Month: August 2014

A Moreno Green Archer Made Me Proud On National Hero’s Day

luis gabriel moreno (photo grabbed from site)
luis gabriel moreno (photo grabbed from site)

It’s not Alma the actress. It’s not Isko the politician.  It’s not Tito Germs the TV host.  Neither is it a moreno (brown olive) skinned human being.  It is a Moreno-surnamed-athlete who made me so proud and so happy today.  Luis Gabriel Moreno, an archery events athlete just won a gold medal in this year’s Youth Olympics presently being held in Nanjing China.

With nothing to watch on TV today while I do my laundry, I settled watching TV5 network this afternoon.  Not even aware that Youth Olympics is ongoing, I settled on watching a Mixed Archery event upon knowing that one of the athletes competing was a Filipino.

The sports feature started during the quarterfinals match of Moreno with his Chinese partner, Li Jiaman. I was initially not expecting anything because before the game started a sports anchor announced and flashed on the screen the medal tally of the ongoing Youth Olympics.  And to no surprise the Philippines – as usual – has yet to win a medal.

a true green archer in every sense of the word (photo grabbed from
a true green archer in every sense of the word (photo grabbed from

But interest and uneasiness about the mixed archery game fired up when Moreno and his partner won the game to qualify for the semi-finals.  And when the tandem won their match to qualify for the grand finals and compete for the gold medal, I was already ecstatic.

I was so nervous watching the event and I was clapping my hands every time Moreno and his Chinese teammate hits the 9s or the perfect 10s.  I was screaming ‘Yes! Yes! Yes!’  And I was praying to the heavens to give this event to the Philippines and China.

The general feeling was reminiscent of me watching the tennis matches of Roger Federer or me watching the boxing bouts of The Great Manny Pacquiao on TV.  When Moreno swished his last arrow to clinch the gold medal beating the Malaysia-Germany tandem, I was shouting, clapping, jumping and earnestly praying saying thank you.

The TV anchor then appeared looking very proud and equally ecstatic saying that this is the first medal for the Philippines in this year’s Youth Olympics.  And that the young Moreno is a student of De La Salle, thus literally living up to the bill of being a true Green Archer.

Well, today is the National Heroes Day and I am glad to be feeling proud.  I guess Luis Gabriel Moreno achieved something great, worthy of being called a young hero of this country.

Kongrachuleyshons kang bata ka!


Alan Peter Cayetano for President

I often suffer from high levels of laziness.  And when I do, I would simply lie down on my bed and do nothing but surf the net.  Usually, my surfing the net would lead me to either watch an indie short film or watch the circus-like hearings and privilege speeches done at the Philippine Senate as downloaded on YouTube.

alan peter cayetano
alan peter cayetano

I am glad to note that out from watching those giddy senate hearings and speeches I am able to contemplate and deduce who shall be the candidate whom I will vote for in the upcoming Philippine presidential election.  Thus, if the election will be held tomorrow, I would vote for Senator Alan Peter Cayetano.

The Philippines as a government already has a lot of development strategies and economic plans.  Some of which will be left fragmentary and incomplete while some will be left untouched/un-started by the present administration.  And for these developments to continue, another individual who is held beyond suspicion of wicked wrongdoings and malicious agenda is needed.  Thankfully, there is one candidate that exists, thus, the present President need not contemplate whether to stay in power or not beyond 2016.

Cayetano as I observed has consistently pays respect when respect is due yet attacks when attack calls for it.  What is so impressive about his style of attacking is that it is never below the belt and is conveyed in a very calm yet precise manner. The guy is simply an exemplification of buckets-full of wit!

His cerebral reasoning, critical debates, imaginative conjectures and significant inferences are usually freakin’ impressive.  Though he confessed in one of the senate hearings that he is hikain (asthmatic), he is a no non-sense guy.

alanpetercayetanoCayetano is always extremely prepared, thus an impeccable professionalism.  He speaks good Filipino and English languages.  He is fairly aesthetically presentable dude (but I think he needs to hit the gym like his siblings).  He loves the Philippines.  And the most important of all he looks and sounds sincere.

Unlike my (thankfully) level of sluggishness and indolence that is very variable and erratic, Alan’s level of integrity and moral ascendancy (thankfully too) seems unswerving.  I know that my candidate for the highest post of this nation is still subject to change.  But may it be in 2016 or not, I can see the future of the Philippines in this guy’s hand.

