Tag Archives: thoughts

It’s finally November, and I’ve seen the Deathly Hallows…

Thursday night, I rushed to SM Marikina to meet Den and watch “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I”. She invited me a few weeks ago to this advanced screening and I eagerly jumped at the opportunity. However, by some sneaky twist of Fate, local cinemas decided to show the movie a day early, ahead of the rest of the world. Considering that the Philippines is already ahead of the U.S. and other western countries, thus making our November 19 showing way ahead, they went and released it on November 18, making my advanced tickets just plain tickets. Oh well, it’s for a good cause… but it grates.

Still, it couldn’t dim the excitemet bubbling within me. I was babbling and very nearly dancing while we waited for the ushers to let us in. Once inside the theater, I made a mad rush for the topmost row, which afforded a great, non-nauseating view of the screen.

Since it was a special screening, we had the National Anthem before the previews were shown. Halfway through it, a representative from the St. Camillus College Seminary said a few words. Everyone seemed to know someone, so the atmosphere felt like a sort of school gathering of sorts.

Then, the dark clouds that seems to be a trademark of the more recent Harry Potter movies rolled on screen. I grabbed Den’s hand, and sat back for a long ride.

The Fast and the Furious
It’s always a big frustration for any reader when a book they so enjoyed is adapted on screen. I often feel that while anything is possible with film these days, they are also limited to the time a film is shown. As much as I love Harry Potter, I probably won’t be able to sit for anything more than three hours for a film. I suppose if they faithfully adapted the book, it would be “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I, II, III, IV…” and so on until the story finishes.

The movie is wonderfully crafted, I’d say that. Technology has improved so much since the first Harry Potter that the special effects don’t seem so special anymore. Instead, the real actors merge seamlessly with the computer animation, making the scenes more believable and realistic.

Props to the cast as well. Hagrid sums it all up in his line at the start: “I brought you here sixteen years ago, it seems right that I take you away.” (Or something to that effect) What makes Harry Potter different from any movie that has gone for so long is that the cast from the start of the movie is the same cast at the end. Sure there were some changes, like Sir Michael Gambon taking over Dumbledore’s role due to the untimely demise of Richard Harris (from Hodgkin’s lymphoma), but everyone essentially grew up in this epic film series.

It is also interesting to note that the cast has, in a way, acted in every kind of film. Harry Potter is a film set in a fantasy world, but it has a wide range of elements that let the cast be funny, scared, dramatic in various scenes. I’ve seen people laugh, cry and be scared while watching Harry Potter movies, so if the casts’ acting chops haven’t been well polished by the end of the series, I don’t know what to call it.

I enjoyed myself, definitely. While I wouldn’t say that the movie was brilliant and would win awards (except maybe for the soundtrack), it was a culmination of so many things in the last ten or twelve years. It doesn’t remove the fact that there are, however, many little things I could nitpick on, and I’m positive that it would be a rather long list.

Be warned, spoilers ahead.


Nitpicking
There’s the scene at the start where Dudley says he doesn’t think Harry is a “waste of space” and gives him tea as a sort of peace offering. How about Harry’s birthday? Where was the animosity between Harry and Scrimgeour? How about the fact that Voldemort’s name is jinxed and using it breaks all protective enchantments? Let’s not forget Kreacher’s back story, which for me is a rather crucial part in the book. Non-readers won’t really notice it, but we certainly did. One of the most captivating parts of the book is how J.K. Rowling made everyone human, no matter how powerful or different they seem.

I don’t know if the director and scriptwriters believe that 1) readers will take it for granted that “Oh, I already know that it happens” or 2) those who didn’t read won’t care and won’t wonder. Well, number one is definitely off the mark.

I did like the treatment of Hermionie’s parents leaving for Australia. It was clever and fast and very effective. I did wonder about the trio leaving and it seems that Lupin knew that they were planning something.

