Tuesday, June 26, 2007

sari-saring potpourri

There are 26 copies of The Order of The Phoenix in Maidstone Library. As of 1300 today, all of which had been checked out. I guess all of us wanted to re-read the book again (this is the fourth time I'm reading the book) before the new film comes out.


If you are reading this in Manila, be sure to check out the Virgin Labfest at CCP. Some of the country's best in theatre will be participating in the said festival. One of them is a very good friend who will be appearing in "Three Sisters" directed by Jose Estrella.

Joel, break a leg! I have always admired your talent and your audacity to chase your dream. There is nothing more important than following your heart's desire and living your passion. All the best pare. Btw, goodluck on your impending career on cable tv. Naks, pa-autograph pag-uwi ko. hehehe


Speaking of good friends, happy birthday to Remy and JR. Have a wicked day and remember: y'all will get it all, only not everything at the same time!


And talking about dreams, my cousin Lala's PCIJ feature has been posted on the Ateneo website. Well-done! Please write more.


Read this new commandment of the Philippine Catholic Church: Thou shalt not wear skimpy clothes to mass.

It's really alarming how some people consider going to church as an opportunity to display their new clothes. I remember one of my teachers in highschool telling our class: "Sa simbahan ang punta n'yo, hindi sa gimikan."


For three years now, I've been telling myself (and those who cared to listen) that I'll be going to Wimbledon. This year, it looks like it's going to happen. My mate and I are planning to catch one of the men's semi-final matches at the All England Club next week. I hope it doesn't rain.


Lastly, the missus shares her recipe for the best kare-kare here. I swear by the only blonde hair in my body (one and a half inches long on my left arm), it's really masarap!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

what's on the pinoy table

It is rather unfortunate that since I set foot in the land of fish and chips, I have yet to read anything about the Philippines that's not about corruption, terrorism, poverty, natural disasters and Imelda Marcos' shoes on British papers.

So imagine my surprise when I found this in today's issue of the Mirror:


Beth Neil And Mirror Nutritionist Juliette Kellow 20/06/2007

It's an amazing snapshot of family life. These fascinating pictures reveal the weekly shop of people around the globe.

For seven years, photographer Peter Menzel travelled the world snapping families he met along the way. Rich Western nations spend vastly more on food but often the poorer nations seem to have a healthier diet. Who would have thought the Brit family would spend double what the Americans shelled out?

Beth Neil and Mirror nutritionist Juliette Kellow discover if the whole world is what it eats...


ONLY a tiny amount of the Cabanas' money (around £2) goes on snacks such as chocolate and fast food. Most buys meat, fish and eggs (nearly £10). Rice, bread and potatoes total £3.50 as does fruit and veg.

Juliette says: "This is a very balanced diet even on a tight budget. I'm impressed. They've got the food groups covered and must be very healthy."


Although the last bit is a little dubious, I'm still delighted to read something positive about my homeland.

** The photo taken by Peter Menzel appeared in the February 2006 issue of GEO magazine (Serbo-Croatia).

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


"I want to show to those who deprive people the right to love of country, that when we know how to sacrifice ourselves for our duties and convictions, death does not matter if one dies for those one loves – for his country and for others dear to him."


One hundred forty-six years ago today, Jose Rizal was born. Funny how I should reflect on his death on the date of his birth.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

pop (idol)

" Do you know what makes a man great?"

" If a man could be said to be loved by his son, then I think that man could be considered great." -- Big Fish by Daniel Wallace


In the future, if by some fortunate accident I find myself with a little me; my only wish is that I could be at least half as great as you are.

Salamat, Tatay.


To all fathers out there, have a lovely day!

