“DEAR CARILLON” #atozchallenge2014

LOL!!! To those who have seen this and don’t understand what I’m saying in this poem, my apologies. I had scheduled this as today’s “U” challenge for the A-to-Z Challenge and promptly forgot about the draft! Had the full intention to write something about it but obviously,…I’ve been a bit behind schedule for the challenge as I am supposed to be posting my “R” writeup. This came out because I scheduled it when I was planning for post themes.

I was thinking about UNIVERSITY. You see, in the Philippines, March and April are graduation months. I graduated April 24 from college and, if I’m not mistaken, on the same date from high school. Had wanted to post on the 24th but couldn’t think of a related “S” word. My full intention was to write about several tips for new graduates, you know, what to expect, but I guess that will have to wait till another day.

Meanwhile, this poem was written some years ago as a kind of joke, I think, back in circa 2008 or 2009. The University had its centennial year and I thought this would be a funny way to celebrate it my way.

Carillon is actually the title of the newsletter the Uni sends its alumni (come to think of it, I haven’t been receiving any for years already). In it, you read about the school’s achievements, successful alumni (read: business people, politicians, award-winners, inventors, the likes), board top-notchers, news about this and that group from here or abroad donating tons of moolah to the university…You know, things that most alumni like me are generally not a part of.

Well, that’s life. And I guess that’s what I wanted to impart to new graduates, what is Ideal vs. Reality in the adult world. You may graduate from a school like UP but what happens next is totally up to you.

As said, that specific post will have to wait. For now, I share this poem to you. Translation below. Forgive the quality of the translation. I don’t really consider that one as a poem.

Dear CarillonKarapatang-Ari © J.Gi Federizo

 

“DEAR CARILLON”

Sometimes

when I read you,

I wish to be

in your pages.

But I don’t know

how to do this,

when I’ll be famous

or if I’ll ever be.

 

I am not rich.

I am not a doctor.

I am not a lawyer

nor a senator.

Not a professor

nor even title-holder,

no awards for me,

not even a board topnotcher.

 

I have no money

to donate to you.

Of prestigious groups,

not even a member.

I don’t want to go abroad

and add to brain-drain.

Staying here already

has my brain drained.

 

No reason whatsoever

to update my records.

Nothing new at all

and I’m still single.

And there are many other things

to be more concerned about

like clothes, house

medicine and food.

 

Ooh, Carillon,

my dear Carillon!

When will I ever

be in your pages?

Only one possibility

I do know:

To finally be

in the obituary…

Copyright © J.Gi Federizo

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Hope you enjoyed that one and sorry that this post kept coming out while I was editing. BTW,,,,

CONGRATULATIONS, GRADUATES OF 2014!!!

This post is a part of the…

a-to-z-challenge

Top Ten Questions People Ask Me #atozchallenge2014

In my Q&A Portion, I encourage people to ask me any questions, as long as they do not “border on too personal, below-the-belt, or unwholesome (too adult-oriented, nasty, of an intolerant nature).” So of course, being oh-so-popular, I only got a few questions thrown at me (LOL!!!).

So today, I thought I’d share to you the QUESTIONS people have most often asked me (aside from the name) and, naturally, my responses.

Q-and-A-bubble

 

 

 

 

 

j-gi-federizo

There are the Hair Raising Questions, called so because my hair tends to raise questions.

1. (Upon seeing the curls) Is your hair naturally curly?

“Yes, it is.”

Sometimes they ask this because they are amused. Sometimes, a few peeps actually like the curls. Sometimes, they ask because they are partial to straight hair. Whatever the reason, it’s in the genes, folks.

surly-hair-woman

This is not me, but a Googled image. I’ve seen some pictures of me with my back at the camera and I think this comes close to what it looks like when my hair is long already

2. Don’t you want to have your hair straightened?

“No. I like my hair.”

Maintenance is a bit of a challenge sometimes, but I kind of like it curly. One, I don’t want to conform to people’s standards when it comes to hair. Two, this is our Filipino ancestors’ legacy. I will not be ashamed of it. Three, it’s just gonna go back to curly anyway.

3. Oh, your hair is soft?!!

“Yep.”

That’s my reply because more than a question, it’s really often an exclamation. Due to my natural curls, people tend to assume the strands to feel…hmnn…well, wiry to touch, maybe, or stiff. Then they get to actually touch it and get a pleasant surprise. Another surprise is the strands are actually thinner than they seem.

 

Now let’s talk about Age-Defying Questions. Well, more like Confirm-or-Deny.

1. How old are you?

“Secret.” Or, “I stopped counting.”

For the longest time, I would give the first answer, sometimes I still do. Even when I was younger, I didn’t feel comfortable answering this. Why? Because I knew/know that people tend to label you and judge you and your capabilities, especially if you’re a woman, based on your age.

You could be as young as 25 and already, they would be needling you about getting married. You could be older and the more they would needle you about it as if the status would be what’s going to define the whole you. Or sometimes, they assume you won’t be able to catch up or be cool enough to fit in with younger people, which can be a disadvantage in the workplace.

One thing I can say: I don’t lie about it. I just don’t normally give the answer they want to hear. If it does not involve anything related to work, health or important documents, let me stop at 28. I’m in my 30s but let them assume that themselves.

2. (When I actually give the age) Really?!! But how come you look younger???

I shrug.

Ironically, many people tend to assume I am younger so they can’t believe when I say I’m this age. Sometimes I feel like a teenager having an identity crisis. I’m neither old enough nor young enough for anything. Go figure. Ha!!!