I teared up when Hedwig died. I very nearly bawled when Dobby died. I was amused by Ron, and at the same time found him very manly in some parts. The Harry-Hermionie kiss was hot, and seriously, if Ron and Hermionie’s kiss is anything less than that, I’d be really mad.

Best surprise of the entire movie? The telling of “The Tale of Three Brothers”. I didn’t expect them to show the story in it’s entirety, more like Hermionie or Ron just giving a quick run down. It’s a brilliantly done by Swedish director Ben Hibon.

There’s still so much I’d want to rant and rave about, which I’ll probably add later on. On the whole, the movie was a good watch. Like I said, it wasn’t spectacular, but similar to the last three Harry Potter movies, it is more of an accompaniment for the book. It will be able to stand on it’s own if the audience didn’t read the book, but it wasn’t as magical as the first few movies.

July is still so far away.

Saturday night thoughts

I opened my Flickr account for the first time in months and saw a message in my inbox. It was from this person in Japan who stumbled across my photos and videos of Candelaria. He said that my last name was familiar as his first grade teacher had the same last name, and wondered if we were related.

At that, I smiled, but tears filled my eyes. I quickly typed in “Yes, we’re related. She’s my grandmother.” After that, I couldn’t finish and let myself have a good cry.

I miss you Lola.

***
It’s really nice to hear from people who stumble across my Candelaria and Zambales blogs. Some years ago a man from Germany wrote me asking for contact information to Coke Bolipata, my siblings’ violin teacher. Now, I’m getting messages from people who live in various places around the world but trace their roots back to Candelaria. It’s great.

***
I’m starting to believe that I may have this aura of “niceness”. I’m usually the person people (strangers) approach to ask for help, say, on the train or anywhere. The other night someone asked me if he could share my umbrella as we walked from the train station to the tricycle station. One lady, in a grocery store, beamed at me when she asked if I could help her with her things.

I don’t think it’s bad or bothersome. I just never really thought about it before.

Again, I say…

Here’s something I wrote back in 2006 regarding text speak. PinoyExchange (PEx) implemented a strict rule of not allowing text speak in the forums. It brought to mind my complaints about people who use text speak and sticky caps (the alternate capital and lowercase typing) online, so I wrote this.

Text speak was born out of necessity. Earlier mobile phones allowed only 160 characters per message, and more enterprising users resorted to creating shortcuts for words. Many of these shortcuts have been around for quite sometime and are universally accepted and were used for ads, nicknames etc. Numbers replaced words that sound the same, and the same goes for symbols. When texting in Filipino, words became much shorter. “ABNKKBSANAko?” is already a complete statement expressing amazement that one can now read.

What irks me are those who write text-speak outside SMS. I’ve come across several blogs (out of politeness I am not posting their names here, but if you browse my Multiply account, chances are you might come across them), received several email and even had IM conversations with people who use text speak. It is not an easy feat to read what they said. Not only do I have to understand what was written, I have to first decipher it. What’s bad is if they don’t use the conventional shortcuts, or use shortcuts I have never seen before.

What I don’t understand is how can these people do it? I’ve tried to type text speak on a letter, but I had a really had time. Maybe it’s just me, as I’m used to typing, given the practice I’ve had over the years, and I suppose my mind has unconsciously memorized the layout of the keyboard I can type without having to look down on it. But really, it takes more effort to think about what the text speak is and then typing it out on a full keyboard than just typing everything out right.

Here’s another kicker. hOw CaN pEoPle TyPe fUlL pArAgRaPhS WiTh ThE lEtTeRs In AlTeRnAtInG cApS? Hold shift, type the letter. Let go of the shift, then type the letter. Repeat. The time it takes for me to type that sentence would normally give me three or more sentences in regular fonts.

Oddly enough, I can text speak on my mobile with ease, though I rarely do that. I input the words out completely too. Text speak is acceptable when used in mobile phones, as that what they were created for in the first place (but hey, with more phones coming out that can handle 300+ characters, who needs to use text speak?). Maybe for design purposes, I can let it pass, but if you write me an email in that format, I’m going to request you to retype everything before I’ll read it.

