Touched a Weeping Column and Met a Coequal Villain at Basilica Cistern

The Basilica Cistern as a tourist spot at the tourist-infested Sultanahmet area of Istanbul seem to have always been overshadowed by the more grandeur, more magnificent and more historically ornate Sophia Hagia and the Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmed Mosque). All these three spots surrounding the Sultanahmet Square are within short walking distances only.

But the Basilica Cistern seem to have always been the last choice that tourists would go to if the 3 places to visit in Sultanahmet would be Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque and the Cistern Basilica.  This is why it dawned in me that it would be smarter to start with the latter before heading to Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque.  Making the Basilica Cistern my first spot to visit would make me avoid the hordes of noisy and annoying tourists who later in the day would flock the underground treasure of a place after their respective visits to both Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque.

still with puffy eyes… need to drag myself from bed…

eerie yet majestic

no wonder Istanbul does not have an underground train system… treasure lies beneath…

My temporary smartness actually paid off.  On the morning I visited, there was actually only one Caucasian and a family of four Chinese tourists inside the cistern.  The rest of the tourists that morning I suppose were at a long queue at the gates of both Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque.

Without seeing yet and not yet been overwhelmed by the magnificence of the Istanbul’s icons (Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque), I was able to fully grasp, value and appreciate the historical richness and structural splendor of the Basilica Cistern.  I was at awe as soon as my eyes were able to adopt to the underground darkness.

One mini-highlight was the Hen’s Eye column.  It is the only column of the site engraved with what looks like numerous eyes which appears to be weeping as dripping water from the ceiling runs down to this column.  The dripping water has left its mark over the years, turning this specific column into a medley of blue, brown and green hues.  The Hen’s Eye is also known as the weeping column which is said to be engraved in tribute to the thousands of slaves who died during the construction of the cistern.

weeping column

need to touch it

And since I had limited time to read about Basilica Cistern prior to going to Turkey, only when I reached the end of this ancient water reservoir was I surprised to realize that this place houses the head of my co-villain Medusa!  After giving some imaginary greetings and salutations to the giant Medusa heads, I never missed my chance of taking a photo with her.

Now I understand why Dan Brown has chosen this Byzantine-made murky, eerie and creepy expanse as the final site in one of his famous novels.  I truly marveled at the sheer engineering magnificence of creating such an expansive underground cavern below the colorful ancient city of Constantinople (now Istanbul).  I was so thankful that there were few tourists around for I really got to see, smell and digest the beauty and richness of the place.  It made my Medusa and Basilica Cistern visit such a very gratifying and enriching experience.

co-villainous

medusa!

the wicked tandem!

Nagkamustahan bigla kami ng gagang Medusa!

Laughing at Conjuring

Two weeks ago was movie night in the office.  I was the one who initiated the invitation for this mini-gig.  The movie in my mind was the terrifying second edition of Conjuring and as expected only few agreed to join.  Not everyone, I guess, in the office is keen on watching creepy movies.

The movie is supposed to be cerebrally ominous and emotionally disturbing.  But what turned out during our viewing was the opposite.  Watching Conjuring 2 suddenly felt like me and my colleagues entered into some fun horror house of some amusement park.  This is because we were giggling our hearts out while awaiting the big scare of a scene!  And we would cackle so hard because the movie was so effective in startling our wits out!

before the movie...

before the movie… from right: gelene, cherrie, neil, rosely and jb

scary jb (before the movie)

after the movie… from right: gelene, cherrie, neil, rosely and valak (MWAHAHAHA!)

The fun feeling and pleasurable laughter we had seem to overpower the supposed feeling of intense fright and terror.  Conjuring 2 then suddenly became a super fun and enjoyable movie.  It is a must see movie with fun friends!  Can’t wait for its third installment!

 Mamatay-matay ako sa katatawa!

A Douchebag Recipient of the One Lovely Blog Award

This expression of gratitude is long overdue.  So let me express one awesome thanks to SpiritualJourney17 for nominating the Nengkoy blog to the One Lovely Blog Award.one lovely blog award

Similar to all the disobliging folks who caused for the end of the worldwide trend on ALS Ice Bucket Challenge (or did it just died a natural death?), I too will digress in following the rule of the One Lovely Blog Award.

Rules of the award are as follows:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and include a link to their blog
  • List the rules and display the award
  • Add 7 facts about yourself
  • Nominate 7 or more other bloggers and leave a comment in one of their posts for them to know they have been nominated

I followed the first 2 rules.  The third rule can be found among the impish write-ups in this blog.  But for the last rule, I don’t know (personally) that much number of bloggers.  Consider me then to be one of the few uncooperative jerks and recipients who foolishly cut this amazing chain.  But still, let me thank SpiritualJourney17 for this incredible nomination!

‘Di ko inekspek ‘to! Salamat…

That Liberating Feeling Channeled by Queen Madonna

I may not be aware but as far as I know, I don’t curse.  Uttering expletives and swearwords is really not my cup of tea.  That is why while I was watching the first night of Madonna concert (Rebel Heart Tour) here in Manila I was surprised and was in disbelief by Madonna who generously peppered us with the “Mother F” words.  It initially felt awkward.

