Gastronomic Fun and Culinary Creativity Rule at the 2017 Global Taste of Korea

The Korean Cultural Center in the Philippines (KCC) has yet again wrapped up another delicious affair: The Global Taste of Korea 2017.

Held at the Lyceum Philippines University (LPU) Culinary Institute last Saturday, 29 July, the most-anticipated Korean gastronomic event in the country attracted hundreds upon hundreds of avid foodies of all ages.

Now on its fourth year, the goal of Global Taste of Korea remains the same: To offer Filipinos a bite of Korean culinary culture for an entire day through fun, interactive, and educational platforms. And with the growing number of Filipinos taking interest in Korean cuisine, as seen on popular films and dramas, the annual celebration of Korean flavors has never been busier.

A variety of booths lined the 4th level hallway of LPU’s Culinary Institute, ensuring that every guest experiences Korea in a local and cost-free setting.

The Korea Tourism Organization in Manila (KTO) handed out free posters and guide books to anyone who wishes to visit the Land of the Morning Calm, while food booths gave away unlimited helpings of staple Korean snacks and side dishes such as kimchi, ramyeon, and dumplings.

Eager visitors also had the opportunity to don the hanbok, the traditional Korean costume. Gamely posing for pictures, they looked like character pulled straight from a sageuk.

Setting an avenue for a deeper understanding of Korean cuisine, KCC organized cooking workshops for attendees who want to learn more about the history and basic how-tos of Korean cooking. At the end of the workshops, the attendees were able to prepare kimchi and bulgogi, marinated slices of meat that are either grilled or stir-fried.

But perhaps, the most exciting part of this year’s Global Taste of Korea is the cooking competition. Divided into two categories, Kimchi Battle and Freestyle Korean Cooking, a total of 22 cooks took the challenge to be hailed as this year’s best Korean cook.

Betina Erika Lim’s winning dish for the Kimchi Battle Category: Kimchi Chicken Quesadilla

From Left: Lyceum of the Philippines Culinary Director Chef Christopher Bautista, Kimchi Battle grand prize winner Betina Erika Lim, and  KCC Director LEE Jincheol

For the Kimchi Battle, Betina Erika Lim bagged first prize with her Kimchi Chicken Quesadilla, which she fashioned to look like the Taegeukgi or the Korean Flag. Airose Caloobanan (Beef Sinigang with Kimchi) and Angeli Mae Sapno (Steamed Kimchi Pork Buns) also proved to be the judges’ picks, as they received the second and third prize, respectively.

Regine Monsanto’s version of Dwaejigalbi-jjim or Korean-style braised pork ribs

The Freestyle Korean Cooking was a bit more intense, as 11 cooks heated up the kitchen with their own renditions of Korean favorites. Taking the third prize is Amiel Santos, who put a modern twist to the classic bibimbap. Hazel Quiamas got creative with her take on japchae, which she stuffed in a while pan-fried chicken, and took the second prize.

From Left: KTO Director Park In-Shik, Freestyle Korean cooking grand prize winner and Best Korean Cook Regine Monsanto, and KCC Director LEE Jincheol

Besting all 11 contestants is Marianne Regine Monsanto, a 28-year-old cook, who has been joining the Global Taste of Korea’s cooking competition since its first year. She won the judges’ palates with her version of the braised pork rib dish dwaejigalbi-jjim. She is also named as this year’s Best Korean Cook. Aside from the cash prize she will be taking home, Monsanto is also awarded with a roundtrip ticket to Korea, courtesy of KTO Manila.

The day ended on a high note as the auditorium erupted in happy tears and exchanges of congratulatory messages. With this, the guests and contestants alike look forward to another exciting Global Taste of Korea event next year.

Written by Krew member Andy Flores

Reasons why B.I.G. is the next big thing

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We bump into B.I.G. (Boys In Groove) members J-hoon (leader, dancer, vocalist), Benji (vocal) Gun Min (dancer, vocalist), Min Pyo (rapper) and Heedo (maknae, rapper) during their press conference and we’ve jot down the reasons why the media instantly fell in love with these boys! See it for yourself why you must not miss their upcoming ‘The B.I.Ginning, The Asia tour’ in Manila!

