Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Back to High School

February 16, 2006

I was asked to speak to a class of juniors in my old high school about my work in the media. Iris came along to watch my lecture.

It’s weird to be back in high school and not have to attend any actual classes. I almost ran for it when I saw my old geometry teacher. She might give me an exam. She did look well, though, probably because she doesn’t have to deal with delinquents like me anymore.

The girls were a lot less rowdy than I thought they would be. They were very shy at first, not wanting to answer my questions and denying being interested in the media.

Me: Who likes artistas?
Them: - silence –

As the morning wore on however, they began to shed their all-girl-school propriety and admit, though their actions, to a little bit of “pang-masa-ness.”

Me: Being in media, you tend to know which actors are really gay.
Them: Aaaaaaaw!

And:

Me: … Etheria, after 24 Oras.
Them: After Extra Challenge!

When it was time for the open forum, the questions kept flying. They were, as expected, very high school. In them, I saw the girl I used to be. Hopeful, sheltered, intimidated by what’s out there but raring to see it anyway. I hope my lecture inspired them to, if not go ino media, to go fulfill their dreams.

One thing I realized: as much as I miss high school, I’m still glad to be where I am now, and that’s far, far away from geometry exams.

Member din ako ng Manilyn Reynes Fans Club

February 10, 2006

It seems that the only times I am truly interested in a celebrity is if they were big in the 80’s. And we all know that Manilyn Reynes was very big in the 80’s. It was hard not to say “I used to watch your cheesy horror movies!” but I managed to restrain myself. I did, however, ask if I could take her picture.

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This was on the set of Moms, where I also interviewed Lani Mercado and Sherilyn Reyes. Lani was the most reserved of the three. This probably comes from being in the business so long, plus all the hullabaloo that their family has been subjected to in the past year (or was it two?). I don’t blame her. She was very gracious, albeit guarded.

Manilyn and Sherilyn both talked up a storm. It’s easy to get drawn into their little stories about their careers, their families, and what goes on in the show. They were very easygoing. Manilyn was very cheerful and bouncy. Sherilyn was very candid, even mentioning her past and how she’s very grateful that she was given the chance to host a show for mothers.

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From the interviews, you can tell that all three women love what they’re doing. All of them at one point talk about how great it is to work on a show that’s close to their hearts.

The staff was really nice to us, too. And jut watching them work, you could tell that like the hosts, they liked what they were doing. The atmosphere behind the camera was very relaxed and happy. Everyone was professional, but informal. It’s a show that I can honestly say is lovely both inside and out (naks!).

This Is So Gay

February 08, 2006

Luis and I saw ZsaZsa Zaturnah. I’m a big fan of the comic book (I actually got starstruck when I was introduced to Carlo Vergara), and I’m glad to see that it translated well onto stage. Eula Valdez was great as ZsaZsa. Agot Isisdro was okay as Queen Femina, though you could sense that she was still holding back somewhat. Ricci Chan was absolutely wonderful as Didi, and Tuxqs Rutaquio made a very demure, withdrawn Ada, more so than in the comic. Arnold Reyes, who played Dodong, was okay, though his part was written in such a way that made Dodong lose a few IQ points. Some of the musical numbers were too long, but the play did dwell on Ada’s relationship with his father, which was glossed over in the comic. All in all, it was funny and extremely entertaining, and you should go see it.

Watching the play made me want to read my comic book again. Now if only I could remember who I lent it to.

My Turn in Front of the Recorder

February 07, 2006

Some education majors from Philippine Normal Universoty (PNU) interviewed me today about my Palanca award-winning children’s story. It’s only the second time I’ve been interviewed and I’m not used to being the one in front of the tape recorder. I’m used to asking the questions – which is what I did after they finished recording. Apparently, I was their first ever interview. I hope I didn’t scare them too much.

The students were pretty awe-inspiring. In a country where education takes a back seat to entertainment, it’s amazing to find people who want to be teachers. All of them were pretty passionate about it. It was cool to see.

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They had asked permission to use my story in their project. I got asked a lot of very showbiz questions, like who my inspiration for my story was and which character I identified with the most. I think they were a bit disappointed to learn that I was a horror writer and it was my love of the genre that fueled the story. They were happier with my other major reason for writing the story: my wish to kill off all child molesters, or at least teach them a lesson involving a big hairy kapre, a tree, and a cigar. They also gave me a token, a little teacup with a candle inside. The whole thing made me feel like a celebrity. It’s a feeling I wouldn’t mind getting used to.

The Other Nestle Twin

February 06, 2006

Visted the set of QTV’s My Music Station (MMS) today, where I interviewed Raymond Gutierrez, Richard’s identical twin brother. Most people will remember them fondly as the Nestle Twins from the 80’s commercial, or perhaps as the Siamese twins in the 80’s movie Kambal Tuko (yes, I saw the movie).

