Thursday, April 28, 2011

ROSWELL and TWILIGHT: Their similarities

While reviewing the seasons 1, 2 and 3 episodes of Roswell, my favorite American TV series in 2000, I could not help but think if Stephenie Meyer created her Twilight saga based on the concept of Roswell,  because the similarities of the plot and concept are just so obvious.

ROSWELL
This TV series, which run from 1999 to 2002, is developed and produced by Jason Katims and based on the book series, Roswell High. It retells the story of the UFO who had thought to be seen around Roswell, New Mexico in 1947.

The series starred Jason Behr, Shuri Appleby, Katherine Heigl and Brendan Fehr. The four are students of the Roswell High. Max(Behr), Michael (Fehr) and Isabel (Heigl) knew all too well they are aliens, they had kept their origins secret even to their parents to avoid being turned over to FBI. They assured each other to guard the secret, thus, Isabel strictly reminded Max and Michael not to fall in love with humans. But one day, a fateful accident happened which would forever change the course of their lives.

When Max and Michael took a sandwich break at Crashdown owned by Liz Parker's parents, a shoot out took place and Liz  was shot in the stomach, watching her drenched in blood, Max could not just let her die, his first instinct was to save her, but Michael prevented him because it would expose their real existence, but Max rushed to her side and healed her wounds using his extraordinary alien-power.

Some people in the shop did not notice it but Liz remembered it too well. When they met at their biology class, Liz was curious to find out Max's unlikely existence, so when they performed a scientific experiment in the laboratory, she secretly secured a sample of Max's saliva and put it in the microscope and found a shocking evidence, that he, after all is half-human. She badgered Max to tell her the truth and pursued him---in the school's vacant room-- until the latter told him his secret, after few more episode, of course, they eventually fall in love.

TWILIGHT
The Twilight saga, which made into a blockbuster movie series since 2008, is divided into four installments: Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn. The opening story tells us that the Cullens are vampires who chose to live in the county of Fork because the gloomy weather would help them hide their secret.

Bella (Kristine Stewart) had just tranferred to the Fork High School, soon Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) found himself romantically drawn with this beautiful, innocent teenager. But there's something mysterious about Edward that Bella wanted to find out.

Soon, she would uncover the mystery of Edward's changeable eye colors, pale skin and disappearance during day time when the heat of the sun penetrated the surroundings of Fork high school. Edward slowly drawn with this woman's unique charm and innocence. But he is aware he has a secret to protect so he planned to avoid her, but one incident changed everything. When a speeding car almost hit Bella he run to her side and saved her. Bella was curious with his extraordinary strength that she conducted a research and confronted him---they went to the wooded area of Forks High and Edward finally told her his secret. Well, of course, soon, they eventually fall in love.

Alas! These two stories breathed in the same platform: Star-crossed lovers drawn to each other and despite circumstances of their existence, bound to end up together. They would also fight adversities along the way, that would threaten them to drift apart, but in the end, well, as the fairytale story goes...and they lived happily ever-after. Same plot, same concept, same target audience (teens and young adults), same character building.

If you are not yet convince, read the following similarities...

CONCEPT:

Roswell: Alien-based concept with principal characters, who came from two different world, found themselves deeply in love and would soon fight odds to be together. One is alien, the other is human. The alien tried hard to hide his origin, but soon yield to his feelings, confided his secret to the woman he cannot resist. His co-aliens warned him to avoid her because being romantically link to a human would be too dangerous for their secret , but he just cannot resist his emotion, he would soon fall in love to this human through one incident---an almost fatal accident in the coffee shop where she was shot. He saved her.

Twilight: Vampire-based concept with principal characters, who came from two different world, found themselves deeply in love and would soon fight odds to be together. One is vampire, the other is human. The Vampire tried hard to hide his origin by avoiding this human whom he knew he cannot resist. His co-vampires warned him to stay out of her, but his emotion is too hard to ignore, he would soon fall in love with this human through one incident---an almost fatal accident in the parking lot where she was almost hit by a speeding car. He saved her.

In seasons two and three, Roswell concentrated more on alien things, discovering their origins and lots of alien factions were being introduced, alas! Twilight also followed the same path. In the second and third series, New Moon and Eclipse, introduced more vampires and werewolves and concentrated on the conflict between these two groups. Roswell's final season revealed Liz, because of her intense feelings for Max, attracted an alien existence and she too got a supernatural power where she can create fire and so on, they eventually got married. Twilight too has the same format. In the last series, Breaking Dawn, Edward and Bella finally tied the knot and Bella became a vampire and got the vampire's supernatural power!

Diary Narration: And the most obvious connection of all: DIARY! In Roswell, Liz Parker was shown writing her experience of the day in a diary, she also narrates some of the episodes through her diary. In the Twilight saga, the retelling of the story also comes from Bella!

CHARACTERS:

Roswell: Max is so protective of Liz, he made sure he is always there to protect her and watch over her when dangers seemed too close. He tried to resist his feelings but the presence of this woman is so strong that soon he found himself deeply in love with her. His sister Isabel and friend Michael became so furious with his decision but they eventually accepted Max's girlfriend, although Isabel remained hostile to Liz. There's also a sheriff who became close to them and Max had to fight hard with Kyle over Liz's love and attention.

Twilight: Edward is also very protective of Bella and made sure he is always there to protect and watch over her. He also tried to resist his feelings but the presence of this woman is so strong that soon he found himself deeply in love with her. His adoptive siblings Rosalie and Jason were furious with Edward's relationship with Bella but eventually they accepted her although Rosalie remained hostile to her. There's also a sheriff in Twilight, Bella's father, Charlie Swan, and Edward had to fight hard with Jacob over Bella's love and attention.

I don't know if it's only me who noticed the similarities, but I was closely following Roswell in 2000 so I am very familiar with the episode's concept and plot....and what a coincidence, I saw it too in the Twilight saga!

Though the succeeding stories, as the series progressed, followed a slightly different route, the concept and circumstances being introduced are strikingly the same! Roswell concluded its final episode in May 2002 in the US while Twilight book made its public debut in 2005.


Email

Great Schemers


Kate Middleton and her mother, Carole Middleton, can be compared to Sir Thomas Boleyn and his daughter Anne Boleyn.

Both great schemers. But unlike the Middletons, the Boleyns were aristocrats.

THE BOLEYNS
During medieval period, being linked to a King or a future King is like acquiring a large Estate, it would also enhance their standing in the society, so parents pushed their daughters so hard to be near to the royals. Sir Thomas Boleyn was exactly one of them. When his two daughters, Mary and Anne, were growing up, he made it clear they would be hovering around royalty. He sent both his daughters to the French court to be trained as Ladies-in-waiting. 