**Sculpture by Gustav Vigeland. Photo captured by Woody Thrower.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

flick flops

And now, the stinkers! Users of MSN UK vote for the worst movies ever. In no particular order:

* Solaris
* The Avengers
* Batman & Robin
* Battlefield Earth
* Catwoman
* Independence Day
* Pearl Harbor
* The Village
* Spice World
* Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Man's Chest
* Lost in Translation
* Highlander 2
* Forrest Gump
* Die Another Day
* Crash
* The Blair Witch Project

Whilst I agree with majority of the choices, I am shocked to see some of my favorites on that list. Choosing Crash (2006 Oscar best picture winner and one of the best ensemble dramas) over Titanic (the most over-rated film of all time) is a travesty. The only impressive thing about the latter is it's box-office taking. And how can Lost in Translation be worst than Rocky? They must be having a laugh. The whole series is a joke. Especially the fifth installment. Although Forrest Gump isn't exactly great; it couldn't be any badder than Deuce Bigalow. And don't even start with me on The Blair Witch Project. IMHO, it's one of the scariest and most original movies of all time. Surely, those voters didn't see its ridiculously crappy sequel (Book of Shadows)!

What about Showgirls, Striptease, Judge Dredd and Kull the Conqueror? And no Keannu Reeves' Johnny Mnemonic?!? What is the world coming to?

Thursday, June 14, 2007

kilig to the bones

They're guaranteed to make us swoon and thrill. Most of them will even make us cry. The Times critics list their top 20 most romantic moments in cinema.

* The Way We Were
* Dirty Dancing
* Gone With the Wind
* Pillow Talk
* Now, Voyager
* Brokeback Mountain
* Together
* Chasing Amy
* In the Mood for Love
* Before Sunset
* Ghost
* Sideways
* Four Weddings and a Funeral
* Brief Encounter
* West Side Story
* Love Story
* The King and I
* Monsoon Wedding
* An Officer and a Gentleman
* Casablanca

Here are some of my favorites:

* Punch-Drunk Love

When Adam Sandler confronts a gang of con artists, he tells them: "I have a love in my life and it makes me stronger than you can ever imagine." Never mind that he's outnumbered, at least 5:1. But you believe him nonetheless because that's what love does. It makes you do great (stupid) things.

Still on this film, is a scene when Adam Sandler and Emily Watson make love. Here's a transcript of their, ehrm, dialogue.

Barry Egan: I'm lookin' at your face and I just wanna smash it. I just wanna fuckin' smash it with a sledgehammer and squeeze it. You're so pretty.
Lena Leonard: : I want to chew your face, and I want to scoop out your eyes and I want to eat them and chew them and suck on them.
Barry Egan: OK. This is funny. This is nice.

That is more than nice. It's fucking brilliant!

* Moulin Rouge

Ewan McGregor is Christian, a poor and unfortunate poet who professes his undying love to the gorgeous chanteuse, Satine (Nicole Kidman), through pop songs on top of an elephant. Spectacular, spectacular!

* Pretty Woman

Towards the end of the film, Richard Gere- the millionaire businessman- rushes to rescue the princess- the prostitute played by Julia Roberts. He climbs up the fire escape -the medieval tower- and proposes to her. They kiss and then you hear somebody saying: "Welcome to Hollywood. Dreams come true in a Hollywood!" A modern day fairytale indeed.

* Milan

Lino (Piolo Pascual) goes to Italy to look for his missing wife. There, he meets Jenny, an OFW portrayed by Claudine Baretto, who agreed to help him in his search. In one scene Piolo makes a wish to find his wife, and as with tradition, he has to close his eyes and turn around three times. When he finally opens his eyes, you see tears rolling down his cheeks. The camera moves quickly to Claudine. Hers was an expression of surprise and sympathy. And it even a showed a slight trace of realisation that she is falling for him. But she didn't have to say anything because her expression spoke loads. It was very moving. Who knew Pinoys can make something great like that.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

now you see it, now you don't

This is fucking brilliant! Click on the video and watch closely how a member of an Albanian crowd nicks Dubya's timepiece. The most powerful man in the world loses his watch to a petty snatcher. Hilarious. Whoever that jerk is, well done. Hehehe.

Read the news article here.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

solilokiya sa likod ng pulang telon 1.0

Theatre makes me disappear. For half an hour or so, it's as if I don't exist. I become a different person. I look and sound like me but it's not really me. I assume a character that's not my own. I have a new story. I am another person. And I love it.

The experience albeit temporarily gives me a chance to go away and at the same time, forget. My problems don't matter anymore. There on stage, my personal troubles can't hound me. They don't exist. I feel so powerful. And I feel absolute freedom!

