8 New Year’s Eve Parties To Welcome 2023 With A Bang

Have a jam-packed new year.

From concerts with your favorite Filipino music acts and K-Pop stars, to mouth-watering feasts and dazzling fireworks display, here are some exciting events for your New Year’s Eve fix.

It feels like we’ve all just blinked and then bam, 2022 is on its final day, leaving us filled with unforgettable memories that we’ll surely cherish. Meanwhile, we also have a new year to prepare for, signaling new beginnings, resolutions to accomplish, and fresh moments to create. This New Year’s Eve, there’s no better feeling than to welcome the coming year with the company of your loved ones enjoying a party at home or perhaps a concert with your favorite music acts with an enchanting scenery and festive fun. Whatever your plan is, we give you a list of exciting events on the last day of the year that will offer you the best way to ring in 2023.

Related: Plan Your Family Or Barkada’s Holiday Itinerary With These Fun-Filled Activities


Photo from Lani Misalucha’s Facebook page

Start your year on a high note, literally, with the Power Divas New Year’s Eve concert featuring the majestic voices of Gigi de Lana, The Gigi Vibes, and Asia’s Nightingale herself, Lani Misalucha. Happening at the Newport Performing Arts Theater, the musical presentation will also be attended by the AMP Big Band headed by Mel Villena and will be directed by Paolo Valenciano.


Looking for some spectacular end-of-the-year experience that will give you grand entertainment and some sumptuous gastronomic fête? Well, Okada Manila has prepared a slate of events for the New Year’s Eve celebration. Titled Spectacularly Stellar, Okada Manila’s 2023 New Year’s Eve Grand Countdown will hold simultaneous offerings that feature star-studded performances, scrumptious feasts, and a pyromusical display. 

Catch Pinoy rock icon Arnel Pineda, celebrity couple-musicians KZ Tandingan and TJ Monterde, Liezel Garcia and more for some rockin’ revelry at the Grand Ballroom with the Rockin’ 2023: NYE Countdown Concert, complete with some mouthwatering spread by Okada Manila’s team of seasoned chefs. 

At The Fountain, guests can marvel at a pyromusical display tuned to jubilant music and dazzling performances from pop stars Sam Concepcion and Elha Nympha, and the Okada Entertainment Group with the Razzle Dazzle: NYE Countdown Celebration. Finally, if you want to vibe to some good music while enjoying your drink, then head on to Cove Manila’s 2023 ’TIL INFINITY: NYE Countdown Party where world-renowned electro-house artist Tujamo, together with the country’s best DJs, will close out the year with you.


Touted as the biggest countdown street party in the metro, Bonifacio Global City’s Alive 2023 is unlike any other NYE celebrations as it gathers some of the country’s powerhouse performers for one night. At 8 PM on New Year’s Eve, Bamboo, Sarah G, Morrisette, and Ebe Dancel will join the fun at the 5th Avenue, BGC, Taguig as the city comes alive in welcoming the new year. G-Force and DJ Mike Lavet will also bring dynamic performances in the event that will also feature grand fireworks and a pyromusical display.

Eastwood City

Photo from Eastwood City’s Facebook page

Music, booze, and some riveting fireworks await you at Eastwood City as you usher in the new year. Don’t miss the live performances from the country’s most sought-after artists including Yeng Constantino, Christian Bautista, Lola Amour, and Zack Tabudlo at the Eastwood Mall Open Park. Plus, the night of gaiety will also close with Eastwood City’s iconic star drop and much-awaited bubble shower.


Photo from Kutitap’s Facebook page

Grab your family and barkada and together, enjoy some unforgettable holiday moments at the Clark Parade Grounds with Kutitap. In collaboration with the music and arts festival Klaypel Land, Kutitap brings you a Filipino traditional holiday celebration to spend on the New Year’s Eve with a lineup of mesmerizing light and art installations, fun games and activities that will remind you of your local perya, amazing live performances, and a curation over a hundred food stalls and local merchants to shop from.


Photo from Cebu City Tourism’s Facebook page

For our friends down in Queen City of the South, the Cebu City Tourism, together with the local government unit, will hold Cebu City’s first-ever official New Year countdown party with Ball Drop and Crown Rise. A prelude to the Sinulog celebration in January, the countdown concert will spotlight performances from a lineup of local artists including Cueshe, Jennifer Lee, Kurt Fick, and many more. Cebuanos will also get to enjoy a millions-worth at the South Road Properties grounds in front of SM Seaside City Cebu. Cebuanos will also get to enjoy (for free!) a light show at the Cebu-Cordova Expressway Link bridge and a 15-minute, millions-worth of a fireworks display.


Photo from MOA’s Facebook page

Witness the sky at the Manila Bay light up with some resplendent and world-class pyromusical display as the SM Mall of Asia welcomes 2023 with their grandest New Year’s Eve countdown party. Not only that, some of the Philippines’ brightest stars like Zephanie, Sponge Cola, Darren Espanto, and P-Pop kings SB19 will also join the festivities at the Seaside Blvd from 9 PM onwards.

Kapuso Countdown to 2023 Gayo Daejeon

Kapuso Countdown to 2023 Gayo Daejeon poster
Photo from GMA Network’s Facebook page

If you just want to ring in the new year while being cozy at home with your family, then don’t fret, because you still can get some festive entertainment with GMA Network’s Kapuso Countdown to 2023 Gayo Daejeon. A collaboration with South Korean broadcast network SBS, the special New Year’s Eve countdown celebration features performances from your favorite Kapuso artists, P-Pop stars, and K-pop stars courtesy of Gayo Daejeon, SBS’ annual televised music festival. 

At exactly 10:30 PM, make sure your TVs are set and get ready to be impressed as homegrown talents, led by Asia’s Multimedia Star Alden Richards, provide us with amusing entertainment. He’ll be joined by Julie Anne San Jose, Christian Bautista, Rayver Cruz, Barbie Forteza, Ruru Madrid, Sanya Lopez, Kyline Alcantara, Derrick Monasterio, and Dasuri Choi among others.

