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Remembering My First Teachers (A Daughter’s Memoirs) #MondayMemoirs #atozchallenge2017

Note: It was supposed to be a simple Facebook post about Teachers’ Day/Month, but their memories inspired me. The first is the English translation, followed by the original, which I admit is better. I realized it would be great to use it as my “M” word for the A to Z Challenge I was finishing since I’ve had “memoirs” in my head for a long while now.
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“Respect the teachers that awaken minds, for while we owe our lives to our parents, we owe our humanity to our teachers.” (Gregoria de Jesus) — Just my translation. Credits go to Project Saysay

I had teachers for parents. I never knew of anything else they did for work except be educators. Teaching had always been their profession long before I was born. My father only had to stop teaching when he suffered a mild stroke. It affected his brain, causing the short-term memory loss. He became more temperamental, yet he could be jolly and quite the joker as well. He became more expressive. He could be difficult, too, his maturity having somewhat returned to the level of a younger man’s. There came a point when it seemed I gained a teenage brother that I had to often reprimand for being annoying and difficult.

Despite that, my father still knew who was the parent and who was the child, especially when I had to be reminded that I was still the child. His brows would meet and he’d sternly say my name as a warning. That was the father I knew: just one look and my sister and I would sit and shut up.

My mother had to stop teaching much later due to her ailments — she decided to file for an early retirement. She had always been sickly even when I was little. I remember a time that I, being a child, unintentionally hurt her feelings. Having learned a big word, I said that she was just being a hypochondriac. This really hurt her feelings and I immediately felt bad and regretted it. I could not say sorry at all.

From then on, however, I did not look at her ailments as simply nothing. And it made me admire her more for despite everything that she was going through, my mother was still able to work hard and guide her students, including other people around her.

They taught and helped so many.

A lot of my father’s students got along well with him, some became his friends, and many learned how to plant/garden, build stuff (I only remember that the subject was called “Shop”), and be good at sports, particularly in volleyball.

I will never forget the almost-weekly volleyball games at our barangay school every Saturday or Sunday. He would simply dribble the ball on the still-newly cemented road and its sounds would echo. Soon, those who wanted to join would arrive one by one, be they current students or past students, whatever the age.

Meanwhile, my mother had so many children, those she helped not just in learning math (geometry, trigonometry) but in their personal lives. There were those who found the right path again through her after getting lost. We heard of these stories from the various former students who went to pay their last respects during her wake. She would sometimes give money to kids who had no allowance. Other times, she would visit the parents of kids with school problems or who were usually absent. On many Saturdays, too, she chose to be at the school to prepare various things for the days ahead.

They said she was strict, but she was also a joy and a dear friend. I knew that, I saw that, I felt that. And while I felt somewhat jealous of them, I didn’t harbor ill feelings because even then, I knew of how good a person she was.

…My apologies. I felt like sharing these memories with you since this is the time to pay tribute to our teachers. I would like to salute the two people who were my first teachers. They were not perfect, but they were the first to teach me what it means to be human. I have not yet surpassed or achieved what they did, but they will serve as my inspiration. Most of all, they are the reason that I’m alive and why I am here.

This also pays tribute to them whose leaving has been a real loss to those of us that they loved and that love them still.

A SALUTE TO ALL OUR BELOVED TEACHERS!!!

Now, the Facebook post:

Naging guro ang mga magulang ko. Lumaki akong walang ibang alam kundi guro sila. Ipinanganak ako na iyon na ang kanilang hanap-buhay.

Natigil lamang ang aking ama sa pagtuturo noong siya’y magka-mild stroke. Naapektuhan nito ang utak niya, na naging sanhi ng kanyang short-term memory loss. Naging mas madaling uminit ang ulo, pero mas masayahin at maloko rin. Mas ‘expressive’. Mas matigas din ang ulo, sapagka’t mistula siyang bumalik sa panahong siya’y binata o binatilyo. Dumating ang panahon na tila nagkaroon ako ng lalaking kapatid na madalas pagsabihan sa kakulitan at katigasan ng ulo.

Gayunpaman, alam pa rin niya kung sino ang magulang at sino ang anak, lalo na kapag nakakalimutan kong anak pa rin nga pala ako. Titingin siya ng nakakunot-noo at mariing sasabihin ang pangalan ko bilang babala. Ganoon ang dating ama na kilala ko: isang tingin pa lamang ay tumatahimik na ako at ang ate ko.

Ang aking ina naman ay tumigil dahilan sa kanyang mga sakit — nagpasya siyang mag-retiro nang mas maaga. Bata pa ako ay sakitin na siya. Naroong bilang bata, nasaktan ko ang damdamin niya. Minsan, palibhasa ay natuto ng isang salitang malalim, nasambit ko na ‘hypochondriac’ lang siya. Dinamdam niya ito nang labis at pagkatapos na pagkatapos ay pinagsisihan ko ito. Hindi ko nagawang humingi ng tawad.

Nguni’t mula noon, hindi ko na ipinagwalang-bahala ang kanyang mga karamdaman. Kaya’t ako’y napahanga rin niya sapagka’t bagama’t may mga karamdamang dinadala, nagawa pa rin niyang maging masipag at umalalay sa kanyang mga mag-aaral, pati na rin sa ibang tao sa paligid.

Marami silang naturuan at natulungan.

Marami sa mga mag-aaral ng aking ama ang kanyang naging kabiruan, mayroong ibang naging kaibigan, at marami ang natutong magtanim, bumuo ng mga bagay (“Shop” lang ang alam kong tawag sa asignaturang ‘yon noon), at maging magaling sa larangan ng palakasan, partikular na sa volleyball.

Di ko malilimutan ang halos linggo-linggong paglalaro nila ng volleyball sa paaralan ng barangay tuwing Sabado o Linggo. Patatalbugin lamang ang bola sa noo’y bago pa ring sementadong daan at aalingawngaw ang tunog nito. Maya-maya ay magsisidating ang nais makisali, mga kasalukuyang mag-aaral man o dating mag-aaral, anuman ang edad.

Ang aking ina naman ay maraming naging anak, mga natulungan di lang sa pag-aaral ng matematika (geometry, trigonometry) kundi sa personal na buhay. May ilan na natutong bumalik mula sa lumihis na daan. Nalaman namin ito mula sa maraming dumalaw upang makiramay sa kanyang paglisan. Naroong bigyan niya ng perang baon ang mag-aaral niya. Naroong puntahan ang mga magulang ng ibang nagka-suliranin sa pag-aaral o kaya’y madalas lumiban sa klase. Naroong kahit Sabado ay pinili niyang pumasok upang gumawa ng mga dapat ihanda para sa mga susunod na araw.

Sabi nila, kahit siya ay naging istrikto, naging masayahin at kaibigan nila siya. Alam ko iyon, nakita ko, nadama ko. At kahit na may lihim akong tampo dala ng selos, di ko ito itinanim sa sarili ko sapagka’t noon pa man, batid ko ang kanyang kabutihan ng loob.

…Pasensya na. Naisip ko lang ibahagi ang mga ito sapagka’t ngayon ay panahon ng pagpupugay para sa mga guro. Nagpupugay din ako sa dalawang una kong naging mga guro. Bagama’t di perpekto, sila and unang nagturo sa akin ng pagpapakatao. Hindi ko pa nahihigitan o naaabot man lamang ang nagawa nila, pero sila ang magsisilbing inspirasyon ko. Higit sa lahat, sila ang dahilan ng aking pagiging tao at kung bakit ako naririto.

Ibinahagi ko na rin ito bilang pagpupugay sa kanila na ang paglisan ay tunay na kawalan sa aming kanilang minahal at sa kanila’y nagmamahal.

PAGPUPUGAY PARA SA LAHAT NG MAHAL NATING MGA GURO!!!

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Have you thanked your teachers yet?

M is for “Memoirs”

This piece serves as my Letter M post for the A to Z Challenge 2017.

For my previous posts, kindly visit my A to Z Challenge 2017 page.

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In “Your Face”! #TVTuesday #TuesdayTunes

Oh, I missed these hash potatoes! So today, it’s #TVTuesday and #TuesdayTunes post.  Double fun, woohoo!!! Today, I am sharing one of my current favorite shows, Your Face Sounds Familiar (YFSF) Kids Edition.

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The YFSF Kids of Season 1: (From Left) AC Bonifacio (2nd Runner-up), Lyca Gairanod, Justin Alva (3rd Runner-up), Elha Nympha (1st Runner-up), McNeal “Awra” Briguela (WINNER), Alonzo Muhlach, Xia Vigor, and Sam Shoaf

Saying “Your face sounds familiar” sounds really weird and like utter nonsense. The premise of YFSF, however, explains it.  Okay, background with a little bit of disclaimer:

YFSF is a singing and impersonation competition owned by the Endemol Shine Group, known abroad for producing many reality TV shows (Big Brother and others). YFSF was franchised by Philippine TV network giant ABS-CBN and the first regular season started in March 2015. There came another regular season and then, the first-ever season of the Kids edition was aired in January 2017. It gained international attention when then-7-year-old Xia Vigor performed as Taylor Swift and the video of that performance went viral.

