Saturday, April 24, 2010

My marriage views

Post written sometime last week:

I remember how Mitch tried to squeeze in every little bridal fantasy that he thought I had after he watched the movie Bridal Wars. He assumed that every woman, at some point in their younger years, fantasized about her wedding. With that they also fantasized on their would-be husbands, how they would look like and how often they would be taking vacations together and how many kids the would see in the beautiful house with white picked fence. Unfortunately, I had no fantasies of that sort; except for the possible flavour of my cake, which has to be banana with cream cheese frosting. I don’t know why, but even early on when I only thought of menial things of what to eat for dinner and how to pass my elementary fraction test, I remember myself saying that I won’t marry, which is always a typical banner of a boyish and independent girl. I always find the entertainment to let my parents know that fact early on and they just brushed it aside seeing it was a phase. Come high school, I was so busy with my other fantasies (anime, books) that I hardly found the time to assess my emotional needs, which passed on still after college. I was resigned to forging life on my own without wishing for any social changes until I met Mitch of course. The certain magic happened and we ended up getting attached. Me, the girl whose friends thought would be forever independent, had entered into an emotional partnership that could eventually and supposedly lead to marriage.

But Mitch need not fret. I can still honestly say that marriage is a far flung idea that still sends shivers down my spine whenever I think about it. I can’t discuss it openly and I just fall silent whenever friends my age go through with it. I don’t have positive words of advice and I don’t have a calendar with supposed matrimonial deadlines. I could be married when I’m in 30’s, 40’s just as long as I’m ready. Or I wouldn't be married, who knows. Before, I can vehemently say that I am not the marrying type, but I have the emotions of my partner to consider. Now I could say that I am open to the idea, I just don’t find the need to specify when. Right now he knows that it’s just an idea and it’s nothing serious. It's uncomfortable, but a bearable thought.

You might think I'm a troubled kid. Well, I think I'm not. My parents are normal parents. They fight, they do drama and they are sometimes stern. Our family may be in a way dysfunctional and inexpressive, but I don’t think our case is isolated. It’s not like they are bad role models for matrimony. I’m also exposed to marriages that work gracefully. Movies have already lots of examples to educate. I believe it’s in my personality to find marriage initially unappealing right now; and it’s not an effect of some childhood tragedy.

Truth is, I think marriage involves a lot of work that it has to be stressful at some point. Realizing now, I felt unimaginable and new stress when I embarked into a relationship and I don’t think I could handle a much higher notch than that. Marriage could be extremely stressful if you get disappointed and can’t turn things up around just because you always now have a partner to consider. Marriage is a constant adjustment on other person’s needs. Also, people constantly change and there is a possibility that married people could grow apart. Marriage COULD be like joining a never-ending painful sack race, when the other partner is not laughing or having fun anymore. It's a lifelong struggle.

Also, marriage could be a trap for growing individuals like me who still have other things in life to attain. That’s why elders say to exhaust being single first before becoming married. That's true becuase at this point, I am still selfish. I still have so many things that I want to do that I only picture for myself. I know that I can’t let go of other aspirations for my would be husband just yet or else I’d end up being miserable and make the marriage more disastrous.

Yet certain findings now say that marriage could be good for a person, health-wise. Healthier people are those who are married couples compared to being single, those only living together, divorced or widowed. According to researchers reported by NYTIMES, single people tend to be “wrecked” on their voyage alone, metaphorically speaking rather than having someone to constantly remind them about their welfare from a person they actually hold deep romantic ties with. Married people have bigger responsibilities to their respective spouses that they keep their indulgences in check. Married couples check on each others’ health and round the clock emotional support always miraculously helps having a positive outlook on life. Though this study is a logical one, there’s this initial factor that will dictate this finding’s success. And that is to marry right. The assumption is that one should be married to the right person, at the right time and at the right circumstances to achieve this health benefit. Otherwise, being stuck in a humdrum and painful marriage double the stress that could be easily compared to chain smoking. But we know that it’s easier said than done.

Marrying the right person is an unknown formula. It’s been discussed and talked about in magnificent stories to give people more inspiration. Discovery Channel did a scientific experiment on romantic compatibility, but it often just boosts us to the right start. The heart has always been irrational and no one could force emotions and bond to an independent thinking human. Mistakes in this department make the marriage more stressful and eventually crumble. One must also consider that a person changes. While marrying in the right time and circumstances are mixtures of rational and the irrational so these aspects could be more controlled.

Marriage is a double edged sword that could have health benefits or the opposite. Depending on the person’s current disposition or personality, this prospect could be a joyous occasion or a frightful one. Taking this matter seriously is an understatement. And no one should be pressured to go through it for the wrong reasons. I may not have bridal fantasies because of my personality or it’s because I realized what marriage may demand early on. I am not an expert, and I’m certainly not optimistic about it yet, so don’t let me crush your pretty picture. I am just trying to understand why I reserve these marriage views by writing this post. Maybe, just maybe, in the far away future, when I might be courageous and blessed enough to find myself getting married, I may read this post and smile thinking that I have been honest with myself and I will have actually grown to finally accept a new phase in my life that not even the lack of fantasy and the once frightful perceptions could ignore.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Thankful for Work

I wrote this post last Monday, April 19, 2010. It was a different situation then. At that day I was so anxious, now not any more. But I'm more thankful now.

As reported by Manila Times, unemployment is a “time bomb” for RP having about 52 million people in 2030 seeking for jobs, so ADB says. The study was done by a principal economist of the organization and the question now lies if Philippine economy could sustain the need for more jobs at that time. The prediction, at this rate, is not that positive. Something that the government does, which involves slashing budget deficit to control inflation, isn’t right. Experts say that economic policies should be giving more emphasis on developing human capital to avoid skill mismatch, which is also identified in the report, as a main contributor to unemployment. With unemployment, there goes poverty and the cycle continues.