You should also prepare your K-loving hearts as some of the world’s top K-pop stars have prepared some enthralling presentations just for you. Don’t miss NCT 127, NCT DREAM, THE BOYZ, fromis_9, Stray Kids, (G)I-DLE, ATEEZ, ITZY, TOMORROW X TOGETHER, CRAVITY, aespa, ENHYPEN, IVE, NMIXX, TEMPEST, LE SSERAFIM, and NewJeans as they perform their greatest K-pop hits. Meanwhile, as if this couldn’t get any better, P-pop will also be proudly bannered at the stage with Calista, KAIA, and 1st.One joining in the fun.

Continue Reading: 5 Tips To Help You Actually Achieve Your New Year’s Resolutions

terno filipiniana outfit

These Stars Are Making Us Want To Wear The Terno More Often

The bigger the sleeves, the closer to God.

Who says the terno is just for when the dress code calls for it? It’s the butterfly sleeves for us!

The terno may seem too intimidating to some, but you can’t deny that it’s delicate yet structured design can give anyone that graceful sense of pride. The traditional Filipino attire has evolved throughout the ages and we’re here for it. Yup, the classic butterfly sleeves has seen everything from the colonial period, Philippine cinema’s golden age, and now, even in the contemporary everyday.

The way the terno adapts to history’s eras (pop culture moments included) get more dramatic every time, but nonetheless punched up with a refreshing twist. Below, we’ve rounded up some of the biggest moments of the terno this year from Liza Soberano’s sheer take to Heart Evangelista’s pink, cotton candy delight.

READ MORE: The Terno Just Made Cameos At Paris Fashion Week and We’re Screaming


terno filipiniana outfit

At the recent Unforgettable Gala Asian American awards, Bella Poarch wore a mint green cropped terno by Vinta Gallery with matching gloves and a nude embellished skirt. Refreshing.


terno filipiniana outfit

Who says the terno can’t look sultry? Liza Soberano in her mini dress and sheer butterfly sleeves would like a word. Plus points for wearing knee high boots.


terno filipiniana outfit

Fresh from Los Angeles Fashion Week, Nadine Lustre wore a two-piece embellished Filipiniana by Chris Nick to the Philippine Faces of Success Awards 2023.


Our jaws dropped when we saw Anne Curtis on the cover of Vogue Philippines wearing a terno in form of a tuxedo. Of course, no one else could’ve tailored it better than designer Joey Samson.


terno filipiniana outfit

Trust us when we say that this could possibly be the cutest terno outfit we’ve ever seen. Heart Evangelista’s pink tulle look is from Vietnamese brand She By Hoa Nguyen.


For her Awit Awards performance, 15-year old rapper Alex Bruce wore a futuristic terno top by Jet Rivero, accessorized with silver hardware, latex gloves, and parachute pants. An outfit we’re definitely re-creating.


There’s just something about the terno that makes you feel strong. Jasmine Curtis wears a red bolero version for her MEGA Entertainment feature.


terno filipiniana outfit

Nothing beats a classic terno in Piña, but Patricia Prieto gives it a contemporary spin by wearing printed trousers. The floral details on the sleeves designed by HAMÜ was the cherry on top.


terno filipiniana outfit

Korean actress Ho Yeon knew she had to make the most out of her Filipino experience when she visited the country for her fan meet. She wore a delicate, embroidered terno with petite sleeves from Kultura.


Filipino-Irish singer OUIDA looked like a living painting in a blush terno accessorized with traditional jewelry. 10 out of 10 would casually wear this outfit on the beach.


terno filipiniana outfit

Living up to her Dalagang Pilipina nickname, Mimiyuuuh wears an orange terno blazer paired with denim shorts and Prada combat boots. Now this is an eye-popping outfit.


terno filipiniana outfit

This color-blocked outfit by Maris Racal is forever saved in our mood boards because of how fun and edgy the styling actually is. And yes, a bikini top underneath looks real good, too.


Back in April, Miss Universe 2021 Harnaaz Sandhu wore a pink terno by Marc Rancy paired with a white skirt. The reason for her choice? “With so many uncertainties on the horizon, pink, for me, is something that positively brings out the good in people, and that is the change we need.” And that’s on period.

CONTINUE READING: Belle Mariano Looked Like A Filipina Barbie In Her Pink Terno At The Seoul International Awards

xylk lorena birkin grocery bag filipino fashion designer

Meet The Filipino Designer Turning Sako Bags Into Birkins

Grocery runs just got a little more fun.

Filipino designer Xylk Lorena is making the Birkin bag a whole lot more accessible than you think.

Growing up in the Philippines, it’s oddly normal to see tote bags, tees, and even sneakers stamped with a politician’s name and face on it. Remember when the internet had a lot to say about the infamous “Air Binays” from years ago? Call it consumerism-obsessed, tacky merch, or even “camp” as you wish, but for rising Filipino designer Xylk Lorena, there’s the untapped potential in this design formula that strangely works wonders when done tastefully. Satire may just be the best word to describe his language as a designer.

xylk lorena birkin grocery bag filipino fashion designer

Cue in his latest project, “expensive grocery bags,” where you can now own a Birkin except Xylk decided to print them on sako bags. This bizarre idea slowly became viral on Instagram and fashion Twitter, with fashion geeks applauding its socio-economic implications disguised as cheeky design. “Do you know who I am?” and “Can I talk to your manager?” are just some of the bag’s hilarious names in this collection, obviously referencing the viral, unhinged videos of Karens all over the world.

Below, we had a little catch up with the Toronto-based designer on how his streetwear brand came to be thanks to his obsession with Dexter’s Laboratory and having a thick Filipino accent in a foreign land.

CONTINUE READING: It’s The Sit Down: Blackpink Is Seated In This Filipino Designer’s Chair

Tell us about yourself. How does it feel like growing up outside of the Philippines? How were you able to foster that connection with your aesthetic as a fashion designer?

xylk lorena birkin grocery bag filipino fashion designer

When I was 10, my family and I moved to St. Jamestown, Bleecker in downtown Toronto. I’d say 70% of the kids in my school were Filipinos. There was a big Filipino community present, but I came from Manila, so I know what taho is supposed to taste like you know? But to be completely honest, as soon as I got here, I kind of forgot about being Filipino. Everything is kind of designed to make you feel like you should hide that stuff, especially back in those days, I think. Instead of bringing longganisa and pancit canton that’s all mushed up into a gigantic blob by lunch time into class, you’d rather have a sandwich of course, maybe some chicken nuggets. I didn’t even know I had a thick-ass accent until Filipino kids started mocking me and calling me “fob.” I thought I spoke English perfectly to be honest. 

