felix felicis

felix felicis: July 2014

Sunday, July 27, 2014

One Way, Jesus! \m/

Photo credits: Neville Chapman (Flickr account: https://www.flickr.com/photos/chapmanc123/8423899483/)
It began with One Way. A church friend introduced the song to us while we were practicing for next Sunday’s special number. We just formed our band which will soon morph into the church’s Prayer and Praise Team. Since we’re all newbies — I only know a few guitar chords and basic strumming skills — we were practicing really hard. Of course it paid off. The next Sunday, the church was happy to see their lanky high schoolers playing and singing. But aside from the beginning of the new music team, we also begun learning new songs — they called it contemporary worship songs. Hillsong Music, along with its precursors: Don Moen and Steve Green, and the elder worship groups such as Matt Redman, Louis Giglio and Jars of Clay were early music influences. 

So when Hillsong United, the church’s younger worship group, came to Manila this June, we really had to see them live. The phone lines for ticket reservations were busy all the time and the tickets were almost sold out by the time we had enough money to purchase them. Good thing, concert organisers allocated more seats for their Friday concert and opened a second day to accommodate more people. Thanks Ate C for patiently lining up to get all of us our tickets! Hahaha! 

When Friday came, Araneta was jam-packed. It was the first time I saw the coliseum’s concert stands filled with people. By the time the concert began, everyone’s standing shoulder-to-shoulder. I was so happy that I get to sing and shout that night with my siblings. The hour and a half event began with their new song Relentless. Other songs from their recently released album, Zion, such as Scandal of Grace, Oceans (Where Feet May Fail), Stay and Wait, and Love is War, were also performed in the concert. The rest of the setlist includes:

  • Go (Aftermath)
  • Break Free (All of the Above)
  • Hosanna (All of the Above)
  • From the Inside Out (United We Stand)
  • Aftermath (Aftermath)
  • B.E. (Aftermath)
  • Freedom is Here/ Shout Unto God (United: Live in Miami)
  • Mighty to Save (Mighty to Save)
  • All I Need Is You (Look To You)
  • The Stand (United We Stand)
  • With Everything (This is Our God/White Album Remix)

Encore:
  • Your Name High (This is Our God)
  • Wake (Hillsong Young and Free)
  • Alive (Hillsong Young and Free)

The lights that filled the whole coliseum when everyone’s singing Mighty to Save was just spectacular. I never had the chance to video any of the numbers; maybe because we’re all busy singing our lungs out. Hahaha! The concert ended with what younger people who grew up with Hillsong as the “national anthem”: One Way. All of us were jumping and singing; I remembered the thrill we had when we were just beginning to really sing and play our instruments at church.

The band is really great, but to echo Joel Houston’s message that night, everything we’re doing and every song we’re singing is all for Christ. The band and their music is only an instrument to lead everyone to worship and thank God for all the things He has done for us. It was indeed a wonderful worship experience for all of us. 

Here's Taya Smith and the rest of Hillsong United singing Oceans (Where Feet May Fail):


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Thursday, July 24, 2014

After Effects' after effect

Sorry for that not-so-funny pun. Lol

After a week and a half spent in front of the desktop, redrawing stuff and moving keyframes, I finally finished my first animated infographic. Yay! It was my first time to use After Effects, so while I was doing the animations, I was also browsing for web tutorials from time to time. More than an exhausting experience, it was rewarding—I get to retool myself when it comes to vector illustrations plus I get to learn how to make them move. I’m planning to learn more techniques.


The video was done for a group of non-government and civil society organizations (NGOs and CSOs) intent on holding the Asian Development Bank (ADB) transparent and accountable. Learn more by watching this infographic I did:


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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Wide Open. Again.

The world is our playground. :)
This time, we traversed the streets of Quiapo, Carriedo, Escolta, a bit of Binondo, Delpan then Intramuros. And yes, we were walking the whole time with our cameras lugged at our necks.

We met at Quiapo Church at around two in the afternoon. The sun was still scorching but we went ahead with our shoots, anyway. I did a few shots on churchgoers but I wasn't really happy with the results. We headed towards Escolta Street where the Heritage Weekend is celebrated. There were stalls selling handcrafted stuff and pre-loved items-- there were old vinyls turned into home accessories, old books and magazines for sale, and "waterproof" wallets and pouches. There were also old stamps and coins for enthusiasts. The small celebration was vibrant and colorful. I even managed to sneak a bit of book shopping in the middle of our photowalk. Before we left Escolta, a group of musicians played a few upbeat tunes with their ukeleles. The whole music thing added a more hip vibe to this already nice event.

Ukelele.

Carlos Celdran is at Escolta.
We continued walking towards the more residential areas in Binondo then the slum areas in Delpan. The kids were excited to see cameras; they egged us to take their pictures. They even eagerly posed in front of us. Hahaha. I took a few but I stayed on my supposed subjects, sleeping people. I thought because it was siesta time, it is nice to see sleeping patterns. Hahaha! Anyway, by the time the kids stopped following us, we were already at the Delpan Bridge overlooking Manila's Port Area and the bigger slum communities at Baseco. Sir L asked us if we still want to go to Baseco but no one answered. He took that for a no. Haha. I guess we're still not ready for a more gritty subject. O.o


Previewing "Sleeping Patterns" here.
At five in the afternoon, we entered the walled district of Intramuros. The rest of the walk was tiring but the sights and sounds of Manila were too vivid not to capture in a rectangular frame. I even thought we're walking towards Bocobo in Malate. Nooo. Good thing, we did not. Hahaha!

