Wednesday, January 31, 2007

bday blurbs

5 things you may want to give me (heartfelt ha...) on my birthday (the week after pwede pa...):

1. The new Loalde light brown polo with the folded sleeves. (Would appreciate it also if may match na black slacks...hehe).

2. Ipod Nano, color apple green.

3. Nostromo by Joseph Conrad or Tropic of Capricorn by Henry Miller.

4. A TeamManila shirt, yung design is either the The Carinderia Connoisseur or yung Rizal wearing aviator shades.

5. Girbaud wallet.


I searched the birthday calendar to see others who have the same birthday as mine. I know for a fact, ka-birthday ko si Justin Timberlake. But was glad to know that Jessica Walter and Portia de Rossi, the two misfits from my all-time fave sitcom Arrested Development, celebrates the same birthday as me. No wonder I love that show. It gives me gas spasms just watching 5 episodes consequently.

on the eve

Last night, the eve of my birthday, I was walking along the sidewalks near our office, heading home, feeling the breeze of the cold wind (which later I found out was the tail-end of a cold front). I got a call from Ate Wowie inviting me to join the dinner with Siriporn, our guest from Thailand. Siri is the Corporate Communications manager of Oracle ASEAN. Earlier in the morning, I finally met her during the press briefing which was attended by Oracle Phils.’ country manager Francis Ong and two of the directors.

I thought it would turn out to be a bad day because I lost my friggin’ worn-out belt. I arrived late and was shocked to see the VIPs in the function room already, all primed up, tousled and looking anxious. They were quite early or should I say I was late. Thank God the media arrived late so the presscon didn’t start until 8:30am. The industry-participated forum followed in the ballroom of Marco Polo. It was a grueling morning. I had a headache by lunch.

The real blast was during the evening when we went out with Siriporn. It is interesting to meet other nationalities because you have a lot to talk about. I learned that her name means ‘good blessing’ in Thai and the Sanskrit version was incredibly short. She was friendly and felt really at home during the dinner and she was so amazed by the food that was ordered (lechon kawali, pinakbet, tinolang manok, kinilaw… indeed very Filipino), that she took pictures of it. She said she’s going to brag about it to her friends. We were driving around when Kuya Dicky asked her videoke bars were popular in Bangkok. Indeed it was, and off the four of us went to a famous KTV. So that’s why she like singing, she didn’t prove disappointing at all as she hit the right notes. We drove her to Marco Polo after our throats got parched, thanked her profusely, promised to exchange emails and bid farewell.

I went home past 12 and thought about Bangkok. How I’d love to be there. I thought of Siriporn’s promise to take us around whenever we come there. How I like it to be now. As in right now. That would be a perfect treat. Just before I went to sleep I got the first text message from a far-away friend greeting me ‘happy birthday!’ Gawd, I’m friggin old. A friend told me 23 is a magic number. Well…

Sunday, January 28, 2007

beating the crap out

Wazzup dawgs? In the movie Harsh Times, the reference dawg has been so overused that I'd swear in every script-page there are about at least 10 of it. The characters punctuate their every sentence with it. They breathe, eat, and kill with the word. It gets nauseating at times. The lingo is excused with the fact that the film's setting is in the locales of Southern California, which is, often times depicted in television and movies, as the 'dawg' haven. This is where crack is staple as food. This is where you never dismiss kids as cutesy-cutesy or they'll beat up your sorry ass. The film Havoc, written by Stephen Gaghan, and Anne Hathaway's springboard into the 'bold' unknown, also comes into mind when talking about kids gone haywire. The first thing that came to mind having mentioned it, is Bijou Phillips getting sandwiched by sex-starved, crack-snorting Latinos. It was kind of disturbing that if the filmmakers intent was to show that disturbance, they achieved it in that scene. Larry Clark also tackles profusely on the subject with films like Kids, Bully and recently Wassup Rockers. Though I am yet to see Kids and Rockers, they pretty much border on the same subject matter. You will never imagine the kids' penchant for violence until you've seen them beat up, smoke and fuck the way adults do. Good grief.

