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I'm not quite proud that it took me this long to write again.

You see, I've gone to the moon. And as one might have guessed, there's really no internet connection there, and furthermore, I haven't got anything to write with me. So, hence the non-writing.

But I got back, and hopefully need not go back to the moon once again, at least not for a long time. No, I mean, seriously, hopefully no. 

I guess an offering of updates would be better than a frustrating real explanation:

1. Internet's not a safe place anymore. Most recently, the country's legislators passed the Anti-Cyber Bullying Act, which apparently had not been exempted with cyber-bullying at all. Plus the #Amalayer story is fascinating. It's amazing how a lot of people spend their time bashing others they don't even know personally. As I said, it's not a safe place out there anymore... Better not say shit in public. But if I have to say shit, better say it like 'shit!' - as if I stepped on a cockroach heel-naked after hopping through the room for hours just to avoid it. 

2. I took the MFE exam last November. The official results will come out early January, I hope it's favorable, so I can start 2013 right.

3. I'm not sure if I still got the mood to write, but I really badly want to, and I don't know how to start getting it. Only I feel that the first step to getting it is for me to just write. So.. here's to just writing. Writing without pretensions. Without thinking of page views, or grammar, or me blogging. Here's to just writing because once it had been a real love. I forgot: do we do things because we love them, or because we're good at them? What do we realize first: that we love something because we're good at it, or we're good at something because we were first in love with it?

4. I don't really patronize coffee shop planners. Especially the most famous of them all. But right now I already have 7 stickers out of I think 17, and I feel I'm going to collect anyway because I already have 7 of them. And I know it's a lousy reason considering I already have a planner/journal ready for next year.. But heck, I'm not very sure what I'm actually doing right now.

I'll end this right here because this isn't exactly how I wanted things to be right now. 

I just really like it to be back, and I swear I'm not going to the moon again. I mean, not for long. 

We were a hundred feet above everything.
I remember the sound of the wind most of all. It resounds solidly; I couldn’t hear a thing except for the wind flapping strongly at the parachute, and my own heartbeat. Up there, it’s like we have our own paradise.
I looked at him, and he smiled. And then he held my hand.
Sometime, I was thinking how I’ll have a perfect picture for my facebook profile. Above the Boracay island, alone together, holding hands. Once we got back to our boat, I hastily examined the taken pictures. But I found they weren’t really as I imagined. Most are too far away to even recognize us.
But I saw one. It wasn’t as I imagined it perfect. We were dipped in water, and not hanging high above. But I think, love is just like that.
Love as I see it, is not about the perfect moment. But seeing the imperfect moment perfectly; changing, accepting these imperfections because the love for that person is greater than its flaws. It’s like the imperfect picture of parasailing/water-dipping, it’s not perfect but in my eyes, it is.

“This is my entry to “Love as I see it.” A project of www.islandrose.net flowers Philippines.
In this modern age of liberalism, sometimes I'd like to ponder how we can still preserve those things we hold dear. Take for example, men on their manliness. I know men are facing more challenges than they ever are, what with the constant changes in our society. But I think, true men shouldn't find the ever-growing liberal views a hindrance to their manliness.

I think being manly has a lot to do with one's values, and not even on physical appearance. If a guy takes to heart to protect those he loves, especially his family, I would consider him manly. 

Do like the Facebook fan page of Kojie.san Men’s Club.

At first I wanted to watch all the Cinemalaya entries this year, but having read the entries' synopsis, I found that not all have sparked interest in me. So I succumbed to watching just three from this year's list; I would have watched more, but busy schedule and picky budget prevented me so. 

So here's the quite limited three Cinemalaya 2012 films I got to watch:

THE ANIMALS: Set in an affluent, upper middle class village in the suburbs, “The Animals” chronicles a day in the life of Jake, Trina, and Alex, who go through the musings that every kid in high school has to deal with. All Jake wants to do is have a good time, Alex just wants to fit in, and Trina simply wants more. A very vivid picture is painted of life in high school after the final bell rings, as well as a different side of the Philippines, and what is happening to its privileged children.

The fact that the filmmaker had recently graduated from film school showed impatience on driving the point home. Everything's there that we expect in a youth-oriented film for the rich kids: drugs, sex, alcohol and betrayal. With plusses on different pictures of the current society. With that, the film's message is accurate although a little overbearing. For me, the film showed a lot of elements that it failed to summarize the message wholly to give it more impact.

I particularly liked Dawn Balagot's portrayal as Trina, she looks natural and charming.
The final scene was nice, it lingered.

Probably i would have traded this film in order to watch Mylene Dizon's Aparisyon if my schedule permitted.

