Miss Universe Without Miss Philippines Would Be Like…

Can you just imagine if there would be no Miss Universe pageant in the world?  That world I guess must be simply turning quietly around the sun trying to live a normal planet life.

deserving

deserving

miss philippines

miss philippines

But can you just imagine if there would be no Miss Philippines candidate in the Miss Universe pageant?  That would be like watching the Super Bowl without the Halftime Show. Or it would be like watching a Floyd Mayweather boxing match.  Or perhaps, it would be like watching hit sitcom Friends without Rachel Green (Jennifer Aniston) in it.

Though Philippines has never won this pageant in the past 43 years, Miss Universe pageant remains to be the pageant of all pageants in this spot of the planet.  I no longer remember who the past winners were, but I certainly remember these funny reactions by my fellow Pinoys out from viewing their beloved pageant.

No other mega-popular sports event or reality-based contest TV viewers , I guess, have had reactions like these!

Come December 20, all Filipinos around the world will again be glued unto their TV sets with rapidly beating heartbeats hoping that their country’s candidate be finally crowned as the most beautiful woman in the universe.

Geym Na!

Celebrating the Heart of Filipino Christmas

Yearly, without hardship and difficulty, I can easily capture and feel the spirit of Christmas.  But not this year.  I guess I can attribute this to the still very hot weather due to the ongoing El Niño phenomenon, my having no time to do any Christmas shopping as well as the need to do and attend to the tons and loads of work in my office.

screen-grabbed from the video! cool foreigners indeed!

screen-grabbed from the video! cool foreigners indeed!

Thanks to Philippine Airlines because after seeing this heartwarming video, I can somewhat feel what seem to be a elusive Christmas spirit.

The short happy video captures the magical energy and some unique elements of a Filipino Christmas which foreigners seem to marvel and be surprised about. Seeing this video made me realize that no one in the world celebrates Christmas like the way Filipinos (like me) do.

Tumitibok-tibok, sumisinok-sinok! Tenks PAL!

Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

translated by jay rubin

translated by jay rubin

Norwegian Wood is the first Murakami novel I’ve read.  And this will certainly not be the last.

Each of the character in Norwegian Book were so distinct, so life-like and were so richly depicted.  The author has a unique way in making you feel how each character truly felt.  It has a very nostalgic feel to it yet the interactions in the book seem so real.  Murakami’s words create perfect pictures without becoming too descriptive.  And the thoughts he pulls out of the reader tend to suck the energy out for a little while.

And though the story is simple, the range of emotions the characters experience seem so complex making this book so elegant and sophisticated.  At first it seemed like a normal beautiful love story, until you reach the story’s dark spin to it.  The ending actually left me feeling like my intelligence was raped or I was mind-fucked by Murakami.

Because of Murakami’s beautiful way with imagery perhaps the best thing about Norwegian Wood is that it is open to the reader’s interpretation.  I doubt if two people after reading Norwegian Wood will settle with the same interpretation of the events that transpired and the characters’ respective motivations.

Payb stars… ay layk it…

Book of Mormons Can Never Be Imported In Pinas

There have been lots of popular musicals that have been imported and graced my beloved homeland.  There were even lots of these musicals in which the West End or Broadway casts were featured.  And there were some musicals in which the company of actors were equally talented local Filipino artists trying their very best to sound and enunciate the American and/or English accent.

agree!

agree!

a nightly long queue at the theater...

a nightly long queue at the theater…

But after seeing The Book of Mormons, I can conclude that this show, though dubbed in America as the “best musical of the century” will never be imported and shown in conservative Philippines.  It is because this musical can be stunningly foul-mouthed, incredibly vulgar and breathtakingly offensive.

It pushes the boundaries of a comedic story by talking/singing about child rape, the clitoris, people with AIDS, female circumcision and even the male scrotum (with maggots).  There was even a vulgar song entitled “Hasa Diga Eebowai” which features a litany of despair and anguish that culminates in the rousing chorus stating that Hasa Diga Eebowai means “F@ck you god”.

A lot of scenes and dialogues were mockeries of true human stories that transpired and continuously happen in society. There was a song in which the continent of Africa was described as definitely not a “Lion King” of a site that one can behold.  And that an Ugandan town (which can represent a lot of places in the planet) is being oppressed and harassed by its leader whose name in the story is General Butt-Fucking Naked.

There was the mockery of innocent people in society which were made to seriously believe on stories that involved putting together snippets of events from the Star Wars and Lord of the Rings.  And that these people were so innocent, they believe that the true paradise is located in Salt Lake City (the song’s sweet rendition actually made me teary-eyed).  There was even a line in one song saying that the Garden of Eden is located in Jackson County, Missouri!

where the hilarious yet smart crudeness happens...

where the hilarious yet smart crudeness happens…

aylavet!!!

aylavet!!!

winner!!!

winner!!!