While Clark's films may never achieve the mainstream Hollywood, a recent film on the subject matter which was just released the other week did. It's called Alpha Dog directed by Nick Cassavetes, and also known as Justin Timberlake's venture into acting. The film is based on a homicide case in SoCal. The unfortunate homeboy Zach is played by Anton Yelchin who looks like Elijah Wood minus five years. You get a scene of Sharon Stone slapping the hell out of his son or Bruce Willis trying to curb his murderer of a son, and it makes you think that these kids' parents are either unsuspecting, pathetic, tolerating or hysterical. It leaves you no room to see the characters as other than what the filmmakers what them to be, too.


Aside from Alpha Dog, I watched two other period films: The Painted Veil (with my favorite actress Naomi Watts in it), an adaptation of W. Somerset Maugham's novel about 1920s China and the Westerners venture into the Far East, and The Good German, a Steven Soderbergh project, which I think is far too ambitious. I can't even remember the details because the film's story and characters are seemingly lost in Tobey Maguire's humping. I can't think of nothing but Spiderman when I see him, not even traces of Pleasantville, Wonder Boys and The Cider House Rules.


Roger Federer is a fuckin' tennis god. I'm beginning to think he's drinking some kind of supernatural energy drink. When the two-hour Australian Open Champs (male single division) in Melbourne came to an end, with 7-6; 6-4; 6-4, he just waved at the screaming crowd, walked over to his bench, and smiled profusely at the camera like he's into some presscon and not a tennis game. While on the other side, Fernando Gonzales looked like he's been to a decathlon. He was obviously tired and burned out. Throughout the entire game, he looks like a friggin' gladiator ready to slay a lion. Lesson for him: never throw your racket in the midst of failed attempt to beat the crap out of your opponent. Especially if the racket gets broken. It's a bad omen.

photocourtesy of

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Auf Wiedersehen, Peter

Peter, our German colleague, had his birthday-cum-despidida party last night at his house. After almost two years of not being able to go back to his hometown in Germany, he'll be leaving for the land of great beers tomorrow Sunday, and won't be back till May.

I never really thought about how it will be like without him around in the office. Me and the rest of the gang are used to the jovial mood whenever he is around. Peter's smile can be really infectious especially when he goes around saying "Ja?", which in German would mean Yes. And who will ever forget the most generous German in Davao, in fact, according to people who have known him a lot, he is incredibly generous, which is kind of rare for a German like him. But then again, all of us friends would say, "Well...that's Peter."

He also has this adventurous spirit. Well, having to come from Germany to Asia -- first to Indonesia, then the Philippines -- he's one hell of a party. And it doesn't speak much of his age, huh. It was because of Peter that I rediscovered the beauty of Samal, when we went diving, and some trips to the beaches there.

Well... we'll be looking forward to your comeback Peter, and for more badminton games, cocktail sessions, and more parties. But until then, Auf Wiedersehen!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

get high

Fuckin' awesome. This is the real party. Pot session can kiss its own ass. If coke were legal and getting wasted is this fun, I'd prolly go mess my fucked up life.

(This clip is a teaser trailer of a new British TV series called SKINS. Thanks to bryanboy's blog for posting this vid.)

