December 27, 2003

Blogging On

Damn these PCs here. (Read my previous entry to know where I am). They're too freakin' slow and full of virus! They won't follow the Sign Out instruction nor open my Friendster page correctly. To those who sent me a message and asked me to be their Friendster, I'll get back to you later. Goodness, there are only 4 days to go till the new year and I'm still grumpy. I'm sorry. :)

I really really hope the coming year will be a good one for me. 2003 which is supposedly my year since I was born in the year of the goat (or sheep, depending on which animal you wanna be associated with) just plainly sucks! Lots of career downs and very few career ups! No money! No lovelife! LOL! :D I guess I'm excused to be this whiny so I can finally get this out of my system before January 1. Heh. :) I promise I'll be cheerful by then (or at least try!).

I will come up with my list of 2003 Top 10s in Pop Culture (music, movies, music videos) in the coming days. I don't really have the authority to say what's best or not but who cares! I'm a narcissist, remember, so I just wanna share my favorites to everyone no matter how unpopular they are. Expect everything to be subjective in that Top 10 list. ;)

I've been watching a lot of good videos lately. Election is indeed worthy of its critical acclaim. It's the perfect example of a teen movie that actually has depth. I also got to rediscover Amores Perros. I didn't like it when I first saw it during Cinemanila 2002 but I guess I expected too much then. Besides, my movie partner that time kept on interrupting me (wink, wink! ;) ). Movie watching is just sacred for me and I just hate it when someone's cellphone's turned "on" or someone rudely takes calls during screentime. Ugh! Next on my list of videos to watch are Igby Goes Down and the animation (or is it?) Waking Life. I hope they're as good as those former two.

Tomorrow, my elementary classmates and I are going to have a get-together at the beach. It's been a long time since I saw them (or went to a beach for that matter) so I hope it'll turn all good. I only kept in touch with a few of them and we don't share the same wavelength already (I mean, you don't really share that much angst and passion in life when you're still in elementary, do you?) but I am sincerely excited to see them again. I guess there's a part of me that's clinging on to those innocent past; when life was still simple and the only thing you cared about's winning the games you play.

This is also the same feeling I felt last 24th during our neighborhood Christmas party. Seeing the genuine happiness in everyone's faces was just an "awwwww" moment. :)

Okay, I don't know what to write already. Besides, I can't concentrate anymore with the noise going on here (some F4 song's loudly played in the background, apart from the rowdy teen customers). So I'll stop now. Happy New Year na lang everyone! To qoute the Eraserheads, rise and shine this New Year and beyond! :)

December 22, 2003

No Worries

I'm in my sleepy hometown down south right now for the holidays. Per tradition, I'm going to spend them with my family. And since our hometown only has one internet cafe, I guess I'll apologize in advance by saying that I may not be able to update my blog as often as before. But it's all cool, though. I may not that have many friends here (I studied high school in another island) but I AM with my family. I only get to see them once or twice a year so staying home for the next two weeks is more than fine. I definitely miss the comforts of home (remember, I left them when I was 12?) so I appreciate all the time that I spend with them.

Actually, I feel weird these past few days because there seems be no worries about living life like I usually do in the metro. Here, I just sleep, eat, wash the dishes, watch TV, listen to my CD collection, read books/mags, eat, and then sleep again. I don't have to worry about getting late for work nor trying to make a living just to be able to eat. Life here's basically stress-free, it’s weird! The only thing that worries me is thinking of the worries that I'm going to worry about once I get back in the city. :) This is new to me. I guess I just have to live with it. Haha.:)

I'm really blessed, I guess. I got this text message sent to me by my former boss during my birthday that's so apt about blessings. He said, "May you enjoy the many blessings we already all have, but are blinded by the illusion of our self-notion of 'smallness'". How so true! I really give it to Sir Ward for giving me all these quotable quotes! :)

Speaking of my birthday, a friend pointed out that I actually celebrated it all around the Philippines. LOL! :) See, early morning I was in the Metro so I was in Luzon. Then I took a flight to Dumaguete (to save money; man, the plane fares to Mindanao cost the same as the plane fares to Hongkong!) and stayed there for 4 hours and Dumaguete is in the Visayas. I arrived in my hometown in Mindanao by afternoon and completed the national leg for my birthday. Haha :) WOW Philippines should award me or something. See how trivial I've become here?! :)

Neways, I don't know when I'll be able to blog again so I'll just end this message by greeting you all A MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR! Be good everyone!

December 19, 2003

Birth Day

It's my birthday and I'll cry if I want to, I'll cry if I want to, I'll cry if I want to...

December 18, 2003

Survivor Rocks


I’m screaming right now. “I can get loud too, you know!” “Oh my God!” “This is crazy!” My favorite Pearl Islands castaway, the sassy Latina Sandra won and became the 7th Sole Survivor!!! I am so happy. This is only the second time that a favorite castaway of mine won Sole Survivor. The first one was nice guy Ethan from Africa. Of course I liked Brian too, from Thailand. But more because of his cold and calculating strategy (which is difficult to do) than his personality. In Marquesas, I liked Kathy, the emotionally unstable real estate agent. In the Amazon, I liked Rob because we were alike in a lot of ways. We were both Broadcast majors. We both daydreamed of being a castaway. We both like Forrest Gump. We are both geeks. (And a lot more!) Kathy and Rob only finished 3rd place unfortunately.

I really really like Sandra because she was so entertaining and funny. Her strategy was UTR (under the radar) that’s why she was not considered a threat but she was so loud and never boring. She had charisma. She spurned a lot of quotable quotes. She had spunk and she was frank. She was no-nonsense and outspoken. She was very human. She definitely had a lot of memorable moments out there. There was the hiding in the bushes thingy (which was really funny). Then there was the acting sick moment so the 3-girl alliance would not be obvious that had me laughing in stitches. And who would forget the bartering she made during the first episode?! Basta, I really really like her.

Because of Sandra (and okay, Rupert, Christa and Jon), Pearl Islands already stands as one of the better seasons. If I rank them all (sans the Pulau Tiga one since that season was a league of its own), I’d rank Pearl Islands the 3rd best. 3rd best only because I think it was boring pre-merge largely because of the Rupert-centric editing and more focus on the bland Morgan Tribe. The idea of letting the outcasts come back and play was also a bad idea since it defeats the purpose of the "outwit, outplay, outlast" theme; although, in fairness, it made the season more exciting. My favorite season is still Marquesas because of the raw emotions involved and topsy-turvy storyline. Second would be The Amazon because all the castaways were interesting (wala kang itatapon!). I like the editing of Africa and Australian Outback but the outcome was predictable. Thailand was the “bleh” season.

To top my happiness for the Sandra win, I also won in the Pinoy Exchange Survivor: Pearl Islands Prediction game. I will finally have a Survivor buff! Man, I’ve been longing for one since (cliché) time immemorial! LOL! :) I will definitely take a picture of me with the buff when it finally arrives. Shallow I know, but it’s the closest thing I can experience to being a Survivor castaway. I really love that show. I know it’s supposed to be reality-based but for me, it’s escapism. It’s like “bahay-bahayan” for grown-ups wherein if you don’t like someone, you boot him or her out of the house. And the sociological and political factors that come into play are really very interesting.

Okay, enough of Survivor: Pearl Islands. Can’t wait for Survivor: All Star! Haha! :)

December 13, 2003


Has my life suddenly become too boring when all of a sudden I can’t find things to blog about? Or have I just been too depressed to find excitement in writing my everyday life experiences no matter how nonsensical they are (just like I always do)? I like to think it’s the latter. I mean, on the surface, a lot of exciting things have surely happened to me in the past week or so. For one, my VCR is back to my fold just in time for the HBO showing of the rad musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch. (The idea may not be exciting to you, but it is to me!) I also got to see two very good movies – Mario O’ Hara’s Babae sa Breakwater (loved it tho I can’t say the same for how Gardo Versoza’s character is written) and Clint Eastwood’s Mystic River (loved it tho I get the feeling the novel’s better). I also got to have a sorta mini-reunion with the Pangako sa ‘Yo Creative team (which almost led to a reunion of sorts to write again for soap). What more, I attended an artsy fartsy birthday party slash poetry reading last night where Yam and I made a fool of ourselves by rapping Andrew Ford Medina while the others were serious about their “rage” poems and songs. He he. :) I mean all these, in my non-depressed state, I would have written in long narcissistic journal entries. But I’m simply not just feeling “it” these days.

Yesterday, I unabashedly bawled out to my former boss again. It was so embarrassing. The first time it happened was when I was still an employee. My turbulent emotions were building up then. There was pressure from work as both soap writer and employee, and there was also the self-pity aspect of having to work 24/7 at the young age of 21 in that a simple reprimand for tardiness caused my tough front to crumble. Yesterday was a different case but more or less the same situation. I don’t wanna disclose everything in detail but my former boss hit a sensitive nerve when she wittingly verbalized all the feelings that I have been hiding from everyone (except my blog readers). It was actually the first time a person re-affirmed what’s really going on within me and for some reason, it just made me cry. I was embarrassed (yes) but it also made me relieved that my tears finally fell. I’m one person who has a jolly/carefree front and it’s difficult to make me cry. What my boss did was a feat and I’m grateful to her for that. Crying is pure catharsis. I love it.

