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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Multo ng Isang Palabunutan

Pagpasensyahan ang aking munting tribute sa blog na Apendiks.

Habang nagpapatila ng ulan slash nag-aabang ng balita kung passable na ang daan papuntang Quezon, heto at dinalaw ako ng isang alaala. Alas-tres na ng umaga (sa generation ngayon na wala nang alam sa Spanish, 3am ang ibig sabihin n’yan) nang multuhin ako ng isang munting bagay na nilamon na ng kabihasnan. Huli ko yatang nahawakan ito n’ung nasa Grade 4 pa ako. Pwede ring Grade 2 o Grade 3, kaya lang ay memorable sa akin ang taon na ‘yan sa grade school kaya ‘yun na lang ang default ko kapag gustong sariwain ang kabataan. My gulay, ganito na pala talaga ako ka-dinosaur (Kat Santos, masaya ka na? Hehehe)!

Ang tinutukoy ko ay ‘yung palabunutan (sa amin, ito ay “pabunutan”, nakaltas na ang “la”) na merong premyong pera. Isa itong yari sa karton na mas malaki ng isa’t kalahating pulgada sa standard size na coupon bond. Kung hahatiin mo crosswise (parang test paper lang), ang itaas na bahagi nito ay isang movie poster ng karaniwang kakapalabas pa lang sa mga sinehan o ‘yung medyo mainit-init pa sa takilya. Ang natatandaan ko mostly ay mga pelikula ni Lito Lapid o Chuck Norris o ‘yung mga tipo ng “Palabra de Honor” ni Danny Zialcita o “Working Girls” ni Ishmael Bernal. Ang nasabing movie poster ay nilagyan ng iba’t ibang laki ng hugis na bilog. Sa loob nito ay may dalawang figure: ang winning number at ang halaga ng premyo. Mas malaki ang bilog, mas malaki ang premyo para mas makaagaw ng atensyon. Ang buong imahen ng itaas na bahagi ng palabunutan ay nagmumukhang comic strip minsan dahil sa mga bilog na parang thought bubble.

Ang ibabang bahagi ay ang mga binubunot mismo. Kasing laki lang ito ng kuko sa hinlalaki at masinsin itong nakahanay sa isang 6x13 (estimate lang) na pagkakaayos. Gawa lang ito sa papel pero hindi ‘yung pangkaraniwang papel na madaling masira. Ito ang s’yang nagsisilbing ticket para sa mga premyo. Sa likod nito ay nakatago ang numerong iyong hahanapan ng katumbas sa itaas na bahagi ng palabunutan. Kung wala ay sa susunod na baon ka na lang bumawi.

Hindi ko na masyadong matandaan ang halaga ng nasabing palabunutan o kung magkano ang isang bunot. Ang sigurado lang ako ay puwedeng bawiin ang puhunan sa pinakamalaking premyo kung mabebenta lahat ng ticket. Lugi ka kung sa umpisa pa lang ay napanalunan na agad ang jackpot. Pero dito na papasok ang pagka-strategic mo. Siyempre, kailangan mong isikreto na meron nang nanalo para marami pa rin ang umasa at bumunot.

Kung hindi ako nagkakamali ay sinubukan ko ring maging businessman noon sa palabunutan. Hindi na lang masyadong malinaw sa akin ngayon kung kumita ba ako o sadyang naaliw lang sa movie poster sa palabunutan. Noon pa man ay sureball na ako isang bagay: mahilig ako sa sine.

Wala lang. Nakakatuwa lang isipin na ang klase ng kaligayahan noon ay napakababaw. Hindi nakakagulat na hindi na na-preserve ang gan’ung pop culture. Marahil ay kasabay ng pag-unlad ng isang lahi ang pag-unlad din sa kalidad ng kaligayahan ng tao. Sigurado ako na at this age ay wala nang makaka-appreciate ng ganyang klaseng libangan kahit pa bayaran mo ng P500 para magnegosyo ng palabunutan.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Life is an iPhone # 016

Clockwise from top row:

1. Happy Halloween! I took this photo roughly two weeks ago at the entrance of Glorietta 4. Got nothing more to say;

2. P25 Worth Hotdogs. The poster says it all. It so happened that there was a stall in the Market! Market! cinema area and it came handy when I was trying to theater-hop;

