Recommended Reading:

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Before leaving for the States, I was able to drop by the Balik sa Bayan Box: Travels of Rizal. It was an outdoor installation done by Team Manila at the Ayala Museum. 
The entire thing is eye-catching- a funky display of some of Rizal's best known itineraries and famous lines. It made me wonder about what our national hero would have carried around in his suitcase as he moved around the world. What are those Filipino-made things he simply could not do without?  What were the articles of clothing that he couldn't find anywhere else?Did he bring his favorite tsokalate eh from home even though he had an array of chocolates available to him in Europe?

Pondering those things, I was inspired to document a reverse balikbayan box. What are the things our many OFWs ask for from people coming to visit them? Though, there are bound to be differences- there are certain staples everyone comes to expect. Upon entering the US,  my immigration officer asked me if I was bringing food into the United States, I said, "just pastries". He quickly replied, "Polvoron?".
Yes, there was definitely polovoron in there. There was also a lot of other things. Like Philippine folk tale books, back issues of Yes magazine, pork rinds more popularly know as chicharon (with laman), house slippers, Master facial cleanser, baking molds, more polvoron, Marty's vegetarian chicharon, Team Manila and Electromagnetic Tentacle shirts, Cinemalaya DVDs, Chef Tony's popcorn, and last but not least a new barong for my brother. Not shown here but definitely always requested: Eng Bee Tin's hopia and Megamelt ensaymada.  
What's in your reverse balikabayan box?

Monday, July 25, 2011

(Subtitle: Troubled Scenes from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1)

I usually travel abroad on Philippine Airlines so rarely do I get a glimpse of NAIA Terminal 1. On this trip though, I got a promo ticket via EVA Air. I traveled alone and I had a lot of time to look around. I just wanted to take a photo of the bathroom to see if there were positive results from the online clamor to get it renovated. But photographing that led me to inspect the stained chairs which brought my focus to the dirty carpets. After that, I couldn't stop, everywhere I looked there was soot, grime, and third-world solutions. Much has been said about the need to fix this historical eyesore, but I'll let these shots shout for me. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Things are whirling fast around me. Work. Vacation plans. All the things I need to fix before heading off to the States. I didn't really have time to plan a birthday party so I had a simple celebration that was in-keeping with the musamanila ideals of promoting our culture. I present to you the very Filipino way of pairing pandesal with ice cream.

My Ice Cream Pandesal Party

1. Get pandesals from your local bakery. Remember half a scoop goes into one small pandesal. Try to get colorful flavors like ube, pandan, chocolate, and cheese.

2. There are no rules. Just scoop it out and put into the bread. Best if the pandesal is warm so it contrasts with the coldness of the ice cream.  Add your own Filipino toppings like Chocnut and Polvoron.

3. Enjoy with friends!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

I always hope to find some gems in the annual Cinemalaya independent film festival. It's awesome to see the support behind this project. Kudos to the festival being more organized and adding venues like Greenbelt 3. However if there's one area, they have to improve on, it's on their trailers.

I had a chance to watch all of the trailers today and I found myself disappointed. Most of them were made with too much attachment to the material that it didn't answer the question, "why would someone want to watch this?" A lot of the times, people who are not involved with the movie are asked to edit the trailer because they are able to see it from an objective distance. Without objectivity, there is a big chance to totally miss the point.  Being an an advertiser, I see Cinemalaya trailers as commercials with the daunting task of enticing people to to travel all the way to the CCP, to shell out P150 (to P5000 for a festival pass) to sit through a potentially crappy (potentially brilliant) film. They have to make that choice just a little bit easier for people.

Here are some of the trailers I found intriguing - on my list of things to catch.

A story about a young man in search of his father's remains. It looks well made and it
doesn't seem to have that overly dramatic plot that usually turns out bad. 

Isda: The Fable of the Fish
We hear about weird freakish things happening all the time. Why not make a movie out of it? 
I want to see how this fable ends. 

It's a look into the Palawan belief of instant karma. I'm just a sucker for films
that make a subject of culturally remote Filipino ethnic groups.
Plus, it's Alessandra de Rossi- she's awesome!

Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa (The Dance of Two Left Feet)
It's beautifully shot and the scoring has promise. 

Ang Babae sa Septic Tank
Chris Martinez, Marlon Rivera, and Eugene Domingo! Talk about star power. 
It's rare to find comedies in a festival like this and this one is a parody of the making of 
indie films in the Philippines. How apt. Definitely, a must see for me. 