When my boardmate for three years left to transfer to another apartment, it sorta made me reflect again why I’m like this – repressed in expressing happiness and vulnerability. I know it’s petty and childish to blame what you’ve become to what you had experienced when you were younger but I can’t help to think that way. I guess it all goes back to my being aware of the harsh realities of life earlier than everyone when I started living independently (tho financially dependent from my parents) at 12 years old. Living in dormitories and boarding houses hence, I’ve encountered countless cruel people, who toughened my character in the process. I’ve also formed many friendships, which quickly vanished after a sem or so. The abodes are just temporary, see, and whether we admit it or not, physical separation is almost always synonymous to emotional parting as well. I guess this is also the reason why I’m wary to new friendships. It just hurts to hurt.

I’m not bitter, tho. :) I love my life! I know I’m still very blessed! I know, this is just one of the down days. I’m just ranting out. Or maybe, analyzing things. Or maybe this is my way to comfort myself.

Okay, I feel better now. :)

December 04, 2003

April Fools

While almost half of the metro was busy ogling over Vic and Jerry of F4 fame last Saturday, I was in a small Kamias church shooting for April Boy Regino’s latest music video. Yep. From one jologs phenomenon to another, and I wasn’t involved in production this time. I was a crowd extra. I’m serious.

While admittedly I have innate desire to act in front of the camera, that wasn’t the main motivation why I did that (okay, fine!) invincible stint. I did it for some reasons. Foremost, the director Yam is my friend and she needed talents to play extra. More importantly, I really just wanted to experience the guerilla kind of shoot. The “indie” feel so to speak. The song maybe produced by Star Records, but the staff and crew of the music video were all “indie” peeps and April Boy financed the project himself. (Sssh!)

The concept’s actually cute (sans the April Boy part.:)) The music video would be like one big scene in a wedding but would be played backwards starting from the exit of the entourage and ending with the wedding march. April Boy would play different wedding characters (choirboy, photographer, etc.) until he becomes the groom in the end. Creative idea, I say.

Then there’s the prestige part. No! I don’t mean working for April Boy but working for Yam, a very promising filmmaker who has won countless awards including an elusive Brussels (is a Cannes coming soon?!?) for her short film Binyag. Actually, this last reason alone made me do the project even without pay. Besides, I’d only be an extra, right?


I came to the set thinking that I’d play one of the groomsmen. I brought my barong with me but the wardrobe peeps told me that I’d be wearing a tux instead. Being a certified jologs geek, it was actually my first time to wear one and I thought ‘twas cool. I looked so formal, I like it! :) I thought I would be just like that all throughout but when the crew started setting up for the “April Boy as choir singer” scene, Yam asked me to change costume. I asked her why. She told me that I would also play as one of April Boy’s back-up singers. Uh-oh. :) I wanted to run towards the exit but didn’t have the heart to do so. They lacked “extras” and they obviously counted on my presence. Without a choice, I did what they asked me to do. I had to do those standard April Boy moves, which April Boy instantaneously taught us. Man, he was so damn serious, while I am/was so embarrassed! :)

I survived the scene thankfully but no, it didn’t end there! Yam wanted the crowd to sing along to the song and she had a panning shot of us (and since I was at the front, inevitably a close-up of me.) Aaaaaah! I think I just killed my career. :)

Other than the humiliation, the shoot was more than fine. The staff was obviously pressured to shoot all scenes within the day and there was lack of equipment (like radio or wailer for example) which could have made the crowd direction easier. Still, the nervous mood was definitely nothing compared to the tension-filled set of mainstream moviemaking. I also like the fact that Yam had creative control over her material. (No feeling of big bosses bossing around!) It was alrighty!

They say the music video (“Ikaw Lamang Mahal”) will premiere anytime this week and while I still haven’t seen the final cut, just prepare for the unexpected my dear friends! Be nice, okay?! :) I’m just hoping my close-up shots were edited out. Harshly.

December 01, 2003


As of this writing, I still haven't applied for a passport. Nor do I know when I'll be able to apply for one. Beating the December 15 deadline for the Singapore scholarship is already impossibility. I may not also be able to join the out-of-country shoot of my new movie project. All because of an unforeseen mistake.

See, I need to show an authenticated copy of my birth certificate as a requirement for passport application. I thought there would be no hitch. I would go to the National Statistics Office (NSO) to apply for one and a day after would have my authenticated copy. That easy. But as soon as I got hold of the authenticated copy upon claiming it today, I found out the big mistake. I'm registered to a different name. My name is not my name.

Of course, I know about this. And I also know that a few days after my parents registered my original name, they had it changed to my present name. I told the NSO person that my name's already changed and there's a birth certificate bearing my changed name. But the NSO person put it succinctly. My original name is the name under their files and so that's my name! Plain and simple. I would need to apply for a change of name to have the name I'm using now. Are you still with me?! :)

Here lies the problem. The requirements to have my name changed are numerous and complicated. Furthermore, the request should be sent to the local registrar of my birthplace (which is in Mindanao). I immediately called my Tatay to ask for his help but I seriously doubt that the change of name would be swift even if we submit the requirements right away. Not in our bureaucracy.

I will still do everything hoping for the best results but expecting for the worst (as the cliche goes.) It just bewilders me that the name I've been using for 23 years is not really my so-called "official" name. It means that if the national ID system will push through, I'll have a different name and that's just weird. Nevertheless, I'm grateful that my parents changed my name. My original name sucks and it will remain off record! :)

November 27, 2003

Ass Directing

I'm now officially the assistant director of the new movie project. The original assistant director did not sign the contract offered to him. It seems he didn't approve of the talent fee that he'd be getting for the movie. (Gad, I wish I have the power to reject a job! :) ). So last Monday, a day prior to the 3rd shoot day, they were looking for the replacement. I think our producer eyed another person first but our director told her that since that other person would also work as a first-time assistant director anyway, it wouldn't make a difference if they hire me instead. Direk added that it's also better for him because he has known me already from the first 2 shoot days (as the unofficial AD since the original AD didn't really get to work for the project). I know this because Direk told me when he briefed me about the job later on.

Actually, I had doubts whether I'll say yes. After Inang told me about that possible soap writing offer, I resigned myself to the fact that I'll just breeze through this project so I can land a more moneymaking venture after. I was also traumatized by my first (albeit, halted) AD job. (The reasons for which, properly documented here.) In the end, I succumbed to the temptation of a bigger pay plus the fact that I need money for Christmas. LOL! :) The offer also came at a right and manipulative time. I just had a penniless weekend (in the truest sense of the word), which thankfully I survived (thanks to the meal treats of my friends Juvy and Rose.)

I hope I will also survive my new job.

November 20, 2003

Throw Away Your Television

Since I had been overacting here about my broken VCR and TV, I guess it’s just proper that I update you about the matter. Yep, we already have a new TV! Well it’s actually not brand new, more like a second-hand Japanese-imported TV. It arrived last Saturday, two days after our landlord arrived from his European cruise. Evil me, I subtly blackmailed our house helper prior by threatening that I would transfer to another boarding house if they would not replace the TV. LOL! :) Obviously, my acting’s good based on the swift results.

Not everything’s resolved, though. Apparently, the new TV is not cable-ready. Pathetic, I know! I just have to contend myself by watching free TV channels. Good thing, Survivor’s on Studio 23 but being a pop culture fanatic, I know it’s not enough. So I figured the only way for me to watch cable television programs from a non-cable ready TV set is through my VCR.

But the VCR is another issue in itself. Remember Mr. Fix It? Well, “he” wasn’t able to fix it. :) That’s why when my friend Arah offered to have the VCR fixed with her own money so she can borrow it, I readily agreed and even hastily told her she can have the VCR until next year. That time, she needed to record the last episodes of the soap Kaytagal Kang Hinintay where she’s the writer. I actually thought (still think) it’s a good deal. I couldn’t find any decent electronic shop to fix the equipment plus I don’t have the money to spare anyway. Besides, what’s the use of a good VCR without TV?

Simply put, I’m too shy to tell her now that I need the VCR back. She spent much for its repair and it’s just fair that I keep my word to her. I guess I’ll just have to wait. I like to think I can manage one more month or so of a “no cable” and “no VCR” life. As you know, in those days that I actually had no TV at all, I rediscovered my affinity for radio. I also got to finish 2 good novels – Amy Tan’s The Bonesetter’s Daughter (typical Amy Tan but non-typical storytelling) and Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones (simply beautiful, I unabashedly bawled out in the last few chapters).

In its time.

November 19, 2003

Dazed and Confused

You know life’s really unfair when the talent fee of the main actor’s make-up artist is double the amount of the talent fee of the script supervisor. I just found out last Sunday when I got my contract for the new movie project. It’s sad but it’s a fact. It depresses me that I studied for more than 10 years to have a job like this and that fact seems to acknowledge that those years are wasted.

The afternoon of that infamous first school day, I got to meet my former workmate Kate who’s also on her first day of teaching in UP. She just got back from Singapore where she finished her Masters Degree under a scholarship grant. We had lunch together with her Singapore classmate Jane who’s also teaching in Mass Comm and who happens to be my former undergrad teacher. They really bonded well during their Singapore stint and it’s obvious they had the time of their lives there. You know the feeling when you watched a very good movie and you want (really want) others to see that movie also? I guess that’s what Kate and Jane felt that moment. They want me to experience what they experienced. It seems like a bulb lit up their heads when after they reminisced, they looked at me and said “You should apply, Ted.”

