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.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Nepa Q Mart

Why would one shop at a public market in Quezon City which has a wet and dry market that does not offer the convenience of a hypermart modern shoppers are comfortable with?

It is bounded by informal settlers at the East side (K-H connecting to Cambridge in a bridge) and at the South side (portion of Ermin Garcia st. at Barangay Pinagkaisahan.)

Limited street parking is hotly competed by large delivery trucks, private vehicles, trikes with delivery side cars every minute particularly early in the morning.

The narrow and uneven pedestrian walkway at the complex is shared with vendors, delivery aides pushing all sorts of carts, shoppers of all ages across all income group and mendicants restricting mobility.

Payment is of course cash. There are no carts on loan to the shoppers. One has to bring his own.
There is something about this National Economic Protectionism Association (NEPA) Q Mart that attracts thousands of shoppers every day not only from Quezon City but from other nearby Metro Manila cities as well.

It is a complete market. Fruits from Mindanao, Bicol and the provinces of Quezon, Bulacan, Pangasinan are dropped in commercial quantities from the transporting vehicles loaded at source at different times of the day. The best and the freshest of suha, avocado, guyabano, mango, bananas all varieties (saba, lacatan, latundan), papaya, indian mango, naranghita, pineapple, watermelon are always available for the picking to the discriminating fruit lover. When in season, jeepneys loaded with naranghita from Vizcaya and Quezon park at Ermin Garcia st. selling them in 5 kilo packs at P10.0 per kilo.

Nepa Q also has a wide section of vegetables sourced from North and South Luzon. When media reports on vegetable prices, Nepa Q has already been the barometer of the lowest price in Metro Manila.

Quezon City – Tumaas ng P10 hanggang P30 ang presyo ng manok at isda sa nepa Q-Mart sa Quezon City.
Mula sa dating P140 kada kilo, nasa P150 na ngayon ang presyo ng bawat kilo ng manok.
Ang bangus naman na medium size ay P120 na ang kilo at P150 naman ang malalaki, na mas mataas kumpara sa P100 to P120 lamang dati ang kada kilo.
P60 hanggang P70 ang bawat kilo ng sibuyas, ang bawang ay P120 hanggang P150 ang bawat kilo at ang kamatis ay P40 ang bawat kilo.
Sa presyo naman ng gulay, ang patatas ay mabibili ng P60 bawat kilo, ang petchay P70, ang reployo naman ay P60 habang ang luya ay mabibili sa halagang P60 kada kilo.

Undoubtedly, the prices are among the lowest in Metro Manila but one must have an established suki connection to ensure a good buy.

Nepa Q is popular for fresh water fish like bangus from Dagupan, hipon, tilapia, dalag, hito. Variety of fish is available but early in the morning including sea water fish. There is a small stall towards the middle which sells alimasag from Bicol at P420 per kilo. All day, there is a supply of tuna, salmon and bangus. Towards the EDSA side, a large portion of the complex is devoted to fresh meats and poultry. At the back of Ermin Garcia street, live goats are kept. For the kambing, tuna and salmon, Nepa Q is drinkers’ preferred market.

There are still other unexplored sections still to be discovered. Recently, I spotted where to source balut, pulang itlog, crushed ice, charcoal, puto, kutsinta. To complete the shopping, Super 8 opened a branch at the back of the complex open from 5:30 AM to 9:00 PM accepting storage for fresh market purchased bags and credit cards.

For all the inconvenience, Nepa Q to me offers a good value for money. It takes getting used to appreciate what it has. The true test is when diners appreciate what is served at the table.

More than what the market features, I shop because I want to patronize the produce of the tillers of the soil and the lords of the sea. I have a soft spot for farmers, fisherman and those close to the soil and bodies of water. Marginalized, but what they produce is what makes us alive.

Saturday, July 01, 2017

Separate Islands. One Link

Traveling to Mindoro, Romblon, Masbate, Marinduque, Palawan via Roro, 2Go, Fastcat, Oceanjet, Montenegro, Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines, Jam, 5 Star reminded me of the Ivatan story.

