This has got to stop

What is more depressing than talking about the extrajudicial killings (which a friend of mine noted was a millennial term for what was called “salvages” in the 70s and 80s) is seeing the brutal images of what the president has emboldened.

I am conflicted with the issue of the efforts to curb drug use. I have seen how many lives were ruined directly and indirectly by people under the influence of drugs. Before EJK, crime committed by drug syndicates and users were already a lot. But the difference was these weren’t condoned by the president and carried out by the police.

Aside from being indignant through words and images, I feel an anxiety and sadness because without the president expressing outrage with all this carnage, this will go on for a long time.

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Tao with Uncle

I love to eat but more than that, I love eating with the ones I love.

This week, I caught up with Uncle in Tao Downtown, which I could have gone to sooner if someone kept his promise (ha!).

I didn’t know that Tao had another entrance, which was for the nightclub. I didn’t get wind of that until I noticed that people entering there were more than dressed for eating and that the entrance had a velvet rope. Buti na lang, I went around and saw Uncle waiting for me by the restaurant’s dining hall entrance.

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Once we pushed open 2 sets of heavy doors, we got inside what felt and looked like a luxurious dungeon. It had a loungey, decadent vibe, which was perfect for romantic dates. We were practically surrounded by couples. My Uncle and I were a couple too, I guess. A couple of hungry diners!

It was Restaurant Week so we could have had the set meals but we didn’t. He had the roasted duck rice and I had a miso glazed cod. Ang sarap! It looked too appetizing, I forgot to take photos.

But, I did take more photos of Tao.

The food and ambience is terrific in this place because it’s ultimately a show- off place. You bring someone here because you want to impress. And impress it does because of the theatricality of its interior and food presentation.

In uncle’s case, he was just craving for roasted duck rice.

Tao Downtown

How to deal when you (watch) “Finally Found Someone “

I terribly wanted to like Finally Found Someone. But of all days to see it, we watch the day after Anna Faris and Chris Pratt announced their separation.

Suddenly, my already shaky belief in everlasting love just became more precarious. If the adorable seemingly Instagram-perfect, real-life couple could not make it, what hope do we regular Joes and Marias have?

The draw is the charming leads, Sarah Geronimo who plays jilted heartbroken, yet hopeful Aprilyn; and John Lloyd Cruz who plays strait-laced well-put-together spin doctor Raffy. Really that’s all we need to know because the script is at its best is trite; at its worst, dumb.

The movie started with Aprilyn finding out on the day of her wedding, while waiting for her cue to emerge from the bridal car to enter the church to get married, that her groom for some reason* had cold feet. After this shocking news, what Aprilyn did became more absurd.

I get it that being madly in love would drive anyone to do really stupid things. But the extent to which Aprilyn went through to practically grovel and ask the runaway groom why he did what he did was unspeakable. Like my friend would say, “dignidad naman, girl.”

This ridiculousness is fodder for social media so Aprilyn, in her lowest moment, is captured and shared as a meme. This apparently concerns her “future” father-in-law, not because kawawa naman si Aprilyn, but because he is more concerned of his son’s likeability and trust rating as a successor to his post as mayor.

So what does the mayor / Aprilyn’s “future” father-in-law does? Why, employ a PR expert to change public perception of Aprilyn, from a broken and betrayed bride-to-be to a capable and worldly woman, who’s already moved on to better things, of course. And this PR expert is Raffy (John Lloyd Cruz). So with that, you would already know what will transpire: cuteness and kilig overload.

The story was hackneyed, the dialogue trite. It was a pity that having such likeable, talented and attractive actors like Sarah and John Lloyd are not maximized to do what they are able to . I do not blame Barbra Streisand and Bryan Adams for not granting permission for this production to use the song after which this movie’s title is taken from. Nowhere in the movie is it played or sung!

I love Filipino movies but come on! There are more than enough love stories that Filipino filmmakers can tell, aside from this nonsensical formula.

Bah humbug!

*The reason, revealed later, was that the groom fled to Hong Kong to be with another woman. I think the real reason was all those damning greeting cards boxed in what looked like a mini-balikbayan box from Aprilyn to her “future husband.” 

 

Around the World last Saturday

I have been feeling a cool breeze these past days and I can’t help but think “hmmm, the Circus is fast approaching.”

What to do? Time to make hay!

Last weekend was Gramma Adele’s 70th birthday party. I’ve only heard about the awesomeness that happens during her bashes and I am glad to confeerm that it’s EPIC!

The theme of her party was “World Traveller”, which of course brought us in a tizzy thinking what to dress up as. Thankfully, her apos (which included moi) were assigned to be dressed up as flight attendants to escort the guests to their tables and then to perform a dance/almost-singing number to “Up Up and Away”. It took me some time to get used to the plunging neckline of our figure-flattering costume but then I just dove into our mabuhay-girls character so we can dance and party hardy.

I enjoyed finally meeting and attaching faces to the well-known names I have only heard about, taking part in the organised chaos of our programme, and dancing up a storm, complete with glow sticks and paraphernalia, like nobody’s bizness.

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But most of all, what I loved the most was being in the presence of so much love for Gramma and the love that Gramma has for all of her family and friends. Towards the end of the party, after a dance song, the DJ played “That’s What Friends Are For” and almost automatically, everyone on the dance floor created a circle and held hands. A couple of seconds later, everyone from the tables and outside just chilling, joined the circle to sing the song for Gramma. This is without anybody calling them to join! This just proved how everybody wanted to be counted as someone who would be there for Gramma.