I don’t speak or make sulat ferpect write perfect English, but I love the written word, and as a (aspiring) writer and having grandparents who were English teachers, I know the value of the written word and the joy one gets when reading something that is well written.

How ironic it is for a country that prides itself as having English as its second language, and despite the boom of the call center industry, studies show that when it comes to proper usage, spelling and grammar, the number is declining. Don’t you find it funny that we spend so many years in school studying English and we end up throwing it out the door just like that?

I’m all for PEx’s new policy. I’m not being a snob. Take note it doesn’t ban the use of Taglish or the Filipino language, bt rthr d use of d txtspk tht cn b a bit dffclt 4 a # of ppl — lyk me — out der.

I decided to look for this entry while I was listening to the Pakbet’s latest podcast. I reiterate that there are alot of people, young people specifically, who can communicate in English and get their point across but not in a way that you can call competitive and effective. What’s worse is that in many cases, it’s not just teens who write this way, but adults too. Now that’s scary.

Visual lesson
Inspired by WordBoner, I present to you my “Same sound, different meaning” er, graphics. We occasionally commit the error of writing words that sound like the one we need, but spelling-wise means something else. I can’t say that I don’t make these mistakes, but I try not to… and I don’t make the excuse “English is not my main language.” Ah well.

Party like there’s no tomorrow

Nearly two years ago, when my uncle passed away, I wrote something about funerals and reunions. It was born from an observation of mine, having attended several wakes of various family members in the last four years.

Wakes are, in a twisted sort of way, the best kinds of reunions. First of all, all the people you expect to come — and even those you don’t — will come. Second, there’s always people to talk to, and conversation never runs out. Third, people won’t expect to be fed and are content with coffee and bread. Some even bring food. Fourth, you don’t have to worry about the decor, and some people give you money (does that make me sound crass?). Lastly (and in relation to number one), you’ll see almost all the relatives you haven’t seen in a long time and you’ll all be able to catch up.

The downside? There’s always one person missing from the, er, festivities. And it’s the one person whom people in the gathering have come to pay their respects to.

I’m sorry if it offends you, but it is true. I don’t get to see many of my relatives, but I see them in such occasions, which strikes me as odd because why does it have to be only when someone dies do we get to see each other?

On a somewhat lighter (but not neccessarily better) note, that observation also sparked an idea of having funeral themed parties, courtesy of another uncle of mine. When I voiced my apprehensions, he just said, “Think of it as Halloween but not just on October.”

Right. Oh well, I’ve seen a wedding that had black themes and was held in a cemetery. I guess I should be just glad there’s no actual corpse.

Thank you

A few years ago, I started doing a weekly “Thank You” list. Every end of the week, I list down the top five to ten things that I was thankful for.

I did that for a few months, then I stopped. Mostly out of laziness, and the fact that I lost interest in blogging around that time. Back then, it was no big deal.

Recently my cousin started a blog that listed in detail the things she was thankful for. It was, by all means, an account of her everyday but she wrote it in a way that was nothing but positivity and praise and thankfulness. Every little thing about that day that made her realize what a great life she had, she wrote down, and every sentence began with a “salamat.”

In most Filipino languages, “salamat” translates to “thank you,” and you pretty much use it the same way as you would in English or in any other language. I find that using it instead of thanks, thank you  or even ty feels so much more genuine and heartfelt.

Reading my cousin’s blog makes me realize again that there are so many things in our life that we take for granted. Things we wouldn’t normally notice until it’s been taken from us, and usually in a very abrupt manner. It makes you think that the problems we encounter are so few as opposed to the blessings we receive. It’s just a matter of how we look at it and how we react to it.

