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Marlene dela Peña: Highest paid Pinay jazz artist in Japan

It’s not surprising if Marlene dela Peña is the highest paid Pinay jazz artist in Japan, where she has been based for almost four decades. With her inimitable and classy style, she really deserves to be one.

Marlene first found her way to Tokyo in the late ’70s. There she clinched a recording deal with Sony-BMG (up to this day, she’s still a Sony contract artist). Though popular in Japan, Marlene told us, “I wish I was equally known here too, in my own country.”

MARLENE DELA PEÑA together with Mrs. Watahiki, Koji Miyahista and the three Japanese monks who officiated the inauguration of Shinagawa Lasik and Aesthetics Phils. in Ortigas

MARLENE DELA PEÑA together with Mrs. Watahiki, Koji Miyahista and the three Japanese monks who officiated the inauguration of Shinagawa Lasik and Aesthetics Phils. in Ortigas

She doesn’t sing in nightclubs there, noting, “I mostly do special shows and concerts.”

Marlene has recorded 31 albums so far, all of them bestsellers. She’s slated to release another one this year. Marlene writes the lyrics of some of her songs. As to her style of music, she said, “I do pop, fusion, jazz – but I’m branded more as a jazz singer.”

Interestingly, Marlene didn’t dream of becoming a singer. “I wanted to be a diplomat, an ambassador. But I got into singing for economic reasons – I wanted to provide for my family, especially for the schooling of my siblings.”

Marlene is the eldest of five children, one of whom passed away recently that’s why she was in town.

She was a guest at the recent opening of Shinagawa Lasik and Aesthetics Philippines’ satellite branch at Hanston Square Bldg., San Miguel Ave., Pasig City. It is the company’s maiden major operation outside of Japan.

Marlene was also a guest at the recently concluded International Jazz Festival and at “Queen of Jazz” Annie Brazil’s farewell concert at Monk’s Dream at Galeria Galman in Makati City where she mesmerized audiences with her elegant and awesome performance.

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TRUMPETS’ Kathleen Francisco was host and performer during the Wizards Gallery opening at SM MOA

TRUMPETS’ Kathleen Francisco was host and performer during the Wizards Gallery opening at SM MOA

Where you make magic

Those in search for the ultimate spine-chilling experience inherent to horror flicks should try the Wizards Gallery at SM Mall of Asia.

The hair-raising attraction is a far cry from local horror houses.

Wizards Gallery employs state-of-the-art technology used in blockbuster films like “Jurassic Park” and “Harry Potter,” the reasons their monsters look real.

The Wizards Gallery is the newest attraction from Kidz Republic, a company that specializes in family entertainment centers.

The company started in 2006 with specially-themed amusement centers in various SM Malls. It is now recognized for its fun attractions like mazes, tubes, hanging bridges and air cannons among others.

Said Kidz Republc owner Gigi Chua: “At that time, we wanted a place where kids can have fun while in the mall. Now we’re upping the ante with the Wizard’s Gallery. It’s fun but very safe. If you liked ‘Harry Potter’ you’ll enjoy Wizards Gallery.”

Some of the fun things offered in Wizards Gallery include the Shooting Gallery, the Wizard’s Duel and the Interactive Shooting Walk-Through. Kidz Republic also invites you to visit “Pirates Quest” at SM Megamall.

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Tidbits: Happy b-day greetings today, March 10, go to, John Lesaca, Ada Santiago, Rosanna Marquez, Alex Estrada, Nelson Gumatay, Raquel Basilio Dungo, Pete Dacuycuy, TJ Manotoc, JC de Vera, and Julia Barretto… March 11: Jose Mari Chan, Hero Bautista, Vera Isberto, Lucy Chuaying, Belsha Dizon, Chico Moreno, Oyang Capistrano, Dr. Teresita Gozar, Camille G. Nolasco, Anthony Segovia, Michael Segovia, Atty. Nards Virtucio, Dr. Remy Suntay, Avi Siwa, Janna Dominguez, Jessie Lucas, and former Comelec Chairman Ramon H. Felipe…