Monday, February 27, 2012

And my Oscar bet goes to...

Hey this is not a ploy to lure you into my music box appreciation endeavor. It really has something to do with the Oscars. You see, this music box I'm featuring comes from an Academy Award winning film. Spirited Away won the Best Animated Feature award at the 75th Academy Awards. It remains the highest grossing film in Japan and one of my most favorite films of all time. Naturally, the music box above is one of my favorites too, it plays the song "Itsumo Nandodemo"

Enough of the music box, in a couple of hours, the 84th Academy Awards ceremony will start. But not without my predictions (LOL). I've already placed a bet with my sister and I'm really excited. I'm just rooting for Hugo this year, but I thought it would be good to post my other predictions based on the films I've seen. Too bad, I have not seen all the films with nomination, it would be a fun exercise of my judgement on people's creativity. Anyway, I'll just place my predictions in some major categories.

The films with nominations I've seen so far:

The Artist
The Help
The Descendants
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Albert Nobbs
Margin Call

Best Supporting Actress - This is the only category where I've seen all the performance of the nominees, and my bet goes to Octavia Spencer. Because she's the one that moved me the most.

Best Supporting Actor - the complete opposite of the previous category, none of the nominees made it to my eyes, I should have removed this from my list, but I'll make an exception. I think it'll be Christopher Plummers, because Ellen said so.

Best Actress - I'm torn between Glenn Close and Viola Davis, both characters welled me into tears, but I'll probably go for Close, I mean she's been nominated many times but never bagged the award, it's high time for her to get it, I thought her performance in Albert Nobbs was really amazing.

Best Actor - Gary Oldman. To be honest, I had a tough time understanding Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, but if I would compare his performance with George Clooney and Jean Duajrdin, he's the best.

Best Director - Martin Scorsese, there's no explanation needed for this director, but then again, with all the nods The Artist are getting, it'll probably go to Michel Hazanavicius.

Bes Picture - Hands down to Hugo! I'm thinking that there's a 90% chance that The Artist will take the award because every prediction I've read points to that direction, but Hugo remains my favorite, so... Don't get me wrong okay, I loved The Artist, I think it's great that a silent film is getting this much attention, it can lead to production of more silent films in the future, surely not as much as it used to, but a few would do. But still, I feel very strong for Hugo.

You might think I have a pretty silly reasoning with my bets. The thing is, I've not seen all the films with nomination. Besides, to each his own and these predictions are mine. So what's your bet?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Exploring Artsy Angono

Ahhh, look at the date, February is almost over. But I'm not letting it pass without talking about my trip to the Arts Capital of the Philippines -- Angono Rizal., after all, February is National Arts month.

Photo Courtesy of Backpackingpilipinas: Janet, Kidd and Cha inside the tunnel going towards the Angono Petroglyphs

The original plan was a visit to my hometown. Che, being the traveler that she is, was interested in going to Tanay. I agreed to show her around and some of my friends. In fact it had been a long uncrossed item on our 2012 (supposedly 2011) checklist. I, on the other hand had been meaning to go to Angono. I skipped my History of Arts educational field trip there because of my previous work and I thought, I'd just go on my own when I have the time. So the free time came (I actually just insisted to include it in the itinerary, I don't have the guts to go all alone), just in time for the Arts Month celebration!

By the way, I just want to make it clear that I rarely go out, so even though I'm a RizaleƱo, I haven't really explore most of Rizal municipalities. I had a little bit of knowledge how to get there. I knew there are PUVs from Starmall and EDSA Central going to Binangonan, and that's the first option. But we met at Che's place and taking PUJ's from her place was a more convenient option (because the loading area was closer) so we took that. My problem with passenger jeeps though, is, first being exposed to the fresh (insert sarcasm here) air of Metro Manila. Second, drivers with attitude. I do not know if this thing is unique to jeepney drivers in Rizal, but really, they are the worst! I am not gonna list the details of my unpleasant experiences whenever I end up taking the jeep going to work because I missed the last passenger van (it deserve a separate post), but one thing I'd point out is their selfishness. They just decide to change route when they want to even if they have to bypass a drop point. I understand there are circumstances that led them to change route (like heavy traffic), however, they should consider passengers who needed to get down to the drop point they're bypassing. Anyway, the driver of the jeep we took did that. We were not affected, some passengers were, but the driver seemed to be in a big hurry that he forgot that I asked him to drop us in Angono. We were first timers, hello? He promised he would, but he ended up forgetting it. Thank goodness there were concerned citizens who warned us that we missed the drop point. In fairness to the driver, he felt sorry that he returned P8 for each person so we can take another jeep to take us to Angono. Which proved to be unnecessary, we were supposed to get down at the market and it was just a 5 minute walk from the point the driver dropped us.