When Anne returned home, she became an accomplished and well-educated woman ready to become a mistress of a King. Her father and uncle, Thomas Howard, the 2nd Duke of Norfolk, moved forward to place her in the English royal court, they introduced the young Anne to the notorious King, Henry VIII. Anne first served as one of the Ladies-in-waiting to Henry's wife, Queen Catherine, but the purpose of her family was very clear: to let her catch the attention of the King who, by that time, had grown weary with his wife's inability to produce a much-desired male heir. It was clearly evident that Anne herself cooperated with this great scheme as she began seducing the King with her charming character. Eventually, they succeeded. 

The middle-aged King was completely besotted with Anne Boleyn that he began negotiating with the annulment of his marriage from Queen Catherine, so he sent a palace aide to Vatican city. Unfortunately for the King, Pope Clement VII was more concerned with the Catholic Church's relationship with the Holy Roman Empire than any other things. So, in reverence to the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, who was Catherine's nephew, the Roman Pontiff refused to annul the marriage. The English King was so furious that he cut his ties to Vatican and established the Church of England. He obtained a divorce later and married Anne Boleyn, she bore him one child, the future Queen Elizabeth I. But the relationship did not last long, three years after their child was born, the Queen was accused of adultery and was beheaded in the Tower of London.

THE MIDDLETONS
Fast forward--to the twenty first century...another Sir Thomas Boleyn...this time a woman. Carole Middleton,  who, for so long, had been accused by some members of the media and aristocrats for being gold-digger and social climber (In a class bound society like Britain, social climbing means, you suddenly leap to the highest position or rank in the realm from the bottom. Since the Middletons are non-aristocrats and no hereditary titles, this term applies to them not for other reasons--ambitious or what--but just a proper term used to describe their sudden ascent. For few people who don't like the term I'm sorry but that's the reality of living in a social class system of nobility. Kitty Kelly wrote in her 1997 book "The Royals"--In Britain, royals and nobles are on top of the humanity's ladder, everybody scrambled below with no hope of ascending--any person who dreamed to reach the top will automatically earn the term "social climber"--will I hope you got my point) and often accused of not observing a proper social etiquette acceptable to royalty (some sources criticized her for using the word "toilet" instead of lavatory and chewing a bubble gum when first introduced to the Queen), is the modern version of Sir Thomas Boleyn, her eldest daughter would play the part of Anne Boleyn.

According to a high school classmate, Kate Middleton, as early as her high school years at Marlborough College, she already envisioned herself to become a Princess, "it would not hurt to dream of becoming a Princess", her classmate, Jessica recalled her saying back then(Miss Middleton turned against Jessica after hearing her in the interview and was not invited to the wedding). She had wished to meet Prince William and eventually marry him, so she put a big poster of him in her bedroom at Marlborough College dormitory. After graduation, she heard the Prince went to Chile for his gap year before attending college, so this commoner wrangled to her parents to allow her to go to Chile, during this time, it was thought possible her mother played a huge part of the great scheme, if not, why she allowed her daughter, at the age of 17, to travel to a far away land alone? Of course, she did not meet Prince William there, so she went home and perhaps devised another plan.

Before Prince William matriculated at St. Andrews University, his choices of school and course (AB Art History) were already reported in the newspaper as early as August 2001 that according to a school administrator, St. Andrews University, which normally has only an average freshmen students suddenly received many application to enroll, well, it was during this time that the Middletons saw another opportunity to stalk the Prince. Out of the blue, Kate Middleton decided to go to Scotland to enrol at St. Andrews and wow! what a coincidence she also wanted to take up AB Art History. And of all the cottages she chose, it was Prince William's cottage she insisted to go to never mind if she was the only girl in the flock (the cottage was occupied by Prince William and two male friends). But all these things were tolerated by her mother. Why on earth Carole Middleton allowed her daughter to live in a cottage occupied by males whom she did not even know in the first place? Just because Prince William was there?

Just like the Boleyns, the Middletons' scheme succeeded...we all know what happened to Anne...Kate will start her journey to a royal life tomorrow...what might happen next, depends on how cleverly she is to grasp the rigid rules of the royal family...will her plans and that of her mother guarantee her of a happy ending?

Few people, who are not royalists and who did not follow every detail of the story of the royal family ever since, will be angry with me for continue criticizing the unsuitability of this commoner girl, but what you read and heard lately are just modification and fine tuning of the background of Kate and her family, of course the royal family would never want to hear any disgusting story about them now that the girl will be marrying the future King of England and the media never dreamed to displease Her Majesty by reporting negative issues about the bride...so all people can hear in recent weeks are praising and positive issues. But beneath the tectonic plates of the ancient tradition, laid a repugnant taste of disdain and discontentment which only staunch royalists can understand.




End of Fairytale

Why the wedding of Prince William and his commoner girlfriend is being sensationalized by the media as if it is the most important thing in the world that could save the world from the global crisis?

Though, I  posted several entries in my ROYAL WORLD blog about their upcoming wedding, I am not totally drawn with their union, the only reason I followed the event is because Prince William is a royalty and my royal blog talks about European royalty, and it is just very logical to include his wedding event. But unlike other people, I am not fascinated with his non-aristocratic bride-to-be.

I've been a royal watcher for nearly 20 years now. I am one of those royalists out there who strongly opposed the inclusion of commoners into the royal fold, this personal displeasure is probably shared by most conservative royals in the European royal court. 

Andrew Morton, biographer of the late Princess of Wales, Diana, said it more blatantly: "Drafting commoners into the Hanoverian (the British royal family) tree proved to be very disastrous". But why Prince William chose a commoner future wife? My analysis is simple: The future King made it clear that he wanted to steer the rigid system of the British monarchy into a normal surrounding, closer to people, choosing a commoner woman as his future consort would further lower the barrier that divides commoner and royalty and perceive to be more acceptable to the subjects. 
Kate Middleton during one of the fashion shows she participated at St. Andrews University where she and Prince William attended college. Hardly a decent picture of a dignified future Queen Consort

Prince William's decision to take a commoner wife means the end of the fairytale. The only reason people become fascinated with Kings and Queens, Princes and Princesses, is because "they are not among us", they exude charm and mystic, and we thought they are demigods, therefore worthy of adulation. But when  "one of us" joined their exalted circle, naturally we don't feel the same degree of admiration.

Many commentators explained that William's bride would not create the same impact of public acceptance and adoration like that of Diana in the 80s and 90s. Much have change for the past 30 years. The reverence of the crown had slip since the royal divorce that most of the people became disillusioned with the romp of royalty. Moreover, the surroundings and people's concept about fairytale in 2011 are not the same as those of 1981. Miss Middleton should not be compared to Diana because unlike her, Diana was born of noble blood and a descendant of King Charles II, moreover, Diana was raised comfortably in a large estate and her family was part of the upperclass of Britain. The Middletons are simply none of the above. It's a totally different world.

Anyway, I am more excited and happy with the upcoming Beatification of Pope John Paul II on Sunday, May 1, 2011 than the status elevation of this commoner woman on Friday. But I will still be watching the event via The Royal Channel at Youtube because it is a royal event and no amount of fury about this social climber Middleton can stop me from watching the ceremony. I will be checking the royal members and not her middle class family.

