Thursday, April 29, 2004



Monday, April 26, 2004

My tita passed away this morning at around 4 AM. About an hour after the last post was published.

I knew she was in bad shape last night. But I didn't allow myself to think of her dying with any finality. I didn't even write it down in the previous post. I don't know, maybe I thought it was bad luck. But it's the closest I've been to death. I wanted to say something naive like I wish I never have to go through anything like that again, but the only way that'll happen is if I die first.

What a horrible, miserable fucking day I had.

Was woken up to get the car's aircon and other problems fixed. Finally! Dad gives me some money and instructions/directions. I go with my brother to the shop, which is in Sucat. It is fucking hot and traffic is bad. Practically across the street from the shop, we get a flat. Which wouldn't be so bad in itself, except that I had just changed another flat tire from the same car 2 days ago. So the spare was still flat. Luckily, we're near the shop, so both tires get vulcanized. Still, it's an unexpected, unwelcome delay, and an added expense. One of the tires ended up costing P250 because the tear was huge.

The car is looked at, and my dad arrives from some meeting. He leaves with my brother and a mechanic to buy parts. I'm left to watch over the car (and the spare was still being vulcanized). It is still blisteringly hot; thank God I brought the comics I borrowed from Chris. They try to fix the horn but there's a part missing. They tell me one of the bulbs in the right headlight is busted but they don't have those kinds of parts.

I get a call to pick up my brother and the mechanic at my mom's office in Makati, because my dad has another meeting to go to, and the place they went to in Pasay didn't have the compressor we needed. Here my headache begins. So I drive from Sucat to the heart of Makati. It is hot, and traffic is bad. Sitting in traffic while basting in the heat: I like to think these things make me a stronger person. It is looking less and less likely that I can go to the bank like I wanted to. I pick up my brother and the mechanic, and receive new instructions, more money: the only place they know with the compressor we need is in Cubao. Terrific. I drive to Cubao. It is hot, and traffic is VERY bad. We get the compressor, but because of traffic and the delays (the flat, the missing parts) it's already late. The aircon will be worked on tomorrow. So after all this shit, what got fixed? The tires. We have to bring the car back to the shop tomorrow morning.

I get a call from my dad: drop off the mechanic and give him money to get back to Sucat, go back to mom's office, we'll have dinner and visit my tita who's in the hospital. We're not dressed, I say, we thought we'd be at the shop and back home by 3, which is why we were wearing shorts and slippers. No problem, he says.

On Edsa, going back to Makati from Cubao, the engine DIES. Which shouldn't happen, because the car's an automatic. I get it started again, but then it dies again a little while later. We pull over, and examine the engine. It overheated. The first time that this car, which has been with us for years, has ever overheated. Because the water completely ran out. A hose under the engine came loose and the radiator leaked fluid. Luckily, we have bottles of mineral water in the car. But it revealed yet another problem: the temperature gauge is fucked up, because I would've seen the overheat coming. Another delay. Get to mom's office, have a pizza. Mom gets a text: bring a priest. Thankfully, from this point I am no longer driving and we are using the Lynx.

We pick up the priest in his parish in Pasay before going to the hospital (UDMC). The hospital is horrible; the bathrooms are filthy and roaches are on the floor and walls of the halls. The priest says some prayers. I don't think they're last rites, but it's not looking good. My tita has had cancer for some months now, and she's been pretty weak recently. It was her fifth night, I think, at the hospital. She was having difficulty breathing, was gasping, maybe pneumonia or water in the lungs. Occasionally her arm would go up, violently and suddenly. She could hear us but couldn't really communicate, and her husband had to hold her legs down. It's a terrible scene, and I start tearing up. I'm not particularly close to my tita, but everything gets to me: how pale she looks, and how frail and just so-- small. I try to stop; I don't like crying in front of my family. I distract myself with details: there's an empty bedpan under the foot of the bed. Purses on the floor. Coffee and sandwiches on the table. Traffic sounds outside. The hum of the airconditioner. But try as I might, my mind goes back to the heavier things: my tito holding down her legs, watching her breathe. How's he feel? Is he prepared? I got scared when they asked us to bring a priest; it didn't look good, she might not last the night. Above her, sitting on the bed, is her daughter, my cousin. They're not on good terms, haven't been for years. They live in the same compound but not in the same house; my cousin "moved out" a while ago, and talks mostly to her dad. When she talks to her mom they usually end up quarrelling. This is what I hear, anyway. Sitting above her mother, she's fanning her head, a hand on her arm. I can see the dried tracks of tears on her cheeks.

