We’ve never seen the SM Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena that full last Sunday—an estimated 20,000 people in a party mood for an unusual occasion: National Teachers’ Month, as President Benigno Aquino III had declared, which started Sept. 5 and culminated on Oct. 5.
Everyone in the crowd were educators who wore identical T-shirts printed with “PLDT Gabay Guro”—the teacher advocacy group of the PLDT Smart Foundation (PSF) and PLDT Managers’ Club Inc. which mounted the event, dubbed “Grand Gathering 2014 Throwback Party”
The teachers came from all over the country and were feted with a concert featuring various artists, plus raffle draws.
Gabay Guro has been very active these past few years. It has awarded 1,000 scholarship grants to aspiring teachers; enabled 300 scholars to graduate from 40 partner schools nationwide; launched with PLDT Hong Kong a scholarship program for Overseas Filipino Workers’ children and dependents; and donated classrooms to schools damaged by the 2013 earthquake and typhoon in Bohol and Leyte, respectively.
The concert had a “chopsuey” flavor in the sense that Side A and Noel Cabangon performed along with dancers, standup-singing comedians and lots of pop singers. For a few hours the comedians succeeded in making the audience laugh out loud to their corny jokes and the pop singers managed to sound entertaining in their minus-one numbers.
But in the end, it was the folk music sensibility of Cabangon that mattered most. His lone, diminutive figure onstage provided a stark contrast to the magnificent sound and sight of the teachers singing every line of “Kanlungan”—a bittersweet ode to the environment popular with activists which, ironically, gained massive fame when it was used as soundtrack to a McDonald’s TV commercial and later became a radio staple.
The festive Gabay Guro affair’s major raffle draw winners were Miguela Macalalad Cagampang of Parang High School Marikina (house and lot from Camella Homes), Mylene Punzalan, Villamor Airbase Elementary School (Haima car from Laus Group of Companies) and Lolita S. Tong, Marikina Elementary School (APE Piaggio 3-Wing Van from Auto Italia).
After the show, many of the teachers spent the rest of the night enjoying the leisure comforts of the mall.
$3M poker pot
Solaire Resort and Casino habitues and other gaming aficionados are expected to descend in droves to the hotel when the World Poker Tour (WPT) National Philippines is held there from Oct. 16-28.
Present at a recent press conference announcing the event were Solaire president and COO Thomas Arasi, WPT president Adam Pliska, event promoter Mike Kim and Solaire senior vice president for casino marketing Cyrus Sherafat.
Between 600 to 800 players are said to be joining the poker tournament’s main event.
Some $3 million is at stake.
100 beer varieties
Among the many Oktoberfest events scheduled this month, there are three we highly recommend to beer drinkers:
The Eastwood City Beer Festival showcases over 100 brew varieties including German lagers, English ales, Irish porters and stouts.
Check out the live gigs featuring Taken By Cars and Maude on Oct. 16; Steady Machine and Mayonnaise, Oct. 23; Jireh Calo and Julianne, Oct. 30.
Stand-up comedians from Comedy Manila take center stage on Oct. 18.
The Beer Tent at the Eastwood Central Plaza opens on Oct. 24, 7 p.m. with live performances by Hilera, Sandwich, Pedicab and Pupil.
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The McKinley Hill Beer Festival also has more than 100 craft and imported beers, with live performances by Angelo, Mom’s Cake, Engkanto Reggae, Megan Aguilar, Yosha, Lougee Basabas and Wolfgang on Oct. 17 starting at 7 p.m.; DJs Travis Monsod, Martin Pulgar, Aryan Magat, Kyrah Mijares, Bigg Beats and Deuce Manila, Oct. 18, 7 p.m.; Imago and Chicosci, Oct. 24; and Urbandub, Oct. 25.
Restaurants such as Wursty Wursty Beer Garden, Tratorria Poggio Antico, Marciano’s, Main Street and Little Asia are offering limited-edition beer-infused dishes.
Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila’s 76th Oktoberfest will be held Oct. 17 and 18 at the hotel’s Harbor Garden Tent.
Performing are the original Hofbräuhaus Band from Munich and internationally acclaimed yodeller Lissie.
Although there will be German beer on those two nights, main sponsor is San Miguel Pale Pilsen draft.
Hip-hop artist apl.de.ap has been visible in Manila promoting BMBX (pronounced “boombox”), described as “a new Southeast Asian-based content and artist development and brand marketing company” which has been signing local and international artists.
Recently BMBX, in partnership with local artist management and recording label Curve headed by Narciso Chan, presented its latest acts at Hard Rock Café Makati.
The artists are Singaporean rapper-producer Kevin “Lion City Boy” Lester, Vietnamese-Australian singer-songwriter Thanh Bui, “The Voice of the Philippines” finalist Jessica Reynoso and 14-year-old YouTube discovery Miguel Antonio.