What is even more uncomfortable is that Madonna wanted us (the audience) to answer her questions in the affirmative by shouting “F@#k Yeah!” It was indeed super unpleasant at first.  But as the show develops to become more spectacular song after song, answering Madonna with such profanity seem so liberating.

I was like un-caged for a while and did not care who would react to such profanities that I was blaring.  And since everybody was in such a happy mood and because everybody else is doing it, no one cared, no one got offended and no one was hurt.  And that is the beauty of being able to scream out something that is unusual yet astonishingly redemptive and unshackling.

liberating aside from being spectacular!

liberating aside from being spectacular!

happy!

happy!

My shouting “F@#k Yeah!” that night actually became a bit of therapeutic.  It is because I was luckily able to channel and vent out all my worries, anxieties and desperations in my screaming!  I did not seem to care what Madonna was asking her audience but when it was time to respond and shriek with the rest of the spectators, I was pouring out all my angsts!

Madonna’s Rebel Heart tour I guess lived up to the title of the concert.  My heart indeed became temporarily rebellious from the norm because my civility would seem fly out the window every time I shout to respond to the Queen.  But the cathartic effect of screaming expletives that night was really comforting in the end.  No, I did not changed by starting to utter expletives from now on,  but that night, I left the concert cheering and ecstatic yet deep within me I was feeling calm, quiet and free.

I don’t know if my troglodyte-like writing and relaying these thoughts makes any sense but my shouting “F@#k Yeah!” that night was indeed one unusual liberating experience!

Pak Ya! Hahaha!

Japanese Broadway Musical: My New Yearning

This blog is a living proof that I absolutely without any doubt love anything about Japan.  From its food, to its beautiful weather, to its magnificent sites, up to its exquisite culture and gentle people.

This blog also is a testament to the startling fact that I love Broadway musicals.  From its ingenious production designs, to its mind blowing choreographies, to its incredible story plots up to marvellous musical tunes and talents.

Amazingly, the recent Youtube video which I stumbled upon is a surprising mix of both.  This video gives me a reason to again visit Japan and see their unique version and remarkable rendition of western musicals.

wow!

wow!

What is so delightful in watching this video is that I don’t have to have the lyrics translated in a language that I understand.  I already know the story, the uttered lines as well as the music.  The only thing that I got to do is to witness the stunning visuals, hear the pleasing musical tunes and savour the delightful experience.

This is so beautiful…

Now I wonder how my favourite nemesis Ursula is interpreted by this Japanese musical company.

Kakaiba ‘di ba?

Hey British Kids: Don’t Go to Syria, Go to Metro Manila

It is all over the news that 3 British teens tried to enter Syria for their alleged plan of joining the Islamic State (Isis) militants in Syria.  And according to news, prior to these 3 aspiring slaughterers there has been hundreds of young Britons lured, bewildered and mystified has gone to Syria.

These are my thoughts about it.  I guess these British kids don’t actually realize how privileged they are for being born and to be living in one of the wealthiest countries in the world.  They don’t realize how lucky they are and how easy it is for them to live a life.  These homo sapiens basically do not need to be worried about the basics of living a life because their government’s social services are much better if compared to the majority of the countries around the planet.  The basic physiological, security and self-esteem needs of living a life are essentially prearranged before their birth and are actually given to them even before they start breathing.

Instead of joining Isis, I recommend these kids to try living for a month (no a week) to some poverty-stricken area here in Metro Manila.  I suppose these kids don’t need to join a fatally flawed group of assassins to be able to realize what life is all about.  At least here in Metro Manila, they will experience the hell which they seem to aspire and look for but without the need or the requirement of killing another human being.

Here in Metro Manila, they will experience the hell of traffic, the hell of human congestion, the hell of all sorts of pollution, the hell of public service and servants, the hell of riding the metro, the hell of dealing with perverse taxi drivers and a lot lot more. But what is good in experiencing these hells is that they would not entail to kill anyone.  Given a month (no a week) here in Metro Manila, I suppose these kids would be able to realize how lucky and fortunate they are as human beings.

i heart gbBut in case these teens would really opt to join Isis and go to Syria, may I further suggest two things.  First, these kids when they leave for Syria should be deprived of their British citizenship and should not have the option of returning due to threats in security.  Second, the consulate of the United Kingdom here in Metro Manila should award the stripped citizenship of these would-be bandits to those human beings here in Metro Manila who  aspire and dreams to live a peaceful and privileged life in UK.  I for one would be the first in line when applying.  I would love to live a colorful life in UK and have the opportunity to experience what a civilized, cultured and privileged Briton life would be.

Sige palit tayo.  Dito kayo, dyan ako. Mga bobong bata ‘to!

Megara

meg&herc

meg & herc

My favorite leading lady in Disney cartoon movie is not a princess.  Let me clarify that this category is totally different from my favorite full-fledged Disney cartoon movie villain which is Ursula The Sea Witch.

