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The best movies of 09...in my opinion :)

I'm still in my calm and relaxed state given that we are all in the middle of my most favorite season--Christmas. It was the 25th yesterday. And for movie-goers, this actually marks the start of Philippine cinema's annual Metro Manila Film Festival. Which leads me to think: what are the best movies of 2009?

A lot of top-grade movies have come out this year, and the quality of movie-making just went up a couple of notches. Oh, the beauty of technology.

Here are my top 5 favorites for 09, in chronological order. Let me know if you agree or not! :p

5. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
Admittedly, I'm a big Potter-freak. So any Potter movie that comes out ultimately lands on my list. Plus Harry-Ron-Hermione are just getting better and better.

4. The Hangover
Friends + Las Vegas = LOL. The funniest movie I've seen in a loooong time. Reminded me of one of the greatest wasted-comedy-flicks ever: Dude, where's my car?

3. Up
The best animated movie to date for me. It tops Finding Nemo by 0.5 points. Couldn't help thinking of my lolo and lola when they were still alive. *Sigh*

2. 500 Days of Summer
The story and the manner of storytelling just got me. Beautiful. And it wasn't bad seeing a grown-up Joseph Gordon Levitt. ;)

1. Avatar
Beautifully epic. This movie made and is still making history. This is actually included in my top films of all-time already. And I've already fought a couple of friends who thought the film was too long or too weird. :D



2009 Christmas is...

completing Simbang Gabi together with my Mom
carolling with my CMT batchmates
eating good food.. especially ham and chocolates
living peaceful family days
reuniting with life friends

and of course, celebrating Him.

Peace and love to all!


2010 Elections


I think I might be coming up with a school-girl crush on Secretary Gilbert Teodoro. <3


THE Quarterlife

I've finally reached the legit quarterlife milestone last week. And yes, while I may detest the fact that I feel slightly repulsed by my aging, I nevertheless think that I am a better person this year. I have a year's worth of maturity in me. This includes finally knowing my priorities in life, understanding my goals and knowing how to reach them, being more disciplined, and deciding that I must be more responsible as a person. And for those I am thankful.



Revisiting Fight Club

Watched Fight Club again yesterday after what seemed to be 10 years. Technically speaking, it has been 10 years. Movie came out '99. Of course the beauty of a decade of life made me understand the movie in an entirely different manner. For one, I was already able to overlook the physical beauty of Edward Norton. And Brad Pitt. Back then, the movie held so much awe in my eyes. Particularly because of the angst it contained, how post-modern it was, and because it was one of a kind. There weren't many psychological movies back then. Or at least nothing as commercial as Fight Club. Nothing else with Brad Pitt in it. Or maybe aside from Meet Joe Black. (I thought Meet Joe Black was pretty much a mind movie, apart from the romance of course).

Like any other cool thing I acknowledged back then, some of the "shine" naturally faded as I, for lack of a better term, matured. Sort of how I thought Birkenstock was so cool before, but now it's so passe. No offense meant to those who are still wearing them (my mom still wears her pair). 10 years passed and I saw probably 500 movies since Fight Club. Harry Potter, Spider Man, Frodo Baggins, Achilles and Hector, and others have all colored the next 10 years of my movie-watching. I've all but nearly forgotten about Tyler Durden--his blown-up condo, his wretched desk job, his inner angst against corporate America, his addiction for support groups, his alter-ego, his lover, his wounds, his fights and everything colorful and dirty in between. Nearly. I almost did, if not for that spark of awe I still had at the back of my mind triggered by seeing a movie file in the lot of movies I copied from a friend.

I watched the movie again. Gone is my adolescent perspective, easily swayed by peers. I was again acquainted with Tyler Durden. I tried to understand him now, tried to comprehend beyond the visuals. Listened, rewound the scenes as I sought to grasp the meaning behind his words. Behind his narration. I almost cried at how pained he felt. He was a painful character. I can't imagine not being able to sleep and seeking support groups in order to cry, in order to sleep. I can't imagine not being able to feel. And that was what he was. Which brought about the entire convoluted direction his life took to regain balance in his self.

He was beautiful. He was complicated. He was alone and he was not alone. He was lovely. He was 2 people and one at the same time. I was again mesmerized.

As it was before, so it is now. I realized that I still hold the same awe as I did 10 years ago, albeit with a much richer understanding. With more compassion. Lesser angst. This time though I liked it for different reasons altogether.

Whereas before I liked it because it was angry, I like it now because I saw hope. Whereas before I saw the commitment to the destruction of man, I now see the determination of man to be better. Whereas before I saw the evils of corporate America bringing out the worst in people, I now see humanity struggling to unite for a brighter and better world.

I can truly say it is one of my top favorite movies. Maybe in my thirties I'll find a different meaning to it again. Although OMG, I can't believe I thought about my being 30 just now. Scary.


I can already smell my favorite season!

I love the BER months.

Actually, to be really specific, I start feeling all fuzzy and warm during the last week of October. That's the time when people start inviting for Halloween parties and when my mom (after deciding 3 years ago that this is a semi-holiday worth celebrating) starts decorating our home with subtle elements of the spooky season. Seeing fake spider-webs in stores, a pseudo-dracula with a witch head outside our front door, and plastic monster masks being sold side by side with Christmas decorations in National Bookstore are indications that the "good times" have begun!

Next birthday coming up!


Wellness and other updates

My arms are starting to ache.