The future family tree of the British royal family will be dominated by commoners and non-aristocrats pedigree, tainting the mystic of royalty. Now, I am no longer interested to dig their roots. The union of Prince William and this commoner woman will finally tear the last strand of prestige of the British crown.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Beatification of the Great Pope: JOHN PAUL II

His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, the good Servant of God
Pope John Paul II's personal Coat-of-Arms
A homage to the central Christian Mystery--Redemption. The Letter M represents Mother Mary, whom the late Pope was extremely devoted. His motto is "Totus Tuus" meaning "Mary, I am Yours" which he used even before he became a Cardinal. There was one miraculous incident when the Pope was shot by Turkish terrorist, Ali Agca, in 1981, it was revealed, based on a photograph, that the Pope was embraced by Mother Mary when he fell on the ground

The Great Pope of the new millennium will be raised to the altar of the pious on the first day of May, 2011, on the anniversary of the Divine Mercy.

The Catholic Church worldwide is now preparing for the upcoming beatification of the great Pope, John Paul II. The fast process of his beatification spurred from the chanting and request of "Santo Subito" (saint immediately) by the crowd who attended his funeral last April 8, 2005. 

Around 60,000 Poles are reportedly traveling to Rome, Italy to attend the ceremony on May 2, 2011.

Pope John Paul II, Karol Josef Wojtyla in real life, was a Polish cardinal who was elected Pope on October 16, 1978 following the death of Pope John Paul I. He was the youngest Roman Pontiff to be elected since Pius XII and the first non-Italian to become Pope in 200 years. He was also the first person to succeed in the throne of St. Peter from a communist country.

During his lifetime, he actively worked on his mission as a Universal Church's leader, promoting international understanding, peace and solidarity. Partly, he was the instrument of the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe, including in his native Poland. He was a charismatic leader who made effort to heal the wounds of division and inspired several sectors in the society to work for better social development for the benefit of humankind. His deep humility, legendary charm and unique kindness and generosity made him one of the most beloved Popes of all time. He was known for his deep devotion to Mother Mary and to the youth, where he frequently seen hugging and embracing children during his foreign trips. 

By the time he was 21 years old, even before he entered the seminary, all members of his direct family--parents and brother--were all dead. During this time, the future Pope realized how God wanted him to perform a different mission in life. Deprived of having his own family while approaching adulthood, he turned his attention to the world as his own family. Under his unique leadership and guidance, the Catholic Church survived the difficult period where most ideals were focused elsewhere, the Pope tried effort to steer back the flock into Christian's principles.
The Pope in his final years

Official flag of the Vatican City

He broke many traditions by the previous popes. He was the first successor of St. Peter to visit the mosque, synagogues and other religious sectors. He talked to its leaders and urged them to work together for peace and unity. He traveled extensively and reached out to people in far-flung places to spread his Christian mission. He had canonized more saints and widened the College of Cardinals. Known for his deep Christian faith, the late Pope had established the Divine Mercy.

On April 30, 2011, there will be a vigil in all Catholic Churches around the world in preparation of the beatification of the Servant of God.



Sunday, April 24, 2011

Holy Week

Today is Easter Sunday, one of the most important celebrations in the Catholic calendar, when I attended the 9:00 am mass today, the homily of the priest touches a deep cord in everyone's heart, because it tells how Jesus Christ suffered and sacrificed for the salvation of mankind. Easter Sunday, which celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ, is the center of the Catholic faith because without resurrection, our Christian life would not be meaningful at all.

But I am just surprise the way people in the city celebrated the Holy Week, because back in the province we had the holiest way of commemorating the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus.

When my grandmother was still alive, we had the most strict practice of the observance of the Holy Week. We never eat anything during Good Friday, even if we wish to eat, there's no food in the kitchen anyway, hehe! My Nanay (she died in 2005 at the of 98 with an intact memory who can recall even her first love haha!) never allowed us to go out beginning Holy Monday, except going to the church for the station of the cross, then by Holy Thursday, we would start eating plenty because Good Friday offers no food anymore in the house, we rarely talk also and never took a bath. By Black Saturday, she would prohibit us from preparing grilled foods of any kind because it means a direct humiliation for the Lord, at Easter Sunday every we would prepare something to be feasted and we would go to the beach, almost all people in the town would go to the beach so there's a big celebration over there, it's a great rejoicing for Christ's resurrection.

Traditionally, we would cook native rice mixed with coconut milk and yellowish ginger, we call this recipe "Beringhe" then prepared crabs stuffed with young coconut to be fried with oil and either sprite or Mountain Dew. Today, I am not sure if this practice is still prominent in the province, but I know they still continue practicing the Good Friday ritual---no food, minimal and slow talk only, no going out except attending the Seven Last Words in the Church and the Passion of Christ and no taking a bath---and the Easter Sunday rejoicing ---going to the beach with lots of food.

In the city, my gosh! I was quite shock with the way people treat Holy Week,as if it is just another week.

Maundy Thursday celebrates the Last Supper commemoration including the washing of the feet of the apostles. Good Friday has no mass only Passion of Christ. Black Saturday celebration is divided into four parts that's why it's super long. First part is the ceremony of light, second part is the celebration of the Holy Words, third part is the celebration of baptism, it is in this part that people are able to renew the sacrament of baptism, then the last part is the celebration of the Holy Mass. I am very lucky that I was born on April 3  because there are Liturgical years that my birthday falls on either Black Saturday and Easter Sunday. Last year 2010, my birthday falls on Black Saturday, what a blessing! Because I was able to receive the renewal of my baptism.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Difficult Life Ahead

This time, I won't post a review about products or services I'd tried but a person. And because the world seems too preoccupied with the hoopla of the upcoming wedding of Prince William and a commoner woman from the countryside of Berkshire, England, Kate Middleton, I decided to take a look on her personality and her entire suitability. Here, I will give my free opinion regarding what I thought about her.

Anyway, this is purely a personal opinion and not a direct attack on her.

Talking about British monarchy, I am not just blurting unfounded words or opinion, my sources are always credible and official, taken from UK's reputable broadsheets (from their online sites), books I have about the royals and the official site of the British monarchy. So the facts and information I wrote in my ROYAL WORLD blog are all accurate. Through my extensive research about their lives for the past 16 years, more or less, I have concrete basis, back up by history, on what I thought about each member in general. 

In a recent poll survey conducted by UK's Harris (I think this is similar to the Philippines' SWS & PULSE ASIA), more than 50% of British, mostly women, thought Miss Middleton would become a good Queen Consort, but personally I don't think so.....don't raise your eyebrows, this is only my personal opinion, well, I have some backing of history why I say this.

