A staff from the editorial team will keep in touch with you


Matthew Balicudiong

Matt is a multimedia writer and producer who loves creating value-adding content. He is currently the Editor-in-Chief of Next Upgrade.

Aside from his web magazine stint, this YouTube-certified producer is currently leading content creation projects on YouTube and Twitter.

Matt spent most of his career in the media industry working as a TV News Writer and Segment Producer at CNN Philippines. After his 6-year TV stint, he took on the role of a Multimedia Content Producer at a Makati-based digital publishing network. In 2022, he made his debut as a screenwriter, writing and producing his first documentary film series featuring Filipino Paralympians entitled "SULONG".

Matt graduated from Philippine Christian University - Manila with a bachelor's degree in Mass Communication major in Broadcasting and Print Media. He earned his Master's degree in Marketing Communications from De La Salle University - Manila.

Outside his corporate life, Matt helps multi-national organizations and brands tell stories through engaging and meaningful content on social media.

Elaine Calderon

Elaine is the epitome of a commuting/carpooling middle-class Asian with a regular 9-5, a semi-adaptive vocabulary, and a shopping problem. She is currently the managing editor of Next Upgrade, while also balancing her work in a Sydney-based social media agency and a local events company. She became a writer and editor for ABS-CBN Publishing’s campus magazine Chalk for more than nine years, starting as an editorial assistant until becoming the Editor-in-Chief in 2014. During this time, she also became a regular contributor for other titles such as Metro, MYX, and Working Mom, to name a few. From 2017 to 2020, she also became the General Manager and acting Editor-in-Chief of a Hong Kong-based startup company where she led a team in the company’s Philippine office. Elaine graduated with a degree in Communication Arts from the University of the Philippines Los Baños in 2008.


Excel Dyquiangco

Excel started writing short stories and novels even before he hit adolescence. With inspirations such as Stephen King, Christopher Pike, RL Stine, and even the classic murder-mystery show Murder, She Wrote, his stories were initially filled with foreboding images, dark tones, and an array of thrill and suspense. His tales soon transcended into writing for publications and publishing children’s books, having penned two bestsellers, I Don’t Like to Eat published by Adarna House, and Lala Burara by Hiyas Books. Because of his career in writing, Excel often gets invited to speak at symposiums and webinars, and he was once featured in ANC News Channel and Reader’s Digest Asia. As a content writer for Next Upgrade, his focus is on Sports & Fitness as he often works out and likes to get fit. Excel graduated from the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City with a degree in Bachelor in Secondary Education.

Gracey Maala

Gracey is the Associate Editor of Next Upgrade, working as the cheerful sidekick of the editorial board. She is also the lead content writer for the Technology section—a topic she loves exploring and learning for work. The pandemic forced her to choose writing as a career, but she ended up loving it anyway!

She was a former Senior Multimedia Producer at YugaTech where she developed her love for all things tech. Now, she enjoys being a content writer for Next Upgrade and a social media manager at Mustard Digital. Despite her busy schedule, she still finds time to socialize with her friends, watch K-Dramas, and bond with her mom and dogs!

She is a graduate of AB Communication from Lyceum of the Philippines University - Laguna.


Janice Roman

Janice is a mix of everything—a scholar, writer, researcher, and lecturer in communication and media studies. On regular workdays, she is Next Upgrade’s main writer for Wellness, Pop Culture, and Entertainment sections as well as the managing editor and instructional design manager at C & E Publishing, Inc. Her previous writing experience includes being a contributing writer for entertainment at ABS-CBN Corporation, a writer for a marketing company in Auckland, New Zealand, a freelance press release writer, and an author for coursewares in communication and media studies. She was a Binibining Pilipinas 2018 finalist, representing her hometown, Tondo, Manila. Her reading interests include Nick Joaquin’s books and pride literature. Janice is a Ph.D. student in Communication at the University of the Philippines, Diliman, with local and international publications and conference presentations to her name and upcoming textbook publications, such as Media and Information Literacy and Oral Communication, to name a few.

Karess Rubrico

Karess is a freelance content writer and editor who is currently embracing the digital nomad lifestyle. She dreams of exploring the Philippines and the rest of the world while pursuing her first love, writing.

Karess currently serves as a Senior Content Writer for Next Upgrade and is the lead writer for the webzine’s Productivity and Wellness sections.

Since 2009, Karess has written and created content for a range of industries, including non-profit organizations, publishing, healthcare, finance, and local and international SMEs. She pioneered the social media specialist role at a local non-profit. Her lifestyle pieces are featured in ModernFilipina.ph, an online webzine for women. In addition, her copyediting work includes the 2019 and 2020 Giving Journal for The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf Philippines.

Karess majored in Communication Arts at De La Salle University-Manila.


Angela Arcega

As a multimedia artist, Angela went from one medium to another as a means of creative freedom. She’s currently the Art Director for Next Upgrade while also working as a video editor for a US-based e-commerce company. Her creative experience varies from sports for ASEAN Basketball League to lifestyle content for Tatler Philippines.

Angela graduated from De La Salle University-Dasmariñas with a degree in Graphic Design and Multimedia. In the rare times that she’s not creating or looking up content, she’s either choosing amongst her tall stack of queued readings or playing with her dog Balenciaga.

Louigi Balao

Louigi, better known as Gi, is a content writer for Next Upgrade’s Technology and Gaming sections. He enjoys producing creative pieces that were fleshed out from factual information in order to relay an entertaining message.

Gi was formerly a Multimedia Producer at Yugatech and created editorial and graphic pieces that were publicly placed on their platforms. His interests include gaming, anime, manga, and writing. He normally profiles himself as a penguin in both real life and in-game because of his favorite childhood character Pingu.

He spent three years as a Literature Major at De La Salle University-Manila but received his bachelor’s degree in Communication Arts.


Kitty Elicay-Carpena

After discovering the wonders of working from home during the pandemic, Kitty has not looked back since. Apart from her main job at a social media agency, she finds time to indulge in her passion for writing as one of Next Upgrade’s Content Writers.

Kitty has over 10 years of experience in the digital and publishing space, working her way up to becoming an editor for several magazines under ABS-CBN Publishing including Working Mom, Metro Weddings, UAAP Magazine, and Chalk. From 2017 to 2021, she was with Smart Parenting under Summit Media, starting as a Senior Staff Writer before eventually becoming its Assistant Managing Editor. In October 2021, she was also selected as an Elevate Scholar by the International News Media Association (INMA). Kitty graduated with a degree in Journalism from the University of Santo Tomas in 2010.

JR Carag

JR has always had a passion for writing. He has been writing short stories, essays, and critiques about his favorite media properties for his own private enjoyment since he was young; but has only started writing as a career due to the pandemic. He has been writing a fictional web novel for a subscription-based website since June 2021, while also doing freelance legal writing and legal research on the side, having been a former law student for Arellano University School of Law.

JR graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from De La Salle University-Manila in 2011.