Not Sacrificing Values for Followers

Just so you know, I posted below message on my Facebook. Gusto nako klaruhon akong posisyon kay narealize nako na I should be proud even if daghan Pinoy ug mga friends nako nga @.!\×&×*. Anyway here it is:
Friends and lovers…or whatever, as you may be aware, I have a loathing for Duterte supporters especially at this time. This of course does not come as a suprise to you. I’m not exactly a likeable or popular person. But I’d like to suggest that maybe next time you choose a leader you could use this question to filter your choices: 

What is her/his stand regarding Martial Law and the Marcoses?

Politics ni, wala daw personalan? Unfortunately the political seeps into the personal. I just want to say this because considering Marcos and Duterte’s popularity and support from Filipinos, I don’t want to go down in history as a “Filipino” who agreed to/allowed these injustices. I am not among those Filipinos and I’m proud of it. Let my future children know this.

Hashtag alternative to #MarcosNotAHero is #MarcosACriminal.

Don’t use the Bisaya/Mindanawan card on me kay as a Bisaya gahuna-huna ko sa epekto aning mga extra judicial killings ug “independent” foreign policy daw (pero ibaligya raman diay sa China). Davaoenos can use the Davao card kay di ko taga Davao wa daw koy nahibalan. But…There are Davaoenos who do not support him. Surprise! 

Whatevs guys. You can imagine whatever you want but history will judge us… Oh but i guess you’re rewriting it. 

Monday I Blog Like Everybody Else

I was surfing the internet because I was so bored. I’m so bored with life. It’s such an extravagant, vulgar thing to say. Bored with life. Life is so precious but I’m bored. So I surfed and I usually waste my time on Youtube watching trailers and make-up gurus. I read blogs. My indulgence are fashion blogs because I never really end up buying stuff or improving my wardrobe, I’m just chismosa. I just want to see what’s happening in other people’s lives because I have nothing better to do. Of course I do…(have??) I have a million tasks to do that a responsible person would do like thank a referree, manage my finances, reconnect with friends and co-workers, and get my life together. But my default mode is whatever. And then I notice that when I blog, I sound like everybody else. Like I use the same phrases or expressions. Like…. you know.

And then I feel guilty for wasting my time which makes me even guiltier. Then I think of how I have been spending these years in North America becoming “stupid”. Ironically, my English has de…see I can’t even remember the words! My English has deteriorated! I had to keep checking Google for antonyms and synonyms for this entry alone. Many times  I worry if my brain is just rusting away. You know that saying that people really stop living at 25? There’s no more growth and it’s just a flat line. Of course I sound like an ingrate. There’s so many opportunities for growth but when you’re in that slump, it’s like you’ve got blinders on. Either you don’t see the opportunity or you take it on but end up not having the energy nor drive to see it through. And then you are bored. I am bored.

The plus side is, I’m not this kid in her early twenties trying to become a yoga babe or the fierce careerist ready to take on the corporate ladder. I’m just way over that. It’s like everytime I see these people, I see right through them. We are all trying to be somebody and it’s super exhausting. So now I’m this (let’s use this overused term jaded) cynical person who’s content with my kdramas and whatever food I can scrounge in my kitchen – cup noodles?

Was that boring? Depressing? Don’t worry. Occassionally I try to coax out that insecure early-twenties girl in me. Insecure, young but so full of bull-headed determination. I’m guessing now is the time to learn and find that balance of “stubborness” (someone give me the right noun, I can’t English) and contentment. Idealism tempered with “so this is what you want. This is reality. This is how you can get what you want. This is what you have to give up to get what you want. Girl, stop being an ungrateful little…”

Hmmm. Okay I’m relieved. I think I just had a conversation with my ego. Blogging can be therapeutic even if I sound like everybody else. Ok thanks, bye.

Scams and Shams

The topic came up at work today and I thought I’d share the 3 scams I’ve encountered that you hopefully won’t!

Text from the Bank

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Red Flags: asking for log-in information, live link & sketchy URL address

Banks don’t text you a live link and ask for your log-in information. I already knew this was a scam from various telltale signs like wrong bank, wrong country and most of all, it was asking for log-in information. I didn’t click the link at all.  The link will probably lead to a site that looks like the bank’s actual log-in page and since it looks so much like the real one, some people might enter their log-in information and end up compromising their accounts.

Fake Cheque for Lottery Winnings

Red flags: too good to be true; “this is urgent”tactics

I received mail and a “cheque” for a few thousand dollars. In the letter they indicate a phone number I should contact so that I could get “the rest” of my money and they had to hear from me the next day after getting my mail! This was too good to be true and super crazy because who tells you you’re a winner and disqualifies you in the next 24 hours if you don’t contact them?