Our photowalk was capped by visiting the opening of a photo exhibit titled "Uling na, Naging Abo Pa" by photographers Angie de Silva and Pat Roque. They captured the final moments at Sitio Damayan in Tondo (near Smokey Mountain) before the residents were relocated and the place was demolished. The exhibited photos showed nostalgia for a place that served as a livelihood for many residents. Most of the photos actually have that foggy feel-- maybe characterizing the drifting memory of a place that was home to many. We also met the exhibitors but I left early so I did not have the chance to learn more about the photographs. I hope to meet them again.

Also, how can exhibits be soooo costly?! If I want to stage one, I really have to prepare creatively AND financially. Anyway, that's how weekend was. Sleeping Patterns series can be viewed hereThe rest of the photos are uploaded here. Enjoy! :)

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The Book Hoarder

Speaking of books, the past few weeks had proved my hoarding tendencies because I bought at least a dozen or so books from different thrift shops and book stores. I spent about a thousand bucks for all of these paperbacks. But, no regrets. I am actually happy with my purchases.

Non-fic and fic abound.
This is what my bookshelf looks like right now.

Also, I hope I can finish Renato Constantino's The Making of A Filipino within the week. It took me a month to get halfway through it. I also hope I can write a decent book review for Constantino. Hehe.

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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Summer book binge (2 of 2)

The books I read last May were sort of centered on mother-daughter relationships. It wasn't because I planned it before; I actually realized it when I finished reading everything and we’re in the middle of our post-Mother’s Day celebration. Hahaha. 

Anyway, the books are reviewed right here:


Swamplandia!
Karen Russell
Photo from Wikipedia
I saw Swamplandia!, along with Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men and Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things, in a list of alternative books to include in high school literature classes. Of course, I got interested with the idea of a family living and working with alligators. The story is about Ava Bigtree and how every member of the Bigtree family tried to save Swamplandia and their alligator wrestling dynasty after their mother’s death.

I had a love-hate relationship with the story. I was excited to read it when I was leafing through the first chapters of the book, but by the time I got in the middle I was kinda bored. At one point, I thought of leaving it for some other book. The whole story was narrated primarily from the standpoint of Ava, but there were a few chapters told from the perspective of the other family members. There’s just so much talk but less action in the whole story.

After a few refreshing breaks, the essence of the narrative became apparent— the whole story showed how each family member coped with the decline of Swamplandia along with the death of their mother. For one, Ava felt like it was her responsibility to assume her mother’s role as alligator wrestler so Swamplandia will be back in business. She tried to be brave and resourceful, and ended up facing a responsibility bigger than alligator wrestling. Kiwi, Ava’s elder brother, felt that he has to work on the other side of their island to save some money and reopen Swamplandia. Ossie, Ava’s elder sister, on the other hand, tried talking to the dead with the hope of encountering their mother in one of her séances. It was funny and sad at the same time. I was half-hoping that Ava would get to be a good alligator wrestler and their theme park will be back in the market. But she didn’t and this is a spoiler. The things that happened toward the end of the story were kind of a denouement, and I felt it was still fitting. Overall, Swamplandia! did not disappoint. I think I’ll just have to get used to the narrative style.

3 out of 5.

For One More Day
Mitch Albom
Photo from Amazon.
After Tuesdays with Morrie, I stopped reading Albom; I dunno why. I felt it was too mainstream; the same way I felt when Paulo Coelho began releasing book after book every year. They’re still good, don’t get me wrong. I just felt like I had to stop once and read them again some other time when the hype on their books goes down. Char.

Anyway, I tried reading For One More Day before and stopped. I tried it again and this time it worked. It was a typical mother and son story—the mother singlehandedly raised a rebellious teenage son after his cheating husband left him; she remains supportive despite the many times he consciously and unconsciously ignored her. Finally, his mother’s death shatters him and the other relationships he tried to hold together for some time now. By the time he tries to claim his own life, his mother’s death becomes a life-changing epiphany. You already know what happens. Based on experience, Albom’s books are a cross between preachy to inspirational narratives, and this is no exception. And while that observation’s true, Albom retains his magic on creating inspiration over otherwise mundane-sounding stories like this one. Of course, Five People and Tuesdays are still my favorite but For One More Day did not fail to pluck a few heartstrings.


3 out of 5.


An Abundance of Katherines
John Green

Photo from a Tumblr account.
Ok, so the mother here plays a minor role. Actually, both parents. But anyway, I felt that their upbringing pretty much shaped how Colin Singleton, the novel's protagonist, became an annoying prick. Throughout the story, readers would surmise that Colin's parents babied him by telling him that he's special and that anybody who bullies him are just envious of his prodigious abilities. Colin is a child prodigy on literature and language. So when his girlfriend, the 19th Katherine he dated, dumped him, he was totally devastated. He can't accept that a guy so intelligent and destined to greatness like him would be dumped. 19 times. He promised to establish a theory that will predict whether a relationship will last or not. His Lebanese best friend, Hassan, accompanies him on a roadtrip that will prove whether his theory on relationships would really work.

I was annoyed with Colin the whole time while I enjoyed Hassan's character. So there, based on my diagram on Green's novels, Katherines is the least of them all. Green maintains the relaxed ambience of storytelling but the story itself wouldn't really fly. I even thought the anagrams would be something I'll enjoy but it didn't figure much on the story, so no. Or maybe I'm just plainly annoyed with Colin. Hehe. Anyway, read on. You may find it interesting.


2.5 out of 5.

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