We But Built Him A Pedestal: A Dune Part Two Review

"The universe is full of doors."

In Dune: Part Two, Paul Atreides becomes the messiah he was destined to be, which is bad for the Dune universe but great for us viewers.

Related: Taste The Air Of Time: A Dune Review

This review contains spoilers for Dune: Part Two

Peals of discordant laughter erupt at the advanced screening of Dune: Part Two last February 26 as Gaius Helena Mohiam calls Paul Atreides an Abomination. The truth lays itself bare for viewers, and many cannot see it. 

At the end of Part 1, there is a tenor of hope for the future as Paul and Jessica join the Fremen and venture into the deep desert; despite losing his father and his House to a galaxy-wide conspiracy, Paul has found new allies among the Fremen led by Stilgar. 



In classical models of literature, Paul has crossed the threshold – he knows he must now forge ahead with his new allies in the dangerous and cruel world of Arrakis. But Dune is more than the politics of the Imperium; it is the functional dynamo defined by personal belief and universal conflict, resource exploitation and guerilla resistance, and even love that must and love that cannot be. 

But before we get there, a quick recap. Paul Atreides, though the son of Lady Jessica and the late Duke Leto Atreides, was supposed to have been a daughter born to the same parents. Jessica and Leto’s offspring would have been wed to the Harkonnens – mending the rift between the two rival families – and their offspring, in turn, would be the Kwisatz Haderach, a powerful male capable of wielding all the abilities that used to be exclusive to the Sisterhood of the Bene Gesserit. This, of course, does not necessarily make him a target for the Harkonnens; his father Leto is the object of the Harkonnens’ ire.


The film opens with an extraordinarily stark scene: Harkonnen troops, in pursuit of the Fremen and the Atreides, fall to the latter’s ambush as the sunset casts harsh light and shadows against the sands. Technology meets ingenuity, and both pave the way for survival instincts pushed to the brink as we bear witness to the Fremen desiccating the dead Harkonnen bodies of their water to be recycled later on for use. Too contaminated, Stilgar says of Harkonnen blood, but good enough for use on cooling units. Jessica recoils in disgust, and perhaps in any other film the viewer will confront that same kind of morality as the film rolls on; here in Arrakis, it is a fact you must accept.



As the Atreides acclimate to their new surroundings, Paul is faced with yet another expectation. Besides being the new rogue Duke of Arrakis trained by the finest tutors in the universe, some among the Fremen have taken to calling him ‘Mahdi’ – Frank Herbert’s lifting of an Islamic Messiah to hook audiences into a story about the hero’s journey that was always more than what it seemed. 

To the casual viewer and reader, Paul might be misread as a white savior – the Voice from the Outer World ‘destined’ to uplift the Fremen from their suffering. This, too, is an expectation Paul is saddled with – this time by his mother, and, by extension, the Bene Gesserit and their Kwisatz Haderach breeding program.


Not all Fremen believe in Paul’s role as messiah, and this creates friction between him and the pregnant Jessica. The act of adapting such a rich novel is a monumental task that director Denis Villeneuve and his team of writers willfully and gracefully execute. Within the first hour of the movie, the tension between the acclimating Atreides and the enigmatic Fremen are brought to bear and resolved by Jessica’s ascension to Reverend Mother and Paul becoming a comrade-in-arms among the Fremen fighters.



The relationship between Paul and Chani, though seemingly abrupt at first, takes a more prominent role here than in the books. It allows for intimate and humanizing moments between Timothee Chalamet and Zendaya – moments that do well in underpinning Paul’s humanity right before he ascends to becoming emperor. Chalamet’s princeling – naive but not at all ignorant to the ways of the world – morphs slowly into a dedicated, charismatic, and eventually sinister royal who captures the reverence of the people who have taken him in. 

He defies, in his view, the prophecy that his mother and the Sisterhood have imposed among the Fremen – not at all failing to realize that his devotion to Chani and his people is what sets the wheel of fate in motion in the first place.


The focus is not just on Paul and Jessica in Part Two, however. The first movie covered nearly two-thirds of the original novel, and in an attempt to flesh out more meaningfully the tight narrative and expansive cast, equal care has been given to the other major players in this stage of the Dune story.



Florence Pugh and Christopher Walken slip easily into their roles as Princess Irulan and Emperor Shaddam IV, and it was a rather endearing touch that a majority of Irulan’s scenes depict her speaking into a recorder-diary. It served as a callback to Irulan’s presence in the original novel as the voice and persona for the individual chapters’ headers, as well as the eventual author of biographies dedicated to Paul. 

New direction is given to expand on the Harkonnens Vladimir, Rabban, and Feyd-Rautha. Vladimir is still the plotting despot and Rabban his blunt instrument, but Feyd-Rautha – played by Austin Butler – brings a fanatic and unnerving quality to the sort of brutal and fascistic colors of House Harkonnen.



Beyond a skilled swordsman and ruthless field leader, Feyd-Rautha is a natural foil to Paul Atreides. Paul is slow to accept his fate and yearns to break free from the yoke of all the expectations placed upon him; Feyd is eager to rise in rank and stature – even accepting his uncle’s suggestion that one day he may be emperor through an equally horrific conspiracy. 

