Wednesday, August 26, 2009

astrid steiner performs in NY anew!

from my friend astrid, here's an invite for new yorkers to her series of shows this august. it should be something to watch out for...


Wednesday 26th of August @ MonkeytownEllinikon - a work in progress

A visual remix of Alexandros Lambrovassilis’ images of Athens' old airport "Ellinikon" accompanied with live music by Luke Damrosch & Chris Kuklis
Please visit for reservations and more info.

September 12th – 14th - MOVING SOUNDS

Moving Sounds is a 3-day festival of music, visual media and aesthetic dialogue, with concerts at the Austrian Cultural Forum NY and le Poisson Rouge. I will perform with Austria’s electronic act DORIAN CONCEPT and others. For detailed information about the program

please visit the ACFNY website


astrid will tour europe after these gigs...

Monday, August 24, 2009

joey gosiengfiao rules!

except for the movies he made in a failed attempt to ressurrect alma moreno's career in the '90s ("virginia p.", etc.) after the latter was dumped by dolphy for zsa zsa padilla, i never really saw any of joey gosiengfiao's kitsch-y films he made during his heyday in the '70s, which, thanks to film enthusiasts, have now become cult classics.

last saturday, my friend, jo atienza, hosted myself, anselmo and jo's friend mae, to an all-day mini film festival at her apartment in burbank.

she bought a projector just for the occasion - it was like watching a movie for free!!! i didn't have to sneak in to theaters to catch 4 movies in one day!

jo has a vast collection of tagalog classics. thanks to her i saw (finally!) peque gallaga's classic war film "oro, plata, mata", mike de leon's subversive masterpieces "sister stella l" and "batch '81".

this saturday she treated us to four different movies.

we started the afternoon with "bomba star", joey gosiengfiao's treatise on the evils of cinema (if you can call it that! - hahaha) starring alma moreno, celia rodriguez, marissa delgado (i have never seen her any prettier than in this movie), eddie gutierrez, ricky belmonte, vergel de dios, george estregan, and a host of star cameos!

the movie opens with an homage to "gone with the wind" and "sunset boulevard" (how he was able to do it is part of the fun! - hahaha).

after the opening credits this is what awaits the viewer: marissa delgado dressed in a flowing night gown rushes down this grand staircase holding her best actress trophy while a reporter waits at the foot of the stairs holding a humongous cassette player for a recorder. the background music? you guessed it, the theme from "gone with the wind"!

after the grand entrance, the movie cuts to the interview. marissa's character stella now channels norma desmond. it's so freaking hilarious!!!

the movie's plot is ridiculous but joey gosiengfiao made a very, very interesting movie (where do you find a teenaged alma moreno running on a street covering her boobies; jumps to a pool of mud and emerging fully naked with only the dirt covering her?).

the movie goes from high drama to comedy in a blink of an eye. and the dialogues - omg! they are something one wouldn't forget in a while...

here's a sampling:

celia rodriguez and alma moreno's confrontation scene

celia: lapastangan kang anak! bawal kang mag-artista (or something to that effect)

alma: bakit inay? kung lapastangan ang pagiging artista, lapastangan po ba si amalia fuentes, susan roces at... snooky? hahaha!

marissa delgado to ricky belmonte and eddie gutierrez when she caught them both shirtless and sprawled on the floor (a surprise revelation in the end is a perfect complement to the weird finale!)

marissa: how very touching!

eddie gutierrez to marissa delgado in one of their confrontation scenes (eddie is marissa's boytoy)

eddie: anong akala mo sa akin, isang laruan na iyong lalaro-laruin? at pag sinumpong ka ng hangin ay iyong pipisain? (hahaha!)

as i previously stated the movie ends in a most bizzare fashion! do you want to see a youthful inday badiday crushed to death? go find a copy of this movie! it'll give you more than an hour of fun.

next time we do this, joey's other cult hit "temptation island" will be our main movie.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

sally's presidential manifesto

for those fed up with all the shenanigans of traditional filipino politicians, i am presenting this presidential manifesto by my friend, sally, who wants to finally put an end to the misery of the filipino people; bring justice where it is due, put food to the table of every starving families, and bring madonna to the philippines???

here is her manifesto...


My Manifesto: Why I’ve Decided to Run for the Philippine Presidency
By Sally A., future Philippine President

The answer is very simple: because I’m the lesser evil.

I will not make any promises. I will not make long speeches. Heck, I will not even run a campaign. However, I will be very clear and upfront with who I truly am and my intentions:

I may hold an Australian passport but I was born and raised in the Philippines. I moved to Australia because I decided that I’d rather pay taxes to a government that will use it for my benefit than to pay taxes to finance the expenses of the countless mistresses and second families of Philippine government officials.

I do not hold a doctorate degree in Economics from Wharton but I’m a CPA so I know how to balance accounts. I believe that as long as the credits in the government’s revenue exceed the debits (e.g. expenses to finance my shopping), then the economy should be fine. Who needs an economist???

I do not intend to solve the problems of the Philippines. I am not Jesus Christ. I just want to be the President and be able to experience power, prestige and money that the position brings. I think 6 years in office will address this personal desire. (I told you I was going to be upfront and at least you know I will not run again)

I will share the wealth to everyone and I mean EVERYONE in the country (except those who live in the following areas: Forbes Park, Dasmariñas Village, Ayala Alabang to be fair). If you need proof, check out my farm in Farmville, I always give gifts to everyone, even if they’re not my neighbors. I even give gifts to those not using Farmville, so it is possible that you could benefit from my presidency even if you’re not a Filipino!

I intend to hold office in New York or maybe Paris, or whichever City I decide in the future. I think we would benefit from the emerging culture of telecommuting. All I need is a 4-bedroom apartment in any of these cities. I think the rent will be much cheaper than having to maintain Malacañang.

Thank you and Mabuhay!

disclosure: i was promised a cabinet post if she wins. wink, wink...