3. Cotton Balls. Just got fascinated with the newly coined words: “Bulak Balls”. Sounds like cutting classes to me;

4. Riverbank. There’s something therapeutic in watching a serene river. It’s like everything is alright and no harm is in sight especially after the metro’s recent bouts with typhoon Ondoy. Very, very reassuring;

5. White Forest. I was amused with the idea that Black Forest has a conterpart. And why not? White chocolate is a pleaser but I kind of miss the brown chocolatey taste of the original version;

6. Up Until 5am. It’s been a long while since I went to a weekday gimmick that lasted this late. Read: Saguijo before midnight then videoke at Top Grill until dawn. I thought I couldn’t make it to the office after two hours of decent sleep but I did. And with flying colors! As always, the most difficult part is the afternoon and I couldn’t have my coffee fix;

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Life is an iPhone # 015

Clockwise from top row:

1. Message Board. Found this one in Glorietta, near Food Choices. It’s a real time message board from Globe wherein you can send an SMS or MMS and have it posted on the board. I tried sending the message “Guwapo ako. – Manny P” but did not bother to wait for it to be displayed. Just check out the message on the left and yes, the Manny there is me. Jeman was trying to assemble his flock in time for screening of “The Age of Stupid”;

2. 20% Off. I’ve been holding up my self from buying a pair of Sanuk for close to two years already. It ended when they offered a 20% discount on all the products. I’m just human and I love my new blue Mutiny;

3. Globe Tattoo’s Big Brother House. There’s this gimmick (also from Globe) wherein a pair called Tattoo Icons share a small transparent room right in the middle of the Market! Market!. What you can do is type in a task request for them on a PC (where a Globe Tattoo wireless broadband is attached) near the booth. Then the couple receives the request through their mobile phones. I submitted one entry asking them to do the PBB dance and it’s an epic fail. They did “Ocho-Ocho” instead with two other volunteers;

4. Two Beers. It’s one of those nights when it felt like a beer or two had to be finished to cap the night. All by myself, I just observed those groups in other tables singing some videoke pieces and enjoyed it. I left after an hour;

5. Da Who!. This one’s taken during the body fat check in the office and guess who is wearing this very functional pair of socks. Cute, eh? Just call him the Blue Man;

6. Fifty Pesos. I was surprised that I can get a P50-meal from a mall food court. It’s even cheaper than the carinderia food along our street! It’s got two dishes namely sweet and sour meatballs (it’s their bestseller and a must-try) and ginataang langka, rice, pansit bihon and a small serving of iced tea. The name of the stall, by the way, is Brod Pit;

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Two Events: Rock the Rabbit and Sagip Sining

I attended two special events last weekend namely Rock the Rabbit concert last Saturday night and Sagip Sining at CCP the following day.

Rock the Rabbit is a Playboy-sponsored gathering of different rock bands in one concert. This was held at an open space in Aseana Business Park in Macapagal Boulevard near SM Mall of Asia (facing the mall, it’s on the left), from 1pm to past midnight. If I’m not mistaken, tickets are sold at P500 including an entrance to a car show and the actual concert (less P200 if you just want to watch the concert). Bands included Razorback, 6CycleMind, Pedicab, Kenyo and a lot, lot more. I tagged along a friend from Singapore wishing and hoping to catch a bunny or two. Since we arrived late at 11pm-ish (the event was almost over by then), we didn’t catch them on their get-up. But we didn’t fret as the road to Bitoy’s (still in the same perimeter) was worth capping the night at. There was some sort of an after party with some playmates and Playboy bunnies sans the rabbit costume. Just check out the pics here and turn green with envy.