Google will immediately bring up results about these types of scams. They do it by asking you to deposit the “cheque” you just received and wire the amount back to them to cover some fees for taxes and get the rest of your winnings.

While it’s downright unbelievable, the cheque looks legitimate! I can imagine someone who is down and struggling might just try to deposit it and wire their money. They’ll expect to get the  prize only to get hit by a double whammy: the horror of losing money and the embarassment when the bank teller confirms it’s a fraudulent cheque.

Call from the Taxman

Red flags: Government communication is almost always via post, phone number does not match government agency’s phone numbers, some calls are not made on office hours

This was the most annoying ang horrible for me! They called up numerous times, they left threatening messages that I owed the CRA (Canada Revenue Agency – the Canadian equivalent of USA’s IRA). Me?! They’d probably harass me even more if I answered and press me for informatuon that they can use for identity theft.

One way to deal with this is to ignore the calls. Also, if you want to make sure if it was indeed the CRA then search for their helpdesk or service phone number and call. That way you’re sure to reach the real government office and not a scammer’s phone line.

There’s a whole lot of scams out there. Contrary to this popular Tagalog saying, “Walang maloloko kung walang nagpapaloko.” there are always people out there who will use their talents and their smarts to scam others. Some of them can be unrecognizeable and well done. So don’t hate yourself if you’ve ever fallen for these. It can happen to anyone. Just know that there are steps we can take to lessen the blow or even prevent it from happening. That’s all folks!

 

Unofficial Kathcake

I finally texted my only batchmate in town to watch Barcelona: A Love Untold together! I was super happy that there was someone I could text who didn’t think Pinoy movies were beneath him. Haha. C is a fan of Daniel Padilla while I could say I’m unofficially (coz don’t you need to be in an actual fans club?) Kathryn’s fan. She’s got a lot of anti-fans but my sis and I love her. She’s so cute!

I enjoyed the movie. The ending wasn’t as OA as I feared. The conflict kinda blew up much later in the story. There were some English lines that I found unnatural (Stop acting like you know my pain! Really?)  but #Pinoymovies. Haay whaaay. 

Anyway the good points:

My story may not be the typical OFW story but I have a story to tell!

Kath’s character, Mia, isn’t the type who leaves the Philippines to send her siblings to school or support her family. She’s well-off. No poverty porn in this film. Her family issues and a desire to prove something had her working jobs she’d never do back home. I like Mia because she represents a certain type of Filipina abroad that’s not usually featured as an OFW. She’s the one who would be better off going back to the Philippines. Indeed she’s not the typical OFW character but that character exists. In real life.

My sister commented, “I feel like they represented the Filipino community abroad quite well.” There was a glimpse of Pinoys who are typically helpful to their kababayans in search for jobs,  the friction in some families due to money matters, the bullying among kababayans etc.

Also for those who find it unbelievable, graduates and professionals do swallow their pride to clean washrooms and do other type of work to get by. I graduated from a “prestigious” university at naglinis na din ako ng CR. That’s why I get irritated with friends/relatives who act patronizing towards people in customer service.

As for bullying, my sister was bullied by some Filipinas when she worked at Mcdo until she bitched at them. Itago nalang natin sila sa pangalang Imelda at Mary Lou. One time, as part of the usual bullying, one of them asked her “Oh anong ginagawa mo?!” while she was on the till. She answered fiercely, “None of your business.” They never bothered her again. 

Mia’s clothes. So sino ba ang stylist/costume designer ni Kathryn sa Barcelona? I love the color palette and simplicity of her outfits. I looked for movie stills but there’s no good ones online. Hi Star Cinema, that’s something to think about. Post actual movie stills where we can see the star’s full outfits. You can make money out of retailers. -_-

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Ely’s character. I don’t know, I just like him as a nice guy with issues. Lol. Okay I like that he’s a nice guy. Not a typical nice guy but a kind character with a lot of guilt and a lot of talent. 

So far that’s it. I don’t want to analyze it too much. It’s a movie that’s meant to be enjoyed not deconstructed until only 3 people can understand it in the whole universe. Do you want to watch some esoteric film when you work 8 hours a day and are stressed at the office? All the more if you’re someone who stands all day running errands, dealing with unreasonable and bratty customers!

This is why I love discussing mainstream romcom with my sister. Many of our friends look down on these movies and we feel slighted when they show their disapproval (indie films sound a lot cooler). But you know what, it all boils down to what kind of stress you want. Mamili ka ng stress. Yung stress ng pretending to like what is currently cool or acceptable o yung stress sa resistance ng ibang tao when you’re true to yourself? We prefer to give zero Ducks.

