Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Trent, Meet Mark

You know what's trippy?

Listening to nine Inch Nails while sifting through Mark Ryden's art.

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Since Blogger won't link it for me, I'm providing the URL manually: markryden.com. Enjoy!
And you thought I was talking about make up.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Trip to Quiapo

22 January, 2006

My apologies to Ricky Lee for borrowing the title of his wonderful book for this entry. I really did go to Quiapo today. Andrea and I met at the LRT 2 station and even though we had no idea how to get there (at least I didn’t), we made our way to Plaza Miranda where we hooked up with Geronimo. I had to dress down for the trip; a long sleeved shirt, loose jogging pants, my ratty yet reliable flip flops and (gasp!) no make-up. Very comfy.

Our first stop was Evanglista Street, where you can buy all sorts of herbs, charms, and amulets. We found something to ward off witches (Pampawala ng Kulam), something to ward off evil actions (anting-anting), and something to ward off body odor (tawas). We were looking for “pamparegla,” just to see what it looked like, but we couldn’t find any. Maybe if we had pretended that Geronimo was pregnant…

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We tried looking for the fortune tellers that used to hang out near the Quiapo Church but they were nowhere to be found. We also looked inside the said Church. Since there was a mass going on, we couldn’t walk around like we wanted. From where we were, we could see the image of the Black Nazarene, looking down at the congregation from its place just behind the altar.

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We moved to Hidalgo Street after, famous for its many photography stores and cheap film stock, where Andrea bought what looked like ten million rolls of film (I’m obviously exaggerating here, but she did buy a lot) for her trip to Euroupe.

We had to cross the bridge to get to Globo de Oro, where we were going to eat so we crossed under the Quezon Bridge where you can find lots of native goods for sale. I bought myself a straw bag with leather handles that’ll be great for summer. Yes, even in Quipao, I can’t help my secret kikay self from rising to the surface.

We passed by Bahay Nakpil, a museum set in the Nakpil ancestral house where Gregoria de Jesus, Andres Bonifacio’s second wife, used to live. She was instrumental in her own right during the revolution, using parties as a front to conceal her husband’s secret Katipunan meetings. She also learned to ride a horse and shoot a revolver. After Andres was killed, Gregoria, aka Lakambini, married into the Nakpil clan. Some of her hobbies included fishing and carving house tools from pieces of wood. Now why didn’t we learn this in history? It’s an old angst, the one about not having enough women in history books but as old as the complaint is, I still don’t see anything being done about it.

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After asking for directions to Globo de Oro, we found ourselves at our lunctime destination, a little hole in the wall cantina called Moud Hala, a restaurant famous for its roast chicken. The three of us had ¼ chicken, rice, and a soft drink. The chicken was juicy; the rice, fragrant. It was a simple yet delightful meal, especially since it cost only 60 bucks. Where else can you find a good ¼ chicken meal for only 60 bucks?

What was interesting about our trip to Quiapo was that the streets were almost deserted because much of the population was at home watching the Pacquiao-Morales fight. Geronimo got a text message from New York saying that Pacquiao had won. We were in the mosque then, and he wasted no time telling everyone about it.

Which brings me to the most unexpected and interesting part of the trip, the Mosque. Ismael, our impromptu guide, showed us around the mosque and explained the basics of Islam. He said that Filipinos, even if they were born Christians, are always said to revert to Islam, because it was the predominant religion in the Philippines before the Spanish came. We were objects of curiosity to the younger people because a, we were Christians and b, because we were Chinese. We had to keep telling them that no, we’re Filipino. We may not look it, but we’re Filipino, too.

It’s amazing how you can cross from Catholic country to Muslim territory to Chinatown in a few minutes. After the mosque, we found ourselves having coffee in Panciteria Lido in Ongpin. The lace was packed with old Chinese guys watching the delayed telecast of the Pacquiao-Morales fight.

People come from far and wide for the coffee in Panciteria Lido, which costs 40 bucks a pop and tastes way better than Starbucks’. Andrea and I, the coffee freaks that we are, bought some ground beans to take home.

We all agreed that the trip was fun, and we’re raring to go on our next one. There’s talk of exploring Cubao next, maybe after the Chinese New Year. My only hope is that our trip coincides with a major sports event again, so that there’ll be less people on the streets. I wonder when the next Pacquiao fight is?