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

hugh dancy stars as "adam"

i was pleasantly surprised to see hugh dancy again when i saw "confessions of a shopaholic" on dvd many nights ago. hugh is a british actor who received public notice when he appeared with claire danes in the 2007 drama "evening".

that movie was rather boring and meryl streep's appearance late into the story failed to save the movie. hugh, however, struck me with the way he exuded his character's vulnerability. he played the closeted brother of claire danes who was secretly in love with his sister's fiance. the cast was awesome but critics mostly singled out his performance.

in "confessions..." he stars opposite the lovely isla fisher and he plays the romantic lead this time. the movie is a certified chick flick but the winning chemistry between the two leads make it an enjoyable one. the movie was released back in march.

this month, hugh stars in a movie yet again. he was gone for sometime and returned with two movies - whoa! so that's why he was gone. oh yeah, that and he also got engaged to his "evening" co-star, claire danes.

hugh is headlining the critically-acclaimed "adam". critics are hailing the movie for hugh's charming portrayal of a single man afflicted with asperger's syndrome. i haven't seen the movie but by the looks of it hugh stands a chance to get into the best actor shortlist in next year's academy awards.

i tried posting the trailer of adam but i just couldn't upload the damn thing!

in defense of willie

reading today's showbiz stories from manila, i couldn't help but be outraged by the sensationalized coverage of this rather non-issue involving variety show host willie revillame and the remarks he made during the wake of tita cory.

on air, willie berated his staff for inserting a footage of the cortege showing the tranfer of tita cory's casket from the la salle greenhills gymnasium to the manila cathedral while the show was in the middle of their racy routine. that was his mistake. and although he immediately apologized and explained that his outburst was trained towards his production staff - he wanted them to cut wowowee off the air and focus on the coverage instead, the audience took it negatively.

damage has been done; his apology snubbed.

today, more than two weeks after tita cory has been laid to rest, the issue continues to haunt willie. he has been missing from the popular noontime show "wowowee" for almost the same time yet people continue to milk the issue.

willie is even reported to have submitted his resignation letter to the abs-cbn management and has asked that his contract with the network be rescinded (see this story from the philippine star today
the family of tita cory, through kris aquino, has issued a statement stating that they have forgiven willie. but the filipino public have not.

i hate to come in defense of willie. he has an ego. but i admire him for his success. his story is actually an inspiration to everyone who goes through life's oft-called cyclical pattern. there was a time when he didn't have nothing and he was able to get through it; reinventing himself to eventually become the most popular filipino host to filipinos overseas.

willie is considered to be one of the richest men in the philippines. he commands a million pesos per episode. he makes $300 thousand bucks for his every show in the US and he makes millions more from his commercial endorsements.

he is too succesful that everyone wants a piece of him now. that's what makes me sad and outraged. give the man a break. sure, he has an attitude but doesn't everyone have?

Monday, August 17, 2009

and another celebrity in sex video!

will the parade of celebrities recording their sexual trysts ever stop???

there was actually a little lull for sometime but today another one joins my library of sex videos. eric dane, who is more popular as the playboy doctor mc steamy in the hit medical drama "grey's anatomy", is featured in a new sex video together with his wife and another hot chick.

gossip website was the first to scoop this titillating news. tmz picked it up and the blogosphere is now abuzz with this latest "video release" - lol

here's the link to the "censored" version. apparently, an extended and uncensored version is also available. look it up in the text after the jump.

let me see. i have paris hilton's infamous movie debut, hahaha. i also have kim kardashian's. i have tommy lee's and pam anderson's. i have simon rex's. i have colin farrell's. i even have katrina halili's and what's-his-name.

and now, i've got this new addition. wait, what does that make me???

oh, this is sick! lol... i didn't know my hobby was to collect celebrity porn - hahaha!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

note to mentalist fans

heads up! patrick jane and his gang moves from tuesday to thursday this fall. i accidentally took this picture today while i was taking pictures of y.e. yang's historic pga golf championship win.

"the mentalist" is one of the few series tv that i would consider watching regularly if i had the time. i say that because i seldom get to be home before 10 every night. but the few episodes i saw were truly amazing. the actors are good and so are the stories.

how golf transformed my sunday

i was supposed to be off somewhere this afternoon. i was supposed to meet a couple of friends over coffee. we have been talking about it for more than a month but work put my social life on a steady hold the past couple of months and i only got to find some free time this weekend. i even had to beg off from an invitation to a bible study today...

but i never received the call nor text. maybe they got busy. it was okay. i had my friends xtn and jaggy over for lunch - we had baked chicken (my original recipe!!!) and leftover lechon paksiw from dj's last night.

i was at xtn's apartment last night. they were packing stuff for xtn's move to a new apartment while i spent nearly three hours chatting on facebook - i never had so much fun as the one i had last night! i caught up with so many friends from way back and chatted with several people who i just recently met. it was awesome. it was the longest i was on facebook!

i don't have access to facebook at work ("forbidden site" - wink, wink) and i only see updates through my email. sometimes i see some messages or wall posts/comments that i really want to send a quick reply to and couldn't - it makes me so frustrated. when i finally get around to login and visit my page, the comments are usually too old to even bother to reply. grrr! :) and i end up spending no more than 5 minutes everytime. last night was different! i had so much fun!

anyway, so i was chatting last night while my friends jaggy and xtn was packing stuff. except for setting up the boxes, i didn't really help them much - yes, am too bad :) they finished sometime after 1 and they went to bed. i left xtn's apartment a quarter before 3am. i sleep late. everytime.

at about 12 noon today, i was awoken by xtn's call. they were coming over and was asking if i had food for lunch. i presented the leftover food from last night. then i recalled that i still had the marinated chicken in the fridge which i was supposed to bake last weekend to bring to the set of anselmo's film shoot. i decided to have it for lunch.

it took an hour to bake the skinless breast chicken parts and we didn't get to have lunch until it was after 1pm. over lunch, we were switching channels between the pga golf championship on cbs and this funny but otherwise dreadful leslie nielsen spoof of harrison ford's "the fugitive".

we didn't get to finish the movie. cbs' coverage of the pga championship offered a more compelling real-life entertainment. during the past three weeks, i have learned so much about the sport of golf more than any other time. sure, i knew how the scoring goes but i was never so sure what to call those "birdies", "bogeys", or "eagles" before. i didn't know golf could be exciting either. or, perhaps, was it because tiger was playing?