I am going to try to be more attentive to these things, and start doing my own thank you entries. I know I can’t start on it full blast at once, but I’m going to take it slow. I have been inspired and humbled by my cousin (who seemed to have inherited our grandfather’s serene disposition), and I hope that I’ll never forget the things in this world that I am thankful for.

Thank you for the good night’s rest. Thank you for being able to check my email and other online stuff early in the morning. Thank you for the safe trip from home to the LRT station via tricycle. Thank you for the walk that serves as my daily exercise. Thank you for letting me get my favorite spot on the train and for the music that kept me entertained the whole trip. Thank you for getting me to the office and not be late. Thank you for letting my computer restart fast after it unexpectedly shut down. Thank you for the breakfast of siomai and coffee. Thank you for letting me finish me work quickly and noticing the mistakes that I was able to correct ASAP.

Thank you for the good lunch and Ate Tess’ looking out for us. Thank you for the occasional entertainment in between work. Thank you for the help in making the team’s work faster. Thank you for my teammates especially Marc and Maya for being so diligent. Thank you for merienda. Thank you for being able to finish my tasks. Thank you for the walk with Winston and the safe trip home. Thank you for the seat on the LRT and the little reminder that technology, albeit convenient, is far from perfect. Thank you for the entertaining shows on TV. Thank you for the ates at the eatery downstairs and for the family who owns the store below. Thank you for letting Nuks get to Candelaria safe & Miks home safely. Thank you for the chat with my friends online and relieving me of any doubts that I had. Thank you for the books I read. Thank you for today.

Thanks

Today, I resolve not to complain. Or at least, not as much as I normally do.

It's kind of a normal thing to go about my day with something to whine about: work, the people, the slow internet connection, lack of finances, lack of time… without fail (as proved when checking out my chat logs with Drew), there's always something within the day that would elicit a complain from me.

Years ago, I decided to do a weekly post highlighting things that I am thankful about. However, I stopped during the second month or so, until I forgot about it entirely. Remembering that now makes me feel bad because it feels like I haven't been thankful enough for all the blessings I've received daily.

And daily they are. How many of us wake up with the thought that it's going to be another day at work, when in fact we could say "Thank you that I have another day in this life of mine"? How many of us curse the traffic or our fellow commuters when we go work, instead of saying "Thank you that I have a job to go to, that I earn to feed myself, my family and even have some left for a bit of indulgence?"

Even if at the end of the day, we could all say "Thanks" for everything.

My cousin Miel took my thank you posts one step ahead: she created a blog where everyday, she posted everything she was thankful about. Simply titled "Salamat," not only does it show what she did for the day, it shows how even the things we usually consider as normal or our due is something to be thankful about.

I probably won't be able to do it on a daily basis like she does, but I resolve to be more thankful for every day that comes. I know that often it's hard not to just gripe, or to forget about the bad things happening, but I'm not saying that you should. More like, don't let the bad stuff overshadow the things that we shouldn't take for granted, things that can easily be taken from us.

I hope that by checking out Miel's blog, it would inspire you to rethink about things. When you think your life sucks, take a step back and you'll see that there is still something good there.

What are you thankful about?

Happy tourist, will travel

I love to travel. I love to go to new places, see new sights and bring home stories and pictures of my adventures back to my friends and family.

Growing up, my parents would often take me and Nunik to various places around Luzon. It was mostly due to my grandfather’s job as a district superintendent that let us go places. Baguio, Lucena, Mindoro, Lucban were among a few of those. Others, like Tagaytay, where destinations of most family outings. Places like Bicol and La Union were considered extensions of home as we had family there.

But always, the best place to be was Candelaria. When I was a kid, I often thought that my Candelaria was the original one, even though many people knew the Quezon town more than the Zambales town. I was the very few among my elementary and high school classmates who spent two months of summer vacation somewhere other than Manila. I’d come home, sunburned and peeling, thanks to endless days of beach fun. My classmates would tell me of their trips to Singapore and Hong Kong, but nothing for me beats the beach.