Paul is careful and deliberate with his senses, as well as his words; Feyd allows himself to be seduced by the Bene Gesserit sister Countess Margot Fenring (portrayed by Léa Seydoux), and succumbs so willingly to base need. “Pain and pleasure, these are the levers that move him.”


When Paul finally becomes the messiah the Fremen believe him to be, he hints at tragedy and irony. “These used to be friends – now they’re followers,” he says to Gurney Halleck. Even the sound and score of Dune reflect that tonal shift; gone are the halcyon moods of Part 1’s soundtrack that gave Arrakis a beautiful and dangerous sonic quality.



The focus is now on Paul as he crosses from one role – one world – to another. These elements combined, the entire cast and crew of the film succeed in stripping Dune of Frank Herbert’s magic realism – of the columns of spice smoke and scorched sand mirrors. Now, we see Dune for what it has always been: the birth of a tyrant.

“No more terrible disaster could befall a people than for them to fall into the hands of a Hero,” and Paul Muad’Dib Atreides is indeed a Hero. Overall, Dune: Part Two is an expansive tale that shines as a top-tier sci-fi movie few others can match. With an engaging story fit for both casuals and fans of the books, strong acting, and a commanding visual style you need to see on the biggest screen you can, Dune: Part Two is a revelation that may spell bad times for the Dune universe, but welcome cheers for moviegoers. The best movie of 2024 so far? You bet.

Dune: Part Two is now showing in cinemas nationwide. 

Continue Reading: Your February 2024 Won’t Be Complete Without These New Movies And Shows

Justin Solo

Justin De Dios’ Solo Debut Was A True Family Affair

We love to see it. 

Aside from his creative talents and artistry, Justin also had help from close friends and family who brought the surreal vision to life. 

Related: Justin De Dios Is P-Pop’s Rising New Visionary As Proven By These Music Videos

More than a singer, dancer, and P-pop idol, Justin De Dios is a rising creative visionary whose imagination is seen all over SB19 and his solo endeavors, and most recently, his highly-anticipated solo debut. Taking heavy inspiration from nature, which Justin says was based from his love of nature since he was a kid, his solo debut delivers a cottagecore vibe. His track, surreal, feels very much like a dream plucked straight from Justin’s fantasy. 


surreal, which was initially written two years ago, is a lighthearted and wholesome jam that reflects the beauty of meaningful coincidences and dreams and how the impossible becomes a reality. The lyrics Justin penned convey the vulnerability of a young man, while the visuals send the viewer on a calming and chill trip through different environments. “It’s all these scenarios that are unlikely to happen in the real world, but you find them as an escape from reality, so you continue to dream and dream… And surprisingly, you found someone who enjoys imagination as much as you do,” says the P-pop star. 

From the logo of the boot with the plant sprouting out, the teaser videos, the song, the music video, and more, Justin’s creative essence is felt throughout his solo debut. But the Gen Z dreamsmith wasn’t alone in seeing this moment come together. Behind the scenes was a collection of friends and colleagues who worked together to bring it to life, showcasing the power of collaboration in artistic expression. Scroll down for the people who had a hand in Justin’s surreal solo era. 


The music of Radkidz’s, which is composed of SB19’s Pablo and his brother Josue, isn’t known to be exactly chill or laid back. This is why it’s a pleasant surprise to see that the duo produced surreal. They were instrumental in ensuring that Justin’s vision was carefully brought to life with subtlety and warmth while capturing the most exciting place the production could go. According to Justin, he spent one day in their studio recording the vocals, and they sent back the demo in just one week. 


“At first, when I wrote the lyrics with an initial melody, I thought they’d just tweak it,” shares Justin. “But the beautiful track they did, rich in harmonies and embellishment, sounds so fresh and new to my ears that I somehow forgot I wrote it in the first place. Both of them really enhanced my demo with a song that exceeded my expectations.” Also, in a nice touch, Pablo was at the launch of Justin’s new single and was seen at the tech booth making sure Justin’s audio and video were smooth.  



In the latter half of surreal, you can hear a female voice join Justin’s, which turns the track into something of a soothing duet. ICYDK, that voice is Gelou of the P-pop girl group YARA. The summery but easy-going number features her vocals on the bridge and the last chorus part. A friend and colleague of Justin, Gelou injected more flavor and depth into the material with her additional vocals. Here for this P-pop rise moment. 


Just in time for summer, Justin gave us a music video that low-key got our wanderlust tingling. Featuring locations in Zambales, South Korea, and the Northern Blossom Flower Farm in Atok, Benguet (the same place Justin shot his Sunday Morning cover), the MV was a dreamy escape. And behind it was Justin, who conceptualized and directed it alongside his college batchmate and now-Creative Manager of 1Z, Xi-Anne Avanceña. 

It shows how Justin knows his art, while also being open to working with trusted collaborators to make it even better. “surreal’s MV is a collaboration with the most creative team I know. Joining us are Alan Ante and Stephanie Joy Cea as directors of photography for this project. They were very fun and nice to work with. They really understand what the song is trying to say,” he gushes. Oh, and if you take a look at the credits of the music video, Stell Ajero is credited as both a content producer and makeup artist.


