Travels

Tango Flamenco

December 8th, 2009

on My Reading Table

November 13th, 2009

Was it Randy David who mentioned in one of his articles that a person’s uncanny tendency to acquire passion towards any thing such as towels, clothes, or shoes actually mirrors past deprivation?

I keep a trove of magazines, books, newspapers, manuals, even old notebooks and folders. This at a time when e-books are in vogue! Sorry but I still prefer flipping pages from cover to cover. I get high on the smell of a newly-purchased reading material. There’s one set rule though as far as my precious belongings are concerned: nobody touches them, unless one is looking for body aches and pain or wants to get hurt. They should be where I placed them since I have a habit of reading every time I’m using the restroom, sipping coffee in the morning, or before bedtime.  When a harried expression from Jun greets me, I simply hum Lady Gaga’s  p-p-p-poker face. Good thing the husband doesn’t smoke. Otherwise, God forbid, when flaming piles of papers ravage the entire household, I’ll be roasted and I can’t imagine a picture of me splashed on the newspaper looking like some oversized lechon!

books In a corner of my room is a small table piling with national dailies. I dont have the heart throw the old ones. Let them collect dusts and cobwebs. Who knows, spiderman junior may just be born there. The books are splayed all over my headboard and in my study table. Formidable rows of Good Housekeeping, Cosmo, Women’s, Health and Home, Readers Digest occupy a good space at our living room. Of course, J’s own junk are in his mini-office.

Not that I am a voracious reader, although I like reading pretty much. Probably, it was because I drooled over colorful story books as a kid but couldn’t afford it then. Anyway, I take delight every time the annual Manila International Book Fair is held, usually at the SMS Convention Center. Books and other reading materials are sold at half the price, even lower. My favorite stalls are Anvil, Ateneo Press, UP Press, St. Paul, GoodWill, and Tahanan Books. This year alone, I was able to get at least 20 titles at a price you wouldnt believe. As a bonus, I get to have freebies like a double-purpose bookmark (a pen and bookmark in one), free issues from IBON Foundation, and a lot more.

Lately, I’ve been poring over Pinoy essays. Here are a few of them I’ve been into at the moment:

Women on Fire. Edited by noted writer Lorna Kalaw-Tirol, the anthology contains essays from twelve admirable women in the Philippines. I especially like the one written by Winnie Monsod when she recounted the time she joined her husband in the US and had to give up her post grad studies/career in the country: “…and by heaven, I wanted to be the best possible housewife and homemaker. I was a most efficient one too if I may say so myself. I was inordinately proud of the fact that one could eat off my floors! (I had the laugh of my life here) they were so sparkling clean! (Oh how I wish I have her skills at cleaning floor tiles)”.

Then there’s another favorite from Boots Anson-Roa: “The gift of laughter springs from optimism, the capacity to see the good in whatever comes our way. I remember the story of the little boy whose optimism exasperated his parents because it made their gloom more glaring. One day, they filled his room with horse manure, believing he would find this finally repulsive. When the boy entered his room, he gleefully concluded: Oh, there must be a pony here somewhere. I love ponies!”

Not Home But Here. This is another collection of great essays that offers profound literary contemplation on the Pinoy diaspora. The authors who came from diverse generations, destinations, and cultural practices had juxtaposed issues pertaining to language, class, race, and ethnicity with distinct writerly concerns and approaches.

The Best of Barfly. One of my favorite writers is Butch Dalisay. He was invited once in the university where I used to work. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a book of him then. Sigh. No autograph for me. The Best of Barfly is fortified with wit and humor. I chuckle at the way he shares his stories, he certainly has an interesting way of telling things.

Blogging on a Sunny Tuesday

November 11th, 2009

I super love my blog’s new layout! Maraming salamat, WordPress.

My real intention’s to churn a decent entry for the day. But actually this is what I wanna do. I want to get a pair of scissors, sharpen them until they glint like gold, then cut my hair till I look like Britney! Why should you do that, you wanna ask. Because I am so bored right now. writing
Forgive me for the bland title though. It’s the kind J would mercilessly point as “walang kalibog-libog”. You bet it’s pretty normal for one to lose all tinge of creativity after burying his head into FB for a long period of time. Por Dios por Santo, what do I expect ‘noh? I’ve been hinting the only benefit I derive from FBing is a temporary respite from ennui. Thanks to the geniuses of FB apps. Thanks also to the daily barrage of status updates, links, pictures (ranging from pro, pseudo, to plain human-peacocks).

Pick your choice. Either you join the bandwagon or friggin’ regurgitate into caveman-hood. Facebook is like a marketplace of distinct personalities and ideas. There are intellectuals, artists, musicians, etc. and there are newbies who somehow find a way to “friendsterize” it. And this vast new world of online social networks — Facebook, along with MySpace, YouTube, Twitter —has certainly affected many parts of our lives. (See, I’m blogging about it all the time.)

