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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Special Edition ng mga Himala ni Ricky Lee

Kahit umulan kanina ay sumugod pa rin ang mga patron ni Ricky Lee para maki-uzi, magpapirma at masaksihan ang book launching ng special edition ng “Si Tatang at Mga Himala ng Ating Panahon” sa Powerbooks sa SM Megamall. Meron ako n’ung second edition (1990) pero gusto ko ring magtago ng kopya nitong bago dahil in-update ang lay-out at merong idinagdag. Given na lang siguro na sabihin na malaki ang impluwensya ng mga akda ni Ricky Lee sa akin, personal man o malikhain.

Si Ricky Davao ang host kaninang hapon. Tinawag n’ya ang National Artist for Literature na sa Bienvenido Lumbera para sa opening remarks. Katulad n’ung ginawang book launch sa Bahay ng Alumni sa Peyups last year, meron ding reading na bahagi ng program. Ang mga readers this time ay kinabibilangan nina (in order): Dingdong Dantes, Jackyn Jose, Allan Paule, Philip Salvador, Jean Garcia, Robbie Domingo, Danton Remoto, Ogie Alcasid, Nanding Josef, Ricky Davao, Chanda Romero, Angel Locsin at Vangie Labalan. Binasa nila ang ilang excerpt sa portfolio ng mga works ni Ricky Lee na naka-compile sa “Tatang”. Merong reportage, interview, short story, feature at ang buong script ng “Himala” nina Ishmael Bernal at Nora Aunor.

Intense ang delivery ni Ipe. Halos nakakadalawang pangungusap pa lang ay nakaka-engage na. Starstruck ako kay Jaclyn Jose at entranced ako sa kanyang kakaibang accent. Sayang nga at di ko man lang nahabol para magpapirma. Pinakamabenta ang ginawa ni Ogie na pagasabuhay sa anecdote ni Joel Lamangan habang ginagawa ang “Himala”. The rest ay masasabi ko namang sulit dahil para na rin akong nanood ng libreng stage play. Pinakamahirap ang nakaatas kay Angel Locsin dahil pinabasa sa kanya ang script ng “Himala”, particularly ang pamoso at imortal na monologo ni Ate Guy sa finale. Nakaka-believe si Angel dahil sa umpisa pa lang ay nagpaumanhin na s’ya sa mga tagahanga ni Nora. Sinabi n’yang nag-iisa lang daw talaga ang Superstar. Pero sa delivery niya, tingin ko ay hindi naman s’ya napahiya. Sa katunayan, binigyan niya ng kakaibang timpla ang sagrado nitong version. Ganito siguro ang delivery kung wala ang stagey accent. Tingnan dito ang video ng kanyang ginawa.

Sa dulo, pinapila na ang mga tao para sa signing. Generous sa oras si Ricky Lee at wala ni katiting ng pagmamadali. ‘Yun ang masaya sa kanyang mga book launch, bidang bida ang mga fans. N’ung nagsalita s’ya para magpasalamat, isiningit na rin n’ya ang concern tungkol sa kawalan ng hunger sa pagbabasa ng mga libro sa Filipino. Posibleng totoo ito pero naniniwala s’yang meron pa rin naman kumakalam ang tiyan sa librong Pinoy. Katunayan na lang ang dami ng mga pumunta na halos nagmukhang tiangge ang buong Powerbooks. N’ung turn ko na at ibinalik n’ya ang pirmadong libro, nag-sorry s’ya kung generic daw ang dedication. Sabi ko, “OK lang”. Idinagdag ko na isinuot ko ang (John) Legend shirt ko sa hapong iyon para sa picture-taking with a legend. Sambit lang n’ya, “Aba, dapat makita ‘yan sa picture.”

More pics here.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Life is an iPhone # 008

Clockwise from top row:

1. Cork Galore. Taken at Barcino's at The Fort. We were shopping for some bottles of wine for the team meeting.

2. P185. SM record bar (well, at least at Makati branch) is selling (the first) Eraserheads reunion concert posters for P185. It's bigger than the standard size which is now giving me a problem where to hang it in my room.

3. Sucking Does Not Kill. Saw this newly repackaged Chupa Chups lollipops at a nearby grocery store. It looks like a cigarette pack (closest could be Marlboro red because of the lay-out and color). Normally, a yosi pack always has warnings like "Cigarette-smoking is dangerous to your health" and for other countries like Thailand or Singapore (I think), "Smoking kills". Maybe Chupa Chups is just trying to be politically correct.

4. Chuck Taylor on the Run. There was this attractive mobile advertisement parked in MOA. I captured it after the concert of the two Davids and some folks were gearing to this set of brigh lights from a far. It's moving, by the way. I hope I brought my point-and-shoot then.

5. Mangoes and Choco Mallow. Alongside Barcino's is Paul Calvin's. We had a buffet lunch last, last Friday and the combination of fruit and chocolate is too hard to pass up. Buffet at P250 (dalandan drink included) is not something to be guilty of. The dishes are good and the make-your-own pasta corner is a must visit.

