Friday, December 31

Kantogirl by the Numbers 2004

Here are the numbers which defined the past year for me:

1249 student papers read*
73 movies watched
52 books bought
41 books read
3 ATM cards swallowed by machine, stolen
3 out of town trips
3 computer f*ck ups
2 locked out of office moments
2 doppelgangers
1 bag snatching incident
1 survived truck-jeep collision
1 out of the country trip
1 Team Angas wedding
1 naked guy outside office window

*Rough estimate based on class density and requirements.

Tuesday, December 28

Sarongs on the sand

Lazy day at the beach
Originally uploaded by butasnachucks.

My friends and I spent a day at the beach before the news about the tsunami scared the beejeezus out of us. It was lazy afternoon fun for everyone. Can you guess which sarong is mine?


This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.

I say tsunami, you say tsunamu.

The Sisterhood of the Socks, our usual group of backpacker girls and boy (just one boy per trip, and this crucial role is raffled off, natch), had to abandon our beach adventure because we got word of The Big One which killed and affected an approximated 26,000 people.

It was quite sunny when we got there yesterday morning. We spent the afternoon lounging around on the sand. We even ran into a friend on holiday at the other side of the island. Then Ms. Lear texted us to say that a "0.9" aftershock hit Davao already. This started a geeky joke involving the singular and plural forms of tsunami. Then there's the theory that we can't be affected because the Philippines supposedly occupies a different tectonic plate than from the one which rocked the rest of South Asia. This discussion caused one of the girls to fall asleep inspite of the theatrics of a reggae man we shall dub EC-esque.

Then clouds started to get heavy, and the way the wind howled wasn't exactly encouraging. We packed up this morning, even if it was very tempting to stay. Better be safe than be eaten up alive by a tsunamu.

More later.

UPDATE: Here are photos courtesy of BnC's flickr. Although the SotS has more cameras than there are people, I sadly belong to the non-camera toting part of the party. But am hoping to improve that by next year. The key word is "hope."

Thursday, December 23

Too much WKW can kill you.

Spent most of today hiding under bedcovers, surfing, gorging down food, and staring at my suddenly luminous hands against my dark bedroom wall. Finally, in the late afternoon, I texted BnC.

I cursed the heavens for my inability to do anything substantial, BnC merely said it's "atropy. You've been watching too much Wong Kar Wai. Kailangan mo maarawan."

Watching WKW movies does that to you. If your life became a WKW movie, you'd be positively gorgeous, but eternally trapped in the same vacuum of exponential pain. Before I actually attempted to eat expired canned pineapples, she informed me she's been splurging her Christmas money at the big NBS in Cubao, so of course I just had to go. Must have arrived there in record time, like say, an hour or so from our initial sms exchange. (Which is really a huge improvement from my previous heartwrenching record.)

We ended up splurging for more books than we could actually read. BnC had to call in her sister for reinforcement. All in all, we spent a huge sum of money which could have gone to purchasing necessary things like a teflon pan, or maybe cough syrup for me. But am happy with the purchases we made. I plan to go back there when I scrounge around enough money.

Had dinner at the local Taco Bell. Their burrito lacks rice (phooey!) and the store itself doesn't even carry ketsup, just hot sauce, which looks like it was swiped from the Pizza Hut branch down the road. I demand rice in my burrito! But still a good day, after all.

Wednesday, December 22

You are Nicolas Cage

This is #5, swiped from Markmomukhamo's post about McSweeney's very helpful Guide to Determine if You are in a Jerry Bruckheimer Movie.

Some weeks back, I dragged my mother to the cinema so we could watch Santa-Santita. I had tried valiantly to watch this movie*. Unfortunately, in the papers that day was a small item about how the censors board wanted to pull it out because they showed implied nudity: while they didn't show the female lead really naked, they did have a scene wherein the male lead was taking off her skirt, her blouse and other articles of clothing. Which means, yes, folks, she must be naked at the end of the scene.

So my mother refused to watch the movie. I wanted to tell her, "Inay naman, singkwenta na kayo, you lived through Martial Law and at least seven Philippine presidents, mako-corrupt pa ba kayo nyan?" But, of course, that went unsaid and offered other options which included The Incredibles and some other movie. But she picked National Treasure, which was showing in a theater at the other side of the mall, so we made a run for it and entered just as the credits were beginning for the last full show.

National Treasure was like watching X-treme! History class for Fifth Graders, made more exciting by clues at the back of paper bills! Secret Societies! An uber cute museum curator who could be a model! And most of all, an underground tunnel straight out of a Nancy Drew mystery!

It's like watching the Da Vinci Code, only with more historical monuments. And I haven't even read the darn book. By the time we got out of the theater, I told my mother we could make a Philippine version that involves the mystery cat at the spire of the Barasoain Church, the Bonifacio-Mabini shared billing, the Golden Buddha, the Yamashita Treasure and the soldiers guarding the Rizal monument at Luneta. There would be chase scenes in the underground passages at Intramuros, culminating in an explosion near the Pasig River Malacanang boat landing and the discovery of a cave of amassed treasures of corruption! It would star Vhong Navarro, with cameos from all the big name stars and Kuya Germs! It would be called Philippine National Treasure! I wouldn't be surprised if some movie executive has pitched the idea already.

Star Cinema, are you listening?

*My last attempt was this last weekend. Star Mall was the only theater in town still showing it, but a quick consultation with a friend discouraged me from watching it there, alone, lest I go home with not just surot bites but something more, uhm, unsavory.

Tuesday, December 21

Super Inday and the Golden Bibe

Super Inday and the Golden Bibe movie poster

What better way to spend your lunch hour than to watch Super Inday and the Golden Bibe. It's one of the more campier superhero movies of the 80s starring Maricel Soriano. The film is unlisted in IMDb, so I'm not really sure what year this is from. But the very young Aiza Seguerra is there, dating this from perhaps a while after her Little Miss Philippines tilt.

Maricel Soriano appears as yet another regular Inday with a secret identity. She has previously appeared in movies like Inday Bote with Richard Gomez and Inday, Inday sa Balitaw with Matet de Leon. While there is no known narrative link to the three Inday films except that they all involve magical transformations, they were all directed by Chaning Carlos.

In this particular Inday incarnation, Maricel finds herself the talking Golden Bibe in the title. The duck, who can also transform itself into a little girl then dubbed Snow White, lays eggs which then gives the bearer magical powers to transform and do good. Very much reminiscent of that tale about the goose who lays eggs, evil people were soon after the Golden Bibe. Meanwhile, Inday enjoys her popularity, but still moons after The Guy She Loves From a Distance, a photographer played by Eric Quizon with ugly, oversized spectacles. As in all superhero types with secret identities, the objects of their desires never quite recognize them when not garbed with cape and spandex overwear. At one point he even asks, "Bakit di ko naisip na ikaw si Super Inday?" Kasi, you're blind, you dimwit. But to which Inday replies, "I'm sorry pero ang kabutihan hindi pina-publicize."

Another exchange I liked was when one of the younger loveteams serving as subplots, played by Janno and Manilyn in their hairspray days, had this exchange:
Boy: Mahal kita umaga tanghali gabi.
Girl: Sige, managinip ka umaga tanghali gabi.
If that hilarity still didn't get to you, try this one, wherein Inday even paraphrased Ate Guy, "Ang tunay na magic ay galing sa puso." O di ba, bongga? You got to give them snaps for all the snappy dialogue.

The film also comes with the requisite song and dance number, this time going uber retro with 50s kundimans like "May Isang Binata Akong Iniibig."

Evil doers go after the Golden Bibe, thinking it could lay more eggs. Even momentary greed subsumes Inday. When prodded to give Inday the powers to transform because the guy she loves is in danger, Snow White answers, "Ano ang akala mo sa akin, Araneta Coliseum?"

But all's well that ends well. And the previously talking Golden Bibe from another planet transforms into a real live girl. The Bibe as Aiza Seguerra then bids them farewell as she would return to her home--her "bayan." They ask, Saan ba bayan mo? She points way out there, "Doon sa bayan ng Pag-ibig."

O di ba, di lang campy dialogue. May concept pa of nation. Charing. Do not over read. Super Inday and the Golden Bibe is just good afternoon movie fun.

UPDATE: For more supercampfun, Super Inday is listed in Superheroes Lives! (uhm, yes). We are told to "[t]hink of it as Darna with a cape, and a sense of humor." Don't forget to check out the fun lists, where everything about Super Inday is virtually unknown. She is also at the International list of Superheroes, where she joins the fine company of Darna, Panday, and the other komiks based crusaders from the Philippines.

Meanwhile, also check out this Inq7 article about the Pinoy Justice League, if only to brush up on Pinoy superheroes before you hit the Metro Manila Film Festival on Saturday.