The second season of the Kids edition is currently running and the kids’ performances are making much more waves. That’s thanks to the already-big attention the YouTube reactors’ community has been giving Filipino artists.

YFSF has a set of screen and theater artists–singers, dancers, actors–competing against one another onstage every week. Weekly shows are divided into two parts with the first half of the performers shown on Saturday and the remaining ones on Sundays. That gives ample time on the second day (well, eve) to announce the week’s winner and show the participants pressing the “iconator” (just a coined term as abroad, it’s called “randomizer”, even simply a “buzzer”). That’s the button that every contestant presses to reveal his/her next icon.

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Xia Vigor impersonating Taylor Swift. Image courtesy of Elle.com

Competitors are each assigned celebrities that have become music icons or made waves in the industry one way or another. That’s regardless of the age of the icon, race, sex and gender (so expect cross-dressing in some performances).

But this is a step up from the usual impersonation stuff. A major part of this involves the makeup artists and prosthetic. Every week, performers are madeup and often–not always–made to wear prosthetic. The idea is to not only sound and act like the icons but to LOOK like them. This is where my disclaimer enters.

In the past, I saw some foreign YouTubers express concern prior to seeing an actual performance that the performer might be doing “blackface”, which people could find offensive. Then they got to watch and realize it’s not the case (especially when they saw it was a great performance!). It really isn’t meant to be offensive, not at all. It always depends on the look of the icon. It has nothing to do with being racist. So if s/he’s white, then the performer’s Pinoy brown color is turned lighter (sometimes, the prosthetic can be a tad weird and creepy-looking, though). So if we’re playing the race card, might as well call it “whiteface”. Or “yellowface” even, depending on who’s being impersonated.

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The YFSF Kids of Season 2: (Clockwise from Top Left) TNT Boys, Chunsa Jung, Marco Masa, Krystal Brimner, Telesa “Esang” De Torres, Noel Comia Jr., Xymon “Onyok” Pineda, and Sheena Belarmino. Image courtesy of Rappler

Just to be clear, not every performer is a good singer, or even dancer. He or she is judged on how well s/he has projected him/herself as the icon being impersonated.

Anyway, to show how talented our kids can be, I am sharing a few videos from this season’s (season 2) kid performers. They seem long, but that’s because the videos continue until all the jury members have made their comments. There are lots of funny stuff that follow a performance, but feel free to stop playing. (BTW, copyrights to all the images and videos here belong to ABS-CBN, unless otherwise specified. I got some from other sites, but of course, they’re still mostly from ABS.)

I’m starting with my biggest bet, Sheena Belarmino. People know her more as a singer as she was a grand finalist of the popular singing competition Tawag ng Tanghalan (TNT)  that was part of the noon-time variety show It’s Showtime. That ended late last year. Prior to that, however, she was a finalist of Dance Kids from 2015 to 2016. You can say she is a powerhouse of a talent. As of last count, she’s won thrice already, currently the most number of times this season. However, she’s also currently ranked 3rd-4th . That has something to do with how the jury individually assigns scores.

Watch her perform as local artists Sarah Geronimo and KZ Tandingan and judge for yourselves. Sheena showed Sarah’s swag as the latter performed the song onstage (the hair and expressions were based more on the “Tala” video). That was Sheena’s first win. Everyone was definitely impressed. BUT she even topped that recently by showing more swag impersonating KZ’s viral performance of Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” on the recently concluded Singer 2018 singing competition (Jesse J. won) in China. Sheena even wore the same outfit. She blew everyone away! I think you will agree. And she also got a wonderful surprise after she sang… 😉

Meanwhile, also check out her performances as Ariana Grande, (so good!), Chris Brown, and local artist Jessa Zaragoza (for which she also won, though I’m not crazy about it…The link I shared is just of Jessa singing at an event — she’s not wearing a gown and not doing much of the movements she’s been known for).

Next, the TNT Boys! They are composed of Kiefer Sanchez, Mackie Empuerto and Francis Concepcion–all grand finalists of the TNT Kids singing competition, like Sheena. Among all the contestants, they are undoubtedly the most popular due to their emotional rendition of Beyonce’s “Listen” in the GGV show. Actually, for fun, they were asked to sing it while pretending to be fighting (Francis bullies Kiefer, then Mackie defends Keifer who tries to pacify both of them). It was a hoot! And it became viral. Suddenly, the group TNT Boys was born and they have now performed in Little Big Shots US and UK. Since then, a lot of their performances onstage and offline have been going viral, particularly their YFSF numbers. They’ve won twice and are currently ranked 1st.

Below are two of their performances. The first is of The BeeGees. They didn’t win but this was the first video of the season that went and is still going viral around the world. The BeeGees loved their performance and actually tweeted about it. The next is–get this–their impersonation of Destiny’s Child! It was their first win and very well-deserved. These boys are so talented! I loved their performance of The Supremes as well, it’s my personal favorite–classy with less flair. Their second win, though, was their Mariah Carey and BoyzIIMen one and,  you guessed it, it’s gone viral as well.

Now we have Krystal Brimner. She was a relatively unknown in the mainstream showbiz world until YFSF. Some people may recognize her from the movie Honor Thy Father where she played a vital part. Theater aficionados may remember her playing the title role of Annie, for which she won Best Child Actress and Best Female Lead Performer from the 2016 Platinum Stallion Media Awards and 2016 Philstage Gawad Bahay Awards. Based on her performances in YFSF, it’s obvious she’s been using her training to good use.

Krsytal is currently ranked 2nd. I am not sure if she’s an audience favorite, but I like her. For me she’s done a LOT  of great impersonations. Below are the two performances that made her win: as Jesse J. first, then as Alicia Keys. I would also recommend her impersonations of Miley Cyrus (on her first week, when she made her mark as a talent to reckon with), Stevie Wonder, and Dionne Warwick.

Last on my list is Esang De Torres. Among the top four, I think she’s the one who first made her mark on national TV. She was such a cutie joining the MiniMe contest of It’s Showtime, where she “impersonated” her idol Lea Salonga. But it was in joining The Voice Kids that made her. Coached by none other than her idol, Lea, she was the team’s grand finals bet. It was apparent that she had a singing talent that was perfect for the stage that, with a lot of encouragement from Lea, Esang joined the theater world. In fact, she was one of those who played the title role of Matilda. Like Krystal, it’s obvious she’s putting her theatrical training at work. She gets better everytime.

She’s won once so far, but her often-high weekly scores have tied her at 3rd to 4th rank with Sheena. I liked a lot of her performances as well. I am first sharing one of my faves, her impersonation of John Legend. The next is her doing a Christina Aguilera, her first actual win Feel free to also check out her Cher, Lea Salonga, Cyndi Lauper, and Bonnie Tyler. As fo this writing, she just did a Freddie Mercury, which was also good, by my standards.

 

And my list is done! Basically, I think the TNT Boys getting into the finals is already in the bag. Sheena, my most fave, doesn’t always get the highest scores, so I’m crossing my fingers. Krystal, if she keeps doing what she does, would most probably be in the finals, too. I am crossing my fingers for Esang as well, but she does consistently get high scores…

I am actually surprised and very glad to know that my top ones are those who are leading the ranks. The girls are my faves, but biases aside, I thought that they should be in the top three.

Anyway, guys, I hope you enjoyed reading my post and watching the vids. I enjoyed putting this together. I could do another set next week, if I have the time 🙂

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The Hunchback of Rural High #MondayMemoirs #KwentongUPRural

I was never popular in high school. If I ever was, that could be because I was considered weird, which never offended me. I welcomed being voted as Weirdest Girl in Class two years in a row. For me, that meant I was not one to conform just to be called cool. Besides, when you’re a writer, people just tag you as weird. Hollywood fed us that idea.

Most probably, though, if I ever was popular, it was because I was the Hunchback of Rural High. I was the short girl looking like Quasimodo.

I didn’t use to be like that. I did not have a humped back prior to high school. I was a shy kid in grade school who only started coming out of her shell in fourth grade. By sixth grade, I was jumping from tables, singing the oldie La Bamba shamelessly…Then a teacher sent me back into my shell, accusing me in front of the other kids because she supposedly didn’t like something I said about her favorite student.

I was dumbfounded and confused. I did not even understand what she meant until days later! Worse was, she thought wrong as I was not referring to him. Unfortunately, my self-esteem already suffered because of it. Why a teacher should even get offended by a student practicing the right to choose who to like or not is beyond me. By the time I reached high school, I was starting to develop the humped back.