6. Limitado. It was more of a last-minute dinner plan from Jaejay that ended up having good food at Homer's (located in front of the ABS-CBN compound). The group was an unlikely mix as well: Jaejay, Linel, JR, Macy, Allan, Ge and I. Jaejay promoted the dinner by having a quick stop at Jao Mapa's place (which we actually did to fetch some short films on disc). We capped the night with coffee bun at Kopi Roti along Tomas Morato. That was after we passed by a TV show shooting with Jason Abalos and after we located Pen Pen Restaurant.

Movie Digest # 059

Robinsons Place Manila, Cinema 7, May 23, 4:00pm

This is the third installment from Sine Direk and, this time, the spotlight’s on Lore Reyes. It tells a story of a chef OFW (beautifully played by Paolo Contis) who comes home to attend a tribute for his farmer father. Audience is then introduced with a series of characters in the bucolic barrio and with them also comes their own little stories. In one drinking session, Paolo Contis’ character makes a bet with his uncle (Michael de Mesa). If Paolo can cook a tasty lechon, Michael will give his marriage (with Joanne Quintas) a second chance. The finale scene, though very predictable, appears to be well executed. On the minus side, I would prefer it more if the script introduces how the barrio folks are having a big deal with lechon or with cooking in general. This would perhaps enchance the excitement on the betting part. Also, I find casting Maricel Laxa and Karylle not to be a very good idea. Maricel’s character requires more of an Irma Adlawan and Karylle to be too cosmopolitan for a barrio lass role. If there’s something memorable with the film, it must be the delectable cinematography everytime a food is included in the frame.

Friends who might appreciate it: those who can make a connection between swine flu and Dr. Hayden Kho.

SM Megamall, Cinema 5, May 23, 7:25pm

First, I am glad that Julia Roberts, at her prime, is doing films like “Duplicity”, mature, intelligent and sleek. The film is close to a feel-good romantic movie without being a sell-out. It’s talky, engaging and just plain fun, similar to an experience after watching any of Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean series. The film chronicles an unusual love story of two “thinking” individuals who work as a secret agent to two opposing major companies. It’s an outwit-and-outplay kind of film investing on a theme of love being a heart-over-matter thing. Clive Owen and Julia Roberts are both perfect for the role. It’s a bonus to see Tom Wilkinson and Paul Giamatti as the warring corporate heads. For me, it’s a must-watch.

Friends who might appreciate it: those who think that this is not a Michael Keaton movie (where the hell he is now, by the way?).

Robinsons Galleria, Cinema 10, May 27, 8:00pm

Fourth on Sine Direk, the film takes us to a Pinoy AB crowd version of “Romeo and Juliet”. Agaton and Mindy meet in a dance workshop and from there, an innocent love blooms amidst the ordeal that is faced with social classes, acceptance, absence of parental affection and depression. There may be some dance sequences here and there but it’s definitely no “Highschool Musical”. New actor Chase Vega arises from a raw acting peppered with superb nuances. He was at his best when he is not speaking any line. Louise delos Reyes’ Mindy, on the other hand, might be too complex for the actress but she has her moments. The last sequence wherein our male lead has to woo her ladylove back is definitely one of the unforgettable endings I have seen in local cinema.

Friends who might appreciate it: those who believe that Peque Gallaga can do GP to PG films.

Glorietta 4, Cinema 3, May 28, 7:50pm

I can’t decide if I like the film as a whole or not. The video game leveling kind of storytelling is not appealing but the action sequences are comparable to James Cameron’s vision and scope. The concept’s Biblical reference is food for the brain but the so-so acting from the leads hamper the total pull-off. It’s good to see Bryce Dallas Howard and Helena Bonham Carter in one film though (what’s with the three-piece screen names?). Or was it just me who was not scared of the terminators in this fourth installment? I remember it fondly that for the first two films, I was rooting for the Connors to survive even if the robots seem unstoppable. Maybe, I’ve seen enough CGI-decorated films. Or maybe, I’m just getting old.

Friends who might appreciate it: those who think that Star Cinema’s “T2” is not a sequel to James Cameron’s “Terminator”.

Pinoyism # 007: Crisis Cab

Beware of this cab if you don’t want to be, yes, laid off. I saw this one roaming around Bonifacio Global City one sunny Friday. I’m hoping that this would not stop or park at our building. The idea is cute though. Once again, hail to Pinoy ingenuity!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Gusto Ko Ring Magsalita Tungkol sa Hayden Kho Sex Video Scandal!

