Friday, December 26, 2008

Coming home for Christmas

(The busy street of J.P Laurel in Davao City)
I slept. I woke up. I was late.

I always have this habit of coming late during my flights. I don't know. It's either because I woke up late or it's simply because of my delaying tactics. As I said, I don't know.

I have been a constant traveller and I love the feeling of being one with the heavens and seeing what's below through a bird's eye.

But this trip is a whole lot different. With just the thought of it, butteflies start flying in my stomach. It was not the airport, not the airplane, and definitely not the thought of flying.

After an hour and a half of sitting on a window seat, the flight attendant finally spoke, "We have just landed on Davao International Airport," I sighed. And there I realized. What made this trip different is that Im coming home. Finally.

There I saw them - my aunts, my uncle, my cousins, and my lola. I was almost in tears, but I decided not to. I don't want to start my vacation with tears. Not a good start, I thought.

Seeing smiles from your family was heavenly. It was like I haven't seen them in years.

Everything was the same - same food we are, same songs we sang, same beers we drink. What made this extra special is the gift-giving session. Excitement filled the air when I gave my Christmas gifts - smiles, thank you's, I like it's..that made it more special.

Celebrating Christmas with my family means a lot to me. It's not about the gifts that I'll be receiving. Not the drinking sessions. But it's celebrating the season with the people you love, the reason you call it a celebration.

I am now looking forward to a Christmas celebration same as what we had this year. We may not have the fireworks. We may not have the special hamon. What we have is a blessed and meaningful celebration of Christ's birth. Nothing compares to that.

Nothing could ever replace the bliss when you come home for Christmas.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Hark the heralds and Falalalalas

I've been spending nights on my bed, silently listening to children singing Christmas carols. But it was until last night when I heard a whole lot of them. From Pasko na naman to Silent Night, children sang from the top of their lungs either to express their joy towards the birth of Christ or to earn a penny or two.

I, too, am fond of caroling. 

I could still remember how we do it in my childhood days. Two pieces of stone are enough to accompany our Christmas rituals.

It is fascinating to know how children today, despite of technological changes, still spend time gathering their friends, and jump from one house to another to sing Christmas carols.

If I still have the luxury of time, I would eagerly spend every night caroling. It's a different feeling when I sing Christmas songs for people, or even just for me. And it's even a greater feeling when they give you money just for singing. 

I think it's not just about the money. It's how we express our love for the season through singing. 

So I sing, "We wish you a merry christmas, we wish you a merry christmas, we wish you a merry christmas... And a happy new year!"

Thursday, December 18, 2008

What am I thankful for this year?

I am thankful for you
The sweet embrace before we sleep
The touch that no one can replace
The kisses, oh, the kisses

I am thankful for you
The reason why I exist
The blessing I'll forever cherish
The light I see at night

I am thankful for you
My life
My partner
My everything

* * *

This goes to my partner. My entry, as well, to's What are you thankful for this year? (2008).

Wedding bliss

I wonder how it feels to walk down the aisle, exchange vows, wear those rings, and kiss the man/woman of your dreams in front of a crowd?

When I was younger, I don't pay too much attention on wedding ceremonies. I settle with just being on the background. The last time I remembered involving myself with the ceremony, itself, is when I was the ring bearer of my uncle's wedding, I was five or six that time. From then on, I never saw myself being one of the sponsors.

Growing mature, I now feel the romantic breeze during weddings. I can't even help sometimes but cry.

Now I ask, how do people find the perfect someone whom they will spend forever with? Do such exist in the world of homosexuals?

Searching the corners of the world for your lifetime companion is not at all an easy task. It requires a spoonful of patience, a bucket of faith, and a pinch of perseverance. Sometimes, some end with fixed marriage just to settle themselves - rather, it's what their parents want. 

But however we find our partner, may it be through the web, through a wrong phone call, or through a friend, what's important, really, is how we keep the love burning with passion and desire even after years and years of being together.

With homosexual relationships, I find it interesting when people of the same gender vow to live with each other forever. I, myself, would want to spend a lifetime with my partner. It would be the happiest moment as we exchange vows and promise to love each other until our dying day.