Now, everything they used to make me feel ashamed of, I’m putting at the forefront and into anything that I make. That Filipino humor and ingenuity, that thick Pinoy accent are part of my design language. 

Now, everything they use to make me feel ashamed of, I’m putting at the forefront and into anything that I make. That Filipino humor and ingenuity, that thick Pinoy accent are part of my design language. 

What was your earliest memory as a creative? At what age did you start exploring design?

xylk lorena birkin grocery bag filipino fashion designer

We didn’t have cable growing up, so the only time I ever watched cartoons was when I went over to my best friend’s house who lived in a gated subdivision just one street over. We’d watch Cartoon Network all the time and I’d tune into Dexter’s Laboratory religiously. I used to pretend and imagine I had a secret lab built in the room that I shared with my sisters. I’m not sure when exactly I started exploring design, but I have a feeling that whenever I used my imagination, those were my first steps.

How was it like establishing your identity as a Filipino designer compared to streetwear brands who more often than not, ride the hype? Were there any unfortunate encounters when you started?

I’m pretty confident that we’re still in the early stages of this, but here’s what I got so far. I believe that I have a unique perspective and outlook on design because of the simple fact that I got to live in Manila long enough that I observed what people do there and moved to North America and saw what people do here. All I do as a designer is be a bridge between the two. I think brands often reflect the personalities of their designers and I think most designers draw from the need to express themselves creatively, which is great, but I draw from the need to solve a problem.

We’d watch Cartoon Network all the time and I’d tune into Dexter’s Laboratory religiously. I used to pretend and imagine I had a secret lab built in the room that I shared with my sisters.

Aside from your cheeky Birkin grocery bags that are now slowly gaining cult status in the fashion world, what else are you planning to release in the near future? 

xylk lorena birkin grocery bag filipino fashion designer


What are some of the milestones in your career so far?

Getting our office space. Shout out to Hullmark, the best in the world. The fact that I haven’t turned down any requests to hang out/family party because “I have work” is something that I’m proud of. I’m trying to practice good time management. Bringing my best friends LiFE DESiGNER #2 Feef & LiFE DESiGNER #13 Coolin to the Philippines for three months doing what we love and meeting my family meant a lot to me and is something I wanna do annually. Showing our lookbook in Paris during fashion week was life changing. Getting invited to the Nike World Headquarters and walking around campus was a dream come true. Doing Complex Con again for the second time is pretty cool, too. Man, we did a lot this year.

What is your advice to young Filipino creatives, mostly those who don’t have the tools, connections and resources?

In Manila, me and my cousin parked his motorcycle in this outdoor parking lot during a sunny day. We left after about two hours and came back to his bike with a flattened cardboard box and a rock on top of it. A man comes and take sit off and my cousin gives him whatever change he had in his pocket. That’s LiFE DESiGN. Solve a problem, the rest will follow.

Photos from Xylk.co on Instagram

CONTINUE READING: Meet The Filipino Designer Loved By Paris Hilton and Julia Fox

miss beauty doll philippines

This Filipino Doll Almost Won An International Pageant

Even her outfits resembled Catriona's and Pia's!

Tatyana Nerissa Watawat from the Philippines placed first runner-up in this year’s Miss Beauty Doll competition.

When pageants are the Super Bowl of your country, best believe everybody’s gonna tick off all those competitions in their list—win or lose. We’ve come a long way from bagging four Miss Universe titles and now, even doll pageants have now become our playground. Yes, they’re very much real.

READ MORE: Did You Know? These Filipino Pageant Coaches Trained International Beauty Queens

Tatyana Nerissa Watawat, the doll that represented the Philippines at Thailand’s Miss Beauty Doll 2022 won first runner-up and was awarded Best National Costume. We definitely saw how close she was to taking home the crown given how stunning all her jaw-dropping outfits were, all made in the Philippines, of course.

Honoring her roots, Tatyana Nerissa Watawat wore a creation by Cholo Ayuyao for her national costume called Portraits of a Filipina. She glistened in a gold sculptural gown with photos of different Filipino ancestors on the skirt and even wore a swimsuit that resembled Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray’s unforgettable lava gown. The devil is in the details.

Tatyana’s face card is unrivalled. Of course, her final look was just as regal. The blue embellished gown was absolutely a nod to Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach’s winning ensemble. But the red dress was the show-stopper with the rhinestones almost looking like a pupa ready to take flight from its chambers. Winning the first runner-up title isn’t so bad, considering how we already won the Miss Beauty Doll pageant back in 2016. Just like that, we now have another pearl on our glistening crown.

CONTINUE READING: This Filipino Creative Made A Jollibee Doll In Drag From Scratch


3 Things We Loved (And Didn’t) About Deleter

Ignore. Delete. Ignore. Delete.

Nadine Lustre acting in Deleter was unparalleled. The rest of the MMFF 2022 entry, however, is more of a mixed bag.

Related: 8 Entries From MMFF 2022, Here’s What We Know So Far

(Minor spoilers for Deleter ahead.)

With a new edition of the Metro Manila Film Festival comes eight new Filipino movies hoping to vie for the audiences’ attention and money. And in what could be considered a surprising turn of events, the one movie that seems to have gotten a lot of people talking is Deleter, Mikhail Red’s latest horror movie starring heir apparent to the scream queen throne, Nadine Lustre. The tale of a content moderator being haunted by the ghost of her dead co-worker is becoming a surprise box office hit and has only seemed to have gained momentum since.

Meanwhile, the film was the biggest winner of the festival’s awards night where it took home seven awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actress. So, is Deleter worth the hype? The answer to that, like with Lyra’s job, is complicated, because while the film does have its merits, it also has some fundamental flaws that shouldn’t be ignored. Before you head out to see what all the talk of Deleter is about, we break down the things we loved and didn’t about the only horror movie in MMFF 2022.


