Arthur Jake Villanueva as the OFW-SG ‘Natatanging Indibidwal’ for Events Management Category in 2017


Mr. Arthur Jake Villanueva, or Mr. AJV, is indeed the best pick in the OFW-SG community events and entertainment industry as he recently won the Gawad Sulo Foundation Singapore 2017’s Natatanginging Indibidwal in Event Management Category held at York Hotel (29 October).


Mr. AJV and Ms. Jenny Fajardo of Morpheus Hub Events and Productions (MHEP) was welcomed by ka-link, Kelly G, upon their arrival during his Facebook live session with OFW SG Connect. (Photo by Babito Garez)


Mr. AJV received his plaque trophy as Natatanginging Indibidwal in Event Management Category presented by Ms. Zeny Leong (Gawad Sulo Ambassador). (Photo by Babito Garez)

Mr. AJV’s success does not only end there for this year as Morpheus Hub Events and Productions (MHEP) was also awarded as Natatanging Organisasyon in the Event and Management category. He dedicated the success to all the people who supported the organization and its projects especially to his two partners Mr. Dhave Dela Cruz and Ms. Maria Antonethe Fadallan.


Mr. AJV as he made his way back to the stage to receive the award of  MHEP as Natatanging Organisasyon in Event Management category. (Photo by Babito Garez)


MHEP award was presented by Ms. Zeny Leong (Ambassador) and Mr. Rexonne Nebre  (Secretary-General) of Gawad Sulo Singapore.  (Photo by Babito Garez)

“Morpheus Hub Events and Productions would like to express our sincere appreciation to the Gawad Sulo Foundation Singapore, Madam Zeny Leong and Sir Rex Nebre, for recognizing our family with 2 prestigious awards. In a larger sense, however, this award is more appropriately deserved by the men and women of Morpheus’ stars with over 130 models from the pioneer 12 models in 2013. The Morpheus Hub Events and Productions (MHEP) along with our many partners who have collaborated in achieving our Vision for more than 4 years in this field: “A community where all communities especially KABABAYAN community unite, flourish and thrive.” said Mr. AJV.


Mr. AJV as he thanked Gawad Sulo Foundation Singapore  for such recognition. Obviously, he was overwhelmed for receiving this prestigious award. (Photo by Babito Garez)

He also invited the rest of MHEP’s team, who were present to host in the event, to join him on stage as he received the organizations’ award.


OFW Singapore Connect’s Ka-link, Aby (left) and ka-chika, Kelly G (right), hosted  the first part of the program: Award Presentation of the Sports Category. (Photo by Babito Garez)


Morpheus Stars, Karina Bacsain (left) and Janina Espinoza (right) hosted the second part of the program: Award Presentation of Natatanging Indibidwal , Natatanging Negosyo, and Natatanging Organisasyon. (Photo by Babito Garez)


MHEP team. From left: Janina Espinosa, Aby Armenton, Karina Bacsain, Mr. AJV, Kelly G, Jenny Fajardo, and Ms. Lucy Tagle(Photo by Babito Garez)

Other Filipino persona who were praised and recognized on the 2nd edition of Gawad Sulo Foundation Singapore were: Rico Hizon of BBC News (Media and Journalism), Mayo Martin of Channel News Asia (Media and Journalism), Luzviminda Matchimura Baraquel and Josefina Hosena (Outstanding Service), Ninalyn Cacanta of Happy Family School (Education Category), Laarni Gandaroza of Philippine Embassy (Outstanding Government Official), Ramon Pastrana of Philippine Embassy DOLE (Outstanding Government Labour Attaché), Ancheta Cataran of Philippine Embassy OWWA (Outstanding Government Official) and Manuel Mersole Mellejor of Philippine Embassy (Outstanding Government Secretary), all of the other kababayan who won the award were veteran personalities. Read more at: OFW-SG SULO NG OVERSEAS FILIPINO 2017 AWARDING CEREMONY


Through the years, Mr. AJV has already gained a lot of recognition for his leadership in the field of entertainment events and charity activities— his people management, marketing management and event management skills rolled into one, that’s pure talent indeed! All of his recognition and awards since 2013 are evidences that he is indeed the ‘Mr. M’ of Singapore and one of the most admired OFW-SG leaders in the OFW-SG community. Despite that Mr. AJV doesn’t always talk about his great acts, undeniably, his awards and recognition are the ones that are speaking for his never ending achievements.

