So Much Reasons To See Crazy Rich Asians

I have to admit, the major reason why I wanted to watch the movie Crazy Rich Asian was because I wanted to see Kris Aquino, my country’s mega queen of media.  But since the lavish movie was so engaging, I almost forgot the reason why I wanted to see it.  Until she appeared in her beautiful yellow gown playing the role of the ultra-rich and toffee-nosed character of Princess Intan. 

kris aquino with constance wu

Crazy Rich Asian is such a heartwarming movie.  I was actually teary-eyed in some of the scenes because it featured cultural elements that seem so close to my being.  Also, I was so happy to see this delightful movie because at last Asian characters are on the lead (not mere sidekicks) and Asian actors are not performing the gag-worthy Hollywood martial arts scenes.  I am actually considering this film an Asian celebration!

I may not be crazy rich (because I am a crazy reject Asian) but I nevertheless saw bits and pieces of me in numerous characters of the movie, the gutsy-ness of Rachel Chu, the being-a-friend-to-depend-on of Peik Lin, the softheartedness of Nick Young and of course the bitchiness of Eleanor Sung-Young. 

I was at awe when Kris Aquino appeared and was glad to know how pivotal her role was.  But the movie’s characters and its message made me further love this film.  I laughed with the characters, I cried with the characters and I fell in love with the characters!  The movie clearly screams that though there would be headaches and hurdles, you can chase your own happiness even without sacrificing your values and tradition.

Ang Yaman!

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A Movie Whose Title I Did Know Until I Finished Watching It

Yesterday was my first time to watch a movie in which until the end of it I never knew of its title.  Prior to getting to the mall, the only thing I know about the movie which me, Nengkoy and my whole family is gonna watch is that it stars hunky actor Gerald Anderson and pretty Ms. Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach.  And that it is a romantic comedy film directed by Cathy Garcia-Molina.

You may wonder how come I did not saw the title when it was flashed at the first parts of the movie.  Yes, I did not saw or notice it.  Maybe it’s because I was too busy opening all the lids of all the huge tubs of popcorn my family brought along inside the cinema.

Only when I and my family were heading out of the cinema did I realize that I don’t know the title of the Filipino movie that we’ve just seen.

At the first half of the film, viewers will be treated with tacky plot of a story, bad acting, and cheesy dialogues.  It especially became garish, loud and shoddy when the character of Wurtzbach appeared.  There was nothing new and special about the film.  And before the movie reaches its second half, I have already accepted the fate of us viewers that we have to endure watching such a trashy and second-rate film. 

It was so disappointing that I have concluded that the director has gone worse as compared to the cool and heartwarming Filipino romantic-comedy films she has done in the past. And that the only saving glory of the film was the pleasure of seeing and appreciating the good looks of both Anderson and Wurtzbach.  I have even resolved within me that it was good that I did not even know the title of such a trashy movie.  Who would want to know anyway!

But when the film reached its second half, all these disappointments and frustrations were suddenly erased!  The story, the plot and even the acting suddenly bloomed and became so fetching.  In fact, when the second half of the film was running, I wanted to steal an Oscar trophy from the imaginary cabinets of acting awards of Meryl Streep and hand it over to Anderson!

When the twist of the story was revealed, each minute of the movie surprisingly becomes so intriguing to the point of being so engaging.  It was so fantastic, I thought myself to be so stupid for not knowing the title of the film we were watching.  I actually wanted to go out and read the movie poster but I don’t want to leave for I may miss an important scene of the movie.

The magnificent twist of the film’s story justified the reason why the first half was cheesy, shoddy and corny with an overly-filtered cinematography.  The twist in the story was so clever it seem to trigger the deep-seated schizophrenia in me!

Very few Filipino films in the past made me cry.  This one elicited a tsunami of tears from my usually dehydrated weeping ducts!  I don’t wanna reveal the twist, neither do I wanna be a spoiler.  Oh, by the way, the title of the movie is My Perfect You.

Kaaliw! Nagoyo ako nung una ang ganda pala!