3. Have you had any boyfriend? or How many boyfriends have you had?

I smile and keep silent until I am made to spit it out.

Well, I used to smile and keep silent, that is. The truth was, I was someone who was what we call an NBSB — No. Boyfriend. Since. Birth. At my age. I don’t see why anyone could have a boyfriend at birth, but that’s beside the point.

I always believe that being single should not be seen as shameful. Why push to be in a relationship just for the sake of it and suffer?  A relationship means having responsibilities anyway and, as others claim, it is better to be an NBNP — No Boyfriend, No Problem. It’s on a case to case basis, really.

But I have to say, to be still an NBSB at 30 could be a trifle awkward to admit. It’s one thing to be single right now, another to be forever single, and it seemed I fell into that second category. I was single not by choice alone. And then here were others practically demanding that I explained further the whys, to which I said “I just haven’t been in love yet,” and what they perceived as the whys, to which I didn’t know the answers.

But what was I to do? Lie??? Being single is not pathetic. Lying like that, now that would be pathetic! Life was what it was. I was not going to lie, just hoped no one would ask so I could avoid the awkward pick-me-apart moment. It also gave more reason for inquiring minds to go around the age question and these ones below…

4.  Are you married already?

“Nope.”

That’s a typical question, isn’t it? It just wasn’t what I wanted to hear when I was much younger because usually, it would be followed up with How come you’re not married yet? said in a way that made me feel like I was supposed to be ashamed for committing a mortal sin by not being married to anybody.

Well, that’s bound to change.

5. You have kids? or How many kids do you have?

“Uh, no, none.”

Typical question, too, right? Just not the kind of thing a young, unmarried woman would like to hear. Kind of a downer because it just emphasizes how frumpy she looks.

Now before anyone reacts violently and raises hell because I just generalized married women as frumpy, please take time to realize that biologically, that’s what’s bound to happen to most of us women. That hurts but that’s reality. There are just some lucky girls who still manage to not look a day bigger after giving birth, whether they have done something about it or not.

The thing is, I am frumpy and no amount of denying is going to change the fact, so anyone who asks me the question above, I cannot really blame. I just blame my ego for not coping well with the situation. I should keep a mantra. Say it with me, girls: “I don’t care. I love myself. I don’t care. I love myself…”

 

Last, we have the Family-Oriented Questions.

1. Are you the daughter of Mr./Mrs. Federizo, the teacher? Where is s/he now?

“Yes, I am…S/he’s _(FILL IN THE BLANKS)_.”

I used to get these inquiries often enough until these recent years when both of my parents were retired and, later, passed away. I don’t really mind answering…well, most times. It’s just that folks whom I don’t know from Adam (or Eve, as the case maybe) just suddenly ask me these questions. Sometimes, they just go straight to asking how my parents are, where they are, etc., and almost always, they don’t even mention how they know my parents. They just expect me to respond.

creepy-spyI especially don’t like answering when they ask who stays with my parents when I am away (that is if they don’t  know yet about my parents being gone forever). I more especially don’t like to answer now when they ask me who is left at home when I am away, or who stays with me when I am home, or when I usually go home.

Would you feel comfortable giving your answer to complete strangers or people you know but don’t really trust? When my parents were alive, I worried about their safety, now I worry about the house’s and mine.

2. Don’t you have a sister? Where is she?

“Yes. She’s in _(FILL IN THE BLANKS)_.”

Okay, I still answer, even when I am in no mood for small talk, just to humor others. There are just some who tend to give their unnecessary opinions: “Why does she have to stay there? She should bring her family here.” “Isn’t that too far? She ought to go back home.” “It’s better here. She should stay here where….” Etcetera, blaaah…

Sometimes, I am tempted to say, “Uh, excuse me. First, she’s an adult. She has a life of her own. Second, we respect that, so should you. Third, I’m sleepy and cranky and really not in the mood to discuss with you things that ought to be discussed within the family alone. I can be polite, but please don’t push me.”

 

So THERE!!! So far, those are the usual questions I get that are at the top of my head. Thank you for letting me share things about myself, embarrassing or not, but very honest. 🙂

 

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Not sure if you enjoyed this one, but I did. It allowed me to express myself more freely and talk publicly about certain thoughts and things I have kept inside.

This post serves as my “Q” post for…

a-to-z-challenge

“Lord, Patawad”…Do You Haggle or Let It Go? #atozchallenge2014

The Lenten season has just passed. Lent is always a time to reflect not on what bad things other people have done to you and plotting out what steps to take to avenge yourself. Rather, it is a time to reflect on what wrong things YOU have done against God, others, and even yourself. It is a time to change and be kinder. It is a time to say, to quote a currently very popular local rap song, “Lord, Patawad.”

Chinese-forgiveness“Patawad,” which is how you shorten “Patawarin mo ako,” means “Please forgive me” in Filipino. You ask forgiveness or kapatawaran.

However, it should not be construed as “patawadin” or simply asking for a tawad, which is the term to use when you haggle with a seller or a customer over the price of something that is commonly tangible. Come to think of it, that’s what most of us do. We pray to our God (depending on religion), supposedly ask for forgiveness, then try to bargain our way for our own personal gains. Whatever happens to sincerity?