So the drop point is the public market of Angono, which also borders Binangonan Rizal. We had breakfast at Chowking. I was in queue for order taking when I noticed the cashier machine labeled "Chowking Binangonan". I got confused (and worried) so I asked the cashier and she nicely explained the border thing. While eating, Janet asked around to get directions to the Angono Petroglyphs (the directions I got from the internet were rather vague). Ironically, some of the locals have no idea what we were asking. I mean, the Petroglyphs, the oldest known work of art in the Philippines, is the first thing that comes up when I googled Angono. But the people were very nice in giving ideas what to check like the galleries and the Blanco Family museum, one even muttered that if she had nowhere else to go she'd take us to the city hall. So anyway, our adventure in Angono began!


Our first stop was the city hall, the people we've asked recommended it. They said it has an art gallery and we won't have to pay anything to check it. Unfortunately, at the time of our visit, the building interior was being repainted, the paintings were temporarily stored in the municipal gym which was closed. Being an art capital though, artworks are all over the building. It's definitely a town of artsy people.

The Municipal Bulletin Board takes the shape of a palette

Angono is also the home of Higantes (giant dolls) festival. I've never been to one, but the city hall stores some higantes so I'm imagining it's a parade of these giant dummies. Higantes by the way are made of paper mache and are influenced by Mexican art.


Look! One of the higantes got caught up in mobile gaming trend! Ugh the "save a trees" and "hug a trees" print gave me a massive headache (OA lang)!

The next stop is the church. On our way there, we passed by a street with a line of mural relief sculptures on both sides of the road. The murals are based on the works of Angono's homegrown national artist Carlos "Botong" Francisco. It was amazing!



We were so enthralled by the line of murals, we got a little careless and experienced a minor mishap. Well, Cha specifically did. While walking, her right leg slip into a gap of sewer covers. Awww poor Cha. If you're planning on visiting this place, be careful y'all. Always watch your footsteps. What's heartwarming about it was, when her leg got stuck between the gap, the locals immediately came to help. Very nice people, God bless them.

There's something frustrating about the place though. This is the art capital and I imagine that people incorporate art in their everyday living, but I also imagine that they do not take it for granted. When I see a bike leaning or wet clothes hanging on some of the murals, I felt that the artworks are being taken for granted. I don't find them disrespectful, it's probably their way of showing that art is part of their lives, but show some care, the artists didn't make these murals overnight.




So anyway, we went to the church to rest a little and of course, pray. A stop at the church is always part of a trip.

St. Clement's Parish Church

Our next stop is the Blanco Family Museum. It's just a five minute walk from the church. The Blanco Family, headed by the late Jose "Pitok" Blanco is a family of artists. Everybody paints! The museum houses artworks of the whole family. The entrance fee for adults is P70, but Che haggled, stating that she's a travel blogger and that she advocates promotion of tourism and promised to promote the museum in her blog, which are all true, but I never thought that you can use that as an excuse to get a discount. The lady guide was very nice to grant the discount, we paid P50 each instead.

So anyway she guided us through the most part of the tour. She's really nice and she had immediate answers to our questions. I feel bad I didn't get her name. The amazing thing about this family is, even tough only Pitok Blanco had formal education on Fine Arts, everybody in the family ended up becoming full time artists. Even the grandchildren are practicing arts too. The family has one style, realism. Mostly depicts life and culture of Filipinos. It would be interesting to see any from the grand children deviate to another movement hehehe.