Nengkoy’s First Hostel Experience

Nengkoy (my mother) is used to check-in a 5-star hotel or resort every time she goes on a domestic vacation.  Because of budget constraints and weak Philippine peso, it is the downgraded to 4 or 3-star hotels during international travels.  However, in Nengkoy’s recent international trip her accommodation experience was further downgraded from a hotel to a hostel!

I am the culprit.  It is because I am the one who booked and reserved a tiny room for three at A Dot Homestay via Booking.com.

Upon clearance from the immigration and retrieval of our luggage at Taoyuan International Airport, I Nengkoy and my sister proceeded to the nearest airport transport service.  We booked a return exclusive luxury car service that will drive us to our hostel and pick us up to bring us back to the airport on our last day’s stay.  The driver was quite surprised upon finding out that we have to be dropped not to a luxurious hotel but instead to an ordinary building where our hostel was located.

a dot homestay taipei
common area (dining & kitchenette) where guests converge and make “chika
a dot homestay
the bathroom, the laundry area and the sleeping quarters
nengkoy at a dot homestay
spot nengkoy (btw, those drawers under the bed are digital-lock capable as if its a safe or a vault)

Actually, upon alighting the luxurious car, I never noticed where A Dot Homestay was located for there was no signage.  Upon noticing that I seem to look confused, the driver was kind enough to point to us the building and entrance gate were the address of our hostel was.  Shockingly, there was no reception desk where to transact our check-in.  Instead, we proceeded to the 5th floor of the building, were asked to take off our shoes and was led to a dining table where we settled our payment and where the crew issued us our electronic keys to our room.

Nengkoy and my sister then told me after we have settled inside our room that both of them were already contemplating of pushing me to transfer to a legit hotel.  It was obviously their first time to be in such a type of a lodging.  They were not used to a guesthouse without a front desk, a concierge and an elegant chandelier in a lobby.

I have no intention of under estimating this hostel.  It is because I, my sister and Nengkoy were quite impressed by the facilities, cleanliness and offerings of A Dot Homestay.  After our first night, we easily adjusted and came to appreciate this cozy and comfortable establishment.

A Dot Homestay basically grew in us.  Maybe it is because it offers remarkable facilities (comfy bed with fresh and spotless linens, clean and big common/shared toilet & shower rooms, a free-to-use washer and dryer, very fast internet connection, hot, warm and cold drinking water, a fridge that all guests can use and even a kitchenette if guests wish to cook their food).  They even offer us to eat and try the free snacks placed and made available at the main table.

But aside from all these pleasant and amazing features, there are two things that I like most about A Dot Homestay.  First is the warm, gracious and well-mannered staffs.  All their staffs whom I encountered can speak English (Sarah, one of the staffs, according to her actually studied English here in the Philippines for 3 months) and everybody were so genial and are so willing to assist so as to make sure that we enjoy our visit to Taipei.  They can even give you tips on where to dine and where to go to.

Second is the location.  A Dot Homestay is literally just a couple of steps away from Exit 3 of Daan Station.  The nearness of the train station is one of my main considerations why I chose and booked A Dot Homestay.  I know that Taipei weather is like Manila weather.  It is hot, boiling and very humid.  Thus, it would be too difficult to walk on the streets so as to reach the station if the hotel would be too far a distance.  I was also glad to have chosen this lodging establishment because I am with Nengkoy and my often-complaining sister who hates to walk under a blistering climate.  Thus, the location of A Dot Homestay is just perfection!

nengkoy & ate gaying at daan train station
nengkoy and my sister at the stairs of daan station
taipei morning
the view just outside the hostel…

Thanks to A Dot Homestay!  It is because this establishment made Nengkoy’s first hostel experience a very pleasant and remarkable one.

Oh and by the way, on our last day, it was a different driver who picked us up and drove us to the airport for us to catch our flight back to Manila.  He was driving a Mercedes Benz.  It was so noticeable that the driver was puzzled and bamboozled why we were not picked from a luxurious hotel but instead by the bustling Xinyi Road in front of an ordinary-looking building.

