Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Deus ex machina at its very finest

Deus ex machina, as defined by Answers.com, literally means 'god from machine' which could be traced back to the ancient Greek literature. 

Wikipedia.com added that Quintus Horatius Flaccus or Horace to the English-speaking world, the leading Roman poet during the time of Augustus, instructed poets in his writing, Ars Poetica, that they shouldn't end up, on desperate times, their plots in a god from a machine just for the sake of it. 

Horace was actually referring to the ancient Greek tragedy where, literally, actors are lowered via a crane portraying the role of a god or goddess. 

But on times where deus ex machina is needed, would you still limit yourself from doing such just because it's against what an ancient leading poet tells us so?

I dare say not.

'Knowing' proves that deus ex machina is never a cliche unless you use such tool in the most interesting and striking way. 

The film starts on 1959, where an elementary class in Massachusetts is instructed to drew what they think the future will be. This shall be buried in a time capsule and shall be opened 50 years after. Lucinda Embry (Lara Robinson) did otherwise. Instead, she wrote a what seemed to be an endless string of numbers brought by voice whispering to her. 

At present time, 50 years later, the capsule was opened and the envelopes distributed to the students of the same institution. Caleb Koestler (Chandler Canterbury) received Lucinda's work and eventually heard the same voices that whispered to the latter and saw black images of men surrounding their house. 

Caleb's dad, John Koestler (Nicolas Cage), an astrophysics professor in Massachusetts Institute of Technology, believes that the infinite intricacies binding the universe exists only as an astronomical anomaly, which kept him afar from pastor father and haunted him since his wife died.

However, one night, everything changed his views. 

He discovers that the numbers written by Lucinda was not just any ordinary random number, a small portion of the whole series was a numerical code that predicted the 9/11 attack - the date, the death toll, and the location of the tragedy. Furthermore, he discovers that all the numbers correspond to a particular tragedy from the day Lucinda wrote it to the present time, plane crashes, tsunamis, fires, hurricanes and a whole lot more.

John tries to unravel the mystery behind the numbers and soon discovers the story behind 'the whisper people' that haunted his son and Lucinda's grand daughter, Abby (also Lara Robinson).

Yet again, Nicolas Cage proves his acting skills as a very intelligent individual solving series of phenomenon - take it from National Treasure 1 to National Treasure 2. I don't know the reason why, but he keeps on portraying such roles, which, by the way, he's very good at.

The actors are just perfect for each role they are portraying - even Lara Robinson who also portrayed as Abby was unsuspectingly brilliant.

The handle is very creatively woven to have the audience's eyes stuck until the end of the film. The build up was very exciting to reveal the interesting part of the film, its ending. 

It seems to me as a wake up call - very timely for the celebration of Earth Hour. It's like watching a modern-day story of Noah and his arc where a very revolutionized arc gathered the chosen few to continue life after the end of the world.

Talking about the end of the world, what's best about the film is that it used a Nostradamus element in its most suspense treatment, which caught me off guard when the ending was finally revealed. 

I'll be honest here, what made me think twice if it really is a great film is its ending where it was revealed that the black mysterious men are aliens who will fetch Abby and Caleb for them to be saved from the world's end. The revelation was a bit exaggerated, for me and in my own opinion. It's maybe because I wasn't really expecting an alien invasion type of ending. 

Then I realized, what better ending can this film have but the deus ex machina way. It now perfectly made sense why such tool was ever invented - why the ancient greek poets used such.

'Knowing' may not be your award-winning flick that will harvest Oscars or the Golden Globe, but this will take the audience a step higher than what Armageddon and Deep Impact did.

Surely worth the pay.

Friday, March 27, 2009

I love you, goodbye

Goodbyes and farewells remain to be the hardest thing to say. It entails bucketful of tears and a whole lot of moving ons. 

But it still wonders me why something has to end? 

Career moves are different from what love has to endure when it comes to saying goodbye. With the former, there's a lot of things to consider - may it be financial, professional, or you just simply want to shift gears. With the latter, it's simply just your feelings.

I am about to shift gears and move on to a higher level in my career path.

This is such a huge risk for me. I have started my career in an industry totally different to where I'll be moving on and I know it would be very hard to start all over again. 

But I'm positive and firm that I can make it through.


That's the way to go.

However, what's eating me is the love and care that we developed not just as working mates but as a family here in my present work. 

I gained not just friends but a family.

But friendship will stay as long as you take care of it, and I know that what we have here will always remain. So no matter where life will take me, everything that I gained here will remain and be cherished for the rest of my life.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tween Dora, on the loose

Dora, now...

