Call Me By Your Name: A Beautiful Poetic Narrative

I guess I’m a bit hard to please when it comes to reading and finishing a book.  After reading some of the most beautiful, exhilarating and awe-inspiring books in the past, there has been three (3) books that I started reading but – due to boredom – eventually dropped and chose not to finish it.  Thus, a book will therefore be very good if I would be able to digest and finish it up to its last word.

superb!

I was actually a little afraid that I would not be able to finish a book anymore, but Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman erased that!  It was the book that stirred my hard-to-please taste.  Call Me By Your Name is not just a stirring and fascinating story, it is actually a beautiful poetic narrative about a person’s coming-of-age reflections, desires and contemplations.

I actually envy the writer Andre Aciman for he got the talent, gift and faculty in crafting delightful words and weaving beautiful thoughts together.  Aciman was so impressive, he was able to bring readers into the major character’s heart.  That is why the joy and sadness of Elio (the major character) are the reader’s joy and sadness.  Elio’s passion and pain were the reader’s passion and pain.  And I was so into it, Elio’s heartbroken was my heartbroken!  And when I finished and read the last word of this superb novel, I noticed myself grasping for some air.

I refuse to give any spoiler!  All I can say is that the book was so good, I didn’t want to finish! Now, Call Me By Your Name sits among the top ten books that I have successfully finished.

Nakakabuntong hininga!

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A Fine Story Behind A Fine Sign Pen

Are you like me in which the attractiveness of my own signature is dependent on the quality and refinement of the pen I use?  I asked this because I am impressed and enjoy using my present sign pen.  Unfortunately, my present pen (pictured below) does not seem to have a label.

And it seems that I can no longer obtain the same pen in case the present one runs out of its ink.  Reason being, I got this pen from a boy who sells various ball-points, markers and pen on a moving bus.  If in New York subways there are young students who sells chocolates and snacks inside a moving train, here in the Philippines, there is a young boy who sells cheap sign pens and ballpens inside a moving bus.

On a public commute to the City of Manila from a weekend adventure in Villa Escudero in Quezon Province, a shy-looking young boy hopped up our bus and started distributing a note to all the passengers. The message indicated on the note states that the young lad is selling cheap ballpens and that the proceeds of his earnings shall be used for his schooling expenses.

I opted to buy one priced at twenty pesos (less than 40 cents in US$) and got to pick the green colored pen then return the note he handed earlier.  My colleague MJ, on the other hand, actually handed 50 pesos (US$1) to the young dude after reading the note and opted not to get any pen.  She however did not return the note the boy distributed and instead kept it inside her bag.  She told me that she is to show the note to her daughter and tell her daughter about our encounter with this pleasant-looking young boy.

And every time I use this sign pen I am reminded that it was the most meaningful 20-peso spending I did that day.

Ka-aya-aya ang piling!

Take On Me Acoustic Version

I was a little upset when two Facebook friends posted the viral video of A-ha singing a new and acoustic version of Take On Me during their recent gig on MTV Unplugged.  Both FB friends by the way (though they don’t know each other) are like me.  Both were teenagers and grew up in the ‘80s.

I was a little upset because for me an excellent song that has turned into a classic, Take On Me, must never be moved.  As the saying goes, don’t fix it if ain’t broke.  And since I have the twisted tendency of letting myself indulge into my being a distressed, I tried watching the video.

But to my surprise, I actually loved the rebooted form of the song.  Take On Me in its acoustic version seem to have been stripped naked and the genuine beautiful colors of the song has been exposed.  The song suddenly became more sincere and the exquisiteness of the lyrics embedded beneath the upbeat electronic synthesizers seem to have finally been uncovered.

I have never been so moved the way I am now moved by the acoustic form of A-Ha’s Take On Me.  Only now was I able to digest and appreciate the beauty of the song’s lyrics.  If the original version goes with the saying don’t fix it if ain’t broke, the acoustic version lives by the saying perfect is the enemy of good.

The new version does not just deserve to be shared only by two of my Facebook friends it is worthy of being imparted and listened to by all folks which ever era that they may have been born.

Ang nays pala ng liriks…

Present Kings of Bartending

Since the cable TV viewing public seems to have a big appetite for food programs, celebrity chefs nowadays are a dime a dozen.   Cooking shows are like a hit record that has been so overplayed it sometimes reaches a viewer’s point of irritation.  And the irony of it all, has anyone actually moved in their kitchen and followed the recipe that these Celebrity Chefs did in their cooking show?