Islands maybe separated but are linked.
The accessibility from the landlocked mainland though has not greatly altered the resident's unique culture. Theirs are still well preserved.

When visitors from Luzon step foot in Mi(ndoro), Ma(rinduque), Ro(mblon), Pa(lawan), they are warmly welcomed making the guests feel so at home.

When asked if they have prospects of going to the city, they said they would rather live a simpler life. If ever they go, they'd be raring to return back to their island soonest.

Masbate City, the capital of the province of Masbate is a 4th class component city.  Odiongan is a first-class, partially urban municipality in the province of Romblon, Philippines. It is a major port, commercial center and the largest municipality of Romblon in terms of population and income. Calapan is the capital of the province of Oriental Mindoro, Philippines. It is the gateway to the Oriental Mindoro province and the center of commerce, industry, transport, communication, religious activities and education in the entire province of Oriental Mindoro. Boac is the capital of Marinduque. Marinduque is an island province in the Philippines located in Southwestern Tagalog Region. Palawan is the largest province in the country. It capital Puerto Princesa City is the city is the second largest geographically city in the Philippines.

Romblon, birthplace to writers Jose Dalisay and NVM

On board Cebu Pacific to Masbate City, I read in Smile, Cebu Pac’s in flight magazine June 2017 edition an article of Jose Dalisay, a prolific literary author and a columnist at Philippine Star. In his article “Some enchanted island” he wrote about his shared birth province with fellow writer NVM, a Filipino novelist, short story writer, essayist and poet and a Philippine National Artist for Literature. I quote how the island’s fertile ground seeded their literary imagination. 

“NVM and I were separated by almost 40 years and by the Tablas Strait – he was born in the capital town, and I in Alcantara, on the bigger island of Tablas. (Romblon’s three main islands are Romblon, Tablas and Sibuyan.) He moved with his family to Mindoro as a boy, and I moved with mine to Manila, but we both shared a sense of Romblon as the home of our enchantment, of our literary imagination. Indeed Romblon is that kind of island in the mind and spirit that we all wish could return to, and the accident of my birth there, once seen as an oddity or an impairment to one’ social mobility, is now something I cherish as a privilege, as NVM did and build a life’s literary labors on.”

The article encouraged me to write a short travelogue on the islands I visited posted in this blog.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

10 Thoughts on Baler in Aurora

No wall separates Costa Pacifica
from the shoreline
The rising sun past 5AM from Sabang 
Resort towards the Old Lighthouse area near Ermita
  1. Boundaries are respected without restrictions. No barbed wires to differentiate the passersby from the guests. One is free to roam anytime of the day, from dawn to dusk.
  2. No over regulations. Motor bikers are free to travel without helmets.
  3. No traders’ abuse. Prices are relatively fair. Tapsilog is at P65.0. Surfing lesson for an hour with surfers’ board and lessons in land and in sea at P350.0. Salmon head is at P 120.0 per kilo. At P500.0 one can sleep in an air-conditioned room with wifi and free parking.
    Beer @P26 at a
    discovered source
  4. Transfer of skill is evident. Most baler surfer boys teach mounting, balancing and dismounting in the sand and in the sea.
  5. Most street pedestrians still give accurate directions to destinations. “Kanan po sa pangatlong kanto . . .(Turn right at the 3rd corner . . .)” Residents are naturally courteous. Baler is a 6-hour ride from Manila, 3 hours on flat land, 3 hours cutting through the mountain range.
    Associates documenting the
    1st of the 2 falls.
    2nd fall requires river crossing
  6. It is a safe place. Police back up the volunteer tanods (safety officers) who man the intersections.
  7. Suman, a rice based delicacy is a staple food.
  8. Baler is a walking town, landmarks and essential destinations are within reach. Facilities for the urban travelers are available i.e. ATM, gas station, Mercury Drug, central bus terminal, high end resorts, basic huts, drinking water, cell loads. In minutes you are back at the beach.
    Baler Boys teaching surfing skills
  9. Natural spring water is in abundance. The sea is incessantly noisy and restless all day particularly in the late evening. River water flows out to the sea.
    No catch for the day.
    Relying on Malabon deliveries for supply
  10. There is stillness in nature. Nature is respected, except for some vandalism and garbage. But majority practice the value of cleanliness.
    Mangrove at the town proper

Sunday, April 02, 2017

Catching her in the evening

Equally difficult aside from finding her bearings from the underground railway system is catching her in the evening.