Sagip Sining, on the other hand, is CCP’s effort to raise fund for the typhoon victims. It was a daylong event (look at some of the pictures here) with different what-have-you shows like short film showing, symphony orchestra, ballet, stand-up comedy, rock concert, classical music, play excerpts, face painting and storytelling for kids. You can either donate a minimum of P20 or share goods like clothes and probably food. I only caught Taytay Youth Symphony Orchestra gracing the opening ceremony and Ballet Philippines’ “Tales of the Manuvu” which had me pay for an orchestra seat for only P275 as part of the event. It’s a ballet/musical wherein the characters are both being danced and sung by two sets of performers. Its music is written by Dero Pedero with libretto from National Artist Bien Lumbera. Set design is done by another National Artist namely Salvador Bernal. Since I’m not a fan of ballet, I prefer not to write a full review of it. I just love the music, the singing (you can never go wrong with Robert Seña, can’t you?) and surprisingly an impressive Capt. Jack Sparrow-like performance from Star Magic’s Guji Lorenzana.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Ode to Joy and Other Ampfs and Lols from a Videoke Session

Last Friday, we held our Shout for Joy Videoke Night at Platinum KTV. There’s really nothing fancy about it. It’s as simple as a colleague leaving and it’s a noble way of saying “Thank you for everything and see you around.”

Below are some sorts of outtakes:

- Dinner at Mang Inasal was the most logical thing to do since the restaurant is just a stone’s throw away from the KTV. Josh, Alou, Ana and I were the first to hit the sack, had a yummy dinner of grilled chicken, waited for the second batch and became the advance party at the bar;

- Since our reservation started at 8pm, the four of us waited at Platinum KTV’s room # 5. We had a couple of nice songs including Josh singing (not joking) Rivermaya’s “214”. I remember Alou and Ana singing Donna Cruz’ “Kapag Tumibok ang Puso”. Josh and I shared with Spongecola’s “Tuliro”. That’s the time when the second batch including Jes, Iam, Kat and Joy arrived. Minutes later, Eric, Leo, Wigs, Macon and Anton followed suit;

- In a jiffy, the list of reserved songs reached 48. I wasn’t surprised at all. This was a relief when Marc arrived at past 10pm because he had to wait for his turn on the 49th song. Fortunately, he grabbed (and fought for) the mic when a familiar song suddenly popped up;

- The rest of the kids joined the gang later: Nikko, Keith, Mat, Joaqs and Pearl. Iam, Josh, Alou and Ana had to leave early. By then, buckets of beer were already being consumed;

- I think I did share Jericho Rosales’ version of “Di Bale na Lang” with Mat, LA Lopez’ “Yakap” with Marc and the iconic “My Way” with Anton. We are still alive and kicking, as far as I know;

- Killer songs that night probably went to Joy singing Celine Dion’s “It’s All Coming Back to me Now”, Eric’s “Careless Whisper” less the red bandana, Leo’s “Ligaya” (no further comment), Joy and Joaqs’ duet from “High School Musical” and Jes’ take of an Imago song. Surprises included a share-the-mic version of Disney tunes like “A Whole New World”, “Beauty and the Beast” and “Part of Your World”;

- If I’m not mistaken, Mat was happy that night. The rest were plain devil’s advocate;

- Marc and Eric collaborated on a trend of hand choreography. That was probably inspired by Kaye Brosas’ take on “Tuwing Umuulan at Kapiling Ka” but a bit GP over R18. For instance, if the word “true” was present in the lyrics, they will point to Kat. Go figure why;

- Laugh trip of the evening probably went to Kat, Jes, Joy and Pearl laughing their hearts out over a picture. Girls, sorry, I think I know what you were laughing about (wink, wink);

- We spent six hours of singing and drinking and laughing and wisecracking. Who says saying goodbye is as fun as this? Our bill reached P6,000+ and we left the place at 3am past. Survivors were Kat, Joy, Macon, Leo, Anton, Joaqs, Eric, Mat and Wigs. Minutes before checking out, I saw Joy and Eric stayed in the room for another song, optimizing our money’s worth (hahaha);

- I took a cab thinking about the place in Cubao that Eric had mentioned right before the group parted ways. “P395 lang, one hour.” Hmmm, kids nowadays;

More pictures here and two videos here and here.

The Best KTV Bar in Makati!

We found this little known videoke haven out of desperation to book in any of the three KTV bars near Jupiter St. in Makati. It was already a Thursday and the planned event was going to be held the next day. Centerstage was fully booked and so was Music 21. Top Grill doesn’t accept reservations for a Friday stint. And the always top of the list Red Box in Greenbelt 3 was not considered that time. Then an angel shared a link to a blog about a girl who just partied big time in the best KTV bar in Makati.

