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Flying AirAsia Zest from Manila to Shanghai

I’ve been to Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan but never in mainland China. Last week, AirAsia Zest ticked one item off my bucket list and flew me to Shanghai, the largest Chinese city by population and the largest city proper in the world.

Travel Tips to Shanghai

I heard so many good things about Shanghai and why this Chinese city is drawing more and more tourists from around the world. So when I learned that AirAsia Zest is bringing me to Shanghai, I was stoked! So I applied right away for a tourist VISA to China at the Chinese Embassy in the Philippines which is located at the 2nd Floor of the World Center, 330 Sen. Gil J. Puyat Avenue, in Makati.

Chinese Embassy Map

So if you plan to go to Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai or any city in mainland China, this is the first step. And here are the requirements in applying for a tourist VISA to China for the first time:

1. Passport – Make sure it’s not expiring within 6 months.
2. Photocopy of the information/photo page and the emergency contact information page (must be completely filled out) of the passport.
3. Invitation letter – Since I’m just a tourist and I’m not going to work or study in China, I submitted a photocopy of my round-trip ticket and hotel voucher in lieu of the invitation letter.
4. Photocopy of latest ITR Statement (BIR Form 2316).
5. Employment or Business Certificate.
6. Bank certificate – I suggest you have at least P50,000 in your bank account to give an assurance that you have the ability to fund your travels in China.
7. Completed VISA Application Form which can be downloaded here: VISA Application Form of the People’s Republic of China.

Since I applied for single entry, I paid P1,400 processing fee and after 3 working days, I claimed my VISA! If you opt for multiple entry in case you plan to explore other cities like Beijing or Guangzhou, the charge is P2,800 and it’s valid for 6 months.

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The scheduled departure of my flight to Shanghai was 8:15pm of September 23 so as early as 6:00pm, I arrived at NAIA Terminal 4, formerly known as Manila Domestic Passenger Terminal. Aside from Shanghai, Kuala Lumpur and all domestic flights of AirAsia Zest are located here (Terminal 4) while flights to/from Kota Kinabalu, Macau and Seoul (Incheon) are now being served at NAIA Terminal 3 since September 15, 2014.

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First thing I did at the airport was to pay for the P1,620.00 travel tax. Here are the current Travel Tax Rates:

Travel Tax Rate

The next step I did was to check-in my luggage. As you can see below there are two lines. The one on the left is for those who were able to check-in via mobile and website while the one on the right is the usual counter check-in.

Check In

Of course, the line on the left is way faster so I suggest you download the AirAsia app on your mobile or visit www.airasia.com for web check-in. Just enter your booking number, last name, mobile number for barcode delivery and you’re done!

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As for me, I downloaded the AirAsia app that’s why I was able to secure a window seat. Aside from being able to check-in, you can also manage your booking, search for lowest fares, find great hotel deals, know your flight status, ask customer care, and read some travel guides via this cool mobile app.

After checking in my luggage, it’s time to pay for the terminal fee:

Terminal Fee

Then I proceed to the immigration to have my passport stamped.

Immigration

At around 7:45pm, it’s boarding time! A shuttle bus took all the passengers to the plane.

Boarding Time

Boarding

AirCraft

It only took around 15 minutes for all the passengers to board inside the plane and find their seats with the help of the friendly flight attendants.

Inside the Plane

The female flight attendants are wearing the chick red uniform while the male flight attendants are wearing black.

Safety Demonstration

After all the passengers are seated (i have all the lane of three seats to myself by the way), the female flight attendants started the pre-flight safety demonstration.

AirAsia Plane

The aircraft took off at around 8:20pm. After the seatbelt sign was turned off, flight attendants started to distribute inflight food and beverage.

InFlight Menu

For my dinner, I chose Uncle Chin’s Chicken Rice with strawberry yogurt for dessert. A certified bestseller, the meal is dubbed as an Asian favorite. The fluppy seasoned rice served with roast chicken accompanied by Uncle Chin’s special secret chilli, ginger and garlic sauce was delectable!

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Aside from Uncle Chin’s Chicken Rice, other available inflight meals include the Nasi Goreng, Nasi Kuning Manado, Roast Chicken with Blackpepper Sauce, Chicken Mayo Apple Sandwich, and more!

Meals

 

Here’s a tip: When you prebook your meals online prior to your flight, you’ll get priority service, more choices and 20% discount!

At around 10:30pm, we arrived at Pudong International Airport in Shanghai. Thanks Mr. Pilot for the smooth flight. We are actually 30 minutes ahead of schedule.