A family that paints together, stays together!

The obligatory group picture with the Master's most notable work, "Fiesta sa Angono", there are hundreds of people in this painting and all are actual residents of Angono

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Some of the works of the family

We were also lucky to have met one Pitok's sons, Michael. He showed us around the garden and showed the current project he's working on. He's also teaching arts at the school across the museum. He's a really nice guy.

There's a section in the museum that showcased other artworks outside the family and perhaps the grand children's works too. We just don't have the time to ask question for every painting we see.

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After the museum, we set on our way to Angono Petroglyphs. This was probably the hardest part of the trip because it's located on top of the mountain, it's a challenge to get there when you do not have your own vehicle. The direction I saw on the internet is that you have to wait for a pick up truck to hitch on, but again, we don't have the time to wait (and I thought that sounds risky too). We had to haggle with the trike driver to take us there. We had to take 2 trikes and we paid 100/person. The way to get there was developed and is now a subdivision, you actually need a permission to pass by. Che, once again used being a "travel blogger" as an excuse to the security guard. The poor officer had no idea what a blogger is, but when I explained it, it sounded like we're some kind of journalists who are about to feature the Petroglyphs in an online newspaper. Sometimes, using jargons can make you get what you want hehehe.

A side trip from the past, I remember the road, a memory from my childhood. I'm pretty sure I've passed by this road and seen this view before.

Overlooking view of Metro Manila

We have relatives who used to live in Antipolo. My dad's younger brother, Tito Nick. At the time, his family was the closest relatives we know from my father's side, in location and relation. I remember being taken to the movies by Tito Nick and his wife Tita Ruby together with my cousin Aisa and my sister Pipay. We saw "Patched Adams" in Sta. Lucia mall, great movie. On our way home from Cainta, we passed by this road and I remember my uncle explaining that this is the highest peak in Rizal. I was so amazed with the lights of the city, they were just like the pictures in the magazine that I kept and dreamed of going to someday. It was really beautiful at night.

Going back to the Petroglyphs, so the tricycle dropped us at the entrance, which looked rather weird because nobody was there. The place looked deserted. But that was it, that's the farthest the trike can take us.

Photo courtesy of Maja Dera

We had to go through a tunnel then hike our way to the Petroglyphs. It's not much, just a little patience and every hardship is rewarded accordingly.


I was here!!!

The Angono Petroglyphs is the oldest known work of art in the Philippines. The carvings on the rockwall dating back to 3000 BC depicted human and animal figures. The tour guide explained that it was believed that people did not inhabit the area, there were no evidences to prove that. The experts' theory is that early people used the place to worship and offer sacrifices. I remember my professor in History of Arts, who organized taking the class to Angono (which I skipped), wanted to challenge us, if after seeing the carvings, we'd think if it's really the oldest work of art in the Philippines. I dare not defy the experts but I'm sure there are more (probably older) to discover.

The rockwall was declared as a national treasure in 1973. Hence, the area had been protected and spared from the urban development, thank God! The place is a great site for meditation or bird watching. We were lucky to spot a Philippine Eagle-Owl!

Photo courtesy of Cha, Oh hello cutie! In case you go here and you see one, remember to stay quiet and do not use flash when taking picture, it'll scare the poor creature

And now, another challenge is getting out. Because we were going to Tanay after, the trike drivers recommended taking the Antipolo exit. The problem is we have to walk. At first it didn't seem like a problem, the driver explained it in a way that made us believe that from the petroglyphs drop, it's just a few walk to the Antipolo exit. But it's a whole different story when we got there. This was happening high noon. I would like to think that the picture of four ladies on top of a mountain exposed to the intense glimmer of the sun is not right. But these inconveniences are all part of the adventure and I guess it makes everything more fun (in the Philippines, LOL). But here's the real fun part. In the end we had to follow the direction I saw from the net, to hitchhike on a pickup truck, the exit was just too far. I am in no way recommending to hitchhike as I believe that it's a risky measure, specially when you're alone. But I guess doing it in groups, is safe, specially in high noon.

Hitchhiking? More fun in the Philippines!