Up to now I am not sure exactly what is the real score of Kate's behavior when it comes to public life, we will know it the moment she joined the most popular royal family in the world anyway. First, I am less than convince if she will really become an effective Queen Consort in the future, as William's wife, maybe yes, but it in terms of possessing qualities of a formidable queen consort just like the Queen Mother, Queen Mary (mother and grand mother of Queen Elizabeth II respectively) and even Queen Margaret (consort of Henry VI), I still cannot see any signs of real strength and independence in her behavior. Well, of course it is not good to compare, but Kate should learn from history.

The trouble with Kate is that she is too dependent with Prince William, well, I never know her personally, but public accounts vigorously say it so, and this is not a good sign for a strong-willed Queen. Okay, her main purpose in life is to really hook the Prince and she succeeded in that part but whether she can stand the rigor of being in the spotlight under the constant media scrutiny remains unseen.

A Queen Consort will not only act as a sweet, smiling and quiet better-half of a King, but will function as monarchy's strong defender. The Queen Mother and Queen Mary are good examples. 

The Queen Mother, who was known as Queen Elizabeth during the reign of her husband, King George VI, had a remarkable strength of character, independent and courageous, she possessed a legendary charm and became her husband's rock during crisis. She made sure her frail and shy husband, whose surprise accession in 1936 after his brother's abdication forced him to embrace public life he dreaded, would be viewed by many as a resolute and stable King despite his speech impediment and nervousness in public, she became the Kingdom's most effective defender and goodwill ambassador. King George VI, according to many accounts, relied heavily on his wife's strength and audacity who made effort to invigorate the disgruntled image of the crown after the scandal and crisis created by King Edward VIII, anybody who attempted to climb the invisible ladder of the highest throne on earth will suffer a terrible fate, Oh, just look on the sad fate of Mrs. Wallis Simpson. During the blitz, the Queen insisted to remain on her husband's side  amidst bombing in London, making Adolf Hitler to comment: " she is the most dangerous woman in Europe".

Queen Mary, wife of King George V, was another courageous Queen Consort who had performed her role astoundingly, she made sure the Kingdom appeared dignified  and well-respected in public, her actions were carefully calculated and functioned in the court as a zealous custodian of royals' reputation and dignity. The public's most lasting memory of this Queen Consort was her lifetime refusal to accept undignified commoners into the royal fold, she was heard calling Mrs. Wallis Simpson as "Edward's unholy lover". Her tough attitude made all the palace officials and even her children quivered with obedience.

Now, back to Miss Middleton...

Though one article in the Daily Mail provided the public with facts about the strong women in Kate Middleton's life who will most likely influence her behavior the moment she will embraced a public life, I am not fully convinced. In the past eight years of forming a relationship with the Prince,  she did nothing,  but to  stalk the Prince, as if she was desperate to become a Princess, the media even dubbed her "waity Kaity". Is she not aware what kind of life she will going to traverse in the British monarchy? Her  lack of confidence would never guarantee her of survival within the system, she should instill some steel in her spine to play her role well. Some people viewed her as too good to be true, her words in the interview after the announcement of the engagement were carefully rehearsed which lacked spontaneity and seemed got her words from a well-written script which cut her out of the league of self-assured women., but when she opened her mouth to give comments on something, her statement seemed taken somewhere that most royal watchers found it too incredulous. I doubt how long she can endure the pretensions.

According to the Daily Mail, though it appeared that the British public, mostly commoners, accepted and loved her well, it is uncertain if the royals felt the same towards here, in fact the Daily Mail polls revealed, Miss Middleton might face snobbery inside the palace whose courtiers and senior members, for a long time, had wished Prince William will marry an aristocrat.

What troubled me with Kate is her behavior of just wanted a plain, dependent housewife. According to Ingrid Seward, editor of Majesty Magazine "Kate is a homely woman", if she is marrying a Chief Executive Officer of a company, that would be fine and surely very ideal, but she is marrying a future King whose Kingdom cannot afford to have a wife who just spend her day in cross-stitching or checking what's new in the cooking channel. She has a role to perform, a role that is very much public, being so overtly ordinary won't help her to last up to the finishing line.

In fact Palace aides have grown "secretly" impatient with her so common behavior, background and, oh, comments. When they heard that the future Princess William blurted out-of-the-blue comments from the question on her "too skinny" physique, the palace aides rushed to their feet "that was off-the-cut comments", so they made a quick "renovation" on her oh-so-common personality which includes the changing of her name from Kate to Catherine, prohibiting to grant interviews without consulting the palace officials, deleted her interview on her family business website where she talked about "party" events in her life  which may harm the image of the monarchy in the long run. The courtiers, whose main responsibility in life is to protect the throne, did everything they could to guide her on her future role. 

Her carefully-rehearsed steps sound too scripted bordering on pretensions which lacked confidence, no wonder, results of poll surveys doubted if the royal family will really comfortable having her as immediate member. Some aristocrats reportedly are anxious with her sometimes "unsure" nerve in public. The most puzzling public opinion is the royal family's lack of enthusiasm on the upcoming wedding according to the Daily Mail, while the rest of the people in the world are wrapped with anticipation and excitement on the event, members of the royal family are reportedly not remarkably happy...ohhhhh!

Catherine, by now, should understand that she is joining a family ruled by unyielding conventions, the palace courtiers protected the Kingdom's image and reputation never mind who will be caught in the cross fire. By the way, Prince William will be the first future King of Britain to marry a middle class woman. Her mother was badly criticized in the media for lack of social etiquette and for uttering the word "toilet" instead of "lavatory".

Miss Middleton's future title will depend on William's title. If the Prince will not be created a Duke by the Queen, she will be known as Princess William of Wales, if the Prince in case be given a title of a Duke, then she will become a Duchess and will leap to the highest position of precedence in the realm, wow! hardly social climbing.

The royal wedding will happen on April 29, 2011 at 11:00 o'clock in the morning at Westminster Abbey.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Lightening Bars

Take your pick...

If you are looking for the best skin lightening product in the market, try using any of these beauty soaps which I already tried. Both are effective skin lighteners but I am not sure if it has the same effect on your skin as mine. Before deciding which product to choose, I will give you an idea first with its advantages and benefits.

G2thione Soap
This is a skin lightening bar, very mild with no harsh ingredients and scent. I can attest to its effectiveness as a lightening bar. It did not only help enhanced my fair skin complexion, but it also helped removed deep seated dirt in my skin surface.

G2thione is really an effective product, but do not expect to get a result of a whiter complexion right away. I think its main purpose is to enhance the complexion and make it lighter than make it whiter in short period of time. It can also help prevent skin darkening and blemishes due to constant exposure to the sun.

This is excellent for people who have sensitive skin, like me. I didn't experience skin irritation and dryness when I first I used it. I love its creamy lather and mild scent, this soapcan really scrub dead skin cells. It contains Kojic Acid, Virgin Coconut Oil, Goat milk and Vitamin E which make the skin supple, smooth, youthful and glowing. It protects my skin from pimples and acne and help maintain its natural softness and youthful glow. P80.00 each bar

Beauche Beauty Bar
This beauty bar had been in my bath basket for nearly four years now. I started using this soap in 2007 when my pimples became worst. This is a cream bar so it will easily melt when put in a wet surface. Try putting it in a separate soap holder so that it won't mix with other soaps. 