February 27, 2024 was a special day for Justin as he began his solo era with a private launch for his new single at a rooftop events space that fit his aesthetic to a T. And in a sign of how loved and supported Justin is, the event was attended by quite a few of his close friends, colleagues, and family. Pablo, Stell, and Josh (who had an event that same day), Teacher Hong, Justin’s family, and some of the family members of the other members were all spotted at the event. They all came for Justin, and it’s enough to warm a cold heart. 

Continue Reading: Justin De Dios’ Acting Debut On ‘Senior High’ Leaves Us Wanting More

These Local Beauty Brands Have Nude Lip Liners for That MLBB Look

For the perfect pout.

Maintaining those natural-looking lips doesn’t mean ditching your trusty lip liners.

Related: 5 Of The Latest Releases From Local Beauty Brands That Should Be On Your Wishlist

In today’s beauty scene, we’re currently crushing on those ‘no makeup’ makeup looks that effortlessly enhance our facial features. Now, full disclosure—some of us (myself included) might not have mastered the technique yet. But before we give up on the dream, let’s consider the possibility that our beauty arsenal might be missing out on some products.

After trials and (a lot of errors), the secret lies in picking shades that sync up with your natural hues—think blushes, brow products, and tying it all together with a killer lip look. Whether you’re morena, mestiza, or somewhere in-between, you can easily achieve the perfect pout with these local beauty brands that serve an array of nude lip liners for every complexion.

BLK Cosmetics

When ‘no makeup’ makeup looks are defined by a fresh face, BLK Cosmetics has you covered with their Fresh Lip Liners—all made for easy, effortless beauty. Create the perfect pout with this pigment-rich pencil that blends like a silky crayon for fuss-free coloring and lip contouring. The best part? This budge-proof formula lets you wear it alone as a liner or pair it with your lip gloss or lip color for a striking statement.

Available in five fresh shades, we’re looking at Pink Shore (old rose), Sun Down (cocoa brown), and Tides (warm brown) for that MLBB look. With these three universal hues, whether you have a cool or warm undertone, your lip liner of choice will only depend on your day-to-day mood.

GRWM Cosmetics

Famous for their fabulous spectrum of base makeup shades, GRWM Cosmetics doesn’t disappoint with their Lip Contours. Best believe, this gel lip liner is a rockstar, boasting a buildable formula, matte texture, and is stunningly smudge-proof.

With a diverse palette of 12 available shades, there’s a Lip Contour to complement every lip color. Ranging from medium mauve pinks to softer shades of brown, the collection caters to every pout’s preference.

For morenas, the standout shades include Maximo, a deep chocolate brown, and Rayearth, a nude taupe, while fair to medium skin tones have turned the rose brown, Lovebug, into a cult classic.

Sunnies Face

When Sunnies Face first launched their Fluffmattes in 2013, we all agreed that their lip products never stopped running the show. Now, with more formulas catering to every lip look, they are taking it to the next level with their Lip Tracers—a dual-ended matte lip liner designed for naturally defined, soft-sculpted lips.

This full-coverage lip liner is developed for long-lasting wear, but what sets it apart are the six shades that are all nude and perfect for a natural-looking pout. With mauves, peaches, and pinks that mimic the natural tones of your skin, these are the kind of liners you can confidently wear on their own—no need for an additional layer of lipstick.

Vice Cosmetics

Back by popular demand, Vice Cosmetics brings forth the fan-favorite Perfect Kizz Lip Liners. If you didn’t snag these beauties the first time around, now’s your chance. These retractable lip liners, enriched with Shea Butter, promise the smoothest application for that flawless pout. But fear not, the smoothness doesn’t equate to smudging—these liners remain as fuss-free as ever.

Now, who needs a kiss when you have the Perfect Kizz Lip Liners available in three stunning shades?With a roster featuring pretty pinks and mauves, achieving your next MLBB look is practically a no-brainer.

Continue Reading: Girlboss: 7 Filipina Celebrities Who Founded Their Own Beauty Business 

What Are D.I.N.K.S And Why Is It A Popular Lifestyle Choice For Couples?

Nope, D.I.N.K doesn't mean anti-child.

These couples are making a conscious choice to prioritize their relationships and individuality rather than conforming to the idea of picture-perfect families.

Related: If You Want to Start Saving, Here Are a Few Things That You Should Stop Buying

According to Urban Dictionary, D.I.N.K, also known as Dual Income, No Kids, is a household where two adults are bringing home the bacon, and there’s no need to share it with a mini-me. In this scenario, couples living the D.I.N.K. lifestyle have more disposable income because they do not have the added expenses that come with children.

Now, while it’s a no-brainer why some couples choose to be child-free for ~financial freedom~, the truth is, there are actually more reasons why couples are breaking the mold of needing children to complete the idea of a picture-perfect family. So, what’s the scoop on DINKs, and why is it this generation’s preferred family lifestyle?

Emotional, Mental, and Spiritual Stability

Parenthood, once idealized as the most fulfilling phase in life, is increasingly being recognized as a significant source of burnout. The constant demands of raising kids, combined with societal pressures, can leave even the most resilient parents feeling like they’re running on fumes.