I was hesitant at first. I did consider that option way back but now that I’m accepted in the Master’s program in UP, I think that’s more than enough for me. Let’s just say I’m not really one of those who has an American (or in this case, Singapore) dream. I don’t see myself living and working in a foreign land. The third world sucks but the P.I is my home. Of course I’m already counting the chicks here but you know, what if I will be accepted? There’s also the fact that the deadline is on December 15 already and I still have to fulfill the numerous requirements - passport which I still have to apply for, authenticated birth certificate, docu evidence of my work employment, transcript of records, just to mention a few. However, Kate and Jane were just too excited for me and I don’t want to let their hopes down (now you’re aware I have difficulty saying no) so I said that I’ll try my best to prepare everything needed for the application. I said this half-heartedly.

After last Sunday, I changed my mind. I now badly want to be accepted in that scholarship program. In fact, I’m trying my darndest to beat that deadline and hopefully just wait whether I’ll be accepted or not. My mind’s dazed now but I know I want to have more opportunities and in effect more money. It’s really depressing that money’s always the issue but that’s how I feel. I told you nothing’s left in my bank account and I don’t want this to happen again. It scares me. The uncertainty of what’s going to happen next scares me. And yet, I’m fully aware it’s the consequence of being a freelancer.

So in the meantime, I continue to work as measly-paid script continuity (doubling as AD since they’re still in negotiation with our supposed AD). I enjoy the work, yes, but if only the pay’s higher, man! I just console myself to the thought that one of the cast is my crush (whose name I won’t reveal since it’s enough that I’m “whoring” myself to you) and I’m experiencing some wonderful things for the first time (like shooting in a yacht.) Also, (this just came in) I said yes to my former boss Inang when she offered me to write again for soap after I finish with the movie. (I hope this offer will still stay by then). The thing is, I said yes even if I’m not really sure if this is really what I want or if I can survive another round of soap writing for that matter. I don’t know, I’m just grabbing all the opportunities that come my way. I don’t wanna experience again what I’m experiencing these days. You know, being desperate to earn money!

As you can read, I’m confused. Que sera, sera.

November 15, 2003

Some Kinda Funny

Sorry, it's been quite awhile since I last updated my blog. I've been quite hectic tho penniless these days. I had to rush some work for my DVD "raket" or else I'll be a beggar next week. I am not exaggerating. For the first time in three years, I withdrew all the money in my two ATM accounts and nothing's left in them. Nothing! Right now, all I could wish for is another soap writing offer. I'll just eat my pride for money. Hehehe :) But I don't wanna depress you (it's enough that I am).

So what am I going to tell you ba? Uhm, okay I'll just tell you about what happened last Thursday. As you know, I'm going back to school right? Last Thursday was the first day of my lone class for the semester. As always, I woke up late (what's new?) so I had to run (literally) to catch the Ikot jeepney. Good thing I live inside the campus and I study in UP where you can wear a pajama in school for all they care (not that I wore one). I was actually both nervous and excited. Nervous in a way that I'll be studying in a Film institute and I'm aware that the academe can be elitist sometimes. Excited also on the prospect of studying Film, something I'd like to think I'm passionate about. Anyway, to my relief, the class hasn't started yet when I arrived. I forgot the tradition that teachers always come late during first day of school. I looked around and found an empty seat and since I didn't know anybody, I just kept quiet and observed. My classmates surely looked young (17-18 years old is the average age) but I blended well. I donned my best 17 year old impersonation by wearing an AM Blvd shirt, my signature Chucks and my childlike attitude (Hahahaha! :) Feeling!). I'm an observant person so I noticed right away a group of giggling females who all decided they'll wear pink for the day (how juvenile!:). The leader of the clique was telling her friends about how she and her boyfriend couldn't relate with each other because the boyfriend apparently doesn't appreciate Britney Spears. Heh! (I relate with the boyfriend.) The other studes meanwhile have the filmmaker-wannabe 'tude. Geeky and snobbish.

Then Ma'am Gigi Alfonso arrived and we all kept quiet. I should have known my being almost late was a bad foreshadowing when Ma'am Gigi's first question to the class was "Has anyone of you seen My First Romance?" Oh. my. God! :) I tried to be nonchalant about it and was one of the three who raised hands. The others were giving the "Of course not!" facial expression. Ma'am Gigi then asked, "What can you say about the movie?" The other guy who saw it (a Statistics major) said something like it's kilig but it's like a very long commercial, and there were loopholes in the story. (He didn't use the word loophole, of course.) The other girl (member of the Pink clique) was bitchy. She said she really had no plans of watching the movie. She was just dragged by her cousin (yeah right!:) ) and she didn't like it, period. I have no idea why Ma'am Gigi didn't proceed to ask me coz she then told the class, "But it was Rated B so there must be something good with it. You know what Rated B means?" They didn't know. What can you expect? After Ma'am Gigi's explanation, the bitchy girl then added a good thing or two about the movie. I was really trying my darndest not to laugh. Then, Ma'am Gigi asked the whole class to intro ourselves. Man, I feel so old! Almost all of them are in their first year. When my turn came, I just said I'm a returning student. I thought I was free but Ma'am Gigi asked me what it means. So I had no choice but to say I'm a Masters student. (And I swear I heard one of the pink girls saying "Ah. Matanda na pala siya!") I just smiled thinking that if I had not said it, they wouldn't have noticed. My impression worked! :)

I thought that was already the end but Ma'am Gigi then told the class that since Film 100 is about film literacy, she would require us to watch many movies, even the Shoemart (read: mainstream) films. She then asked us to name the last Filipino movie we saw and what we can say about it. What the fuck! :) (Sorry for cursing, kids!) The class in general was bitchy about Pinoy movies. If I had taken this class 7 years earlier, I would have been one of the them but I know better now. One comment plainly disgusted me. A FILM MAJOR said that she has not seen ANY Filipino movies. I was ready to clap when Ma'am Gigi sarcastically asked her "And you call yourself a Film student?", but I controlled myself. Of course, the student didn't hint any sarcasm in Ma'am Gigi's voice.:)

Then my turn came. The class already knowing that I'm a Master's student focused their attention on me. With poise and calmness, I said, "The last Filipino movies I saw were Liberated and My First Romance. With My First Romance, I had no choice coz I co-wrote the movie..." INSERT PSYCHO THEME HERE. Silence. I tried so hard not to laugh but I couldn't. Nervous laughter followed. Ma'am Gigi laughed and said, "See! That's the reason why we should be careful about we say!" After I assured them that everything's okay, I continued with my comments on Liberated ("...inconsistent and uneven although there's an attempt to be artsy fartsy.") The Statistics guy blushingly apologized to me (even guiltily followed me after the class) although I told him that I agree with his comments. The Pink girl did not look at me in the eye for the rest of the class. LOL!:D

Ma'am Gigi proceeded to lecture us that just because most Filipino movies are mainstream fare it doesn't mean that we should not appreciate them. The masses obviously love these movies so there must be something in them that say something about ourselves and our culture. Besides, just because it's a Western film, it doesn't mean it's a good film. For every 10 art movies that they come up with, there are also 100 crap movies that come along. This holds true to any film industry in the world. I agree.

I had fun, by the way.

November 11, 2003

Harsh Attack!

If you're one of the 13 daily readers of my blog, then you must fairly know I had been fully prepared for the harsh reviews of the formula movie I wrote. I spoke too soon. A harsh review hurts. Plain and simple.

I was doing some work yesterday for the DVD release of My First Romance when one of the Creative Researchers of the company interrupted me to give her opinion about the movie. She first told me about the positives (we all do this) then proceeded blurting out the numerous negatives. I was astounded. She asked me if it's okay if she continues and I said yes coz I did was curious. She continued by telling me what the Cinema One reviewer said about the movie. ("I wanted to walk out from the flick!", "Heart is overly sweet!", etcetera.) In fairness, the reviews were all valid. I completely agree with the negative comments. Had I not been a part of the movie, I would have said the same things, BUT it doesn't change the fact that hearing the reviews really hurt especially when they make it appear that we seriously believe that we have an art film. (For the record, we dont!:) ) I'm not putting a defensive stand here (well I guess I am) but if only they KNOW the POLITICAL ECONOMY of mainstream moviemaking, they would have been kinder and more appreciative with our work. (But of course, that's why it's called a review, not a study! :) )

My good friend and cinematographer Neil Daza texted me last week to tell me that he enjoyed our episode. I was ecstatic of course, coz Neil is a god, but nonchalantly told him that it's a "mababaw" movie. "But enjoyable" was his reply and I did not contest anymore. I then told him "good luck on Boobita Rose!". (Boobita Rose is the tentative title of the movie he's doing for Viva, a comedy starring Ruffa Mae Quinto under Joyce Bernal's direction.) He must have thought there was sarcasm in my greeting when he texted back that his colleagues have been heckling at him for accepting the project. He told me that he took the offer because it's a challenge for him to provide new visuals to a relatively lightweight genre. I told Neil that I completely understand.

Methinks that it's actually far more difficult to make a formula/genre movie than a freeform/art film. In the latter, you are free to explore. Free to be creative. Free to do what you want. I mean, where's the difficulty in that? Whereas in doing the former, you have to find something new out of something old. You cannot be extreme. You have to find a middle ground. You have to please the bosses (with emphasis on bosses.) You have to think of the box-office. You have to think of the fans. You have to think of the star's images. All these, while trying to keep your creative sanity. Now tell me if that's easy!