My tita is my dad's last living sister. His elder sister, Anita, died long ago, before my parents even met. She died of cancer too. My dad's older brother also has cancer now. It became better but has come back. My dad's dad, also cancer. Died when my dad was 16. Also never met my mom. A little over a year ago, my lola, his mom, passed away. Not cancer, but as is common, I discover, pneumonia gets you in the end. The body just becomes so weak, that the breathing becomes almost impossible.

I hope this doesn't sound too cruel, but this was something I thought about: if you come from a big family, unfortunately you get to a certain age where you have to attend a lot more funerals.

When we left the hospital, my tita was asleep. My cousin said some color had come back to her cheeks.


This must've been karma for Sunday, which was pretty good. I was able to sleep late, dropped by the Costellos, then went to Quark's shoot for the next Chicosci video. He told me to bring office clothes but neglected to mention that we would be swing dancing. Possibly because it would've scared some people away. Mikey choreographed it, and it was fun. Doing around 7 takes of a 30-second shot was devastating, though. My feet still ache a little. Saw some people I hadn't seen in a while: Mikey, Alia, and Trinka. After, we grabbed some dinner and watched a great Ciudad gig at SGS, then finally got to try Una Sikat's Sizzling Bulalo before heading home.


Still haven't seen Hellboy. Hopefully today, as a reward. Everyone watch Spartan. Might be its last day today.

Saturday, April 24, 2004

I think I'm too tired right now to put up my Matabungkay post but I would like to say:

Wong Kar-Wai's 2046 has been announced as part of this May's Cannes Film Festival. My first reaction to this news was utter elation, because I am a super Kar-Wai fan and have been waiting for this film since forever. I mean, when did In the Mood for Love come out? 2000!!! And he was already shooting this! He stopped and started from scratch something like 6 times (remember, he works without scripts, just general plot outlines, and when those change, then the whole film goes as well). The common joke was that it would come out in the year 2046. Anyway, it was supposed to debut at last year's Cannes Festival but they didn't make the deadline. But now it's an announced entry. So I hope that means something. Then again, if I remember correctly I think I read something about him stopping and starting AGAIN earlier this year, but I just phased it out of my memory because it had happened for the Nth time. So now I am more sober about it. But I am DYING to see this film.

Other interesting films at Cannes: Pedro Almodovar's Bad Education, Olivier Assayas's Clean, Walter Salles's Diarios de Motocicleta, Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 (sure to be controversial, and I hope to God it comes out in the US around the time of their elections), Mamoru Oshii's Ghost in the Shell: Innocence (nice to see an honest-to-goodness genre anime film actually in competition), Park Chan-Wook's Old Boy, Joel Coen's The Ladykillers, Emir Kusturica's Zivot Je Cudo, Hirokazu Kore-eda's Nobody Knows, Abbas Kiarostami's Five, Zhang Yimou's House of Flying Daggers, Quentin Tarantino's supposedly going to unveil Kill Bill: The Whole Bloody Affair, and God bless him, Jean-Luc Godard is STILL making films. His latest's called Notre Musique.


Spent yesterday and the days before my Matabungkay trip reading all the major Hellboy TPBs, and now I am a major fan. So the movie better be good. Since I couldn't watch it yet, Neva and I watched David Mamet's Spartan, and LOVED it. I urge you, seek it out and watch it. It's whip-smart, the actors are excellent, and the structure is a doozy. It packs a wallop and the plot twists are genuinely surprising and entirely logical, which is terrific. Of course, it's Mamet so even if you don't like any of that shit there's his sweet, sweet dialogue. It'll likely disappear this Wednesday, so catch it ASAP.

Dammit, reviews so far of Tony Scott's Man on Fire have been less than stellar. Which is a shame, because I love the trailer and was really hoping for it to be kick-ass.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Had the night all to myself, because Neva's in Iloilo right now. I suppose I was in a bit of an introspective mood. I had taken care of some things throughout the day, and then had dinner, did a few more things, almost watched a movie but didn't. It was already late but I still didn't feel like going home. Remember I asked a few weeks back about 24-hour places? This is when I need 'em. I remember in high school and early college doing this a lot: just staying out, even if I'm alone. All I need is a notebook and a pen. I'd order a hot chocolate and would stay in a small café for an hour or two. This doesn't happen very often anymore, so it was now tinged with a certain nostalgia. I still enjoy observing people, I found. I can still handle solitude somewhat, even if we're strangers now.