I, Into The Abys, and Kelly G are also living proofs  about Mr. AJV’s great acts and humility behind the scenes. We were both one of the hopefuls from the previous year’s Dream Top Model competitions which is one of the biggest projects of MHEP. Kelly G was from Season 1 and I was from Season 3. Even though we did not make it to the top in the model search, Mr. AJV has given us a chance to prove ourselves and find a spot in the industry by inviting us to join his projects not just to upsurge our blogs but also to boost our self-confidence. The recent Star Magic Presscon in Singapore (Oct 2017) was one of the many projects that we have collaborated.


A look back from the top 50 hopefuls of Dream Top Model Season 3 (2017).


Mr. AJV, Kelly G. and Aby during the recent Star Magic Presscon in Singapore. (Photo by TFC Singapore)

Meanwhile, Mr. AJV is currently supporting OFW-SG community events by leading the program flow, providing manpower and talents, and promoting the said events in the OFW-SG social media. He recently finished 3 charity activities for 2017 under his management arm Morpheus Hub Events and Productions alongside Dream Top Model family and Miss Petite family. Aside from that, he is also busy with his partners for the comeback of the biggest and grandest OFW-SG event Dream Top Model Season 4 which people can’t wait to see.

Congratulations Mr. AJV! Mabuhay po ang mga Pilipino at Mabuhay ang OFW-SG community!

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Last 29th of October 2017 was the success of the second Sulo ng Overseas Filipino awarding ceremony in Singapore held at the York Hotel which was organized by the Gawad Sulo Foundation Singapore.


Welcoming of Guests at the York Hotel, Singapore.  (Photo by: Babito Garez)


Guests graced the red carpet upon arrival (Photo by: Babito Garez)

Sulo ng Overseas Filipino is a year-long activity and is set up to award outstanding individuals and organizations whose contributions made a tremendous positive impact to the society and helped improve the lives of many. These individuals can come from various fields such as arts, culture, politics, public service, and entrepreneurship. This is also to help inspire other people to do good for the community.

The organization started in the Philippines and has expanded overseas and the Singapore chapter is now headed by Ms. Zeny Leong together with Mr. Regor Barozzo.


Gawad Sulo Singapore Ambassador, Ms. Zeny Leong, as she welcomed the Awardees, Volunteers, Award Partners and Special Guests. (Photo by: Babito Garez)


Trophy Plaques were all set for the award presentation (Photo by: Babito Garez)

“Just like a ‘sulo’ which is normally being used in dark farthest mountains, forests and islands, the Sulo ng Overseas Filipino will share brightness and bring hope to all of us especially during times of calamities, disasters, crises and struggles when darkness and hopelessness embed among the people and the society”, said by Mr. Rexonne Nebre, Secretary-General of Gawad Sulo Foundation Singapore. He also spearheaded the search of the awardees, securing their contacts and getting in touch with them.


Mr. Rexonne Nebre (at the right most) ushered the guests upon their arrival   (Photo by: Babito Garez)

Into The Abys had a great privilege to be one of the hosts together with the Morpheus Stars, Kelly G, Karina Bacsain and Janina Espinosa. The program was divided into two parts. It started with the ‘Natatanging’ Sports Award Presentation followed by the ‘Natatanging Negosyo’, ‘Natatanging Organisasyon’ and ‘Natatanging Indibidwal’ 


Badminton tournament awardees upon receiving their plaque trophies under the Sports category. (Photo by: Babito Garez)

The Filipino Dance Club Singapore (FDC-SG), ‘Natatanging Organisasyon’ awardee last 2016 under Performing Arts – Dance category, was also there to showcase a dance performance and hype-up the program.


The Filipino  Dance Club Singapore as they wowed the audience in their Hip Hop Dance number (Photo by: Babito Garez)

While some were earnestly listening to the encouraging speeches of the awardees and while enjoying the performances in between, others took the chance to visit the exciting booths of the sponsors located just outside the entrance of the hall. LBC Express, PNB, iRemit Singapore, and Noble Life were few of the many sponsors.


OFW Global Movement with Philippine National Bank (PNB) booth (Photo by: Babito Garez)

Mr. Regor Barrozo, Gawad Sulo Singapore Ambassador and OFW Global Movement Singapore Chapter President, closed the ceremony with his remarks thanking all the sponsors, award partners and volunteers. He highlighted that their organization’s quest in lighting up torches will not be possible without their unceasing support.


