Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

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Sunday, January 12, 2014


"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


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
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Friday, January 10, 2014

Kumot ng tag-lamig

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

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Thursday, January 09, 2014


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


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


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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