At the end, before I finally headed home, I had this sensation of missing my notebooks, the ones from those years, now filled with all sorts of detritus and memories. They all look different, feel different, smell different, have different weights and shapes.


For a few months now, I've had a livejournal. I first got it because a) I thought they gave you space for pictures and b) it's easier to keep track of those using LJ. But since I have found out that they DON'T give you space for pictures, it's just sitting there, not really being used for much. The last few posts have either been pointers to this blog or a reprint of something I especially wanted people to see. My first idea with it was to keep it focused and concentrated on cool stuff: movies, comics, books, music, etc. I could talk about stuff and people could recommend stuff to me. But I like doing that on this blog. It's almost inextricable, actually, and I've probably written more about other people's stuff than my personal life anyway. The other idea was to put all my articles on there, but I'm less comfortable about that the longer I think about it. Plus, I'd have to get permission all the time from editors. So now I don't know. What do you think I should do with it? Someone suggested I use it for answering surveys and online personality quizzes and whatnot, but I don't know...

I'm also on Friendster and Y!M, by the way. Friends, look me up if we're not connected.

I'll be in Matabungkay for 3 days with my relatives. I doubt I'll have internet access.

Monday, April 19, 2004

Neva and I watched Acacia last night. It's quite bad. This and The Uninvited, another stinker, are both Korean horror films. I was hoping to see something along the lines of the superb Tale of 2 Sisters, but these were horrific only in their quality and storytelling. Both are dead boring, and have minimal scares. The most effective were dream sequences, and even those had to ratchet up some sound effects. Acacia was actually more of a psychological non-thriller. The Uninvited was more frustrating, for the simple reason that IT ALREADY HAD ALL THE ELEMENTS FOR A PERFECTLY GOOD HORROR FILM. It had a great "mystery," tragic childhood stories, excellent score and cinematography, decent acting (with the girl from My Sassy Girl), and midway through the film is an excellent little gem of a scene that I think I will take to my grave, it is that good, but the rest of the film is an utter, unresolved mess. Nothing, I repeat, NOTHING is resolved satisfactorily. Everything was already there, but the director couldn't connect the dots in a clear and logical manner. Such a shame. Oh, well. At least I can now use the endings I was guessing at for my own purposes.

Both films were directed by first-timers, if I remember correctly.

On the other hand, PJ Hogan's Peter Pan was surprisingly damn good. I mean it, and was in utter awe with the level of sophistication, and sheer fun. There's a reverent mood throughout for the original source material, and I'm so glad it's not American. If I was a kid it would probably be one of those touchstone films of my youth, like The Neverending Story and Labyrinth. It actually feels like a lost classic '80s film at times, especially with the score. But with better effects, of course. And the humor! It's bursting with humor. Especially the Lost Boy Slightly. He'll go places, that one... and may I just add that Olivia Williams is one of the most beautiful women to ever grace our planet. I'm sorry, but everytime she is onscreen, even if she is not the main focus of the shot, I cannot look at anything else.

Oh, and Jason Isaacs is excellent.

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Neva got me to try kickboxing yesterday. Holy hell does my body hurt. Worse, I had a really difficult time getting to sleep later that night because it was just so damn hot. So when I was woken up today, not only was I sleepy and groggy, my body was a roadmap of pain. And it was still hot. Getting up out of bed was an adventure in itself. It felt like someone had replaced my limbs with an old frail man's while I was asleep. My legs nearly gave in the shower, but man was that cold water sweet. Putting on a shirt was another adventure. I tried tilting my body to the side for easier access; no go. I just had to grit my teeth and keep from wincing. And it got even better when we got to church and there were no more chairs left.

Still, I feel good about it. I haven't done anything so strenuous in a long time, and this kind of pain feels good, actually. That's when you're more used to it. After the session yesterday, Neva and I had lunch at Power Plant, but we couldn't resist and ended up getting a massage at Suriya later that afternoon.

I reviewed Voice of the Fire in the latest newsletter of Fully Booked (it's called In Print). It's free, I think; you can just ask for it over the counter, but they'll give you a copy whenever you buy something. I guess they don't have any proofreaders, because my own less-than-500-words review had all of 7 typos, and a bunch of missing words, so I'm sorry for the confusion. But hey, it's free.

