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Focus on the Philippines: Fans thrilled after Filipino dessert featured on Cartoon Network’s Steven Universe

Filipino fans of Cartoon Network’s Steven Universe were elated when a popular dessert in the Philippines made an appearance on the animated programme earlier this week.

On the show’s latest episode, the character Lars Barriga — the best friend of lead star Steven Universe — bakes an ube (purple yam) roll and takes it to a dinner party.

Hashtags for Steven Universe and ube roll trended on Twitter after the episode aired on Monday in the Philippines. Fans speculated whether the character of Lars Barriga is of Filipino heritage.

Coincidentally, several voice actors on the animated series are of Filipino descent, including Deedee Magno Hall (who voices the character of Pearl), Jennifer Paz (the character Lapis Lazuli) and Shelby Rabara (the character Peridot).

Steven Universe, which debuted back in 2013, is created by Rebecca Sugar, a former writer and storyboard artist on the animated show Adventure Time. According to Cartoon Network, Sugar is the first woman to independently create a series for the network.

Morissette Amon to co-host Michaels Bolton’s new reality singing competition

Filipino pop vocalist Morissette Amon revealed she has been selected as the co-host of a new reality singing competition programme presented by the popular American singer Michael Bolton.

The show, titled Bolt of Talent, is set to air on Fox Network Group’s Star World later this year. Over seven weeks, Bolton will mentor amateur singers from Manila, Kuala Lumpur, Taipei and Bangkok. The winner will be awarded a record deal and an opportunity to perform with Bolton in his forthcoming world concert tour.

The programme begun production on Wednesday in Manila. According to Amon, she is elated to join Bolton “on his search for talents here in the Philippines and around Asia”.

Amon, 20, is a product of reality singing programmes. At age 14, she joined the talent show Star Factor, finishing as the runner-up. She rose to fame after appearing on the first season of The Voice of the Philippines in 2013, reaching the show’s semi-final round. She currently appears on the weekly variety television programme Asap.

Bolton has sold over 75 million records throughout a career that started in the 1970s. His 23rd album, Songs of Cinema, was released in February.

New York’s Museum of Modern Art spotlights Philippine cinema

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York has organised a month-long exhibition of Filipino films.

Titled A New Golden Age: Contemporary Philippine Cinema, the retrospective will run from June 1 to 25, featuring 18 Filipino feature films produced from the 2000s onwards.

“The Philippines’s current wave of sustained creativity is unusual in its diversity of genre and style, audacious formal experimentation, and multiplicity of personal, social, and political perspectives,” read a statement from the museum.

“Defying simple description, this dizzying array of distinct cinematic statements makes it an exceptionally unique, vibrant movement.”

The exhibition opens on June 1 with Ramona Diaz’s Motherland, a documentary that follows three expectant mothers over the course of their stay in a busy Manila public hospital where as many as 100 babies are born each day.

Also featured in the exhibition are films by renowned Filipino directors Lav Diaz, Brillante Mendoza, Marlon Rivera and Kidlat Tahimik.

Filipinos win big at Asean film festival

Filipino films and actors swept the major trophies at this week’s Asean International Film Festival and Awards, held in Kuching, Malaysia.

Ai-Ai Delas Alas won the Best Actress prize for her performance in the drama Area. Louie Ignacio — who won the Best Director award for the film — accepted the trophy for Delas Alas, who was honoured with the same prize at the Queens World Film Festival in New York back in March.

The Best Supporting Actress prize went to Ana Capri for Laut, another feature film helmed by Ignacio. Ricky Davao won the Best Supporting Actor award for Bor Ocampo’s film Dayang Asu.

Lawrence Fajardo was honoured with the Best Editing prize for his work on his film Imbisibol, while Lav Diaz was given the Special Honour award for Ang Babaeng Humayo (The Woman Who Left), which won the top prize at last year’s Venice Film Festival.

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