Frankly, this is not an issue anymore. It’s the truth. Unemployment is everywhere even in the most powerful countries. United States is now having this news every single day. The rise in unemployment and underemployment has clearly changed the professional landscape of these countries. More and more people, noticeably Americans, have resulted to being underemployed, which is now considered a blessing. Others have taken a different route and opened other people’s eyes to consider “flexible” or part time jobs that could be taken as private consultancy. Unemployment and underemployment are everywhere. Sometimes the news becomes too ordinary that’s why I don’t pay much attention to statistics anymore. You just pay attention to what’s going on with your own career and to those people who matter to you.

This news is very timely especially for me. I am in throngs of emotional and psychological battle in terms of switching careers. This may be due to constant hunger for change or a personal financial strategy. Whatever my reasons are, it led me to where I am now. I am waiting and anxious of the next step. It slowly consumes me that it isn’t healthy anymore. My mind is flying to different directions and possibilities, which make me realize that I might be a little bit hasty and un-thankful.

This unemployment and underemployment news further drove the point that I should still see myself as blessed no matter how I feel. Instead of looking forward to what may become and wishing for something better that I believe I deserve, I should still be thankful with what I have. I should still be thankful that I have a job that pays my needs and supports my chosen lifestyle. I have a job that provides room for growth and productivity. I thought I could easily be unemployed. I have friends who have and still suffer from retrenchment. I have friends, for some reason left their jobs, and until now couldn’t secure any position in this cutthroat market where good offers become limited due to the influx of job seekers. Being reminded of this reality, doesn’t give me any right to feel frustrated with what I have. I should be ashamed of myself for procrastinating and feeling negative about my situation when in fact there are more things I should be thankful for. I also believe I am not underemployed, which at least spares me from the added blow to the morale. I may think I’m underpaid compared to some who are newly hired with bigger demands, but I’m certainly not underemployed, which gives me more reason to suck it in.

In this world, I have no right to complain really. I have a stable job that should be treasured no matter how hard I can stomach it. It’s either this or going hungry-crazy. Unless I have the capability to shift careers to sales or market myself as a confident consultant, this is as secure and stable as I can get. If good opportunity comes I’ll welcome it in open arms, but until that time comes there’s no reason for me to neglect what I have right now. Tomorrow is an opportunity while today is a blessing. I should always give weight to that glaring distinction.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

I confess to a new me

When I went to Boracay with my friends last week, someone noticed a change in me. She pointed out that my nails are colored in pastel, to be specific hot pink and apple green. She was so surprised and ecstatic that she easily assumed that I've crossed the feminine side. Any hint of cosmetic and relatively normal feminine beauty indulges, is the destruction of my known reputation. It's Parlor or death. I blushed and tried to defend my new found artistic expression...err cosmetic fix. But I realized that there is no point of explaining. I didn't even think of denying it. I would accept it for what it is and so should my friends and family.

Here goes.

I confess that I like Manicure and Yeah yeah, I know I had nothing to do with my nails before. I just let them be. I didn't know exactly what a hangnail was and what to do with it.I always take out my own ingrown nail by hand until the side bleeds. I initially find it hard for strangers to touch or do anything aesthetic to me. When I go avail of their services, my instructions were always direct and endless. I'm sure they hated me. The only care I bestow upon my nails was borrowing a nail cutter from my brother from time to time or to actually visit my mom's manicurist when I had to go somewhere fancy.

Now, I like getting them cleaned twice a month. Actually I'm more interested with the nail polish. As expected, I would have always chose a natural color, but one day my sister nagged me to be courageous and I've never tried other colors before. So, I picked a velvety plum color, one of my favorite shades and I had it on for a week. I looked at my fingers all the time especially when typing. I always had that crazy urge to do something with my hands. After roughly one week and a half, I shifted to another color until some of my colleagues told me to stop and take a breather. Until of course I wanted a pastel candy like colors on my recent trip to Boracay. Now, I'm currently sporting a scarlet red shade.

And with that, I might as well confess that I like hanging out at Watsons now. Probably next to bookstores, there's groceries, then followed by Watsons or Rustans Body care. I specifically like to hang out at the body and hair care sections only. I still ignore the make-up and advanced beauty products sections because those really aren't my interest. It would take a gazillion years for me to be patient in applying an eyeshadow. Besides, I'm allergic to make-up unless it's Shiseido which costs a fortune.

Lastly, I now like to get massages and go to luxurious SPAs, which honestly tugs my food budget. I go to get a massage at least twice a month since February 2010. Personally, if I had all the money in the world, I think I'd go to luxurious spas out of town often.

Some of my friends would sue me for being a switcheroo. I know. Before, I used to condemn some of my colleagues who were constantly recruiting me to go to SPAs with them. Before I thought it was a waste of time and money. I ignored my dad's invitation to get a massage before. I realized, I missed out. I've joined the bandwagon a little bit late. My mom, who is not a fan of massages, asked me what made me cross the darker side? She never thought of me getting addicted to spas. Maybe she thought it was too much stress. I think she's right.

I am coming clean. I am confessing. I admit that I disliked or didn't pay much attention to these things before, but consider these as my newest discoveries and addiction. Blame it on work if you must since my weekends now are becoming extensions of my weekdays. I also don't spend as much fun time with friends and family anymore. I am so stressed that white hairs have made their presence known. Consider these regimens as options to eating out and reading. As long as the effects are good, then there is no harm to trying things out. As they say, don't knock it till you've really tried it.