I was at a wedding last Friday at the Westin Philippine Plaza, which I'd never been to. It was very nice, and sweet. The ceremony took place in the garden, right beside the bay, and near the large chessboard with pieces as big as children. What was amusing, though, was that as the ceremony went on, and the sun went down, the wind kept getting stronger and stronger, and the waves rose, and towards the end they were crashing against the wall and salty seaspray would get in our eyes. A few times, the wave was so high that it actually deposited small, blackish crabs onto the garden. And you could almost see the expression in their eyes, the "What the fuck just happened?!" look, because as soon as they landed on the grass it would be a few seconds before they moved again.

Am I the only person who hasn't yet seen The Passion?

I'm rambling, aren't I? Sorry.

UPDATED: Neva reminded me, thanks to her comment: above the review in In-Print it says "Graphic Guru," which I did not ask for or come up with. It's a complete surprise to me, and I would've asked it not be there, actually, especially since Voice of the Fire is NOT a graphic novel. There is a Hellboy review under mine, though, but it's uncredited, so it sort of looks like it's mine as well. But it's not.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004


I better get this done now. Sometimes I keep putting off certain posts until it's too late and they lose their timeliness and just fade into oblivion.

Anyway, Boracay was a blast. It was my second time, but the first time I went I was a junior in high school, shooting an AVP for Asian Spirit, so that was about 7 years ago.

I went with Neva, her mom, her stepbrother Angus and their dive buddy Rochelle. Our flight on Saturday was delayed almost 2 hours and stupid me, as usual, had 2 hours' sleep because I put off packing until the last minute. So I was dozing in the airport. This old guy was hitting on Rochelle, I remember. I was so bored at one point I wanted to buy the new Premiere, which I haven't read in ages (and I used to buy it every month) but it was over P500.

The place we stayed at is Crystal Sand, which is a nice, small, quaint place. It's near Station 1, beachfront, not too expensive considering its location and size. The problems revealed themselves later, though: lots of mosquitoes (though this may not be a problem exclusive to Crystal Sand. All of Boracay is infested with mosquitoes. If you stop moving for even a second they will land on you and devour you.). Later that night, I was already asleep in a mattress on the floor when the girls woke me up, saying that there were mice running around, and their squeaking was SO LOUD it woke them up. The next 2 nights there were no mice anymore, at least. And we had housekeeping spray the room for the mosquitoes, which worked.

Anyway, when we got to Boracay and Crystal Sand and had settled our stuff, we grabbed a really late lunch on the sand, then Neva's mom and Rochelle went off to the dive shops to make arrangements for their dives for the next few days.

Angus wanted to kayak, so Neva and I joined him and Mark, who met us at the airport. It was my first time kayaking, and it was easier than I expected. Tiring, though. And since this is Boracay, the water was crowded: swimmers, other kayakers, people on banana boats, jetskis, speedboats, parasailers, people coming and going from Caticlan, Panay, etc. So there was more than one occasion where people had to avoid us because obviously we couldn't turn as quickly as they could. And towards the end of it, Angus and Mark's kayak capsized, and they had to hang onto ours as we dragged their soggy asses to shore.

Sorry, this guy suddenly walked into the picture. But look at all those boats in the water! It's insane!

After that we just swam in the lovely water until night fell. It was low tide, so we were able to go far away from shore and still stand on our feet when we needed.

Check out that low tide!

The shore, by the way, is cleaner than it was when I was last there. Everything's cleaner. Except the scum, of course. I don't know what Dick Gordon did but the place looks great. Though when I tell people about the cleanliness, people tend to say that it's also because it's pre-monsoon season, which is about May. One thing that frustrated me though is that every fucking place you look, it says either Globe or Smart. Banners, umbrellas for tables, sails on boats, tarpaulins for shade, everything was emblazoned with those horrible horrible insignias.

Look at all those people! It's insane! Not ONE is a topless chick!

Also, there's just too many people now. And too many things in the water, either boats or people. No one's willing to sunbathe topless anymore, and where's the fun in that? Another thing I noticed different from my last trip here is that there is no longer any vacant spot on the beachfront. Last time, my friends and I walked the length and breadth of the strip, and there'd be undeveloped spots, that were really spooky at night with their pitch blackness. Now everything's either a resort or store or dive shop or restaurant or club. There are no dark spots on the beachfront of Boracay at night. You can't see the stars for the light from some nightspot blasting sad dancer music.

