Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Contract Signing

The scorching Saturday sun didn't stop me from walking my way to GMA 7. It wasn't that far from Arlene's house in Baranggay Central where I was staying. Besides, I needed to get my blood circulating since I stopped doing boxing two months ago.

"Wear something that represents your personality", the email from Cine Totoo Programming wrote.  I don't know which clothes would represent my personality. All I know is I love wearing flip-flops. They're comfortable. And I decided against wearing them because it's the contract signing and photoshoot and tv plug shoot. Besides, my sneakers miss my feet already. From Davao, I didn't bring anything fancy to wear so I chose an ordinary shirt with random faces printed on it and wished none of the filmmakers would wear a suit.

"Be there earlier than 1pm as we will start on time", Jenny, the festival's Business Manager kept on reminding me through text days before. I was there fifteen minutes before 1 and I saw Ca, one of the finalists and my film schoolmate in UP, and her partner, Lester. I asked her about her documentary, it's about the concept of rape against women in Bontoc.

And yes. Ca's documentary has a very compelling subject. I began to rethink if I will be able to do my documentary well. Self-pressure. Not good.

The Cine Totoo filmmakers during the photoshoot.
Photo courtesy of Mark Lester Valle.

The orientation started with 10 out of the 11 finalists present. Festival Director Joseph Laban, Nessa Valdellon, GMA News TV Head, Jenny Licen, Cine Totoo Business Manager and a GMA lawyer were present to explain the contents of the contract that we were about to sign. After all our questions were answered, each filmmaker introduced himself and the concept of the documentary.

Bebs' confidence level update: down the drain. Yet I was excited at how different and unique all of our concepts were. I can't wait to see how the stories will be told on film.

After we signed the MOA, we proceeded to the ground floor for the photoshoot, interview and plug shoot.

Behind the scenes shot courtesy of Nessa Valdellon.

Over Amber's pichi-pichi, I got to chat with the other filmmakers and learn a little more about them (aside from the other friends I've known since - JT, Sig and Ca).

The festival will be in August, by the way. Four months of processing the documentary which I am quite skeptical about. The time is short and documentaries take time to make. I think I just need to believe in the power of my concept and I hope I will be able to find compelling subjects to carry the film and their redeeming stories. I also don't know how I would react seeing my face on national television. The thought of it gives me shivers.

I am still nervous about this whole festival, actually. Alright, more excited. Well, I think more nervous. I need to give this my best shot.
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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Cine Totoo Journey Begins


Though I didn't keep my hopes high after the panel interview two weeks ago, I am ecstatic about doing a documentary for the next five months and tell the story of a sport that isn't well-known in the Philippines yet. No, the documentary is not about food. 

I'm also excited to be doing the film with other friends (Carla Ocampo, JT Pandy and Sig Sanchez) and fellow Davaoeno, Nef Luczon who are made it as finalists. too. Here's the complete list:
  • Ferdinand Balanag’s “Agbalbalitok”
  • Ivy Rose Universe Baldoza’s “Marciano”
  • Sigfreid Barros-Sanchez’s “Ang Gitaristang Hindi Marunong Magskala”
  • Rafael Froilan’s “Mananayaw”
  • Charliebebs Gohetia’s “Kung Giunsa Pagbuhat ang Bisayang Chopsuey” (How to Make a Visayan Chopsuey)
  • Richard Legaspi’s “Ang Walang Kapagurang Paglalakbay ng Pulang Maleta”
  • Nef Luczon’s “Migkahi e si Amey te, Uli ki pad” (Father said, 'Let's Return Home')
  • Carla Samantha Ocampo’s  “Walang Rape sa Bontok”
  • Nawruz Paguidopon’s “Trip to Haifa”
  • Jan Tristan Pandy’s “Gusto na Umuwi ni Joy”
  • Keith Sicat’s “Chronicles of the Komikero”
And here's what my documentary is all about: 
Tchoukball is an indoor sport created in Switzerland by Swiss biologist Hermann Brandt in the 1970s. Discouraging aggressive physical contact in its play, Tchoukball is popular in Europe and several parts of Asia but it has not reached the mainstream consciousness in the Philippines, although a number had been playing it for a few years in the country. In fact, the national team comprise of players from Davao City. It started in Davao City, Philippines in 2010 when a Singaporean Pastor conducting his ministry in Davao City gathered a group of students and taught them the sport. Initially, when the students were busy with their studies, the pioneers of the sport expanded their reach and instead, recruited out-of-school youth to form a team for Davao City.  
Because of Tchoukball’s nature as a non-contact sport and its core value of respect, good relationships and harmony among its players, the sport evolved into becoming a venue of redemption for its players in Davao City. A team and an association were formed and made it an advocacy to be a place of diversity and acceptance for its players, creating a deeper purpose for the sport. In line with its advocacy to be a team with no discrimination, it has attracted a diverse mix of individuals from the different sectors of society that became its members: former drug runners, children in conflict with the law, Pastors, working professionals, businessmen, out-of-school youth, homosexuals, people with special needs (dyslexics, ADHDs), among others. 
In 2011, the team competed in Vietnam and won medals for the country. The team is faced with the challenge of getting the sport into mainstreamconsciousness by teaching it to schools and communities throughout the Philippines. And continue to become a venue of transformation and redemption for its future members. As the team is preparing for a tournament this year, the documentary will follow a number of characters and their daily struggles, not only with the sport but in real life as well, chronicling the ways the sport has inspired them to reform and be more productive members of society. Also, will the team’s struggle with politics within its own association hurdle them in their goals as they prepare to compete for a new tournament this year?
I hope I'll do justice to the team's interesting story!

