Cosmetic surgery is not an option for Laarni Lozada

Monday, September 22, 2008 got a one-on-one talk with Grand Star Dreamer Laarni Lozada during the press conference for the Top 6 scholars of Pinoy Dream Academy Season 2.

When asked if she wants to move her parents and two siblings into the city with her, Laarni replied: "Pinag-uusapan pa namin. Pero as much as possible gusto ko sila sa province na lang na malayo sila sa mga intriga. Gusto ko sila protektahan, alam mo naman sa showbiz." Laarni’s family is a native of Sultan Kudarat in Mindanao but now that the young singer is a proud owner of a house-and-lot after bagging the top place in the competition, she has the option of moving her family to Manila as she embarks on her singing career.

"Pagbubutihin ko ‘yung career ko pero ang pinaka-importante talaga is ‘yung foundation ng family ko," she added. Laarni is currently enjoying her time with her family who arrived in the city in time for the PDA finale and is staying with relatives indefinitely.

With more star hopefuls trying their luck in the entertainment industry, having good looks will definitely get one further. However, Laarni, who was first worried of her looks when she entered the Academy, has a different view on this now that she’s conquered the competition with her raw talent.

"Mahal na mahal ko ang sarili ko kahit napakarami kong imperfections. Siguro wala na akong babaguhin sa sarili ko. Kapag inisip ko pa ‘yung mga operation parang sakit lang sa ulo ‘yun. Gusto ko mahalin ako ng tao sa kung paano nila ako nakilala," she told

Laarni said that she would prefer wearing the best clothes and taking time to learn the correct way of putting on make-up and having the right hair style rather than going under the knife.

Becoming the Grand Star Dreamer was not an easy journey for this former choir singer and competition reject. Laarni recalled her experience inside the academy where she faced a series of probation and emotional breakdowns, but she remained determined in reaching her dreams.

"Siguro kaya ako nami-misinterpret ng maraming tao, first week pa lang probationary na ako. Five times akong na probie. Nakakapanghina talaga ng loob kasi pinaghandaan ko ito tapos mapo-probie lang ako. Grabe ‘yung emotional pressure kaya siguro kahit sino, tao lang naman tayo na nasasaktan, kaya ganun ‘yung naging reaksyon ko. Dinaan ko na lang sa iyak at sa prayer. Inisip ko talaga na ayokong mag-quit," she said.

PDA bottom 3: a long showbiz career

Friday, September 19, 2008

Laarni Lozada was voted Pinoy Dream Academy (PDA) Season II Grand Star Dreamer (to the wonderment and disappointment of Bugoy Drilon?).

Of course, being a Cebuano, I rooted for Van Roxas (remember the campaign I headed here?) but then maybe the rest of the tele-viewers thought that Van already has the smoldering looks and, if he becomes the grand winner, that would be too much in his favor. Hindi naman siya lang ang anak ng Diyos, no?

My other bet was Liezel Garcia, she with the exotic beauty and clean, distinctive voice. It’s a given that all the PDA scholars, including those who were voted out and those who made their exits voluntarily, have the makings of great singers.

But Liezel to me simply still stands out.

At first, I tolerated Bugoy’s antics and actuations but later they became distracting and irritating. I also noticed that he has become self-conscious and “feeling artista already,” to quote a friend, several days before the grand night.

Add to this the glaring favoritism by the mentors, ao my dislike for him grew night after night. I can still remember that scene where teachers Monet and Kitchie danced like fools while singing Alleluia after Bugoy delivered the song they wanted. Shame on them!

My reaction on his declaration that “in my heart I am still the Grand Star Dreamer”? No way!

While the top three winners (Miguel Mendoza completes the list) will enjoy the cash prizes and the other items that go with the top slots, I have this strong hunch that it will be the bottom three (Chris “Cris” Pastor, Liezel and Van) who will enjoy a longer stay in show business.

There’s life after PDA

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Just minutes after the show wrapped up, after Laarni Lozada was named new Grand Star Dreamer, composer and music teacher Ryan Cayabyab assessed the latest edition of the ABS-CBN reality contest, “Pinoy Dream Academy.”

“I enjoyed doing this show because the format allowed us to work closely with the students and help them develop as performers,” said Cayabyab, head master on the show. “On ‘Philippine Idol,’ where I was judge [two years ago], we could only give comments, but we couldn’t teach the contestants.”