We had a buffet dinner that first night at Secx in Boracay, which is owned by some of Neva's mom's friends. Delish. On the way back, Neva's mom lent me a kind of textbook for Open Water Diving. I had to read 2 chapters. Which was about 100 pages. I tried, I really did, but much of it I knew already, and I eventually just fell asleep early because a) I was tired from all the swimming and had just 2 hours of sleep the day prior, and b) my diving lessons began early the next day.


I got to Lapu-Lapu Dive Center for my lessons, a little late, when this Swiss guy introduces himself to me. "I'm T-Joe," he says in his thick accent, "I weel bee yur eenstructor." This is a surprise because I thought my instructor was this other Pinoy guy I was introduced to the night before. I thought I would have the lectures first, but no, after a few trivialities out of the way he told me to suit up, and he then went on to show me how to pick a mask and fins. I'd told him that I'd already taken my Discovery Scuba in Anilao, so other things we just reviewed. But this time he taught me the parts of the BCD and tank, how to connect everything, etc.

The Hot Swiss Dive Instructor, pointing to where I had my check-out dive. T-Joe "ees Leetle John in French."

Here I should maybe mention that T-Joe is a Hot Swiss Dude. The girls ooh and aah as they pass the Dive Center. The girls at the Sari-sari store beside Lapu-Lapu are always smiling when he buys water and bread from them. He is also possessed of a certain sense of humor. Like when he was telling me about the tank. "Yoo shood alweyz check the regulator, inhale the air to mik shoor eet ees not contaminated." He motions for me to inhale, and I do. "Yoo see? Yoo can smell the fresh strooberries of Boracay." And after I suited up the first time, he told me "OK. Now yoo jog two kilometer. I wait for yoo hir. I give you 15 meenits." The next day, we went out of the dive shop, walked a little while and stopped at a puddle. "Wee weel doo the confined water dive here, so we need to do a running jump." After all these sentences I've quoted, you have to add a few seconds of awkward silence, before he breaks into a goofy smile. Once, underwater during a confined water dive, he taught me how to remove my BCD by first showing me. When he had his removed, he pointed to me, made some thumb movements with his hands, then pointed to his back. I didn't know what this was, a check for something wrong with the wetsuit? So I do the thumb movements at his back, then he leans his head back, gives me an OK sign and rubs the spot in relief. Oh, I get it-- he was asking for a massage. I hope I'm not giving the impression that I found him unfunny. It's just that the jokes always caught me off-guard, which is normally an excellent thing, but here I was concentrating on not drowning, and he would have the goofy smile in place.

But he's a nice guy, T-Joe. I was a little worried at the beginning of missing something because of his accent but there weren't any problems. Maybe the only negative thing I can say is that sometimes, underwater, he won't look at me for a while longer than I'm comfortable. I mean, if I'm the student, I don't want the instructor looking at anything but me. Because something might happen and if he's not looking I'll panic. But Neva said it might also be because he thought I didn't need much help, what with having had Discovery Scuba already. Or she thinks he's cute and is defending him.

He's been with Lapu-Lapu for 3 years now, almost the entirety of his time as a professional instructor. He started out as a pro in Guadalupe, has only been diving for 5 years, but has dived (dove?) in lots of different places: Red Sea, Dead Sea, Maldives, various other European places I couldn't pronounce but sounded exotic with his accent. This whole diving thing has revealed to me that the Philippines is one of the most favored dive spots in the world, because our variety of sea life is so diverse. Neva's stepdad has also dived everywhere, from Scotland to Spain, and his favorite place is still the Philippines. It's one of those features of our country we take for granted because we live here.

I had one confined water dive to review all the basics, and then an open water one where I was taught for the first time to do a backroll exit. This scared the shit out of me because I can't even do a somersault underwater-- my sinuses fuck me up something fierce. But it went without a hitch. :) When we got back I was so tired, but had to watch a few instructional videos, and later had to read another 100 or so pages. See, the thing is I was having a normally-4-day course crammed into 2. So in the morning I dive, in the afternoon I dive and watch videos, and in the evening I read the book. So while I was in the room reading, Neva was out getting a henna tat and enjoying the nightlife.