There are still many galleries and places of interest to check in Angono Rizal that we missed because we had to make time for Tanay (which I'll talk about in a separate post). But I really enjoyed this trip. If you want to spend a day for a historical and cultural exploration, I highly recommend it!

One last obligatory group pic -- Kidd, Janet, Cha and Che

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Updates, updates!!!

Hey y'all what's up? I've been busy this month, but not too busy not to blog about interesting stuff I've done. So far life has been very good. Last week I visited the art capital of the Philippines, Angono Rizal and showed some of my friends my hometown, Tanay. They loved it. I'd like to talk my travel adventures in a separate post so I won't go into that yet. Instead, I'll talk about the things I did in the city.

Last Monday I attended the Unit Asia Jazz concert in SM North EDSA Skydome. I was with Chris, Nagi and Che. The event was organized by JFMO as part of the Nihongo Fiesta 2012 so it was free. Unit Asia by the way are, Hiroyuki Noritake (drums/Japan), Shigeki Ippon (bass/Japan), Tay Chier Siang (piano/ Malaysia), Isao Miyoshi (guitar/Japan), and Koh Mr. Saxman (saxophone/Thailand). This is their second time in the Philippines. I've seen them perform the first time they were here, so I knew that it's a must to see this concert. Let me just say that I'm not exactly a fan of jazz. I mean I like it, but it's the kind of music (for me) that has a time, place and mood requirement for listening. I like it when I'm in coffee shops (which rarely happens now) and reading Murakami books. But the thing about JFMO events is, they never disappoint, at the end of the show, I'm always impressed. I was impressed the first time Unit Asia was here, and I was impressed again this time.


I'm glad that I was with my friends this time, to share the appreciation. My favoritemembers of the group, then and now, were Mr. Saxman (saxophone) and Mr. Miyoshi (guitar). For me, their sound were the most powerful. Mr Saxman, was really playful with his sax and it was really fun to watch. There were tracks they perform with vocals and for that, they always collaborate with Filipino singers. They had Sitti before, this time they had Cooky Chua. They were great choices, but I liked Cooky more, I especially loved the Jazz rendition of "Paglisan". I'd say they performed better this time though I prefer the venue last time (Music Museum).

I'm very sorry for the poor video quality

At the end of the show, Mr. Siang and Mr. Saxman were really nice to come out of the stage to shake hands with the audience. I was able to shake hands with them and I even asked for an autograph, yay!


This Saturday, I booked my day for one thing. Hugo. It's a shame that I've only learned about this film recently. When the Oscars nominees for Best Picture were announced, I immediately checked them. Hugo particularly got me hooked because of the references to automata. I was ecstatic when, one day at the mall, I saw that Hugo will be shown in cinemas. I hoped for an IMAX showing, but sadly, it's only available on Digital 3D. I scheduled my day for the film anyway.

I asked my friend Jam, who works at SM Cinema, for the best Digital 3D cinema to see Hugo and she recommended MOA, so I decided to see it there. Che came along for a totally different agenda, Travel Expo, and I thought, it would be good to check it too since I have upcoming trips. We decided to check the MV Logos Hope floating book fair too so we could maximize the day. Since the book fair venue is the one we're not familiar with, and it opens the earliest, we decided to head there first.


The world's largest floating book fair is currently docked at Pier 15 in South Harbor Manila. It offers 5,000 books at affordable prices. The ship houses 400 volunteers from different countries. Its predecessor, MV Doulos had visited the Philippines many times, but this is my first time to come aboard. When we entered inside, we were ushered to a welcome area to watch a video clip about Logos Hope.


Then we were given instructions how to go around, how to pay. It's a one way navigation, there's no way to get lost, even for people with low sense of direction like me. From the welcome area, you go to the book fair itself, then pay at the cashier or exit. The price is in "units". One unit is equal to one peso.


Most of the books I saw are stuff I never heard of or see at the local bookstores. I didn't see anything from my wishlist. Instead I bought my niece an anatomy book for children and I got me an inflatable globe and Disney Cars and Finding Nemo greeting cards. The next stop is another selection of books, mostly academic text books, then you walk along an interactive exhibit of Hope's Life Experience, it's basically the story of The Prodigal Son, in a modern day perspective.