For child-free couples, the absence of parenthood allows them to prioritize their emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being. With fewer obligations, they are able to invest more time and energy into building better habits, practicing self-care, and taking time off whenever necessary. This freedom fosters a sense of inner peace, promoting stability in the face of life’s challenges.

Financial Freedom

From formulas to baby diapers, the expenses that come with children aren’t ideal for most couples—especially in this economy. While there’s nothing wrong with children, being child-free is a consideration made by D.I.N.K.s as the lifestyle lies in its promise of financial freedom.

With more disposable income at their disposal, these couples can pursue their passions without the constraints of parenthood. Picture this scenario: When there’s no preschool included in this month’s budget, we’re thinking travels, shopping sprees, and living comfortably.

In Pursuit of Careers

There’s a universal truth that can be agreed upon: being a parent is a 24/7, 365 days a year kind of obligation—no clocking out for the weekend in this gig.

With that in mind, regardless of their chosen career path, the D.I.N.K. lifestyle liberates the need to take an extended hiatus after welcoming a child or rush out of the office for a school emergency. These couples can seamlessly take on challenging projects, perhaps pursue advanced degrees, or even embark on the entrepreneurial side—all without the usual constraints of childcare responsibilities.

Redefining Family Dynamics

When we’re conditioned with the narrative suggesting that the fulfillment of a family hinges on the presence of children, the rise of D.I.N.K. couples challenges this age-old notion, redefining the essence of the nuclear family.

The courageous choice to embrace a child-free lifestyle is a resounding statement, reflecting a shift in standards surrounding modern marriages and lifestyles. It’s a refreshing approach that celebrates companionship and shared experiences, proving that a family’s completeness isn’t solely defined by parenthood but by the fulfillment found in forging a life together on their own terms.

A Gentle Reminder

Taking part in this lifestyle, some choose it intentionally, while others stumble into it accidentally. Also, it is possible for couples to eventually have kids down the road. But no matter how D.I.N.K couples got here, it’s never about being anti-kid—it’s about living life on your own terms.

Sure, D.I.N.K couples catch flak for supposedly missing out on parenthood perks, like free babysitting or crayon drawings on the fridge. And as people ask, “Who’ll take care of you when you’re old?” they’re here to remind them: children aren’t a retirement plan!

Let’s ditch the guilt trip and raise a glass to those brave souls who say “no thanks” to societal norms. Because isn’t there something awesome about putting your happiness first? Also, let’s be real, adding more people to the ~family~ doesn’t always mean more fun.

When contemplating a child-free lifestyle, while it’s crucial for partners to make the decision autonomously, remember that this choice is about you and your fulfillment. It’s what works for you first, not conforming to another person’s expectations and societal standards.

Continue Reading: Here Are Small Steps to Building Better Habits


Calling All Freelance Creatives, This Course Is Made Just For You

We wouldn't mind going to school for this.

A course all about creative freelancing 101? Where do we sign up?

Related: Young Filipino Freelancers Get Real About What It’s Like Being A Freelancer

It is often said that college is the place where you learn and develop your skills to take on the real world. You take classes and courses relating to whatever job or career path you want when you graduate. But sometimes, there are things that we would like to learn that aren’t taught or offered in a class, such as being a freelancer in the creative industry. 

While the profession has boomed in recent years as people opt out of corporate life to become a freelancers in the creative field, there aren’t that many resources on how to actually be one or navigate what can be a tricky world. If you feel like you’re on this boat, then this upcoming course should be on your radar as you learn from the experts on freelancer life. 


Katha Pilipinas, a creative social enterprise for artists, artisans, and creatives to sustain their livelihood and hone their craft, and the University of Asia and the Pacific recently partnered up to give even more resources to help local creatives in the field, whether they be an established name or newbie on the scene. And they’ll do this through a course called Navigating Freelancing Life as a Creative


The certificate program aims to equip artists and creatives with the necessary tools to thrive in their artistic pursuits. In today’s rapidly evolving landscape, freelancing has become an increasingly relevant and viable career option for artists and creatives. However, the creative careers world can be challenging without the essential knowledge and skills needed to succeed, not to mention how some people still don’t see it as a viable profession. To address this, Katha Pilipinas and UA&P created a comprehensive continuing education program specifically designed for artists and creatives.


Navigating Freelancing Life as a Creative will, as the name suggests, have participants learn the ins and outs of freelancing as a creative in this day and age. The multi-day program offers enrollees practical tips, tricks, and information on how they can make the most out of their talents while paying their bills and keeping the lights on. Some of the lessons and classes offered include marketing and branding, refining pitching skills, pricing, doing contracts, and the all-too-needed adulting skill of doing taxes and navigating important government requirements. There will also be a few personal lessons, such as developing proper time management and fostering self-care. If only they taught these in school. 


Who will be teaching in the program? It will be led by industry experts and seasoned professionals who possess a deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities faced by creatives in the freelancing world. With their guidance, participants will be equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to thrive in their creative pursuits, while also fostering a supportive community of like-minded individuals. Other bonuses you can expect in the program are digital toolkits you can keep after you finish the course, your professional headshot taken on the final day of the program, and official support and promotion from Katha Philippines.  