I told my good friend Arah (UP Film graduate/Kay Tagal Kang Hinintay writer) about my text exchange with Neil. Arah told me she's been teased also by her batchmate friends and it's really frustrating on her part. Being a UP grad (who've been taught about what's art and what's not) and former soap opera writer myself, I relate with her (although lucky me, my blockmates are more understanding and appreciative). Arah said that she retorts back by telling them that proud and conceited that they are, she's very sure they couldn't do what she's doing. They'd quit (or get fired, I might add). Hearing that, I was like, "Go Arah!" Sige nga, gawin nyo nga ginagawa namin at tingnan natin kung kaya nyo! :)

Come to think of it, the word "quality" is very subjective. (Semiotics!) Who has the authority to say that your standards of "quality" is better than mine anyway? Moreover, the sadder fact is that our idea of what is "quality" is taken from the Western perspective. I guess this is the main reason why most of us always compare Pinoy art forms to the Western kind and only if these Pinoy works adhere to the Western "formula" of what's "sublime" or "beautiful", that's only when they can be deemed of "high quality". It's sad.

I know I sound snotty and defensive so forgive me. Still, this is my blog. :)

November 10, 2003

Sunday With Friends and The Creek's End

I had an amazing time last Sunday. I got to see my girl friends from college. It has been a while since we had this mini-reunion of sorts, and it's all courtesy of Rosabelle who celebrated her birthday by inviting us for lunch. (Thanks Ros! :))

That Sunday was quite nostalgic for me even if our main topic of conversation was mostly about our present lives. What I mean is the feeling and state of just being there WITH THEM were already enough for me. It brought back wonderful memories (some innocent, some not so) from college days. I could talk zero words that day and would still be happy. That's how I miss the clique!

The nostalgia continued when Ros played the series ender of Dawson's Creek she recorded for me. That show is just so late 90's! It's so college! I even deconstructed the first two seasons for my thesis! :) Dawson's Creek was soapish (yes) but I guess what triggered me to be a Creek fan was because the main characters resonated my college self. I was Dawson in a way that I was an idealist, a filmmaker wannabe and influenced too much by pop culture. I was also Joey because I always played safe and rarely took risks.

Not that I've changed a lot, though coz what really amazed me that afternoon was that even if we have grown 7 years older and wiser (with some, richer), we still haven't changed that much. Still the same 'ol bubbly personalities. Still the same 'ol friends I adore.

November 09, 2003

First Day

I haven't slept in two days. In fact, I still have to sleep as I'm writing this, so expect countless wrong grammar, limited vocabulary, and awkward sentencing more than the usual.

Friday, I was very excited to work again. Saturday would be the first shooting day of my new movie project. Once again, I would play the methodical role of a script supervisor. Having worked as one for three movies already, I thought it would be a piece of cake. I even thought that the job's becoming predictable already. I am already aware which mistakes to make to surely get some verbal abuse by the director as well as how to adapt to the different characters I encounter. (Ugh, I really hate it when I make it sound like moviemaking's a Survivor game! :) )

Surprise, surprise, Friday night, our able PA Grace called to tell me that I'll be doing the assistant director (AD) job instead. WTF! :) "How could that be?," I asked. She told me that since our real AD Ricky Rivero has a recurring role in Berks, he couldn't attend the 1st shooting day. He has to shoot some scenes for airing, she added. That was the bomb! As much as I wanted to protest, I knew I could do nothing about it. Stress, fear and nervousness enveloped me. The last time I felt like this was when I was an AD of the shelved original My First Romance project and I tell you, the feeling's the worst!

Being an AD in an indie movie prod might be fun but believe me, being one for a mainstream movie company is like living in hell. The amount of pressure is just sooo big. You're expected to be the one who keeps the strands connected among all people involved. With the mainstream industry full of power players coming from the "old school", you must also play psychiatrist and know how to stroke their egos for a harmonious working relationship on the set. Add to these of course are the real responsibilities of keeping your film on budget by making sure that the shooting schedule is followed and preprod requirements are met, and being the bridge between your producer and director (and becoming a euphemism expert in the process). I may be talking in jargons and symbolisms (or whatever) here but my point is, an AD job is the worst job in the world and us sadomasochists who want to pursue filmmaking but don't have rich parents to produce our films or send us to film schools have no choice but to aspire and settle for this particular job to become future directors hopefully (with emphasis on hopefully since it might not even become a reality). (What a Guinness for longest sentence! Haha!)

Anticipating for the worst and feeling the pressure to do well as temporary AD, I wasn't able to sleep. You know those instances wherein you try so hard to sleep because you have a big day the following day but no matter what you do, your eyes just won't cooperate? That's what happened to me.

Coming to the set, I felt like a zombie literally lifted by the butterflies in my stomach up to the sky. The sequences to be taken were office scenes and there would be some crowd direction to do. It would have been easier if we have good crowd actors here in the P.I., but man, our crowd actors are not even actors! They're mostly jobless people who're there for the money and not even for the experience (not all tho). The fact that I've also been hearing ugly set stories about one of our actresses didn't help ease my nervousness at all. I went to the location putting on my best game face.

Then the mask fell. The most wonderful feeling about being nervous is when you know that others are also nervous like you. PA Grace who felt she was unprepared (the script just arrived that midnight) was nervous. Our cinematographer was a first timer, he must have also felt nervous. One of our main actresses even if she may be a subtle biatch (from what I heard but yet to see) couldn't conceal her nervousness. The production design team just packed up from taping early morning and was very nervous. And the most wonderful of all, our director actually verbalized to us that he's nervous with the project being his first movie in 4 years. Observing, hearing and seeing them being nervous, I knew instantly I should stop being one.

I gave my all the whole day. I doubled as script continuity and AD on the set. It was physically tiring but my spirits were just up. I was very determined to make it through the day no matter what. There was no encouragement or whatsoever, the drive just came naturally inside me. I wanted to do well. I wanted to prove to myself and to others that I'm a hardworking and efficient biatch. And while we only finished one full sequence (the other two still have remnants), I know I did fine. Heck, the fact that I survived the day is more than fine.

I'm ready to rrrrrrumble!!!!! Just let me sleep first.

November 06, 2003

Old School

I am now officially enrolled. Masters in Media Studies, Major in Film. I will be a student again. The idea has excited me already.

I thought I wasn't going to make it. Ate Fortune of Film Institute had it mixed. When I called last week to inquire about the advising date, she told me to come today. Luckily, I got overexcited I went to Mass Comm last Tuesday and found out that same day was really the advising date. I panicked obviously. I had to go to Star Cinema first and asked Miss Elma (producer) what days will I be free for the movie project. She told me that the sked's not finalized yet so to be safe, I should only take morning classes on a Monday or Thursday. (Our main actor is not a morning person. He wants to shoot his scenes after lunch time only.) I thought it was good.

Imagine my dismay when I learned that all the master's subjects are only available in the afternoon or evening. My spirits were dampened. "I have to study no matter what!" Not giving up, I reviewed all the subjects I have to take for my first year (including the prerequisites since I'm not a Film major in my undergrad). I was euphoric when I found out there's one whose sked is every Thursday morning. The happiness quickly vanished when I discovered at the same time that all the slots for that section have been filled. "I need a miracle!" I needed an adviser.

Man, the line for advising was looong. It took me like 2 and a half hours before I could see Professor (or is it Doctor?) Joel David. I got to befriend a fellow Masters freshie in the process. Name's Vincent and he's cool enough to accompany and talk to me through those hours. I told Vincent about my dilemma. My only hope was for someone to cancel his or her slot in that section, and for Professor/Doctor David to allow me to take one subject only. I must have talked rather loudly for another Masters student overheard me. Wasn't able to catch her name but she assured me that I'll be allowed to take one subject only. She knows because that's what happened to her last semester, she added. A smile formed upon my face.

The smile turned wider when I got near the door. I couldn't resist asking the registration assistant Jamby (that's the name written on his big ID) if slots are still open for the particular subject and section I'm planning to take. Jamby gave the second good news of the day. "Yes" was his curt reply.

I finally got to see Professor/Doctor David and true enough, I was allowed to take one subject only. I was so happy. Never mind if Professor/Doctor David was kinda aloof. Being a film critic, he must have known I wrote a teenybopper. :) But he is god and he allowed me to take one subject so I still heart him. The fact that I might have quoted one of his books in my high school term paper and I was sitting beside him that moment was already happiness. :)

I went to Jamby right away and have myself enlisted. Looking at the list, I felt a litte bit old when I found out that I'm going to be classmates with 17 and 18 year olds. I made a mental note that I should continue dressing young so my future classmates won't notice. Now, I'm self-conscious.

On my way out, I saw the other god Ramon Bautista. I couldn't look at him straight in the eye coz he's friendsters with my friendster Alfred and there's a 1 percent chance that he might have read this entry. Now, I'm overacting.

