Saturday, December 15, 2012

Two Princes

Kakaiba ang alas-kwatro y medya na iyon para sa'yo. Aksidente mong napindot ang kantang 'Two Princes' ng Spin Doctors sa tinatangi mong iPhone. At nagbalik sa iyo lahat ang mga image ng kabataan na akala mo noon ay panghabambuhay.

Hindi nga ba't 90's baby ka? Ang panahon kung kailan isang malaking kahihiyan ang malaman ng crush mo ang pagtingin mo sa kanya, ang panahon na nagsisimula pa ang mga mall at arcade, ang panahon ung kailan umusbong ang alternative rock at grunge, ang panahong ang tanging pinapangarap mo lang sa buhay ay maging DJ sa radyo at magkaroon ng mic at karaoke.

Naluluha ka kasi iniisip mong halos dalawampung taon na ang nakakaraan at hinahanap mo kung nasaang posisyon ka na ng buhay mo at kung ano'ng puwang sa mundo ang kinalalagyan mi. Napapaisip ka sa mga bagay-bagay na dati hindi mo binibigyan ng bigat katulad ng kamatayan. Isang katotohanan na kailangan harapin dahil nakikita mong unti-unti nang nalalagas sa harap mo ang mga dating kaklase, kaibigan, kalaro ng tumbang-preso na napaikli ang buhay dahil sa sakit, aksidente o pagpapatiwakal.

Alas kwatro sinkwenta y dos ng madaling araw at nararamdaman mo ang katotohanang ika'y matanda na at ang mga taong noo'y nasa edad mo ngayon ay tinitingala mo dahil sa kanilang tinamasang tagumpay o pinanggigilan mo dahil hindi ka nila naiintindihan bilang teenager.

Ngayon, ngayon na ikaw na ang nasa lugar nila at sila, sila ay tumanda at lumipas na, naiisip mo kung anong kanta kaya ang magpaparamdam ng nostalgia sa mga bata ngayon kapag umabot sila sa edad mo ngayon. At dalawampung taon magmula ngayon, ano uli ang kantang magiging sanhi ng pagkalikot ng mga alaala mo. O kung mapalad ka ba na mabigyan ng pagkakataong mabuhay pa at namnamin ang mga alaalang ito.

Pareho lang ang 'Two Princes' na pinapakinggan mo noon at ngayon. Pero iba na ang kahulugan nito para sa'yo ngayon.

Noon, isa itong kantang sabay-sabay niyong kinakanta ng mga kaibigan mo sa college habang masayang lumalabas ng gate ng eskwelahan, ninanamnam ang oras na maagang natapos ang klase dahil tinatamad ang titser. Ngayon, isa itong kantang naglalagay ng perspektibo sa pananaw mo sa buhay at iyong mga alaala.

Alas singko trese ng umaga. Hindi ka pa rin dinadalaw ng antok. At iniisip mo kung ikaw pa rin ba ang dating 90's teenager na nangangarap magkaroon ng romantikong pag-ibig. O ang taong binago dahil hindi mo nakuha ang pangarap na iyon.

Napangiti ka ng may pait. 'Two Princes' lang 'yan, andami mo nang drama, sabi mo sa sarili mo.

Akala mo kasi, iba ka na sa kung ano ka noon. Malaking bahagi pa rin pala sa'yo ang hindi nagbabago.
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Friday, December 14, 2012

Beautiful Images of Christmas

Despite a humid Yuletide Season in the Philippines this year and the 'anxiety' of an impending end of the world (if you believe in the Mayans' prediction), the presence of the spirit of Christmas is still apparent in the country. Everywhere, the joy of the season makes people smile because they just received their bonus, children excited to see what Santa have in store for them, yuppies worrying about eating too much at company parties, old-time friends and classmates finding a reason to get together for a reunion.

Though the disastrous effects that Typhoon Pablo had in our neighboring Compostela Valley makes me rethink about spending a lavish Christmas celebration and helping the victims instead, I reckon it's not that bad to enjoy the sights, sounds and colorful symbols of the season that brings out the kids in all of us.

Here are some pictures I was able to capture during my wandering in Manila and Davao.