Sunday, December 19

Lantern Parade

There's a piece about the Lantern Parade in today's Inquirer. While it talked about the participants and the College of Fine Arts' inclusion in the Hall of Fame, the writer Tina Santos also said that the CFA's floats this year had "unfamiliar" figures in Philippine myths, "among them the "bangungot" ( a large woman that pounds on a sleeping person's chest till he or she can't breathe), the "bungisngis" ( a laughing one-eyed giant with tusks who picked up and threw carabaos at whim), and the "bakunawa" (a dragon-like creature who occasionally gobbled up the sun, causing an eclipse)."

Uhm, okay. But they must have "heard" of bangungot killings, right? Or perhaps people never thought of visualizing the bangungot before. People just think of it as some shapeless, faceless thing that kills people in their sleep.

Interesting bits though about previous practices in the university like the now obsolete Hay Ride and Parade King and Queen.

Also, there are photos from the parade from BnC and psychicpants.
Rebel Sell tells us how we can never escape consumerism. That while we think we have distinguished ourselves from the SUV-driving, Nike wearing, outdoor-vacationing throng, we actually just reenacting the same desires, only more expensively. By elevating our own tastes from that of mass society, we are only serving the machines of consumerism even more.

Rebel Sell insists that a "critique of consumerism," as exhibited in films like Fight Club and American Beauty, is actually just a "restatement of the critique of mass society." The two are not the same, although people tend to confuse the two. While Fight Club tells us the way to beat the machine is to blow it up, American Beauty encourages us to subvert it from within. And yet, both ways still end up serving the machine god of consumerism.

How did this happen?

Because capitalism is so embedded in our culture that our institutions have shaped us to have the same education, encourages conformity of desires, sexual repression and consumption. We create our distinctions by becoming more discriminating and sophisticated, often preferring the rarer, more expensive variety. Those who profess to not care about brands are actually more brand-conscious. In this kind of game, "anti-consumerism" is only a stance wherein we buy our distinction through positional goods.

So in the end, we are still our f*cking khakis after all.

Saturday, December 18

2046 is my new address*

2046 isn't something that goes down the throat easily. For one, it is not linear, and there are a lot of things that need explaining. Like when Chow said that that was the last time he saw Zhang Ziyi, and then they met up again. What the hell was that? I saw the film with a couple of friends who hadn't exactly seen all of Wong Kar Wai's movies, which made it a bit difficult because the film refers to the previous films, particularly In the Mood for Love and Days of Being Wild.

But what I like though is that it resonates and echoes. That all memory is pain, and pain is memory and remembrance. That the Tony Leung character made an unexplained appearance at the end of Days of Being Wild. That it seemed like an afterthought--him standing in front of a mirror, combing back slick hair, cigarettes and shadows. That when we saw him again in In the Mood for Love, he had this unconsummated (was it really?) affair with Maggie Cheung, which explains the recurring taxi sequences, but this time with covert hand actions. That this affair probably left him hurt, but he didn't want anyone to know that so he whispered his secret into a hole in a tree and sealed it in mud. So that when 2046 rolled along, everyone had secret pains that they had to release. Even the android with delayed reaction tries to whisper her own secrets. The repetition of action haunts you.

Part of me understands why Chow became such a cad. That love is all about timing. It was heartbreaking to watch Zhang Ziyi and her throve of tens stashed in a canister under the bed. Or when that lady talks out loud in Japanese in the next room, how they can't get together. If you think about it, if you're a character in a Wong Kar Wai movie and you fall in love, that affair is doomed.

So what is this film saying? You're not going to get your happy ending. That we're probably all doomed to live and process the same pain over and over again. That when pain bites you, you get the urge to bite back anything and everything that presents itself to you. That even if you try to "fictionalize" the experience and set it in the future, transform yourself into a Japanese man, you will still find yourself in a vicious cycle. Nobody ever gets together in a WKW world and live through it unscathed.

If you're in a Wong Kar Wai film, there are so few places to eat that you will bump into the people who caused you pain and you will have to make them dedma. Or that your hotel has only one phone in the lobby and you better be quick or you'll be at the bitching end of dedma. Or that you're doomed to listen to the same songs over and over again. Your world is excruciatingly small, but at least, you will always be fabulous and slick and you have nice clothes.

There's also this little Scorpio Nights moment in the film where Tony Leung peeks into this hole and he sees the other girl sleeping with someone and his tears fall through. I still don't understand everything in the movie. Probably need to sit through it 2 or 3 more times, and that's after watching Days of Being Wild and In the Mood for Love again. Maybe then I'll get illuminated.

*Way way back, BnC wrote a sci-fi piece that eventually became her undergrad thesis that is also my exact address. Now Wong Kar Wai made 2046, and while there is no futuristic postman in this one, it is a still a few numbers short of where you can actually find me.

Sleep, perchance to lose weight

According to a NASA study, trying to change your body clock is difficult enough in itself. Even more difficult is trying to adjust your sleeping pattern. But if forced to do so because of work or school, it is best to try to adjust it gradually over a few weeks. Otherwise, sleep deprivation will tell your brain that it needs more sugar. Which will then cause you to binge and gain more weight.

All this new data conspires to explain my current situation. And I always thought that a good night's sleep is the solution to everything.

Friday, December 17

saturatedtextmachine scores!

Today, Gwen of saturatedtextmachine turns twenty. So go on and greet the nightcallgurl, camwhore, and ex-art student (Although we're hoping she goes back and finishes the damn thing no matter how long it takes.).

Happy birthday, Gwen!

The Diliman Scandal (aka Faculty Follies 2004)

Apparently, I have a blackmail photo floating around.

I have learned my lesson: never decline lunch invites from friends with digicams, lest said people turn up at the college variety show and take photos which they will later post in their blogs.

And not only that, there's even video evidence of me dancing onstage along with my former lit theory professor. But I still think I got the better deal. I present you this photo from the 2004 Faculty Follies:

Mama Er, chair of the Department of European Languages, dressed in drag as Valentina. Photo courtesy of BnC.

Presenting Mama Er, the ever honorable chairperson of the Deparment of European Languages, here dressed as Valentina. This is arguably the most disturbing photo yet to come out of the event, unless they dig one up of Jovy Peregrino in drag and with arching eyebrows.

Tuesday, December 14

Da King is dead. Long live da King!

Fernando Poe Jr: 1939-2004.

Juday with FPJ

FPJ succumbed at 12.01 today after being comatose for nearly three days. For a lot of people, he would be remembered as an actor, quintessential hero, reluctant politician, and possibly the Bestest Friend ever:
While Erap is portrayed in most of his movies as a born fighter, his battle against forces of evil is informed by tragedy (i.e. he ends up being jailed, killed and executed). FPJ is projected as an immortal (either emerging from nowhere or rising above the circumstances). He is a peace-loving stranger pushed to the limits. He comes to the rescue, a reluctant hero larger than life, brandishing golden .45 caliber pistols or wielding a sword with supernatural powers. He puts an end to evil once and for all.
On top of everything, he is also the redeemer not only for the masses but also for Joseph Estrada. Granted that people ridiculed him for even daring to run in the last presidential elections, just how many of us can claim to have a friend who would dearly suffer life and dignity just to save his best bud? It was a fight worth fighting, and he was a decent man. Fare thee well, Sir.

[Photo taken from "Isusumbong Kita sa Tatay Ko," where FPJ co-starred with Judy Ann Santos.]

Sunday, December 12

Down the river, under the weather

It's time to extol again about the virtues of idleness. The past few weeks had seen me going on and running about for hours. Even during the week of the great typhoon, there was simply just a lot of work to be done. The morning shift required me to get up and do the grind with only 6 hours of rest, and use the weekends to catch up on whatever sleep I can.

And then last Tuesday, I woke up and realized that I couldn't even move to push myself off the bed. I was running a fever and lacked sleep. Those who know me would be the first to tell you I'm no good if I don't get my requisite 8 hours or more.

I've had 2 massages this week. Last Monday, between appointments I hurried down to Morato to get me a steam bath and a massage. The girl there pounded at my nape and my back. I thought she wanted to kill me. Even repeated requests to slow down didn't ease her anger at all the "lamig" and knotted muscles. (What the hell is a "lamig"? Her explanation is that when we're tired, our pores are more or less open and thus susceptible to "lamig." Knots of cold air enter the skin, especially when we sleep with our backs facing the electric fan or when we douse ourselves with water when we're tired. It somehow suspiciously sounds like "pasma" and I don't really subscribe to that.) The day after that, I had to stay away from school. Last Friday, I ran into BnC and another friend at the FC, and they were getting bargain massages. (P49.95 for 15-20 minutes! Not bad na.) The girl there told me I still had a light fever--"sinat"--and that I still had a lot of lamig on my back and arms. She told me to go easy and not to take a bath that night.

