felix felicis

felix felicis: March 2012

Monday, March 26, 2012

Tree Spokes-thingy (Dr Seuss' The Lorax reviewed)

"Unless someone cares an awful lot. Nothing's going to get better. It's not."

This was a late post, but nonetheless I'll share it.

Last last Saturday, I was treated to a 3D experience by my friend, Ate Chael. She works at the Climate Change Commission (CCC) which serves as the sole policy-making body of the government tasked to coordinate and monitor various plans, programs and policies of the Philippine government relating to climate change. Anyways, they tied up with SM Cinemas in promoting a movie adaptation of Dr. Seuss' classic tale Lorax. So on Saturday (which happened to be my birthday), I was with Ate Chael and Ate Fina (Ate Anna, Kuya Fids and Ginette would have come, but they have prior commitments so yun) at SM North EDSA's IMAx Theater. 

The animated film follows the story of Ted, a boy in search for a real tree to win the heart of the girl of his dreams, Audrey. As soon as he was out of the metal borders of Thneedville (their plastic village), the young boy learns the reason why their real, candy-colored trees called Trufullas became extinct. The story was narrated by the Onceler, the guy who invented the "thneed"-- a cloth-like material that can be used for just about anything.

So where's Lorax-- the guy who speaks for the trees?

He's in the tree stump. He emerged the moment Onceler axed the first tree he laid his eyes upon. Lorax warned Onceler of the repercussions of continuously cutting trees but the human being did the deed until one last tree is left. It was eventually cut by Onceler's mom. Many more years would pass and the people of Thneedville are in need of fresh air, so an ambitious little man (yes, he is literally little) developed bottled air. Because demand is great he became the town's tycoon and some sorta savior. Lorax vanished and nobody cares to bring back real trees because they're suspended in the belief that their bottled air would suffice. So Ted sets on a journey to find the Onceler and a real tree, with Grammy egging him, at first to impress Audrey and eventually to start something good and plant something better.

Contrary to what other critics believe, I think the movie is interesting and nice. While pundits decry that it has a preachy care-for-the-environment message or that the Dr Seuss' simple tale is oversimplified, I believe otherwise. The movie, while it targets a younger audience, might as well reach a higher age demographic because of its all encompassing message. While the concepts of stewardship and contentment subtly entrenched in the movie may be too big for children to understand, the movie succeeds in breaking it into bite-size pieces. The beautifully- drawn animations, their jumpy musical numbers and the great voice talents behind the characters made it light and interesting for kids and those kids at heart.

I haven't read the book and I'm actually looking for it. Despite being unable to do so, I think the movie itself is able to deliver what Dr Seuss' message is-- going overboard would always result to bad things which people would regret in the end. The Onceler learned his lesson the hard way. He may have been given a second chance because of his grave mistake but we are taught that we should also listen to elders when they tell us that what we're doing is wrong. The Lorax never failed in telling Onceler that cutting too many trees would be bad not just for the forest but also for human beings but he wouldn't budge and listen. The same goes with us, whether we're talking of taking care of our environment or other aspects in our lives.

We should not wait for the orange thingy to come out of our tree stumps for us to be responsible loggers. The Philippines has too much to offer and because we live here, we're given the chief responsibility to take care of our patrimony. Our politicians may launch hundreds of environmental advocacies or greening programs but the rest is left upon us to continue planting trees and taking care of them. The people of Thneedville did not know the value of trees not until Ted showed them a seed and asked them to help him let that seed grow. We shouldn't wait until the last Narra or Acacia falls or when another natural disaster hits us before we finally wake up and heed this call. Right now, we're constantly asked to take care of our environment. Let's move and let our actions speak our love for our ailing Inang Kalikasan. Cheesy but true. :D

5 out of 5 stars

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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Extended HP franchise (The Woman In Black, reviewed)

Finally, I was able to watch Daniel Radcliffe’s new film, post- Potter—The Woman In Black. Since I’m not much a fan of horror films, I waited for friends to accompany me watch it in a smaller screen (read: laptop). Ginette and RJ have already finished the film and were eager to hear us scream and see horrorstruck faces on us. We tried not to budge, well I, to be exact because Razelle and Jam are horror fans.  