Personal picks

Cayabyab named Lozada, 1st runner-up Bugoy Drilon and 3rd runner-up Liezel Garcia as his personal Top 3. (Miguel Mendoza is 2nd runner-up.)

He described Garcia as a “unique” find who has “a distinct voice—an original.”

Lozada is the “most vocally equipped,” said Cayabyab. “She’s well-trained. She can do classical, kundiman as well as the usual birit (belting).”

“Bugoy is refreshing, sincere and giving as a performer,” Cayabyab noted. “At the start, he was withdrawn and shy, but he blossomed. On finals’ night, he exuded self-confidence.”

Resident psychologist and counselor Randy Dellosa agreed, describing the contestants as an “inspiring bunch.”

Added mentor Jose Javier Reyes, “They [matured] a lot throughout their stay in the Academy.”

Mentors’ aim

Reyes recounted that he and Cayabyab, and fellow mentor Kitchie Molina, endeavored to equip the contestants with the necessary tools to help them survive in show business.

“Kitchie reminded them to take care of their voices, not to abuse their bodies,” Reyes said. “Ryan emphasized the importance of being creative. I kept repeating that they shouldn’t permit themselves to get stuck in a rut, that they should constantly grow as artists.”

Reyes concurred with Cayabyab’s observation that the contestants’ 13-week stay in the Academy wasn’t enough.

More crucial

“That was just the gestation period,” Reyes explained. “Most of these kids look at contests as their ticket out of poverty, but the hard work begins after winning. The more crucial question is: What happens now?”

Said Cayabyab: “This is only the beginning of their journey.”

Reyes explained further: “In show biz, they will go through the grinder. They will undergo stress and torture … they will realize that it’s not enough to sing your heart and lungs out, you also need guts and determination to remain standing in this industry.”

That, Reyes pointed out, “is their real growth. It is when idealism is confronted by raw facts that we get to separate the mere wannabes from the real warriors.”

TV Ratings (Sept. 12-15): "Pinoy Dream Academy" finale reigns supreme; "Survivor Philippines" outplays "Kahit Isang Saglit"

Here are the Top 10 daytime and primetime programs from September 12 to 15 based on the overnight ratings conducted by AGB Nielsen Philippines among Mega Manila households:

September 12 (Friday)


  1. Eat Bulaga! (GMA-7) - 23.5%
  2. Gaano Kadalas ang Minsan (GMA-7) - 21.5%
  3. Daisy Siete (GMA-7) - 20.5%
  4. Una Kang Naging Akin (GMA-7) - 20.4%
  5. Wowowee (ABS-CBN) - 17.5%
  6. El Cuerpo del Deseo (ABS-CBN) - 16.8%
  7. Ligaw Na Bulaklak (ABS-CBN) - 16%
  8. Marimar (GMA-7) - 15.9%
  9. Pilipinas, Game KNB? (ABS-CBN) - 15.7%
  10. SiS (GMA-7) - 9.7%


  1. Dyesebel (GMA-7) - 41.8%
  2. Codename: Asero (GMA-7) - 39.9%
  3. Ako Si Kim Samsoon (GMA-7) - 34.5%
  4. 24 Oras (GMA-7) - 30.2%
  5. My Husband's Woman (GMA-7) - 27.4%
  6. TV Patrol World (ABS-CBN) - 25.4%
  7. I Love Betty La Fea (ABS-CBN) - 24.6%
  8. Iisa Pa Lamang (ABS-CBN) - 24.1%
  9. Dyosa (ABS-CBN) - 23.6%
  10. Pinoy Dream Academy (ABS-CBN) - 23.4%

September 13 (Saturday)


  1. Eat Bulaga! (GMA-7) - 23.1%
  2. Pinoy Records (GMA-7) - 20.4%
  3. Wish Ko Lang (GMA-7) - 17.6%
  4. Wowowee (ABS-CBN) - 18.6%
  5. Startalk (GMA-7) - 14.2%
  6. Making of I.T.A.L.Y. (GMA-7) - 14.1%
  7. That's My Doc (ABS-CBN) - 11.7%
  8. Entertainment Live (ABS-CBN) - 10.9%
  9. Cinema FPJ: Da King on ABS-CBN (ABS-CBN) - 8.9%