Two flight attendants greeted us good night as we alight the plane.

Good luck

I breezed through immigration, claimed my luggage and rode a taxi outside the airport going to The Bund Riverside Hotel, my home in Shanghai for 5 days.

And since my hotel is located at the Bund, here’s my very first snap of Shanghai’s skyline:

Shanghai Skyline

As for my next update, I will blog about my adventures in Shanghai!

AirAsia Zest, by the way, flies daily from Manila to Shanghai. For bookings and other details, visit visit www.airasia.com. And to get updated with the lowest fares to Shanghai and other AirAsia Zest’s international destinations like Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu, Macau and Seoul (Incheon), like their official Facebook page: www.facebook.com/AirAsiaPhilippines.

For the meantime, let me leave you with this music video:

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‘Angry Birds’ Voice Cast Revealed

Over the past 48 hours, fans of Angry Birds have discovered a reveal within the game: by slinging one billion birds, fans had the chance to unlock the voice cast and get a sneak peek at the new look of the characters of the Angry Birds feature film.

Angry Birds

Jason Sudeikis (Horrible Bosses, last year’s comedy hit We’re the Millers) will lead the cast as Red, a bird with a temper problem. Josh Gad, in his first animated role since the global smash hit Frozen, plays speedy Chuck, and Danny McBride (This is the End) portrays the volatile Bomb. Bill Hader (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs) has joined the pork side, Maya Rudolph (Bridesmaids) will play Matilda, and Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones, X-Men: Days of Future Past) will play the legendary Mighty Eagle.
In the supporting roles, Keegan-Michael Key (Comedy Central’s Key & Peele), Kate McKinnon (TV’s Saturday Night Live), Tony Hale (Emmy winner for Veep, Arrested Development), Ike Barinholtz (Neighbors), Hannibal Buress (Neighbors), Cristela Alonzo (ABC’s upcoming Cristela), Jillian Bell (22 Jump Street), Danielle Brooks (Orange is the New Black), Grammy nominee and Latin music sensation Romeo Santos, and YouTube stars Smosh (Ian Andrew Hecox and Anthony Padilla), who have over 30 million YouTube subscribers, will bring an extra kick to this angry flock.

John Cohen, producer of the film said, “I’m extremely proud of this cast. Not only do we have Jason, Josh, Danny, Bill, Maya, and Peter bringing these characters to life, but they’re surrounded by an all-star ensemble of emerging comedic talent – these are some of the funniest people out there today, and we’re thrilled to have them all on board.”

Dwight Caines, president, Theatrical Marketing for Sony Pictures, said, “With two and a half billion gamers around the world, Angry Birds is one of those brands that can drive massive fan engagement. That’s why we wanted to bring this unlock to the fans first. Our filmmakers are cooking up a hilarious movie, and we know these fans can’t wait to see how they’re going to bring the Angry Birds’ story to life on the big screen of movie theaters.”

“We heard limbs and dialogue were all the rage in modern animation so we went all in. Not just one, but all of our characters have legs and wings! Except for the pigs, that is,” added Blanca Juti, Chief Marketing Officer of Rovio.

The upcoming movie marks Rovio’s first foray into feature films, although fans have already been introduced to the Angry Birds world with the weekly Angry Birds Toons animated series. Rovio launched the series last year through its Angry Birds game, as well as on select video-on-demand channel providers, Smart TVs, connected devices, and on select TV networks around the world. Paving the way for a full-length feature film, Angry Birds Toons has been a massive success for Rovio and has surpassed more than three billion views in its first 18 months.

Set to debut in the US on July 1, 2016, Angry Birds is directed by Fergal Reilly and Clay Kaytis, produced by John Cohen and Catherine Winder, and executive produced by Mikael Hed and David Maisel. The film is written by Jon Vitti. The film, which will be distributed globally by Sony Pictures, is produced by Rovio, and the Academy Award®-winning visual effects and animation company Sony Pictures Imageworks, headquartered in Vancouver, B.C., is the animation facility for the production.

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‘Jupiter Ascending’ – Poster and New Trailer

Warner Bros. Pictures has just uncovered the new poster and trailer for “Jupiter Ascending,” an original science fiction epic adventure from filmmakers Lana and Andy Wachowski of “The Matrix” trilogy.

Jupiter Ascending

In the film, Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis) was born under a night sky, with signs predicting that she was destined for great things. Now grown, Jupiter dreams of the stars but wakes up to the cold reality of a job cleaning other people’s houses and an endless run of bad breaks. Only when Caine (Channing Tatum), a genetically engineered ex-military hunter, arrives on Earth to track her down does Jupiter begin to glimpse the fate that has been waiting for her all along—her genetic signature marks her as next in line for an extraordinary inheritance that could alter the balance of the cosmos.

