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Friday, September 28, 2007

Things 005: Manny Pacquiao Nike Shirt

Just in time for the Pacquiao - Barrera rematch on October 7 (which I will be watching live through a via satellite programming at Powerplant Cinemas), Nike Philippines launched a shirt with a print inspired by Manny Pacquiao's contribution as Pinoy sportsman. I've read an article from PDI explaining back-of-the-shirt's emblem but I'm too lazy to surf now. I scored the shirt (red and white colors only, intending to remind us with "sa pula, sa puti" thing?) for P895. It's a good buy though. I'll be wearing it during the fight. Go, go, tukayo! Let Barrera eat dust!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Weekend in One Paragraph

Evening of Friday was spent with office lunchmates watching Fall Out Boy concert at the Araneta Coliseum. The experience was far from falling out, no pun intended, except for the long queue courtesy of a thorough bag inspection. We only caught front act band Chicosci's last song and the most important yell of the segment, "Give your hands to Joel!". Hot calamansi juice and some sizzling pica-pica followed after at Grilla in Libis. 1am bedtime, 5:15am wake-up call. Saturday morning and most of the afternoon were bestowed building homes at Habitat for Humanity in Taguig. Tiring. But fulfilling. It was my first time to do something like that. Power nap came after and woke up at 6pm just in time for an event at Titus Brandsma along Rosario Drive. There was a jubilee celebration for the Carmelites. Poetry, food and music from Noel Cabangon. Hearing "Kanlungan" live for the first time was indeed a big deal. Late night was exhausted buying Robbie Williams' last two albums ("Rudebox" and "Intensive Care") at Greenbelt 3's Music One. I slept dreaming to get a copy of Rob's first two albums ("Life Thru a Lens" and "The Ego Has Landed"). Sunday morning started at noon mass followed by a Reposo walk to remember along with paintings on the wall. It was fun. Late lunch at Yellow Cab in the People Support building in Ayala corner Buendia. It was raining hard for 30 good minutes. 3pm, Avenue Q redux. The rest of the afternoon was coughed up buying a Bella Flores shirt for my landlady (a clever birthday gift) and Jessica Hagedorn's "Dogeaters" (soon to be staged by Atlantis Productions). Rested for roughly three hours. At 11pm, my roommate and I were at Blush Bar in Burgos trying to catch the Man U vs Chelsea game. It was comforting that we didn't catch the via satallite match because Chelsea lost, 2-0. There was a problem with the signal, informed by the girl in two-piece leading the pack of a dozen other GROs gyrating in an Akon song. Midnight and an SMB Light, a perfect concoction for a nice week ahead.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Flu Weekend and Beyond

This blog could be entitled "How to Bring a Roommate in your Hometown" but no, the flu and slight fever are too overwhelming not to pass for a subject.

All right. That weekend started with a morning breakfast at Goldilocks in the corner of Taft Avenue and Buendia. Hurriedly we were off to Lucena through Jac Liner.

At 11am-ish, we were already at SM Lucena. There was a mall-wide sale and it was a bit crowded. When we went to supermarket's baggage counter (the other counter's at the department store), we were asked by the staff where are we heading. It was odd but I understand what the guy was hitting at. We were carrying two big bags with retiring CDs and some clothes that are garage sale-ready. I lied by saying that we're getting something from the supermarket. The next 30 minutes were spent shopping for a pair of walkings shorts, some VCDs (Gaiman's "Mirrormask", Solito's "Tuli" and Topel Lee's debut film "Dilim") and a box of Red Ribbon goodies for my folks. What followed was a long waiting game with the FX that would bring us to Lopez. It was hot and energy zapping.

But I guess Saturday wasn't that bad because we met and got to know a BS Bio student from SLPC (in Lucban, Quezon) named Thessa. She's cute and smart and just fun to talk with. We came from the same highschool but the age gap is like "gaaaaaaaaaaaaaap". We ended the conversation upon entering the Quezon National Park. That's the time that I had to wear my tourist guide hat to my roommate. Zigzag is definitely the highlight of any road trip in Quezon when you're taking the National Highway.

The rest of the weekend was spent with hearty food, lambingan moment with my folks, testing my DVD player (too bad that it stopped creating stereo sound and had to be brought to a repair center), attending the mass in English (this one is new in our parish), taking pictures of my highschool and reaching the part of the campus called "hill" where a statue of Manuel Luis Quezon is kept.