Initially, I resisted the morning shift, knowing full well that since I could only sleep at well past midnight, my optimal hours were really in the late afternoon. Then I thought that maybe the morning air would do me good, and just think of my (non)invisible roommate Sharon. She starts class at 7am and done by 10am. She has the rest of the day to do her own stuff. Now that's something. So I tried valiantly to be like Ben Franklin--or Sharon. Whatever. I'm not still not healthy, wealthy or wise. I probably have the intelligence of a sponge in my 8.30 class. I get by by swigging coffee and energy drinks. Grudgingly, I would have to acknowledge that I really am not a morning person. Believe me, I tried. But since it's a bit too late to swap schedules, I would have to stand by this routine for another three or four months. God help us all.

I don't know why we have become a society of workhorses. "Workaholic" is not something to be snooted at anymore. It is expected. But hey, even horses collapse when pushed to run too much. And by then, as they say, what's the use of giving it some grass? A little down time is good, if only to recharge not just physically, but also mentally and psychologically.

In the November 2004 issue of Harper Magazine, Mark Slouka writes that "Idleness is not just a psychological necessity, req­uisite to the construction of a complete human being; it constitutes as well a kind of political space, a space as necessary to the workings of an actual democracy as, say, a free press. How does it do this? By allowing us time to figure out who we are, and what we believe; by allowing us time to consider what is unjust, and what we might do about it."

Idleness in this sense becomes dangerous. By having enough time in our hands to consider who we are and what we can do, we can think up all manners of things, and not all of them good. It's not just about having the time to trash mommy's garden and getting your hand in the cookie jar, it's about planning revolutions and thinking that everyone has the right to moments of thought and relaxation.

But the world will have none of that. We must work to feed the god of time machines: the god requires sacrifices, give him our every second, minute, hour and days of our lives. And the key word isn't just "work," but two things: "work continuously." To go on and on and on, until one day, we will just stop and walk out of the paint factory that has become our lives. Sherwood Anderson, American literary giant and sometime copywriter of a line of paints, did just so. Tired of working, he walked away from his secretary in the middle of dictating a letter, marched out and trudged for four days until he was found and rushed to a hospital. When asked why he did that, he declared that work has become too taxing, that "to stay was to suffocate, slowly; to escape was to take a stab at 'aliveness.'" What the world needs is not an army of ants, but a new breed of people who "at any physical cost to themselves and others" would "agree to quit working, to loaf, to refuse to be hurried or try to get on in the world."

It's a nice turn of phrase: "To refuse to be hurried or to try to get on in the world." But, of course, if we do that, we'll be pronounced mad, or at least indolently lazy. So we get on that train and join the morning rush, one of millions of ants marching on to their colonies of work worship, and hoping that one day, maybe the god of idleness will wake up and make us smell and taste and see and hear and feel what it's like to finally be at rest.

Original kantogirlblues post here.

More doctrines about the Cult of Idleness:
Ted Rall's Quit Your Job. Work is a Sham.

MSNBC's report on "Take Back Your Time Day"

The Guardian on Tom Hodgkinson's "The Virtue of Idleness"

Wednesday, December 8

How to pack off your brain when you're brain dead

In case you conk out and you want humanity to benefit from your grey matter, that is. The New York Brain Bank at Columbia University tells you how to pack off that juicy brain of yours to their lab so they can use your donation to study Alzheimer's disease and help millions in the process. I just hope they have something of the sort here in the Philippines, where we have a pandemic of amnesia, if you believe what you watch on tv.

Go here to get their shipping information. It's complete with a step by step guide and lists all the things you need--ziplocs, ice packs, fresh brain, yum!--and how to do it.

fresh brain, yum yum

Brain in ice looks like something from Ice Monster. Yummy!

After this, you can go out and brag that all it takes to seal your brain is a 40x50cm ziploc bag. Yay.

Monday, December 6

How to hover piss

If you're a girl living in the Philippines, you are almost certainly familiar with the dirtholes and the strong olfactory effects of most public restrooms. In most instances, one would rather hold it inside and find something more suitable and less germ free, but that would have meant waiting for an eternity. The next best thing is this: you most definitely have to master the art of hover pissing.

Sandra Fu of morphizm tells you how to do it: "Stand with your legs about hip-width apart and slowly lower your butt towards the toilet, like a mothership looking to beam up her long-lost alien brethren, making sure to get low in the squat. Some women may find it useful to support their upper body by propping their hands or forearms on their knees. Once properly positioned go ahead and let loose the stream."

Saturday, December 4

Tomato Table and Ocassional Pissers

I want to make a tomato table just like this one:

Or perhaps, if I can't find any plastic tomatoes, lemons would do. But I don't know if I want a yellow piece of furniture. Ah hell. I'm feeling all DIY all of a sudden--either really bored or just antsy or both.

Which reminds me of my friend Ms G, who recently turned 40. The day of her birthday, I ran into her early morning when classes were cancelled. We were talking about roommates. I was lamenting the fact that mine is not invisible anymore. Not that it's all that bad because she's nice and all. I'm not just used to sharing my space, I suppose.

Ms G tells of her status as the official horrible roommate of that department across the hall. Ms G can't smell anything at all, so she never really cleans her place until absolutely necessary or when she spills ash and the room explodes in flames. So one time, they send the new French girl over to her office to be her roommate. There was no one around to warn her about the mess, so she marched upstairs, put the key in the lock, then pushed the door open only to be greeted by white tiles and a urinal right smack in the center of the room. Imagine a garage mess with Duchamp's masterpiece:

Legend has it that the girl ran out and never came back. Of course, Ms G could be making it up. I had dreamed of a thousand ways of scaring my roommate but never quite succeeded. A bit of history then: Ms G's pisser is a remnant from a short film she did eons ago about a teacher who is perpetually late for class. One day, she gets lost down the hallway and tries different doors and one of them leads to a huge restroom where a girl combs her hair while staring eerily at the mirror. And this was pre-Sadako. Anyhow, the urinal was too pretty to just throw away. So she hauled them, tile walls and all up to her office and scaring away the roommate she never saw.

But finally, last week, she got fed up of the trash and called in the manongs to spruce up the place. She set aside a few things then told him to throw everything in big balikbayan boxes and do whatever he wishes with them. The manong took one look at the place and resisted feebly to no avail. It took the manong 3 days to clean, and she only gave him the standard merienda fee.

"Meanie," I tell her.

"Well," she said between puffs. "Maybe I should have given him more."

"My dungeon may be occasionally stinky, by account that it's right beside the boys' bathroom and all, but that's not our doing. Ikaw kasi porke di mo naamoy okay lang."

"Which reminds me, I have no maid for three weeks now. I haven't put up Christmas decorations. But anyhow, that's not advisable if you have 8 cats. I asked mudra to come but she won't. I wonder why."

"Evil, you're just evil."

Friday, December 3

End of the block

43folders tells us how to hack our way out of writers' block. Don't go the way of Dustin Hoffman. Please.

I also wish they have some advice on how to hack your way out of your postcolonial ek homework. Wah.


Turn your old tshirts into cutesy underwear: "
It's true that, as an undergarment, not many people will ever see this creation. But those that do will appreciate it all the more. I like to make these for friends because they are all unique, and you can't buy them (except in the Getcrafty store). But good luck getting your friend's hip size without her/him noticing."
You can do boxers too. I can so see the Christmas gift potential of this. But, darn, I can't sew straight for the life of me. Hmm...

Wednesday, December 1

And you people insist Pinoy movies are bad

That most of our stuff are just ripoffs of the cut and paste variety. ("Let's do The Others but let's make it more Pinoy. Call it "D'Anoders!")

Just try to look at some of these Hollywood pitches chronicled by this guy in his blog:

"Carl Flue, a Los Angeles detective who suffers from a
paralyzing fear of knives, must face down an ancient
Aztec sacrificial knife that has possessed the minds
of several people and turned them into invincible
killers that serve the knife's bloodlust."

I personally like that one about the horror professor.

[Should have appeared yesterday via an e-mail post, but for some strange reason, Blogger did not put it up.]

Truman's Day Out

Just finished reading In Cold Blood last Monday, that loser and almost totally useless holiday. I've had the book on my shelves for like three years and picked it up and put it down, never really getting past the first page.

Then a couple of weeks back, I saw a post on Metafilter about the 45th anniversary of the crime that inspired the book. The four members of the Herbert W. Clutter family were found in separate rooms, tied up in a comfortable position, and heads blasted off with a shotgun. The killers made off with $40 dollars and a portable radio, no sign of violence, and the police were virtually clueless. So I started reading, inching forward a few pages, little snips during train rides and before bed, while munching lunch, before naps. Took me two weeks, and finally given a huge push last Monday when you really wouldn't want to do anything else except hide under blankets, dose and read.

In Cold Blood was billed as a "nonfiction novel," and it made its author not just quite wealthy, but also cemented his reputation in the literary circles. If you're a true crime sort of person, this is for you. Mr. Capote did what we tried and couldn't quite do as well before in my past life as a crime writer for tv. Galing, galing, galing. Of course, there are some people who are convinced the book's not 100% honest. In an interview with George Plimpton, Mr. Capote said that he's been on the look out for an event "would allow him to write a "non-fiction" novel – in his definition, a factual book written using the literary skills of an accomplished novelist." The main contention being that the book quotes lengthy passages of conversation, and yet Capote never took notes.