Nadine Lustre in Deleter

Nadine’s performance in Greed earlier this year was a revelation that proved she needed to do more dark roles. And as expected, she more than delivered as Lyra. Nadine infuses the character with a level of nuance that isn’t easy to pull off. Lyra is jaded and closed off as her life and job taught her to be distant from others.

She doesn’t see the world as real people, but, in her words, as data that she either deletes or ignores. While it can sometimes come off as mundane, Nadine’s acting is one of subtlety that explodes as Lyra’s world soon starts falling apart. Lyra goes through a lot in Deleter, and Nadine makes sure the audience sees this mystery unfold.


A still from Deleter

Without giving major spoilers, the ending of Deleter gave what needed to be given. Nadine offered a tour de force performance all while in a mask in a scene that’s as visually startling as it is memorable. It’s one of the best scenes in the entire movie as it serves as a culmination of Lyra’s nightmare and decision to be closed off and see the world as just numbers. Deleter started strong and ended on a terrifying high note.


A still from Deleter

While Deleter is mainly a slow burn (more on that later), it does have its scary moments. In particular, the scenes of Lyra watching those explicit videos for work contain some of the film’s most arresting visuals. These vignettes remind in a sense films like Sinister or V/H/S where the audience is watching something they aren’t supposed to be consuming which makes it even darker.

We can see why Lyra is the way she is given the messed up stuff she’s supposed to watch. The film also doesn’t skimp out on the gore, blood, and rotting flesh when it has to. The opening scene alone will have the audience squirming in a moment that will make you never look at box cutters the same way again.


Nadine Lustre in Deleter

A jump scare adventure Deleter is not. Instead, it’s made clear early on that Mikhail Red’s exploration of content moderation wants to take its time to build the atmosphere and tension. The result is a mixed one. While it’s ok for the movie to set up the building blocks for what is to come, Deleter can also feel at times an exercise in deadpan meandering as Lyra reacts to what’s happening to her at the moment. It’s not boring per se, but it also is not the thrill ride that the trailers make it out to be. Come into this movie with expectations checked.


A still from Deleter

Deleter suffers from a mild first two acts. Things get into high gear though by the time it reaches its finale when everything falls into place. But waiting this long to go all out is not doing the film any favors with a plot reveal that could have been built better. Some of the scenes in the last third are some of the movie’s best, but it’s an energy that is rarely replicated in the film’s first hour.

The premise alone allows Deleter to potentially go in so many exciting directions, but it sadly follows a more conventional path. There was potential for a real barnburner of a story to be told, but Deleter just doesn’t go far enough to achieve that. The seeds for a compelling narrative were there that sadly failed to materialize fully.


Character poster of Aileen.

While Nadine Lustre is a true star in Deleter, the same can’t be said about her co-stars. McCoy De Leon could have very much not been in this movie with his character barely adding anything substantial to the plot. Jeffrey Hidalgo plays the department’s boss Simon competently, but you could tell where his character is stereotypically going.

As for Louise delos Reyes, she does a good job as Aileen with her character serving as the lynchpin and catalyst for the story. She brings a sense of warmth to the film, especially with her scenes with Lyra, before that is put out by the depravity of her work. But it also raises an eyebrow with the way her character is treated in the movie. It’s about time we step away from using outdated storylines to color the plot. Aileen’s tragedy should not just be limited to one disgusting act.

Overall, Deleter is not your typical Filipino horror movie, for better and for worse. At the heart of the film is a story of how the work of content moderation and digitalizing real people can lead to one’s undoing. And that is a story worth being told in Philippine cinema. But the way Mikhail Red’s latest directorial effort goes about this has us feeling half full. Nadine Lustre can only do so much. Still, if you’re eyeing which movie to watch during MMFF season, Deleter shouldn’t be disregarded. After all, it does has its highlights. It’s a unique viewing experience that offers a different flavor this Christmas season.

Continue Reading: Nadine Lustre Is A Woman Scorned In Her Comeback Film, Greed


Model, Mermaid, Mano Po: Mika Reins On Her Roles And Goals

Young star on the rise.

Mika Reins let’s us in on her life as an actress and a model, the actors she loves working with, and more.

Related: Maureen Wroblewitz Really Went From Supermodel to Super Queen

As a successful model and rising actress, Mika Reins’ career has taken her across many roles and places. She first made her mark on the catwalk, even being named Elite Model Look’s 2020 World Final Winner. But as of late, Mika has also conquered the sea with her first acting role being the mermaid Lua in Raya Sirena. In teal blue makeup and seashells, the young Atenean BS Management student portrayed a character who swam fiercely towards her goals despite unrequited love. 

These days though, while still finding the time to model for household names and brands, Reins has traded in her tail for a dress as plays a role that hits much closer to home: Kayla Gomez in Mano Po Legacy: The Flower Sisters. Such is the life though of an international model and up-and-coming actress that managed to balance a college degree, too.


Reins waves enthusiastically on the Zoom interface. “Funnily enough, I never imagined myself as a mermaid,” she shares on her role in Raya Sirena. “In terms of the sea, I wanted to be a pirate because their fashion is to die for!” 

We spend some time talking about the pirate-core aesthetic: loose shirts, boots, and great ocean-themed accessories. Since childhood, Mika Reins was already passionate about fashion. But due to her Chinese upbringing, she never considered modeling as a career. As an “achi” or eldest sister, she knew she would have to take the traditional route of commerce.

Despite facing discouragement, she knew what she wanted to do in life and continued to strive for her goal to break into the modeling industry. And as the winner of the 37th Elite Model Look World Final, it is clear she succeeded.  “Times are changing, and I’d say Chinoy parents are finally allowing their kids to do different things. I’m glad I get to help with that and inspire other Chinoys to pursue their dreams.” 


When it comes to her character of Lua, it’s her personality that Mika says what drew her into her the most. “I love Lua’s duality. I think she’s very elegant, but also very fierce and a bit siren-like.” When asked if she drew any inspiration from other mermaid films, she replies that the director told her not to watch too many so that she would have her own unique interpretation. In fact, Mika did her own makeup for the character, giving Lua a Euphoria-inspired makeup look just like Maddy Perez. 