Only on our way back to Manila that I started coughing heavily. No good. Along SLEX, there was a minor mishap with a drunk guy asking for his bus ticket (which he accidentally lost). He demanded the bus to stop and this irked the rest of the passengers. This was punctuated by an untimely military check-up. Maybe it was just me but it's annoying to see a bunch of men in uniform inspecting your bags as if you're hiding a deadly weapon or something. Experiences like that are deadly enough, thanks to Erap for being guilty on plunder.

Oh well, Joel (of Chicosci, of course). Monday came and it was the most painful working day I ever had in years (misery loves exaggeration, hehehe). I was coughing hard and my words were difficult to debug due to colds. My way back to the apartment was a struggle. Sometimes being high with alcohol and having fever are synonimous to each other.

Tuesday morning came. I was feeling OK but my mind was protesting. Right there and then, I decided to take my very first SL for the year. Rest, rest, rest. At past noon, I was A-OK. I was already sweating and I felt ready to get my ass back to work. My roommate who wished me well asked me if I wanted to visit the Books for Less branch in Salcedo where Gaiman's "Neverwhere" was waiting for us to be brought home. I said yes.

On our way back to the apartment, a Quiapo-bound bus passed by. Three hours later, Gaiman's "Neverwhere" was already joined by a bootleg DVD copy of "Sicko", "The Lives of Others", "Sweeney Todd", "Duck Soup" and "Deathproof" (plus Robbie Williams 9-in-1 concert DVD and "Goal 2" on my roommate's stash).

Wednesday, I was already back to work. Healing is indeed relative. SL, overrated.

Movie Digest # 024

Glorietta 1, Cinema 1, September 12, 8:30pm

I am not sure if I love this film. Very “Kubrador” when it comes to delivery. It could have been different if I haven’t seen that other film written by Jover. But then, this film is still well made. The script alone is worthy of a cinema ticket. It is just that it’s very “Kubrador”.

Friends who might appreciate it: those who adore the Cannes Film Festival.

Glorietta 4, Cinema 3, September 14, 11:10pm

One good film! I love films that reside in the borderline between being artsy or mainstream and “The Brave One” is definitely one of them. Acting is good. It is so good that I was reminded of our very own Nora Aunor. Don’t get me wrong. Jodie Foster is not Nora Aunor. The thing is, if ever ate Guy is tapped to interpret the role, her approach could be similar to the one done by Miss Foster. Script is simple and not as substantial as other moviegoers might be expecting but it has some kicks. I enjoyed this one.

Friends who might appreciate it: same peeps who want to “kill bill”.

31 Ways to Spend Your 31st Birthday

1. Wake up as early as 5:30 in the morning;
2. Thank God for waking you up that early;
3. Complete your spiritual exercise by attending the 6am-ish mass in the church near you;
4. Have a good breakfast at Filling Station with yummy eggs benedict;
5. Buy a souvenir shirt from Filling Station;
6. Take a cab going to Net Square;
7. Ready your birthday look upon entering your office;
8. Thank every greeter with a warm smile;
9. Work hard;
10. Surprise yourself by surprising your lunch buddies with a lunch treat;
11. Mingle;
12. Outwit those asking for a pizza or pansit;
13. Be ready for a cake surprise from friends at the office;
14. Act as if you’re surprised for the cake thing;
15. Slice the cake with grace;
16. Thank everybody who contributed for the cake with presumably P50 each (hehehe);
17. Stamp the event with Kodak moment;
18. Work hard, afternoon edition;
19. Exhaust your birthday luck by getting a cab driven by an honest, God-fearing and no-nonsense taxi driver;
20. Be at Greenbelt 3 15 minutes before the film showing;
21. Beg for a ticket that is selling like hotcakes;
22. Get in the cinema five minutes before the screening and relax;
23. Annoy the one seated beside you who keeps on distracting you with her celfone;
24. Enjoy the 1925 Japanese silent film;
25. Rush to Krocodile Grill to meet old friends and housemates;
26. Apologize for being 13-minute late;
27. Enjoy the late dinner with Filipino dishes;
28. Laugh hard;
29. Bottom’s up a bottle of SMB Light;
30. Ask everybody in the table if they’re OK and having a good time; and
31. Kiss the day goodnight with hope that tomorrow will just be another day.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Tuesday 911

Lunchtime. When my lunchmates were about to food hunt, I chose to get my ass out of the office and grab a cab to Glorietta. Maybe I wanted some air. Is this another pre-birthday anxiety attack? I wasn't sure. It's a good thing though that I was welcomed by Glorietta's activity center with an early Christmas décor. Yuletide is indeed coming (and always comes early on this side of the planet). But for now, I don't have business with that yet (along with Santa and the underrated Christmas morning). It was lunchtime and it should be spent with, well, eating lunch. I passed by an old favorite, the Food Choices (one of the first food courts in any Ayala mall), particularly the World Chicken stall where queue is always kilometric. I got a plate of standard boneless grilled chicken plus tuna carbonara and fried bananas as side dishes. It was filling.