After the exhibit, there's another watching area, this time video clips showed missions and accomplishment of Logos Hope. Then there's the International Cafe where shoppers can relax and snack. We were pressed on time and we were gonna eat lunch anyway so we skip trying the delicacies. I've read that the ice cream at the cafe were really good, next time, I'll make sure to try that. At the exit, the crews are handing out books for free, but I was trying to limit the things to carry so I declined getting the free books.



Outside Pier 15, we opted to get a cab going to MOA. And what do you know, it's not an easy thing in this part of Manila. There are men who act like disptachers, and force themselves in getting a cab for you. I was like, no thank you I can do this. But man, this guy I encountered was so persistent, I was trying to hail a cab, my friend was trying to hail a cab from a different spot, and he was competing with us just for the sake of doing us a favor for a price. Irksome fellow I tell you. When a cab stopped by, he was so persistent in getting paid. I'd like to point out that it's nowhere close to the hospitality that we pride ourselves. I mean if you're desperate for a job, then find a decent one. I gave him a five peso coin just to make him shut up.

So we went to MOA, we decided to eat at Pizza Hut. We came in lunch time so we had to wait for a table. While waiting, I went to National Bookstore to look for The Invention of Hugo Cabret. I initially scoured the Children's Book area but when I couldn't find it, I tried the customer service, which proved to be a wrong decision. NBS has one of the worst, if not the worst, customer service in the Philippines! I asked the CSR lady for the book, and she looked it up on her computer. She then wrote it on a piece of paper and called for her colleague. She told me that "the system" shows zero stock, but she'll have someone verify it. So after a good 5 minutes, the supposedly verifier came with a look that says, "I was having the perfect dream, why did you wake me up?". Anyway, she took the piece of paper and stared at it for a second, and immediately dismissed that the book out of stock. When an employee of NBS says a book is out of stock, that means you have to look for it yourself. I have lost count how many times it happened to me, but I never learn. Darn! So anyway, I went back to the Children's book section and looked for Hugo once more. And I was right. Man they still have 2 copies in stock. Now that tells me two things about NBS that are not right:

1) They have inefficient customer service; and
2) their inventory records is outdated.

The National Book Store is the largest bookstore chain in the Philippines. Seriously NBS? I wanted to go back to the Customer Service counter to point out that both the computer and the live person were wrong. But I was in a hurry to go back to Pizza Hut, besides, I'm too happy to complain. But one day, those ladies are gonna get it I swear, I'm gonna look for their manager. It's just disappointing, I came from a book fair ran by foreigners. The crew were very nice and friendly, they answered my questions with a warm smile, and they are not getting paid for what they are doing. They are volunteers. And then I go to a local bookstore, the largest chain in the country that prides itself for polite and helpful people, but I get inefficiency and attitude. Never mind the attitude, just do your job right lady.

Okay, going back to the good news, at least I got me a copy of The Invention of Hugo Cabret. Yay!

Book now, movie later. Yay! on Twitpic

And the day wasn't about to end anytime soon, the moment I've been waiting for is about to come!

So we had lunch at Pizza Hut (I'll never get enough of stuffed crust pizza) and I vented all my frustration to my friend (over NBS). We decided to get tickets for the 5:00 PM showing then go to Travel Expo, but when we're almost at the movie house, a long queue of movie goers loomed before us! Apparently, SM Cinema is undergoing an upgrade, so there's only one ticket counter to accommodate all customers. So I told Che that she can go ahead to the Travel Expo and I'll stay on the queue and catch up as soon I get the tickets. It was a good thing that I have the book with me while waiting for my turn. I browsed through Selznick's illustrations. I was just drooling with awe I didn't notice how long I waited. Before I knew it, I have my tickets on my hand already. SM Cinema by the way, is switching the paper tickets into reusable swipe cards, not sure though if that's the upgrade they're talking.