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Sunday, March 09, 2014

30th PMPC Star Awards for Movies

Last week, I learned that I was nominated for another PMPC Star Awards for Movies for my work in "Dance of the Steel Bars." You know, that film that took me almost three years to edit. It's so good to be cited for your work. 

The awarding will be tonight and unfortunately, I'm still in Davao trying to finish "Chasing Waves" so I cannot attend it. Too bad. It's been a while since I was able to attend one. Good luck to all the nominees!




THE PHILIPPINE MOVIE PRESS CLUB (PMPC), INC.
30th PMPC STAR AWARDS FOR MOVIES 2014
March 9, 2014 at the Solair Resort Hotel, Pasay City.
Television coverage to be aired on March 16, 2014, in ABS-CBN's "Sunday's Best"

OFFICIAL NOMINEES:

MOVIE ACTRESS OF THE YEAR:
BEA ALONZO (Four Sisters And A Wedding)
NORA AUNOR (Ang Kuwento Ni Mabuti) 
RUSTICA CARPIO (Ano Ang Kulay Ng Mga Nakalimutang Pangarap?)
KC CONCEPCION (Shoot To Kill: Boy Golden)
ANGEL LOCSIN (Four Sisters And A Wedding)
VILMA SANTOS (Ekstra)
LORNA TOLENTINO (Burgos)

MOVIE ACTOR OF THE YEAR:

DINGDONG DANTES (Dance Of The Steel Bars)
JORGE ESTREGAN JR. (Shoot To Kill: Boy Golden)
VICE GANDA (Girl Boy Bakla Tomboy)
JAKE MACAPAGAL (Metro Manila)
ROBIN PADILLA (10,000 Hours)
PIOLO PASCUAL (On The Job)
JOEL TORRE (On The Job)

MOVIE SUPPORTING ACTOR OF THE YEAR:

ART ACUÑA (Kabisera)
VINCENT DE JESUS (Ekstra)
EDDIE GARCIA (Shoot To Kill: Boy Golden)
SPANKY MANIKAN (Bamboo Flowers)
JOEY MARQUEZ (On The Job)
MARLON RIVERA (Ekstra)
JOEY PARAS (Babagwa, The Spider’s Lair)

MOVIE SUPPORTING ACTRESS OF THE YEAR:

ANGEL AQUINO (Ang Huling Cha-Cha Ni Anita)
JASMINE CURTIS SMITH (Transit)
BELA PADILLA (10,000 Hours)
RUBY RUIZ (Ekstra)
CONEY REYES (Four Sisters And A Wedding)
GLORIA SEVILLA (Shoot To Kill: Boy Golden)
MARICEL SORIANO (Girl Boy Bakla Tomboy)

NEW MOVIE ACTOR OF THE YEAR:

AKIHIRO BLANCO (Mga Alaala Ng Tag-Ulan)
RODJUN CRUZ (I Luv U Pare Ko)
ARKIN DEL ROSARIO (Pagari)
MIMI JUAREZA (Quick Change)
RURU MADRID (Bamboo Flowers)
TEEJAY MARQUEZ (Pagari)
KIKO MATOS (Babagwa, The Spider’s Lair)
VINCE TAÑADA (Otso)

