Friday, November 30, 2012

If Only the Tooth Fairy Got Raped

We saw Rise of the Guardians yesterday. If it wins over Wreck-It Ralph for Best Animated Feature in the Oscars next year, I won't be jumping up and down.

1. This film must be a headache to watch in 3D, what with the too-intricate gliding and flying sequences.

2. Jack Frost looks like some anime teenager, only fluent in English.

3. The scenery is marvelous. Shanghai, Moscow, Manhattan - you rarely see these places in animated films, much less portrayed as how they are in real life.
4. Worse things could have happened. Pitch could have raped the tooth fairy, who is such a flirt-in-denial.

5. We initially thought Jamie's pet dog is a goat.
6. Why is the Easter bunny so busy?! I'm pretty sure not all Christians go snooping around the neighborhood park for hidden eggs during Easter.

7. The message of this film is that American kids nowadays are so - have incredibly colorful imaginations, most of them believe in Santa Claus, the tooth fairy, sandman, and Easter bunny as much as they believe in the existence of the sun.

8. The ending is just plain terrible. Like, that was it?
Overall, this film is loads of fun, makes deliciously outstanding use of animation (the colors are just glorious, the attention to shape and form impeccable). But I'm still for Wreck-It Ralph.

The sandman channels Dumbledore in Half-Blood Prince.

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... Still pissed off about Life of Pi being pushed back to January next year. 

... We're finally done with endocrinology. The next two weeks (last two for the year) will be devoted to nephrology. Here comes urine.

... Did you hear? I finally got published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer. Oh happy days.

... Every time I hear Jose Mari Chan's Perfect Christmas, I feel like tearing up. 

... Happy Bonifacio Day long weekend!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

PDI Review: 'Stageshow' by Tanghalang Pilipino; 'William' by PETA

The Philippine Daily Inquirer has started a stand-alone theater section, which comes out every Saturday. The Gibbs Cadiz is now the editor and has invited me to be part of his pool of writers. My first piece (originally a simple blog entry) comes out this Saturday: omnibus reviews of "Stageshow" and "William" - the shows I saw during the 4th National Theater Festival at the CCP. [UPDATE: Online version of my article here

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'William' and 'Stageshow'--rerun please

"Stageshow" by Mario O'Hara is first and foremost a Broadway show for the Filipino. Yet, during its initial run last month, it had the misfortune of competing with "The Phantom of the Opera," which played to packed houses night after night right above it.

How fate bitchily makes use of its metaphors. For had the audience of "Phantom" also paid as much attention to this player at the CCP Little Theater, they would have been treated to a dazzlingly coherent act of acts, a melange of overflowing artistry that all the more made sense as a whole.

There's straight drama, melancholy and flashy musical numbers, dance routines, even a radio drama (utilized to enchanting effect). One can very well call this O'Hara's farewell gift to local theater.

Shamaine Buencamino left not a single emotion untapped in her virtuoso turn as Ester (in some distant way, it might as well be her "Sophie's Choice"), but an even more fiery star burned in husband Nonie Buencamino, who flirted, tap-danced, philandered, and died his way to dizzying actorly heights, culminating in an explosive redefinition of "performance" in "I'm Gonna Live Till I Die."


"William," meanwhile, a play that makes adroit use of rap to tackle Shakespeare in the public school classroom, was a charmer from start to finish. In transposing Shakespeare's stratospheric English to commonplace Filipino, to the tongue of the ordinary Manila pedestrian, the sidewalk hagglers, the manangs who run the market stalls, the play successfully delivered the Bard and his works to the plate of its hormonal teenagers in fresher, less complicated fashion.

The ingenious set: Chairs. They become school lockers, other forms of furniture, even entrance/exit archways. A student enters, the teacher says to him: "Ay wala nang upuan. Sige, pitas ka na lang diyan." If money can't grow on trees, at least chairs can.        

Five central performances, each personality as distinct as the color-coded costumes, anchored by Meann Espinosa's teacher - an insanely brilliant ball of comic sensibility - and Jojo Atienza's shape-shifting turn as the four fathers. Plus, a delightful lesbian in Happy Constantino's Strawberry Shortcake ("'Beh, for short").

For these two productions - rerun please!    

Future doctors from the UP College of Medicine with the indefatigable Meann Espinosa. From my Instagram (username: vincengyu).

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Friday night, we watched Revolution - De La Salle Innersoul's 15th anniversary concert. Well, I was actually required to watch - it was our friend Rika's final concert with the org (she graduated last month). It must be said that alumni of this org include Gian Magdangal (who was one of the night's special guests), Fredison Lo, and Johann dela Fuente - stars of 9 Works' recent staging of Rent (my review).

I'd say the concert was somewhere between Maroon 5 (where people are shouting and jumping and singing along) and Lea Salonga (prim and proper, one-woman theatrical show). Songs included the Aria winner "You're the Voice" (originally recorded by John Farnham), "Sowing the Seeds of Love" (Tears for Fears), and "Love Is a Battlefield," which was Rika's solo. One definite downer, however, was the sound system. I don't know how to describe the mechanisms or whatever, except that it was inappropriately, annoyingly (in the technical sense)... LOUD.

The Yuchengco Auditorium is now the most beautiful venue fit for a theatrical production in Manila that I've stepped foot on. Big but not cavernous, with excellent sightlines. They might as well make this the next Meralco Theater (which really needs major fixing).

The ubiquity of microphones... is something you'll never see in UP.   