Name of the place is Music Platinum Family KTV Room and Restaurant (or simply Platinum KTV) and it’s located at # 47 Polaris St., just near the corner of Jupiter St. and Makati Ave. (where Mang Inasal Restaurant can be found). Mind the inclusion of the word “Family” for you to dismiss any hanky-panky ideas that might come up. If you’re coming from EDSA, along Jupiter St., just turn right and thread along Polaris St. The place can be reached in less than a minute and it’s on the right. Its big neon signs can keep you guided. In front, a serviceable parking space manned by security guards is waiting.

The room we got for 15 people costs P600 per hour (plus 12% tax, I guess). That’s cheap enough compared to the other three KTV bars mentioned earlier. It’s not consumable but you can comfortably squeeze in two or three extra peeps without having additional fee. A bucket of beer (with six bottles) costs P400. Given that rate, just imagine the price range for the rest of the food and other beverages.

(From left to right: the amazing remote control, sanitation-friendly mic and flatscreen TV display)

Inside the room are a sizeable flat screen TV, satellite speakers, songbooks, a unique remote control (where you can find the artist or song title without distracting the singer) and two microphones covered with a showercap-like material (talking about hygiene!). The discoball in the ceiling completes the party mode. Songs are pretty much up-to-date, from 2NE1’s “I Don’t Care” to YM’s “Mas Mahal na Kita Ngayon”. Just note though that some entries are apparently MP3’s and it would require you to sing the piece sans the lyrics guide.

So next time you’re looking for a videoke place, I recommend Platinum for its affordability, good service and nice interior. Feel free to inquire or reserve at +63-2-890-30-60. They are open from 4pm to 4:30am.

Movie Digest # 064

Glorietta 4, Cinema 4, October 4, 1:10pm

The disclaimer here is that I wasn’t really planning to watch this film. It’s just that some friends were close to screaming when sharing that the movie sucks big time and a total waste of money. But they begged me to watch it to know why and so I gave in. Storywise, the film can withstand critiques. Also, choosing picture perfect Bohol as the location to tell a love story of two young fellows is fine with me. So what went wrong on this latest work from the great Maryo J. Delos Reyes? I have a hint. I don’t know how to put it modestly but I guess the problem is in the love team, the idea of making a film for them and the absence of sheer talent on Aljur Abrenica’s part. It didn’t help, too, that in one scene with Aljur and Kris plus the tarsiers, Kris mentioned “O, ayan na ang mga Kapamilya mo.” Aljur relied with, “Kapuso ko rin sila.” I guess that’s all I want to say about the film.

Friends who might appreciate it: Aljur – Kris fans. On second thought, I don’t know any friends on the same league (or level) of keenness.

Glorietta 4, Cinema 3, October 9, 10:45pm

The film got me hooked by its trailer when one of the songs, beautifully arranged with a very now sound, was used. I was thinking that if the film fails, at least there are new pieces to ponder upon. To my surprise, they almost overhauled the original material. Though the film is still about art school students, some characters are introduced to adapt with the times and that one worked a little. The other plus point is the cast that consists of mainly newbies (including our very own Anna Maria Perez de Tagle). Along with these updates are the new songs that are totally strange to me. They also removed the iconic dance sequences from the original and nobody dared to rescue the sappy “Is It OK if I Call You Mine?”

Friends who might appreciate it: Those who skipped the TV show.

Power Plant Cinemas, Cinema 1, October 15, 9:30pm

Meryl Streep breathed in to a real life character in the name of Julia Child, a famous cooking legend in the US. Though not as engaing as her recent portrayals in “The Devil Wears Prada” or“Doubt”, it’s pretty obvious that she had a ball mimicking the role. Amy Adams played a contemporary New Yorker who ended up blogging about her desires to emulate Julia Child’s kitchen masterpieces. The film then weaves the two similar stories as it takes the viewers to the world of cooking and womanhood.

Friends who might appreciate it: Streepers out there.