I am grateful to have been part of that circle.

 

We Start Again

Going through this blog, one wouldn’t know it’s three years old. To tell the truth, this blog started as a way to remind myself of the many blessings I am given instead of dwelling on my losses. And so it stopped and started according to the seasons of my heart — which were in turns hot, tepid or frigid.

With this nth restart, I would like to simply remember what I saw, heard, tasted, and did. There were countless times when I would just blank out when asked what I did last week. Which is unfair to the Universe because there were a lot of wonderful things that I have received and taken part of, I’m sure. I just could not remember it.

So, here we go!

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More 2015 Memories (Part 2)

Just as planning for something makes us hopeful, looking back can also make us feel grateful for what we have done and overcome in the past. Have I mentioned (enough) that 2014 ended viciously?  Here were some of my lifelines last year:

Live Concerts

It was pretty much chick music that I grooved to, and it was what just I needed.

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Heard Patti Austin, Colbie Caillat, Christina Perri, Ingrid Michaelson, Belinda Carlisle and Oleta Adams (no photo). How much more estrogen can you take?

My mom celebrated her 70th birthday, my dad his 72nd, and their 43rd anniversary.

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Meron po akong pinagmanahan 🙂

Getting back in the saddle

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Life is like riding a bicycle — in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving. —Albert Einstein

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It is still a journey to get to a good place most of the time, sometimes a trudge. But I feel like I’m better.

I Read It: Essays in Love by Alain de Botton

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In “Essays in Love”, Alain de Botton writes about the progression of his relationship with Chloe, from the meet cute at the airport to the phone tag in scheduling the first date, to the first kiss, the first argument, the dilemma when (who first gets) to say “I love you”, meeting the parents, the friends, the first trip together. As with most heady romances, it eventually becomes tempered by the mundane nature of everyday seeing, talking, being with each other. Doubt sets in, then a domino-effect which just left me thinking “well, that escalated quickly”.

It is only with a quick Google search that I find out that this is de Botton’s work of fiction. One that he wrote at 23 years old! (He’s 46 years old now).

De Botton is very quotable. He is, after all, a philosopher. Every chapter was a joy to read, even when the love affair devolved. I especially liked the chapter where both lovers, who though definitely feeling it, could not get themselves to say the 3 little words. The male character, de Botton I assumed, came up with a safe word, “marshmallow” that to them “seemed to capture the essence of my amorous state with an accuracy that the word love, weary with overuse, simply could not aspire to.”

Many times before, while listening to my friends’ love stories and having none of my own, my friends would say, “you are lucky, you have not felt love yet, because it is difficult, it is hard work, it is painful.” And to that, I would always reply, “I do not care. I just want to feel how it is to love and be loved.” (Romantically, I meant. I have a lot of love in my life. Heh.)

Flash forward to today… I still feel the same way.

 

 

I MADE IT: Thai Coconut Chicken and Vermicelli

Cooped up at home because of Blizzard Jonas, was a good enough reason to abide by my resolution to cook my own food.

What caught my eye was a cooking pack courtesy of Fresh Routes. The cooking kit included most of the ingredients (save for the perishables) and the recipe. It was very easy to follow and no-fuss.

I like that it saved me some time sourcing and figuring out the ingredients, something that gives me a lot of anxiety — have I bought the right one, the correct portion/size/quantity? Cooking kits are a gateway for cooking beginners to more exciting culinary adventures.

Viola! The finished product is tasty! It was already good if you follow the recipe but I tweaked it a bit according to my taste (put in fish sauce and more lemon juice). Yummy in my tummy! And there was enough for my lunch tomorrow, though not too much that I was stuck eating it for the whole week.

Cooking Kit: WIN!

WATCH: Something Rotten on Broadway

 

I love it! I love it! I love it!

Something Rotten tells the story of two brothers, Nick and Nigel Bottom, and how they developed and produced the first musical (ever), as an alternative to Shakespeare’s iambic dramas. There is romance, intrigue, codpieces, deception, rock stars, tap dancing, a usurious Jew, woman-power, dream sequences, a soothsayer, feathers, pilgrims, puppets, eggs, music and laughter, and more! It is shameless in its eagerness to seek the audience’s approval — putting in everything that constitutes a good time, short of throwing in the proverbial kitchen sink.

RANT STARTS HERE —

That said, I could not rant enough how some people do not know, or simply do not care, how to watch a play.  I wanted to say any live performance, but watching a play or a classical concert is definitely different from watching a live band or group. It all depends on the venue.

We’ve heard of the cellphone that ruined a symphony by ringing in the middle of the concert. Benedict Cumberbatch could not contain his annoyance of people taking photos on their cellphones while the show was going on. My peeve during “Something Rotten” was something less tech-driven. My theater experience was not complete because I was disturbed by the relentless PDA the couple in front of my seat was displaying. Now, I am all for showing affection — one of my favorite kikay songs this season is Selena Gomez’s “Hands to Myself” — but when your constant smooches and face touching block my sightlines of an exhibition of talent I paid good money to see, you have basically given me a cause to kick your seats all throughout the play.