It doesn’t matter what religion you have. The act of forgiveness is always taught in all of the religions. Reflection and repentance need not be listed just under Things-to-Do-During-Lent. These must be observed in your everyday life, not scheduled annually. To be able to forgive especially those who have wronged you the most is a mark of a strong person. But that is just the first of a two-part healing process. The second part is to forget. Years ago, I posted this in my old blog and I  think it unfortunately still holds true:

Why is it so much easier to be angry than to say sorry? So much easier to lose your head and shout instead of holding back? No weapon hurts more than bladed words that cut deepest in a fit of anger, yet not meant to wound. But wound hearts, they do. These wounds, they do not completely heal long after the battle has ended, wounds that shall once again open in the course of another battle. In the end, no one wins the battle, and no one will ever win the war. And we glance at each other in quiet desperation.

lao-tzu-quoteForgiveness cleanses the spirit. Learn how to sincerely ask for forgiveness and grant forgiveness in return. Asking and giving may not be an easy thing to do, especially the latter, yet it is the RIGHT thing to do. For sure, you will fail a lot of times, but the most important things in life are the hardest to acquire. What you need is the sincere heart to keep coming back from failure time and again until you are finally able to, well, to quote another currently popular song, “Let It Go.”

 

 

 

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Thanks for dropping by and I hope I did not say anything that might offend anyone. I am trying to keep up with a daily challenge. It would be easy just to think of a word and write something brief, but then I wouldn’t want to write about something in a “half-hearted” manner. The purpose of the challenge is not only to practice writing but to learn to enjoy it. It should not be a burden. So I write about what matters to me. I do look forward to writing the next posts. I’m writing the next draft already! I hope to get to read your posts as well 🙂

As said, this is a part of the…

a-to-z-challenge

Letters incoming!…Well, soon

Okay, I’m way behind schedule for the A-to-Z Challenge. But I’m trying, and I think that’s what’s important, right? I think a lot of us get stuck with the other stuff in our lives that are really rather important so we all should be a bit kinder to ourselves and forgive.

I have my ideas for the letters “P” and “Q” already and still deciding which ideas to use for the next ones, but I do have them. I promise to post as soon as I can 🙂

Office Blogmates #atozchallenge2014

Honestly, it took me this long to post something because for my idea, I couldn’t find two audio files that I was supposedly going to share. Well, seeing that I’m way past schedule, I thought I’d post something to do about OFFICE instead.

It was really my original theme, but I couldn’t decide what to write about it exactly. I now realize that since we’re all about blogging anyway, I think I should introduce to you past and present officemates who also actively blog and whom I follow. I also realize this is a way better idea. Why didn’t I think about that before?

So folks, here are my office blogmates, from my first “offices” to my current one. Let’s start with…

JONAS DIEGO

Technically, Jonas Diego and I were officemates, having worked together for a college radio station, which was technically not an office, but anyhoo. He maintains JonasDiego.com, naturally, and its spawns, TheBlurb, which is a webcomic, and I Want Work, which is an online classified ads blog over at Blogspot.

“Jonas, …also continues to participate in events and activities which push his advocacy of a thriving, vibrant, and sustainable Philippines Comic Book Industry.” I used to say he was one of those responsible for the birth of the Philippine comics convention dubbed Komikon, but was just recently corrected. I do think that he also had a lot to do with promoting the local comics industry these past years, so I still say, good job, Raven! (He probably hates it now when he’s called this, but I’m just so used to it!)

jonas-diego

JonasDiego.com

the-blurb-webcomics

The Blurb Webcomics

i-want-work

I Want Work!

THE PROFESSIONAL HECKLER

As far as I can remember, Loi Landicho a.k.a. The Professional Heckler really had been quite the funnyman and a heckler even before the fame. He was a classmate and I got to work with him in the school paper (that’s technically an office, too, since it did have one). So you know, he’s no stranger to writing and politics. He’s a trivia-freak, too, and I guess that comes with the territory.

Witty Loi, or his more famous monicker, Professional Heckler, is now a multi-awarded political humorist-blogger. He quotes Henry Cate VII: “The problem with political jokes is they get elected.” True, that.

professional-heckler

The Professional Heckler

TONYO CRUZ

tonyo-cruz

TonyoCruz.com

Another one from the school paper. I also knew Tonyo Cruz as witty and a good writer-journalist. I remember Editorial meetings and he would be one of those very animatedly discussing topics and fervently debating. I’ve only recently discovered his blog because I’ve also only reconnected with him.

That aside, I have known and heard from the grapevine that Tonyo has stayed quite active as a political — uh — activist (it’s not redundant, is it?). Looks like he hasn’t shown any signs of stopping. Right now, he writes for a column in one of the big national dailies. His blog, TonyoCruz.com also has its share of awards.

FRANCES BELDIA

frances-beldia

Cure4Mondays

Technically, we were not officemates. In a sense, we had a non-working relationship. You see, I was already out of the magazine I worked for when she joined the publication. I got to know her because they still needed information from me and I got to visit them. To make the long story short, here we are, blogmates.

Frances Beldia calls her blog Cure4Mondays, “a mom blog on homeschooling, kids and family activities, events, reviews on books, movies, products, life in Manila and the rewards and stresses that come with it.” She hasn’t been that much active lately, but I find her blog to be a nice read.

ANDOYMAN KOMIKERO

The office was really where I met this guy. We were not exactly talking much until the topic of comic books (his forte) and, later on, of forensic science (my interest) came up. That was when Andy Edoria really began his career in the comics industry as Andoyman Komikero. He has since also begun to carve his own niche in the industry and it seems things are going the positive route.

andoyman-komikero

Andoyman Komikero

Andy already has several comics to his name, the series titled Ang Sumpa, in particular. He has also drawn for others, most notably for the elusive Bob Ong, whom he has communicated with only online and unfortunately hasn’t even met in person.