There were also some catty claims. One is that Capote fell in love with Perry Smith, the "gentler" one of the two murderers, enough to pay $10,000 to be let into his cell in death row. But the Kansas agents and prison warden denied the allegations, saying it was not possible. Nevertheless, it was a very good book, whatever his motivations were.

A while back, came across another MeFi post about Mr. Capote's first unpublished novel, Summer Crossing. Although the report says it's "kind of a pre-'Breakfast at Tiffany's," I think it suspiciously sounds like this movie. Better na nga siguro he didn't publish it.

[Links mostly cribbed from this MeFi post, which got me started on the book anyhow.]

Sunday, November 21

Page stalking

In order to provide you with a peek into what I've been reading lately, I bring you something I got from Mary Ann, who lurks.
1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence in your own bulletin...along with these instructions.
5. Don't search around and look for the "coolest" book you can find. Do what's actually next to you.
I'm actually reading several books at a time these days, in a mad scramble to keep up with my class readings and the 50 book list. But the only book right beside me has this to say:

"Journalists, beware--reporting on Japan is like walking on quicksand."
--Alex Kerr, Dogs and Demons: Tales from the Dark Side of Japan

I'm only in Chapter 2, but I can tell you that it's a very interesting read, which tells you much about why Japan is fascinated with concrete and shiny things, of empty wastelands and ghosts in manga and anime.

Tuesday, November 9

Spot the teachers

Here's a photo taken outside the new CAL Building (aka Wendell Capili Hall) after yesterday's department meeting.

DECL people. photo courtesy of psychicpants

PS. This is for those who think I have an imaginary roommate. Here is evidence #43. There she stands beside me, the one wearing the white shirt.

[via psychicpants' flickr photostream]

System Kind of a Down

In case somebody's checking, I won't be able to blog much. My computer monitor just died. Again. For no reason at all, while I was trying to revise some syllabi and watch Last Tango in Paris, the screen just turned black and refused to show any sign of color. And I just replaced the damn monitor last summer. To complicate things more, even the computer at work is kaput. So it really really annoys me that I am without a pc.

Quick note: This morning, I saw the sun's morning rays. The first time in a long long while. More specifically, the sun refused to let me catch a wink on the train on the way to school. And I saw lots and lots of worker bees going to their hives. Let's see how long I can keep this up.

For this morning's link, go here if you want to see what Team Angas looks like. I'm already warning you--it ain't pretty.

Tuesday, November 2

Magnifico reviewed in New York Times

Anita Gates reviews Magnifico for The New York Times and calls it a "modest but engaging Filipino tear-jerker."

Read the rest here, but better hurry since the NYT article only has a limited shelf life before it heads off to the premium archive.

Paper toss

We interrupt this Halloween holiday broadcast with such great time wasting news:

Go play paper toss and I promise you won't notice the hours go by. I was supposed to be marathoning movies yesterday, and I ended up with an achy right hand from tossing those damn paper balls.

Monday, November 1

Possession Story #1: Hiram na Ganda

While marooned in a hotel in Baguio and waiting for other people to get dressed so we could get a decent lunch, I decided to take advantage of cable tv and came across this weird drama anthology episode or perhaps a telesine—I have no idea which since there were no bumper voiceovers announcing, “And now we return to another episode of…” No clues whatsoever. All I know is that it’s a hybrid of several stories: Mannequin, Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, Faust, Shrek and Blusang Itim thrown in for good measure.

So Chin Chin Gutierrez is this Really Beautiful Woman named Angela Legaspi. She keeps a larger than life portrait of herself on her living room wall. Romnick Sarmenta is her man servant slash driver, and Melissa Mendez, made ugly by this blotch of black, warped skin and a limp, is her distant cousin slash confidante slash voice of morality and reason.

Chin Chin is living The Life—go to parties, look absolutely stunning, break hearts for breakfast. She’s so beautiful that men literally go crazy and kill themselves over her, to the detriment of the women in their lives. The mother of one such man barged into Chin Chin’s house and announce that she has come to avenge her son, who was about to be ordained as a priest, but went to a party and met Chin Chin, became enamored, and then proceeded to shoot himself in the head when she walked away from him. Then the mother throws acid on Chin Chin’s face. She screams. She howls. She looks at the mirror and voila! She’s as beautiful as ever. She rushes to her garage and looks at The Mannequin, whose face is now ruined by acid.

There sits the secret of her beauty. The Mannequin suffers the worldly wear and tear that was meant for Chin Chin. It shows the blackness of her heart, how ugly her soul really is. We learn that Chin Chin used to look like Melissa Mendez. Horribly ugly and with that black splotch of hairy skin on her face. That’s how we know they’re related. But somehow, some time back, Chin Chin struck a deal with The Devil. He will make her beautiful. She would be rich, admired and adored for her famed beauty, but he after some time, he will come and take her soul. Unless—there’s always an “unless”—a good soul falls in love with her and expects nothing in return. So off she goes living The Life, moving from town to town, looking for love, looking for The One With a Pure Heart. Sometimes all she finds are lotharios for hire. Like Jay Manalo, for instance. She fancies him and when he realizes that, he proceeds to ask her to pay his rent money, his son’s medicines, etc. So she walks out and proceeds with her search, but ending up being abhorred for her loose ways and spreading infamy.

Sometimes, The Devil possesses Romnick or Melissa to remind her of The Deal. After the acid splashing incident, she realizes that whatever she does, she might not find TOWaPH and the devil would forever own her soul. She also realized that if she prayed, the devil couldn’t possess Romnick. So she repents. She donates all her riches and her nice party dresses to the poor. What the poor would do with red cocktail gowns, we don’t know. The town spreads the tale of her change of heart and comes flocking to her door for more help.

Then she meets Emilio Garcia, who is this nice rosary toting boy. Chin Chin in her plain rags is walking down the street. A car slows down and the window opens. “Are you Angela Legaspi? I’ve heard so much about you.” He gives her the rosary blessed by the Pope. He proposes marriage to her. She is torn: Here is a nice rosary toting boy who seems to be Pure of Heart. But he doesn’t know the real her. Melissa Mendez convinces her that this is her chance. That time is running out and soon The Devil would come and claim his due. So they set the date.

On the day of their wedding, Emilio Garcia wears his tux and looks at the mirror. Then his reflection changes into this brooding figure and his voice lowers by about an octave. “Do you think you can escape the curse by marrying her? She is not Pure of Heart. She used to be a loose woman, the way you were a lost man. She is also cursed. Nyahahaha!” This prompts him to send her a letter in his stead. When Angela was handed the letter at the altar, she just knew. Their wedding day was supposed to be the day The Devil will claim Angela’s soul—and Emilio’s as well.

The Mannequin still sits there in the darkened garage, repugnant and still, the silent witness to the deep dark history of a woman who only wanted to be beautiful and be loved.

We don’t know who wrote it, if it was a one shot episode or what. We suspect that perhaps it was some sort of Holy Week special--you know, like those drama pieces acted out by Eat Bulaga! cast members, meant to con us into repentance and ambassadors of world peace.

Meanwhile, the next movie starred Alice Dixson as this ugly disfigured woman with a dark past who accidentally commits murder and has to escape and then meets Tonton Gutierrez who mistakes her for another woman named Roselle and so befriends her and offers to pay for her plastic surgery. Tonton takes her out shopping for nice clothes and brings her to this mansion and then tells her not to object when called by another name. She wakes up and finds Ariel Rivera by her bedside and claims to be her husband. He has just arrived after years of working in Saudi and probably wants to play hookie with his wife. Alice Dixson is frightened. Why do they keep calling her by that name? “My name is not Roselle!” But nobody believes her. Meanwhile, Tonton Gutierrez drives to the airport with a woman who curiously looks like Alice Dixson. They hold hands. “Homer/Ariel wouldn’t know the difference. I told the doctor to make her a face exactly like yours. We will have a nice life together.” They hold hands.

We were glued in front of the television. Omg, they got this banana cue vendor to pose as the adulterous wife of an OFW and she doesn’t know! The writing credits revealed that the man who wrote the screenplay was the same guy who behind the soap wherein Maricar de Mesa played Olga and spent the entire show running after Carlos Miguel and trying to pry him away from Cecilia, who suffered from amnesia and went crazy and became ugly and had to have plastic surgery to become beautiful again. So Olga also had plastic surgery to look like Cecilia and she sometimes wore a mask which made her look exactly like Carlos Miguel’s paramour.

I don’t know what it is with Pinoys and their absolute belief and trust in cosmetic surgery as a cure-all for ugliness caused by curses, genetics, or the plain misfortune of having another woman throw acid on your face. If you believe every show and movie you watch, you’d think the Philippines is the world’s capital offering the best plastic surgery ever. And that's before the entire Vicki Belo boom.

But, of course, with a story steeped in The Great Pinoy Tradition of Plastic Surgery and Amnesia, how can you refuse? We just have to know what happens next.

