Monday, December 28, 2015

I deserve to cry

The night you left was the night I found what I wasn't looking for. How could I have lost myself when I have everything I needed when I was with you anyway? On the night you decided to never look back where I stood frozen, I didn't wish to go back to where we used to be. The silence was enough and everything made sense - when time was ours to waste, we didn't give each other a chance.

The farther you walked away from me, my tears were the ones that screamed the loudest. I knew I deserved to cry because you bore no regrets, you had no remorse, I didn't die inside.
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Sunday, December 27, 2015

Where's the honor, father?

When a major Filipino film festival that is supposed to protect its films doesn't hesitate to gobble one or two of its own entries, we know that the Philippine film industry is fucked up.

Here's a bit of history. Last June, MMDA announced its Magic 8 and it didn't originally include 'Honor Thy Father'. So the producers took it somewhere and held their World Premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival last October. It then had its Philippine Premiere when it opened the CinemaOne Originals Film Festival last November. 'Honor Thy Father' replaced 'Hermano Puli' when the latter couldn't finish it in time for the MMFF because their original producers backed out of the project.  'Nilalang', on the other hand, also suffered a setback when its original main actor, Robin Padilla, had to beg off from the project and was replaced by Cesar Montano. 'Nilalang' is distributed by Viva Films and Reality Entertainment for 'Honor Thy Father'. 

A day after the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) premiered all its films on December 25, several theatres started pulling out the under-performers at the box-office: John Lloyd Cruz-starrer 'Honor Thy Father' and 'Nilalang' with Cesar Montano and Maria Ozawa. The MMDA has to release their official figures yet but I just based it from this unconfirmed report.

'Nilalang' grossed P299,000 on the first day while 'Honor Thy Father' raked in P386,000. For MMFF, these figures are not at par with their box-office standards. It's not even close. 'My Bebe Love' laughed its way to the bank with reportedly more than P29M on its first day.

During non-MMFF screenings, it is common practice for theatres to pull out a Filipino film from their roster after a dismal first-day box-office performance except for instances when the distributor inks a deal with a theatre chain to screen it exclusively, that's when they are guaranteed a week's screening (or not?). 

This is why producers campaign hard for audiences to watch their films on their first day of screening because this is where the cinemas base their decision if the film gets axed or not. Most of them cannot wait for the weekend - where the audience turnout is usually high - for the film to bounce back. This affects mostly the independent films (non-studio produced films) where the majority of the viewing population don't shed their hard-earned money to watch them in the theatres. 

It is a huge challenge for non-studio produced films to get a distribution deal. It is even harder to secure a playdate. So whether a film will survive a first-day-last-day fate remains to be seen because there isn't much opportunity to find a venue to be screened. Filipino films are indeed not created equal. Can you fault non-studio producers to find venues for their films to be screened? These venues - schools, FDCP cinematheques, international film festivals - are not even enough to recoup their investments. Those local films that are lucky enough to be shown in theatres face an even bigger challenge: convincing audiences to go out of their way to spend money to watch their films in the theatres. Who pays P250 for an indie film when he can watch a pirated version of it in the comfort of his home?

This is where local film festivals play heroes. They are supposed to provide venue for films that are not given the chance to be seen. Well, that only happens in an ideal world. We are in a cutthroat industry and business is business. When 'Honor Thy Father' and 'Nilalang' were pulled out from the theatres and replaced by higher-grossing entries, the more vocal people behind 'Honor Thy Father' didn't take it lightly. They took it on their social media to air their concerns.

Even Direk Joey Reyes, the director of 'My Bebe Love' and Tonet Jadaone, the director of "All you need is pag-ibig" showed their support.

What's alarming about this is that a film's participation in the MMFF does not guarantee that you are protected. I feel for the filmmakers who lose sleep over their fear that anytime, their films are deprived of the chance to be seen by an audience. A chance to be appreciated or criticised. MMDA has the authority to give the MMFF an equal opportunity to be shown for at least a week but they chose to torment the non-performing films instead. If this can happen during MMFF, trust me, it's much worse on regular days. 

So what happens now with 'Honor thy Father' and 'Nilalang'? What about the films that don't get distributed outside of MMFF?

I am glad that the producers of 'Honor thy father' are brave enough to speak up. Someone has to initiate in making a stand and I commend them for doing so. What a sad state for the film distribution business in the Philippines. It is a system that is hard to go against. If theatre owners and distributors continue to eat us all up, the small players, non-studio filmmakers, the audience, the Philippine film industry, everybody are all at the losing end. This is a long battle and this is just the beginning.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The ALDUB Experience

This was before the "Tamang Panahon" event happened. A few months after the Aldub phenomenon shattered any social media records imaginable, me and my friend Tyna went to watch Eat Bulaga live. She has a friend who works as a cameraman there so she asked for free tickets to get in.

