Monday, February 28, 2011

Paper, Pen and the Solace of Open Spaces.

I lived in written word, books, letters and drafts of things. It sets me in normalcy. My head is filled with phrases from books, films, songs and these words were my solace. To write and read is to weave a protective and seamless cocoon, to drink a potion that would allow you to flee invisible, to take a tunnel no one knew. With a silken line of blue or black ink, I spun a world full of emotions; sometimes imaginary men and women who suffered the harsh edges of reality.

When I watched Letters to Juliet, many memories rekindled. Love letters sent to Juliet of Verona – Shakespeare’s damsel in the tragic story - asking for remedies for the matters of the heart.

Those envelopes and yellowed papers containing the emotions one held for another person. I heard so much of love affairs that blossomed and chronicled by paper and pen. Penpals marrying each other. As this love month ends, I can’t help but think, how many of us still writes on paper and receives letters? With the advent of new technology- social networking sites like Facebook, twitter, tumblr, cellphones, emails and what-have-you, writing on paper becomes antiquated. Some would argue that not using paper is one way of saving trees. But forgive me for not taking this argument, the sentimentality of paper remains. Keeping journals for instance. I used to write anything that comes into my mind, doodles and sweet nothings, ideas that just popped out when you’re at your reverie.

How many of us complain, that we can no longer write unless we see our thoughts on the computer screen? Are our hands can no longer keep up with our fast thoughts? Or due to nonpractice of writing, we are afraid we can no longer decipher our own handwriting?

Time is disintegrating in our hands with the flimsiness of burned paper, pages of ashes, anxious minutes and hours, like the agitated and fleeting times of clandestine lovers who know that the countdown to their separation has begun as almost as soon as they see each other.

I still keep the letters I got from family, relatives, friends and (ahem!) suitors. Nothing beats the feeling of receiving and opening an envelop—- the anticipation, the giddiness. Broad strokes of the pen, the handwriting that has become familiar, showing the personality of the person. I love my bestfriend’s Maryland- trained handwriting. Neat and precise. They were trained during elementary days to make their notes clean and clear. She’s our favorite Secretary! And we used to write each other letters even without occasion. Those youthful exuberance of sharing anything, of making cards and writing what we have talked about the other week- about crushes, family problems and just being happy for the company.

I’m fond of every item and the memories they bring. A person goes through life losing so many things; you want to keep what’s left. How can I throw anything away when everything has it’s own meaning?

Whilst the new technology gives us an opportunity to “communicate faster and easier”, so much have been lost in our memories. It easy to delete a message in a second. While it is romantic to tweet or post your feelings on her/his FB wall for the public to see and ogle at your affair, letters show your imperfections. As Ashton Kutcher wrote:

“We haven't lost romance in the digital age, but we may be neglecting it. In doing so, antiquated art forms are taking on new importance. The power of a handwritten letter is greater than ever. It's personal and deliberate and means more than an e-mail or text ever will. It has a unique scent. It requires deciphering. But, most important, it's flawed. There are errors in handwriting, punctuation, grammar, and spelling that show our vulnerability. And vulnerability is the essence of romance.”

So keep those pens and pad. Write. write. write.
Pick colorful notes. Take your favorite pen and write something for Someone. That would surely make his/her day. :)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

For the Man who made me Fell in love with Sports


It's already a year. So fast, how time flies.. I have lots of things to tell you. First, Sports. That's one of our discussion topics (aside from your political commentaries). I have great news for you. We have a good year for our sports.

Pacquaio got his 8th World title and that's a first in history! Antonio Margarito got a taste of Pacman's powerful punches. And that made Mayweather afraid; the coward doesn't want to tarnish his 'undefeated' record because Pacman will surely work his magic on him. Django Bustamante won the World Pool Championship. And just last Sunday, Nonito Donaire knocked his opponent down in the 2nd round. Watta beautiful game. Soccer has become a new sports craze too. Thank God, this world sports is having its rebirth here. But I bet you still won't like soccer. You can't play last two with it. Hehe
How I wish you're here. Oooh how I miss watching these games with you.
I sorely miss you. :(

Friday, February 11, 2011

Cinematic Date with Alexis

February is not only about cupids and cut-out hearts. February is Arts Month. And I'm thrilled when Sir Ricky de Ungria informed us that Davao is one of the sponsors of the Philippine International Arts Festival (PIAF). The third Cinema Rehiyon showcases different indie films from all over the country. And I'm looking forward to watch movies made by Mindanaoans.