Thoughts while having lunch:

1) I'm going to watch Avenue Q for the second time;
2) Where to get a cab back to the office;
3) Things that I need to accomplish before leaving at 6:30pm;
4) The possibility of playing badminton tomorrow; and
5) What cake to request on my birthday.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Not Another Back-to-Back Play Weekend

Yeah, I did it again. It’s the play season (which actually started last August) once again and every theater buff is giddy now about this annual kick-off (this nirvana lasts at least until February next year).

First stop: AVENUE Q (Atlantis Productions)

Puppets + music + The Simpsons’ humor? Go and watch this musical! This Atlantis’ local production of a Broadway hit, I’ve read from the program (P150 each), won some Tonys including Best Musical. One of its composers, Robert Lopez, also according to the program, is 3/8 Filipino. I don’t know how to enjoy a musical but this one’s a pleaser. Music is radio friendly and the content is in your nose. If there’s one exceptional thing about this production, it must be the Filipino talent. With conviction: voices of Rachel Alejandro, Aiza Seguerra, Frenchie Dy, Joel Trinidad and Felix Rivera far exceed the voices from the original OST. Mahusay talaga ang Noypi. On top of this revelation, the opening night (last Friday, September 7) that we’ve seen also boasted of a soup bowl of celebs: KC Concepcion and Lino Cayetano, Bituin Escalante, Jolina Magdangal, siblings Cherie Gil and Michael de Mesa, Agot Isidro, Jett Pangan, Buddy Zabala, Rajo Laurel and a lot more. I enjoyed the autograph signing part of the whole experience. And KC’s immaculate (conception) smile (pun intended). And hours well spent reminiscing good times at the RCBC Plaza (I miss the old office).

Second stop: FLUID (Tanghalang Ateneo)

I was excited to see Floy Quintos’ Palanca-winning play by Ateneo Theater Arts Seniors 2008, not Tanghalang Ateneo, I was corrected, last Saturday, September 8, (it's raining commas here!) simply because it was my first time to visit THE university (and I hope to see my first TA production soon). I took a cab up to the Gonzaga Hall. No sweat. I didn’t get lost or something (though I was armed with a JPEG of the university map in my O2). I was expecting that the building is a bit remote and ghosts of Jesuit priests might be, hmm, reminiscing. It turned out that students doing their own thing peopled the place. The play, by the way, is a brave one. It tackles our conformity with art as three subplots (one each for music, visual arts and performing arts) intertwined in a riotous finale act. Fluid refers to art, as it cannot be molded into a solid block. As for the production group, I found the artists a mixture of promising amateurs and seasoned newbies. All the performers are students. Just the same, these young artists can definitely deliver. P150 of entrance ticket (which was returned to the usher when I got in) is worth it.

Third Stop: PAANO MAN ANG IBIG (Dulaang UP)

DUP’s second production for its 32nd season is The Bard’s “As You Like It”, a comedy, as translated by the great Rolando Tinio (I’m a fan of his works, Filipino translations included). What I love most about “Paano…” is that it doesn’t alienate. I don’t know about Shakespearean form or structure but I enjoyed this play (seen yesterday, September 9 at 10am) megged by Jose Estrella (another rare stalwart theater icon). The dances from the “koro” are another act worth watching, magical and well choreographed. Neil Ryan Sese’s Orlando and Nathasia Garrucha’s Rosalinda is a pair to watch.

By the way, my first back-to-back play weekend was last August 10 to 12 with TP’s “Pilipinas Circa 1907” (August 10, 8pm), PETA’s “Batang Rizal” (August 11, 10am) and DUP’s “Pasyon” (August 12, 2pm). Guess I have to outdo myself again. Soon.

Movie Digest # 023

Glorietta 4, Cinema 7, September 3, 8:15pm

Well-made and entertaining. Hindi malalim at hindi nagpe-pretend na malalim. One good popcorn film. I can say that the editing is above average. Nakakaaliw ‘yung overlapping of scenes. And who can’t resist a Nicole Kidman film? She really looks beautiful in every frame. Mukha pa lang n’ya, achievement in cinematography na.