Well, that was my backstory, no pun intended. High school started and soon, boys from my batch would sing the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT) theme song whenever I passed by. But I never hid or ran away; I just passed by poker-faced. I knew they’d get tired of it one day. Thankfully, the bullying didn’t go further than that. But of course, I resented what they did; I had feelings, too. Some years ago, an old teacher reminded me of the time I had the guts to tell him to tell those boys, whom he was friends with, to get off my back (again, no pun intended).

The funny thing was, to be honest, I resented them because I thought they were referring to the “mutant” part, which, for me, translated to “uber-ugly girl”.  It was months after that I realized they didn’t exactly mean it that way. They meant something else. Surprisingly, that lifted my self-esteem a bit. I was glad they were referring to something else that I could do something about.

So, I did do something about it. I started trying to fix my Quasimodo posture. If you think it was easy, it wasn’t.

It took a lot of effort and self-awareness to prevent the slumping whenever I walked. I could actually feel the physical pressure every time I tried to keep my back straight. If you were near me enough, you’d probably hear me groaning a bit. It worked, though. I may not walk straight as a model, but I got my intended result. I didn’t know the reason for the humped back until Home Economics in the fourth year: a book explained that slumping was a sign of insecurity. I thought, Well, that figures.

The teasing stopped. A boy in senior year attempted to revive it by singing the TMNT song as I walked nearer. It was the classic case of someone bullying somebody else to compensate for his own low self-esteem. Instead of feeling hurt or getting mad, I was amused and tempted to say, “What, you’re still not over that?“ He never tried again.

 

My whole high school life was like everyone else’s. I had to struggle with different issues (body changes, grades, crushes, friendships, lack of confidence). However, if there’s one thing that made me different, it was this early experience.  It hurt emotionally and physically, but that was part of what made me, me.

I don’t resent those boys anymore. I forgave them a long time ago. I’m thankful they somehow taught me to stand up straight. Take it figuratively, take it literally, it’s up to you. Besides, I kind of liked the ninja turtles 😊

 

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Usually, I don’t follow the Philippine time when I post stuff. But I wanted this posted already before I forget or lose interest again. While it’s still Sunday in most readers’ part of the world, it’s already Monday here, so this counts as a #MondayMemoirs post.

I’ve already mentioned about my turtle “background” before, but this is a bit more revealing and personal. I wrote about it because our high school reunion is coming and I’ve been asked to write my HS experience for our unique souvenir programme. I was able to submit three write-ups (Rattling Cages and two trivia pieces). Unfortunately, this one did not meet the deadline. I was supposed to share this after the reunion, but since it’s not going to be part of the programme anyway, I went ahead and shared it. (By the way, my school was the U.P. Rural High School, ergo, the use of the “Rural” word.)

I do have a DISCLAIMER: I don’t, in anyway, hate my old school. This is not to speak ill of it. I shared this because (1) my growth was important to me, and (2) to show that things like this happen anywhere. Ultimately, it is up to us to choose which life lessons we’re going to keep and how we will use them to our advantage.

Any comments or thoughts? I won’t mind. Let me know below! Or maybe share your own experiences? 😉

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Science, Space, Elementary, my dear Lizzie #WhatsupWednesday

These last few months, I’ve been doing lots of watching, particularly, but not exclusively, on Netflix. Seen just a few flicks, followed/following a few series–old, new, and new-to-me. The thing is, they don’t have a lot of other stuff I want to see, so I actually checked out iFlix last night and saw several of those other stuff. Maybe I’ll keep both accounts, considering that the latter is so much cheaper, actually. I’ll be trying out their month-long free trial.

Anyway, I am sharing my quick reviews again. Read on, friends, but check out the guide below. 

RATING GUIDE:

  • Excellent – No doubt that I super love this and would love to continue watching!
  • Good – Very interesting that I wouldn’t want to miss an episode
  • Promising – Interesting that it can keep me glued to my seat and ask for more, but there’s still a chance my interest in it may wane
  • Fair – Entertaining enough to watch to pass the time
  • Undecided – Not consistently interesting that my feelings for it seesaws from almost-LIKE to meh.
  • Bad – NOT recommended WHATSOEVER, for valid reasons

PREVIOUS REVIEWS

Okay, first we discuss some shows mentioned in the last review post. Oh, and another fair warning…

SPOILERS ALERT!!!

IF you have not seen a show mentioned here, feel free to ignore this post if it suits you. Better if you’ll just skip parts instead to avoid the “spoilage”, so to speak…Here goes…

Game of Thrones (GoT)

I finally got to continue with Game of Thrones. So far, I’m done with Season 3. GoT is one big and compelling web of interwoven stories. It is very interesting, if not sometimes gruesome and scandalously unapologetic about the sex, the nudity, and the annoying habit of killing off beloved characters just when the audiences are warming up to them.

Nothing prepared me for the betrayal and murder of Robb Stark! I mean, I knew he would die sometime, but it was all so sudden, quick and a really undeserved and meaningless death of a strong character. I also did not expect Lady Catelyn Stark‘s death–I had thought she’d outlive Robb and, at least, get to see her smaller kids first–so cruel!

Characters I love and would love to see till the end:

  1. Arya Stark- smart, brave and loyal (so far? we’ll see), and she kicks butts…It would be terrible if the character gets killed off.
  2. Tyrion Lannister I give him the Best Lannister award! His past before the war aside, he’s proven to be intelligent and rather kind-hearted.
  3. Daenerys Stormborn easily almost everyone’s favorite. While the Lannisters, Starks, and Baratheons were battling it out and busy tricking one another, she successful gathered thousands of armies to her side. My fearless forecast is she stays until the end.

More comments:

  • I know when sex/nudity is a work of art, and I know when it’s just meant to lure the audience. So save me the for-the-sake-of-art BS. And with the whole Weinstein controversy going on, it’s hard not to be concerned about the actors in such shows, whether they are big stars, bit players or extras.
  • Finally, the fantasy factor! The dragons are bigger, there were white walker sightings, and Melisandre is one intriguing magical character.
  • I’m not spared from spoilers even if I try to avoid them, so I do know about Jon Snow and Daenerys being related (don’t know how yet) and I have this to say: When has incest become accepted as cool??? GoT crossed the line. Nevermind if they end up not related after all. The point is, they think they are, yet they do it, anyway. Protagonists need not be saints, but they don’t have to be that morally questionable either.

RATING: GOOD (It would’ve been EXCELLENT, but I can never truly love a show that troubles me a lot. Still, I’m watching it. Hopefully, it doesn’t completely turn me off.)

Once Upon a Time (OUAT)

It’s been a slow progress that I have only finished the first season of Once Upon a Time. I haven’t even started with any episode from season 2 mainly because I’m busy with GoT and another series. Also, I want to watch most of it with the kids during weekends when I’m not busy.

Thankfully, the storylines were building up, keeping me interested, so I expect to be more entertained by the next season, at least. I do wish that Emma Swan did not finally learn the truth. I feel like the show could have delayed the revelation longer, maybe kept it until the first few season 2 episodes, at least. Maybe the producers were not sure whether they should continue it so they made a sort of open-ended ending, but it would still be an ending of sorts.

I am somehow glad that the antagonists aren’t really such bad people. I do want a better background story for Maleficent in the next seasons. Meanwhile, I have a pretty good idea who the Queen of Hearts actually is.

RATING: GOOD (It’s something the kids and I bond over. Now the youngest wants a Pinocchio costume for Reading Week.)

Dexter

Dexter has ended and, to be honest, it kind of left a hole in my heart. I DIDN’T like the series finale at all! Practically everything was wrong! Practically the whole final season was wrong! As it has ended and I have a lot to say about it, this deserves a whole write-up, so whatever I need to say, I’ll save it.

RATING: Went up to EXCELLENT (I am tempted to change it to GOOD because the ending was AWFUL.)

iZombie

The last time, I said I was willing to try iZombie until its third season. That was before I found out it has only two seasons so far. I also said it needed more oomph. Fortunately, the zombie show did step up the game especially in the season finale. I can’t wait till I get to see the next episodes! It’s light, entertaining, I’m not scared to show it to kids (with my supervision, of course). Needless to say, the rating went up as well. No complaints for now. Long live the zombie!

RATING: Brain-licking GOOD (Also another bonding-worthy series to watch with kids–of course, I make sure to spare them from the very few a-bit-too-steamy-for-kids scenes.)

YouTube channels

As I have mentioned in my previous post, my enthusiasm for watching YouTube channels has started to wane. So what I’m doing is I just take my time.

