My 28th Day Hurdle of Breaking the Smoking Habit

superfriends

my super friends

It is believed that it takes 28 days to form or break a habit.  Last Saturday, January 26 was actually my 28th day of being cigarette free.  Ironically, it was the toughest test of my being a smoke-free mortal.  This was the day I caught-up with my super friends who knows that I am a notorious smoker every time we would go out.

We convened at Sofitel Philippine Plaza Hotel I did not smoke.  We had dinner at a Filipino restaurant in Resorts World I did not smoke.  And the hurdle of all hurdles, we went to a smoke-filled dance club along Julia Vargas Avenue in Pasig later that same night and  I surprisingly did not lit a cigarette.  I’m even proud to say that I never psychopathically craved for it the whole time I was with my great buddies.  No drooling, no chills, no big cold sweats.  I was normal and simply had pure fun.

With this, I can superciliously announce that I passed the test, emerged triumphant and totally broke the noxious smoking habit.

Aym pretty shur gradweyt na ko sa yosi. 

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Himig Handog Song Finalists: Review (Final Part)

himig handog p-pop love songsAccording to news Himig Handog finals night will be held on February 24, 2013 at SM Mall of Asia Arena.  Also, all song finalists are now available in iTunes and Amazon while the album CD is now for sale in local record bars.  Anyway and without further ado, here’s the last batch of songs I reviewed so as to conclude my pre-Lenten Season penitensya.

Sana’y Magbalik words and music by Arman Villarta Alferez sang by Jovit Baldovino.  It’s a power ballad without much power.  Baldovino’s pipes were very good but the lyrics and arrangement were simply corny.    The song is too typical and too common.  There’s nothing unique about it.  It’s an archetypal kantang pang-ayuda in which anytime within the song an ago-go dancer will appear and start strutting his or her stuff. This for sure will be a big hit in dingy beerhouses of the land.

Scared To Death music and words by Domingo Rosco Jr. sang by KZ Tandingan.  I personally don’t like the point of the song.  It’s the song for the wimpy, the sissy and the wussy.  For me this song is nothing but a bland pop song.  I think KZ sings better when she performs live than in a recording.

Anong Nangyari Sa Ating Dalawa words and music by Jovinor Tan performed by Aiza Seguerra.  It’s a slow, sleepy, melancholic and melodramatic song bordering to painful boredom.  Nevertheless, Aiza’s hushed voice provides the song’s center of gravity.  She undeniably knows how to breathe her syllables over a rhythm.  Aiza sings with grace that makes it hard to keep your tears in their ducts.  She’s good.  But the message seems too gloomy.  It feels downright lonely.

Tamang Panahon words, music and performed by Wynn Andrada.  It’s fresh.  It’s simple and it’s easy to the ear.  The singer’s charming voice is perfect for the song’s message.  What I like most is that he sounds so sincere.  No drama no histrionics.  It’s cool yet it’s warm in a compelling way.  It’s light-hearted and reliably comforting.  The song can be applicable for the young and the young at heart.  This is the type of song that you wanted to be sung to you and also the song you want to sing to somebody you adore.  I think the song is even adjustable since it can easily be converted into a duet.

For me, the finest track and this year’s Himig Handog WINNER is Tamang Panahon

Tamang tama ang timpla ng kantang ‘to.

Himig Handog Song Finalists: Review (Part 2)

himig handog p-pop love songsUnlike the past year’s Himig Handog, there is no group or band performing this year.  I wonder why.  Anyway, here’s the second part of my review for this year’s song finalists:

Kahit Na words and music by Bojam De Belen and sang by Toni Gonzaga.  The song’s beat and lyrics are age inappropriate for a 29-year old Toni Gonzaga.  This song could have been fine if it was sung by a singer in her youth.  It is in the same genre of Urong Sulong Ka sang by then 17 years old Regine Velasquez and Mambobola by Zsa Zsa Padilla when she was just 22.  What was Toni thinking when she accepted this assignment?

If You Ever Change Your Mind words, music and vocals by Marion Aunor.  It is an impressive song.  This may be the dark horse among the roster of finalists.  Marion (not Nora) Aunor’s vocal technique can be equated to that of the great Regina Spektor.  Her voice has poignant soul that gives life to the soothing rhythm and spunk of the lyrics.  Moreover, the song has international appeal since it is in the English language.  This high caliber song has universal sentiment which can cross cultural borders.  The song actually can be a potential international hit.

One Day words and music by Agatha Morallos and sang by Angeline Quinto.  The song is simply forgettable. It’s a typical song of the sawi (disheartened).  This is another case of including the song in the finals so as to boost the sales of the CD compilation because of the star power of the artist. Quinto sings great with Tagalog songs but for me she needs to train on proper diction and annunciation of English words.  I can hardly comprehend the lyrics of the song she’s singing.  Good thing the song was in lyric-video form when I saw and heard it on YouTube.