Friends who might appreciate it: those who love, err, zombie films.

Glorietta 1, Cinema 1, September 5, 8:10pm

The film’s “claim to fame”: Piolo Pascual’s first indie film (as if it matters). “Chopsuey” is just OK, not good and not bad as well. It is actually well shot and photographed. The film’s main problem for me is the director’s inability to steer a good acting from the cast. Some scenes are too “eksena” and some, too amateurish and out of control (not the ensemble’s fault because they can deliver). I can also say that I have predicted the film’s ending. I was reminded of a Peque Gallaga film for GMA Telesine more than a decade ago. Gallaga’s material had the invalid mom played by Perla Bautista who doesn’t speak for a long time. In the middle of her children’s heated word fight, she screams her lungs out. In “Chopsuey”, it is the character played by Piolo who locks himself up in his room and stays there for months. It must be his way of escaping depression caused by a failed wedding with a runaway bride. His character anchored the three other characters from the house, his sisters. Three women, three stories, three struggles and three conflicts: a retelling of a dysfunctional family. The film ends, you guess it right, with Piolo coming out of his room and sharing a hearty breakfast with his three sisters.

Friends who might appreciate it: those who patronize San Mig coffee, Max’s, Timex, Centrum, BDO and Bench.

Greenbelt 3, Cinema 2, September 10, 11:15pm

One small film that is good enough for a popcorn film. Acting is OK. Script is simple and yes, OK (if I can make a script similar to this then I’ll be happy). Suspense build-up is also OK. Hindi naman s’ya nakakabobo o ginagawang tanga ang mga manonood.

Friends who might appreciate it: those who’ve seen Shia LaBeouf in “Transformers”.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Pre-Birthday Blues

Damn. I was hit. Just now. I don’t know what happened or what I have done uniquely this morning but I don’t feel like feeling. It must be the mango bravo that I had for Socs’ cake thingy at the office. I don’t know. This might be one of those zombie days when you’re temporary losing the drive and the reason, and the answers are nowhere to be found.

Actually, I just had a ‘battery charge’ last night. I went to the first night of the 1st International Silent Film Festival at Greenbelt 3. It wasn’t really a big deal, just three entries from three cultural centers namely Goethe Institut, Instituto Cervantes and Japan Foundation. Last night’s was the screening of the earliest existing feature-length animation film entitled “The Adventures of Prince Achmed” (1926, years before Walt Disney’s “Snow White”, if I’m not mistaken). Wikipedia says the first one came from Argentina but to date, no copy is archived.

The experience was one for the books for so many reasons. Firstly, a friend from Pelikula@Titus got me a ticket from Goethe for free. It’s been ages since I got a free movie ticket. I can’t even remember when was it. Secondly, there was a cocktail being served before the screening. It was my first time to really grab a food and tried hard to mingle with people on a red carpet film event similar to that. Wine was flooding. Caucasians were everywhere. The moment was both alienating and welcoming.

On top of these, the film was awesome. I was stunned by the images, considering that it was filmed more than 80 years ago. And it wasn’t just images. It was really outstanding for its time. The scenes were clear, very elaborate (the animation was done using a method called “shadowing”) and suggestive of the drama or tension that the film is trying to convey.

And yet, everything is just gray now.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Manila International Book Fair 2007

I went to World Trade Center along Roxas Boulevard last Saturday, September 1 (a good start for the first Ber Month!), to take a peek at this year’s book fair. National Book Store normally organizes an event like this in Mega Trade Hall but this time, they’re trying to get global. Too bad that the fair had one weekend only. As my colleagues cry in unison: “nakakalula sa dami ng libro!” The storytelling with Sam Concepcion and Maricel Laxa was just one of the activities there. I also got a glimpse of an “Art Angel” taping for GMA-7.

For an estimate of P1,500, my kart was filled with the following goodies:

1. Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby
2. Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman
3. Everything’s Eventual by Stephen King (a collection of 14 dark tales including the short story “1408” where the John Cusack film was based)
4. Christ the Lord by Anne Rice (the book that allegedly made her Catholic again)
5. The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman (a must-read before the December screening of the film)
6. Word Source (a vocabulary enhancement thingy)
7. Darna comics from Mango (3-in-1, plus a generous poster of Angel Locsin wearing the costume)
8. Lastikman comics from Mango
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