On a different note, I promised myself to be more diligent in updating this blog. It’s what the deity of words revealed to me after offering a sackful of coffee beans from Yemen and a truckload of fresh sugar canes imported from Brazil. Nah, shoot me in the head. I’m just pulling your leg. (Hey, I’m gonna make a confession!  I was dozing somewhere when God gave mankind the gift of humor. Now you know why…)

To learn to appreciate the purest rhythms of life, to listen to silence, to stay still are essentials in the quintessence of writing. Sadly, we have been accustomed to chaos that mere silence translates immediately to boredom. Moments of silence are opportunities to slow down and recompose the self. Hear your own breathing. Listen to your heart. Talk to yourself.

I guess that’s all I can say for now. Have a nice day. 😀

(Doesn’t look like I made any sense at all. haha)

Witchy Cola Na Akekels Ma Coda

October 16th, 2009

superstock_1538r-120213My blog still contains drafts I never bothered posting, like this one I wrote few months ago.

I was forced to leave the province last week for a special project I have to do in the next 3 months. No, I did not say goodbye to SJ for good. It was mainly to follow some protocol, just to sign some docs in Manila. Two days is all it takes in fact.

However, every time I travel, the ‘retard’ in me resurrects!

I dont know.

If there’s one aspect in my life that’s hundred percent immature, underdeveloped, and abnormal — I think its my sense of direction. I must have spin around too much in my mother’s womb that it affected my faculty in that ONE but critical area of my being.

There was one time I came from Mindanao for a visit to our scholars (the company’s, not mine) and had to hail a cab back to Pasig where I worked then. I was grossly embarrassed after timidly asking Manong Driver, who the hell is Ped Xing. I was wondering if he was a Chinese who helped defend Filipinos against tyranny or something, and the driver laughed and told me: “it meant ‘pedestrian crossing'”. Korek kakak plangekngak nguk plaka ni Nora Aunor! So ewww. Imbyerna gyud dong to the highest leveling. Kaloka uy.

Anyways, so I was back to Manila the other week and had grand plans of visiting the latest addition to my nephews and nieces. My sister gave birth last month and I promised to drop by Sampaloc where she lives before I proceed to Ortigas. Okey naman sana. If only, I’m not this shungaers. How many times have I lost my direction on the way to their house. Nakows. This time I made sure that I simply wont.

I requested Manong Florida Bus driver to stop at Maceda. We reached Espana at around 11:oo  in the evening. But the driver (and stupid me) didnt notice we already passed by the area. Wahhh. There was no tricycle in that spot and this time, I’m learning to value money…I wont dare hail a taxi anymore. Despite my feelings of nervousness and utter discombobulation, I walked back and prayed to all the santos and santas I know. I asked God to protect me because there were people around that area (mostly males and drunk!). Awa ng Diyos, nakarating din ako ng buo at maayos. Kalurkey talaga.

Some tips on how NOT to get lost

I found some useful techniques posted at Outdoorsite Library. These may be helpful ideas in case you experience similar thing.

Despite our best intentions, we may still find ourselves disoriented. Daniel Boone said he had never been lost, but he did admit to being “mighty disoriented for several days in a row.” If you think you’re lost, don’t panic. Usually, if you sit and calmly reflect for a few minutes, mentally retracing your steps, the solution to the situation becomes clear.

Take out your map and compass and try to determine where you are if you haven’t been following along as you go. If you can’t determine your position, see if there are obvious landmarks you can try to reach. If you start feeling panicky, stop, calm down and collect your thoughts. Trying to find your way out under the stress of frustration and/or fear invites disaster.

Assess the situation. How long have you been lost? Mentally trace your thoughts back to the last point where you knew your location. How long ago was that? In what general direction have you been traveling since then?

A well stocked survival kit can make the difference when you’re lost. If you have a compass, use it now to get your bearings. “I came from thataway, and that’s northwest, but I started walking south, so the trail must have slowly looped.” and so forth. Even if you don’t have a compass, try to approximate this kind of location-sense while your memories are fresh.

If you haven’t been lost long and are in safe terrain, you may try retracing your steps. Hike in the direction from which you came, keeping careful track not only of orientation, but of time as well. If you’ve been lost for 10 minutes but a 10-minute walk doesn’t return you to your trail, you’re just getting more lost. In such a case, pause and return to your original location, then try again.

Try tracking yourself. You weren’t on a trail, so you probably left tracks or other sign you can follow in reverse. If circumstances suggest further wandering may be hazardous (night is falling, cliffs abound), then you may want to stay put and wait for rescue.

Remember, if you’re properly prepared; if you told a family member or close friend where you were going, when you were leaving and when you planned to return; if you carry a survival kit that can get you through the night or a few days alone; if you’re mentally up to unexpected challenges; then getting lost should be nothing more than an inconvenience. If you’re really prepared, though, you’ll never get lost in the first place. (source: http://www.basspro.com).

The Perturbing Genius of Bertolucci and My Own Journey to Filmdom

April 6th, 2009

Never have I been so preoccupied about films but lately, Jun and I had been spending time doing movie marathons. Our current faves include the Bertolucci obras (aside of course from the current Oscar nominees — The Reader, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and the Slumdog Millionaire). What’s so exciting about his films, I guess, are their unique qualities. It sort of, leaves a different kind of aftersensation…the same thing you experience after eating something you have not tasted in your whole life!


