Thursday, September 26, 2013

PAMANA: a legacy of heroism

Keep yourself alive and happy; others may be looking up to you for inspiration.

Ever since, Papa has always expressed his fear about dying young.  His mom died even before he graduated from college & as a kid I sensed he was scared I might experience the same kind of pain.  He carried and hugged me a lot. He taught me how to sing, whistle, and laugh often. He quit smoking and forced me to eat foods rich in anti-oxidants to help prevent cancer. He allowed me to pretend I was his little assistant in his optical shop and was patient with me even when I learned how to bug him with crazy questions on the phone.

He also directed my boundless energy& my uncanny talent to pry into something positive; he encouraged me to study.  He told me early on that we can't be together forever and education is the only legacy he can pass on effectively.

Because of this, I had different nightmares of him being taken away by Zuma, Valentina, and other evil creatures from Shake, Rattle, and Roll.  In reality, it was his ambition to send us to better schools that took him away from us and made him work far far away until retirement.

He has just turned 60 last month. Instead of throwing a lavish party at Manila Hotel (he always joked about throwing fancy parties for himself but he never did), he declared he wouldn't come home this year. He said we can celebrate his retirement next year after my sister's college grad.

So we celebrated his birthday by watching "PAMANA", the first docu-musical about Ninoy and Cory's sacrifice for our country's democracy.

And I cried all throughout the play. I cried that Edgar had to leave his daughter Trina. I cried that he was not so successful here because of the economic and political climate after the People Power Revolution. I cried over the song about cassette tapes and endless letters. I cried when Trina had to defend her ideals and her decision to stay in spite of her father's request. I cried when Lola Azon died and joined Ninoy and Cory in democratic heaven.

I realized we can all be heroes even if we live for different things and are driven by various desires. Even the most cynical pessimists can help fund and fuel optimism in the country. Heroism is our birthright.

I miss Papa even if I'm now more used to him not being here. He's still my hero.

Cindy Miranda: Unstoppable in China

Cindy & Ara during their coronation night press con

Ethereal. Evident even during the initial screening, it was inevitable for the gentle and doe-eyed Joana Cindy Miranda to be part of the top 5 in Bb. Pilipinas Gold. 

Prayerful, highly determined, and fueled by the support of her family, friends & fans, Cindy is currently in Xianning, China fighting for her chance in bringing home this year's Miss Tourism Queen International (MTQI) crown.  

Cindy with her parents & her sisters @BPCI

Some stress the fact that she's also a "Joana"..just like Ms. Supranational 2013 Mutya Johanna Datul! Superstitious fans believe this could actually help her bag the MTQI title and do her share in making Bb. Pilipinas Gold's grand slam dream come true.

Cindy & my little sis Aya

Mutya laughs this off saying: "Naku, eh si Cindy nga lang ang nagturo sa kin maging matapang!"  She adds, it's a person's determination and hard work that will make her win. She's confident that if Cindy manages to do and apply everything they've  learned from their training, she will no doubt be crowned  Ms. Tourism Queen International 2013.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Mutya Datul: Secrets of the Salagubang Walker on the Rise

"Dati sa Isabela, gusto ko lang makarating ng Maynila. Hindi ko akalain na sa pagsakay ko ngayon ng eroplano makaka-labas ako ng Europe pa! With humility, God manages to surprise us by giving us more than what we pray for"

As I'm writing this, Mutya Datul is probably sharing a bit more of Philippine sunshine in cold and intimidating Belarus. Unaffected yet immensely competitive, she's focused on making all of us proud in this year's edition of Ms Supranational with 93 other delegates. She sashays gracefully even in the most uncomfortable outfit; she keeps her answers honest and simple, her smile sweet and genuine. Cheerfully she said she's inspired by the quiet salagubang; and we're all happy with how far she has gone and improved. Not only can she speak Tagalog and English more fluently now, she even managed to learn some Russian phrases!

Here are some tidbits about her (stuff she shared during her send-off party at the airport):

1. Lucky charm- "Rosaries from friends; I can feel their love and support through this."
2. National costume- "It's really unique! It will surprise you all."
3. Her inspiration- the support of her family, friends & fans. "Yung marinig ko lang yun boses nila, nakakatanggal na ng kaba."