Parol, the Pinoy version of Christmas lanterns are sold along the sidewalk of Gilmore in Quezon City, Philippines.

As early as November, this giant Christmas tree is already displayed in the middle of the Gaisano Mall of Davao, Philippines.

Belen or nativity scene, a tableau depicting the birth of Jesus Christ is on display at the lobby of Marco Polo Davao.

Large balloons adorned with Christmas decors are hanging inside EDSA Shangrila Mall in Mandaluyong, Philippines.

Japanese lanterns are the mas piled to make a giant Christmas tree in Binondo, Manila.
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Thursday, December 13, 2012

8th Mindanao Film Festival Nominees & Winners


More than 30 plus narrative and documentary short films with running time of 5 to 40 minutes each had to be screened by me and my Mindanao Film Festival (MFF) co-jurors, Arnel Mardoquio (2010 Netpac awardee (prestigious award in Asian cinema), Urian Best Screenplay in 2011, Pandayang Lino Brocka award for best regional short film, Cinema One Jury Prize 2012 and winner of Cinemanila International Film Fest Jury Prize 2012)* and Maria Victoria "Bambi" Beltran (Cebuana filmmaker with Butuanon roots, co-producer of Cinema One’s Dili Ingon Nato, and actress in Confessional and Aberya. She was also the writer of Damgo ni Eleuteria, directed Agokoy, Ugma na Ko Moasoy, a segment of the omnibus Bisayan film Biyernes, Biyernes. She also helmed Pigadagit, a soon-to-be-released Butuanon short film, an execom member representing Visayas at the NCCC Cinema Committee)* with MFF Director Rudolf Alama assisting us last December 8.

We spent more than 10 hours watching the films, indiscriminately screen every detail and making sure nothing was missed. We rated each film according to individual categories. By past midnight, we decided to go somewhere else to grab some beer and started shortlisting the highly-rated films based on the category.


Shorlisting the films over beer with Bambi and Arnel. Photo courtesy of Rudolf Alama.
Shortlisting films for each category left us with around 10-13 films and another round of cuts and deliberation had to be done to finally come up with the nominees. Then after determining the final nominees for each category, the real work began: deliberation.

I think we sifted through each and every aspect of judging. Not all films deserve to be cited to be honest. While some films were excellent, some were short of technical polishing, weak storytelling, telenovela-inspired treatment, careless direction and other traps young filmmakers get into. However, most of the filmmakers for this batch are promising enough, given they learned something from their participation in this year's festival and I hope they will be encouraged to join next year, hopefully submitting more polished works. 

So given what we had to go through judging the competition, I believe we made the right choices. Here are the nominees and winners of the this year's MFF:


BEST FILM 2012
Nominees:

Sintunado-WINNER (Davao City)
El Pundido Luz de Casa - Special JURY Citation (Zamboanga)
Masaligan (Davao City)
El Sentimiento del Maga Quieto (Zamboanga)
Damgo (Misamis)
Bantay (Davao City)

The filmmakers of "Sintunado".
This group is a product of the Guerilla Filmmaking Workshop, the first win after a couple of years.
Photo courtesy of JKR Multimedia.

I think Zamboangueno films had good entries in the festival. (I heard last year's winner was also from Zamboanga). It was so romantic to listen to Chabacano being spoken in a film.


BEST DOCUMENTARY
Nominees:

Under the Purple Sky – Nef Luczon - WINNER (Cagayan de Oro)
Sino – Xeng Epanto (Zamboanga)

BEST STUDENT FILM
Nominees:

Me - WINNER (Davao City)
Puzzle (Davao City)
Salamin (Davao City)
Coffeeshop (Davao City)
Artroom (Davao City)
Labo-Labo (Davao City)

I have to say that I didn't fancy the use of English or Tagalog in these nominated films by students from Philippine Women's College Davao. Somehow, I felt like I was watching films made by non-Davaoenos.

MFF participants receiving their Certificates of Participation.
At far right is Dax Canedo, the one who started it all. 