Apparently, the others, who've also been diving this whole time, saw two manta rays, each as big as a car. Wingspan of 5 meters. I didn't know they could grow to that size.


I take 4 quizzes in the morning and get a perfect in the first 3, one mistake in the 4th. If only I was like this in school. I have my last confined water dive, learn some new skills. Mask clearing is still the hardest for me. When water hits my nose I get disoriented and sometimes accidentally try to inhale with my nose. Which of course fucks me up right and good. My last 2 open water dives, Neva joins us.

This is my girlfriend: she nearly made me choke from laughing because she picked up a poor defenseless blue starfish, put it on her chest, started swimming face up, and closed her eyes and lay still. And if you get that joke, then you are a comics reader and are my friend.

Oh, I should mention Harry. Harry's a guy I met at Lapu-Lapu, also taking his Open Water Course with his friend Steven. Harry teaches English at some school in Japan. But when he introduced himself to me I didn't know what to think: he was Pinoy, but bald, big, had a tattoo and an American accent. He told me a story of how they were at this bar until 4 in the morning. And he also talked about his frustration with the women. He said that all the hot girls in Boracay either came with their boyfriends, or some group of friends. So everytime he'd try to talk to them, they'd just dismiss him with a wave of their hands or move somewhere else in the bar. Which pissed him off right and good. I felt sort of bad for him, because what can you do? He was right. How you meet people in the US (Harry grew up in California) is different from how you usually meet people here. His friend Steven showed up late that morning, and dived with a hangover.

Before the final check-out dive, I was given the final exam. 50 questions. I got 2 wrong. But not in the last section, which was all computations, I'm proud to say. After the check-out dive, T-Joe shook my hand and filled up the form that would get me my PADI ID. So I'm now a licensed diver. Yay!

I am the poster boy for diving. If I can do it, anyone can. This is because I'm scared of deep water, don't swim well, and have sinus problems. And lung problems, when I was younger. So if you're interested, go for it. It's much easier than I thought. You can't forget your first fish-feeding, which happened on one of the check-out dives with Neva. You hold bread in your hands, and they devour it bit by bit. I didn't have gloves, unfortunately, so I was a little freaked out with the occasional bite from a fish. But it was worth it. I put my hand in front of my mask, so all these fish were literally beside my eyeballs. Wonderful, fascinating, and mesmerizing. It really made me feel like I was in someone else's environment. And these aren't just ordinary fish, they're tropical fish of all kinds, so the colors were beautiful. The feeling of weightlessness is terrific, too. It's the closest the average person'll get to feeling like an astronaut.

Neva and I took a walk after we got back. I was finally done with the damn book. The internet café is on Globe DSL. There wasn't even an internet café when I was last here. Boracay is still the only place where I can find a papaya shake. That hasn't changed. We walked through D'Mall. I thought it might be an actual mall, but no, it's like a one-floor Greenhills. I actually spotted a student of mine, and this was amusing. I saw her from afar, then when she was closer she saw me and her eyes went wide in recognition, fear and paralysis. And for a second I had power: I could call out her name (which I remembered) and embarrass her in front of her friends. But I was nice, and pretended I was looking at something else as they passed by. But when I turned around, I caught her looking in my direction, still with the wide eyes of fear. Haha.

I also had my first Boracay crepe. Nutella was just-- man, there's no way for me to describe it that won't make me sound like a pervert. It's a spread, hazelnut mixed with chocolate. I also had a Lovely Sin crepe the next day, which is a combination of vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce, whipped cream, and warm peach halves. Yummeh.

Our last evening at Boracay we ate at the house of Neva's mom's friends, the owners of Secx in Boracay. Boracay proper is nothing like the beachfront we know. I was sort of reminded of the favelas of City of God, but I'm sure it's nothing that violent. Still, most of the time the roads were just one lane, and some parts were yet unpaved.


We woke up too late and missed the chance to go parasailing. I'm scared of heights too, but, you know, when the opportunity's in front of you... Oh well. At the airport, there was this European couple who wouldn't stop kissing. As in their tongues were exposed and occupying each others' space. What's worse is they were doing all this liquid-swapping beside the TV, so naturally everyone seemed like they were watching MacGyver, but we all know what they were looking at with rapt attention. Later, in the airport in Manila, I would catch the girl picking her nose. It must've been a tight little bugger way in the back because she was at it quite a while. If you're unabashed in one thing, may as well be shameless in all things.

