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Thursday, March 31, 2016

"Moral" and Other 80's Movies Can Be Educational Tool for Martial Law Lessons



I was watching Marilou Diaz-Abaya's movie, Moral, tonight and I realized that one way to teach our country's history during the martial law is through movies made during that time.
I've encountered many articles denying those killings never happened but there are many movies during that time that teachers can use to educate their students.
Moral is actually a movie about four young women and their dreams, their sex lives, their boyfriends - not so different from the latest Kathryn Bernardo movie. It's not about martial law or the excesses of the administration during that time.
Yun lang, since the setting and the time frame is in the early 1980s, di maiiwasan na they talk about the dictatorship, because many young people went to the boondocks at that time, to live out their ideals.
So some of the characters went to the mountains and became members of the NPA or the Communist Party.
If you don't believe that some of the young conyo crowd went against the Marcoses, google Maita Gomez. Your parents would certainly know her.
Batch 81, Sister Stella L, Kapit sa Patalim are just some of the movies I can think of that history teachers can use to help today's youth appreciate their freedom of expression through social media.
The truth is, if there was social media then, and we were the users, most likely 80% of us would already have been tortured, killed or imprisoned, seeing that there are so many opinionated people here.
Oh mali pala, if there was social media then during the Marcos dictatorship, wala tayong Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, or kung meron man, puro lang mukha ni Imelda makikita ninyo, kasi banned for everyone else e, only for the Blue Ladies and the chosen few.
If you don't believe me, try using Facebook in China right now and experience how a government can control social media to suit their needs.
Kaya if you appreciate the freedoms you take so much for granted today, mag-isip isip din kayo who to vote, especially if you're only in your 20s.
My generation kasi packed up and left the Philippines. That's basically the legacy the Marcoses left our generation. Ilan na lang kaming natira dito.
How sad naman if today's generation also packs up and leaves the Philippines.

Movie Review: The Luscious and Delicate Carol




If you were a lesbian and you looked like Cate Blanchett and had her gravitas, it won't be difficult to attract other women your way.
Yun lang, if you lived in the 1950s, it would be a bit difficult. I finally watched the movie Carol over the Holy Week and I felt bad that it was snubbed by the Oscars for Best Picture.
It's a gorgeous movie! The fashion, the houses, the cars - it's always like that in a Todd Haynes! Everything is gorgeous, including Cate Blanchett!
I was actually watching her character, and I realized, OMG, that's me, that's how audacious I sometimes approach boys I like. I used to be very shy and indirect, but as you age and you gain more experience and confidence, you become bold - and that department store scene where Cate meets Rooney for the first time, shows how supremely confident Cate's character is, in her flirting powers!
One beef lang that I have with this movie is that these lesbians are hot!! I guess we're so used to the stereotype of lesbians looking like Charice and Aiza Seguerra, who won't really qualify as hot based on Cosmopolitan standards.
Rooney Mara is one actress who downplays her beauty when she's walking the red carpet, always opting for that "crazy" look, but when she's in movies, she looks so radiant and innocent and beguiling!
It's impossible not to fall in love with her in this movie because she's so sweet, and fragile and confused, you just want to hold her and comfort her and well, mentor her.
The lesbians will love this movie because there is a sex scene and the last Oscar-nominated movie that went all out in girl-to-girl action was in Black Swan.
See, heterosexual Hollywood A-list directors are human too and they have these girl-to-girl sex fantasies which they can include in their movies because they are such great writers and directors - so they can get away with it!
Putting that aside, I loved Sarah Paulson here. This woman should get a meaty role soon and get herself Oscar-nominated. She deserves it! I discovered her in the American Horror Story series and she's here as well!
One thing though is that this lesbian movie has a nice ending! Buti pa sila, sa Brokeback Mountain, napakatragic! Bakit pag gay man's movie, kelangan talaga may mamatay. Pero sa lesbians, happy ending. Kainis!

Missing My #OOTD Days


To be young and thinner! It's really the age where you can still squeeze into the impossible sizes Italian designers demand from their clients.
Like most young people, I used to spend all my money on clothes and I had very expensive taste before.
When I see today's young people satisfied with just H&M or Uniqlo or Forever 21, I realized how crazy I was before since I demanded to wear Versace or Cavalli or Missoni!
Kaya ayun, maxxed out palagi ang credit card.
I'm wearing Versace here when Gianni was still alive! Gianni was very meticulous with everything! Even the buttons had to have the Versace logo! He was THAT meticulous to detail.
And everything was super tight to the body, when tight was not yet in vogue (this was the 90s!)
Of course now, I am happy wearing Bench or Oxygen, preferring to save money for the kiddos education and my old age.
I've had my fashion ‪#‎OOTD‬ time and I really had a lot of fun.