BEST WORKSHOP FILM
Nominees:

Sintunado - WINNER (Davao City)
Ang Pagpedal ni Elias (Davao City)
Medalyon (Davao City)
Candelario (Davao City)

BEST GUERILLA FILM
Nominees:

Sintunado - WINNER (Davao City)
El Pundido Luz De Casa (Zamboanga)
Bantay (Davao City)
Ang Pagpedal ni Elias (Davao City)
Medalyon (Davao City)
Candelario (Davao City)

Filmmakers receiving their Certificates of Participation

BEST DIRECTOR
Nominees:

El Sentimiento del Maga quieto- Xeph Suarez WINNER (Zamboanga)
Bantay – Gary Bengil Bautista (Davao City)
Puzzle – Lew Andrew T. Avila (Davao City)
Damgo – Mark Gio Amoguis (Misamis)
Sintunado – CJ Liamzon (Davao City)
Me – Alex Angelo Lara (Davao City)

BEST ACTRESS
Nominees:


Somnolence (L.A Subido)- WINNER (Davao City)
Gugma ni Pilo (Jona Gegremosa) (Davao City)
Flora Mae: Ang Biktima – Rosmyra Bacus (Davao City)
Candelaria- Poncia Glaiza Acharon (Davao City)
Pukot – Marilyn Avanceña (General Santos City)

With Fe "Ging" Hyde, Gawad Urian Best Actress for "Sheika".
She was the presentor for the MFF "Best Actress".
BEST ACTOR
Nominees

Bantay (ensemble cast)- WINNER: (Davao City)
- Kenneth Ian Chong, Donn Ahl Catre, Leo Jeorge Bautista, Ferdinand Mesias, Ronald Gary Bautista
Gugma ni Pilo (baby ghost)- Special Jury Citation – Lance Segfried Estellore (Davao City)
Masaligan (Mikael Corro) 
(Davao City)
Migo Nino (Joshua) 
(Davao City)
Treynta (James Labrigas) 
(Davao City)
Pukot (Perry Dizon) (General Santos City)
Flora Mae: Ang Biktima - (Death) – Vergel Bustamante 
(Davao City)
EL Pundido Luz de casa (father of the gay) – Julius Caesar Alejandro (Zamboanga)

BEST SCREENPLAY
Nominees:

El Pundido Luz de Casa- Aedrian Deniel Araojo -WINNER (Zamboanga)
Migo Nino- Special Jury Citation - Sonny Campaner; Warred Julian 
(Davao City)
El Sentimiento del Maga Quieto – Vanessa Fate Mora (Zamboanga)
Damgo – GioJoe Amoguiz (Misamis)
Sintunado – CJ Liamzon 
(Davao City)
Me – Alex Angelo Lara 
(Davao City)

The Jury decided to cite the screenplay of Migo Nino for capturing the unique Visayan humor by using witty vernacular terms. If the film was edited tighter, it could've been nominated in the Best Film. I heard it received the warmest audience reception during its screening.



From left to right: Jesse Boga, Mindanao Times journalist; Co-Juror Bambi Beltran and Urian Best Actress Ging Hyde before the start of the Awards Night.

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Nominees:

Sintunado- WINNER (Davao City)
Coffee Shop (Davao City)
Pagsaha (Zamboanga)
El Pundido Luz de Casa (Zamboanga)
Labo-Labo (Davao City)
El Sentimiento del Maga Quieto (Zamboanga)

Cinematography Coicoi Nacario who presented the award for Best Cinematography.
His recent work was as DOP of the Cinemaone Originals 2012 entry
"Ang Paglalakbay ng mga Bituin sa Gabing Madilim" by Arnel Mardoquio.

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
Nominees:

Sintunado- WINNER (Davao City)
Gugma ni Pilo (Davao City)
Coffee Shop (Davao City)
Art Room (Davao City)
El Sentimiento del Maga Quieto (Zamboanga)
El Pundido Luz de Casa (Zamboanga)
Bantay (Davao City)

BEST EDITING
Nominees:

Damgo- WINNER (Misamis)
Sintunado (Davao City)
El Pundido Luz de Casa (Zamboanga)
Masaligan (Davao City)
Puzzle (Davao City)
El Sentimiento del Maga Quieto (Zamboanga)

Presenting the Best Editing award.