So I went next to the Travel Expo in SMX. There's a P50 entrance fee. I don't know anything about travel deals and booking, I always leave it up to my friend or my sister. My usual role in booking is entering my credit card information. But going to the Travel Expo is another brand new experience. At first, I thought that it'll just be a long line of Travel Agency booths, and it was by the way, but exhibitors are very creative. Too bad that I didn't get to take some pictures because my phone batt was about to drain. But I really liked the presentation of different countries. Each one has a gimmick. Most of the booths' facades are replica of popular architectural structures of the country they represent. Japan has a photo booth and free Japanese food taste and free cups of Pocari Sweat(I got me a cup of that!). Malaysia and China have dance presentations. They give freebies if you like their page on Facebook. While looking around, I couldn't help but wish that anime conventions could be that creative. While our very own country claims that "It's more fun in the Philippines", sadly, the (DOT?) booth didn't justify the slogan. I'm not saying this to criticize DOT, but if you would just compare the tourism campaign of each country based on the booths, it's very obvious why we are not faring in the competition. It's a sad thing. I look at the brochure of Malaysia and I can tell that we can do better. I don't have to be there to say that we have more beautiful beaches here. There's so much room for improvements. But hey, the hype it gave to travel enthusiasts was a good start. I'd like to believe our tourism industry is on the right track. Cynics like me just have to be patient. And because I like keeping souvenirs of events, I hoarded brochures and flyers of different countries hehehe.

By 4:30, Che and I decided to leave the Expo and go to the cinema. It was the moment I've been waiting for. Hugo!!! So, I don't wanna give away too much. All I'm saying is, it's about a boy who has a talent for fixing clockworks and he tries to solve a mystery by fixing the broken automata of a mechanical doll left by his father. I'm not be the best person to give an objective review of the film because of my fascination with automata, but the name Martin Scorsese should be enough to make you watch it. I LOVE the film! In my opinion, it should win the Oscars Best Picture. I mean, I've seen The Artist and I think it's great, but Hugo? Come on, I don't want to use a cliche here, but really, Hugo is a film that literally reminds me why I watch films. I swear you HAVE TO SEE IT. The only thing that made me sad here was the fact that it's not on IMAX.

So anyway, after the seeing the film. My energy started to drop really low. Che and I decided to eat the pizza left overs. We needed to fuel our body. We headed towards the back of the mall (facing the bay) to look for a bench to eat. But luck was on our side again when we realized that all walkway towards the bay side were gated. There's a Pyromusical event and you have to pay before you can get in. On normal days, the place is open to public. We just wanted to sit on a bench and eat pizza, but we have to pay for it too. We got interested in the fireworks anyway so we took the cheapest ticket, which is P100. The countries competing for the night were UK and Spain. I've seen Pyrolympics competition before, but it didn't have the musical component. This time pyropeople or pyromaniacs or whatever you call those who performs the pyros (?) incorporated music while doing the fireworks. I love music but I don't see the use of doing them together. The constant bang of the fireworks doesn't really mesh with the music. Maybe that's how they're being judged because Spain synched the fireworks and music better that UK. I did enjoy at first, but after a while, I just wanted it to end. Maybe it's just my low energy, or the guilt of patronizing an activity that's extremely harmful to the environment. But I swear I'll never watch another pyrolympics or musical or whatever in the future.


Traffic was horrible on our way home. I got home past 12 midnight, I was, once again, awake for more than 30 hours. I feel a tinge of guilt when I do that. I feel like I'm abusing my body. But it happens once in a while, so... zzzz....

I slept for 13 hours! <3 When I woke up, I saw my arms with 3 different stamps. So when my family asked me where I went, I just raised my arm in the air to show them, here --


Wednesday, February 15, 2012


"This has become a big commercial holiday, it seems that companies are trying to make us believe that the more we spend on our loved ones, the more we love them, and I'm not falling for that" - Ellen Degeneres

Yeah! You nailed it girl! I LOVE ED's outfit here, and the message of the monologue I just have to share this.

