Saturday, July 31, 2004
Friday, July 30, 2004
What do you mean you have to go?!
Contrary to what critics say, I found Around the World in 80 Days to be fun and very entertaining. I'm not sure how much of the original story has been changed since all I know about the story came from watching old cartoons shown in TV. British actor Steve Coogan's Phileas Fogg is a joy to watch, a laid back Stan Laurel to Jackie Chan's Oliver Hardy in Passepartout. This time Director Frank Coraci's adaptation of Jules Verne's classic has Fogg as an eccentric man of a science who longs to break free from the sameness that present science has to offer. He longs to see things yet to be invented like machines that could help man fly, electricity illuminating the night sky, modes of transportation without the help of horses and other beasts of burden, etc. That's why when the opportunity rose up for him to head the Royal Academy of Science through a wager between him and the head of the Academy, Lord Kelvin (Jim Broadbent) that he could travel around the world in 80 days then the vaunted position would be his but if not his house would be demolished and he would be barred from inventing anything ever again. So off they went to fulfill a quest and on their first stop the way they were joined by the lovely and headstrong Monique (Cecile De France). She's a coatcheck girl cum frustrated artist who became enamored with the idea of seeing the world on a whim. Also on the duo's first stop in France you'd see three familiar impressionist painters peering from the background, two in the art salon and one in the bordello. I'm not sure if there are others but the three painters shown were Henri Matisse, Vincent Van Gogh, and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.
Half of the funnies and most of the visual treats come from Jackie Chan's trademark martial arts stunts which he still performs with much aplomb though I miss the old stunts he did in his previous movies. And all in the spirit of fun, various actors and actresses have made cameo appearances throughout the whole movie playing an assortment of oddball characters like Arnold Schwarzenegger as the egotistical art collector, Prince Hapi of Turkey who commissioned reknowned sculptor Auguste Rodin to do a customized version of "The Thinker" for his birthday, the villainess General Fang played with glee by Hong Kong actress Karen Mok, Sammo Hung Kam-Bo appeared as the leader of the mysterious 10 Tigers and brother of Jackie Chan, Macy Gray as a sleeping French woman, Rob Schneider as a hobo in San Francisco who has a creative way of panhandling, Luke and Owen Wilson as the Wright Brothers in their pre-airplane invention days, Mark Addy as the captain of the steamer en route back to England, John Cleese the skeptical sergeant of the Bobby, and Kathy Bates as Queen Victoria. Even Director Coraci couldn't resist appearing as an English pedestrian. I just didn't like the absence of real danger from the villain. Lord Kelvin was bad enough and Karen Mok's character just doesn't cut it at all, all she does is parade around like a refugee from the Chinese theater. In fact the whole production could have done away with the Chinese General (the confrontation scenes in China and New York feels overdone) and not be affected by the lack of one character. Not that the movie suffers at all, aside from the usual slow moments involving the cliché scenes of betrayal-of-trust-between-two-friends-progressing-to-a-joyful-reconciliation-before-the-big-finale and Jackie's stereotyped role as an-emissary-from-a-village-in-China-sent-to-the-West-to-bring-back-a-stolen-treasure which is really getting old, the whole thing was one big enjoyable ride. Just keep your eyes peeled for famous historical personalities and events scattered throughout the whole film. Like this one trivia which is tied up with the movie: There is a Lord Kelvin who headed the The Royal Society - The UK National Academy of Science from 1890-1895. His whole name was Sir William Thomson Kelvin and though he wasn't related in any way to Queen Victoria, he formulated the Law of Thermodynamics and a refrigerator brand was named after him.
* Check out also the review in Hollywood Jesus for more insightful reactions to this great movie.
Thursday, July 29, 2004
We left the place past midnight and there are already some plans to do another one a couple of weeks from now. The gathering of artists might be regular one if things work out more than we expected. Hopefully that's another thing we all could look forward to in the coming months ahead.
Wednesday, July 28, 2004
I'm not a fan of Ran-ma 1/2. Nope. Not one bit. Not one iota or a smidgen. Any similarities with Ms. Takahashi's anime is just one big coincidence. Yup.