BEST SOUND
Nominees:

El Pundido Luz de Casa - WINNER (Zamboanga)
Masaligan (Davao City)
Damgo (Misamis)
El Sentimiento del Maga Quieto (Zamboanga)
Sintunado (Davao City)

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
Nominees:


Ang Pagkamatay ni Wonder Woman- WINNER (Cagayan de Oro City)
Pagsaha (Zamboanga)
Somnolence 
(Davao City)
Goyak (General Santos City)
Nene 
(General Santos City)

BEST MUSICAL SCORE
Nominees:


Pagsaha- WINNER (Zamboanga)
Masaligan (Davao City)
El Sentimiento del Maga Quieto (Zamboanga)
Damgo (Misamis)
Sintunado 
(Davao City)
El Pundido Luz de Casa (Zamboanga)
Memo 
(Davao City)


Presentor for Best Sound, Maki Serapio, who also did the sound for "Ang Paglalakbay...".
He also did additional dubbing for "The Thank You Girls".
SPECIAL AWARDS (NOT DECIDED BY THE JURY)


Memorable Line in a Film - Gugma ni Pilo (Davao City)

Most liked trailer (online voting) - Memo 
(Davao City)

Best Shoutout Film - Somnolence 
(Davao City)

I have high hopes for MFF being the only film festival in Mindanao that showcases the films about the region and made by Mindanaoan filmmakers. Hopefully next year, more entries from the other provinces will participate. 

*Source: Mindanao Times
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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

8th Mindanao Film Festival

The recently concluded Mindanao Film Festival, which ran from December 4-11, is an annual festival in Davao City showcasing short and full-length films shot and made in Mindanao by Mindanaoan filmmakers. This year, more than 30 short films and documentaries are in competition.

This is a special event for me as I was tapped to be one of the festival's jury. Also, my first feature "The 'Thank You' Girls" (2008) was exhibited in the festival, a chance for Davaoeños to watch the film again on the big screen.

One of the featured filmmakers on the wall outside the Gaisano Mall of Davao Cinema 5 where the films were  shown.



Outside Gaisano Mall of Davao, the festival venue.
"The 'Thank You' Girls on screen.

Denise, the actor on the screencap above, after the Dec. 10 screening of TYG.

Arnel Mardoquio's Crossfire.

Digital projector at Gaisano Mall of Davao Cinema 5.

Some of the staff, crew and actors after the Dec. 5 screening. (From left to right) Willie Apa, Davaoeno film editor, JD, who played the emcee, SunStar Davao columnist Yen Oledan, TYG's Production Coordinator, Sheng, Mindanao Film Festival Saff, Joan Mae Soco who played Adora Gracia, Mindanao Times journalist Jesse Boga, me and Yam Palma, TYG's Assistant Director.   

Friends Fritz and Dan who watched the Dec. 10 screening of TYG.
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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Lucifer Disko

Taken on September 2012.
I wonder how it feels to be inside this bar. Must be devilish. Taken in Pattaya, Thailand.


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Monday, November 12, 2012

Angkor Wat in Panorama

Of the two times that I've been to Angkor Wat, I realized it's not as picturesque in real life as in the pictures. Though I love the experience of biking from the Old Market going to the temple, one visit to the temple would suffice.

So I tried something different on my second visit there. I took a picture of the temple using my iPhone 4s using the its Panorama feature and here's how it looks. 

This one is the entrance to the main temple, the lake really looks beautiful in the photo.

Taken on September 2012.
This photo of the road along the tail end of Charles de Gaulle going towards the main gate of the temple is a serene place to chill at side of the lake, watching locals fish or children playing. I haven't seen tourists stop by this side of the lake but locals, especially lovers and families, spend time here during late in the afternoon or at dusk.

Taken on September 2012.
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Saturday, November 10, 2012

So I Could Weep


Ever felt the kind of pain upon seeing the one you love so happy being with the one he loves? This is that pain.
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Thursday, November 08, 2012

The World Wakes Up At Night

Taken in Katipunan, Quezon City, Philippines. January 2011.
He didn't know if he was supposed to feel cold. The shivers on his spine were light and reassuring and unlike those who faced the Light before him, he felt so sure of himself. If he had the choice, he wanted to be less happy.