The film started with some sort of a flashback. Three little girls were playing with their dolls inside their room when all of a sudden they were walking like zombies toward the sectioned window. The girls stepped on the ledge, opened their windows and jumped. I was like, ok, what happened. The scene goes black and we see Harry Radcliffe. In the film, he plays Arthur Kipps, a young widowed lawyer—his wife died after giving birth to their only son. Kipps was ordered by his boss to go through the real estate papers of a dead proprietress. Since he had been slacking off for some time mourning for the death of his wife, Kipps was warned by his superior that if he isn’t able to fix the estate’s papers, he will be sacked. So off goes Kipps to a creepy, rural village, Crythin Gifford—where the children are looking at him with eyes void of expression. The innkeeper tells him to leave but he would not bother. Kipps befriends the town’s wealthiest man—a skeptic who doesn’t believe in the superstition that a female ghost portends the death of children in that town.

The next day, Kipps sets off and visits the estate in question—Eel Marsh Mansion located far off the town proper. As soon as the young lawyer sets foot on the scary mansion, bad things started to happen. Child after child dies and people start to blame Kipps for the tragic death of their children. A few more eerie moments—cymbals held by monkey figurines start to clap, black footprints appear and vanish on the wooden floors, rocking chairs start to move frantically, doorknobs begin to clank—and Kipps see that there is indeed something wrong in the small town. With a few hours remaining before his son and his nanny arrives to fetch him, Kipps has to solve the mystery or else something much worse might descend.

While the ghost doesn’t enjoy enough screen time compared to other horror and suspense flicks, the movie was still able to jolt its audience and give them slight screams. I think the eeriness of the location (i.e. Eel Marsh mansion) and the Victorian- era toys inside the rooms contribute much to the horror feel of the movie. The storyline itself is also promising. It moves away from the practice done in more recent horror films—brutal murder, killers with congealing faces and ghosts with unusual physical defects; such a technique makes the story look more authentic and the story easier to absorb since it is closer to reality. The dialogues were a bit scant—on most scenes, the audience would have to rely on Radcliffe’s facial expressions to get the flow of the story.

The movie, as a whole, is efficient, handsome (of course the lead is handsome) and delivers the basics of a horror film. I was scared. My friends weren’t that much. Ate Chael fell asleep by the middle of the film. Also, we felt that the film was some sort of an extension of the Harry Potter franchise. Hahaha. Or maybe we just got excited to see Harry Radcliffe again onscreen. That cannot be faulted—we’re HP fans! We thought that Arthur Kipps was really Harry and that the whole plot was his first assignment as a duly inducted Auror. Hahaha. And yeah, we’re not the only ones who thought about that. The picture below is an evidence. Hahaha!

I recommend you watch it and see for yourself.

4 out 5 stars.

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Throwing Sandwiches :(

I just threw away an egg sandwich last night. And I feel awfully bad. I shouldn't have done it because for one, it's just plain bad to throw food away. But secondly a lot of people around me are going hungry-- ravaging trash cans and backyards for leftover food-- and here I am, carelessly pushing it away. Pffft. I could have given it to the beggar I saw on the next corner. This just breaks my heart. Well, ok not really heartbreaking. I just feel sad and guilty. I promise not to throw food again ever or lest I be chased by giant kalderos and spatulas just like those depicted in fiction TV shows (read: Wansapanataym)

Sorry talaga. :(

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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Perfect Treat (The Legends and The Classics, reviewed)

How does a song become a song? Is it when words fill the music? Or when music finds its own words?

The stars have descended to earth on Sunday night as three legendary women each on their own fields of expertise shared the CCP Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo stage for a once-in-a- lifetime treat. Internationally- acclaimed singer- theater actress Lea Salonga, prima ballerina Lisa Macuja and world-class piano performer Cecille Licad came together on two special evenings (March 17 and 18) -- The Legends and The Classics.

We watched the March 18th 6pm show because the 17th was already sold-out. I was with my parents that night and I thought it was the perfect birthday treat for me. We arrived at exactly 6pm at the magnificent halls of CCP. Since I'm on a tight budget and the Orchestra seats tickets are a bit pricey, we opted for the Balcony seats. Anyways, we were a bit late-- but that's ok, we managed to get our seats just in the nick of time.

As soon as the stage curtains moved, we were treated to Ms Salonga's a capella rendition of Basil Valdez's masterpiece, Nais Ko. And then, Ms Licad joined the number as she gave her passionate rendition of the song while Ms Macuja roused the crowd with her dance performance. Giving more body and soul to the whole concert was the FilHarmonika under the baton of Ms Salonga's equally talented brother, Gerard Salonga. Ballet Manila also lent their talents to this big show. After all, it was Ms Macuja who produced the show.