To view more trailers, go to the Cinemalaya website
For the complete schedules in CCP and in Greenbelt, click here. 

Monday, July 11, 2011

This weekend, I watched Joey Gosiengfiao’s “Temptation Island”. A Chris Martinez remake of the 1980s cult classic. Imagine this...

 Updated into this...

The remake stayed true to the original plot of four beauty queens getting marooned on an island. Practically all of the original dialogue stayed the same. 

I should love this movie because it’s an unwittingly campy social commentary on the concerns of the Filipino middle and upper class. As Jessica Zafra said, “it cleverly exploits aspects of Pinoy culture: the class divide, colegialas and social climbers, the obsession with beauty pageants, and of course, bakla culture.” I should love it because it’s a dark comedy, a rarity in the land that can’t get over Tito, Vic, and Joey.

But I  loved it simply because it was so bizarre and funny- the perfect movie to watch with a bitchy, gay bestie, which I did. The lines were strange, biting, and quotable. So much so that we were repeating them word for word as the movie progressed. (Yes, we had our favorites memorized from the original!)

I have to hand it to Joey Gosiengfiao, the accidental whiz, who never meant to make us laugh. But as they say, forget his original intent because the author is dead. Sadly, that's both figuratively and literally. Good thing his inadvertent masterpiece lives on. My only critique is that Chris Martinez could have injected more of his humor into it. He tried too hard to stay true to the material, but some of the best moments of the film were add-ons on by him.

Spoiler Alert!
My favorite part was when the girls were so starved they started eating sand. It was so absurd on so many levels. One, these are GMA’s most glamorous leading ladies being made to eat sand. Two, they look like they’re enjoying it. Three, this is  a really long vignette and it's making me uncomfortable. At a later time, I thought to myself, “Is this the upper class version of Khavn Dela Cruz’s film about a family that’s so poor they eat soil?”

As for the cast, here are my notes accompanied by their photos on Preview Magazine.

Heart Evangelista: She has the most angelic face, but I have a hard time believing her sincerity whenever she speaks English. I don’t think she’s a bad actress though, she delivers the emotion when she’s speaking in Filipino.

Marian Rivera: She looks like she had so much fun playing the role of the strong-willed, dancing, vivacious, villain with a heart- which is essentially (if we are to believe tabloids) who she is in real life. She makes all that dancing and jiggling so very natural.

Solenn Heussaff: All throughout, my gay friends kept commenting on how she was the most beautiful. She is indeed a stunner, but again I have problems with how she talks. She’s a reverse Heart. Perhaps, they could have changed the character- made her one of those posh girls who studied abroad for 3 months and completely forget how to speak Filipino.

Lovi Poe: Lovi Poe stole the show. From her very first line, she got the original character down pat. She’s got a husky way of speaking that’s oozing with sensuality. You really want to hate her, but at the same time you want to be the one spewing those odd, venomous lines.

Rufa Mae Quinto: A true comedy queen. At first I questioned why she was getting the part of the maid, but as I watched I realized that secretly she's the star. You can’t help but laugh when she's on. The fact that she's a bombshell that can pull off the loveable idiot adds to the weirdness of the whole movie. 

John Lapus: He was domineering and endearing in a very gay way. I wish they had given him more screen time. I remember the original character having a lot more to say.

Male Leads: Two were decent but generally they were all forgettable. Why couldn’t they have put Coco Martin, Jake Cuenca, and Gerard Anderson on these roles? It would have made all the difference.

I hope you all troop down to the cinemas to catch it. Read the article by Erwin Romulo on Preview too! 

Monday, July 4, 2011

What’s a blog if it isn't shared? can take your blog to a whole new level. We are searching for the most creative, inventive, and relevant blog; whether you're talking about food, trips, sports, music, or Pinoy pop culture, Juice wants you to share a thought or two with us. And if we like it, we can give you a whole lot more to write about. Events, restaurants, gigs, sporting tournaments... you name it, we got your back! Link your blog, make us a sample copy, and you may be one of the two winners of:
  1. P10,000 cold hard cash;
  2. A brand spankin' new iPad 2;
  3. And a 3-month internship as one of the Juice bloggers.
To get a taste of what we're looking for, check out our celebrity blogs here.

Good luck and start writing!