He saw the most breathtaking burst of colors he had seen in a lifetime. It made him wish he was still alive. This must be heaven, a world where they all wake up at night, he thought. And then came the familiar smell that surrounded him, he remembered the love that died with it. A ghost floating towards him, the same as he last remembered him.

"Cold?" the ghost smiled. Had the traces of his accident forced him to maturity, it never occurred to him.

"Am I supposed to feel anything?

He felt cold alright but a coolness he had always felt when he looked at him with piercing eyes. The decades passed by so quickly and though he knew the ghost never waited for him, he was the first sight he got a glimpse on in Limbo. It was like being on earth again, the life they once lived fit the template of chasing in silence. He realized this lifetime, upon learning all the lessons of tragedy from the one they lived preceding to this, is a mirror of what once was because he's willing to live another cycle of silent love once again.

"Did you suffer much from that disease?" The ghost was filled with sympathy.

"I did. But I'm glad I outlived our other friends", his smile was genuine.  He to started laugh and he was startled at himself because there nothing he ever said was funny.

"Go on. We can't die twice."

"I did. I died when I couldn't have you."

 Silence engulfed them. He wished he was more honest in their former lifetime.

"Come on, let's meet the others. I'm sure you'll find this to be a happier place."

The ghost led the way, he followed blindly. He didn't get the answer he wanted but he was sure, this would indeed be a happier place.

Because he finally seized the courage to tell him about the love he kept to himself in their previous life.
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Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Neon Heartbeat

Taken in Phat Phong, Bangkok, Thailand. August 2012.
The heavy traffic of tourists in the red district area of Phat Phong in Bangkok is popular for its night market and sex tourism. Men are always on standby outside a club offering passersby bizaare sex shows like the Ping-Pong Show, Lesbian Show, S&M Show and the likes. Most of these clubs have open doors so passersby can get a glimpse of what's going on inside. The one in the photo, the Heart Beat Club, is surely a crowd drawer.
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Sunday, November 04, 2012

Head to Head

Taken on May 2012. Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
I love taking black and white photos of people. Here's one with my friends Ara and Son posing for the camera. No, they're not a couple.

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Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Shisha Smoker

Taken in Dubai, UAE. May 2012.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Khmer School Girls

Taken in Siem Reap, Cambodia. January 2012.
A group of Khmer school girls on their way home from school. 
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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Thai Sunset

Taken in Mae Sot, Thailand. March 2012.

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Friday, October 19, 2012

Hongkong Food Trip

Disneyland may be Hongkong's most popular landmark but no tourist should brush off what this city offers best: food. The rich influence of Eastern and Western culture in Hongkong's cuisine is prevalent in its restaurants and street stalls. From noodles, dimsum fish balls, pastry, rice pots, Peking duck, you'll never run out of choices for something to eat. The first time I went to Hongkong in 2008,  I was particularly drawn to their tasty egg tarts, nothing I've ever eaten anywhere. These HK$3 egg tarts are the best! Unfortunately I haven't taken pictures of them.

A typical restaurant in Mong Kok, Hongkong. December 2011.
When I went there last December, I spent a lot of time in Mong Kok. A place popular as a shopping area where new trends in fashion, electronics, gadgets are sold at bargain prices. I've heard that a popular GFX and post-production house is located in Mong Kok as well as several love hotels (inspired by Filipino short-time motels, yes). After a tiring day of bargaining and shopping, the restos around Mong Kok are the best places to spend your dinner.

An interesting menu offering exotic rice pots. Fresh frog and preserved duck's legs, anyone? December 2011.
The typical Hongkong restaurant is small, crowded and noisy, located beside the street. Usually, they have pieces of pre-cooked Peking ducks or pork meat hanging in front, not a reason to be intimidated though. The first time I ate in a jampacked small resto there, I was caught off guard when the owner pulled someone in to sit at a chair in my table that was good for two . A funny, awkward situation where I had to eat in front of a stranger. I guess that's how they maximize their space. Also note that most restaurant staff shout at each other but I reckon they're not fighting.