1. Spontaneous energy
No one else could beat B.I.G.’s out-bursting charms and energy as they share their love for their fans and their music. During the press conference, a day prior to their third year anniversary, B.I.G members gave us a clue on how they will celebrate their special day by probably having a ‘samgyupsal party’ and a cake. Their unending charms and ‘happy virus’ type of personalities never fail to amaze the fans as they conquer a new milestone in their career.

2. Passion for music
“Gotta get your love oh, I’ll make it over tonight.”

A short serenade from their recent track ‘Hello Hello’ proved they’ve got the charisma and the talent to compete in the K-pop industry. Aside from that, the members got individual contributions in their recent album. In the coming months, they are about to conquer Taiwan, Japan and Philippines through their Asia tour so watch out for the dates!

3. Unique Style
If you want to see a realistic and talented type of performers, then this five-member team is for you. They are total performers and all of them could sing and dance. Aside from that, they can also go solo on stage and you’ll be seeing that on their concert! (Let’s not spill the beans yet! Watch it to feed your curiosity!)

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4. Fan Service
More than throwing finger hearts and doing eye contacts, B.I.G. would make their events memorable as they love to talk with their fans, share their stories, ask questions and suddenly crack jokes in the middle of interviews.

5. Funny stunts
From ‘I want to go to Mall of Asia’ to mishearing the word father to farmer, B.I.G. got lots of humor under their sleeves. There is no way you won’t laugh even for a minute. Following their contagious laughter, you’ll see yourself extremely ‘stan’-ing over these boys!

Bonus: Member’s cute accents! There’s no way you wouldn’t notice Benji’s US accent while the other members try to copy his style!

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Right after the press conference, a quick meet and greet with the fans followed! They’ve got to celebrate Jhoon’s birthday and the third anniversary of B.I.G. together!

PS: The members really loved a Filipino food chain’s chicken and one of the members wishes to visit all the branches they have in the Philippines!

Do not miss the chance to see B.I.G up close and personal on their upcoming fanmeet happening on September 2 at the Music Museum. See you all there!

Written by Krew Member Mikay Javier
Photos by Krew Member Martin Arada

Kpop Lovers Unite at 2017 Pinoy Kpop Star!

The annual Pinoy Kpop Star once again filled SM North EDSA with loud cheers and screams from Kpop enthusiasts as they root for their favorite cover group dancers and singers last July 1, 2017.

Among numerous aspirants of the audition, only 20 teams (10 vocal and 10 group performers) were able to show off their talent at the yearly competition organized by Korean Cultural Center (KCC).

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As KCC director Lee Jin Cheol said in his opening remarks, there are a growing number of people who appreciate Kpop. This is proven by the hundreds of people who still wanted to be part of the competition venue. In addition, Director LEE also mentioned that Kpop unifies and inspires everyone, including the Filipino people.

Indeed, you can feel everyone’s excitement through their banners and as the crowd jumped along to the tune of various songs. Honestly, it felt like a real live Kpop concert, that’s how awesome this year’s event is.

And as the performances drew to an end, emotions were in full swing as the results were announced. Volo Pro Veritas, who made the audience feel an adrenaline rush as they danced to the beat of BTS’ Blood, Sweat, Tears, won the grand prize in the performance category. PHP, who staged a concert-like rendition of Bigbang’s Bang Bang Bang, won the grand prize for the vocal category. Both of these groups received Php 20,000 cash prize and gained a spot in representing the Philippines in the 1st round of Semi-Finals of the 2017 Kpop World Festival which will be held online.

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Volo Pro Veritas

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PHP

Placing second in the vocal and performance category, were MiU and Fatal, respectively. Both took home, P15,000 cash prize, respectively.

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MiU

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Fatal

Grabbing the third spot for vocal and performance category, were Venisse Siy and So Nice, respectively. Both took home P10,000 cash prize.

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Venisse Siy

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So Nice

The three-hour program was jam-packed with amazing performances from the participants as well as guest performers. It started with Val John’s performance, the Philippine representative last 2015 KBS Kpop World Festival, followed by the sexy and extremely hot performance of As If It’s Your Last by Black Pink of Dasuri Choi, KCC’s K-Pop dance instructor and Eat Bulaga’s Korean Dancing Diva.

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As a closing act of the event, Hwang Yohan, the Grand Touristar of ABS-CBN’s I Love OPM serenaded the fans with his wonderful rendition of Beautiful Life by Crush from the hit Korean drama television series Goblin.

