Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Tayo na sa Antipolo

I like to travel, don't get me wrong. But I normally prepare for my trips by studying the route on a map or I have a knowledgeable navigator among my passengers (if I'm the designated driver). Lately, however, I've been going to places I've never been to before thanks to classmates in culinary arts class.

Last time I was with them on a road trip, I ended up parking in Montalban, Rizal as part of a three-car convoy a few hours after class. This time, I was up for yet another drive but to somewhere closer (I think): Antipolo, Rizal.

No, we weren't there to visit the famous church frequented by pilgrim travelers nor the Hinulugang Taktak. We had lunch at a Padi's Point roadside restaurant. Ordinary enough, I thought, until I saw the view. Beyond the trees of the mountain we were on, I caught a glimpse of the waters of Laguna de Bay and the peak of Talim Island on the left, and the skyline of Metro Manila on the right. I should have brought my dSLR camera with me. But since I didn't, I settled for the iPad's camera app.


The place reminded me of the series of bulalo restaurants along the highway in Tagaytay where people can eat a meal while gazing upon the Taal Lake and the Taal Volcano.

Thank you Liza, Erwin, and Mike for that enjoyable trip to Antipolo. I'm looking forward to our next adventure!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Review: Bakit Hindi Ka Crush ng Crush Mo? (2013)

Once again, I found myself falling in line at the ticket booth to watch a movie I didn't know anything about. This time, though, I was with a different group of friends.

As the lights were dimming and as the opening scene started, I blurted: "I thought we were watching Bakit Hindi Ka Crush ng Crush Mo?. Why is Kim Chiu in it?!"

"Don't you like watching Kim Chiu movies?", my friends asked. 

"I'm not a fan but I have seen some of her films. Why, is she part of the cast of this film?", I answered, still confused... I thought the first scene was a trailer of a different movie.

As the movie continued, I realized she was the lead actor in the movie. She top-billed the movie and rightly so because she really drove the plot forward. Her comedic timing felt natural, never forced, and as if there were no cameras around. While she clearly led the rest of the cast, none of them were overshadowed by her acting chops. Even the scenes with the kids, the film's version of the Greek chorus, and the village band seemed ordinary enough. 

On the other hand, Xian Lim portrayed the character I've seen in several Filipino movies: a guy with something to prove to his father and elder male relatives. I instantly saw his similarities with John Lloyd Cruz's Miggy Montenegro in A Very Special Love and You Changed My Life. Including the penchant for singing to woo the girl, of course. 

When the movie closed, I just had to ask: Did the movie actually answer the titular question? I think the answer was lost to me as the plot progressed. 

If you know the answer to Ramon Bautista's* pressing question, feel free to comment. Bakit 'di ka crush ng crush mo

* Ramon Bautista is the author of the book this movie is adapted from.

Review: Four Sisters and a Wedding (2013)

I drove back to Calamba right after class one Saturday afternoon because I was meeting my friends from high school. I caught up with them in the cinema after buying a ticket for the movie Four Sisters and a Wedding. Since I was in a hurry (the movie was about to start when I bought my ticket) I didn't stop and look at the posters so I didn't know what the movie was about... Except that it was (supposedly) funny.

Funny, it really was! The scriptwriting and directing team captured the Filipino family reunion as the four sisters (based overseas) came home for their brother's wedding. As the family shrieked and jumped in delight, I felt I was watching the reception my overseas-based relatives get when they visit the Philippines. The movie was very close to home, I thought.

Aside from the joyous occasions, it couldn't be helped to insert a lot of conflict between siblings in the movie. The formula must be effective since I've seen this kind of conflict in several movies already. I think it worked here too because the audience did get teary eyed... Or maybe that's because Connie Reyes played the mother role with dignity, poise, and restraint. 

I just found the bride's family to be cartoonish and artificial (they were just too funny and two-dimensional to be real, for me). However, the roles of the bride's parents were well-portrayed. In fact, I was speechless and was laughing heartily during Carmi Martin's grand entrance.

In the end, I felt I'd gone through a roller-coaster of emotions, gaining catharsis as the credits rolled.  

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Ano daw?!

I was driving along the southbound lane of the Southern Luzon Expressway (SLEX) this afternoon from Makati. Since the traffic was moving quite fast, I zipped through the tollway. I didn't have time to process what the billboards found on the at-grade posts of the SLEX were saying. Hence, I had a double take when I saw two ads that I found weird (again)...

"Patigil-tigil ba ang iyong pag-ihi? Don't text and drive."

"Mataas ba ang iyong cholesterol? Don't text and drive."

Say what?!

These ad designers should really rethink how they put their messages onto their posters! I didn't catch what the subsequent posters were saying so it's really easy to miss the opportunity to bring their messages across!