After a magnanimous opening number, the show gave way to each of these women's talents.

Ms Macuja performed "Romeo and Juliet". Despite her age (she's already 48), we never saw any sign of decline on her talent-- she remained as graceful and as passionate as ever.

This was followed by Ms Salonga's rendition of As If I Never Said Goodbye. As soon as the song was finished, she continued with a medley of her acclaimed Broadway solos. She sang I Dreamed A Dream and On My Own from Les Miserables; Memory from Cats and For Good and Defying Gravity from Wicked. I especially loved the way she sang Defying Gravity because one could hear the triumph in her voice-- I actually had goosebumps. Hahaha.

After her butler gave her a glass of water (which audiences found funny and amusing, hahaha), Ms Salonga sang a medley of well-loved Disney classics. She sang Colors of the Wind from Pocahontas, A Whole New World from Aladdin and Reflection from Mulan. It was some sort of a mash-up and it's really beautiful.

Then she sang a cover of Jose Mari Chan's Hahanapin Ko. It was heart rending. Yun lang. Pak.

Shempre, her number would not be complete without singing the song that brought her to international acclaim-- I'd Give My Life For You from Miss Saigon. Ms Lea told the audience that she first sang that song at the very stage she was standing in that night. It was an honor, according to her, to sing it again in that same stage and in front of her fellow Filipinos. As soon as her voice filled the auditorium, it's as if a spell was cast-- a thunderous applause came in after her magical performance. Haaaay, I wish I had a voice like hers. Char.

Anyway, Ms Salonga exited and gave way to piano prodigy Cecille Licad. Ms Licad started with a rendition of Gottschalk's Pasquinade, Caprice Op59 and Souvenirs d' Andalousie, Caprice de Concert Sur La Cana, Op22. She also performed Chopin's Andante Spianatro et Grande Polonaise Brillante, Op22. At yes, kahit di ko alam ang mga pamagat ng mga pieces nya, keri lang. My heart is ready to absorb the music from heaven. Char ulet.

Ok, so moving on. One would assume that Ms Licad's quiet facade is all there is to her. But as soon as she touched the keys and danced her fingers with it, one would see her emotions brought to life. Wow lang. While she was playing, I closed my eyes to feel the music more and yes, I felt the passion with each note she played and every rest she took. When she raised her arms and flailed it for a glorious finish, everyone were just clapping and hooting. World-class indeed. 

The best performances were the collaborations. Ms Licad and Ms Macuja joined forces with one of the best cellists we have, Wilfredo Pasamba, to perform the Dying Swan. The soft melody from Ms Licad's grand piano blended well with the mighty notes coming from Mr Pasamba's cello. The beauty of the music was further enhanced when Ms Licad entered the stage and danced like the white swan. Bravo! Kabog si Natalie Portman.

Ms Licad again lent her dancing prowess when Ms Salonga assumed the stage to sing a Michel Legrand Medley. She was accompanied by Ballet Manila dancers. The colors of their costumes complement the beauty of Ms Salonga's voice. Wow ulet.

The enchanted evening was capped by the trio's performance of Willy Cruz's Sana'y Wala Ng Wakas. I thought it was George Canseco's, but anyway. Haaaaaaaaaay. As in grabe. No words. The performance would speak for itself. And of course the five-minute standing ovation after that closing number. The audience, including me, were just awed by their superb performances.

What's something good about that concert is that there's no "pa-diva" or "sapawan" chenes. They did their own thing. I guess there's no reason for "sapawan" because all of them are already legends on their own rights, hence the title of the concert. Although there were a bit of technical glitches-- the focus of the lights and the mic which is kinda mahina-- the performance itself redeemed it all. The AVP used to introduce the segments of the show was also good. The audience demography was mixed-- thundercats are everywhere, pero what's nice to see is that most of the members of the audience are families. Parents brought their kids to watch the show. Cool. 