Hanggang Wakas words and music by Soc Villanueva and performed by Juris.  Juris has sweet affecting voice but the lyrics seem old.  “Pag-ibig ko’y wagas”, does this statement still being spoken by the people of today?  This song must have been composed 20 years ago.  Moreover, the lyrics of the song has specific notion and/or subject matter which may not be applicable to some listeners (I perceived it as a certain terminal disease or illness).  For me the song is too sad and too tragic.  In which, you would immediately turn off your radio and shy away from listening to it especially when your suffering from a terminal disease.  It’s too dreadful, this song may fast-track your being tsugi (dead).

For this batch my personal pick would be If You Ever Change Your Mind

Yan ang perst raner ap! Abangan ang Part 3 at ang winner para sa ‘kin…

 

Himig Handog Song Finalists: Review (Part 1)

himig handog p-pop love songsI already accomplished my pre-Lent Season penitensya (penance & self-sacrifice).  I achieved it by successfully listening to the roster of songs announced as finalists in this year’s Himig Handog, the Philippines’ biggest and premiere songwriting competition.  I was able to carry it out because all songs in its lyric-video form were posted on YouTube by Star Records Inc.  Here’s my review for the first 4 songs I listened to.

This Song Is For You music and lyrics by Jude Thaddeus Gitamondoc performed by Erik Santos.  The rendition is the usual Erik Santos in histrionic mode.  After listening to this more-than-four-minute song, I wonder what succeeding song Erik would sing.  This tune I thought is merely an introduction for a supposed good song.  Because usually, singers when they are introduced to sing a great song they would initially tell the audience, “This song is for you” then proceeds with his/her singing.  Whatever that song is, listeners will forever wonder.  It’s actually some kind of an idiotic composition.

Alaala words and music by Fe Mechenette Tianga, Melvin Huervana and Joel Jabat Jr. performed by Yeng Constantino.  Prolific songwriter herself, Constantino’s past songs which she herself wrote, composed and sang were way better than this one.  It’s too dry and too ordinary making it so forgettable.

Pwede Bang Ako Na Lang Ulit words and music by Jeffrey Cifra sang by Bugoy Drilon.  Overall, the song was actually good.  It’s an okay of a song.  I can listen to it for a couple of times in a day but the rendition seems to lack the required sincerity.  The singer’s rendition was fine but he seems to be deficient in sending the correct affection of the song.

Nasa Iyo Na Lahat words and music by Jungee Marcelo and sang by Daniel Padilla.  It sounds like a low-class and artificial impersonation of Jason Mraz.  The score is amateur-ish and the lyrics are dizzyingly redundant. There’s nothing great about the song.  It’s actually diabolical.  I suspect that this composition was included not because of the song but because of the artist.  Daniel being a popular celebrity today can be a great sales booster of the CD compilation.  Besides, one explicit measure for this year’s Himig Handog to be considered successful is if it reaches the multi-platinum status.

For this batch my personal pick would be Pwede Bang Ako Na Lang Ulit…

Yan ang sekond raner-ap!  Abangan ang Part 2.

Harrison Plaza

The Philippines boasts of its humongous shopping malls.  Two of the biggest in the world can actually be found here (SM North Edsa and SM Mall of Asia).  But there’s one mall I grew up going to.  It’s Harrison Plaza.  Growing up, this has been my family’s mall of choice during the 70s and 80s because of its accessibility since it is simply just at the borders of Pasay and Manila cities.

I am writing about this mall because I happen to bumped into a photo of how glorious Harrison Plaza was in the 70’s…

harrison plaza during the '70s

harrison plaza during the ’70s

This one-stop retail center is the first shopping mall in the country.  It opened in 1976 and up until now is very much operational.  Though it obviously needs some serious refurbishing to bring back its glory, Harrison Plaza is actually even older than the world’s worst airport NAIA Terminal 1 by 6 years.

harrison plaza today

harrison plaza today

Obviously, time has changed.  It is no longer the mall of choice by the Filipinos.  But going to Harrison Plaza does not entail and pressure a person to primp and gussy up (like when you would go to Rockwell, Greenbelt or Resorts World).  You can simply go sporting your casual house clothes.

It is no longer the mall of the well-heeled and A-listers.  Yet being so near to one of the Ivy-League-like universities of the land (De La Salle University), Harrison Plaza for sure has been visited at least once by these privileged souls.  I suppose this is one place every Green Archer can’t inevitably get rid of during his fun yet busy college life – may it be a simple need for a cellphone fix, a school requirement purchase, a cheap lunch or a societal immersion to a lower to middle class bracket of the population.

