give my heart to somebody, as the song goes), as in past Christmases, I always had this plan to watch all the entries to the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) not only to enjoy but also to observe how far the local movie industry has gone in terms of quality and other aspects.

For years, however, the MMFF has set itself apart from the other film festivals around the world which come up with quality entries that have lured many Filipino directors and artists to participate, and in the process win awards and accolades from known film critics and experts.

The MMFF has gained the reputation of producing entries that are mostly geared toward making audiences, especially children, laugh and be happy during the merry season of Christmas.

There are of course exceptions as serious movies including those with historical connections and other themes manage to get the nods of the screening committee members.

This year, a mix of comedy, horror, religion and action (for a change, there is no fantasy) vied for being the film fest’s biggest money-maker which, as of this writing, is reportedly held by My Little Bossings.

Honestly, I didn’t find anything funny while watching this movie. The other moviegoers were also quiet, an unusual reaction to a Vic Sotto movie. Eugene Domingo’s Kimmy Dora has even received better reactions from the audience (though not really having a better storyline).

In contrast, giggles and laughter were heard when I watched the Vice Ganda top-billed entry Girl, Boy, Bakla, Tomboy. I heard screams of horror when I watched Pagpag.

It was understandable for the audience to be prim and proper while watching Pedro Calungsod: Batang Martir.

Despite having the chance to spend less due to the MMDA pass given to me by former GMA 7 corpcom exec Butch Raquel, time constraints prevented me from carrying out my earlier plan.

As in previous outings, controversies hound the festival after the awards were given out. Will the film fest be able to get rid of these kinks? Will there be improvements the next time around? Hope springs eternal, as the adage goes. So...