But just like in real life, these things come to an end. The sounds fade and the lights go out. Finally, the curtains draw to a close. I run to the centre of the stage to take a bow. And suddenly I hear it. The sound of two hands coming together. A clap that eventually turns in to applause. And it is at this very moment that I realise how fortunate I am to be me.

I so miss it.

Friday, June 08, 2007

standing tall

Here is a copy of Oscar Franklin Tan's speech. Tan, a young Filipino lawyer of Chinese descent addressed this year's Harvard graduating class last June 7. Read the news article here.

Once again, Mabuhay ang Lahing Kayumanggi!

Like Wine in the River, Like Citizens of the World
Harvard Law School 2007 Student Commencement Address
Oscar Franklin Barcelona Tan ( Philippines )

Dean Kagan, Vice-Dean Alford, professors, classmates, families, and friends. Let me first thank our tireless graduate program staff. They were the first friendly faces who greeted me, told me which functions offered free food, and what to do if you faint during your final exams. Assistant Dean Jeanne Tai, Nancy Pinn, Heather Wallick, Curtis Morrow, Jane Bestor, Chris Nepple, April Stockfleet: This year would not have been possible without you.

But this goes to everyone: Thank you all for truly making us feel part of this community. We LLMs became your fellow students after your Salsa Party, Chinese and Korean New Year, African Night, and our International Party. To honor you, we took Europe by storm, winning in the inaugural Negotiation Challenge, in the European Law Moot Court, and in the Willem Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot Court. Of course, you truly become part of Harvard Law School when you're featured in the Parody.

Not so long ago, Cambridge seemed a strange, unfriendly place especially when I first saw Gropius. I went to John Harvard's with the British, who began chittering in an alien language. I later discovered it was actually English -- the real English. I complained I was not used to cold, but a Saudi Arabian reminded me that you can fry eggs on a sidewalk in Riyadh . An Italian gave me tips on women because Italian men are the world's greatest lovers, with the disclaimer that their style does not work on American women. A Malaysian was asked to explain the religious significance of the color of her hijab, or headscarf. She would answer: It had to match her blouse.

Soon, we found that great substance that keeps any law school together: alcohol. On New Year's Eve, a Belarusian handed me a glass of vodka, but scolded me when I began to sip it. Sipping, he emphasized, was not the Slavic way. I shared a Frenchman's champagne, a Peruvian's pisco sour, a Costa Rican's pina colada, a Brazilian's caipirinha, a Mexican's tequila, and a Japanese's sake. And apologies to the Germans, but I learned how even weak American beer enlivens an evening when you drink it with the Irish.

We found greater common ground: The Swiss complained about American chocolate, the New Zealanders complained about American cheese, the Sri Lankans complained about American tea, the Indians complained about the lack of vegetarian food, and everyone complained that American food makes you fat. An Austrian made homemade apfelstrudel. A Nigerian made homemade fried plantains. The Pakistanis made a non-spicy version of keema, and I only needed eight glasses of water during the meal. All the Americans had was Three Aces pizza.

As for me, I come from the Philippines , a former American colony best known for Imelda Marcos's shoe collection. I remember being a six-year old watching my parents walk out of our house to join the crowds gathering to depose the dictator Ferdinand Marcos and form human walls against tanks. I remember being a twenty-year old in a different crowd deposing a different but equally corrupt president.

It was liberating to hear how a Chilean danced with crowds in the streets when Pinochet was arrested. How the Chinese come to grips with Tiananmen Square, while convinced that one cannot transplant American-style government wholesale to Beijing . How life changed in the former Soviet Union ; how it was like growing up in a fledgling Eastern European country. How a Pakistani discussed Musharraf's assault on judicial independence with a South African worried about Mugabe's own acts in Zimbabwe .

It was even more liberating to hear from a Korean prosecutor how his country sent two former presidents to jail. How the Swiss have preserved their tradition of independence and referendum. How Ghana threw off its colonial fetters and inspired a conscious African solidarity. How a Bhutanese wants to help shape her constitution after her king voluntarily gave up absolute power.