Additionally, Reins had already watched several classic Filipino films at that point, so she drew subtle inspiration from Maritoni Fernandez. (She played Dyangga in a 1996 adaptation of Dyesebel). “Lua is understandably, a little annoyed at her crush because he’s always treated her as ‘hanggang best friend lang.’ Meanwhile, she’s always been there for him.” She smiles and covers her mouth to avoid any spoilers and encourages to watch the series to find out.


When asked what it’s like to live the fantasy as a mermaid on TV, Reins dove straight into explaining why it wasn’t as easy as it may seem. “Aside from the heat and the sun, your legs are all wrapped up in the tail and it’s hard to walk around. You feel like you’re crawling most of the time, but it was still very fun and challenging.”

Over video call, she showed her hair which was still dehydrated from saltwater in the shooting. Luckily she didn’t get any sunburns.  “The shoot felt so fast, even though it was an entire week in the province.” She shares that the location was so far away from any major city that there was no McDo or Jollibee anywhere near them.

While getting to play a mermaid was a dream-come-true, Mika’s time as childhood fairtytale characters is far from over. Up next on her bucket list? “After playing a mermaid, I think I want to be a fairy next!”


We go on talking about our favorite mythological creatures, and she shares that her mother is from Isabela. Being a probinsyana, her mom would share stories about sirena, engkantada, deuwende, and that she’d listen intently the whole time because they were such mystical stories. “Myths open your mind to stories that are out of this world, and I think that’s important for people in creative fields.”

When asked about other characters she wants to play, she pauses and thinks for a moment.  “I also wanna try a Heart Evangelista type character, like super kikay and loves shopping! That would be fun!” Today, it seems that she was able to reach her goal! In October, she was cast as Kayla Gomez in Mano Po Legacy: The Flower Sisters. She plays a young Chinese-Filipino woman who is the stepdaughter of one of the titular sisters. With her chic wardrobe and maldita vibe, Kayla is a determined girl who won’t back down in any family dispute. 

With a successful more than half-a-decade career as a young model and a growing name as an actress, you could say Mika Reins is living the best of both worlds. Though while she does admit that both require different set of skills from her, she wouldn’t want to drop one over the other.

“The modeling world is so different from the acting world, in terms of facial expressions, body language, and the mindset you need to have,” says Mika who has been modeling since she was 15 years old. “In modeling, it’s all bold and fierce, and in acting, you have to be a bit more subtle. But I love that you can exercise imagination and creativity in both fields. I would love to do both for as long as I can.” 


As for her advice on over aspiring models or actors out there hoping to make it big, she answers this nugget of wisdom. “Make sure to do these opportunities when you’re young! While you have the energy, time, passion, and heart for it. You never know when you can no longer do these things.” 

She also suggests that aspiring young artists reassess their priorities in life and undergo a lot of reflection. Even in the creative industry, there are “business things” that one must consider if one is truly to enter into this tough career. “Think of what you’ll have to give up, like a stable traditional job, or what you can do to support yourself if there are no gigs.” 

But to wrap up the conversation, I asked her which of her fellow Filipino characters does she have fond memories working with. “I mostly enjoy working with my fellow Regal Babies Miggs Cuaderno, Shecko Apostol, and Dustin Yu, as well as GMA artist Will Ashley; they’re like my little brothers on set.” 

Mika adds, “It has also been an honor to work along with veteran actors like Beauty Gonzalez, Rafael Rosell, Johnny Revilla, and Angel Guardian. Despite being excellent actors in their respective disciplines, they’re also very humble, well-grounded, and intelligent. They enjoy offering new actors like myself advice on how to improve, which I genuinely find admirable.” From the catwalk to the set, Mika Reins is out her doing it. It really is no wonder this stunning Chinoy beauty is seen by many as one of the new generation of faces to watch out for.

Photo credits to Mika Reins and GMA

Continue Reading: Here’s Why Chloe Magno, Fashion’s Favorite Ate, Is Vogue Philippines’ First Cover Star

Naomi G

A Candid Conversation With Rising R&B Musician Naomi G

Another artist for your radar.

Naomi G gets real on her music, dealing with mental health, why she isn’t afraid to say what’s on her mind, and much more.

Related: Rising Vietnamese Artist thuy Might Just Be Your Next R&B Obsession

With the many words you can use to describe Singaporean artist Naomi G, boring and timid aren’t on the list. The singer had a colorful life growing up, one that feels ever-present in her young but growing music career. The alt-R&B star rings you through her stream of consciousness in her tracks, all while not being afraid to delve into serious topics like mental health and loneliness.

Rhythmically, Naomi’s tracks are colored with downbeat mercurial soul, blended with slick notes of alt-R&B and glazed with ethereal dream pop. Acutely aware of art’s on-and-on-again relationship with reality, her music explores the roles of mental health and gender amid social, romantic, and existential tension. Her tracks are a gentle tour de force covered in poignant authenticity.

It’s what her latest single, Delirium, is all about, the first single off her debut album coming in 2023. Her deep-dive into the complexities of love and mental health explores the role of a person as a safe space while they care for someone lost in the landscape of delirium. Her unique style in music combined with her realer than real attitude is just one of the many reasons why you should watch out for this musician. NYLON Manila had the chance to chat with Naomi where she opened up about her music, her debut album, keeping it real, and more.

How did you get into making music?

I got into music because I was lonely and imploding with neuroses; this wasb a critical point for me. During my teen years, I spent much time alone. At one point, I also lived alone for a couple of years in Canada. I was perennially on my headphones during these vacumous stints, focused on my academics and other exploits, but also broiling with emotions, perhaps some unprocessed trauma and no one to share them with. Though, I’ll say, four-walling (being stuck in a room/alone) with yourself does help you develop a strong sense of self and a pronounced voice.

But I hardly saw myself as capable or brave enough to pursue music. The singers on Spotify were a far cry for me, especially growing up and witnessing our art scene be deprioritized time and time again. Moreover, when it came to music, I was absolutely mortified, it was like a sore point. I was painfully envious of people, peers, who were able to put themselves out there with apparent ease. I had and still have to this day extreme stage fright and social anxiety.