* West Side is published weekly in Philippine News.
Tuesday, July 27, 2004
Monday, July 26, 2004
Sunday, July 25, 2004
For the longest time I've been living in an area that lacks description. It's neither here nor there and though sometimes it's the most comfortable place in the world being a place of rest one should follow the general rule of not staying there more than one ought to. One runs the peril of being average if he or she does so. They who stay absorb the character of the place themselves leaving no sense of individuality and no better than a pack of lemmings running with no goal nor direction in mind. Blind following blind, dictating upon themselves their own sense of what's right and what's wrong. Changing the landscape to suit the mood of the moment but in reality those changes were only in their fevered minds. Mistakes were covered with more mistakes and they called it good. Morals slowly moved its polarity shifting from right to left. Everyone applauded everyone and they patted each other on the back. This is the world I've been living in no matter how much I denied it. I dare not participate in their exercises nor did I lift a finger to speak what it is in my mind. At best I am a fence sitter. Like an orchestra slowly building in crescendo the voice of God constantly calls me to step down and continue the race I left behind. He calls me every time. Unrelenting in His pursuit. Uncompromising in His ways yet gentle enough to drive all fears away. Bringing light to show me the nothingness that I intently observed. But I've been staring at nothing for so long I found it hard to turn away. "Train my ears to your voice," I pleaded in shame whenever my guilty conscience finds me. God still chooses to ever so gently whispers that at times the background cacophony of chaos threatened to drown it out like a siren calls men to their death. With ever increasing patience, God still calls and I hear its sweet sweet symphony stirring a longing I have long forgotten. Mayhap tis' now time I heeded the call, took His hand and ran away from this place called forgetful.
Saturday, July 24, 2004
Friday, July 23, 2004
Another set of funny strips from Speed Bump whose humor reminds me of this one panel strip from the 50s or 60s (my uncle has two books compilations of this strip but the title escapes me now). The dinosaur strip came out the other day while the "Mozart" and zombie strip came out last July 14 and July 11 respectively.
Thursday, July 22, 2004
After last year's Batman: Dead End fan film which made headlines at the San Diego Comic Con, now comes Grayson. The movie's also done in the same dark, brooding atmosphere that true blue Dark Knight fans have come to love. The summary goes thus far:
"Gotham's Son Returns! Two decades after the golden age of superheroes has passed, hope has abandoned Gotham City. Corruption has infected Gotham's highest levels of power and led to the death of its greatest champion. Now, former boy wonder, Dick Grayson, will emerge from the shadows of retirement to avenge the murder of his legendary mentor."Watch out for the appearances of Superman (Alex Ross' version), Wonder Woman, Batgirl, Green Lantern, Joker, Penguin, and The Riddler. Movie's available only online; Running time is 5:27 minutes (Requires Quicktime 6.3). Written, produced, and directed by John Fiorella.
Wednesday, July 21, 2004
Everyone's a comedian. I'm going to explore this more in future "Super-sized" storylines for this strip.
* West Side is published weekly in Philippine News.
Dad and mom being cozy together.
My brother looks shocked at the potential amount that will be reflected on the bill.
Shot of the lights reflected on the soup taken by my brother.
I moved at the last second but this shot still came out great.
Indulging in a little "surreal" portrait.
View from inside the drinking glass.
Pooped out from watching cable.
I took lots of shots inside the bathroom owing to the good lighting, mirrors, black and white floor tiles and marbled walls. Something about all these sent lots and lots of creative juices sloshing through the noggin. Me and the sibs went home around past midnight after getting our fill of the room.