I love its sweet scent, very much orange rather than papaya, but don't worry the scent won't irritate your skin. It greatly works for my skin and thoroughly removed the old cells around the surface. After using, it, there's a slight lifting that can be felt around the skin face. What I like about this soap, is its soothing fruit scent which calmed my senses. It can also protect the skin from dark spots and blemishes. It has a natural moisturizer so it never dries up skin. P38.00 each bar

Facial Skin Antiseptic Soap
This is my latest discovery in facial skincare, I just saw it one day in the grocery section of Gaisano mall and read its contents and when I noticed that its ingredients contains antioxidants, I immediately bought one to try.

When I began using it, I could smell  its natural tomato and cucumber extracts, I noticed also that it has a very mild scent with minimum lather but effectively cleanse the oil residue around my face. When I looked my face in the mirror I can see my pores flattened and even out my skin tone. I was amazed with its very fast result. Now I am regularly using this, G2thione and Beauche bar came in second and third priorities and used it alternately about twice a week only. This soap is primarily made from fruits and vegetables  extacts: Tomato, Cucumber and Papaya with Coconut Oil, Shea Butter and Vitamins A and C which help protect the skin from drying. This soaps acts as a natural skin toner and lightener. P40.00 each bar and available in the cosmetics section of Gaisano Mall.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Trappistine Foods

I am not sure exactly if Trappistine cookies and fruit bars are available in the supermarket or grocery stores nearby as I saw these monastic food products only from the Gift Shop of the Monastery of the Transfiguration of the Benedictine Monks in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon province (5 hours from Davao City). These delicacies are delicately packed in attractive and glossy cartoons.

Mango Bars
One pack of Trappistine Mango Bars, which weighed 270 grams, contains 8 pieces of individually cut-squared cookie. It has a distinct taste of fruity cake concoctions, actually this super delicious snack bar consists of dried mango chips stuffed in chewy butterscotch cookie which makes it very addictive. Depends on your taste bud, this food is just moderately sweet with a sour tang on the tongue brought by mango strips. Its ingredients are mainly flour, butter, egg whites, leavening, mango strips with little amount of sugar. Its nutritional facts in the cartoon indicate that this product is zero in cholesterol. P120.00 each pack

Oatmeal Cookies
Very yummy, tasty and healthy because it is primarily made from oats and raisins. Each pack contains 6 pieces of large cookies. It has an excellent taste of butter and vanilla and best remedies for hunger pangs especially when traveling or simply craving for something sweet and tasty. Unlike other cookies, this trappistine delicacy is super tender in the mouth and very easy to chew because it is made from pure oats and butter. Its net weight is 220 grams. P140.00 each pack

These foods are proud products of the Trappistine Monastery of Landan, Polomolok, Cotabato which are also available in the Gift Shop of the Benedictine Monastery in Bukidnon. Both Mango bars and Oatmeal cookies are baked and packed by the nuns of Our Lady of Mount Matutum Monastery.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Monastic Life

Three days after returning home from our retreat, some discoveries lingered in my mind. The most impressive fact was that of Dom Martin Gomez, a Filipino renowned fashion designer who abandoned his life in the spotlight to join the Benedictine Monks.

According to the official site of Senator Migz Zubiri, when Dom Martin attended the launching of the Senator's book about Bukidnon, he was asked why he entered the monastery, he answered "In all of us, there is a thirst, a yearning for God. But oftentimes, we busy ourselves with so many things we never really go deep into our hearts to find what is missing. I knew there was so much more I wanted in life. My searching brought me to this monastery in Bukidnon. It is here where I finally found my 'home' with God," (source: www.migzzubiri.org).

However, life in the monastery did not hamper his desire to show how talented and creative Filipinos are, he continued his passion in haute couture by creating exquisite designs of Filipino Liturgical Vestments that are truly world-class.
Dom Martin Gomez, former fashion designer who found peace of mind and contentment in the arms of the Benedictine monastery
 The tranquil environment of the Monastery. From a distance, we can see here the monastery museum where the vestment designs collection of Dom Martin are exhibited
Some of Dom Martin's fabulous designs on display at the Monastery Museum of the Benedictine Monks in Bukidnon

In time for the observance of Holy Week, I couldn't help but think some remarkable individuals who made sacrifices to seek personal contentment away from the fame and fortune they used to have. Some of them embraced simplicity and thoroughly gave up the glory they once possessed.

Last semester when I took the Ignatian Leadership for Managers and Entrepreneur subject in my MBA course, I found out that the MATEO SANCHEZ of the ancient Jesuit community was actually PRINCESS JOANNA OF SPAIN! can you believe that?? This rare case was mentioned by Chris Lowney in his best-selling book "Heroic Leadership" which we used in the class as a supplementary reading material.

The Spanish princess, a sister to King Philip II of Spain (to whom the Philippines was named) was one of the three children of Holy Roman Emperor and King of Spain, Charles V. She married the crown Prince of Portugal, John of Braganza and bore him one child, the future King of Portugal, Sebastian, but the crown Prince died shortly after the birth of their child so Joanna went back to Spain, she left her infant son in the royal court of Portugal. She acted as regent for her brother, Philip, who married Queen Mary I of England. 

When Mary I died, Philip moved back to Spain to administer his kingdom so Joanna left in the background. During those years, the Spanish and Portuguese royals were fascinated with the institution established by Ignatius de Loyola called the Society of Jesus, Joanna asked Loyola's permission to join the community but she was turned down because Society of Jesus was exclusive for males, but she insisted and made an agreement to keep her membership a deep secret.

She discreetly joined the community and none of the Jesuit's top officials knew it, except Loyola, she assumed the name MATEO SANCHEZ and lived in seclusion. None of the Jesuits at that time knew or met Mateo Sanchez. The person behind the name had never attended their gatherings. But Joanna's rare case was not repeated in the succeeding centuries and the Society of Jesus strongly maintained to accept male members only.

Joanna's father, Charles V, also relinquished his fortune and royal titles to live in the monastery. During his reign, his extensive empire dominated the world, stretching from the European continent down to the Caribbean and Africa (Philippines was colonized during the reign of his son, King Philip II), hence, his reign was dubbed by historians as "at which the sun never sets". But towards the end of his life, the emperor became disillusioned and seek serenity and peace of mind, he then abdicated and gave up his comfortable life in the royal palace. He was succeeded by his brother, Ferdinand, as Holy Roman Emperor while his only son, Philip, succeeded him as King of Spain. Charles V went to live in a secluded monastery for the rest of his life.