Speaking of drugs, there is also a good indie movie about drug addiction released 2006 called A Scanner Darkly directed by Richard Linklater of Before Sunrise fame. The film is a scenario wherein America has lost its battle on drugs. Although I haven't seen and read the book yet, it's an adaptation of Phillip K. Dick's novel. It's a hallucinatory headtrip and this might really require you to sit your ass down. You might want to check it out coz Keannu Reeves and Winona Ryder is in here though they are just in rotoscope which is a kind of animation. In the end you might get weirded out and dizzy -- like gulping coke or sniffing Mary Jane -- but don't say I didn't warn you.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

thespic presence

Becoming an actor is something that one must have wanted when he or she is still a child. When someone asked me, I said I wanted to be a doctor, which is the most common thing to aspire for a kid. Later, I wanted to become a computer engineer but realized that it cannot be reconciled with my dislike for math and the rigid discipline it entailed. During the first year of high school, I realized I could write and sometimes fancied delivering the news, so it was some kind of a toss between journalism, broadcast journ, or the more general mass communications.

It was during the last months of high school that I started to get hooked on the TV show The Practice. It was a courtroom drama that I would kill just to watch. I got hooked with Dylan McDermott’s character and Lara Flynn Boyle. So great was the show’s impact that I wanted to become a lawyer. I actually didn’t think of the social responsibility that lawyers are tend to be attached with but that great feeling of having the entire room listen to you as you deliver your closing statement or debunking the claims of the other party. So intense was that ambition, that although I was already registered with a Mass Com course on the first week of freshmen registration, I came back before classes started to have it changed and got myself re-sectioned with the Political Science and Philosophy majors.

But that flame didn’t last long. I found myself wanting to do Mass Com work. It wasn’t disappointing. After all, I love writing. And our learning was not confined to the four walls. We got an investigative story published about the Davao bombing anniversary and made a documentary about gangsterism in Davao.

It was also during that summer production workshop that I realized I could become another person I didn’t think I was capable of. I acted for a short narrative. I was ‘cast’ by the other group, though I was the director/scriptwriter for our group. And despite the tight schedule of the class, I gave in to the opportunity to see myself on screen. It was really silly watching me, that on the screening I hid at the back. Actually, all of our attempts really seemed silly. After all, we were given by our wonderful teacher a mere one week to complete the job. And it’s an attempt; at least we should be credited with that. Anyway, as I said I looked silly, especially with the part that I cried. It was in the church and my ‘director’ told me that I should be able to convey with emotion in exchange of what should be a dialogue with God. We had no time to rehearse because it was getting late. Even now, I refused to view that again. But I must admit that acting is something new to me and eventually I get to do it in small plays our class produced. It was exciting.

When you’re acting, it feels like you’re in a different world. I can see that is the reason why we get lost when we’re watching good actors and actresses. They are able to transport us into their world. If there would be an entirely bizarre twist in my career path, I’d probably consider acting. But then I would think of all the nasty stuff you go through as a beginner in showbiz and all the pretentiousness that you have to endure, then I know I’d be kidding myself. And then I think of the effect it would have in my psyche having to undergo the rigid auditions in SCQ and Starstruck and being paired with others whose sole ambition in life is to become an artista, and then ending up with something loose in your mental framework because you can’t even construct a sensible sentence. I cringe. Auditions would be terrifying but then an offer is tempting.

noms are out

Ok, the nominations are out. I said to myself it would be great to get 70 percent correct. But hey, I got 88.75 (from the major categories). Guess I have to apply for Academy membership now.


Letters from Iwo Jima was a surprise but a more logical bet over Dreamgirls. So, Clint is nommed. Surprising too, the Academy did not follow last year's director-picture pattern. Paul Greengrass is in over LMS's Dayton and Faris. United 93 is even fitter to be in BP than Babel. Well...

Jack Nicholson's portrayal of a ruthless and seethingly viscious gang lord is snubbed over Alan Arkin's brief stint in LMS. All that for a comeback? C'mon...

I'm glad Pan's Labyrinth and Children of Men got much love from the Academy being nommed in some other categories. Kudos to Cuaron and del Toro.

Leo is in for Blood Diamond and not The Departed. Great Ryan Gosling is in. He's like the Adrien Brody in this group. Saw Venus trailer and Peter O'Toole might give Whitaker a run for his accolade.

Actress and Supporting Actress is perfect.