Lastly, I finally met the La Sallian Iloilo-Bacolod circle. Went home at two in the morning.

Rika's photo (and abs), borrowed from Facebook without her knowledge.

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The older version of "Cafe Comforts" is one of nineteen poems published in this year's Waywaya, the literary folio of the Manila Collegian, released within the past couple of weeks.

For the record, this is an unsatisfactorily edited folio. There's - yet again - a 't' in my name. Really now, I don't know where editors get the idea that a contributor misspells his or her name. In this modern age, a responsible editor can surely spare some time to query the writer through whatever electronic means. But the (overlooked) errors extend beyond authorship. Take this, from "Curtains and Tales," for example:

movies never to be enjoyed,
fowers never to be given

Given that it took a ridiculously long time to release this folio (deadline of submissions was late March)... I rest my case. After all, part of our tuition goes to the publication, does it not? In my final year in high school, we worked on and released our publication's premiere literary folio in just three months - with a core working group of less than ten people. Just saying. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Sembreak 2012: A Short Retrospective

1. A wedding took place. It involved lanterns ala Tangled. But most of them just ended up unlit on the outdoor hotel pool (the lighting took place in the surrounding area). One actually made brief contact with a female guest's hair, but it was nothing (spectacularly) serious. 

It was rather entertaining watching the lanterns rise and fall.

2. Comelec registration was hell. Next year's national elections will see me voting for the first time. But I repeat, Comelec registration was hell. Let me say that a thousand times, add an expletive or two - or two thousand.

3. Halloween (or the Eve of All Hallows - what most of us know as All Saint's Day), I again went to the cousins' subdivision for their annual celebration. One of the kids dressed up as Captain America. Sexy Red Riding Hood (formerly Alice in Wonderland) was now transfigured into Cheerleader. And a cousin was Minnie Mouse, which, in my humble opinion, should have won Costume of the Night or something. Then we went to see A Secret Affair, which raised two important issues: One, the dubbing was terrible, so terrible that whoever did it should be banned from film work; two, with the ubiquity of English language dialogue, it might as well have been a One Tree Hill episode.  

For Halloween, I walked around with a lightning scar on my forehead.

4. Books I finished: 2. I'm an embarrassment to the literary world. Anne Enright's The Gathering shouldn't even qualify because I started it way before the break began. So that leaves me with McEwan's On Chesil Beach - five chapters on the sexual turmoils of a newlywed couple, plus some stuff on Mozart and writing history books. Now reading: Milan Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being.

5. Movies I saw: 15. That does not include multiple screenings (Looper and Argo) and those 'incompletely seen' (Paranormal Activity 3, Insidious - unexpectedly wicked ending, LOTR: The Return of the King, etc.). Pitch Perfect, Looper, Argo, Skyfall, Wreck-It Ralph  plus The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel - I suppose this makes up for my shortcoming in the reading front.

6. Harry Potter withdrawal. Marathoned the eight-part film series. Incredibly funny. Scenes revealing themselves, line readings taking new turns. Three of the most influential beings of my nine-to-nineteen-hood. I cried at the very end, and I'm proud to say so. (This is incoherent, so I shall save this for the future or when I'm ready.) Now addicted to

An A380 from Down Under greeted me upon my arrival this morning for the new semester. No big deal.

**Note: As in the previous post, an iPad 2 took the photos.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Iloilo Invaded, SemBreak 2012

My classmates Terence, Jim (who follows this blog with his fat heart - hello there), Jereel, and Jer came to pay me a royal visit, Oct 22-27. Here, in fifteen photos (because I'm too lazy to follow the original plan), we remember that glorious week. The original plan, you ask? One post per day. Nope, didn't happen. Not happening.

The belfry of Jaro Cathedral, but alas, it has not lore of a monstrous man ringing its bells. 

Maridel's, the dessert place-to-be in Iloilo City. The Frozen Lemon Meringue (top right) is a must - take this local's word for it.

The Lizares Mansion, Instagrammed. These days, though, the building is more known to locals as the representative image of Angelicum School of Iloilo.

The view from the peak of Balaan Bukid, Guimaras Island. Iloilo City and the rest of Panay across the strait. A lonely boat passing by.

"I'd rather be sailing, yes I would. On an open sea." 
-from A New Brain.

 A fiery Guimaras sunset, tricycle giving chase.

The Lacson Mansion, or The Ruins, just outside Bacolod City. In the final months of World War II, the Americans ordered all possible hiding places of the Japanese be burned, and so behold the fruit of Uncle Sam's labor.

The storm came. We were stranded in Bacolod. So we bought matching underwear and watched Argo.

 Fifteen cakes in 36 hours. One must never miss Calea when in Bacolod. The cheesecake, the one with the red sauce-like side on the bottom, is heaven-sent. 

Fish in formation in the famous Lagoon fronting the Negros Occidental Provincial Capitol, Bacolod City.
The facade of Miag-ao Church, one of the four Baroque churches in the Philippines classified as UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Experimenting with light gives you the most wondrous results - a UFO over Miag-ao Church, in this case.

 "Greatness inspires envy, envy engender spite, spite spawns lies." -Lord Voldemort, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
The Oblation at the University of the Philippines, Miag-ao campus.

 Only after 100+ steps down the hill can one arrive with an intact traveler's dignity on the beach of UP Miag-ao.

The Iloilo River Esplanade by night. "All the lights are misty in the river," so the Les Miserables song goes.

**Note: An iPad 2 was used to take these photos.