But what is so amazing about this musical is that these jokes were so smart, refreshing and extremely funny without really sacrificing the kernels of life’s reality that the viewers can ponder about.  And maybe the reason why these jokes and mockeries were so effective is because these were uttered and put across by the sweetest characters that a musical could ever have.

Underneath all these jokes and mockeries, The Book of Mormon is a very moral musical. If truly assessed it has a surprisingly tender core.  It tackles about loyalty to friendship.  It tackles the hope of discovering utopia.  It tackles the beauty of innocence as well as the dangers that comes along with it.  It tackles about finding love and happiness.  It tackles about experiencing victory in the strangest of situations.  And ironic as it may seem, it is about the pureness of the heart.

It is therefore not surprising that this musical won 9 Tony Awards including Best Musical in 2011 and continuous to draw big crowds daily.  Too bad, Philippines won’t be able to see, hear and experience the pureness of the heart contained in The Book of Mormon.

Ito ang myusikal kung saan ang huling linyang sinabi kung Tatagalugin ay … “Ang Betlog Ko Pa Rin Ay May Uod!??

The Uncultured Me and the Sophisticated Phantom of the Opera

The first Broadway show ever that I have seen in New York (as I have written in the past few days) was Les Miserables.  After being so moved by this spectacular musical, I knew for a fact that it would be very difficult and challenging for the succeeding Broadway musical that I would watch for me to get so impressed.  Les Miserables would be a tough act to follow.

This is exactly what I felt about Phantom of the Opera.  Though it has been considered one of the longest running musicals in Broadway, I find it a little dreary.  Or maybe it’s the operatic musical genre that Phantom of the Opera has that made me feel bleak.  Except for the song “Think of Me”, which I prefer to be sang in a pop and non-operatic way, I am not that impressed with the line-up of songs.

think of me...

think of me…

 

best thing about this experience was watching it and catching up with former colleague hanah, the world traveler

best thing about this gig was watching it and catching up with former colleague hannah, the world traveler

Blame it to Martin Nievera, an old and aging pop-star in the Philippines who keeps on singing the songs from Phantom of the Opera in the TV variety shows that he would appear at.  Nievera’s obsolete rendition made me feel so fatigued about the songs of this musical.

Or maybe, the swanky and high-class music of Phantom of the Opera is so high-end and so classy and it’s just that I am the uncultured swine who fails to appreciate the elegance and chicness of its tunes.  No thanks to my underdeveloped right brain because I have yet to find the right tools so as to appreciate such musical genre.

the orchestra!

the orchestra! the people with sophisticated musical taste…

phantom of the opera will not be complete without the iconic chandelier

phantom of the opera will not be complete without the iconic chandelier

But what struck me most about Phantom is the great production design.  My goodness! The spectacular drop of the majestic chandelier right over the heads of the audience at the end of the first act was breathtaking.  Also, the colors of the masquerade ball number was truly outstanding.  Those costumes were undeniably crazy!  I was indeed transported into a different world!

Kelan ba kasi magre-retire si Martin Nievera?

Kinky Boots: A High-Heeled Surprise of My New York Adventure

surprise! surprise!

surprise! surprise!

According to Dalai Lama, “the purpose of our lives is to be happy”.  And this is exactly what I thought o after I watched the amazing Kinky Boots, the third Broadway musical show I saw in New York.

Prior to watching this Broadway musical, the only thing I know about the show is that it is a Tony award-winning musical.  I don’t know what the story is about, I haven’t heard about the music and neither do I know anything about the cast.  Blame this to my being an inhabitant living a simple life at the other end of the world.

saw kinky boots with super friend ron, a new yorker and broadway musical enthusiast!

saw kinky boots with super friend Ron, a new yorker and broadway musical enthusiast!

my ticket and my playbill

my ticket and my playbill

 

the view from my seat...

the view from my seat…

Kinky Boots is not a popular Broadway musical in Manila, unlike the classic Les Miz, Phantom, Miss Saigon or even Wicked.  But after seeing the show it actually became one of my favorites.  The story is simple and uncomplicated yet it opened a whole new perspective about prejudice, intolerance and acceptance.

There are lots of heartfelt wisdom that can be extracted from the show.  It tackles about the struggles of trying to fit in.  It is about the blossoming of life as soon as acceptance has kicked in.  It even tackled the life’s various phases: childhood, adulthood, friendship, career, life’s ambition, secret admiration and even death.  The story seem to have something for everyone.  This is without eliminating the basics of a fun, fab and highly entertaining musical: excellent music, spectacular production, gifted singing talent and hip dance moves.

Kinky Boots got a big heart!  That is why it has become one of my favorites.  And I would not mind watching it again in case I visit New York again.  If not, Kinky Boots I hope would reach the shores of Manila.  This musical would definitely be something to watch.  Charlie, Lola (the main characters) and the rest of the cast are of course welcome to perform in my city.

