felix felicis

felix felicis: March 2014

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Birthday Week

Before my birthday came, I was already planning to go on a getaway trip—somewhere “far from the maddening crowd,” Thomas Hardy would say. Plan A was to go on a three-day trip to a foreign land. But due to budget constraints, Plan B was just to climb a mountain and stay there overnight. Alas, nothing happened. The weekend before my birthday, I was busy reviewing my interview notes to begin writing my term paper. On Sunday, I was hoping I could get a last ditch chance to celebrate when my parents promised we’d go to Nuvali and spend the night there. But Murphy’s Law was just too strong—an urgent call from Pap’s superior requested him to do “church” duties. We cannot stop him, so he obliged. The night was spent tidying up the last class report for Wednesday and binging on pizza and mojos. By 12 midnight, the ‘rents and my siblings greeted me. Happy Birthday.

March 17! I was 30 minutes late for work but that’s ok because I planned to just offset and sprint home. Network connection went slow to nil, but I’m still cool. I thought I can use the time to read and finish pending workloads. The afternoon was spent eating pizza and mojos again, this time with office mates who requested for some “birthday celebration” rites.

Before the day ended, Murphy was back and this time, I had to extend work hours just to finish the preparations for THE board meeting the next day. Okay. I went home at quarter past eight that night. The family just fetched me and the dinner at the new pizza joint at Eastwood (sorry, pizzas were comfort food this week) was cancelled. We went instead to a small Chinese resto at Gilmore and binged over their yang chow and fried chicken. At 10PM, I thanked all those who greeted me (thank you FB for that birthday notice J). Before I slept, I was trying to sing Taylor Swift’s 22 but it was Karmin’s 23 that stuck.

The day was just okay; there’s wasn't anything special of some sort, but that’s alright. I just told myself that finishing work was a better choice than just mindlessly spending my money over something so I can say I celebrated my day. But then of course, I would not really mind using that special day to explore and just go YOLO.

The next days were spent gloating over the remaining academic paper work. I only have a week and a half to finish three 15-page essays and I was only halfway done with the first one. Because I feel the need to pacify the cram-whore in me, I did not report for work last Thursday. The whole day was spent writing, re-writing and re-organizing the first paper. When I felt I already wrote something decent, I sprinted to school to present it to my professor. Good thing, he gave me a go-signal to finish it and submit it on the first day of April. Home happy.

Friday was spent polishing office paper works and emailing a project partner to schedule a meeting. Quite productive, I must say. I went to church that night for our Friday youth service. I was feeling meh the whole week and I thought that God may be sending a red alert or something to me. True enough, the message struck me like lightning. Totally grounded last night.

***

In Galatians, Paul told us that the fruit of the Spirit is “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (5:22-23).” Last night, our youth leader shared a message on JOY. He told us that joy is not just an emotion, rather a spontaneous feeling that comes from us every time we experience something good. He then asked us if we still feel joy when we succumb to different forms of suffering. Of course it is hard and I agree. If joy is a spontaneous feeling, then sufferings are the hurdles that hinder us from experiencing that spontaneity.

I realized that the Lord was already talking to me because the discussion took a bit of a turn. Our leader told us God wants us to be always happy so He gives us everything we need. He illustrated this by requesting his wife to stand in front and open God’s sari-sari store: there are bottles of softdrinks, bags of chips and pancit canton. The volunteers were asked to name what they want and God, being a generous God, gave them the food they want. On two occasions, an extra goodie was given to the volunteer. Our youth leader reiterated his earlier point: God is generous and He wants us to be genuinely happy so He gives us the things we pray for.

Of course, there are times that God would say no, our requests will be turned down and all of our hopes would then be broken into pieces. Does that defy the generous-God-logic? Yes. But not really. Our youth leader told us that God’s turning us down because the things we pray for end up as our priorities—they get in the way of our relationship with God and we’re blinded by it. They turn into proverbial “idols” that eventually define the way we talk to God.

But more than turning into idols, God’s saying no because He’s willing to give us something much better, something we need. He’s willing to give Himself to us. And that waiting time should be relished as a moment to feel God’s presence in the stormy parts of our lives. Sometimes we ask, “Where is God in all of these troubles and sufferings? Has He left us?” The question is valid. But our youth leader rephrased the question to something that made me think: “Where am I when the storms come my way?”

The answer’s in Psalms 16:11: “You make known to me the path of life; in Your presence there is fullness of joy: at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” God’s waiting to invite me into His presence and I realized I’ve always declined. I guess it’s time to get back and leave the storms behind. J


Good night!

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Saturday, March 22, 2014

Hillsong United in Manila

Hillsong United’s coming to Manila! Yay! Tickets will be sold on March 31 but you can already make reservations with Becca Music (their telephone lines were busy huhu). This is going to be a great worship experience, so my siblings and I would really want to go. Their one-night concert will be on June 13 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. See you there!

