Thursday, December 31, 2015

happy new year


O God, the beginning and the end of all things, 
Who art always the same, and 
Whose years fail not, 
we now, at the close of another year, 
kneel in adoration before Thee, and 
offer Thee our deepest thanks for the fatherly care 
with which Thou has watched over us during the past, 
for the many times Thou hast protected us from evils of soul and body, 
and for the numberless blessings, 
both temporal and spiritual, 
which Thou hast showered upon us. 
May it please Thee to accept the homage of our grateful hearts 
which we offer Thee in union 
with the infinite thanksgiving of Thy divine Son, 
our Lord Jesus Christ, 
Who with Thee liveth and reigneth forever and ever. 


one fine day in ayutthaya's unesco world heritage site. 


Words are cheap. The biggest thing you can say is "elephant". 
- Charlie Chaplin
... one of the unexpected sights in bangkok's christmas extravaganza. great! 

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

station eleven

i long wanted to finish this book. given to me by james during our 2014 christmas  dinner, i was excited to start flipping thru its pages and i finally finished it about 5 months ago (yeah, only writing about it now!). like i've said, it takes me a whole lot of time to finish a book. this is because the boobtube almost always wins and i get tv-ed. it's always a milestone when i get to finish one… so congratulations is in order.

when i drew its 333rd page, it was if i said goodbye to a friend. i guess that's what happens when you had a great time reading a book. kirsten raymonde's odyssey into a world after almost 99% of the population were wiped out by a flu plague was quite a journey for me as well. in the order (after the plague), she became involved with the travelling symphony, a group of performers roaming america's new frontier towns to perform shakespearean materials, stopping by into these towns for a while and then moving on to another. the greater part of mendel's narrative switches from the world before the plague and after it when raymonde and the travelling symphony traverses the deserted towns of america looking for a safer haven. the ending was all about surviving when majority of survivors were all disillusioned and would do anything, including blindly following a "new age leader", in order to stay alive.

while i didn't like the way she ended the book, emily st. john mendel perfectly put together a tale that started with the death of an actor while performing on stage and how intertwining lives were connected by one single event that led to the demise of human civilization as we know it today. through seemingly unrelated characters and events, the lives of individuals in a flatter world in 2000s, were interconnected. everyday issues on relationships and failures of which, as well as common career concerns have been given light. of course, the eternal message on familial ties, community-based ties and the powers that govern these have been key themes of the book. culture, media and the arts are in the middle of this tale, which makes it relatable to anyone living in this great age of creative disruption. but i guess mendel's message here is that even with man's greatest inventions, everything can we be erased in no time and man will go back to his past ways… horse driven carriages, manual drawings of graphic novels and to his primitive roots of looking up the sky for guidance and how to make sense of what happened.
ultimately, mendel says that man can survive doomsday. many might argue that relooking and revisiting arts is not how man can rise from the ashes. but at the very least, there is hope. and that's a good way to restart life.

angkor wat

simbolo ng isang lipi
malaon nang nabaon sa sipi.
ngunit muling natuklasan
salamat sa dayuhang salansan.
ngayon ay dolyares ang hatid
sa bansang dati'y nakapinid.

minsan isang ilang
nadatnan at pumainlanlang.
sa lunan ng matandang kabihasnan
at kamakailan lang ay karahasan.
dolyares pa rin ang may salita
kapalit nito'y karanasang pambalita.

o angkor wat
salamat at ika'y nasipat.
walang katulad
puno ng tanawing mapalad.
templong ikaw ang magsasawa
ngunit mananatili sa taal na pang-unawa.

rise of apocalypse

looks a little bit weird but great as well.

downton ending

it is really ending. oh well... we know downton's going to end after 6 seasons. sad.

upset of the year

... and for the ages. mabuhay ka, roberta vinci!!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

happy holidays

Happy New Year from the super trees of Gardens by the Bay! 

i have been to singapore a number of times already but  haven't had the chance to be at gardens by the bay... so big thanks to the wonderful Mabs for taking time to show me around and let me visually sample this uber nice place.


Camiguin's White Island... early Christmas gift at its best.


that autumn feeling... 