I'm waiting for something really important. It is so important that it could change my life hopefully for the better. Always for the better. I've waited so hard and did all that I could do. I'm just here now patiently and anxiously waiting for the results. Gradually, other people got involved and they're anxious for me as well to the point that it's not healthy anymore. I want this to be over with.

By the way, this is not a life and death situation, but a life-changing one. In truth, I want it and all the other adjustments would have to be made later once the change is official.

I was supposed to know the results last Friday night, but there was an unforeseen delay. The D-Day was moved to Monday, tomorrow, and as much as I push the thought away, it keeps on coming back. The more I think about it, the more I get anxious. I know there's only one solution and comfort to all this.

This calls for prayer. I can't wait to go to mass today.

Lord, please guide me on this next step. Make me accept this change for the right reasons. I have to be honest that I want this and I pray not to be disappointed. If ever I would be, then I hope I am strong enough to forget about it and not be consumed with it. Let me do what you want me to do. Thank you for this gleam of hope. Amen.

Another Priceless Weekend.

Two days ago I possessed extra cash, maybe around three thousand worth that I should have diligently put away to help me pay my ballooning credit card bills. But yesterday it was just so hot and lazy that I wanted to do something productive. I wasn't feeling the gym and besides I can't drive with my expired license. But I didn't have work last Saturday, which is a rare occasion for this year. It would be a shame for me to just waste the day away surfing through Facebook and eating junk. So out of a five minute decision, I grabbed my two penniless siblings as we headed down south for a swim, good lunch and honest to goodness bonding.

Good thing, they also miraculously agreed with my idea or else I would just have to face the music and rot at home. Mitch was in a photo shoot.

I stay at the back. I cannot drive and I have a perfect excuse. My license is already expired.

My sister Karla is the designated driver. She's the type who'd rather drive than walk and commute, so that's just perfect for me. She is a fresh grad, but already experienced her first resignation after 2 months of suffering. A talented and flamboyant multimedia artist, she had had enough working for a low-ball, start-up creative company. Imagine, she was told by her loser of a boss to dress down because she looks like THE boss in client meetings. Being also a fresh grad, she was also tasked to deliver more than what a multimedia artist should do. She conceptualizes more than one project, works with editors, personally goes and interacts to clients and since she has a car to go to work, she was instructed to accomplish errands as far as Marikina until the wee hours in the morning. It was part of the job, she said. It's better than no experience at all. But one day she got terribly sick and the boss kept on texting her derogatory messages and slave driving her to accomplish a task that is not under her responsibility. I saw the texts and it was so unprofessional. She was pissed while telling me the story over a manicure and pedicure on a Friday night. She said that it was the last straw. She immediately resigned last Monday and is now waiting for job offers from other more reputable companies.

This is my brother JD undergoing the throngs of puberty. He just graduated elementary and come June he'll be officially in High School. He is still "enrolled" in his old school, but we wanted him to try out other institutions just because we were quite disappointed about the growing politics and grading system of his current school. He tried out in De La Salle Zobel, a totally different route from our usual Makati. They said it's hard to get accepted there. One has to know an influential alumni. But he said the test was easy, but the interview was tricky. He couldn't care less. He's a teenager after all.

We dropped by ATC to have lunch first and buy JD's goggles, which he would also use on Thursday on some trip with my parents. We ate at Pepper Lunch and came out happily bloated. The lunch and the goggles easily cost me 1,500 bucks.

When I was still in High School, we would always go to Southwoods Country Club even on school day weekends. Every summer, I bring my friends there. I think I also spent a birthday here once. It's nearer and it's spacious. But when I went there August last year with Mitch and his brother, and we were so disappointed. The place is not properly maintained anymore. It's clearly and slowly rotting. The pools then were so littered with leaves and still the dwindling staff expected us to swim in there. The locker rooms are not as luxurious as before. Thankfully now, it's improved, the pools at least. They've maintained it somehow and it's clean except for a few leaves. And club members are somehow swimming there again. It's still very far from it's glory days, but beggars can't be choosers.

After Southwoods, we headed back home on a detour in SM Bicutan. JD had to buy water gun and Karla and I are due for a manicure and pedicure session. My summer-colored nails are disintegrating. We went to David's where my sister is a regular. I chose scarlet red. And I also think I found my perfect brand in SAN SAN. Before going home, we bought some snacks.

All in all it was a relaxing, productive and peaceful day. As I realize in this year at least, I spend more time with my siblings whenever I have free days. We'd go to movies together and eat at sumptuous restaurants. My brother confessed that 2010 is his most sibling bonding and movie going year ever, which he likes.

We had fun, but unfortunately all my extra cash were gone in one day. Still I don't regret it. These are priceless moments for me. So right now, I'm just going to do the next best thing.

Have a steady Sunday by staying put and not spend anymore least for today.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Photography now

Photography for me is a respectable art, but it involves a lot of work. I just realized that it also involves lots of money. It's an investment art. You just don't get into it out of nothing and be mediocre. The appreciation of photos varies from person to person, so a photographer really has to be good in capturing the awe of the majority. Who would've thought, that an artistic-deficit like me would be closely connected to the art? But I'm not doing any of photography though. I don't have the creativity, artistic eye and mechanical adrenalin whenever I hold any kinds of camera. I'm not even comfortable taking pictures, much more discuss, enhance and study them. But people close to me are now taking photography very seriously that's why this matter hits home.

My boyfriend, then an IT enthusiast and a specialist, is a part-time photographer. He is a close relative of one of the most classic, gifted and popular photographers this nation has. But 3 years ago, he wasn't into anything artistic. During those years, I never saw him as a photographer. He didn't even own any point and shoot camera.