Saturday, October 30

Blinkless Halloween

Some weeks back, there was a press release from Our Favorite Boldstar that she would be back in Wag Kukurap for the Halloween episode. But I didn’t see her shadow in the teasers nor in the episode itself.* Unless she was the poltergeist who was throwing KC Montero’s bed off the wall. It’s either that or she was one of the walk by ghosts who cross the camera and make the bidas look around but see nothing.

Anyhow, the first part featured Sexbomb Girl Aira Bermudez in her grisly tale of an obsessed fan. During one of their shows out of town, some guy asks Aira for an autograph. When she looks up, the guy has a slashed throat. She stifles a scream and then the guy disappears. Aira gets back inside the van and they begin their long treck back to the city. The long dark road was littered with walk by ghosts. You know, the kind wherein you think you saw something but when you tell the others, nothing’s there so you end up like a dweeb with a hyperactive imagination—or in the very least, really bad eyesight.

But of course, since this is a horror show, their van breaks down in front of the cemetery. Of all places to pick, right? The girls get off and decide to pee in the bushes. The other girls promptly leave Aira alone, and she finds herself lost and face to face with the obsessed ghost. He didn’t ask for her autograph this time.

It seems like the show can survive on tales from the Sexbomb Girls alone. First, Jacque, then Aira, and how many girls left to tell their tales?

*It turns out she was in another episode. But I didn't see that, so it doesn't count.

Wednesday, October 27

Carrie state of mind

I'm in a Carrie state of mind right now. Not Ms. Bradshaw, btw, but by way of Ms. White and Stephen King.

I found the book at a Diplomat store in SM Baguio, and started reading it last night when I got back home to Manila. Curiously, I'm all doubled up in pain the same way the heroine was in the book. I'm like twenty pages to the end, and I just hope that I won't turn out to be like her.

More later, when the Advil takes effect.

Wednesday, October 20

Solid Romnick and Sheryl Forever

Unlike psychicpants, I have no memory of Romnick Sarmenta as Peping. I only know him as the chinito ka-labtim of Sheryl Cruz, whose launching movie as a "serious" actress was "Bihagin ang Dalagang Ito." (Which by the way credits Ricky Lee as a co-writer and the campy Maning Borlaza as director.) That was back in the day when the measurement of popularity for teen actors was the number of screaming fans who belong to clubs whose banners spew variations of "Romnick-Sheryl Solid Forever United" and then buy spiral notebooks with their idols on the ubiquitous cover and with dedications like "Study Hard!!! Love, Nicko. *smiley*"

It is a phase that all teen idols must go through: Be part of a loveteam that the fans adore and shout out their tonsils for, and then try to cross over to the "mature" roles, usually in the form of ST movies, as was the order of the day in the 80s. Thus, Sheryl Cruz gets hostaged in the aforementioned film, and which also explains Romnick's "First Lesson," which must be good since it was produced by Seiko Films. Those who fail would be either doomed to make ST movies and then fade to oblivion, or just that, fade out from the limelight like teenage acne.

Romnick Sarmenta got a spew of good roles in the mid to late 90s, most notable of which was "Miguel/Michelle," in which he played the role of an OFW who went home to his province as a post-op transexual. He was sort of typecasted after that, then sort of hobbled along with the occasional stint and stage play. His ka-labtim went to the States, became a teacher and got married, had a kid, and then suddenly went back home. What followed was a supposed tug of war with Judy Ann Santos for a plum role in Mano Po 3. She started appearing in television, and then there she goes as Linang, the chief fairy of the waters in Mulawin, where she is again paired off opposite Romnick's Habagat.

These past few days, Mulawin's storyline revolves arounds Habagat's past with the fairy, and how the hiyas na walang kupas figures in the whole mythology arc. What previously was a bit that made the Scouts seem like Peter Pan's Lost Boys now has a backstory that involves Habagat, Linang and that other fairy who fancied Habagat but never got the chance. All in all, it's very interesting and the Romnick-Sheryl pairing gets positive feedback. But according to one of the writers of Mulawin, the Habagat-Linang pairing almost didn't push through as the actors themselves "weren't comfortable with each other." Jealousy on part of the spouses were implied, but the old showbiz adage still ruled, the show must go on indeed. And what a show it is. Mulawin is the only soap apart from the now long gone Kung Mawawala Ka that I actually come home to and watch as often as I can, that is, barring school duties and anti-loser night campaigns.

Single Serving the Nation

Mornings in our house is usually filled with the voices of radio announcers giving a rundown of the day's headlines. There's this section by Love Anover about the good news of the day. This morning it's about 6,000 medical doctors pledging to stay in the country and serve the nation and its people for three years. During which time they also vowed to go on medical missions, perform outreach projects for the needy (and almost everyone in this country qualifies as "needy"). They're not flying out immediately and search for greener pastures, they're not going to study nursing and become caregivers out there in the west. And according to Ms. Anover, that is the good news.

Of course, not said out loud is the fine print. Yeah, they're staying in this decaying pit for three damn years just so people would shut up about that entire problem about the diaspora, about medical board topnotcher Elmer Jacinto who's set to fly out and become a nurse in the land of milk and honey. That ought to be service enough, right?

As the ex-art student said: I wonder what Ms Evangelista, she of the rose colored glasses, would say about all this.

Tuesday, October 19

Blame game

The previous post generated some comments that could be possible spontaneous combustion material, what with today's warm weather and my despair at the seemingly bottomless pit that is paper checking.

Wayne points out that ABS-CBN/Today uploads their online content same day the print version comes out. I still say they're not consistent because this is not the first time I had come looking for specific articles and they couldn't be found anywhere. They have a crappy archive and a bad really unfriendly interface. The same goes for I'm just saying that it's time to beef up and organize the way they archive their data. Is all.

As for BnC's comment, if nobody really cares about the UP Presidency anymore, then why do we have nearly a dozen candidates? They all have their own particular peculiarities I'm sure. Not only have they been sleeping under a rock, but someone even claims to be Jose Rizal's girl.

Sana tumakbong UP President si Eddie Gil para may pambara na sa loveteam nina Madam Auring. Nyahahaha.

And yeah, before I forget, here is a link to "Blaming UP" after it's finally been posted to his official website.

Sunday, October 17


Sa sinumang merong kopya ng edisyon kahapon (16 October) ng diyaryong Today. Gusto ko lang naman ng kopya ng column ni Luis Teodoro na may title na "Blaming UP" na tungkol sa kawalan ng saysay ng Unibersidad sa lipunang Pinoy. Puwede na raw i-phase out ang UP dahil wala namang naitutulong sa karaniwang ordinaryong Pinoy. Karerahan nga raw ang UP at PMA sa award na institusyong obsolete at kasayangan ng pera.

Dapat talaga ninenok ko na lang yung diyaryo sa McDo kahapon. Damn.

UPDATE: Siyempre I spent most of Saturday evening looking up Teodoro's column from the ABS-CBN/Today website but it wasn't up yet. And I hate their interface too. The same thing goes with The Sunday magazine section online contained the stuff from the previous weekend. I don't see the logic in not updating the online content in the same day of the print issue. Surely they have enough web people to run the machinery. So now I have to blog about this way too late, and AFTER somebody else points to it. Nice di ba?

Tuesday, October 12

network wars on the web

Have the networks taken their wars to the web?

I was peacefully browsing the web when I came across what seems to be a kapuso blog. It has a listing of the newest shows, complete with story updates and ratings. The sidebar also has links pointing to blogs for Mulawin, Extra Challenge, StarStruck and Darna.

I checked out those blogs and they're surprisingly up-to-date. The Mulawin blog carries episode guides, including the recent developments regarding the Gas and Wis characters. These two were cursed to spend their eternities as children,cast away in a deep, dark forest. They had come across a group of scouts who also don't grow old. All in all, it sounds like Peter Pan with wings. And the blog confirms that, saying that someone named bluedove gave them the updates.

The blog also points us to the upcoming battle of the bird people with Judy Ann's Krystala, who until recently did not have the power to fly. But to combat aerial beings, she was forced to go airborne herself. The Krystala blog points us to yet another blog which carries the myth about the heroine.

I'm just wondering who's behind this blog blitz. The archives of the blogs date back to late August. Are the network people behind this or just some fans with too much time and bandwidth? I'm thinking of the former, since fans usually don't have access to episode guides unless they make it themselves and ratings are only privy to those who have insider access. And if so, then they must also have access to the other network's material. Hmm...

Monday, October 11

Morning girl, my foot

If today were a real class day, I would have missed my 8.30 class. I woke up at 8.45, the earliest I had done in the last few months. My mother looked at me while I poured tea, and said that I have a long way to go.

There I was, telling kids that the "early to bed, early to rise" blah by Jefferson or whomever was a sham, and it's coming back to haunt me.

Long live idleness!