Having my fees assessed in the main lobby, I couldn't help but noticed some "conyo" kids hanging around or chilling out, whatever their term is. I immediately pictured them as members of the elitist Broad Ass. To my surprise, some faces became familiar upon further observation. They're not Assers, they're Guilders! Members of UP Broadcasters' Guild! The org I co-founded back in college. I've seen their pics in The Whirl's (later members coined this as an alter-name) profile in Friendster. Our org's now a breeding ground for "conyo" kids. LOL! :D But I have no problems with it. I don't discriminate. I mean that's one of the reasons why we formed the org - not to discriminate! I know it's definitely rare for me to be friends with their kind but what matters to me is that they continue doing good with the org. Personally, I hope they will initiate some projects that involves activism rather than the usual social events.

The final stop is the Engineering Main Lobby where I paid my tuition fees. The registration assistant was "mataray" but I didn't care. Coz when he stamped "enrolled" my Form 5, I was already in Cloud 9.

It's really funny how going back to school can be a big adventure to one. Or maybe not. :)

November 03, 2003

Happy Days

Monday. The 27th. Greenbelt 3.

Michiko and I just learned our good friend Emman resigned from work. To console him and get some insider info as well (bad friends), we invited him to watch Under The Tuscan Sun (floppy but very entertaining) in Greenbelt. Since Emman appeared to be quite alright, we surmised that resigning from his tension-filled position may probably be a very good thing. We ate in Kitchen after and "artist" that he is, Emman began taking pictures of us ("Pang Friendster!:) ). In fairness, Kitchen is well-lit so we look good in the pics. There's one shot of Michiko and I which reminds me of the movie In The Mood for Love. We had so much fun taking pictures that even when we were already in the fountain area outside, we still continued taking pics. Emman thought of taking close up shots of us with the series lights hanging from the trees above our faces. Damn the elites, we didn't care if they would think we're picture-happy fools. We got the most pleasant surprise when a half-Español and very rich looking matron approached and told us that she appreciated what we did. She told us that she likes it when people are bringing out the beauty and spirituality in one another. (I swear, I'm not making this up.) She even had her picture taken with the series lights and then introduced Emman to her obviously bashful adopted Jordanian son in Starbucks (Michiko and I were equally shy).

It actually felt good that we touched someone else's life. I was thinking she may be the rich kind who has to focus on her business half her life but just really wants to be involved in arts or something. :)

Tuesday. The 28th. SM Megamall.

I was nervous the whole day. My First Romance would have its premiere. Then I got a text message from Guia. "GOOD NEWS!!! We got a B rating frm Film Ratings Board!!!". I was like, "What the...!" I totally couldn't believe it. It means we're in the same mold as Keka and Kung Ako na Lang Sana. LOL! :) Needless to say, the news got me elated and prepared for whatever is going to happen during the premiere night.

During the early part of the John-Heart episode, the audience was unusually quiet. I got scared. I was like, "Oh no, they didn't get the 'joke'!". But the "kilig" parts soon came and the shrieking followed. With the John Lloyd-Bea episode, their fans never failed to cease the opportunity to scream whenever the two stars appear on screen. I realized, "So yun lang pala. All they want is to be 'kilig'!" :) I was very happy that our target audience appreciated all our hard work.

(Flash forward to a few days later: I was happier that my non-fan friends were aware of the "knowing wink" and laughed at the right parts in the One Heart episode.)

Wednesday. The 29th. Somewhere in UP-Diliman.

My insider friend texted me that My First Romance is doing very good in the box-office. Far better than the launching movie of another famous loveteam. Another good news. I felt very blessed. I can actually call myself a one-hit wonder already.:) There is no irony in this but to God be the glory.

I spent the whole day in my boarding house enjoying doing nothing.

Thursday. The 30th. Star Cinema.

Nervousness again started my day. It's the first staff meeting of my new movie project. I will be embarking on a "Survivor" adventure with different "castaways" once more. I was just silent all throughout the meeting even if the staff and Direk Lauren were very friendly ("UTR Teddy, UTR!") Then a big blow came. Miss Elma told me to stay put for the auditions. It meant having to give up a brainstorm session where I could get extra income. Sucks.

Turned out to be a blessing in disguise for the audition gave me the opportunity to know my fellow "castaways" better and establish an "alliance" with them. Assistant director Ricky Rivero (one of the "Ninja Kids") was also very "chika." I'm not sure yet because the "adventure" still hasn't begun but I think I'm ready. Please pray for me.:)

Friday. The 31st. Malate.

It was my first time in Malate. (I told you already I'm a geek, right?:) ). And on a Halloween night at that.
I stood out from the crowd, I think.:) Everyone was wearing black and donning their best goth outfit. I was wearing my striped-baby blue church shirt, jeans and chucks. I was an alien.

Monjam, Rose, Emman, Yam and I first went to this KTV bar. I got scared at first coz when we entered, all these half-naked girls screamed at us in Japanese. The idea of singing on stage was also intimidating. But after getting a grasp of the microphone, the butterflies in my stomach vanished and I soon had fun singing with my friends. I sang Big Mountain's "Baby, I Love Your Way" in my fake Jamaican accent and Oasis' "Don't Go Back in Anger" with all my heart and soul. Emman jokingly told us that we should sing at every opportunity for the Japanase might already arrive. The joke became a reality. Japanese businessmen did arrive and the girls screamed in all delight. It was time for us to leave.

We next went to the only sex shop in the Philippines. My virgin eyes were shocked. The sex gadgets were crazy. I inquired about the penile enlarger. LOL! :) What shocked me the most was the three young girls in Angel outfits who entered the shop to trick or treat (accompanied by an adult, thankfully). The irony! We didn't miss the opportunity to have our pictures taken with them.

Then we reached Nakpil. Man, I've never seen so many gays in my entire life! Rose and Yam became depressed. We decided that we should go to a hetero-friendly bar. We went to Bath. We were mistaken. It turned out it's the pick-up place for gays. Uh-oh! After some dancing and picture taking, we hastily went out.

Emman left to see his friend Raymond. The four of us felt that Malate isn't really fun. Methinks if you're the sex-crazed type it might be fun since I think it's easy to hook up with a stranger there. But if you're not a loser and you actually have friends and you actually are not shallow enough to think of drinking and dancing irresponsibly as, like, your major recreation, then I suggest you just go to a place where you and your friends can hear each other and talk. I know I'm so geeky.

In the end, we just went to The Common Ground, talked and talked, danced a bit, then went to Starbucks T. Morato and analyzed what just happened. Come to think of it, what we did in Common Ground (where we had, at least, fun), we can do elsewhere. :)

Saturday. The 1st. Kakarong Street/Punchline

I met Janette (one of my best buds in high school). We were supposed to have a mini-reunion with our high school friends based in Manila but it seems they're going places (literally) so I told her we'll just hang out in her place instead. We reminisced high school by looking at our photo albums. Levy and Cha (her flatmates), and Lani (their college classmate) were also there. They cooked dinner for me (sweet!) and we talked and talked. Alas, we ran out of topic and since the night was still young, I suggested we go to QC and barhop or something. Just as we were leaving, another high school friend Randy arrived (straight from the airport, from Sydney) to say hi. He apologized he couldn't come with us but it's okay since he gave me a keychain as "pasalubong." Hehe :)

We went to Punchline where we spent the rest of the evening laughing our stomachs out.

Sunday. The 2nd. Something Fishy, Libis.

I woke up noon time already and wondered why I still hadn't gotten a message from my former blockmates. We planned to meet yesterday for some sorta mini-reunion. I later found out that Miaka and Sheila were sick and Rose had an unexpected engagement. So I texted Gen that the dinner date's cancelled. While I really loooove to see my blockmates again, I took the cancellation easily for it means I'll save up money. Let's just say that the gimmicks the previous nights emptied my wallet and fact numero uno is, I haven't been earning for 3 weeks (read: jobless).

Seven in the evening and I got a text from Gen that she's already in Something Fishy. She didn't receive my text message. Ugh! :) Guilty, I hailed a cab right away and went there. Candice, who was nearby, went also. Good thing I went. Eastwood on a Sunday evening was very relaxing. Plus I was with the company of two girl friends who were just so eager to talk. What more, Gen paid the bill so I was a happy guy!:) We promised to see each other again (SOON) with all our other blockmates.

Carpe Diem!

So anyway, while writing this entry, I am actually teary-eyed because I realized how blessed I am. God gave me a happy week! I haven't felt like this in such a long time. I lived life to the fullest, I seized every moment and every opportunity and for a Joey Potter like me, this is for the books. I was aware that my financial resources are depleting but I was like "GO! Live the life!", and it felt good!

But I'm back in the Joey Potter mode now and I'm scared because they say that after the "up" days will be the "down" days. I hope the "down" days will not be that bad.

October 31, 2003

Shameless Plugging

Allow me again to shamelessly plug My First Romance still showing in theaters nationwide. It's a long weekend so I hope you find time to catch it. Last I heard, we're doing very good so thank you to those who watched already as well.

The premiere night last Tuesday was a blast, by the way. There was a cast party in Cibo after and I got to mingle with the "artistas" again. I am such a fanatic! :) I was surprised John and Heart still remember me from the original (shelved) My First Romance project. It was also good making "chika" with Lloydie and Bea again. But the highlight of the evening for me? Having my picture taken with Tita Glow! LOL! :D Ang saya saya noh?!

October 30, 2003

Radio Ga-Ga

It's been more than two weeks already since I started living a television-free life. I tell you, it sucks! If before, I always look forward to bum days because I would get to see my favorite TV shows, now I dread staying in my boarding house for even just an hour. I'm so pathetic. I miss Rory and Lorelai! I miss Mommy Elvie in Misadventures! Heck, I even missed the series finale of Dawson's Creek! (Although thanks to Miaka's generousity, she recorded the show for me.)