Ms Macuja would be retiring as soon as she reach her 50th year. I hope that there will be a repeat of this concert with other legendary artists and music icons like Ryan Cayabyab and the Philippine Madrigal Singers. Because why not. Bigatin yun. Hahaha. This should be the standard of Philippine concerts, walang sapawan, tamang performance lang pero rock na rock talaga. \m/ Such a rare coming together of the country's best is something one should not dare miss. It is something to cherish and behold. :)

5 out of 5 stars

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21 and grateful

During one of our midweek church services, we have this portion where attendees are given the chance to share their stories of how the Lord blessed and guided them recently. We call it testimony. Some share the most depressing stories like how they're leaning on God's word to deal with cancer or on how God helped them through a family problem. Others choose to share inspirational encounters with God-- like how they're able to go through a hectic work schedule or how they're able to resist temptations.

I usually sit at the back pew so that I won't be called by the Pastor or whoever is presiding over the service. I find it inspiring to listen to these different stories because it gives us a glimpse of how heaven is here on earth.  One Wednesday night, as soon as I seated on my usual place, the deaconess asked me to speak and share my testimony. I was a bit dumbfounded because I don't normally talk too much on church unless I'm with my friends. Also, adult people are listening and I'm kinda shy. But then again, I thought that it would be bad to pass up that opportunity to share a part of me with others. Also, there's nothing to lose so ok I spoke up.

I shared with them the story of a friend who experienced a LOT in her life. Her dad died when she was young and their business went bankrupt twice. Since she's the eldest, she took on the cudgels of responsibility to be the head of the family. As soon as she entered her second year on college, she already chose to be a working student-- for one because she just wanted the feel of it but secondly because she thought it would add up to the family income. She pays their house rent, their utilities and groceries; she even sends her siblings to school. Just wow. And did I tell you she's studying law right now. Yes, and she manages to buy shoes and give alms to beggars lurking in Cubao. She just loves to share and spread happiness to people around her. You'd literally laugh your ass jaw off. Hahahaha. She's thankful that she's able to still do that. I mean, if a person has a family to feed and siblings to take care of, you wouldn't want to share your meager income to anybody else especially to beggars--- one would reason out that you're working a lot and these people would just ask for your money. Anyways, I told my churchmates how life's challenges gives us a choice to either sob in the corner and curse the world for showering us with burdens or smile and be happy with what we have. I told them that such stories are told to inspire us to find happiness and contentment in the simplest things. God allows us to meet people like them to tell us a message we so often shrug off-- gratitude

I dunno if I was able to inspire my churchmates when I told them that story but one thing's for sure. I learned a lot. And I thank God for having her as a friend. I pray for her happiness and continued inspiration to others. Naks. Anyways, I have a lot of friends with the same story--- we're all poor but in the end we find joy in each other's company. I have a friend whose parents were separated but he still dreams of having a family of his own. And then there's also a friend whose dad suffered stroke-- she still thanked God because it brought their family closer. There's also a friend who is happy to have a step-brother-- they may not have the same mother but she's glad to have someone to play with.

Haba ng intro. Anyways, life may be a total badass and bitch rolled into one. It may disappoint us from time to time and kill our optimism. But as said, we could always choose to see the brighter side of things.

So today, I choose to be happy. I choose to be thankful. I recently turned 21 and I felt it would be a good way to start my year by embracing the attitude of gratitude. So here're 21 things to be thankful for:

1. I'm alive, alert, awake, enthusiastic and kicking!

2. I have the smartest and coolest parents on earth. Mejo strict minsan but that makes me feel secure naman. I feel that they care. Plus, I have the most insane bunch of siblings. Beth who just laughs so hard at any joke you end up laughing hard too. She's LMFAO and ROTFL personified. Tel who's just pacute and papogi you can't help but target all the jokes on him. He's caring and OC too so you'll love him for knowing where the missing things are placed. Lost and Found Section sa bahay. And then there's Ephra, the over-protective brother who I guess just doesn't want us bashed off. Oh and he's a choir singer too, which makes us proud of him. And then Nik who suddenly churns out Bio facts as if they're random quotes lifted from a book.
While eating: 
Tel: Ma, may sibuyas ba tong niluto mo? Lasang-lasa e. (Ma, did you put onion on this dish?) 
Ma: Oo. (Yes). 
Nik: Alam niyo ba na ang scientific name ng onion ay Allium sepa? Meron syang enzymes na nakakapag-paiyak... blah. blah. blah. 
Us: toot. toot. toot. toot. toot.

3. I have a nice job with the funniest bunch of people in it. Plus, I get to work at Eastwood, which is like the alta place of alta people. Or I'm just exaggerating it. Lol. Anyway, I thank God for my job because I enjoy it. I find it fun to read discussion papers and speak with equally intelligent people. It makes me look like an inteligensia too. Hahaha.