Click here for a complete rundown of whole list.

photo courtesy of oscarwatch/newsweek

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

acting like an Academy member

The HFPA gave out their awards yesterday with hopefuls ending on their predictable slots. Hudson, Murphy, and Dreamgirls, plus Scorsese scoring it for The Departed. Babel's won didn't come much as a surprise after all except best pic were announced. The lead in noms couldn't just go home empty-handed you know. Mirren and Whitaker just about locks in their Oscar chances after sweeping the major acting nods.

The Academy though has entered their ballots last Saturday so the Globe wins couldn't in any way affect the Academy nominations. With the Globes ending in much lesser flair, I will play the biggest schmuck of a predicter and see if my list coincides with the Academy's come Jan. 23.

Best Picture -- The Departed, Dreamgirls, Babel, Little Miss Sunshine, The Queen

If not for the Globe win, Babel's chances of getting into the noms are slim. After doubting its chances, Dreamgirls of course is a sure lock after yesterday's win. But then again, no one knows. Letters from Iwo Jima, Little Children and United 93 (which won LA Film Critics and Nat'l Society of Flim Critics awards) are possible toss-ins.

Last year's Crash surprise makes it difficult to have a final say, but I still say The Departed is a clear front-runner. It has both: commercial success and critical acclaim.

Best Director -- Martin Scorsese (The Departed), Bill Condon (Dreamgirls), Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu (Babel), Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton (Little Miss Sunshine), Stephen Frears (The Queen)

I'm following last year's director-picture pattern, but if Letters gets in, Clint will be there. The Condon snub and dual noms for Clint in the Globes is really nothing but dumb. Much love for Marty! Give him the fuckin' Oscar.

Best Actor -- Leonardo DiCaprio (The Departed), Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland), Will Smith (The Pursuit of Happyness), Peter O'Toole (Venus), Ryan Gosling (Half Nelson)

Sascha Baron Cohen's win might ruin the chances of Gosling, but everybody loved Ryan's perf and not giving him a nom will be a shame. Besides it looks like Ryan is the new Adrien Brody in this category and he might just go home with Uncle Oscar. Remember that during that time, Brody was up against heavyweights as Nicholson and Daniel Day-Lewis. Forest Whitaker will win but I like to be Leo.

Best Actress
-- Penelope Cruz (Volver), Judi Dench (Notes on a Scandal), Meryl Streep (The Devil Wears Prada), Helen Mirren (The Queen), Kate Winslet (Little Children)

Now, Penelope Cruz can put to shame Tom Cruise's endless Oscar-whoring. This category is a pretty lock-in. Entertainment Weekly labeled it as the year of the silver foxes (referring of course to Mirren, Streep and Dench). Kate's nom doesn't really come as a surprise. I would love for Maggie Gylenhaal in Sherrybaby, to be finally recognized. But of course, Helen Mirren gives the perf of a lifetime.

Best Supp Actor -- Jack Nicholson (The Departed), Mark Wahlberg (The Departed), Djimoun Honsou (Blood Diamond), Eddie Murphy (Dreamgirls), Jackie Earl Haley (Little Children)

This is a very difficult category because a lot of notable performances for supporting roles have surfaced this year. The Departed is undoubtedly the best ensemble cast and Nicholson and Wahlberg deserves to be nommed. Murphy is in coz of the Globes. But I could easily replace him and Honsou for Adam Beach (Flags of our Fathers), James McAvoy (The Last King of Scotland), Brad Pitt (Babel) or Michael Sheen (The Queen).

Best Supp Actress -- Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls), Rinku Kikuchi (Babel), Cate Blanchett (Notes on a Scandal), Adriana Barraza (Babel), Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine)

All eyes might be on Hudson after the Globe win. Though Cate is nommed for Scandal, she also joins the women ensemble of Babel who I'd like to bag it. Academy has much love for kids so I'd predict Breslin's unforgettable performance to be noticed. Plus, the Globe nod might also give Emily Blunt a push.