Ilang opinyon lang na puwede kong sabihin habang bumibili ng Fit ‘N Right sa tindahan ni Aling Mosang sa kanto:

1. Unang una, evil si Dr. Hayden Kho dahil hindi s’ya nagpaalam sa kanyang partner sa kama. Mahalaga sa isang relasyon ang maging open, one-night stand prospect man ito o pangmatagalan. Communication is a must. Period. Pero kapag nagsusulat ako ng journal (yes, meron ako pero hindi kasing colorful siguro ng kay Doc kung meron s’ya), hindi rin naman ako nagpapaalam for a simple reason na wala naman akong dapat pagpaalaman (hehehe, single is sexy, dude). ‘Yun nga lang, ang kaibahan ng diary sa video, parang fiction at non-fiction. Huling huli ka sa video. Sa text, mas marami kang pwedeng isipin. So what if I’m never gonna dance again and guilty feet have got no rhythm? Iba ‘yung nakasulat lang at iba kapag kinakanta mo na ito live in your own bedroom.

2. Puwede na tayong mag-conclude na faithful naman pala ang mga porn scenes sa totoong buhay. At least ay hindi tayo dinadaya sa poor script, bad acting and monotonous musical scoring na very 80’s. Siguro naubusan na ng concept ang mga porn producer kaya pinauso nila ang semi-docu style na scandal videos.

3. Merong isang silver lining ang kaguluhang ito. Pinakita ni Dr. Hayden Kho kung paano dapat “rumesponde” ang isang Pinoy pagdating sa kama. Isa s’yang pro, isang master, isang guru sa larangang hindi naman inakalang kasisikatan n’ya. Foreplay ba ang hanap n’yo? Meron si Doc. Pasensya? Meron si Doc. Romansa Espesyal? Meron si Doc. Health awareness? Meron din si Doc. Pansinin ang tatlong babaeng kanyang naka-sex. Lahat sila ay nag-enjoy (well, sa tingin ko lang ito). Case in point ang act nina Katrina at Doc kung saan sa sobrang excitement ni babae ay hindi na s’ya nag-atubiling tanggalin ang sariling underwear. Hindi ko na siguro kailangang idagdag ang kaso ni Maricar Reyes dahil baka magmukhang masyado na akong nagpapaliwanag. Kung lahat ng Pinoy ay magiging sensitibo lamang sa pangangailangan ng kanilang chikababe sa kama eh di mas masaya siguro ang mundo.

4. Para sa akin, mas kriminal ‘yung taong nagkalat n’ung video. Kriminal din si Dr. Hayden Kho kasi hindi s’ya nagkakasya kay Bb. Vicky Belo pero mas dapat ninja-hin ng CDRs na ginawang blade ang nag-distribute n’ung kopya. Kung meron mang sisisihin ang mga kamag-anak ng biktima, sila na dapat ‘yun. Pero on second thought, wala pala tayong pinagkakaabalahan ngayon maliban as A(H1N1) kung hindi pumutok ang sex video scandal.

5. Mababa ang sense of history ng karamihan sa ating mga Pinoy. Nakalimutan na natin ang horrors ng Martial Law. Nakalimutan na rin natin na dati ay nakatutok ang buong bayan sa STD ni Kris Aquino na nakuha raw mula kay Joey Marquez. Makakalimutan din natin itong mga sex video ni Dr. Hayden Kho. Siguro dahil tayong lahat, in one way or another, ay may deep dark secret na handang kumawala kahit anong oras. Sabi nga ng isang officemate na sinabi ng isang officemate, with pun intended, “kanya-kanyang out lang ‘yan”.

My Loko Lenses

With utmost respect to Lomo cameras matched with meager budget, I purchased a set of Illusion Lenses at Compex in Robinsons Place Manila. It’s a 5-piece collection of small plastic lenses that you can buy individually for P200 each. There’s a fish eye/wide angle lens, then 3-image and 6-image mirage effect plus vignette and starbust (which is a favorite as of the moment). Aside from Compex, you can also buy it from Hobbes and Landes stores but it’s in the Robinsons Place branch in Ermita that I found a complete set. They are either out of stock or a piece is missing (normally, it’s the fish eye/wide angle).

For more details and a few product reviews, just visit

Of course, Lomo is Lomo and nothing beats the original (as if I have one). Plus I don't see those plastic lenses to stand time (I'm counting one year maximum). Just like Ikea, some good things never last (right, Mr. Chong? hahaha). Someday, in a not so far future, I’ll bring home a Holga or two. But for the meantime, below are some joyful, joyful Loko moments.

Fish Eye/Wide Angle:


3-Image Mirage:


6-Image Mirage:

More pictures here.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Brockamania 2009

Nandito ang mga pics.

Kagaya ni Moe, nag-uubos lang din ako ng VL hanggang sa katapusan ng buwan na ‘to. Sa paniniwalang may isa pa akong paid vacation (para maangas ang dating), na sa katunayan ay may naibangko pa pala akong lima, nagpaalam na ako sa bosing na hindi ako papasok noong Miyerkules.

Ang master plan ko lang naman sa araw na ‘yun ay manood ng isang rare film ni Lino Brocka sa Mag:Net sa Katipunan, sa pugad ng mga magigiting na Atenista (at Miriamista rin?), sa kahabaan ng C5. May side trip pa sanang isang movie sa Megamall o Galleria, ‘yung “Litsonero” ni Lore Reyes, pero nakatulugan ko na lang dahil sa kaka-blog n’ung umaga.