 

Indio Bravo: The Life of Jose Rizal

Indio Bravo: The Life of Jose Rizal is written by Asuncion Lopez-Rizal Bantug with Sylvia Mendez Ventura and illustrated by BenCab. It aims to introduce young people to Jose Rizal and provide an intimate narrative about his life. It is published by Tahanan Books for Young Readers. Rizal scholar Ambeth Ocampo, the National Historical Institute, National Centennial Commission, the Spanish and German Embassies of Manila are also credited for their assistance in making the book.

Mom bought our copy when we went to visit Rizal’s house in Dapitan City many years ago. Tahanan Books doesn’t seem to have it on their website. If all else fails, it’s also available on Amazon.

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How is it possible to get tearyeyed just by reading the first chapters? Of course I indulged  in reading about Jose’s love life especially his long distance drama with Leonor Rivera. I thought it would take me a week to finish. It’s only 158 pages but I haven’t read in a really really long while (coz life/stress/work). Tamad kaayo ko mubasa. -_-

I just finished it (quicker than I expected). I’m writing this post in a bubble tea cafe that my sister and I frequent. When I read the last few chapters, my tears fell uncontrollably (as in ugly cry T_T). Wo Meimei didn’t know what to do with me. Hehehe.

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Study should be a thing of love and joy; the primer not a black book bathed in the tears of childhood, but a friend who is going to reveal wonderful secrets; and the schoolroom not a place of sorrows, but a scene of intellectual refreshment. -from Noli Me Tangere

Most Filipinos know Jose Rizal because he is our national hero but apart from the required course in university, I don’t remember being taught a lot about his life at school. I was lucky to have Sir Nilo Ocampo as my PI 100 professor. He loved Rizal and it was in his class that I started to know a bit more. A recent trip to Madrid also gave me the inspiration to revisit Philippine history. I feel like man, I don’t know a thing. So here I am going back to the past to make sense of the present.

Thank you Jose Rizal. Ok tears again… (T_T)

 

 

 

 

Pinoy Leading Men, A Review-ish

Don’t Give Popoy A Chance

I’ve been thinking about writing this for a long while. About 7 months ago, I re-watched One More Chance with my sister and our friend, A. A mentioned how the leading man’s character, Popoy (played by John Lloyd) was the type your mom warns you about. He might have said that of most Pinoy leading men characters and not just Popoy’s.

In the course of watching One More Chance for the 3rd time I found myself annoyed with Popoy’s character. Basha could have moved on and found someone less controlling and oblivious. The tipping point for A and my sister (and that break up part of the movie) was when Popoy separated the fried chicken skin from the meat, not allowing Basha to eat it. Okay, concerned lang. Isn’t it nice of him to think of her health? Uhm yah but nah. That’s a good thing in a partner when he/she looks after you and helps you shape up. In this case, Popoy the character merely directs and decides for Basha (ie. he changes Basha’s presentation at work without her knowledge).

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Of course people have flaws and so should the characters but this particular leading man lacked a redeeming quality. My sister mentioned that Popoy never even realizes why Basha broke up with him. He (though understandably) gets broken and goes on a downward spiral when they break up. Then he gets better after a while, “moving on” when he meets another girl only to fall for Basha again. Throughout the movie, I still do not feel any sympathy for Popoy and rather than being endeared to his character, I am still annoyed as ever.

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Same Old, Same Old

I haven’t watched the sequel so I can’t speak about that. Considering One More Chance is an “old” movie and there have been countless romcoms that came after so I think that there’s hope for the Pinoy leading man. Always Be My Maybe was promising and it had so many good things. Yet once again I couldn’t find sympathy for Jake (played by Gerald Anderson). Supposedly, a playboy who eventually wanted to settle down with his girlfriend. Then his girlfriend would have none of it, he was too late and she’s over him so he’s this guy with hurt feelings. I mean I don’t know if I can believe that a player suddenly wants to be serious.

He’s such a typical bro. He works in his dad’s business but is dreaming to be a photographer. Okay good, I just need more depth. Just need to know more about this cookie-cutter pogi dude who seems like every Manileño.

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Where Art The Leading Men?

I have to say though leading men are kind of improving. Everyone seems to love the Jadine team. I do too! Heehee. But I haven’t been religious in watching anything except for the first few episodes of OTWOL. Series have the upper hand over movies it seems when it comes to character development. Totally different format and you can show all sorts of things and reasons why this character is so and so. Might not be fair to say Clark’s character had more depth compared to Popoy’ and Jake’s because there were more chances to get to know Clark.