And what a beach it is. Long before people heard of Boracay, hanging out on the beach was the norm for me, my siblings and my cousins. We’d be hitting the surf as early as 6 AM (which is the best time for me, as the water would be very calm and clear, and the sun not too hot), rising only when we get called for lunch and be back again until the sun starts to set.

Sunburns, jellyfish stings, swallowed salt water, gritty sand… we all took in stride. It was part of summer, and it was part of a tradition, a heritage passed on to us by our grandparents and parents. One that we would pass on to our future families when the time comes. One that we could share with our friends, many of whom fell in love with the beauty our town and its beaches has.

Before the Mt. Pinatubo eruption, the only thing Zambales brings to mind is the Subic Naval Base and Olongapo City. Not exactly your typical tourist getaway. Often, those who go to Zambales were either invited by residents or heard about it through word of mouth.

I love how I have the beach all to myself on most days. Well, me and the rest of the clan, that is. I love how the entire stretch of it is empty of people except for residents and fishermen. Sometimes, especially when we’re there during the early morning, we’d help the fishermen pull the nets from the sea and watch as the fish flop around the nets. Among the usual catch we’d something see other creatures and be amused at them.

There’s just so much to do and to see there. Perhaps then, it is selfish of me to keep this all to myself. But I am afraid that having more people come in will spoil it for me, for the residents. I am afraid that commercialism will take away the peace and tranquility that I enjoyed in the years past.

I suppose I’m being pessimistic, but life has shown that often, when a spot becomes popular, the environment takes a back seat. Which is ironic as it’s the very thing that made the place popular in the first place. I don’t want a crowded resort where you have to deal with the noise of other people who play their music up to loud or be up until the wee hours of the morning. Yeah yeah, it’s supposed to be vacation but there are people living there you know.

Geez, I’m beginning to sound like my great uncle.

That’s how I feel about Baguio. I love visiting it as a kid and really appreciated it when I lived there for four years to study. I was greatly saddened when SM was built on the “park” a lot of my schoolmates and I frequent. Yes, it’s progress, but is saddens me that nature has to pay the price.

Seriously, I hope that when the tourism starts to boom for Zambales (and I’m seeing that happen in the next two to five years), it won’t leave the residents out. It’ll be bad if we let the big players hold the reins in the tourism area, making money for them and not for the locals.

Perhaps there should be some guidelines for those who want to put up a business to cater to the influx of tourists. Resorts shouldn’t mushroom here and there, and should be done with great consideration to the environment. Also, a good sanitation plan should be done, as well as some sort of clean-up brigade separate from that of the private ones employed by the resorts. Maybe even a financial plan so that prices of amenities would remain affordable yet competitive.

I remember how in Sagada tourists are required to register at the town hall and pay P10 per person. I believe this is for the maintenance of the area, in addition to whatever budget the local municipality has for tourism. I think it’s a good idea. Registering will act as a sort of guestbook for the visitors and there would be a fund for the people who help keep the tourism in order for the town.

It works two ways, methinks. The town is responsible for helping to keep tourist spots beautiful and as close to what Nature made it to be, and tourists should respect that. I feel sad when I see a natural or cultural heritage left to die because of neglect or disinterest, not just from tourists but also because of the residents who are supposed to be the guardians of those places. I hate seeing graffiti, or trash carelessly thrown by people.

The two foreigners I met in Sagada had a lot of good things to say about the Philippines. One of them said we have so many beautiful places we should see, but most of all, take care of. Regardless of whether we live there or just visiting, we should all do our part in helping maintain it.

Lastly, remember this adage that many travelers take to heart wherever they go: “Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, kill nothing but time.”

On that environment protection adage, here’s two interesting stuff you might want to read:

Take nothing but pictures
John Kay – Nothing But

Happy traveling!

Crossposted: Multiply
Pictures by me
Reposted from my old blog