From the streets of Chicago to far flung galaxies whirling through space, “Jupiter Ascending” is written and directed by the Wachowskis. Award-winning producer Grant Hill, with whom they have collaborated since “The Matrix” Trilogy, is producing, together with Lana Wachowski and Andy Wachowski. Roberto Malerba and Bruce Berman serve as executive producers.

The international cast that also includes Sean Bean, Eddie Redmayne, Douglas Booth, Tuppence Middleton, Doona Bae, James D’Arcy and Tim Pigott-Smith.

Set for release across the Philippines on February 05, 2015, “Jupiter Ascending” is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

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‘Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day’ Features Extraordinary Cast

Walt Disney Pictures’ big-screen adaptation of “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” required just the right family.

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“We assembled possibly the world’s loveliest family,” says director Miguel Arteta. “We wanted the audience to have fun, but also to feel this family’s warmth.”

The cast, adds the director, brought so much warmth to the big screen because they felt it on the set. “They all ended up falling in love—with each other,” says Arteta. “We had that spirit that you hope to get—but you don’t always get. The bond you see is real.”

Filmmakers cast a wide net to fill the role of the title character—casting directors saw more than 500 kids. “We had to find just right person to play Alexander,” says Arteta. “We didn’t want a typical child actor. Alexander needed to be the underdog. He’s like the one kid in the otherwise-perfect family portrait with his eyes closed.”

The director enlisted his wife to help scan hundreds of audition tapes. “The moment this Australian kid actor, Ed Oxenbould, came on, we both saw something special. He’s super smart, sweet and generous.”
It was the actor’s likability and his ability to empathize that won him the role of Alexander. “He’s a 12-year-old every-man,” says screenwriter Rob Lieber. “He has an understated charm to him and I think that’s what Alexander’s all about.”

The incomparable Steve Carell fills the shoes of Alexander’s dad, Ben Cooper, who kicks off the film as a stay-at-home dad hoping to rejoin the ranks of the employed. But when he lands a huge job interview, he’s unable to line up a babysitter in time and is forced to bring baby Trevor with him—which isn’t exactly the first impression he’d hoped to make. “He’s been unemployed for seven months,” says Lieber, “so he has a lot riding on this opportunity.”

Adds Arteta, “He’s the ultimate optimist, but this terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day tries his patience to the point that he finally freaks out. It’s a lot of fun to see a sunny character like that finally lose it.”

Jennifer Garner was called in to portray super mom Kelly Cooper—a force of nature. Shouldering the breadwinning duties for the family, Kelly secretly craves more time with her family. She starts her terrible day behind schedule and finds herself battling a potentially career-ending publishing snafu. “It’s a big moment in her career,” says Lieber. “There’s a celebrity reading that day, and a rather unfortunate misprint is discovered at the last minute. Everything goes wrong.”

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Even Alexander has to admit that big brother Anthony is a “total winner,” which can’t be easy. Dylan Minnette was tapped to portray to successful teen, who pretty much has it made in life—just ask him—till the bad day strikes and his reflection reveals what may be his first zit—ever. His perfect life continues to unravel—highlighted by a driving test that doesn’t exactly go as planned. The film, says Arteta, showcases Minnette’s comic abilities. “I don’t think he realized how funny he was,” the director says of the actor. “But he came in and really committed to what was happening, and in doing so, he was hilarious. He even made Jennifer Coolidge, who’s a comic genius, really laugh.”

Kerris Dorsey was cast as Alexander’s sister Emily, an aspiring actress who’s looking forward to her debut as Peter Pan in the school play. “It’s probably the biggest day of her middle school life,” says Lieber, “but she wakes up with a horrible cold.”

Unwilling to let a cold keep her from performing, Emily turns to cough medicine—again and again and again. “She ends up flying around the stage for her school play and destroying everything,” says Arteta. “Kerris is quirky, yet grounded, and she makes it feel real. She makes you laugh and also feel for the character at the same time.”

Twins Zoey and Elise Vargas crawled up to the plate to portray the youngest Cooper—baby Trevor. Even Trevor suffers a bad day—no Cooper is spared—when his beloved bumblebee pacifier is unwittingly destroyed. Trevor finds little solace in a green marker, despite valiant efforts.

Arteta says that like Alexander, he’s decided bad days are pretty much unavoidable. “I have a lot of bad days when everything seems to go wrong—the fridge door swings too fast and knocks over a bunch of glass bottles making me late for every appointment thereafter. I seem to have a lot of those days. I think I’m the right director for this film.”