Good thing (or consolation enough), my roomie left his radio in our room. Back in college, I was the radio guy. Our dorm TV's on until 1am only and since there were like hundreds of us sharing one boob tube, I turned myself to the radio. Man, those were the days! My faves then were NU 107 and RJ Radio. And I was the OC listener. I'd stay up until 12midnight just to hear the Midnight Countdown and not only that, I had a notebook wherein I listed down the top 12 hits per week! :) I still remember purist rocks fans getting angry when Hanson's "Mmm Bop" made it to the charts, Fuel's "Shimmer" staying put in the countdown for more than one year, and Weezer's chart-topper "Pink Triangle" being my official rock anthem in sophomore college. Being a happy lister, I followed both charts of NU's and Rick Dees (so I also get updated with American Pop.) My affinity for radio ended when I graduated from college and began working. And since I worked for the visual medium, I started focusing more on TV and the cinema.

Things have surely changed while listening again to radio these days. There's already a Jam 83.9 station that plays some good acoustic pop. KC FM which used to be "We Are Family" KC radio is now gone. Chico and Delamar are back in Monster Radio. Radio Romance is already DWRR "For Life" and together with "Kailangan pa bang I-memorize yan" are the "jologs" radio stations to reckon with. They already upstaged Campus Radio "Forever!" which back in college overused the Mission Impossible theme as its station jingle. :) I'm already not familiar with the deejays but I never was anyway. It's because I don't like it when deejay's talk more about themselves and their opinions about floppy issues rather than the music. As if the fake American twangs aren't irritating enough!

I am very glad though that NU 107 still rocks! They still have deejays with fake British twangs but at least their Remote Control Weekend remains playing good music. It's definitely nostalgic to hear Creeper Lagoon's "Dear Deadly", Blur's "Beetlebum" (from which I got my pseudonym), and Better than Ezra's "At The Stars". Listening to the Midnight Countdown last Saturday, I realized how I missed some good music because of not listening to the radio. Among the hits that weekend, I like Me 1st and The Gimme Gimme's version of "The End of the Road" (a riot!). Itchyworms topped the charts with "Buwan". (And the deejay told the listeners that they're on Friendster! Oh really! "Just type Itchyworms as the first name and Band as the surname.") Itchyworms is a decent band but nothing really beats the Pinoy alt-pop bands of the mid-90's. Itchyworms just sounds so bohemian burgoise, although to their credit they make their own music.

The good effect is that listening again to good music made me want to mixed tapes (or CDs now) again. I used to do this in college, being poor and not being able to afford an orig CD or even, tape. In fact I shared my mixed tapes with my younger sis and I'm so glad that it made her want to become an alt-chick rather than a pop bimbo considering she's part of the Spice Girls and Britney era. Don't get me wrong though, I love the Spice Girls but you must admit you don't want your younger sisters to act like them. So anyways, I checked my High Fidelity yearend list of Top 10 songs since 1999 and asked my good friend Michiko to burn the music for me. Looking at my list, I was surprised how mainstream I've become after I graduated. I was embarrased to see Britney Spears, A1 and N'Sync on my list along with Collective Soul and Fatboy Slim. :) But only temporarily because I did like those songs and one thing I don't wanna become is to be the snobbish music listener. So what if I like the Dido-composed "I'm Not A Girl Not Yet A Woman?"?!? :) Liking those pop songs is actually symbolic and memorable for me since those were also the years when I began working for mainstream media; working for which ironically opened up my mind and freed myself from elitism. Who has the authority to say what's cool and uncool to listen to anyway? When I was younger, I listened to a lot of "jologs" songs and I wasn't ashamed to sing along with them. The "cool" concept is just uncool. Music should be looked more as part of our life stories and society's history.

As Madonna croans, "Music makes the bourgoise and the rebel." :)

October 29, 2003

We got a B!

Oh my God! This is really insane! This is crazy! My First Romance got a B rating from the Film Ratings Board. This means our film got their seal of approval and is subject to 65% tax rebate. I totally did not expect this. Wow. WOW! :) I am so happy! I am totally ecstatic! :) And I'm sorry for being unabashedly proud but I guess, I did write a "quality" flick. :)

My First Romance opens nationwide today. Please watch! :)

October 28, 2003

Of Buzz and Hype

Watching Freaky Friday (an example of a formula movie that really works!) last weekend, I got to see the trailer of Metro Manila Filmfest entry Crying Ladies. I was completely in awe. It is one of the better trailers local cinema has produced. It is short in length but it leaves you wanting for more (very different from the spoon-feeding of info done by other local movie trailers.) The thing that got me really excited was seeing Sharon Cuneta in an offbeat role. The Megastar plays a hustler in this indie movie! Yes! What the heck just happened?!? A casting coup indeed, and a good move on Sharon's part.:) It's about time she does some experimentation instead of doing the usual tested parts. I mean, nobody contests her marketing clout any longer so she shouldn't be fearful in doing a move like this. Amazing Hilda Koronel also stands out in the trailer. Don't let the title fool you into thinking this is a heavy drama, though. The movie is a dark comedy directed by upstart Mark Meilly.

That and Jeffrey Jeturian's Bridal Shower are the two movies I'm excited to see in the December filmfest. Shani (who works in Bridal Shower as stylist) told me that the script is really good and very funny. Having seen all his past movies, I have high hopes Bridal Shower will be another Jeturian classic. Aside from Mike de Leon and Mario O' Hara, Direk Jeffrey is a living Filipino film director whose body of work (Sana Pag-ibig Na, Pila Balde, Tuhog) is consistently excellent.

So there, Crying Ladies and Bridal Shower are my two "IT" Pinoy movies to see, more than the overhyped Mano Po 2 and Filipinas (the premise of which is sooo The Corrections.)

I just hope Crying Ladies and Bridal Shower live up to my own hype.

October 26, 2003

I Predict!

With only 10 castaways left and the impending return of the 6 bootees, I still predict any among

to be the Sole Survivor of Survivor: Pearl Islands! To heck with the spoilers! I'm basing this along editing lines.

See, we shall. :)

October 24, 2003

So I Wrote a Teenybopper

The first movie I wrote (co-wrote actually) that has my name actually credited on it (I've done some ghost writing in the past as part of my previous job) will finally be shown next week. And I'm bracing my heart and ego out for all the reactions (harsh or otherwise) that I will be getting.

As I told you, I didn't really think much when I accepted the offer to write the movie. I know it's a big deal to others but the thing is, I don't really consider myself a writer (yeah, I know, what an ingrate! :D ). All I thought of that time was how to earn money and survive that's why I immediately said yes not remembering the ghosts of past from my Pangako Sa 'Yo writing days. True enough, writing the script brought some major hassle (which I have no intentions of disclosing), but I know I will also be lying to myself if I'll tell you that I didn't have fun writing the movie.

It was a blast! My partner Tessa is a brilliant and fun writer. I like to believe we complemented each other and she brought out the best in me. What I like about us is that we were AWARE we were writing a teenybopper, so instead of being artsy-fartsy or in denial about it, we embraced the formula, pushed it to its maximum and looked for novel ways to tell the story (pop culture references, blatantly aware characters, no holds-barred storytelling, a knowing wink to the audience, almost parody situations, the works!). Once you let go of your inhibitions and not think about the perception of others, that's when the fun of writing starts. I don't wanna be the writer who complains that mainstream media oppressed my creativity because I do am satisfied with our finished draft and fully know that I'm not writing a film for Cannes. :D

A scriptwriter friend once told me that when you write a script, pour your heart and soul in the first draft coz after that draft, the script will never be yours again. Inputs from the director, the stars handler, the creative department, the producers and who's who will be poured in. Moreover, once you submit the final draft, you will leave everything to the hands of the production people - the director's direction, the actor's acting, the postproduction process. Mainstream moviemaking is a team effort and that's something writers should accept, my friend added. True enough, my friend's right.

That is why even if I still haven't seen the final cut, I'm ready to expect the unexpected (but hoping that even a semblance of our vision is retained.) Because what's important to me is that I know Tessa and I did our best to freshen up the teenage romance genre and write the best that we could out of the tried and tested formula; hoping of course, that everyone will appreciate our work.

Yes, I wrote a teenybopper movie and critics and detractors be damned, I am DARN PROUD OF IT! :D

*My First Romance One Love episode starring John Prats and Heart Evangelista is written by yours truly and Theresa de Guzman. The movie opens in theaters October 29 with a premiere night on the 28th in SM Megamall. Help save my non-existent career. Go watch the movie!

October 21, 2003

Thank God it's Friendster

I am embarrassed with my addiction to Friendster. I surf countless hours just to see who I'm connected with. I secretly find myself delighted whenever I receive another ego-blowing testimonial. I readily reply to the countless forwarded "slumbook" emails now put in bulletin board form. Heck, I even want to achieve the most number of Friendsters in the whole wide web! (Do I hear a P for pathetic?!? :D )

Wanting to be a part of anything Pop Culture, my addiction began when I read a news article on Yahoo! telling me that Friendster is the most popular website. I got so curious as to why that I found myself signing up and inviting my friends. It was something that I didn't find anything new at first (I swear, I received a snail mail version of this Six Degrees of Separation thingy back in high school), but when my personal network increased in numbers, I soon realized the joys of being a Friendster. Nothing beats the feeling of finding a friend you lost contact with!