Getting in was easier than I thought. One of my pet peeves are arrogant security guards and you can easily find them working at these television networks. But the security guards at Broadway Studio were polite and nice. The set of Eat Bulaga and still-airing then, The Ryzza Mae Show, was organized and well-secured.

Tip for future studio audiences: be there on or before ten in the morning. Jesters usually brief the members of the audience before the show starts at noon.

September 1, 2015. That was when they first started the "ATM with the Baes" segment. I didn't attempt to go near any of hosts but you know that Alden is hot commodity based on this video I took.

Ganito kung pagkaguluhan si Alden sa studio ng Eat Bulaga. Hanapin niyo si Florentyna Merciales na nakikipagpatayan para lang sa selfie. Hahaha hahaha.
Posted by Bebs Sabellano Gohetia on Tuesday, 1 September 2015

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Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Lanterns of Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai (Chiengmai or Chiangmai) is the largest city in Northern Thailand, 700 kilometers north of the capital, Bangkok. It can be reached by train (I will write a separate post on how to get there from Bangkok)  or plane from the capital. The last time I travelled to Chiang Mai was in August 2013 where they were celebrating the International Lantern Festival around the city to celebrate the birthday of Queen Sirikit. Major lantern installations were seen around the city and at the Tha Pae Gate. Famous world landmarks were also featured.

This lantern festival is separate and different from Yi Peng, the Festival of Lights celebrated around Thailand with Loi Krathongs (lotus-shaped receptacles) released on water to bring luck and fulfill wishes. Yi Peng happens every November.
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Monday, December 14, 2015

I want to write about you

In silence I have loved you. It’s always been hard for me to tell you this because I am not always sure about myself. For the most part, I am afraid. I am afraid you will never look at me the same way. I am afraid that I will never see you again and that would cause me to die impatiently. I am afraid to live with the truth that you will never feel the same for me and it will haunt me for the rest of my life. It is this fear that kept me breathing when I chase you in my dreams.

I love you still. It is the same feeling since the day I saw the misery in your eyes on the day he said goodbye to you. I vow to do this in this lifetime. Even in the next, perhaps.

In silence I have loved you. This is what I can only do – write about you.
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Thursday, December 10, 2015

Malamig ang Pasko mo, hindi ka pa nasanay?

Siyempre, hindi maipinta ang mukha mo pagdating mo sa opis o klase noong September 1. Bukod sa nag-trend na naman ang #WakeMeUpWhenSeptemberEnds eh, nagising ka sa lakas ng patugtog ng kapitbahay mo ng “Christmas in our hearts” ni Jose Mari Chan. Pagsakay mo sa MRT, ang aga-aga at may naglalampungang mag-jowa sa harap mo. Bumulaga sa opisina mo ang kumukuti-kutitap na mga Christmas lights. 'Yung pabibo mong kaklase naman ay hindi na mapakali at gusto nang mag-manito/manita. Sinukluban ka na ng langit at gusto mo nang isigaw ang "Universe, I get it!" dahil eto’t taon-taon na lang, kinakalbaryo ka sa paalalang malamig na naman ang Pasko mo.

K. Ikaw na ang single. Ikaw na ang walang pag-ibig. Ikaw na ang hindi minamahal. Ikaw na ang walang kayakap sa malalamig na mga gabi. Ikaw na ang mag-isa ngayong Pasko. Ikaw na ang naluluha sa "Pasko na sinta ko". At bakit mo nga pala pinuproblema ang pag-iisa kung isang blessing naman ang maging kasapi ng SMP. Ang totoo niyan, walang dahilan para magmukmok sa sulok kung all by myself ka tuwing Pasko. Lilipas din ang lungkot at bagot. Magigising ka na lang isang umaga, Enero na pala at medyo malayo-layo pa naman ang Valentines para ika-depress mo. Kung single ka sa Pasko, aba't i-celebrate ang pag-iisa!

WALANG MAKAKAPIGIL SA PAGLAMON MO. Christmas Party sa opis tapos may inuman ang barkada, may reunion naman ang buong angkan at high school batch. Walang forever sa pag-ibig pero may forever ang parties tuwing Pasko. Ang Disyembre ay Unlilamon Month kaya hindi ba't karapat-dapat lang na magpasalamat dahil wala kang boypren na magpapaalala sa'yo na lumulobo ka na? Wala kang boypren o gerlpren na alalahaning iiwan ka lang kapag lumampas ka na sa quota ng timbangan. Masarap ang pagkain sa mga Christmas parties kaya huwag mong ipagkait sa sarili mo ang kaligayahang tumaba na hindi dini-depreciate ng jowa ang self-esteem mo.