Enrollment for the Navigating Freelancing Life as a Creative program is now open, which will set you back 18,000 pesos, though discounts are available. Classes will be held on March 2, 9, 16, and 23, 8 AM – 5 PM, at UA&P. The classes are open to all creative professionals, such as artists, designers, and performers. Whether you’ve been in the industry for years or are just a rookie looking to get things started, these classes are for you. So, no need to worry if your portfolio may be light at the moment. 


The program is designed to cater to all creative professionals regardless of which stage of their career they are, from fresh grads about to start their creative careers to veteran artists who want to refresh and stay updated. As long as you’re interested in exploring or enhancing your freelance career, the doors are open. For more information and updates on the program, check out Katha Pilipinas on their social media channels. 


Continue Reading: Juan Karlos Labajo Wants To Help Filipino Freelancers. Here’s How

6 Times Sarah Geronimo Was A Global Star In Her Own Right

6 Times Sarah Geronimo Was An International Star In Her Own Right

She's a star, fr. 🌟

Sarah Geronimo is a woman of many talents and many accolades, and we’ve rounded up a few moments where she proved she was a global icon in her own right.

Related: Just Legend Things: Sarah Geronimo Makes History As The First Filipina To Be Given Billboard’s Global Force Award

Sarah Geronimo has been a household name for decades now. The singer, performer, and occasional actress has sung some of the most recognizable tracks in Filipino music, and has constantly showcased her talent, versatility, and general iconic energy. It’s no wonder that she’s one of the biggest stars in the nation—and one of the most internationally-impactful Filipino artists.

Sarah, or Sarah G., was recently announced as a Billboard Women In Music Awardee, honored by the international and local publication. She’s earned herself the Global Force Award and will walk the carpet and stage in LA, joining a handful of other iconic female artists. This milestone in her career is the latest of many, as the singer has gone global in more than just a few ways. From her songs and performances reaching different corners of the world to winning other international awards, Sarah Geronimo is truly a global force to be reckoned with. Check out some of her worldwide wins below.


Throwing it back to five (yes, five!!!) years ago, Sarah G.—with the help of social media, the original choreographer Georcelle Dapat-Sy, and the LGBTQIA+ community (particularly drag queen Bench Hipolito)—gained virality for her song Tala between 2019 and 2020. Despite being released in 2016, the sleeper hit blew up, with K-pop idols and people from all over the world alike dancing to the song’s trademark choreography. Besides that, the song also hit Billboard Charts’ US World Digital Song Sales chart. The whole thing is worthy of going down in history as a major Filipino pop culture moment.


sarah geronimo mama mnet award

If you’re a K-pop stan, then you know the prestige and honor that is a MAMA Award. And if you’re not, well, let’s get into it. The Mnet Asian Music Awards is one of the most famous and prominent major end-of-the-year award ceremonies in South Korea. A MAMA Award is a huge feat, especially for a non-Korean artist. In 2012, Sarah Geronimo won the Best Asian Artist award at the Hong Kong event, besting a few other talented Asian artists, solidifying her impact in Asia.


Sarah’s all-out performance cover of Water on ASAP Natin ‘To went viral on X and even got the attention of Tyla, the megahit’s original artist! Blew all our minds and blew us out of the water.


We’ve made our way to Europe! In her list of accolades, Sarah has one MTV Europe Music Award for Best Southeast Asian Act. She’s been nominated in the category a total of three times, in 2013, 2014, and 2016, bagging the award in 2014.


Among her plentiful awards (including a couple music FAMAS and handfuls of Awit Awards, as well as the aforementioned MAMA and MTV EMA trophies), the singer and performer also has a couple more international wins. At the 2014 World Music Awards held in Monaco, Sarah G. was nominated in four categories and bagged the Best Selling Philippine Artist of the Year award. She also earned herself the title of Best Asian Performer at the last ceremony of the now-defunct Classic Rock Roll Of Honour Awards in 2016.


Honored by Billboard and Billboard Philippines, Sarah G. will be attending the Women in Music event in Los Angeles on March 7 as the Billboard Global Force awardee! The first born-and-raised, full-blooded Filipino to win a Women In Music award and the first winner of the inaugural Global Force award, the singer adds yet another trophy to her shelf and another notch to her belt. With this, she more than secures her standing as one of the most globally-impactful Filipino artists of today.

Continue Reading: Sarah Geronimo’s Water Cover Was So Good, Even Tyla Had To Stan

Michael Cinco Claps Back at Celebrities Asking for Free Outfits, and What It Says About Lowballing Filipino Creatives

In short, magbayad ka!

Michael Cinco threw shade at Filipino influencers and celebrities, calling them out for dragging their heels when it comes to paying and showing support for local talent.

Related: Meet Yana Kalaw, the Young Filipina Redefining Fur Fashion

In a series of Instagram stories, the renowned Dubai-based Filipino fashion designer Michael Cinco recently took the virtual stage. His spotlight? The glaring gap in promoting international and Filipino designers, and boy, did he have some fashion-forward thoughts to share.