  1. Pinoy Dream Academy: Performance Night (ABS-CBN) - 31.8%
  2. Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho (GMA-7) - 28.7%
  3. Bitoy's Funniest Videos (GMA-7) - 28.6%
  4. Imbestigador (GMA-7) - 27.3%
  5. Celebrity Duets (GMA-7) - 24.1%
  6. Maalaala Mo Kaya (ABS-CBN) - 21.8%
  7. Varga (ABS-CBN) - 19.7%
  8. XXX (ABS-CBN) - 14.2%
  9. Nuts Entertainment (GMA-7) - 13.7%
  10. Sine Totoo (GMA-7) - 9.6%

September 14 (Sunday)


  1. ASAP ‘08 (ABS-CBN) 17.9%
  2. SOP (GMA-7) - 16.5%
  3. Takeshi's Castle (GMA-7) - 14.4%
  4. The Buzz (ABS-CBN) - 11.7%
  5. Your Song (ABS-CBN) - 11.4%
  6. Dear Friend (GMA-7) - 11.1%
  7. Showbiz Central (GMA-7) - 10.5%


  1. Pinoy Dream Academy: Awards Night (ABS-CBN) - 36.1%
  2. Tok! Tok! Tok! Isang Milyon Pasok (GMA-7) - 26.6%
  3. Kap's Amazing Stories (GMA-7) - 25.3%
  4. Goin' Bulilit (ABS-CBN) - 25%
  5. Mel & Joey (GMA-7) - 22.5%
  6. Rated K (ABS-CBN) - 20.9%
  7. All Star K (GMA-7) - 18.4%
  8. Sharon (ABS-CBN) - 17%
  9. Ful Haus (GMA-7) - 15.3%
  10. SNBO (GMA-7) - 12.2%

September 15 (Monday)


  1. Eat Bulaga! (GMA-7) - 23%
  2. Una Kang Naging Akin (GMA-7) - 21%
  3. Wowowee (ABS-CBN) - 19.6%
  4. Gaano Kadalas ang Minsan (GMA-7) - 19.5%
  5. Daisy Siete (GMA-7) - 18.9%
  6. Marimar (GMA-7) - 18.7%
  7. El Cuerpo del Deseo (ABS-CBN) - 17.9%
  8. Pilipinas, Game KNB? (ABS-CBN) - 15.8%
  9. Ligaw Na Bulaklak (ABS-CBN) - 14.9%
  10. SiS (GMA-7) - 13.5%


  1. Dyesebel (GMA-7) - 38.8%
  2. Codename: Asero (GMA-7) - 36.4%
  3. Ako Si Kim Samsoon (GMA-7) - 34.8%
  4. Survivor Philippines (GMA-7) - 31.8%
  5. 24 Oras (GMA-7) - 28.3%
  6. I Love Betty La Fea (ABS-CBN) - 28.2%
  7. TV Patrol World (ABS-CBN) - 27.8%
  8. Iisa Pa Lamang (ABS-CBN) - 25.8%
  9. Dyosa (ABS-CBN) - 25.3%
  10. My Husband's Woman (GMA-7) - 22.7%

Voting ends on ASAP 08

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Voting for the Grand Star Dreamer has ended and was closed at ASAP '08 at 2 this afternoon. The votes are now being tabulated and in a few hours the winner of Pinoy Dream Academy Season 2 will be announced.

Who have you voted deserving of the Grand Star Dreamer title? Witness the culmination of the country's top singing reality search tonight at 7:45 after Goin' Bulilit.

Congratulations Laarni!

Cuneta Astrodome was indeed filled with tension tonight as the much awaited announcement of Pinoy Dream Academy Season 2 Grand Star Dreamer has finally arrived. The Top Six Scholars were joined by their former co-Scholars, Vina Morales and Wency Cornejo to open the show with their rendition of Bon Jovi Its My Life and the legendary group Journeys Dont Stop Believin.

Tonight, the Little Dreamers Little Dream Bigayan Project was also launched. In the spirit of Christmas, the Academy kids imparted a collection of Christmas songs as the former Scholars roamed around the dome in order to collect donations to be given to the kids’ charity Childhope Asia Philippines.

Uberture host, Billy Crawford also imparted a song and dance number tonight. Together with the Banana Split girls, he performed his hit song Bright Lights. Aside from Billy, the Dream Mentors too prepared a little something to bid their Scholars farewell. Teacher Von, Teacher Monet, Teacher Kitchy, Direk Joey and Headmaster Ryan had their own interesting version of Earth, Wind and Fires September and the Tagalized version of Umbrella on stage.