IYONG-IYO ANG 13TH MONTH PAY AT BONUS MO. Up to 70% ang sale sa mga malls. Bagsak presyo sa Divisoria. Pinag-ipunan mo buong taon ang pangarap mong bag at sapatos. Kung may boypren o gerlpren ka, hindi mo mabibili ang gusto mo para sa sarili mo kasi wala ka namang jowa na pipigil sa pagka-gastador mo. Pinagtrabahuan mo nga naman ang pera mo, bakit nga ba siya nangingialam?

LEGIT ANG STARBUCKS PLANNER. Karamihan ng couples ay ginagawang joint account ang pangongolekta ng stickers para sa nag-iisang Starbucks planner na hindi naman nagagamit. Ang tamis, di ba? Kapag ikaw lang mag-isa, wala ka nang kaagaw sa custody ng mamahaling planner na makukuha ninyo. Nagpakalunod ka na sa kape, hindi ka pa ma-stress sa kakaisip kung bakit nasa kanya ang planner eh ikaw naman ang bumili lahat ng mga kape ninyo.

BAWAS-KASALANAN. Tradisyon na ang Simbang Gabi pero ito ang pinakamaagang oras para lumandi lalo na ang mga kabataang mag-jowa na naghaharutan sa likod ng simbahan. Kung may boyfriend ka, matutukso lang kayo na pag-usapan ang mga hindi kaakit-akit sa mga paningin ninyo. Kung ikaw lang ang mag-isa sa simbahan, magpipigil ka sa tabil ng dila dahil mahirap naman na kausap ang sarili mo habang nagsisimba. Maliban na lang kung may kasama kang kaibigan na mas mahilig manlibak kaysa sa'yo.

WALA KANG PANANAGUTAN SA MGA KAMAG-ANAK MO. Kung kilala ng mga kamag-anak mo ang jowa mo at hindi mo siya kasama sa reunion ninyo, tiyak pulutan ka ng mga Titas of Manila. “Kasi Tita, umuwi siya ng probinsiya." "Kasi Tita, may sakit siya." Kasi Tita, may duty." "Kasi Tita, tumigil ka na sa katatanong!" Eh kung wala kang boypren o gerlpren at kung tatanungin ka ng walang kamatayang katanungang “Kailan ka mag-aasawa?”, eh di sagutin mo ng “wala kayong pakialam!” Sabayan mo na rin ng walkout.

WALA KA RING RESPONSIBILIDAD SA MGA KAMAG-ANAK NG JOWA MO. Sa aminin mo o hindi, nakaka-stress ang sumama sa reunion ng mga kamag-anak ng jowa. Kung single ka, hindi mo na rin kailangan magdahilan na may sakit ka. Hindi mo na kailangan bumili ng bagong damit kasi kailangan mong magpa-impress. Hindi mo na kailangan mangawit sa kakangiti para hindi ka masabihan ng suplada. Nakakapagod mag-adjust ng personality para lang makatanggap ng magandang first impression, di ba?

HINDI KA NA MAPUPUYAT SA KAIISIP NG EXCHANGE GIFT. Higit sa lahat, hindi mo na kailangan pa ma-stress sa kaiisip kung magugustuhan ba niya ang regalo mo dahil hindi naman ito ang nasa wishlist niya. Dahil it's better to give than to receive kapag Pasko, siyempre may expectation na siya na bibigyan mo siya ng regalo. Mag-eexpect ka rin. At mag-aaway lang kayo kung hindi mo nagustuhan ang regalo niya sa'yo dahil hindi rin 'yun ang nasa wishlist mo. Kumplikado, di ba? 

Kaya kung inaalala mo ay ang wala kang kayakap sa Pasko, isipin mo na lang na isang araw lang 'yan kumpara sa 364 na araw na natutulog kang sawi at mag-isa. May mababago ba? Kapag sa susunod na taon ay malamig pa rin ang Pasko mo, huwag ka nang malungkot. Turuan mo na lang ang sarili mo na masanay. Isipin mo na lang, marami ang nagugutom sa Africa.
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Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Visa for India? That's Easy! Here's how.

I travelled to northwestern India and Vanarassi in 2012 and back then, I only applied for a visa on arrival at the Delhi Airport which was quick and easy. I am toying the idea of going back there because I miss the food and culture of this hate-it-or-love-it destination. Also, I’m going to Myanmar January next year so it will be cheaper to fly from there to India. This time, I’m planning to do Mumbai because well, Bollywood.