With a dash of candor, Michael Cinco claps back at celebrities asking for free outfits. While harboring no ill will and recognizing the ~crucial role~ they play in market promotion, it unmistakably underscores the challenges faced by Filipino designers and their struggle for recognition in an industry that prioritizes all things international.

A Disheartening Double Standard

While tipping his hat to the role influencers and celebrities play in the fashion scene, Cinco couldn’t help but raise a sartorial eyebrow. ‘My issue is — why [do] Filipino influencers and celebrities seem more than happy to flaunt international brands yet hesitate to promote our very own Filipino designers?’ he quizzically quipped.

Highlighting the spotlight on a stark contrast in enthusiasm, it’s as if influencers and celebrities are hosting a colossal rave for international labels, complete with all-capitalized fonts and hashtags on steroids—a digital fiesta for the global giants. However, when it’s time to celebrate our homegrown heroes, it’s like they’ve stealthily dialed down the volume, offering a timid clap instead of the roaring applause that local talent truly deserves.

‘When Filipino celebrities and influencers wear Filipino designers, they will promote your brand in a whisper, as if they are embarrassed wearing a Pinoy-made gown,’ Cinco continues.

Deep-Seated Mindsets

When Michael Cinco asked, ‘Why is there a discrepancy in the promotion of international and Filipino designers?’ he lamented the lack of support for Filipino designers despite their undeniable talent. This mindset, he argued, contributes to the undervaluing of local creativity and perpetuates a cycle of foreign favoritism within the fashion industry.

Word of Advice

In a final piece of advice for fashion stylists, influencers, and celebrities, Cinco gently asked them to reflect on their approach when seeking something free. He humorously suggested having a cup of coffee beforehand to induce some self-awareness, emphasizing the need for humility and gratitude in the industry.

‘Before you approach designers for loan or custom-made clothes for free, inom ka muna ng kape para kabahan ka naman,’ Cinco said. ‘Mahiya ka naman,’ he added in all-caps.

On the challenges faced by creatives, whether in the fashion industry or other creative spheres, their experiences illuminate the dire need to honor the time, energy, and sheer effort invested in crafting something extraordinary—a creation that extends beyond personal consumption.

In an era where the concept of exposure often takes precedence, it’s vital to recognize that nothing beautiful comes without a cost, especially in the current economic landscape. While exposure is undeniably valuable, artists, like all of us, grapple with the undeniable truth that bills do not get paid with mere visibility.

Even with exchange deals, genuine support involves more than a fleeting mention—it entails championing the creations of designers and artists, becoming a vocal advocate for the ingenuity that breathes life into our world.

As we tread forward, let’s fully fathom that Gawang Pinoy transcends the boundaries of a mere label; it’s a resounding affirmation of artistic brilliance. By wholeheartedly celebrating the beauty emanating from Filipino creativity, we shatter the myth that local is anything less than the creations put out by international artists.

Let our commitment be resolute—to extend our utmost respect and unwavering support to creatives in every corner, ensuring that artistic pursuits are appreciated.

Continue Reading: This Gen Z Filipino Fashion Designer Is Behind The Structured Silhouettes You See On The Runway

Showcase Advocacy Through Film By Submitting To Sine Kabataan 2024

How You Can Challenge The Status Quo Through Film By Submitting To Sine Kabataan 2024

A chance to let your voice be heard.

Filmmakers and advocates, here’s your chance to make a short film with the help of the FDCP’s Sine Kabataan Short Film Lab and Festival! Know more about how to enter here.

Related: What The Viral Success of ‘A Catholic Schoolgirl’ Means To Student Filmmaker Myra Soriaso

Storytelling through film is one of the most consumed and celebrated forms of storytelling in the world. No matter the length, what a film has to say and what it means to people have become such an intrinsic aspect of humanity. The stories a film tells can not just inform, but it can also evoke strong emotions, build connections, and raise awareness, among other possibilities.


So many people all over the world want to tell stories through film, but it’s not that easy. Filmmakers, especially those young or just starting out, have to source funding and support for the heavy task that is producing a film, whether it’s seven or 90 minutes long. Fortunately, more and more grants, competitions, and festivals allow stories and films to see the light of day and showcase the talent of filmmakers from all over.


The Film Development Council of the Philippines is one institution that opens their doors to people who want to make a film but lack the support to do so. The FDCP just opened applications for their recent iteration of the FDCP Sine Kabataan Short Film Lab and Festival, and we’ve got all the details right here for all you young filmmakers with a story to tell and a social issue you want to explore.



Sine Kabataan offers a platform specifically for stories leaning towards an exploration of the youth’s perspective on social issues. They accept pitches and concepts centered around a list of topics all about current intersectional social issues under four categories: health, security and peace-building, education, and family values. There’s a myriad of ways artists can interpret these subjects, but one thing’s for sure: if you’re applying, then you definitely have something you think is worth fighting or raising awareness for.

sine kabataan topics

Your concept must be able to be translated into a short film that runs between 7 and 20 minutes. There’s not a lot of limitations besides these, as your films can be live-action, animated, a documentary, or even experimental. The sky’s the limit as you marry art with these relevant issues experienced by Filipinos.



