Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Seeing Old Friends

Got to see Helen and Pinky last Monday, it's been a long time since our last meeting so I was very excited to be with them once again. It felt great!You know the feeling when you're able to see good old friends and had this really nice, comfortable conversation over food, relaxing, laughing and giggling, talking with what happened in the past, it's really relieving and liberating!


Some of my closest colleagues back then, Helen and Pinky. Photo by Kathy Dacanay

Had a good time one cozy evening at Sushi Dito. Photo by Kathy Dacanay

Pinky and Helen are my former colleagues in the university, but unlike Helen whom I have a constant communication and whom I regularly meet when she takes a vacation from UAE, Pinky is some sort of a missing buddy hehe! I did not see her in over six years, so last Monday was a huge bonding, catching up with the lost time.

Pinky is one of my closest colleagues in the late 1990s and early 2000s, we would go out frequently with other close friends in the university like Arlene Cardenas, Rose Alegada, Prezy Dela Torre, Judy Merecido anywhere that would catch our fantasy at the moment, in a restaurant, in a movie house, we always had a good laugh and we could agree to almost everything, there was no animosity, no hostility, no loathing. We had a wonderful working relationship back then, we're just so close! When they left and new people came in, things became different and things were never been the same again.

So when I meet Pinky and Helen again last Monday, it was like revisiting the old world, the nice and pleasant working environment I had once, the homely and cozy place I always cherished. It was so relieving, we talked so many things, issues in our lives in the past that did not matter in the present then broke with laughter just like the old days.
with the very generous Helen Montero who brought me so many pasalubong hehe!

After resting a while at the UIC ground, we went to Sushi Dito, where another former colleague, Kathy Dacanay, waited for us. I was craving badly for Maki so I suggested we would spend our dinner at Sushi. Then Pinky generously offered her time, driving us to La Verna to visit Juvy Panos-Platon who had just given birth to a healthy baby boy. There, we met Anaflor and her husband and extended a little time to have a chat with everyone there.
One of my fave makis -- Kani cheese
California Maki, Chicken Teriyaki and veges
With Juvy and Helen

When we parted ways it was around 11:15 in the evening!Waaaah, and because we had this old school rule in our boarding house--setting a curfew at 10:00 in the evening--I had to inform my land lady that I'll be coming late. Pinky drove us and dropped us at our individual location---Kathy at Quirino, me at my boarding house and Helen at Ecoland terminal.

After spending dinner at Sushi Dito, we visited Juvy Panos-Platon at La Verna who had just given birth to a baby boy, there, we met another colleague, Anaflor and her husband, Allan Sacopayo. Photo by Kathy Dacanay

It was a wonderful night indeed, so happy to be able to spend precious time with them before going elsewhere and start anew. I'll be missing them though but I am looking forward for another relaxing reunion in the future.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Storm in a Tea Cup


I always begin my day with a cup of green tea or lemon juice, it makes my spirit float, it calms my mind. The soft morning air that often greets me in the street on my way to the office assures me that life in this present state is so fascinating and alluring..peaceful...relaxing and carefree.

But lately, my morning no longer reflects the same degree of serenity. Somewhere beyond this quiet existence, lays a deep longing for a different life, a more meaningful one. Everytime I wake up and grab my towel, I felt this disconcerting pattern of confusion and worries and concerns rambling inside my system. I often take a deep, laboured a hard breath and wonder what I am missing, what's on the other side of the fence?

Suddenly, this comfortable, peaceful environment that I am embracing for such a long time is no longer a peaceful haven. Suddenly I am craving for some spice in my life, a good balance of challenges and triumph, risks and courage, success and lessons to be learned, something that would help unveil my potentials, enhance my professional growth and see the intimidating life in the (real) corporate world.

After I graduated from MBA last April I undergone this very serious contemplation about myself, about where I am heading, about the things I am capable of doing. What life awaits me beyond this calm, quiet and peaceful surrounding? For so long, I allowed myself to be stuck in one corner, bypassing opportunities and real life's vitality. Now, I want to catch the available ride before missing it again. For once, I want to see the rainbow of life in the real world.