Tuesday, July 20, 2004
We saw the Imelda movie last night in Glorietta 4, good two nights ahead of the general populace. The film started after several loops of the cinema's happy-happy joy-joy soundtrack which annoyed the crowd composed of expats and hoity-toity groups. The documentary's very good and very informative. I didn't know that Imelda's aunt and grade school teacher were still alive and very spritely as they gamely answered questions as to what the former First Lady was like as a kid. And revealing answers they did provide, giving the viewers bits of anecdotes here and there about her fantasies of being a princess or at least an awareness of her "importance" at such an early age. Not to say that her family was well-off rather she grew up in poverty. One anecdote they recalled told of a story about this one time she went to school wearing a dress made of discarded parachute. She was pleased to show off her dress since it felt and looked like a dress made out of silk. One of the really interesting stories she herself told was sometime during the 1930s when she was invited by Gen. Douglas McArthur to sing before his guest, Irving Berlin. She sang "God Bless the Philippines" to his surprise and when he told her that she got it all wrong, she insisted that she was right because those were the words her teachers taught them. Mr. Berlin told her that she was wrong because the song was really called "God Bless America" and that he was the one who composed it. So what he did next, as she recalled, was to go to a corner by himself for twenty minutes and composed a new song for her to sing in an inauguration or something. That's something that doesn't happen everyday. Another incident that hews closer to home was the botched assassination attempt on Imelda which everyone is talking about. I recently learned as it was revealed to us by my dad last week over dinner, that the assassin was his cousin and that he was held in Camp Crame along with the other businessmen (holding a bazaar within the Nayong Filipino Park at the time) right after the incident for suspicions of complicity. This piece of news both a source of pride and shame for all of us. I don't know what to feel about all this, but I guess it's okay to bring it out in the open. I won't talk about Imelda's reaction to the incident. I was just dumbfounded about her deadpan humor about the whole thing. If, it was intended as a joke like she says.
As far as documentaries go, this one continually entertains and is never, ever boring at all. It opens the eyes and minds of the viewers, affirming our worst fears and suspicions about the Marcoses themselves right from the horse's mouth. Like, did the former President Ferdinand Marcos create Imelda or did Imelda create Ferdinand Marcos? What's with the "Seven Portals of Peace and Order"? Can you apply the "Pac Man Theory" to yourself? Is the link between Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and the internet valid? Where does she get these wacky ideas? Would you pity Fr. Reuters for listening to Imelda talk for four hours straight (minus the video about her talking about the same topics) if he got six pounds of Hersheys chocolate in return? But in the middle of this sea of irony you can find two poignant scenes where for a brief moment the viewer is afforded a glimpse of sobriety. In both quiet scenes she talks about her love for Ferdinand and how much he loved her in return. In both instances I guess it's perfectly okay to excuse yourself for feeling for her. I wouldn't join the popular chorus of laughter and mockery after watching this film. If at all it afforded me a glimpse into her sense of reality. For how could I laugh at someone living inside a bubble? Laughing at her would be bordering on the cruel. It's a pity indeed those she took into her confidence didn't have the nerve to pop her protective bubble of a world when they had the chance. I just hope and pray to God that He would send someone or something that would open her eyes before it's too late. Another thing, what if Ramona Diaz continued to train her camera on other colorful characters like say, Kris Aquino? I'm sure she wouldn't mind talking about herself and her mind before the camera nor would she petition the court to put an injunction against the showing of the movie. That would be something. Or better yet, no.
Monday, July 19, 2004
Sunday, July 18, 2004
Saturday, July 17, 2004
Carl and Hector strike a pose while Az was caught unawares.
"Akala mo ikaw lang may dalang camera?"
Lady Gabe sings Annie Lennox's Academy Award winning ditty "To The West"
Miao tests his invention - the Kare-kare Sandwich.
"Stop it na! Yan o you're making me blush na!"
Ricky, me, Hector, Gabe, Az, Miao, Carl (partly hidden) and...
The party was capped with dancing to beats from the 70s up to the 90s. Out of the many people in our table only Az and Gabe were getting jiggy with the others on the dance floor. I haven't danced at all since high school nor do I have any plans to embarrass myself in the coming years.
Now the bad news: I never expected someone to try and outbid me at the last hour sending the original price right through the roof. No, let me correct that... right through the sky and into the edge of the universe! While I am glad I put double of the original amount as a security thing just in case someone tries to outbid me at the last minute I didn't expect the whole thing to cost as much. Sure it'll blow up a huge chunk of dough out of the money I've saved but then again who am I to complain? I've got one of the best collectible pieces in the whole world!