It all changed one normal day when he discovered the power of photography. He had started playing around with cameras and hanging out with his uncle. He started to develop that interest into passion until he became what he is now, which is a learned photographer. In the last three years, I've seen him grow. I see his passion unwavering. He organized and conceptualizes shoots. He has expanded his network ten folds. He is now open to traveling. He has a new role in group summer outings. He also earned added income and even considered giving up his day job and own a studio. All of that because of photography. But he is the type who respected the word and title of a "photographer" so much that he didn't use it until he is more comfortable with his abilities. I say at this point, he could be considered a photographer, a good one, but still struggling in creating that big and distinct mark to be one of the greatest and established photographers this nation has ever known, and hopefully give him reasons to quit his mundane IT job.

Practically my boyfriend, a simple fellow who was just inspired to shoot one day, took the leap of faith, and now finds himself in the world of photography. With his story, it seems any normal person could tread the same destiny and take hold of that artistic title. Before, whenever I see a person holding an SLR, I would immediately think that he or she is photographer. But now, I don't know. Almost everyone uses the term, shoots and has die-hard cameras.

You see, the word photographer gets tossed around too lightly. Before when someone introduces you to a photographer, there would be no question or doubts in your mind; and a certain artistic hierarchy and respectwere immediately shown. But now, being introduced to a photographer, the luster that was once there is slightly fading, and at some time, you may want to specify.

I asked Mitch once about the different levels one has to go through in order to be called a photographer. First, he identified himself as a hobbyist. Then there's serious hobbyist, then amateur photographer, professional photographer and then the higher level that includes national artists. But I feel now, the hierarchy has gotten screwed. Thanks to accessible online photo sharing, photography techniques online tutorials, massive production and accessibility of SLRs in the market, almsot everyone gets a fair chance to taste a photographer's life. Even point and shoot camera's, those who have no technical skills in photography, find themselves producing worthy pictures that gets sold online. In this modern set-up, who could be really called photographers?

Back then, when good cameras are not bought everywhere, information was concentrated and online sharing was unknown, photographers hold on to their title as a banner of unquestioned success in that form of art. To be called a photographer, one has accomplished and learned more than enough to capture great pictures for clients, patrons, advertisements and events that give them the proper distinction of capturing art form that only they can do. But with the emergence of amateur photographers, using good point and shoot entry level cameras, the art slowly loses its novelty and the title photographer loses its rank.

Good thing for those who are already considered the greats, they are spared the grueling tasks of establishing themselves in this pool of photographers and wannabe's. They have already made their distinction and exhibited enough artistic consistency to hold on to patrons and clientele. They even serve as inspirations to all starting photographers because they are known to produce great works miraculously all the time. But what about those professional photographers and those who are struggling to be one? With lots of skill pool, they would have to battle it out with the rest. They would face more stressful times in making their works stand out because let's admit it, there are lots of talent out there and people have more means to practice and be inspired. Clients would now be thinking twice to pay a premium price for a professional photographer's work when they could easily get cheap from others who easily call themselves photographers too. Professional photographers now boil down to cutting their prices to compete with amateurs, hobbyists and even lucky point-and-shooters like me. Online photo sharing websites that expose random pictures are constantly reaching advertising agencies and magazines that inevitably jolts a random person, who isn't really a photographer, earning a fraction of what a professional photographer should've earned. Photography before was considered a stable occupation, but now, almost every worthy picture from any lucky, skilled or passionate camera holder, could be bought, leaving professional photographers on their knees.

Mitch knows this hard fact, which is exactly the reason why he still juggles photography and his day job. Going full time now, producing your own capital, is not easy. He already did the computation.

Exhibits are everywhere, but involves money, so he just takes advantage of the free online photo sites to showcase his art. His main concern now is to keep the money coming in and to find that distinction from other photographers, market and establish it. But it's always easier said than done. Before it would've been easy, but with advanced gear technology, endless resources and photo accessibility, the playing field is now flat that even I, who never saw herself as a photographer, might get randomly lucky and sell a good photo for a fraction of the real photographer's price. It may be disheartening to know that professional photographers might get affected with massive one hit wonders, but a real photographer should find constant improvement with his craft, face the test of time, be distinct and be artistically consistent because some people may make art, but a few could only live it.

Read more about the: Shrinking Path of Photographers. (TIME)

News Marathon

Whenever I'm on a great vacation (escape), I only tend to think of three things:

Sleep, Food, Fun Activities

Other than that, my brain would automatically shut off.

I don't read the newspapers. I don't check my phones. I don't call home. If ever I would find myself online, I would be blogging about how wonderful my vacation is turning out, documenting every moment or looking at online gossip magazines. I don't clean up. I don't cook. Practically, I'm somewhere far far away from reality detaching myself from my sometimes-messed-up-life.

When I got home yesterday, I knew it would be a battle. I dreaded what's in front of me. I still dread the reminders of work. I dread Makati. I dread the usual people I work with during stressed times. I wish I could just go back and be a vacationer forever and start all over again, but that would be too romantic of me. That world doesn't exist.

To get back on track, I'd usually drive around the city to orient myself with bustling cars and road stress. I would get use to eating "home cooked food" which isn't really special in my household. I am forced to clean up because there are no room service and housekeeping anymore. I try to accomplish dreadful chores one step at a time. Then of course, I have to be online, check my Facebook, my emails and blog and most especially online news.