Backstreet’s Back, All Right!

20 January, 2006

Part One: Backstreet’s Back (The Press Con)

I was lucky enough to be chosen to attend the very tightly guarded BSB press con. I think the EIC of my publication was supposed to cover it but since it (the BSB press con) coincided with the Jason Mraz press con, she opted to go see Mr. Mraz. Lucky for me!

The Boys were a bit subdued, especially Howie, who looked exhausted. Brian (remember when he wanted to be called B Rock?) was the chipper one, always punctuating sentences with his signature falsetto “all right!” and making the audience laugh. Kevin was very eager to answer questions, while Nick and AJ hovered in between boredom and interest, depending on the question asked.

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This is probably the best press con I’ve attended because:

  1. I asked a question that generated the longest answers from the Boys (I guess it’s rarely asked, because they seemed surprised to hear it), and
  2. I got to tell Howie how I feel about him.

I asked the Boys what they did aside from their music. Howie (or Trump Jr., as Brian called him) seemed surprised that someone knew that he was into real estate, and waited until everyone had answered the question (they kept handing him the mike but he refused to take it until Brian was done) before going into a lengthy explanation of his real estate business. He is so cool! And I was so, to quote an 80’s cliché “kilig to the max.” Can you blame me?

After the press con, the other Boys exited fast but Howie lagged behind. He passed me, and before I knew what was happening, I had stuck my hand out and had yelled his name. He turned toward me and shook my hand (nice, firm grip there). I looked him n the eye and said, “Howie, I love you.” He returned my gaze and said, “Thank you.”

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Luis is, of course, amused by all this. I asked him which artist he would say “I love you” to if he had the chance. After thinking for a bit, he finally replied, “It would be weird, because he’s a man, but I think it would have to be David Bowie.”

I said, “Well, I think David Bowie would understand.”

Part Two: Never Gone (The Concert)

For the first time ever, I decided to save money and go for the cheap seats. It didn’t turn out to be such a bad investment, even though from where I was sitting, the Backstreet Boys could have been ants with clothes on and I wouldn’t have noticed.

It was fun to watch the crowd. There was a lot of screaming, of course, and it was amazing how, when the crowd sang along to the Boys, they (the crowd) sounded like a 12 year old girl, but en masse. Sort of like a mind colony like in the movies, but before puberty.

It was great to scream along with them. I felt like I was twelve again, being awed by the presence of the boy band that fueled my pre-pubescent daydreams (that honor actually goes to two other bands which I will not mention. I think I’ve embarrassed myself enough with this post. Suffice it to say that Robbie Williams used to belong to one of them).

That, I think, is BSB’s real draw. They have the ability to transport their now (considerably) older fans back to a time when things were simpler, where crushes consisted of daydreaming about dating someone you’ve only seen in a music video or a magazine, and when songs with simple lyrics like “You are my fire, my one desire” were enough to make the world a better place.

Even though there are bands and artists that I like more than the Backstreet Boys, it is only to Howie I can imagine professing my love. Besides, I don’t think Brian Molko or Tilo wolf would understand. It’s a little girl thing.

Buhayin ang Sheryl Cruz Fans Club!

19 January, 2006

Whether you admit it or not, if you grew up in the 80’s, Sheryl Cruz was a big part of your consciousness. We visited the set of GMA’s noontime soap Now and Forever, where I got to interview pop icons from my past (I’m showing my age!) like Sheryl Cruz and Jennifer Sevilla. Now if only Romnick were there to complete the picture…

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I also got to interview Yasmein Kurdi, Ailyn Luna, and Ms. Sandi Andolong. Everyone was nice (I feel that I keep repeating myself, saying this every time I interview someone, but what ca I do? They really are all nice so far), and I got a kick out of the thought of being in the same room with people I used to watch on screen or TV when I was six. These days, all my cheap thrills comes from meeting people I used to watch as a child. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who indulged in her childhood fantasies because our photographer has her picture taken with Sheryl to show to her boyfriend, who used to have a big crush on her (Sheryl) when he was growing up.