Homosexuals, too, has the right to love and be loved - that's the reason why I am one with those gays and lesbians who fight for their right to marriage. 

No matter what gender you belong, we all are looking forward to that big day. And no matter what gender you belong, you have the right to marriage.

Let's all fight for it.

* * *

Congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. Arnold Galvez as they celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary yesterday, December 17, 2008 - the reason why I made this blog entry.

May you continue to spend a lifetime in each other's arms. May you live life to it's fullest together and celebrate an unending love with God's love and divine presence. May the passion to love burn forever. As you vowed, till death do you part.

Again, Congratulations!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Mighty morphing me

A friend persuaded me to do this. Out of boredom and distress, I did. It wouldn't cost me a single centavo anyway. Why not.

And so I found myself struggling to look for the perfect photo. Luck must have been around the corner, Beyonce Knowles was one of the celebrities that, according to the site, I look alike. 

It's all for fun. 

Bare with me.

As I said, I'm bored.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Of fishes and death

She used to be hyperactive, as if I always feed her with sugar. But a week ago she was not her usual self. She was as if longing for someone whom she's waiting for many years now. She was totally different.

And then there she was, right where I left her last Friday. However, she is no longer breathing, no longer moving, no longer swimming.

Maria left me. Our Maria left us. 

I got her as a souvenir from one of the debut that we handled. I got two fishes so my partner and I named them Maria and Tony - from the world-renowned West Side Story. 

My partner couldn't have it in his office so I decided to keep them both on my desk. From that day on, I kept them close to my heart. I fed them, washed their bowl, and even played with them. 

It was as sudden as the death of Marky Cielo just last week. But all things come to an end. 

Now suddenly I am frightened - frightened by the thought of losing someone you dearly love, frightened of the fact that in just a blink of an eye, I will lose everything.

I always have that fear of death. It is something that I could never comprehend, it seems so abstract, so surreal. Morbid curiosity might sometimes struck me, but I can never fully grasp its concept.

Why do we have to die?

I don't know either. All I know is that when you die, as the Church say, you will find everlasting life. But I ask, how could you find life when you are physically dead?

It is maybe God's way of telling us that death is actually not the end, but it's a start of a perfect life with Him. It is not life's dead end, it's a detour to our life with God and Christ.

Maria might be gone. But she left me learnings that I would never replace for another fish. 

And so I say, I will definitely miss cleaning your bowl Maria. 

I will miss you.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Philippines Politics redux


Next topic please.

I am not the type who involve myself too much with politics. I am not your 'Ibagsak si Gloria!' or 'No to CHA-CHA' citizen who takes part in all the rally there is against the present government - from Mendiola to Ayala Avenue. I am not the kind who gripes over fraudulent animals administering this country.

Sorry to disappoint you, but I am not. I really am not.

Yet, it doesn't mean that I don't care for this country. I do. Believe me. But whenever I think of Philippine politics, I lose myself and tend to talk too much, exuding the Dabawenyo in me - which I don't care, by the way.

When would all these end? Is there still a chance for this country to make it up for the future generation? 

This country doesn't need a leader who will magically turn everything by 360 degrees and create a better nation for its people. It doesn't need politicians who wrap itself with gold and diamonds and act as if nothing worse is happening with the his country. And most especially, it doesn't need inefficient people who runs the government as if it is running a bike.

What these people need are leaders who will stand up for them when everything seems to be out of order. They need people who will battle for the country until their last drop of blood, until their last breath. 

The people are not asking for too much. It's actually enough. They have the right to demand in the first place.

Stop. Look. Listen.

It's high time we stop the idiocy we do that pulls the whole nation to the ground. Leaders, stop the unrighteous stealing of money from the people. Are you not ashamed of the your doings? Where has your conscience gone? Look deeper with what is happening in the country caused mostly by your greed over power and wealth. Listen to what your people are saying. We don't need sympathy, we need actions. 

For the people, stop blaming our leaders for we are the sole reason why these people are in their positions. Instead, let's support their undertakings and look at what good things they have done for the country. I am not saying that we need not scrutinize the things they do, what I am trying to say is that we listen to what they say - sometimes obedience resolves dispute. 

