Hashtag Level Up For Vispop 5.0

This is the fifth year Vispop has been active in helping to change, form, and challenge what Visayan pop is currently like. With no age limit, many contenders from all over, even from abroad, joined the music competition, with an overwhelming 350 entrants for the organisers to screen through. This took them approximately 10 hours to do, and, at last, Vispop 5.0’s 6 finalists have been announced.


Just as the music has “levelled up”, so did the art in the lyrical videos of each of the songs.

Music and lyrics: Dexter Latosa and Bingbing Veloso
Performed: Bingbing Veloso of Karumata Repablik


Definitely written to be jazzy and smooth, it has this sort of lounge room feel that relaxes, while Bingbing Veloso of Karumata Repablik croons of her intoxication to her and Dexter Latosa’s lyrical prowess. Quite a sexy tune, if anything can be said about it from first impressions.

“Kung Di Man Gani Kita”
Music and lyrics: Jerika Teodorico
Performed by: Davelyn Cuenco


Written by Jerika Teodorico, Davelyn Cuenco provides the vocal interpretation of “Kung Di Man Gani Kita”. With her full and raspy voice, signature of most strong belters, she adds great emotion to this very true and relatable sad song.

“Kung Di Pa Lang Ko Buang”
Music and lyrics: Chai Fonacier
Performed by: Chai Fonacier


With a relatively electropop sound to it, Chai Fonacier, who has established a firm standing in Cebu’s local film and music industries, thoughtfully sings about reflections on one’s own nature (her own?) in a fun and easygoing manner.

“Siya Ra Taw’n Ang Nahigugma”
Music and lyrics: Winset Jacot and Jane Abaday
Performed: Winset Jacot and Jane Abaday


A duet of a unique kind, Winset Jacot and Jane Abaday sing two very different distinct voices in the realm of love; the love that has dried up and the love that is unrequited. With angst on both ends, “Siya Ra Taw’n Ang Nahigugma” is one for both feeling hugot and, well, not.

“Kurog Ko”
Music and lyrics: Jeremy Sarmiento
Performed: Jetz Tacsanan of Zhalia


Another hugot song for those who aren’t being taken seriously by those who they pine after, “Kurog Ko” features Jetz Tacsanan of Zhalia very cool chilling voice, characteristic of easy listening songs. Definitely a yearn-and-relatable song, nganong mokurog man jud ka?

“Unsa Ning Tamaa”
Music and lyrics: Ram Jay (RJ) Ensalada
Performed: Refrain


Refrain brings a pop boy-band feel to RJ Ensalada’s “Unsa Ning Tamaa”, with their expert vocal blending. With well-timed inflections, the song really makes you feel like suavely dancing along to it. Boy-band style of course.

“It’s a milestone for us.” – Ian Zafra

The show itself will be happening at SM Seaside’s SMX Sky Hall A, on the 29th of July this year. Vispop 5.0 will be right in line with Linggo Ng Musika Pilipino, which was declared for every last week of July each year by former Philippine President President Noynoy Aquino in his Proclamation No. 933.

WHAT: Vispop 5.0
WHEN: July 29, 2017
WHERE: SM Seaside – SMX Sky Hall A
WHY: Linggo Ng Musika Pilipino

As Ian Zafra says, with this positioning for 2017’s Vispop, they want it to be special for its 5 years; “It’s a milestone for us.”

Starting with just around 100 entries and with entrants solely from Cebu at the start, Vispop has indeed grown since then. And after 5-6 years, many more have joined, and entrants aren’t concentrated in just Cebu anymore. In fact, three of the six finalists are from Mindanao.

“Apan bisan ang kalibutan may tumoy ra gihapon” – Jerika Teodorico (“Kung Di Man Gani Kita”)

Jerika Teodorico, a veteran Vispop songwriter who bagged first place in Vispop’s second season with her song “Labyu, Langga” and a player of 4 instruments (guitar, piano, some beatbox, and ukulele), is proudly Bisdak. And this time around, her entry “Kung Di Man Gani Kita” reached the final round yet again, with Davelyn Cuenco performing the vocals.

This song’s conception has an interesting back story to it that most wouldn’t really think of straight away as the emotional fuel for her writing. As Jerika Teodorico revealed, she wrote the title some 5-6 years ago while still in her fourth year at high school, but left it unfinished until she decided to revisit it in 2016 for Vispop. Unlike her former entries that were acoustic in nature, she went experimental with piano accompaniment, but didn’t really get far until December came and her beloved pet dog died.