We all know that Richard ended up as everybody’s leading man, but not many know that Raymond has been holding his own in the world of showbiz. Whereas his twin brother has decided to concentrate on acting, this Gutierrez has decided to turn his attentions to hosting.

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Raymond loves working on MMS. According to him, music is one of his obsessions, along with “coffee, clothes and traveling.” He’s very shy in person, as if he’s not quite sure what to do with all the recognition just yet. He tries not to be conscious about it, which of course, makes his consciousness all the more evident. He was very game though, answering everything without the guarded edge that most celebrities have. He was also gracious enough to pose for a picture for DJ (it was her one request), and even mentioned her in the interview as “one of the four people who look up to me.” Any celeb (well, almost) humble enough to engage in a little self deprecation always earns a few pogi points and since Raymond is already good looking, this just ups his cuteness factor. I’m sure DJ thinks so.

Ultra Tragedy

February 04, 2006

Notice how I’m not saying anything about the Wowowee stampede at the Ultra. You’ll have to read the news for that.

Small Wonder, de ja vu?

February 03, 2006

Visited the set of Ay, Robot, where I got to interview the cast. We stayed to watch part of the taping and it was hard to stay quiet and not laugh because the episode was funny. Okay, not funny as in Frasier, or even Friends, but funny in the way a good, old-fashioned, family-oriented Filipino sitcom can be (do I sound like a press release already?).

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The highlight of the set visit was my interview with Eunice and Sam, the two kids in the show. Now, I’ve interviewed children before for the Junior Inquirer, but I’ve never interviewed really young kids. It’s part interviewing, part babysitting. Fun, but tiring. The girls were angels, but at one point, Eunice was teasing Sam and that made her cry. Eunice immediately said sorry, and Sam immediately stopped crying. When I say immediately, I mean immediately. It was interesting to watch because I don’t think you’d get that fast a reaction with non-showbiz kids.

Eunice was so cute, she even told me, out of the blue, who her crush was. Sam, who’s a bit more mature, claimed that she was immune to such childish affectations (My words, not hers. She just said “Wala!”). This probably means my brain is the same age as Eunice’s, considering that I go around telling perfect strangers, including the person in question, who my crush is (Howie, I crush you!).

Okay, that had nothing to do with the set visit. I just wanted to use “I crush you” in a sentence, which I have, so there.

Monday, February 13, 2006

The Not-so-fine Art of Improv

February 01, 2006

Visited the set of All Star K today. Too bad I didn’t bring my camera. I got dragged along at the spur of the moment. They were taping two episodes, so I got to interview a lot of celebs from different shows. There was Jaya and Allan K, of course, the All Star K hosts. I couldn’t help but go into semi-fan girl mode around Allan. I told him that I saw him as a child in the 80’s when my parents took us kids to one of his shows in a bar that my cousin’s uncle used to own. I even remembered some of his routines. I said, “You made my childhood.” He laughed and said, “Childhood talaga, ha!”

There was also Ogie and Regine, who I interviewed for their concert, Jose Manalo, who I interviewed for H3O and Eat Bulaga, Ryan Eigenman, who I interviewed for Etheria (I actually forgot my last question because I got sort of distracted, hehehe) and Jake Cuenca, for my own personal purposes. Just kidding. I interviewed him for Love 2 Love, where he’s teamed up with Jennilyn Mercado. There was a point where Connie, my companion, introduced me to someone as the person who was going to interview him. I think I did pretty well, considering I didn’t have a clue who he was. I’m not putting his name here because it’s too embarrassing. The gods of improvisation must have been watching out for me. Good thing!

Chinese New Year’s Eve

January 28, 2006

We celebrated Chinese New Year’s Eve the traditional way – by eating. It doesn’t matter so much where we ate or who we ate with, what matters is what was on the table. Specifically, what was on the table when midnight struck.

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My mother had prepared a gorgeous, very Chinese looking dinner table to welcome the New Year. She laid out the party flatware and made sure the table was filled with auspicious food like fish, chicken, glutinous rice, dates, and this year’s five lucky fruits (according to a feng shui master): apples, oranges, pineapples, pomelos and bananas. We also had misua, leeks and shallots.

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I don’t remember what each of the items are supposed to symbolize, except that in the end they all mean wealth, which is important if you’re Chinese. In today’s economy, wealth is something that a lot of people would be very glad to have.

A lot of Chinese tradition points towards the attraction of luck and the accumulation of wealth. This is not due to selfishness, but practicality and a selfless love for the next generation. Chinese parents work hard to give their children good lives. They train their children this way too, so that they can feed their children and thus continue the family line.