To finally end the night, the much awaited announcement was made. Laarni was hailed the newest Pinoy Dream Academy Grand Star Dreamer. After garnering 651,696 votes, which is equivalent to 35.21 percent of the total text votes, she owned the stage with great pride and sang her very first single Manalig Ka. The Independent Woman from Sultan Kudarat was indeed overwhelmed upon hearing her win. She broke down in tears in the middle of her final song, but since the show must go on, she did her best to pull herself together.

Joining the new Grand Star Dreamer in the Top Three were Bugoy and Miguel who gathered a total of 26.70% and 13.69% respectively. Unfortunately, Liezel, who was a consistent Star Scholar didnt make it into the Top Three and had to settle with fourth place with a total of 247,346 text votes. She was followed by Van who garnered 112,065 votes while Cris filled in the last slot with only a total of 36,487 text votes.

Top Six Scholars face their Grand Dream Night

The night that Bugoy, Cris, Laarni, Liezel, Miguel and Van have been waiting for has finally arrived the Grand Dream Night. Again, they were asked to face the jurors, composed of Louie Ocampo, Girlie Rodis and their very own Dream Mentors, in order to gain commendations and be hailed deserving of the newest Grand Star Dreamer title. To open the act, the reality shows infamous hosts Nikki Gil, Billy Crawford, and Toni Gonzaga shared their part with an interesting opening number, followed by the performance of the expelled Scholars.

Live from the Cuneta Astrodome, Headmaster Ryan Cayabyab initiated the graduation rites as he called the Scholars one at a time to grant them his blessing. After the commencement exercise, the Scholars began with their show as they welcomed their guests with their rendition of Awit ng Pangarap. After the said welcome performance, the Top Six proceeded with their corresponding production numbers. Bugoy, Miguel and Van went in to wow the crowd first with their production number consisting of Ne-yo greatest hits Closer, Addiction and Because of You. The girls, on the other hand, heated up the dome with their sexy performance of Pussycat Dolls When I Grow Up, Buttons and Dont Cha.

The performances above were plainly teasers, the real show was their individual presentations. First to show to the whole world what he got was Miguel. With his songs Love is on the Way and Man in the Mirror, juror Girlie couldnt deny how great the Romantic Crooner had improved.

Laarni went next with her rendition of Manalig Ka and Boogie Wonderland. By the end of her act, she got a little off note, which Headmaster Ryan immediately noticed. But despite her mistake, Mr. C couldnt deny how well the Independent Woman pulled of the said number.

Teacher Monet couldnt be happier for the next performer, Cris, who finally found her focus. Aside from simply being naturally sexy and pretty, the in-house teacher also commended Cris for her remarkable artistry and ability to cope up with their lessons. Her great musical improvement was clearly displayed tonight through her rendition of Out Here on my Own and Candyman.

Van immediately wowed the crowd the very moment he took over the stage to sing Hard Habit to Break and Probinsyana. As Direk Joey said it, the young man from Cebu is indeed oozing with star quality. The media performance teacher claimed that though he didnt have the best voice quality among the bunch, his charms will surely bring him to different heights.

Speaking of star quality, juror Louie also found it in Liezel as she ruled the stage tonight with her version of I am Changing and Respect. The said juror couldnt be happier for the lass, because at long last, she came out of her shell. He even added that if she continues this development, she wont be far from becoming a great star in the near future.

Aside from Liezel, Bugoy too has come a very long way. After his presentation of Ligaya and Climb Every Mountain, Teacher Kitchy couldnt help but recall the lads audition piece, Guy Sebastian Angels Brought Me Here. According to the over-all voice teacher, given his great voice quality, he was indeed brought by angels to where he is now.

Laarni wins Pinoy Dream Academy Season 2

Laarni Lozada, a 22-year-old working student from Sultan Kudarat, was voted winner of ABS-CBN's top-rated talent show Pinoy Dream Academy Season 2 Sunday night.

Laarni, who was dubbed the show's "Independent Woman" for her quicksilver temper and amazing vocal range, garnered a total of 651,696 votes or 35.21 percent to beat Jay "Bugoy" Bogayan, a canteen janitor and farm hand from Camarines Sur, who placed second with 547,760 votes.

It was an emotional victory for Laarni who struggled in the early part of the contest and was in danger of elimination in her very first week in the academy. She also got in spats with fellow scholars because of her moods but always impressed the audience and the judges week after week because of her performance.