It's now or never.




Sunday, May 19, 2013

Chasing Destiny


My mind felt like a "push-over" nowadays, trying to drag me into a direction where I am very anxious to live with. 

But this burning intention to get away, to move out, to search my fate, is increasing everyday that I felt I would be missing a huge part of my life if I would just let it go. Time is slipping so fast and yet I felt like my life is a complete mess, forever stuck in one corner, so I came up with this very difficult decision to "risk" my comfortable lifestyle.

I realized I had wasted so many years already, missing opportunities because of my fear to take risks, I was too busy keeping myself safe that I forgot there’s a terrific life out there that needs to be explored.

So now I cannot afford to let another day pass without figuring out what makes life so exciting and extraordinary on the other side of the road.

The terrible idea of being thrown out, or being hurt, or being humiliated, or being rejected no longer terrifies me. I am strong and confident enough to face uncertainties. This time I don’t want to let opportunities slip through my fingers without even trying.

I am ready to take the painful ordeal of heaving through the thick crowds, waking up early, inhaling dust, travelling long distance in order to see what I would be getting at the end of the tunnel of this journey. I want to chaste my destiny and see where it will lead me.

It’s time to go into a quest. 


Thursday, May 16, 2013

What Kind of Public Service is this?

Getting an NBI Clearance is a total agony. For the past years this theory sounds like a myth, until one day when I had experienced it personally.

Oh hell!Why concerned officials allowed this crap system to continue? Why they cannot provide a good logical solution to improve the service and make the process easier and comfortable to the public?

In Davao City, in order for you to be given an application, you need to go to the NBI office as early as 3:00 in the morning, is this what they call a public service?

I went there at 7:00 in the morning only to be disappointed when people told me that the application forms were distributed at early dawn and that it already reached the limit so the distribution was stopped at 4:00 in the morning. The lady was referring to the limit of applicants entertained in a day.

Oh God!Is this what the Philippine government trying to promote in the 21st century? It is completely rude, why the NBI personnel tolerated this kind of system? What on earth made them think that early dawn is the perfect period to distribute applications when the office hour starts at 8:00 in the morning?

Let's just say they set a specific hour for the distribution of the application because they feel the urge of catering only 500 people in a day? Okay fine. But why they have to do it at early dawn? Why not during the day? God! So pissed off!

When I visited the NBI official website, I found out there's an online application for NBI clearance which is easier and very convenient, the question now is, is this applicable for regional offices?I read that the applicants once registered online must go to U.N Avenue in Manila.

I am hoping the government will make a thorough review with NBI Clearance processes and come up with something better and efficient and logical, it does not resonate the public service commitment they are trumpeting. 


Monday, May 13, 2013

Roswell and Legend of the Seeker

Okay. I am a bit silly now adays haha!

Why on earth my appetite in watching TV series cannot be stopped? Sooooo totally hooked with ROSWELL and LEGEND OF THE SEEKER! These series are really awesome and inspiring.

My obsession towards ROSWELL started in 2000, that was 13 years ago, I never thought my teenage fascination towards cute teen flicks is still there but when I re-watched it, yeaaaah it feels like I am in my late teens again hahaha! Or maybe I never stopped dreaming someone like MAX EVANS to sweep off my feet :-D

So why I am so obsessed with Roswell? 
  • Max Evans is so blindingly handsome and gorgeous.
  • His devotion to Liz is soooooooo sweet and awesome!
  • I dreamed to meet someone like Max Evans hahaha!
  • The story of Roswell is so fantastic and entertaining.
  • Yeahhh truly inspiring, the love story of Max and Liz is something I always dreamed of!
  • I am always fascinated with the star-crossed lovers theme.
  • The thrill of watching science fiction flick is mixed with the tenderness of romance
Another current obsession, LEGEND OF THE SEEKER. And why I am also obsessed with this series?
  • It's a fantasy adventure flick and I love it!!!
  • Beautiful scenery of New Zealand
  • The story of star-crossed lovers fascinates me
  • Extraordinary love of Richard Cypher to Kahlan Amnell
  • Spellbinding story plot

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

My Favorite Movies

I am a big movie buff!