Reminiscing My Work as a Magazine Writer


I miss doing magazine work, when your editor just barks orders at you to go here or go there, or be at this location at this time, so as not to miss your subjects.
For this picture, I decided to interview Olympian swimmer Akiko Thompson and Amazing Race Asia contestant Rovilson Hernandez, just after they ran a road race. Races were not that popular before, unlike now.
They were still so perky and gregarious even after running a long race!
At a time when cameras were not that ubiquitous, it's fun to discover that I still have some souvenir pictures with some of my favorite subjects. Again, this one is from Mama's collection.

Zaha Hadid: Groundbreaking Female Architect



Interestingly, I learned about the who's who of today's contemporary architects because of Prada.
In the early 2000's, Miuccia Prada was building these shrines of fashion glorifying her product line.
In my first trip to Tokyo, a friend asked me, "Oh, what did you do there?" I said, "Oh, I just checked out the Prada store in Omotesando. I actually went in, and everything was in white, a white freaking carpet - and it was raining outside. I was very worried about my shoes dirtying the immaculate white carpet!"
Anyhow, another architect did that building. Because of them, I learned about the talent of a female architect, much revered in the profession, Zaha Hadid.
Unfortunately, she died last night but her legacy of circular design in buildings and circular buildings firmly places her in the firmament of modern architecture.
She will certainly be missed for her generosity and the path she has created to future female architects.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Discovered the Beauty of Louis Jenkin's Poetry!


I want to share a prose poem I discovered this Holy Week. It's essentially for young people in their 20s who are still looking for their place in this earth.

Well, it can also be for people like me who have found their little niches on this earth and still wonder, "Is this all there is?"

The poet is Louis Jenkins, an American, and I love his sense of humor and the way he uses it to put his point across.

This is a prose poem so it's not written the way we are used to but when you recite it aloud, you will notice the cadence and rhythm that we associate usually with poems.

This one is entitled, "Backcountry".

“When you are in town, wearing some kind of uniform is helpful,
policeman, priest, etc. Driving a tank is very impressive, or a car
with official lettering on the side. If that isn’t to your taste you
could join the revolution, wear an armband, carry a homemade flag tied to a broom handle, or a placard bearing an incendiary slogan.

At the very least you should wear a suit and carry a briefcase and a cell phone, or wear a team jacket and a baseball cap and carry a cell phone.

If you go into the woods, the backcountry, someplace past all human habitation, it is a good thing to wear orange and carry a gun, or, depending on the season, carry a fishing pole, or a camera with a big lens.

Otherwise it might appear that you have no idea what you are doing, that you are merely wandering the earth, no particular reason for being here, no particular place to go.”

Les Miserables in Manila!







Watching the great classic musical Les Miserables is like welcoming an old dear friend back into our homes.

We all know the music by heart and are familiar with the plot lines of the story yet we relish the experience like it was the first time, as we are moved, again by the beauty of its message and the continuing relevance it has in our own lives - forgiveness, redemption, courage and self-sacrifice.

Victor Hugo's novel is already a monumental achievement on its own, watching its story unfold, this time, as a musical, makes it even touch our hearts more, because the music is so moving, and so familiar to us.

I bet everyone who went home last night was humming a tune from the many beautiful songs in this musical.

We are so lucky to have the Solaire Theatre as a venue because it allows grand musicals like Les Miserables to unfold into the visual and aural spectacle that it is capable of.

This Manila version of this musical has some new stage treats and gimmicks that made us ooohh and ahhh last night, as if the music alone was not enough to impress us.

The tickets are a bit pricey but sulit na sulit sya. I'm sure many of you have seen the movie version, but I strongly recommend you watch the live musical version as well.

It's a totally different experience because the Solaire Theatre allows you to be part of what's happening and you won't even notice it's 2 hour and a half running time because it is both engaging and captivating.

I strongly recommend that you listen to the soundtrack before you watch it for a more enhanced experience.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Bridge of Spies - "Would it help?" quote



Optimism and freedom from worry are the two most valuable lessons I've learned during my own Holy Week meditation.
These past few years have been very difficult from me and I have been pushed to the edge so many times, it would've been very easy to just give up.
Anyhow, it's very funny that it took a movie character to help me realize that I worry too much!

I know many people thought Sylvester Stallone should've won the Oscar this year but I was one of the few, including of course the members of the Academy who voted for Mark Rylance, who think that this guy really delivered the best performance among their group.
In this wonderfully cut montage of his scenes from the movie Bridge of Spies, and through the wittily written words of the Coen brothers, it took a Soviet spy character to remind me to live life more optimistically (although I believe I am already one of the most optimistic people I know!) and to not worry too much, because as his character says in these scenes - would negativity and worrying too much, help?

Bridge of Spies: Another Gem from Steven Spielberg




I feel extremely lucky to live at the same time Steven Spielberg has chosen to become an extremely adept storyteller via his superlatively impressive directing skills.