And... I wanted to talk about Valentine's day. A friend of mine once told me that she doesn't get the fuss over Valentine's day (she's in a relationship for a long time). My automatic response to this was, it's not about the lovers, it's about Saint Valentine, and she said that's the perspective of single people. Not exactly true, but sure I was bluffing. In all honesty, I don't know anything about St. Valentine. I just learned that he's not just one person, but it's a name for 14 martyred saints of ancient Rome (Thank you Wikipedia!). I don't remember Saint Valentine being discussed in my school years. But it's not about him, or them, the celebration has been deleted from the Roman calendar of saints. It's all about love. But, really, what's the hype all about? It's good for business, but to say we celebrate being in love, shouldn't it be an everyday thing?

But what am I to say? By a single person's perspective (and by single person, I mean me), it's just another pressure to date. As another friend (she's single too) had told me, Valentines is singles awareness day. My dilemma is, I'm 29, and you know, the older you get the higher the pressure. Sometimes I get annoyed on people asking when am I getting married, and I'm like, what are you talking about? I'm not even dating. But the good news is, I'm not giving in to any of that. I admit, I sometimes get lonely being alone. Sometimes I listen to love songs and I find myself wishing I have someone to hold. It's a natural thing, but I'm in no way in a hurry to find someone to celebrate Valentine's day with. I always say, in God's time, I'll find it.

Besides, being single have perks, like I don't have to worry about spending, which is great because this is the time of the year that I'm really broke. But then again, celebrating doesn't mean spending. And love is not just for lovers, but also for friends and family and music boxes. :D

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Perfect Day to Turn 29

Yep I just turned 29, last Tuesday. Let me just say this... I love my life. For 29 years, I have nothing but gratitude for all the blessings God gave me. They don't always come as they should, but nevertheless, everything that comes, good or bad is a blessing. That's not to say that I feel complete by the way. I mean, there are still so many pieces missing, but I know that in God's time, I'll find them. I've always believe, that there's a reason and time for everything, I just have to keep on believing.

So yeah, I celebrated my birthday last week. Celebrations are no biggie to me, every year, it's always a subtle and a low key one (except for my 10th birthday) and this year is no exemption. It's not like it's a matter of circumstance. But when your birthday comes after a series of major celebrations, there's not much choice eh? I mean we have Christmas, New Year, Parent's anniversary and then the town fiesta. Really, by early February, we're too tired and broke to prepare for another fete. I'm not a big fan of parties anyway. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy attending parties as long as I'm not the celebrant or the host.

Anyway, here's a breakdown of what my 29th birthday looked like:

I woke up as early as 2 AM, I don't know why, I would have wanted to sleep longer. Maybe it's the price of sleeping at 9 PM or I'm just subconsciously excited. I tried to go back to sleep but failed, so I gave up and checked my phone to read and reply to early greetings. I then went online to check messages and updates. I am grateful, by the way, for all the greetings I received. Long or short, mushy or straight, it just feels great to be remembered.

At 6AM I went to the church to hear mass and thank God. At the end of the mass, the priest called on the birthday celebrants to come forward to receive blessing and a sprinkle of "Holy" water. The church didn't do that when I was a kid, I think it's great, but I didn't come forward. I didn't think it was necessary and I felt blessed anyway, but the main reason I didn't come forward was my shyness. Seriously, 29 years and still haven't gotten over my stage fright. I mean the church goers are mostly old people and I doubt if anybody knows me, but the timid me won't go away. Seriously, I need to get rid of that...

Back at home, I had my breakfast and went online again to download movies. I'm currently checking the movies nominated at the 84th Oscars. That way, I can have better judgement in betting and that should increase my chances of winning. LOL! No really, I just want to check great movies. I hardly get the chance to see a movie, a friend once told me that I'm missing a lot of great movies of my generation, and I agree, there's a lot of catching up to do.

By lunch time, I got a not so unexpected visitor. Dindee called me earlier and asked for a treat. I told her if she comes to my house, I'll give her a treat. She's not the woman you can bluff a dare, she'll definitely do it. Not that I'm bluffing, I'm glad she came. I took her to one of the popular restaurants in Tanay, (Halamanan) to have lunch. I urged her to visit Regina Rici, as it is the newest place of interest in Tanay. We did try to check it, but as luck may have it, the place is closed on Tuesdays. But Dindee is such a road trip junkie, she immediately thought of something to check. She said that she had always wanted to go to Hinulugang Taktak falls in Antipolo, and because I had nothing else to do, I immediately said yes.