Glorietta 4, Cinema 3, October 19, 10:30pm

Yam Laranas directs this Hollywood remake of his own work “Sigaw” and he brought along Iza Calzado with him. If you are familiar with the original material, there’s nothing new to wait for. The new set of writers just put a background story to the male lead (first played by Richard Gutierrez) to give weight to his own ghosts. I’m not being biased but while watching the film, I wasn’t reminded that a Filipino directed the film. It’s technically good and the chill is there somewhere. For sure, it’s not something that is going to be merited with an Oscar or the like but I like it as it is: an honest-to-goodness popcorn film.

Friends who might appreciate it: Corny, tiring and trite, Jericho Rosales fans.

Market! Market!, Cinema 3, October 21, 6:45pm

Directed by Kathryn Bigelow (yes, a woman), this film captures a slice of an elite American army bomb squad’s life in Iraq. Told in almost episodic routines, the soldiers try to avenge themselves against death, violence and the terrors of war. Acted by mostly no names with cameos from Ralph Fiennes and Guy Pearce, this film combines action packed scenes, social commentary and the dilemma that each day in war torn areas is just an ordinary day.

Friends who might appreciate it: Allan Vistan.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

...And So I Won a Backpack

A fellow film buff YM-ed me this morning that I won a mountain backpack from Thai Airways. My initial reaction was, "How and why?". As far as I remember, I only tried Thai Airways once (or twice) and that was roughly five years ago (along with Belfast project peeps). Then I was given a link to Gibbs Cadiz' website announcing the winners for "Blog a Play, Win a Sony Ericsson Phone" contest on which I abused my luck and joined.

Nope, I didn't get the celfone or a night's stay at Astoria Plaza but I won third place. And that's what matters for now regardless of how handsome or ugly the backpack is.

To Gibbs Cadiz, thank you. 'Til the next contest.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Paggunaw ng Kaalaman

The Age of Stupid
Direksyon: Franny Armstrong
Iskrip: Fanny Armstrong
Mga Nagsiganap: Pete Postlethwaite


Isang documentary ang “The Age of Stupid” na tumalakay sa climate change. Nilagyan ng konting twist ang storytelling sa pag-uumpisa ng kwento sa taong 2055 kung saan nasa huling hininga na ang planet Earth. Isang matandang archivist, si Pete Postlethwaite, ang nag-browse sa mga old files at gustong alamin kung saan nagkamali ang tao.

Part ng archive ang ilang makukulay na kuwento ng pag-asa at pagkabigo: (1) isang young magnate sa India ang naghahanda sa unang flight ng kanyang airline business, (2) isang babaeng African ang nais mag-aral ng medicine dahil ang kanilang lugar ay sinalanta ng pagtatayo ng isang center ng Shell (Gasoline), (3) mag-asawang British na tinutulan ang paggamit ng wind turbine ng sariling community, (4) isang 82-year old na lolo na halos buong buhay ay nanirahan katabi ang Mont Blanc at (5) isang survivor ng hurricane Katrina.


Parang ang hirap punahin ng isang advocacy film kamukha nito. Mas sasabayan ko na lang ang kampanya ng filmmaker para maikalat pa nang mabuti ang propaganda tungkol sa climate change kesa pintasan ang pelikula kung meron mang kapintas-pintas. Ito ay sa kabila na rin ng ilang theory na baka naman hindi totoo ang climate change, na baka isa lang itong conspiracy theory though hindi ito ang piniling daan ng “The Age of Stupid”.

Ako, personally, malaki ang tiwala ko na malakas (at maliwanag) ang mensahe ng mga bagyong Ondoy at Pepeng. Mahirap tanggapin ang idea na weather-weather lang ito. At ang mga humihingang kwento sa documentary ay ilang pagpapatunay sa anumang kinakaharap natin ngayon. Scientific naman ang pagpapaliwanag ng pelikula tungkol sa ilang bagay na nakasanayan na natin kamukha ng emission na dulot ng mga eroplano, ang pagkawala ng yelo sa Alps at ang masaklap na kapalit ng consumerism.


