Saturday, May 31, 2008


Since I am in charge of the monthly menu and the happy task of doing the marketing for the farm, I thought I found the prices of vegetables terribly expensive this morning. Last weekend, I was in Robinson's Supermarket and vowed never to buy veggies there. I mean, seriously - a bunch of local pechay for Php 11? A piece of ampalaya for Php 30? I have always enjoyed going to the market and that's what I do all the time, except for this particular visit. This morning at the Masinag Wet Market, turned out that a bunch of pechay is Php 10 already (Php 5 only a few months ago). The cheapest rice in my area sells for Php 31 and the most expensive is Php 45 (Jasmine), but in Mindanao where food is known to rot in markets because of overabundance, why did this happen? Something is terribly wrong down South.

More sad stories
here, here, here and here. Sigh.

Friday, May 23, 2008


Despite the recent news of old Arctic breaking off, life goes on elsewhere. The earth may be old and tired, but the closer you look at the ground around you life continues to blossom in oh so many ways. Now that's reason enough to celebrate. (Shot at The Mango Farm, Antipolo City with a Canon EOS 10D)


Saw the following films most recently.

Very good, but not very exciting. Emotionally confusing. Characters don't know what they really want in life, everybody except perhaps for the prostitute (Here's a snippet. Prostitute: "Humans. Chat, chat, chat, chat, chat. We talk. Why?" Will (Jude Law): "I don't know." Prostitute: "Animals don't talk. It's because they don't lie.") Awww...

Say, isn't that boy Rafi Gavron from the ROME series? How he's grown! Juliette Binoche is amazing as ever. Hope she never grows old and die. We'd be poorer for it.
Something I'm practising at the moment. It does work if you focus hard enough & thank more often.
Nicole and Daniel are working together more and more, aren't they? The Invasion has a very simple plot: a re-entering space shuttle disintegrates in mid-air unknowingly spilling onto the residents of the city a living thing that makes people look like they all had botox injections and become peace loving all of a sudden (the 'virus' caused the end of war, famine, and disease around the world, what do you know?!). I would want that virus except that I still want to be able to smile or laugh when I need to.

The Golden Compass doesn't deserve the hype it received during its regular showing. It's fun, it's boring, it's fun, it's boring, it's fun, it's boring, it's fun, it's boring. Next book please.


Brooklyn Park Pictures presents The "Thank You" Girls, a film by Charliebebs Gohetia (does this sound like a real name to you? Anyway, he's the editor of Foster Child, Twilight Dancers, and Slingshot and writer of Daybreak and one of the four founders of UP CINEMA). World Premiere schedules: July 2008 / Davao, August 2008 / Manila (during the Cinemalaya, I assume). The 'Thank You' Girls is a Visayan film with a gay lingo twist. Tired of losing in all the beauty competitions in Davao City, five dysfunctional gay beauty pageant veterans decide to travel north to Cagayan de Oro City, in the island of Mindanao. Their mission: to conquer the grandest competition of beauty, personality and brains in the whole province. They believe that being city dwellers, gays in the province will never stand a chance against them.

Hints of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert here and there, but I'm sure it'd be fun to watch.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


Whoever released the photos of the victims of the RCBC Cabuyao massacre to the public should be fired from the police service. The photos are now circulating the internet and are posted in Yehey! and other forums. Good grief, kailangan pa bang gawin ito sa mga biktima?!


I'm loving it!


For the first time, I spent my days off in total seclusion. Usually I still work during days off because there wasn't anything better to do. Tuesday, slept the whole day and then had dinner with BC at the freshly opened Pepper Lunch in Rockwell. Wednesday, watched DVDs the moment I woke up. Practically subsisted on bread, overripe mangoes (two weeks old), and pineapple juice.

Started on the first chapter already, but a throbbing headache brought about by its snail-paced setting ended my attempt at watching this 15.5-hour magnum opus by Rainer Werner. Reconstructed by the Goethe-Institut in 2005, it is based on a book by Alfred Döblin. It was reshown in the Berlinale in 2007.

My third time to see this. Known as Abril Despedaçado, it's a Brazilian production that was released in 2001. A must see. BTW, the film's star, Rodrigo Santoro, played the role of Xerxes 1 in the film 300 (bet you didn't know that!), and is currently in Cannes for the screening of Che.

Loved this one! Alfonso Cuaron is fantastic! Who could forget his Y Tu Mama Tambien and Great Expectations? This time he gets the chance to direct some of the best actors alive, Clive Owen among them. Children of Men inspects the reality of a very near future - a scary perspective of a world gone awry.

Amazing film! It really tears you apart. It makes you question your own values.

Michael Clayton won for Tilda Swinton, one of the best actress of our times, the Best Supporting Actress nod from the 80th Academy Awards and the BAFTA. Roger Ebert gave the film a 4-star rating and Richard Roeper named it "Best Film of the Year".