Another irony about the immense popularity of F&B (food and beverage) on cable TV is that only Chefs has already achieved the status of being a “celebrity” and no bartender seem to have reached such a status.  Though considered as a highly competitive profession, I have yet to know a Celebrity Bartender!  I have yet to even read about a person with killer innovativeness on cocktail concoctions and inventions.

The same is true here in the Philippines.  Unlike their culinary counterparts, recognized Filipino bartending greats unfortunately does not have celebrity statuses.  And the Filipino bar and mixology scene seem to have remained quiet, dormant and snoozing.

This is until two young Filipino bartenders recently gave pride to the country in the bartending arena.  Edmond King Mercadero and Genvic Silpao recently won the South East Asian Bartending Competition held last September 29, 2017 at the Sofitel Manila.

I was fortunate enough to have witnessed how both lads performed.  Edmond King was suave, cool and gracious during the Classic Category competition while Genvic was brisk, lively and electrifying during the Flairtending event.  It was no big surprise when Edmond King was adjudged the Champion in his category while Genvic came as a runner-up because of the height and degree of difficulty of throws he did in the Flairtending class.

present kings of philippine bartendng

Both young lads have yet to earn a PhD in cocktail revolution yet Edmond King and Genvic are starting to create a name for themselves in the world of mixology and bartending.  Both are actually due to compete further in the international bartending stage later this year.  Edmond King will again represent the Philippines and is due to compete at the World Bartending Championship in Copenhagen while Genvic will be in Kaohsiung Taiwan to also represent the Philippines in the 9th Gang-Dou Asia Cocktail Competition.

With no names popping up when you think of the Philippine bartending scene, I guess it would be reasonable enough to say that Edmond King and Genvic are the present Kings of Bartending.

Cheers! Toma!

A Last-Minute Villa Escudero Visit

According to Kurt Vonnegut, “bizarre travel plans are dancing lessons from God”.

villa escudero.

This is exactly what I, JB and MJ underwent.  We initially planned and agreed to go hiking on a mountain and a nature reserve east of Metro Manila.  But when all plans has been ironed out and only a couple of days left prior to leaving, we suddenly changed our mind.  We simply agreed to scratch the plan and instead proceed at the heavenly Villa Escudero, some 2 hours travel south of Metro Manila.

And unlike the previous 2-hour travel adventures that we had in the past in which we would either rent a private van or drive our own car, we used the public transport.  We simply commuted from Manila to Quezon via passenger bus and the ever reliable tricycle.  One bizarre mode of travel for us yet surprisingly comfortable!

I am glad to have changed our plans.  Villa Escudero has remained an amazing Filipino destination!  In summary, this is how fun we had in this beautiful place…

you can never go wrong with this beautiful philippine destination

Kapag biglaan talaga… Natutuloy!!

Wow Morisette!

The Filipino translation for the word “beast” is halimaw.  And halimaw is how I would describe the strength, depth and power of the singing voice of Morisette Amon during her participation in the recent Asian Song Festival held somewhere in South Korea.

This kind of a Filipina beast simply slayed it!  This was such a phenomenal performance.  Her pure talent is out of this world! And she looks absolutely gorgeous in that video!

What is so surprising with this number is that I was less impressed by her whistling capability.  Maybe it’s because a number of good singers can do the whistle.  I was more impressed and surprised by the unique squeaking sound that her voice makes.  That is so rare and exclusively Morisette.  That squeak would most probably be the most beautiful squeaking sound that I’ve ever heard.

World klas ang lola mo!

Villa Escudero Waterfalls Was All Mine!

It’s been several times that I have been to Villa Escudero and with all those repeated moments that I have been there I always fail to have my photo right at its famous waterfalls.  Maybe it’s because in my previous visits, I feel discouraged because this prominent spot at Villa Escudero is always full of people trying to have their selfies or pictures taken.  There is always a frustrating photo bomber lurking within your camera frame.

But with my recent revisit, I made sure that I not only be taken a picture with, I also made sure that the whole waterfalls is all mine!

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magic!

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Here’s a great tip for those who are planning to visit Villa Escudero and have the waterfalls all by yourself.  All you need to have is your mobile phone, a gorilla pod (a camera tripod) and an alarm clock.  First thing you need to do is to set the alarm clock the night before you plan to have your awesome photos taken.  Set it at 6:00 AM and make sure to wake up at 6:00 AM.

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don’t go chasin’ waterfalls…
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i love this shot!

Then early in the morning bring your camera and tripod to the waterfalls.  Set it up and have awesome photos and videos taken!  Be there while everyone are having their breakfast.  Be there before all tourists flock the site.

Ang Bongga! Mag-effort sa ‘ngalan ng pikchur!