so we were watching the championship and i was openly rooting for south korean y.e. yang. i always root for the underdog. i was never too optimistic though of him taking the crown from tiger this year but when he made the double eagle in the 14th hole, my asian pride started to swell.

in the final hole, when he birdied his final putt, my camera was already aimed at my tv screen. i had to capture the moment! no asian has won the championship in its 91 year history. no person has won over tiger in a major championship (when tiger has the lead going into the final round) ever! and yang, who is more than 100 rankings away from tiger did it! it was so amazing. the sight of him giving his wife a long, tearful embrace, sealed the moment for me. i will never dismiss golf as a boring game again. in fact, i am thinking now of learning how to play it!

here are some pictures of images i saw on my tv screen today.

the final ranking

yang hoists the trophy

the final birdie putt

a visibly upset tiger woods

sally's experiment

my friend sally sent me this interesting and challenging experiment on facebook.

rules are actually very simple: one needs to come up with a list of fifteen movies that they have seen that always stuck with them. one has to list the first fifteen movies that come to mind. simple, eh? not until you actually do it!

here's the list that i came up with given the time constraint...

1. In The Mood for Love
2. Love Story
3. Titanic
4. Out of Africa
5. Slumdog Millionaire
6. Mamma Mia
7. L.A. Confidential
8. Remains of The Day
9. Farinelli
10. Raise The Red Lantern
11. Romeo Loves Juliet (Rene Requiestas' version)
12. Gone With The Wind
13. Schindler's List
14. It's a Wonderful Life
15. I Confess

it was actually very funny. after reading sally's rules, i immediately thought of "17 again" and "miss march", which we rented last night. hahaha! i fought off the urge to put them in my list and came up with the "final" 15 just before the 15th minute.

after i posted the list... a slew of favorite movies whose titles i initially forgot started to flood my thoughts! ("casablanca", "it happened one night", "y tu mama tambien", "the fifth element", etc)

christine reminded me of "the sound of music". mr. d, listed "the sixth sense". my friend malou said she liked the italian film "malena" and i immediately recalled my other favorites "cinema paradiso" and "como agua para chocolate".

the latter actually brought back memories of a funny incident that occured more than 15 years ago - i think i was in sophomore year in college then.

my friend anselmo and i were in a hurry to catch the invitational screening (i got the tickets from my uncle) of "como agua para chocolate" at the shangri-la cinema that time.

having read the book upon which the movie was based, i was naturally excited to watch the film adaptation. but, typical of me, we were late going to the venue. 5 minutes before the screening time, anselmo and i were still a block away from the theater. we decided to get off the jeepney we were riding on and ran along the remaining stretch of shaw boulevard.

when we got to the corner where we need to cross a street to get to the venue, we found ourselves stuck with the "red" pedestrian crossing light. this was manila. people don't pretty much obey traffic rules. we saw other people illegally crossing so we decided to go along. that's when a couple of cops saw us and ran after us.

we got cited for jaywalking. the cops took us to their makeshift station on a little corner and tried to extort money from us. i was a student on a tight allowance. and so was anselmo. we didn't have anything more than 20 bucks between us!

we pleaded with them. we told them we needed to go because we had to catch this rare movie screening. they wouldn't listen to us. i don't remember now if they took whatever cash we got but what i still remember was how they made us sing the national anthem in the middle of shaw boulevard. it was so embarrasing!

they finally let us go after we were done with our impromptu outdoor performace. we ran to the mall, leaped through the escalators going up the 5th floor where the cinema was located. luckily, the screening has not started yet. this was the philippines. nothing really starts on time. there were still cocktails being served and we helped ourselves to some leftover sandwiches (i wanted to write hors d'veours - but i am not sure about the spelling.)

we made it to the screening all right, and the movie was all worth it.

aaah, the lengths i had to go through just so i can watch movies!

now, tell me, what's your 15?

postscript... i made an unforgivable offense. i completely forgot to include in my fifteen my "all-time" favorite "10 things i hate about you" - i don't know what it means.... so bad of me :(

Friday, August 14, 2009

tom brady on details cover

tom brady, quarterback for the new england patriots, is on the cover of details magazine out this month. this is his 2nd or 3rd cover, i think. inside, he talks about his new child and his happy wedded life with wife, supermodel giselle bundchen. what a lucky guy!

he seems to have mellowed down. he was once notorious for siring bridget moynahan while openly dating another girl (which was giselle). it was a tabloid fodder for sometime.

i've got subscription to details. for $10 bucks i get a year's supply of magazines. not bad! this month's issue is nothing really unusual from the other issues, what got me really excited is how dolce and gabbana have redefined their ad campaign. it seems like for sometime they played with the goth theme for too long that it lost its appeal on me. this time, they are promoting their new scent with a brand new ad!

here it is... salacious, yes, but it sells! who can argue with that?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

my "rise" & "fall" in the movies

first of two parts

or how i became production manager-turned-assistant director to merely set caterer - all in two days! it was one weekend like no other - literally!

this is day one...

last weekend, my best friend, anselmo, finally did what he has been planning to do for the past year: make his thesis film at UCLA so he could finally get his diploma or whatever. it took him many weeks to plan. he had to write and rewrite his script many times over while saving enough moolah for the two-day shoot. it's a student film but you still have to spend for it, production-wise, yes.

two weeks ago, he sent me the initial production schedule. on the schedule was my name and it indicated my role in the shoot - i was the production manager. i have no idea what to do!!! :)

(the actors and the crew prepare for a take)

i am a big fan of movies. i can tell whether a movie is good, bad, forgivable, avoidable, or a total wreck. i educated myself on cinema through the movies i see. i do not pretend to know how it's made - i have an idea, yes, but the full detail on how the production works is something still foreign to me. but as i said, i know how to watch and rate movies.

so i ask anselmo what does a production manager do. i don't recall him telling me specific details only that i am supposed to control the props, schedule, etc. we were supposed to meet two sundays ago to discuss my role but, typical of him, he canceled at the very last minute.

our other friend xtn was the assistant production manager while malou was in charge of make-up.there were other people assigned to do errands (getting food, serving food, disposing off leftover food - hahaha) but they all snubbed anselmo's shoot... sob.

three days before the shoot, anselmo sent me an email informing me that i am being promoted to assistant director.