It's been four days since I haven't read any newspapers. I was never online; and whenever I watched TV, it was always veering towards HBO or Cartoon Network. If anyone would ask me about my opinion on what's on the news now, I'd be horrified with my lack of knowledge. In Boracay, a friend told me that that the Polish president died due to a plane crash in Russia. And as far as I can remember, I failed to properly react at that time, which means the information didn't fully register. It's scary how I can be automatically detached sometimes. Apparently news and vacation do not exist in the same world for me.

Post Vacation Drama

It's a dull day and I am struggling. I can't say I'm still surprised because I expected this. Instead of facing the music head on, I had to undergo a graceful transition. Truth is, I can't face work yet. Give me a couple of days, which I don't really have.

During vacation it's hard to think of something else besides food, sleep and relaxation. Anything boring is automatically pulled back, holding on to a thread of being forgotten forever. Work-related matters are not acceptable topics of discussion. In vacations, we don't have any grave responsibilities. We're only responsible for ourselves and mostly this covers comfort and sustenance and nothing more. We go back to being carefree and relaxed. The transition would always be effortless. I don't know if vacation has really any good, long-term effects on me knowing that I'd suffer after. After all these years, I'm still no expert in coping.

I would usually take a day off before I go to work. . I have to do basic things like drive and encounter traffic. I ease the daily stress slowly back into my life. I have to make use of the time to expose myself to dreadful children of reality like traffic, heat, office work, gadgets, emails and unwanted people. I have to ease the stress back in, which is the core of the struggle. I have to. I need to. We should experience sorrows and dread as equalizers to a blissful experience.

The dull transition starts now..

It’s 1:18 pm on a dull Tuesday afternoon. In a Boracay picture, most of my friends are just beginning to wake up from a late night of partying and booze. They would orient themselves with the time and the vast and calming nature surrounding them. Most of the times, they would find hot meals waiting for them in the counter and balcony courtesy of a soul who has more effort to wake up early and explore food than liquor. I would be sitting in front of the television, watching old movies and cartoons, waiting for everyone else to get up.

After lunch, people would go back to their beds. Some would sleep again, some would play cards while others would watch television. Since I brought a book, you would find me reading. Come 4 pm, we would all have this strange urge to eat again despite the lack of physical activities. One would initiate the move and suggest the ladies to change to their swimsuits. While the ladies get ready, the guys fool around and dress up in two minutes. Once the ladies emerge, the couples would pair up and the ladies would have to insist on the foolhardy males to apply sunblock. Gaining leverage, we would walk under the 4 pm heat of White Beach witnessing people beginning to crowd the shores and hang out with friends and family. We would chill at Station 1, a spot where we feel more familiar with, order drinks and food during happy hour. This is where we bond, chill and wait for the sunset. Since we have photographers in tow, expect camera whoring and photo ops, which would turn out to be funny, original and artistic. While the sun falls down and everyone else gets a taste of exercise and liquor, we would be thinking again where to have dinner. Discussions would arise, supposedly the only mental and diplomatic exercise we have to go through. No tedious and professional data being discussed, no operational issues to study. Basic problems would only boil down to food, time, activities and untangling strong egos clashing. Once everybody’s appeased with the selection, we march to the restaurant.

After dinner, others would hang out and meet up with other friends while majority goes back to the hotel room. While others take a bath, others phone for massage service. By 9 pm, half of my friends would be sleeping to store up energy while the other half would opt to stay awake and find amusing things to do. By 11 pm, phones would be ringing off the hook and text messages allow meeting places to be divulged. Ladies and Gents would get ready with their summer party look. By 11:30, we would march to the hip socunds of the shore like a piper beckoning the thirsty souls for liquor. We expect people to get drunk and stay till the morning. We’re lucky if we don’t witness fights. Depends on the need, at around 4 am some people would have their after party snacks at Jonah’s, while others go straight back to the hotel. Sleep will snatch them until lunch time. Then at lunch, the same cycle continues.

It is 1:18 pm, but I’m not in Boracay anymore. I just flew in yesterday afternoon and I’m suffering from vacation withdrawal. It’s hard and I’m not strong enough to bounce back to my version of reality anytime soon. I have already conquered the heavy traffic. I hope I could gracefully go back to conquer work tomorrow.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Vacation Preparation

I went to the office this morning feeling careless and preoccupied. I admit my mind was not concentrated with work anymore but on my upcoming long weekend vacation. I thought about what I'd pack and what other things left for me to buy. I wasn't thinking of deadlines breathing down my neck or my task list for today. To tell you honestly, it was double torture for me since some of my friends and colleagues are already there today. Nevertheless, I had to work my ass off and finish what I had to finish. I had to endure a late lunch and missed bathroom breaks. I believe I was not also able to talk lengthily to someone today. But due to perseverance and sick love for self-torture, I was able to finish everything by 6 pm. I did my hand off, organized my out-of-office assistant in Outlook, grabbed my earphones, printed my airplane tickets and bade my boss a happy goodbye. By 6 pm, I walked (skipped) towards the shuttle that was waiting for me just right outside our building to take me to the nearest mall from our village where I will meet my sister for a manicure and pedicure session. Perfect.

Today started painful, but it ended up very fulfilling. Though my mind was already not 100% with work, I was able to finish and accomplish my goals. The only thing left for me to do is face the inevitable. Packing. It may be not my most favorite thing in the world. In fact, I dread it, but I'd rather go through it than stay here another weekend and be possibly called to work.

God knows I need a break. I need to see nature. Though I'm not a fan of the beach, I'm really looking forward to unlimited good food, shakes, massages and wearing shorts and flipflops all day long. Boracay has become an annual therapy in a way.