Not one with a stomach for frogs, I ordered chicken with mushroom rice pot.
In Mongkok, restaurants start to get full of hungry shoppers by 6pm, most of them have tables located outside occupying the sidewalk space and parts of the street. I particularly like the rice pots, a kind of dish where rice in a claypot with your choice of topping is cooked over charcoal. You can end your meal scraping pieces of crispy burnt rice at the bottom of the pot.

The best way to quench your thirst after a day's shopping is the milk tea.
And here's the best part. Milk teas. A form of beverage made of black tea and milk which can be consumed either hot or cold. Bubble teas, the ones that came from Taiwan, have become quite popular in Hongkong, too. Bubble tea is a tea-based drink mixed with fruit or milk usually with ice and small chewy black tapioca balls commonly known as "pearls". A lovely way to quench your thirst when shopping's done at the end of the day.

Don't forget to check out the Tsim Sha Tsui area if you're up for exotic food. 
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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Kowloon Holiday

Really nice Christmas exhibit at Kowloon Park last year. Lights were brighter at night.

Kowloon Park. December 2011.

Toy Story's Woody gives color to the exhibit. 

Green Dinosaur is the new Santa.


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Romancing Trains

Chiang Mai Train Station. July 2012.
There's something about trains that is romantic. Probably because I grew up not seeing or riding one until early this year. What a sight looking at the hustle of intertwining lives bumping into one another that make up the organized chaos that makes sense and doesn't at the same time. Different stories of people going to the same destination, lost pairs of feet trying to make it on time, weary eyes waiting for their time of departure, crying babies wanting so bad to be taken cared of.

Casablanca Train Station in Morocco. June 2012.

What could a family of five be doing out of a poor town? Seeking for greener pastures on the other side perhaps, or going back to the place they were from after a failed attempt at finding a bright future in the big city. I stand at the ticket line watching that happy couple on their backpacks, probably on their first trip together hoping they'll make it to their 1st-year anniversary so they can share memories to talk about when they get home.

Graffiti on the wall on the way to Rabat, Morocco. June 2012.

Or that woman squatting on the floor, travelling alone, reading her favorite novel as she waits for her train to arrive. She could be a divorcee, mending a broken heart. Was she the one who left her man or was she left behind? That middle-aged man with the attache case on a business trip, most likely unhappy with his marriage and his strained relationship with his teenage kids pushes him to uninspired trips to the office and conferences. And the happiness he thought he found in his mistress' embrace made him realize his inadequacies.

Chiang Mai Train Station. June 2012.
That songwriter stretching his hand out of the window to feel the rush of wind on his arms. He closes his eyes, swaying to the rhythm of the wheels kiss the the infinite tracks. The laughter of a group of friends looking forward to a vacation together, talking about office or school gossip but avoiding the weight of talking about their families and relationship troubles. Or the filmmaker in deep thought, thinking of another story to tell, perhaps a story that happened in a train trip. A love story that isn't lasting and he knows that the uncertainty it brings is what makes its tragedy fun to watch. A love story that just happened to pass through time, both parties knew it would end sooner than later and the temporary high it brought them was something to cherish when they walk apart at their destination's exit stairs.

Yes, trains are romantic.

Upon arrival at Rabat Station in Morocco, taken by my brother James. June 2012.

They have stories to tell. Or am I just romanticizing the density of loneliness that trains bring? Maybe I watch too much 'Before Sunrise'.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Point me to Casablanca

Some street signs in Casablanca.

Taken on May 2012. Casablanca, Morocco.

Taken on May 2012. Casablanca, Morocco.
Casablanca wasn't what I expected it to be. Not romantic, as depicted in the movie. Very crowded, too but it was a good starting point for the whole Moroccan journey with my brother last June (more about these stories in my coming entries).  I must say I love the weather there!
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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Itchy Feet*

Taken during the film shoot of "Batanes" in Batanes, 2007.

"Aren't you going back to Italy anytime soon?" I asked though I knew what his reply would be.

"I'll keep travelling while I'm still young", he quipped.