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”
 - Albert Camus

mr. holmes

a delightful film, mr. holmes gives another memorable look at the famed sherlock holmes character and movie series. this time, it is the great gandalf himself, ian mckellen, essaying both 60 year old and 93 year old detective holmes. sherlock returns from japan, where he searched for a rare plant that possesses potent restorative qualities. he has retired to the sussex seaside and spends his days nurturing the bees. he lives with his widowed housekeeper (played by laura linney) and her young son, roger (played by milo parker). detective holmes struggles with his aging mind and has now being haunted by the memories of the last case he handled, which he failed to solve. he tries to write what truly happened and through his newfound friendship with roger, he slowly uncovers the answers to this tale of whodunit, his last one.

mr. holmes was anchored on the great ian mckellen. even without the great aging ability of his makeup, he captured the physicality required to give life to mr. holmes in two different times on the character's life. sir ian was thoroughly engaging the whole time, giving us the cheekier side, the sharp detective trait and loving, longing and fragile aspect of mr. holmes. his mr. holmes is a great addition to the tale of the world's most famous detective in fictional history and should be rewarded with nods. laura linney is good as always but it would have been better if they cast british actresses such as emily watson or samantha morton. i just felt that she was too "warm" to be an uptight and supposedly sad housekeeper. milo parker on the other hand, was spot on as roger. 

at times, poignant but more often low key and unassuming, the movie was greatly helped by carter burwell's music. beautiful british seaside scenery was stunningly captured and through meticulous set and costume designs, had brought audiences back to 1947 and earlier. nothing fancy about the characters' lines and this made it even better, as i imagine a normal everyday conversation would go.

mr. holmes is sentimental but not sugar-popped. the film succeeded in blending sherlock holmes' mystery tale as we know it with a narrative of an aging man, whose mind power slowly degenerates. its ending showed that even in one's twilight years, it is never too late to make amends for missteps in the past and more importantly, forge new and meaningful relationships.


funny how we fail to appreciate things when we often see it. funny how despite many times in this place, this is the only time i actually marveled at its grid lines and different colors of its empty seats early in the morning.

big thanks to its welcoming gates... despite the long lines in its immigration counters, bangkok and the rest of thailand always give me a great sense of adventure and relaxation. visual and gastronomic feast, that bangkok feeling never gets old... the funny feeling of getting mixed between "your first time there" and being "at home". till next time, city of smiles!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015


may paghahati ng sangkalupaan. may biyak sa talampas. may awang sa pagitan ng mga bundok.

may pag-apaw ng ilog sa kanyang sabang. may nag-aalimpuyong bagyo. may di taal na kalma bago ang pagdating nito.

may dilim na muling nagbabadya. may lasong kumakalat sa himpapawid. may panibagong lagim sa dakong ito.

nagbabago na nga ang ihip ng hangin. pagbabagong tumataklob sa anumang liwanag. unti-unti ito, di dagli. ngunit tiyak na isa na namang itong nakauut-ot ng tuwa sa puso ninuman. karimlan ay naririto na naman.

nasa kaharian pa rin ngunit nasa kabilang ibayo… malayo na nga sa landas ang demona. nagkaroon ng liwanag sa pagdating ng mandaragat. subalit nasawata ito. sandali lamang ang kanyang paglagi at di siya nagtagumpay sa pagpapaalpas ng mga maiitim na nilalang sa kaharian. at bunga ng kanyang pagyao, nagkaroon ng kapangyarihan ang isang eps na yari sa burak na nabuo sa tulong ng mambabarang. at ito ang bagong nazgul na nagnanais na maging morgoth.

di tulad ng demona na walang wawa ang atake, ang eps ay unti-unti ang pagsawata sa mga tao. marami na rin itong napayukod sa kanyang maliit na kuweba. di nga lang dama ng marami dahil kubli ito sa mata ng karamihan. ngunit tulad ng demona, taglay din nito ang lason… ang kamandag na kikitil sa buhay ninuman. may angkin itong pangil na nakakubli ngunit maaaring kumagat sa di inaasahang panahon. at higit sa lahat… kung ang demona ay mala-dementor sa pagsimsim sa tuwa ng nais nitong kitlan ng buhay, ang eps naman ay kumikitil sa pamamagitan ng unti-unting pagtaklob sa anumang liwanag at maaaring panggalingan nito. kunwari'y mabait at purong kasiyahan ang dala ngunit ang totoo, wala itong pakialam sa masasagasaan o matatabunan ng kanyang burak kung ang kapalit nito'y dagdag na kapangyarihan mula sa huklubang mambabarang.

