Little Kikay

June 30th, 2009

One good way to bond as mother and daughter is going to the salon and having both your kikay instincts go full gear! Pampering yourself and relaxing create wonders as both of you get to enjoy, unwind, de-stress, and re-vitalize all at the same time.

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While writing this, I seem to hear Jun’s voice shouting “cliche”. Oh well. 😉

Let me tell you a few things about my youngest daughter. I have always perceived of her as the inquisitive type, always the one to ask the weirdest of questions. I wonder if she wants to pursue a career in hosting talk shows or writing for showbusiness. Lucrative career path ey.  But being the scatterbrained mother that I am, its always a great challenge answering her queries. Most of the time, I end up telling her to approach her Tatay.

Yet, we have very similar traits.

We both love music. Faith is so persistent on this one that I have to guide her how to properly sing the lines. Among my daughter’s favorites are Barbie Songs (“Connected”, “Believe” from the “Barbie and the Diamond Castles”), Annie’s “Tomorrow”, “Rainbow Connection”, and last week — she was bugging me to download and teach her the lyrics of an OPM called “How Did You Know”.

Faith and I both love visual arts. At seven, she’s very vocal about being an artist in the future. Or I dont know, maybe it runs in the blood. Elmo also does well in drawing and sketching (usually anime characters). Faith on the other hand, volunteers to design a card everytime there is an occassion like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, or Christmas.

These are her own compositions:

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Below is the birthday card she made for me 🙂

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Finally, we both love to eat!

This is for you  little one:

My Daughter

You’ll never really know, my dear,
Just how much you mean to me,
A mother’s love, buried so deep,
That only my heart can see.

When I sit and really stare at you,
All I can do is grin,
Somewhere down deep inside,
I see myself within.

I’d never change a thing in you,
I thank God that your so fine,
Even when your at your worst,
I’m so proud that you are mine.

The roads we have traveled,
were not always that good,
I would take back all the pain you’ve felt,
Only if I could.

I know that I’m not perfect,
It’s the best that I can do,
But everyday, I thank the lord,
For a daughter as special as you.

(http://www.poemsjunction.com/poems/daughter-poems/)

Reading Maya

May 9th, 2009

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“Alone”
(Maya Angelou, 1981)

Lying, thinking
last night
How to find my soul a home
Where water is not thirsty
And bread loaf is not a stone
I came up with one thing
And I don’t believe I’m wrong
That nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

There are some millionaires
With money they can’t use
Their wives run around like banshees
Their children sing the blues
They’ve got expensive doctors
To cure their hearts of stone.
But nobody
No nobody
Can make it out here alone.

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)


Who Says Physicists Are Uncool?

December 4th, 2008

Most people hold a somewhat ‘different’ notion about Physics and with those beautiful minds who seem to digest force, energy, mass, general analysis of nature and the likes, on a day-to-day basis.

Personally speaking, Physics and I do not quite get along well. It reminds me of senior year in high school where I literally had to bleed my brains translating supposedly simple theories into hardcore math. Like everyone else, I get dizzy at the mere sight of quantum equations. Numbers and formulas make me want to go back home and plant sweet potatoes instead!

Nevertheless, I survived that year.

There you go.

So I cannot debunk this entire myth people have about the subject. But lately Jun introduced me into another way of looking at it. Didn’t I mention, my husband and I are total opposites but that’s where the beauty of our relationship comes in. My weaknesses are his strengths and vice versa.

Physics is not an exemption. While I was a self-confessed physicsphobic, he seemed to be an expert on it. He even shared anecdotes about conducting his own experiments and keeping his ‘materials’ inside his closet. Some creepy guy.

Nowadays, I’m all hooked up with a sitcom that features interesting physicist characters. All I know is that they rock! I’m talking about a CBS hit in the American television that was premiered late last year.

“The Big Bang Theory’!

I don’t know about you but TBBT’s plot, characters, and lines are so intelligently-slash-hilariously woven and are really A materials. Believe it or not, I often catch myself laughing at the top of my lungs. Though I must admit I have to listen real hard, or else I’ll be shouting ‘nosebleed’!!! And the kids come scrambling to the rescue.

Why are many shows NOT designed this way? Not only can it help in the decline of the physics phobic populace (that includes yours truly), but can also bring illumination on what brews inside the prodigies’ heads. The sitcom is able to bring a healthy mix of science, geekiness, women, humor, and all else needed for an outstanding comedic formula.

Meet TBBT’s Bunch of Beautiful Minds

1. Sheldon. He is the tall physicist guy who rooms with his best friend and colleague, Leonard. Both of them keep a whiteboard where they solve their scientific theories. At first, Sheldon seemed really annoying but as time goes by, I started to appreciate his character. He’s so super honest that he twitches whenever he lies. The guy is incapable of dishonesty. On one particular episode, Penny asked him to do a white lie by pretending he forgot everything the former said. Sheldon exclaimed “but this brain cannot forget!”  He is also the typical OC guy who cant seem to sit just anywhere, otherwise it ruins his own pattern of things. It has to be on the left side or never at all. Most of all, Sheldon appears to be concerned about the welfare of his friends but every time he buts in — the situation gets worse than ever!