Saktong 3:30pm, nag-taxi na ako papuntang Katipunan. Commute sana kaso, ‘yun nga, nakapag-siesta ako nang ‘di oras. Dumating ako ng pasado 4pm. Bagito kasi ako sa lugar na ‘yun kaya gumapang kami ni manong driver sa paghahanap ng Mag:Net (isang what-the-hell na hirit para kina Jaejay at Topeng: mabuti pa ang totoong magnet, madaling mahagilap). Anyway, sinabihan ako ng mga babaeng nakaitim (na t-shirt) sa loob ng bar na 5:30pm pa raw mag-uumpisa ang pelikula. Moving forward, 5:30pm na raw. Fine. Nagpalipas na lang ako sa tabi-tabi, feeling Ivy Leaguer at kumuha ng snapshot ng lansangan.

Bumalik ako sa bar ng mga 5pm na. In-explore ko na lang ‘yung second floor para naman ‘di na ako mailang. Pag-akyat mo pa lang sa hagdan, mararamdaman mo na ang artsy vibes sa bawat kanto. Merong mga paskil ng kung anu-anong film-related events at ang mga lamesa ay artwork by itself. Doon ko na naabutang ibaba ang telon at paandarin ang player para ma-test ang kopya ng movie. Um-order ako ng napakasarap na longganisang Lucban burger (yes!) in creamy wasabi sauce with pomme fritz. Buti na lang alam ko ang fritz (hehehe). Around P200 ang nagastos ko d’yan kasama na ‘yung P50 na entrance fee na may isang basong punch.

Kopya mula sa Cinema One ang pinalabas nilang “Angela Markado”. I was informed na rare ‘yung kopya nito kaya ito ang pinili ko sa 26 na obrang kasali sa Brockamania. Isang Carlo J. Caparas material ‘yung film na in-adapt ni Pete Lacaba. Tungkol ito sa isang waitress, si Hilda Koronel, na ginahasa ng limang maton kabilang sina Rez Cortez, Ruel Vernal at Johnny Delgado. Ano namang kalaban-laban ni Hilda r’yan? Syempre, wala s’yang nagawa kundi isuko ang kanyang puri. Pero nakuha n’yang makatakas nang s’ya ay ibenta sa isang casa. Nilagyan din pala s’ya ng tattoo sa likod na nakamarka ang limang pangalan ng kanyang rapist. Huwag n’yo na nang itanong kung bakit nag-iwan pa sila ng ebidensya pero by now, alam n’yo na siguro kung bakit ganun ang title. Tulad ng inaasahan ay isa-isang naitumba ni Hilda ang mga kontrabida sa tulong ng isang lanseta.

Hindi syempre r’yan natapos ang Brocka experience ko. Sa gabi ay rakrakan naman kabilang ang mga bandang Live Tilapia, Purplechickens, Los Chupacabras at ang The Brockas. D’un ko na yata nakita ang pinakamalaking gathering ng makikinis na filmmaker at critic. Sila na siguro ang mga kabilang sa upper echelon na tinatawag. Wala akong kainuman n’un kaya mag-isa kong pinabagsak ang tatlong below zero na San Mig Light. Namulutan ako ng baby squid tempura with squid ink sauce. Sarap! Mabuti na lang at sa kaliwa ko ay busy si Roxlee sa pagbebenta ng kanyang graphic novel na “Cesar Asar in the Planet of the Noses”. May rekoleksyon din ako sa kanya dahil ang kuya ko ay nag-contribute ng ideya para sa comic strip n’ya sa Manila Bulletin n’ung 80’s. Malaking bagay sa akin n’un ang makita ang pangalan ng kuya ko sa ilalim ni Cesar Asar. Bumili ako ng libro at nagpapirma na rin.

Hindi ako masyadong nagbabad. Hindi pa man yata sumasapit ang 18th death anniversary ni Brocka (May 21) ay lumarga na ako. Pero kakaiba ‘yung set ng The Brockas bago ako mag-bill out. Gumawa sila ng montage ng mga pelikula ni Brocka at nilapatan nila ng live music. Heaven sa isang film addict ‘yung number. Sinayawan pa ito ng isang patron na nakamaskara ng malaking mukha ni Brocka habang kumakain ng saging. Nagkaroon pala ng pasahan ng saging sa hindi ko maipaliwanag na dahilan. Pero nakisaging na rin ako, bakit hindi. Masaya at malaya ‘yung gabi. Hindi man ako ganap na naging bahagi n’ung espasyo ay enjoy na rin naman. Sabi nga ni Tado bago sila mag-perform, at gusto ko lang ulitin, “Mabuhay ang pagkamatay ni Brocka! Kung hindi s’ya namatay ay wala tayong lahat dito.”