Yesterday, I attended a badminton training session (company-sponsored-yeba!) at this court near Pioneer. This is the first time I attended such a session, agreeing to take the next step to knowing the sport and improving my skills. Well, I am doing this for Wellness since I challenged my batchmate to a weight-loss match. And he's a guy, so good luck to me. So Coach taught us the proper way of gripping the badminton racket (the v formed by the index finger and thumb wrapped around the handle should be directly aligned with the racket). He also taught us some basic footwork and how to give a proper overhead shot. We divided into groups of four to have drills and to practice our form.

Anyway, today I played with DJ, Barre and Anakat so I can apply some of the things I learned yesterday to our game today. So now my arms are starting to hurt. Am planning to put some of that minty oil mom uses for body aches (medicine jar pa!). It smells good, lets me sleep immediately, and although I know its the kind of oil old people use (LOL), it really lessens the aching of the body. I'm getting old.

Next training session would be on Thursday so that gives me tomorrow to rest my muscles.

I'm targetting to lose 4 pounds this month. I don't eat so much rice anymore, just a half cup during lunch will do. I also try to eat more fruits. Now I'm wiring myself to eat 1 serving of pineapple or a banana in the morning plus a glass of milk to keep me full until about lunch. Or if I'm really hungry, I eat another serving of fruit or yogurt at 10:30am. For lunch, if I do decide to eat rice, I just consume half a cup. I can eat whatever dish I want and then just eat more fruit for dessert. At about 4pm I go to the caf to eat 1 serving of yogurt (try Nestle Fruit Selection Yogurt Buco Nata flavor!) to avoid feeling hungry; that just makes me eat more in the long run. For dinner, I try not to eat rice anymore. But my mom is such a good cook that I cannot say no to whatever she serves!

Moderate exercise, proper food intake. Nothing to drastic of a change, something more sustainable. Let's see where this Wellness challenge takes me by next year!

Other Media updates:
> Done with episode 3 of Gossip Girl (it's my guilty pleasure show) Waiting for ep 4 to be finished!
> Finished reading Eat, Pray, Love and I can't wait to see the movie next (or is it next next) year. James Franco is <3
> Finally watched 300 last weekend (super late!) and followed it with Troy (saw this on the cinema). Liked both, but I think Troy had a winning moment (the scene where Prium kissed Achilles' hands the night after Achilles killed Hector, Prium's son, and begged him to give Hector's body back for proper burial rites. Classic!)

Dipolog, Dapitan and Jose Rizal

I took an overnight trip to Dipolog last Friday to watch a live drama featuring one of our company's brands (yeah, it was work-related :p ) Dipolog is part of Zamboanga del Norte, a province in Northern Mindanao.

Dipolog is a pretty small place, so small you can easily get around the area via a tricyle. In fact, there are no jeepneys nor buses around the area. You see fancy SUVs with monster wheels frequently--they need big wheels since there are lots of dirt roads in the area--and tricycles that are a little bigger than those you find here in Manila. Roads are littered with trikes that the local government deemed it useful to adapt the "color coding" method of Manila to the trikes of Dipolog. Literally written on the back of the trikes is their DAY OFF day. For example: "DAY-OFF: THURSDAY" --this trike cannot operate on Thursdays.

Dipolog doesn't have an SM (yet!) and they don't have a cinema! Well, they used to have a cinema building but it was closed down. Our tour guide was quick to point out that Dipolog was very much in touch with the latest trends (while we were listening repeatedly to the OST of Twilight in his fancy Strada) and that even though the cinema closed down, they still get to watch the latest blockbusters featured in Manila...how else but through the trusty neighborhood DVD pirates. Great.

While having some time to kill, we drove to Dapitan which is a quick 20-minute drive from Dipolog. I was very excited to visit the actual place where Jose Rizal was exiled. Nearing the place, my companion (the person from the radio agency) was quick to point out that she wouldn't mind being exiled to such a beautiful and peaceful place--it was beside the BEACH! True that. The place was indeed beautiful. And romantic. A place fit for the romance of Jose Rizal and Josephine Bracken. How can you not fall in love in that setting?

Anyway, we reached the fenced compound. ANG PINAGTAPUNAN KAY JOSE RIZAL, MULA HULYO 1892 - HULYO 1896. I went straight to the nipa hut. It was quite disappointing to find out that it was only a replica of the actual hut Rizal lived in. The original was either totally dilapidated or burned down. I'm not quite sure. I was itching to ask the Rizalians who were in the area--3 veiled women whom the tour guide said worshiped Rizal as almost God--but chickened out. Anyway, despite the replica hut, I was quite happy to have visited Dapitan. The beach front, the sand, the trees--these were things that I saw which Rizal saw himself. And that made my trip worth it somehow.


Other updates:
- Am in the middle of watching S.A. (visiting my anime roots)
- Got my first ever Havaianas in Dipolog. Forgot my slippers in Manila and the slipper shop the tour guide brought me to is Havaianas.
- Our batch finally got our kick-off assignments (yipee!) and I'll be handling the team building session.
- Caveat is that starting Sept after my current stint, we'll be devoted to kick-off preparations. Meaning, we won't be having stints!!! Meaning my sales stint is AGAIN moved to a later date. Meaning our graduation is now moved to JUNE instead of FEB or MARCH. :| Oh well. We just have to deliver a really kick-ass kick-off. Bring it!!


Long Live Michael Jackson

Contrary to most Michael Jackson fans, I don't really have much to say--I just feel a deep loss.

He lived a great life and he made all our lives better through his music. We can't be anything but grateful.

Just like what was said in his memorial concert, I am glad to have lived in an era which experienced Michael Jackson, the greatest entertainer who ever lived.