Francis Lumen mounts a concert coup with Chris Botti and Sting

SPY BITS - The Philippine Star

Fans of Grammy award winner Chris Botti are excited to see him “Up Close and Personal” with one of the world’s most acclaimed music artists, Sting, as guest for a one-day only concert at the Marriot Grand Ballroom in Resorts World Manila this March 3. While it’s not the first time for Botti and Sting to be perform live in Manila, it will be the first time both of them will perform together.

Sting, of course, is still remembered as the lead singer and bassist of The Police before he went solo, reaping awards left and right from various award-giving bodies, getting elevated to the Songwriters Hall of Fame as well as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for his stint with The Police.

Botti, on the other hand, is the biggest selling American instrumental artist, having sold over four million albums worldwide, with his popularity cutting across pop and jazz audiences. He shot to fame in 2004 with the release of his album, “When I fall in love.” In 2013, his album “Impressions” won the Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Album.

Of course, only a concert promoter with the caliber of Francis Lumen could have pulled off such a feat. The Marriot Grand Ballroom’s 3,180 seats for this concert make it truly exclusive and intimate as compared to bigger venues, which is why there are now only a limited number of tickets available because they are almost sold out. Aside from the VIP and SVIP seats, what makes the “Up Close and Personal” concert different will be the stage seats where a limited number of guests (about 60) will literally get to share the stage with the two artists. 

The concert is made even more significant by the fact the promoter is collaborating with the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines’ socio-civic arm, the American Chamber Foundation with Ed Feist as president and Jun Salipsip as executive director. According to Francis, AmCham is helping sell tickets to its member companies, who can then be issued tax exemption certificates equal to the ticket amount purchased for tax deduction purposes. It’s actually a win-win situation because 20 percent of the proceeds from tickets sold by AmCham will go to the American Chamber Foundation to help fund the latter’s programs that include scholarships and disaster response initiatives – something that sits very well with both Chris Botti and Sting who are known for supporting numerous foundations. Sting, in fact, founded the Rainforest Foundation with his wife Trudie Styler to save the rainforests in South America – for which a species of the Colombian tree frog has been named “Dendropsophus stingi” in his honor. 

Shangri-La Horizon Homes: The best but most expensive

Anticipation is already mounting for the launch of Shangri-La at the Fort’s Horizon Homes at Bonifacio Global City slated next week. Horizon Homes is designed for those who want to enjoy luxurious city living, but with spacious accommodations that are not normally found in other properties – as can be seen in an artist’s rendition of the living room of a 418-sqm four-bedroom unit whose price point starts at around P130 million. The smallest available units, which are the 250-sqm two-bedroom, are priced anywhere from P77 million to P83 million (inclusive of parking slots but exclusive of VAT and other charges) – making Horizon Homes one of the most expensive today.

But then again, the prices are par for the course considering they come with the famed Shangri-La quality of service and hospitality the brand is known for all over the world. An added feature of Horizon Homes – which are residential units numbering close to 100 at the top floors of Shangri-La at the Fort – has a lot of modern amenities that include exclusive recreational facilities, a personal concierge service and 24/7 security with convenient access to the hotel.

Judging from the artist renditions sent to us, the residences look really spacious, sleek and stylish – and they come with great views of the Makati and Taguig skylines since they are located at the top floors. At 250 meters high, the landmark, mixed-use development will be one of the tallest buildings in the Philippines, a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental design) gold certified green development which means underscores Shangri-La’s commitment to uphold sustainability. 

Feedback on presidential debates

Dick Taylor, who happens to be an old broadcaster friend of ours now living in San Francisco, saw last Sunday’s presidential debates and forwarded one of the comments he received. The debates became an online trending topic on Twitter and likewise generated a lot of debate among netizens on who won or lost. Others also commented on the format, and the viewer who emailed Dick was complaining about the long commercial breaks with numerous shampoo ads.

The viewer also felt the format did not do the presidentiables justice because the very limited time (60 and 90 seconds) was not sufficient to put their messages across.  The audience was kept hanging and it was quite funny to see the moderators flummoxed when Mayor Duterte urged the program be extended for another hour, the email sender wrote.

Hopefully, the next edition of the debates, with TV5 as host network, will have an improved format, and the program will be more smooth and engaging. 

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Email: spybits08@gmail.com

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