NEW REVIEWS

Elementary

I am always into mysteries, so I decided I’d try this series out, after all, it’s about the great fictional detective Sherlock Holmes in the 21st century. It didn’t disappoint, coming on strong in the first seasons, though I have to say it’s getting a bit less interesting as time goes by. I hope it picks up again.

My comments:

  • Sherlock is incredibly good at what he does. He has great deductive reasoning skills and a big wealth of information in his head. I like hearing bits of trivia when he talks. It does seem too impossible already at times the way he knows almost everything.
  • First woman Watson! And it’s Lucy Liu playing Joan Watson at that. I had to choose which to view first between Elementary and the other series, Sherlock–Lucy won my vote for the show, hands down. She’s natural as Watson, there isn’t time to wonder why Watson is Asian and not a man. It is not really relevant, anyway.
  • First woman Moriarty! That was brilliant as well. I also didn’t realize Moriarty was/is a woman and that she’s both Sherlock’s biggest nemesis and the love of his life. I suspected she was involved somewhat with Moriarty’s group, but not like that.
  • There doesn’t seem to be a possibility for a Holmes-Watson romantic angle. That’s refreshing. Also understandable as that would be too much veering away from the original fictional characters they’re based on.
  • It’s good that they tackled the addiction issue, which is a great flaw on Sherlock’s character. However, I’m in season 4 now and it still plays a big part in his storyline. It’s kind of getting old, to be honest. The writers should lay off it for a while. Sherlock using again at last season’s finale was just very disappointing, rather unnecessary and, really, just a betrayal of the audience that have come to accept him.

RATING: EXCELLENT

The Lizzie Borden Chronicles

Apparently, this series was based on the TV movie Lizzie Borden Took an Axwhich was based on actual cases of murder supposedly committed by the real Lizzie Andrew Borden. I haven’t seen the movie, but the series took from where the movie left off. Christina Ricci did so well as Lizzie that the network/producers decided to create The Lizzie Borden Chronicles (let’s call this LBC).

I must say that Christina sure showed how much she’s mastered the art of portraying dark and sinister characters (well, she’s had years of practice). She slayed it, pun intended. Character-wise, I never liked Lizzie. She’s evil and the only person she cared about, in a way, was her sister, mainly because she had a need for the sister. I told myself I would just watch the first season because Lizzie was not a main character anyone could root for. Surprisingly, I didn’t have to as the show was only meant to be for one season…Whew!

More comments:

  • The actual Lizzie was said to have only killed two. Supposedly, as she was acquitted of the crime. LBC took a lot of liberties with their story and took a lot of the lives (some names were actual people back then) than necessary. Now, while things are often open to artistic interpretation, I believe that making Lizzie seem like some kind of sociopath/psychopath was going overboard. Maybe the real Lizzie was a killer, but it didn’t mean she killed many others. If you ask me, it’s a case of character assassination. If they wanted to drastically change things, they could’ve just created a whole new story that would not have Lizzie in it.
  • It is not clear if the Lizzie here was a sociopath or psychopath. Yes, there’s a difference, look it up. She’s cold-hearted and calculating, but she didn’t have a psychopath’s M.O. She just killed those who either stood in her way or those she could use to her advantage. Everybody knew she was some kind of bad; she never really pretended to be normal and likable, which is characteristic of a psychopath.
  • I am not sure whether to love or hate the modern approach the show took in terms of background music. It really seemed out of place. We’re not watching steampunk, after all.

RATING: FAIR

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (a.k.a. CSI: Las Vegas)

I was so glad to have the chance to finish the whole CSI show. It’s one of my fave shows ever. My only problem was Netflix’s offer started with season 13 when I have never seen season 12! So while I expected Dr. Ray Langston leaving (after all, I already knew somebody was going to be the next lead actor), I wanted to experience that “closure”. Plus, I suddenly found some old faces missing and found new faces whose backgrounds I didn’t have an iota of an idea of.

Anyway, I am both sad and happy about the show. I am sad it’s ended, but I’m happy it ended well. After Warrick Brown‘s death in…whatever season that was, no main character died anymore, as far as I know, so yay! They brought the main characters back in the last episodes and gave everyone a happy finale.

I love that they brought Gil Grissom and Catherine Willows back for it, especially for Grissom and Sara Sidle to mend things and sail off to sea together. Nick Stokes finally got the promotion he’d been hankering for. I was confused whether the show was considering a David Hodges-Morgan Brody-Greg Sanders love triangle thing or not, although, in the end, it seemed to be Greg for the win.

No complaints here, except I won’t be able to see the show anymore. However, I am currently trying to see where I might be able to view CSI: Cyber. It’s been canceled, I’ve read, but I’m very much interested to see if I would like it or not.

RATING: EXCELLENT (My interest never wavered!!! I don’t know why I even delayed watching it before.)

Star Trek: Discovery

Yes! About time that I watch me some Star Trek again! It’s very new so I have decided to try and follow on a weekly basis. Certainly, it hasn’t disappointed me yet after four episodes. Great effects! And they definitely upped the ante on the creepy factors (twisted corpses in spaceships, anyone?) Plotlines aren’t bad at all either.

Love that after kicking zombie butts in Walking Dead as Sasha, Sonequa Martin-Green as Michael Burnham is now kicking Klingon butts (no offense to Worf as I loved him). She’s brought the tough persona with her, minus the too-much angst, yet still kind of brooding with the tendency to be anti-social. She’s perfect for the role! It’s nice that this show now gives more power to more women (I do want Deanna Troi here somehow, which is probably impossible, given the time setting). Now, for my fearless forecast: Michael will sooner or later replace Capt. Gabriel Lorca as captain, mark my words.

More comments:

  • Why did Michelle Yeoh have to die so soon? She could have given more to the show. And why the H did the show not give Capt. Philippa Georgiou a proper and dignified burial rather than have the Klingons eat her??!!!
  • The Klingons. Their look. No. I prefer the Worf-look. These Klingons do not look like Klingons. Just sayin’.
  • Some have taken issue with it, but I don’t mind the Michael name. Women are now named Joey, Jesse, Alex…so what’s wrong with Michael? My only qualm is, really, “Michael Burnham” doesn’t sound anything near special. And one funny thing: “Georgiou Michael”…Coincidence, for sure.

That’s what I can say about it for now. It’s cool that they have After Trek right after every episode. I watch that as well.

RATING: EXCELLENT

I actually watched the first episode of the series version of Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. Just one. Suffice it to say, I was not that impressed yet. I’m avoiding it for now, but I promise to go back to it sometime. Also began watching F.R.I.E.N.D.S. Everyone knows the show and the things that happened, so I will spare you and me by not doing a review of it anymore. My plan is to catch up on shows and/or their episodes that I missed.

Well, I’ve shared my thoughts. Yours?

Featured

My Happy List

As promised, I am listing my Not-Really-Bucket List. Will add more pics and links soon. Remember, crossed out and in red means done. Here we go…

MY HAPPY LIST

1. Smile at people all day and see what happens.

I was 13. Heard a smile could make others smile, too, so I experimented with trying to spread joy. It was going well until a lady looked at me like I was crazy…

2. Do something really amazing and meaningful

3. Ride the roller-coaster

4. Try a scary sport or adventure

5. Learn to swim

6. Learn a third language fluently

I’m partial to Spanish, which won’t be so hard to learn given our country’s history, plus I can find people to converse with. Just partial, not sure. We’ll see…

7. Learn Baybayin

baybayin-example

This is just to show my handwriting. Baybayin/alibata should be written vertically actually

Baybayin is the ancient script of our ancestors. Why it’s more commonly called as alibata is a bit of an issue, but that’s become the better-known, more commonly used term. We forgot about it while under the rule of Spain. We just began re-learning it in the recent decades, but people have just really started appreciating it this past decade (sadly, mainly because they think its characters look cool when used in visual arts).

I don’t claim to be an expert in it as I’m not that quick yet in reading words in baybayin/alibata. I do claim to be a baybayin/alibata advocate, though. I think we should start really including it in the curriculum instead of simply teaching it under the Filipino subject in passing. Anyway, I tend to follow the Spanish-influenced baybayin/alibata because the use of the cross makes reading words easier, for me, at least.

Related post: How to Spell the Ancient Filipino Way

8. Learn a martial art

learn-muay-thai

Learned the martial art Muay Thai. Forgive the sort of leggings here. MT shorts are too short for better movement and I couldn’t find my cycling shorts that time

 

9. Learn to paint on canvass

10. Travel around the Philippines

11. Visit Disneyland with my family

Japan, Hong Kong or the US, whichever opportunity presents itself

12. Travel around Europe

13. Visit New Zealand

14. Visit The Louvre Museum

15. Experience the West End

16. Experience Broadway

17. See ‘WICKED The Musical’ live

18. See ‘CATS The Musical’ live

musical playbills

I was lucky to have watched both CATS and WICKED (and PHANTOM OF THE OPERA) with the help of my dearest mother and of one of my friends…Thank you!!!!