I ended the day with a dramedy, Steel Magnolias. Loved the one liners! Witty! Funny! The film, released in 1989, is based on the death of director Robert Harling's elder diabetic sister. He was advised by many of his friends to write about his feelings as a coping method. What started as a short story expanded into a full-length play. One will be reduced to crying and laughing during the length of the film so be forewarned.


The cast of SERBIS (Coco Martin, Mercedes Cabral, and Julio Diaz at the 61st Cannes Film Festival. SERBIS is the first Filipino film to be in competition in 24 years after Brocka's Bayan Ko. (Top photo by AP; 2nd photo by Christian Hartmann for Reuters (

"CANNES: Toward the end of Brillante Mendoza's "Serbis," the patrons of a dilapidated Manila adult-movie palace are surprised to discover that a goat has wandered in from the street, partly obstructing their view of the naked bodies on screen.

The animal's sudden appearance - which sets off one of several chaotic, hilarious chases in this rambunctious, noisy film - might be taken as a symbol. The cinema can be a place of fantasy and sometimes disreputable pleasure, but reality, as stubborn and hard to corral as that goat, has a way of intruding whether we like it or not.
At the Cannes Film Festival, however, the metaphor often works in reverse. The metaphorical goats, as it were, can be found in the screening rooms, where audiences gather, sheeplike, to witness the frustration, misery and disorder of real life in various parts of the world. The main competition (which this year includes Mendoza's film) and the adventuresome Un Certain Regard side program share a tendency to exalt seriousness and suffering, and some of the strongest entries this year plunge viewers into worlds of private pain, family dysfunction, economic deprivation and social cruelty."
Read more

Of course not to be ignored is Raya Martin's NOW SHOWING which is featured in the Directors' Fortnight section. 4 hours and 40 minutes long, this coming-to-age narrative brings to fore the talents of this 23-year-old director. Best of luck!

Saturday, May 17, 2008


My favorite comic character, Tintin, comes alive on screen again courtesy of Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson. Filming begins September 2008. Yipeeee!

Friday, May 16, 2008


I don't know what to make of Alejandro Jodorowsky's LA SAGRADA MONTAñA (The Sacred Mountain). Somewhere in the first part of the film I realized that it was an allegory based on St. John of the Cross' Ascent of Mount Carmel which is an address to informed Christians who aspire to grow in union with God; it examines every category of spiritual experience, the spurious as well as the authentic. With rare insight into human psychology, St. John's work not only tells how to become more closely united with God, but spells out in vivid detail the pitfalls to avoid. This exactly is what Jodorowsky's film is about - supposedly.

The film revolves around a character called The Fool (later known as The Thief, who has an uncanny resemblance to modern day's imagery of Christ). It is said the George Harrisson (of The Beatles) wanted so much to play this character but protested the gratuitous nudity (a scene required that his ass be washed in front of the camera) and therefore backed off. Anyway, The Fool was introduced to several characters representing the planets but whose actual jobs were a cosmetics manufacturer, a weapons manufacturer, a millionaire, a political financial adviser, a toy maker, a police chief and an architect. All of them have contributed to the fall of mankind through the products they have mass-produced. The Alchemist (played by Jodorowski himself) asked them to come together to do a search for illumination in a holy mountain and take over the place of the 9 immortals who live there, but before this they have to burn their money and wax images of themselves (sort of dying to one's self) before they began the quest.

Once on Lotus Island (where the mountain is located), they are sidetracked by the Pantheon Bar which features, among other things, a cemetery party of people who have abandoned their quest for the holy mountain in exchange for drugs and booze. I found particularly amusing the scene where a hulk of a man claims that he can go through solid objects saying that he has conquered the mountain - only horizontally. He couldn't go through it from down up. Thankfully, the group resists all the crap going on in the party and moves on. In the end, when the group confronted the 9 immortals, they turn out to be faceless dummies and the camera pans out to reveal the rest of the crew and equipment with Jodorowski saying, "Real life awaits us." This pretty much makes one think whether Jodorowski is simply making an inspired statement there or the audience was duped into thinking the film has a mission.

La Montaña Sagrada remains to be the most expensive Mexican production to date (USD 1, 500,000). It was first shown in the Cannes Film Festival in May 1973 and re-released in the US and worlwide only last year.


"You will be given a great deal of power today, although you might not realize it at first. The amount of attention you are getting from others is about to increase greatly -- are you prepared for being in the spotlight a lot more often? Make sure you look your best, and be ready to answer questions. At first, this situation might make you nervous. But once you get going, there will be no stopping you! You were born to be a leader, so enjoy your birthright."

My horoscope for today courtesy of D.M.


Truth be told, we're are having problems in disposing the Farm's share of the harvest. Already, we are throwing away kilos upon kilos of these sweet things and composting them instead (from earth they came, to earth they return. Bow!). We didn't expect this much harvest. The Farm's share alone is projected to be at 3,250 kilos. Many are still on the trees. The rest are in baskets, producing their own heat enough to ensure that they ripen naturally in 6-7 days from picking. There is very minimal response, if at all, from the villagers. Something must have gone wrong with the leafleting. Anyhoo, I already have contacted my friends in the Agriculture department (Rita) and PBSP (Jerome) to assist me in looking for people who are in the same business.