We are not yet too late to climb up the ladder of betterment and progress. We still have the chance. 

Seize it. Flourish it. Proliferate it.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A different Noche Buena

I wonder how Christmas would be in the country now that we are amid a highly controversial economic crisis. 

Would it still be the same as last year? Would there still be the much-awaited hamon and the long-existing queso de bola? Would each family still exchange gifts? Would ninongs and ninangs be hiding from their inaanaks, again?

I, myself, am confused on how would Christmas be for me and my family this year. With the continuous price hike in the market, we would surely be celebrating Christ's birth in a different way.

We used to have two celebrations on Christmas eve, one is with the whole family - that includes my uncles, aunts, and cousins - the other is with their own families. Now, with what is happening, I think there would only be one for each family member. 

Before, my uncle used to give his nephews and nieces a thousand bucks on Christmas day. I vividly remember how we rush in line to get our Christmas 'gift' from him. I think the amount would lessen this year - or worst, this wouldn't happen at all.

The family usually have a roasted pig during this season, matched with cases and cases of beers and drink until we all drop. This year, maybe we'll settle with fish and a case of beer just to celebrate the night away.

There will surely be a huge difference as to how each family will celebrate the holidays. But despite such, it matters not we put up glamorous parties or expensive food for Noche Buena. What matters most is the presence of each family member on this very special occasion - the hug, the kisses, and the care we feel from each other.

Lucky you people you have your moms and dads with you this season. I don't want to be too mushy here, but really, you should celebrate Christmas thankfully with your family. I may celebrate one with mine, minus my mom and dad however.

Celebrating Christmas is not all about the gifts, it's about the love we share on this season of giving.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Usapang sarilinan

O, anu'ng problema mo?
Nahihirapan nako. Nalilito. 
Heto na naman tayo, san mo ba talaga gusto?
Hindi ko alam.
Anu ba gusto mong gawin?
Yun naman pala, ba't di mo gawin.
Ang tanong kasi, kaya ko ba?
Bakit hindi?
Natatakot lang ako.
Anu ba kasi kinatatakutan mo?
Sarili ko. Kumpetisyon. May tatanggap ba sakin?
Mahirap, oo. Pero bakit di mo subukan?
Sinubukan ko na.
Hanggang dun ka na lang ba? Susuko ka na lang ba?
Gusto ko pang magpursigi. Pero...
Pero anu? 
Pero walang tumatanggap sakin.
Hindi lahat ng bagay nakukuha ng ganun-ganun lang.
Tuloy-tuloy lang. Wag mong isuko. Wag kang matakot.
Nawawalan nako ng lakas ng loob.
Lumang tugtugin na yan. Hindi na uso yan.
Hindi ako nagpapatawa.
Hindi rin naman ako nagpapatawa e. Ituloy mo lang.
Hanggang kelan?
Hanggang makuha mo. Hanggang maabot mo.
Tutulungan mo ba ako?
Sarili mo lang ang makakatulong sayo.
Pano pag di ko kinaya magisa?
Andyan ang mga taong nagmamahal sayo. Hindi ka nila iiwan.
Handa ba silang tulungan ako?
Sigurado ako.
Sige. Kakayanin ko. Lalaban ako.
Dahil ito ang gusto ko. Ito ang sinisigaw ng puso ko.
Magpapatalo ka ba?
Hindi. Walang sinuman, anuman ang makakapigil sakin.
Hanggang saan? Hanggang kelan?
Hanggang humihinga ako. Hanggang tumigil ang tibok ng puso ko.
Ayan naman pala e.
Salamat ah?
Walang anuman. O ano? Magtatrabaho na ulit ako.
Sige ako din e.
Hanggang sa muli.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

What do I want for Christmas?

I could always say that I want world peace and equality for Christmas - like what I always pray for. But maybe this year, I leave it to my everyday prayers and rather wish for the fathomable ones, material things at that.

So, here's my Christmas wish list 2008. Note, this is my first wish list ever written. Spare me.

