So Much Reasons To See Crazy Rich Asians

I have to admit, the major reason why I wanted to watch the movie Crazy Rich Asian was because I wanted to see Kris Aquino, my country’s mega queen of media.  But since the lavish movie was so engaging, I almost forgot the reason why I wanted to see it.  Until she appeared in her beautiful yellow gown playing the role of the ultra-rich and toffee-nosed character of Princess Intan. 

kris aquino with constance wu

Crazy Rich Asian is such a heartwarming movie.  I was actually teary-eyed in some of the scenes because it featured cultural elements that seem so close to my being.  Also, I was so happy to see this delightful movie because at last Asian characters are on the lead (not mere sidekicks) and Asian actors are not performing the gag-worthy Hollywood martial arts scenes.  I am actually considering this film an Asian celebration!

I may not be crazy rich (because I am a crazy reject Asian) but I nevertheless saw bits and pieces of me in numerous characters of the movie, the gutsy-ness of Rachel Chu, the being-a-friend-to-depend-on of Peik Lin, the softheartedness of Nick Young and of course the bitchiness of Eleanor Sung-Young. 

I was at awe when Kris Aquino appeared and was glad to know how pivotal her role was.  But the movie’s characters and its message made me further love this film.  I laughed with the characters, I cried with the characters and I fell in love with the characters!  The movie clearly screams that though there would be headaches and hurdles, you can chase your own happiness even without sacrificing your values and tradition.

Ang Yaman!

I Think I Love Taipei

People in New York are called New Yorkers while folks in Rio De Jainero are known as Cariocas. Here in Manila we are called Manileños while those in Sydney are called Sydneysiders.  Residents of Paris are called Parisians while those born and raised in Tokyo are called Edokko.

But what about the people in Taipei?  How do they call themselves as a people?  I know that Taipei is located in Taiwan and its people are known as Taiwanese.  But what about the specific state of Taipei? What is their demonym?  Strangely, even google doesn’t seem to have an answer.

taipei 101 a

iconic tower!


super fun

neil, ngkoy & gaying at cks 2017

with nengkoy  and sister

nengkoy with the cks guard.jpg

nengkoy with the cks guard

But no matter what the world would call their citizens, one thing is for sure, I was very impressed by the Taipei people’s character.  Prior to visiting Taipei, I plucked and gathered a lot of tolerance and courage from my garden of compassion so as to bring it with me in Taipei.  It is because I thought that the people of Taipei were the same and as typical as that of their mainland counterpart.  But my encounters with their locals were so surprising all positive.  They were unexpectedly polite, well-mannered and very helpful.

And aside from the people, the food and character, their city was surprisingly clean, modern and very organized.  It’s a friendly city for a non-Chinese speaking person like me.  Their hero (Chang Kai Shek), who paved the way for the molding of Taipei character, democracy and economic development was even someone to be proud of.

neil, ngkoy & gaying at taipei train

groupie inside a quiet train

neil at cks 2017

strike a pose!


hello taipei

neil at taipei 2017 a


May they be termed Taipeinese, Taipei-siders, Taipeian or other names, Taipei people were surprisingly impressive!  I think I love Taipei.

Ay lab Taypey!


Ringing the Massive Bell of Bosingak

One of the beautiful highlights of my recent Seoul trip was something unplanned and unexpected.  Me and my colleagues were lucky enough to be at the right place and at the right time when we happen to experience one traditional South Korean ceremony.

bonsingak: a totally different belfry

bonsingak: a totally different belfry

During the Joseon Dynasty, the Bosingak Belfry was used to keep time.  In the very old days when Seoul was still enclosed by 4 main gates, the bell of Bosingak would ring 33 times at 4:00 AM so as to signify that people can be allowed to enter Seoul.  And by 10:00 PM, the bell again would ring 28 times to alert the public that the gates to the city are closing.