Mr. Regor Barrozo in his closing remarks  (Photo by: Babito Garez)


I wish I can share with you the full list of the awardees in this article. But there were just many and it is deeply inspiring to learn that there are actually a lot of fellow Filipinos out there who are taking extra step for the betterment of our Singapore OFW community. According to Ms. Sherley Bianca Baring, head of Finance and Media Communications of Gawad Sulo Foundation Singapore, there were a total of 60 natatanging awardees this year; 17 for the Natatanging Organisasyon, 15 Natatanging Indibidwal, 15 Natatanging Negosyo and 13 for Natatanging Volunteers.  I will update this article and share a link on the full list of this year’s awardees as soon as it is available online.

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Mr. Ramon Lamberto Pastrana awarded as a Natatanging Indibidwal for being an outstanding government official (Photo by: Babito Garez)

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Paolo Avis received the award of Random Republika as Natatanging Organisasyon under the social media category. (Photo by: Babito Garez)

Here are more of the individuals, institutions and organizations who stood out for this year in serving as “lights in the darkness”. Check out their inspiring stories  and how they made it to be a role model to inspire others to serve the people more.

NINALYN SULIT CACANANTA, ‘Natatanging Indibidwal’ Awardee (Education)

UNTV NEWS & RESCUE SINGAPORE, ‘Natatanging Organisasyon’ Awardee (Media & Journalism)

Read more at: UNTV Singapore, ginawaran ng parangal bilang natatanging media organization

MELVIN GAYAMOT, ‘Natatanging Indibidwal’ Awardee (Architecture)

GINO FLORDELIZA BABAGAY, ‘Natatanging Indibidwal’ Awardee (Performing Arts – Dance)

LUZVIZMINDA MATCHIMURA  BARAQUEL, ‘Natatanging Indibidwal’ Awardee (Outstanding Service)

ERICSON GANGOSO, ‘Natatanging Indibidwal’ Awardee (Alagad ng Sining – Film)


The awardees further expressed their heartfelt appreciation on their Facebook accounts. Here are some of their heart-warming posts:

Gilbert Santos is one of the founder of Gilas Basketball League Singapore‘Natatanging Organisasyon’ awardee. Their organization is committed in providing high quality basketball tournaments to fellow OFW kababayan in Singapore. Their organization instill sportsmanship, camaraderie and healthy living among the participants. It is also open to everyone, regardless of race or nationality, who share the same passion for Basketball.


Ms Aniceta Cataran, ‘Natatanging Indibidwal’ awardee as an outstanding government official, expressed her gratitude to her family and colleagues. She further emphasized that the award is dedicated to all the people who supported her endeavor.


Mr. Obet Rivera, a ‘Natatanging Indibidwal’ awardee, is a musician who is used to perform around asia and now works a guitar teacher at Ossia Music School Since 2008. He is now a DJ in Radyo Filipino Network, broadcasting from Singapore, showcasing artists from all over the globe.



Mr. Rico Hizon also shared his honor to be awarded as ‘Natatanging Indibidwal’ under Media and Journalism. He is a broadcast journalist from BBC World News. He took up communication Arts and Business at De La Salle University. He previously worked at GMA News & CNBC. In his almost 25 years as a broadcast journalist, he has interviewed high profile personalities such as Bill Gates, Tony Fernandes, Richard James, Kobe Bryant and many more. He is a multi-awarded broadcast journalist, a business news presenter and a proud Filipino.



Congratulations to the team behind this prestigious event, Gawad Sulo Foundation Singapore. Thank your for illuminating our hearts once again for this years’ set awardees. Your organization’s quest alone has already made a positive impact. The Singapore Filipino Community are with you in your pursuit. May you continue to be torches of inspiration seeking unique individuals whose drive and passion in life carry flames of hope for the Filipinos working overseas.


Gawad Sulo Foundation Singapore team (Photo by: Babito Garez)


The pillars of the organization. For more information and updates, you may check out their Facebook page: Gawad Sulo Foundation Singapore

The Ultimate Denim Show 2017

Whether dark-washed or cut-off, dressed up or casual, these Morpheus’ Dream Top Model (DTM) stars know how to do denim! Get inspired by their blue jean look. Adding edge to your outfit starts from bottom from this classic denim shoot concept. Here are some ideas if you are looking to build a better denim wardrobe for the rest of the year!

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From interesting finishes and unconventional cuts to modern, denim is always an exciting idea. There’s a lot of variety and even more creativity happening in the fashion industry. Power pairing with tough denim takes outfits from street straight to the champs!