Though my favorite genres are fantasy adventure, horror and science fiction under the backdrop of romance, I can adjust my appetite in films depending on the plot and concept, comedy, animated and mainstream drama also delight me. 

There are three technical merits I often look in a film to satisfy my cravings: screenplay, cinematography and production design.

In the span of two decades, I'd already watched more than 100 movies, some are boring and annoying  (I wondered why they made it into a motion picture in the first place) others are really good and worth recommending. 

Although there are really beautiful movies out there which have been consistently included in the list of Greatest Movies of all time surveys by several critics and institutions worldwide, I cannot list them down here because I have not watch them yet thus cannot share the experience, so I will stick to the movies I already watched :-D

Here are my favorite 20 films I am proud to recommend, it's very worthy of your time, try to catch them on DVD and see if I hit the button of your fascination too :-D

1. TITANIC

Genre: Epic Romance

Description: Retells the story of the ill-fated maiden voyage of RMS Titanic in 1912 when it hits iceberg shortly after midnight near the Irish sea. In the splendor of the floating city that is Titanic, Jack Dawson and Rose Dewitt-Bucater, who came from different background, meet and fall in love.

Why I like it? The story itself is moving but the best part of the movie is the eternal love between Jack Dawson (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Rose Dewitt-Bucater (Kate Winslet) that transcends death. You've got to believe that somewhere in this world there's still someone out there who is ready to slay a dragon for you, so to speak.

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet
Director: James Cameron
First Released: 1997

Claim to fame: Won 11 out of 14 Oscar nominations tying with Ben Hur as the most nominated film  of all time at the Academy Awards. It went on to become the highest grossing film of all time until 2010 when it was toppled by another James Cameron film, Avatar. Listed by the American Film Institute as one of the 100 Greatest Films in 100 Years.

2. SILENCE OF THE LAMBS

Genre: Horror/Suspense

Description: Story of tracing down a mysterious serial killer at loose. The FBI believes the only way to track down this killer is to interrogate another serial killer who is in prison, Hannibal Lecter. They send a young FBI trainee, Clarice Sterling, to do the mission.

Why I like it? Well, I was able to read the book first (authored by Thomas Harris) before watching the movie so I'm kinda familiar with the story. It's one of the most interesting and beautifully-made suspense films in recent memory.

Starring: Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins
Director: Jonathan Demme
First Released: 1991

Claim to fame: One of the highest grossing horror films in 1990s and the third film to win all the major categories in Oscar Awards: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Actor and Best Writing. American Film Institute listed it as one of the 100 Greatest Films in 100 Years.

3. THE GREEN MILE

Genre: Drama

Description:
Highly emotional film.  The scene begins in the present time at the nursing home in Louisiana. Paul Edgecomb breaks into tears while watching a movie, Top Hat, and recalls his encounter with a death row inmate, John Coffe, when he was still a young correction officer assigned in the death row cell of Cold Mountain Penitentiary in 1935. 

Why I like it? Well, I cried a bucket of tears while watching this film. Very emotional, touching and gripping, it will tear your heart away. The film certifies that in our society injustices and unfairness are most often experienced by defenseless and downtrodden individuals.

Starring: Tom Hanks, Michael Clarke Duncan
Director: Frank Darabont
First Released: 1999

Claim to fame: Based on the book written by Stephen King, Green Mile. The movie earned four Oscar Nominations in 2000. EMPIRE listed it as one of the Greatest Films of all time

4. THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION

Genre: Drama

Description: Retells the story of a banker, Andre Dufresne (Tim Robbins) and how he became an inmate at Shawshank Redemption Penitentiary and befriended Red Redding.

Why I like it? The story itself is monumental and told in a very simple, yet stunning way enough to stir emotions, rich with so many self-pondering thoughts and lessons in life, I adored the film's beautiful screenplay.