On our way to Insadong (one shopping capital in Seoul), just outside Jonggak subway station, we happen to pass by one oriental-looking structure.  Being first timers and tourists of South Korea, we of course were lured to take photos of the massive building.  When we were called to step in at the rather old compound and was informed that entrance for free, we temporarily suspended our shopping itinerary at Insadong and instead marveled at the beautiful structure in front of us.

i love the colors...

i love the colors…

ring my bell... hahaha!

ring my bell… hahaha!

high fashion!

high fashion!

While taking photos of ourselves, the buildings and the guards in traditional and colorful Korean clothing, we were told that we can participate in the day’s ringing of the bell ceremony.  But before we were allowed to hit the bell with a massive wooden log suspended from the ceiling, we were told to first change into Korean traditional costumes.  The changing into colorful Korean clothes even made this awesome experience more unforgettable.

And at 12 high noon, we were hitting the massive bell of Bosingak to alarm the whole Seoul, South Korea!  And after this awesome experience, we were so inspired, ended up buying lots of traditional South Korean goodies at Insadong.

Kampanerang kuba ang peg!

Craved for Rice & Shopping Mall in Tel Aviv

My being a Far East Asian cracked up and transcended when me and my sister were in Tel Aviv.  First was when both of us were craving for rice, the staple food of Far East Asians.  After a couple of days gobbling over falafels, hummus, schnitzels and loads of bread and pastry varieties, part of my sleep were dreams about munching on a bowl of hot and freshly cooked rice.

These was further amplified when both of us where hankering whether a shopping mall exists in Tel Aviv.  Yeah, the biggest shopping malls on the planet are found in our part of the world!  Thus, a week without going to a shopping mall for Far East Asians like me and my sister makes us intensely loony.

So as to resolve our impending bouts of madness we scrambled on googling the net so as to determine where’s the nearest mall and where rice are most likely sold.  Thanks to the ever reliable google and google map we found Dizengoff Center, the first mall in Israel.  Luckily, this mall was only a couple of minutes walk from our hotel.  In this mall was when our rice-cravings was resolved.  My theory that Filipinos loves or needs shopping malls was validated because in Dizengoff Center did we saw the most number of Filipinos in Israel.

craving for rice, we passed by dizengoff square a few steps away from the dizengoff center

craving for rice, we passed by dizengoff square a few steps away from the dizengoff center

having fun inside a tel aviv bus!

having fun inside a tel aviv bus!

And after a couple of days, me and my sister bravely rode a bus and headed to the most modern and one of the biggest malls in Tel Aviv known as Azrieli Center.  This complex houses three iconic modern towers of Tel Aviv simply known as the Circular, the Square and the Triangular towers.  Circular Tower is the tallest building in Tel Aviv and at its top-most floor is where the breath-taking Azrieli Observatory is located.

a ceiling shot of the mall... now try to find the triangulat, square and circular towers

a ceiling shot at the center of the mall… now try to find the triangular, square and circular towers

spectacular view from the Azrieli Observatory. The Mediterranean Sea at the far end!

spectacular view from the Azrieli Observatory. The majestic Mediterranean Sea at the far end!







2 happy pinoys in tel aviv

2 happy pinoys in tel aviv

I love Azrieli Observatory!!!

Discovering the malls of Tel Aviv by ourselves was one advantage of not booking a tour package for our entire stay and trip to Israel.  Going and planning on our own, enables me and my sister resolve these kinds of insane issues.  I’m pretty sure those expensive yet inflexible tour packages basically offers the more popular Israeli destinations which of course would not include moments inside a mall.  And those who availed those rigid package tours failed to see other dimensions of what Tel Aviv or Israel as a whole got to offer.

Without rice and the absence of a shopping mall experience for the entire trip to Israel could have made me and my sister gone mad and demented at the end of the trip.  Thanks to Dizengoff and Azrieli Centers for keeping the both of us sane.

‘Yun nga lang, walang Tosilog sa mol nila.