It took the dissolution of a four-year relationship, a big move home from Canada, some personal failures and a life-altering conversation with my vocal coach back in Toronto, to realize that music, not just listening to it, but making it, was a viable thing, that I could write my own and share my particular thoughts and experiences with the world in my own sound. I always felt somewhat uncomfortable singing the songs of others. And so I did, starting out as a small wave.

How would you describe your music?

Genre-wise, my music can be defined as conscious R&B or alt pop. In terms of process, I adopt a rather stream-of-consciousness, occasionally dogmatic and verbose and dynamically structured writing style. I usually try my best to keep my writing and topical explorations instinctive and close to both my heart and reality. Thematically, my upcoming music will explore the role and experience of mental health and gender amid concurrent social, romantic, and existential tensions.

Cover art for Naomi G's single, Delirium

Why decide to release Delirium as the first single off the album?

My single defines the ethos and drives messaging for my entire album—of the same name. The single describes a particular experience: the role of a partner as a safe space as they care for someone lost in symptomatic delirium. But the idea of delirium can also refer to any form of mental turmoil or general confusion, I happen to experience both at this stage in my life. So, I thought, this would be an apt title.

Delirium as a track, is also rather lengthy and ballad-like with a keen sense of etherealness, which I thought would serve as a good prologue and inroad into the wispy existential musings to come. That said, each song will have its own texture and exploration that distinguishes it from the focus track.

What was the inspiration behind your new album?

My album is the encapsulation of the various mental health stresses and existential turmoil experienced in the past couple of years. My ensuing tracks will take the shape of a sort of itemized/categorical list of my mental health incursions or existential musings with anxiety and jealous in the pipeline of upcoming releases. I was inspired to take on this format because I felt that much of my young adult life or my 20s has involved me overcoming mental health and identity struggle after struggle.

Some of these experiences include having old friends pull away, me questioning my role as a woman—exacerbated by being close to “marital age” (as alluded to by society), bad habits and unhealthy obsessions, classic relationship troubles, depression, and the list goes on. I’m sure many people feel the same way. Your 20s is the time you really have to confront yourself and society and this comes in waves—of course, not limited to this age range.

Naomi G

Given the personal topics you delve into; did you encounter any difficulties in making the album?

Absolutely. However, most of the challenges have been administrative or technical rather than related to the topics I delve into. It is quite an organizational feat: sourcing for producers, collaborators, social media calendars, distributors, and working on endless marketing, and maintaining an intense day job, and of course, the production process itself has lots of high highs and low lows. I’m blessed to have found a nurturing, kindred and understanding team of creatives.

The sounds associated with each experience came through rather smoothly. Most of these experiences have a rhythm to them. I’ll say, articulating these touchy experiences in MV format, for the Delirium MV, in particular, was quite a challenge. It was a challenge to maintain sensitivity, a sense of intimacy and wider relatability and remain appropriately entertaining whilst operating with a modest team size of four, but we managed. We decided to keep it fun, and be imperfect ourselves but also to distance ourselves with some abstract absurdism in the telling of our immensely personal tale.

What can fans expect when the LP drops in 2023?

Fans can expect more dialogues to be had with me, more MVs and more dimensions to be added to my topical discussions. I will be releasing seven more tracks on a two-monthly basis with anxiety coming up text.

You’re no stranger to talking about serious issues in your music. Why do you feel the need to do so?

(TW: Domestic Violence and Sexual Harassment.)

It is important to open up dialogues around hard-button or marginalized issues. I don’t feel it is sufficient to do so in conversation or on your traditional portals. In my life experience, and I’m sure many of my peers can attest to this, there are so many gaps in public discourse. These gaps make people feel alienated and misunderstood and it enables hegemonic voices to continue dominating the spheres, which is dangerous and also precludes the opportunity for social change or even character development.

These issues are real and palpable yet still invisible or diluted. I experience them. My friends experience them. My community experiences them. And I really care about them. It’s not just a trend to tap into or a virtue to signal.

I am particularly passionate about issues concerning gender as a second-hand victim of domestic gender-based violence, and harassment, rooted in misogyny. I am also concerned about mental health as I know a great many, including myself, who struggle seriously and silently with these issues, that are shunned and hazed by their communities and mistreated in institutions. I need to lend my voice, even though it may just be a drop in the bucket, so that people know they’re not alone.

Naomi G

How would you describe your experience as an outspoken female in the music industry?

To quote Cixous, “Every woman has known the torment of getting up to speak. Her heart races at times entirely lost for words, ground and language slipping away.” (Cixous,1997,351). Not to be high-sounding, truly, but it feels good to be validated by an author, someone who holds more weight than I do. I feel the exact same even as this question is being asked, I feel lost for words. I second guess myself all the time, I feel double duress, especially in front of my male counterparts—though not limited to—who might interpret what I say in a diminished and sexist way.

I feel the pressure to remain nice and affable so that people don’t think me too frosty or difficult. I am extremely conscious of what others think of me. I still struggle to put myself out there. I usually have my partner, who never fails to empower me, be my mouthpiece when I feel particularly fatigued. He agrees, the difference in reception between him and me is palpable. I would say that my experience is valid. But I am also in a privileged place as an outspoken female.

I have the platform to put my message across. There are many who understand and echo the messages I’ve put across. I am also blessed to be in a music community full of outspoken females and allies, in their own ways. It is great to be an outspoken female. I could not exist any other way.

Do you ever get the worry that you maybe getting too real in your music?

Yes, sometimes I try to remain cryptic and hope that people don’t read between the lines or that they are satisfied with a mere suggestion of something. I do this to distance myself from certain experiences where necessary and to have some of my messages open to interpretation or more relatable. But I try not to pull away most of the time as I understand the importance of these messages in unadulterated form and the importance of being raw. Realness is the essence of music.

Where do you get the confidence to do what you do?

From my partner, mum, friends, and supporters. My partner often says, in the most cloying fashion, that he wishes I could see myself through his eyes. I am helplessly self-deprecating and often dismiss such statements playfully but that line, though cliche, captures the heart of the modest but hearty support system I have at home.

They are my constant advisers and hyper-uppers, and they’ve taken on any I’ve role required, which gives me renewed confidence each day. Sad to say, I don’t have much of my own, they really the ones that help me out of my head. I can say that I’m becoming bolder each time. Beyond that, it’s all faking it till you make it, making your shivers look like passion, and being open when I find myself afraid.