i was like, what?!? i didn't even know what a production manager does, what in the world did i know what an assistant director does??? again, i was told that it was basically the same function as the production manager, only that i will have to make sure that we keep to the schedule. in short, i have to man the time.

now, those who know me will surely laugh at this ridiculous idea. i am, admittedly, a tardy person. seldom will one see me early to any appointments. either i am on time or late. never early! well, sometimes i do come early if i am asked and i have to tell myself repeatedly that i have to be early.

i am always early to my interviews with hollywood stars. one time i was late, i almost missed my interview with jodie foster. i had to switch and give up my slot to interview peter saarsgard (this was for "flightplan" years back) just so i can have jodie. four years later, i was able to make up that lost interview with peter when i met him for the movie "orphan".

wednesday night, i met with anselmo, marq lee, and yohei (whose last name i completely forgot) at marq's studio in el segundo. the group discussed the shooting schedule while i pretended to know what they were talking about. occasionally, i would butt in with suggestions from a critic's perspective and i think they were very polite to listen to me. i was again prepped about my role as assistant director or A.D. and they reminded me about being on time.

friday afternoon, anselmo emailed the call sheet to the production. my call time was 7am but actual shoot starts at 8.

saturday morning at a little past 6am, anselmo called me to inform me of a quick change of plans. i am now supposed to pick up malou from LA. i told anselmo i can't if he wanted me to be on time. he told me it's okay to be late and i told him i'll come late. he insisted that i should be able to make it to the set by 715am. i live about 30 miles from LA- that wasn't doable. besides i wasn't ready to get up yet. my alarm is set to go off at 630am. i was supposed to shower and be off at 645am for my 25 minute drive to the set (i told you, i can't be on time! - lol).

i followed my original plan. i went back to sleep and before i knew it, the alarm was already violently blaring for nearly 30 minutes when i noticed it. i hurriedly took a shower and drove for LA. i wouldn't get to LA until about 745am. i am running late!!!

i picked up malou and sped off right away. as we turn the first corner, malou suddenly gasped and told me that she left one important prop - the coat hanger. it spelled doom. we wouldn't get to the set until it was nearly 9am. the assistant director, the timekeeper, was late!

they were kinda expecting it actually. when we got to the set, the crew was still setting up for the first scene. it was on an intersection and they had difficulty setting up the equipment and capturing the light.

Verona Masongsong & Paul Ciasullo

marq, joh, kumar, yohei, garen, and anselmo were busy setting up outside. i said a quick hello and went inside the studio to drop my bag and setup my laptop. inside, i met anselmo's actors: verona masongsong and paul ciasullo. both portray dual roles. i can't tell anymore details or i will ruin the interesting, if not confusing, plot of anselmo's screenplay.

both actors were very good, if i may add. verona is partly filipina (she wishes she is more). paul is relatively new to acting and he is from connecticut. they are also very nice. they did the movie gratis. they endured a gruelling two-day shoot and never did i hear them complain. i wish all actors are like them.

shooting started at about 930am. i was initially an onlooker. i was intimidated by marq's crew. they knew what they were doing while i had zero knowledge.

my first booboo came during the first take. the camera was ready, sound and lighting were ready. the cinematographer looked to me and asked me to slate the scene.

"slate the scene"? what does he mean??? he asked me where the slate was. i didn't know where it was. anselmo didn't tell me i was supposed to have it. i was so embarrassed. apparently, that board that lists the name of the movie, the scene number and the take number is called a "slate". an assistant director's supposed to have it. i ran inside to look for it, but i couldn't find it. anselmo eventually found it.

scene # 1 was ready. i was making a movie! yeah, i only did the slate but whatever :)

when i left the philippines, my goal was to study film. it has been years now and i am still trying to fix my schedule to do it (read: don't have enough funds yet - hahaha). anselmo started his filmmaking course three years ago and now he was making his first movie - his own movie! i need to get my priorities straightened.

making a movie is difficult. a 30-second scene could take two hours and endless takes for various angles to complete. i have sympathy now for the technical people. i think it would be a little difficult to be objective when reviewing a film now but i don't know. but until i made my own movie, i will still be a critic.

saturday's shoot lasted until 730pm. we had filipino pork barbeque and pansit for lunch. it was like a feast. i was supposed to ditch them early because i had to go to ford theater in hollywood for the tribute to ryan cayabyab (story later) but anselmo insisted i stay. when the final take was called good, i hurriedly ran out to my car. i don't think i even said goodbye to the crew or did i?

to be continued with day two

should i be taking hints?

is my landlord trying to evict me from my apartment? should i start following my friend's xtn lead and start looking for another one?

this is crazy. and i wouldn't blame anyone who would think that i am making all these up. my landlord is actually a very nice guy but the way things have gone during the past four weeks, i am left with no choice but to think that he may indeed be too nice to even tell me directly that i need to vacate my apartment and instead he is giving me all these hints.

sometime last month, electricity to my apartment was inadvertently cut off - or was it really "inadvertent"??? i endured five days of punishing summer heat and headache-inducing sleepless nights before power was restored (that is after three false promises.)

today, something else occured. and i am seriously thinking that all these couldn't be dismissed as merely coincidental. i woke up this morning to find that gas supply to my apartment was cut off!

wtf indeed! to top it off i had guests spending the night over!!!

i had my friends jaggy and xtn spend the night in my apartment because we were supposed to catch the meteor shower early this morning. i volunteered to drive to joshua tree national park near palm springs (a good 140 miles drive from LA) but as things usually go about when our group make plans, it didn't happen. we instead spent the night watching "america's got talent" - the dancing couple, the one with the normal-sized lady lift a man that is double her size, was amazing!

i wanted to witness the meteor shower again. the experience of watching meteorites bursting into bright shooting stars could never ever be topped by artificial fireworks. i saw it last time back in the philippines with my berks and several other colleagues from citibank (we went to this 24-hr fastfood called goodah near UP afterwards - that was also fun!). it was truly spectacular!

but we never get to go last night. so after watching "america's got talent" we were discussing xtn's apartment options until we called it a night at about 12midnight.

morning came and the biggest surprise of the day greeted us. there was no hot water running!!!