By the way, we found out that there's finally kite-surfing in Boracay! Man, I've been dreaming of that ever since I caught it on TV one night. But it's still damn expensive right now. Shit.


This is Friday, one of the famous Dogs of Boracay. He's the mascot of Hey Jude (there's a picture of him on their menu), and has to wear that sad shirt everyday because it's "cute." I bet the poor bugger's sweltering. I was going to get a better shot of him where he actually faces the camera but my memory ran out. Sorry.

Here are the other members of Friday's posse.

This guy isn't in the posse, he was just getting a massage on the beach. I didn't know they had that now.

I think this guy's a part-owner of Lapu-Lapu. His barber came into the store and did his hair there, which reminded me of Danny Aiello in The Professional.

This is my Hallmark card sunset shot. Also applicable for those posters with inspirational cliches I see in classrooms and government offices.

This is the only topless chick I saw.

Friday, April 09, 2004


If you're just bored beyond belief, why not try some origami? Or visit a Ghost Town. Or make faces.

Here's the new Spider-Man 2 trailer, here's the Kill Bill Vol. 2 trailer, and here's the first TV spot I've seen for Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events. Looks like Jim Carrey's hamming it up again, Grinch-style. It still looks like it's being directed by the guy who did Casper. Which it is. Here's a trailer for Shaun of the Dead, a small UK indy film that looks like fun. And here's a trailer for Jeux D'Enfants (Child's Play), which will unfortunately be given the name Love Me If You Dare when it opens in the US. It looks positively charming.

Here's a lovely little something I stumbled onto at the Downloads section of Oni Press. They have a bunch of neat wallpapers there, and I noticed this one for a book and author I've never heard of, Bryan Lee O'Malley's Lost At Sea. I love it. It's a great image; lovers' locked lips in silhouette. And the text, if you can't see it, says "When I was with you, I was perfect." What a poignant pistolwhip. It's stark, simple, emotional, and a grabber. See, I love discovering things like this. This simple wallpaper is so fucking good, that it gets me intrigued, gets me looking up the book it promotes, and maybe I'll be several hundred pesos poorer for it. So to whoever designed it: it worked.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

There's nothing quite like Holy Week to reveal how bored we can get. Between livejournals reproducing like hornier-than-usual rabbits there is a mini-flurry of commenting (the fun, useless kind) not seen since the last wave of People Beginning to Blog. Meanwhile I am going back and forth between 2 books: JG Ballard's A User's Guide to the Millennium and Seth's It's a Good Life, If You Don't Weaken. Also been going through Ben Folds material & Sonic Youth (as shown in the heard section to the left).

And was happy today because I woke up in a sleepy hazefog, scribbled some shit down, then woke up later to see two fully-formed comics short story plots. Yay. :) But no artist. Anyone want to draw a man walking through snow for a few pages? He kicks some kids' asses towards the end.

I'm worried my prepaid internet card will run out and all the stores will be closed and I won't be able to waste time anymore. I surprisingly haven't gone through any DVDs like I thought I would. And I'm working on my Boracay post.

Anyway, what have you guys been up to?

Monday, April 05, 2004


I leave town for a few days and suddenly 2 people who had almost sworn never to blog are putting up posts. I'm consufed.

Friday, April 02, 2004

I kinda feel bad for Dave Sim. Here he is, having just released the 300th issue of his long-running comic book series Cerebus, a title he's been doing with a near-monthly regularity for almost 30 years, finally reaching its point of culmination, and it seems whatever press he gets these days half talks about his "reputation" as a misogynist. Cerebus first came out in the '70s, and began as a Conan spoof. Then somewhere, somewhen, Sim decided he'd do 300 issues, on a monthly schedule, and in the last issue Cerebus, an aardvark, would die, alone and unloved. It holds a record of some sort: longest sustained narrative, if I remember right. By a single author (he had a guy, Gerhard, who helped with backgrounds, etc.), no less. Some people opined that Sim would commit suicide upon publication of the 300th issue. Cerebus is one of those series that I always read about, was usually mentioned by a creator I like, and I thought that I'd get to reading it someday-- maybe when all 300 issues are done and the whole run is in big fat trade paperbacks. Which they now are, with the exception of the final volume. He was the first comics creator to devote a massive 500 or so pages to a single story ("High Society"). His "Church & State" took twice as long to complete. Cerebus has been mayor, pope, a bartender, a mercenary, all manner of occupations, and the title has largely been Sim's outlet of opinion and expression.