NEW MOVIE ACTRESS OF THE YEAR:

MAX COLLINS (Bamboo Flowers)
JASMINE CURTIS SMITH (Transit)
ISABELLE DAZA (It Takes A Man And A Woman)
MEG IMPERIAL (Menor De Edad)
TERI MALVAR (Ang Huling Cha-Cha Ni Anita)
LIZA SOBERANO (Must Be Love)
KRYSTLE VALENTINO (Purok 7)

MOVIE CHILD PERFORMER OF THE YEAR:

MARC JUSTINE ALVAREZ (Transit)
ADRIAN CABIDO (Lauriana)
MIGGS CUADERNO (Bamboo Flowers)
RYZZA MAE DIZON (My Little Bossings)
LENLEN FRIAL (Ang Huling Cha-Cha Ni Anita)
CHINO JALANDONI (Sonata)
YOGO SINGH (Bamboo Flowers)

MOVIE OF THE YEAR:

10,000 HOURS (Philippine Film Studios, Viva Films, and N2 Productions)
DANCE OF THE STEEL BARS (Portfolio Films and GMA Films)
FOUR SISTERS AND A WEDDING (Star Cinema)
IT TAKES A MAN AND A WOMAN (Viva Films and Star Cinema)
ON THE JOB (Reality Entertainment and Star Cinema)
SHOOT TO KILL: BOY GOLDEN (Scenema Concept International and Viva Films)
MOVIE DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR:

CESAR APOLINARIO and MARNIE MANICAD (Dance Of The Steel Bars)
JOYCE BERNAL (10,000 Hours)
CATHY GARCIA-MOLINA (Four Sisters And A Wedding)
CATHY GARCIA-MOLINA (It Takes A Man And A Woman)
ERIK MATTI (On The Job)
CHITO ROÑO (Shoot To Kill: Boy Golden)

INDIE MOVIE OF THE YEAR:

ANG HULING CHA-CHA NI ANITA (CineFilipino, Studio 5, and Pixeleyes Multimedia)
ANO ANG KULAY NG MGA NAKALIMUTANG PANGARAP? (LargaVista Entertainment and Film Development Council of the Philippines)
BADIL (Waray Republik and Film Development Council of the Philippines)
BAMBOO FLOWERS (Productions 56 and Film Development Council of the Philippines)
EKSTRA (Cinemalaya Foundation and Quantum Films)
KABISERA (Creative Program, Inc. and Reality Entertainment)
SONATA (My Own Mann Productions, Ruby’s Arms Productions, and Film Development Council of the Philippines)

INDIE MOVIE DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR:

SIGRID ANDREA BERNARDO (Ang Huling Cha-Cha Ni Anita)
MARYO J. DELOS REYES (Bamboo Flowers)
PEQUE GALLAGA and LORE REYES (Sonata)
JEFFREY JETURIAN (Ekstra)
JOSE JAVIER REYES (Ano Ang Kulay Ng Mga Nakalimutang Pangarap?)
CHITO ROÑO (Badil)
ALFONSO TORRE III (Kabisera)

(TECHNICAL CATEGORIES):

MOVIE SCREENWRITER OF THE YEAR:

KEIKO AQUINO and RYLLAH BERICO (10,000 Hours)
CATHERINE CAMARILLO and ANTHONY GUELAN (Shoot To Kill: Boy Golden)
CRIS LIM (Dance Of The Steel Bars)
ERIK MATTI and MICHIKO YAMAMOTO (On The Job)
MEL MENDOZA-DEL ROSARIO (Girl Boy Bakla Tomboy)
VANESSA VALDEZ (Four Sisters And A Wedding)

MOVIE CINEMATOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR:

RICARDO BUHAY III (On The Job)
MARISSA FLOIRENDO and GILBERTO VISTAN (10,000 Hours)
CARLO MENDOZA (Shoot To Kill: Boy Golden)
EMMAN PASCUAL and RAIN YAMSON (Dance Of The Steel Bars)
MANUEL TEEHANKEE (Four Sisters And A Wedding)
MANUEL TEEHANKEE (It Takes A Man And A Woman)

MOVIE PRODUCTION DESIGNER OF THE YEAR:

WINSTON ACUYONG (Four Sisters And A Wedding)
JOEL BILBAO and FRITZ SILORIO (Shoot To Kill: Boy Golden)
JOEY LUNA (10,000 Hours)
ARTHUR MANINGAS (Dance Of The Steel Bars)
SHARI MARIE MONTIAGUE (It Takes A Man And A Woman)
RICHARD SOMES (On The Job)