We have also saved the salvageables to be made into purees, shakes, and ice candies (not sold by the farm; by the staff lang in their own homes). My Plan of Action (POA) next year is: 1.) Explore markets (i.e. hook up with mango producers associations for networking, marketing to public markets and selling at farm gate prices (win-win solution), connecting with people's orgs, open stalls in weekend markets like Salcedo in Makati or somewhere nearer to us like the Lung Center). b.) Technology transfer via trainings (TLRC?) on how to make purees that have long shelf life, production of dried mango chips and bottled pickles and jams. When the coffeeshop opens, maybe we can have mango-based pastries as well. Oh, yes! Also liqueur. 3.) Schedule the spraying of the trees in batches so they don't bloom all at the same time. This way, we can dispose of fruits in batches, significantly reduce wastage, and increase farm income from its share.

Haaay. Feeling farmer na talaga ako.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Here's an email we received lately. Mapagkakatiwalaan ba ito? What do you think?



We will would like to introduce to you our field of proposal. We are a developer of low-cost to medium size residential houses...maybe your interested to have a good investmetn in housing all you have to do is to wait for the monthly income of your propoerty. We accept also land without title. If your land is no land title we also arrange the papers this offer is exclusive only here in rizal, quezon and bulacan provinces. since your farm is developed i can offer you the intelligence building that means and automation for security bulgars, lighting automation, water errigation automation for the land (farm) and a lots more for the automation exlusive
under intelligence building. maybe your interested cuz this is an affordable promo inside the said three provinces, manila is (NCR) is included.

At your service,
(Sender and company names witheld)

Thursday, May 08, 2008


I don't know what hit me last night, but maybe out of desperation I decided to watch two old films - shot 6 years apart - which pretty much reduced me to mush. The first one, Meghe Dhaka Tara (which is Bengali for The Cloud-Capped Star), is a story of Neeta, a daughter of a teacher whose family lived in a refugee camp in Calcutta, now Kolkata. Her elder brother, Shankar, is a useless wrench who sings his life away (he was a student in music and had to practice for 2 years, ack!). Anyway, I loved that part when he and Neeta were talking:

Neeta: Haven't you an ego?
Shankar: Something much bigger: my music!

Awww. Anyhoo, her other sister, Geeta, flirts with her boyfriend, and her younger brother dropped out of college to work in a factory. When her father and younger brother met separate accidents and had to stop working, it was left to her to lead the family. They survived on her meager salary as a clerk in the college library, but her life was reduced to a sense of loss when her boyfriend decided to marry Geeta. She eventually contracted tuberculosis and had to be sent to the Rheid Chest Hospital which incidentally was staffed by Filipino nuns (I may be wrong, but gut feel told me they were countrymen. Besides, they were short, spoke English, and stared directly into the camera, ha ha!). Her memorable line in this film was, "Brother, I want to live!" (Dada, ami baachte chai!) which somehow made it all very depressing because in the 50's, the survival rate for TB patients was rather dismal. There are several quoatations from Keats, Yeats, and Wordsworth courtesy of the father who I suspect taught English Lit, and lots of really sad but beautiful songs. The film is very good and very sad. Oh, I thought I've already stressed that enough. Anyway, in the words of Neeta's father, "Those who suffer for others, suffer forever." Truly, Neeta was a cloud-capped star.

Directed by celebrated alternative filmaker Ritwik Ghatak. Year of release: 1960

I think I have just confirmed that I am a sadomasochist because after all the crying with the first film, I decided to end the night with yet another tearjerker, Nijushi no hitomi (Twenty-Four Eyes). Directed by Keisuke Kinoshita based on a book by Sakae Tsubo, Twenty-Four Eyes is tearjerker unparalled in all my experience of watching old Japanese films. Sabagay, wala yata akong Japanese film na hindi iniyakan. Lahat nakakaiyak! Kinoshita is considered one of postwar Japan's cinematic geniuses and one of the most prolific (42 films in 23 years). I was also somewhat surprised that Japan already produced films just 9 years after WWII. Amazing. This can be a great topic for research, methinks. It's something similar to how we survived the Japanese invasion by indulging in zarsuelas. Anyway, the film has an undercurrent feel to it that has not been well exploited, something that resembles a suggestion (a certain scene shows the teacher, Ms. Oishi, discuss certain communist concepts to her students) but couldn't discuss openly maybe out of respect for the country's very recent loss in the war. Anyway, it could have been interesting to see how this 1954 film could have furthered that topic more. This somehow reminded me, too, of Not One Less (by Yimou Zhang) and Akira Kurosawa's Madadayo (Not Yet). Twenty-Four Eyes won the Golden Globe Best Foreign Film award in 1955, which is something huge because although Kinoshita has been widely accepted by his home audience, his films have rarely been shown abroad.

Friday, May 02, 2008


Caught my dog, Turnip, yawning. The newspapers said the hottest temperature to be ever registered in the country is expected this May. Aarrgh! As if it's not already hot as it is.