Adapted Screenplay -- Todd Field, Tom Perotta
(Little Children), William Monahan (The Departed), Patrick Marber (Notes on a Scandal), Bill Condon (Dreamgirls), Jason Reitman (Thank you for Smoking). Though I would like to see Alfonso Cuaron (Children of Men) in this category.

Original Screenplay -- Peter Morgan (The Queen), Michael Arndt (Little Miss Sunshine), Guillermo Arriaga (Babel), Paul Greengrass (United 93), Pedro Almodovar (Volver)

photo courtesy of

Friday, January 12, 2007

so much for

So much for great expectations and hoping that things would be well. I should have expected that it would happen sooner. Continue to shake my head in disbelief. Everythin's so fucked up now. Fuck them and fuck their temerity to be mum about the things that fucked me up.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

a sidewalk adventure

I wonder what's really in it for me why I can't be stopped looking for Guillermo del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth. I've searched every possible pirated DVD 'labyrinths' in downtown metro but couldn't find one. When I reckon the vendor have difficulty pronouncing it, I know they don't have it. I had a blast hearing titles such as Fang's Nabirin to Pao's Lovering. Really outrageous. I went the other day at the sidewalk fronting Davao Doctor's Hospital but still couldn't find one. I got Richard Linklater's adaptation of Philip K. Dick's novel A Scanner Darkly and The Departed (for lack of a better find). There was The Constant Gardener in the file but wouldn't play. The teenage vendor promised to produce a copy a week after if I'd come back. I told him I would. I found the critically-raved L'Enfant and Candy (starring Heath Ledger and Abbie Cornish) but didn't like the other films in the compilation .

The fantasy-horror Mexican flick Pan's tops my searching for two other indies that would shut me up -- Half Nelson and The Last King of Scotland. I wonder why I even bothered when I think Del Toro's previous film Hellboy sucked. Because of these trips to these piracy havens, I observed some trends among the vendors like the similarity of DVDs which may be attributed to the fact that they have the same 'distributor'. Some of the vendors would ask me, what these films are like or whether they're oldies or current. I wish I would find those three choices sooner because it would really shut me up and push me to start reading those unfinished books I have in the shelf.


While I was at it, I can't help but remember Bayani Fernando who recently caught the ire of filmmakers and some personages film industry on his philosophical ruminations on the criteria of filmmaking. The case of course was the recent fracas in the MMFF 2007 Awards night. He said something like if one wants to make films like they think what ought to be quality-driven, one should go to Hollywood. Whoever gave license to these shabby, snotty politicians to meddle into something artistic and way beyond their comprehension. They should stick their noses to where they're good at.


I watched The Illusionist last night, an adaptation of Steven Milhauser's short story Eisenheim the Illusionist. Lesson learned: check the audio. It was poor I never thought it was recorded in a moviehouse because the picture was very clear. It was disturbing to hear Russian dubbers in a couple of scenes in the film. It was very weird I felt the hairs standing on the back of my neck.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

in different toungues

Before the year ended, I treated my siblings to an eyeful of crocodiles and other fauna in the Crocodile Park here. I didn't know it was quite that secluded from civilization and the transportation was really difficult. The park was located in some vast land being groomed as some rich people's subdivision. But it eventually paid off. I particularly liked the tapirs, the lone baby leopard cat, baboons, indian pythons, the crocs of course and the noisy but cute macaques. My two young half-brothers surely had a blast.

While I was looking at the macaques who were lodged in their makeshift tree, I saw a father and son nearby. I was ready to spark a conversation with them as they seem to be also mesmerized with the swinging creatures. But I cut off when I can't seem to understand what they were speaking. I'm quite sure it was Indonesian or Malay, but of course they look Filipino. Instead, I just continued to ogle at the orangutans who were very keen on surprising the onlookers.