INTOY SYOKOY: Intoy has had the hots for Doray since they were kids in Kalye Marino, Cavite City, formerly the American Naval Base in Sangley Point.  Both marginalized as the long-lasting effect of American abandonment of the said base, Intoy has become Kalye Marino’s best “tahong” caretaker-with-no-angst-about-poverty, while Doray a cheap prostitute-with-no-guilt, tending to her siblings’ needs.  Intoy strives to have his own cages of “tahong” so he can have Doray, not for just a night of quickie sex, but forever.

I was really sorry I missed the first thirty minutes. 

I found the love story of a tahong driver (JM de Guzman) and a cheap prostitute (LJ Reyes) portrayed very sweet and endearing. It was innocent, and lovely and the two lead actors really played it well. 

I didn't liked the last scene, and the decisions that came with it. But Lem Lorca, the director did the last scene beautifully that the love was seen more as innocent and true than it is stupid. (But I still don't buy the ending, though it was portrayed really well.)

Just so I will see the film's entirety, I won't hesitate to watch it again if I have the chance.

ANG NAWAWALA: Gibson Bonifacio stopped speaking when he was a child. Now twenty years old, he returns home to Manila from his studies abroad, his first visit in three years. He finds his family trying to keep it together, his mother still hurting from a tragic loss in the past. Against the backdrop of the vibrant local music scene, his childhood best friend tries to reconnect with him, while he unexpectedly finds a chance at a first, real romantic relationship. Amidst the holidays, Gibson reconsiders and redefines his relationships with his family, his friends, and with himself.

It's a coming-of-age story for a boy who decided not to talk since he saw the tragic death of his twin. The movie was good in a lot of ways, with really awesome music. There are a lot of scenes that could just effectively be captured in music videos. It's as if you could lie in the clouds and feel like flying. That's what the music of Ang Nawawala offers. And opens doors to a music genre that is least appreciated nowadays.

But I think it's overly long. I wished they had cut a lot of scenes, not all parts were needed and sometimes it's just repetitive. 

Images and synopsis from cinemalaya.org
I guess when you're young, you just believe there'll be many people with whom you'll connect with. Later in life, you realize it only happens a few times. - Celine

I didn't think it was possible that I would love Before Sunset way more than I loved its predecessor, Before Sunrise; but I did, and I was beyond captured. 

Before Sunrise is about two strangers who meet on a train one summer day when they decided to spend one day in Vienna together; Before Sunset occurred nine years later. 

The experience was like reading a great book. You know how they say that movies always fall short when one read its novel contemporary, but these, these movies take the best of both experience with plusses even: Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke-plattered. 

We get to watch for one hour and a half these two characters only, the things they learn about each other, things in life we already know. To action-biased moviegoers, this might seem like a bore, but to those who prioritizes dialogues and character development (as I said, just like in books) in films, then this sure deserves the shot.

I loved both films, but I like the second one better because the characters were matured now, they weren't anymore blinded by the pretense of young exciting love. And I love how beautifully depicted their friendship in the second film, even if in fact they only met for a day nine years back. 

It's definitely one of the movies I will never delete in my drive. 

And it'll have a third installment! Next year! Exactly nine years after the second one. How cool is that?!

Flipped is a young adult love story, it was simple and simplicity can be very charming at times but the film was dragging for the most part. The alternating point of view I think was the suspect. I saw films in the first person narrative and some hit it with that technique but Flipped, it tells more than what it shows and films like that can be very tiring. Perhaps reading the novel with the same title would give more justice.
Philippine Star Father's Day edition, 06/17/2012

For a week now, I was eagerly anticipating this day, for a writing stint I did for Philippine Star, together with Robinson's Malls. I was one of the five winners of their Daddy's Cool contest, bagging a 10,000 shopping spree for the most part. And also, we get to see our entry in the paper.

I could have erased my 6th to-do list for the year: get on print, except that I didn't get on print. Instead, they just posted a picture of the winners. Sayang, I was too excited pa naman for that.

Anyway, here is my un-published winning entry for Daddy's Cool contest.

Happy Father's Day Papa!
When our family bought an SUV in 2009, I could not emphasize how pleased we all had been. It was a momentous event in our lives, and Papa was the happiest among us because he finally got his dream car.
Sometimes, we would kid how Papa loved the van more than anything else. For three years, we were witnesses on how he took great care of it, like his fifth child we’d say. He would not let anyone of us take it for a drive, and not too much passengers so it won’t be worn out.
But when a financial problem hit our family in the last two months, it caught us off-handed. Any extra money, however small, proved to be of great help. And even though I know how much he loved it, Papa rose to the situation and offered to take passengers everyday when we drive to Makati.
And I knew, however Papa loved the van so much, he would be ten-fold willing to do more for his family. Maybe a hundred-fold or a thousand, I know we mean that much to him. And by the simplest things, I hope I could also give back.

