Monday, August 27, 2012

Guni Guni x Bona x Aracama

It's such a shame that I had to lose my camera, because I had a pretty busy week. I was at the Guni Guni premiere at SM Megamall to support Lovi Poe, I watched Bona at the PETA theater for the preview night, and I had a really productive meeting with the Supreme team for a special issue we're preparing soon.

And I had no record of anything, which might as well make the events non-existent.

Either way, I had a great week because of the holidays - August 20 for Eid-ul-Fitr and 21 for Ninoy Aquino Day. I actually didn't have anything planned and I thought of just staying at home and catching up on my reading (I'm a few books behind my list, currently I have The Perks of Being a Wallflower).

However, my mom invited me to the premiere of Guni Guni on Tuesday, and I've never been to a premiere so I said yes. She was invited by Lovi's mom, who is a close friend of hers back in her modeling days.

My brother, mom, and Lovi's mom. I was seated on the left side of my brother, so I wasn't seen

The premiere was fun. We even got to walk the red carpet even if we weren't celebrities. The fans at the side must have wondered who we were, perhaps they thought we were fans who managed to escape security. I even saw a classmate of mine in college, who is now a promo specialist for Regal Films, and did the promotional teaser for the movie. As for the movie, I really liked how Lovi grew as an actress. I've known her for several years and she has really matured, but until now, my favorite role is Serafina in the remake of Joey Gosiengfiao's Temptation Island.

On a side bar, I just found out that Lovi wanted to pursue singing as a career when she sang at my grade school graduation party in 2001. She mentioned it on an episode of Tunay Na Buhay.

The afterparty was held in Metrowalk at this joint called Cafe 80's music bar. I live in a semi-liberal household where drinking's accepted, so I had a great buzz that night. I had three margaritas while my mother had a glass of Stoli and my brother had two bottles of beer.

I'm not really a fanboy, but I brought my copy of Rogue's July 2011 issue featuring Lovi for her to sign. Her mother really hates the revealing layout, but she was polite enough to have her daughter sign it for me. It was a great night, methinks.

I think the highlight of my night was meeting Benjamin Alves, an up-and-coming actor who starred opposite Lovi in the film. He's Piolo Pascual's nephew and besides his obvious good looks, he's a really intelligent guy. We spent about ten minutes just talking about books and his thesis, a novella. He's a really friendly man, none of that self-entitled bullshit other celebrities have. I just hope that he'll stay like that throughout his career. And that I meet him again.

The real world caught up and I eventually got sucked in to work, which was really a drag, but Nikko scored tickets to Bona, a stage adaptation of Lino Brocka's cult classic. We went to PETA on the preview night, and it was packed! We were seated in the nosebleed section even if Nikko had press tickets for his piece for When In Manila. Nikko and his friend Reen (who I finally met after all these years) said that it was a far cry from the Brocka classic, but I thought it was brilliant. Eugene Domingo, who played the titular role, was convincing and had a charisma that extended beyond film. In short, she can really act. I loved it so much that I wanted to watch it again.

Photo from Our Awesome Planet

On Saturday, I met up with the Supreme team to discuss things for a special issue we're coming up with in a few weeks. We met at Aracama, one of Tim's new restaurants, a Filipino joint in The Fort with food by Chef Fernando Aracama. The meeting was productive, and I finally got to meet Pepe, the editor-at-large who has taken the reins from Cai, the assistant editor who moved to YStyle. I really miss Cai because she's fun to talk to and hang out with, but I also like Pepe because he's supportive and encourages me with my pitches.

Photos from Our Awesome Planet

Of course, the best part of the meeting - at least for me - was the food. They had the best desserts, a lovely Chocnut ice cream, and the dulce gatas and buenelos, a set of pastry balls accompanied by sinfully creamy dulce de leche. I'll definitely come back for these two.

I also got to meet the writers I haven't met yet, such as Nicola Sebastian, Cate de Leon, and DLS Pineda. Shinji and Don were also there, the latter of which wrote the controversial OPM is dead piece.

What did I learn from all these experiences? Do not lose your camera.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Missing memories

Last Saturday, I was at Enchanted Kingdom with my officemates. We got discounted tickets from one of those websites and I decided to tag along because I haven't been there in years. 2007 or 2012, the theme park hasn't changed one bit, from the rides to the concession stands to the movie featured in Rialto. I had fun anyway because I was with my colleagues, a 34-strong group composed of a great bunch of people.