Thursday, October 7

Secretary Wanted

Okay, so just to convince myself I still have some semblance of a life, I met up with a friend for coffee the other day. We were supposed to check out the newly opened Ayala Museum, but learned that the asking price for art nowadays is steep. *cough350cough*

So we retreated to Megamall, a place I haven't been to in ages. We hogged the corner couch and slurped overpriced coffee and basically entertained ourselves with our life's little dramas.

Since W came back everyone has been telling him to watch that woman with the bagwa movie, but I didn't want to go see it again, fearing more sleepless nights. So we scanned what was showing and discovered that Secretary is playing. (It's the same surprise I got when I learned that Saved!, a film about self righteous Christians, was playing in Glorietta. But it has Mandy Moore and playing to a full house--that's another story altogether.) After all that blah about SM banning R18 movies, here is a film that not only is about plain old bonking, but bonking with spanking! Kinky sex! And this is not destroying our moral fiber? So that's the way to do it? What? Hindi na siya bastos if it's in English?

For the uninitiated, Secretary is about a girl just out of a mental institution and finds work with "E. Edward Williams, Esq." as a secretary. The girl's clearly got problems-cutting herself all over the place. But said compulsion was thrown out when she discovered the joys of S&M. I'm not saying that Secretary is bastos and worthless. I read the short story upon which it was based ages ago. It's an okay film, one that would make you cringe and peek through your fingers at the same time. In fact, I wouldn't object if we get more of this kind of movie. I just want to know what sort of standard SM is using in determining which movies to show and which not to show.

In other worlds, I think I need a secretary. While checking papers yesterday, I came across something belonging to someone whose name had never appeared in my records before. But yeah, no spanking there, I promise.

Saturday, October 2

Sheep noir

Friday's French word of the day was "mouton."

On compte les moutons when we want to sleep. Or if you are the topic of way too many reunion whispers, then perhaps you are your family's mouton noir.

But what interested me the most is this, in a Feng Shui sort of way: That we can spend our lives going with the herd, lost the will to live vicariously. A hundred years of existence as a docile mouton, abandoning the call to forge ahead and be a lion. How sad indeed.

Mieux vaut vivre un jour comme un lion que cent ans comme un mouton.

Thursday, September 30

Kris Aquino vs the terrorists

I thought I've seen everything, after this blog's visitation from "Hanni Miller." But no, here's more from someone who claims to be "no PR man of Star Cinema, much more of Kris & the Aquinos." (Shyet, sounds like a new band, parang Gladys & the Boxers w/ K.)

More specifically, this man who signed the comment box as "Jhun Garcia," but wants us to call him "Francisco," is supposedly a "date palms climber" in Kuwait. The comments were from 27 September, the day when I wrote about being sleepless after watching Feng Shui on the opening day. But I've been busy lately that I was only able to check on the blog this morning. Here's what "Jhun/Francisco" has to say, because it's just too juicy and insane to be paraphrased:

Rather, anything about Ms. Kris Aquino is a welcome respite in our daily lives here in Kuwait (& my kababayans out here agree in unison). Whether she is portrayed as a victim, antagonist, protagonist, predator, etc., her family’s advocacy against Martial law (including its excesses, ghosts, architects & minions), is more than enough to bulldoze, drive away, phase out or salvage her from all the concocted & multitudes of verbal diatribes, character assassinations & biases of the vocal few. Talk about having a bullet proof or a global human shield in us, the silent majority, who Kris & family could always count on in times of crisis & mass attacks!!!
So if I got it right, if and when the time comes that Osama bin Laden and his cohorts decide to attack the Philippines, we only have to frontline Kris Aquino and we will have a "bullet proof" not just against bombs but terrorists as well. And I just can't help but laugh about "Martial Law and its excesses, ghosts, architects & minions."

Maybe we should send a pirated DVD of Feng Shui to Washington and tell George W. Bush that he need not look further. Here stands Kris Aquino, formerly of Pido Dida and currently of Feng Shui, bullet proof terror fighter.

It doesn't stop there. He came back early today, 30 September, telling me to "feel free to delete [my] comments" as there's been a "Wave of Deletions" instigated by those who think he's a paid Star Cinema hack. He also tries to convince me that he's real, giving a phone number just to make sure. Then he started spewing Bible verses: "God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong..."

Uhm, hoo-kay. Another wacko, another day. I wouldn't be surprised if one day "Kuya Jesus" himself rolls over and drops a comment on my blog. Bring it on.

UPDATE: Apparently, I'm not the only one pestered by this wannabe PR guy. The Sheryl Cruz Fans Club reports a similar attack in his comments page, at approximately the same time. Given the feverishness of this Kris defendant, could it be the girl who got caught in the libel suit for allegedly circulating a defaming email/column feed to tabloid columnists? Hmm...

Wednesday, September 22

Save this lobster now!

In a bizarre piece of news, Edward Furlong was arrested trying to free lobsters in a grocery store. Oh-kay. Read it if only for the cow eyed mug shot at the end of the news article.

This comes in the wake of Macaulay Culkin's arrest because of drugs. What is it with these people? Is there a race for The Peewee Herman Award for people who were famous in the 90s?


*heart* too. Back out, dude! This baby is mine! Harharhar!

*grabs lobster away* No way, dude! I saw her first!

, save me!

Yeah, looks like it.

Scorpio Nights Kimchi Style

Summertime is dubbed as the official Korean remake of Peque Gallaga's Scorpio Nights:

Summer Time ["Sseom-meo-ta-im"] Directed by Park Jae-ho. Screenplay by Yoo Gap-yeol. A student activist moves into an attic room in a small town, where he discovers a hole in the floor. After spying on the woman downstairs, the wife of a policeman, he enters her apartment and embarks on an affair with her. Set in the 1980s. An official remake of the mid-1980s Philippine film Scorpio Nights by Peque Gallaga. Starring singer/actress Kim Ji-hyun, Ryu Su-young, Choi Chul-ho. Cinematography by Shin Hyun-joong. Produced by Sidus. Distributed by Cinema Service. Rating: 18+. 103 min.

I came across this interesting bit while trolling around for relevant links for my previous post. I wonder how this one will turn out? Bolder and more vitriolic? Because given their propensity for teeth grinding (not to mention pulling) violence, I would expect no less than that. Of course they can also do kilig like nobody's business, but really, seeing a Pinoy cult classic transmogrified into a different culture (not really translated, but can't think of the right word right now) would really be something. If anyone out there has a dvd of this movie, please do throw it my way.

Bold movie history rewind

Let's call this my tangential Martial Law post. Cat of points us to this rather dated, but still relevant essay by Roland Tolentino in Bulatlat that traces the development of the Pinoy bold movie genre. It's a progression of how much flesh one can bare, and the various female film archetypes who exemplified each period.

It's interesting to note how the development of bold movies coincided with Marcos rule. The bomba film exploded around the time of the First Quarter Storm; then it was followed by the bold film, wet look stage (1974-1976); bold film, daring stage (1976-1982); FF (fighting fish film) films and pene films (1983-1986); ST or sex-trip film (1986-1992); and the TT films (1992-1998); and the PP films (1998-present).

These movies, according to the Tolentino essay, parlayed the dominant power structures of its time, as well as epitomizing the female archetype that viewers found desirable. Thus the wet look was personified by Gloria Diaz and the rise of the magic camison, the daring stage upheld young nymphets in the Alma Moreno mold, and the stars of ST movies were colegialas from good families like Gretchen Barretto and Cristina Gonzales.

Each period showed more and more skin, culminating perhaps with the actual penetration shown in pene movies. But these movies were not the mainstream ones shown in first rate cinemas, but rather in the dilapidated ones, and usually these are the supposed inserts made after the approved draft. I'm familiar with all of this, as the Tolentino essay is mostly an English version of his "Rosanna Roces at ang Maingay na Babae" essay from his bida ng pelikula book that analyzes how our pelikulas bidas are archetypes of wo/manliness.

What caught my attention is the "fighting fish" category. What exactly do they mean by that? Given that this kind of movie proliferated between 1983-86, way before I was able to watch movies, not to mention the bold ones for that matter, it also bookmarked the era right after Ninoy Aquino's assassination and up to the time of the first Edsa Revolution. The only movies that come to mind from this time is Scorpio Nights which starred Daniel Fernando and Anna Marie Gutierrez, and there's also Boatman which starred Ronnie Lazaro. There were no fishes in those movies, so I can only assume that it refers to the ferocity which the protagonists attacked each other in bed. Or something like that.