19. See ‘Les Miserables’ live

20. See ‘Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’ (JATD) live

21. Act in a real stage play/musical (school skits do not count)

That almost came true. I was to be 1/3 of The Narrator in JATD. There’s only 1 Narrator but the Director wanted three for various reasons I won’t enumerate…*sigh* I’m not giving up yet, though. Who knows?

22. Go to the Netherlands, watch Veerle Casteleyn perform live onstage, get her autograph, and have a twofie with her

23. Watch a Lea Salonga stage musical, get her autograph, and have a twofie with her

How I got the twofie deserves another post. I was not able to get Lea‘s autograph, but this is okay already, right? The main purpose was to meet and talk to her face to face 🙂 Meanwhile, I have seen her perform live onstage in some of her musicals.

lea-salonga-twofie

Miss Lea and I. Standing beside her only emphasized my plainness, but who cared???

IMG_20160605_141829

I never heard about BABY The Musical till then, but I loved it!

The very-first Lea musical that I actually saw live was MISS SAIGON, but we were seated so far away and I was not able to buy a playbill *sniff*...See this faded ticket

The very-first Lea musical that I actually saw live was MISS SAIGON, but we were seated so far away and I was not able to buy a playbill *sniff*…See this faded ticket

24. Attend a live music concert that I paid for

lea-salonga-concert

This concert, I enjoyed. Isn’t it obvious who I’m a fan of???

Back in college, I was able to attend three live concerts, all for free. One was because I interviewed a band for the school paper. The other two were care of the college radio station I worked for. I wasn’t even really a fan yet of all three. I watched because I got in for free. So I decided I wanted to be able to attend a concert I was really interested in and I would pay for my ticket. I did. Watched Mariah Carey’s live Manila concert. It wasn’t so nice an experience, actually.

25. Sing solo on stage in front of everyone

I’ve got stage fright. Easier to conquer if with others, not so alone. I wasn’t even too crazy about the idea, but one of my best friends asked me to sing a song at her wedding. I thought better that than be a bridesmaid. Also, I wanted to be able to say I did that even just once in my life. Turned out I’d do it several times, but not without me trembling inside everytime. At an office Christmas party, I actually messed everything up! Yikes! Epic fail! *hides* (No pics to show)

26. Win an award or medal

They’re not like some big awards or anything, but I guess I earned them. I did not know how I could get any, but I ended up getting some anyway. *Speech alert!* “I would like to thank the school paper and the radio station for those awards….” If they’d be interested to know, yes, I still have those certificates.

I did win with my village friends (twice, I think) when we played volleyball in the local summer league when I was a teener. Then when I was already working, I also won second place (or was it third?) with the School Administration Team (playing volleyball also) when the tertiary school we worked for let us join the Intramurals.

I played for the Administration team during the Intramurals back when I worked for a tertiary school. I’m third from right here. At my left (facing camera) is/was the Girl with the Smiley Heart

27. Choreograph a dance number

Did that thrice in college for three different groups on different occasions. Won for me a Star of the Night Award, too, among other things 😉

28. Learn to play a musical instrument

I think these count even though it doesn’t take a genius to figure out how they work

jaw-harp

The kubing (jaw harp)

bamboo-buzzer

The bungkaka (bamboo buzzer)

29. Be in a respectable indie film playing a bit role

30. Start a good family business

31. Build a reading and hobby room

32. Buy a vehicle for the family

33. Live in a beautiful house where it’s peaceful with our family

34. Enjoy our future grandkids

35. Get a master’s degree

36. Become a teacher

home-made-tests

These are just some of the tests I gave the little boy

I somehow have some illusions of becoming a teacher. My kids are here, though, so I think I can cross this out. I’m a proud teacher, too — our incoming first-grader actually passed his exam with flying colors! Someday, I might teach students in a real school environment, maybe about writing…

37. Become a radio DJ

I always wanted to be one. Then when I was 13, one of my friends became one of what were called as Junior DJs and I would tune in to the city’s local station so I could listen to her and several other kids. Not without envy even though I knew that envy wasn’t good. The opportunity to become an actual DJ knocked when I was in college so I did not let it pass. I was even surprised I had the guts to try. It paid off, fortunately.

dzlb-memorabilia

These were taken just a few years ago, just to show my radio colleagues I kept souvenirs all these years

38. Become a writer

I wasn’t planning on making this my career because of the starving artist “syndrome”, but I am here because I think I sought this fate anyway. Fate is still part-effort.

39. Finish my novel

40. Write/create a comic book

41. Fall in love

My real name’s hyphenated now, so, yeah 🙂

42. Tell someone my innermost secret and hope not to be or feel judged

43. Give birth to a live, healthy baby…

God has yet to grant this wish. We are not giving up yet so we hope he lets us have the baby the next time. We’ll try to be ready.

44. See both/all our kids graduate from college

45. Build a home for the aged whose own families have abandoned them

46. Buy a land and build a large animal shelter, for abused/neglected/abandoned animals

47. Grant scholarships anonymously

48. Build my Dream Museum

49. Attain peace of mind

50. Die happy

51. Do my best jump for a jump shot

This is My Happy List Item #51. What about it? CLICK HERE.

eversun-makati

With the permission of all the peeps here, I shared this to JUMP FOR JOY! Photo Project‘s Eyoälha Baker and she posted it on her project’s Facebook page

52. Finally watch Patti Austin in concert, live

Okay, that’s My Happy List. I’ll add more to it if I think of more. Care to share your own happy list, though? Feel free to do so and put the link in the comments! 🙂

Featured

Komikon for Dummies

komikon-official-event-cover-photo Last Saturday, August 2, was 2014’s Indieket Day or the Independent Komiks Market event of the local Komikon, the Philippines’ own comics convention. Indieket is the second of three bigger Komikon events held annually, the other two being the Summer Komikon (keyword: summer) and the regular one usually held November or December (my friend Sherwin The Kraken tries to call it the Winter Komikon, nevermind that we have no winter). Other often smaller but equally special conventions happen in provinces once in a while, too, like in Cebu, Baguio and, recently, Iloilo.

I’ve been attending these three Komikons a few years now and *BIG SIGH* last Saturday, I was absent. For the first time since I began patronizing the once-again blooming comics industry, I missed an event. *MORE SIGHS* For more personal reasons that can actually be elaborated some other time, I stayed home instead and got busy.

Well, comics-related events have been around for quite a while before I discovered one, but I do believe I can say that I am now credible enough to share what I know. So since I have not been sharing my experiences in the more recent events, I thought I’d come up with this post. If you’re a Komikon dummy like I was, read on. This can help you on your first–or your next–Komikon experience.

The Dos-and-Don’ts Guide for Komikon Dummies

To the uninitiated, lemme explain. The occasion is for comics artists to showcase their works and for enthusiasts to take advantage of this. Rarely do you encounter dozens of artists and creators crammed in one place, so good for you. Here, you will find both newbie creators and more seasoned ones — take your pick. Okay, let’s start…

The Bayanihan Center facade. Credits belong to Ateneo.edu

1. KNOW the venue. Sounds duh, but it’s great advice coming from experience. Around two years ago, my officemates and I were to attend a Gaming, Toys, Manga/Anime and Cosplay Convention or GTMACCON (this is not Komikon, but just to drive a point…). We were a big enough bunch who came from Makati and went somewhere in UP Diliman to attend. We waited on university grounds until it was way beyond schedule and it seemed the place wasn’t even going to open. Finally, I texted comics guy Andoyman, asking where the exact venue was as someone got stuck with the wrong info that got disseminated to us.

Lo and behold! We were not even close! To add insult to injury, the venue was just in Makati, WHERE WE CAME FROM…Wow, mali (wrong). GTMACCON: Go To MAling Comics CONvention. The usual venue for the Komikon, by the way, is the Bayanihan Center located at the Unilab Compound in Pasig. 

2. Come early. It’s not like you’re going to be thrown out of the event or anything if you come in the afternoon. But it has been observed that the Summer Komikon and the “Winter” one tend to draw a big crowd. You’ll want to be one of the first to see the various merchandise, talk to the artists and ask for autographs and/or photographs. If you’re lucky, some artists give away their own simple freebies like little snacks, stickers, etcetera, as a form of appreciation. Better be there before supplies end.

It’s one, big geeky event, can’t you tell? This is the main hall where Komikon is always held, but you can imagine how it must have looked like at the entrance.