And yes, I rode the Space Shuttle and loved it.

It had the makings of a perfect day, until I lost my camera. It was at the horror house, the last ride we went on before going home. It was such a riot that the digicam must have gotten loose from the detachable strap on my neck. I suspect it was one of the staff dressed as ghosts because as soon as we exited, I noticed it was missing and I wanted to get back in to look for it. But the guy at the exit didn't allow me and requested that I go to the entrance, which is a five minute walk, while they look for it. It could have been the next batch of people who took my camera, but they were also my officemates, and I doubt they'd notice a tiny camera while they're screaming their heads off.

Back at the entrance, I demanded that I do a personal search to make sure that they got everything covered. They didn't allow me but a quick word with someone from security and a casual mention of The Philippine Star allowed me to enter and search for it myself. We were joined by Elaine of Guest Relations who was very accommodating and friendly. I never did find it, but I'm thankful that the staff of Enchanted Kingdom acted fast and were very helpful.

Honestly, I don't really feel sad that I lost my camera because I've been meaning to replace it with a better model with newer features. What I was after are the pictures inside, many of which I haven't transferred to my laptop. Some of the photos date back to October 2011. Fortunately, I had the sense to transfer my Bangkok photos, but I lost my Baguio pictures. Luckily, the camera was an affordable model so I don't think whoever got it will fetch a high price. All the same, I still wish karma will hit him with a higher price.

I got the camera three years ago for my 20th birthday. It has been with me through every season of Philippine Fashion Week since 2009, to Singapore, Shanghai, Bangkok, Tagaytay, Boracay, Puerto Galera, and Batangas. It has seen birthdays, Christmases, nights out, and my many adventures in the city. More importantly, it has taken most of my primary photos on Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter, which I happen to take seriously.

So I guess I have to get a new one soon, and the model I'm eyeing is a little expensive. I have only a few weeks left to save because the next season of Philippine Fashion Week is coming up, I'm flying to Capiz, and my relatives from the US are flying in for Christmas. And I'm starting to get bored with my primary photo.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The 50 Things I Want To Do Before I Die (as of August 16, 2012)

Three years ago, I wrote a list, detailing all the things I want to do before I die. Three years have passed and I've done some of them, while many are still dreams, waiting for me to have enough courage or in some cases, enough cash. Interestingly, some of the things here are no longer priorities, and some made me wonder why I even included them in the list. Example? Number 32's see a fart.

The years have come and gone, and I'd like to update the list to see where I've come, where I'm headed, and where I am now.