But in an issue of Cerebus, in the back pages where he usually prints fan mail and opinion essays, he published a long essay called Tangent, which dealt with the "feminist and homosexual axis," announcing his fervent anti-feminism and such. I don't really know the details; I never read the essay in question, just read things about the aftermath, the storm of controversy it caused. Other stories came about: he insulted Jeff ("Bone") Smith's Indian wife Vijaya and Smith challenged him to a fistfight; his longtime editor Diana Schutz resigned, supposedly due to his views on women. I don't particularly have anything against what Sim has to say (I couldn't, I haven't read it), but reading this interview at The Onion AV Club, it just strikes me that the man is an asshole. Which he doesn't have to be. His opinions might mystify a lot of people, but he himself should comport himself in a better manner.

I'm not so sure if I want to read his books now. I mean, the older ones I might still take a crack at, they're considered landmark works. But his recent stuff, post-"cracking up," as they say, maybe I'll pass. But even the older stuff that I did want to read, I'm hesitating now just because he's an insufferable boor.


Went to a wake the other day in my mom's hometown of Tanza, Cavite. My lola's brother had passed away. Got introduced to a lot of relatives, and it's a little sad that there's still so many relatives I haven't met. Their facial features betray our bloodline, though: one of my elder uncles even rubs his stomach the same way my mom's brother does.

Heard some interesting stories, too. Like how my lolo and lola met: they had relatives who lived across one another, and met when both were vacationing with their respective relatives (my lolo also comes from Cavite, but from Imus). And one of my uncles told the tale of how he smuggled in 4 baby birds from Canada in his pockets, occasionally going to the bathroom to let them out, and keeping them in a small perforated box in his hand-carry when he went to sleep. He used to breed fish but since that incident he's been breeding birds. I remember his house, we used to visit it often during my childhood: there were around 6 aquariums, and a fishpond, and we would watch prusisyons and santacruzans from his second-floor window that overlooked the main street.


I love the video of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' "Maps." It's a kind of cross between David Fincher's "Judith" video for A Perfect Circle and Mark Romanek's "Rain" video for Madonna, both of which I also love. All the videos are basically performance videos, except the videos reveal the people working on the video. So they're self-referential. In "Judith" this is played very subtly; you see some people at a monitor playing with audio levels, in silhouette, and that's it besides the fucking up of the gate and film negative. In "Rain" it's more elaborate: there's people watching, and the director (who I think is Ryuichi Sakamoto?), and different sets and producers. Where "Judith" is more of a kick-ass performance video, "Rain" is more of a statement about video-making, the glamour/artifice/commercial aspects, with a bit of performance thrown in. What I love about "Maps" is that there's this constant push-and-pull between reminding you that this is a music video and the fact that it's a genuinely emotional song. I love the shot that just holds on Karen O's face for a while, to the point where Karen starts looking around, not sure where she's supposed to be looking. There's shots of the lights changing gels so that the colors change; there's people out of focus in the background moving things, seen in mirror reflections. There's one long dolly shot showing the entire crew and some visitors (including one kid) watching the band perform, one person singing along, another with his head bobbing. I love when the video uses slow-motion; it's unexpected and near-invisible. At the end the camera tracks away, and the lights turn up revealing the set and warehouse they're shooting in; perfect.

Best of all for a music video-- it elevates the song. You know how a song you like becomes even better, becomes a song you LOVE because it's got a kick-ass video? That's how "Maps" is for me. Same thing with "Judith"-- I'm not really a Perfect Circle fan but I love that song.

Saw some Yeahs performances on video; they have an interesting dynamic, performance-wise. Their drummer looks so-- well, normal and clean-cut, like Max Fischer from Rushmore, or a young Max Weinberg. Nick Zinner is like the skinniest vampire, with a hairdo that's the rebellious teenage son of Nick Cave's, but he doesn't move around too much, seems to just spin slowly (but he throws his guitar like Melissa Auf Der Maur), and Karen O is a whirling dervish of energy. She's the Tasmanian Devil as vocalist. Her facial expressions change and twitch into caricatures of themselves, and she has this dance that she naturally reverts to at times that is charming.


Will be out of town until about Monday or Tuesday. Everyone stay safe and healthy.