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Contestants for the vocal category were: Queen Mia – I’ll Be Your Man (BTOB), Yara – Whistle (Black Pink), MiU – Re-Bye (AKMU), PHP – Bang Bang Bang (Bigbang), Joy Locsin – Whatta Man (IOI), Venisse Siy – I Will Go To You Like The First Snow (Ailee), Dynamix – You Are The Best (Mamamoo), Ma. Soraya Salvador – Fire (Taeyeon), Rich Yap – Playing with Fire (Black Pink), and Paradox – B-day (IKON).

Contestants for the performance category were: Campus Royalties – Boombayah (Black Pink), GFries – Fingertip (GFriend), Fatal – Blood, Sweat, Tears (BTS), Indigo – My First and Last (NCT Dream), Class B – Playing with Fire (Black Pink), Saturn9ne – You Think (SNSD), Volo Pro Veritas – Blood, Sweat, Tears (BTS), Xyndra – Wee Woo (Pristine), So Nice – Signal (TWICE), and Whistlers – Black Pink (Playing with Fire).

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The judges for the competition were KCC Director Lee Jin Cheol; Choi Daesul,  KCC Dance Instructor; Hwang Yohan, I Love OPM winner; Gigi Yia of Sparkling; and Jessica Juan, President of Philippine K-pop Convention, Inc.

All in all, the event was spectacular and I’m sure everyone is looking forward to the next annual event of Pinoy Kpop Star!

Written by Krew Member Jean Singian

MOVING KOREA: Art in a Different Perspective

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As we grow up, we realize that the way we see things are not always the same as how the world views it.

Korean Cultural Center in the Philippines opened its first interactive art exhibit ‘Moving Korea’ last June 8, 2017 at the KCC Exhibit Hall.

The exhibit features 18 modern and kinetic interactive artworks of contemporary artists Na Hyoung-min, Kim Dongho, Kwon Kisoo, Vakki, Everyware, Wang Ziwon, Lee Lee-nam, Hybe, and Han Jinsoo.

KCC was given the opportunity to have Artist Na Hyoung-min in the opening ceremony last June 8. He introduced a unique method of painting –the lenticular method–which he used on his artworks displayed at the exhibit.

This method uses lenticular lenses to produce an image with an illusion of depth or the ability to change or move as the image is viewed from different angles.

Na Hyoung-min studied Oriental Painting in Seoul National University where he also earned his Master’s Degree. He is currently serving as a professor in College of Fine Arts at Kyung Hee University.

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The Artist Talk started with Mr. Na explaining the creation process of his artworks while simultaneously playing a short video. He introduced some of his creations which are currently displayed at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Arts in Seoul, South Korea.

He also discussed the inspirations he had in his art. According to him, there are times when he just stare into space without thinking while looking at paintings in museums. Also, most of his artworks have a background of nature because he’s from the rural area of Seoul.

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Questions from audience were also entertained. A guest asked him when did he realized that he knew he wanted to be an artist. Na shared that he was deeply immersed with arts and paintings since his childhood that when he first drew an army war between Korea and America, his mother thought he’d be a general someday. Turns out, he became an artist like Leonardo Da Vinci and Vincent Van Gogh whom he admires.

 

OPENING CEREMONY

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A short introductory speech was given by KCC Director Lee Jin Cheol during the opening ceremony of the exhibit. He expressed his warm welcome and gratitude to the artists for their contribution to the art exhibit here in the Philippines. He wanted to inform the public of Korea’s interactive and modern art installation in the country.

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Artist Na Hyoung-min introduced his artworks “The Moon” and “The Ring Around the Moon” which was inspired by Daeboreum or the First Full Moon Holiday in South Korea.

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From Left: National Commission for Culture and Arts (NCCA) Head of International Affairs Anne Luis; Korean Copyright Commission Director JEONG Jae Woo; Instituto Cervantes de Manila Director Carlos Madrid; Korean artist NA Hyoung-min; Kim Chun Bae; UP Professor Aldrin Lee; and KCC Director LEE Jincheol

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Students from KCC's K-Musical Class wrapped up the event with two awesome performances.

Other artworks include:

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A Song of Nature by Lee Lee Nam

The artist uses the combination of traditional painting and modern technology by bringing traditional paintings of colorful butterflies to life using a four-minute short video which allows our human imagination to capture the real-life movement of butterflies.

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Lightning Bug by Kim Dong Ho

Kim Dong Ho's hybrid project is made out of little ladybug-like electronic objects which is activated according to the spectator's movement.

