Saturday, April 23, 2016

Kalyeserye Live Acting Workshop!

Photo: Official Eat
Bulaga Facebook Page

To prepare themselves for the movie they'll be soon working on, the latest Kalyeserye segment in Eat Bulaga sees the gang pitched in award-winning movie director Gina Alajar to do a live acting workshop on national television and you know that means, right? LIGHTS! MOTOR! ACTION!


Direk Gina gave the gang some acting lessons and giving them situations, which the gang done very well in terms of acting. Yes, this workshop's going very well right up to the moment when things are getting personal and out of hand. About Lola Nidora getting angry at AlDub, is this part of the acting or a personal manner that is about to get real? We may never know but find out what happens next by watching Eat Bulaga every weekdays for more of Kalyeserye.

Bubble Gang Summer Treat 2016

The April 22, 2016 episode of Bubble Gang is the first part of the annual summer special. Let's see what the gang are up to in Blue Coral resort for the first part of the special.

- "Tayo na" gags

- Some Patok Taktiks for a cool summer vacation fashion are examined.

- Different kinds of "men" are showcased

- Antonietta ruins the summer fun!

- IKAW AT ANG INA takes on...cover pic!

- Faceswap jokes

- Hugot Lines for the summer vacation!

- Lifeguard goes looking for hunks!

- Istambay, Istambay sa Pasyalan, Tungkol Sa Honeymoon Ang Kwentuhan, Si Sexy Kinasal Sa Mayaman, Matandang Mahilag Sa Kan...KANTAHAN!

- The Chicka Virus outbreak is spreading here!

- Wise words from Tata Lino.

Don't miss part two of the Bubble Gang Summer Treat next week!

Friday, April 22, 2016

The best bits from Hamilton-directed 007 legends

Aston Martin DB5 in Goldfinger
Veteran James Bond director, Guy Hamilton, passed away at the age of 93. At his time in the world of James Bond, Hamilton directed 007 legends such as Goldfinger, Diamonds are Forever, Live and Let Die, and The Man with the Golden Gun. Each film features unique stunts and Bond car moments a true Bond aficionado can remember if he spent all day binge-watching Bond films.

So, remember any of the best bits from Hamilton-directed 007 legends?

Goldfinger - The Aston Martin DB5 is noteworthy one of the most iconic Bond cars in existence and in this film, Bond actor Sean Connery unleashed all of the gadgets offered on the DB5 such as ejector seat, oil slicks, bullet-proof rear shield, tire shredders, machine guns, all the things this Bond car unleashed until its untimely crash at Auric Headquarters while being chased by Auric Goldfinger's goons.

Diamonds are Forever - Diamonds are Forever, the sixth and final Bond film to have Sean Connery on it as the iconic British spy, features one of the most infamous stunt in cinematic history involving a Mustang Mach 1 going on two wheels. It became one of the most memorable blooper moment when the car drives into the alley on its right wheels and reappears balanced on the left. A bizarre phenomena when an in-car shot was inserted to show the car apparently rotating within the alley rather than reshooting the stunt.

Live and Let Die - Live and Let Die is the first Bond film for Sir Roger Moore to play the role of 007 and in this film, Bond fends off against a corrupt drug dealer as well as the one with the mechanical arm and the other one who is immortal. This film features one of the most bizarre car chase involving a double decker bus. Bond, in a bus, tries to shake off against pursuers and then at the latter part, the bus sliced into half and the top part ended on the pursuers. Little did you know that despite Sir Roger's training for the scene, he still couldn't cut the mustard and while there are no stuntmen capable of dealing with the bus part, an actual bus driver took part of it.

The Man with the Golden Gun - This 007 legend features one of the most complicating car stunt in cinematic history; the barrel roll. In this scene, Bond and CIA agent Jack Wade snagged an AMC Hornet from a dealership in Bangkok while pursuing Scaramanga and his henchmen Nick Nack in another AMC car. With Scaramanga headed to the other side, Bond takes the shortcut and that's where the barrel roll kicked in. The chase ended with Scaramanga took a dramatic exit in a flying car. Here's a trivia about this scene; while the barrel-roll stunt is purely a computer-simulated stunt that requires a human being in the hot seat, the flying car is one thing because at one time, there was once an old Ford Pinto bolted with some bits and bobs from a Cessna plane, called the AVE Mizar. The Bond people plan to do such a thing but when reports told that the creator of the AVE Mizar died during his test flight with this creation, the Bond people took retreat by using a miniaturized model unit instead.

Let's Do The News! (April 22, 2016)

- The Commission of Elections announced that the website hackers used to leak data on millions of Filipino voters has been removed with the help of the United States Department of Justice. COMELEC said the US DOJ helped to disable the website that provoked Filipinos upon finding their names and personal information on the website. The hacker group LulzSec Philippines launched a website featuring a search engine that allows users to search for their names in the leaked database hacked and stolen last month.

- Philippine president Benigno Aquino III wants full investigation on the bloody protest occurred at a national highway in Kidapawan City on the 1st of April. The President pointed out that those who “enticed, provoked, fooled” as opposed to the ones who “fooled, enticed, planned the violence” would have to be dealt with separately, aside from looking at those who exploited the people.

- Japan's prototype stealth fighter codenamed ATD-X began its first flight as it took off from Nagoya, demonstrating the accelerating arms race in East Asia. With its angular design of aircraft designed for stealth, the ATD-X departed early on Friday morning and landed safely at Gifu air base about 25 minutes later.


- Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her 90th birthday on Thursday, drawing audiences of well-wishers to her Windsor Castle home outside London. The Queen took the throne at the age of 25 over 64 years ago, and has become Britain's longest-reining monarch. She is still actively engaged in public duty at home and abroad.

- The torch relay for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, has began in the ancient Greek city of Olympia. During the 7-day relay, runners from across the globe, including a Syrian refugee, are passing the torch. The relay will include about 12,000 torchbearers and will visit 26 states and the capital Brasilia over a period of 95 days. But problems remain as construction of Olympic venues are delayed and political unrest grows over to the impending impeachment of Brazilian leader Dilma Rousseff.

- Famed singer Prince, who rose from stardom with his hit songs Kiss and Purple Rain, passed away at the age of  57. The singer was found dead in an elevator at a studio in Chanhassen, Minnesota, according to witnesses. Prince's passing sparked a massive outpouring of grief on social media, outside his famed studios and even from the White House.

- BBC announced that a new companion who will join The Doctor in an upcoming return of Doctor Who will be named this Saturday, April 23rd. Who's star will be crowned as the new Doctor's companion? Watch for it!

- Motoring journalist and upcoming Top Gear host Chris Harris will participate at the 2016 Blancpain Endurance Series, as part of the Bentley Team Parker Racing. He will be one of the racers to drive the #30 Continental GT3 alongside Chris O'Connor and Derek Pierce while the Team Parker will also enter the Pro-Am class.

- Guy Hamilton, the director behind famous James Bond films such as Goldfinger, Diamonds are Forever, Live and Let Die, and The Man with the Golden Gun, passed away at the age of 93. Anyone should remember that he was one of the people interviewed by former Top Gear host Richard Hammond in 2012's 50 Years of Bond Cars special.


THREATS FROM NORTH KOREA: N. Korea's FM vows to counter US nuke threat

North Korean foreign minister Ri-Su-yong said that the communist nation had no choice but develop nuclear weapons to deal against US nuclear threats. Ri made the remark during a keynote speech at a high-level meeting of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals at UN headquarters, claiming the US is currently conducting what he calls nuclear war exercises on the Korean Peninsula. Ri also said that sanctions are a challenge to sustainable development, but the country will not give in to such measures.

The North Korean foreign minister arrived in New York for the signing of a historic UN climate agreement set for Friday.

Source: Arirang News

Porsche 718 Boxster vs. Mercedes-Benz SLC-Class

The Porsche 718 was once known to be a legend in its motorsport heritage and for 2016, the legendary name was been resurrected as the minor change for Porsche's open-top midship roadster, the Boxster.

2017 Porsche 718 Boxster

So, is this the Porsche fans are looking for? It can be a yes or a no because apart from its similar styling from the previous Boxster 981, the new 718 Boxster had its old naturally-aspirated engines thrown away and in place, this open-top sportscar had this; a choice of four-cylinder turbocharged engines that doesn't sound like what enthusiasts hoped for.

Let's start with the two-litre version, which replaced the old Boxster's 2.7-litre boxer engine, produces 300PS of power and 380Nm of torque. Equipped with the PDK and the Sport Chrono package, it can do 0-100lph in 4.7 seconds and onwards to 275kph. So, if you need to compare the base 718 with that kind of performance, perhaps, let's pick a decent target for the purpose.

2017 Mercedes-Benz SLC-Class

Perhaps, let's go for this. The all-new SLC-Class, the replacement to the twenty-year old SLK. Specifically, let's try the range-topping SLC 300 for a while because I have something in store later on. This model comes with a 2.0L 4-cylinder turbocharged engine, just like the base 718 Boxster, but it produces 55PS less power and 10Nm less torque, but unlike the 718's 7-speed double clutch transmission, the new SLC comes with the brand new 9G-TRONIC gearbox, which sounds too much for an automatic gearbox but at least it's not as jerky as the 718's double clutch gearbox, which shifts fasts but less enjoyable than the 718's manual gearbox.

Okay, enough about the lesser ones, what about the range-toppers? This is where the conversation gets super spicy, indeed. In the range-topping 718 Boxster S, it has the new 2.5L 4-cylinder turbo engine, which produces 350PS of power and 420Nm of torque. With that jerky PDK equipped, it can get through 100kph in less than 4.2 seconds and onwards to 285kph.

2017 Mercedes-AMG SLC43

Onto the brand new Mercedes-AMG SLC43, probably not the best AMG to keep in your garage, it comes with AMG's first ever 3.0L V6 twin turbo engine which produces a more powerful 367PS of power and 520Nm of torque. With the 9G-Tronic mated, it can do 0-100kph in 4.7 seconds and top-speed normally limited to 250kph.

First and foremost, why 43? We get used to the 65s, the 63s, and the 45s of the AMG lineup but with the 43 naming on the hot SLC, which replaces the once graceful SLK55 AMG in the range, looks like the road for an all-turbocharged AMG lineup is complete but at what cost you may ask? Nope, not the downsizing stuff like I saw with the AMG GT and today's C63, it's this 43er that will soon cause misery for the AMG fans everywhere, and with the SLC43 AMG, feels like that the AMG we all know is gone and went into something hard water rather than faith in science.