Their recent album is Zion which includes Relentless, Scandal of Grace and Oceans (Where My Feet Will Fall), to name a few. You can listen to them here:



Here’s the poster for more details. J


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Sunday, March 9, 2014

QC Circle of Fun X Circles Cafe

Posting overdue entries. Bear with me.

30 December 2013
The afternoon was spent with fellow church workers and pastors' families for a Post-Christmas celebration. The whole event was fun and indeed a blessing. I've always been a fan of families serving the church together. It is a sight to behold.
Bet took the photo. Extra si Paulo. :D
After that, the younger son of our church's associate pastor asked if we could go to Star City. Because we are coming from Novaliches, the request was quite pang-Wish Ko Lang, mejo mahirap logistically. The kid would just want to ride a bump car, so I suggested we go see QC Memorial Circle, the easier and more accessible choice. They happily agreed; so by 7pm, we're at the heart of Quezon City.

Admit one.
Good thing, the perya's still open until 11pm that night. (Christmas season has its perks. Hehe) Entrance fee was 10pesos (yata) and the rides range from 50 to 80pesos. We left the kid and his parents to their endless bump car rides while my siblings and I + the kid's older brother tried the "adult" rides. Haha. We did the mini roller coaster first. Mejo buwis buhay for our precious eye glasses and the rickety seat lock, but worth all the fun. And then, we rode our all time favorite, the carousel. The funny experience was when another guy was trying to get a selfie while the horses are galloping. We would have wanted help him get a decent shot but he seems like he won't budge. So there. A for effort, Kuya. The last attraction was the Haunted House. After two or three minutes inside the house, our initial straight line was already a crumbled circle when we got out and extended brother's semi-fit shirt was stretched out a bit. We were screaming because of fright and laughing at ourselves at the same time. Never again.

Tsubibo!
Because we still have time, we visited Circles Cafe. It's a quaint coffee shop serving pasta, pizza and desserts to park-goers. We discovered it accidentally when another friend and I explored QC Circle before. Their chocolate tartuffo was heaven so I asked if there's one available. Unfortunately, they phased it out from their menu because it was quite expensive. They resorted to ice cream cheesecakes which are equally good and fun to eat. We tried almost all the flavors available: strawberry, mango and cookies and cream. Their strawberry cheesecake was delightful, cookies and cream's like good ice cream and mango cake was refreshing. The cream cheese was not too sweet and cloying, maybe because the cakes are frozen.
Cookies and Cream Ice Cream Cheesecake.
Circles Cafe interior. 
Circles Cafe is good for after-morning walks and usual afternoon chats. It has this homey feel—like you are staying in your back garden. Arte. Hehe. If you want to visit it, the café’s near the newly constructed Quezon Museum. J

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Musical weekends

My friends and I share that same appreciation for theatrical art—the scripts, storylines, actors and overall production fascinates the “potential” artists in us. I, for one, had always been fond of watching how the lights and props add greater life to the different settings used in each play. It takes a gift to create such magical display.

These past two weekends, we were able to watch two musical stage plays—an Australian production of Wicked staged at the CulturalCenter of the Philippines (CCP), and an original story, Rak of Aegis at the Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA). How did they fare? Read on.

Wicked! The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz
Source: http://alumni.gcc.edu/s/1472/images/editor/events/2012/wicked.jpg

To be honest, I am not really familiar with Wicked’s story or even the whole Oz universe just because I have not yet read any books related to it (don’t worry I’ll begin L. Frank Baum’s book in summer). The only thing I know about Oz is that it has a green city called Emerald City and James Franco played the role of the Wizard in the eye-candy movie, Oz: The Great and Powerful. Very novice, I know. But I kept up by listening to the soundtrack to prepare myself for the stage play and asked a friend for the play’s plot. By Saturday, I felt that I was “prepared” to watch the play.

As soon as we sat down our seats, the audience was already treated to an elaborate stage set—there was this huge dragon above the stage. Wow, parang haunted mansion lang sa theme parks. When the show began, the visual treats began to amaze me one by one. I particularly loved how the production designers played with the multi-colored lights and the shadows to add texture to the whole set. There was a scene where Madame Morrible was showcasing her powers to control the weather and of course, the lights made this believable effect that it was indeed changing. Lol. I felt like a kid fascinated with how the lights danced in front my eyes and how the sound effects added a whole lot of sense to everything.

The Australian cast was also excellent. Of course, everyone’s hoping it was Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenowith playing Elphaba and Glinda, respectively. But that’s wishful thinking. Aside from the fact that they are not reprising their roles, as of current; my stash would not really be able to afford such star-studded performance. Hehe. Anyway, as said, the cast was excellent. While Elphaba’s the bida, it was fun to watch Glinda prance from one part of the stage to another, trying to downplay her popularity by her “false” humility. Hahaha. The script was funny and entertaining; and the song numbers were also good. The highlights would always be Elphaba’s Defying Gravity—can I just say that the levitation part was pure magic to my eyes. Hahaha. Aside from Defying Gravity, I was also touched by their rendition of For Good—Elfie and Glinda’s theme song for their “unlimited” friendship. Naks.