MOVIE MUSICAL SCORER OF THE YEAR:

TERESA BARROZO (10,000 Hours)
TERESA BARROZO (When The Love Is Gone)
CARMINA CUYA (Shoot To Kill: Boy Golden)
JESSIE LASATEN (It Takes A Man And A Woman)
RAUL MITRA (Four Sisters And A Wedding)
ERWIN ROMULO (On The Job)

MOVIE EDITOR OF THE YEAR:

JOYCE BERNAL and MARYA IGNACIO (10,000 Hours)
CHARLIEBEBS GOHETIA (Dance Of The Steel Bars) 
JAY HALILI (On The Job)
MARYA IGNACIO (Four Sisters And A Wedding)
MARYA IGNACIO (It Takes A Man And A Woman)
CARLO MANATAD, JASON CAHAPAY, and RYAN ORDUNA (Shoot To Kill: Boy Golden)

MOVIE SOUND ENGINEER OF THE YEAR:

AUREL BILBAO (Four Sisters And A Wedding)
AUREL BILBAO (It Takes A Man And A Woman)
CORINNE DE SAN JOSE (On The Job)
ALBERT MICHAEL IDIOMA (Dance Of The Steel Bars)
ALBERT MICHAEL IDIOMA and ADDISS TABONG (10,000 Hours)
ALBERT MICHAEL IDIOMA and ADDISS TABONG (Shoot To Kill: Boy Golden)
MOVIE ORIGINAL THEME SONG OF THE YEAR:

“BAKIT HINDI KA CRUSH NG CRUSH MO?” (Bakit Hindi Ka Crush Ng Crush Mo?) – Lyrics and Music by Jungee Marcelo / Interpreted by Zia Quizon
“HAMON NG BUHAY” (10,000 Hours) – Composed, Arranged, and Interpreted by Chito Miranda
“HUWARANG KABATAAN” (Pedro Calungsod, Batang Martir) -- Lyrics and Music by Emlyn Olfindo-Santos / Arranged by Noel Espenida / Interpreted by Fatima Soriano
“MIDAS” (Boy Golden: Shoot To Kill) – Composed by Abra / Arranged by Sonic State Audio / Interpreted by Abra
“PAHAMAK ANG ‘YONG GANDA” (Kimmy Dora, Ang Kiyemeng Prequel) – Lyrics and Music by Vincent de Jesus / Interpreted by Yeng Constantino
“REHAS NA BAKAL” (Dance of the Steel Bars) – Composed, Arranged, and Interpreted by Romano Baesa and Angelo Bitoy of EHP
INDIE MOVIE SCREENWRITER OF THE YEAR:

ALOY ADLAWAN (Bamboo Flowers)
SIGRID ANDREA BERNARDO (Ang Huling Cha-Cha Ni Anita)
ZIGCARLO DULAY, ANTOINETTE JADAONE, and JEFFREY JETURIAN (Ekstra)
HANNAH ESPIA and GIANCARLO ABRAHAN (Transit)
WANGGO GALLAGA (Sonata)
JOSE JAVIER REYES (Ano Ang Kulay Ng Mga Nakalimutang Pangarap?)
RODY VERA (Badil)
INDIE MOVIE CINEMATOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR:

NEIL DAZA (Badil)
ALMA DELA PEÑA (Ang Huling Cha-Cha Ni Anita)
MARK GARY (Sonata)
JUN GONZALES (Bamboo Flowers)
LEE BRIONES (Ekstra)
LYLE SACRIS and BER CRUZ (Transit)
J.A. TADEÑA (Kabisera)
INDIE MOVIE PRODUCTION DESIGNER OF THE YEAR:

POPO DIAZ (Ang Huling Cha-Cha Ni Anita)
MICHAEL ESPAÑOL and RASHEM GUMACAL (Kabisera)
JUNJUN MONTELIBANO (Sonata)
ERICSON NAVARRO (Ekstra)
BING SANTOS (Bamboo Flowers)
JAYVEE EDWARD TADURAN (Badil)
THESA TANG (Transit)
INDIE MOVIE MUSICAL SCORER OF THE YEAR:

TERESA BARROZO (Kabisera)
CARMINA CUYA (Badil)
VINCENT DE JESUS (Ekstra)
DIWA DE LEON (Ang Huling Cha-Cha Ni Anita)
MON ESPIA (Transit)
LUTGARDO LABAD (Bamboo Flowers)
EMERZON TEXON (Sonata)
INDIE MOVIE EDITOR OF THE YEAR:

LAWRENCE ANG and KAMILLE LECCIO (Ang Huling Cha-Cha Ni Anita)
MANET DAYRIT (Sonata)
VANESSA DE LEON (Ano Ang Kulay Ng Mga Nakalimutang Pangarap?)
ZIGCARLO DULAY and GLENN ITURIAGA (Ekstra)
SHERYLL LOPEZ and BORGY TORRE (Kabisera)
CARLO FRANCISCO MANATAD (Badil)
JESS NAVARRO (Bamboo Flower)

INDIE MOVIE SOUND ENGINEER OF THE YEAR:

NIOKI AQUINO (Ang Huling Cha-Cha Ni Anita)
CORINNE DE SAN JOSE and JEDD DUMAGUINA (Kabisera)
ALBERT MICHAEL IDIOMA (Bamboo Flowers)
ALBERT MICHAEL IDIOMA (Sonata)
MARK LOCSIN and MIKKO QUIZON (Transit)
ADDISS TABONG (Ekstra)
ADDISS TABONG and ALBERT MICHAEL IDIOMA (Badil)

INDIE MOVIE ORIGINAL THEME SONG OF THE YEAR:

“BIPOLOVE” (Shift) – Composed and Arranged by Siege Ledesma, Interpreted by Yeng Constantino
“DI AKO TITIGIL” (Burgos) – Lyrics and Music by Lucien Letaba, Arranged by Melvin Corpin, Interpreted by Beverly Sharon Flordeliz
“MAMAHALIN KITA” (Bamboo Flowers) – Composed and Arranged by RJ Jimenez, Interpreted by Ruru Madrid
“SUKATIN MO ANG MUNDO KO” (Jumbo Jericho) – Lyrics by Sandy Es Mariano, Music by Zyruz Imperial, Interpreted by Zyrus Imperial

(SPECIAL AWARDS):

DARLING OF THE PRESS:

KC CONCEPCION
LUIS MANZANO
VICKY MORALES
PIOLO PASCUAL
JERRY YAP
NORA AUNOR ULIRANG ARTISTA Lifetime Achievement Award – MS. RUSTICA CARPIO

ULIRANG ALAGAD NG PELIKULA SA LIKOD NG KAMERA Lifetime Achievement Awards:
RICKY LEE
PEQUE GALLAGA

DEKADA AWARDS (2003-2013):

ACTRESS:

· JUDY ANN SANTOS
· EUGENE DOMINGO
· AI AI DELAS ALAS

ACTOR:

· AGA MUHLACH
· JOHN LLOYD CRUZ
· JERICHO ROSALES
· DENNIS TRILLO
· PIOLO PASCUAL
· BARON GEISLER

DIRECTOR:

· JOEL LAMANGAN
· JOSE JAVIER REYES
· MARYO J. DELOS REYES
· MARK MEILY
· OLIVIA LAMASAN
· JERROLD TAROG
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Friday, March 07, 2014

Chasing Waves

So I just finished shooting a film - finally, after three years. Well, at least 90% of it because I will still go back to the location tomorrow to shoot inserts and establishing shots and record additional ambient sounds and whatever we can get our hands on.

Willie (soundman) looking surprised at the camera with me on my back
and Orvil (in black), the Production Designer.

The location is a remote community called Panyan, more than two hours ride via motorcycle north of Davao City. It's a part of Baranggay Tamugan in Calinan and its a semi-unexplored terrain with mountains, falls, caves and rivers (which has an alternate route going to Baranggay Tamugan, three to four hours by foot) of which a decade or two ago, massive illegal logging was the main livelihood. Electricity is still absent though the government distributed solar panels to a few households so you can imagine how cold and dark it is at night and the only hobby people do is making babies.

Filjun (in red) and RJ (in blue), the film's main actors.

A story about two kids who grew up in the mountains and their only dream is to be able to get a taste of the beach, we chose this location for its texture and authenticity. Armed with a few equipment and overflowing passion, we spent several days going back and forth the location, enduring almost endless rides through rough roads and unforgiving weather. We scouted locations, searched for actors, immersed with the community, learned their culture.