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Farewell, Arian

How do you say goodbye to an officemate/friend? You can’t really do that for in one way or another, the line won’t be burned. Facebook will always be there. And so is Multiply. To celebrate, or better yet, “ceremonize” Arian’s leap to a new phase in her life in Qatar, we came up with the following:

1. Video Presentation. Jaejay and Topeng took charge of this. Our goal, of course, was to make Arian cry (yes, we’re bullies). We just have to ensure that ice cream shoul come in handy. To prepare, we emailed some of the company alumni plus Abdel, Arian’s hubby, who is already in Qatar. We got a response from Sajo and Rina and we just incorporated those in the video/scrapbook. Same went with Abdel’s. “Through the Years” was used (as I personally believe that Arian would easily relate to it) and Topeng (of his Gnepot Productions) did a good job with the editing (hindi lang pang stills, pang-movie pa!).

2. PPT Presentation. This wasn’t really planned but Daena helped us arrange this one with a little help from her little neighbor. It’s a medley of pictures from way back when, something that Arian would comment like “Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaena!” Running time is around 20 minutes so we just played this while peeps were having their snack. It was also a hit.

3. Song Number. I took charge of this. No, I didn’t volunteer to sing but I scouted for the (Videoke) Dream Team to do this. This was easy. I just considered those who sang at the Idols session during the summer outing last April (though not all of them made it because of planned vacation leave or just plain shy to perform live in a new set of audience). Dream Team is now composed of Arnold, Daena, Alou, Tess, She, Eric, Marc, Roan with John as our instrumentalist (I was informed that he can do the guitar or keyboards). Coming up with a song was another story. You see, we only had less than a week to prepare for this and we cannot just go crazy with the choice of song. In the pipeline were “Through the Years”, “Farewell”, “Count on Me” and even the Rivermaya song “Bye-bye Na”. We decided to use a back-to-back rendition of Greenday’s “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” and Steven Curtis Chapman’s “I Will Be Here”. It worked. For proof, just check this link out.
We kept the planning underground for obvious reasons. There was a myth before that our previous company was cursed that everytime a surprise event like a farewell party was organized, it was always spoiled. It’s by either spilling accidentally to the involved person or by plainly poor acting skills. We wanted to avoid that so we just informed the gang at 2pm on the date of the surprise attack (which was followed up at 4:30pm). Jubs was on leave that week but he made it just in time. We also connived Sherlie to YM Arian about a decoy party on the same floor. Everything went well and most importantly, the goodbye girl cried a bucket. She said that she had an idea about a farewell gift but but she didn’t expect a farewell party (which, by the way, was hosted by Neo).

To Arian, it won’t be convenient to not see your reminder emails anymore. But of course, you’re more than that and we know that. How could I forget the toothpick puzzle that you shared to us with Peng, Pao and Sacha? That was a genius (but please, don’t try to do it in Qatar for your safety, hahaha). For now, goodbye and see you soon. As the song goes, “there’s something unpredictable but in the end it’s right. I hope you had the time of your life….”

Ilang Eksena Mula sa "The Amazing Race - Season 14"

Picture is taken from

Last week ko pa sana na-blog ‘to pero dahil ito ang “Greatest Show on Earth” para sa akin, heto ang ilang eksena mula sa Season 14:

1. Asians can do it. Sa latest season, isang Chinese – American team ang nanalo, ang magkapatid na sina Tammy and Victor. Pero hindi naman kasi basta-bastang team. They happen to be both lawyers and Harvard grads. Napaka-superior kahit sa credentials pa lang. Plus, physically fit naman sila pinaka-strategic among all the teams. Lahat game lang for them and at the end of the day, wala silang nakaaway kahit na ni-U Turn nila ang isang team. Though sa isang task, naligaw sila at dito nag-breakdown si Victor. But he learned his lesson well, that is to listen to his sister Tammy, and ended up as topnotch. Kahit n’ung nag-U Turn, lumabas pa rin ang pagiging senti ng mga Asians. They politely left a message to the yielded team saying “Sorry, we cannot outrun you”. They were at their best during the Beijing leg (second to the last pit stop) as they communicated in Mandarin. But it was at the last Road Block that the team really shone. Ang task is to collect 12 surfboards that would remind them of all the pit stops. Nauna sa venue ang isang finalist, sina Margie and Luke, but Tammy and Victor outdid them by accomplishing the task almost single-handedly. Napaka-heart-pounding n’ung part na ‘yun. Imagine, nagkasabay-sabay sa isang task ang tatlong teams?

2. Medyo disturbing ‘yung episode na nag-away ang teams na sina Keisha and Jen and Margie and Luke. Nagkakabanggaan na kasi sila when retrieving a clue and it didn’t help na deaf si Luke. Prior to that leg, tinawag nilang “bitch” ang isa’t isa nina Keisha and Luke. And during the pit stop, nagsumbong pa talaga sila kay Phil. The mother in Margie defended Luke from sisters Keisha and Jen. Nag-walk out si Luke sa pit stop na ‘yan after they checked in. The mother-and-son team contested that people with disability should never be called “bitch”. Parang teka muna, paano kung bitch talaga ang isang tao regardless kung may disability o wala? I am not sure kung puwedeng magamit na excuse ang kapansanan.