I’m pretty sure in case the Dalai Lama would have the opportunity to watch this musical, he himself would say “watching Kinky Boots is a must so as to live a happy life”.

Ispektakyular!

Les Miserables, The Musical: A Goosebumps Overload Experience

The main purpose of my visiting New York is to see at least one musical Broadway show.  I told myself that as soon as I have seen one, the rest of my New York adventure would utterly be but awesome add-ons.  Ever since the time I have been aware about the existence of Broadway musicals, I have always set into the deepest travails of my mind that someday I would be blessed and be able to watch one.

This mindset actually came true last March 29, 2015.  That day, I did not settled for less popular musicals but instead went on to watch the world’s most epic, Les Miserables.  I actually got chills when I was handed my ticket at the box office.

broadway here i come...

broadway here i come…

outside the theater...

outside the theater…

I am so glad to have chosen Les Miserables as my first Broadway musical experience.  What I know is that this epic tale has started to be considered a “classic” of modern musical theater.  It is a beautiful story about compassion and forgiveness all set against the backdrop of the French Revolution.

got my playbill and the ticket...

got my playbill and the ticket…

And when the show started my goosebumps were exploding.  It was so profuse and persistent, I thought my goosebumps already grew goosebumps of its own.  I was a bit nervous because I thought my fingernails were even growing it.  And every time a highlight song has been sang, my goosebumps would cheer with bellowing sounds and clap along with me.

My happiness was further intensified when I noticed it is the magnificent Ramin Karimloo is the one who was acting/singing the role of Jean Valjean.

got a good seat...

got a good seat…

When the show’s finale song was sung and Jean Valjean, Fantine and Eponine sang the lyrics “to love another person is to see the face of God!”, I was sobbing.  I was crying because of such a sad sad story (imagine almost all of the main characters died).  And during curtain call while the audience were on a standing ovation,  I was still crying for joy because I was given the exceptional opportunity to see such a spectacular show.

And when I stepped out of the theater, I can hear my goosebumps were shouting at me saying “Thank you! Thank you!”

Mabaliw baliw kaya ako sa loob ng teyatro!

Stay Weird, Stay Different

Last year it was the Lupita Nyong’o who expressed her confirmation to every little child that no matter where they came from their dreams are valid.

This year my favourite Oscars moment is the speech by Graham Moore, winner of Best Adapted Screenplay for The Imitation Game.  His inspiring message of “stay weird, stay different” resonated to millions around the world!graham moore

After the thought has sunk in to the deepest portals of my brain, I suddenly noticed onions flying around my room!  That was such a powerful message!  I wonder how many young lives were saved that night.

Ang propawnd ni kuya. Aylavet!

I Survived the EK Extreme Challenge

Call it foolish or ironic, but it was actually my first time to the premier theme park in my own country, the Philippines.  I have been to a lot of modern theme parks abroad but never did I had the chance to be in Enchanted Kingdom.

where fun begins!

where fun begins!

I always thought that Enchanted Kingdom was nothing but kiddy stuff.  I thought it was not like the dynamic Universal Studios that would also cater to adults.  But what I did and experienced last Sunday was far from a kiddy adventure.  It was an adrenaline-charged exploit.

As soon as I and my friends (Ludette, Beth, Red and JB) entered the square, we challenged ourselves to venture into the most extreme highlights of the park.  We skipped the other rides which we consider weak and anemic.  We settled to take the 4 most treacherous rides!  We started with the least tormenting (among the four) and capped the day with the most terrifying.

The Anchors Away (Pendulum Ride); Disk-O-Magic (Spinning Pendulum Ride); EKstreme (Tower Drop); Space Shuttle (Roller Coaster)

ek1

reaction: a mix of fear and fun

 

level up with disk-o-magic ride

level up with disk-o-magic ride with red and dette

 

extreme drop!!!

extreme drop with jb, beth and dette!!!

adrenaline rush infested ride!

adrenaline rush infested ride!

These fun rides may not be at par in terms of the extreme kick in adrenaline as compared to the newest and most intense state-of-the-art thrill rides found abroad.  But what add up to the uniqueness of these rides are the added edgy hazards and dangers of riding it.

EK extreme thrill rides are like waging your life to chance.  It is because EK is a 19 year old theme park that looks rundown and under maintained.  Taking those old thrilling rides is basically like a death defying stunt.

I suppose inhabitants of first world countries and modern thrill-ride enthusiasts would not even dare take those rickety rides due to safety issues and out-dated mechanical concerns.  This maybe the reason why I only saw a couple of foreign tourists inside the square (one Korean and two Caucasian dudes who were tagged along by their Filipina girlfriends).

Don’t get me wrong though, because I totally enjoyed my first Enchanted Kingdom adventure!  It was one rare feat!!!

Yoohoo! Masayang kanerbyos!