As the filming nears its end and with so many things that happened during the shoot, I'd say this one's for the books. I'm totally stoked that I've found my rhythm again and will continue to make movies. This year will be my year... again!
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Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time


Feels.
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Sunday, January 12, 2014

Paghihiwalay

"Kikitilin ko ang paraiso,
Dagok sa ating pagkatao",
banta ng ibong matayog.
"Dadampi ako sa 
lupa at ibabaon ang puso",
bulong ng hangin sa ibong nagdadabog.
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Saturday, January 11, 2014

Doon

Nakikiramay ang pulang bulak
Na dumadampi sa pisngi
Ng mapanuksong buwan.
"May lilisan, may lulutang!", kanyang sambit.
Nahulas ang sapa,
Tumiklop ang gubat,
Isang siglo 
Ang haba ng aking
Pagmamasid.
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Friday, January 10, 2014

Kumot ng tag-lamig

Ihanda
ang mga balang labis,
Ang liriko 
na talukbong ng hinagpis.

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Thursday, January 09, 2014

Tanging-likod

Sundan ang koro ng mga halik,
Sa wasiwas ng mga dahong nagdiriwang,
May naghihintay
Sa umaasang mga mata.
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Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Aninag

Siya'y nangungulila sa ulap;
Nagbabadyang hagkan
Ang buwang
Tangan ng kawalan.
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Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Closer

The plain truth: Patrick Marber wrote "Closer" with sheer brilliance, whether on play (1997) or film (2004).

Ever consumed a line like this?


Or this.


Or when you can't accept the truth...


You quickly create your defenses and say...


I think Patrick Marber mastered the greatest form of love: the unrequited kind.


But "Closer" is awesome because of the god that is Clive Owen.


Clive, I can be your revenge fuck. Anytime.

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Sunday, January 05, 2014

This Documentary

So I've been working on this documentary about the survivors of Typhoon Pablo, shot on December 2012 and January 2013 and for the longest time, I haven't come to terms with it. Documentary is the hardest to make, for sure.

Just like the documentary "All You Need Is Love" that I edited in Dubai and Bangkok last 2012, I was struggling with processing the film's narrative. Having to deal with hundreds of hours' worth of footage, it's not easy if the editor is also the scriptwriter (which is the case of both documentaries). Especially with "All You Need Is Love" where the director had no slightest idea how to go about it, leaving all the editing/writing to me as if I was God.

Editing timeline of "Baranggay Andap".

It is of the same rationale that reality shows have huge teams of producers, scriptwriters and editors to deal with even a segment's story. Documentary should, in a perfect world, never be left in the editor's hands, especially if he is the scriptwriter as well.

I was able to edit a 29-minute worth of rough cut last year. Though I was quite happy with how it turned, I still had 7 more hours of rough cut to trim and polish.  So what I did with "Baranggay Andap" was disconnect from it for a few months and came back for it this November and tried putting all the pieces together. 

And here I am - working on it and 4 more hours left to trim. Still a long way to go but I'm quiet motivated to finish it this month. With the Typhoon Haiyan wrecking havoc in Visayas last year, it could be possible that after more than a year, Typhoon Pablo will be forgotten. A number of filmmakers must've shot their own documentaries in Haiyan-stricken places and I think I need to finish this film before it becomes passé.
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Saturday, January 04, 2014

LIke a Wong Kar-Wai Film

Chungking Mansions, Kowloon, Hongkong.
November 29, 2010

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Friday, January 03, 2014

Images of Tragedy

Some of the images of Baranggay Andap, New Bataan when it was hit by Bagyong Pablo on December 2012.







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Thursday, January 02, 2014

Thirty-seven Words


Lessons learned. Philosophy to live by. Angsts that won't grow old. Values to emulate. (These ain't wisdom.)