halos tatlong siglo ang hinintay nito bago tuluyang alisin ang mantong nagkukubli sa kanyang tunay na katauhan. ngunit nang pakawalan ang kanyang tangang kamandag, todo-bigay ito! walang anumang pasubali. lahat ay damay. walang di masasagasaan. walang di matatakluban. tulad ng kapag nawawalan bigla ng kuryente dala ng unos, damang-dama ang kanyang kamandag… dagli at walang kaabug-abog.
ito na nga ang bagong kabanata sa laro ng trono sa banda rito. kung walang salbabidang maihahagis tulad ng galing sa mandaragat… panahon na upang magpatiagos at humanap ng ibang tuyong dalampasiga't kapatagan.  

Saturday, December 19, 2015


one of the best spots for surfing and kitesurfing in the philippines - daet, camarines norte. 


early morning at this beautiful island.

Kibila Beach

Camiguin's giant clam sanctuary.
Kibila white beach. Guinsiliban, Camiguin.
03 November 2015. 


top 10 typecast actresses, according to watchmojo.

Monday, December 7, 2015


matinding hilahil ang babakahin,
turan ng mga tsuper malapit sa baybayin.
malayo ito, di sakop ng madalas na lakad, 
mahirap ang daan at mahal ang paggalugad.
matindi ang tanggi, 
todo-todo ang paanggi.

ngunit nagpumilit at di nagpatalo,
pumailanlang at nagpahibalo.
tunay ngang madawag ang daan,
lubak-lubak ang lansangan.
ngunit di naman suntok sa buwang madatnan,
di naman ganoon kalayo sa kabayanan.

tahimik na pahimakas ang alay,
mabining kaangkinan ang taglay.
payapang dalampasigan,
sariwang hangin at maayong karagatan.
mahabang buhanginan,
sinamahan pa ng kambal na kagandahan.

tila ayaw nang humiwalay,
sa paraisong pumawi ng lumbay.
paanong isang araw lamang,
gayong buwan ang binilang.
dapithapon, bakit ka pa dumating,
at kailangan pang pumatling.

nacpan, nacpan, 
sa dakong hilaga ng palawan.
bukod-tangi ang iyong yumi't ganda,
ligaya ang dulot sa bawat banda.
kaysarap balikan ng iyong dapithapon,
malapit na muling magpatilapon. 

Sunday, December 6, 2015


di kalayuan sa matandang lungsod ng timbuktu, mali, naninirahan ang bedouing pastol na si kidane kasama ang kanyang maybahay, anak na babae at ang kanilang 12 taong gulang na tagapastol. sa mismong kabayanan, naghahari ang mga jihadista na nagbabawal sa anumang tawanan, musika, paninigarilyo at maging soccer. sa bawat araw ay maraming di makatarungang hatol ang mala-juntang namumuno at sinumang mangahas na sumalungat ay tiyak na mauutas. 80 latigo para sa isang babaing nakipagkantahan sa kanyang sariling bahay at 40 latigo para sa isang naglalaro ng soccer. maging ang tindera ng isda ay may parusa dahil sa kawalan ng ng guwantes. sa kanilang paghahari, pilit nilang binubura ang kultura sa pamamagitan ng pagbaril sa mga iskultura. sa kawalan ng katarungan, ang pamilya na nga lang yata ni kidane ang nananatili sa bahaging iyon ng mali.