After being declared Grand Star Dreamer, Laarni was in tears as she sang the show-stopping "Manalig Ka", which was included in the scholars' compilation album "Pinoy Dream Academy Season Two Scholars Sing Cayabyab." Her prize package includes a laptop computer, component and LCD television from Sony, kitchen showcase from Whirlpool, P1.5 million worth of Crystal Clear purified water store franchise, a brand new house and lot from Globe Asiatique and a check worth P1 million from ABS-CBN.

Second-placer Bugoy sang "Climb Every Mountain" and gave an emotional speech to his supporters for bringing him one step closer to his dreams. "Mangarap po tayo. Kahit simpleng tao pwedeng mangarap!" he said as his fans cheered.

Balladeer and former Philippine Idol finalist Miguel Mendoza placed third with 13.69 percent or 253,402 votes. Mendoza, who entered in the academy with his girlfriend Bea Munoz, had been in danger of elimination several times but was always saved through text votes.

Five-time Star Scholar Liezel Garcia placed fourth in the contest with 13.36 percent or a total of 247,346 votes. Garcia, an early favorite in the contest, thanked the mentors for the training while inside the academy.

Van Roxas placed fifth with 6.06 percent or a total of 112,065 votes. The 18-year-old Roxas (real name Van Louelle Pojas) had revealed early in the contest that he did not tell his mother about how long he would stay inside the academy since he had to skip school to join. He was later prevailed upon to stay in the academy by the PDA mentors.

In last place was Cristina Pastor, 21, with 36,487 votes.

Lozada is the second PDA scholar to win the top prize. The first was Yeng Constantino in 2006.

Working student from Sultan Kudarat tops reality contest

It has been a long, winding road to Cuneta Astrodome for Laarni Lozada, the big winner of the second edition of the ABS-CBN reality talent search “Pinoy Dream Academy.”

Lozada, who hails from Sultan Kudarat, vied for the grand prize against Bugoy Drilon of Camarines Sur.

On Sunday night at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City, the 23-year-old Education student from the Philippine Women’s University was declared the show’s second Grand Star Dreamer. Last edition’s winner was Yeng Constantino.

Just like Constantino, who took an FX shuttle to get to the PDA auditions, Lozada also endured numerous trials before reaching the grand finals and winning P1 million and a house and lot.

In an interview with the Philippine Daily Inquirer Monday, she recalled that, at a very young age, she worked in the palengke (wet market) and farm in her hometown of Isulan so that she’d have money for school.

“Sanay akong magsaka (I’m used to working in the farm). I was only in Grade Five then,” she recounted. “I have six other siblings. Life has always been hard for my family.”

At age 15, she moved to Manila to continue her studies. “Even at that young age I knew that I had to leave our province if I wanted to give a better life to my family.”

While enrolled at the PWU, she also worked part-time as wedding singer. “I also sang in a restaurant and in school functions.”

She was a regular singer for PWU’s Bayanihan Dancers. “They get me whenever they needed someone to sing kundiman (traditional Filipino love song) for their shows.”

PDA headmaster Ryan Cayabyab described Lozada’s journey as “interesting,” as colorful and melodramatic as any local telenovela.

“The last time she saw her mother was three years ago,” Cayabyab related. “She has gone through so much.”

“Laarni is very volatile,” mentor Jose Javier Reyes related. “During the early part of the contest, she kept crying. I told her that she can’t be too emotional in show biz. To her credit, she’s like a sponge. She absorbs everything we teach her. She’s a graduate of the school of hard knocks.”

Counselor Randy Dellosa said that he helped Lozada “manage her intense mood swings and sensitivity to criticism.”

“She started as a cry-baby, but by the end of the show’s three-month run, viewers saw that she’s become a fighter,” Cayabyab noted.

Lozada acknowledged that she had learned a lot from the mentors. “Apart from musical training, they also taught us how to handle ourselves, by making us interact with industry professionals like Direk Joey [Reyes] and psychologists like Dr. Randy.”

In a lot of ways, Lozada and Drilon’s stories are reminiscent of fellow provincial singing champion Nora Aunor who traveled from the railroad tracks of Naga where she sold samalamig (iced sweet drinks) to singing glory in the 1960s-1970s talent search “Tawag ng Tanghalan.”

“Both Laarni and Bugoy are basically simple people,” mentor Reyes described the top two contestants. “They represent the dreams of ordinary Filipinos. They give people hope.”