“Mao na siya. Didto nako gihugotan ang feeling sa song ba.” It may be a love song, but her only thought while writing it was of her dog, and not knowing what could happen and needing to always be prepared to be left behind. “Kay bisag sa kadugay sa inyong pagkaubanay, naa gyuy end tanan.”

“Kung naa man gani illegitimate nga anak and kanang Cebu Pop ug kanang BisRock, mao nang Vispop” – Jude Gitamondoc

At the start, there weren’t very many avenues for local song writers to be heard, but with Vispop, they envisioned providing just that for young song writers to express their creativity.

When Jude Gitamondoc proposed the project to Artisko, he had a mixture of Cebuano Pop and BisRock in mind, wherein Vispop would, in his words, “combine competition and the rebellious aspect of it wanting to push boundaries”, with the end goal of challenging listeners to the ever dynamic music scene.

“Promote the language through music.” – Insoy Niñal

Badoy, tiniguwang, kinaraan. As Insoy Niñal says, that’s how most people saw Bisaya years before Vispop began, which is the opposite of how the language is perceived now: “A lot of people now are into Bisaya, which was not the case 5 years, 6 years, 10 years ago.” But now, with Vispop, they hope that they are bringing the Bisayan language slowly closer and closer to the younger generation.

The music scene in Cebu has always been colourful though, with all sorts of genres mixed together to define what it was like; Reggae, BisRock, Indie, Max Surban, etc. Vispop just serves as the channel to organise all of those. As Jude Gitamondoc says, “A lot of the past contributed to what Vispop is now.”

“It’s the entries that dictate where we go.” – Insoy Niñal

Asked about their plans for the future, they don’t exactly have any direction in mind, because it really all depends on the musical entries that come their way. For Insoy Niñal, he wants to make it bigger every. “For next year, as far as production is concerned, it has to be bigger.” More people should know about it and be able to join.

As to why they can only allow 6 songs into the finals, it really is all down to their budget. What they have now is enough to produce just 6 songs with quality, but there’s still a chance this number will increase in the future if the budget does grow. After all, whatever the budget can take, that’s what they’ll make.

For now, they encourage people to support Vispop, because who else could the Bisayan music genre depend on to grow?

“Pakita sa amo nga dili unrequited ang among gugma para sa musikang Binisaya. Show us that you love Bisaya music by supporting the artists.” – Jude Gitamondoc


Books and Brews Cafe


Name: Books and Brews Cafe
Address: Mango Square Mall, Juana Osmeña St., Camputhaw, Cebu City, 6000 Cebu
Type: Cofffe Shop
Opened: May 8, 2017
Price range: PHP48+
Amenities: Sofas, books, WiFi

A pretty quaint and quiet place, with bookshelves that encourage customers to read, Books and Brews Cafe is a really nice blend of a place between brews of all sorts, some choice baked goods (classic brownies and chocolate cookies, both of which are deliciously satisfying to one’s sweet tooth), and books.


Very aesthetically pleasing, with an introvert-friendly ambiance, it’s definitely a place I predict will prove to be popular amongst the local Cebuanos and tourists who drop by Cebu.

With a pretty good WiFi speed, it’s quite a work-friendly place. The tables also allow space for 4 people and is large enough to hold at least 3 laptops, if group work is in mind. There are also a number of wall sockets for charging if ever you do need to do so.

Books and Brews Cafe WiFi Speed.png

Located in Mango Square Mall, it’s easily accessible from most parts of Cebu City.

Books and Brews Cafe Google Maps.png

A great place to check out? Definitely!


Thai Sojourn at Marco Polo Plaza Cebu

On my second day of internship, I was sent to a Thai food event at Marco Polo Plaza Cebu. Food again. And this time, I was surrounded by bloggers. Or rather, the table I was at was where bloggers sat, while traditional media sat at the other long table nearby. And the event was one heck of a foodie paradise.

Which leads me to my question that I asked myself constantly today, while sitting with these people, eating Thai food and listening to their conversations (as they were all friends with one another, talking of inside jokes and things I had no idea about; i.e. travelling in and around Southeast Asia and the world).

Is this the life of a blogger in Cebu? Or any other media/press personnel? All the time? Is it? Events and free food and gift bags? Because, yes, I got another gift bag today, and this time, it was from Marco Polo.

Anyhow, as events go, I rather enjoyed myself, looking forward to the food being served, while also being absolutely nervous and anxious about the whole thing, having this sense of being out of place and not belonging. Because truth be told, I was doubting my capabilities, feeling like a completely huge liar and a poser.

But really, the food was amazing and absolutely fresh. Quality ingredients were definitely used to make the dishes and the flavours were all a great blend, perfectly balancing things out. Definitely great Thai food offered.