dahil nasa gilid lamang ng timbuktu, payapa ang pamumuhay ni kidane at ng kanyang pamilya hanggang mapatay niya ang isang mangingisda dahil sa sigalot tungkol sa kanyang pastulan para sa mga baka at baklad na gamit naman ng mangingisda. hinuli si kidane at ipiniit, nahatulang mamatay at nadamay pa ang kanyang maybahay. sa huli, ang paunang eksenang ukol sa gazelle at kung paanong di ito dapat barilin agad at hayaang mapagod hanggang mamatay ay tungkol sa pala sa anak ni kidane na si toya.
sa pambukas na montahe pa lang ng timbuktu, pundamentalismong base sa relihiyon ang direktang mensahe nito. saktong kontrast ang natural na ganda ng timbuktu sa dinaranas na kalupitan ng mga nananahan dito. tagumpay ang pelikula sa paghahanay ng estetikong yumi at kawalang dangal ng mga naghahari. mula sa arkitekturang malaon nang bahagi ng dangal ng mali hanggang sa kagandahan ng kalupaan nito at sa hambing-hambing na kulay ng disyerto at ilog, pawang hinayang at hinagpis ang madarama ng manonood sa tunggaliang ito. sa paglalahad ng tila di magkakaugnay na mga montaheng ito at pagsentro sa kinahinatnan ni kidane at kanyang pamilya, nahaylayt kung paanong ang hibla ng komunidad ay nalalason ng tunggak na pagtanggap sa radikal na paraan ng pananampalataya. oo nga't sumentro ang pelikula sa mga biktimang tulad ni kidane at iba pa, balanse ang atake nito sa paglalahad ng humanidad maging ng mga jihadista. sa likod ng bulag na pagsunod sa namumuno, na maaaring dala ng ibang salik tulad ng pagkakaroon ng kapangyarihan o pangkalahatang paraan upang mabuhay at manatiling buhay, di tuluyang nakukubli ng mga ito ang taal na hilig sa musika at palakasan – mga bagay na nagpapatotoo sa ating pang-araw-araw na humanidad.

sa sunod-sunod na mga hanay ng karahasan at kawalan ng katarungan ay isang mahusay na tuluyang kuwento ng halaga ng pamilya, kung ano ang maaaring isugal ng bawat isa para sa kapakanan ng mga mahal sa buhay at ang masaklap na epekto ng tuwirang pagwasak sa lipunan sa ngalan ng radikalismo. mabigat ang pakiramdam na iiwan nito sa manonood dahil batid nating ito'y nangyayari sa maraming bahagi ng mundo sa ngayon. maraming biktima ng radikal na interpretasyon ng islam, kahit na nga ang tunay na islam ay tungkol sa pagkakapantay-pantay, humanidad at paggalang sa kapwa't buhay ng bawat isa. 

goodnight mommy

slow buildup leading to a squirm-inducing ending. that was what goodnight mommy was all about. all throughout its almost two-hour run, all i felt was unease and discomfort. it was not your usual horror fare where there was a ghost that haunts the main characters. what it leaves you is that eerie thought that a loved one can and may cause harm on you. there were many moments that left me squirming and the ride was all good.

this movie is about twin boys who live in a countryside home, they spend time playing with each other during summer break. their mother, an actress and a well-known celebrity, is unrecognizable after undergoing a radical medical procedure to repair her heavily damaged face due an accident. the twins are certain that the woman they come to live with is not their real mother. this is where the terror started… especially when the twins bound, gagged and shockingly glued the mother's lips. one of the squirm-inducing moments of the movie was when the twins cut the mother's lips and blood came out squirting. the body horror was not out of this world and its simplicity made it even more frightening because audiences can relate to this.

it is a well made film, the director perfectly executed subtle hints of horror in its first half before opening a good half of frightening horror. the dullness of countryside and modern style of the home were instrumental in creating an uncomfortable setting. the use of venetian blinds and the nighttime shots heightened the spookiness of the movie. then another master stroke was offered via an amusing 5-minute scene with two red cross workers. it was funny, yes. but it did not in any way diminish the horror and even eerily contrasted with the ending when the twins burned their mother to death and the twist was finally revealed that the other twin was already dead. of course, the acting was superb as the twins' faces devoid of any empathy perfectly contrasted with that of the mother who had to deal with the terror brought on by her own son.

goodnight mommy is one of the most compelling horror films i have seen. it's an absolute must-see, an emotionally draining ride into the darker realm of european countryside living.