Opening across the Philippines on Oct. 15, 2014, “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” is distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International through Columbia Pictures.

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‘Kingsman: The Secret Service’ – 2nd Trailer Released

From Matthew Vaughn, director of “X-Men: First Class” comes a new set of spy heroes to save the world in “Kingsman: The Secret Service.” Starring Colin Firth, Michael Caine, Samuel L. Jackson and Taron Egerton, this latest espionage movie is based on the comic book “The Secret Service” by Dave Gibbons and Mark Millar.

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In the latest trailer of the movie, Colin Firth plays suave veteran Kingsman spy Harry Hart as he introduces Eggsy (Egerton) into the world of secret service. In one scene where Eggsy’s street enemies interrupt them in a bar, Harry teaches the juveniles that “Manners Maketh A Man” and walks away from the fracas completely unruffled, surprised Eggsy – thinking that Harry is just an old friend of his dad. It will just be a matter of time until Eggsy, an unruly yet promising young teen, will become fully immersed in the Secret Service as he is recruited for a training program to make him an ultimate spy.

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“Kingsman: The Secret Service” will open February 11, 2015 in cinemas from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.

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‘Horrible Bosses 2′ – New Trailer

New Line Cinema has just released a brand new trailer for the male-oriented comedy “Horrible Bosses 2” which may be viewed at http://youtu.be/lB-qBXdNhmg.

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The follow-up to the 2011 hit comedy “Horrible Bosses” reunites Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis as everyone’s favorite working stiffs: Nick, Dale and Kurt.

Jennifer Aniston and Oscar® winners Jamie Foxx and Kevin Spacey also reprise their “Horrible Bosses” starring roles, while Chris Pine and Oscar® winner Christoph Waltz star as new adversaries standing between the guys and their dreams of success.

Fed up with answering to higher-ups, Nick (Bateman), Dale (Day) and Kurt (Sudeikis) decide to become their own bosses by launching their own business. But a slick investor soon pulls the rug out from under them. Outplayed and desperate, and with no legal recourse, the three would-be entrepreneurs hatch a misguided plan to kidnap the investor’s adult son and ransom him to regain control of their company.
“Horrible Bosses 2” was directed by Sean Anders and produced by Brett Ratner, Jay Stern, Chris Bender, John Rickard and John Morris.

Horrible Bosses

Opening across the Philippines on Nov. 26, 2014, “Horrible Bosses 2” is a New Line Cinema Presentation distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

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‘Film is Great’ Highlights British Films and TV Series

The GREAT campaign turns its lens on the best of British film and television this October with the Film is GREAT Sale!

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Magnavision and Studio World, in partnership with the British Embassy, are bringing the very best of British film and television with a special highlight of British films in participating Astrovision, Astroplus, Odyssey and O-Music branches in the Greater Manila Area. The in-store display starts October 1.

British Ambassador Asif Ahmad said, “Our partnership with Magnavision and Studio World is a first for our Embassy, and I am delighted that they are bringing excellent British entertainment to their customers. I am sure everyone will enjoy the vast collection of films on sale in their stores.”
“British creativity through iconic films like James Bond and Harry Potter have won acclaim throughout the world. British film makers have set a high standard throughout the history of world cinema. Many of our actors, directors, writers and technical crew are renowned and multi-awarded world-wide, and our wonderful countryside and urban landscapes have been featured in many international films. So bring out the popcorn and enjoy a British-themed movie night or TV marathon with your friends and family. Better yet, visit the UK and experience the wonderful film locations in person.”

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Customers who will purchase assorted British films will also receive a Film is GREAT eco bag, those who will avail of the promotion will also get a chance to win one of five (5) pairs of tickets to National Theatre Live Frankenstein in November. The award winning play features Benedict Cumberbatch as Frankenstein and Jonny Lee Miller as Creature.

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Categories for the promotion include films that are produced and set in the UK including James Bond movies, and British book adaptations such as The Bridget Jones’ Diary, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and The Chronicles of Narnia. Epic British adaptations such as Harry Potter, The Hobbit, the Lord of the Ring series and the successful HBO mini-series Game of Thrones are also part of the special display along with other films.

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The Film is GREAT Sale is part of the GREAT campaign that showcases the best of British business and culture. For more information about GREAT activities, visit the British Embassy Manila Facebook page and Twitter account (@ukinphilippines).