The organizers do give away freebies also right at the event entrance (not the building entrance, but where you are allowed entry after paying P100 for your ticket). Don’t expect too much, though. This is not Oprah or Ellen. Sometimes, sponsors put up booths/tables like 711 that once gave away free Slurpee and commemorative Lord of the Rings tumblers.

indieket-2013-catalog

There’s Tico Limosinero’s boy robot Neox together with Elbert Or‘s Chuck the Bakemono High werecub (extreme right), Ikos Komiks’ Ronzkie Pacho-Vidal‘s Asul from her work Sulsi at 6 o’clock and Michael David’s own ‘kikiam’ renditions of Chuck and Asul

Oh, and at times, they give away catalogs with lots of free space on them where you can ask artists to draw something for you for free (do buy something first, please!). You can do that throughout the day, but being early means you’ll have more time to approach more artists for it, plus they won’t be too tired already to draw anything. 

3. Don’t be a snob. If you look down on local comics based on them being, well, local, this is not the event for you. Either you beat it, pal, or give local comics a chance. There are ways, though, to get your fix of foreign ones by visiting booths of edition sellers like Comic Odyssey that has somehow become a sort of fixture, so to speak, in Komikon events because I see them there every time.

Meanwhile, we know you most probably know the creators of Kiko Machine, Pugad Baboy, Kubori Kikiam and the likes. These guys get the longest lines of people wanting to buy their products for some great photo-ops and autograph-signing with their idols. BUT the Komikon is mainly one giant showcase of newer talents. It won’t hurt to get to know them and their works. It’s actually fun to be “there” when a comic book is just starting and to gradually see it grow, so to speak.

By the way, while the Indieket gives much more chance for new creators by giving them the spotlight, on other Komikons, they are provided a separate area called the Indie Tiangge. It’s a sort of rite of passage before they are finally allowed to make it big…Er, well, before they are allowed to take space in the main activity area, that is. Some not-so-new ones are there as well simply because they are new participants of the event.  There are various factors considered but I’m not an authority on that, ergo, I leave it to you to interview anyone there. Make sure, though, to pay the Tiangge a visit. Not because they’re there, they are not worth a look. That’s not how it works. You’ll never know what treasure lies undiscovered in that room.

espiritista-comics

I encountered the Espiritista, its first-ever of the series by Niño Balita, at the Summer Komikon 2013 Indie Tiangge and I have been happily following his creation…Congrats to him and the Mrs. Espiritista–I mean–Mrs. Irene Balita, by the way!!!  They just exchanged I-Dos a few months ago 🙂

drop-dead-dangerous

I also first found Drop Dead Dangerous at the Indie Tiangge and I have been hooked ever since. Story by Chad Cabrera, art by Mike Banting

4. Have ka-ching, will buy. Sure, no one will send you away for “window shopping”. But the point of being there is to purchase, at the least, one or two comics. You don’t have to have a lot of moolah, believe me, I know. It’s one big decision-making exercise. A limited budget can still buy you more or less a dozen titles. A lot of them are priced from as low as P30, even P20. That’s already a steal, considering it’s art and the labor of one’s love. Of course, for such a price, do not expect a thick, glossy, full-colored edition. Generally, you’ll get photocopied versions, or limitedly colored ones, at least. But if you’re any good at choosing your comics, you can get clear, respectable-looking ones. Inexpensive doesn’t necessarily have to mean cheap.

ang-sumpa-komiks

Andoyman’s Ang Sumpa is one of those inexpensive comics that do not disappoint visually. And, no, I am not just saying that because I know him nor does it have to do with me being somehow a part of it. Shameless plug, though: DO GET YOUR COPIES!!!

macoy-school-run

Finally got to buy from the artist who likes to be simply called Macoy my own copies of School Run! He’s got various titles for you to choose from and the prices do vary based on thickness. The illustrations are fun and I like his storytelling

ikos-komiks

The Ikos Komiks table is one stop I never forget to do. They are a group of three artists with different styles in drawing and storytelling. In this pic are the aforementioned Ronzkie Pacho-Vidal (left) and Anino Karimlan (right). In-between is (the missing) Ray Vidal‘s Lola Lourdes whose stories and poems I get to read every time as they give away copies of her own brand of art — Thanks po for the autograph!!!

freely-abrigo-kulas

This one from Freely Abrigo, his Kulas, could be bought at just P30 with a fully-colored, little glossy cover

Also, I have stumbled upon inexpensive comics that have much better stories and illustrations than some pricier, glossier ones. It’s not just about getting your money’s worth when obviously, you can get much more satisfaction with still the least possible expense. If you do have more money to spare, then by all means, go for more gold! Maybe you’d like to purchase other comics-inspired merchandise, too, such as posters, stickers, plushies, beanie hats, keychains…You can even have works commissioned.

5.  Choose wisely. It’s another decision-making exercise. If you don’t know the artist/creator in front of you and can’t tell by just looking that you’d like to purchase, browse through a copy. If the premise does not interest you whatsoever, or the storytelling is bad, or the supposed humor is lacking, or the drawings either leave much to be desired or are totally horrendous (that totally happens), put the copy down and walk away.

FUM-manga

Sherwin The Kraken (the guy in middle) has really gotten to be a FUM fan so he never misses to visit their table. These are your FUM peeps, folks! He’s got all their comic mag editions, I think, not much encouraging needed

Try not to engage or be pulled to engage in a conversation with the artist unless you sincerely would really like to learn more about the comic book. Just saying, because that would be the more humane thing to do than to put his hopes up and have him waste time and energy trying to convince you when you’re not even buying.

On a more positive note, it’s a win-win situation, whether you buy or not. If you don’t, you don’t end up with something you don’t want. If you do, at least you’ve helped someone and maybe given him the inspiration to do better next time. 

6. Pay more attention. Enthusiasts are expected to walk around the area sizing up comics and getting to know the people behind the comics. By all means, do that. But you might also want to pay attention to the stage and what they announce over the microphone once in a while. Why? The organizers have prepared more stuff and surprises for you: Contests. Interviews with well-known international Pinoy artists like Whilce Portacio of X-Men fame. Featured guests, like those from the Macoy comics-based indie film ANG MASKOT. Even surprise wedding proposals!!! Also, talks and film showings are sometimes held in other rooms.

international-Filipino-artists

International Guests!!!

film-showings

Self-explanatory.

I also say pay attention because being a much-attended event, it has gotten the attention of bad elements as well and there have been unfortunate cases of loss of valuables. Take care of your things and, as signs always say, “Please do not leave your valuables unattended.” 

7. Don’t expect a food fair. Don’t go around complaining where the food stalls are–it’s not a food fair. There is a designated area for a limited bunch of food to buy, so find out where it is. There may be a hotdog-eating game happening onstage so if you’re also up to it, why not??? (hint: it normally happens pre-lunch period). Some participants actually give away little snacks so it pays to be early before they run out. Some do get to sell munchies at stalls outside the main Komikon area. However, if you really want fuller meals, just have your wrist stamped for re-entry later and get out of the venue. There are fast-food and regular restos around.

cupcakes-for-sale

Once in a while, there are little snacks you can get your hands on. For a price, though. But, boy, do they look yummy….(DISCLAIMER: I’m not endorsing anything)

8. Expect cosplayers. Encounters with comic characters in the flesh are quite possible so get your cameras ready. The Komikon is often attended by cosplayers who are either there for fun or are representing artists’ creations, like the famous Amber from Ambush and Dennis and his pal from Alphario: The World Connection. Do not expect many of them, though. It’s not a cosplay event after all.    

alphario-characters

Creator SPLGum as Dennis Blake (sitting) and friend Wilhansen Li as the character Senjo Tamura. Photo credits to SPLGum and whoever took this pic

9. Join contests. It can be as simple as the aforementioned eating contest, or raffles the organizers or artists themselves are holding, or a meet-and-greet with well-known international artists, or an actual video game at someone’s booth. Whatever the organizers and its participants’ clever minds can think of! My Komikon buddy Sherwin actually joined a create-your-character thing sponsored by Filbar’s. His and the other competitors’ works were simply amazing!