Dora, tomorrow...

I have never seen such change from a cartoon character before - except for Rugrats team, including Tommy, Chuckie, Phil, and Lil, to which I grew up with.

But I never realized what phenomenon such change would be until Tween Dora came.

Just last week, Mattel and Nickelodeon formally announced and revealed to the public their release of a grown-up Dora, a tweenage to be exact.

Which the blogosphere reacted of various ways - some agreed, but some were disappointments.

Moms were the most affected with such move by the aforementioned companies. According to them in a petition entitled "Let's Go: No Makeover for Dora," this tween Dora might cause a 360 degree change to their sons and daughters.

In an interview, a concerned mom said, "I don't want my child to come asking me to buy her a mini skirt and lip gloss to continue her Dora obsession,"

In defense, both companies released a statement saying that they wouldn't at all change the characteristics and personality of Dora. With four of her girlfriends, Dora will continue to solve mysteries involving the environment, wildlife, and school. 

What added to the spice is that Dora will be attending middle school with a more positive attitude. 

Both companies aim to continue the growth of the children watching it through tween Dora - besides all children grows up.

* * *

Jolly Jeep agrees and supports Mattel and Nickelodeon's move to release a tween Dora - plus the pearl earings, and minus the back pack.

With both companies assurance to never change Dora's journeys and positive characteristics, this will help the children develop in themselves that love for the environment, wildlife, and school. 

They will sure to have a company with them through Dora.

No matter where Dora will go and how Dora will look like, that personality that moms and children loved will surely continue to spark as long as the character remains faithful to its purpose.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Korea invades our taste buds

I wonder what one does on a Thursday night.

One can drink a bottle or two with his/her friends in their favorite bar, dance the night away, or just stay in a quite, solitude restaurant where no one else can hear you but yourself.

We did the latter just last night - not in a five-star hotel resto, but in Kalayaan Ave., Makati City.

Not your ordinary dinner night, should I say. It's a Korean food trip with my partner.

It all started on our first trip in Baguio. We had a bountiful lunch in one of the many Korean restaurants in the city. 

From there, our taste buds craved for that authentic Korean delicacy.

Luckily, Makati has its own Korean district.

Makati Avenue is the place to be when you want the real taste of Korean dining.

What I like when dining in a Korean resto are the side dishes they serve which will surely perk you up for the main dish.

They usually serve the sought-after Kimchi, those beans spiced up with sesame seeds, and the nerve-wracking cucumber wrapped with egg.

And so we chose the main dishes.

Our favorite Samgyupsal was our first choice. Being one of the most popular dishes, Samgyupsal consists of grilled pork strips served with garlic and onion, no marinating involved though. For that authentic Korean dining experience, you dip the strips in sesame oil and Korean spicy paste, wrap it in a lettuce, and top it with Kimchi or rice. 

For another mouthwatering dish, we tried Bulgogi. Similar to the Teriyaki in Japan, it is a marinated beef strips served with sesame oil, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, onion, wine, and sugar. 

To top the Korean experience, we ordered Dak Gui. It might seem to be your usual grilled chicken but i'd rather say, it's not. Dak Gui is marinated and put together with that authentic Korean sauces and oil to give your taste buds a roller coaster ride.

It might be a usual dinner night. 

But the Korean dining experience made it special by an extra mile.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Kung buhay pa si Ninoy

Paano nga kaya kung buhay pa at humihinga si Ninoy ngayon?

Paano nga kaya ang buhay ng mga Pilipino?

Hindi ko alam kung walang crisis, di ko rin alam kung aangat ang ekonomiya ng mga Pilipino. Pero ang alam ko, sa tapang at galing ni Ninoy, may pag-asa tayo.

Sa ipinamalas niya talino at husay, maaaring may pag-asang umangat ang Pilipinas at bumalik sa dati nitong ganda at galing sa harap ng ibang bansang nakapalibot dito.

Pero bigla kong naisip, magiging "corrupt" kaya si Ninoy tulad ng ibang nasa posisyon?

Maaaring oo. Maaaring hindi.

Alam nating mayaman ang pamilyang pinanggalingan ni Ninoy, pero hindi ibig sabihin nito na hindi niya maaaring gawin ang ginagawa ng kasalukuyang gobyerno.

Pwede nating sabihin na kaya ni Ninoy iangat ang bansa, kaya ni Ninoy lumaban sa gitna ng walang katapusang problema sa hirap at korupsyon, kaya ni Ninoy mamuno.

Kaya ni Ninoy lahat ng to.

Ang tanong?