Last night, a couple sat near me in the jeep I was riding. They were giggly and cuddling each other to the dismay of two old ladies who were also in the jeep. They started to talk in some alien language. I thought it was Korean but then it didn't turned out to be. The rhythm of their conversation was lost in the rain.

MacLuhan's communication theories delved on the world becoming a 'global village', with the aid of the media we are using. Indeed, the medium of communication continues to evolve and innovate itself. But more than that, I think, the concept of a 'global village' -- a borderless society -- is really turning into something literal due to influx of people in different countries. In the Philippines in particular, there seems to be a growing trend of fellow Asian neighbors coming into the country.


While working with the School of Business and Governance, the mother office of the Accountancy division where I was assigned, I met a dozen of Thai professionals -- some owners of large companies in Thailand -- finishing their master's or doctorate degree. Though I haven't really talked to them, I know they were coming to Ateneo every quarter of the year for that purpose. They had this funny names that's very difficult to pronounce.

During my stay in Ateneo, I also observed the increasing number of Korean students -- I call it 'the Korean invasion'. Because of their considerable size, they would sometimes form clusters in the gazebo or in the school canteen. While Koreanovelas are making Filipinos berserk, the real Koreans are slowly creeping in our country.

I was always amazed by them that I even considered them as a possible topic for my thesis. But then I thought it would be inclined more in the field of sociology, so I didn't. I have a friend who adores them (I guess). He tutors them everyday. I can just imagine his patience. One time we were able to hang out with one of his tutees, Jae-yon, who happened to be a cousin of Joo In Sung (Paolo from Memories of Bali) and a neighbor of Sandara Park.

We could really learn a lot from these bunch, you know. To be courageous enough to venture into a hostile territory and being able to mingle with the people and being open to the peculiarities of each other's culture.

Friday, January 05, 2007

i want to get away...


Despite the demands my work has posed, especially the year 2006, I savored the times I roamed Mindanao as if it were just blocks in a village where meet your different street friends. The working conditions in the office makes you want to bark like a dog so getting out of it is a real relief. Despite going to places for a specific and work-related reason, I still had to make the most out of it. Because, I may not be coming back in a long, long time.


This was taken at the Zamboanga museum, with the remains of an old spanish building. January 25, 2006

This was taken on a Sunday at the Zamboanga Ecozone, the day before we went back to Davao. The place is being groomed to become an industrial hub with a little push in investment promotions. September 3, 2006

My favorite photo that I have taken is a glimpse of the Cebu skyline during dusk, while overlooking from the 11th floor of the Cebu Midtown Hotel. July 31, 2006.

Whoever thought Dapitan was boring. A shot of one of the portions of Gloria de Dapitan, both a commercial and entertainment center of the city. September 28, 2006

Waking up in Dakak. September 25, 2006

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

the year (end) in news

I was browsing through the December newspapers (and some November leftovers) for my usual round of the so-called 'database maintenance'. I do this to cull out issues specifically relevant to the Mindanao Action Agenda advocacy and other business and economics related articles like forecasts.

While marking, cutting and pasting, I picked out these headlines which caught my eye.

Paris Hilton tops survey as star most people would like to see killed in a horror film. This year's best headline, no doubt. (PDI)

America junks Bush -- Democrats take over! Oh, the exclamation point shouldn't have been there. Now, this is what I call Bush-whacked! (PDI)

Ninoy: Freedom fighter who could blush, cry. According to the feature story, Ninoy worries about Kris, her daughter who squeals the million-dollar question, Deal or No Deal, every night. Which explains Ninoy's pondering posture in the 500-peso bill? (PDI)

SC dismisses PI with finality. Now, the PI proponents can wildly say, PI! (In cuss lingo, it's motherfucker.) (MB)

MNLF: We can carry guns, Police Chief: No, you can't. There goes a fantabulous quotation lead. (MDM)