10. ENJOY!!! Totally self-explanatory, right? I just saved the best for last 🙂

Well, I hope I’ve given you ideas, you Komikon newbies. There could be lots more I have not covered, but I’ll let you discover those for yourselves. That’s part of enjoying the whole Komikon experience. Meanwhile, here are some more random but nice pics I haven’t shared before. Forgive the layout, I am editing it (there are still stuff that I don’t understand in WordPress…), and will add links soon.

planeswalker-cards

Very cool Planeswalker cards that were actually just giveaways. I got Ajani, Chandra, Jace, Liliana, and Tezzeret. You can’t really play them (like I’d even know how), but they’re nice souvenirs and the art is whoah!!! Digital art by Allen Geneta

elbert-or-manosaur

Cute Manosaur cartoon by Elbert Or on my catalog

alphario-character

Just had to post ’cause I really like this shot. Photo credits to SPLGum and whoever took this pic

pose-with-spot

Sherwin’s winning pose for Alphario’s Pose with Spot contest (well, I forgot the name of the contest, too, hee…)

pose-with-spot2

I won for the most number of Facebook Likes category mainly because I begged and forced people–I mean, I looked so convincing…uhm, yeah…

teenage-mutant-ninja-turtles

I wasn’t EVER going to buy posters as my main goal was to buy comics, but when I saw this at Allen Geneta’s table, I knew I just HAD to have a copy. Recognize these ninjutsu-trained amphibians? Click HERE for a closer look

me-as-stitch

First time to wear one of those beanie hats at an event. My Komikon buddy was right, it was liberating, he he…That was the nearest to cosplaying in public that I could get, if that’s even cosplaying. But hey, notice my colors? 😉

plushies-for-sale

So…plushies…!!!!

crochet-jake-adventurer

So cuuuuteee!!!!

rodski-patotski

The new Gerry Alanguilan book…I honestly have not bought a copy yet and have not read any part of it. I hope it’s just as good as his Elmer and Wasted

sulsi-paper-dolls

The Sulsi main characters. Got my complete set already, woohoo!!!

me-pose-mb

“Yes, I’m shameless. So sue me.”

mb pose4               See you next Komikon…I PROMISE!!!!!

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Thanks so much just for dropping by and I hope you got even the tiniest bit of new info. For more Komikon-related posts, please go to COMICS TRIPS.

Memories of The Big C #MondayMemoirs

There was a time that I worked for an actual print publication. It was a health-and-lifestyle magazine though it was far from the ordinary. Ours was centered on cancer, its survivors, and how to overcome, fight and win against it. They were, for me, very interesting times.

Almost two weeks ago, I shared on my folio blog my experiences working for the mag and some of the insights that I gathered along the way.

So for today, since I am guessing you missed them, I am sharing my stories to you guys as well. Just click on the image and you’ll be good to go 🙂

Red Dead Redemption 2 and AI #FeatureFriday

I am not a gamer. Just look around my blog. I have mentioned Plants vs. Zombies, where I shared photos and our fake-movie video, and Final Fantasy because I came as Rinoa Heartilly (I tried) in our office Christmas cosplay. Apart from those, I don’t think I ever mentioned any online/video game except in my fiction. I’ve played some, of course, but basically, I’m very much less than an amateur gamer. The longest I’ve played so far is Soda Crush…Yeah, I know.

red-dead-redemption-2

Brian Thomas, contributing author for Enlightened-Digital.com, reached out to me and introduced RED DEAD REDEMPTION 2. I had no idea about it, but finding out more made me interested. I actually asked a gamer-friend last night if she knows of Red Dead Redemption. She does know and did play RDR 1. I asked how it was playing the game and she said she liked it, wondering if the second’s going to be any good. Well, reading about Version 2, I think that she probably won’t be disappointed.

How about YOU decide? Brian writes…

“This Friday, Rockstar will launch its newest open world game: Red Dead Redemption 2. The game comes after eight years of development and much anticipation.

Red Dead Redemption 2 utilizes the hardware capabilities of the current generation to create a more visually stunning and technically impressive experience. The game’s incorporation of more advanced artificial intelligence powers the characters, animals, and dynamic physics system as they combine to generate organic events in an open world that aims to immerse players. As such, the title could ignite further discussion on the role of AI in video games and how games border on simulations.

Red Dead Redemption 2 follows the outlaw life of a character set twelve years in time before the original as he travels around a massive open world created by Rockstar. The game’s map is the biggest yet to be built by the company. Players will encounter interactable characters as they explore the various parts of the wild, villages, and even a city.

NPCs (non-playable characters) behave differently based on who they are as well as what the user’s character looks like, how he behaves, and his level of hygiene. The ability to engage with these characters through the game’s interaction system creates contextual back and forths that can result in many different ways, generating organic outcomes. The experiences generated by these NPCs are believed to be a step up from existing open world games and a force pushing the industry forward.

The relationship between video games, artificial intelligence, and simulations might still be young, but Red Dead Redemption 2 could represent a step towards progress as well as another spark (along with Westworld) to ignite interest in such subjects.”

Check out this infographic from Brian that emphasizes RDR 2’s major and newly improved game details! Click on the image to find out much more. Following it is the introduction to RDR 2’s gameplay. (WARNING: May contain content inappropriate for children.)

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Once you’ve actually tried this game out, let us know your feedback. Comment below, if you want to 🙂

How to Rank Better with Search Algorithms #ThursdayTips

Why is your business not searchable on search engines? Focus on Search Algorithms!

But what are search algorithms? How do they work? What should you do? Let this short video introduce you to some Google search algorithms. Find out what they do and what you can do with them to rank better and get noticed.

Again, side note: I wrote and created this video for ConnieKnows.com. So they own the video.

Any thoughts? Share them in the comments!

Just no spam, please. No comments pretending not to be spam. Guys, I see through you.

The X-word #atozchallenge2017

Here’s a prompt: Write something using an English word that starts with an X. If you were given this prompt, what would you write about?

Oh, wait, this is already a prompt…

“Xylophone”. I think that’s really the first, easiest and, sometimes, the only word that immediately comes to mind when thinking about an English term that starts with the letter X. Which usually does not help when playing Scrabble (considering the number of letters, unless you are to add “xylo” to “phone”…genius!). Well, include “xerox”, too. It was technically not really a word but a brand for a popular photocopying machine employing xerography (hey, another X-word!). It is now a noun that is accepted in the English dictionary.

So now, I’m mad. I’m not in the mood to write about xylophones or xerox. What to do?

X Problems

Obviously, it need not be said that there’s a reason there’s only one letter X tile in Scrabble. It is hard to find a word that starts with it, even if you cheat! Usually, you just use it as a filler to complete longer-letter words. Or you squeeze it in-between gaps when you have nothing else to score with, for words like:

  • “ax”/“axe”
  • “max”/”pax”
  • “taxi”
  • “hex”
  • “sexy”
  • “text”
  • “jinx”
  • “nix”
  • “ox”,
  • “foxy”

…Can you think of more?

You can’t even use it as a one-letter word like “a” and “I”.  Unless you use it:

  • to represent an unknown quantity or variable
  • as the multiply sign when counting on paper or board
  • as the Roman numeral for 10
  • to refer to the female chromosome
  • when signing a love letter with a kiss
  • to mark a spot
  • to make a “NO” gesture
  • to cross out something or remove
  • to indicate that something is incorrect
  • to make the sign of the cross when you’re scared
  • as code for that infamous party drug (…Just don’t, okay?)

Yes, the letter X is pretty versatile, but it is still not a word. It even needs a default spelling, the “ex-” prefix, just to function as a way to cross out something (or someone!) or emphasize the past: “Ex-boyfriend” or “ex-partner” (although one can simply say “My ex”), “ex-senator”, “ex-athlete”. You get the idea.

But whether to cross out something, imply an interaction, or mean the opposite of “in”– It. Doesn’t. Work. You shouldn’t really write “x-girlfriend”, “x-husband”, “xchange”, “xhale” or “xhume”, right? Maybe not unless you’re texting.

Some X-samples

So, can the letter X be more essential in our lives? I guess so, yeah.

Basically, X is used around the world:

  • for People’s Names
    • Xavier, Xander, Xeno
    • Xia, Xiomara
    • Xena (probably first coined for the popular show and now kids are named after her)
    • Malcolm X (the name Malcolm Little decided to use)
  • to Name Places (Did you know that NO country starts with the letter X?)
    • Xiamen City (and many more cities in China)
    • Xi (a river in China)
    • Xochimilco (in Mexico)
    • Xanadu, which is not just a romance/musical

Quick Trivia: In the Philippines, road authorities put up signs that said “Ped Xing”. Like most people confused by it, I first thought that Ped Xing was a Chinese-Filipino the street we were on was named after. But why were the same signs put up at various places…? It turned out it meant “Pedestrian Crossing”!!! Pffft…Communication gap. At least, they’ve done measures now to let the public know.

  • as Popular Terms
    • Generation X a.k.a. Gen X
    • X-rated
  • for Popular Media
    • X-Men
    • The X Factor
    • The X-Files
    • Triple X or xXx

 

Oh, my. I still don’t know what to write about. I am so clueless! What should my topic be, what should I write about, what–Oh, wait. I think I just wrote it. What the X!..,Well, what d’ya know?!!

 

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Earlier this year, I think I mentioned several times that I would finish my A to Z Challenge 2017. Honestly, things would always get in the way that I couldn’t do it. Then last time, I said it again and meant it. But guess why I couldn’t immediately continue…The letter X was the problem! I wanted to list down topics so that when I began, I wouldn’t have to stop again and I’d just go on till I reached letter Z.

