Sunday, October 01, 2017

Tale on Travel and a Seat

I took the LRT at Katipunan station for Recto. Capacity was semi-full and seats were all taken.

Suddenly a young boy stood up and left one space open with no takers for several minutes. As I was in the center aisle and not that close to that seat, I just held on to the handrail. But when one no was taking the seat after several minutes, without further hesitation, I took it.

In a while the public address inside the train aired a spiel, “bigyan daan ang mga matatanda at may kapansanan . . .”

The be-dimpled boy looked at me seated comfortably approvingly. So I thought he really gave up the seat for the elderly.

At the Araneta station, he clutched the hand of his standing mother and was moving towards the door to exit. Again he looked at me with a smile which I returned with a lip movement with no sound “Thank you.” Still clutching his mother’s hand, he lifted his right hand and waved me goodbye.

From the look of his eyes, he was pleased that he gave up his seat not to his mother nor to anyone else but me.

The situation set up the stage for the good nature boy to do a good deed. And I was the fortunate recipient of his goodness.

30 Sept 2017 written on a HP ProBook

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

When there’s a mural, there's an open space. But with beer?

Imagine a setting seeing an outdoor mural under a large high ceiling overhead canvass surrounded by foliage from century old trees while drinking cold affordable local beer.

It is not in the outskirts of Metro Manila but right within walking distance from the QC university belt in Diliman.

The murals on the walls along Katipunan Avenue UP side are telltale signs where the outlet Japers is. Murals painted on the walls of the resto bar have the same architectural elements and style as the ones in Katipunan as they were created by the same street artists. Even the enclosed smoking area and the rest room have their own brands of wall art.

Do not expect service levels, food to die for or the amenities offered by similar chain bars but the expansive space, setting and the drinks are more than enough to satisfy the bohemian beer lover. For now, it is patronized by call center agents from the nearby commercial establishment and the early adopting and adventurous students.

Treat it as your hideaway or a man cave. But when Japers is fully operational commercially with a wider food and drinks selection and the walls are filled with more illegible graffiti, you may not find your favorite open space anymore. Walk by while on soft opening.

Japers is inside Balara Filters Ground

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Respeto. The Humiliation of Hendrix

In the 1st few minutes of #Respeto even before the opening title, I was already engaged. With Hendrix's body language, I got to know him deeper, liked him and his friends. Then I was hurt, hurt again and again especially with his helplessness. With a shared experience of depression with Hendrix's father figure Doc, he got consoled. He and his patron eventually recovered. I too recovered. Until the pain has become unbearable. 

Photo grabbed from Cinemalaya
Such is the tragedy and destiny. Respeto is not just our story told well in a film, it is a universal statement of humanity.

What impacts to me most is the humiliation of Hendrix. The initial ones, he brushes them away, dedma (pagkatalo, paghihiya, pagtapon ng tae, ihi, akusasyon na pagnanakaw, pagtapon ng typewriter, utos ng bayaw). But he recovers. The emotional ones, he vents them with tears (wala akong magawa). He likewise recovers. The final one, he retaliated.

Even if we deny it, the deepest pain of being human is humiliation.

Karagdagang notes sa Respeto: Bagong format para sa akin. At di ako rapper. Panalo siya. Di ko kilala si Abra pero naintindihan ko si Hendrix at si Doc. Galing ng body language ni Abra. At syempre pa ang lenguaheng pinoy. Isa lang di ko magustuhan. Ba't may subtitle pa ng Ingles, nakakagulo sa pagappreciate ko sa sagutan. Respeto ba ang title niya? O kabiguan na may konting naudlot na pagasa? 15 na Paboritong eksena: 1. Opening rap 2. Pagkumpi ng typewriter habang may aksyon sa likod 3. Pagtapon ng typewriter 4. Entrance sa bar 5. Pagihi 6. Yabang kay Candy 7. Pagkalungkot ng naisahan kay Candy 8. Paghiya ni Doc 9. Paguusap ni Doc at ni Hendrix pagkatapos ng paghiya 10. Astronaut at butete 11. Balagtasan 12. Birthday 13. Pagsabog ng Coke 14. Galit ni Nor 15. Ending

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Watching a movie like a film and a play

Watched it like a film for its visuals, sounds, actors and craftsmanship. Appreciated it like a piece of literature for its symbolism and parallelism. Life is not clear. Even in simplicity, it is complex. Influenced to watch by the dissection of filmpolice reviewer.

Father and Son. I've worked with the director's father Raymond in executing a storyboard for a local brand of beer directed to the youth market. These are two qualities I admire about him: his understanding and appreciation of the story line and the brand message and his expertise; his rich base of modern, progressive, novel and even traditional techniques to create a compelling piece of work through the tone, texture, character of the sights and sounds.

Mikhail in his two movies #Recorder and #Birdshot demonstrated having a good story to tell and a well crafted output. Like his father, he is bursting with techniques and their appropriate use to effectively narrate. But when his story has a statement to make, he is is leveling up to be a serious artist. But Mikhail is not just a filmmaker. He is a young artist. Looking forward to view, understand, dissect and appreciate his future works.

Watched it like a play where there is one setting on a road trip. The stories on the characters unfold through their interactions. Each story is unique and engaging.