Yesterday, I had my rest day. and what's the best way to have a ME, MYSELF and I time? By 1:30pm, I'm off for a movie date. Cinema 6 at Gaisano Mall is already closed. The movie already starting. Good thing Chi was there.:)
It was already the narrative of Lola Candida (the director's grandmother) on the Equifrilibricum World Religion's founder Dr. Hilario Camino Moncado. Ang Panagtagpo Sa Akong Mga Apohan (The Day My Grandmothers Met) documents the perspective of the female Moncadista members. it's a visual journey of narratives-- of looking at Limao and Babak Island and the rich history of the Moncadistas. Some may say it's a cult. Universal Religion is what they profess.

Malaya Camporedondo with her sleeping baby.

(backstory: When I entered the cinema, I stood just near the entrance first. A Madonna with a pixie cut and her child is standing also. The baby's trying to hold me. I took his/ her (not sure of the baby's sex)hand coo with this adorable baby.Only to find out it's the director herself. hehe and her partner Kabunyan de Guia (for reel and real! )

Next short film is Sherad Anthony Sanchez' Balangay. Sanchez is the multi-awarded director of Huling Balyan ng Buhi. Balangay tackles Ata- Manobo's displacement due to military and NPAs clash in Davao del Norte. While it has several serious matters to discuss- displacement, peace situation, poverty and intervention from NGOs, the prolonged silence narrative made the audience very uncomfortable. I don't know if that is one of the director's goal, but it is effective in making the audience raise question. What is the relevance of the collective memories and personalities as if they're floating in scenes? The movie is very aural. The silence? We are not used to it. it makes us unsettled. Homelessness. Poverty. and Cracking up (craziness). Davao old airport provides a very good backdrop on this. BUt some scenes are quite dragging. The media person provided comic relief but has become irritating. A character nurse (?)/ saleslady's role is blurry; a character that comes in and ends with no explanation. Sherad respects everyone's opinion on his supposedly "secret" movie. He respects every audience experience. Including dozing off while watching this. :)

Halaw's Sheron Dayoc, Zurich Chan of Boca and their staff, crew and actors/ actresses

Boca's expensive actress! The main tease.

Comes next are two short films.
I love Boca (Mouth) by Zurich Chan. Charlemangne Alejandro's working his ass as a letter/ catalogue sender. A chain smoker with no direction until he found The One who will change his life forever. Short yet very cinematic. And yeah hearing Chavacano on the big screen is just sweet. It reminds me of Pedro Almodóvar.

Un Diutay Mundo (Small World)by Ana Carlyn Lim's is a sad story of Kafka locked in his room. She wanted to share his story but she was silenced even before she wrote about this nine-year old boy. Quite sad and brutal way to end it.

The day's feast is Halaw (way of the Sea). Sheron Dayoc and his team has great eyes for details. No wonder this film is making rounds in various international film festivals. :) The young child played by Arnalyn Ismael is a breather. Natural child actress. She reminds me of another indie film child Rebecca Lusterio. Halaw chronicles the lives of Filipinos who crosses Sabah in search of greener pasture and good life. Unemployment. Prostitution. Women and child trafficking. Smuggling.the central government that is not felt in the island provinces. To whom should they rely? Lives that intertwined. Recruiters and boatmen, the villagers from nearby islands that thrives on this business. An open secret that nobody dares to ask.

I really wanted to watch Sheika and Limbunan but the organizers begged us to give chance to the waiting students (there's a long line outside!). I had my share of the light and besides stomach is already growling. And Korean food is waiting with my pre- valentine dinner dates! :)

P.S. You might ask who is Alexis. Alexis Tioseco is one young movie critic and a strong advocate of Philippine independent film making. Him discussing film to Carlos J. Caparas will remain in my memory. He is a good listener and forms solid ideas about the topic. He explains well despite Caparas' lack of listening and comprehension ability.

But he had gone too soon. It's his 30th birthday today. I know he'll be delighted to see indie films thriving. Winning awards here and abroad. But he hopes for more avenue for the local populace to appreciate indie films. And Cinema Rehiyon is just one of the ways of bringing cinema diversity. Don't worry Alexis. What you believe in will continue. I hope you're here to witness it. again, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ALEXIS!


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