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PARTICIPATING BRANCHES:

Astrovision Festival Mall, Astrovision Glorietta, Astrovision Greenbelt 5, Astrovision Shangri-La Plaza Mall, Astroplus SM Fairview, Astroplus SM Megamall, Astroplus SM Mall of Asia, Astroplus SM North Edsa, Astroplus SM Southmall, Astroplus The Podium, Astrovision Trinoma Mall, and Astrovision Viramall

Odyssey Alabang Town Center, Odyssey Festival Mall, Odyssey Glorietta, Odyssey Greenbelt 1, O-Music Powerplant Mall, Odyssey SM Fairview, Odyssey SM Megamall, and Odyssey SM North Edsa

Poll/Promo

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100 Most Beautiful Women in the Philippines 2014 – Rank Nos. 11 to 15

a PBB All In housemate, a comedienne, a Teen Queen, a drama princess and a singer/host comprise rank nos. 16 to 20 of “100 Most Beautiful Women in the Philippines for 2014.”

100 MOST BEAUTIFUL WOMEN IN THE PHILIPPINES FOR 2014

No. 11 – Jane Oineza
(New Entry)

Jane Oineza

No. 12 – Shaina Magdayao
(2013 Ranking: 52nd)

Shaina Magdayao

No. 13 – Kathryn Bernardo
(New Entry)

Kathryn Bernardo

No. 14 – Rufa Mae Quinto
(2013 Ranking: 94th)

Rufa Mae Quinto

No. 15 – Karylle
(2013 Ranking: 4th)

Karylle

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100 Most Beautiful Women in the Philippines 2014 – Rank Nos. 16 to 20

A veteran actress, a Primetime Queen, a movie goddess, a versatile actress and a drama princess comprise rank nos. 16 to 20 of “100 Most Beautiful Women in the Philippines for 2014.”

100 MOST BEAUTIFUL WOMEN IN THE PHILIPPINES 2014

No. 16 – Dawn Zulueta
(2013 ranking: 21st)

Dawn Zulueta

No. 17 – Angelica Panganiban
(2013 ranking: 24th)

Angelica Panganiban

No. 18 – Marian Rivera
(2013 ranking: 6th)

Marian Rivera

No. 19 – Anne Curtis
(2013 ranking: 8th)

Anne Curtis

No. 20 – Erich Gonzales
(2013 ranking: 14th)

Erich Gonzales

Win 5 Tickets to the Premiere Night of ‘The Janitor’ and See Derek Ramsay and Dennis Trillo in Person!

The Janitor Movie Poster

Two winners will get the chance to win 5 tickets each to the grand premiere night of “The Janitor,” the action movie of the year starring Dennis Trillo and Derek Ramsay.

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Star Cinema is about to release the highly acclaimed Cinemalaya 2014 action movie “The Janitor” starring Derek Ramsay and Dennis Trillo on October 8, 2014 in theaters nationwide. The film might have lost the Best Picture trophy from the gay-themed movie “Kasal” during Cinemalaya week but it won the most awards in the Directors Showcase category including Best Director for Mike Tuviera and Best Supporting Actor for Nicco Manalo. The other awards it won were Best Screenplay, Best Editing and Best Sound.

5 awards and top-billed by two of the most bankable leading men of today–Derek and Dennis–are more than enough reasons why Star Cinema decided to distribute the movie in theaters nationwide for full commercial run. That’s why the film outfit is prepping up for a high-testosterone premiere night on October 6, Monday, and we’re giving away two sets of 5 VIP tickets to the lucky participants who can make a meme about the movie!

Here are the mechanics:

1. Simply create a creative and funny meme using the still photos from “The Janitor” which you can find at the movie’s official Facebook page: www.facebook.com/thejanitor2014.

2. Post the meme(s) on your Facebook wall and don’t forget to include the hashtags #TheJanitorMovie and #StarmoPromo in your caption.

3. Ask your Facebook friends and followers to “LIKE” and “SHARE” your post for more chances of winning.

4. Tag me (@starmometer) so I can promote your entry for more likes and shares. You can make as many memes as you want for more chances of winning.

5. Two winners will win 5 VIP tickets to the premiere night of “The Janitor” AND a bonding session with the film’s cast-members based on the following criteria:

50% – Likes and shares from Facebook
30% – Originality
20% – Creativity of the Tagline/Pick up Line

6. Last day of submission of entries is on October 05, 2014.

So what are you waiting for? Get that creative juices flowing and create memes that will sweep your followers’ likes! Who knows, maybe even Derek Ramsay and Dennis Trillo will repost your memes to their official Instagram account and most importantly, you get the chance to meet them in the flesh!

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