Anna Larrucea is already my Friendster! Being a sucker for "artistas", this is a dream come true for me. Hehehe :D Me, Mich, and Shani actually urged everyone on the set of My First Romance to be a part of the Friendster phenomenon. Actually, Mich (being a famous designer) has many "artista" Friendsters but I vowed to myself that I will only add an "artista" Friendster (or any Friendster actually) if I know them personally. That's why when I found out Anna accepted my invite, I was really shamelessly happy!


The current face picture on my Friendster profile is causing some kinda commotion. Hehe :D (It's posted in the upper right corner of this Blog to those who don't have access to my Friendster profile). The picture is just sooo funny, I guess. It reminds everyone of an infamous photo shoot by the celebrity son of a certain star for all seasons (not obvious, eh?! ;) ). I didn't plan on posing like that, though. It was all Yam's fault. I took some pictures of her for her Friendster profile but being a filmmaker that she is, she wanted me to pose first for her so she could see her angle. So there!

Two of the funny reactions I got from that picture came from my former crush who plainly said "Ewan ko sa pic mo ha" and somebody who happened to pass by my profile (her name is Jezel) who told me that my pic would only get the inside flap because Lucky's already centerfold. Hehe :D And I'm blushing from humiliation.

Uber Biatch!

I just got back from watching The Magdalene Sisters in G4. I watched it rather alone because my artsy-fartsy friends have seen it already and all I can say is WOW, what a beautiful and powerful film! Okay, okay, it's a bit (no, not a bit) biased against the Catholic religion but the acting, the direction, cinematography, screenplay - everything is just sublime, you kinda forgive the fact that it may be a propaganda movie. I was actually moved by the film and thanked heavens afterwards that I wasn't born in "pre-historic" era. Yes, the movie's intentions may be questionable but we can't also argue that the story's so real. I must know. I was a former altar boy and I'd seen some devouts being so narrow-minded and unjustly strict with regard some acts of superstition disguised as tradition. Before I get stoned here, I want to clarify that I'm still a practicing Catholic and this is no generalization.

See the movie for yourself to know what I mean. Good movies are rare nowadays.

October 20, 2003

Walking Contradiction

I'm thinking of something to write but I'm just too tired to think of something. So without wasting this Blogger-sponsored space, I will just post the lyrics of Alanis Morisette's "Hand in My Pocket." I'm kinda rediscovering the song these days. Aside from the fact that it reminds me of the good 'ol days in Kalayaan (freshie dorm in UP-Diliman and subject of the Eraserheads' classic "Minsan"), I also feel that the song's lyrics aptly describes my state of mind and heart at present.

Here goes...


I'm broke but I'm happy
I'm poor but I'm kind
I'm short but I'm healthy, yeah

I'm high but I'm grounded
I'm sane but I'm overwhelmed
I'm lost but I'm hopeful baby

What it all comes down to
Is that everything's gonna be fine fine fine

I've got one hand in my pocket
And the other one is giving a high five

I feel drunk but I'm sober
I'm young and I'm underpaid
I'm tired but I'm working, yeah
I care but I'm restless
I'm here but I'm really gone
I'm wrong and I'm sorry baby

What it all comes down to
Is that everything's gonna be quite alright
I've got one hand in my pocket
And the other one is flicking a cigarette

What it all comes down to
Is that I haven't got it all figured out just yet

I've got one hand in my pocket
And the other one is giving the peace sign

I'm free but I'm focused
I'm green but I'm wise
I'm hard but I'm friendly baby
I'm sad but I'm laughing
I'm brave but I'm chicken shit

I'm sick but I'm pretty baby

What it all boils down to
Is that no one's really got it figured out just yet
I've got one hand in my pocket
And the other one is playing the piano

What it all comes down to my friends
Is that everything's just fine fine fine

I've got one hand in my pocket
And the other one is hailing a taxi cab...

October 17, 2003

It's A Wrap

Have you seen that Making the Video teaser on MTV wherein Britney (or was it Shakira?) screamed the words "IT'S A WRAAAAAP!!!" ?!? :-) I've seen it too many times and always, I get irritated with the way Britney (or Shakira) screams them. But hearing those words live and for real last Wednesday, during our last day of shoot, it actually felt bittersweet. I mean, I felt happy and relieved because the pressure from work is already over but I also felt sad because I know I'm going to miss the people I've worked and became friends with from shoot. Forgive me for another Survivor parallelism but again, I felt like I just survived 39 days on the island and even if the experience brought me many ups and downs, and I didn't really like all the people involved; fact is, I'm still going to miss the experience.

So instead of focusing on the negative, I am going to talk about the positive for a change. Heh! :) These are the things that made My First Romance shoot a fine and memorable one.

- The cast. They are all easy to work with. No primadonnas this time. All professionals. I particularly bonded with Bea, Anna and Allyson. They seem mature for their age. Or am I the one childish for my age? :)

- Mico and John Lloyd doing the gay talk. This is just so funny. Imagine hunky hunks Mico and John talking in gay lingo?!? :)

- Shani and Mich, the stylist and the designer respectively. In real life setting, there is no way I would be friends with them (they're way too cool and I'm way too jologs!), but I really bonded with them (especially Shani) during the shoot. Mich is also the epitome of FUN. I will definitely miss my angst moments with Shani.

- Direk Don. He may be a bit OC but I love him! He doesn't curse like the others. Magaan katrabaho.

- The Batangas shoot. We hardly slept during the shoot but I didn't even notice it. I will particularly remember Tita Lisa being drunk and singing Beatles songs (riot!), Dominic showing his butt to the fans (I'm serious!: ) ) and me and Shani carelessly leaving our room key inside. The ending: we had to knock on Direk's room and sleep with him.

- The terms "kaon, Edna, kaon", simplicity (meaning "pa-simple") and "kapitbahay" (meaning "epal") creatively coined by our AD Omar and make-up artist Edna. And of course "you really rocks!!!" :D

- I may have annoyed them but I secretly find satisfaction every time I refer to John Lloyd as Koolits, Bea as Kristine Hermosa, Mico as Bernard Palanca and Anna as Threena (her character in Batang X). Hehehe :D

- Atenean soccer "coach" Alvin and his obvious star-struck mode towards Bea. Also, all the gays on the set were flirting with him and he didn't even notice it. LOL! :D

- Bea and John Lloyd's fans when they're so "galante" and bring food for the staff every time they visit. I love them! :D

- Speaking in "sh" using the colegiala accent. "Kashe, pumunta pa shang shtarbucksh sheh!" "Enzsho! Enzsho!" It never fails to crack me up whenever I hear Omar, Anna or John Lloyd talk like this.

Anyways, we celebrated the last day of shoot via a cast party in Pork Barrel, Timog. It's a beerhouse in the truest sense of the word. Haha! :) I had so much fun singing karaoke and dancing with Mich and Bob, our art director. We sang "jologs" songs like Boom Shak A Lak (winner!) and Barbie Girl. :D

After which, Direk Don (with Direk Manong) treated us to a gay bar. Mich correctly captured the experience in her live journal. A fun read, I swear! :)

Meanwhile, below are my pictures with the three stars of My First Romance - Bea, Allyson and Mich! :D Oo na, showbiz na ako! :D

October 13, 2003

The Space Between

I had some serious bout of depression today. I just realized we only have two shooting days left and after that, it's again a time of uncertainty for me. What will I do next? In true After Image fashion, what will life offer me? Not that I'm oblivious to this as a major consequence of leaving a stable job but obviously, I'm still not ready. My freelancer friends told me that this will always happen. But you can't fault me. This is really new and unusual for someone who's taught the normalcy of getting a secure and high-paying work, instead of just doing what you love. Of course, this happened already.

Last summer, work is more than fine. I got my first Assistant Director job for the supposed launching movie of the John-Heart loveteam. But a major hitch (which I couldn't disclose) came about and the movie got shelved. For the first time since the year 2000, I found myself jobless. For the first time, the effect of being a freelancer hit big on me. I didn't know what to do. Fearing for whatever (my future or whatever), I immediately accepted the next job offered to me - to write a teenybopper for the new John-Heart project. I was not thinking.

Writing again brought back some unwanted emotions from my soap writing days. (I'm a reluctant scriptwriter, up to now). By the time we submitted the 6th draft (to think the movie's a light one), it dawned on me that I really need a break. And what better place to have a break than home?! :-) The break was a breather (got re-acquainted with my childhood and high school buddies and attended a beautiful wedding) but I also know that a break should remain a break. I didn't know what to do though, so aside from deciding to go back to school, I chose to freakin' wait (what a loser!) Not long after, I got a text from Ms. Elma (our wonderful supervising producer) asking me to go back to Manila for a script continuity job. (The person above is really good and I am teary eyed.)

And so, here I am again, partially clueless as to what will happen next. I mean, I know I'm going to study my Masters next sem (as to where I will get my tuition money, I don't know). I also know that Ms. Elma already offered me (kinda, coz everything's not sure in showbiz until the first shoot day) another project. Still, I also know that once's the next project's over, there will always be this space between. When will this space be filled? Will there always be cliffhanger episodes? How will this end?