Starring: Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman
Director: Frank Darabont
First Released: 1994

Claim to fame: Based on the book "Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption" written by Stephen King. It earned 7 nominations at Oscar Awards in 1995. Listed by the American Film Institute as one of the 100 Greatest Films in 100 Years.

5. CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON

Genre: Fantasy Adventure

Description: The story is set in the 18th century Qing Dynasty during the reign of Emperor Qianlong. It is a timeless story of love, devotion, miracles and belief of the presence of the spirits in the ancient world. The disappearance of a magical sword triggers the breathtaking quest for the treasure.

Why I like it? Amidst all the subplots, quest to fulfill, revenge, duty, pain, flying and floating powers of the people of ancient China, there's this beautiful story of romance between two warriors who are consumed by revenge, pain and duty unable to find time to love each other, but genuine love lingers on even after death. 

Starring: Chow Yun Fat, Michelle Yeoh, Zhang Ziyi
Director: Ang Lee
First Released: 2000

Claim to fame: Earned 11 nominations in the 2001 Oscar Awards and won 4 including Best in Cinematography. EMPIRE listed it as one of the Greatest Films of all time

6. BRAVEHEART

Genre: Epic Historical

Description: Set in the13th Century when the English KingEdward I called the Longshanks, invaded and conquered Scotland after the death of a Scottish King who has no direct heir to the throne. William Wallace headed the rebellion against the English monarch. He made alliance with Robert the Bruce the rightful Scottish heir but Bruce's father made peace with the English King and had him Wallace turned over to the  English and publicly executed.

Why I like it? The story has something to do with my fascination -- the British history, British monarchy and everything about Scotland :-) Beautiful plot and screenplay.

Starring: Mel Gibson
Director: Mel Gibson
First Release: 1995

Claim to fame: Garnered 10 Oscar Nominations and won 5 including Best picture and Best director for Mel Gibson. EMPIRE listed it as one of the Greatest Films of all time

7. FORREST GUMP

Genre: Romantic-Comedy

Description: Forrest Gump is depicted as a young, naive country boy who does comical thing and who seems oblivious from life's complexities including falling in love. 

Why I like it? Forrest Gump is hilarious and comical and a good breather from other serious films. It shows the refreshing side of living in a quiet countryside. The story is very relaxing and funny.

Starring: Tom Hanks
Director: Robert Zemeckis
First Release: 1994

Claim to fame: It earned 13 nominations at Oscar Awards and won 8 including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor. This movie gave Tom Hanks his back to back Best Actor win at the Oscars. The most memorable line from the film which survives until now is this: "Life is like a box of chocolate, you never know what you get". Listed by the American Film Institute as one of the 100 Greatest Films in 100 Years.

8. THE CUTTING EDGE

Genre: Romantic-Comedy

Description: The story revolves around Kate Moseley (Moira Kelley) and Doug Dorsey (D.B Sweeney). Kate, a rich girl and spoiled brat, trains to compete in the Winter Olympics as a figure ice skater. Doug is also an Olympian in the hockey team, but during the formal Olympic game, he was forced to retire when he suffered from an eye injury. Later, they find themselves competing in the Olympics as a pair.

Why I like it? Well, the romance between Kate and Doug is super cute it makes you fall in love all over again, the magic of innocence never stops! Very simple and yet splendid and dreamy :-)

Starring: D.B Sweeney and Moira Kelley
Director: Paul Michael Glaser
First Release: 1992

Claim to fame: It was a huge hit in the early 1990s many people love the feel-good plot because it was so sweet, romantic and relaxing. 

9. LORD OF THE RINGS, THE RETURN OF THE KINGS

Genre: Fantasy Adventure

Description: The final installment of the Lord of the Rings triology. Frodo and Sam finally reached the Mount Doom and destroyed the Ring restoring peace and harmony in the Middle Earth. The Hobbits returned to Shire. Bilbo Baggins and Frodo left Shire and travelled with Gandalf to the Undying Lands.