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Toyrider by Everyware

Kids and kids-at-heart will surely enjoy this hybrid project of Everyware. It displays different illusions of a toy village by moving the steering wheel made of lego.
우리는 매일 마주한다 (We face each other everyday) by Vakki

Using a camera and artificial intelligence computer vision algorithms, the audiences' face, skeletal motion and positions are detected. Commensurate to the detected motion, new patterns are generated and moved (rotation and expansion).
Light Tree: Interactive Dan Flavin by HYBE

Interactive Dan Flavin pays homage to Dan Flavin, an American minimalist artist famous for creating sculptural objects and installations from commercially available fluorescent light fixtures. Hybe's work expands the logic of Flavin by reinforcing the physical property of light through interactive media. It represents an escape from traditional lighting, as light and color changes when touched by viewers. Lighting here is divided into front and back, and colors are programmed to maintain complementary colors.

Check these and other interactive artworks from Moving Korea at Korean Cultural Center Exhibit Hall, Taguig from June 8 to July 14, 2017. Admission is FREE!

For more information contact (02)555-1711 or e-mail curator@koreanculture.ph

Hyeonchung-Il (현충일): Korean Memorial Day

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The Korean Memorial Day (현충일, 顯忠日, Hyeonchung-il) is a national non-working holiday held every June 6 to honor the soldiers and civilians who sacrificed their lives for Korea. It was declared a public holiday by the Korean Government on April 19, 1956.

On this day, memorial ceremonies are held to commemorate the men and women who died while in military service during the Korean War and other significant wars or battles. The largest ceremony is held at the National Cemetery in Seoul with the President and some government officials in attendance. Officials and citizens place flowers and offerings at the graves of those who died in battle. War veterans also salute in front of the gravestone of their fellow soldiers.

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At 10 in the morning, a siren rings all over the country, and people offer silent prayers for one minute. The Korean flag (태국기, Taegukgi)  is flown at half-staff and the Memorial Day Song (현충일 노래, Hyeonchung-il Norae) is also played.  Some houses and business establishments display the Korean flag on their front doors. All of these are done to pay respect to the people who heed the call to stand up and fight for the freedom of their countrymen.

Filipinos in the Korean War

Writer’s Note: Since this article aims to honor the people who gave their lives to protect and defend their country, I would like to take this opportunity to also acknowledge the astonishing act of humanity and selflessness our fellow Filipino soldiers did during the Korean War.

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Filipino-Korean Soldier Monument. This monument of two Filipino soldiers aiding a Korean soldier is dedicated to the Filipino combat soldiers who fought with the Korean troops during the Korean War.

The Philippines was the first Asian country to send combat troops to the Korean War. Comprised of five Battalion Combat Teams (BCTs), composed of 7,150 officers and men, President Elpidio Quirino sent the Philippine Expeditionary Forces To Korea (PEFTOK) to fight in the Korean War in September 1950.

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The PEFTOK creed at the Museum of the PEFTOK Korean War Memorial Hall at Fort Bonifacio.

Overshadowed by World War II and the Vietnam War, the Korean War is referred to as the “Forgotten War.” Many young Filipinos today are unaware of the sacrifices our brave soldiers to help South Korea gain the freedom and democracy has today.

Most, if not all, of our history classes do not discuss this important event in our country’s past. I hope that their sacrifices will not be forgotten and that the next generation of Filipinos would continue to commemorate the heroism and gallantry of our Korean War veterans.

Credits: Wikipedia.com, http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/225235/filipino-soldiers-story-of-korean-war-valor-redux,  http://www.pilipino-express.com/history-a-culture/special-features-history-a-culture/1102-filipinos-in-the-korean-war.html

Written by Krew Member Miao Canlas

Store Wars: Line vs. Kakao

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Before going to Korea, I told my family that I need to have a picture with that “Big-Brown-Teddy” in Myeong-dong. Yes, that was Brown from LINE and I won’t go home without having a picture with it. Also, I told myself that I need to buy that “Pink-Thingy” from KAKAO for my best friend. Yes, that was Apeach- (Jin Young for Agases).

I wasn’t really a “fan” of these applications, as I don’t use it and didn’t know the names of the characters. But seeing their stores in almost every place in Korea, I finally realized what I was missing out.