Kaya ba ng mga Pilipino tumulong?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Dining with Marilyn Monroe

I am a fan of the oldies.

I love the vintage wheels that I can drive around the city, it's music that calms down my intense day, or just the mere feel of it.

More than anything else, I would want to live during the 50's, 60's, or 70's.

I would want to wear those bell bottom pants, those very tight shirts, and smoke weed like there's no tomorrow.

But guess what, in the heart of Baguio, I experienced 50's just the way I like it. I may not have worn those bell bottom pants, but I had a taste of it, literally.

50's Diner, located a few steps away from Teacher's Camp and the Pink Sisters Convent, will treat you to an ambience of the era as its business name; the name speaks for itself.

If you're familiar of Diner Dash, the computer game, then you'll find it quite the same with its setting.

At a cheaper price, you'll get to taste what Baguio has to offer when it comes to the American side of your taste buds. From steaks to huge burgers, from milk shakes to American-style shrimps, you will love everything that the resto has to offer.

Cap off your meal with the perfectly crafted dessert that will make your world turn upside down. It might be the usual, but brace yourself for the twist.

So when you visit Baguio, spend all your time going around the city, but spare an hour or two at 50's Diner and experience the 50's at a most comfortable way.

Monday, March 16, 2009

I saw Baguio - from day 'till night



I don't know what's with Baguio, but I kept on coming back to the city with expectations getting higher and higher as I visit and revisit it. 

Well, it was really because of The Bar's series of events. However, I still have a choice to join the team or not, yet, I decide to be counted in.

Where do I start?

Seeing Baguio minus the million heads walking around the city and the heavy hour traffic is really an apple of the eye. You have all the time to drive around the city or even walk with nothing to worry about but the cold wind.

Baguio during the day is really mouth-watering with the cold breeze, pine trees, and the picturesque spots. You can really tell the beauty of the place - you might even wonder how such place you only see in your dreams came to reality. 

Where do you go during the day?

If you have a car, you can drive yourself around the city. If you want to see the greener side of Baguio, there's Camp John Hay. The trees will surely inspire you write a poem, a song, or even a blog entry such as this. You'd better bring your wallet or credit card for you'll surely stop by the shopping area. 

Mine's View is another place to be. There will surely be countless heads around but what will drive you through is the thought of overviewing the trees that you won't ever see in Manila.

There's also the very busy and will always be busy Burnham Park - you can spend time rowing a goose or a boat on the creek or ride a bike if you never did your entire life.

At night, you will witness the other side of Baguio.

If you want to drink a bottle of beer or two, then you'll surely enjoy the ambience of Nevada Square. During Panagbenga, Nevada was a disaster, a famine. But just last Saturday night, I saw the peaceful and lovable side of it. You'll surely enjoy the way Baguio people celebrate the night away.

Session Road is another place to be. You can hop from one bar to another with this street-long party place. After your dreadful drinking session, you can cool down a bit with the dining areas stripped all over the street.

The best way to do it?

Visit Baguio on your own. 

You will surely enjoy the spots during the day and the party at night.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Ze Muzikal ExperienZe

Nice would be an understatement if I use such word to describe the play - ZsaZsa Zaturnnah is not just nice, it's exuberantly spectacular, truly an eye-candy.

An adaptation of Carlo Vergara's famous comic hero, ZsaZsa Zaturnnah tells us the story of Ada, an expert beautician, who got hit by a mysterious stone from the heavens granting him the chance or the power to transform from being a  self-pathetic gay to a gorgeous, lovely, and powerful superhuman, ZsaZsa Zaturnnah.

Of course, you know the story - the giant frog, the rummaging zombies, and the Amazonistas. May it be through the film or the stage play.

What makes this blog entry extra special then?

It's the experience or the chance to finally see those characters come to life right before your very eyes - from Ada to ZsaZsa Zaturnnah, from the outrageous Didi to the yummy Dodong. It was a chance of a lifetime.

The actors perfectly fit the characters they portray. Admittedly, I doubted Eula Valdez's acting prowess on stage. Don't get me wrong, I have seen her on the boob tube and her acting really is award-worthy. But on stage, I was doubting her capabilities to pull off the acting needs of a gay-oriented theatrical play.

But she proved me wrong. She went beyond my expectations. 

Nar Cabico (Didi) was outstanding, truly worthy of the standing ovation. Tuxqs Rutaquio (Ada) may not be the best actor to portray the character but he is not to be set aside. He had his own way of portraying the character and he did the best way he can. Red Anderson (Dodong) has his singing flaws, but that wasn't a hindrance to showcase his acting powers.