Besides, I heard weather's here going to be excruciatingly hot this weekend. Some say it would reach 40 degrees. What at torture. At least I'll be in shorts at that time and I could hog the air conditioning in the hotel room, something that I rightfully paid for. And since my parents and brother are in Hong Kong and enjoying themselves while I'll be in Boracay this weekend, I offered words of honesty to my sister who will be staying in Manila: "Sucks to be you! "

Image: from
Weather data: Accuweather

Monday, April 5, 2010

Clash of the Titans

First of all, the trailer was fantastic. Second, it's about a classic Greek mythology, one of the most popular stories to date, with gods, battles, dirt, poetry and handsome men showing biceps and muscular legwork. Third, with the modern film making at its finest, the movie is reeking with jam packed entertainment. Fourth, Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes play the gods. Since I loved the 1981 film version, I'm sure most people would agree with me that the expectation should be a little bit higher for the 2010 version.

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

The movie was all over the place. They tossed in characters that were not essentially needed and pulled out scenes that should have been enhanced from the original film version. We were expecting the gods and goddesses to participate more and not be displayed like statues. The owl, Bubba, was made into a cameo. Even Pegasus didn't take my breath away. The whole timing, entrances and the graphic refinery flopped to deliver a cohesive and stellar movie.

The original plot is already interesting in itself, but for entertainment's sake someone wanted to twist the known legendary facts, put unimpressive action scenes for the heck of it. And for those with more dramatic pallet, certain poetic scenes turned out to be cheesy. I came out of the movie irritated and confused. Some of my friends who had no inkling of Perseus' story got even more confused that the graphics and action scenes couldn't make up for it.

Perseus is the son of Danae, a princess and daughter of King Acrisius, which makes Perseus a grandson to Acrisius. The king received a prophecy that he would be killed by his daughter's son. With Zeus impregnating Danae, the king cast his kin away in a floating casket where a fisherman saw and rescued them. Acrisius has nothing to do with the half monster-half beast that the 2010 movie portrayed. If they wanted to adapt and enhance the original film version, Calibos should be a different character all together and not be mistaken by using Acrisius. And Io? What's the need for Io when there is Andromeda, both exposures are wasted. Kraken is Poseidon't and not Hades'. But perhaps I cannot blame the variety. It may be that several versions are created to deliver art and entertainment rather than the accustomed truth, but I sure hope they did it in a much believable and cohesive fashion. The effort to twist the story could be understood if only it was not confusing and boring.

The actors are veering from cheesiness to a high school play except for Ralph Fiennes who stole the scenes. Liam Neeson's Zeus was not scary or mighty enough, though I still love him. Draco was a point of interest, but the other supporting characters were weak. Cassiopeia was believable, although her role in the movie is short. Acrisius could've been more scarier. Andromeda has sincerity, but her role in this movie is not given much weight. Io is an eye candy and Perseus lacked in the most salient parts that make him a demi-god and a rugged man. He was like an impulsive and punk teenager seeking revenge in fleeting accents of Australian and English. Perseus was not interesting enough.

Months back, this was one of those movies I would have watched in 3D, but thank god I didn't. The graphics were, if not unimpressive, unrefined. I cringed at the fight scenes and close up of Medusa. They could've done better. And frankly, I couldn't think if there were 3D worthy scenes that I missed there anyways.

I won't recommend this for 3D. Heck, I won't recommend this at all lest you expect to be disappointed. If I knew this all along, I would've just bought a DVD. This is not like Lord of The Rings where there are "Aah and nail biting moments." This is not Avatar. This is not even the Odyssey tv-movie produced and shown by The Hallmark Channel, which I loved and lauded. The Clash of the Titaans 1981 film version may have used stopmotion effects at that time, but I suggest you just watch it instead of this year's version. Apparently, nothing could save this movie except for the trailer and marketing. The Gods would've frowned.

Sunday, April 4, 2010


Would it be a sin to lambaste the review of this 2010 Clash of the Titans movie in full detail? I know it's Easter Sunday, but--

I am a fan of Greek Mythology and I am particularly a fan of the 1981 film version of Clash of the Titans. I think I wasn't overboard in expecting something more from the 2010 movie knowing that we are already capable with amazing effects and all. I think it should have enhanced the movie further, but I wasn't much impressed with the effects. In truth, I wasn't happy with the movie in its totality.

I think a part of me expected more because Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes are there. Their participation is enough to assure me in some way that the movie is somehow worth it. I'm sure with their credentials and experiences, they wouldn't want to just do a movie out of nothing. But sadly, I don't know what happened. It was a mess. Most fans of the story didn't like it. Those who have no idea what the movie is all about got more confused. And those who are looking for pure entertainment wished they just bought it in DVD. I just have to be honest.

But first I would have to go to Easter mass and pray for this because everytime I remember the 2010 movie, I just get irritated. Oh well...later.

Easter Reflection

It's hot, it's Sunday and it's Easter. I just got back from a quick city escape in Sofitel Manila, which was hardly an escape since it was fully booked over the weekend. You see kids running around and a pool you wouldn't find yourself floating in because it was just that crowded. Good thing they have good buffet and amazingly comfortable sheets or else I would've gone to Wensha.

I woke up very early this morning and went with my brother to the pool to savor its vacancy. I planned to do serious laps, but the pool is kidney shaped and my brother needed company. We talked about Greek Mythology and life now that he is about to enter high school. While things got a bit awkward, he tested the slides as I got stuck somewhere under the bridge pondering my existence. I realized that it's Easter Sunday and I think I haven't made God happy or proud. In fact I think that he would punish me anytime soon.