Paglabas ko ng sinehan, na-remind na naman ako ng pwede kong magawa (o hindi ko nagawa) para iligtas ang kung anumang natitira sa atin ngayon. Ganito rin ang epekto matapos kong mapanood ang “Inconvenient Truth”, “The 11th Hour” o “Home”. Pero hindi ako natakot. Umaasa akong sa lifetime na ito ay hindi naman magtatanga-tangahan lang ang tao at iisiping parang wala lang ang mga signos. Isang pagpapatunay rito ang pag-encourage sa inyo na bisitahin ang website na upang malaman (at maging matalino) sa kung ano pang pwedeng magawa.


Biglaan lang 'yung invite sa akin sa film showing na sponsored ng Greenpeace sa Glorietta 4 nitong Martes. Thanks kay Jesse Villanueva (ang batang Playboy, hehehe). May ilang pictures dito.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Life is an iPhone # 014

Clockwise from top row:

1. Hospital Food Court. I had lunch here twice when I was required to visit my neurologist at Makati Med. First visit was a waste of time as the doctor was sick and the clinic didn’t have means to contact me. Second had me cleared, saying that my brain is in perfect condition (thank God);

2. Cold Defender. This is my favorite drink from Fruit Magic. It has orange, apple and carrot juices. I believe that it’s the most ideal way to force me to eat/drink veggies;

3. Toy of the Season. In the dawn of typhoon scare, every home must at least have this very useful rubber boat. It costs roughly P1,800 and can accommodate two persons. The toy in the picture was lent to my landlady’s son’s high school teacher who is residing in a flooded Laguna town;

4. Service is Not so High. Finally had the chance to share lunch with original SPL buddies, Xen and Edrik (our work anniversary falls on April 1), after a quite mouthful of attempts. We tried this new restaurant in Burgos Circle called Mile Hi Diner. Eventhough the chicken pesto pasta I ordered is sumptuous enough, the service sucked big time;

5. Roti, Roti. How to resist Kopi Roti’s kaya toasts and soft boiled eggs? Hindi ko kaya. I first discovered the dish while trying out their branch in one of NAIA’s boarding areas. It was overpriced as expected but it’s worth it;

6. Food Tasting. I had my first taste of, err, food tasting at the office in time for an upcoming event. Caterer is Josiah’s and the experience was delightfully noteworthy. We tried (and rated) dishes like marinated pork belly with apple barbecue sauce, charbroiled chicken with peanut sauce, pan-seared fish fillet with crispy garlic and lemon butter sauce and roast beef with mushroom gravy sauce plus panna cotta and flourless souffle for dessert. This was done in a mock-up style, complete with waiters in uniform and well decorated tables;

Life is an iPhone # 013

Clockwise from top row:

1. Sabado Night. One of the most difficult things to do is to say no to a drinking bout even if you’re undergoing a strict diet. I gave in. Thanks to this little hang-out near ABS-CBN. I felt too old afterwards;

2. Cory Bread. Found this bread at Julie’s Bakeshop on my way home from Market! Market! No, I didn’t buy one. I was just amazed with the idea;

3. Pumpkin Soup. This yummy serving costs P25 only from Betsy’s, one of the lunch vendors who visits our office everyday;

4. Toasted Chips. Flavored Sweet Home Sour Cream and Onion, this one just joined my bandwagon of favorite snacks. Miss Jenny normally buys one for me from S&R and each bag costs P145;

5. Panic Buying. Taken during the eve of typhoon Pepeng’s wrath. The shelf used to contain bread and is always full. People might be really traumatized by typhoon Ondoy;

6. Q&A. Part of the recently concluded Spanish Film Festival at Greenbelt 3 was a film dialog with Max Lemcke. This was done after the screening of his film “Casual Day”, my third favorite film from the line-up;

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Eksena: Mga Sineastang Filipino

I accidentally discovered this beautiful photo exhibit by Oscar F. Orengo (from Spain) when I was about to queue for Tanghalang Pilipino's "A Streetcar Named Desire" at CCP. It's a portrait selection with our local filmmakers as subject. Simply overwhelming.

Photos will be on display until October 30. More pics here.

The Ultimate Kapamilya Studio Tours

Finally, I accomplished another true Kapamilya duty by availing of the ABS-CBN Studio Tours at ELJ Building. Done last Saturday, October 10, and in the company of nine other officemates/friends. No additional details for now, I'll let the pictures speak for itself.