Switch the engine on and what do you hear on its new 3.0L V6 twin turbo engine? Well, unless you get the roof open, it sounds like any other car rather than a mighty roar that harkens back to naturally aspirated V8s from the past. It's the same thing with the 2.5L version of the new 718 Boxster S because even when you engage in its sportiest setting while driving through the tunnels, nope. You hear nothing but a commoner's engine noise with no roar and no bite at all. Turbocharging for sportscars isn't as what the speedo boys hoped for, perhaps next time, they should learn from the speedo boys who are better at turbocharging cars than the manufacturers so they can get a better noise for their sportscars.

While settling down the noise issue, are these new roadsters cloaked in silence when it comes to dynamics? In the 718 Boxster, its dynamics is what you called "cloaked in silence" because despite its volume lowered in the engine noise, its handling attributes still as sharp as ever. It may have a name derived from the legendary 718 RS in the last century but the way it behaves, courtesy of its improved chassis and suspension, is something you can't deny.

What about the SLC43? Just like the old SLK55, the new V6-powered entry to the AMG clan is going to have a hard time to master its handling capabilities. Underestimate with this car and you'll pay a very painful price when it spun off or going off-course. It's going to remind you of the great V6-powered Jaguar F-Type convertible it sets it sights on. Although beautiful to look at, its dynamic character will be prove too dangerous for the freshmen, unless if they know how to use it.

Should you buy it? The Porsche 718 Boxster starts at 53,646 Euros for the base model while the S model starts at 66,141 Euros . The SLC, in its base SLC 180 meanwhile, starts at 34,927 Euros while the AMG SLC43 starts at 59,887 Euros. Yes, the V6-powered AMG is less expensive to own than the slightly-less enjoyable 718 Boxster S, but truth be told, neither is enjoyable unless these two open-top machines know how to set things right to keep the drivers happy and want to drive one of them as long as they please.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

3rd Generation Toyota Noah and Voxy G's

2017 Toyota Noah G's

2017 Toyota Voxy G's

Toyota's G Sports sub-brand once made hot versions of the Noah and Voxy twin minivans in their previous generations. Now, with the current generation Noah and Voxy been on the block for two years since its 2014 debut, it's time for these twin family movers to get spiced up with their new G's variants.

The newest Noah and Voxy G's variants features numerous chassis and aerodynamic upgrades compared to the standard models. From its braces, 18-inch wheels, sports brake pads, specially-made sub-muffler, special program in their power steering CPUs, new suspension that made them 60% stiffer, 20mm lower in the front, and 25mm lower in the back, and much more, seems that the G's variants made them realize that they're not your average family mover that you're using them every day from work, family bonding, outing with your friends, and other stuff you do for a living.

Like in the previous generations, the new Noah G's and Voxy G's feature unique equipments made specifically for these variants such as unique front grille, LED illumination lamps, specially-designed speedo, race-inspired pedals, red push engine start button, and much more to list.

These sporty variants use the 2.0L petrol engine variants with front-wheel drive as its basis, meaning it's a 2.0L 3ZR-FAE engine that produces 152PS of power and 193Nm of torque. It's mated with a Super CVT-i with 7-speed manual mode.

These mild-but-tangy variants of Toyota's ever popular family movers, the Noah Si G's and the Voxy ZS G's, are yours for 3,119,237 Japanese Yen. The Noah Si G's is available at Corolla dealerships while the Voxy ZS G's are available at Netz dealerships across Japan. Best be warned that these models are available exclusively for Japanese family use. Dismissed.

Photo: Toyota Motor Corporation

Let's Do The News! (April 21, 2016)

- COMELEC advised the public to avoid the website where hackers leaked the data of Filipino voters. A hacker group called LulzSec Pilipinas earlier launched a search engine for the data of 70 million Filipino voters and made it available for downloading via torrent file. The NBI earlier confirmed that a person suspected to be responsible for the hacking the website of the COMELEC had been arrested.

- Onto the money-laundering case, the treasurer and external vice president of the RCBC resigned from his post amid the issue involving the 81 million dollar heist. Treasurer Raul Victor Tan, always present to represent the back at the Senate blue ribbon committee inquiry into the money laundering scam, tendered his resignation effective yesterday. He had been with the bank for seven years.

- The third and final COMELEC presidential debate will give Filipinos plenty of questions to ask for the presidential aspirants. Vice President Jejomar Binay, Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Liberal Party standard bearer Manuel "Mar" Roxas II, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and Sen. Grace Poe will attend the debate at the Phinma University of Pangasinan on Sunday. The questions in this final debate will tackle on traffic, job security, health, foreign policy, basic public educations, OFW concerns, and peace for Mindanao residents in conflict areas.

- Seismic activity in the quake-struck Kumamoto Prefecture in Japan has been going on since last week's powerful quakes struck the prefecture.

- Russian leader Vladimir Putin confirmed that he will meet up with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the 6th of May in Sochi. Putin was speaking in a ceremony to receive letters of credentials from newly arrived foreign ambassadors in Moscow on Wednesday. One of them is Toyohisa Kozuki from Japan. The Russian leader said that the promotion of dialogue with Japan in different areas is one of the key aspects in Russian foreign policy.

- The death toll in last week's Ecuador quake is now up to 570.

- The United Nations refugee agency says that over 500 refugees and migrants are feared dead in the sinking of a boat in the Mediterranean Sea last week. Last year, about 800 people died after a boat capsized off Italy in the Mediterranean.