Before you enter, make sure you have everything in order. You have to be 18-30 years of age to enter, and you must have already produced at least one short film before. The requirements include the application form, a brief resume, a copy of your ID, an HD profile photo, and a link to your previous work if applicable. Read all of the guidelines here.

In the application form, you’ll be asked to fill out your personal details, your intent, your film concept’s information including a synopsis and your intended treatment, as well as your projected financial plan. It’s best to gather a team you trust to help you out, too. Or, you might even already be in contact with people who you’ve wanted to make a film with for a while now—in which case, awesome!

sine kabataan app form

First page of the application form

Fill out the application form here and submit a copy to filmlab.fdcp@gmail.com with the subject Application for Sine Kabataan 2024 on or before March 8, 2024.

Continue Reading: Watch These 7 Acclaimed Films in PH Cinemas This March At FDCP Presents: A Curation of World Cinema


5 Times TXT’s Yeonjun Proved That He Was Filipino In A Past Life

Yeonjun Pinoy

Talent, charisma, personality, and more, TOMORROW X TOGETHER’s Yeonjun has got it all, and maybe even a secret Filipino side.

Related: 10 Highlights From TXT’s Bulacan Concert That Got Us On A Sugar Rush Ride

If you are a resident or even a passing visitor of K-pop stan Twitter, then you’ve probably seen quite a few stans refer to TOMORROW X TOGETHER’s Yeonjun as the 4th gen prince. And that’s for a good reason. His performances, stage presence, natural charm, and not to mention his inability to not slay girl group covers have endeared Yeonjun to many, which in turn have garnered him fans from all over the world, including the Philippines. 

Not only does TXT have many Filipino fans, but Yeonjun also knows how to give Pinoy MOA (the name of their fandom) what they want. We low-key wouldn’t be surprised if he took a DNA test and it showed that he had some Filipino ancestry. From bodying Filipino trends to listening to OPM artists, scroll down for some of the moments where Yeonjun’s inner Pinoy jumped.




♬ Ginseng Strip 2002 – Yung Lean

TikTokers are lucky Yeonjun didn’t decide to pursue being a full-time TikTok content creator because he would have left people jobless. The way he chews up any trending dance challenge on TikTok is too good. And some of the trends he does include ones started or made popular by Filipino creators and users. Yeonjun BINI Pantropiko challenge when? 


@txt.bighitent Replying to @ssang 𖣘 saw txtenhabndskz ♬ carlanjofficial – palomocarlryan on IG

When we saw the notification that Yeonjun did the Marikit Sa Dilim trend, we had to refresh the app multiple times because we didn’t believe it was real. But what made it even better was that Yeonjun did it because a Filipino MOA tagged him in the comments and asked him to do it. That’s his people right there. 


@txt.bighitent #brothervibes (dc : @nianaguerrero ♬ Give It Up – Niana Guerrero

Not only does Yeonjun do Pinoy TikTok trends, but he also supports local creators. Case in point: he and Hueningkai did a dance challenge started by Niana Guerrero, used her audio, tagged her, and gave credit to Niana in the caption, something you don’t always see in these kinds of videos. We love Filipinos supporting their fellow Filipinos. 


@timmyalbum I can’t believe this just happened hi pogi 🇵🇭#TXT #txtmoa #yeonjun #yeonjun_txt ♬ FEELINGS – timmy albert

Yeonjun having Filipino artists in his rotation feels correct. During one of his lives a few years ago, the K-pop idol shared how he discovered the music of rising OPM artist Timmy Albert during a shoot. “This is the song I found while shooting… I listened to this song, and I liked it so much. ‘Every Hour’ and ‘FEELINGS’ by Timmy Albert. Please try these songs. They are so good,” he said. Daniel Choi? More like Daniel Cruz. 



Yeonjun wouldn’t go all the way to the Philippines not to try Jollibee now would he? In 2022, when the group first came to the country for their two-day concert at MOA Arena, Filipino fans asked Yeonjun to try Jollibbe. He actually saw the comments and was initially confused as he thought they were referring to a rapper in Unpretty Rapstar. He eventually learned that it was a fast food chain and was able to try it before he left the country courtesy of TXT’s staff. His verdict? “The company watched my live yesterday and prepared this for me ㅠㅠ They’re the best and Jollibee is the best~” We know that’s right. 

Continue Reading: 6 Times That Proved ENHYPEN’s Heeseung Was A Filipino In His Past Life

10 Changes In The Live-Action Avatar: The Last Airbender Series We Liked (And Didn’t)

Major changes abound.

The live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender series adaption definitely didn’t hesitate to deviate from the animated source material.

Related: 5 Times “Avatar: The Last Airbender” Wasn’t Afraid to Get Real

The key to any successful adaptation of any IP is how it balances staying true to the source material while changing things enough to give it a reason to exist in the first place. And for the highly anticipated live-action series adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender, the show wasn’t shy about moving away from the animated series. While the general beats of the story of Aang, Katara, and Sokka are retained, the live-action series also implemented creative changes that may (or may not) be welcomed by fans. 

A lot has been said about the show, and there’s no denying that the live-action ATLA series wasn’t afraid to change things up. If the intensity of the show’s online discourse has gotten you curious about watching the actual show, we break down how the live-action series deviates from the animated original, for better and for worse.