The whole cast was perfect, Tanghalang Pilipino Actors Company remarkable honed their talents to become the best actors of the theater scene.

Truly an exZiting, inZpiring, and meZmeriZing ZsaZsa Zaturnnah Ze MuZikal exZperienZe.

Me with Queen Femina, Kalila Aguilos

Jon with Kalila Aguilos.

Jon with the first and original ZsaZsa Zaturnnah, Eula Valdez.

Don't we look good together? *wink*


Friday, March 6, 2009

Nothing lasts forever

12:00nn today, March 06, 2009, a shocking news quaked the entertainment industry. Francis "Kiko" Magalona or better know as Francis M. died of Leukemia.

I am not, of any degree, connected to the Kiko, but his masterpieces, the music he created, made me decide to do this blog entry today.

I am not dwelling with his death, instead, I'll highlight the music the legacy he left for the country.

Dubbed as the Master Rapper, Kiko and his music created a better world for the Filipinos, beyond poverty, discrimination, and indifference. 

I say, he is a genuine music icon, the music icon.

I grew up with his music - from "Mga Kababayan" to "Kaleidoscope World" - and it has truly strengthened by faith to the Filipino race, to its home-grown talents such as Kiko Magalona.

He may be gone, but his music will continue inspiring today's youth and the generations to come.

I will proudly tell this story to my sons and grandsons, that once in my life, a pure Filipino music from Francis Magalona inspired and boosted the nationalism of the Philippines.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Finally, they made it or maybe not

They're finally there.

Most of my high school batchmates who took up nursing are now registered nurses. One was even the top of the school to where she studied.

This goes out to them who squeezed out all their effort, who went through pains and sufferings, who spent sleepless nights, who stepped out of their comfort zones just to reach this summit of their lives.

Congratulations my fellow Philwomenian batchmates!

However, as I was scanning the list of board passers, there were thousands of them. Even the topnotchers are overflowing.

We simply can't deny it. Nursing has truly become a necessity to uplift one's life.

But with their population, is it still possible to practice what they learned?

I say maybe not.

This is may not only be applicable to nursing graduates but I am aware that some, board passers at that, don't really practice their profession which dismays me the most. 

Imagine spending huge amount of money in studying, spending hours and hours of studying the licensure examination and passing it, yet end up as a call center agent?

I am not against the call center industry, don't get me wrong. 

What I'm trying to say is that these registered nurses should not waste what they have spent and what they have learned to something they are not supposed to be doing.

Never settle for anything less.

So to my batchmates, hoping to see you there, wearing that pure white uniform you dream of.

God bless you guys!

Monday, March 2, 2009

The flora and fauna escapade

Being my first destination for the start of my long-term plan, to visit all Philippine Festivals, I was very, exaggeratedly, extremely excited about Panagbenga 2009. 

Forgive me. It's my first Panagbenga.

All things were set. Off we go from Manila to the City of Pines, Baguio.

I quite expected the thick cloud of people and I am not just talking about hundreds of people here, I'm talking about thousands and thousands of people from north to south and from east to west anticipating and spectating the beauty of Panagbenga 2009.


What does Panagbenga suppose to mean? How did everything start?

From Malayo-Polynesian origin, Panagbenga literally means "season of blooming." This started as a tribute to Bauio City's abundance of flowers and as a way to resurrect from the devastation of the 1990 landslide that almost erased the city from the Philippine Map.

Formerly known as the Baguio Flower Festival, Panagbenga is a brainchild of Atty. Damaso Bangaoet, Jr. of the John Hay Poro Point Development Corporation and Victor A. Lim of the Bases Conversion Development Authority which was basically to boost the city's tourism on the month of February after Christmas and before Holy Week.

Going back to our trip, it wasn't really the best Baguio experience, rather it was not the usual Baguio I used to visit. 

Being my very first Panagbenga, I wasn't used to the traffic, the influx of thousands and thousands of people, and the not-the-usual-Baguio Baguio. It was really a mayhem. 

You wanted to drink but the lines literally long. You go order your dinner, but there are no seats. Then I asked, what has happened to Baguio?

However, I totally had the best Baguio trip ever.

Not because of Mines View, but because of the Strawberry-flavored taho. 

Not because of SM City Baguio, but because of the overwhelming and welcoming people.

Not because of the noise of the band, but because of cute little kids who joined the parade.

Not because of the free meals I ate, but because of the cheerful company bonding.

Not because of the lost in Baguio experience, but because of the time to explore it.

Not because of the unlikely deeds, but because of a friend we gained.

And not only because of the festival, but because of the precious time I spent with my partner.

This trip will surely me remembered for the rest of my life.