Despite the fact that Antipolo is just 30-45 minutes away from Tanay, I've never been to Hinulugang Taktak. My knowledge of this place is just as long as the chorus of the song "Tayo Na Sa Anitpolo" goes. Dindee said that she's been there when she was a kid, but can't remember a thing about it. Even before seeing, I've read a some bad reviews about it, and you can't blame them. The moment I entered, I smelled something unpleasant. But when I finally saw it, I thought it wasn't as bad as I expected.


However, as I got near the falls, I understood where the smell was coming from and the sight made me squint.


A thick layer of soap suds! I saw worse pictures on the web where there's an overwhelming presence of garbage in the plunge pool. I guess I'm lucky not to see them on my visit, but those suds do not belong there either. It's not surprising, after all, the water is from the downriver of Antipolo city. Oh the price of progress -sigh- Anyway, if you've ever been there, and have seen it during its hey days, count yourself lucky. The place is a sad reminder of the people's irresponsible treatment of the environment. There is hope, if you are from this city, do your part to help. Be responsible earthlings!

So we checked the place for a bit and headed home afterwards. By the time we got back, it was just about time for the sunset. Dindee had to leave. I saw her off then I rushed to the dike with my bike to see the sunset.


Living close to Laguna bay has perks, like being able to see the gorgeous sunset. You don't need a high end camera to capture a picturesque scene. Unfortunately for me, working in the city prevents me from doing it on a "want to" basis.

I ended my celebration with a dinner with my family in our favorite restaurant near the lake shore. It was also a favorite venue for reunions among balikbayans (overseas Filipinos). We had sinigang soup, fried Dalag, grilled Liempo and Pancit. My mom made me my favorite fiesta delicacy, Buko salad, which was great. No cake nor ice cream. Like I said, a low key, but a great one. It could have been better if only Richard, Oliver, Rosavel and Cherie were there. But of course, they have valid reason not to be there and it's acceptable.

I'd say it was a perfect day to turn 29. There was a time in my life when I decided to celebrate my birthday alone so I can get used to it when I grow old. That was really silly when I think about it now. Thank God I changed!

Next year, my 30th year, is something to look forward. Even though I said that I prefer low key celebrations, the big "O" should be an exemption.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Hello February!

Guess what? It's my birthday tomorrow and I won't let the month pass by without posting my wishlist. It's an obligatory post you know, for me and the people who love me. Well, mainly for me. Come on, it's not gonna hurt to know what I'd like to get on my 29th birthday would it?

So, without further ado, here goes!

Music Box (that plays)
  • The Entertainer
  • Ave Maria
  • Auld Lang Syne
  • Aeris Theme :D
  • Ice Castles theme
  • Hear the Wind Sing by Haruki Murakami
  • Pinball, 1973 by Haruki Murakami
  • The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
  • Love Ellen by Betty Degeneres
  • The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
  • Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
  • Handle With Care by Jodi Picoult
  • Kaiyodo Revoltech Kenshin Himura figure (red)
  • Megahouse 1/8 Kenshin Himura figure (blue)
  • socks
See, pretty simple eh? I'm not that hard to please after all.

I've already got me an advance present. I got me my very first DIY music box. I got this from a Japanese auction. It's a 20 note music box.



I am aware that I can't afford the rare music boxes that I've been drooling on for so long (I'm talking to you Final Fantasy music boxes). So this DIY music box is the next best thing. Now all I need is a paper roll template to play those Nobuo Uematsu songs. The kit that I got, as you can see, is a Hello Kitty merchandise and that's a big plus. Some of the DIY music boxes I see are just skeleton, I got a box with Hello Kitty design! It also includes 5 paper strips, 2 of them are pre-punched, one has the arrangements for Happy Birthday song, which is very timely. You know what that means:

It's lovely. I showed it to some of my relatives and they liked it. Now all I have to worry is looking for the music templates, then I can start punching.