YENG Constantino is celebrating her 10th year in showbiz. It was in 2006 when she became the grand winner in Pinoy Dream Academy 1 when she was 18 years old. Her signature song then, “Hawak Kamay”, became a monster hit and her first album, “Salamat” (with seven original songs she herself composed), is certified three times platinum. What would she consider as the other highlights of her ten years in showbiz?
“More than anything else, it’s longevity, being able to sustain yourself, kasi never kong naisip na tatagal ako nang ganito,” she says. “Ang dami ng reality contest winners, they come and go, pati ‘yung mga nakasabay ko, so I’m just so happy and thankful that I’m still here. Nasa ‘ASAP’ pa rin ako, now also a judge of ‘Pinoy Boyband Superstar’ and ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’. I’ve got to work with all the top artists in the local music industry. Nabigyan ako ng chance na ang songs na sinulat ko, ginawang musical play sa PETA, ‘Ako si Josephine’. I think it’s because I really concentrated on my craft as a songwriter.”
Yeng was presented to the press at the presscon for ABS-CBN’s music label, Star Music, making a major milestone when its YouTube channel reached more than one million subscribers. Her song “Ikaw” is the number one song with its music video having no less than 52.3 million views.
Now, more than 30 top artists are brought together to record a new version of her 2007 hit “Salamat”, including Piolo Pascual, Jed Madela, Jamie Rivera, Jolina Magdangal, Vina Morales, Enchong Dee, Kim Chiu, Xian Lim, Alex Gonzaga, VIce Ganda, Daniel Padilla, Kathryn Bernardo, Enrique Gil, Janella Salvador, Bailey May, Ylona Garcia, Angeline Quinto, Erik Santos, Kaye Cal, Marion Aunor, Daryl Ong, Bugoy Drilon, Liezel Garcia, Jovit Baldivino, Sue Ramirez, Inigo Pascual, Michael Pangilinan, Morisette Amon, Klarisse de Guzman, Juris, Jona, Migz and Maya, Gloc 9, KZ Tandingan, Tim Pavino and Yeng herself who thanks all the other singers for giving her song a new life.
“I’d also want to thank all the fans and all the people who supported me for the past ten years, pati na rin lahat ng fans na sumusuporta sa Star Music at sa mga Kapamilya,” she adds.
It’s very noticeable that she’s blooming these days. “Yes, totoo ‘yan. Before kasi, tomboyish ako, lagi akong naka-rubber shoes. Now, naghi-heels na ako at pinamigay ko lahat ng branded rubber shoes ko. Tumaas din ang boses ko. Noong ‘Divas Live’ concert namin, intimidated ako sa mga kasama kong sina Kyla, KZ and Angeline, pero thank God, hindi naman ako nadehado.”
She admits her husband Victor “Yan” Asuncion contributed a lot to her being more feminine. “Napakabait niyang tao. Very understanding and supportive. Iniintindi niya ang requirements ng career ko. Gusto na sana naming mag-baby kasi 28 na ako, but then, ang dami kong trabaho, may coming world tour pa ko with ‘Divas Live’, so hindi muna puwede.”
YOUTUBE AWARDS STAR MUSIC AND ITS ARTISTS
STAR Music was awarded by YouTube with their Gold Play Button, a framed limited edition 24 karat gold plated play button that is given to YouTube channels that pass one million subscribers. Atty. Marivic Benedicto, head of Star Songs and Digitals and current president of PAMI, says they’re the first Filipino recording company to achieve this and the third ABS-CBN channel to do so.
ABS-CBN, the Philippines’ leading media and entertainment company, is rapidly transitioning into an agile digital company with the biggest online presence among all media companies, and a growing list of digital properties. ABS-CBN also manages the country’s number one YouTube channel, the ABS-CBN Entertainment channel with almost four million subscribers and five billion views, and the second most subscribed channel, ABS-CBN News, with 2.6 million subscribers.
