HomeArts & CultureFocus on the Philippines: Filipino beauty queens win Amazing Race Asia

Focus on the Philippines: Filipino beauty queens win Amazing Race Asia

Filipino beauty pageant winners Parul Shah and Maggie Wilson have emerged victorious on the fifth season of reality-TV programme The Amazing Race Asia.

They beat fellow beauty queens Yvonne Lee and Chloe Chen from Malaysia, as well as married couple Eric Tai and Rona Samson, who are also from the Philippines, in the grand finale this week. It was the culmination of 10 legs of competition that took 11 teams of two to 12 cities across Southeast Asia.

For their efforts, Shah, 28, and Wilson, 27, won a US$100,000 (Dh367,000) cash prize.

“Nothing can compare to what we’ve both experienced,” Wilson said after crossing the finish line in Bali, Indonesia. “Those memories will last. I’m pretty sure we’ll be talking about this moment for decades.”

Shah, who was born in Dubai and raised in the Philippines, said: “It was such a relief to win because the money can help my family, especially my dad who suffered a stroke. He taught me to never give up in life and I did this to prove that no matter what life throws at you, never give up.”

Shah won the Miss Philippines Tourism title in 2014 and the Miss Philippines Grand International title in 2015. Wilson represented the Philippines at the Miss World pageant in 2007.

The Amazing Race Asia, presented by Asian-American actor Allan Wu and Indonesian film star Tara Basro, is a regional version of the American series, in which teams race around the world while completing a variety of tasks. The fourth season was won by the Filipino duo of Richard Hardin and Richard Herrera.

Journey return to Manila for concert

American rock band Journey, led by Filipino vocalist Arnel Pineda, will return to Manila for a one-night-only concert on February 17 at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Thr group first performed in Manila in 2009. Their forthcoming show will mark Pineda’s 10th anniversary with the legendary band. The 49-year-old joined in December 2007 after a search by the band for a replacement for singer Steve Perry. The group – lead guitarist Neal Schon, bassist Ross Valory, drummer Steve Smith and keyboardist Jonathan Cain – discovered Pineda through his YouTube videos and were impressed with his soaring cover versions of Journey songs.

They rose to fame in the 1970s and ’80s with hits including Don’t Stop Believin’, Open Arms and Faithfully. They have sold more than 90 million albums worldwide.

This week it was announced that the band will be inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2017, alongside slain rapper Tupac Shakur, folk singer Joan Baez, British progressive rock band Yes, American band Pearl Jam and English rockers Electric Light Orchestra. They will be inducted at a ceremony and concert in New York on April 7.

James Taylor cancels Manila gig to protest killings

American singer-songwriter James Taylor has cancelled his scheduled concert in Manila on February 25, 2017, citing “recent reports from the Philippines of summary executions of suspected offenders without trial or judicial process”.

Since President Rodrigo Duterte took office in June, more than 4,000 suspects have been killed in circumstances linked to his campaign against drugs.

Taylor, one of the best-selling artists of all time, said he found the deaths “deeply concerning and unacceptable to anyone who loves the rule of law”.

He said: “I’ve been eagerly looking forward to playing for my Philippine audience ever since we added Manila to our tour of the Pacific. So it saddens me to have to cancel our concert there. I don’t think of my music as particularly political but sometimes one is called upon to make a political stand.”

Taylor apologised to his fans and said all tickets will be refunded.

Ma’ Rosa misses Oscars shortlist

The Philippines will have to wait another year for the country’s first Oscar. Brillante Mendoza’s acclaimed urban drama Ma’ Rosa failed to make it to the shortlist of nominees in the Best Foreign Language Film category of the 89th Academy Awards, which will be held on February 26, 2017.

The nine films that made the shortlist are: Tanna (Australia), It’s Only the End of the World (Canada), Land of Mine (Denmark), Toni Erdmann (Germany), The Salesman (Iran), The King’s Choice (Norway), Paradise (Russia), A Man Called Ove (Sweden) and My Life as a Zucchini (Switzerland).

The nine films were selected from 85 entries. The shortlist will be further narrowed down to the final five contenders, which will be announced along with the rest of the Oscar nominations on January 24.

Ma’ Rosa tells the story of a mother of four who falls prey to corrupt police officers after she is forced to sell drugs to survive. The film’s star, Jaclyn Jose, became the first Filipino to win the Best Actress award at the 2016 Cannes International Film Festival.

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