4. Gameplan- "I'll enjoy the moment and do my best. Hindi ko na kelangan ng multivitamins; si God ang vitamin ko. Sa kanya walang impossible."

Hopefully the three plane transfers didn't drain her. May God strengthen her to continuously persevere and eventually bring home the crown.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Cinesthesia: works just like anesthesia in artists' quest to eliminate social cancer

Comfort zones exist to prepare us for greater discomforts in life; a certain level of discontent is essential for society's growth & progress. Yet it takes courage to step out of one's daily routine & explore uncharted seas and some may not be ready.

Most of the time I still get numb & queasy when I watch indi films; they nudge people out of their comfort zones, hoping to awaken positive transformers & philanthropists in their seats.  To achieve this, they tolerate communal meditation, dilly dallying & overt displays of much so that sometimes watching the characters wallow in pain make me feel guilty.

Nevertheless, I'm grateful for the opportunity to watch several Cinemalaya films this year.

1. Purok 7 by Carlo Obispo

    Diana (Krystle Valentino) and her younger brother (Miggs Cuaderno) hardly look alike, yet their sibling-hood is so realistic it made me wonder how they are related in real life.   Her eyebrows & toothy smile make her even more interesting to watch. It's a feel-good movie that shows how young love can be so uplifting and how the spirit of bayanihan can bring out goodness despite people's flaws.

2. Babagwa (The Spider's Lair) by Jason Paul Laxamana

    Despite having a predictable ending, it's amusing and disturbing at the same time to watch how the characters use and deceive each other.  The sex scenes are quite uncomfortable to watch.  It's cool though how they thoroughly explored the topic and interlaced the fictional/idealized characters into the phone/fb conversations of the real ones.
3. Instant Mommy by Leo Abaya

    Eugene Domingo never fails to make me laugh even when she's subtle.

4. Nuwebe

    Watch if you want to groan.  To watch incest & rape unfold is just too much for one night.

5. The Diplomat Hotel

    Watch if you want to groan even more. Reminiscent of grade school indoor horror booths.

6. Quick Change by Eduardo Roy Jr.

    I really love Miggs Cuaderno; he's so cute, he can take on any role.  Their makeup artists are commendable too; even the infection looked real.  All the shots were artistically done & even the bed scenes are interesting to watch. Truly amazing.

7. Sana Dati by Jerrold Tarog

    Tearjerker. The entire cast was superb & I like the ending too.

 I'm really a sucker for good endings..I have trouble with films that leave me hanging. Call me lazy or old fashioned, I don't care.. I want some kind of closure there. Even if its objective is to arouse action for society's reforms, I still feel we deserve to see a good ending.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Funny how time flies; I can't believe it's been seven years since the last time I was able to attend a Mutya function. It's quite amusing to recall how it started with an ardent desire to gather qualitative data for my thesis.

The suggestion to enter the pageantry came in the form of an innocent UPSA costume fitting in Mama Renee's shop.  Haggard from class, I hitched with my choirmates to have my measurements accurately taken. To my surprise, Mama Renee exclaimed "pwede ka Ineng!" when he found out I had a 24 inch waistline hidden in my baggy clothes. I have to credit Ilang ilang Residence Hall for making me lose so much weight back then due to the limited supply of dorm food.

It's quite embarrassing when people casually blurt out your deepest hidden desires. As a little girl, my mom would tell me it's wrong to expect too much from the world.  It's wrong to think too highly of yourself & it's unwise for young girls to grow their hair long. She said "better study & avoid boys so life would be better when you grow up." She forbid me to join Little Miss Philippines and pursue my dream of becoming like Aiza. Thus, I learned to expect the worst and hope for the best.  I prayed for three meals a day, warm baths at night, and a UP diploma.

Until Mama Renee unleashed the wild dream just like that, like some half-meant joke.

Though it did complicate my life bigtime & I wasn't able to pursue singing with the university choir after that, I'll be eternally grateful.  Mama Renee somehow balanced out my biological mother's precepts so I could be less embarrassed to improve myself and realize my dreams.