In your opinion, what makes a song a bop?

Great question, I’m still figuring this out! I tend to write rather tedious or even anaemic songs—as is admittedly, my personality at times. But I can assure you, my upcoming songs, anxiety and jealousy will be more upbeat, antsy and playful, matching the tempo of each experience. So, to answer the question, I think a bop is a track that is able to capture and convey its message with felicity while being catchy, concise and ear-wormy.

A bop is also likely to pay homage to existing trends. But beyond that, a bop has to have an edge of its own. Suffice it to say, they’re hard to make! The Delirium album will be a mixture of bops (I hope) and ballads, so stay tuned!

Continue Reading: Kiana Valenciano’s Fresh R&B Sound Is Giving Us So Many Feelings

Y.O.U Beauty is Inviting Everyone To Come As They Are This Holiday Season

Y.O.U matter.

This Christmas, Y.O.U lets you, be YOU. After all, the best gift you can give to yourself this season is self love.

Related: By Y.O.U, For You: Long-Lasting Beauty is Now More Attainable Than Ever

Christmas is the season for family gatherings, and reunions with loved ones. While the holidays are known for games, presents, and a celebration of love through food, many of us find these get-togethers to be an anxious experience. Social events call for family and friends who feel they can say whatever, whenever they want. But no matter how hard we try to get away from that relative, they will always have unsolicited comments about your appearance, weight, career, and so much more. Whether our families or friends are unaware of it or not, their opinions can lead us to self-sabotage. 

Y.O.U Beauty

As much as we pay no mind to their snarky comments, we can all agree that in some ways, their judgment can take a toll on how we see ourselves. This year, it’s time we embody self-love. We can’t control what our friends and family have to say about us, but what we can control is ourselves and how we perceive certain things we hear from others. 


Y.O.U Beauty

Y.O.U Beauty’s #beYOUtifulholidays is here to remind us that in order for you to fully accept yourself for who you are, one of the many ways to express self-love is through an intense journey of self-care. Known for their philosophy “Long-Lasting Beauty,” the international beauty brand provides products made with advanced technology, crafted for anyone and everyone. 

Y.O.U Beauty

Infused with skin-loving formulas, they provide accessible luxury skincare and cosmetic products that cater to all skin-types, which helps the skin maintain its beauty through time. Y.O.U Beauty understands the importance of self-care, and in this year’s holiday campaign, they encourage everyone to speak up and seek their own power, giving us the confidence we all need through the beauty of skincare. 

Y.O.U Beauty

Everyone’s stories should be heard as speaking our truth is the gateway to accepting ourselves. Thanks to Y.O.U Beauty, not only are we empowered through skincare, we are also encouraged to listen to our truth. Show up for yourself this holiday season by being your authentic self. By knowing your value and taking care of your body through self-care, not only do you show up for yourself, but you show up for the important people in your life, too. 

To know more about Y.O.U Beauty, follow them on FacebookInstagram, and TikTok. Y.O.U Beauty is now available online at Shopee and Lazada, and soon in all major retail stores nationwide.


Did You Know, John Prats Directed These K-pop Concerts In Manila

He's directed some of your faves' concerts.

Behind some of the biggest K-pop concerts in Manila this 2022 is John Prats helping them come to life as director.

Related: Here Comes The Hallyu Wave: The Korean Stars Who Recently Came To The Philippines

Most of you may know John Prats as an actor who has been entertaining us for more than two decades now. But aside from his skills on camera, did you also know that he’s also made quite a name for himself off camera as a director? The career shift happened a few years ago when John was looking to find new meaning for his career.

He decided to try directing and when it turned out that he had a talent for it, he hasn’t looked back since. Over the years, the Tanging Yaman star has directed many projects, including episodes of Ang Probinsyano, the ABS-CBN Christmas Specials, and few of Moira dela Torre’s music videos, as well as her upcoming concert in 2023.

Speaking of concerts, John Prats has also cut his teeth directing quite a few of them. And 2022 opened a new door in his career as he began directing K-pop concerts. There were dozens of K-pop concerts all over the Philippines in the past year, and John so happened to have served as the concert director for a couple of them. Let’s take a look at the K-pop concerts that were led by the actor-director.


Jessi’s concert in Manila at the tail end of September was a concert of firsts. It was Jessi’s first-ever solo concert of her career. The event also served as the first time John Prats directed a K-pop concert. But with the way Zoom In Manila went, you couldn’t tell. Jessi’s charisma combined with John and his team’s direction and production made for a show that entertained a jam-packed MOA Arena of Jebbies who were ready to see their idol.

john pratts jessi concert

Jessi was a natural on stage while Direk Prats helped deliver a show worthy of the fans. “What a privilege it was to be her first concert director, and it was my first time directing a K-pop concert. I’ll never forget this!” he wrote in the caption sharing the moment he met Jessi backstage after the concert. He had everyone feeling like Gucci during the successful night.


Anyone who attended the second edition of Be You this December can tell you that it felt like watching a mini SM Town concert with a lineup that included TVXQ, EXO’s Xiumin and Chen, and BOA. And you can thank John Prats for bringing it all together as he served as the director of both the Cebu and Manila shows.

The lineup for Be You 2 was epic, to say the least, and John made sure he gave a show fitting of the A-list K-pop stars performing. Aside from the jealousy we experienced with how met all five K-pop idols, we love how John managed to build that party vibe while simultaneously making way for those more somber moments in the ballads. This was his second K-pop concert he’s ever directed and it’s clear he needs to do more. John Prats and K-pop is a crossover we did not expect to see. But from what we’ve seen so far, we don’t mind if it continues for the years to come.

Continue Reading: 9 Local Stars Who Directed Their Own Projects


How Taking A Gap Year Turned Gabe Watkins Into A Bonafide Musician

College student on day, signed artist the next.

A pause in college led Gabe Watkins down a dream-come-true career of being a signed musician.