Why I like it? Its Cinematic value. The Lord of the Rings story itself is spellbinding, very captivating, no dull moment.

Starring: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Sean Astin, Viggo Mortensen
Director: Peter Jackson
First Released: 2003

Claim to fame:  Based on the second and third volumes of J.R.R Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. It is the only fantasy film that won Best Picture award at the Oscars and the only film in cinema history that won all its nominations. Nominated in 11 categories and won it all. It tied with Ben-Hur and Titanic for the largest number of awards won at the Oscars.  One of the Greatest Films listed by EMPIRE

10. THE MISSION

Genre: Historial, Drama, Religious

Description: Tackles a religious theme. Retelling the story of the Jesuit Missionaries that enter the South American jungle to Christianize the Guarani tribe. The territory, which borders Argentina and Paraguay, had been disputed by Portugal and Spain. When the village was attacked by Portuguese and Spanish forces, the missionaries defended the Guaranis and died fighting for their mission.

Why I like it? After watching this film, I had so many realizations in my life, understanding better the core of my Catholic faith. Very beautiful film indeed. It was in this film that I saw the spectacular and breathtaking Iguazu Falls in Paraguay. Terrific Cinematography.

Starring: Jeremy Irons, Robert Deniro, Liam Neeson
Directed by: Roland Joffe
First Released: 1986 (I watched this film in 2011 in DVD)

Claim to fame: Vatican Palace declared it as one of the most beautiful religious films of all time. It garnered 7 nominations in the 1987 Oscar Awards and won Best Cinematography. Number one in the Church's Times Best Religious Films List.

ROUNDING MY FAVORITE 20 FILMS ARE THE FOLLOWING:

11. Forbidden Kingdom (2008) Genre: Fantasy Adventure
Directed by Rob Minkoff
Starring: Jacky Chan and Jet Li

12. Face Off (1997) Genre: Action
 Directed by John Woo
Starring: Nicholas Cage and John Travolta

13. A View to a Kill-James Bond 007 (1989) Genre: Spy, Action
Directed by John Glen
Starring: Roger Moore

14. Entrapment (1999) Genre: Action
Directed by Jon Amiel
Starring: Sean Connery, Catherine Zeta-Jones

15. The Mummy Returns (2002) Genre: Horror, Fantasy Adventure
Directed by Stephen Sommers
Starring:Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz

16. Schindler's List (1993) Genre: Drama, Historical
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Liam Neeson

17. Scream (1996) Genre: Horror, Suspense
Directed by: Wez Craven
Starring: Neve Campbell

18. The First Knight (1995) Genre: Drama, Historical
Directed by: Jerry Zucker
Starring: Richard Gere, Sean Connery, Julia Ormond

19. Shanghai Knights (2003) Genre: Action, Comedy
Directed by: David Dobkin
Starring: Jacky Chan, Owen Wilson

20. Ghost (1990) Genre: Romance, Fantasy
Directed by: Jerry Zucker
Starring: Demi Moore, Patrick Swayze

The Greatest Films that consistently topped the list of almost all institutes and surveys are the following (I'm still looking for a DVD copy of each of these films)

1. Citizen Kane (1941)
2. Ben-Hur (1959)
3. Casablanca (1942)
4. Gone with the Wind (1939)
5. Raging Bull (1980)
6. All About Eve (1950)
7. Vertigo (1958)
8. The Godfather (1972)
9. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
10. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)
11. The Wizard of Oz (1939)
12. Psycho (1960)
13. Star Wars (1977)
14. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
15. The Graduate (1967)

Sunday, May 5, 2013

13 Years of Roswell fascination

Felt drowsy..tired and motionless..oh God my eyes are about to fall...and it's only 10 in the morning!!! Not sure what triggers this boredom. Is it the sleepless nights or the thoughts of what's coming ahead?

Since gaining a complete freedom of doing-what-I wanted-to-do sort of thing after passing the comprehensive exam in my masteral, I spent every night watching series and movies on DVD. My obsession at the moment is tripping down memory lane with Legend of the Seeker and Roswell. Sounds pretty crazy but all I did each night is re-watched each episode of the series.