3. Kasali rin sa season ngayon ng TAR ang sa tingin ko ay pinaka-weak na team ever n’ung show, sina Linda and Steve. Medyo senior na sila (read: lolo/lola) and it’s a big disadvantage to the race lalo na kung sobrang draining ng task. On top of that, medyo mahina rin ang loob ni Linda at wala s’yang masyadong sense of direction. I have nothing against them being lolo/lola pero heartbreaking kapag di ka na nakakakita ng enthusiasm sa kanila. Pero it’s good na hindi sila ang unang team na natanggal and better that they didn’t last until the second episode.

4. Hindi yata masyadong napino ang mga tasks this season. For instance, unang Detour pa lang nila, meron nang hindi suwabe. Ito ‘yung kailangan nilang ibaba ang sangkaterbang cheese by using a backpack-like wooden stuff. Slippery ‘yung bundok at minsan, nasisira nila ‘yung “item” or gumugulong ang keso paibaba. Kung madaya lang ako eh di kunyari, madudulas ako at mabibitawan ko ang keso, solb ang problema. Naulit ito r’un sa isang task na nakadepende sa kondisyon ng hangin. One team cannot accomplish the other task dahil sa injury. And yet, they waited for the wind to settle. It worked to their advantage pero paano kung hindi nagkaroon ng ganitong chance? Ganito rin ang nangyari r’un sa swimming task na halos magpa-give up kina Tammy and Victor at Keisha and Jen. Hindi naman kasi talaga sila swimmer.

5. Isa sa mga nakakatawang Detour task ‘yung Avenue of Happy Smiles challenge nina Margie and Luke sa Thailand. There were five senior ladies in a row. Each had a basin containing of a couple of false teeth sets soaked in water. Ang task ay hanapin ang tamang dentures na kasya sa lola. It was only Margie and Luke who accomplished it.

6. Finale was really a finale. Hindi ko na matandaan pero ngayon lang yata nangyari na ang final three ay nag-abot lahat sa isang challenge right before the final pit stop. Nakakakaba kasi hindi mo ma-predict ang mananalo. Though hindi kasing dramatic ang final race kamukha ng first ever TAR (kung saan, nag-overtake ang winning team sa isa pang team), alam mong palaban lahat ang final three.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Pop Culture

Here’s the drill: I watched “Angels and Demons” at Glorietta 4’s Cinema 3 last Friday at 9:40pm. It was full as expected. And more than expected of me, I watched the film alone. I was seated in Row I with a sosy-sounding group on my left and “undefined class” on my right. During the trailer break, I didn’t mind them talking so long as they stop when the opening credits roll. The group on my right, composed of two girls and a guy, were talking about an officemate who happens to be outmoded when it comes to movies. Guy was telling Girl 1 that he invited the officemate to watch “T2” (from Star Cinema) and the officemate mistook it for “Terminator 2”. Officemate allegedly said to Guy 1, “ay hindi pa ‘yan palabas!” And they laughed.

Opening credits came in. The group on my right didn’t stop talking. Girl 2 was so proud to share that the film was now progressing to Chapter 2 or something. I kept my cool at first and just let the girl talk. Maybe she’ll stop at some point.

I was wrong. For almost an hour, Girl 2 maintained an up-to-date comparison/analysis of the book and the film. I sssshed her from time to time but it seemed like she’s not getting what’s the ssssh all about. She didn’t mind that within our circle, she was the only one talking aloud. I even wanted to ask her when will Gandalf appear or maybe just an FYI, I read the book myself. I wanted to tell her that I read it in one week in time for a trip to Rome. And that I saw some of the “altars” and that I contested that Robert Langdon cannot survive the Tiber River in case Ron Howard prefers to include that preposterous paperback scene in the film. But of course, I did not do that. I just gave her an ultimatum ssssh and it worked.

Two lessons/reminders here:

1. Talking inside the cinema while the film is being screened is unethical. No matter how you put it, it remains unethical. Some even advise me to counter-attack a noisy seatmate with “Uy, may audio na ‘yung movie, hindi ko kailangan ng audio mo!” or harsher, "Hindi ito SM Megamall."

2. Keep spoilers to yourself. This is self-explanatory.
On second thought, the experience that I just shared is perhaps beyond ethics. It’s about a pop culture that most of us Filipinos do not usually notice. My take is this: Girl 2 was just plain proud that she read the book. And not most of us love to read a relatively expensive non-Filipino book. Plus, being hyped with Dan Brown books alone is an elite sideline. Girl 2 is unlike those who settle for free entertainment. And she found her audience in her cinema seatmates.

When the lights were up after the film, another group at my back were also commenting that some of the book’s scenes were removed. A guy was saying that there should be a scene in the hospital. Then another girl mentioned that she could even list down all the changes. Personally, I find the updates minor and those didn’t affect the material’s vision. The film in fact enhances the book’s flaws and I can say that Ron Howard did justice to it. I would love it if they can discuss things like the recreation of the Vatican Archives and how it looks too blue in the film while some postcards actually show that it’s shelves are a little yellowish. Or how Ewan Mc Gregor is fascinating to see as Camerlengo Ventresca or how the dead pope’s artificial insemination wasn’t discussed further. Again, everything boils down to bragging about the verity that they read the book and that they memorize every detail on it and that it’s a concession to have done such.