- For the first time in US history, a new US bank bills will feature an African-American female. The Treasury Department said that the anti-slavery activist Harriet Tubman will get her spot in the new twenty-dollar bills to be issued in or after the year 2020. Tubman was born to a slave family in the eastern state of Maryland, and engaged in underground activities in the 1850's to lead slaves to freedom. She worked for the rights of women and African-American after slavery was abolished following the Civil War.

- Mitsubishi Motors admitted that they've cheated at the fuel consumption data to some 625,000 vehicles, most of them are kei cars. Reports told that Nissan uncovered the deception between the cars' published fuel consumption data and their real-world results.

- In case you missed the recent Eat Bulaga kalyeserye, today is AlDub's 40th anniversary and the two had some surprises in store in this very occasion!


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Let's Do The News! (April 20, 2016)

- Amidst the public outcry, Davao City Mayor and presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte has formally apologized to the Filipino public over his comments on rape, promising a clean government despite his foul mouth. His camp yesterday issued a statement of apology before Duterte heads to Iloilo City campus of the UP-Visayas and a grand rally at La Paz public plaza. Since 1989, Duterte and his brother reportedly killed at least four of the inmates who had held an Australian missionary hostage at a Davao prison. An unapologetic Duterte told the Australian ambassador yesterday to "shut up" and consider that the rape victim had received "instant justice".

- Presidential aspirant Senator Grace Poe uncovered her copy of her student identification at Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts despite reports that she used a fake Social Security Number while she was in the United States. The release of Poe's student ID was prompted by the latest report that her defense against an earlier report that she had a false SSN might be spurious.

- In the Ecuador quake, citizens start burying loved ones who died from last weekend's quake while hopes faded that more survivors will be found. As of now, the death toll is now up to 507 but more to come, with the Defense Department reporting 231 people still missing. The final toll could exceed casualties from earthquakes in Chile and Peru in the past decade.

- Search and rescue efforts from the quake-stricken Kumamoto prefecture continue amid people bracing for more aftershocks from last week's quakes. Authorities say 48 people are died from the quakes. They are combing through dirt trying to find other three that remain missing. They also say over a thousand others are injured.

- Onto the presidential primary in New York, Republican's Donald Trump and Democrats' Hillary Clinton are reigning for the race to the November 2016 presidential elections.

- The Lexus IS will be given a minor change at the upcoming Beijing Auto Show next week with its first teaser.

2017 Lexus IS teaser

- BMW unveiled a special Centennial Edition on their 7-Series flagship saloons, Dubbed "The NEXT 100 YEARS", this special 7-Series will be limited to 100 units, donned in a special Centennial Blue Metallic, and other extras.


- Legendary singer Kenny Rogers will be finally performing in Manila on the 11th of August, 2016, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, which is part of his final world tour; The Gambler's Last Deal.

- Veteran actor Tirso Cruz III and wife Lynn Ynchausti marked their 35th wedding anniversary through a simple renewal of vows at the Wedding Church in Cana of Galilee, Israel.


Forza Motorsport 6: AWD Bipolar Opposites

Ever since Subaru launched the WRX S4 in the Japanese market two years ago, its main purpose was intended to be a chief rival to the Volvo S60. Now with hotter versions like the WRX STi and the S60 Polestar in the picture, these all-wheel drive bipolar opposites are going head to head round the Top Gear Test Track to see which one is the best.

s60 (2)

But before I tackle this unique comparison between the two all-weather super saloons, let's get to know more about these two.


A year after the Subaru WRX made its world premiere at the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show, the long-awaited return of the high-performance WRX STi sports saloon made its premiere at the 2014 North American International Auto Show.

For global markets, including the US, the new WRX STi comes with the EJ25 engine developing 305HP of power and 290lb-ft of torque while mated with a 6-speed manual gearbox. New for the 2015 WRX STi is the Active Torque Vectoring, which joins alongside other tech such as Driver Controlled Center Differential, Symmetrical AWD, Multi-Mode Vehicle Dynamics Control, and Brembo Performance Brake System with Super Sport ABS.

In Japan, two kinds of WRX models are offered such as the S4 model which features a brand new FA20 Direct Injection Turbo engine developing over 300PS of power while mated with a Sport Lineartronic gearbox as seen in its station wagon derivative, the Levorg, and this one equipped with the smaller EJ20 turbo engine which produces a similar power output of over three hundred horsepower. Both these models launched in August of 2014.


Based on the facelifted second-generation Volvo S60, the high-performance Polestar edition is a Volvo that is born at the track, built for the road. With its responsive handling, smooth shifting, and precise stopping, the S60 Polestar is made with the experience and engineering of nearly two decades of Volvo's motorsport activity and it has undergone extensive development to become a super saloon worthy of wearing the Polestar badge. It was made to be a limited-edition model.

The 2015MY Polestar model uses the T6 variant of the S60 as its foundation and thanks to Polestar, it develops 345HP of power and 369lb-ft of torque, while mated with a 6-speed automatic gearbox, tweaked by Polestar. Apart from the engine, the Polestar S60 comes with stiffer springs, Öhlins shock absorbers, high-capacity brake system, and other chassis upgrades.

The S60 Polestar is an impressive, aile, and extremely responsive complete package as each component is designed and crafted to maximize drivability and control everywhere, no matter the odds.

wrx (2)s60 (3)

Now that we get to know more about these two, it's time to take these two for a spin round the Top Gear Test Track's fun to try out the hottest rides here. It's a great thing we have a game that featured this iconic testing ground as seen on TV.