Raw production with meaty insights on the region with national relevance.

Hilarious as most viewers stated in their FB posts.

Nashock ako sa pelikula. Di sa paghubad, sa di pagtake ng board, sa nakabuntis (di na talaga bago), sa pahihiwalay (ng aso at may down syndrone), sa sayaw ni Hubert, sa pagkawala, sa bumabalik na asawa, sa pagsagasa, sa ultrawild screen, sa pagbagsak ng estante (grabe shock to the max), sa LGBT, sa lalaki/babae na naglasing, sa salitang puki, sa feria sa burol, sa dami ng Bert, sa batang gustong maging doktor na 1 time board passer, sa pagtanggap ng isang kabit kungdi . . . kaya pala bumyahe ng mini van mula Cebu hanggang Dumaguete na 170 kms. and back! 

Great ensemble. I love them all.

Patay na si Hudas reminded me of "Sa North Diversion Road," a play written by Tony Perez made into a movie by Dennis Marasigan. Richard Bolisay in his review closed it with a provocative question. "Everything changes, even the road is bound to change its name. And then a question walks closely to our ear: do exit points really take us to an exit or do they take us back from where we started?"

Victor Villanueva's movie end with their return trip back to Cebu, this time better appreciative of who they really are.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Pain and Struggle of a Helpless Pinoy Teen Rapper and a Solo Child

Respeto and Kiko Boksingero. One complex and powerfully impacting, the other pure and simple. Both are entries in the 2017 Cinemalaya 13.

 #RespetoIn the 1st few minutes, I was engaged. With Hendrix's body language, I got to know him deeper, liked him and his friends. Then I was hurt, hurt again and again especially with his helplessness. With a shared experience of depression with Hendrix's father figure Doc, he got consoled. He and his patron eventually recovered. I too recovered. Until the pain has become unbearable. Such is the
tragedy and destiny. Respeto is not just our story told well in a film, it is a universal statement of humanity.

#KikoBoksingero is a dramatization of a gap left behind by an absentee father. Kiko, my 1st film for Cinemalaya 13 narrates a longing for completeness filled in slowly and gradually with eventual resolution. The crafting is in the simple details, in the nuances of expression, staging, linear sequencing, simplicity bringing out raw emotions one can relate to. Uses boxing as a metaphor for parenthood.

Respeto and Kiko. Both stories tell struggles of the youth. Their growth is made easier with an identified mentor they can connect with to fill in the gaps. What is untold is how they can cope without them and who will eventually benefit from their own eventual mentoring.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Language Culture Connection

"Whenever you teach a language, you also teach a complex system of cultural customs, values, and ways of thinking, feeling, and acting"

H. Douglas Brown, Teaching by Principles:  An Interactive Approach to Language Pedagogy, 2nd ed., Addison-Wesley Longman, Inc., 2001

On my way to Vigan in a Partas bus, the Ilocano driver was in a company of fellow Ilocano conductors in front. Throughout the 9-hour trip, they were engaged in a conversation in their native language, Ilokano. Seated in front, I could follow the context of their conversation having been exposed to the language in my stay in Region 2. There were a number of points I could not understand because of my shallow vocabulary of the language.

I have a particular bias for the active use of a dialect or language in a day to day conversation as I believe its use is key to the preservation of culture and a unique heritage.

In Vigan at Plaza Salcedo, I was pleased to hear Ilocano spoken proudly by most; at the fast food chain, at the plaza, in the church in a conversation with a tricycle driver, with a market vendor.

Against the preserved structures of Vigan’s cobbled streets, buildings, churches and public centers, I better understood why Vigan preserved its character and maintained its authenticity. It may have been driven by the proud use of the language which is tied in to its rich century old culture  passed on from generation to generation.

Thus in my conversation with the restaurant staff, the supermarket vendor, tricycle driver, I attempt to speak though in an awkward manner Ilocano. “Diak nalaing iti Ilocano.” They understood my thoughts. I was corrected. My vocabulary increased and syntax improved.

More than the facility of using the language for communication, he and I knew we are connected sharing a common culture in a shared region, island, country, continent.

“Wen manong, agkakabsat ta!” At that instant, I was at home in Ilocos Sur.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Solved by a Hotline Agent

I booked a flight over Cebu Pacific’s online facilities last 12 July and failed to pass the stringent credit card verification protocol.

Booking now requires posting a verification code which I did not correctly provide as the 3 digit numbers in my card were not that legible.

Fortunately, there is a voice hotline that provides assistance to troubled users. Without waiting for long which is common to customer service hotlines in the Philippines, Tyrone patiently assisted me with my transaction shifting from a self-service credit card entry to a manual posting. He offered to book, check credit entry and confirm my flight details.

Through his guidance, I was able to book a seat flying early morning the next day.

He missed out though on one item which can be partly attributed to me. One of my email address letters may have been interchanged failing to send my ticket details. But I got the code verbally which allowed my successful self-service check in at the NAIA Terminal 3 next day.

The Filipino consumer is not totally helpless. Thanks to the increasing consciousness to treating the customers as king. That particular instance, Tyrone and Cebu Pac surely delighted me.