Drilon, according to Reyes, “is a simple probinsiyano. He’s a farmer’s son. He used to work as janitor in a school in Camarines Sur.”

Drilon, who’s 18 years old, told the Inquirer that he worked as janitor in the cafeteria of Unibersidad de Santa Isabel to cover his tuition as a student of Food Service and Institutional Management.

Reyes related that Drilon, who’s also a member of the church choir, practiced singing by serenading the family’s carabao Guppy.

“They’ve really changed a lot throughout the contest’s run,” Reyes said. “Bugoy told me that when he went home to Camarines Sur recently, his carabao Guppy didn’t recognize him. Susuwagin siya! (The carabao was going to attack him!)”

“Guppy now has her own baby, Gupita,” Drilon said.

Counselor Dellosa described the contestants’ 13-week stay in the Academy as a “journey of self-discovery and personal growth.”

According to Dellosa, one important lesson that the aspirants learned was coping with the pressures of competition.

As the grand finals drew near, the Top 6 contestants felt the heat, Dellosa related. “Stress built up. Tempers flared and their fierce determination to win tested the strength of friendships.”

Dellosa noted that the Top 6 generally have “the amazing capacity to be fierce competitors … and yet remain closely bonded as friends.”

In two shows over the weekend, the Top 6 finalists—Drilon, Lozada, Van Roxas of Cebu, Miguel Mendoza of Alabang, Cris Pastor of Parañaque and Liezel Garcia of Dubai/Puerto Galera—competed for various prizes including P1 million and a house and lot.

The big winner was determined through text votes among the network’s viewers, both local and international (through The Filipino Channel).

Pastor landed in 6th place with 36,481 text votes; Roxas in 5th with 112,065; Garcia in 4th place with 247,346; Mendoza in 3rd place with 253,412; Drilon in 2nd place with 549,760; and Lozada in the top slot with 651,696 text votes.

After the show, mentor Reyes said he got emotional when he met with the aspirants backstage.

“I cried because these kids have grown so much,” Reyes explained. “I’m proud of them.”

Top 6 are ready for the Grand Dream Night

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Top 6 scholars Miguel, Van, Cris, Bugoy, Laarni and Liezel have been practicing nonstop for the Grand Dream Night and are highly anticipating the culminating event. Each employed different means of preparing for their solo performances and believed that they were well-equipped to be the Grand Star Dreamer.

In preparation for the big night, Miguel and Cris conserved their voices and also prayed intently for smooth-sailing productions. Liezel and Laarni on the other hand devoted time to practicing. While Van was more concerned about memorizing the choreography, Bugoy conditioned himself and already internalized his numbers.

Miguel was ready to showcase everything he has learned from day one until the last. He believed that he deserved to be the Grand Star Dreamer since he had talent aside from possessing musical and hosting skills.

A more confident Liezel is to be expected on the upcoming Dream Night. The Pride of Puerto Galera was proud of her exotic features and her distinct voice and knew that this was a factor to stand out in the industry

Bugoy on the other hand was more focused on entertaining his fans. He felt that he had improved a lot and he deserves to be the ultimate winner.

Meanwhile, a more sensual and captivating Cris is also one of the things to look forward to. Several weeks in the Academy has changed her beliefs and perceptions in life. In fact, the Singing Interior Designer would want to contribute more to her charity once she leaves the Academy.

Van is determined to give his best in his final performance to be worthy of the people’s votes. Apart from his dashing look, he knew that his ability to command on stage was an essential characteristic of a winner.

Laarni is ready to give her all on the Grand Dream Night. Though everyone was deserving of the Grand Star Dreamer title, she knew that she had what it takes to be the champion since she had the spirit and the drive. She was able to rise from the trials she experienced in the Academy and she believed that a willful spirit was crucial in the industry.

Top Six Scholars hold a grand reunion before the Grand Dream Night

After their band rehearsals yesterday, the Scholars were surprised to see formally set tables inside the Academy. Upon seeing the tables, they already had a strong feeling that they would be accommodating some visitors, so they got a little excited.

Immediately, they hopped in their best outfits, just like Teacher Monet instructed them. After they finished preparing themselves, the Dream Mentors Headmaster Ryan, Teacher Monet, Teacher Von, Teacher Kitchy and Direk Joey arrived to join them, as they waited for their special guests.