Woooooohoooooooooooo!!! I can't wait till it gets here!
Friday, July 16, 2004
Rollan only recently joined the mailing list after a very long absence and he's excited to see the large number of artists involved these days as opposed to the older group. He's now working as an Art Director in one of the ad agencies there and in wanting to meet the others in the group, even online, he suggested that we post pictures of the new members. That's when I remembered I had a group picture of the group's core members in my hard drive:
Standing from left: Nelz, me, Divine, Lyndon, and Rollan; seated from left: Janet and Jo.
This was taken last February 2000 during VCF's Singles Valentime Party at the Makati Sports Club. Sporting a goatee hadn't yet entered my mind nor dyeing my hair blue. Anyway, in the course of our conversation he opened his idea of having his short story illustrated, published, and sold locally. In order to pick the right person to illustrate his short story he opened the idea of holding a contest exclusive to the group. He was nice enough to leave the details of the contest to me and Az and Lyndon to work on. I don't have a clear idea how to go about it as of now but I'm really excited about the whole idea of proposing a project to showcase the talents of the members of this group. He also sent some screen captures from one the old meetings in Perk 21 that we taped on camera:
Ojie (left) signs out while Janet (right) sings her heart out for the camera.
Nelz and Lyndon (left); We always took a long time saying our goodbyes after the meetings (right).
Fluxx with a new haircut (left) while Az laughs at his own bisyonen joke (right).
Ryan (left) wonders if the images would be used in a hentai site; Lyndon gives a thumbs up to the meeting.
Me with a thin mustache and goatee (left) and Rollan's semi-kalbo head (right).
Also among the pictures he sent were a bunch of pictures of their band Dyip. The band was an early pet project of the group and the members composed of Rollan (bass guitar), Jo (songwriter/vocals), and Agong (songwriter/accoustic guitar) did original songs that defy categorization. Well except maybe for the general term indie or underground music. These shots were taken right after the meeting and in it they were talking about what the group was about, its goals and its music. They plan to get together again for a short while to cut a limited CD album. That is if things go according to plan.
Thursday, July 15, 2004
We like calling this "chocolate bread" even if it's not.
Nice view of the condotels from the Starbucks ledge.
Hotel Intercontinental where high school peeps from the 80s had their proms.
This Foxtrot strip that came out in today's paper had me guffawing loud enough to wake the dead.
Well not really but it's hilarious.
Wednesday, July 14, 2004
There might be some confusion as to how the panels go, so just follow these instructions so you won't get lost: first panel---> uppermost top right panel---> panel below it---> upper-bottom left panel---> lower bottom left panel---> upper-right bottom panel---> panel below it. Got it? In any case there are lots more fates worse than being forced to watch The Mighty Ducks 1-3. Like being forced to watch Glitter or Shanghai Surprise movies for three straight days.
* West Side is published weekly in Philippine News.
Tuesday, July 13, 2004
Monday, July 12, 2004
Sunday, July 11, 2004
Depending on the type of crowd you're hanging out with high school can either be a trumatic period you wouldn't want to go back to or it could be a time of über coolness that you's be reminiscing over and over again. That's the premise the movie Mean Girls means to explore. The movie is fun and though it tries to follow closely in the tradition of Heathers and Clueless it can't quite keep up with the pace its two predecessors have set in terms of unforgettable characters and memorable lines. The story revolves around Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan), the daughter of two zoologists who recently moved back to America after spending considerable time in Africa. Cady has been home-schooled most of her life so her attending high school in a real school was a real shocker to say the least. The first day of school was filled one blunder after another and all she got was a lot of laughs and embarrassing situations with the teachers. It was better on the second day when she got to meet two social pariahs Janis (Lizzy Caplan) and Damian (Daniel Franzese) who befriended her in class. Lunch time of that same day she was befriended by the most popular group in school headed by Regina George (Rachel McAdams), Gretchen Wieners (Lacey Chabert), and Karen Smith (Amanda Seyfried). They were curious about the new girl in school and invited her to hang out with them. Cady had no intention of hanging around the "plastics" (as they were called in school) but her two friends thought it brilliant opportunity for one of them to infiltrate the ranks of their enemies. Eventually what started out as a spy mission that would divide and conquer the clique changed course in the middle of the plan. Cady was betrayed by Regina and thus the fight became personal and instead of getting them to fight each other in a web of deception, she only turned Gretchen and Karen against their "queen bee" and took over the throne. Her friends were aghast at her transformation and tried to pull her out before it was too late but before they could do so a series of chain reaction set off by her insubordination was started, opening a can of worms that affected not only the two warring groups but the faculty and the whole school as well.