MEIKAH DELID

Until last month, she was an officemate, our Operations Manager, in fact. Our OM had been the most active blogger, if not the only one, save from myself. Every time she logged into YM to which we were all connected, she imparted words of wisdom by posting relevant quotes as her status messages.

Miss Meikah, more endearingly known as Miss Meiks, imparts more wisdom through her blog Mama is Working. “This blog chronicles my daily parenting challenges and triumphs. I will be talking mostly about the lessons I am learning about parenting, motherhood, womanhood, keeping a home and pursuing a career,” she says.

meikah-delid

Mama is Working

[IMPORTANT NOTE: I have un-linked from Mama is Working. Miss Meiks can now be found and followed at Mom in Midlife.]

JANE C.

This is my youngest blogmate. Fresh out of college, Jane C. is not exactly a neophyte when it comes to blogging, having maintained several blogs before deciding to keep her WordPress one called Etcetera. Basically, she says it’s for random stuff, but if I am to summarize it, it’s a blog for travels with friends, retro music, fun runs and baking experiments (that me and our officemates often get to taste-test). She’s done some fiction in WattPad, too.

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Etcetera

 

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The Meeka and Lexy Project

Jane also isn’t that new in writing, having written for a magazine (not the one I worked for) during and post-internship. Plus, while not currently updated, she has maintained with a friend another blog that has “Three missions: grab every grub in town, sweat ’em out, and type ’em all down” — The Meeka and Lexy Project.

(Oh and she’s part of the A-to-Z Challenge so you might want to check her blog out as well)

MADMA

I only got to work with Marvin Salazar for a short period of time. I was new at work and he was about to go. He was really quiet, poised and contemplative. The most times we really spoke was whenever I shared Fita biscuits with him as his station was next to mine. So imagine my surprise and confusion to find that this person who soon somehow made a name in the blogworld as Madma and Marvin the Quiet were one and the same!

madma-blog

Yours Truly, Madma

He owns the blog Yours Truly, Madma where he dishes out socio-political commentaries, gives sensible if not somewhat naughty advice particularly on sexuality, and shares other fun, funny and more naughty stuff. The language may not be to your liking but that’s how he is. Madma’s blog gained quite a following when, well I don’t know how it all started exactly, but he ended up holding an online fashion modeling contest where anyone could join and others could comment and vote for which photos they deemed best and most appropriate for the week’s theme. That was a blast!

 

And that, my friends, are my office blogmates. I hope you give their blogs a visit to see for yourselves why I follow them. 🙂

 

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Did you like checking out their blogs? Then feel free to LIKE this page and theirs 😀 There is another person I was thinking of including in the list but I am not sure if it’s okay with her. Will update once I get her go signal.

This post is for the…

a-to-z-challenge

Not One Less #atozchallenge2014

This is real life

This is real life

Yi ge dou bu neng shao or Not One Less (1999). This is also a well-received and well-applauded film in the international scene. Not surprising for it is a film directed by the same man who gave us Raise the Red Lantern, Hero, and actress Zhang Ziyi (via The Road Home) – Zhang Yimou.

Based on “There is a Sun in the Sky” by Shi Xiang Sheng, who also wrote the screenplay, the story tells about a young girl who actually represents China’s poor and practically illiterate sector. Oh, but that’s getting ahead of the story.

In the movie, Wei Min Zhi, young and barely out of her teens, is given the task to substitute for the very dedicated Teacher Gao at the Shiuxian Village’s school in Beijing. Having big and understandable doubts, Teacher Gao still hands over the reins to her for a while as he is left with no choice.

It being a job, Wei asks for payment. They haggle until they both agree to a decision, that he will make sure she gets paid provided that in his absence, no student leaves schooling to work, “not one less. Wei intends to keep this promise, a promise that eventually becomes threatened when one of the students runs away.

It is obvious that Not One Less is a movie intended to serve as an eye-opener and does not pretend to be anything else. It touches on issues such as poverty, child labor and illiteracy. It is realistic enough as who are we to say that a situation such as Wei’s does not exist? And yet it also touches on the importance of education, sense of responsibility, patience, even hope.

While you maybe amused by the story from time to time, you can’t help but feel pity for the characters. Imagine a 13-year-old kid forced by the need to earn and teach other kids almost her own age. I winced between chuckles as Wei struggled to find the right words to teach the only song she claimed she knew, the right answers to simple mathematics, and the right way to find the missing boy in the jungle called The City.

The story is told in quite a simple manner. No music, no flairs and, save for one – Li Fan Fan – no real celebrities. Read the credits and you’ll soon realize that none of the cast, whether main or not, were real actors (reading credits is one informative but often neglected activity when we watch movies). In fact, everyone used his or her own name! Wei Min Zhi was actually a student from Zhenlingbao Village Middle School. Trouble-maker Zhang Huike was actually also another student from another school. Teacher Gao (Gao Enman) was a real primary school teacher.

Though the story was not based on a particular and actual person’s life, the cast played their own roles, from the young runner-athlete to the village mayor to the TV anchor.

There is no great acting. I must say the better. Raw acting can sometimes make everything more believable. Watch it and you’ll see what I mean. Heck, it’s like seeing a familiar situation in my country’s own backyard! A plus for Zhang Huike’s infectious smile. But even that, I missed the first time I saw him cry and in this particular scene:

Li Fan Fan: Do you like the city?

Zhang Huike: Yes.

Li Fan Fan: What is good about it?

Zhang Huike: The city is beautiful and progressive. Much better than the countryside.

Li Fan Fan: What’s the most lasting impression?

Zhang Huike (pauses and the smile fades): That I had to beg for food. I will always remember that.