To start the party rolling, Headmaster asked Cris to sing one of her songs for Saturday. And while she was in the middle of her act, she was surprised to see her mom enter the scene, singing an excerpt from Dahil Mahal na Mahal Kita.

Bugoy’s mom arrived too and shared with them her rendition of The Greatest Love of All. She wasn’t quite familiar with the lyrics, but her song was indeed heartfelt. On Miguel’s mom’s arrival, she serenaded her son with Leah Navarro’s Kailangan Kita. Upon hearing her, it was pretty evident where Miguel got his great musicality. For Liezel, on the other hand, G-clef’s oldie but goodie entitled I Understand How You Feel was interpreted by her mom.

During Laarni’s turn, the event got quite emotional. It has been quite a long time since the two saw each other, so the Independent Woman couldn’t help but burst into tears upon feeling the mixture of happiness and longing take over her. And in order to calm the lass down, her mom dedicated to her the song Close to You by The Carpenters.

Though Van’s mom was not present last night, his dad dropped by to show him his support and sing to him one of his favorite songs, Can’t Fight this Feeling.

Surprisingly, the Top Six Scholars’ visitors just kept on coming. Aside from their beloved parents, former Scholars—Sheng, Bea, Christian, Apple, Iñaki, Bunny, Chivas, Poy and Sen—dropped by the Academy to bid the Final Six good luck.

2 PDA scholars visit charities

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Top 6 scholars of Pinoy Dream Academy (PDA) Season 2 have started to carry out their assignments for Dream Bigayan.

After the successful Concert for A Cause last Saturday, Liezel Garcia and Laarni Losala personally went to their respective charities to bestow gifts and necessities to their beneficiaries.

Liezel visited the Emmaus House of the Apostolate Home for the Aged to deliver wheelchairs, food, and other necessities to the elderly there.

The event, which was in cooperation of DZMM Aksyon Ngayon, went on smoothly, and the help given was very much appreciated.

Meanwhile, Laarni also visited her chosen charity - the Ambassadors of Light Blind Chorale – to give the blind people musical instruments that they could use in their rehearsals and performances.

The founder of the group, Mr. Anderson Go, thanked the Independent Woman profusely and advised her to always put her feet on the ground.

Which of the other Top 6 scholars will visit their respective charities next?

Watch PDA Season 2 Uberture at 5:30 p.m. from Monday to Friday and PDA Dream Academy Season 2 Primetime, after “Iiisa Pa Lamang” on ABS-CBN 2.

Miguel of "Pinoy Dream Academy" performs at Duty Free

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Top 6 Scholars' special assignments for "Pinoy Dream Academy Season 2" includes Dream BIGayan, a chance for the scholars to donate to their favorite charity.

These assignments are still being carried out days before the Grand Dream Nights and for Miguel's part, he had the opportunity to perform at Duty Free with the Shadow Rondalia.

Miguel got the chance to leave the Academy one afternoon to fulfill his assignment for Dream BIGayan. He was transported to Duty Free where the Shadow Rondalia, a group of talented blind men who play the guitar, mandolin, and other stringed instruments, awaited him. The ensemble was there to accompany Miguel in his mini-concert for a cause.

After rehearsing with the Shadow Rondalia, Miguel went on to the stage for his first one-man show geared toward raising funds for his chosen charity, the Mindanao Emergency Response Network Thru Mindanao Tulong Bakwet.

An appreciative crowd who gave cash donations to be able to take part in the noble cause, welcomed Miguel's gig at Duty Free. By the end of the show, the total money raised was an impressive P24,690, a part of which was given to the Shadow Rondalia.

PDA's Laarni and Liezel visit respective charities

Two of the the Top 6 scholars of Pinoy Dream Academy Season 2 have started to carry out their assignments for Dream BIGayan! 

After the successful "Concert for A Cause" last Saturday, September 6, Liezel and Laarni went to their respective chosen charities to provide gifts and necessities to their beneficiaries.

Liezel visited the Emmaus House of the Apostolate Home for the Aged on Sunday to deliver wheelchairs, food, and other necessities to the elderly. The activity, which was launched with DZMM Aksyon Ngayon, went on smoothly and the help given was very much appreciated.

Laarni meanwhile visited the Ambassadors of Light Blind Chorale. She provided the group with musical instruments they could use for their rehearsals and performances. 