Oh, well, Manuel. If only I was watching “BFF”, it would have been a totally new argument.

Movie Digest # 058

Robinsons Galleria, Cinema 9, May 4, 7:00pm

Just a background, this is the first in line for the DGPI project called “Sine Direk”. It’s a showcase of indie works from the director’s guild members that include Peque Gallaga, Maryo J. Delos Reyes and a few more. As for this Joel Lamangan film, written by Ricky Lee (after a hiatus of scriptwriting), it depicts a world in the perspective of a lady on her 70’s played by Gloria Romero. She has two issues, as the film progresses. First, she has to let her community understand about the two men in her life (played by Eddie Garcia and Robert Arevalo) from which she is sharing a house. The first man is her partner for a long time and the other is a long lost husband who came back from Hawaii. It’s a pretty riot premise, I contest. But the film tackles more than that. The town mayor happens to be harassing some people, including Gloria Romero’s character, to sell their land in exchange of a profitable project that would build a cemetary and a mall in one. As one character quips, “para ho masaya nang mamatay”. The story may be too crowded but I just love every scene where the three senior actors (occasionally with Armida Siguion – Reyna) share a frame/sequence. It’s ending is a bit predictable but the stagey execution there is something that I always look forward in a film.

Friends who might appreciate it: those who can spell and pronounce fuschia correctly.

SM Megamall, Cinema 9, May 9, 11:35am

Hands down, it’s the first better Pinoy film for the second quarter. No frills whatsoever, it tells a story of a family during the wake of their father. It borders to dramedy and black comedy as the characters explore the Filipino myths during funerals. The cast includes Dick Israel, Elizabeth Oropesa, Gina Alajar, Roderick Paulate (reprising his gay roles during the 80’s) and Manilyn Reynes as the siblings who happen to be seizure-friendly. For the plot itself, it’s marketable. It’s only a bonus to see the actors do some ad-libs, “ignoring” the script that creates a natural atmosphere all through out the film. The part where the coffin cannot fit in the door and the neighbors started to use the second-floor window instead is a strike of genius.

Friends who might appreciate it: all Filipinos, mourning or not.

SM Mall of Asia, IMAX Theater, May 9, 3:30pm

To say the least, the film is about making the crew of a spacecraft that is at war. I myself am not a Trekkie so to view it out of nothing is a great experience on itself. It’s good that I didn’t feel lost or alienated (no pun intended) while watching the film. I wish I could mention more about how I love Kirk’s boldness on gauging his skills as team captain and how every office needs a Spock but that’s saying too much for a sci-fi movie. CGI is fine and no scene would remind me of any film about the outer space. Acting is also good. Direction is good. Definitely, the first above average US summer flick for 2009. And MTV Movie Awards would be feasting on this, I’m betting.

Friends who might appreciate it: those who wish to live longer, prosper and boldly go.

Glorietta 4, Cinema 5, May 13, 10:30pm

My take on this is a martial arts film about, well, the martial arts. I thought before that it’s just a genre. The film disproves that as it confirms a street in China called “the street of the martial arts clubs”. It then moves on to tell the life of Ip Man, a luminary in one variety of martial arts, from war-torn China up to his getaway to Hongkong. All in all, it’s too Star Cinematic (read: mainstream). I just have to note that some scenes are either too cool (Chinese kung-fu versus Japanese karate, whoa!) or too funny (the revenge of the warehouse manangs is for the books).

Friends who might appreciate it: Ip-ren “Bata” Reyes and company.

Glorietta 4, Cinema 5, May 13, 10:30pm

First things first: I enjoyed the film. Maybe it has something to do with the wanderlust in me. As a film alone, it works. It served as a sequel to “The Da Vinci Code” whereas in the books, “Angels and Demons” came out first. This time, Robert Langdon is tasked to unlock the mystery in Vatican and help save the four kidnapped cardinals. As expected, minor details from the book were removed. But for me, it doesn’t affect the whole intention of the film. The depiction of the papal voting looks authentic and refreshing to see. It’s fast-paced and thrilling at times though it lacks the build-up it needs for its climactic twist.

Friends who might appreciate it: those who agree that Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon is this generation’s answer to Ian Fleming’s James Bond.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Aping APE on Mother’s Day

I dread Annual Physical Exam big time. Maybe it has something to do with blood extraction and injections and that extra task called “sampling”. I hate the image of a needle being stuck in my arm plus the fact that you have to completely trust your nurse to be a pro on that field. Otherwise, you’ll end up black and blue.

For the record, last year, I availed the company APE only on the last week of the monthlong schedule. Trying to be brave in front of my office peeps that were in the queue for blood test, I observed the whole process. I looked at how a rubber was tied in my arm then a clean syringe penetrated my flesh followed by the image of a blood slowly filling the container.

