Skip to main content


Showing posts from February, 2013

back in Star City on New Year's Day

The first time I was in Star City was very memorable. Ate Gigi was babysitting six of us, her cousins. She didn't have enough money to treat us to sodas so all six cousins had to share one 16 oz cup of Coca-Cola! We we told that we could only have one sip each. Up til now, it's one of the things we happily talk about whenever the discussion veers towards theme parks.
More than twenty years later, I had the opportunity to return to Star City with my cousins, Ate Madie and Kuya Larry, and their kids, plus my mom's siblings and sister-in-law (Tita Mely, Tito Boy, and Tita Lucy). Naturally, the story of the earlier trip to the theme park brought in a lot of laughs while we were on the road.
Back during my first Star City misadventure, nobody had thought to take photos (after all, we were all kids then). This time, I wanted to capture the moment with Butotoy and Trisha, my nephew and my niece who are both old enough not to be stuck in strollers. Their youngest sibling, Carlo,…

President Noynoy Aquino visits IRRI

The day started bright and sunny. Something was definitely up because at the gate, motorists were greeted, not by the friendly wave of the security guard, but by a man clad in a white polo barong (he's part of the Presidential Security Group). Still very friendly, mind you, as he flagged me down for a car inspection conducted by the bomb squad. That's hardly a surprise, though, because it had been announced the day before that the President of the Philippines, Benigno Simeon Aquino III was dropping in for a visit. It didn't look like it, if you weren't sent the memo, because there were no welcome greetings, no tarpaulins, no placards along the way from Calamba City to Los Banos. 
Then, as his arrival time approached, so did the dark clouds! It seemed that his visit will be preceded by some rain.

But the dark clouds passed, dropping just a few raindrops here and there. They certainly didn't dampen the moods of the people excitedly awaiting the President. And when h…

lost in Batangas (yet again)

I should've just followed the sugarcane truck.

That was my thought as I drove along the highway in Batangas province one Saturday afternoon, opting to see where Google Maps' directions will lead me. See, it was a sunny day, the perfect opportunity to go on a road trip. My itinerary included pit stops in the heritage town of Taal, Batangas and in the coastal town of Nasugbu, Batangas; if there was enough time, probably an additional stop in Tagaytay City, Cavite.

And so I drove... and followed Google Maps.

Along the way, I got in line behind a truck laden with sugarcane stalks. It, presumably, was on its way to the sugar mills in Nasugbu. Perfect, I thought; I wouldn't get lost.

Alas, when I approached a fork on the road -- one route going to the left, the other going to the right -- Google Maps directed me to take the right turn. A few more kilometers and I'd be in the historic town of Taal. Sadly, as the app indicated that I had reached my destination, I was along the div…

Review: Hansel and Gretel (2013)

Every fairy tale begins with "Once upon time..." The child-friendly versions have made young girls see unrealistic images of princesses and of worlds filled with lots of pastels and friendly forest animals. And so with these in mind, I willingly entered the movie theater to watch Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters.
This version of Hansel and Gretel is no fairy tale, however. The siblings have grown to become witch-hunters in a world where witches were feared, at a time when superstitions were abundant. A perfect setting for Hansel and Gretel to be heroes complete with their fan club. Suffice it to say that this movie's take on the adult lives of the siblings is far more violent than I had expected. I think it's deserves more than a 'Parental Guidance' rating because of the violence and the gore.
Anachronisms and character flaws peppering the storyline provide the humor in an otherwise dark movie; they can also be distracting. But the bottom line of the plot is…