Anyhow, next week will bring a whole new level of challenges. Let’s see how it goes then.

First day of my summer internship – Chinese food at Master Po Cebu

Amazing how I got this internship really. I’m blessed with something that’s so challenging in terms of tasks to do, yet also really fun at the same time. The blend of the different sorts of outputs, all to be done at my own time (so long as I hand them in by the deadline) is just the right sort for a quiet introvert like me.

Anyhow, for the first ever event I had to cover, it’s safe to say that it was not as nerve wracking as the setting I’m at right now (second day of internship – Marco Polo Plaza Cebu). But at the time, I was indeed frightened that I’d do something wrong.

It was the launching of 9 new dishes for Master Po Cebu, and it was in line with their partnership with a local ASD centre for children (The Kids Gym Therapy Center). Ms Jan Joan Yu-Soa’s son suffers from the aforementioned disorder and this showed her exactly how difficult it is for those who suffer under ASD; the discrimination, the bullying, and the mean comments. It was all painful for her, most especially since there were also moms at the school her son is enrolled to that told their children not to play with her son, because “naay something“. And because of her experience, she wanted to provide the children of the centre with a safe place for them to learn and develop skills they’d need, so each day, some of the kids would come over to help out with the dishes and mopping of the floor. In fact, three kids from the centre, including her son, were there to help out at the press release of the dishes.

The food, when it came out, looked scrumptious. And since it was Chinese food, it was like I was brought back to my childhood, most especially with the glutinous rice (not many of the others liked it though, but then again, I enjoyed the dish due to how much I missed that sort of food).

I also met some other press people from other news agencies (Freeman, etc.) and a few of them befriended me, which was really nice of them, because everyone already seemed to know one another at the place and I really felt out of place. At least I left feeling less alone.
At the end of the whole thing, after all the games and feeding, they gave us a bamboo straw, an environmental alternative to plastic straws. It can be reused many times and could last up to 2 years if taken care of. I’ll not be using it though, because it’s been packaged too nicely. So it’ll just lay there…a memento of my first day of internship at InnoPub Media, doing events for MyCebu.ph…

I feel like I’ll definitely be gaining weight from this internship if food is all I’ll be doing…but I’m definitely not complaining.

Master Po Launches 9 New Dishes

Within the cosy wooden accented interior of Master Po, spices are spread out on two wooden tables on the second floor of the establishment. Cucumber juice is then served up by three special young men with bashful smiles and quiet thank-yous.

Open since the 23rd of November 2016, Master Po launched 9 new dishes yesterday; Master Po Lotus Rice, Fish Cake Noodle Soup, Master Po Beef Steak, Seafood Lettuce Wrap, Stuffed Eggplant, Baked Seafood, Asado Mein, Soy Chicken Mein, Cabbage Roll.

“Master Po: Little Place. Big Taste”

As delectable as the dishes newly launched looked, they truly delivered with taste. Developed with The Ching Palace’s chef, Marlon A. Pueblos, these dishes bring new flavours for diners’ palates, such as the Stuffed Eggplant, which will be Master Po’s second all vegetarian dish. Although not very familiar to most people’s taste buds, the Lotus Rice was definitely savoury and rich in flavour, as well as the other new dishes.

Little Place with Heart

This is to mark the occasion of officially partnering with The Kids Gym Therapy Center, a place located near Sacred Heart School – Hijas de Jesus where children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are given a safe place to develop and grow.

Behind this partnership is personal motivation from the part of Jan Joan Yu-So, Master Po’s owner, as well as the person behind the growth of Cebu’s The Ching Palace. With her eldest son having ASD, she has seen the difficulties first-hand those who have this disorder undergo. “Naa juy other moms nga moingon sa ilang yaya nga ‘hoy akong anak ba ayaw ipaduol sa iyang kay naay something. So it’s really painful. Why are these kids not being accepted?”

This drove her to offer the children in The Kids Gym Therapy Center – among their number also includes her son – a safe place for them to train basic skills through simple tasks like helping in wiping plates and mopping the floor. And so far, none of the customers who’ve entered the doors of Master Po have complained about the addition of these young helpful aides.

The Future and Now

Asked whether they plan to open new branches anytime soon, Ms. Joan says that is part of the vision she has for Master Po, but as of now, they will continue as a “Little Place of Master Po”. A place to check out? Definitely!

Located on the ground floor of remote Plaza Nouvelle, Master Po aims to provide foodies a quiet place to enjoy affordable Chinese food, and is open from 10:30AM to 10:00PM every day, from Sunday through Saturday.