I really could sympathize with Cady's situation as the new kid in school. I myself had a really bad time during my senior year in high school when I transferred to a new school. Having spent most of my school life in an exclusive school for boys (and being at the bottom rung of the social ladder) I thought things couldn't get any worse than what I've been through. I was wrong big time. First, having very little to no experience with the girls I didn't know how to relate to them at that very awkward stage of my life which equaled to me feeling very small. Then I was unfortunate enough to be the laughing spud boy of the bullies in that school (when you're a senior bully, all freshie, sophomore, and junior bullies bow down to you). It was the longest nine months in school I ever had. That was the first time I felt social pressure for one to constantly perform up to the "dictated" par set by the populars and bullies. I dunno if I would have taken the same path Cady did but this I know, and, I don't mean to brag, but years after graduation I know I have the easiest time of them all now. Back to the movie, I don't have any idea how close it hews to the actual experience in American high schools but I guess it has to follow a certain comedic high school tradition like that of Pretty In Pink, Sixteen Candles, Parker Lewis Can't Lose, Freaks & Geeks, etc. Girls play as hard like the guys but the difference is that they're more subtle in their actions and, dare I say, even deadlier than their counterparts. The book has its roots in a book called Queen Bees & Wannabes that serves to help parents understand the social hierarchy in schools today. After all this generation's a lot meaner than the previous one so there's very little comparison to the "old days." There are lot of funny moments but underneath it all the movie also dwells on the price of popularity, the confession of shallow levels pop culture has spawned in today's generation, and the teenage perception of adult as clueless folks with their heads wrapped too tightly with their own business. I like it a lot, though movie ends up conveniently enough with everyone forgiving every one and everyone finding their own place in the general scheme of things, it wouldn't hurt a bit to show the main characters getting the brunt of the consequences of what they did from parental authority. It just seems as though Cady's parents let her her off very easily right after that prom speech about having lessons learned. But all in all, it's really good and something I myself would recommend the others to watch.
* Check out also the review in Hollywood Jesus for more insightful reactions to this great movie.
After a nice feast, I apologized that we had to leave early. His wife was a gracious hostess and I told my friend Edgar that we have to get together one time and catch up on a lot of things. Then we went straight to the funeral parlor at the Manila Memorial Park. It was my first time to get inside and I must it's a really beautiful place and I should plan a visit one day to take pictures. Once inside the funeral parlor we were met by Marj's older brother A.D. who is Abi's officemate and co-scriptwriter. We gave our condolences to the grieving mother before taking a peek inside the casket. Then we sat down and got the whole story about what happened from A.D. It turns out that what started out as a diagnosis for dengue turned to anemia in one hospital turned out to be pneumonia complicated by leukemia when they got another opinion in another (better) hospital. It all happened so quickly they never expected things to turn out for the worse, even Marj herself expected herself to recover. Some thirty minutes later, Rey, another PExer and friend came to visit. I had been in communication with him the night before, exchanging text messages about what happened. He was in Baguio at the time and he cut his trip short to be able to attend the wake with us. We left the place an hour and a half later so Abi could still catch the 5 p.m. Sunday service in Galleria. On the way there Abi told me that what she initially thought (an impression given her by other people who know him) that A.D. was an atheist turned out to be false. He's still a Christian although he doesn't like attending church services after everything he went through. What happened was, he had a lot of questions about his faith and what he believed in but everytime he would ask them from his discipleship leader he would be rebuffed and his questions would be ignored. He got a lot of indifferent reactions from other leaders in different churches which he thought would help him. He dropped off the church circuit after that. That's when I brought up the idea for putting up a discipleship group exclusively for artists since we have different needs and wave length from other people. I heard one of his questions and I didn't think it was absurd. This guy was hungry for deeper things and had had enough of the "surface faith." While I guess those leaders he asked before had their reasons for doing what they did, the best thing they should have done was to refer him to someone who knows how to answer his questions instead of leaving him in the dark. Abi promised me to help establish another get-together sometime after the wake on Thursday.