From E.T. in 1983, when I was just 11 years old, till last year's Bridge of Spies, each of his movies has been a benchmark, at least for me, of how to be a very good storyteller, via directing.

Every wannabe director should study him because frankly, there are so many lousy storytellers out there pretending to be directors!!

Bridge of Spies is the sort of movie Papa would've loved to watch. What I would give to have watched this movie with him in the cinema since we did watch movies together when I was still young.

Spielberg kasi really knows how to create suspense! To think, I just watched it at home ha, I was literally on the edge of my seat - even though medyo alam mo naman na kung sinong mananalo.

It helped a lot also that Tom Hanks and Mark Rylance are both superb actors. I was actually very happy that Mark Rylance won the Oscar this year.

His role kasi is so vital to this movie and sa totoo lang, it's not easy to upstage a two-time Oscar winner in Tom Hanks, but I daresay, natalbugan niya si Tom Hanks in this movie, mainly because the screenwriters, the Coen brothers input some humorous lines which Rylance delivered with such deadpan humor, I was really laughing out loud every time he uttered those lines!

Funny thing is, I learned a lot from this Soviet spy and his outlook on life. Every time Tom Hank's character would say something like, "Aren't you worried about getting the death penalty?"

Rylance, in an often repeated line in the movie would say "Would it help?"

It's like a message for me since I worry a lot!

Chow Down at Conti's









Conti's is starting to become one of the favorite restos of my friends and I.  We're always on the lookout kasi for a place we can chow and talk and not break our measly budgets LOL

It's affordable kasi and the food is ok naman.  Not really uber delicious but reasonable na for its price - and the ambiance is simple and cool, pwede kayo makipagkwentuhan ng matagal with your friends kasi they not only have starters, they also have main dishes hanggang dessert na, so sulit sa time and sa choices ng food.  No need to transfer to other cafes for dessert!

I may have to convert Mama, my sister, my brother and my auntie na this is one place we can eat during our Sunday get-togethers!  Di pa kasi sila sold out masyado sa food dito.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Ariel Levy: Cannibal Fodder in The Green Inferno







If I were one of the cannibals in the movie The Green Inferno, Ariel Levy would be the first one I'd have a bite on!  He's so yummy and so feisty!

Raphael Kiefer: Discovered A New Male Model





I was watching a show on ANC and they were talking about a modeling course and the model guest was a guy called Raphael Kiefer.  He does look hot!

Feasting on Humans: The Hungry Cannibals of The Green Inferno




My brother Mike loves horror movies so once in a while, he brings me some horror DVDs to watch. Most of them are crap and not really scary.

However, he brought this movie called The Green Inferno and although it took some time for the full gore to happen, it was one of the best horror movies I've seen in a while.

Well, when I say best, I mean full on gore and blood and guts and this time, it's not zombies or ghosts or poltergeists that cause the fear - it's the cannibals!

The movie puts a little touch of social commentary in the movie but we all know it's just a bunch of self-serving crap. We didn't watch this movie to be preached on saving the Amazon. We all know what we came here for.

To feast on the horrible things that may happen if we do get lost in the jungles of the Amazon. I don't fault the cannibals. It's their territory. It was the activists who invaded their territory - and they had to pay with their own pound of flesh.

I dare you to eat popcorn or anything at all when you watch this movie.

Book Review: Maeve Binchy - Light A Penny Candle


Whenever I want a read that's light and uncomplicated, Maeve Binchy is one of the authors that I go to.

That's why I am pretty surprised that Light A Penny Candle was actually her very first novel, because unlike the first few books of hers that I've read, Tara Road, Night of Rain and Stars and Scarlet Feather, this one is the most complex, the most expansive and the most interesting.

The time span is also one of the longest, beginning with two female characters who were just children when World War II started, to the point in the ending when they were almost in their 30s, with failed marriages in the late 1950s.

The study in contrasts is also interesting since one of the girls was English, and the other one Irish - one was Catholic and the other one was Protestant. One is from London, one is from the rural part of Ireland.

Also, it's pretty rare for novelists to dwell too much on Catholic practices, but it's one of Maeve Binchy's trademarks - and she doesn't shy away from it.

Light a Penny Candle is a tradition for Catholics - and many Filipinos do it. In the Philippines, it's more like Light a Five Peso Candle since that's how much each candle is worth - but the idea behind the practice is the same - to pray so that a wish comes true.

A lot of things happen in this story and there are a lot of interesting characters to keep the reader busy. Like most of the readers, I do find the ending too abrupt and too bizarre and a bit out of character and theme but it does shake things up a bit. You'd never find a similar ending in any of her others novels as well.