4. I learned debate. Debate gave me lots of opportunities to be able to express my ideas. Actually, I think I learned more from debate than from school. I was also able to listen to people of my age discuss economics, international issues and pop culture as if you're just talking over lunch. Debate helped me become more open- minded; it widened my spectrum and perspective on a lot divisive issues. I also learned to value other people's opinions. 

5. School of Debaters! This organization is more than just an academic group-- we're a family! We may have had tensions or some misunderstandings but all were resolved as soon as we talked and discussed things. Also, we find it fun to bond over the more mundane things like Ate Gay's funny song mash-ups or Jose and Wally's stand up comedy. We even made a Moy Moy Palaboy video during my 21st birthday/ sleepover. And we don't just debate-- we sing, we dance and act. We also love making fun of each other. I just find it great to have an extended family through them.

6. Church! Our parents raised us far from our cousins and grandparents because Dad has church duties to fill. We literally grew inside the church and we find it great to have found another group of people we can consider our extended family-- church friends. We spend our Sunday lunches with them and even play Wii right after the service. We eat and watch movies together and even swim every summer. We've been to three church congregations and we all loved them-- sabe nga sa Vietnam shirt na dala ni Ephra, "Same, same, different, different." In rough translation, they may all be different but they're all still the same. Gets? Pag hindi, keri lang. Kaw na bahala. Hahaha.

7. I love food. I maybe getting a bit heavier now but I'm still thankful because I get to eat food I was ~deprived off when I'm still grepa. Hahaha.

8. I enjoyed my childhood. 

9. I've been to a number of places in the Philippines. My work gives me the chance to travel to a lot of cities in the country and get a taste of their distinct culture. I plan to go to a lot more. :DDD It's more fun here ya know! The Philippines is really a wonderful place. We may have a lot of flaws and we may always be under construction or repair or whatever, but we're a happy and hospitable bunch and that makes up for everything.

10. People appreciate my works of art. I've been able to create cute and catchy shirt designs and nice posters for various school activities. I plan to enrich my God-given talent by studying Graphic Arts as soon as I have enough money for enrollment.

11. I'm into a lot of things. Being friends with different types of people diversifies my interests on various fields. I decided to take piano lessons as soon as my brother learned to play one. I tried reading books with deeper themes and it made me more profound. I guess?? Haha. I'm also into musicals and theater plays right now. Haha. Next thing you know, I doing poetry-reading or jamming at someone's gig. Wouldn't that be totally cool?! Hahaha

12.  Music. It just makes me totally happy. Right now, Beth and Tel influenced me into listening to One Direction and Carly Rae Jepsen. Hahaha. Hello, Brit pop! Carly isn't Brit so that would be wrong. Hello, pop nalang! Hahaha

13. One of my essays was published in a book. :D A professor-friend inspired me to do so and voila, I'm now a published writer. Lol. Haha. He asked me to join their upcoming projects and I already said yesssss. Hello, new career.

14. I have a healthy body and a sane mind. Nuff said. Ok, so people might object the sanity thing but I guess I'm relatively sane than most of my zany friends. Hahaha.

15. I have a good sense of humor. I make people laugh with my jokes and my contorting face. I may have slightly annoyed them but good thing they haven't sued me yet so keri pang mang-asar. If I go overboard, unjust vexation and sagot. Wala pang cyber-bullying or anti-bullying law e.

16. My Bible is in technicolor and full of doodles and scribbles. It means I read it. Hahahaha.

17. My life is full of optimism and love. Yes, love. Hahaha. I am thankful I am surrounded by a lot of good people. Most of us may be poor but the laughter and pain we all shared makes up for everything. Char. Masaya lang talaga ang buhay. Hahahaha. At kahit zero ang lovelife, keber. Madami naman kami so pwede ng gumawa ng unyon. Hahaha

18. I will study na! Next next sem pa naman (i.e. 2nd sem). Ok, actually, I plan to study. I claim it, I will have enough money to pay for my tuition and my schedule would permit me. Hahaha.

19. We're good financially. Our family may not be that rich but we thank God because we have enough of everything. We eat three times a day, sleep with blankets and pillows and we have a roof over our house to protect us from weather changes. We may not be able to stock up tubs of ice cream inside our small fridge or enjoy the luxury of having an airconditioned house and a fast wi-fi connection but we are still grateful we have a nice, cozy home to live in. We're enjoying the buffer when we wait for the Youtube vid to load up. It teaches us patience. Hehehe.