The founder of the group, Mr. Anderson Go, thanked Laarni, who has been dubbed "Independent Woman", profusely and advised her to always put her feet on the ground.

Streaks of show biz light bring inspiration

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Recently, we were blown away by Jerrold Tarog and Ruel Antipuesto’s brilliantly disturbing “Confessional” (a must-see for film buffs). This week, Adolf Alix Jr.’s thematically intriguing but technically flawed black-and-white drama, “Tambolista” is on view. Unfortunately, for every “Confessional,” there’s also a “Kalakal,” “Hugot” or “Eskandalo.” But, let’s stop there and count our blessings.

On local TV, we’re pleased to note that a good number of once mediocre talents on ABS-CBN’s “Pinoy Dream Academy, Season Two” have since blossomed from ambitious ducklings into performing swans. Some exercises thrown their way are questionable, but the current batch is nonetheless a big improvement over Yeng Constantino’s group.

Our top scholars: Liezel Garcia (for her unique voice), Jay “Bugoy” Bogayan (seamless vocal technique) and Laarni Losala (astounding range).

On QTV-11’s “One Proud Mama,” we found ourselves riveted when we caught Jaya acting like one proud daughter to her irrepressible mother, comedienne Elizabeth Ramsey. The alternately hilarious and heartwarming episode revealed how much the “unlikely” pair loved each other unconditionally.

It was hard not to be won over by the unabashed demonstration of affection: While Ramsey shared some tragic and comic anecdotes (she said she knelt down when she saw the Statue of Liberty for the first time because, well, she thought it was a humongous replica of the Blessed Virgin Mary!), Jaya would suddenly hug her mother—and sob like a little girl!

"Pinoy Dream Academy" scholars intensely preparing for grand finals

Now that the Grand Dream Nights are just a few days away, the Top 6 Scholars of "Pinoy Dream Academy Season 2" are undergoing intense training from all their mentors.

The final week before the much-awaited commencement exercises proves to be a tough one as the Dream Mentors are making sure that this season's crème de la crème have not forgotten everything they've learned about performing.

Teacher Kitchy has been busy polishing the Top 6's singing techniques for the past few days. With the help of Teacher Monet, she has been pointing out the things that the Top 6 are still doing wrong and reminding them of the proper ways of correcting them.

Meanwhile, Teacher Maribeth hasn't changed her stern and strict manner of teaching. She has been pushing the Scholars to perfect their choreography for the Grand Dream Nights, reminding them that the two-night finale is going to be the culmination of every single lesson they have learned in their three-month stay inside the Academy.

Voting for the Top 6 Scholars is still very much open. To support your favorite, key in PDA space BUGOY, PDA space LAARNI, PDA space MIGUEL, PDA space LIEZEL, PDA space VAN, or PDA space CRIS on your cellphones and send to 231 for Smart and Talk & Text, and Addict Mobile subscribers, and 2331 for Globe, TM, Sun, and Bayan subscribers. You can also vote online thru
Voting officially ends on September 14, 1 PM, on ASAP '08.

"Pinoy Dream Academy" top Scholars' concert for a cause a success

Monday, September 8, 2008

After accumulating P266,400 from ticket and merchandise sales, it is more than safe to say that the Top 6 Scholars' Dream BIGayan Concert for a Cause staged last Saturday, September 6, was a huge success.

The show was part of the Top 6's mission to raise funds for their chosen charities. It was filled with breathtaking song-and-dance numbers and surprises that the viewers all enjoyed.

Besides giving great performances, the Top 6's hosting abilities were also put to a test when each of them got the chance to introduce a fellow Scholar using spiels that they wrote themselves.

They also got to answer intriguing questions from Toni Gonzaga in the mini-talk show part of the program that certainly piqued everyone's curiosity.

Meanwhile, the partial results of the text votes were revealed during the last few minutes of the Concert for a Cause.

Van on text votes

Friday, September 5, 2008

So the so-called Cebuano/Visayan text votes and the perceived diehard texters are not products of the imagination, after all.

Cebuano Pinoy Dream Academy Season II scholar Van Louelle Pojas has been included in the Top 6, thanks to your votes.

Van’s close friend Hansen Nichols was dropped from the list for having garnered a lower percentage of text votes. But the support for Van does not end there, mind you, faithful and loyal Visayan texters.

Van’s handler Mario Colmenares immediately texted me to help seek further support for Van until the final stretch of the reality show on Sept. 13 (the awarding is on the 14th).