I became addicted with Roswell in 2000 when I grew tired with the uninspiring storyline of soap operas in local TV, so I switched channels to look for some exciting shows until I landed on Roswell. Unfortunately, I only watched the two seasons because I went home to Surigao in the last part of 2002 in fact I did not finish the whole season 2. So I had this very remorseful feeling of not being able to catch up the season finale.

Eleven years later, the memories of Roswell were still fresh that I asked my boardmate to look for a DVD copy of the series. Luckily, she found the complete season copies but I was already  in my second year in the graduate school struggling to balance my time doing assignments, project papers, online jobs and my daytime work so the DVDs had to put off.

Fast forward 2013, after passing my comprehensive exams, I felt I need to change direction and my longing to dart my attention to other things unintentionally changed the way I viewed local TV shows. Suddenly I began to detest the soap operas so I stopped joining my boardmates in the living area of our boarding house watching prime time dramas.

That's when I remembered ROSWELL DVDs but because I was still very attached with Legend of the Seeker, I kept installing my plan to do a marathon on Roswell, on the 29th of April finally I stopped watching Legend and pulled the Roswell copies and surprise! I found out the  fascination I felt 13 years ago towards this teen flick is still there :-P I still adored Roswell!!

ROSWELL, my original TV series obsession, runs from 1999-2002  in the US and 2000-2003 in the Philippines via RPN 9. The story of star-crossed lovers always fascinates me :-)

Back in 2000 I was so obsessed with this series that I constantly had a row with my sister because of our conflicting interest in television shows. I hated the exaggerated soap operas shown in the local TV because of the redundant, too-obvious story line. The predictable drama pissed me off and the shallow twist was so annoying. I made an agreement with my sister that she can have all those boring soap operas all night except the 8:00-9:00 pm of Wednesday, the time slot of Roswell in RPN 9. 

I loved fantasy adventure and science fiction genre especially those who have a star-crossed romantic backdrop -- alien and human, vampire and human, seeker and confessor, it resonates fascination and interest   :-D

Roswell is a science fiction series based on  Roswell High book written by Melinda Metz. It narrates the story of UFO sighting, alien thing in New Mexico. The plot centers on the lives of the three alien hybrids, Max, Michael and Isabel and their human friends, Liz, Maria, Alex and Kyle. For 17 years, the alien hybrids lived in Roswell, New Mexico covering their true identities.

Main casts of ROSWELL
Standing from left: William Sandler as Sheriff Jim Valenti, Nick Weschler as Kyle Valenti, Colin Hanks as Alex Whitman, Brendan Fehr as Michael Guerin, Jason Behr as Max Evans, Shiri Appleby as Liz Parker, Majandra Delfino as Maria Deluca and Katherine Heigl as Isabel Evans

Until one day when Liz Parker, the love interest of Max, got shot in a Crashdown cafe. Max rushed to her side to heal the wound and brought her back to life and the privacy of the three aliens was effectively over. It is where the whole story of Roswell kicks in.

While having a DVD marathon on Roswell, I had this strange realization about myself too, about my future, about where I am heading. Well, amidst the alien thing of the story, there's this realistic coincidence of the human side of the characters which I was able to relate to myself. The struggle, the fears of going to an unknown place, the strength of facing challenges, the longing to be with someone (oh c'mon I dreamed this thing too hehe!) and the positive disposition of starting a new life, all these stuff are very human.

It made me realized something very important that I should not hesitate to take a bold step in going anywhere to seize opportunities, to enjoy life, to discard fears and worries. I must admit that I am very anxious where to start rebuilding my life, where to go from here.

Almost every hour of the day, I am asking God about the same questions, praying to give me peace of mind and guide me to come up with a good decision, contemplating, pondering what's best for me and where to start my journey. But last night, after watching the 10 episodes of season 3, I made up my mind to go somewhere and chase opportunities, never mind if I will experience inconvenience, it's part of the package anyway and I am ready to endure it. I know I am strong enough to overcome adversities.