Ang Jologs na Batang Moviegoer, Bow!

I remember the first time I ever went inside a movie house, that was in grade school. I think I was six or seven at that time. My cousins, who were teenagers and in their early twenty’s loved hanging out and  would tag me along. Quite bizarre though, I cant seem to recall all the details…told you, I have selective amnesia. But that’s another story. My cousins loved Sharon Cuneta flicks, so I actually feasted on “Bituing Walang Ningning”, “Bukas Luluhod ang Mga Tala”, “Dapat Ka Bang Mahalin”, etc.

The moviehouse was also accesible as it is only a few steps away from my cousins’ place. Every now and then, we would sneak inside and had time crying and laughing with Sharon (cry when she’s api-apihan and rejoice after she wins over the evil characters!). Now the memories are pouring in.

In fourth grade, a Cherrie Gil scene ensued between two classmates supposedly arguing on who spreads ugly rumors about the other. One fine day, Miss ten-year old snooty went straight to the sari-sari store where the girl classmate is and flung a seemingly heavyweight-boxer’s palm on the latter’s face. Ouch! The next day, both of their parents were asked to report to the principal’s office. I was that arrogant little girl. lol. Laki ng impluwensiya.

Well, that’s my first taste of movies. Up to now, I didn’t know how they managed to get me inside when staff of the moviehouse are supposed to be strict on letting children in.

Siguro close sila. Whatever.


Memorable Movies

notting_hillAnd then there were movies that stayed fresh all these years, simply because they remind me of good times with friends and people close to my heart. After my adventure as a kid, my visit to the cinema became inexistent. I guess it’s pretty normal since parents tend to be overprotective and don’t want their children to be ‘exposed’ to a different world, if you know what I mean. In our family — even watching TV has its own censorship board. We had to cover our eyes whenever there are kissing scenes, or had to leave when the artists’ portrayal of their roles reach the intimate level, meaning, they were doing something you are not supposed to see.

But in college, I had the ‘luxury’ to watch movies again. I was a working student during the time, so I had extra income from my stint at a local foodhouse. How can I forget Julia Roberts in ‘Notting Hill’? It was the first time I bought movie ticket from my own pocket for my sister Grace. Then there was Diabolique (I love Sharon Stone’s intense character) — I guess I was with the girls (my friends in College).

As you can see, I have very limited knowledge on this for two main reasons: financial (I’m not like most teenagers who were born to more affluent families, sorry) and time. I was just too focused on other things that this area comes last in my list of priorities. Only now that I’m getting older (and wiser, I hope) that I have decided to live life to the fullest and enjoy every moment. Hey, we only live once.

My Sudden Encounter With Bertolucci

I credit hubby’s love for the arts, theater, music, and lit for this whole new experience. His interests somehow allowed me to tread into new waters. In this case, being more aware of other films (not just commercial ones, but those with deeper meanings, those that delve into social consciousness and the likes). Along with Bertolucci’s, we watched other films like Diarios de Motocicleta, Machuca, to name a few.

Who is Bernardo Bertolucci, by the way?

Bernardo Bertolucci is an award-winning Italian film director and screenwriter. (I am basing this from Wikipedia). He was the elder son of a poet, a reputed art historian, an anthologist and a film critic named Atillio. No wonder, his background became a moving factor in his growing up years. If I grew up to be in this kind of environment, who knows, lol… Indeed, he was very young when he showed his writing prowess to the hilt. The events that ensued were history.

Warning:  some of the reactions below are purely ‘personal’ opinion and are thus, biased. They are not reviews or something.

ULTIMO TANGO A PARIGI (1972)

English translation: Last Tango in Paris. This movie casted Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider as its lead characters and this was apparently inspired by Bertolucci’s idea and sexual fantasies of seeing a beautiful nameless woman on the street and having intercourse with her without ever knowing who she was. Reminds me of Erica Jong’s “zipless f–k” in her novel Fear of Flying.

Anyway, this film (like many other Bertolucci movies) will surely discomfort the otherwise conservative MTCRB in our beloved Phillippines. There were scenes I particularly found disgusting, but real. In other words, parang hinahalukay ang sikmura mo.

And unfortunately for Schneider — the setting was 70s and the era definitely views this film as pornographic. Period.

End result? Schneider began and ended her career in a snap!

One more thing, you won’t mistake Bertolucci’s creations with anybody else. His scenes shouts of eccentricity, erotism, and excellent use of visuals. Like when Paul (Marlon Brando) and Jeane (Maria Schneider) first met. Like the scene depicting blood all over the bathroom, splashes on the curtains, on the walls, on the bathtub.

Jun and I agreed that perhaps it was his age and experience (or the lack of it? remember, this is his first) that’s a big factor in his depiction of the film. But generally, Ultimo A Parigi is still something.

I SOGNATORI (2003)

English translation: The Dreamers. Bertolucci did not fail to impress his brand of eccentricity in this masterpiece. Beautifully created.

(To be continued and to be edited. Will somebody please be kind enough to finish this for me? Hehehe)


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