My companion Celeste suggested that I view the monument in the evening to appreciate her full splendor. After the 4 PM open tour in Paris, I still decided to check out the transport and the location of the Charles de Gaulle Terminal 1 airport from the Opera Station. My Metro Mobilis unlimited and cross riding ticket allow me to take the bus or train to the international airport within the 24 hour usage. True enough, I was able to reach and check the facilities of the airport in preparation for the departure back to Manila at no extra Euro outlay. It took me less than 2 hours though to complete the drill.

I arrived back at the Zone 1 of Paris past 7 PM making me cram at the planned program for the day. The open tour of the 2-decked bus has ended thus making me design several public bus transfers to reach the Eiffel Tower in the evening. With less time, I still have to contend with the last Metro and Train A rides back to the suburbs which based on published data is at 22:57.

Focused on the catching the awesome view and catching the last train ride (I found out there was a 23:27 trip), I was successful. The spectacle was one of the most beautiful sites I’ve seen in my life, Eiffa fitting end and a fulfilling reward to a hard earned travel. I share my sights with you for you to judge.

Eiffel Tower, grandiose, magnifique.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Climbing Lenten Reflection

We mountain trekkers were inspired by John Muir, the most quoted mountaineer who said, "Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you and the storms their energy, while cares drop off like autumn leaves."

In the movie "Seven Years in Tibet" when Heinrich Harrer explained his reasons for climbing, "I climb because of absolute simplicity. Our mind is clear, free of all confusion, you have focus and suddenly, the light becomes sharper, sounds are richer and you are filled with the deep, powerful presence of life."

We have our reasons.
My reason is . . .

They say climbing gives one a natural high. It can be explained by the release of endorphin, the body's natural pain killers. The same feeling you get after a work out, a marathon or an aerobic activity. All the walking one does is like going through reflex. Reflex through finger therapy disperses and melts all the crystals and deposits in the foot producing an immediate feeling of well-being. Tension and minor pains seem to disappear. That's what the trail, stones and pebbles one steps on do to the feet and the body.

From a fellow trekker
No wonder John Muir said in his most quoted explanation, "all woes disappear." True, woes disappear. Spiritually, climbing prepares one for better relationship with fellowman, nature and with the self. The struggle one goes through forces one to look quietly and deeply to the core of the self leading to a discovery and realization that we are just a speck in the universe. Yet, when one reaches the destination, one is euphoric, rewarded with an awesome view of nature, the satisfaction of self-reliance and a realization of the beauty of man and creation. Senses are heightened opening up other possibilities in life yet feet are firmly planted on earth.

That is why during and after a climb. I enjoy better your company at the camp site, go out of my way to do chores as a cook, a cleaner, guide or sweeper or even organizing and leading climbs. I appreciate better food, drinks and socials, value water, shade, sunlight, cool breeze, trekking company and acknowledge myself more and most of all understand my role as a work of my creator.

The learning of perseverance to gratitude, struggle to fulfillment elevates this recreation to a work of creation.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Solemnity and Hope this New Year

The holiday season passed so quickly.

As fast as the fireworks’ sound that faded out about 10 minutes after midnight.

The 9 day novena preparing us for the day the word became flesh on Christmas day is now just a memory relying on notes and posts to prompt recall. Not if we see its significance that His birth gives a new meaning to humanity. The late Fr. James Donelan in his homily said Christmas sets a new beginning, “ . . . where the eternal cycle of despair is broken, the holding pattern is no longer holding, the Gospel proclaims that today is different from yesterday, that we are not finished with life because God is not finished with us.”

Celebrating the solemnity of Mother Mary on the eve of New Year’s Day is a reminder after Christmas to see our life from a fresh point of view, reminding us that there is hope and that we can begin again.

Even if events happen so fast, it is this hope that we can hold on to that the promise of salvation can be fulfilled. That is why we can start the new year happy.