Videoke bars face closure for noise. Mayor Duterte will be issuing a resolution that will disallow the operation of videoke bars after 10pm (or something like that). Oh no, my singing career is over. (MT)

'Hello Garci' to 'Vote Garci'. And Malacanang is seen to support VG. Good grief. The greatest screwball comedy of the year. (PDI)

Body dug up in Sulu believed to be Janjalani's. Much love for terrorists! My gay classmate is swooning over Janjalani and wants to marry him. (PDI)

Quake hits telco services. This led to the disruption of Internet connections which Asia, including Philippines, is largely dependent on. I heard from the news that it takes 4-5 days for one of these undersea cables to be repaired. (BW)

Christmas day fire kills 25 in Ormoc. I recalled the video showing the woman who went ballistic as she was stuck on the roof of the burning building. Then I later learned there's a Unitop in Davao. I passed by it last week and made me cringe. (PS)

Asians remember tsunami victims. Indeed, it has been a year. May the souls rest in peace. (PS)

DFA asks CA: Give Smith to US. Turn of events should have been expected. A clear telling how rules of the game can quickly change in this country. (PS)

For first time: Bush says US not winning war in Iraq. For chrissakes. Imagine what getting bushwhacked can lead you to do. Reexamine your war errr foreign policy. Bush might had enough of the Iraq war documentaries. (PS)


Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Enteng and his Kabisote

I went to the office just to drop by the documentation for the TAG workshop. It was supposed to be submitted before the year ended. I could have -- but listening to the endless blabbering of people in cassette tapes the whole day is like eating macaroni and fruit salad in back-to-back parties during the holidays. I also have an unfinished financial report to be submitted to Pearl 2 before Christmas -- but alas, I’m not Clark Kent. I cannot force the universe to be attuned according to what I planned.

I was confused if today was a holiday, although it is so logical to declare it such. If there is one thing I have to commend GMA for, it is her unparalleled power to declare and re-schedule holidays. Going to work is definitely the last thing on my mind and with the pending stuff, welcoming the year at work is something I’m not really looking forward to. In fact, I’m not really sure if I wanted to go back. I was on the verge of filing a leave for tomorrow until Mitch told me I was needed for a meeting tomorrow afternoon. Having a meeting to greet the year of the Fire Pig is really unholy.

I was planning to watch a movie, something from the MMFF roster of entries. My officemates were prodding me to go watch Kasal, Kasali, Kasalo, which stars the recently-awarded Ms. Judy Ann Santos. I planned to watch Tatlong Baraha which stars the three generation of Lapids, the oldest one being the action-star-turned-senator Lito Lapid. Of course I’m kidding. Mitch was serious I should go watch Karma, the one with the controversial Grethchen Barretto, if I want something to critique on. Good grief.

I just learned from the news that Enteng Kabisote 3, which stars Vic Sotto, bagged the Best Picture in the filmfest, and Shake Rattle and Roll 8 placed 3rd. KKK was second. Now, I should go watch Enteng and his Kabisote. I will not waste time and speak ill of the movie, after all Vic and his girlfriend, the trying-hard broadcaster Pia Guanio, lands on my Top 10 Annoying People of 2006.

I recalled writing about the MMFF ruckus last year and I should say it’s something that everybody should look forward to every year. You should expect movies like Enteng would have more chances of winning the awards and not just the box office. Maybe next time, one shouldn’t be surprised if Vic gets the acting nod. When the roster of entries was announced, I knew right away what movies will make it in MMFF 2007: Enteng Kabisote 4; Shake Rattle and Roll 9 and Mano Po 6. The franchise keeps going on and on and on and on.

With the certainty the KKK will be extended, I went to my DVD haven and got Blood Diamond and Sideways instead. Oh, I forgot, I already watched Children of Men and The Pursuit of Happyness.