20. I graduated! Yay. With nice grades. Double yay! With honors. Triple yay! Hahaha

21. Big dreams and a vivid imagination. Trust me, it makes the world better. :D

There are lots more to be thankful of. Book. Second-hand books. The smell of books. The yellowing ends of old letters. Thrift shops. Fried siopao. Ice cream. Siomai. Jumping ropes. Chinese garter. Hand-me-downs. Frappes. Karaoke. Videoke. K-Hub. DVD. VCD. Quiapo. Divisoria. Ali Mall. Vente. Cubao Expo. Spaghetti. Cake. Baking. Shoes. Bags. Everything else under the sun.

I'm 21 and I'm thankful for the experiences I've had. Yours may have been tougher and thugger, but life has its own ways of revealing its soft and sweet spot, one just has to stop, look, listen and appreciate. Smile, life's good, sabe nga sa blog ni Jackie.

It's good for the heart to count blessings kaya ikaw, what are you thankful for?
Psalm 136:1-26 ESV

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who alone does great wonders, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who by understanding made the heavens, for his steadfast love endures forever.

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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Why Mr Clavio's comments weren't racist

Yesterday, veteran journalist Arnold Clavio (of GMANews) drew flak mostly from Azkals fan after his straightforward comment that the most of the members of the National Football Team are "nagpapanggap na kayumanggi" (prentending to be Filipino). The comment, heard on national television, was made after Unang Hirit journalists were discussing the recent victory reaped by the Azkals against Tajikistan. A few more hours and Mr Clavio's name would be one of the country's top trending topic in the popular social networking site, Twitter. Netizens have mixed feedback on the infamous remark, some admired the journalist's courage to speak like that but many other fans of the football team raged against Mr Clavio.

Here's a video clip of what Mr Clavio said on national TV:

So what do I think?

First off, I do think Mr Clavio's comments are not at all racist. The words used may have been very strong ("Hindi naman kayo Filipino. Nagpapanggap lang kayong kayumanggi. Hindi kayo dito lumaki. Mahirap yun. Insensitive."), but I'd like to believe that Mr Clavio would have wanted to convey a stronger message across. Looking back, the comment was not made because Mr Clavio was annoyed by these good looking men or just because he had wanted to. The retort was said because he did not like the way these athlethes treated women-- the recent sexual harassment case filed by former Philippine Olympic Committee President, Ms Cristy Ramos. If we would listen closely to the whole discussion, he was particularly mad at the fact that just because these men possess charm and are perceived to be socially higher- beings (i.e. they are Filipinos with foreign blood) they can do whatever they want to women or they can easily tamper on their dignities. Granting that such a remark made by the Azkals may be taken lightly by women from Western countries, it still doesn't make an excuse to say that to Filipinas. The fact that they weren't raised here by their parents provides a legroom for cultural and gender respect-- they are not much familiar with our norms and our conservative streak so comments like that must not be said offhandedly. Add to that the fact that they are talking to an authority.

But secondly, I do believe that the Filipino spirit goes beyond borders; it transgresses the lines of skin colors, language and roots. As long as you say in your heart that you are a Filipino and that you accomplish feats to bring glory to our nation, then you are one. But then again, being a Filipino takes into heart the long standing traditions of respect and humility. As argued, the Azkals were quick to skip that fact-- as soon as they rose to fame, so did the sexual harrassment complaints against them.

I congratulate the Azkals on their recent victory against Tajikistan and the new mark in Philippine football history they have made. It is exciting to know that they have come this far and has progressed despite their underdog status. However, as Sen Pia Cayetano have said, such foul behavior must not go unpunished. These players, if they really are Filipinos, must learn how to respect their fellowmen. They hold an authoritative status in our society-- they are considered as representatives, ambassadors to the sports world. An attitude deeming of a Filipino gentleman is expected from them.

Mr Clavio's comment on them being "mapagpanggap na Filipino" is understandable. Until they give the respect Filipinas deserve, then they're good as foreigners in their own land. The same way we treat those who slur our race and those who make fun of our intelligence. We can still be proud of their feat. But we will be prouder if they put to heart the Filipino spirit of respect to women.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

On Ships, Books and Hope

When I was a kid, I've always dreamt of owning a big library filled with books of all sizes, colors and covers. I dunno when my fascination with books and libraries began-- all I know was that I'm perfectly happy when my parents would read me a new story before bedtime or give a book as a gift.