The Ganges River, Varanasi, India
Seems like three years is quite a long time as India already change its visa policies for tourists and businessmen. I am quite surprised that, for Filipinos at least, you have to secure an e-Tourist Visa (eTV) at least four (4) days before your planned date of arrival. (I have to note that three years ago, Myanmar, despite its ASEAN membership, required Filipinos to secure tourist visas which isn’t the case at present.)

The eTV is also applicable not only to the Philippines but to other countries: Andorra, Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Aruba, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Cambodia, Canada, Cayman Island,Chile, China, China- SAR Hongkong, China- SAR Macau, Colombia, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Cuba, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, East Timor, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kiribati, Laos, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Malaysia, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Montserrat, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand,Nicaragua, Niue Island, Norway, Oman, Palau, Palestine, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Macedonia, Russia, Saint Christopher and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines, Samoa, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Sweden, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Tonga, Turks & Caicos Island, Tuvalu, UAE, Ukraine, United Kingdom, USA, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Vatican City-Holy See, Venezuela, Vietnam.

The Taj Mahal, Agra, India.

The good news though is everything is done online so you won’t have to go through the burden of appearing at the Indian Embassy for an interview. Fill out the online forms then upload 1) Scanned first page of your passport in PDF format, 10-300kb only; 2) Your jpeg photo, 10kb-1mb, the height and width should be equal (350 x 350 – 1000 x 1000 pixels), the background should be plain light colored or white, without borders and no shadow on your face nor on the background.

After uploading the requirements, you can now pay via debit or credit card. Visa fee is country-specific and non-refundable. Filipinos will have to pay US$48. Click here if you’re a non-Philippine passport holder. Once payment is done, the eTV will sent to your email.

City Palace, Jaipur, India.

The visa’s validity is 30 days from arrival in India and you have to carry your eTV to be presented at the Indian immigration. The eTV is valid for entry at any of the 16 designated Indian airports:  Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bengaluru, Chennai, Cochin, Delhi, Gaya, Goa, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, Tiruchirapalli, Trivandrum & Varanasi.

Going out of India is much easier as you can exit from any of the authorized Immigration Check Posts (ICPs) in India.  The eTV is allowed for a maximum of two visits in a calendar year but once it’s issued on arrival, it is valid for single entry only.

Also, the Indian Immigration Officer may ask for your return or onward journey ticket and money enough to be spent during your stay in India.

Agra Fort, Agra, India.

So there, I might pursue my plan on January and jai ho my way to Mumbai and Goa maybe?

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Tuesday, December 08, 2015

The Filmmaker's Phone

"Our client, LG Mobile Philippines, is looking for a filmmaker to be an ambassador for their new phone.", Epi, a classmate back in college, messaged me on Facebook.

"All you have to do is shoot a video using their new product and you'll show it at their Product Launch on November 25. That's it!", she added.

I didn't have to hesitate, it's a gig I don't usually being asked often. So Epi arranged for the LG technical team to give me an orientation about the specs of their new phone, to be launched on November 25. It was the LG V10, one of its high-end smartphones.

Image courtesy of LG Mobile Philippines facebook page.

I am honestly a non-Adroid user but boy, the phone impressed me! Look at these specs!

Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 Processor
5.7-inch QHD IPS Quantum Display (2560 x 1440 / 513ppi)
2.1-inch IPS Quantum Display (160 x 1040 / 513ppi)
64GB eMMC expandable via microSD (up to 2TB)
16MP rear camera
5MP front camera w/ Dual Lens (80-deg Standard Angle / 120-deg Wide Angle)

If those feature aren't enough to keep you salivating, the video features are to die for! They asked me to shoot using the Manual Video so off I went shooting videos. I went to Guadalupe Bridge first because I wanted to capture the MRT over sunset then to Baywalk behind Mall of Asia so I can shoot more sunset.

It was like having a DSLR because the white balance, focus, ISO and aperture could be adjusted. I intended to shoot more scenes at night so I could assess the phone's capability at low light. The raw footage were impressive, I should say! I particularly loved having to shoot it at 24 frames per second at 1:85 aspect ratio. Did I mention you can shoot at 4K?

At the launch of LG V10. Image courtesy of LG Mobile Philippines facebook page.

My new LG V10 phone!

The launch at the The Brewery was a success and I was pleased with results. I met the Sales Manager of LG Mobile Philippines and he said the launch was the first to be done in any country in Southeast Asia. Nice.

So now, I don't have to bring my DSLR all the time. I can shoot anytime and anywhere without the burden of bringing a heavy camera.

By the way, take a look at the video that I shot. 

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