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Appropriately enough, Gabe Watkins was studying music production in university when a much hoped-for career change came his way. The Thai-Australian musician always loved music, but it wasn’t until he made his first track in high school just a few years ago that the music bug truly bit him. At that point, he was just releasing music as an indie artist, often to tepid fanfare. Still, it was clear from his small yet growing fanbase that his talent in his indie-pop tunes was there. Soon enough, the music label What The Duck came a calling, and Gabe decided to put his studies on hold to sign with the label.

gabe watkins

One thing led to another and Gabe Watkins is now a rising artist thanks to his distinct blend of pop rock and alternative sound. His debut single under the label Flowers From Japan and follow-up Sunsets give shades of the best of the genre told in Gabe’s honest lyricism. And with his career only beginning in earnest this 2022, it’s clear that this young crooner has his ways to go. NYLON Manila was able to chat with the Gen Z indie-pop solo artist as he opened up about his music, university life, staying authentic, and more.

Why did you decide to pass on your studies for a bit to pursue your music career?

So, my first gap year was after high school. And that was kind of due to COVID at the time. And I had planned to go to the UK, but then obviously, I couldn’t go. And so I just decided to take that time to learn how to produce music and hone my craft.

And then in 2021, I went to university in London for a year. During that time, that was when my label approached to sign me and everything. So, this summer, I came back, I signed with them and decided to put my studies on hold for a little bit. I just thought it was a really good opportunity. And making music is my dream. I just want to really give it everything that I have.

What did you take up in university?

So, I’m going to do business marketing. I did music production for a year in London. I felt though like it wasn’t really benefiting me in the way I wanted it to. So, I think degree in in business marketing, it just made more sense for me. And then I can continue my music as this thing.

gabe watkins

Let’s take it back to the beginning. How would you say you got into making music in the first place?

It didn’t actually start until I finished high school and kind of going into that lock down period. I’ve always loved music, but I never thought I’d be making it. I produced a song in high school and then I just fell in love with it from there and decided to do my own stuff. It kind of happened out of nowhere. But as soon as I wrote my first song then I wanted to do more.

And what is it about making music that you enjoy?

I just feel like music has this power, this ability to heal. I think it’s a really beautiful thing. So for me, it kind of started as like a therapeutic thing. It just really helps me and I just hope that when people listen to my music, they feel the same effect as when I do.

How would you describe your music?

In terms of genre, I would say it it’s quite melancholic, sounding, I guess. Especially my latest song Sunsets that’s definitely very melancholic. Flowers from Japan, that’s a bit more upbeat and fun. But I’d say indie pop is where we’re at.

gabe watkins

How did you like settle on that style?

It was a mixture of things. I think it stems from the kind of music that I love and listen to. It’s just kind of the music that I gravitate towards, and I like to listen to. I just decided to make something like that it was kind of also just the natural process.

So when it comes time to make music, where do you turn to for inspiration?

It can come from it can come from anywhere, really. For me, I kind of have these like, these sparks these moments. So, whenever I feel inspired, I sort of quickly rush over to my bedroom and try to start making something. Whenever you feel that spark adds, I think it’s very important to me to have to put something down even if it’s just like all on my phone, in my voice notes, just like a little melody that comes in my head or something.

2022 has been definitely a special year for you because you finally made your debut in the industry. So, how does that feel?

It feels great. So surreal for me because obviously I’ve released like music independently before. But being in a label, it’s like a whole new experience. And especially the latter part of this year, I’ve been able to play a lot of shows and meet a lot of fans of my music, which is just great. It’s so much fun to be able to play on stage and see the people out there. I can’t wait to see what the future holds. And I hope more people gravitate towards me and my music.

gabe watkins

How is that experience like jumping from being and indie artist to signing with a label? Has the way you approached your music changed?

In a sense, yes, I guess because it’s sort of I have a team now to talk strategy. There’s a bigger picture there. When I was releasing independently, it was sort of everything I was doing by myself. So, that’s kind of like a different vibe, but it is kind of the same as well because even though I have this team to help me, ultimately, these are decisions that I’m making, and I think that’s really important. I have my vision and the label, they kind of just help me and guide me towards that.

As a new artist, What do you hope to impact in the industry?

I just hope my music helps people, honestly. I just want to be able to connect with whoever listens to my music. I’m often very personal. In my songs, it’s all about my own experiences. To whoever can relate to that, like, I really hope that they can see that I’m being real with them. They can be vulnerable with my music.

What do you think is it about you or your music that helps you stand out from like, the sea of other new artists coming out?

One thing that I really take pride in is my lyricism of that authenticity. It’s because everything stems from my own experiences. So, whenever I’m writing, I try to always make sure that you get that feeling. And another thing would be that my voice is kind of quite distinct. And that kind of paired with the type of music I’m making; I think that makes me stand out for sure.

gabe watkins

Do you ever have those moments where you feel you’re getting too real for your music?

When I’m writing not so much, because it’s kind of therapeutic. So, if I am feeling a certain type of way, I do like to put it down. And I do like to pour that emotion into the words. It’s only sort of when I’m about to release a song that is really, really personal. And that’s kind of scary in a way because, you’re letting these emotions go and they can be judged by people. And that is quite a scary thing. But ultimately, what I want to do is to connect with people. So in order to do that, I feel like I have to be to be real and to be vulnerable and honest.

What’s next for you?

Next year, I plan to release maybe a couple more singles and then drop my first sort of project, like an EP, which I’m really really excited for. I hope to come over to like on a press tour in Southeast Asia, come to Philippines, that’d be really cool. Obviously, play more shows, get more fans and you know, have more people love my music. Long term. I mean, it’s a dream of mine to make music and if I’m able to make a career out of it, then that would be that’d be amazing for me.

What advice would you give to like other young artists out there who, like you, also want to pursue a career in music?

I think if the love is there, then then anything is possible. I never thought that I would be in this position. It can happen if you put that work in and you’re doing what you love. So, if you love it, keep doing it, and good things will happen.

gabe watkins

What do you think is harder: being a college student or being a signed musician?

They’re challenging in different ways. Going to college, you got to keep on top of your classes, your lectures. In my experience, there was more coursework than there were exams, but it might be different, depending on the course you’re doing. So, that was challenging in its own way. Music is challenging in a different way, because it’s kind of like you’re still very busy, But I think because I’m doing something I love, I don’t feel that same sort of pressure as I did in university. I’d say maybe university is more challenging.

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