I cannot deny that our generation's issues will be complex, but I can guarantee that they will never be abstract, not after having a classmate who was an Israeli army drill sergeant, not after having a Chinese classmate with a Taiwanese girlfriend, nor after having a classmate chased by gunmen out of Afghanistan . In fact, when George W. Bush's speechwriter visited, my Iranian classmate introduced himself, "Hi, I'm from an Axis of Evil country."

Friends, my most uplifting thought this year has been that the more we learn about each other, the more we realize that we are all alike, and the more we inspire each other to realize our most heartfelt yearnings. My single most memorable moment here came when I met South African Justice Albie Sachs, left with only one arm after an assassination attempt during apartheid. My classmate stood up and said: " South Africa is the world's second most unequal country. I come from Brazil , the world's most unequal country, and I admire how the South African Constitutional Court has inspired the progress of human rights throughout the world."

And this is how Harvard has changed us. We recall struggling with English to keep pace with the world's most brilliant professors, especially with Elizabeth Warren's Socratic blitzkriegs, and we thank Harvard for raising our thinking to a higher, broader level. But even the most powerful ideas demand passion to set them aflame. The passion we ignite today is fueled by a collage of vignettes that will remind us in this crucible of life that our peers in faraway lands face the same frustrations, the same nation building ordeals, the same sorrows, and ultimately, the same shared joys and triumphs.

How do a mere 700 change the world, even with overpriced Harvard diplomas? Before a great battle in China 's Spring and Autumn Period, the legendary King Gou Jian of Yue was presented with fine wine. He ordered his troops to stand beside a river, and poured the wine into it. He ordered them to drink from the river and share his gift. A bottle of wine cannot flavor a river, but the gesture so emboldened his army that they won a great victory. We of the Class of 2007 shall flavor this earth, whether we be vodka, wine, champagne, pisco sour, pina colada, caipirinha, tequila, sake, jagermeister, raki, Irish stout, Ugandan Warabi, or Philippine lambanog.

Thus, my friends --and this includes our American classmates who will soon lead the world's lone superpower -- let us transcend our individual nationalities and affirm that we are citizens of the world. Maraming salamat po, at mabuhay kayong lahat. *Thank you and long live you all.*

Tuesday, June 05, 2007


In the UK, 400k pounds will get you a pink garish emblem that looks more like a broken swastika drawn by Barbie than the logo of the Olympic Games.

In an attempt to appeal to the younger generation, the design team must've had graffiti art and the hiphop culture as inspiration in coming up with this design. The result, IMHO, is unreadable and a complete and utter mess. With that ridiculous amount of budget, I would've expected a more powerful and impressive design. It's lacking in character. I'm not expecting the Big Ben, London Eye or even the Union Jack in the logo because that would've been predictable but this is totally devoid of British flavor.

A colleague said it looks like a girl giving a head. What do you think?

Friday, June 01, 2007


For the second time in more than 13 months, I called in sick for work today. This little monkey is feeling poorly and was up most of the day (I work nights, grave-yard shift). Now, there's this throbbing pain in my head caused by the lack of sleep, I reckon. Or perhaps, it's just because of the fact that there really are several loose bolts in my head.

I miss home. Where there are people who'll tend for me and make sure I feel better. I long for my nanay's motherly care, Ketty's home-cooked meals, the friends who make me laugh and everything in the land of perpetual sunshine. At least most of the time. I miss the chaos too. The grime and grit, warts and all.

After days of rainy weather, it is unsually warm today. Bright and sunny. Yet despite the heat I feel cold. I miss home. I feel sick.

spell P-R-O-U-D

A Filipino-American makes it as a finalist in US Spelling Competition. Joseph Henares of Avon, Connecticut finished fifth out of 286 contestants in this year's Scripps National Spelling Bee. The winner, 13 year old Evan O'Dorney of Danville, California gets the $35,000 prize, plus a $5,000 scholarship, a $2,500 savings bond and a set of reference works.

Henares, who is home-schooled is not new to competitions like this. In 2005, he ended up as the champion in the Back to School edition of Jeopardy. The boy, who was only 12 years old then, won and received a $10,000 cash prize.

Congratulations and Mabuhay ang Lahing Kayumanggi!