So if you feel you can break away from all the hi-tech, gory and adrenaline-rushing flicks, opt for a simple and realistic story. Here it is and don’t expect any butt-kicking Wei Min Zhi anytime soon. Just isn’t going to happen.

wei-min-zhi

“Teacher” and her students

I give this movie FOUR-AND-A-HALF STARS!!!

4.5 stars

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It is my wish that you guys get to watch this movie. It’s so simple, it’s beautiful. But if I’m not mistaken, the movie is now uploaded in YouTube, complete with the English subtitles. I used to have a copy but someone borrowed it, who let others borrow it, and now it is supposedly lost. Nope, no attempt to replace it, sadly.

This review is posted already in IMDb, but I was going to share anyway, so why not share as my “N” post for the April challenge:

a-to-z-challenge

Lea and Her BABY Ten Years Ago #atozchallenge2014

NOTE: I can’t believe it’s been ten years! I had several ideas for my “L” post for the A-to-Z Challenge until I decided that I wanted to feature my favorite artist, Lea SalongaI wanted to post either what I wrote before about her anniversary concert that I attended or my story on how I met her face to face and my little anecdote about it. Truth is I couldn’t find them. But I found THIS and I don’t mind sharing it at all 🙂 I’m just surprised that I read that the production was back in 2004. Time sure does fly! 

 

By the way, I know “L” comes before “M,” but I’m just making up for what I missed. Cut me some slack 🙂

 

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lea-salonga-babyReality is, what drew most of Atlantis Productions’ BABY The Musical‘s audience to march to Meralco Theater – literally from the gate to the building for this writer – consists of two words and five syllables: Lea Salonga. She was, of course, a big crowd-drawer. The posters said it all. “Lea Salonga in BABY The Musical.”

 

But what made people smile afterwards, long before the show was over, was a combination of four things: Lea, the story, the music, and the whole production itself. More than any one of the audience asked for or expected. I, for one, while excited about watching a musical, only psyched myself to enjoy watching the actress should the show proved the opposite of engaging. Oh, but it was engaging! And I had nothing to worry about.

 

Richard Maltby Jr.‘s BABY The Musical tells the story of three couples – Lizzie Fields (Salonga) and Danny Hooper (David Shannon), Pam (Agot Isidro) and Nick Sakarian (Jett Pangan) , and Arlene (Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo) and Alan McNalley (Miguel Faustmann).

 

Couple Number One. Lizzie and Danny, both in college, are living in together. They get the shock of their lives when the stork suddenly decides to drop them a visit and leave a gift. The practical and organized world of Lizzie is suddenly invaded by a third party, by the discovery that she is pregnant. It would make for a typical story. Guy finds out, guy runs away. But no. Instead, Lizzie is the one afraid of making the commitment and doing what Danny deems necessary, which is to get married. For Lizzie, “I don’t wanna get married because I don’t wanna get a divorce!” While she is prepared to be with Danny and raise the baby, marriage is not something she wants to say yes to.

 

(See and hear Lea perform with Liz Callaway Lizzie’s song “The Story Goes On” below)

 

 

Couple Number Two. Pam and Nick is a couple in their 30’s, married for two years, and still childless. Suddenly, it seems their prayers are answered. Pam, after a visit from the hospital, informs her husband that she is finally pregnant! The already-happy couple is now much happier. Finally, a baby!…The celebration is short-lived, however. They soon find out that, yes, Mrs. Sakarian is with child, only it is Nick’s sister-in-law. Having failed, they decide to consult a doctor and soon find out the cause. Then follows the hilarious attempts to conceive and the conflict that goes with the problem.

 

Couple Number Three. Arlene and Alan McNalley, in their 40’s, are prepared for a lifetime of being “TWO”, that is a family minus all their three kids. Arlene looks forward to finally having time alone with her husband at last, having sent their youngest child off to college. She is in, however, for a rude awakening. As said, “…a night of unexpected passion lands them back where they started” …Pregnant! Alan is overwhelmed with joy. Arlene, unfortunately, obviously isn’t. A new baby in the family just isn’t what she needs now, not anymore.

 

To be honest, a part of me was really interested in seeing the show because of the premise. Why wouldn’t BABY be interesting? It is, after all, about relationships between men and women, and particularly about the responsibility that often follows – raising children. As Maltby said, BABY is about that something that is not really rare and, yet, is often taken for granted…Or something like that.

 

Based on the book by Sybille Pearson, the musical does not only tell of interwoven stories, oftentimes “told” with humor. Behind the laughs, however, lie the serious problems that come with having a baby and that need to be addressed. It tackles concerns such as pre-marital sex, living in, women’s lib, sterility, age, and yes, even abortion. Etcetera. Not all of these are directly mentioned throughout the course of the play, nor does it tend to be preachy. You’d have to be dumb, though, not to notice the subtle hints at times. Either that or you were sleeping.

 

 

Baby-musical-cast

THE CAST (from left to right): Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo, Miguel Faustmann, David Shannon, Lea Salonga, Agot Isidro, and Jett Pangan

 

Lea as Lizzie was perfect. Playing a 20-year-old didn’t seem to be a “STREEETCH,” unlike what she herself said. Not at all. The voice was as crystal clear as ever, both in singing and speaking. That is a trait that sets her apart from most actors today and makes her Number One in many people’s books. And man, did I laugh when she danced and bounced, big belly and all! No wonder Julie Andrews loves her voice…Lea. You just gotta love her.