if i catch a cold this week, i don't know what else to blame. my friend xtn braved the near-freezing water and so did i. our friend jaggy didn't. i repeat, jaggy didn't shower today! eww... hahaha...

but, kidding aside, taking a shower without hot water is not funny at all! i grew up in the philippines taking cold showers in the morning but america has pampered me a little bit and i have gotten used to warm showers with a heater running by my shower door! aarggh!!!

i have left voice mail messages to my landlord and i hope this gets fixed soon. i have nested in my apartment and i don't really entertain the thought of moving yet again.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

actress ciara sotto getting married in january?

is it true that actress ciara sotto is set to tie the knot with her boyfriend, whose name i forgot but sounds like "jojo", in january next year???

i got this news from a friend who knows ciara's fiance's uncle. my friend and this uncle sing together at the devoted children of mary choir.

probably the story is already out but in any case my congratulations and best wishes to former senator tito sotto's daughter.

i wonder what happens now to ciara's performing career in vegas? she toiled for quite some time and the all-girl show she is supposed to headline didn't seem to have taken off. she's a talented performer, she'll find the perfect project for her in due time.

Monday, August 10, 2009

the story behind tita cory's rosary

how was your weekend? mine is probably three blogposts long! it was fun but way too tiring. watch for my stories :)

here’s an interesting story i received this morning that tells the story of tita cory’s famous rosary… it’s quite a long read but it is worth it.


Sister Lucia of Fatima: Her Rosary and Mrs. Cory Aquino

By Fr. C.G. Arevalo, S.J.

Loyola School of Theology

When Mrs. Cory Aquino was Philippine president in 1988, she made her official visit to the Vatican on 18 June that year. That was a really memorable event in her life. We are told that Pope John Paul II, as he read his message, departed from his text to tell her that she represented for him the Filipino people’s special love for Our Lady, and that he trusted she would foster that special love (“pueblo amante de Maria”) in her years as leader in our land.

Surely, she has helped keep that love for Mary, Mother of Jesus, alive and ardent among our people through all the years she has been a public figure. It is something she continues to do till the present. She continues to be an ever-active “apostle of the Rosary.” She is thus simply living out her authentic devotion to Our Blessed Mother, something very deep and very real in her own life.

Here we would like to say a little about a special rosary she has had since the year 1986 when the People Power “revolution” (EDSA UNO) brought her to the presidency in an historic and unique way, -with “People Power as Prayer Power.”

In September of 1986, Jaime Cardinal Sin and then-Ambassador to the Vatican Mr. Howard Dee organized at Fatima in Portugal an International Theological Symposium on “the Alliance of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary,” with a number of outstanding European theologians participating. But the Cardinal took a day’s time-out during the meetings, to visit Sr. Lucia dos Santos, “the last seer of Fatima” at her Carmelite convent in Coimbra. –The Holy See (Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger’s office, in particular) had granted the privilege of the visit. Cardinal Sin went with Fr. Socrates Villegas. Sister Lucia, a member of the Carmelite community in Coimbra, was really happy to talk with the Cardinal. She had been told of the “People Power” events, and she assured the Cardinal that she and the other Sisters had prayed—prayed much—for our people’s peaceful liberation from the dictatorship. She seemed to be well informed about EDSA UNO.

Then Sr. Lucia did something the Cardinal did not expect. She took out a rosary which (she said) she herself made, bead by bead. She wanted Cardinal Sin to give it as her personal gift to Mrs. Aquino, and she said—somewhat surprisingly—“Tell her to take good care of it.” It was a promise of Our Lady’s blessing on President Cory during her presidency and beyond.

Let me now cite Mrs. Aquino herself: “Sister Lucia sent me this rosary which she herself made, with the message that I would be supported and protected in my presidency. She added, however, that more suffering would come my way. I now know that it was a prophetic message, as I had to fight back seven coup attempts to save my administration from power-grabbers in uniform. With Our Lady’s protection, I stood my ground and never left Malacañang, even when it was being attacked.”

We know that President Cory saw the seven coup attempts through, and finished her term, handing over the post to her duly elected successor, General Fidel Ramos, in 1992. The six years of her governance she constantly entrusted to the protection of Our Lady of Fatima, to Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart.

The year 1992 marked the 75th anniversary of the Fatima apparitions, and Mrs. Aquino, no longer head of state, went to Fatima that year, armed with the permission to visit the Carmel of Coimbra and to talk with Sister Lucia. Her daughter Kris accompanied her on this trip. She also brought a small group with her, who (unexpectedly! ) were all allowed to see Sr. Lucia. The former Father General of the Comboni Fathers, Fr. Manuel Lopes, who had served in Manila before being elected Superior General, was present and acted as translator. He himself being from Portugal, could help in the conversation between Tita Cory and Sr. Lucia.

Again, let me quote Mrs. Aquino: “When I visited Sister Lucia in 1992, the first question she asked me was, ‘Do you still have the rosary I sent you?’ I replied, ‘Yes, but right now a niece who lives in Boston and is hoping to have a baby is borrowing it.’ –I feel so blessed and privileged to have this bond with Fatima and so I shared this rosary with relatives and friends.”

When we asked Mrs. Aquino the names of some of the people who had borrowed her rosary, usually at a time of crisis or health need (a grave surgical procedure, for instance) or when begging for some important grace from the Lord, she texted in reply: “Some names I remember, among the people who have prayed using the rosary given by Sister Lucia: Teddy Benigno, Chino Roces, Ed Angara, Violy Drilon, Bea Zobel and her daughter, Titoy Pardo, Sasa Lichauco, Doding Carlos, Meldy Cojuangco and her son Tony, Sr. Christine Tan, Mercy Tuason, Howard Dee and Dodo Dee, Arben Santos, Bettina Osmeña, and … my sisters, my children and grandchildren.”

The list goes quite a bit longer, for sure, and there are moving stories connected with many of the “borrowings.” The story of the last weeks of Mr. Chino Roces’ life is surely one worth telling. The heroic “Chino” had asked Mrs. Aquino to let him borrow the rosary as he waited for death. He prayed it daily with his loved ones, returning filial devotion to Our Lady when the end came.