Ignatius de Loyola himself descended from a noble family of Basque ancestry (whose territory was formerly located between Pyrenees mountain and Andorra near the border of Spain) when he decided to leave his distinguished career in the military to search for a deeper meaning in the religious life, he established a congregation that became known to the world with their mission and commitment in the field of Education, the Society of Jesus, he also pioneered a unique form of meditation and prayer, Spiritual Exercises, which became the universal practice of the Jesuits.

St. Francis of Assissi, a son of a very wealthy cloth merchant in Italy, is another great example, he gave up his fortune and abandoned his comfortable life to live in poverty and found contentment in the monastery. He established the Franciscan religious order later on.

Such inspiring thoughts to ponder in the observance of Holy Week...


Monday, April 18, 2011

Bukidnon Retreat

2011 April 17

Just got home from Malaybalay, Bukidnon. A tiring but fulfilling trip! Haaay finally I can stretch out my tired feet.


This is one of my best retreat experiences so far. I just love the place, never mind if I have no picture :-( I will treasure the best moments I spent within the monastery. I have no plan to spend the rest of the Holy Week fretting why I didn't own a camera to take my personal shots, life is fabulous and great memories linger. 


Anyway...

We left Davao last April 14 for our four-day retreat at the Monastery of the Transfiguration of the Benedictine Monks. The annual retreat of the non-teaching personnel of UIC is one of my favorite institutional activities because it feels like all my weariness in life disappear temporarily, it also provides a great chance to reconstruct my spiritual journey and offers an opportunity to go out from the workplace and unwind.  

So what made this year’s retreat different? Aside from holding it on top of the mountain, the tranquil environment strongly reminded me of my happy childhood in the province.
 Spending precious moment at the monastery, making some of my worries disappear

The monastery is located on the breathtaking mountain of San Jose, Malaybalay City, Bukidnon, surrounded with lush green forest and verdant plants, it is a welcome respite from the sordid life in the city. The rooms where we stayed are all located on the hills with trees cascading on each side of the stairs and lobby. 

At first, I was appalled with the fact that our room is positioned on the edge of the slope --- a climbing trek is not my life's definition of fulfillment and happiness, I am acrophobic so a mere sight of the ground from atop made me want to throw up--- but when I go downstairs and saw the cool and green surroundings, all inhibitions disappeared.

The place, well minus the slopes, reminded me of my life in Surigao. I grew up in a farm surrounded by rice fields, streams, beaches and thick vegetation, thus, the scenic environment of the monastery left a wonderful mark in my system. The tweeting of the birds at night, the soft breeze of the fresh morning air and the rustling of the leaves at sunset, are some of life's natural relief.

It was a fabulous experience at the monastery, I was able to sort out some important things in my life. Finally, I was able to find strength and courage to go to confession after so many years. It feels like all my guilt vanished, anxieties and worries (though not all) were lifted too.


The details of the trip...

April 14
We left Davao at 8:00 on a beautiful sunny Thursday morning, I chose to sit near the window of the UIC bus to get a perfect view of the terrific vistas and green environment of Davao and Bukidnon provinces, the sceneries were superb and spectacular, the scallop mountain reclining below the horizon exudes serenity and peace of mind, reminding me of the picturesque mountains of Switzerland which I only saw on several glossy posters.

But the moment we approached the narrow highway dividing the cities of Valencia and Malaybalay, the ghastly road construction greeted us with so much annoyance and irritation as several vehicles stuck up on the street waiting for its turn to pass the dilapidated area, it terribly drained my tired body thoroughly. We finally arrived at the monastery around 1:30 pm with a confused mood, why I say this?Hmmm because we did not know exactly what to do, haha! We jammed on doors, went downstairs then climb upstairs again carrying our bags while looking for rooms, I found myself literally exhausted towards the end of the hide-and-seek process.


The monastery countryside with its magnificent scenery. We just walked on its rugged road going to the New Church and back to the slopes. The walking trek reminded me so much with my life in Surigao where we would often walk by foot when going to another barangay

In the past venues of our retreat, we were received in a reception hall or counter to choose for a room, but at the monastery we were told to just go around and look for our room. Because my mind was still floating elsewhere due to fatigue, I was not in my correct senses to absorb the instruction, luckily, one of my colleagues who already went downstairs, reserved three rooms, so I got one which I shared with Ester. 


I had no time to stretch my tired muscle as we were instructed to go upstairs for an orientation. While sitting at the farthest corner of the chapel, my ears were not cooperating, so the words uttered by Dom Martin Gomez and Fr. Elias, just flew somewhere, my eyelids seemed ready to close and when Fr. Elias told us to form a group for an affirmation activity later, his words flung like pieces of dust to the horizon. 

Finally at 4:30, we were told to have our snacks downstairs, Oh God! Again, I will be compelled to drag my tired feet on the concrete staircase, I gripped on the banister hardly and told a colleague, I would never take part to any mountain climbing expedition.



After dinner I joined my group at the lobby of the chapel, I didn't change my outfit so I was a bit uncomfortable when we had our activity, it felt like my skin was thickly covered with dust, the soft evening air did not help soothe my mind and I was eager to end the activity to rush to the bathroom, but the manner of the discussion made me lurk in amusement, gosh! You could just imagine how much amount of discomfort and awkwardness crawled in our bodies while blurting flowery affirmation words toward each other, and felt like I was running out of adjectives to describe my colleagues, haha! It was our first time to do such activity, actually it felt good because we were able to see ourselves beyond our station, through the eyes of our colleagues..Uhmmm! But God, oh please, I never dreamed to repeat that delicate activity...it's so uncomfortable. I would prefer to write it in a piece of paper, it's more sincere, more natural and spontaneous.


April 15
I woke up at 6:20 in the morning, our breakfast call time was at 7:00. I have less tolerance in chilly environment, so I squirmed inside the bathroom as cold water streamed in my body, usually, I spent 40 minutes in the bathroom, but this time I just finished it less than 15 minutes.Argggh!


Our first session started at 8:30 in the morning and everything went smoothly because our retreat master, Fr. Elias, wrapped his lectures with funny anecdotes in life with tons of humor, it was a wonderful session indeed. 
with Josel at the chapel lobby before our first session started


Before taking snacks, he told us to undergo a silent prayer. We were told to choose a certain area where we could be alone to concentrate what to pray. So I went downstairs near our room and stood under the tree, rolling my eyes above the horizon and darting it back again to the slopes but my mind was tousled with many worries and questions that I was not able to compose a single prayer, so I just wrote several descriptions of the trees, the flowers and other stuff I saw in my surroundings.hehehe!


In the afternoon, he told us to halt the session to devote the rest of the time in praying and confession. Well, this is what I always like about the Benedictine Monks, their approach in facilitating a retreat is more on praying and deep solitude,and not a dreadful sharing activity divulging our best kept  secret locked up in our closet. Finally, I mustered some courage to go to confession after so many years, it was incredibly nice as I talked to one of the monks because I was able to unload several concerns and anxieties in life, he listened intently and gave me remarkable advises! Our day concluded with a mass at the chapel.