O ayan prodaktib pa din ang paghila-hilata ko…

Superlative Aesthetics of Barber’s Tales

barber's tales movie poster
barber’s tales movie poster

All elements of a good movie seem to be present in the film Barber’s Tales written and directed by Jun Lana.  Everything in the movie though simple in its attack seems mesmeric.  It is so good the viewers at the end of the film could not control from clapping their hands.

It is a quiet movie yet its overall effect encompasses viewers’ expectations of a well-made film: honest-to-goodness directing and storytelling; unpredictable twists and characters; so-true-to-the-character acting performances; skillful use of the Filipino language; unobtrusive and discreet use of music that mixes naturally with the sound of the environment; and, lastly the brilliant use of old and faded colors.

I know there have been heaps of positive reviews and blog posts written about Barber’s Tales highlighting on how good the story is, how cohesive the direction and cinematography was or how impressive the actors were.  Thus with this post, let me honor one aspect of the film that seems to have been slightly neglected.  The production design.

Being a person who grew up in the era on when the story wheeled on, this element of the film truly delighted me.  Thus, for me, Chito Sumera, the production designer of the movie is one of the movie’s superstars.

The movie’s production design brought me back to my pre-school years in Pasay.  I agreed with all the 70’s period props and costumes featured in the movie.  From the prostitutes’ usage of pink plastic rolers (curler tubes) on their hair, the presence of old transistor radio inside the barbershop, the usage of hoary kulambo (mosquito net), the presence of time-consuming ginanchillo (crochet fabric) on top of the rickety-looking tocador (a dresser) and even the old magazine with Margie Moran on its cover were all genuinely amazing to see.  These well-researched props made me further feel the critical sensory-emotional values of the film.

when i was still a kid, i always thought that those batya (laundry tubs) were giant tansan (bottle caps)
when i was still a kid, i always thought that those batya (laundry tubs) were giant tansan (bottle caps)

I actually whispered to Nengkoy while the movie was running if she noticed and still recalls those reliable tin metal batya (laundry tub) which the main character and her best friend were using in one of the beautiful scenes.

These key design elements further elevated the film to be closer to what is the truth and what has existed in the past, thus, making the story so real.

The Barber’s Tales is still showing in few selected cinemas in the metro.  For its ‘true’ aesthetics, this film is definitely a must watch movie.


A Pause from the Busy Metro

It was indeed relaxing…

This is what I particularly uttered when I and my coworkers were heading back to Manila last Monday.   This was after we spent the whole day lazing around Casa Luminaria, located in Barangay Talisay, Lipa, Batangas, an hour and a half away from the busy Metro Manila.  I was a bit surprised that a haven of tranquility like Casa Luminaria exists so near Manila.  It is an idyllic place to relax, bond and chill with your friends, colleagues and/or family.

relaxing interiors...
relaxing interiors…
it is so relaxing, i can sleep on that mat
it is so relaxing, i can sleep on that mat
there's 50 of us yet the place still is peaceful and tranquil...
there’s 50 of us yet the place still is peaceful and tranquil…

It was the generous owners of the company that I am working for who granted the rest of our Management Team to relax for a day and do nothing.  The only agenda in proceeding to Casa Luminaria is to be calm, unwind, have a break and chill out.

chill out with the ladies in stripes (grace & rochelle)
chill out with the ladies in stripes (grace & rochelle)
with mr. customer service  edwin santos
on a beautiful rug with mr. customer service edwin santos
relaxed and fully charged dominic diaz
with relaxed and fully charged dominic diaz

Some took a relaxing dip in the pool, some simply had a calming nap at the hammocks, some enjoyed playing cards, some had tranquil moments at the open-air lounge chairs, some snoozed on the outdoor mats and some simply enjoyed the soothing sound of nature.  Me? I simply sat down and paused.  As in paused during the whole time I was there.  No work, no analysis, no hassle, no physical exertion and no deep thinking.

Sarap tumanga…

Kasal by Joselito Altarejos

kasal movie poster captured from cinemalaya 2014 website
kasal movie poster captured from cinemalaya 2014 website

My two most favorite scenes in the movie Kasal (The Commitment) directed by Joselito Altarejos are the dialogue-less squabble scene of the two main characters in the middle of a green-lush alleyway in which instead of spoken dialogues, a sweet Tagalog love/wedding song is being played and the passionate love making scene that features the two main characters along with the old-timer veteran Filipina actress Boots Anson Roa.