It is probably her longest novel but I had a hard time putting it down.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Our Prayers Go to Brussels

We offer our prayers for the victims and the injured on the terrorist attacks in Brussels today, and in Istanbul and Ankara last week.
It's sad to think that some of those victims just said goodbye to their families to go off to work or to travel for vacation, never knowing the danger that awaited them.
Intelligence and security work have to be strengthened talaga by all countries in the world because the war now has been brought right to the very public spaces we use everyday.

Doing French for a Living

My brother has always chided me for studying French and Spanish and not making money out of that skill.
Well, today, I just closed a deal with a government agency based in an African country to go through their files (written in French) and condense it into a state of education report, written in English.
Yun lang, parang naisahan ako sa charges kasi the country in question, is very poor but when I checked the address of the contact person, he's an African based in Switzerland pala.
I should've charged more LOL

Sunday, March 20, 2016

How I Deal With Cynophobia


For years, I've had to strike off my dating list a lot of handsome, intelligent, warm and amiable guys because I have cynophobia.
As soon as I see in their FB pics that they love dogs, I just quietly strike them off my list because I don't want them to see how horror-stricken my face would be if their beloved dog or dogs run to greet me, if I visit them in their condos o! That would be so humiliating!
This, by the way, is Cooper, and he is such a bibo and loving and fierceguard dog. But since I have cynophobia, it's very difficult for me to even hold him.
I think I've held him before but it was like holding a hot kettle. I couldn't wait to drop him and shoo him away from me. It doesn't help that my brothers and Mama are no dog lovers either.
It's even worse outside in the streets of Manila. I could actually write a whole book about how I've had to avoid the stray dogs of Manila and Bangkok - two cities whose residents don't really care about stray dogs.
I love walking in neighborhoods but my cynophobia has made it very hard for me to walk around my own QC neighborhood because there is always a freaking stray dog out there or sometimes five of them, suddenly appearing in my path!
Try walking in Sukhumvit Road in Bangkok at 4AM and see how horrifyingly many stray dogs there are to dodge and keep away from! It has made my quiet walks turn into cynophobian nightmares!
Anyway, I was glad the kiddos got three dogs last year. I think it has made inroads into decreasing my cynophobia. I guess, this frequent interaction with them has slowly helped me cope with it.
See how pathetic I am in this picture. Cooper obviously wants to be picked up and cuddled and here I am, too afraid to pick him up lest he bite me or dig his sharp nails into my body!
I know it's freaking stupid but the phobia is there and it's so hard to overcome! I have no illusions that my cynophobia will ever be cured but as they say, baby steps, baby steps...

Sir Arthur Eddington: Another Gay Scientist Worthy of Emulation

There's another reason young gay men should not hide their true sexual identity.
I just watched this interesting movie entitled "Einstein and Eddington". Yes, we all know who Einstein is, but who is Eddington?
Well, Eddington turns out to be Sir Arthur Eddington, a British scientist, who helped prove Einstein's General Theory of Relativity.
Einstein kasi was a theorist and he needed someone to help him prove that Newton's Laws of Gravity did not hold up in space. Eddington helped him prove it. It was he who was instrumental in making Einstein world-famous.
And he was gay. The British scientific community knew his sexual preference but it was not an issue for them. This was 1914 England ha!
Yun lang, his only difference with the British mathematician Alan Turing was that he was a Quaker, and his deep religiosity kinda reined in his gay desires.
Also, the man he truly loved, died in World War I, ironically, killed by poison gas that German scientists formulated.
So since his true love died, para na ring namatay ang puso nya. O di ba, ang drama ng lola mo! So he just concentrated in his work.
So whatever people like Manny Pacquiao say about you young gay man (or woman) out there, just do your best in your chosen field and the world, in the long run, will not really care who you slept with or f**ked in the bedroom.
It should not stop you from being great, in whatever field you excel in.

Friday, March 18, 2016

A Sonnet of John Keats for your Holy Week Contemplation

Since it's the start of the Holy Week, I thought I'd share this poem I encountered while I was watching this 90's Matt Damon-Brendan Fraser movie.

I thought John Keats wrote poems that were difficult to understand but this one's pretty easy to understand.

The theme is quite fitting for this season of contemplation.

*****************************************************************************

On Seeing the Elgin Marbles
BY JOHN KEATS

My spirit is too weak—mortality
Weighs heavily on me like unwilling sleep,
And each imagined pinnacle and steep
Of godlike hardship tells me I must die
Like a sick eagle looking at the sky.
Yet ’tis a gentle luxury to weep
That I have not the cloudy winds to keep
Fresh for the opening of the morning’s eye.
Such dim-conceived glories of the brain
Bring round the heart an undescribable feud;
So do these wonders a most dizzy pain,
That mingles Grecian grandeur with the rude
Wasting of old time—with a billowy main—
A sun—a shadow of a magnitude.