Just in case you wish to embark on the same tour, contact them through +63-2-416-3211 (Direct Line/Telefax) or +63-2-415-2272 Local 3622/3624 (Trunk Line). Fee's at P150 each.

Notes from Pelicula Ocho

The ongoing Spanish Film Festival at Greenbelt 3 (Official Selection) is definitely a first-rate pit stop. This year’s line-up is comprised of a vast variety of contemporary Spanish/Latino films. Just know your genre and most likely you’ll find a movie that best suits you. On top of that, the festival is very much organized. The dreaded queues evident in those film festivals held at The Shang are gone and the minimal ticket admission for P65 is not bad at all for reserved seating. Flyers containing the schedule are always available and a raffle ticket (validated after watching five films) could win you a prize. Souvenir shirts can also be purchased at P250 each. One screening I had attended to even had a Q&A session with the director. Aside from Greenbelt 3, they also have screenings at CCP for documentaries done by Filipino filmmakers and at College of St. Benilde for the key films of master directors like Pedro Almodovar and Luis Buñuel.

Below are some notes on the films that I have watched (synopses can be found in

1. Animation – Manuel Sicilia, Raul Garcia and Jose Enrique Machuca’s “El Lince Perdido” (The Missing Lynx: Paws of the Run). Too Disney for me (complete with a radio-friendly theme song at the very end) but the output is enjoyable enough. This honest-to-goodness tale about endangered species posted one question: Why can’t we make a decent full-length feature animation this good?

2. Period Drama – Jose Luis Cuerda’s “Los Girasoles Ciegos” (The Blind Sunflowers). Spain during the 40’s is the perfect crib for the film’s theme on sexual tension that borders on religion and socio-politics. At times stagey, the old-school filmmaking is pragmatic enough to sustain my interest. For sure, I’ve seen something like this before.

3. Romantic Comedy – Albert Espinosa’s “No Me Pidas Que Te Bese Porque Te Besare” (Don’t Ask Me To Kiss You, Because I Will). If the film chose to be a little more focused, I would appreciate it regardless of being Star Cinematic in scope. Topics such as having cold feet days before the wedding day and being haunted by the ghosts from the childhood past are just a few of those tackled in the film.

4. Fantasy – Nacho Vigalondo’s “Los Cronocrimenes” (Time Crimes). There are a couple of films done already about time traveling but this one offers a fresh take on the matter. You’ll be surrpised that this engaging and effective film is composed of roughly four actors only and with no CGI in hand. How about that for a fantasy film?

5. Black Comedy – Juan Flahn’s “Chuecatown” (Boystown). Reminiscent of Pedro Almodovar’s comedy with multiple hysterically maternal characters, this film is probably the line-up’s most colorful entry. Plot is a little “In My Life” with a dash of black comedy.

6. Office Drama – Max Lemcke’s “Casual Day”. This is my third best pick from the lot. It’s a real-time film that tackles office politics and ethics. Generally talky and a bit dragging, it deals with a microcosm of the world outside the walls.

7. Cinema Verite – Santiago Zannou’s “El Truco Del Manco” (The One-Handed Trick). Modestly Western in terms of pacing and musical scoring, this film embarks upon a neighborhood of thugs on their misadventures with drugs, survival and friendship. This is undeniably my second favorite.

8. Crime Drama – Rodrigo Pla’s “La Zona”. I almost missed this Clint Eastwood-ish film, thanks to a mini-buffet served before the screening in recognition of the ambassadors of Spain and Mexico. This top pick of mine also voted as this year’s Audience Choice and, as of this writing, will be having an extra screening on the last day. It’s one of the rare films that seamlessly discuss social divide in a very accessible and gripping way.

9. Apocalyptic Film – F. Javier Gutierrez’ “Tres Dias” (Before the Fall). I can say that this is the most Hollywood of all the entries in terms of treatment in filmmaking. A reminder of the likes of “Deep Impact” or “Armageddon”, the film compounds two upcoming apocalyses: a meteorite that will hit the Earth and a ghost from the past.