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LINE and KAKAO characters are both very popular in Korea. These characters have been featured in various cosmetic items, making them as covers for their hand cream, cushion and even face mask. And, it doesn’t end there!

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Coming to LINE STORE in Myeong-dong, I was in awe. The store itself looked like an amusement park, the only thing missing are the rides! Brown, the LINE bear, was in the middle of the store entrance- and people would line up just to get a picture with him!

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LINE stationary items, essentials, toys and accessories were displayed at the ground floor. There was even a LINE cafe together with it! At the second floor, more LINE characters were waiting to take a photo! They were all so cute, I had to stay there for a long time. Displayed were LINE shirts, hoodies, and various apparels.

Next, the KAKAO store.

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Coming to COEX mall, I accidentally bumped into KAKAO store. There’s actually not much difference between KAKAO and LINE store items but, regarding their “ambiance”, this particular KAKAO branch was rather a “typical” one.

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KAKAO only had one floor in COEX and it was filled with people admiring the cuteness of these characters. The cashier was also having a great time! (You know what I mean ^^)

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Majority of KAKAO’s items though were stuff toys- of the different “emotions” of their characters.

So, with this, who won the “store wars”?

Both of them!

Of course it really depends on which app are you most familiar with. But the fact that both LINE and KAKAO jumped out from that mobile application barrier, turning them into one of Korea’s most popular characters where people around the world can recognize, makes them both successful and worth visiting when you come to Korea.

Written Krew Member Maxx Chua

Sweet and cold; Korean Ice Creams and Bingsu

June is just a few days away but Summer is far from over!

In fact, the weather in the Philippines is pretty much unpredictable. It maybe rainy in the morning but extremely sunny in the afternoon. With the kind of environment we have, beating the heat is a must! What else would pop-out in your mind when asked what to eat during such situation? ….. Ice cream!

Are you craving for some ice cream now? Then I suggest that you run into the nearest Korean shop and grab some of these featured ice cream from the freezer!

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♦ Ice pops

Eating ice cream can be messy at times but that’s something you don’t have to worry about when eating ice pops. This is the modest form of iced refreshment and also the cheapest one! It is perfect for a quick break or an after meal munch. Ice pop is the Korean version of our ice candy!

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 ♦ Fish-shaped Ice cream – (Boggupang Ice cream)

This creatively designed ice cream can be frequently seen in Korean marts and other supermarkets in the Philippines. The filling is made up of vanilla ice cream and sweet red beans, while the outer layer is composed of a thick wafer.

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♦ Ice cream sandwich and on-stick ice creams

These chiffon-like sandwich vanilla ice cream and Korean ice drops are still the easiest kinds Korean ice cream to find. You can easily spot them in ice cream freezers at convenient stores and supermarkets.

Bingsu

Bingsu is the Korean counterpart of our ‘Halo-halo.’ Nowadays, the popularity of Bingsu, a Korean dessert composed of shaved ice with fresh ingredients, also conquered the rows of choices for desserts. Yes! There are lots of bingsu shops that introduce variety of flavors for K-foodie lovers! See? Koreans love desserts as much as Filipinos do.

Just to give a quick background, bingsu is one of the most popular desserts in Korea and it is highly consumed during summer. Also, this brings a nostalgic feel to Koreans since it’s a big part of their childhood.

Must try flavors:

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Injeolmi – Traditionally, injeolmi is one of the most popular types of Korean rice cake. It has a chewy texture covered with bean powder. Could you imagine the taste when paired with almond flakes and top on a shaved ice?

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** I’ve tried a fruit-patbingsu before and the combination is pretty pleasing for me.

Red Beans – Keep it traditional. Patbingsu, with pat literally meaning red beans is the most classical type of bingsu in Korea. The dessert itself is just made up of ice, red beans and milk.

Fruit – a traditional kid’s favorite! (Sometimes even topped with ice cream).

Here in the Philippines, different shops got their own takes on their bingsu menus so try to keep an eye to it!

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Chocolate – nothing can beat a good chocolate-flavored bingsu topped with chewy small cubes of chocolate brownies or chocolate corn flakes. Sometimes it comes with a scoop of ice cream!

Suddenly craving for bingsu and ice cream after reading this? There are so many bingsu shops opening around the Philippines and convenience stores offering Korean ice cream now so there’s no more excuse not to try one.

Don’t forget to try any of them before the season ends!

Written by Krew Member Mikay Javier