I think that people who were kids in the 80’s tend to cling to the past more. I don’t know why. It’s just something that I’ve observed. Maybe it was all the hairspray, or maybe it was all the foam from our shoulder pads that got to out heads but we can’t seem to let go of the things we loved and grew up with. I’m almost thirty and I still read comics (Ennis rocks!), I still squeal whenever I’m within hearing distance of a boy band song and I still don’t want to get a 9 to 5 job, none of which, by my parents’ standards, is adult behavior. Oh well. If Jim Lee can afford a mansion from just drawing comics, I don’t think we’re going to call his work un-adult just because he doesn’t go to a regular office.

One Night with Pedicab

14 January, 2006

Strangely enough, I just realized that despite my freelancing for a music magazine for some time now, I haven’t ever interviewed a local band, much less a local band that I respect, for print. What I cover for TV doesn’t count. My interviews have always been of foreign artists, the most interesting of which was my interview with Chino Moreno of the Deftones. He was really smart and articulate and fun to talk to. Later, I heard that the people from Warner USA e-mailed the people from Warner Philippines saying that that interview was one of the best interviews of the band, ever. That was so cool!

Anyway, tonight, I got to interview my first local band. The experience was extra special because the band I interviewed was Pedicab, my favorite local band. I was half delirious with excitement. What do you say to the band you’ve put on a pedestal? Luis and I were making up scenarios where all I would do was stutter and not say anything coherent.

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Fortunately, that did not happen. The band was very nice. They answered all my questions, commenting that some were good and hadn’t ever been asked before. I guess the advantage of being a fan of your interviewee is that you unconsciously prepare more, and that since you know a bit more about them than the average person, your questions tend to be more interesting to them.

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Everyone was eloquent, with bits of light banter in between the band’s answering of questions. I was so nervous that I felt like a rookie again, out on her first assignment. Fortunately, I think that this counts as a very successful first assignment. I hope that when the piece comes out, my article gives them justice.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Question of the Day

What would you pick:
a. You get to eat any kind of food you want for the rest of your life but having to remain celibate forever, or
b. You can sleep with any person of your choice as long as you live without any consequences, but have to eat nothing but gruel for the rest of your days?

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Catching Up

People have been asking about what's happened since my last post, since it said that I was taking a break from TV but they've been hearing thatI'm back at work. Actually, I've gotten the best of both worlds. I'm still in TV, but most of what I do now is write. :)

Many things have happened since the last post, among them:

1) My articles on the Parenting Foundation, a foster care facility; the Ng Sys, a family that's been fostering babies for 20 years; and restorateur Tanibel Lee of the very popular Annabel Lee's Cheescakes were published in Tulay's January 3, 2005 issue, the first one for the year.

The Tulay Fortnightly is a Chinese-Filipino newspaper that comes out every two weeks with the Chinese Newspaper World News. Copies can also be obtained at Kaisa Para sa Kaunlaran, located at Anda cor. Cabildo Sts., Intramuros, Manila.

2) I started work. I'm in charge of the QTV website content. I'm really excited becuse there's so much potential there. It's up already up and running but there's still so much that needs to be done, and I really want it to be kick-ass, well. as kick-ass as a feel-good website can get.

3) Visited the set of Sugo, where I got to interview most of the main cast. I've never seen such a laid back production where everyone's relaxed and friendly. I'm impressed. I'm floored. I'm awed. My experience with waiting to interview stars during soap tapings include going without food, being ignored by the staff and waiting literally all day to interview one actor. Of course, that was a different time, and a different station. ;p

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4) Visited the set of Nuts Entertainment, where I got to watch them tape the "Manibela" and "Korteng Mani" segments. "Manibela" is where serious actors have to follow whatever the narrator (Joey de Leon) says to further advance the storyline. I don't know if I'm allowed to say who guested before the show airs but needless to say, it was a lot of fun. "Korteng Mani" is their new segment that's set up in a courthouse. The defendant is accused of a crime (the first ever "Korteng Mani" featured Mark Herras charged with being a babaero) and is interrogated. The show's interesting because it gets away with a lot of stuff precisely because of its comedic format.