Sr. Lucia’s rosary has become somewhat “legendary” already. Mrs. Aquino has been touched by accounts of how much healing, and strength, and comfort (even miracles!) the rosary has brought to those who have borrowed it. But she has also wondered, as others have, why so humbly and saintly a person as Sr. Lucia was so insistent that she “take good care of the rosary.” One of those who were with Mrs. Aquino at Fatima in 1992 said, “It seems to me that the Sisters at Coimbra know that Our Blessed Mother sill appeared to Sr. Lucia, from time to time, even in her late years. (It is interesting to note that Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, SDB, the present Vatican Secretary of State, who “officially interviewed” Sister Lucia more than once before her death, has said the same: “Sister Lucia received visits from the Blessed Mother in later years of her life.” Some of the Sisters believe that Our Lady, during one of her visits, held the rosary in her own hands and blessed it for Mrs. Aquino, promising her presence and strength to her in times specially of suffering and need. That is why Sr. Lucia reminded Tita Cory to take good care of the rosary. Our Lady had held it in her own hands.

Mrs. Aquino’s final comment on trusting Our Blessed Mother and praying to her? Here are her own words:

“What are the lessons of Fatima, which I have experienced in my own life, and which I can share with you? When people talk of Fatima, they invariably focus on the secrets of Fatima. These are the ‘three secrets’ of Fatima which Ninoy and I discovered:

“First is the power of prayer, especially the daily praying of the rosary of Our Lady.

“Second is the acceptance in faith of God’s plan in our own lives, and the entrustment of our lives to Mary.

“Third is the spirit of sacrifice to carry out God’s designs, after the example of Mary, offering personal sacrifice for a greater good toward God’s purposes.

“These three elements are actually intertwined, as one leads to the others, to complete the process of one’s total conversion.”

Sister Lucia dos Santos died in Coimbra on 13 February 2005. She had earlier witnessed the beatification of her two cousins, Francisco and Giacinta Marto, on 13 May 2000 in Fatima. Now that, as we hope and trust, she has joined her cousins in heaven, we know she prays with Tita Cory whenever she prays with the “special rosary” in her hands, as (for sure!) she joins us when we pray the rosary too, that God be ever more glorified, and that Mary our Mother may be with us “now and at the hour of death.”

Thursday, August 06, 2009

young fil-am talents shine in local les miz

(last of two parts)
last sunday i wrote about my not-so-great four-day weekend nursing a cold virus, which has mercifully gone now - thank you! although, i still feel something near my nasal palate, but that's another story.

last friday, even if i was sick, i made a dash to the azusa pacific university to catch foothill theatre workshop's staging of the hit broadway musical "les miserables".

thankfully, the production made it all worthwhile. the play started a little tentative in the beginning; the actors trying to find their voices, but as soon as they picked the rhythm, the play took off and the actors had finally let go and totally embraced their respective characters.

if i had skipped it, i wouldn't have witnessed some of the most talented kids i've ever seen perform. the cast (see picture of their headshots from the souvenir program) ranged in age from 13 to 19 but their ages are not apparent in their expressive performances and glorious voices. of course, the young girl who played cossette (karisa burgos) was way younger than 13 but she was just such an adorable presence on stage, you wouldn't think this was her first stage play - amazing!

young cossette is a mix of heartbreaking innocence and incredible courage, and the young actress easily pulled it off. from the moment she started singing the tender ballad "castle on a cloud", i was instantly drawn to her near-angelic voice. i saw the broadway version and this cossette can almost easily hold her own. she was so great! - pity, she only had a few scenes to work on.

but she's not the only one good in the production. everyone was actualy awesome but i would like to single out two fil-am talents who surely made my hands ache from vigorous clapping during the cast's final vow.

17 year old kevin gino and 18-year old sarah lazatin portrayed the convict jean valjean and the tragic eponine, respectively. both made me forget that i was actually nursing a slight headache that day.

from the prologue song with the chain gang to jean valjean's death scene, kevin was an imposing figure on stage. his voice easily towers over everyone (which is actually how the character is written) and he never falters. he has such a full and commanding voice that it made the theater appear bigger than it actually was because of his incredible vocal prowess. he reminded me so much of talented filipino actor gamaliel viray.

if he can sing so well at 17, i wonder how extraordinary his voice could become as he matures. i can only imagine... wow!

sarah had a more difficult role to tackle. actually, it's a role smaller than gino's but is just as equally demanding. you see, sarah had to sing "on my own". it's one song that takes only a small lapse to spell doom for the performer. after lea salonga performed the song on broadway, every other filipina who attempts to sing the same song is unfairly compared to her performance. sarah did not disappoint, in fact she wowed everyone! i don't know, may be everyone was expecting less but as soon as sarah started singing the first lines, i felt as if everyone was already waiting for her to end so that the applause they are holding could finally give way.

sarah has such a sweet voice and it helped her convey the melancholy of her character quite more effectively. she was singing "on my own" but she wasn't entirely on her own, everyone in the audience was with her - singing with her.

i had a good night. my cold may have gotten worse the next day but the play sure made my friday a very good one.

congratulations to the cast.

evan rachel wood joins true blood cast

talented young upstart evan rachel wood joins the cast of my current favorite human-vampire tale "true blood".

i don't really wanna go deeper into what her character might be as i am waiting for the current season to end and the dvd box set is released. i have concluded watching the entire first season last weekend and i am now on my second viewing. the stories of these bon temps, louisiana characters are something that i haven't gotten tired of yet. sookie's and bill's love story plus sam's mysterious shape-shifting past intrigues me no end.

now comes this exciting news about evan rachel's casting. from what i've heard, she plays a queen or something. i don't know if she plays a "queen" or her name merely starts with a "queen" - lol (spoilers are not allowed to comment! hahaha)

evan rachel wood is a perfect addition to the cast. she has previously appeared on "thirteen" alongside holly hunter who was also anna paquin's co-star in the oscar-winning "the piano". evan is notorious for dating goth rocker marilyn manson. what's gonna happen in bon temps now? am so curious to know yet am unwilling to even go to true blood's webpage. i'll wait for the dvd. i think i can... i hope. hahaha

remembering dani

i am not gonna pretend to have known dani so well. i only got to know him recently when i became active (or semi-active, if you will) in various filipino-american community events.