  1. Chill. Life's too short to worry about it.
    Jomtien Beach, Pattaya, Thailand.
    September 2013.
  2. Do what you love doing and get paid for it.
  3. Wake up with a smile. Thank the Lord for another chance at life.
  4. Turn rejections into opportunities.
  5. Never expect. 
  6. Learn a new skill. A new language. A new hobby, perhaps.
  7. It's never too late for anything.
  8. Make things happen.
  9. Create an ultimate long-term goal then enjoy the detours.
  10. Love. Even if you're not loved back. Just love.
  11. If people have hurt you, move on. 
  12. Do not stop improving yourself.
  13. Be a traveler, not a tourist.
  14. Regret nothing. You made your choices.
  15. Laugh. It's the best form of therapy.
  16. Cry. It's the best sign you're still human.
  17. Overthinking poisons your mind.
  18. Never rely on another person's promises.
  19. Always have a Plan B, a Plan C, a Plan D even if they're all crazy options.
  20. Do not make New Year's resolutions.
  21. Save up. A peso/penny a day keeps the worry away.
  22. Forgive. But never forget.
  23. Eat. Never starve yourself.
  24. Pay it forward. 
  25. Never forget the one's who were there with you when you had nothing.
  26. Always give credit to the people who helped you out and gave you the opportunity to break through when you were still a nobody.
  27. Create. Have no limitations.
  28. Wonder. Have no limitations.
  29. Be great at sex.
  30. Learn the tricks of a great kiss.
  31. Keep the close friends you've met in your teens and in your 20's. They'll be with you forever.
  32. Think of age as just a number. 
  33. Do not compare yourself to others. Compete with yourself but do not drag yourself down when  you fail.
  34. There's no use losing your temper over petty things.
  35. Someone is always better than you. And it's not a big deal.
  36. Open yourself to exploring infinite possibilities. 
  37. Live.
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Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Moments in 2013

What a year!

Slow and steady, if I were to define how this year went by. It’s been the year where I shifted my focus towards different directions, ignored a lot of things (like this blog), learned new tricks, rediscovered new ones and missing friends.

Unlike the past years where I tend to take my life on a full, trajectory speed and pushed myself to my limits, the past three hundred sixty-five days were a combination of not as eventful yet memorable moments. Here they are:

That's our house in front. Residents near the riverside were already evacuating
 as the waters already rose to neck-level.

1.  THE FLOOD. - Ten years after our village suffered a huge flood, the nonstop raining that greeted us during the new year resulted in high waters. As our house has only one floor, we had to seek refuge to our neighbor's two-storey house and spend almost two days waiting for the water to dry up. What I hate about having to deal with flood is the mess we had to clean up.


One of the kids who survived Typhoon Pablo in Baranggay Andap
holding the school supplies we gave them in January.


2. DOCUMENTARY. - In December 2012, a strong typhoon, Pablo, hit the provinces of Davao which killed thousands of people. Together with two of my filmmaker friends, Coicoi and Yam, I thought of going to Andap in New Bataan, Davao del Norte to shoot a documentary about the survivors' experience in surviving Typhoon Pablo. Andap is the baranggay (village) that was badly hit, wiping out the whole area, leaving nothing but debris of huge rocks and sand. Documentary is something new to me, this is my first and I had a hard time grasping the process of telling its story. Unfortunately, something else took my time away and I completely ignored finishing the film this year.


With my mother and three brothers during my birthday dinner
at Nanay Bebeng's Restaurant, Davao City.


3. RECONNECTING WITH MY FAMILY. - I felt the need to stay in my hometown in Davao City so I could spend more time with my family. I had a small working space built at the back of our house where I spent most of my time conceiving my new pet project. And eating. Boy, how I gained weight during the first parts of the year. 


One of our ads for X Shirts.
Photo courtesy of James Gohetia
4. X SHIRTS. - How can you achieve a dream without doing something about it? With this philosophy in mind, I started fulfilling (one of) my long-time dream(s) of becoming a clothing mogul. The field being unknown to me, I took a step and launched my own t-shirt brand called X. The shirt carries designs of music and film icons as well as witty statement and one-liners.


Even foreigners love X Shirts!
At Matina Town Square weekend bazaar.

5. BAZAARS/STORE. - Inexperienced and with zero idea how to sell shirts, I tried to get into the dynamics of doing the business and it was not as easy as I thought. I did everything by myself - the licensing, the tedious dealings with government agencies, the difficult task of selling the shirts to costumers, putting up a store located where the consumers are the wrong market. I had to learn fast and I am still learning. At times I got tired and almost gave up but the endless trial and error didn't stop me from trying to make this work.

6. A STEP TOWARDS BEING MATURE. - I don't want to grow up, we know that. I hate being an adult. And doing the shirt business was a struggle for me. Since I was alone and doing everything, I questioned my choices and why I had to go put myself through something that was unfamiliar to me where I was already in a comfortable place in filmmaking utopia. But I went back to the reasons why I had to put up the shirt business in the first place: it was another facet of my passion. Business is a foreign concept to me and I had to learn. Perhaps learn the hard. And I'm still trying, that's the best part of it. I know I'll make this work.