10. Social Commentary – Andres Wood’s “La Buena Vida” (The Good Life). Except for the storytelling approach that is deemed trite in world cinema, this film is a winner on its own right. Colorful subplots, superb acting ensemble and a taste of Chilean present-day life are just a few ingredients that make up this film.

11. Family Film – Daniel Burman’s “El Nido Vacio” (Empty Nest). I was all through out reminded with Woody Allen’s works while watching the film. Talky, check. Greek chorus, check. Fragility/Strength of marriages, check. Occasional deadpan humor, check.

12. Historical Drama – Helena Taberna’s “La Buena Nueva” (The Good News). As mentioned in the prelude of the film, this one is based on real events. It is about a young priest assigned in a small war-torn town in Spain. Both the theme and direction are very much Joel Lamangan.

13. Concept-Driven Film – Ventura Pons’ “Forasters” (Strangers). I’m disappointed with this one for the simple reason that I have seen a Ventura Pons film before and it was very linear. This film documents two timeframes of families living in an apartment, acted by the same set of able artists.

14. Action Film – Agustin Diaz Yanes’ “Solo Quiero Caminar” (Just Walking). First things first, I was entertained with this one eventhough an annoying seatmate kept on reminding everybody that it’s a Spanish film equivalent of a Quentin Tarantino film. Its women-with-balls theme works for me without being too sell-out or too mainstream.

15. Sex Comedy – Joaquin Oristrell’s “Dieta Mediterranea” (Mediterranean Diet). If there’s one film that best portrays and justifies a threesome affair, this must be it. Delivery may be too audience-friendly but that’s tolerable. I can say that a fitting alternative title could be “What Women Want”.

16. Social Relevance – Chus Gutierrez’ “Retorno A Hansala” (Return to Hansala). The last film I’ve seen in the line-up highlights human smuggling from Morocco to Spain as the two countries serve as a gateway between Africa and Europe. Here’s hoping that viewers will be treated more of similar eye opener films.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Emergency Breakfast at Filling Station

I, along with nine other officemates/friends, was supposed to try the ABS-CBN studio tour but typhoon Pepeng stopped us from doing so. Day started as early as 6:30am for me, preparing for a 9am rendezvous with Mel and Kristine at the office. I was about to join cabmates Joey and Jen on our way to The Fort when Mel (the organizer, hehehe) texted us that E-Live! was cancelled. Since Jen, Joey and I already had our sneakers on, we decided to meet at Jollibee - Reposo for breakfast. As we all best put it, "Sayang ang ligo".

Melvin followed suit after a few minutes for the same reason that he was already on his way to the meeting place. And before considering a parking space for the QQ, we were already off to one of my favorite breakfast hang-outs: Filling Station along Burgos St. in the heart Makati's red light district.

Some celfone pictures here.

By the way, the 24-hour resto offers one of the best eggs benedict meals in the metro. It's a must-try though when we went there, they ran out of it. I tried their arroz a la cubana instead which is equally mouthwatering.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Life is an iPhone # 012

Clockwise from top row:

1. Manang’s. After two weeks or so of strict diet, I rewarded my self with pork liempo from Manang’s at The Ateneo. No, I did come from that school but some of my officemates were;

2. TP Subscription. Roughly three weeks ago, I finally got my TP subscription card. For the last season, I think, they did not create one and now it’s back. I am not sure if it has a purpose though other than as a souvenir;

3. Curve. CCP always amazes me and taking a picture of this curvy bench is just a proof. It’s very rare that the area is empty so I took the liberty to capture it;

4. Mamang Sorbetero. It was during one of those post-play-watching-at-Guerrero-Hall moments when you just feel like bumming around along the UP Diliman campus ground. After finishing a naked (read: healthy) sandwich, I tried a serving of dirty ice cream. Not to mention that it was hot during that noon and no, I did not come from that school either;

5. Fro-Yo. I was about to queue for Cine Europa at The Shang and I knew that it would require me to kill time for nearly two hours. This yummy frozen yogurt served both as healthy alternative (though pricey) and a morale booster;

6. Eiffel. This “landmark” was located at the National Bookstore branch at The Shang and it obviously caught my attention. Firstly, it’s the first famous international landmark I had seen. Secondly, the idea is plain genius for coming up something functional and cute;
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