Hopefully, I could cross out No. 6 this year. 
Really, a non-existent splurge fund. But yesterday was a job well done and I wanted to give myself a prize.

Nutty sans rival and a cold cup of brownie frappe. This is when private moments are at their best. 
Isn't it neat having to eat this all by myself? Harhar

It has always occurred to me that I'm missing something in my pursuit in passing actuarial exams. It wasn't quite obvious when I took the first two but when I sat on the third one, and failed twice, I knew there's a keypoint I wasn't grasping. 

My latest guess is I'm not inspired. 

It's not the I'm-not-inspired, I-need-a-boy-crush kind of thing. In fact, in the matters of the heart, I rate a screaming A.  I think it's the inspiration to learn this field that was bugging me all along.

So my latest attempt to cure my un-inspired path to actuarial science is --

A lifetime membership to UP Alumni Association
Maybe this isn't what I really need, or maybe I only need the annual membership; but suckit, being in UP feels great. And having to show a valid UP ID to the gatestoppers feels great, not to mention legal.

There, the first time I used my UP Alumni ID I knew exactly where to go to.

The UP Main Library Social Sciences Section, home to most of my solitary college moments.
Coming back was magnificent. The experience was homey and just as it was more than three years ago. The library felt the same, SocSci section felt the same, even my favorite spot of the long table felt the same, the comfort room even. I wished to find the comfort room to be at least a bit improved but to no avail.

I think the only difference I noticed was that the guard in the entrance now has a desk, unlike three years ago.

It was great to be back, the familiar smell of dusted old books and the coolness of the high-ceilinged library reminded me of the promise to learn, unceasingly.

I have to thank my HS experience for the saying I had never forgotten through these years.

“Never let your education interfere with your learning.”

And yes, this shall be my final push. Tell me, how many attempts are you willing to make before you know it’s time to give up?
I didn't know when I started making lists. There was a time when I didn't make plans. But no, I could not remember the last time.

And those lists of things to do before turning a certain age, is clearly a bummer.

Yep, 24! :)
So I've fallen 24 last Friday. And falling this time feels uninhibitedly good.

And I'm loving Lighthouse Family again.

"Don't you think it's time you started
doing what you always wanted."
- High

"So it's best that you don't try
holding back the time.
Are you ever gonna be quite satisfied?"
- Postcard from Heaven

"This is my idea of heaven, 
why can't it always be so good?"
- Lost in Space

Yes, I joined the Hunger Games bandwagon; you see, I really didn’t have much choice. 

Early this year, I got so depressed with news that immediately hit home, and all I’m left with is a patiently waiting Hunger Games book in my desk drawer. It was looking at me like it knows exactly what I needed. 

I spent the whole day, the ENTIRE day dating Suzanne Collins. I was enthralled. And for one thing, I really couldn’t put it off, because when I do, my mind would just go survival mode with what happened in real life. And would immediately plan what I must do next. I didn’t want that; I couldn’t have that. 

So for one day, I immersed myself with the world of the Games. 

The Film

I wasn’t really much of a fan of novels-turned-films, reading and watching the other. I only read the first installment of the Twilight series, while Harry Potter fad is different, as the film took effect years after I read the books.

But reading and watching HG were different experiences altogether. I must say reading it before watching the film made me appreciate the story in depth, at the same time I can point out the parts they could have left out and vice versa.

The Good,

I really loved how high-tech the Games were depicted (manipulated terrain for one thing), my imagination hadn’t gone that far while reading the book.

The characters were really remarkable: Stanley Tucci was amazing, how Haymitch looked like was almost the same as what I’d imagined him, Jennifer Lawrence is really admirable as Katniss. And I didn’t really find Josh Hutcherson as attractive, but he turned out quite right in the end.

I think the movie overall is silent. And for the most part, the silence was breaking. But the silent reaping? It worked very well for me, I found it really intense.

The Bad,

Watching it in the big screen, I almost got a headache with the blurred, fast fighting scenes. I just wanted the fighting scenes to be over once they started.

While I was reading the book, I got really excited when Katniss sang for Rue. I thought it can be a great cinematic scene. Just like in The Lord of The Rings, one scene I could never forget was Pippins song while war scenes were being displayed. I thought Katniss’ song would be a very good way to depict the harsh reality of the Games, producing quite a dramatic interlude… But hey, the movie for the most part was in first-person—

It was in first-person and though there were parts where first-person was the best option, like Caesar Flickerman’s interview where it made Katniss’ emotions quite an experience. I personally think it can do better than the first-person narrative. For one, the tributes show-off to the judges would make a great scene too, and maybe help the audience not to confuse the tributes a bit.

and that particular detail I loved the most.

Prim remembering to tuck her shirt’s tail after her name was called out –

was priceless.

It was something I can totally relate to.