Children -- directed by Alfonso Cuaron -- is a chilling portrait of a society where the last childbirth dates back to 18 years. The images and cinematography is something to marvel at. It has a Tomatometer rating of 94 percent so to do justice is to not have an extensive entry on it save for me, rating it as one of the year’s best. The film leaves many questions unanswered, something which only the audiences can truly interpret and personalize. The Pursuit is another take on rags-to-riches story -- but more on rags, actually -- of Christopher Gardner, once homeless intern for a brokerage firm and now is a bazillionaire. The film directed by Gabriel Muccino does not really offer something new, but Will Smith and his son Jaden, who’s making his debut here, is worth something.

Whew, my blog is fuckin’ saturated with entries on films. Besides I have not actually done anything over the holidays than watch a dozen of them. I should consider going to the gym or resuming the now-defunct badminton games if I am to lose this hanging gut.

Monday, January 01, 2007

no es jahr

No Es Jahr

"What do we leave behind when we cross a frontier? Each moment seems split in two. Melancholy for what is left and excitement for something new."

"Life is pain... You've got to fight for every breath and tell Death to go to hell."

-- Ernesto 'Che' Guevarra, The Motorcycle Diaries

Wow, another year is over -- and I haven't even blinked. And while everybody is busy completing their resolutions without even having the slightest idea of how to accomplish the list, planning how to get rid of gained weight after overeating in back-to-back feasts, throwing out old things and organizing the new ones courtesy of exchange gifts over Christmas parties, etc., I busied myself on some leftover documentation, organizing a class get-together -- and my favorite part -- scouring the hidden pirated-DVD labyrinths of the city. Over the past 3 weeks, I already amassed over 15 copies of pirated DVDs.

I found The Motorcycle Diaries the other week. I had downloaded it from Limewire way back, but alas, there was no English subtitle so even though I love listening to people speak Spanish, the downloaded copy wasn’t of any use. The film is based on the memoirs of the revolutionary leader Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevarra while he was traveling the South American continent along with his cousin-buddy Alberto Granado. It was this phase of his life that was pivotal in his radical transformation. (I’m beginning to wonder why almost every critically acclaimed movie made by a Spanish-speaking director stars Gael Garcia Bernal.) I saw the DVD on the very corner of a shelf, almost hidden by an adjacent shelf. I immediately grabbed it and finished the whole movie only after 12 midnight last night. It was January 1, 2007.

Finding Diaries was by any indication indeed prophetic. I happen to catch two lines in the film that captured more than anything else the year that was– lessons, realization, or whatever you call it – personal motto perhaps?. It’s those two above.

The year was terrible – politics, calamities, death, but there were also shades of victory – sports and yeah sports. If the sense of unity of this country is going to be redeemed by back-to-back victories in boxing and billiards, and more missions to Mt. Everest, so be it. Then we need more Pacquiaos and Alcanos to uplift this nation, not another crop of senseless artista-wannabes who cannot even construct a sentence.

It could have been bad if I would like to think of it that way, but there’s always the other side. You know that side, where they say you can still look at the brighter things. It could have been bad if I did let the realities that confronted me this year sink in. I seem to be learning a lot faster every year. It’s a sense of learning about life and understanding its shitty-ness that helps you get through another year of shitty situations and the bunch of assholes standing along the way ready to ruin your day.

Yes, I will continue to make the most out of it.

Choose life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family, Choose a f—king big television. Choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players, and electrical tin openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol and dental insurance. Choose fixed-interest mortgage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your friends. Choose a three piece suit on hire purchased in a range of f—king fabrics. Choose DIY and wondering who the f—k you are on a Sunday morning. Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing, spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing f—king junk food into your mouth. Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pishing your last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, f—ked-up brats you have spawned to replace yourself. Choose a future. Choose life . . . But why would I want to do a thing like that? I chose not to choose life. I chose somethin’ else. And the reasons? There are no reasons. Who needs reasons when you’ve got heroin?

Renton, Trainspotting