dani used to intimidate me a lot. he was the type who had a lot of friends but it seemed to me in the beginning that becoming his friend was no easy task. he had this commanding presence about him that anyone who doesn't quite know him would take negatively. i was completely wrong.

he actually had an easy smile and a very funny sense of humor! as i said, i never really had a chance to know dani that well but from what little i know, he was a well-loved figure in the los angeles fil-am community. dani was a singer, performer, nurse, floral artist, among others, but to his closest of friends, he was our brother.

dani left us for heaven on july 2nd. his passing may have coincided the events of michael jackson's own death but dani's star was able to shine as brightly as jackson's - his friends made sure of that.

i never did get to bid dani farewell. today, i want to humbly bid him goodbye. your friends miss you but we know you are in a happier place now. you take care and God bless you always...

dani is 6th from left behind tony v. (picture courtesy of tita lydia v. solis)

in this art photography by benny uy, dani waves from heaven to his friends who gathered at his memorial last july 5th.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

why you shouldn't workout

a deranged man from pennsylvania plotted for 9 months and eventually mustered enough psychotic guts to carry out his plan on killing as many women as he can last night.

the man is angry at women because (and this is the tricky part - one side of me thinks it's funny while another side says it's disturbing, you be the judge) he hasn't had a date since may 2008, hasn't had a girlfriend since 1984 (that's 25 years ago!) and has not had sex in 19 years!

my goodness!

and where did he carry out this vendetta? at a local LA fitness gym! now, who wants to come with me workout at the gym tonight? anyone?

here's the link to the news story:;_ylt=AqnJUl3rj1nWL5HtsZX_OHJvzwcF;_ylu=X3oDMTJvdHVoYW12BGFzc2V0A2FwLzIwMDkwODA1L3VzX2hlYWx0aF9jbHViX3Nob290aW5nBGNwb3MDMgRwb3MDNwRzZWMDeW5fdG9wX3N0b3J5BHNsawNwYW1hbndob2F0dGE-

and if you live in LA, be extra careful. why? because paula abdul's american idol contract was not renewed. you know, a shooting may not be remote. hahaha - am so mean...

LA pays respect to tita cory

the whole world saw witness once again the power of a people united.

every filipino household from my home province of las navas northern samar in the philippines to my fil-am friends in los angeles had their television tuned in to the abs-cbn and the filipino channel's impressive round-the-clock coverage of one of the most momentous events philippines has seen in over twenty-five years.

i don't have tfc. poor me. there's a reason why basic cable is called such, i guess. sorry, the occasion is so somber and being funny seems uncalled for.

with tfc or not, i still didn't feel left out of this historival event. my friends filled me in every detail of the massive funeral, which had a little circus-like atmosphere during the wake, but turned into a dignified (my friends jessica and jeff's description) tribute to a woman who defined the people-powered democracy countries from europe to south america took inspiration from.

in los angeles, the archdiocese and the consulate office held a mass in honor of tita cory yesterday evening.

the mass was officiated by bishop rosales. it was a solemn celebration attended by a largely yellow-clad angelenos who filled st. basil church to capacity.

tita cory is gone. she now joins her husband ninoy in heaven. judging the pictures of the funeral yesterday, i couldn't help but marvel at the power of ninoy and cory to bring filipinos together in a united cause. i hope when the grieving is over, the philippines will be able to march on to the future without one of its greatest daughters at hand. we got no choice; we need to honor the selfless service this couple gave to the filipino people by championing their ideals and embracing our own.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

national artists brouhaha & cory's circus-y wake

two broiling events are now currently hogging philippine newspaper headlines: cory's demise and the selection of the revered national artists citation.

cory's death has again demonstrated the filipino's love for circus. look at the pictures and tell me i am wrong.

also, the selection of carlo caparas and cecille guidote alvarez are drawing a lot of criticisms from "concerned" artists questioning their qualifications to merit the much-coveted honor, which is the highest an artist could ever get in the philippines.

consider this: lino brocka, ishmael bernal, eddie romero, and carlo caparas. all are now national artists for film.

personally, i've got no issue with the selection. art is subjective anyways. or perhaps, am just too pissed seeing those so-called artists belittle their own. whatever!

caparas may have contributed to the death of philippine cinema, but the massacre genre he helped create is something that will forever live on in cinema history - whether i like it or not.

was breaking dawn not original?

twilight fans, myself included, will surely be disappointed if the plagiarism accusations by an otherwise unknown author named jordan scott against stephenie meyer are proven true.

in a lawsuit, scott alegges that meyer borrowed heavily from her 2006 novel titled "the nocturne" to advance the plot of "breaking dawn", the final chapter in meyer's hugely successful vampire series.

now, this news is something that i will not take in stride. am a fan of twilight. after it was introduced to me by tita amie and ali, i was similarly hooked to the series the way teenagers (yeah, hahaha!) were...

recently, i posted an interrogatory story questioning whether meyer might have been "inspired" by charlaine harris' "true blood" series after i noticed some interesting similarities between twilight and "true blood". after initially watching the first two episodes of the TV adaptation of the true blood books, i was curious why the characters and early plot devices (mysterious killings, mind-reading, shape-shifting third guys, etc.) seem similar to twilight. then what fueled my curiosity even further was when i discoverd that true blood came out more than three years before stephenie dreamt about her twilight series! hmmm...

but after i finished watching the first season of true blood, i discovered that it takes on a different life - a more mature story progressed that is world's apart from twilight. meyer was saved, so to speak. hahaha...

and now, here's another price that meyer has to pay for her books' success.

there is a 15-page document that TMZ posted on their website (follow this link that details various similarities between key scenes in the "the nocturne" and "breaking dawn".

i have attempted to read through the lifted passages from both books but i couldn't seem to fully see the similarities that the lawyers of the complainant saw! i may be less of a literary person, i guess, lol.

but whatever happens, this only will benefit the series more and the movie adaptation of the second book in the series called "new moon" that's due to open in theaters in november. meyer, when i interviewed her last october, seems to be not the type who would deliberately copy someone else's book. she's BYU-educated - a christian!, she's just not the type. her prose may have been dismissed by stephen king as lame (in one of king's entertainment weekly back cover editorials) but she sure can entice many readers to a unique universe where vampires, werewolves, and humans, strangely cohabit.

be the judge my friends... while i watch true blood's first season adventure again.