With producers Stu Highton and wife Maria and Armi Cacanindin
during the Premiere Night of "Dance of the Steel Bars" starring Dingdong Dantes at SM Megamall.
This was the film I edited in Dubai.  (June 12, 2013)

7. RECONNECTING WITH OLD FRIENDS. - Since I stayed longer in Davao, I spent time rediscovering friendships with some of my elementary and high school friends – most of them are already married – and meeting their families and kids. There’s nothing more rewarding than putting a new bond on friends you haven’t seen in years.

8. ABSENTEE FRIENDS. – Something lost, something gained. While I had fun reconnecting with old friends from way back, my friends in Manila have been too busy figuring their own lives they almost ignored my presence. It’s been an empty year for me not having to spend time with them as much as I want to and I learned to understand how people can disappear from your life just like that.

9.  GYM. – I used to unlike people going to the gym. I saw them as a bunch of vain, narcissistic airheads. I still do, actually (this deserves a whole blog entry). But when I realized I have gained weight, I felt the need to lose the extra pounds and be healthy again. When I finally mustered the courage to enroll, I started attending boxing sessions. I had a great time for two months but I had to top because I had to travel.


That's Sherlock, my travel companion in Thailand.
Taken in Jomtien Beach, Pattaya.

10. THAILAND. – I love Bangkok. I love it so much I want to stay there for good. Soon. In the meantime, I had to contend myself with going back there at least once a year. In September, I travelled to Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Ayutthaya and Pattaya with a friend. And it pushed me to write the script that’s been going on in my head for a long time. I came back to Bangkok in November to buy dresses to sell for my bazaar.


September 2013.

11. SINGAPORE. – After Thailand, I flew to Singapore for the first time. To meet up with someone I met the year before in Siem Reap. A rendezvous more than a year in the making. A rendezvous for a closure we knew was inevitable (this, too, deserves an entire blog post).


One of the disadvantages of traveling alone is having no choice but take a selfie.
This one was hard to take.

12. MALAYSIA. – Without any expectation of what lies ahead of me, I travelled by land to Malaysia from Singapore and went to Melaka first then off to Kuala Lumpur then Penang. The whole Malaysia experience was a blast! And I say that as an understatement. I met new friends, explored really amazing places, devoured all the food I could put my hands on and did totally crazy things that were off my bucket list. I must say though that Kuala Lumpur was a bummer but other places could prove that Malaysia is truly Asia.


CinemaOne Originals entry "Alamat ni China Doll" directed by Adolf Alix, Jr.
took home awards during the festival including mine for Best Editing.
Photo courtesy of Adolf Alix, Jr.

13. AWARD. – When I got back to Manila, I didn’t plan on staying long but realizing that I missed films, I watched all the local films that I could, knowing that these were not accessible in Davao. I was approached to edit a CinemaOne film, Adolf’s “Alamat ni China Doll” starring Angelica Panganiban. I didn’t say no to the opportunity and boy, I was unexpectedly rewarded for it! I was crazy not to attend the Awards Night though, because I never thought I’d win.

14. SCRIPTS. – By the time I was in Bangkok and got inspired to finish the script that has been toying in my mind, I finally grabbed the momentum and started writing in Penang. I finished the first one, “360°” when I got back to Bangkok before flying back to Manila. “360°” is a dance film that tackles domestic violence. I finished the second one, “Love and Everything After” in Manila, a love story inspired by my travels.


Khao San Road, Bangkok, Thailand.
October 2013.

15. THE FINISHING. – I procrastinate most of the time. That’s my weakness. But this year, I realized that if I’m not going to make things happen, I’ll be left in the dumps, without having to compromise being a free spirit, of course. I’m still struggling with my shirt business but I vowed to make it work.

“360°” and “Love and Everything After” had been in the works for years and I finally finished the drafts this year. I finally returned to editing the “Andap” documentary and I hope to finish it by January this year. I missed filmmaking, the art that naturally runs in my veins. I am coming back to making films in 2014.

And this blog? I need to resurrect it, find more inspiration to write about anything. I am not sure if I can still find the angst that I had years ago but I’m sure there are still a lot to write about. My travels, perhaps. There’s a bunch of backlogs I haven’t posted in here. And photography. I need to go back to photography. And language. I need to improve my French and Thai. And gym. I need to go back in shape. Whoa, 2014 will be a busy year. Bring it on!





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