I loved the long-shot dialogue-less quarrel scene because even though you could not hear what the characters are articulating you can actually see and feel from afar what they are saying.  This one is a truly magical achievement for the director who was able to capture such a rare feat.  Very seldom in a Filipino-made film that I have seen this.  Usually in a Filipino movie, for a message to be conveyed it needs to be overtly spoken and for an emotion to be felt the main character should be shot close up.

The other impressive scene was the pink love-making part of the movie.  Aside from the challenging erotic calisthenic-demands for the actors, the scene was further made difficult because a film clip of the well-respected and morally-right veteran actress Boots Anson Roa is being flashed and projected directly onto their skin.  It’s like having sex with someone while your senior citizen elementary school religion teacher is closely watching.  How on earth can you attain the ecstasy and worldly bliss?  Thus, kudos to the director who was able to think and execute something as unique as this.

the young bride (photo taken from cinemalaya 2014 website)
the young bride (photo taken from cinemalaya 2014 website)

Aside from these two richly flavored scenes in the film, Kasal (wedding in English) was able to highlight various dynamics about marriage, love, commitment and family.  And what is so impressive about it is that these dynamics were navigated in an incredibly solid and cohesive manner.  The impressive story also depicts the irony of a happy wedding celebration which can actually be the reason for sadness, struggles and troubles by those involved by it.  The story and scenes were so close-to-reality viewers inside the theater were expressing their unconcealed elated reaction while the movie is running.

Though the main characters did not end up being together as an item and that the ending was rather sad, you nevertheless will feel – if you would just deeply contemplate – that the lead characters in the story will be just fine in the future.  And that is another remarkable achievement of this film.  The ending was a sad silent pause yet still pleasant.

Now I can say that I already have a favorite Altarejos film.  I had some problems with the technical aspect of the movie most especially the dubbing.  But all these were easily erased by the trueness and sincerity of the story as well as the impressive execution by that of the superb director.

Kasal (The Commitment) is a finalist and an official entry in the Director’s Showcase category of the Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival 2014.

Ay howp it wins…

Gladiator by Dami Im

photo grabbed from dam im's official facebook page
photo grabbed from dam im’s official facebook page

Being a true blue self-imposed fellow of the Dami Army, I waited for this music video like a Gladiator.  Now that it is finally released, the coming nights now seems brighter, my glass of sour wine now tastes better and the constant pit of fury in my gut now subsides.

Dami is one truly amazing talent.  Another incredible song with a perfectly fitting and visually stunning music video!

Mala-gladyeytor sa galing!

Hustisya by Lamangan: An Injustice to Nora

hustisya movie poster grabbed from cinemalaya website
hustisya movie poster grabbed from cinemalaya website

Joel Lamangan is a Filipino film director who has been very successful in consistently disappointing me with his works.  I have seen a couple of his movies but seeing his latest one made me conclude that it would take me a great deal of convincing to watch his future works.

Lamangan’s latest movie is entitled, Hustisya.  It stars the great Nora Aunor. This film is an entry in the on-going Cinemalaya film festival.  Unfortunately, for my taste the 2-hour film, Hustisya, is a big disappointment.  Because I was so bored in the first few minutes of the movie, I kept on looking at my watch.  And to my surprise the first disenchanting 35 minutes of the movie was nothing but seeing Aunor walking within the rundown streets of Manila.

For me, the movie’s core and story can easily be told in less than 45 minutes.  It ran for 2 hours because Lamangan inserted unnecessary footages of the sorry-looking and sordid spots of the City of Manila with the aim of putting socio-political connotations for the film.

For me, Lamangan is nothing but an inferior imitator of the genius Filipino film director Lino Brocka.  The latter’s work contains heaps of socio-political implications and undertones which would hit directly into your being.  Lamangan’s representation of socio-political issues on the other hand seem nothing but superficial.

Because of the footages inserted in the film and the secondary scenes placed in the movie (like the anti-government rally that suddenly came out from nowhere; the pickpocket scene inside a train; or, the stabbing murder scene along a dodgy street), which has nothing to do with the story has failed to touch a nerve.  His depiction of social ills and government-political inadequacies looks artificially pilit (forced).

Lamangan must thank the heavens for Aunor who agreed to be in the film.  She is the sole saving grace of this movie.  And I cannot imagine how the film would look like or what the film would have become if it was not for the great Aunor who stars in it.  Without Nora, this movie could easily be considered a non-worthy entry in this year’s highly prestigious Director’s Showcase category of Cinemalaya festival.

Jusko, epik peyl naman ‘tong si Manong.