It may have been a more solid and fulfilling experience if I was seated closer to the stage; but again, stash is good only for a balcony seat. I am already thankful for that one. It was something I want to do again. I hope that they bring Miss Saigon here. J

5 out of 5.

Rak of Aegis!
Source: http://petatheater.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Rak-of-Aegis-online-poster.jpg
Some people cringe when they hear OPM songs playing in the radio or sung in street karaokes, as if it does not sound ok. And when we say OPM songs, we mean the likes of Aegis, JBrothers, Renz Verano and Imelda Papin. People are quite snob. They call it jologs. Sarap lang sapakin ng bahagya. Ok, let’s be clear here. There are really songs that are cringe-worthy, but not these. They are classics, to say the least—foundations of our growing music catalogue (if it is indeed growing). In the name of peace, I would not name cringe-worthy songs. :P

When Tom Cruise’s Rock of Ages hit the screens, Pinoy netizens were quick-witted enough to create memes showing local band Aegis under the Tagalized movie title Rak of Aegis. Halfway through 2013, auditions for a stage play using the Aegis song catalogue created a buzz online. True enough, Rak of Aegis will be brought to life. The person behind the whole thing was just genius. Hehe. #FumaFan

The story is set after a major typhoon hit the country. Barangay Venezia is flooded and Aileen Dimaraan’s only shot to stardom was foiled when her camera fell to floodwaters. The play has many characters—Aileen dreams of singing onstage at the Ellen DeGeneres show; his friend Kenny is struggling with his art and his mom’s nagging; Mary Jane is Kenny’s mother and the barangay captain; Kil is Aileen’s father and a man stuck between his need to provide for his family and his helplessness due to unemployment; Mercy is Aileen’s mother, ailing from leptospirosis; Jewel is a gay who tends to his sari-sari store and harbors a secret crush for Kenny; Tolits is a pedicab driver turned bangkero due to the flood, he likes Aileen so much; and then the taumbayan, restless and constantly looking for a means to survive the flood. The play has a love story angle to it, but I’d like to see it as a love letter to the Filipino public. It is laced with the usual funny pick-up lines and pop culture references, but there’s a certain sense of “kurot” that will encourage each one of us to think about the floods that drowned our ordinary lives and how we managed to get through it all. Kunware si Manay Mariah, I can make it through the rain. Charot.

The story is timely and relatable. The script is spot-on. And the stage set was fascinating. I loved how they recreated the flood and the squatter setting onstage. It all looked so real.

The only criticism, I think, was the fact that the producers did not sift further through the Aegis catalogue. I felt that there were a good deal of songs that could have been used in the play, instead of using the same songs and providing a different arrangement to it or revising the lyrics to fit. The song choices were already good, it could just have been better.

5 out of 5.

***


Ok, neseye ne eng lehet is cringe-worthy. But is still a guilty pleasure. There I said it. :P

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Saturday, March 8, 2014

Ronin-like

Ha! Finally, that much coveted weekend.

I felt that I’d been to quiet and detached lately. Maybe because my mind had been talking a lot, nonsense thoughts and meanderings usually. The outcome: I have worried too much about my schedules and ended up procrastinating on each activity. I managed to produce a fairly decent class presentation and a half-baked paper proposal for my Wednesday class. And then of course, failed to submit a paper due this week, ended up doing overtime work just because, and did not show up for Muay training. Majorly unproductive this week.

I tried to reason out there are phases to it. But previous ~trends show that I tend to overcome before Friday comes. I did not do so this week, and during the past few weeks. I was constantly looking forward to moments spent on either dozing off to oblivion or lying down and daydreaming. I promised myself that I’ll finish nagging tasks this weekend so I can start anew on the coming week. I ticked off 2 out of 6 from my Reminders list; four more to go. I have until Sunday afternoon. We can do this, self!

***
Pinned from Pinterest.
In other news, I told a friend that it felt so difficult and frustrating to deal with people I call “tulisan.” They lie, steal and cheat; but they manage to project themselves unblemished in front of other people. It burdens me; especially because I cannot do anything “concrete” about it. I wish I could just jab-straight-jab or jab-straight-hook their cheating faces, but of course it does not resolve anything. Rather, it makes everything worse because I stooped down to their level.

So how do we deal with lower-life forms? Friend reminded me something golden: it will always be frustrating and even tiring. But the experience is loaded with lessons that should be learned well. In the process, “whatever you do, to survive or to fight back, do not lose your soul.” Loyalty and patience. Always patience.


Ok, payt! \m/

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