Malungkot ang kapatid ko

Madilim

Malungkot ang kapatid ko at hindi niya alam kung bakit.

Matutulog siya, magigising sa umaga, at maaalalang malungkot pala siya — pero hindi niya alam kung bakit.

Babangon siya at magtatrabaho. Didiretso siya sa gym pagsapit ng alas singko, magbubuhat pagkatapos tumakbo. Mahihirapan siya sa simula pero maiaangat niya ang barbel nang sampu, tatlumpung beses. Para bang sanay na sanay na siyang pumasan ng mabigat, pero malungkot pa rin siya at hindi niya alam kung bakit.

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Versatile Blogger Award

versatile-blogger-award

Salamat kay Juvie sa pagnomina sa akin.

Kagaya ng ibang award, simple lang ang panuto: magpasalamat sa nagnomina, maglista ng pitong bagay tungkol sa sarili, at magnomina ng iba pang blogger.

Rebelde mode ako ngayon kaya naisip kong magsulat ng pitong opinyon tungkol sa drug war. Hindi na rin ako magnonomina ng ibang blogger at baka matakot pa sila.

Handa rin akong makinig sa opinyon ng iba. Kinikilala kong may mga tinatamasa akong pribilehiyo na maaaring nagpapapurol sa kapasidad kong magsuri. Gayunman, huwag sanang iikot ang mga puna sa, “hindi ka kasi tagarito.” Matagal nang may krimen at may mga adik — Tondo na ang Tondo kahit noong nasa Pilipinas pa ako. At sa tingin ko, may karapatan din namang magkuro kahit ang mga migrante at OFW.

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Awesome Blogger Award

Gracias, Amielle, por la nominacion! I wasn’t planning on updating this blog but thank you for giving me a reason to! 🙂

THE RULES:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you.
  2. Tag it under #awesomebloggeraward in the Reader.
  3. Answer the questions your nominator gave you.
  4. Nominate at least 5 awesome bloggers.
  5. Give your nominees 10 new questions to answer.
  6. Let your nominees know that they’ve been nominated.

1. What is your childhood dream that you never get to push/achieve?

Okay mga baks, may kwento ako.

Noong bata ako, gusto ko talagang maging botanist. Mahilig akong magbasa ng encyclopedia at sa dinami-rami ng pwedeng aralin, botany ang paksa na pinakapumukaw sa interes ko. Nahihiwagaan kasi ako sa pagiging “living thing” ng mga halaman. Para bang marginalized sila sa napakaraming aspeto, ultimo sa pagkakaroon ng top-billing sa mga bugtong kasi wala sila sa karaniwang intro na “hindi tao, hindi hayop.”

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“It’s so hot!”

My roommate just asked me to close the windows and shut the blinds because “it’s so hot outside.” Mind you, it’s only 36 degrees (or around 97 degrees in Freedom units).

I say only 36 because dude, that’s everyday temperature in the Philippines. The heat could even soar to over 40 degrees and man, we Filipinos deal with it like badass mofos. We go to malls, we amp up the electric fans and exercise our biceps with the pamaypay — as always, we just make do. Every now and then you’d hear people complaining how it’s so Majinit Jackson but Metro Manila is already Hell and we’re all lovely spawns of Satan anyway.

Even the people at work were ranting against the heat yesterday but boy I was wearing a jacket. “Why the fuck?” they asked and I was almost tempted to answer, “I’m Filipino, bitchez, and this is our sweater weather.”

Ah, this is one of those times when I just know I won’t ever fully belong to this country. A friend just recently implored me to finally switch citizenship but I told him I don’t think I’m ready. Swearing allegiance to another country is something I don’t feel like doing yet. Maybe never, maybe soon, but definitely not now. He jokingly mocked me for romanticizing nationalism, for being so sentimental. Indeed I am.

I am Filipino, born and raised — and no, this blistering Canadian summer ain’t got nothing on my flat, flip ass.

On Filipino science fiction

Early this morning I watched the trailer for an upcoming Filipino science fiction movie called Instalado. Directed by Jason Paul Laxamana, the film explores the idea of a future in which knowledge can be purchased and installed on anyone willing to pay the cost. The protagonist is Victor, a young farmer hoping for a better life for his family, and the narrative follows his quest to be an “instalado” or an “insta” despite his limited means.

The film is an entry to TOFARM Film Festival, a two-year old fest that specifically aims to “uplift the farmers [and their] personal development.” Set in a country whose economy is still arguably hinged on agriculture, Instalado boasts of a premise that is both significant and potentially radical.