Here's a quick tidbit. In terms of performance, the S60 Polestar has more power than the WRX STi's because its T6 engine develops 345HP of power. However, the S60's almost 300lbs heavier than the Subie, meaning it's going to be one-sided. Anyway, no time to explain because it's time to get some answers round the track.

At the end of their one-lap session, the results are in. The WRX STi did it in 1:27.809 while the S60 Polestar, despite its high power advantage and quicker shifts, did it in 1:29.221, almost two seconds slower.

It's quite amazing that despite its aged performance in a more modernized look, it's no surprising that the old-school Japanese tuner saloon beats the high-tech Swedish luxury saloon by a slight margin reserved for forensics and mediums alike and with the WRX STi, it's still Subaru's coup de grace.

It's been fifty long years since Subaru had its first boxer engine-powered car in history but with a car like the WRX STi's, the history of Subaru boxer engine remains one heck of a fight club because with its low centre of gravity compared to others, a Subie like this can squeeze itself out from the cold and it's great to have a living legend like this.

Gyakuten Winner

Gyakuten Winner, the latest single by the hit J-POP boy band Johnny's WEST, now added to the court record.

Gyakuten Winner

It's the single from a very popular JPOP boy band featuring the opening theme song from the Gyakuten Saiban (Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney) TV series. The brand new Gyakuten Saiban TV show is part of the franchise's 15th anniversary when the first game was launched in 2001 for the Game Boy Advance and spawned different installments, a live action film, stage plays, and many more. The TV show will coincide with the upcoming 3DS release of Gyakuten Saiban 6 for the 3DS this summer apart from the upcoming Gyakuten Kenji (Ace Attorney Investigations) stage play as well. There is a limited edition release in the form of two alternate front covers and each limited edition features a music video of the new single. One is the Story Version and the other is the Cool Version, as well as behind the scenes of each version.

Present this evidence to your friends who love the Gyakuten Saiban (Ace Attorney) TV show? OBJECTION!


01 逆転Winner
02 100% I Love You
03 逆転Winner (オリジナル・カラオケ)
04 100% I Love You (オリジナル・カラオケ)

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

THREATS FROM NORTH KOREA: NoKor foreign minister visits New York

North Korean foreign minister has departed for New York for the signing ceremony of the Paris Agreement adopted at a UN climate conference last year.

Ri Su Yong left Pyongyang on Tuesday and arrived in Beijing. He will head to New York later in the day. Ri's visit to the United States follows North Korea's nuclear test in January and rocket launch in February. His last US visit was to attend the UN General Assembly late last year.

Reports state that North Korea wants to stress its willingness to collaborate with the global community on issues in order to ease off pressure, including UN Security Council sanctions.

Source: NHK World

Let's Do The News! (April 19, 2016)

- Despite his apology regarding his "rape jokes", several women's groups condemned presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte. The Davao City Mayor drew international criticism after making a remark about an Australian lay minister rape victim, comparing the latter to a beautiful AMerican actress and saying that he should "have been first". The groups refused to accept Duterte's apology and said that it was not sincere.

- Hackers defaced the website of ABS-CBN's radio dzMM and leaked its database. Hacktivist groups Bloodsec International and Anonymous Philippines claimed responsibilities for the recent cyber attacks, which is it said was a call for media to be objective in its reporting. 

- Onto the Kumamoto quake, aftershocks from last weekend's quakes are taking a toll on survivors. Tens of thousands have evacuated their homes and many are sleeping in emergency shelters or their cars. The death toll is now up to 46. One of them is a 51-year-old woman who died from economy class syndrome. She became ill on Monday while staying in her car in Kumamoto city, taken to hospital and treated for a pulmonary embolism, or a blocked artery in her lungs, but died about an hour later.

- The death toll from last weekend's Ecuador quake is now up to 413 while over 2,000 people were hurt.

- Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has vowed to fight moves to impeach her, denying speculation that she may resign. The nation's first female leader has been accused of involvement in manipulating government accounts and the lower house of Congress voted in favor of proceeding with her impeachment on Sunday. At a news conference, Rousseff said she is indignant over the congressional vote. She said previous administrations used the same fiscal maneuvers and denied doing anything illegal. She added that she is the victim of what she described as a coup plotted by her enemies.

- The US Defense Department has denounced what it says was a dangerously close encounter to a US reconnaissance plane by a Russian fighter jet. Pentagon officials said that a Su-27 jet flew within 15 meters of an RC-135 aircraft in international airspace over the Baltic Sea on the 14th of April. They said the US aircraft at no time crossed into Russian territorial space. The officials described the Russian jet's flight as unsafe and unprofessional, saying it conducted a barrel-roll from the left side of the US aircraft, going over the top of it, and ending up on the right side.

- Companies from the global defense and security sectors appeared at an international arms fair in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. ASEAN countries are prioritizing spending on maritime military equipment amid rising tensions in the South China Sea. About 1,200 manufacturers from 60 countries and regions are taking part in the biennial Defense Services Asia in the Malaysian capital, showcasing their latest technologies, including Chinese reconnaissance drones and US aircraft with anti-submarine warfare capabilities.

- Check out this publicity stunt pulled off by the FIA Formula E Championship as a stuntman became the first to pull a blind car-dodge on a fast-approaching Formula E car and backflip over it at the last second.

