Saturday, December 1, 2018

“Paragon Davao: Where possibilities are endless”
Sun.Star Davao, Dec. 1, 2018

Leading VisMin property developer Cebu Landmasters, Inc. (CLI) in partnership with Davao’s Villa-Abrille family through joint ventures, YHEST Realty & Development Corp. and YHES Inc., fortified its presence in Davao City as it recently kicked off two key landmark projects in the second fastest-growing economy in the country.

The partners broke ground, graced by Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, on a former golf course, Davao Matina Golf Club, that will be transformed into the 22-hectare Central Business District called Davao Global Township (DGT) and unveiled a vibrant mixed-use lifestyle destination, The Paragon Davao. The latter will be anchored by a hotel managed by world-renowned The Ascott Limited, a residential tower, lifestyle mall, and convention center.

Frederick Huang Yuson, president of YHEST Realty & Development Corp. and YHES Inc. expressed that he is pleased to partner with VisMin’s best developer Cebu Landmasters to bring projects to the city which will spur development in this part of the Davao metropolis. “We consider this our way of giving back to Davao”, he shared during the launch at The Marco Polo Davao’s grand ballroom.

Yuson is a fifth-generation descendant of Francisco “Juna” Villa-Abrille, considered as one of Davao’s pioneers. Juna and his heirs have donated parcels of land to accelerate the development of Davao City. In 1969, his philanthropic contributions earned him the distinction of being one of the first Datu Bago awardees (posthumous), the highest honor ever bestowed to a son of Davao.  A downtown street (Villa-Abrille) was also named after him.           

CLI and members of the family under the joint venture YHEST Realty and Development Corp. will commence Phase 1 of the 22-hectare Davao Global Township located in Matina that will feature an office tower, two residential towers, retail buildings, a cineplex mall, and a convention center.

Nearby is the mixed-use The Paragon Davao, which CLI is developing in partnership with Davao Filandia Realty Corp. and Yuson Strategic Holdings Inc. under the joint venture YHES Inc. The project is expected to help pump-prime economic activity in southeastern Davao City where Davao Global Township is also located. The Paragon Davao’s first phase will house a 26-storey residential tower to be named One Paragon Place; a 263-room Citadines Paragon Davao to be managed by The Ascott Limited – one of the world’s leading lodging owner-operators; The Paragon Davao Convention Center; and The Paragon Davao Lifestyle Mall.

The project with a 1.9-hectare lot area is set for completion in 2022. The lifestyle destination was conceptualized and designed by Callison RTKL in collaboration with top Philippine architectural firm RMDA.

CLI’s partners revealed in previous statements that they had been approached by other developers but chose the Cebu-based listed real estate company because of its keen feel of the VisMin market. This is evidenced, they pointed out, by the quick take-up of their first joint venture project together in the city—the MesaTierra Garden residences in Davao—which is now 96-percent sold.

“The Soberanos are not only our partners, but they are also family to us,” stressed Yuson.

We share photos of the Davao Global Township groundbreaking and The Paragon’s launch by ace photographers Josiah Bacarro and Marlon Advincula.

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Saturday, November 17, 2018

 “Judge Virgie Europa’s “A Harvest of Colors” solo art exhibit”
Sun.Star Davao, Nov. 17, 2018
Retired Regional Trial Court Judge Virginia Hofilena-Europa recently held her first solo art exhibit during her 72nd birthday with the theme, “A Harvest of Colors”.
The well-respected and multi-talented artist is the past national president of Toastmasters International District 75; former council president of the Girl Scouts of the Philippines Davao Council; lady founder of the Sigma Tau Mu Sorority of the Ateneo de Davao College of Law; as well as the co-founder of the Davao Lady Lawyers Association.
Judge Gie, as she is fondly called, interestingly discovered her talent for the arts only after her retirement from the judiciary four years ago. “I never had an inkling that I could paint. But, because I was encouraged by my friends from the Toastmasters Artists Group, I learned to love painting with acrylic as my medium. I adore the color of paints! Painting keeps me busy and productive”, she smiles.
To further develop her newfound passion, Judge Gie enrolled in art sessions with Dabawenya artist Dadai Joaquin. “Dadai brought out the best in me’, she intimates.
Her first solo exhibit featured 35 artworks with mostly nature and flowers as her subjects. “It took me 20 months to finish all the artworks featured in my exhibit”, shares Judge Gie who is the widow of past Integrated Bar of the Philippines Eastern Mindanao governor Atty. Cesar Europa. Their son, Atty. Jikjik Europa, is also the former IBP governor of Eastern Mindanao.
Among the special guests at the “Harvest of Colors” exhibit were judges and lawyers as well as dear friends from the Toastmasters and GSP Council. Court of Appeals Justice Loida P. Kahulugan did the ceremonial cutting of the ribbon to open the exhibit.