With the collaboration and efforts of the best minds of fashion, cinematography, artistry, class and execution.

Cinematographer and Videographer /Musical director/content editor : Mr Takiro
Creative Director: Ian De Guzman and Phil Diaz Villanueva
Visual and Art Director: Irayori Gonzales
And the Guest director on Special cameo role: Ms Pipin Emerald


Caezar Ian De Guzman
Anthony John Garcia
Deane Angelo Avelino
John Paul Ilagan
Michael Dumasig aka Kelly G.
Phil Diaz Villanueva

Irayori Gonzales Pioquid
Tara Priscilla Asturias
Madel Torre
Wendy Black
Julienne Jo Boquiren
Rochelle Bonifacio Santiago


Sponge Cola Live in Singapore

Sponge Cola is one of the most popular rock bands in the Philippines. The group was formed on 1998 with the members composed of Yael Yuzon (vocals), Gosh Dilay (bass), Erwin Armovit (guitars) and Tmac Cruz (drummer).

They had their first live concert in Singapore on 2009. And their second concert was just last Sunday, 19 June 2017 at the Bigbox (Jurong) where they kicked off their latest release ‘SinagTala’. It is said to be one of the top albums featured in iTunes. The concert gate opened at 5pm and the opening band was the Dead Macoys.


The opening band – DEAD MACOYS

I was a big fan of Sponge Cola and other Filipino artists since I was in High School until College. Sadly, I eventually got disconnected from Philippine music when I left for work in Singapore which was five years ago and it really felt so great to get re-connected last night. They played some of my favorite songs like ‘Tuliro’, ‘Nakapagtataka’, ‘Jeepney’ and ‘Bitiw’ to name a few. Everyone sang with their songs and got their heads banging. I am pretty sure most of the audiences from yesterday are having throat problems right now. But it was surely worth it! 😀



I loved the stage set up and I was drawn by Yael’s (Sponge Cola’s vocalist) wittiness on stage. He constantly interacted with the audience even to the ones watching from their homes. There were some audiences who were video calling their loved ones and faced their phones to the stage so they can watch too. It was really meaningful to personally witness how Filipino artists are soaring internationally, making our fellow Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) drive their home sickness away.



Sponge Cola did the concert in a uniquely fun way where they requested the audience to participate in filming for a music video and everyone should be very lively and shouting for more. Indeed, everyone excitedly cooperated too well that even after Sponge Cola’s supposedly last song and was preparing to exit, the crowd were still cheering for more.


Sponge Cola about to take their exit after their supposedly last song.

They were moved with the audiences cheers that they returned to the stage and put back their music gears on for one more song as a thank you for the overwhelming response. Below is the video. Anyone knows the title?

Anyway, enjoy!!! 😉

Oh! By the way, this was honestly the first live concert that I have ever attended. I won free tickets (for two, worth $55 per ticket) so I tagged my cousin along! Special Thanks to Paolo Avis of Random Republika for the awesome Sponge Cola experience!


From the left most: Jaypee & Paolo Avis of Random Republika and my cousin, Marie.


“Bayanihan” Spirit Uplifted In Singapore

It is another time of the year where the Filipino Community in Singapore gathered to show their unity through the third “Bayanihan Walk 2017”. The 3.88km fun walk with over 400 participants took off last Sunday, 21 May 2017, around Labrador Park. It started and ended at the Philippine Bayanihan Centre grounds, from 8AM.

The event was organized by the PHL Bayanihan Society in Singapore (PBSS) in cooperation with the Philippine Embassy and a number of sponsors. The walk was meant for the benefit of the PHL Bayanihan Centre to support its various activities such as skills training and social gathering for the Filipino community in Singapore. It was also supported by the Singapore and Indonesian community in honor of their friendly ties with Philippines. According to Ms. Min Lau (Chairwoman of the Bayanihan Walk 2017) in one of her interviews, the walk also aims to promote unity while nourishing a strong bond within the Filipino community and building better relationship to other communities. With that, the participants mightily indulged themselves  under the heat of the sun knowing that each step they take goes to support a great advocacy which is to promote positive values and also to encourage fellow OFW-SG to become role models for the Filipinos here in Singapore.