 

David was convincing, as well, as Danny. Listening to him sing reminded me of the character Chris in Miss Saigon. Oh, but wait. He did play Chris in the U.K Tour of M.S.! Four things I like about the guy: he sings well, he sang “I Chose Right,” he played Rum Tum Tugger and Marius in a CATS and a Les Miserables production respectively, and he is married to an equally talented Filipina artist, Ima Castro! And – oh! – he signed the cover of my Collector’s Edition CD, so that makes it five! Well, his presence in the theater scene is surely welcome and appreciated.

 

menchu-lauchengco-yulo

Got pic from HERE

From the role of Schrintze in Fiddler on the Roof  in 1978 to this year’s Arlene, Miss Menchu has indeed proved her mettle in the business. It seems I liked that mettle and it has made a fan out of this writer. Listening her do the solo piece “Patterns” gave me the goosebumps, the very good kind of goosebumps. Despite that she is a great actress, though, she still did not come across as forty-ish, which Arlene should have been, and which she actually is. Miss Menchu, with all that faux curly locks that were intended to make her appear 43, is really a very beautiful woman who looks much younger than she actually is. So I guess this comment is more of a good kind of negative response, if you know what I mean.

 

Mister Faustmann was actually my problem. Of course, he was a good actor. His recent awards say it all. The show, however, did not showcase much of his singing talent. He did have his own solo, ”Easier To Love,” which I liked, but it was not much to give me the same kind of goosebumps as aforementioned. Not his fault, I know. It just was not meant to be goosebump-y, but rather a humorous take on and comparison between love for a spouse and love for a child. Guess which is easier.

 

The show bared two revelations, namely Jett and Agot.

 

jett-pangan

Got pic from HERE

Pre-theater, the only songs that I could remember The Dawn frontman singing were not really that impressive, for me, at least. But ever since I found out his stints in shows such as The Rocky Horror Show and Tick, Tick, Boom!, I had been interested in seeing him perform. Whoah, baby! The show gave me the opportunity to hear the man, and boy, was I surprised! All I can say is he has got one of the best voices that I ever heard, ever! Jett could act as well, bringing the house down with his portrayal of funnyman Nick. On both occasions that I watched (yes, I watched it twice), he got the audience clapping wildly at curtain call.

 

Agot, like I said, was quite a revelation as well. Onstage, the prim and proper lady we had come to know suddenly transformed into a funny, kikay, and yes, daring woman. Well, at least, more daring than the usual Agot. The novice among them (she recently starred in her first musical, TrumpetsHonk!), she held her own against the more seasoned actors. She has become a better actress and a better singer as well. The sporty persona of her character Pam, though, just was not Agot. For a basketball coach, she sure played ball like – should I say it? – a girl. But it was not a major concern, anyway, so who actually cared?

 

The whole story would not be complete without the Ensemble. Very special mention to the great people who provided all sorts of characters that helped mold the whole story and piece it together. The show was not found wanting, what with such great talents such as Chari Arespacochaga, Cathy Azanza, Topper Fabregas, Christine Sambeli-Marquez, Jun Ofrasio and Robie Zialcita (whose doctor was quite a riot with Nick and Pam). Most of them are theater veterans. Kumbaga, ‘di matatawaran ang galing. (In other words, their great talents are all worth it.)

 

My only complaint was during ”The Ladies Singing Their Song,” most of the ladies didn’t look their part. The tennis women and the woman with ten kids did sound older but looked much younger. I mean, I would kill to have those figures and legs! Sure, older women do have the right to look gorgeous (Miss Menchu comes to mind again), but let’s face it. In reality, how many older women you know actually look like that?

 

Now comes the part where we criticize the music…Frankly, I find it a daunting task as I have come to love the songs, a collaboration of two wonderful musicians. Maltby’s lyrics, set into music by David Shire. Deadly combination. Add in an orchestra led by Gerard Salonga and his baton. Maltby, himself, said it. BABY’s music is not like the usual stuff we musical-lovers have come to expect. Heck, the story is not the usual stuff. That all the more makes it dear. The story, the music, the setting, the production, the whole of it, however contemporary, is a classic. Classic in the sense that whatever period it is, it will always sound fresh. The musical was written and first done in the early ‘80s. If I haven’t told you that, would you have realized it? No. That’s how un-antiquated it is.

 

All in all, BABY The Musical, under the direction of Bobby Garcia, was quite a success indeed. True, Lea’s name dragged people’s butts away from other activities and into the Meralco Theater seats. The smiles on people’s faces after the show, however, were the result of the whole new musical experience. Ladies and gentlemen, it was a bouncing BABY!!!

 

Meanwhile, here’s one of my favorite BABY songs:

 

 

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I hope you enjoyed what you read almost as much as I enjoyed the show ten years ago.

This post is a part of…

a-to-z-challenge

“CANCER MYTHS AND REALITY CHECKS” #atozchallenge2014

Cell phones cause cancer. Quick, turn off your cell phone! Throw it at your nearest enemy! Blow it up to smithereens! Just do anything and keep cancer out of coverage area.