- The Vauxhall Astra 1.6 Tech Line Top Gear Edition, the last reasonably priced car used in the Top Gear TV show during Clarkson, Hammond, and May's tenure, has been auctioned for 17,800 pounds. Proceeds will support BEN, which helps unemployed automotive industry workers.

- Subaru will ready a specially-prepped WRX STi to challenge against its own record at the upcoming Isle of Man TT.


Forza Motorsport 6: Omigosh, What the FXX K?!

Did you kiss your mother with that mouth? Anyway, let's introduce to the one car that deserves to have your mouth washed with soap because this car bears a curse word that needs to be bursted out to the world. So, question is...What The FXX K?!


No wonder Ferrari named their LaFerrari-based experimental racing machine after an infamous curse word everyone's not afraid to say it but whatever the heck is, this car, part of the Top Gear Car Pack, has speeds capable of unleashing curse words straight from your mouth. So, what the FXX K is this FXX K?!!!

fxxk (2)

Based on the LaFerrari, the Ferrari FXX K experimental track car is an evolution to the previous Enzo Ferrari-based FXX while featuring Formula One-inspired KERS. Although not suitable for motorsport use, the FXX K was made for the exclusive group of Client-Test Drivers with whom Ferrari will commence a test programme over the next two years.

With the V12 engine and electric motor working together as one, it develops a record-breaking 1050PS of power output while torque output is over 900Nm. Apart from its performance, the FXX K's aerodynamics benefitted quick lap times. Its aerodynamics resulted to a 50% improvement in downforce in the low drag configuration and a 30% increase in the more aggressive downforce configuration, resulting in a figure of 540kg at 200kph.

The E-Diff, F-Track, Racing Side Slip Angle Control, optimized to suit its Pirelli slick tyres, and the high-performance anti-lock brakes can be adjusted using the Manettino on the steering wheel.

Using its motorsport knowhow, the FXX K, never intended to be used in motorsport purposes, delivers unbiased track day performance well made for the Client-Test Drivers who want to know more about this machine.

fxxk (3)

Trying to act like the client-test driver who grows interest in Ferrari's FXX K experiment, I went to Circuit of the Americas, home of the Formula 1 US Grand Prix (good thing it's part of this season, right?!), to try out Ferrari's motorsport experiment that was never intended for motorsport use but incorporates most of it. With such speeds, handling the FXX K really sounds challenging and mostly curse words coming out in my mouth. Perhaps no wonder this car was named after a curse word. Wanna see how I tried with the FXX K?

fxxk (4)

Bottom line: I survived, barely. The FXX K maybe a fast machine full-stop but because of its unpredictable behavior, drivers will have a challenging time mastering the FXX K's characteristics. In fact, some curse words came out from the drivers' mouths in the driving of Ferrari's hybrid racecar made for experimental purposes. No matter how many curse words burst from their mouth, having a mastery with the FXX K will prove that this car can FXX K it right up in its rear bumper.

FXX K Yeah!

F1 2016 - Chinese GP

Photo: Getty Images

The classic qualifier, after what the racers demanded following the failed elimination-style qualifiers that plagued the first two races, is finally back into the Chinese leg of the 2016 Formula One season and let's hope the old-school qualifying formula sticks to this season as long as their is feedback. Anyway, onto the Chinese GP, this race sees another win for Mercedes' formidable Nico Rosberg as his win became the fourth driver in history to win six successive world championship races. Red Bull Racing's rookie Daniil Kvyat tasted another podium finished by placing third while Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel placed 2nd. Other races who made it to the end of the race are Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo, Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen, Williams' Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton, Toro Rosso's Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz.

Onto the driver standings, we can see that Rosberg still leads by 75 points while Hamilton's 26 points behind his teammate and Red Bull's Ricciardo in 3rd place with 36 points.

The next race will be in Russia on the 1st of May.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Let's Do The News! (April 18, 2016)

- International media are giving a stab to "rape" remarks from Davao City mayor and presidential aspirant Rodrigo Duterte. Singapore's The Straits Times, UK's BBC and The Guardian, and Australia's ABC published reports about the Philippine presidential candidate and the online outcry that followed after he made what appeared to be a joke about the missionary.

- Senator JV Ejercito entered a "not guilty" plea on the graft case filed against him before the Sandiganbayan. Ejercito and 19 other former and incumbent officials were charged with graft and technical malversation over their alleged involvement in using calamity funds to purchase P2.1 million pesos worth of firearms eight years ago.

- So far, about 272 people reported dead in last weekend's Ecuador quake. Ecuador's VP Jorge Gias told a news conference on Sunday that 2,527 people were hurt in the quake which occurred shortly before 7PM. The USGS said it measured a magnitude of 7.8. The government declared a state of emergency for six badly affected provinces.

- Returning on the Kumamoto quake, rescue workers are racing against time in search for the missing people after two powerful quakes struck the Japanese southwestern town. Authorities say 42 people were killed since Thursday. Many were found in collapsed houses.

- The lower house of Brazil's Congress favored the proceeding with the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff. In Sunday's voting, 2/3rds of the lower house members supported the move. The lawmakers have been debating the issue since opposition members demanded in December that impeachment proceedings be launched. The president has been accused of being involved in the manipulation of government accounts. If the upper house favors the impeachment court, Rousseff will be suspended from duty during the trial.

- Thousands of people in Brussels have took part in a march against terrorism and hatred, as well as to remember victims and call for solidarity. About 7,000 people participated Sunday's rally almost a month after the attacks that killed 32 people and injured 340 others. People marched over two hours, some holding banners and placards while others carried flowers. Most Muslims took part in the march, one of them shares the grief with others and show solidarity.