Unfortunately, this is sometimes misunderstood, both by Chinese and non-Chinese. Wealth is seen as something to lord over others. It becomes something to covet, to show off, to make a name with. It buys power, prestige, friends, favors. Because of such thinking, people become spoiled, bratty, overconfident of themselves. A lot aren’t driven to achieve by themselves because their money can do it for them.

I’m not going to sat which side of the fence I’m on. What I will say is that I should stop this train of thought right now and get back to work. After all, time is money. ;P

A Damn Good Kung Fu Fighting Crook

January 27, 2006

I got to watch two very different, but very entertaining movies.

Volcano High
Or Whasango, is a Korean film that is set in an alternate world where the people are Korean, the culture is modern Japanese, and the writing system is in Chinese. Here, people have super powers and students have managed to take over the schools, which means pandemonium all around. And since I’m too lazy to go into film critic mode, I’m just going to say that watching the movie is like watching anime -- complete with clich├ęs like gang rivalry, torpe main characters who turn out to be “the one” and strange hairstyles – but with real people.

The movie was very well made. They got everything just right. Excellent casting -- everyone, even the extras, acted in that over the top way associated with anime, making it funny, not corny. The production design was wonderful. They created a world that was strange yet familiar. It reminded me of Brazil, but not as freaky. The plot is nothing spectacular, but you kind forget about it amidst all the insanity. I wish there were more fight scenes, though, but then, there are a lot of things I wished for after watching Whasango. Like supernatural powers. Or a membership in the kendo club. Or really good tea.

Volcano high rocks, for reals!

Temptation Island

Have finally gotten to see Joey Gosiengfiao’s camp classic. No more will I be in the dark when people make obscure comments about damn good crooks and double bitches. It makes me wonder what happened to the cast, though. Of all of them, I think only Dina Bonnevie is the only one still in showbiz. It makes me wonder why we weren’t shown this in film school. But then, we weren’t shown any of Eddie Romero’s B movies in film school either.

Stars Say the Darnest Things

January 25, 2006

In the spur of the moment, I attended a GMA press con for a bunch of its talents. It was held in Little Asia, Morato. The concept was simple, yet ingenious. A bunch of stars and media people were gathered together in one place, then left to their own devices. This means you could interview anyone there about their current or upcoming projects.

I got to interview Yasmein Kurdi, the Halili sisters, Jenilyn Mercado, and Arnold Clavio. Katrina had me in stitches with her answer to my question, “Ano birthday wish mo kay Yasmein?” Her answer was, “Sana pumayat siya.” It’s a very refreshing break from the canned “More power, God bless, good luck in your career” that everyone in the industry likes to spout. Katrina continued her statement in Tagalog with, “Yasmein keeps asking me how to get slim and I keep telling her not to eat so much.” At this point, she points to Yasmein, who is spooning some food onto her plate and exclaims, “There she goes again!”

Arnold Clavio was also fun to interview. When I asked him what three things he would change in the country if he had the power to do so, his first answer, without hesitation, was “Politicians.” I laughed and said I would be printing that, and he said, “Go ahead.” He quickly balanced his first answer with people who make a business out of being poor, and dishonest, non-law abiding citizens. He was also happy to report that his NGO, the Igan Foundation, was doing very well. I wanted to ask him where his puppet was but I was afraid that I might get thrown off the second floor if I did.

New Game Show, New Movie

Because I'm notoriously bad at posting on time, here's what's been happening the past few days...

January 24, 2006

Visited the set of Now Na!, QTV’s first game show. Hosted by Arnel Ignacio, this is a trivia show where time really does matter. Contestants are given a ridiculously short amount of time to answer questions such as “What gives an air conditioner its cooling power?” Apparently, under pressure, some people come up with ridiculous answers such as “Ice.” This is what the show is about. keeping your presence of mind (and poise) under pressure.

Walking onto the set is like stepping into the inside of a giant clock, complete with the faint tick-tocking that lodges itself in your brain. It sounds like a fun concept. Arnel Ignacio is especially excited about it, especially since it’s his first show after leaving the station for a while.

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Later that evening, Luis and I went to watch the premiere of Zathura. It was better than we expected it to be. Although, in the end, you shouldn’t expect it to be anything more than a children’s movie, it did contain ideas that you have to be an adult to get.

Though Tim Robbins was the only name actor there, he’s actually the one who does the least. The others do a good job of conveying their characters. One guy, the one who plays the astronaut, looks eerily like Zack Braff. The girl who plays the kids’ older sister is the one who played Jodie Foster’s daughter in Panic Room. The effects are good – nothing special, but nothing below average, either. It’s something I’d recommend to families who want to watch a kids’ action flick and to barkadas who are out for the kind of fun that only watching a kids movie can give you.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Breaking News

This just in! Someone is trying to jump off the billboard of the MRT station beside our building as I write this! I went out to look at him, but I didn't have my camera with me. Let that be a lesson to me to always be prepared. Hey, mercenaries have off days, too.