Saturday, July 10, 2004
I was very stunned to say the least and I didn't understand the message at first. So I replied and asked what the person meant with that message (plus I didn't know at the time who was this person sending the message). I got another message after a couple of minutes:
Marj Ho's (p0werpuffgirl) wake starts tonite at bonifacio chapel inside manila memorial park along sucat paranaque. patxt po wen u plan 2go. sabay ako. pls ack.
abi of vcf gale, n pexer, too. m referring 2 marj whose username in pex s powrpfgrl. rmmbr her? she died 2day of leukemia.Marj was one of the few friends I first met online. We first got to know each other in the PinoyExchange.com message board three years ago. She was still living in Vancouver, Canada and over time we and a couple of others took our chat beyond the confines of the site and would often have an online conference yakking and chatting about the mundane and the profound. She barely got out of high school at the time and had to defer going to college for a while due to financial constraints. In the meantime she took a job in one of the fastfood joints and supported her younger brother's schooling. We often encouraged each other and she would often open up and discuss matters of the heart which was lolling between infatuation and friendship towards another close friend we also met online. She would often tell us that she's reading Josh Harris' I Kissed Dating Goodbye and in between gushing how cute the author was she told us the impact it was having on her life. Then one day she told us that she has decided to remain friends with him and pray that God would lead him to open his heart and receive Jesus as his Lord and Savior. It was a big step and a brave one at that but more importantly she told us she had no regrets with her decision. Those days were a big trial for her as the journey often lead to a steep uphill climb but it was her faith and fervent wish that he would be where we were someday.
About a year after that, she went here to stay for good since she felt she was being called on a mission trip to minister to her family. She went to school in De La Salle University and attended the VCF Church in Alabang, then Galleria. We finally met in one of the EBs organized by the PExers (netizens of PinoyExchange.com) and again in the succeeding outings by Christian PExers who wanted to organize a regular Bible study. We drifted apart after a while and didn't get to see much of each other online. Last month Abi sent me a private message to inform me and a few others that Marj was in the hospital because of Dengue but she was feeling better and the nose bleeding had stopped. She was asking for prayers for Marj's full recovery. I did pray for her but I thought nothing of it. I know healthy adults like Marj could survive this bout of Dengue. That was the last I've heard about her until tonight. Honestly I'm a little envious of her right now. Not because she already left the cares of this world behind, but because of the fact that she's enjoying the company of the Savior she loves. I know it's weird but I wish i could ask her right now what Heaven looks like and what she did she do when she first arrived there? How does food taste in Heaven? What's the smell of Heaven? There's a million and one questions I want to ask you right now but I guess it would be better for me to see it for myself one day.
These people all died controlled and sustained by their faith, but not having received the tangible fulfillment of [God's] promises, only having seen it and greeted it from a great distance by faith, and all the while acknowledging and confessing that they were strangers and temporary residents and exiles upon the earth. Now those people who talk as they did show plainly that they are in search of a fatherland (their own country). If they had been thinking with [homesick] remembrance of that country from which they were emigrants, they would have found constant opportunity to return to it. But the truth is that they were yearning for and aspiring to a better and more desirable country, that is, a heavenly [one]. For that reason God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them. (AMP)Thanks Marj. Be seeing you!