I listed here the top 5 stuffs I want this season of GIVING and SHARING.

1. My phone is quite rugged now. I don't want to sell it so I wish to have a new phone this Christmas - an iPhone 3G wouldn't be bad. With it's 3G feature, my mom could video call me anytime, anywhere. 

2. Since I already bought a new pair of shoes last week, maybe a pair of slippers would be perfect. I never had slippers for months now, maybe it's high time you guys give me one.

3. I just bought books one and two of the Twilight Saga. Maybe buying me the other two would be something to look forward to - Eclipse and Breaking Dawn. Boredom would kill me during my trip to Davao, and the books would perfectly aid. 

4. An authentic ODM is another perfect gift. It would make remember you more since I will wear it everyday and actually look at it every minute. Don't you just love the idea?

5. My partner just bought me a Multicolor Holga, but a Fisheye 2 would complete my lomo craving. With it's perfect circle effect on the photo, I will surely take a perfect capture of you. 

I could have written ten options but I think that would be too much. 

So if you're thinking of a gift for me, worry not. Here's the list. 

8 is a lucky number

The world once again stopped to witness the breath-taking event of the year. Emmanuel Dapidran Pacquiao a.k.a. Manny Pacquiao came face to face with another world's best, Oscar dela Hoya.

I am never really interested with such events - not boxing, not basketball, not soccer, not football, and definitely not UFC. In fact, I never watched any of Pacman's match, not until last Sunday's bout. I was there from the pre-boxing event until Pacman spoke in English.

From the very start, you can speedily identify the difference between the two boxers. 

One, physically and obviously, dela Hoya is much bigger than that of Pacquiao. One could really tell that with the former's edge in height and built, he could really make use of such edge.

However, which is my number two, Pacquiao has this "Tazmanian Devil" knack that enables him to move around Dela Hoya, making the latter slowly run out of energy. The former, on the other hand, never ran out of stamina from the start until the 8th round - where the latter decided to submit the fight.

It was great seeing Manny on the spotlight again - a proud Filipino who waves the Philippine flag up high for the whole world to see. But what disappointed me is the fact that dela Hoya surrendered, making me lose my thrill and excitement towards the match. He could have fought until his last breath, saving him from humiliation, making his country proud of what he has done.

But I can't blame Dela Hoya. If I were on his shoes, I would have done the same. I wouldn't let myself be bombarded with punches on the face just for nothing - not now, not ever.

Now, I can't take it, I think I'm beginning to like Manny. Nah. 

To dela Hoya, you put up the best fight you can. You might lost, but you courageously showed the world that it's better you stand up and lose against your enemy than never fight at all. I salute you.

To Pacquiao, another success added to your reel of achievements, but I do hope you keep your feet on the ground. Continue soaring high not just for yourself but for the Filipino nation. Just remember to save up for the future, you wouldn't want to be Mohammad Ali. Unless you would rely on number 8 as your lucky number.

* * *

Before the match, there were advertising efforts to support Pacman's fight. There's Nike, Magic Sing, Touch Mobile, Pepsi, and a whole lot more. But what caught my attention is Nike's billboard along EDSA, it's specifically located, if I'm not mistaken, above Metropoint Mall. 

In the billboard, since a photo's not available online, you can see Pacman kneeling on the ring's corner, where he usually kneels before the match starts, with his hand widely spread as if nailed on the cross alongside a copy, "Give us this day." A very simple yet striking material from Nike. The creative team of Ogilvy should be applauded for such great work.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Unang Rolyo

We all have our taste of many firsts. 

It may be the first time you ate a frog. The first time you rode a bike. The first time you went to school, or the first time you... Maybe I should stop there, I might go vulgar with the next.

I vividly remember the first time I rode an airplane. Young as I were, I went berserk the moment we stepped to the boarding gate. I cried out loud. Literally. I went out of control, and guess what made me stop? Disneyland.

Here I am again with my first time experience - my first roll of film using our Holga, Serena as what my partner and I call it. 

It was slightly different when I took my photography class back in college. Since it was my first set of lomography photos, I was like a father waiting outside the delivery room for my first born child. 