On second thought, scrap that. Don’t let myths fool you. Do a reality check and find out just how much you know—or don’t know—about cancer.

cell-phone-cancer-link

True or False

1. Cancer-death risk rates continue to worsen.
2. Regular consumption of charcoal-grilled meat is a fun, cancer-free diet.
3. A sunscreen application a day keeps skin cancer away.
4. Bug sprays can bug you with cancer.
5. Surgery causes cancer to spread throughout the body.
6. Pollution causes lung cancer more than chain-smoking
7. Injuries send you on the road to cancer.
8. Use of electronic devices like cell phones can cause cancer.
9. Your lifestyle in your 20s doesn’t affect your risk later in life.
10. A positive attitude saves you from cancer.
11. Thanks to advancements in diagnosis and treatment, there’s now a cure for cancer.
12. A cure for cancer already exists, but the medical industry profits by withholding the information.
13. Regular checkups and modern technology are a surefire way to detect the Big C.
14. Cancer makes you useless and inactive.
15. Cancer equals pain.
16. Sugar makes cancer cells grow faster.
17. A needle biopsy causes cancer cells to metastasize or spread.
18. The same kind of cancer always gets the same treatment.
19. “I’m a good person. Cancer will never get me.”
20. Cancer is contagious.
21. The bigger the breast size, the more prone to breast cancer.
22. Underwire bras contribute to the development of breast cancer.
23. If you don’t have a family history of cancer, you’re safe.
24. You can get cancer from a sexual partner.
25. The treatment side effects are worse than the disease.

 

Myth-understood

ANSWER: These are all myths. If you answered “False” to all then you must be an oncologist. If you answered “True” to some (or most!), then welcome to humanity! Here are the myth-busting facts:

1. Cancer-death risk rate is actually going down due to a more informed medical world and to early detection. However, aging people are more susceptible to cancer and they are a growing demographic. Ergo, it may seem that the risk of dying of cancer is dramatically increasing, but that’s not necessarily true.

2. Charcoal-grilled meat is not a surefire way to get cancer, but it does make one much more susceptible. Research shows that meat that is well-done or burnt releases substances that contribute to the growth of cancer. Solution: Eat charcoal-grilled meat less often and in moderate amounts.

3. Sunscreen? Good idea. But the more time you spend under the sun, the more protection you need. So follow the instructions on the package to make sure you apply sufficient SPF.

4. Inhaling and direct contact with pesticides may be hazardous to your health. Nonetheless, there’s no finding that directly links pesticides to cancer.

5. Surgery is part of the cancer treatment, not of the spread of cancer. If it were, it wouldn’t ever be suggested as an option in cancer treatment. This is a clear fallacy.

cigarette-crush6. Chain-smoking or secondhand smoke causes lung cancer more than pollution. Yet, there is no lesser evil between the two.

7. Injuries per se don’t lead to cancer. Chances are, a tumor might only be discovered by accident because the person injures the part where the mass is located.

8. Cell phones and other electronic devices don’t emit enough radiation to cause anything really harmful to the body.

UPDATE: There is currently not enough evidence to prove for certain a direct connection between cell phone use and cancer. For more info: NCIMayo Clinic

9. Exposing yourself to risk factors early in life puts you at greater risk of acquiring cancer later. So think cause-and-effect, action-reaction. Reap what you sow.

10. A positive attitude doesn’t exactly cut it when it comes to cancer treatment and cure. Nevertheless, it does help the survivor feel stronger, and improve his/her quality of life, relationships, and sense of well-being.

11. There’s still no known cure for cancer despite advancements made in the scientific/medical world—especially because the different types and stages require various approaches to treatment. Experts have yet to learn more about what triggers the disease.

UPDATE: While there is still no known cure for cervical cancer (as well as anal, vulvar and vaginal cancer), it can now be prevented through vaccines that have been in the market for several years now. For more info: NCI

12. The medical industry profiting from the nondisclosure of cure? No actual profit can be gained from such a deception. Besides, a cancer cure is one medical breakthrough that’s impossible to hide in the Internet Age. This conspiracy theory is definitely busted!

13. Regular checkups and modern technology may help detect cancer early, but not always. Some cancers aren’t even easy to detect depending on type or location.

cancer-survivors14. Having cancer doesn’t translate to becoming an invalid. Many options are open for survivors to stay active and productive, so they can go through their usual routines and even enjoy new experiences.

15. While some cancers seem painless, pain may be inevitable for most cancer patients. Fortunately, modern medicine has found ways to control pain, so patients can still go about managing their everyday lives.

16. It’s true that sugar helps energize cells, cancer cells included. But it’s still a misconception that sugar speeds up cancer-cell growth.

UPDATE: Check out this Mayo Clinic.

17. A needle biopsy or fine-needle aspiration is used to diagnose cancer. The procedure doesn’t cause metastasis.

18. Cancer comes in different forms. Therefore, treatment should be tailor-made to the individual’s particular needs and condition.

19. Cancer has no bias. Even good people fall victim to it, so preventive measures against cancer should be observed.

20. Cancer itself isn’t contagious, so there’s no reason to be leery of survivors. However, certain viruses—particularly those transmitted sexually like the human papillomavirus—can lead to cancer.

21. As said, cancer has no bias. Breast size isn’t a factor. Even men get breast cancer. UPDATES: Studies have mixed results and are currently not valid enough to conclude a direct link between cancer and breast size. See: Komen.org, NHS

22. There is no evidence to link underwire bras to breast cancer.

UPDATE: Still none. For more info: Komen.org

23. When there’s a history of cancer in the family, the risk of acquiring cancer through the genetic pool is high. Yet the absence of such history is no guarantee against developing cancer.

24. Sexual activity alone doesn’t cause cancer. However, the presence of a virus just might increase the chances of contracting it. The best strategy is to practice safe sex.

25. Some patients may forego treatment for cancer, especially if the disease is slow-growing. Doctors, of course, will still recommend treatment to prevent metastasis later on. Dealing with the disease sans treatment will prove to be much harder than it seems at first. Pain relief can only do so much.

 

So how did you fare in this test? It doesn’t really matter. At least now you can separate truth from fiction.

 

References:

American Cancer Society
Mayo Clinic
National Cancer Institute
Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation
National Health Service
CNN.com
About.com

 

Copyright © The Core Group Publishing, Inc.