You know it's really funny when I read the blogs of people my age and always, their main topics are about love and relationship problems. How I wish mine would be more like those and not the dilemma of surviving this third world life. I say how blessed they are, they only have to focus on their love and "me" lives.

A part of me hopes I'm making a mountain out of a molehill.

October 12, 2003

Coffee and TV

Fate is really against me.

I got home from a 24-hour shoot six this morning and still overdosed with caffeine and 3 caplets of pain reliever. I was "bangag" literally. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise for I felt nothing when I found out our TV's broken. Yes! Last week, the VCR ... today, the boob tube. Am I lucky or what? Is this what you call a charmed life? Am I ridiculously redundant if I continue reiterating that I don't have moolah to buy a new set?

I need sponsorship. I like to think I'm serious.

October 07, 2003

Everything and everything will be fine

Our shoot got packed up again today. I've been "free" (meaning, without work) since Sunday. If this was 2001, I would have been the happiest guy alive. But the realities of 2003 are just harsh. Fact is, I don't have enough money for my social life. I'm a production worker now. Pay here is small, unlike what I used to get when I was both a regular employee and soap opera writer.

I know I chose this. Back in 2001, money was never a problem. Ego and "me" time were. I was working 24/7. On weekdays, I had my regular 10 to "sawa" job. On weekends, I had soap. Until it came to a point wherein I got drained in all aspects (psychologically, mentally, physically, and all the other 'llys). I became very depressed. I thought "I'm only 21 and I have no life already." I may have all the money in the world but I don't have time for myself, my friends and my family. So I made the major decision of just pursuing something that I love. I resigned from both jobs (and declined subsequent soap writing offers) and entered the world of movie production. From that moment on, I decided I would only do something that I like.

But idealism is just idealism. Almost two years have passed and I'm still a struggling film worker. Believe me, I enjoy movie production and it's definitely less stressful (just more physical) than my previous jobs but I find it less challenging when it comes to creativity. I think that when you work in movie production and you're not the director, cinematographer or part of the production design team (costume, make-up, art direction), then you don't have a creative job. Feel free to argue but this is just my belief.

My other complaint is that movie production workers are underpaid. (This is an understatement.) I mean, come on, our jobs are unstable, we're paying VAT, it's just fair that we should be getting a big sum of money.

Moreso, I'm missing my friends from my old jobs. My co-workers in movie production are cool people but I am just not able to establish close relationships with them. It seems that there's always a front or we just don't connect (except for a few.) As I always say, working in a movie production is like playing a game of Survivor. You meet different kinds of people with different motives. It's just up to you to know your strategy in order to survive the biz. That's why, trivial as I may sound, Survivor did help me survive the cruel world of showbiz.

Which brings me back to the morale of the story - you can't have the best of both worlds.

October 06, 2003

Confessions of a Couch Patatas

I feel incomplete.

Last week, after a straight 5-day shoot for the movie My First Romance, I was excited to go home to watch the TV shows I recorded on my VCR. Being a couch "patatas", I regularly record my favorite shows and that week was more exceptional since Gosford Park and the Joey Gosengfiao classic Temptation Island were shown on cable. Imagine my dismay when I found out my VCR got broken. I immediately panicked. Not only because I would be missing the last two episodes of Dawson's Creek but also because I know VHS players are already obsolete. (Read: they're already priceless for us, pop culture fans in Third World countries who don't have Tivo yet.) Besides, even if I search Buy & Sell, I know I don't have the money to buy another used one.

So I texted all my friends around my area and asked if they know of an electronic store that fixes VCRs. My former roommate Marlon recommended Mr. Fix It along Katipunan. The store looked "professional" enough so I thought they would provide a fast and efficient service. Well guess what, my VCR has been with them for a week already (they told me it will be done in 2 days) and they still haven't fixed it! What more, if I hadn't texted them last weekend, they wouldn't have updated me about its status. And still they have the nerve to ask for more money since they also just (the key word here is "just") found out that some gear needs to be replaced! I am really angry. These are the days that I wish I pursued law.

Now I'm usually the patient kind and it's definitely not in my character to ruin the reputation of someone's business but you know this is too much! You must understand that this comes from someone whose major vice is watching television. If you're a chain smoker, think about how you felt when the government started imposing a smoking ban in public places. My feeling's much worse.

I'm calling them again later to find out how much they're going to charge me for that "gear". If the amount's incredible, I guess I have no other choice but grab the latest Buy and Sell.

October 03, 2003

Win Some, Lose Some

- Read the Master Disaster entry I wrote last Wednesday? I GOT IN! :D
- Got my predictions right for the Survivor: Pearl Islands game in Pinoy Exchange! It was a good thing for me not to follow the spoilers and just read along the editing lines.

Big L!
- The portion of the concept fee I told you about yesterday is still on hold.
- My weekly pay for work got into my account belatedly.

This means I'm going to have a penniless weekend. Sucks! I know we're taught that the cliche "money makes the world go round" is untrue but come on, we're just fooling ourselves. Which reminds me, since I will be a self-supporting part-time student next semester, will I still pay for my taxes? Somebody answer me.

October 02, 2003

Best Friends With Benefits

Our shoot got packed up today so I decided to text my jog partner Rose C. to catch a screening of Kung Ako na Lang Sana, the Sharon-Aga movie. Being former employees of Star Cinema (she still writes for them, for the soap Kay Tagal Kang Hinintay), we easily got passes.

Okay... actually... the reason why we easily got passes was because we were part of the team that brainstormed the movie's concept (you'll see our names in the closing billboard). :) I'll let you in a secret, though. Truth is, had I not been reminded by Guia (a Creative Assistant of the company), I would not have remembered brainstorming for the Sharon-Aga movie. It's embarrassing, I know! :) It's just that the brainstorm happened decades ago (December 2002, if i'm not being OA) and we, like, brainstormed a lot (a lot!) for the two stars that time. The fact that it's the generic (ok, kinda) "best friends in love" concept which was approved didn't help heal my amnesia at all.

But I guess it's a cool thing. To be invited by Star Cinema to brainstorm for them, and me saying something like "...maybe, to help the audience adjust to the uncomfy Sharon-Aga team-up, we'll just cast them as best friends unknowingly in love with each other and, you know, just have them profess their love in the ending already ala the first season of Dawson's Creek..." would result in getting a portion of the concept fee months later and having my name on the movie's closing credits is really really COOL! I like it! :) The phrase "life's unexpected surprises" comes into play.

The movie's a good one, by the way. Direk Joey wrote a very rich and realistic screenplay. The actors also acted well. I mean, for my cynic friend Rose C. to cry in a movie, it must be really good.

As for me, here's to hoping Guia will invite me again to another brainstorm session.

October 01, 2003

We Are All Made of Stars

A pause for some shameless plugging for the movie My First Romance (to tentatively open on October 29). The movie stars Bea Alonzo and John Lloyd Cruz. Needless to say, I work in the movie. :)

Master Disaster

I think I just blew up my application for a Masters Degree in Media Studies (Film). I totally performed horrendously in the essay writing, more so during the interview process.

The essay writing started at 9am sharp. I entered the room still "wasted" since we packed up from shooting past midnight already. It didn't help that I'm not really what you call a morning person. Looking at my co-applicants, I began feeling left-out. From their appearance alone, you know these people are of the "artistic" kind. I know Melanie Marquez said not to judge a person because he is not a book but I couldn't help thinking that I look so freakin' normal!!! I don't look like a filmmaker wannabe!!! It didn't help that I saw Ramon Bautista among the applicants. Man, he is the god of UNTV! Am I worthy to be sitting beside him? And do I not sound shallow already?

Then the essay writing questions came out. "What research topic are you interested in?" "How do you plan to attain the answers to your query?" "Elaborate on your study plan." (Yadda yadda yadda!) Whoa! I kept thinking, isn't it enough that I just wanted to study again? Do I really have to answer all those stuff, like, that very moment?

I may sound like a whiner here and yes I'm one, but what if I'm still in the process of finding the answers myself? What if, maybe, that's the reason why I want to take up a masters degree? To know what I really like, er, want!

In the end, I chose to answer the political economy of local mainstream moviemaking today and its effects on the aesthetics of the produced film as a potential research topic. I like to believe the topic's "astig" but I am also fully aware that I wasn't able to elaborate on it well. This came obvious during the interview process when panelist Joel David (another god!) kept on correcting my stammering thoughts.

The results will be known on Friday at the earliest. Let's see if it will turn out to be a freaky one.

September 29, 2003

Death is the Beginning

I am now officially a part of the blog world. While I'm a classic narcissist, I did have doubts about posting a live online journal. I mean, I do want to share my innermost thoughts to everyone but what if I will pull a Christa? (Watch Survivor: Pearl Islands to know what I mean.) That is just so scary for a person who still has delusions that he's going to be famous in the future.

And while I'm a certified geek, I am no techie geek. I have no idea how to edit or format my posts. God, I don't like it when I sound like this! Can I be more OC? With frustrating reasons, though. I was supposed to post my feelings about my grandfather's death. He just died this afternoon. I loved him dearly so I'm supposed to write depressing thoughts. Well, no thanks to my complete ignorance of HTML stuff, those bursting emotions all went pfft after spending more than an hour trying to fathom how to be a blogger. Yup, I feel nothing already.

I guess this is what is called "blogging" around. I welcome myself.