And when it was handed to me?

I was delightfully ecstatic when I saw the photos. It was as if I won a bet out of Manny Pacquiao-Oscar dela Hoya match. I was so high I felt I took more than just a party drug; I was lomographically high, so to speak.

On the other hand, there was a trifling disappointment in me when I saw the photos. Maybe I expected the photos I had using the SLR or DSLR - those seamless, almost perfect photos I had.

And that's what I learned with lomography. Expect an out-of-this-world, crazy but stunningly beautiful photos using a lomo camera. A superbly distinctive photo than any other.

I was also really surprised with the panoramic effect of the photo. It was out of my control, honestly. It made me wonder if I did the instructions correctly and when I reviewed, I did. I wonder what went correctly wrong.

Let's just say that I was struck with my first set of photos.

I did.

I hope you also did.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Ploning meets Oscar

Rockwell Tent testified as to how Filipinos unite to attain a common goal.

For those who don't know, Dante Nico Garcia's Ploning, which stars Judy Ann Santos, will compete with the world for the Best Foreign Language Film category in the 81st Academy Awards.

You may ask, what in the world is Ploning?

Ploning, taken from a native song in Cuyo, Palawan, is a story of a girl who unselfishly loved expecting nothing in return - may it be for her family, friends, or her special someone. Her presence in the island muses everyone that they barely notice the absence of rain in the island. On the other hand, her silence and mysteriousness puzzles the people surrounding her. 

It's not something new to the industry. We have sent official entries before to this world-renowned competition - this includes Donsol by Adolf Alix on 2007, Dekada 70 by Chito Roño on 2003, and Gatas: Sa Dibdib ng Kaaway by Gil Portes on 2001 (click here for the complete list). Now, we are again taking our chance through Ploning.

What differs Ploning from other films who tried their luck in the Oscars is the full force promotions and fund-raising activities of the film - maybe the sole reason why we didn't made it before despite the wonderful films we sent. Thanks to the leading lady's fame and powerhouse cast, we are taking a greater leap to promote the film in the US.

* * *

Just last night, Nov.3, 2008, Ploning had a fund-raising activity in Rockwell Tent where the who's who of the industry gathered to support the film - Dante Nico Garcia, Judy Ann Santos, Ryan Agoncillo, Mylene Dizon, Ping Media, and a whole lot more. The event was sponsored by most of Juday's endorsed brands like Lactacyd, Angel Evap, Unilab, etc. 

Judy Ann Santos, herself, prepared the 8 dishes - from the appetizer down to the dessert - for the guests, making the event extra special for her and for everyone. An auction was held to further gather funds for the promotions of the film.

* * *

The country has high hopes for the film. With all the activities done by the team and the support from the government, we will sure to gain a spot in the Top 5 of the category.

It's time that we raise our bars higher. 
It's time that we make the country known to the world.
It's time that we make everything happen.
It's time for Ploning.

May this writing helps Ploning in one way our another.

But of course, our prayers will be of greater help.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Media 101

Stars are placed above us to light our path during the night. 
But stars living on earth are there to take photos with.

There is no way I would let go of a chance to take photos with the stars, especially those of my favorites. 

Call me "jologs," I don't care.

Whenever I have a camera on hand, thanks to my camera phone, I take one photo to another with my favorite TV and movie actors. I don't know but I love the feeling of being up close and personal with the people I see on the boob tube.

Seriously now, why do people, including me, struggle to take a photo with people they see on TV when in fact they are just human beings wrapped in gold and silver?

We are a TV driven country - media is the perfect word. What we do, what we wear, and what we know are mostly influenced by media. 

And maybe our fan instinct can be rooted to media. Maybe too much sensationalism of actors by media resulted to our hunger and thirst for TV and movie actors. 

But I think it's not just us, Filipinos, is it?
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think people from other countries are also fanatics. 
It's human nature, I guess; just as how urinating and eating comes natural to us.

It all boils down to one thing - we will forever be faced with such issues as long as media continues to over sensationalize itself. I may be in the media industry, but it doesn't mean I agree with its tricks and magics.