Kaimpres impernes…

Impressed by Air New Zealand

I fly economy.  Because of the economic condition of my wallet, the only flying option that I got for both domestic and international flights is to go economy class.

I have flown quite a number of airlines from the coolest to the most senseless.  And my recent Air New Zealand (ANZ) experience seem to stand out among all these air travel providers.  It came as a big surprise actually.  Except for the pre-flight safety video, I never expected this airline to possess and feature high standard facilities and services.

lighting before the take-off
lighting before the take-off
lighting during the flight prior to dinner service
lighting during the flight prior to dinner service
lighting prior to bfast service
lighting prior to bfast service

My recent flight from Auckland to Singapore was something to remember.  I need not encounter a lifesaving scene nor a bizarre experience nor an out-of-the-ordinary circumstance for me to get impressed with the quality of service and facilities of this airline.  The simple features are the ones that really impresses me.

The airline food was superb for one.  As compared to the nightmarish quality of food chomps that other airline serves, ANZ (for me) was above average.  I particularly loved the Kapiti Premium Ice Cream.  It was so delicious I asked the crew for another cup.

Aside from the above average meals, the airline serves generous amounts of tasty New Zealand premium red and white wines.  Flights crews would walk the aisle with large bottles of wines ready to fill passengers’ thirsty cups.

Another simple surprise by ANZ are their cleverly designed cabins and seat-space.  The actual height and look of the cabin makes you feel like being in a very big airplane.  The leg space in particular was indeed very good.  I for one who possess rather long legs would usually have difficulty fitting in a rather small space but not with Air New Zealand.

awesome... this kept me from not reading my book
awesome… this kept me from not reading my book

Another plus in my being captivated by this airline was their inflight entertainment system.  The high definition touch screen was simply stunning for every passenger who enjoys viewing movies and TV programs or simply playing games during long haul flights.  I discovered that it has a feature called “seat chat” where you get to send instant messages to your friend and family seated in another row.  And everything seem to be in that small high definition screen: from turning on your reading light, to good music and even on the need to talk to an airline crew.

And lastly are the flight crews.  I hate it when crews on board are too chatty or too snobbish.  My ANZ flight just had the average cool dudes and dudettes as flight attendants.  They were simply friendly, helpful and thorough, which for me was a big plus.

I was in economy class during my ANZ flight, but it felt more than the usual economy.  ANZ was such a big surprise.  I was impressed!

Pang mayaman…

All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

I enjoyed it sooo much!  It is beautifully written. It’s as joyful as it is heartbreaking.  All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven is a book that knocked me off my ass!

captivating!
captivating!

I loved how the author painted the characters Theodore and Violet.  Their characters worked so well together.  They were so opposite yet so the same.  Their characters were presented in a beautiful interwoven style just the way I liked it. You get to see, hear and feel both of their perspectives.

You will get so invested in the characters of both Theodore and Violet.  It is a book that will make you fall in love with these two and – without giving away anything – will later reduce you to tears and will make you badly miss them.

I particularly got so captivated by the character of Finch.  I love the way he adopts a persona.  Though perceived by others as someone who is weird, he can become somebody that is either a slightly different version if not a better version of himself.  Add to that is his adoring wit.  He could be very funny and quirky yet so deep, romantic and definitely full of sense and essence.  He is such a unique character every reader I guess would be snuck up and drawn in by his passionate persona.

such beautiful words...
such beautiful words…

All The Bright Places is one of those few stories that would slowly and gently grab your heart as in like you have fallen so much deeply in love.  And yet after sometime it will crush you into emotional bits and pieces.  I was not happy with the ending but it is one ending that is a must to make this book a remarkable book.  The heartbreaking twists at the end parts of the story would make you get to love it.

Somehow, I think 5 stars aren’t enough for such a remarkable book.  I will definitely give it as many stars as those shining in the entire universe because All The Bright Places truly deserves them.

Nakaka…!