- Signatech-Alpine uncovered their entry to next year's World Endurance Championship, the A460. This LMP2 prototype features the same 4.5L V8 engine as last yea'rs A450b, delivering 550HP of power while mated with a 6-speed sequential gearbox. Two A460s, a #35 and a #36, will run under the Signatech-Alpine name but crewed under two different countries.

Alpine A460 Race Car

- Something big is happening in THE IDOLM@STER MILLION LIVE mobile game. Check it out...

- The hit Doctor Who spinoff action drama series Torchwood may soon return, only this time as comic books published by Titan Comics.

- Actress-presenter Toni Gonzaga confirmed her pregnancy on national television. She announced it during last Sunday's ASAP show.

- At last night's Binibining Pilipinas 2016 coronation night, Maxine Medina is named as the Philippine representative for this year's Miss Universe. Meanwhile, Kylie Versoza was named Bb. Pilipinas-International, Joanna Eden as Bb. Pilipinas-Supranational, Jennifer Hammond as Bb. Pilipinas-Intercontinental, and Nicole Cordoves as Bb. Pilipinas-Grand International. Nichole Marie Manalo, the sister of Bb. Pilipinas-Universe 2009 Bianca Manalo, was named as Miss Globe Philippines. Angelica Alita was crowned 1st runner up while Jehza Huelar is 2nd runner up.


Toyota Auris Hybrid (ZWE186H)

Last year, Toyota gave the second-generation Auris, launched since the summer of 2012, a minor change and apart from selling it in selected parts of the Asia-Pacific and Europe, it was made to be sold in North America as a Scion iM. Well, with Scion's untimely collapse, things aren't going so well for the recently facelifted Auris, even if it comes with Toyota's brand new 1.2L 8NR-FTS petrol engine.

2017 Toyota Auris Hybrid

Little did you know that because it's been ten years since the first Auris launch into dealerships since the autumn of 2006, here's a big 10th anniversary offering for the Toyota Auris because it's no longer a Netz-exclusive car because it's now available at both Toyopet and Netz dealerships across Japan. Notice the front view? Same facelifted Auris as last year but the Netz' N logo was now replaced by the Toyota logo on it. Finally, some credit to the sporty hatchback.

Of course, you can still get three petrol types (1.2L turbo, 1.5L, and 1.8L) but because of the Auris' 10th anniversary since 2006, the first-ever Auris Hybrid is now offered for the first time in Japanese markets.

2017 Toyota Auris Hybrid interior
Although, you can still expect the same bits and bobs from the normal Auris, the all-new hybrid variant features a combination of a 1.8: 2ZR-FXE engine, an electric motor, and a conventional nickel metal battery. Delivering a uniquely quiet and relaxing driving experience, the Auris Hybrid offers a top-class fuel consumption of 30.4km/L in the JC08 Mode cycle. Apart from that, its hybrid powertrain is made to eliminate the need for a petrol engine as much as possible during city driving, generating virtually no NOx and Particulate Matter emissions.

Because it can be operated both independently and in combination, the 1.8L petrol engine and the electric motor generate a combined power output of a measly 136PS of power output.

Just like the normal Auris, the Auris Hybrid features Toyota Safety Sense C, comprising of Pre-Collision System, Lane Departure Alert, and the Automatic High Beam function. Don't need to repeat how these things work but if you want, it's your loss.

The Auris Hybrid starts at 2,832,545 Japanese Yen before the 100% Eco-Car Genzei benefits kicked into its main pricing. Once crossed into the European streets, the Auris Hybrid is now available for Japanese customers at both Netz and Toyopet dealerships, quite a good way to honor the Auris' 10th anniversary since its 2006 debut.

Photo: Toyota Motor Corporation

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Sewol Tragedy: 2 years on...

April 16th, 2014 - A Sewol ferry submerged through the southern part of South Korea, leaving 295 people dead with nine remained unaccounted for. Most of the victims died in the submerged ferry were students on a field trip, making this the worst maritime tragedy in South Korean history.

Friends and families of the victims took part on the memorial services at the Jindo Island, near the scene of the accident that occured 2 years ago.

The South Korean government plans to salvage the ship by this summer but bad weather conditions hamper the effort.

About last year, the South Korean Supreme Court upheld a life sentence for the ship's captain, who is held liable for negligence, homicide, and other charges.


Dozens died in a powerful Ecuador quake

Following the series of powerful quakes struck the Kumamoto Prefecture in Japan, a powerful M7.7 quake struck the coastal part of Ecuador.

According to the US Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, the quake, which is the strongest in history, occurred near Ecuador's northern coast at 2359 hours UTC and its focus was about 10km deep. A tsunami warning as high as one meter could hit the coast but three hours later, the warning was lifted.

So far, about 28 people died in the quake. Ecuadorian VP Jorge Gias said he is mobilizing military and police to clarify the extent of the damage as soon as possible.

Detective Conan: Junkoku no Nightmare

Detective Conan:
Junkoku no Nightmare

The year 2016 marks the 20th anniversary of the Detective Conan franchise. From the pages of Shogakukan Shonen Sunday, over eight hundred TV episodes and counting, a slew of feature films, live-action specials, video games, and tons of merchandising rights, kids from Japan and all over the world became part of the never-ending crime-solving adventures of Shinichi Kudo or Conan Edogawa as he takes on the most ruthless criminals, solving puzzles, gaining evidence, and apprehend the culprit. With his array of gadgets and a little help from his friend Ran Mori and the Detective Boys (comprising of Genta, Mitsuhiko, Ayumi, and Ai), everything's possible in Conan's perspective.