Invited to the presscon announcing Star Music’s triumph are some of their artists whose music videos and songs made their record label a huge hit with the public: Janella Salvador for “Mahal Kita Pero”, Enchong Dee for “Chinito Problems”, Morisette Amon for “Akin Ka Na Lang” and Liezel Garcia for “Di Ko Kayang Limutin”. After Yeng’s “Ikaw”, the second most viewed music video is KZ’s “Mahal Ko O Mahal Ako”, grand winner in the Himig Handog Love Songs contest. Other hit songs are Daniel Padilla’s “Simpleng Tulad Mo” and “Nasa’yo Na ang Lahat”, Michael Pangilinan’s “Pare, Mahal Mo Raw Ako” and Kim Chiu’s “Mr. Right”.
Aside from the use of local songs and talents in theme songs of their movies and teleseryes, ABS-CBN also actively promotes OPM through such shows as “I Love OPM”, “We Love OPM”, “Tawag ng Tanghalan”, “ASAPinoy”, and its number one FM radio station, MOR101.9 that plays a lot of Filipino music.
MOVIE REVIEW: MOANA
THE biggest earners among animated films this year all feature animal lead characters, like “Finding Dory”, “Secret Life of Pets” and “Zootopia”. We now have one that features a human character, “Moana”, which is an animated musical that harks back to past animated films like “The Little Mermaid” (which produced “Part of Your World”), “Beauty and the Beast” (many memorable songs), “Aladdin” (“A Whole New World”), “Mulan” (“Reflection”) and “Pocahontas” (“All the Colors of the Wind”).
The songs in “Moana” are written by Lin Manuel Miranda, who wrote the current award-winning Broadway hit, “Hamilton”, and he has written some good songs here, particularly Moana’s catchy theme tune, “How Far I’ll Go”. The movie is directed by Ron Clements and John Musker, who also did “Little Mermaid” and “Aladdin”, and they use the same elements of having a young heroine with cute animal sidekicks who also sing. But whereas they use hand drawn animation before, they now make use of CGI (computer generated imagery), to great advantage.
The nice thing about the film is you can really identify with and root for the lead character. “Moana” is a child of a tribe in her native Hawaii, the daughter of the chief, Tui (voice by Maori actor Temeura Morrison) and his wife Sina (Nicole Scherzinger.) Moana is warned not to go beyond the reef that surrounds their island as the island already gives them what they need.
But when she grows up to be 16 years old (voice by Auli’i Cravalho), Moana turns out to be not the usual damsel in distress. She’s bothered by the diminishing fish stocks in their seas and the dying coconut trees and she felt she has to do something about it. Her grandma Tala tells her the story of the demi-god Maui, who stole a magic heart stone from an island goddess, Te Fiti, making their island doomed. Her grandma says they belong to a tribe of great voyagers who sail across the oceans but they’ve stopped their wandering when they settled down in their idyllic island.
The plucky Moana now decides to sail beyond the reef to find Maui and get back the stolen stone so she can return it to the goddess who truly owns it and save her people. After locating Maui (voice by The Rock, Dwayne Johnson), they next have to get back his magical fish hook, which is now guarded in the realm of monsters by a giant crab-like creature, Tamatoa, who like glittering things and sings the song “Shiny”, as catchy as “Be Our Guest” from “Beauty & the Beast”. As an action adventure movie, Moana succeeds in blazing her own trail and forging her own identity as a wayfinder or explorer, starting with the song “You’re Welcome”.
Unlike other animated films about Disney princesses which have a romantic element, this one has only a platonic relationship between Moana and Maui who is more just like a Kuya. Maybe they’re saying that a Disney princess doesn’t always need a prince to complete her life, as Moana doesn’t even to be called a princess. Auli’l Cravalho, a real Hawaiian native who’s discovered in this movie, has an impressive voice whether she’s talking or singing as Moana.
The Rock’s Maui is more or less based on his real life image and the tattoos on Maui’s body provide so much fun when they come to life and make their own hilarious comments. A scene stealer here is Hei Hei (Alan Tudyk), a dumb cross-eyed rooster who provides lots of comic relief.
All in all, “Moana”, with its spectacular visuals (we like the pirate evil coconuts), colorful characters and fresh tunes, is as enjoyable as “Frozen” and “Inside Out” which both won Oscars. We thought it’s “Finding Dory” that would win this year, but along came the girl-empowering “Moana” just before 2016 is over and it will delight viewers of all ages and make your imagination soar across the high seas.