April 16
I had a nice sleep!Hmmm..maybe because the burden of guilt for not going to confession for several years finally lifted from my system. Haaay! I love the magnificent sunrise and the soft breeze of the morning air in the mountain as always.
Standing on the high staircase

Fr. Elias opened our morning session with a great chapter in the New Testament, the event where the Disciples saw Jesus Christ walked on the Sea of Galilee. It was great as Fr. Elias explained clearly the value and worth of having "storms" in our existence. Then he told us to ponder on our lives and reflect what level of "storm" we are currently traversing by going to the front and stomp on our choice. Without battling an eyelid, I chose "after the storm", and I know it reflected exactly what's inside my system.
Individual blessing from Fr. Elias

In the afternoon, we concluded the session with personal reflection, silence confrontation with ourselves where we are now in our faith, Fr. Elias let us differentiate the term religion and faith and as usual injected several humors which made us burst into laughter. 


For two days, we always attended the monks' evening prayers and hymn at the church. There was something in the church that I find very pious and solemn, maybe because of the environment but each moment we entered the place, it felt like holy spirit dwells from heaven that we were really behaved and super silent, we just whispered and never talked loudly. That's one thing I love about the whole thing, the place's sacredness. 
At the spectacular ground of the Transfiguration Church, this super neatly- trimmed ground is covered with Korean Bermuda and surrounded by soothing plants and flowers. I want to go back there one of these days to just sit in the ground and feel the stillness of the mother earth, it will really make me very happy


In the evening after dinner, I joined my colleagues in the lobby facing the high mountain and open fields, the softness of the night penetrated deeply in the environment that I felt lightness in my body and mind. We laughed on top of our lungs and shared funny conversation our voices tearing the stillness of the calm night echoing hardly on the mountain. We went to bed at 10:00 in the evening.


April 17
Oh this is it!We were told to wake up at 5:00 in the morning because breakfast will be served at 6:30. Haaay...Effort!!I am not really a morning person God!Luckily for me, I was able to do it anyway hehehe. 

At 7:00 am we went to the church to attend Palm Sunday Mass. I found out also that the Monks provide palms--I mean real palms--to the parishioners, so we got one and joined the rest of the people at the foot of the staircase leading to the church's ground for the blessing. The Holy Mass was solemn and quiet that it felt like my heart was ready to burst with emotion. It was truly amazing.



After the mass, we proceeded to the monastery museum where Dom Martin Gomez introduced us to his world-class Filipino Liturgical Vestments collection. It was a fine masterpiece of art and talent, Dom Martin was able to show his unique skill in fashion designing even inside the monastery. This collection reflects what Filipino cultural heritage is all about. You can read here my detailed blog about the Monastery Museum


After the museum tour we went back to our area in time for lunch. We passed at the Gift Shop, I bought Trappistine food bags of Oatmeal Cookies and Mango Bars primarily because I was fascinated with its fabulous packaging. hehe.We left Bukidnon at 1:00 pm and arrived at Davao at 5:30. It was truly a wonderful spiritual experience with the Benedictine Monks. I would love to go there once in a while to relax and feel the calmness of the environment. I love the simple and quiet life in the monastery. Well, life in the farm is absolutely fantastic, nothing compares. In fact one of my greatest dreams is really to build a house in the farm with a beautiful landscape of flowers, trees and wild plants. When I retire, I will definitely go back to a farm life, well beach is another great option.


Now I am back again to the chaotic environment and sordid life in the city. Hahay!




Annual Retreat

Tomorrow, we'll be leaving for Bukidnon for our annual retreat.

Retreat is my favorite institutional activity in the school I worked with, because it is the best time where I could spend enough time with myself, laughing and sharing good conversation with my colleagues and keep my mind away from the boring routine of paperworks. It also provides a good opportunity to take enough rest  from life's clutters.

This spiritual rendezvous often bring us away from Davao allowing us to see the other side of life far from the workplace. In 2008, we went to Baguio City and alas! It was my first time to board a plane, waaaah! And what made it super special was that we left Davao exactly on my birthday, April 3. It was a fabulous experience in the country's summer capital. I got to find out also the chilling environment of Baguio and what it was like living in slopes and hills! We'd a wonderful retreat master, a Jesuit from Ateneo de Manila, who made us feel relax, unleashing humors which drooled us in laughter.

We spent 5 days in the city of Pines, touring around its magnificent landmarks, I was able to set a foot in the Strawberry farm, straddled a horse for the sake of picture-taking haha! We went to Camp John Hay, Philippine Military Academy ground and took a leisure afternoon trip to Burnharm Park. On the next day we left for Manila and stayed another 3 days and my God! I hate the place! With all the chaotic traffic, throngs of people and dust, dust and dust, Manila indeed is not suited for my lifestyle. It's simply hell! And I never dreamed to live or work there.
Straddling on the white horse for the sake of picture-taking.hehe!

In 2010 (last year), our retreat was held in Malasag, Cagayan de Oro City, on top of the mountain which offers another magnificent view of the horizon. The place provides a panoramic view of the whole city from the downtown area to its port. Then off to our side trip in the picturesque Camiguin Island! 

(Read our Camiguin Escapade here)

Taking a leisure walk on the ground of Betania Retreat house in Malasag, Cagayan de Oro, with Sheila before our group sharing
White Island, Camiguin

This year, we will  have it at the Monastery of the Transfiguration of the Benedictine Monks in Malaybalay, Bukidnon, I don't know what to expect, aside from the fact that it is too close to Davao to enjoy the trip, I never imagined a life in the monastery haha!. Hope everything will be okay.

Until next post!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Other Queen

Written by Philippa Gregory, The Other Queen is a historical fiction book about the doomed Scottish Queen, Mary and her life under house arrest in various castles in England at the instigation of her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I, who viewed Mary as dangerous and a real threat to her throne.

For amusement and entertainment, this book had served its purpose but for someone like me who is into historical research about European royalty, this book sounds a bit absurd and puzzling. I don't know, maybe the trouble lays on the way it was written and presented.

Miss Gregory presented the book based on each principal character's point of view, so it often jumped from one thought/situation to another, unable to distinguish who is telling the truth and where the story should be picked up. What I did not like about this book is the way it ended. I was expecting the whole thing to be centered hugely on the life of Mary, Queen of Scots, after all it is where this book was told but I was surprised when the most important aspect of history on how the Queen was tried, sentenced and beheaded were deliberately excluded and only narrated the circumstances where George Talbot, the Earl of Shrewsburry, who was the custodian of the Scottish Queen for 19 years, silently wept as the sword slash the neck of Queen Mary. It was simple as that with no further twist.