The Bulatlat article also describes the current bold movie scene as being PP. From 1998 onwards, this period is characterized not by partially exposing the private parts, but these are "simply laid bare to linger on screen and into the eyes of audiences." Joyce Jimenez leads the pack with her remake of Scorpio Nights, then Patricia Javier (Kabit ni Mrs. Montero), Sunshine Cruz (Ekis), Ina Raymundo (Anak ng Burlesk Queen) and Klaudia Koronel (Hubad sa Ilalim ng Buwan). These are movies that were made within the reign of deposed President Erap Estrada, once a movie star and typified the macho man in the movies and in office. A number of films of remakes of originals from previous bold eras: Ina Raymundo's remake of the relatively tame Burlesk Queen included full frontal shots, the new Scorpio Nights starring Joyce Jimenez carried the marquee "Peque Gallaga's Scorpio Nights," and the remake of Isla was a bolder, brighter version of the Celso Ad. Castillo one. According to Tolentino, these films "artistic attempts to savor the pleasures of seeing the female form in sexual action, as these are reworkings of recent classical films or new artistic endeavors. The stars themselves embody an umbrella coalition of disparate backgrounds--Filams, mestiza, local beauties co-dominate. However, the lean form, showcasing the enormous breast and humpy hips and buttocks, predominate the body type."

Bold movies in the time of Gloria Arroyo have yet to be characterized. The post-Edsa 2 bold scene (2001 onwards) is dominated by younger women, former teenyboppers who, after turning 18, shed off their clothes and bared their nubile bodies for everyone to see. Assunta de Rossi (Red Diaries, Sisid, Hubog, Bahid) and Rica Peralejo (Dos Ekis, Balahibong Pusa, Hibla) were two of the major proponents of this period, at least before they announced their "retirement" from taking off clothes for a living. Both were teenstars known for pa-cute and decorative roles in television until they decided to give the bold genre a try. Currently, the ones enjoying the spotlight tend to be younger and have that look of innocence and experience. Francine Prieto and Aubrey Miles are veteran cover girls of FHM, a lad mag whose popularity also zoomed up in the post-Edsa 2 era.

There's also a rise in girl groups like the Viva Hot Babes, who not only make bold movies singly or in groups, but are also involved in the current phenomenon of the direct to video "anthologies." These videos at first masqueraded as videokes where the girls gyrate to "My Way" or other OPM karaoke classics, then as "instruction manuals" on "the art of undressing," as is the case of the Patricia Javier's Bare Naked video. Viva Films now makes more videos than they do actual movies, partly due to the decrepit state that the Filipino movie industry is now in.

That's compounded by the recent backlash on bold movies. SM Cinemas ushered it with the ban on R-18 movies in their cineplexes. Which is why a lesser known group of bold starlets known as D'Bodies staged a protest wearing nothing but t-backs and plastic raincoats on Roxas Boulevard several days back. When the local police came over to arrest them, they handed over their transparent raincoats to the attendant police officers. They're now facing charges of public scandal and obstruction to traffic, among other things. It wasn't really a very smart move, and their arguments go along the lines of "if you ban bold movies we won't be able to make a living, sniff sniff" but it is a cause for concern. Do you ban bold movies because they cause the decay of our moral fiber or because a big bad mall said so?

As we have pointed out, historically, bold movies movies echo the economic and power structures of the day. Then does it mean that a presidency under Gloria Arroyo also translates to a superficial defense of public morality while diminishing everyone's capacity to make a living? This we have yet to see.

Tuesday, September 21

PUP's human rainbow

Last Saturday, the Polytechnic University of the Philippines made a bid to be in the Guinness Book of World Records by assembling over 31,000 students, faculty and alumni at the Quirino Grandstand in Luneta to form the largest human rainbow. The aim is to break the record set by HongKong Polytechnic in 2002 when they formed an arch of people wearing t-shirts the color of the rainbow.


But this year's bid is also part of PUP's celebration of 100 years, despite being known as the "outcast in the stupendous theater of academic excellence." PUP has more than 50,000 students spread across 18 campuses, and is generally known as the Poor Man's University, but it also gets the littlest sliver of the budget allotted for state colleges and universities. If successful for the Guinness bid, PUP aims to utilize the event to lobby for more funds and to "rouse local legislators to pass legislation that will shore up our material reserves to ease the burden of ‘working [their] way through’ every day." Well, at least they are doing something.

And the university who gets the biggest portion of the budget is also currently protesting because of the Php67 million slice off their budget. Maybe we should also form a bigger human rainbow?

Just to clear off things, I studied high school in PUP's Laboratory hs, and went to university in Diliman. So that makes me a Maroon twice over. My brother is part of the rainbow event--he wore red I think--and they've been practicing for months already. But I sort of slept through the entire event because was too tired from checking papers the previous night.

Monday, September 20

Crush of the week

Toni Gonzaga is cute and suddenly everywhere. And the article never mentions that she was part of that soap we all worked on. Yun lang.

Nightmare in apple green

This morning's vaguely remembered dream has me walking down my building's familiar hallway. I was in that dimly lit corner leading to the office to get my mail.

"Hi," she said. Whenever I see this girl, it's like being thrown back to a time when folks didn't seem to care much about the ozone layer the way they propped their hair up with AquaNet. She's one of the few people I know who despondently cling to the fashion foibles of her generation.

80s girl flipped her hair and hoisted self up on desk. Suddenly, I was blinded by a flash of apple green--and half a butt exposed along with it. She wore one of those pleated short skirts. That place could never be illuminated properly, but there it was, a blinding flash of color.

Chunky legs, green skirt, half a butt. May the good Lord save us all.

Friday, September 17

Still no sleep

I've been awake for 3 straight days now. The last time I closed my eyes to sleep and rest was Tuesday night, or very early Wednesday morning. I didn't have my midweek break because I had make up classes and then a meeting in the afternoon. Then I had the brilliant idea of watching Kris Aquino in Feng Shui--on the opening day. Oh it was the usual color saturated Star Cinema film that it was, with generous dollops of Sadako and the generic Asian horror cinema tricks throw in. But I caught the last full show, got home, and started getting all hyper about every miniscule bounce, step and kuliglig rasping around me. I tossed and turned and even felt that little earthquake.

But for the life of me I couldn't turn off the lights and sleep. At 4am, I gave up and booted up my computer and attempted to post something, but my brain was all fried and grilled. I finally had the courage to turn on the nightlight when daylight crept inside my windows. I could hear the neighbors stirring. Time to sleep.

It was four more hours of tossing to no avail. Threw my hands up and dragged my carcass out of bed, got ready for school, and proceeded to make a bumbling parrot of myself. That's what you get when you're fueled by Nescafe.

Then I joined some friends in their lamay night and I attempted to check papers. Then I tried watching some tv and Andrea del Rosario's life was on MMK, and it didn't seem like tv to me.

I still haven't slept. If I keel over and die, it's Kris Aquino's fault. But don't tell her about it.

Thursday, September 9

Boldstar drama queen

I don't know how this figures in in the scheme of things, but my referrers list had a Yahoo Search entry for Hanni Miller, and from there I learned that earlier this year, just right after the showing of the blockbuster Puri, she was diagnosed with the early form of ovarian cancer. And not only that, she was diagnosed and overcame leukemia when she was sixteen.

Unless Hanni Miller makes a comeback in this blog, there is no way of knowing if all this is true, or just a way to pander to all our wawa instincts, biz: Ay, she has cancer wawa naman siya.

Okay, am stopping now lest an angry boldstar comes charging for my jugular.

Tuesday, September 7

Calling all Noranians

Is Nora Aunor more than just an artista to you? Do you have all her records and have watched all movies, and can you list down all the houses she has ever owned, rented or stayed in for a sizeable period in time? Do you believe that Nora Aunor is the narcotic our society needs, as some academics claim her to be?

If you answer yes to any or to all those questions, you might be interested in a Noranian anthology a group is coming up with:

Magkakaroon ng isang compilation ng mga essay tungkol sa inyong pagiging Noranian o tungkol sa kakilala niyong Noranian (lola, nanay o tatay, kasambahay, o iba pang kakilala). Ang focus ng essay ay hindi si Nora, kung hindi ang mismong Noranian.

Maaaring sumasagot sa sumusunod na mga tanong:

1) Paano ako naging Noranian?

2) Anu-anong mga kabaliwan ang mga nagawa ko bilang Noranian?

3) Sino si Nora sa buhay ko?

Note: Puwede ang kahit na anong paksa o kahit na anong nakatutuwa o malungkot na anecdote.

Minimum of 4 pages up to 7 pages. Nakasulat sa Filipino (puwedeng Taglish).

Ang awtor ng mapipiling mga akda ay mabibigyan lamang ng isang complimentary copy ng aklat. Lakipan ang contribution ng bionote o maikling impormasyon tungkol sa inyo.

Ipadala sa on or before Sept. 15, 2004. Mabuhay ang mga Noranians!

My mother is a Vilma Santos fan and needless to say, just for the heck of being the rebellious daughter, I told her that Nora kicks ass. If there are any other Noranians out there, heed the call.