I started with Bible storybooks with vivid pictures of different Bible characters-- the sterotype Jesus wears a white gown-like cloth with a sky blue slash and his signature balbas-sarado look; Paul has hair only to his sides and John the Baptist wears brown, leather-like straps of cloth with a wineskin by his side. When I entered grade school, my book preferences evolved. My book world was populated with elves, fairies and giants. There are even princes and princesses, damsels in distress and paupers and a band of thieves. I was also introduced to local epic heroes like Lam-Ang and Princesa Urduja.

Aside from reading sessions at school, my parents would make it a habit to bring us to libraries and book fairs. The fondest memory I had of a book fair was that of MV Doulos. It was a floating book fair! Yay! It was my first time to ride a ship and it's also a first for me to see it filled with a thousand titles. Nice. That day, I remember that I bought an encyclopedia and some storybooks. After that, the ship said goodbye to our ports and headed to another coast.

This year, that memory was relived. Last Saturday, our family together with some kids from the church, went to MV Logos-- a newer and bigger ship, MV Doulos' brother. :D Hehehe. The floating book fair boasts of more than five thousand book titles and an international cafe plus interactive booths kids would surely enjoy.

Actually, it was my second time to visit Logos, the first was with Kat and Xave. After our meetings, we met at SM Manila and went to the Port Area. That Friday, we were able to convince Xave to buy his first Bible (yay, I was able to prove that I have a good influence. Hahaha). He also bought his first baking book-- again, I persuaded him to buy his own. I also bought a recipe book for baking cupcakes. I'm really excited to use it and make my own awesome-azing cupcakes. Hahaha. Kat bought her own Bible and several storybooks for her lil sister, Bless.

But back to our Saturday Logos Tour... So I came from school to fix several glitches on my credentials, then I dashed to Bambang LRT Station to return the booklet I borrowed from Ate Cindy. It was already 11:30 am and I'm stuck at the LRT. Good thing there's a manageable number of people inside the train and the aircon's working properly. I got off at Central Terminal Station and endured the heat of the sun while I made my way to the jeepney stop which would bring me to Manila's Port Area. (Music Cue: I'm Walking on Sunshine= epic fail).

Finally, I saw the giant ship! Since it's already lunch time, a lot of people are alighting from the ship, prolly headed to lunch. My lips are parched and I'm really hungry but because I would want to immediately purchase the bargain Econ books offered by the ship, I went inside, anyway. Also, my dentist called and asked if I could come by 1pm to her clinic at Manila Hotel-- she'll have to tighten my braces. I said yes so I really had to bolt inside the book fair, buy the books, say hi to my parents and head off to Manila Hotel. Pfft.

In short, I was inside the ship for 45 minutes and then poof I'm off to another destination. But I'll have to say that was one of the best 45 minutes of my life. I was able to buy bargain books-- three books for 500 pesos with a free bag! Good find! And the books are not your ordinary ones-- I was able to spot MacroEcon and MicroEcon reference books, Intro to Sociology, Psychology and other Social Sciences. There are also books on Algebra, IT, Politics, Criminal Justice and Mass Media Law. Plus, academic medical books are also sold in marked down prices. Cool. I bought a General Econ book by authors McConnell and Brue. I was also able to secure a book on Sociology. The other one's about timely political issues with pros and cons written by leading political scientists and experts on various fields. I was just so happy I was able to buy them. Hahaha.

After a few snapshots and a very quick lunch, I dashed off the ship to get to my dentist's appointment. Bad thing though, the appointment was cancelled. Pfft. I received the text messages right after I got out of the ship (Logos has no signal inside). Loser. I would have wanted to go back inside, enjoy the company of my friends and family, and listen to the stories of the volunteers but  I realized I don't have enough change to pay the entrance fee. I resolved to just go to the mall and buy some art materials needed by my sister. Then, I'm homebound.

As soon as I got home, I tried to browse my new books but I guess exhaustion caught on me so I dozed off. Hahaha. Next thing I know I was on my bed snoring. Lol.

I really enjoyed that day. I was able to accomplish a lot of things in a dash and I was able to buy books on sale. Logos left last Tuesday, March 13 and is headed to Subic Port. I hope the people there will enjoy the book fair as much as I do. I also hope they'll come back to the Philippines and bring more books and tons of hope and inspiration to young people like us. I would want to learn more from them-- understand their cultures and their faith and why they decided to cruise the world and be in the company of books.