2. Leonard. Best friend to Sheldon, Leonard is also a physicist that specializes on theoretical physics. He has a special attraction to Penny, the lovely girl on the other side of their apartment’s hallway. Leonard is also known to be an expert in history, literature, and sciences. When it comes to food, Leonard cannot have dairy  and milk products because of his lactose intolerance. I am particularly impressed with Leonard’s character. Compared to his best friend and roommate, he is less aggressive, subtler in his ways, and more careful in his choice of words. In fact, he tries to be as sensitive as possible when dealing even with women.

3. Raj. The guy who turns “mute” every time a woman appears in front of him. He is so shy that speaking in front of females seem a gargantuan task. In the sitcom’s episodes, the only time he spoke to girls was when he’s intoxicated. Penny at one instance spoke to him but he only responded in his mind through a lengthy reminiscence of his native customs and singing.

Raj is best friend to Howard Wolowitz — his exact opposite! He stays silent most of the time, and like I said, has social anxiety around women.

4. Wolowitz.The engineer who designed a satellite orbiting Jupiter, speaks seven foreign languages, is allergic to peanuts, and the only non- PhD holder among all of them. However, Howard Wolowitz can be so outrageously funny. There were particular scenes I love about this guy. One was when he introduced himself to Sheldon’s twin sister and the other was when his team won during a Physics quiz bowl. Really funny guy. And oh by the way, he is a medical school drop out apparently because he doesn’t like the sight of blood.

5. Penny. She’s Leonard’s object of attraction. Pretty and sexy but seem to lack the desired IQ to even understand the bunch of physicists she meet everyday. The physicists next door called her cheesecake-scented goddess since she work in a local cheesecake factory. In the episodes, Penny has a penchant to committing herself with men who makes her cry in the end. She’s so messy and disorganized that at one time, Sheldon (who is an obsessive – compulsive) barged through her apartment while she’s asleep and cleaned up all her mess!

Killer Lines and More

Leonard: We need to widen our circle.
Sheldon : I have a very wide circle. I have 212 friends on myspace.
Leonard: Yes, and you’ve never met one of them.
Sheldon: That’s the beauty of it.

Penny: I’m a Sagittarius, which probably tells you way more than you need to know.
Sheldon: Yes, it tells us that you participate in the mass cultural delusion that the sun’s apparent position relative to arbitrarily defined constellations at the time of your birth somehow affects your personality.
Penny: (puzzled) Participate in the what?

Sheldon: Okay, look, I think you have as much of a chance of having a sexual relationship with Penny as the Hubble telescope does of discovering that at the center of every black hole is a little man with a flashlight searching for a circuit breaker. Nevertheless, I do feel obligated to point out to you that she did not reject you. You did not ask her out.

Sheldon: I’ve spent the past three-and-a-half years staring at greaseboards full of equations; before that, I spent four years working on my thesis; before that, I was in college; and before that, I was in the fifth grade.

At a restaurant:

Sheldon: We don’t eat here, I don’t know what’s good…
Penny: Well, it’s all good.
Sheldon: Statistically unlikely.
Leonard: Just get a hamburger, you like hamburgers.

Sheldon: Leonard! Leonard!
Leonard: What, what’s the matter?
Sheldon: My equations! Someone’s tampered with my equations!
Leonard: Are you sure?
Sheldon: Of course I’m sure. Look at the beta function of quantum chromodynamics-the sign’s been changed!
Leonard: Yeah…but doesn’t that fix the problem you’ve been having?
Sheldon: Are you insane? Are you out of your mind? Are you-hey, look, that fixes the problem I’ve been having!

Talking about Penny staying the night…

Leonard: Are you suggesting that if we let Penny stay, we might succumb to cannibalism?
Sheldon: No one ever thinks it’ll happen until it does.
Leonard: Penny, if you promise not to chew the flesh off our bones while we sleep, you can stay.
Penny: What?

Leonard: What are you doing?

Sheldon: Every Saturday since we’ve lived in this apartment, I have awakened at 6:15, poured myself a bowl of cereal, added a quarter-cup of 2% milk, sat on this end of this couch, turned on BBC America, and watched Doctor Who.

Leonard: Penny’s still sleeping.

Sheldon: Every Saturday since we’ve lived in this apartment…

Leonard: You have a TV in your room, why don’t you just have breakfast in bed?

Sheldon: Because I am neither an invalid nor a woman celebrating Mother’s Day.

Should I say this will somehow eventually put a stop to my fear of the subject? 🙂 Hope so.