To honor the franchise's 20th year, this year's Conan film will be the biggest mystery yet for everyone's favorite junior detective. The franchise's 20th anniversary offering; Junkoku no Nightmare (The Darkest Nightmare), sees Conan and pals ventured to a newly remodeled aquarium in downtown Tokyo, when suddenly, Conan's encounter with a mysterious woman changes everything. The woman Conan encountered suffered a tragic memory loss and the gang will do everything they can to help her, even if they were in pursuit by Conan's longtime foe; the mysterious organization known as the Black Organization.

In true Conan fashion, this film features a colorful mix of action, suspense, mystery, romance, and a pinch of humor that will keep the whole family enjoy 'till the end. As the story deepens, this film gets more and more interesting just as what you expect from the past Detective Conan films. Having been on the block for over 20 years, Conan's used to desperate situations to pin down the smoothest of criminals but this film is the most extreme yet because he had to use whatever means necessary to unmask the truth even if it costs his life or his friends. 

Whatever the risk is, this film is fun-filled with excitement the kids will surely love. Of course, since this is a family movie made in honor of the franchise's 20th year, fans of all kinds are more than welcome to celebrate Detective Conan's 20th anniversary by enjoying this film.

My rating: 3.8 out 5

Buick Cascada and Land Rover Range Rover Evoque Convertible

We have two guests who are either late to the party or came here for the very first time. One is somewhat Euro-American and the other is quintessentially British on the other side. So, let's meet up with the open-top slowpokes who came to the open-top party too late or too early.

2016 Buick Cascada

First, let's meet with the latecomer known as the Buick Cascada. Well, basically this is imported from Europe's Opel division and Australians can expect this as a Holden sometime. Anyway, when the Euro-sourced Cascada arrived in America, it seems that its welcoming party got cancelled. VW's Eos and Golf Cabriolet are long dead as are Chrysler's old 200 Convertible. Which means, this car is running unopposed you can't even compare this one to a Mazda Roadster because...that's too cheeky.

Anyway, while Buick's open-top newcomer came here on its own free will, let's get some answers while this car catches some fresh air. Like its European equivalent, the Cascada has the same underpinning as the Verano, meaning that its got some clever Euro-tuned dynamics for a sporty handling that gets the driver into grooves. Under the hood?a 1.6L turbocharged petrol engine generating 200HP of power and 206lb-ft of torque while delivering an EPA-estimated Fuel Economy Highway of 27MPG. Of course, it's mated with a six-speed automatic gearbox.

Other features? Well, this open-top Buick comes with a host of tech such as Buick Intellilink, rear park assist, automatic headlamps, forward collision alert, lane departure warning, RainSense wipers, and so much more.

The price? It's 33,990 Dollars for the base 1SV while the top-of-the-range Premium costs 36,990 Dollars. Like I said, it's running unopposed because there are no front-wheel drive convertibles in the market that can compete against the Cascada in the North American market. It's a shame really because while it maybe late for the party, the Cascada tries to reinvent itself from the ground up. So, what about the newcomer who came to the party for the first try?

2017 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque Convertible

The world's first open-top convertible from Land Rover, called the Range Rover Evoque Convertible, and remember, you saw this one first because I'm not mentioning about the Cr_ssC_br__l_t (vowels blocked for search query reasons) from a distant past because the Evoque Convertible is the first of its kind and that's the end of it.

Based on the recently-facelifted Range Rover Evoque Coupe, the Convertible features similar stuff from the coupe with the clever Z-folding roof system which can be operated at speeds of up to 30mph. Think of this first-ever convertible crossover is a mixture of a visit to the Caribbean beach to the African safari because this crossover changes everything...well, sorta.

The Evoque Convertible maybe heavier than its hardtop equivalent but its offroad capability still works its charm even with the roof up, meaning this sport utility convertible loves to play rough, rain or shine. On the road, it looks pleasantly head-turning because despite being hunky, the Evoque Convertible still looks attractive, roof up or down. In rough terrain, drivers wouldn't mind getting muddy or wet while driving with the roof open. For a stylish, yet adventurous, luxury convertible, the Evoque Convertible is available with either a 2.0L TD4 diesel or a 2.0L Si4 petrol engine, all mated with the brand new 9-speed automatic gearbox as seen on the facelifted Evoque range. The petrol variant is capable of reaching 0-60mph at 7.8 seconds and onwards to 130mph.

The Evoque Convertible starts at £47,500 OTR and just like the Cascada from Buick, it's running unopposed. It's kinda shame really but when you are going to compare these guests who are either late to the party or came here for the very first time, it will be humorous enough to see the late bloomers edging out together. So, which of those late bloomers would you choose? These convertibles maybe late for the party but it would be a blast to give them a try.

Strong quakes continue in Kumamoto

Early Saturday morning, a powerful 7.3 quake struck Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan, the same area where two quakes occured for the past two days, leaving over forty people reported dead and caused harsh damage in the infrastructure.

Right now, officials from Kumamoto and neighboring Oita advised about 240,000 people to evacuate to avoid landslides caused by this Sunday's torrential rainfall.

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