Now that I am living 3 minutes away from Harrison Plaza, this mall has been my most convenient place in resolving my addiction to rash and unnecessary purchasing binges otherwise known as “shopping”.

Bakit walang estatwa o rebulto si Francis Burton Harrison sa mol na ‘to?

The Fab Les Miserables

young cosette

young cosette

Les Miserables being an excellently rich and emotionally charged material (music by Claude-Michel Shonberg and English-language lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer) any actor may he/she has an average or excellent singing voice will for sure be driven to do a first-rate performance.

This is what turned out the 2012 movie to be.  The whole cast were simply magnificent in showing off the explosions of emotions.  No wonder Anne Hathaway and Hugh Jackman won the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress and Best Actor awards respectively and as of this writing are nominated in the Oscars for the same categories.  I was intensely overwhelmed by their performances.

gavroche

gavroche

Aside from these two great actors, the three other thespians that blew me away were: Eddie Redmayne (who played Marius); Isabelle Allen (as young Cosette); and Daniel Huttlestone (as Gavroche).

The kids Isabelle and Daniel were so endearing.  Isabelle I suppose had the best singing voice among the cast.  Her representation of young Cosette was raw yet captivating.  Her singing voice and facial features perfectly fit her role.

Daniel on the other hand was simply charismatic.  Not to mention his thick British accent was so adorable.   I was rendered speechless and was totally dazed by his performance especially when he was shot and was shown lifeless on the floor while being honored by the villain Javert.

marius

marius

Eddie Redmayne for me was the biggest surprise.  I was stunned by his performance.  He was particularly brilliant when he was singing “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables”.  He was so good I can even feel the freckles on his face acting out the volcanic grief Marius (his role) was feeling.

Overall the movie was great and magnificent.  However there are two silly points I did not like.

First, there were too many facial close-ups.  From my own observation, 85% of the movie was a close-up of the actors singing.  There were too many of it, I already had the longing to count the number of wrinkles and skin pores present on Hugh Jackman’s face for every close-ranged shot he had so as to check if it is the same number on the next or previous scene he had.

Second was the quality of the singing voice of Russell Crowe (who played the interesting character of Inspector Javert).  Crowe’s singing voice for me was a bit weak bordering to being quite gentle.  He can carry a tune alright but for me villainous Javert’s tone of voice is supposed to be rougher, deeper and oppressively frightening.

I guess it’s not new to everybody that I love “contravidas” (villains).  I have written quite a number of them here in this blog (press: link1 or link2 or link3).   That is why I was excited to hear the commanding singing voice of Inspector Javert when he sings “Stars” in the movie (one of my favorite songs in the musical version).  But for me Crowe fell short of my demanding expectation and was actually a bit of a disappointment.

Yet overall, Les Miserables (the 2012 film) is what a Hollywood movie should be.  Touching, entertaining, superb and charismatic!

Ibang klase ‘to.

Goodbye Marlboro Man

Goodbye Marlboro Man.  My being with you wasn’t my best experience in life and I hope not to meet you again.

As much as I want to keep it to myself and prevent myself from bragging, I could no longer help but make it known that I have stopped – as in totally ceased – from SMOKING.  Yeah, for exactly 3 weeks now my pair of lungs has been free from the dangers of tobacco.  Exactly 3 weeks now I have not lighted a single cigarette.  And luckily, exactly 3 weeks now I have not craved for even a single puff.

Don’t get me wrong but I am not a chain smoker.  Though I have been smoking for the past 20 years whose only apparent reason for lighting cigarettes is because of my high-flying zaniness, I actually consider myself a “sosyal” (social) smoker.

my vaping gadget courtesy of Bautina

my vaping gadget courtesy of Bautina

The kicking-off of my smoking habit was actually not planned.  It was not a new year’s resolution for I believe New Year promises are actually made to be broken.  It was a simple unexpected circumstance.  Thanks to my younger sister Joy (I call her Bautina) for gifting me a special gadget for Christmas, i.e., an electronic vaporizer otherwise known as e-cigarette.

I started with a tiny container of e-juice with high nicotine content.  Now I’m on my second vial that has medium content of nicotine (6 mg).  Upon finishing this, my third vial is ready to vaporize with zero nicotine content.  All provided for free by my sweet sister Bautina.

Surprisingly, I have yet to experience the symptoms of withdrawal and have yet to feel what the terrifying cold turkey would be like.  I am glad that I just simply feel better.  I am free from the trappings that come with it — no more coughing, no more gasping for air, no more choking-stench of breath and fingers.  And more importantly, I will no longer have to cringe at the thought of my being impolite for being the lone smoker in a group of non-smokers.

To those who happen to bumped upon this article, congratulate me!  I can proudly say that this silent personal holocaust is over.

Nakaw!!! Pano na yan?! Lalong mas magiging malinamnam na ako nito ngayon?!