Forty Days to Go!

November 12th, 2008

The prelude to a thrilling and exciting Christmas break is the actual emptying of your pocket. Agree or disagree? After all, before you can “enjoy” the holiday season – you need a considerable amount of cold cash in your hands. However much you say that it’s the thought that matters, hay naku, can you monetize your thoughtfulness for a bus fare? Round trip? Can you just ignore your hordes of godchildren and relatives when they come knocking at your doorsteps? On one thought, this fact cease to sound squeamish when we think that hey, it’s the season of love and giving! For God’s sake, stop whining. 🙂

These past few weeks, we have been contemplating on spending our much-awaited Christmas in Pili. In fact, Faith and Elmo agreed to give up their scheduled Manila Ocean Park field trip on December 5. They have been waiting for this trip for so long. You wonder why? Well, I guess every child looks at it as their dream destination these days. Ocean Park is quite popular with the kids you know. But since they missed their Lolo Kiks, Lola Bing, and their uncles and aunts in the province, they consented to save the budget instead…much to my delight.

After several years, this is the only time I can again feel the distinct Bicol breeze that I don’t know, I only seem to appreciate in my own hometown. We’re all excited!

My parents have their own brand of surprises…so, even though our family’s not well-to-do, the season is always something we really look forward to. Anyway, let me share some of the traditional activities we normally busy ourselves with during this time of the year:

1. Christmas Tree-making. I and my siblings would usually design our own Christmas tree made from either coconut palm (we remove the pinnate leaves) or any indigenous shrub (sorry, I forgot the local name) and put cotton all over the branches to make it look like a real snow-covered tree. Armed with our knives and bolo, we would scour the nearest farm for our tree. Once ready, Nanay would go to the banwaan (central market or town) to purchase a vast selection of accessories and ornaments, garlands, tree toppers of good quality but of a relatively affordable price. The finished product not only awe us but it also makes relatives marvel at our creativity. Then we would place it inside an empty milk can that we fill with stones so that it would carry the tree’s weight. Plus we also cover the can so it wouldn’t look rusty and all. Just like that and presto, we have a decent looking Christmas tree!

2. Lantern – Making. Thankfully, I have a father who’s a jack-of-all-trades. He can do everything from farming to electronics, etc. Oh by the way, he’s a frustrated engineer who ended up taking an assortment of basic courses. Our lantern project (parol) look way nicer than the others because he would put inside lighting effects. For the raw materials, we would usually use bamboo, Japanese paper, sometimes we paste rice grains on the exterior depending on our mood (hehe. mood-dependent decors?).

3. Preparing our “handa” for the Noche Buena. Nanay would prepare her sweetest ubeng halaya, her unforgettable pork barbecue, the ubiquitous spaghetti, her signature suman, the saucy pork (gosh, pardon for i dont know the name — I only remember its super delicious taste!), pancit, and many more. Friends, inaanaks, and relatives would troop to our home to enjoy these delectable meals my mother expertly whips in her kitchen. They may not equal the recipes you see on television commercials, those mouth-watering pictures spread throughout the pages of Good Housekeeping, or those you have tasted on the tables of the more affluent households, but for me, they are the best because they gave color and meaning to my childhood days. If it werent, I wouldnt even be writing about it.

4. Waiting for the elusive Santa Claus. For some reasons, my 3 sisters and 2 brothers did have a hard time catching up with Santa. Textbooks or any other source for that matter did not explicitly reveal the ways to grab hold of the white-fat-man-in-red-suit while in action.  Well, Nanay and Tatay warned us that if we dont sleep early, Santa would not bring his presents and our socks will remain empty the next day. It had always been like that up until I reached third grade where I discovered their secret. Hehe. But the joys of seeing our socks brim with sweets, chocolates, candies (that we dont get to have all year round) is beyond compare. That said, I did not dare squeal to the younger ones.

5. Christmas Caroling. In the Binanuaanan tradition, barangay officials (sometimes the SK) would send in letters detailing the caroling event. Whats good about this is that even the OSYs would participate, in fact, everyone. By everyone I mean teenagers (tagging behind the object of their affection), the unsuspecting parents (?!), the Tanods (haha carolers need ‘protection’ from the bad elements), the SB and SK officials and their respective members. Its a living tradition within the context of Binanuaanan itself. Every year, people look forward to being entertained as well as being reminded of Jesus Christ’s birth through songs. During my SK and theater days I’d gladly organize similar activities. And from what I can remember — carolers use drums made of gasoline containers, cymbals borrowed from the primary school’s DLC, guitars, but maybe this time around things have changed. We’ll find out.

Sometimes, even the simplest of things can be intoxicating to the heart! Forty days from now, we will be reliving the most blissful moments of our lives…this time with my own kids. What’s a few bucks to expend anyway if it brings you a world of happiness???

Advance Merry Christmas to everyone!!!

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