Monday, August 03, 2009

mass for tita cory on august 4 at st. basil

i received an invitation from ms. charina vergara via facebook to a concelebrated mass organized by the philippine consulate in honor of former philippine president corazon c. aquino tomorrow (august 4, 2009) at the st. basil catholic church along wilshire blvd. in los angeles.

the official condolence book shall also be opened to the public.

mass will begin at 6:30 pm. it will be celebrated by bishop oscar solis.

everyone is invited to celebrate tita cory’s life.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

tita cory is gone...

when the false news of president cory aquino's demise started circulating more than a week ago, i composed a brief obituary in her honor that would be ready anytime she does pass away. this is in no disrespect to her, naw! this is what news organizations do for high profile personalities, i just wanted to be ready.

but ready i was not. when news broke out of tita cory's death friday afternoon in los angeles (saturday morning in manila) i was nursing a bad headache and a sore nasal palate. i couldn't update my blog and publish my prepared obituary for our beloved tita cory immediately.

but a tribute is still a tribute i guess, be it two days late or whenever. right?

here's what i prepared:

former philippine president cory aquino died today after a graceful battle with colon cancer. she was 76.

aquino, or tita cory to every filipino who lived through the tumultuous days of the 1986 edsa people power revolution, was a plain housewife and a full-time mom when she was thrust into politics during the waning days of the marcos dictatorship. she is survived by her children, grandchildren and an adoring public.

her ascendancy to the top of philippine politics and the successful and peaceful people power revolution triggered a wave of similar civilian-led revolution everywhere in the world. for these, she was named time magazine's "woman of the year" in 1986.

tita cory may not have brought about all the changes - particularly on the part of the economy- that she dreamt for the philippines, but her real legacy lie in the freedom and democracy that every filipino, young and old, are enjoying now. it will probably take many years before the philippines become an economic superpower - thanks to you-know-who but the pensive image of her in a red suit as she graced time magazine's yearend cover has imprinted to the whole world that the philippines is more than the thousand shoes and lavish parties it used to be infamous for. we are a nation with dignity - real not made-up, dignity, after all.

thank you tita cory. say hi to ninoy - and give our thanks, too - for all of us.



i am not sure if a state funeral is planned but what i know is that tita cory will be interred on the 5th at the manila memorial park where her beloved ninoy lay.

local les miz wows audience

(first of a two-part story)

am back! i have been terribly amiss the past three weeks. my apologies.

i had a deadline to cope at work this month and wednesday last week was d-day, if you will.

i had thursday and friday off from work. i planned on posting several stories that i have been composing in my thoughts during the past weeks but wonder of wonders, i caught a bug that left me feeling sick the past three days! i am not complaining that much, though because i probably was averaging 12 hours of sleep a day since thursday - thank you!

we left the office wednesday night excited for the two days away from the office that saw us working 12 hour days six times a week for nearly four months. in my excitement, i accidentally left my mobile on my desk - and i only discovered that when i reached my apartment 25 miles away! there goes the first item on my what-not-to-do list when you are looking forward to a four-day weekend. darn!

thursday, i was still feeling upbeat and enjoying the sun. i cleaned the trunk of my car, got rid of all the junk that accumulated since i don't know when. after lunch, i gathered half of my laundry (last time i did my laundry was the time when i was composing my father's day post - yeah, it's more than six weeks ago, lol) and drove to the corner laundromat. folks, if you do your laundry outside of your apartment, i recommend you do it during the weekday and i guarantee you, you'll have a swell time. there were only three other people doing their laundry! i had an easy time.

after doing my laundry, i took a shower. yeah, i didn't have time to shower before driving to the laundromat. and i think that got me sick. i got exposed to heat and sun for about two hours and went to shower immediately, and it wasn't so wise of me. i didn't feel sick until the next morning though. i was still able to drive to AMC and catch three movies: "my sister's keeper" - a weepie, "hairy oops, harry potter" - most polished adaptation, and "funny people" - hmm, i'll keep my mouth shut until i post my review of this one... hahaha!

friday came, and i felt a little pain in my nasal palate (is that a medically correct term?) when i woke up - darn! i was coming down with a cold. f@@@! there goes my plan of driving to the beach! i didn't get off my bed until 2 o'clock. i was feeling a little bit dizzy but i didn't have a fever. i moved to the couch outside my room and popped in my true blood dvds while i fixed myself a quick lunch.

i was comfortably laying on my couch when i suddenly realized i had a musical to watch. i was supposed to be at the azusa pacific university theater for the musical "les miserables", which is part of their summer workshop series this year. i thought it starts at six and i was asked not to be late because the door to the theater is by the stage and the cast would get distracted if the door is opened while the play is on - i was so pissed. luckily, when i checked, the ticket indicated that the play starts at 7. i took a quick hot shower with the heater - yes, a heater in the middle of summer! - running by the shower door. i was sick, what can i do?

according to mapquest, the drive to azusa from my apartment would only take 25 minutes. if i was being myself and followed mapquest i wouldn't have made it on time. it took me an hour and a half just to get to the venue! blame the three car smash-ups on the 605. blame the crawling 10 freeway that connects to the 605 freeway. blame everything but not me! i left my apartment a little after 5 and reached the venue five minutes before they opened the doors. whew!

tita lydia solis and her companions were already in the venue when i entered the main lobby.

when the door to the main theater was opened, we were ushered in to a small cozy theater that has a seating capacity of about 150. it was an intimate setting for a huge production like "les miz", could they pull it off? i was a little worried the group might not. but i was wrong. it was quite an impressive production.

the story of ex-convict-on-the-run jean valjean, his pursuer inspector javert, fantine, eponine, cossette, marius, and a host of other memorable characters based on victor hugo's masterpiece have been told and retold in various forms for many years now. the musical itself have been staged for more than what one could imagine, yet the story at its core never seems to tire. and when you add the music by Claude-Michel Schonberg, Alain Boublil, and Herbert Kretzmer, the story takes on another dimension and the characters come to life as vibrant and as tragic as hugo had originally intended them to be.

to be continued

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