Yet I think it could still work. Case in point was this Kathniel movie, Crazy Beautiful You. Daniel Padilla’s character Kiko was actually very well thought of. Of course it had a tacky cheesy ending but in terms of the leading man’s character, I felt like I was more involved and that I really liked the guy. The responsible anak-sa-labas ng mayor who has to clean up after his feeling-dalaga irresponsible mom. But then he was still funny and quite endearing.

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Anyway I am looking forward to watching Jodie’s movie Achy Breaky Hearts because I will get to know 2 leading men instead of 1. I’m expecting that these characters are more multi-dimensional. Or I could be biased. (Showing in Vancouver International Village Jul 8-21!!! I was not paid to promote this. I have no followers and I have yet to watch it. Haha.)

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Anyway I still look forward to better characters in our Pinoy leading men. Whatever socio-economic class their character is in I hope the personality shines through. If the guy is poor, can he not be this generic poor guy? If he’s rich, can he not be this generic rich guy who stands to inherit his family’s hacienda or something?

Mahalin Ang Sariling Atin

One of my tags for this entry is #jologsmoment but in reality, I think Pinoys can aspire to make better movies and improve on the highly snubbed genre of romcoms. I kind of feel sorry for those Pinoys who automatically dismiss Pinoy movies. I mean yes I understand it can get tacky and super inane! There are enjoyable & good ones out there you just have to give it a chance. And hey, I think Hollywood produces loads of movies and most of it are crap then some good ones. I hope our industry produces even more movies to the point that the ratio of fun relatable movies to tacky ones become 5:1 at least instead of the seemingly 2:5 (I’m just making these numbers up. That’s how it seems to me. :p). Tangkilikin ang sariling atin!

That said, I’m looking forward to my sister’s film career. I will just have to ask her to make those movies for me.

Yun lang. Bow.

(images from starcinema.com)

The Unconventional Trip Prep

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Guidelines

If there’s one thing I learned about travelling, it’s the value of creating guidelines. I only realized it this year after having traveled here and there for ten years. Better late than never! I figured this out while thinking of my upcoming trip and reflecting on what I did two years ago. These reminders are not hard and fast rules. They simply exist to guide me in the journey based on what I want to get from it and how I want to feel. We all probably have something like this in our heads. This is the first time I am consciously making the effort to create them.

  1. Have fun! 

    Even when things don’t go according to plan.

  2. Write at least 1 entry (at least 5 lines) every day.

    Reading my past journals have served me well over the years  that this is a no-brainer. I just have to get my lazy tourist ass to do it.

  3. Wake up early and get some quiet time

    Crucial stuff if I want to get some writing time and great shots before everybody wakes up to photobomb my pics.

  4. Engage

    With locals as much as possible!

  5. Exercise.

    Coz #abs. Coz #croppedtop. Coz #bikini.

  6. Be brave

    I always have to remind myself of this.

 

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Practicalities

Aside from making sure  I have something to wear, I try to ensure that I have done the following to make my trip comfortable, convenient and memorable:

  1. Unlock phone, research local sim and instructions on how to call, apps
  2. Prep Camera- batteries, storage space, photo list
  3. Learn the Language – esp basic phrases via  Youtube, Duolingo and Memrise
  4. Familiarize Self with  Transit – trains and buses

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Literature

I research writers of the country I’m visiting and download their works for me to read on the plane. Last time, I was able to borrow some books about Venice but I think they were not so good. My plan is to download a few short stories because as you may have observed, I am a lazy reader.

Music

To immerse myself in the language, I add songs from the country I am visiting. The more genres I have the better. You never know when you’ll feel like having a concert in the shower or when you’ll be in need of a slow jam for long train rides perfect for thinking about exes, boyfriends and whatnot.

Aside from that, I always have my staple playlist that I will listen to wherever I am. My non-FIlipino songs include those by Yuna, Mariah Carey, Sara Bareilles, BTS, 2NE1, Tofubeats, various artists of Reply 1988 OST and Rurouni Kenshin OST. Just so you know, I have a lot of OPM and KPOP songs on mine. My OPM list will have Eraserheads, Zia Quizon, True Faith and 80s/90s songs. Which reminds me, I need new OPM songs. Any suggestions?

Scent

Scents and smells increase the memory of an experience. During my last trip to Italy, I chose a solid perfume in Rose scent from L’Occitane. For next time,  I will opt for a lotion and body mist. The lotion so that the scent lasts and body mist for quick application.

Ang that’s how I’d plan my trip, IDEALLY.