Several guests bought Judge Gie’s beautiful artworks. They included Perla Kwan, owner of Precious International School of Davao and Vicky Leuterio, owner of Holy Child College. Both paintings are now displayed at their respective offices.

Also among the guests was renowned artist Victor Secuya, fresh from his exhibit in Brussels. I felt so deeply honored because Vic purchased one of my paintings”, discloses Judge Gie.

Ever the achiever, Judge Gie is already preparing for her next exhibit which she intends to stage when she turns 75 years old. “This time, I plan to exhibit 75 paintings”, she announces with excitement.

The “Harvest of Colors” art exhibit is still available for viewing at Grub Resto (along Duterte St.), the headquarters of the Toastmasters Artist Group.

Special thanks to Vinky Europa for the photos.

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Saturday, November 3, 2018

Evangel Songsters Davao in South Korea

“Evangel Songsters Davao in South Korea”
Sun.Star Davao, Nov. 3, 2018

The Evangel Songsters Davao proudly received the Young Singers Incentive Prize at the 14th Busan Choral Festival and Competition held last October 17-20, 2018 in South Korea.

The acclaimed singing group is under the baton of Nemuel Danuco, one of the premier musicians in the city. The choir was founded in October 2016 through the initiative of Zion’s Praise Music Incorporated, a music education provider which has been actively partnering with various schools since 2009.

Composed of twenty-eight young individuals aged 9 to 18 years old from different Davao-based schools, the Evangel Songsters Davao’s first batch has previously competed at the 10th Orientale Concentus in Singapore where it bagged three silver grade awards in the Folk Song, Mixed and Youth categories.
“Throughout its festival and competition history, Busan Choral has fostered cultural exchange and promoted high-quality choral music by attracting notable artists, conductors, and composers to one of Asia’s top choral festivals”, states its official Facebook page.

At the recent Busan Choral Festival and Competition, the Evangel competed in two categories namely, the youth and ethnic categories. Assisting Mr. Danuco during the competition was Ms. Kerby Niña Pogoy.
(From left) Kerby Niña Pogoy (Evangel Songsters’ Assisting Director); Nemuel Danuco (Evangel Songsters’ choirmaster and Zion’s Praise Music Inc. national events director); and 
Pastor Edgar Soriano (Zion’s Praise Music Inc. president)
For the youth competition, the Evangel zealously sang “The Greatest Showman” medley (arranged by Richard Samuel Deligero) and Jam Sol Recedit (by Horation Parker).  On the other hand, the students impressed the audience with their passionate rendition of “Rosas Pandan” (arranged by George G. Hernandez), “Tuksuhan” (arranged by Ramon P. Santos), “Iyeyan” (Sidney Boquiren) and “Paru-parong Bukid” (arranged by George G. Hernandez) during the ethnic category.


Aside from the competition proper, the Evangel Songsters were invited to showcase their amazing talents at the SeoMyeon Subway Station as part of their outreach program. They were joined by the AZ Singers from Japan and the Tarlac National High School (TNHS) SPA Music Chorale, also from the Philippines, when they serenaded the busy subway station.

In addition, the students were given the chance to join choral workshops by Dr. Anton Armstrong, the choral festival’s president of the juries who is a decorated conductor and professor of music in Olaf University (U.S.A.).

The citizens of Busan likewise enjoyed the wonderful musical performances through the nightly concerts by the Stile Antico from England, Koro Ilustrado from the Philippines and the seven selected youth choirs, which included the Evangel Songsters.

At the awarding ceremony, the participating youth choirs sang “One Song” which beautifully symbolized unity amidst diversity. Just like the song’s heartwarming message, the unforgettable experience of performing together unified the choir members from numerous countries as they joined the rehearsal as one team and made lasting friendships.

To close the festival, fifty choirs from twelve countries were treated to an enjoyable afternoon of sightseeing during the Chorale Parade in Dongbaek Island.

Jamie Sofia Mangaoil wears a traditional Korean hanbok while exploring
Busan’s famous Gamcheon Cultural Village.
Evangel Songsters Davao parents in full support
Special thanks to Evangel Songsters mom Sharon Mangaoil for the photos and interview. Additional pictures courtesy of Nemuel Danuco, Karen Gemmel Yu, and the official Facebook page of the Busan Choral Festival and Competition.

Happy 12th Anniversary to Mom-About-Town! Sincerest thanks to my dearest readers and Sun.Star Davao family for the unending support. To God be the glory!

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