Friday, July 09, 2004
Wednesday, July 07, 2004
Those familiar to the popular 80s American comic strip Bloom County would probably find traces of one of them classic strips and pelt me with tomatoes for being so unoriginal. Well, I apologize. I had my back against the wall and I still hadn't fixed the build up and punchline of the strip. I swear on the hairs of Bill the Cat's chinny chin chin it won't happen again. I promise.
* West Side is published weekly in Philippine News.
Tuesday, July 06, 2004
Monday, July 05, 2004
Sunday, July 04, 2004
Earlier today, right after the morning service at The Fort, we fetched Harold at Ate Emmie's place to be able to start reshooting Kris' part in the group's AVP. The AVP's actually 92% finished, it just needs a little tweaking here and there. Besides, being a Fil-Am group that hopes to highlight the Filipino's creativity they thought it would be nice to show a familiar Manila landmark as a backdrop in contrast to the others' backdrop showing downtown San Francisco and the SF Bay. We were already set to start filming when two security guards stopped us from doing so and told us taking videos around Luneta Park is illegal and a permit should be secured before doing so. I don't know about taking photos but we're thinking "What the- Is this some kind of parody for the 9/11 thing?" like an Abu Sayaff member would commandeer a Philippine Airlines or Cebu Pacific plane and crash it on top of the Rizal Monument? We were directed to the office of the head honcho at the other side of the park and what they told us was that they had bad experiences in the past when people would take videos of the Rizal Monument and use it to put down the country or something. Something like Michael Moore taking shots of the White House and using it in Farenheit 9/11 or something. Before we left the place we drove by the monument two times taking guerilla shots of park. I suggested we try the Remedios Circle and the Bay Walk along Roxas Boulevard but there still wasn't enough outstanding features for it to be recognizable as Manila. Harold said that he wants a shot of the cityscape of Manila with its requisite tall buildings. That's when Kris had the brilliant idea to shoot inside Fort Bonifacio where a nice view of the cityscape of Ortigas Center could be seen in the distance. We went there and got to set up the shoot near the Filipino-American World War II Cemetery. The whole thing took many takes because Kris kept fumbling his lines. Then we looked for a Jeepney terminal where we could shoot the whole thing again as an alternative to the cityscape shots. We finished shooting around 3:40 p.m. and we brought Harold to the bus station in Pasay. He was going to join May (who went ahead of him earlier that morning) and her dad in Olongapo and from there they would be catching a flight back to San Francisco tomorrow night at 10:30 p.m. I'm going right to sleep right after this. Never mind dinner.
Saturday, July 03, 2004
After leaving Greenhills, we dropped Jo off in Pasay and we went ahead to the lone commercial area in Macapagal Avenue (I forgot what's it called) to meet up with Harold's cousin, Ate Emmie and her family. Originally, I thought we were going to be dining out in Dampa near the airport but Pantalan Maynila was suggested so off we went. Harold's nephew, Keg rode with us in the car and we all had a great time getting acquainted with each other. He's a lively kid at fourteen, very vivacious and knowledgeable about a lot of things. We learned later that his schoolmates tended not to pull their punches and called him names, so he prefers the company of adults more. There was a good flow of conversation that time practically flew by without us noticing that it was already late in the evening.
Ate Emmie, Kuya Rommel, May, Harold, me, Kris, and Keg
While earlier today we woke up extra early to fetch Harold so we could sit down with Mowelfund's Chairman Nick Deocampo to discuss a possible partnership between the two companies with regards to one of the major projects The Filament has. We had a hard time finding where Mowelfund is in New Manila. Everyone we asked, it seems, had different ideas where the street we're looking for was located. Or they didn't have any idea at all. At the time it was like looking for a needle in the haystack and it's as if went in every street available in the area. When we found the place, we were about six minutes late for our appointment. But it didn't matter much since it also slipped Mr. Deocampo's mind and with profuse apologies through the phone, he asked that we meet in a nearby café called Green Eggs and Blue Bacon (or is it the other way around?). It's a quaint little café cum resto that caters to the artsy-fartsy types.