This year, I hosted Mutya to express my gratitude to him, my pageant trainor Rodgil Flores, and the institution that allowed me to finish data gathering for my undergrad thesis.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Flavors @ Araneta Center

It's June once more & the rainy season is just around the corner.  But it's never too late to treat your senses & visit Flavors @ the Araneta Center open from Friday-Sunday starting at 6pm til the wee hours of the morning. As I chew on my fave Eng Bee Tin White tikoy, here are my top 10 stalls in no particular order:

1. Cibo- need I say more?

2. Champs- their fish teriyaki will make you smile with its sweet sauce & white onions

3. All About Fried- their Crispy Chicken Skin is simply the best among the rest; check out its heavenly texture!
Their Bagnet isn't so bad either; I wouln't mind doing a cheerdance in front of their stall to burn off the calories

4. Coco Vida- fulfill your ultimate tropical dream..their buko juice is really creamy with crunchy buko meat bits

5. Truckbun- they have ultra yummy wraps; I like their pork wrap best

6. B-Wings- don't be a chicken in expressing your love for delectable wings; you may have to fight hard for your love (with the crowd) but in the end it'll be all worth it

7. I-Cup- nothing else could be as refreshing as a fine cup of milk tea with pearls

8. Bundaberg- I like the fizz of their Peachee

9. Shawarma Bros- sodium overload with the cheese! They have a cute booth though

10. Broosy- I was too full already to check out their food, but their booth is delightfully red & yellow so I'll put them on my list :p

I really had a great time!:) Catch more of my gustatory adventures & travel exploits on PAT Features (shown on Solar Daybreak, Monday-Fri 7-8am; with replays on other Solar Newscasts 12nn, 6pm, 9pm & 11pm) & check out our website Keep it bright on Solar!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Whisk the Whiskey

I never liked hard drinks; I embrace femininity in all aspects so I like my drink flirty, sweet, and fruity. But eversince I started joining pageants (yesterday all our troubles seemed so far away…) I veered away from this drink subset in an attempt to maintain my figure.

After years of forgetting about brief fling (talk about redundancy) with hard drinks, my friend Leo managed to convince me to attend a whiskey tasting event at Chops Greenbelt 5. I’ve never been a scotch drinker but I actually discovered it’s quite interesting to guess its nose, taste and aftertaste and compare my observations with those of the experts. I was able to taste Glenlivet 12 and 15; I realized you have to analyze these drinks to be able to appreciate them further.
Most things are better appreciated with an open mind & a fun party.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

HIMALA: there can be miracles when you believe

HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone! haha. I know it's a bit late for that, but even if PAGASA hasn't declared an official change of season, I've decided to overcome my share of writer's bloc and attempt blogging actively green! (this year's "in" shade) 

A lot of changes occurred in my life these past 6months; and I'm grateful God hasn't given up on writing my beautiful life story. Like any book, I envision the end would be a happy one & the sequel would be even better so the middle part would be worth my while. 

Over the weekend, we've had another round of pictorials for the Solar News Channel (yes guys, for those who still don't know, I have new shows in a new network this year ..& it's available on freeTV!-ch21). It was short & sweet; too bad I'm not allowed to post pics of it. :/  I'm looking forward to more fun-filled segments and shows this season.

We have interesting PATfeatures coming up this week (P-eople, A-ttractions, T-ravel <3<3<3 it's the name of my segment in my new home :)) Aside from the Strawberry festival and other out of town stories, we're also featuring PETA's HIMALA, the 10 yr anniversary concert.  "Concert" is quite a misleading term because in reality, it's still a musical play..just more concise with multifaceted choir members as part of the cast.  I have to say Isay Alvarez is still as funny as ever in portraying a not-so-decent role & I got too starstruck to even request for a picture.

"Walang himala..ang puso ng tao ang pugad ng himala." 

The message is still as striking and the end is as tear-jerking as when the film was first released 30years ago and when the play was first staged in the CCP a decade ago. For an average theater goer, the lyrics are quite hard to recall (except for the eerie call of "Elsa, Elsa.." by the townsfolk).  The songs aren't exactly what you would want to sing while you're enjoying your morning shower; but it is an overwhelming fusion of Gregorian chant and kundiman.  

With a new pope, it is quite timely this Lenten season to reexamine ourselves and our beliefs, to redefine our purpose & list down reasons why suicide should be the last thing we should consider putting on our bucket list.  They say to make life meaningful we need something/someone to believe in, something/someone to love & something/someone to aspire for.  I say we should just decide to be happy regardless of source or meaning.  Easier said than done? Watching Himala would help you make that decision.