I really thought that it was heroic and fulfilling on my part, only to realize that it made me fear APE more this year. It didn’t help that one time, Leah approached me and showed me that black thingy on her arm and swore to me that she will never ever get an APE again.

Last week, I was still unsure if I can fearlessly approach Healthway the next day. I slept at 8pm and made a deal with myself that if ever I wake up at 11:30pm to follow the 8 to 10-hour diet, I’ll do it. The biological clock in me won. So at midnight, I was scouting for food and some containers for the “sampling”. It didn’t help that 7-11’s were everywhere.

On Mother’s Day, last Sunday, I accomplished one of the motherly things I could do to myself. I submitted myself for check-up, having in mind that it’s something that my mom would love me to do. True enough. When I texted her first thing in the morning to greet her “Happy Mother’s Day” and mentioned about that unusual weekend activity I was about to do, she just said “Sige, para rin sa ‘yo ‘yan”. The butterflies in the stomach were still there, giving me an initial BP of 150/100, but everything turned out very well. I saw some colleagues there that gave me at least ample time to relax and converse. Not to mention that I got the gentlest blood extraction ever.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Testosterone Friday: Unveiling of Playboy Magazine’s May Issue

Got an invite from Jeman Villanueva of Playboy Magazine (Philippines), a friend, last May 5 about the unveiling of their May issue with Aiza Marquez as celebrity cover girl. I was informed that they feature a celebrity only once (or was it twice?) a year. Since I didn’t plan to watch a movie on that Friday evening, May 9, I RSVP-ed. Part of the plan was that I could invite some of my friends so long as they can blog/Multiply about it. That was easy.

In search of my entourage (yeah, right), I emailed the core photography group in the office. Justin, Topeng, Jon (in a flash), Reg and Gerard said yes. Hoping to fill out the rest of fifteen slots I was given with, I invited the kids. Eric, Mat, Keith, Neil, Nikko, Wigs, JZ and Hey said yes. The fifteenth happened to be an officemate from Equitable Bank but he was a no-show. Too bad for him and for Gerard and JZ.

Then last Friday, at 7pm, Topeng, Justin and I were already on our way to A.Venue in Makati Ave. Since Jeman (I think I’m the only one who still calls him Jesse) warned us that the bar only offers food samplers, we headed to Rufo’s which serves one of the best beef tapa in the metro for dinner. Jon and Reg followed suit. We already had a bottle of San Mig Light then. One commented that it’s for “pampalakas ng loob”.

At 8:45pm, we were at the entrance of Zenses Neo-Shanghai Cuisine. Miss Aiza Marquez was having an interview there with ABS-CBN’s Mario Dumaual. DLSRers Jon, Reg, Topeng and Justin started to unpack their tools as their instincts commanded. The kids were on the other side, stunned as I was.

The whole shebang lasted for another fifteen minutes. That’s the time when everybody had to spot a table upstairs. We opted to get the table at the terrace and there we planted our bags and other stuff. A moment later, Miss Aiza positioned her self on top of a giant tarpauline that extends down to the middle stairs. The actual unveiling was quick. But the photo session was not. It seemed like everybody aimed to get a Facebook picture with the bunnies and Miss Aiza herself. That, of course, didn’t exclude me.

Drinks were everywhere and on the house. I ordered a glass of Blue Hawaiian first which was not that kiddie. Then a beer and three shots of the bar’s famous Sweater. It was served with a dry ice-like effect on top and you have to wait for it to vanish before gulping the drink down. Finger food came in at the right time. It was a plate of dimsum (I never imagined it for “pulutan” but it worked) and servings of spicy meat that looked like nuggets to me.

There was an autograph signing session with Miss Aiza and Playmate Suan Javinez (which made the night hotter or was it the drinks?). Playboy Philippines provided a postcard-like version of the cover which came in handy. The rest of the evening was a photographer’s delight, balancing out moments of getting tipsy and having a nice angle of the subjects.

How about the kids? They had their fix and let me spill some of it. Mat was the first to score by getting the first photo with the bunnies and Miss Aiza. After my turn, of course. Eric had the longest time with the girls because Topeng was still mixing his camera configs. Same went with Wigs and Nikko. Eric was all smiles when Miss Aiza mentioned that he looked like Christian Bautista. He’s celebrating his birthday the next day so he acted as if it was his party. I had another picture with Miss Aiza on which Eric uttered with “the hands!” It was a slice of envy as he confided that Miss Aiza is his long-time crush. Everything was smooth sailing until silent Keith turned the tides and made his killer moves. It was another “the hands” shot which got everybody jealous and found their way to have a similar shot. Talking about the kids at play.

When Miss Aiza left at 11:30pm, my whole entourage also left and said goodbye to Jeman/Jesse. We had fun and we’re rolling our sleeves for the next leg (no pun intended). To Playboy Philippines, kudos and thank you for a testosterone night of swell fun. Always remember that we are just a text away.

More pics here.
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