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5) I attended the press con for Let the Love Begin, Richard Gutierrez and Angel Locsin's newest movie. The had really good food there, probably the best laing and kare-kare I've ever tasted. They showed clips of the movie, which looks promising, with lots of kilig moments. Not that I'd watch a movie that doesn't have either blood, fight scenes, or Edward Norton, but I'm sure that Let the Love Begin will fulfill every love story junkie's sugar craving. I'll be writing articles for all three set visits (okay, a press con isn't a set but you know what I mean) that will appear in igma.tv.

Whew! That's just some of what I've been up to the first two weeks of the new year. And you know what? I may be really busy and tired all time but I'm enjoying every minute of it! I still have to get used to having a 9 hour workday, as I've almost always had jobs with flexible schedules. Now my only problem is how do I fit my training and my otehr writing into my day? Oh well, nothing is perfect, but for the meantime, this is as close to it as I get!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

What I did to Welcome the New Year

There's a superstition in my family that says that whatever you do during New Year's Day is what you'll be doing all year round. With this in mind, we were always told to keep money on our persons the whole day, and not to spend it as much as possible.

I took this superstition to the test last year when I spent New Year's Day writing for the TV show I worked for. Not only was it a waste of a perfectly good holiday, my 2005 was also spent working, and not in a good way.

This year, I decided to relax and research on my roots, which in theis case means holing up with a bunch of Hong Kong comedies and watching them until my eyes got red and puffy. Noe the best thing for my beauty but it did wonders for my sprit! What sparked this Chinese videofest was my watching Stephen Chow's Shaolin Soccer in Tagaytay with my college friends. For some reason, we couldn't get the DVD's subtitles to come out so we had to watch the whole thing in Mandarin. Let me tell you, there is nothing as pathetic as a bunch of Chinese people watching a Chinese movie and not being able to understand any of it. Aside from shaming all my ancestors, it got me in the mood for Chinese comedies. I don't think I learned any Chinese, but I did have lots of fun.

My New Year's Weekend List:

God of Gamblers
Du Shen (1989), starring Chow Yun Fat and Andy Lau
This movie dispelled all my dounts of Chow Yun Fat's reach and ability as an actor. When a gun-totin' tough guy actor has to spend a third of the movie acting like a spoiled child (and doing a good job of it!), you have to admit that he's a genius!

God of Gamblers 2
Dou Hap (1991), starring Andy Lau and Stephen Chow
The movie focuses on Andy Lau, who, from being a small-time hustelr in the first movie has graduated to being the "Knight of Gamblers." He is forced to join forces with the supernaturally gofter Stephen Chow in order to defeat the bad guys. I love the scene in the gambling ship where Lau and Chow try to outwit the "supernatural powers master" by splitting up and hypnotizing him. I guess a tradition of kung fu and Buddhism makes almost anything plausible.

Hail the Judge
Jiu Pin Zhi MaGguan Bai Mian Bao Qing Tian (1994), starring Stephen Chow
I wonder how the Chinese-speaking audience said that name in a hurry. Though still funny, Hail the Judge isn't as fast or as hillarious as the more recent Stephen Chow flicks. It starts off fine, lags in the middle, and ends in a not-so-bad way. The special effects are outdated, but they're still fun to watch because they're so crude. It's like a feel-good kung-fu sports flick for lawyers.

Dances with Dragon
Yu Long Gong Wu (1991), starring Andy Lao
Andy lau used to be a big thing in high school, and now I understand why. Here, he is a Hong Kong billionaire who pretends to be an illegal refugee from Mainland China to get close to the girl of his dreams and to escape the girl his mother keeps pressing on him. It's a romantic comedy on the traditional sense, complete with testosterone-fulled showdowns and a big romantic climax that involves roses and dancing. This is also the only movie I've seen where a girl with glasses gets the leading man.

Truant Heroes or Tao Xue Ging Xiong Zhuan (1992), starring Aaron Kwok
I remember having debates in high school on whether Aaron Kowk was more good looking than Jimmy Lin (shows you how old I am!). Aaron actually isn't present half the time, but the film does revolve around his character, who has a birthmark in the shape of a scottish terrier on his butt.

Once again, I'd love to post photos but Blogger doesn't seem to be uploading them. Maybe I'll save them for next time, along with the full synopses. :P