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Sa ngalan ng pangalan

Burgis na kayabangan siguro itong maituturing pero hindi ba’t ang jologs ng mga pangalang may silent “h” sa gitna? ‘Yung tipong Jhasmine o Bhea o Dhonalyn. Naku, isa pa ‘yang mga pangalang nagtatapos sa “lyn” o kaya—dios mio patawarin—lhyn.

Hindi naman ako tumatawa o nangangantyaw tuwing may nakikilala akong Jhonalyn o Gheralyn. May agarang panghuhusga lang na kumakalabit sa isip ko: siguro hindi sila mayaman.

Class-based, oo. Mukhang wala naman sa hinagap ng mga Sy at Zobel at Gokongwei na magdagdag ng silent “h” sa gitna ng pangalan. Khecelyn Zobel o Jhobert Elizalde—parang ang sarap sagutin ng, weh? 

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Review: Encantadia (2016) Pilot Episode

Let me preface this by saying that I will not contest Encantadia‘s effectiveness in entertaining its avid viewers. I understand that many people, especially local audiences, do not demand visual sophistication and narrative coherence in the movies and TV series they consume.

But when people say Encantadia’s visual effects are top-tier — please, don’t me. Filipinos have done better. Erik Matti comes to mind with Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles and even the 2005 movie Exodus: Tales from the Enchanted Kingdom. While having budget limitations is understandable, it’s time to recognize that these fake-looking dragons and tall castles in synthetically vibrant colors are just as backward as what we had in the early 90s.

It would have been better if the visual shortcomings were used in an attempt to create a campy tone. Encantadia, however, takes itself way too seriously. What’s worse is that even if we forego the cheap visual look, the series’ mythology itself stands on an even rockier foundation.

Cassiopeia guards a Brilyante that’s sought after by beings with evil intentions—who these people are, we don’t know. Why they want the Brilyante? They just do. Why are they evil? They just are. It’s like the writers are telling us: ‘wag kayong tanong nang tanong, matuwa na lang kayo!

In order to protect the Brilyante from said evildoers, Cassiopeia breaks up the jewel into four, each of them representing the classical elements earth, wind, air, and fire. The four jewels are then handed to the leaders of the four kingdoms of Adamya, Sapiro, Lireo, and Hathoria.

Why the four kingdoms? Who knew. Basta ganun.

The pilot episode is essentially an hour long exposition explaining the history of the four brilyante. It’s never made clear, however, what exactly the jewels do. They’re supposed to be powerful but even with the Brilyante ng Tubig, Adamya isn’t able to stop the Hathoria gang from barging in. Hathor king Avrak only has to say “akin na ‘yan” and boom, Imaw gives him the brilyante. And even when Avrak possesses two of four jewels and his kingdom is now the most powerful in the land, Cassiopeia easily teleports into his castle and kills his guards.

So, um, how exactly are these jewels powerful if anyone can just show up and kill your people?

It’s also annoying how Cassiopeia conveniently prophesies Avrak’s downfall. There’s no inclination that she’s clairvoyant but bam, apparently Hathoria would be defeated by a princess born on the same day Avrak dies. Later in the episode, Reyna Minea learns that she’s pregnant. A few more scenes and Minea prays to Emre who then fast-tracks the queen’s pregnancy. How convenient that Minea is about to give birth sooner than later! Deus ex machina, am I right?

Employing major tweaks in the narrative just for the story’s convenience is honestly terrible storytelling. The script even violates the sacred “show don’t tell” rule. After Adhara defeats Amihan in a battle, the former holds a gem in her hand and shouts, “Para sa paghahanda sa laban namin ni Minea!” She is not speaking to anyone at all; she just has to say the sentence aloud because the writers were too lazy to actually portray her motivations instead of reducing it to one line.

The characters are one dimensional as expected. The queen is the loving, motherly leader. The soldier generals are willing to die for their kingdoms. The evil lords are just evil for evil’s sake. Nothing fancy, just cardboard archetypes with no depth whatsoever.

Was the episode entertaining? It might be for people who only have three TV channels for options.

I, however, feel slighted for being a victim of a good build-up. I came in expecting a carefully planned mythology and a script that at least attempts to create compelling characters and deliver clever dialogs. What I got — and I say this with a deep sigh of disappointment — was an episode that is frankly a demo piece for a terribly written short fiction.