  1. Write a book. I will be a part of a horror anthology but I still dream of publishing my own book.
  2. Produce a painting and see it in a gallery. I still haven't caught the painting bug so I don't think this'll happen anytime soon, but I would enjoy seeing my works next to Louie Cordero, Romeo Lee, or Carina Santos.
  3. Work in a publication. I'm now a regular writer for The Philippine Star, where I maintain my own section in Supreme called Best of the Week.
  4. Live alone. Still a dream.
  5. See the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower. This will always be a dream, as well as see other parts of Europe like Germany, Russia, and Italy.
  6. Gamble. I had a brief addiction to gambling, but I wasn't as lucky as I thought, or knowledgeable in statistics, so I didn't win much. Fortunately, I don't have an addictive personality so I grew out of it after a few weeks.
  7. Work in a mental ward. I interned at the National Center for Mental Health in Mandaluyong and it was one of the best parts of my college life. Honestly, I felt more at ease around those with mental disorders than those we call "normal."
  8. Go on a cruise
  9. Go to the zoo. I've been to the aquariums, zoos, and insectariums in other countries but I haven't been to the Manila Zoo. Recently. If I were to base this on the Manila Zoo, perhaps I shouldn't get my hopes up?
  10. See the Great Wall of China. I made the mistake of going to Shanghai instead of Beijing. I vow to return to China and see the Great Wall.
  11. Spend the day in Chinatown and eat the food. One of my more realistic dreams. I must get this done soon.
  12. Get married
  13. Have a baby girl
  14. Play the piano
  15. Drive a car. Not my thing.
  16. Skydive
  17. Be surrounded by penguins. What was I thinking?
  18. Write a moving poem
  19. Learn a foreign language. I regret not taking my Chinese and French seriously.
  20. Stargaze
  21. See Intramuros
  22. See the pyramids. Along with my dream Eurotrip, I long to travel and see the world.
  23. Solve a crossword puzzle
  24. Be in/famous
  25. Win an award. It's not exactly the kind of award I wanted but I got a co-curricular gold medal for leadership for my work as the editor-in-chief of the campus paper back in college. 
  26. Get a job. I did marketing and now I'm juggling my time between writing and doing HR work for a call center. I plan to shift careers and get into copywriting. Soon.
  27. Celebrate St. Patrick's Day in Ireland. Or other festivals. Local or abroad.
  28. See the Coliseum and the Parthenon.
  29. Go to the senate. Scratch this.
  30. See the National Museum. I only got around to doing this this year. Believe it or not.
  31. See a tarsier. Perhaps I could change this to traveling around the Philippines?
  32. See a fart. The fuck?
  33. See the sun rise or set. I watched the sun set every day I was in Boracay and Puerto Galera. It was gorgeous.
  34. Have an authentic British tea party with finger sandwiches
  35. Eat croissant in the streets of Paris. In Lanvin.
  36. See Macau. Macau doesn't really interest me anymore, though I won't mind going around the fake canals.
  37. Ride a gondola in the Grand Canal. And maybe re-enact Madonna's Like A Virgin video?
  38. Eat halo halo in Baywalk. Now that Baywalk is a sad strip devoid of establishments and a basic wall (and general cleanliness), halo halo in Intramuros is good enough.
  39. See Tokyo and meet a geisha. Generally, geisha are located in Kyoto, but I have this sudden itch to go to my home country and explore Tokyo, Kyoto, Hokkaido, and Okinawa.
  40. See a New Orleans festival
  41. See a supernatural creature. I've had several experiences already.
  42. Witness a "Your Mama" showdown. No.
  43. Fly a kite. I participated in a shoot involving a giant kite but I'd love to actually fly one.
  44. Watch a musical. I've seen Rent (a local production), Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah, Caredivas, and Mamma Mia!
  45. Live in New York
  46. Plant a tree
  47. Graduate. Took me six damn years.
  48. Learn the ghetto language. I don't think so.
  49. Teach. But only until a certain age. I want to be a young teacher.
  50. Fly to Peru and see the lines at Nazca. The world, baby. The world.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Cinemalaya 2012

Believe it or not, this year's Cinemalaya was my first. I wanted to go last year, but I had a busy schedule so I wasn't able to see anything, even after I prepared a complex schedule that covered roughly half of the films. This year, I vowed to catch as many movies as I could, especially after seeing Zombadings and Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank.

I was supposed to watch 11 films, but it was so hard to get tickets that I ended up seeing only five. I guess it's a lot but after reading the synopses of the participating films, I was rather disappointed. But since UP is doing a run next week, I plan to catch Kalayaan, the only film I will be able to catch with my schedule (the perils of having a job).

My first day was on Saturday at the CCP. It was surprisingly packed, not the turnout I expected for an independent festival. But indie has become mainstream, especially after the commercial screening of Zombadings and Septic Tank, and the casting of popular actors (don't get me wrong, I find the delineation between mainstream and indie pretentious). That night I got to meet Mikey Amistoso of Ciudad, Marie Jamora (director of Ang Nawawala), and Vincent Sandoval and Darlene Malimas (director and producer of Aparisyon). My friend Nikko met Ricky Lee and had his copy of Amapola Sa 65 na Kabanata signed.

Below are some of my thoughts on the films I saw:

I didn't completely understand Diablo and its premise of an old woman who suffers from sleeplessness because of a silhouette that stands by her bed every night. The story revolves around her repetitive life in Nueva Vizcaya and her crumbling relationship with her five sons. Perhaps it was a little to artsy for me, or a little too intelligent, but I couldn't grasp what this film was trying to say or prove. But I have to give the film snaps for being beautiful.

Santa Nina was more up my alley, with its intriguing plot and its more straightforward way of storytelling. Coco Martin stars as a man who discovers his dead child's coffin and finds that she has not decomposed after 10 years. He takes it home and the child becomes a "saint," performing what seems like miracles to the local community. Questions of forbidden love, hypocrisy, and the length a person would go to just for his faith is beautifully tackled in this film. Unfortunately, Santa Nina only placed one award for Anita Linda.