Hanni Miller hates me

More than that, Hanni Miller hates my guts. I was just browsing the blog for comments and was surprised to see an avalanche of hot words. Here is "hanni miller"'s comment to my debate post:

who ever wrote this thing i just want to clear, i never had any movie like kangkong or buko pandan. I only made one movie entitled PURI. And bold shouldnt be the right term to use, as if its PORNO right? EVery star started from nothing unless you belong to a family of stars. Im not a little known stars. just be careful of writing down terms that arent sounds good to whom u referring to. thanks
hanni Miller | Email | 09.07.04 - 4:12 am |

Now I thought that was that. And here is my response:

dear hanni miller, if that's really you, and if you really read my post, i actually was protesting that ban against r18 movies. i never called anyone a porno star because i know what's "porno" and what's not. so what do you want to call it? does "sexy" sound good to you?

also, before i write anything about anyone, i check them out at yes, i know you made Puri, and that you guested in Wag Kukurap as the tiktik, but you were also listed in Silang Mga Rampadora, hence the reference. if you want you can look it up in my other blog posts. then you would learn that i actually took up the cudgels for them boldstars.
xkg | Homepage | 09.07.04 - 1:12 pm | #

Chill crept up my spine when I scrolled lower and found this in my Wag Kukurap blog post:

ive been reading all the write ups here, it seems someone really hate me here as if she or he wanted to comment but the thing is she really want to insult and kick me. u never know who the hell i am when someone tried to do something like this to me huh! do u really know about tiktik and that she can hear u talking about her wherever u are. im the most mysterious person u never met and u should know that.. be careful [emphasis mine]
hanni Miller | Email | 09.07.04 - 4:34 am |

Did a bold star just threaten me with bodily harm?

On one hand, part of me doesn't want to believe that this is the real Hanni Miller. Identities can always be faked online, just look at Kris Aquino and her infamous lj.

But a part of me wants to consider this real, primarily because of the gut reaction of "hanni miller." She took it personally, without really reading closely and getting what I meant to say. The implication of the comments also point to the supernatural: "do u really know about tiktik and that she can hear u talking about her wherever u are. im the most mysterious person u never met and u should know that.. " Does this mean that "hanni miller" is a tiktik and I should be careful? Or is it, wala lang, nakita niya pangalan niya tapos magreact na lang.

Besides, my blog is not even the #1 search result for Hanni Miller. I don't really believe that's you Hanni girl. Or if it's really you, I don't mean you harm. You're in showbiz, just take this in stride like the strongest intriga there is. But So there.

Sunday, September 5

Bangkok Fantasy

I am not a fan. But Vic Zhou is a skinny boy, and Jerry Yan seems gay to me.

F4 storms Bangkok. I swear these guys are just about everywhere. They were scheduled to have a concert there after I flew out. Saw this billboard while crossing overpass near our place. A bit grainy, but that's the best I could manage. I had to risk life and getting limbs crushed if I ever tumbled over and down into the expressway below.

This road leads to the Don Muang Airport. (Pronounced "dorn meu-ang" which is Thai for "house on a hill.") The thing that struck me about Bangkok is that they all have these long, wide stretches of concrete: expressways and the double decker sky trains, flyovers looping into infinite double-triple helixes, the newly opened subway. And yet they still have all those temples, the smallest of which you can find in street corners along side the shopping complexes. It’s really East and West meeting, even if Mark Twain said that never the two shall meet.

Friday, September 3

Debate with Mare, Pare and the Bold stars

This is a crucial time for Philippine movies. As we have previously pointed out, a significant percentage of the movies we come up with each year are independently produced bold movies. Yes, they star little known stars like Hanni Miller, and have weird titles which sound like salads--Kangkong with Buko Pandan. A lot has been said about how they corrupt our youth and our nation's moral fiber. Apparently, everyone seems to be so busy about reviving and strengthening our morals. (Mag Creamsilk conditioner na lang kayo.)

Recently, SM Cinemas have decreed they would not show bold movies anymore. As a result, these little known boldies are protesting: they are to be robbed of whatever pittance they make for a living and will be forced to stage fashion shows and revues to earn money, or worse, attempt to sing and dance like the rest of those artista wannabes.

People are applauding that movies rated R-18 or For Adults Only will not be shown in SM malls anymore.

The question is that is this going to be a trend, and an eventual move in phasing out all films deemed for mature audiences only? Remember that not all R-18 movies are about disrobing. If so, are we voluntarily causing our collective cultural myopia? I say don't ban these movies. If you want, create a cinema complex for these, but don't take them away altogether. If you do that, you are stepping on other people's rights to see libog on screen. And I mean that in a very good way.

Tonight's panel include Manoling Morato, and we all know what he's going to say, Juliana Palermo who's only there to listen, Fr. Nico Bautista who proclaimed that banning R18 movies are against human rights, and Butch Francisco, who's still wearing his atrocious suit from this evening's Cine Europa opening.

Please let your opinions be heard. So far, the moralists are on the lead. Participate in Inq7's online Debate poll here.

Updates later.

Thursday, September 2

Kanto Girl meets Sassy Girl

In one of my many many walks in downtown Bangkok, I came across this multiplex in Siam Square which shows non-mainstream movies. The viewing fare is more artfilm than Hollywood, and during my visit they were showing, among other things, Windstruck by Korean star Jeon Ji-hyun.

A ragtag crew of young people have set up many pink windmills at the theater lobby to attract viewers for a mini tribute show in the afternoon.

They had this booth with posters, t-shirts and other paraphernalia for sale. There's even a poster signed by both Jeon Ji-hyun and that guy from Volcano High.

windstruck signed poster. She can take your breath away.

Of course, the fangirl in me just had to stop and take pictures.


The crew invited me to the program. Unfortunately, I was caught in the rain and wasn’t able to go back in time. I planned to shanghai Wally into watching the movie. There was a 4.30pm and an 8.45 screening. (In between they were showing an indie with Rachel Leigh Cook and a French movie. So in a day, they could feature as much as 4 different movies with different screening times in a single cinema.) But rain and life barred me from watching, so I guess I'll just watch it on DVD.

More entries about the Bangkok Quest soon, when my avalanche of midterm papers have subsided.

Ignoring the obvious

Every so often, local media would churn out reports about fetuses in shoe boxes that turn up in churches. That's regular tabloid fare. Networks would trundle out "exposes" about manghihilots, niceties for abortionists. Tonight, Jessica Soho Reports joins the ranks of those who raise their fists against our decaying moral fiber. Apparently, all the towns in the Philippines have their own village abortionist. Oh, they call it a manghihilot, or the friendly "herbal medicine advocate" outside Quiapo church who sells pamparegla, but it's abortion just the same.

What follows is a primetime witch hunt of these women who essentially snuff out the results of uninformed hetero sex. They also managed to trundle out women who got pregnant quite young, sought out the easy solution in the form of pills or hilot, and became infected when the catherer was left for 3 days inside their uterus. Then there's also the woman who had 3-7 abortions a year. But she didn't stop there: every time she hears about another woman who's rumored to be pregnant and might be interested in the operation, she would convince the woman to go to her "suking abortionista." What's even more appalling is not it's not even that expensive to get things done. Two hundred pesos (roughly $3.57 with the current exchange rate) for every month of conception. But then Catholic guilt kicked in and she stopped being an abortionist's agent. She started a new life and is now on her eleventh pregnancy.

To give the feature the appearance of fairness, they interviewed this woman from a woman's reproductive health organization, and her suggestion was to legalize abortion to avoid all these "gruesome events" of fetuses in boxes. What's even more gruesome, she says, is the number of women who die each year from the complications of botched abortions. These are, after all, medical operations. If you legalize them, if you make women aware of their choices, that they could get themselves qualified medical people to do it for them, then there would be no need to hie off to far off neighborhoods in the provinces or in the more unreliable parts of town to procure oneself of such a procedure.

Well and good. I'm all for women empowerment and all that blah. Make the women aware of their choices. Legalize the operation. Everyone is pointing fingers that all these things stem from the fact that young people are becoming aware of sex early. But nobody is telling these kids that if you have sex, you better use protection or else you might find yourself with a baby nine or so months down the road.

That's actually more basic than the abortion problem. So girls, nice or not, do get knocked up. Are we still going to be scandalized or are we going to do something about it?

But apparently, people just want to pretend that no, nobody ever has sex in this country except the married people. And the married people pretend that they're not having sex with people not their spouses. So when the problem does make itself known --bumukol na ang nauukol--that's when they scurry around for the solution. You want to fool around, get yourselves some rubber. It would save us all some time.

I actually miss those Reproductive Health ads from some eons ago. The only way we get out of this mess is for people to be aware of their responsibilities that come with pursuing physical relationships. It will solve the population problem.

We're already 80 million strong. We don't have the means to feed all our people, take care of them decently. People aren't getting basic health care. We don't need any more babies regardless of whether the church says it's bad to say no to God's little gifts.

Let's cut out the Catholic guilt crap. If we churn out more and more babies and people aren't ready to take care of them, you're just bringing out lives that will end up in poverty. I think that's an even more cruel end than becoming an exhibit in a forensic museum when you die.

For all this crap, maybe it's time to trundle out Rosanna Roces again if only to have a loud woman speak out loud enough that hey, we have to do something other than pretend to be moral and all. What would even be better is to ask people who will make people sit up and listen.