He was an Italian guy, attractively scruffy and if I were to judge on how he looked, he was an artist. And he smoked weed a lot.

Me and my brother met him in Marrakesh, Morocco in a nice riad where we stayed for a couple of days. Then we took the train together, he to Casablanca and us to Rabat.

He quit his job four years ago and started travelling the world non-stop. Sleek. Pretty much what I wanted to do with my life, too. Flashback to a year ago when I got burned out in doing one film after the other. Apparently I realized there's only so much you could take and that the amount of success in the business should not be based on the number of films made but the quality of how they were made. When I went to Vancouver, Canada in October where my second film was exhibited at the Vancouver International Film Festival, epiphany struck me and I felt the need to make things happen and explore other terrains - anywhere but here.

To start it off, I went for the first time in Bangkok right after Vancouver. Then by December, after the gruelling edit of "Enteng ng Ina Mo", I went back to Hongkong and Macau, spent time with old friends and made new ones. Mainland Southeast Asia (Bangkok, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos) didn't escape me at the beginning of this year then I grabbed the opportunity to go back to Dubai in March to work on a documentary. Two months after, I packed my bag and went with my brother to Morocco. Then I resumed doing the documentary and rekindled my love affair with Bangkok where, after my passport stamp expired, I gathered enough strength to see if I would love or hate India. I came back to Bangkok intent on staying longer that I should and psyched myself up on moving in here in the future for good.

As I sip my 45 baht milk tea, I thought of the Italian guy and where could he be right now? He must be somewhere, having the time of his life, not wiping off that smile and lightness on his face because he is living his dream. That simple reply to my question would echo in my consciousness for the longest time, reassuring me each that going to places is a baggage you carry that's worth more than any other possession you have. Which brings me to the question...


Taken in Hongkong, December 2011.
TO SAVE UP FOR THE FUTURE OR SAVE UP MEMORIES? There's a wrong notion that you have to be rich to be able to travel. Well obviously, you need to provide a budget to do that. But 'how much?' is a subjective question.

So here's the chicken-egg question: how can I travel without money and when I have the money, will I still be capable of traveling? There goes the light bulb moment, the Italian guy's voice reverberating: travel while you're young.

I am not rich. In fact, I don't earn as much as the other filmmakers. I know I can't dive in the pool like most of the travellers I met in Bangkok, Cambodia or Vietnam, mostly Europeans, who quit their job to explore Asia. Their First World concerns are far different from my Third World situation. The currency exchange would tell me that. For someone of my stature, there's always that dilemma.

Yes, the world is an infinite adventure ready to embrace any explorer and a lifetime is not enough to wait for that moment to be the person of the world. I often weigh on the need for me to travel when my means cannot allow me to save up for my future - the what ifs that cloud the certainties of my goals. The truth is, I feel like I'm always in a hurry to go to other places because there's so much to go to and only a short time left to do so. Well, time is always short. But I reckon, though I am a 'now' person, there's always time for everything. So here's how I resolved it: I work for a certain period of time, say three months.  Work that puts the buffalos to shame. Then I set my travel but I don't spend all my money instead keep some for the future. It's a compromise and though I want to stay longer, I'd have to take shorter trips. Two to three weeks instead of a month. It's a win-win situation for myself.

Having been to different countries widened my perspective on the diversity of nations, it scrapped my prejudice, it made me loathe the English grammar nazis, it made me appreciate races and culture and language. I intend to learn more. I still want to party in Satorini, to kiss someone in Paris, to experience full daylight in Oslo, to swim to the currents in Australia, to see the Mayan ruins in Mexico, to dance in the festivals in Brazil, to experience romance in Venice, to walk on the edges of the Banaue Rice Terraces, to taste the food in Zamboanga, to anywhere. Anywhere but here.


"Makati ang paa" literally "itchy feet" is a Filipino idiom to describe a wanderer, someone who can't stay put in one place.
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Monday, October 15, 2012

Moroccan Kids

Taken outside the old market in Rabat, Morocco. June 2012.
Most Moroccans like to pose for the camera like these kids who gamely pose for a shot outside the crowded old market of Rabat. 


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