Ang Nawawala was the crowd favorite. Twitter was abuzz with references to characters and scenes, as well as requests to release the DVD and schedule more screenings. I was most excited by this because most of my online friends couldn't stop talking about it. I was not disappointed because it delivered on humor, emotion, and damn good music. This was the hipster movie of the hipster festival, but beyond the scenes in The Collective, SaGuijo, and Route 196 and guest appearances by indie bands, it had a real story, about a boy who finds his voice (quite literally) and his reason to keep living. I saw many familiar faces, most shocking was my editor Cai Subijano, who played Sally Hua.

Kamera Obskura was one of the more ambitious films in the festival, employing the silent film treatment, complete with subtitles and the protracted movement the genre is known for. I just wish that they didn't market it as a lost Filipino silent film, which wasn't really believable. But the cinematography was amazing, and they got the complete feel of a silent film. The story was also good, about an older gentleman who develops the power to 'eliminate' people, and the greedy individuals who fight over him.

The following day, I was at Greenbelt with my friend Joco to watch The Animals. It was kind of a hassle to go all the way to Greenbelt for one film, but it was to be one of my favorites. The portrayal of the upper middle class is real and accurate, and I found myself reminiscing my own debauched college years, which may or not be a good thing given the film's horrible excess. At first I thought it was consciously trying to be like Skins (even the opening credit was similar), but it went beyond that and created a more gruesome - but somewhat realistic - portrait of teenage hedonism. What scared me the most was that this is not a warning, but a peek into the future.

I wanted to catch a lot more films, like Give Up Tomorrow, Kalayaan, Bwakaw, Oros, and Posas, and I hope that they get theatrical releases, or DVD copies. Until then, I'll be looking forward to the next Cinemalaya, or settle for the Metro Manila Film Fest. Right.

Below are the winners for the competition:

Audience Choice Award
Shorts: Hannah Espia’s Rueda
Directors Showcase: Jun Lana’s Bwakaw
New Breed: Marie Jamora’s Ang Nawawala
Special Jury Award
Shorts: Richard Legaspi’s Mananeya
Directors Showcase: Raymond Red’s Kamera Obskura
New Breed: Loy Arcenas’ Requime!
Directors Showcase category
Best Sound: Ditoy Aguila for Adolfo Alix Jr.’s Kalayaan
Best Original Music Score: Diwa de Leon for Kamera Obskura
Best Editing: Vanessa de Leon for Jose Javier Reyes’ Mga Mumunting Lihim
Best Production Design: Adolfo Alix Jr. for Kalayaan
Best Cinematography: Albert Banzon for Kalayaan
Best Screenplay: Jose Javier Reyes for Mga Mumunting Lihim
Best Supporting Actor: Art Acuna for Lawrence Fajardo’s Posas
Best Supporting Actress: Ensemble of Iza Calzado, Judy Ann Santos, Janice de Belen and Agot Isidro for Mga Mumunting Lihim
Best Actor: Eddie Garcia for Bwakaw
Best Actress: Ensemble of Iza Calzado, Judy Ann Santos, Janice de Belen and Agot Isidro for Mga Mumunting Lihim

New Breed category
Best Sound: Addiss Tabong and Mike Idioma for Vincent Sandoval’s Aparisyon
Best Original Music Score: Mikey Amistoso, Diego Mapa, Jazz Nicolas for Marie Jamora’s Ang Nawawala
Best Editing: John Wong and Rona delos Reyes for Gino Santos’ The Animals
Best Production Design: Benjamin Payumo for Lem Lorca’s Intoy Siyokoy ng Kalye Marino
Best Cinematography: Tristan Salas for Mes de Guzman’s Diablo
Best Screenplay: Rody Vera for Loy Arcenas’ Requieme!
Best Supporting Actor: Joross Gamboa for Intoy Siyokoy ng Kalye Marino
Best Supporting Actress: Anita Linda for Emmanuel Palo’s Santa Nina
Best Actor: Kristoffer King for Paul Santa Ana’s Oros
Best Actress: Ama Quiambao for Diablo

Best Director
Shorts: Sheron Dayoc for As He Sleeps
Directors Showcase: Raymond Red for Kamera Obskura
New Breed: Mes de Guzman for Diablo
Best Film
Shorts: Jarell Mahimay Serencio’s Victor
Directors Showcase: Lawrence Fajardo’s Posas
New Breed: Mes de Guzman’s Diablo
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