For the life of me, I couldn’t think of an X-word connected to writing that I could write about! I really had to put things off until I posted my teacher-parents post. I still did not know what to write about back then. Fortunately, inspiration struck me and now, here it is. I dare say it was worth my long wait!

X is for “X”

This piece serves as my Letter X post for the A to Z Challenge 2017.

For my previous posts, kindly visit my A to Z Challenge 2017 page.

Let Contents Do the Talking #atozchallenge2017

You are a wise person with a business to run. Naturally, you have done your research like a good businessman does. Based on findings, you realize that in order to expand the business, you’ll have to up the ante some more and level-up. Information technology is here to stay and you’ll do wisely not to be left behind, right? So you get a web developer and a web designer who create an attractive, fully functional and easily navigable website for you.

Website, check.

And then what to write? Since information is available right there at the office, content development is done in-house. Your people know the business, they have a clear understanding of what it is about. Who better to write about your business? Therefore, you delegate a content writer for the site right from your own team.

Contents, check. How hard can writing be?

Letting Your Home Grow

All those done, finally, you are ready to launch into cyberspace…Oops! Not so fast, hold your horses! While it seems you may have done things correctly, you just might want to backtrack a little bit and check if indeed, you’ve decided on everything wisely.

The most important parts of a website are not really the “physical” aspects, though they, too, are of great importance. After all, without them, how can searchers find you? Web developers and designers provide all the foundations and structures for your site.

As they say, however, a house is not a home. It’s what’s in it that makes it a home. An empty house is not a home; a cluttered house is, well, simply embarrassing, to say the least. For a website, it’s the contents that really breathe life into it. Just how much life depends largely on the quality of the contents. That is where you might want to focus your attention on.

Let your home grow. Feed it with the right nutrition, not junk. Knowing the details of your company and what it offers is just half of the requirements to ensure quality content. It takes more than knowing what to write, but how to write it.

A good, professional Web Content Writer knows that. She has been trained for it. It’s not just words and constructing sentences for her, but a lot of experience and know-how. Content writing takes more than typing. It involves research beyond existing resources, knowing more about how web development works. Also, a big factor in any business’ success today is good, clean SEO—this, she has learned and practices.

Getting Visitors to Stay

Competition in cyberspace is fierce. You want to be the business that captures searchers’ attention immediately and keep them glued to your site until they decide to avail of your offer. People’s attention span can only last a few seconds, that is the whole truth of it.

An attractive, fully functional and easily navigable website is practically useless if it sends searchers away with missing, low-quality or useless information. If they don’t find what they’re looking for or anything interesting, they either click the Back button or exit. Either way, they leave. You don’t want that. Don’t sweep the welcome rug off their feet.

How confident are you that you or your employees can write well enough to keep searchers glued to your site? Can your people get your business to the top of search engines’ first-page results? Do they have the proper skills that an actual content writer does? No?

You’ve already taken a risk, so risk more away! A web content writer is who you need, just like most businesses today. If you haven’t yet, this is the time to add one to your team. Remember, house walls can’t talk; it’s those inside the house who do.

 

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This is still the continuation of my A to Z Challenge. Last post, I was on the letter “M”. Why the jump to “W”? That’s because the pieces for the letters “N” to “V” have long been posted. The explanation is simple: When I was doing the challenge last year, I skipped letters. I did not finish the whole thing so I have decided to do it and not quit.

As for the writeup itself, just like some other stuff that I did for work, this was also a guest blogging venture. The deal was the article provider would get exposure but the publisher got exclusive rights to the unique article. No money involved. This one, the guest blogging services site owner reserved for her own site (I was actually thrilled!). There’s a story about this, but to make the story short, her site was down for years already and is now removed. I found her new site and could not find the article ANYWHERE. Now, Google found it on another site that isn’t supposed to have it and is not even mentioning me as the writer. Some guy is supposed to be the writer of this bogus page. The article is truncated, leaving a “Click here to read more” message, but the link just actually redirects to various suspicious sites that change every time you click on the same link!

Needless to say, it’s high-time we take back what is ours.

W is for “Web Content Writer”

This piece serves as my Letter W post for the A to Z Challenge 2017.

For my previous posts, kindly visit my A to Z Challenge 2017 page.

Growing Up Asian in Another Land

I grew up Asian and will die Asian (there’s no “probably” there, duh.) Heck, I’ve never been outside of this part of the planet. So it’s interesting to find out how much Filipinos who grew up or were born in other countries have learned and experienced the Filipino ways.  Not just Filipinos, but ASIANS.

I’m a full-Filipino by blood and nationality, so I am not exactly an authority in this area. But I think DOMICS and JO KOY are. Both are funny and they paint a picture of what it’s really like growing up Asian abroad.

(WARNING, though: There are some strong language involved in some of these videos)

Domics, whose real name is Dominic Panganiban, is a YouTuber-animator whose family immigrated to Canada years ago. In some of his drawings, he illustrated his experiences as an immigrant kid adjusting to other places.

This is a nice podcast he did with his fellow Asian friends (they aren’t necessarily all Pinoys…The girl is Chinese and at least one of the other guys is Korean). They shared what their elders are like, which sometimes confuse them. Dominic made it more entertaining by drawing stuff.

We Pinoys can definitely relate especially with Domics. For one thing, our father used to have my sister and I pull out white hair from his head and we were promised to be paid. And I certainly have a Pinoy nose, although no one pinched it (except myself when I tried to make it more “matangos” or pointy).  I do actually appreciate my little nose now.

Here’s another from Domics that is about the Filipino last names. His in particular.

The Pinoy height…The struggle can be very real.

Now, Joseph Glenn Herbert, much more popularly known as Jo Koy, is a half-American Pinoy who grew up in the States. He is now a popular stand-up comedian known for his stories about growing up with a Filipino mom (truthful but hilarious!) and raising his kid. He grew up abroad, but Pinoys can very much relate to his kind of self-deprecating brand of stories.

He was referring to the famous mostly-Filipino Jabbawockeez.

Now, as a song from musical AVENUE Q says, “Everybody’s a little bit racist”. This reminds me of that.

The “Bicks Baporub” killed me, HA HA HAAA!!! We really do use Vicks!

 

Hope you watched them all and enjoyed. Most importantly, I hope you learned new things about us 😉

It’s sooo Lit!!! #atozchallenge2017

***NOTE: As explained in my last post, I was going to finish last year’s A to Z Challenge. Here is my letter “L”.

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Literature. I cannot write about the topic of Writing without writing about literature. That would probably be some form of blasphemy…

What is Literature to you?

When I was young, I used to think that “literature” was exclusively used to refer to stories or novels. I don’t know now how I learned more, but it was probably when I encountered the term “related literature”. I was a bit surprised that anything written (well, at least those with some value) can be considered literature.

According to the Ancient History of Encyclopedia,…

Literature (from the Latin Littera meaning ‘letters’ and referring to an acquaintance with the written word) is the written work of a specific culture, sub-culture, religion, philosophy or the study of such written work which may appear in poetry or in prose.”

Based on this, it is either poetry and prose.

Dictionary.com explains it much clearer in the definitions it has provided. Literature is defined as:

  • written works, especially those considered of superior or lasting artistic merit
  • books and writings published on a particular subject
  • leaflets and other printed matter used to advertise products or give advice

That last part was the kind of information that most surprised me when I learned about it. Leaflets and advertisements were far from my mind. That was mainly because whenever I thought of the word before, I thought of value and merit, especially artistic merit.

“Certain forms of writing, however, are universally regarded as belonging to literature as an art. Individual attempts within these forms are said to succeed if they possess something called artistic merit and to fail if they do not.” (Britannica.com)

That was how most of us were brought up. It was so old-school that even anything that’s not artsy was generally disregarded as literature, no matter how valuable the information it contained.

“Literature is a form of human expression. But not everything expressed in words—even when organized and written down—is counted as literature. Those writings that are primarily informative—technical, scholarly, journalistic—would be excluded from the rank of literature by most, though not all, critics.” (Britannica.com)

Anybody can be a critic, but it does not necessarily make him right. If anything, this kind of thinking was developed during the times when people were concerned more about social strata and social snobbery. We put the word “literature” in a box — No, this is just you, Lit. You can’t be some leaflet or thing that anyone just thought he’d write and call Lit. The nerve!

Today, we have become open to accepting the more modern definition of the word. Still, there are critics that cannot be persuaded. Me? I have broaden my own definition:

Literature is a valuable written work that is artistic and/or informative and has merit to, at least, one individual.”

You say toh-mah-toh, I say toe-may-toe. Basically, it all boils down to the person appreciating it.

How do YOU define literature?

 

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I could have written more about it, but I fought off my tendency to write long posts to keep you interested. I hope you liked it and share your own thoughts in the comments below.

L is for “Literature”

This piece serves as my Letter L post for the A to Z Challenge 2017.