Unleash the Bayanihan Spirit! (Photo grabbed from Philippine Bayanihan Society – Singapore Facebook Page)


Nothing is more relaxing than a fun weekend walk while taking photos and chit-chatting (Photo grabbed from Philippine Bayanihan Society – Singapore Facebook Page)


One of the over 30 Filipino organizations and corporations that joined the walk. (Photo grabbed from Philippine Bayanihan Society – Singapore Facebook Page)


To raise funds, there was a minimal registration fee of S$25, and in return, everyone received free goodie bags. (Photo grabbed from Facebook posts of Ms. Elena Clemente)

There was a 4-hour program prepared by a group of Filipino volunteer committee for everyone to enjoy while drying their sweat and re-hydrating themselves from the long walk.  The program was inspired by Filipino fiesta tradition with all the cultural performances and raffle draws where the winners can bring home 3 PAL round trip tickets plus a money card from PNB.


Philippine Embassy Ambassador H.E Antonio Morales gladly shared in his welcome message that the number of participants this year has increased. He expressed his heartfelt appreciation and sincerely hopes for continuous support.


Philippine Embassy Ambassador H.E Antonio Morales in his welcome message

The performers were all volunteers who showcased their talents to add highlights to the event. Random Republika managed to have a quick chat to some of them while practicing backstage.

Ms. Cora from the “Royal Zumba” who has been living in Singapore for 18 years said that ,“We decided to perform in the event to show our support and also to promote fitness awareness to  our fellow kababayans. With all the stressful life at work, we need to remember to keep healthy.”


The Royal Zumba while practicing their dance at the backstage


A performer from another group “Kultura” named Mhlit who has been living in Singapore for 50 years also shared that,“This is something I have been doing since I was in grade school and I am very happy to share my time and talent to my fellow Filipinos. “


Kultura in Their Amusing Cultural Dance Number


Black Dames after their World Classic Performance of Tribal Folk Cultural T’buli mixed Manzaka Maguindanao Dance


The Filipino Dance Club Singapore ready to hit the dance floor


The Filipino  Dance Club Singapore as they wowed the audience in their Cultural Mixed with Hip Hop Dance number


Ms. Petite Alumna, Ms. Siwi Rahayutami, after serenading the crowd with an Indonesian Ethnic Song  (Photo grabbed from Philippine Bayanihan Society – Singapore Facebook Page)


Another group of inspiring women, Miss Petite Dancers , who has been constant volunteers in numerous outreach programs organised by the Philippines Embassy  (Photo grabbed from Philippine Bayanihan Society – Singapore Facebook Page)

While some were enjoying watching the performances, others were also busy walking through all the exciting booths of the sponsors around the vicinity. M1, PNB, LBC, SSS, Smart World were few of the many sponsors.



The entire fiesta program was spearheaded by Morpheus Hub Events & Productions’ talents. The program was led by the Dream Top Model (DTM) Season 3 Grand Winners, Paulo Canlas and Irayori Gonzales. Some of their fellow models volunteered to host and sing in the event.  The team has indeed manifested an impressive unity to ensure the program runs smooth, fun, meaningful and successful. As Paulo posted in his Instagram account,”Dream Top Model is not just about fashion shows and photoshoots. It is also about giving back to our OFW-SG kababayans.” He further highlighted in his interview with Random Republika during the event that,“Supporting such event is something that Morpheus has been actually doing for the past years. It is one of the charity component and we are more than happy to continue the tradition.” 


Morpheus  Stars, Karina Bacsain & Hansen Sy, in their hosting prowess


Morpheus Stars, Rachel Ann Passion & Ian De Guzman, while sharing the wonders of M1 mobile network


Morpheus Star, Vimer Montanez (Mr. Killer Smile), in his first singing performance on stage with the song  “On the Wings of Love”


Morpheus Star, Jessica Biasca, sharing her runway struts to fellow kababayans


Morpheus Star, John Paul Ilagan (dubbed as the singing heartthrob), as he sing and groove with the song “Sugar”


Morpheus Stars, Paulo Canlas & Irayori Gonzales (DTM Season 3 Grand Winners), as they led the entire flow of the program


Morpheus’ DTM team (together with the author) are all smiles despite the exhaustion from entertaining the crowd and running in between to make sure the event runs successfully

The event was ended with a closing remarks by the Philippine Bayanihan Society Singapore President, Mr. Ranvir Kumar, thanking all the volunteers, performers, partners, sponsors and participants. He also added that,“All the funds that has been raised will surely go to our activities here. It will go back to the people. Bayanihan center has been around for 16 years already. Many people have attended our courses. Everyone is welcome to take courses or conduct any courses here.”


Philippine Bayanihan Society Singapore President, Mr. Ranvir Kumar, in his closing remarks