When Mr. Deocampo arrived, my brother Kris opened the discussion with a little bit of background of the group and asking some questions about the history of Mowelfund. We let Mr. Deocampo talk about the reasons that led to the foundation's establishment (we found out that "Mowelfund" means "Movie Workers Welfare Foundation", interesting eh?), how it manages to survive, all the film projects and festivals they've handled and the deplorable state of local cinema. After getting all the information out in the open, Harold opened the group's proposal for a possible partnership with the foundation. Mr. Deocampo seems impressed with the goals laid out before him and told us to pass the necessary papers for review. Then he offered to take us on a tour of Mowelfund's building while telling us the plans for the upper floors which are as yet unfinished.
Nick Deocampo exlaining plans for the different floors.
When we left the place to go to Ate Emmie's place (where Harold and May are staying for the meantime) we discussed everything that had just transpired and we were all in agreement that everything's good and the possibilities for the success of this partnership are endless. It's just a matter of discussing it with the other members of the group. We ate our lunch there and afterwards Harold showed us one of the documentaries he's directed and one of the group's first project about Filipinos in America (I'm keeping my lips zipped about this project but the idea is so good and so inspiring that even Mr. Deocampo himself was interested in securing the rights to showing it in the next indie film festival here). We made our critiques about the documentary and Harold agrees that the editing still needs work. Then afterwards he and May got ready to attend the Film Academy Awards Night at the CCP. One of his best friends here secured two invitations to the formal event. We dropped them off near the entrance and he told us to get ready later since we might be going out again to check out the clubs for a taste of the famous Manila nightlife. I'll be needing all the hours I could get from hereon to catch up on my sleep.
Friday, July 02, 2004
Thursday, July 01, 2004
The tour started after a bank errand (those people behind the counter need to realize that they need to start moving in real time!) we first went to the Powerplant Mall in Rockwell Center to have our lunch. On the way there Harold took a shot of one of the most notorious landmarks we have along EDSA - the pink urinals. He took a video of this little curiosity for a few minutes while we waited inside the car. Then afterwards he went down again and took another shot of the Joya Lofts and Towers where they're looking to buy or rent a unit after seeing it promoted in the Bay Area. We took them to the basement area where majority of the restaurants were located. We picked a Mediterranean resto since they wanted something different and the others were already too crowded. Then we transferred to the store next door for dessert before going upstairs to check out the Joya Loft showroom. We were properly impressed with what we saw and Harold's resolve to get one for the group was firmly cemented. Then we checked out this nearby optical shop and they were floored by the extreme affordability of them prescription glasses (around $70 compared to the $400-$700 back home). They spent a good amount of time picking out the ones they like before going upstairs to buy advance tickets to the Spider-man 2 movie showing.
Afterwards, they brought me home to help with some chores while they proceeded to go to Greenhills to buy some stuff they needed back home. They didn't get back till after four hours later and in between the powerline in this neighborhood kept going out like crazy (storms can do funny things to the powerline). We went out again with one and half hours to spare for dinner. Since Harold have been hearing a lot about the nightlife in Eastwood City, Libis we thought it be more appropriate to have our dinner there. We picked a resto called Something Fishy which, according to my brother, has a proven fast service compared to the others.
Full fishy diners (left to right): me, my brother Kris, Harold, and May
After dinner we raced back to the Powerplant Mall to catch the last showing of Spider-man 2. The credits were already rolling when we got in and missed some of the earlier Alex Ross art being shown. The movie's more than great and we were raving about it and we also talked about the planned sequel/s for the film (I read before that actor Tobie Maguire signed up for 2 movies so I'm not sure if there's going to be a 4th movie). By then it was nearly midnight and we took them home to Harold's cousin's house in Las Piñas where they're staying during the duration of their stay in Manila. On the way their we talked about various projects that The Filament could get into, his network of friends working in the SFX field in Hollywood, and my inclusion in their coregroup (YEHEY!!!). After that we went home happy as a clam and very excited about future prospects in this group.