I wanted to volunteer and be a part of the sailing team but one has to pay a hefty amount just to cruise with them. Maybe next time. Hahaha. And I promise to spend more time inside and get to know the kindhearted people manning Logos.

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Monday, March 5, 2012

Fun Fun Run

“Running is many things to me: survival, calmness, euphoria, solitude. It is proof of my corporeal existence, my ability to control my movement through space if not time, and the obedience, however temporary, of my body to my will. As I run I displace air, and things come and go around me, and the path moves like a filmstrip beneath my feet. I remember, as a child, long before video games and the Web, threading filmstrips into the dinky projector in the school library and peering into them, turning the knob that advanced the frame at the sound of a beep. I don't remember anymore what they looked like, what they were about, but I remember the smell of the library, and the way the beep made me jump every time. I'm flying now, that golden feeling, as if I could run right into the air, and I'm invincible, nothing can stop me, nothing can stop me, nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing.”

- Henry De Tamble, Time Traveler's Wife -

Yay! I crossed another to-do in my bucket list. Hahaha.

Last Saturday, my siblings and I went to Quirino Grandstand to be a part of Philippine Bible Society’s “May They Be One” Fun Run, another first for the organization. The activity is sort of historic as it brought together people from various faith-based organizations and sectors to run for a common cause—to spread God’s message of hope to the Filipino people. The proceeds of the activity would help fund Bibles set for distribution in different parts of the country. The PhP350 registration fee is actually equal to two Bibles already. Ayos diba?!

Since the run will start by 5:30am, we have to wake up really early. Hahaha. We got up at exactly 4:30am and took a quick bath so we’ll at least be awake. We hurried to hail a cab that would take us to the venue since jeepneys are still nowhere to be found plying our route. When we arrived at Quirino Grandstand, we saw a very big crowd. There are still long queues for last-minute registration. Wow, dameng gustong magbigay ng Bible. :DDD

Anyways, I lined up to get our running shirts. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get the blue- and- red running shirts; instead, we’re given the white- and- red commemorative jerseys from the World Youth Fun Run. Ok lang naman, it was way better than the blue- and- red one. Feeling kase namen mainit sa katawan yung blue-and-red combi. We pinned our bibs and walked towards the starting line. Egg-cited! Hahaha.

A few more minutes and hosts Chino Trinidad and a former beauty queen (I wasn’t able to get her name), emerged from the stage to thank the sponsors and signal the start of the race. 5k runners would have to get to Ospital ng Maynila and return to the grandstand to complete their route while 3k runners would only have to get to the US Embassy and vice versa. As soon as the gunshot was fired, my siblings and I jogged our way until we’re able to get our rhythms. Naks. In short, we ran. :D

Ansayaaaa. We’re running, jogging and walking when we feel tired. We’re laughing and having fun. Haha. I felt like flying. I like how the cool breeze is blowing through my face and how my hair dances with the wind. I felt so free—the inhibitions are slowly tearing away. Char. Pinagpawisan at nagka-paltos ako. Muntik pa nga ako masuka dahil tuyung-tuyo na ang lalamunan ko e. Pero it was really fun. True story.

Why the long face, Tetel? Kase najejebs na daw siya. Hahaha. Ew lang.
Of us four, I was the last to reach the finish line. We ran for more than 30 minutes. Feeling ko nabawasan taba taba sa katawan ko. Hahahaha. Hello, positive. Hahaha. We should have lined up for the freebies kaso the line was sooo long so we ended up just going home. Besides, we’re really hungry, we’re even conjuring images of the best breakfast ever. Tapa. Dilis. Sinangag. Cold orange juice. Pagdating sa bahay, wala pang naluto si Ma. Hahaha. Beth had to immediately produce fried rice; Tel made pineapple juice and I sliced spam for ulam. Ephra ate the failed banoffee pie (next blog entry). Ma listened to our funny stories and admired the cute shirts we had.

The end. Hehehe. Sayang lang, Nik wasn’t here in Manila so she can’t join us. Pa and Ma could have run too, kaso Pa was asked to go to Puerto Galera and accompany his students on their retreat/ outing. Next time siguro we’ll run as a family. Ayos. And yes, we all resolved to join another fun run because, why not. Hahaha.

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