First of all, I was at the office the whole holy week and I whined and complained not because I didn't have time to reflect or give praise to God (privately), but I felt like my personal time was robbed. I was mad at my work because my time for myself, my time for my dog, my time for my boyfriend and my time for my family in those supposed four vacant days were all wasted. I felt like I was in a rush to get out of the office in danger of hurling my computer out the window. But I didn't really prioritized and thought of God. I just thought of me and the hassles I'm going through.

Second, I've been pretty hot-headed lately. I've been a regular complainant about life and recently I've been releasing fiery words of hate. Everything that I have experienced, I put into foul words that even God would frown upon. I even committed blasphemy at some point and the moment I did that I knew I should've burned my tongue in acid, but pride held me back. I knew that it was partly true, but the truth isn't always nice.

Third, I had the audacity to ask so many things from God when in fact I am not worthy. Kapal na ng mukha ko. I don't think I'm that mean, but I know most people think I am. I am not spiritual and I don't really do anything about it. I'm selfish. I'm foolish and I'm too proud.

God knows me inside and out. There's really no point in explaining myself. It's not hard to picture Him waiting for the right time to punish me and make me realize my mistakes, which I keep on doing. I'm a lost child and I don't deny that I need to change my thinking and habits. I think it's good to follow my heart and be true, but there are certain things that are more important than my needs. There are more holy causes that I should follow aside from my own. I'm not proud of where I am now and I'm really sorry.

Easter is the perfect day to celebrate Jesus' resurrection from the dead. He has risen to save all of us and yet I think of myself, easter egg hunting, buffets and material comforts. I should be ashamed and put myself at the stake, but I'd like to think I could ask for forgiveness and try again. This Easter may be a good start for me to change my bad ways and be happy with what I have. I should be giving praise to God more in the most comfortable way I can. Indeed I'm really sorry that it took Easter to make me realize all that. I hope it's not too late. But if God wants to punish me, I hope I could withstand it, because he really knows that I want to rise from all of this, a better and more spiritual version.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Happy April...very soon

Sarah Dunant’s book, In the Company of the Courtesan, has been with me for almost three weeks now. My reading has become snail paced and unfocused recently. Like the primary reason before, work is the main culprit. Going to work on weekends, attending twilight meetings, delivering close to impossible demands and actually thinking of working for other company sucks the time and fun out. February and March are stressful and pitifully uneventful months for me. Thank god it’s already April. At least I have a looming vacation in one week.

I’m happy and anxious in a way that it’s finally April 1st. This means that the first quarter’s already done. Looking back, my first quarter is a transition to heavier work. I got promoted, but added more responsibilities under my belt. In this period, I realized a need to redefine and possibly shift work. And happily, I did something about it. Last February to March I was diligent, and now I’m just waiting for the results as soon as Holy Week’s over.

After all the shit and anxiety, I can still find the reason to be happy because I can smell my first summer vacation which happens next week. Though I'm not technically a fan of the beach and I've been to Boracay a couple of times already that excitement somehow diminishes, it's still a vacation that's badly needed right now. I can't wait to wear summer clothing there all day long, not specifically thinking about getting clean and all. I can't wait for relaxation and waking in a hotel room. Most importantly, I can't wait for good food. Breakfast at Real Coffee, Lunch at Dos Mestizos, Merienda at Cafe Del Sol or Jonah's, Coffee fix at Starbucks and buffet dinner at the numerous beachfront restaurants there with fresh seafood! Food clinches the deal.

After Boracay my April and May weekends are open. I am planning to go to one of the fine resorts in Batangas or just a quick spa trip to Tagaytay. Preferably a place where I would not overspend because come June, I'll be going to Bangkok. Yey!

But let's face it, I still have to go to work in less than two hours and it's a good friday. Jesus wouldn't be really happy right now. Work, again, has become impossible to bear lately. All I need to do is to hang on and pray that this will soon be over. I would also pray for forgiveness due to lack of spiritual bond.

After this working holy week, I can't wait to relax and swim. I also have to have to finish reading Sarah Dunant's book and prepare for my summer reading in Boracay. I've already made lists. But for tomorrow, I'm thinking of Spirals Buffet, Clash of the Titan's 3D movie, a kickass massage and a luxury accommodation at Sofitel. Thanks to my father, this will all be done. Life, as they say, is all about balance. And I can't wait to experience the good side.

How To Train your Dragon

Another delayed post...

Last Sunday morning I found myself awake in the office for more than 24 hours. On the moment in which I was supposed to be heading home and sleep, my siblings picked me up in my office. I was wearing work out clothes, when I haven’t visited the gym in more than 2 weeks straight. I did remember that I promised them a sumptuous lunch in Greenbelt and a movie treat for my brother who just graduated. So, like a zombie, we went to Mr. Jones’ a diner joint which serves authentic root beer floats, shakes, burgers and grease foods that are more comforting than they are healthy. Lack of sleep and a possible heart attack, may be a ruthless combination I wonder. I had to remind myself that I am scheduled to go to Boracay in 2 weeks and downing milkshakes and fried foods seem more like a death sentence. But I was tired, weak to my cravings and bound by a promise that I finally gave in, silencing any whispers of remorse.

After lunch, we went to watch a 3D animation of Dreamworks, How To Train Your Dragon. I’m beginning to like 3D movies and if the plot is a little bit predictable, I’m sure banking on the effects for the pricey tickets I had paid for. I’m sure the computer animation would be great, but I would be genuinely surprised if it would offer something new. Once you’ve seen Avatar, you’ve probably seen it all. In the theatres, I see families watching. There were no die hard looking critics there.