Unlike the original, the live-action series features a grittier tone that further highlights the horrors of war. One of the most memorable ways this is done is the new intro. Episode one begins with an Earth Kingdom spy stealing plans of the Fire Nation to attack the Earthbenders. But it turns out that it was just a ruse by Fire Lord Sozin, whose real intention was to destroy all the Air Nomads, who so happened to convene at the Southern Air Temple for the comet. Depicting the genocide of the Air Nomads, which was only mentioned in the animated series, was a visceral and strong way to start the show. 



In the animated series, Sokka starts as a fun but cocky teenager who matures and grows into a leader. But in the live-action show, the creators’ decided to downplay Sokka’s teenage boy behavior. The result is a character who is less fun and doesn’t capture the same charm as the original. This change feels most apparent during episode two when the gang travels to Kyoshi Island. Animated Sokka thought girls wouldn’t make for good fighters and was proven wrong, which lent to his character development. But in the live-action adaptation, he sees Suki more like someone he can learn from. 



While it might be a controversial choice to some, showcasing more of the royal family, most notably having Azula get a bigger role in season one, proved to be a boost for developing their family dynamic. It made Fire Lord Ozai look like a true menace who never really cared for his kids and openly pitted them against each other. It gave Azula more agency and established her as a cunning and conniving villain. And, it further developed Uncle Iroh as a true friend and father figure for Zuko. These changes gave even more facets and solidified how messed up the family was. 



One of the biggest changes the show makes is shifting the timelines of certain events and combining storylines during season one. But it does so in a way that isn’t so effective. While the animated series only saw the gang go to Omashu to meet King Bumi, the live-action series uses the city as the setting to introduce Jet and his freedom fighters, The Mechanist and Teo, and have Sokka and Katara go through the tunnels as they meet the musicians and be saved by the badgermoles. 

All of these events had their own episodes in the animated show, with some even happening in season two, so it made for a truncated plot that didn’t give these elements that much time to shine. 



If you’ve seen season one of the animated series, then you’d know that Zuko’s crew comes off as more of a random selection of soldiers. But in the live-action series, they’re given a face. The show developed Zuko’s crew as real people, adding more depth to the relationship between them and the prince. 

In a particularly memorable twist, it’s revealed that Zuko’s crew are the 41st Division, a group of soldiers who were originally set to be sacrificed in a battle that Zuko objected to, which eventually led to his banishment. Not only did this plot point showcase Zuko’s compassion and sacrifice, but also made the dynamic between him and his crew more personal.  



The main narrative push for the animated series was how Aang needed to master all the elements before the arrival of Sozin’s Comet at the end of the summer. But that is missing from the live-action series. Instead, Aang’s main reason for going to the Northern Water Tribe was that he was given a vision by Avatar Kyoshi that something bad was going to happen there. It’s only during what can be described as a mid-credits scene during the season finale that the Sozin’s Comet plot point is brought up. The urgency was missing with this creative decision. 



While Aang has always had his elders to help him, most notably Monk Gyatso, the live-action series gives these key figures a new and expanded presence in the Avatar’s life. Aang and Gyatso notably have a reunion in the Spirit World that doesn’t happen in the animated show, giving the two, especially Aang, a form of closure. Also, Aang gets to converse with his past three versions, Avatar Roku, Kyoshi, and Kuruk, during the season, a change from how Aang only talks to Roku during season one of the animated series. 



For every positive character change, such as the dynamic between Prince Zuko and Commander Zhao, the show stumbles with removing certain characters that would have made for a better story. The series’ biggest faults are arguably removing Haru and Jeong Jeong, aka The Deserter, given how they were key figures that contributed to Team Avatar’s character development. It was with Haru that the gang rallied Earthbenders to fight back against the Fire Nation, while Jeong Jeong was the one who taught Aang Firebending for the first time and exposed Katara to the healing power of Waterbending. Excluding both was a questionable move, to say the least. 



Each season of the animated show is named after the element Aang learns. So, it’s odd that season one is Water yet Aang is never depicted learning how to Waterbend during the entire run of the live-action season. It’s a decision made even more questionable by having Master Pakku not train Aang, instead telling Katara she can do it. If the show does get a season two, it’s going to be interesting to see how they get over this plot hole while also having Aang learn how to Earthbend. 



While season one of the animated series and live-action adaptation both end at the battle at the Northern Water Tribe, the live-action version features some major changes that don’t all hit the mark. On one hand, expanding Princess Yue’s powerset to include Waterbending and being able to travel to the Spirit World in her dreams, turning Hahn from an overconfident jerk to an earnest warrior, and having the women Waterbenders join the battle was nice. 

On the other hand, removing Master Pakku’s inherent sexism, not mentioning his relationship with Katara and Sokka’s grandmother, and not teaching Aang and Katara Waterbending raised eyebrows. If anything, it’s made up for the fact that Pakku tells a contingent of warriors to follow Katara’s orders, something never seen in the animated series. Oh, and the War Balloon is introduced during the finale, way earlier than in the original show. It’s an overall mixed bag that could mean some major plot changes in future seasons. 

Continue Reading: Your February 2024 Won’t Be Complete Without These New Movies And Shows