 

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How did you find this article? This was actually an article I wrote for The Big C magazine, Light Moments section (July-September 2006 issue). I added “UPDATES” from reputable sites to make sure that I am not misleading readers because a lot of changes can happen even in just a year. The magazine is no more, as well as its website.

Thanks for reading and I hope I’ve helped add info or clarify misconceptions. By the way, this is a part of the…

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The Legend of the Fifth Turtle #atozchallenge2014

Did you know that aside from Michelangelo, Leonardo, Raphael and Donatello, there was a fifth Teen-age Mutant Ninja Turtles member?

This fifth member was a shy little girl in gradeschool. Then high school happened. The fact that she had to make new friends with kids who knew each other since gradeschool, were mostly more outspoken and liberated, were mostly more well-off, seemed like a smart lot, and mostly lived in the same freakin’ town…Well, that was a lot to bear. Hey! She was thirteen! Just starting her teens. Psychologists are right when they say that the teen-age years are times for a lot of confusion and insecurities.

lonely-turtle

She soon again proved psychologists right. A change in her became noticeable. Short kid that she already was, she became shorter and developed a kind of humped back. She didn’t even know. So her parents would say, “Stand straight! You’re slumping again.” She would not believe it, stood as straight as she thought she could, and said, “Here! See? I am standing straight!” But it was only when she checked herself out in the mirror one day did she realize they were right. Only then did she realize why the bullies sang the theme song for the Teen-age Mutant Ninja Turtles whenever she passed by. It was for fun, at her expense.

She had resented that they called her “mutant” and felt so ugly when all the while, they were pertaining more to the “turtle” part! In a sense, she was relieved and gradually corrected her Quasimodo posture. It was hard and it indeed hurt a bit, but the results were worth it. The teasing stopped and while it wasn’t a quick “recovery” for her ego, she did gradually gain some form of respect later on. It was later in her senior year, during Home Economics class, that she found out why she became that way. The tendency to slump, according to a book, was a manifestation of great insecurity…Boy, was she quite the manifestation!

So now, that girl is no longer that turtle. Once in a while, she feels the insecurities adult life has so abundantly offers, but somehow, she manages even when she sometimes fails. Yet, she keeps the story alive by sharing it. She knows there is a lesson to be learned in there somewhere…

Do I even have to say who she is? ;p

 

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How about you? How was your young life? Don’t be shy and share! 🙂

This post is my “J” entry for…

a-to-z-challenge

I hope you’ve already figured out what the “J” is for 😉

These Islands’ Legacy #atozchallenge2014

How many ISLANDS does The Philippines have? Well, in the 1994 Miss Universe pageant Q&A portion, Miss Philippines Charlene Gonzales asked back, “High tide or low tide?” The Filipinos laughed, finding humor in it, but what she said was true — there were 7, 107 at high tide, and one more at low tide. Made sense. I suppose that in recent years, the numbers have changed although I doubt that there have been drastic changes in the numbers.

Our tiny country is surrounded by water. We still have rich flora and fauna that we have been able to preserve. Or maybe they were just able to survive us so far. History-wise, we were under Spanish rule for around 400 years, traded and co-existed with the Chinese for much longer, and followed the influence of the Americans these last decades of the century. Good or bad, all these have shaped what the Filipino is today.

Years ago, when I worked for a tertiary school, my bestfriend Jenny who worked for one of the colleges was sent to represent the school in a National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) event. She brought back a VCD given by NCCA to its guests. I forgot what the event was about but guests were given copies of the video done in-house titled Legacy: Philippine World Heritage Sites.

Of course, I got to watch her copy. I liked it and made my own copy — I wanted to preserve these “memories” that may one day be gone. However much I wanted to share it online, though, I couldn’t, due to copyrights. From what I remember, she said they were told never to distribute it. My copy has never been used for any purpose other than for my own viewing. I just felt it a waste that my fellowmen and the world could not see it.

That was years ago and I realized that perhaps the video is available already for everyone to see. Lo and behold! It is! There’s no better time than now to see these before more quakes and disasters, both natural (like earthquakes that destroyed several of Bohol’s heritage churches and that of neighboring places)  and man-made (like the US ship that accidentally destroyed miles of the much-revered Tubbataha Reef), totally rob us of our heritage. 2013 should be lessons for all of us.

Written and narrated by Filipino architect Augusto F. Villalon, the documentary follows him as he goes on trips to different places in the country. All these are considered Philippine world heritage sites, as declared by UNESCO. The film features “the 8 World Heritage sites in the Philippines: rice terraces of the Cordilleras; the city of Vigan; the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park; the Tubbataha Reef National Marine Park; and four churches built in the Spanish colonial era: San Agustin Church in Intramuros, Manila; San Agustin Church in Paoay, Ilocos Norte; Nuestra Señora de la Asuncion in Sta. Maria, Ilocos Sur; and Sto. Tomas de Villanueva in Miag-ao, Iloilo” (UW-Madison Libraries).

So to my online friends, Filipinos or otherwise, to you I share this video (you can find the next parts on YouTube). I am proud of my heritage, no matter what. I hope you are, too. Let us enjoy and protect our forefathers’ legacies and these 7,100 islands we call out home 🙂

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I hope you all found time to at least view this first part of the video. Please hit LIKE anytime now 😉 For comments, including negative ones, feel free to give your two-cents’ worth…or twenty-five centavos’ worth if you’re in the Philippines, he he…

This post, the first of two for today because I was unable to post last Friday, is a part of…

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