The plot is very simple. It’s cartoons, it shouldn’t be complicated. It’s a story about a young wimpy teenager, who feels left out in the society full of brave and powerful Vikings. Call it destiny and passion, he drew his strength and importance upon accidentally capturing and befriending one of the most elusive, powerful and dragon species, called Night Fury. With consistency and constant work, he was able to gain more knowledge, respect and expertise about dragons in a more positive but different perspective that dragon slayers share. He learns how to train dragons to good use to eliminate the feeling of threat his people feel towards them. Together with his new found friends, he was able to discover the deeper reason of the ongoing war of dragons and its dragon slayers. With trust, belief in oneself and courage, this one simple teenager was able to change the relationship of age long animosity to cooperation and harmony.

The effects are computer generated while the graphics are getting more refined than ever. What I amazingly liked about watching it in the big screen are the breathtaking flight scenes, chase scenes and the elemental scenes that maximized the power of 3D technology. Computer generated nature coupled with the breathtaking action and flight sequences made my day.

My brother liked it, which is important to me. My sister, who isn’t an advocate of cheap cartoon flicks and thrills, wept at the end of the movie. I liked it enough to forget that I paid 300 bucks for it, which means it’s worth it. This plot may be simple, but it has heart. If not for the lack of complexity of the story, just watch it for the effects and the fun side of it. No need for deep thinking here, this is pure kid entertainment.

Alice in Wonderland

This is a delayed post. Better late than never.

Alice in Wonderland is a big and glaring part of my childhood. Every weekend that stretches as far as college, I would find the time and the mood to watch the 1951 Disney cartoon version over and over again and the wonder and amusement never fail. Along with Fern Gully, Never ending story and The Last Unicorn, the story of Alice in Wonderland is etched in my mind. Every song, every absurd situation or every complex character is enjoyed whether I understood what they all meant for.

First of all, the story in itself is nonsense. Alice represents us, trapped in a dream world, where dreams might hold deep meaning, but seldom understood. This accounts for morphed characters where animals and flowers could talk and feel mighty. Beliefs and principles counter reality and the whole landscape is far different than ours. It is a dream after all, a wonderland where everything we are taught of not to believe, exists. Probably the non-sense and fantasy version of Alice’s Wonderland attracts children. I’m afraid they love and understand it more than adults do. But toss Tim Burton in that equation and it’s bound to get more psychedelic.

Tim Burton is known for directing movies which plots are essentially off-based from reality. He does his brand of tweaking and interpretation that makes the already twisted material into an eerie adult alternative of a fairytale that might be too gothic to someone’s taste. He is known to transform stories and exploit its twisted side which is evident in all the film’s aspects from make-up, lights and sounds. For example, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory are films that I’ve also watched when I was a child. I would invite friends over every summer and rent out Laser Discs of Gene Wilder playing as Willy Wonka. Tim Burton’s take with Johnny Depp at the helm is a bit eerie, but something to be expected. Barber on Fleet Street, Big Fish and even clay-fairy tales of the Corpse’s Bride and Nightmare before Christmas holds the same experience. And of course, who could ever forget Edward Scissorhands? An odd character in a suburban setting could be as complicated and strange as it could ever be, but Tim Burton takes comfort in showing his directorial styles and interpretation in stories that no other director might hold imagination and courage for. It’s no surprise that Alice in Wonderland, a material veering towards an adult dream like fantasy, is expected to be added to his directorial feats with no less than Johnny Depp as one of the main characters. And with their tandem, it’s bound to be entertaining.

Watching Alice in Wonderland is a visual treat. Colors, CGI, visual effects and make-up complement and enhance the characters and settings. Other scenes cast a colour of gloom and pale, a signature Tim Burton’s known for. The music is hauntingly naughty, the type of music you’ve already heard in Edward Scissorhands and Willy Wonka.

The choice of characters is familiar and expected. Johnny Depp plays the Mad Hatter, a type of role he is esteemed to play along with the list of off-beat and crazy characters he brought to life. Though strange and expected as he might be, there are certain times wherein I see Captain Jack impersonating Carrot top. Probably I just needed to see him in jeans and shirt in a movie soon, while Helena Bonham Carter made me laugh. A regular in Tim Burton’s films, she still delivers a genuine performance. She could play a caring mother, a scorned and deranged lover or a bratty queen with a mind of a 5 year old. In Alice in Wonderland, she interpreted the Red Queen to be an adult brat who holds no moral obligation to make the world a happy and safe place. She interpreted the Red Queen as a bratty toddler or a grade school queen bee, trapped in a woman’s body and an enormously big head. I appreciate her version, but I was more inkling to see a nastier version, someone who is big, whose power reeks in scorned look, someone who would bring you to your knees by just a look like the principal in Matilda. The King of Spades, played by Crispin Glover, is fantastically eerie. He sits alongside Johnny Depp in playing off-beat characters effectively from time to time. But he' s mostly the villain. Actually, he could be the next Riddler. Anne Hathaway’s White Queen is forgettable, but provides an annoying contrast to the Red Queen’s aggressive personality. Alice, played by Australian Mia Wasikowska, portrays extreme awkwardness and stubbornness for an adolescent Alice trapped in both worlds. Sometimes her acting for me falls short, but her magnificent dresses and rawness somehow make up for it.

This movie is a visual treat than a cerebral one. When the movie ended, people in the theatres were just stunned and caught off guard not knowing what to do. They can’t exactly pinpoint if they like dthe movie or not. Mitch just enjoyed the visuals and as he gave up on finding the plot’s meaning. I wouldn’t recommend it for those who expect the plot served on a plate. They may be at lost. For multimedia enthusiasts, this is a movie worth watching in the big screen. For Tim Burton and Johnny Depp enthusiasts, this adds up to the collection. For those who are looking for entertainment without too much of reality in the equation, this might prove useful.