The Other Queen centered on Bess of Hardwick and her husband, George Talbot and their financial and emotional struggle they experienced while accommodating the house arrest of Mary, Queen of Scots. The book also tries to present a theory that William Cecil, one of the Kingdom's influential advisers, was actually a formidable spy whose main responsibility in life was to protect the reign of Queen Elizabeth I at the expense of other people's freedom. I am not sure exactly if it is part of history or merely fiction, but the book tries to describe Mary as a disgusting human being whose immorality and excesses in life had cost her life and her throne.

The book is slightly disappointing and after reading the whole story, I am still left wondering what really happen to the Queen's trial and the significant events leading to her beheading. Nevertheless, it gave me some idea why the Spanish Armada was defeated.


Brazo de Mercedes

Luscious and mouth-watering dessert! That is Brazo de Mercedes.
Brazo de Mercedes from Goldilocks
Delectable Brazo. I love its light effect to my stomach

Light and all white Brazo

This is one of my favorite desserts, because aside from its super yummy taste, it has no excessive fats and cholesterol as it is primarily made from white eggs, it has milk and flour ingredients but the white eggs component is more prominent.

What I love about this dessert is its distinct creamy taste: not overtly sweet but not too dry for the mouth, both tender and succulent in nature. Unlike other desserts where I can feel an annoying “bulk” in my stomach after eating, brazo is different maybe because of its super light form, the effect is not heavy in my stomach. It is not solely a carbohydrate food but more on light protein and you don’t need extra effort to chew it, it will just slide in the mouth.

It is not only delicious but offers great advantages to health. It is not loaded with too much fats so its effect to the body is lighter. According to some, this dessert is good to be eaten by people with "beri-beri" or inflammation of veins. Its succulent appearance is very tempting and I often crave this every time I pass at any Goldilocks outlet.

Enjoy it with one cup of hot green tea at any cafe houses. Aside from Goldilocks, cafe in Davao which offers delectable Brazo is Chicco di Caffe along Roxas Street.

L'Oreal Milky Toner

This special revitalift aqua milky toner product from L’Oreal has anti-wrinkle and firming solutions that help moisturize and rejuvenate sagging skin while fighting the rapid process of aging. It has pro-retinol and fibre-elastyl formulations which help refine pores and fine lines.

I've been using this for almost two years now and very much contented with the result. The milk extracts help refine my pores and some fine lines around my forehead and eyes. I noticed also that it lightens my skin more and has a different glow. It softens skin and fight the rapid process of premature aging.

Though I have an annoying oily skin, this aqua milky toner doesn't provoke pimples and acne. In fact, it clearly smoothen skin and erases dark spots and other blemishes. This is highly recommended to be used for people who have skin blemishes and large pores and especially those who are suffering from dry skin, this will help make the skin glow and radiate. 

I am using this product twice a day, first in the morning before I put on day cream or facial powder then at night before I went to bed. It helps soothe skin and acts as an effective moisturizer. 200 ml (picture above) is worth P300.00

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The King's Speech

Directed by Tom Hooper, script written by David Seidler. Starring Colin Hirth and Geoffrey Rush, this movie garnered five Oscar awards including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Actor and Best Art Direction.

The King’s Speech centers on how the stammering habit of King George VI made him a reluctant King and how an Australian Speech Therapist, Lionel Logue, helped him overcome this shortcoming.

While watching this film, I could feel the sincerity of its script writer, David Seidler, in bringing out the truth on the dreaded speech disorder of the late British King. The story is largely based on historical evidence so it is very accurate. In fact most of the scenes and dialogue there can be found in many books about the British royal family. In 2003 I bought a book, “The Royals” by Kitty Kelley and much of the contents of the book are revealed in The King’s Speech.

Based on my research and readings about the British monarchy, King George V, who founded the House of Windsor in 1917, was constantly annoyed with Prince Bertie’s stuttering that he wanted him to increase loads of public engagements to overcome his nervousness. During those years, the King grew tired thinking what will happen to the Kingdom he desperately saved during the terrible period of World War I, when it will be inherited by his fickle-minded heir, Prince David the Prince of Wales, who at 37, still unmarried and was often seen in the company of married women. He had wished his second son, Prince Bertie the Duke of York, to save it from the hands of the Prince of Wales, but the primogeniture succession guaranteed an eldest son only to succeed. Nevertheless, George V was confident the Prince of Wales couldn’t endure the weight of the crown. In the book of Kitty Kelley, the King confided his worry to his aide, “I will pray to God that David won’t have an heir so that nothing could come to the throne except Bertie and Lilibet (Princess Elizabeth). After my death, David will ruin himself and leave the crown to pursue his happiness”…these famous lines were quoted in the film too.

In “Royal Sisters” book by Anne Edwards, I read that several months before his death, George V, was informed that his heir was forming a scandalous affair with a commoner married woman, Wallis Simpson, the King’s concern for the future of the monarchy grew heavier. Unperturbed with the implication of his plan to disinherit the Prince of Wales, George V redesigned his last will testament, though he couldn’t bar David from succeeding, he stripped much of his inheritance and redistributed it to his grandchildren. As the King’s health is failing, Prince Bertie’s anxieties escalated as he had sensed David’s reluctance to remain in the throne without Wallis Simpson at his side.

In January 1936, King George V died and Prince David ascended as King Edward VIII, but eleven months later he abdicated to be with his lover forever, uttering this famous line “I find it impossible to perform my duty as King without the support of the woman I love”, this line was also revealed in the film. Prince Bertie, who dreaded the idea of becoming a King, was forced to pick up the crown. As his hesitation grew, Lionel Logue taught him how to gather confidence and relax, he painstakingly taught the King how to overcome his stammering habit.

Well, the movie was exactly told this way and I am glad the director did not mangle history just like what Philippa Gregory did in the book “The Other Boleyn Girl” which badly distorted the events surrounding Anne Boleyn and her days in the British royal court.

The King’s Speech revolves only on the King’s stuttering habit and not entirely on the history of his family. The important role of Lionel Logue’s in the life of the King was highlighted here. Perhaps the highlight of the film was on the King’s broadcast speech over BBC urging his subjects to unite as the country enters war against Germany which precipitated World War II. It was amazing how Logue’s unique style pumped confidence to the King while struggling to strengthen his speech during the live broadcast. Well, this is one of the most accurate films about the British monarchy I’d ever watched. Very accurate and sincere, no wonder it won the Oscar’s nod.

In real life, well according to British history, King George VI and Lionel Logue became best friends for life, he also awarded Logue with Victorian Cross order, a very rare distinction and honor given by the British monarch to a person who extended a distinguished personal service to the monarch. The King only reigned for 16 years, he died in February 1952 from lung cancer and was succeeded by his eldest daughter, Elizabeth. Lionel Logue died a year later, in 1953. Well, George V’s prophecy proved true. King Edward VIII, who was created Duke of Windsor by his brother, had no children with Wallis Simpson and even if he had, his children would not be in line of succession to the British throne as what he agreed upon renouncing the throne in 1936.