Female Disney characters most especially the popular princesses would usually be characterized at the start of their respective stories as weak, fragile, innocent, helpless and gullible.  A typical picture of damsels in distress or youthful naivety.  These Disney ladies as the story unfolds would only develop strength and conviction after having met severe trials and tribulations.  And usually their advancement for personal potency and realization for self-conviction would usually entail the help of a prince or a knight in shining armor.

These platitudes are totally not true for the vivacious Megara.  Nicknamed, Meg.  Unlike other female Disney characters, Meg already possess a tough, brazen and resilient character at the start of the 1997 Disney cartoon movie Hercules (which by the way is my favorite Disney cartoon movie).

Meg is not the naïve sweetie type girl possessing an innocent high pitched voice.  She instead is a woman with an appealing sexiness coupled with an alluring husky voice of seduction.  Meg actually started in the film being part of the group of adversaries and foes of Hercules.  She’s one of the minions of villainous Hades and was kicking a lot of Olympian butts until she later softened up and fell in love with the virile and charming Wonder Boy.

Though not well emphasized in the film, Meg’s past is not all cakes and sunshine.  Prior to meeting cool dude Hercules, Meg sold her soul to Hades to save an unfaithful boyfriend.  This of course characterizes her being a woman with admirable guts and intense personal passion.  And being an experienced woman, this sets Meg apart from the other virtuous and virginal female leads of Disney.

Because of this unique persona, Meg for me is the best Disney female character ever.  I totally adore her depth and maturity.  She for me seem to be the closest to reality.  No fancy neither fantasy!  She may not be a Disney princess but she indeed acts and possess the traits of what a mature smart-aleck woman should be.

‘Aktwali, mas birgin at inosente pa si Herkules sa kanya!

Unworthy YT Music Awards

ytmusicawards2013It has been quite disappointing to know that the line-up of nominees in this year’s YouTube Music Awards (YTMA) Artist Of The Year were nothing but a product of strong marketing campaign.

The award says “artist” but the line-up of nominees seem out of place.  Yeah, they had the greatest number of views and likes in their respective videos but that does not mean they are the greatest artist this year.  I would be more convinced if any one of these nominees were lined up in the category of YTMA Popular Celebrity of the Year.

For me, YouTube’s coming up with bunch of awards to give out has been a total mess.  It’s nothing but a cringe-worthy crusade.  YouTube is YouTube.  It’s a totally huge, massive and colossal virtual world of videos representing every walks of human life.  With the enormous amount of artistic videos uploaded daily around the planet, you can’t just select and trim down in just ten so-called worthy celebrities who are products of western pop marketing campaigns.

One pop group or a celebrity cannot in any way represent the great impetus of YouTube.   YouTube coming up with these nasty awards is only making itself cheap and annoying.  YouTube should realize the social impact that they’ve done and continuously doing and not just a mere portal of pop music and their celebrities.

Yuchub! Ang labo mo…

World War Z and the Philippine Zombie

pile of zombies going up the israeli wall in the movie World War Z

pile of zombies going up the israeli wall in the movie World War Z

Zombies are not counted in traditional Filipino mythical world as well as folklores of the ghoulish variant.  There is actually no Filipino-Tagalog translation for a Zombie.  And to further prove this point, the old Filipino letters actually does not have a letter Z in it.  Thus, zombies are non-existent in the Philippines and that it is a product of a western mind.

With this underpinning thought, I am confident that in the zombie-movie World War Z, the bug did not originate from the Philippines.  But the movie made me anxious and curious if zombies would be able to reach the Philippines.  Like Japan and Indonesia, the Philippines is an archipelago.  Thus, to reach and cross its borders you can only enter either via air or water never by land.

I am not a fan of zombie-genre-movies but World War Z ranks right up in my list in terms of making me stunned and jolt right on my seat.  Though the movie was intensely entertaining, it is regrettable that it did not illustrate if the Philippines was infected or was in the clear.  But with the depiction that the infection will alter a person’s appearance and behavior in just 12 seconds, I presupposed that the Philippines was indeed spared.  Why? A zombie characterized to have poor dexterity can’t fly an airplane or sail a boat.  And with an extreme aggressiveness and severe hunger for human flesh all passengers of an airplane or a ship would easily be infected before its engine can even start.

When Brad Pitt decided to go to Israel being one of the countries that have kept the zombies at bay because of their construction of a wall, I was shouting “Go to the Philippines!!!  You will be safe here!!!” inside the cinema hoping he would hear me.  And when the zombies were able to go over the wall of Israel and infected its citizens depicted in a visually astonishing style, I was again shouting inside the movie house “I told you Brad!!!  I told you!!!”

a usual occurrence in zombie-filled manila

a usual occurrence in zombie-filled manila

Maybe the reason why there is no zombie here is because we Pinoys already have so much to deal with.  Like having the same equation in different dimension, the zombies of the Philippines are in the form of car thefts, kidnappers, pickpockets, armed robbers and atrocious taxi drivers.  These are the on-going catastrophe of Philippine society.

I no doubt enjoyed the compelling World War Z movie and I just hope, similar to what Brad Pitt and those scientist/doctors did in the movie, we finally discover a cure or antidote that would put an end to the pandemic Philippine zombies.

Maging mabuti. Hwag maging sombi.